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Vending machine boardset works with UP or UP Squared boards

Linux Gizmos - Thursday 24th of May 2018 08:09:05 PM
Aaeon’s “AIOT-MSSP01” is a vending machine boardset powered by a PIC32 MCU that’s optimized to work with the UP or UP Squared SBCs. It offers vending-friendly I/O like MDB, EXE, and DEX, as well as motor controllers and 6x USB ports. The AIOT-MSSP01 is an industrial-grade vending machine controller (VMC) solution designed to run 24/7 […]

3.5-inch Apollo Lake SBC supports industrial temperatures

Linux Gizmos - Thursday 24th of May 2018 04:30:28 PM
Ibase’s Linux-compatible, 3.5-inch “IB818” SBC provides a dual- or quad-core Apollo Lake SoC, plus 2x GbE, 4x USB 3.0, 2x SATA, 2x mini-PCIe, triple display support, wide-range power, and -40 to 85°C support. Ibase doesn’t make a lot of SBCs, but it does offer some 3.5-inch models including the Intel Bay Trail Atom based IB897 […]

AsteroidOS and OpenWatch offer open alternatives to smartwatch stacks

Linux Gizmos - Thursday 24th of May 2018 02:44:03 PM
The open source, Linux based “AsteroidOS” alternative to Wear OS arrives in a stable 1.0 release, and Block spins off some of its Android smartwatch stack as an open source OpenWatch Project. The AsteroidOS project has released version 1.0 of its open source, Linux-based smartwatch distribution. Designed for after-market installation on “Wear OS by Google” […]

Walmart, Bank of America, Allied Security Trust (AST) and the Rush for ‘Blockchain’ Patents

Techrights - Thursday 24th of May 2018 06:55:52 AM

Basically a type of software patents, plus the ‘pop culture’ hype…


Reference: What is the Difference Between a Blockchain and a Database?

Summary: The hoarding of patents on novel-sounding code has reached ridiculous levels; very large corporations and even patent trolls arm themselves with such patents, hoping to make returns by means of litigation or an ‘arms trade’

THE USPTO was quick to embrace buzzwords and hype and so was the EPO (although their choices of acronyms and words vary somewhat). Both have allowed algorithms to become patentable provided some buzzword like “AI”, “cloud” or “4IR” got added.

“It means that the only real solution here is to not grant such patents in the first place (no matter who to).”Yesterday, based on the news (e.g. [1, 2, 3]), patents on surveillance from Walmart became known. They’re being marketed as “Blockchain-based” although nothing there suggests that Section 101 is inapplicable. There were also a couple of articles yesterday about Bank of America (BoA) [1, 2] with its latest “Blockchain Patent”. Well, as reported here a few years back, BoA is hoarding bogus software patents on blockchains (maybe an effort to sue rivals/threats to the status quo). It’s not alone. Notorious patent trolls have been busy trying to lay their hands on these patents. It means that the only real solution here is to not grant such patents in the first place (no matter who to). It’s a disaster in the making, just waiting to happen.

“These entities help distract and detract from actual efforts to reform the system. They even hoard software patents.”Yesterday the Allied Security Trust (AST) made a rebound in the news; we had not heard from it in a long time. In fact we last wrote about it a couple of years ago and quite a bit nearly a decade ago, e.g. [1, 2]. AST is one of those ‘pools’ (or ‘cartels’) which claim to be “defensive”. But there’s no such thing as a “defensive” patent because patents do not work this way. Here is the press release [1, 2] just published by AST in many outlets along with very shallow coverage, e.g. [1, 2].

To quote one such ‘article’:

A coalition of companies, including Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Uber Technologies Inc., is getting ready to buy an array of patents to defend against potential infringement suits.

Allied Security Trust (AST), a nonprofit group that buys patents to protect its members from infringement threats, said it will hold another fixed price patent buy in July.

Like LOT Network, which we wrote about quite a lot lately, Google is a big participant. Who benefits really? This one article about it (from WIPR) speaks of “AI and blockchain” in its headline. AST claims to be a “nonprofit”, but obviously there’s turnover and it’s connected to highly profitable companies. Like OIN, for example, AST serves to perpetuate the status quo rather than tackle it.

How about Fortress IP? A few days ago IAM said that RPX‘s co-founder had moved there. To quote:

According to a recent news report Fortress IP is putting together a $400 million “patent troll” fund in what looks like a significant capital raising exercise. Beyond the amount they’re looking to raise, however, details in the story are relatively scant and it’s not clear if the new fund signals a shift in investment strategy by the group led by RPX co-founder Eran Zur. There has been a rumour in the market for several months that Fortress IP team is looking to build its coffers to maximise opportunities to invest in and lend to patent-rich companies.

They want to “invest in and lend to patent-rich companies.” In other words, very large and wealthy companies with an extensive fleet of lawyers.

What we’re seeing here is a large (and growing) number of shells, led by very gigantic corporations, seeking to ‘protect’ members from patents by playing a shell game. These entities help distract and detract from actual efforts to reform the system. They even hoard software patents.

Stupid Blogs, Stupid Lawsuits, and Stupid Patents

Techrights - Thursday 24th of May 2018 06:15:13 AM


Original

Summary: The stupidity of the patent microcosm, which would like to see everything in the world patented and which would gleefully smear or even sue its critics (the EFF was sued several times for libel over its “Stupid Patent of the Month” series)

GRANTING patents just for the sake of having more granted patents would be missing the point; that should be obvious. The more patents an office grants in error, the lower the perceived value of all. The EPO ignores such common sense, whereas the USPTO belatedly adopts it. A lot of US patents got invalidated in recent years, many of which after lengthy and expensive court battles. This left the perceived value of many others (tested neither by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board nor the courts) low enough to merit no lawsuit or ‘assertion’ attempts.

“A lot of US patents got invalidated in recent years, many of which after lengthy and expensive court battles.”Patent maximalists aren’t happy. Watchtroll is furious and frustrated. It has been posting lots of unrelated cruft/dross lately, not about patents or even so-called ‘IP’. But yesterday Mr. Quinn (Watchtroll himself) was once again quote-mining Iancu — the second time in a week — to smear the status quo in the gradually-healed US patent system. Mr. Quinn then proceeded to his latest attack on judges, courts etc. The headline this time around (yesterday) was: “Did the Supreme Court intentionally destroy the U.S. patent system?”

He has been producing many headlines like this, especially in recent weeks. It is becoming rather laughable at this stage. An outsider who isn’t from the patent microcosm might as well say, “what a stupid blog!”

To us, Watchtroll has always been like the ‘Fox News’ of the patent microcosm.

Speaking of stupid blogs, how about Patently-O, which has been feeding Watchtroll with links? As it turns out, there’s a stupid new lawsuit against the USPTO. “Hyatt has filed a new mandamus action against the USPTO,” Patently-O said yesterday, “as the next step in the 40+ year battle over his microcomputer patent applications. Hyatt has over 300 patents applications pending before the USPTO.”

“To us, Watchtroll has always been like the ‘Fox News’ of the patent microcosm.”So what? Anyone can submit an application. That doesn’t mean anything. Patently-O recently gave attention also to a publicity stunt class-action lawsuit over PTAB. If it suits Patently-O‘s agenda, then hey, why the heck not?

Last but not least, in light of Facebook’s history of patent aggression, the EFF’s Joe Mullin has just announced the latest “Stupid Patent of the Month,” alluding to “poor-quality Internet patents” from Facebook. As Mullin put it:

Earlier this month, Facebook announced that it will wedge its way into an already-crowded corner of online commerce. The social networking site plans to use its giant storehouse of personal data to create a dating service, promising to help users find “meaningful relationships,” not just “hookups,” as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg put it.

It remains to be seen whether Facebook’s new service be a “Tinder-killer” that users flock to, or a flop for a company that’s long been beset with privacy concerns. But there’s one thing Facebook, its competitors, and its detractors should all be able to agree on. When a new dating service launches, it should rise or fall based on whether it can win the trust of users—not an arbitrary race to the Patent Office.

Unfortunately, well before it built and launched an actual dating service, Facebook engaged in just such a race. The company applied for a stupid patent on “social dating” back in 2013, and earlier this year, the Patent Office granted the application.

[...]

To be fair to Facebook, the company may have felt compelled to get its own stupid patent because there are so many other stupid online dating patents out there. In a phenomenon that’s the patent equivalent of “mutually assured destruction,” many tech companies have stockpiled poor-quality Internet patents simply to have a threat to fight off other companies’ poor-quality Internet patents. This arms race, of course, costs many millions of dollars and benefits no one other than patent system insiders.

In the world of online dating, wasteful, anti-competitive patent litigation isn’t just theoretical. Earlier this year, Match Group sued up-and-comer Bumble for patent infringement. The suit was brought shortly after Match reportedly tried to purchase Bumble. And in 2015, Jdate sued Jswipe, accusing their competitor of infringing U.S. Patent No. 5,950,200, which tried to claim the idea of notifying people that they “feel reciprocal interest for each other.” It was a basic patent that sought to encompass just about the whole concept of a dating service.

We cannot stress strongly enough that we’re not against patents; we are pro patent quality. We believe that the number of patents should be limited based on strict scope and merit thresholds. Sites like Watchtroll, on the other hand, want us to believe the lie that the more patents get granted, the better off innovation will be. In practice, overpatenting has the exact opposite effect. People who are genuinely interested in innovation and contribute to innovation often ask for restrictions on patent scope, fearing the prospect of unwanted lawsuits.

Perpetuating the Big Lie That Unitary Patent (UPC) is About to Kick Off

Techrights - Thursday 24th of May 2018 05:29:52 AM

The EPO wrote this (below) more than two years ago

Summary: The (in)famous old lie about UPC being “just around the corner” is still being circulated, mainly if not only by patent law firms which stand to benefit from a litigation Armageddon in Europe

“TEAM BATTISTELLI” (EPO management) is expected to lie a lot. About nearly everything. The same goes for “Team UPC,” basically a subset of law firms, primarily those that profit from litigation, patent trolls and so on. These people do not care about Europe; they just want to ensure that Europe keeps attracting lots of ruinous lawsuits, necessitating a lot of lawyers.

“These people do not care about Europe; they just want to ensure that Europe keeps attracting lots of ruinous lawsuits, necessitating a lot of lawyers.”Lies about the Unified Patent Court (UPC) have become very routine. Left unaddressed, many people risk falling for them. Many inside Team UPC already live in an echo chamber, surrounded by mutually-reinforcing messages; they live in a bubble, to put it rather bluntly. Today we present some new examples of it (from earlier this week).

Yesterday, rather unsurprisingly, IP Kat was propping up Team UPC’s Kool-Aid (probably Bristows’) in order to advance the UPC’s agenda. This blog should be renamed “CIPA Kat” as this is what it basically got reduced to after the founder (Jeremy) had left. This is what they wrote:

In the aftermath of the ratification of the UPCA by the UK last month, Kluwer Patent Blog has published an interview with Bruno van Pottelsberghe, Professor at the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management and a former chief economist of the EPO. In ‘EU should bring Unitary Patent system under its control’, Van Pottelsberghe discusses the benefits of the Unitary Patent regime to the business community, NPO concerns, German stance, and the role of EPO.

We already wrote several responses to this Kluwer Patent Blog ‘article’; so did many commenters (those that managed to survive the censorship regime of Kluwer Patent Blog — a regime which became even tougher some months ago, shortly after commenters had criticised the UPC and articles about the UPC).

“Lies about the Unified Patent Court (UPC) have become very routine.”In addition to this, some Battistelli-friendly French law firm propped up the UPC in France days prior to Bristows joining in. Surely enough, Stanislas Roux-Vaillard (Hogan Lovells) has just joined in [1, 2] by stating:

Importantly, this Order does not specify which law should be applied by the French courts during the UPC transitional period; it will be for French courts to decide whether they should apply the substantive provisions of the UPC or the French law (the latter solution being the recommendation of the Preparatory Committee’s interpretative note) for issues like the Bolar exemption.

Notice the tenses; they insinuate inevitability and persist with some arrogant certainty that the UPC will actually start and the only remaining questions are some minor technicalities. That is very far from it. Robert Burrows from Bristows is meanwhile obsessing over Bulgaria as if the UPC’s fate has much to do with a small economy without many EPs (32 EPs granted last year and 20 the year prior to that). Merely keeping the perception of momentum?

“Merely keeping the perception of momentum?”An article by Wolfgang Schönig and Robert Grohmann (Morrison & Foerster LLP) has just stated (in the headline even) that “Germany Is Lingering To Ratify” (as if it’s just a matter of time, as per the definition of the word linger). To quote:

While some commentators struggle with how membership of the UPC is compatible with the stated BREXIT aim of “taking back control”, when essentially signing up to a European patent litigation system does exactly the opposite, others emphasise that the UPC is nothing but a logical evolvement of the European Patent Convention, an international patent system that (despite its name) is not exclusive to EU Member States, and that the UPC may be open to non-EU countries, too.

[...]

It remains to be seen whether timing will prevent the UK from participating in the UPC.

It’s not about timing. And the UPC is an EU thing; just check the underlying text. These people keep lying about it because law, to them at least, is just some ‘pesky’ thing to be worked around rather than be respected. The above sentence also puts forth the wrong question, a loaded question. This wrongly assumes or wants us to believe Unitary Patent will happen (and only the UK’s participation is up in the air). It won’t happen and thus the UK’s participation is irrelevant a question/conundrum.

“It won’t happen and thus the UK’s participation is irrelevant a question/conundrum.”Abigail Woodhouse, an attorney from a law firm, persists with using tenses like “will” in relation to the UPC; as though it’s inevitable and likely imminent; From this long new article titled “Patents and trademarks in 2018″:

Woolhouse: On World IP Day, 26 April 2018, the UK became the 16th Member State to ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA), which defines a new two-part patent system comprising the Unitary Patent (UP) and a new court, the Unified Patent Court (UPC). The UP will be a single patent right in up to 25 Member States of the EU and enforceable in the UPC by single judgement effective in all UPCA member states. Importantly, the UPC will also have jurisdiction over conventional European Patents. This system will endure and run alongside the UP, thus requiring proprietors to actively opt-out if they wish to avoid the UPC’s jurisdiction. It is quite possible that the UP and UPC could be in action before Brexit in March 2019. As it now stands, Germany is the only remaining mandatory party required to ratify before the new system can be brought into effect.

But no, the UK cannot participate in such a system and without the UK there’s no UPC; this is in fact one of the considerations to be taken into account by the FCC in Germany. It’s in the constitutional complaint.

“Notice how pretty much all of the above (pro-UPC spin) comes from the legal ‘industry’ as opposed to the real industry which actually makes and sells things.”Do facts no longer matter? These people keep perpetuating falsehoods and myths like “IP” (above), corresponding to a propaganda term, “Intellectual Property” (not the same as actual laws, such as patent law). Stephan Kinsella wrote a great deal about this propaganda term and his latest podcast about it came out yesterday.

The matter of fact is, the UPC would serve nobody but these law firms and their largest clients, many or most of which aren’t even European.

Yesterday, Philipp Cepl and Kokularajah Paheenthararajah (DLA Piper) wrote about Düsseldorf in relation to increase in liability risks. To quote some bits:

In its two recent decisions, the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court redefined the requirements for the infringement of second-medical-use patents. Besides the cases of “purposeful preparation” of a medicament for the protected use, now, a direct infringement also “in some other way” may be considered if the medicament is objectively suitable for the patented use and the supplier takes advantage of external circumstances, which ensure that the offered medicament is used for the patented purpose. Thus, the recent case law increases liability risks for the infringement of secondmedical-use patents.

[...]

The recent case law of the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court increases the risks of liability for the infringement of second-medical-use patents since a direct infringement now also has to be taken into account if due to external circumstances it is evident that the medicament will be used for the patented purpose.

The main field of application of this case law are cross-label-use cases as pointed out by the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court, where only a carve-out will not be sufficient to prevent liability anymore. Besides that, also such cases may become more relevant where guidelines of medical associations or directives (e. g. of the German Joint National Committee or the Medical Chamber) may recommend certain diagnostic or therapeutic procedures, which may not be explicitly mentioned in the SmPC or package leaflet and the execution of which may realize the protected teachings of the patent. Also here it is to be expected that irrespective of the existing patent protection physicians will generally comply with such scientifically justified and practiceoriented recommendations at least insofar as they reflect medical standards.

Imagine how much worse it might (or would) get in Düsseldorf if Team UPC ever got its way and litigious firms/trolls dragged the whole of Europe into such German courts. Also yesterday (afternoon) Thorsten Bausch wrote about the Federal Court of Justice of Germany. A blog colleague wrote about the Court of Appeal of Barcelona (Spain). Both pertain to patent cases — ones in which the only party guaranteed to win is the legal ‘industry’.

Notice how pretty much all of the above (pro-UPC spin) comes from the legal ‘industry’ as opposed to the real industry which actually makes and sells things. That in its own right ought to serve as a reminder of who crafted the UPCA and pushes the hardest for UP/UPC.

EPO Validation in Former French Colonies That Have Zero European Patents

Techrights - Thursday 24th of May 2018 04:32:24 AM

All about Benoît, not the Office


Like much of the EPO’s Web site, annual results too are being personified

Summary: The strategy of the EPO seems to be centered around the interests of Benoît Battistelli and his political career rather than that of the EPO; validation deals and dubious 'Inventor Awards' seem to be part of this pattern

Corruption at the EPO has become almost banal; and yes, at this stage we can loosely throw around the “c” word (corruption) if not worse words. The President misuses the EPO’s budget, he gets together with former French colonies that have zero European Patents (EPs), and awards are being granted to literal frauds. We have never ever seen anything remotely like this at the USPTO. Or any other patent office for that matter…

“We have never ever seen anything remotely like this at the USPTO.”Yesterday there was this article from southeast Asian media about Battistelli’s agreement with “Morocco, Moldova, Tunisia, and Cambodia” (almost all are former French colonies). It said this:

In January 2017, the government of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the European Patent Organization (EPO) entered into an agreement on validation of European patents. The agreement came into effect on March 1, this year and makes Cambodia the first Asian country to grant validation to European patents. Similar agreements have come into force between the EPO and Morocco, between the EPO and Moldova, and between the EPO and Tunisia in the last three years.

[...]

For European patent applicants, one of the key advantages that the validation offers is that it will now be possible for them to cover up to 44 countries – European states as well as Morocco, Moldova, Tunisia, and Cambodia – with a single European patent application. For Cambodia, it is an opportunity as the validation of EU patents offers incentives for its owners to consider investing in Cambodia. The validation agreement could significantly improve Cambodia’s competitiveness and attract more European investors.

It’s hard to see what value the EPO derives from this, especially given the fact that Cambodia has no EPs; the other nations too barely have any EPs. These deals are generally viewed (e.g. by EPO insiders) as purely political stunts, set up by Battistelli to benefit Battistelli and his political associates.

“These deals are generally viewed (e.g. by EPO insiders) as purely political stunts, set up by Battistelli to benefit Battistelli and his political associates.”Speaking of southeast Asia, yesterday there was this promotional ‘article’ (more like a press release) about a company from Thailand (for perspective, the number of granted Thai EPs was 61 last year and 60 the prior year):

Pipper Standard, Thailand’s leading brand of natural household cleaning products, has been granted multiple patents by the European Patent Office for its proprietary fermented fruit technology.

“We are thrilled that our innovative technology has been awarded three patents by the European Patent Office,” said Peter Wainman, Chairman and CEO of Equator Pure Nature Co., Ltd. (EPN), manufacturer of Pipper Standard products. “This further underscores our role as a leader in the global movement away from chemical cleaners towards safe, natural, non-toxic products. To our knowledge, we are the only natural cleaning brand in the world with patented technology.”

If only they knew that patent quality at the EPO has sunk and many EPs are thus unproven and are of questionable use (e.g. in courts).

Saint-Germain’s Poisonous Legacy of “Toxic Loans”: The Cautionary Tale of SIDRU and Its “Toxic Loans”

Techrights - Thursday 24th of May 2018 03:55:59 AM

Summary: The town where the EPO‘s President (Battistelli) is a deputy mayor has a track record of financial hardship and alleged financial misconduct, attributed to the same financial practices Battistelli has just implemented at the EPO

The cautionary tale which follows concerns the Syndicat Intercommunal de Destruction des Résidus Urbains (SIDRU), a communal waste disposal service which is a joint enterprise of fifteen municipalities in the Greater Paris region, including the township of St. Germain-en-Laye.

An official report into the affairs of the SIDRU was issued in 2012 by the competent local public audit body (Chambre Régionale des Comptes d’Île de France). PDF document can be found here [PDF] (local copy [PDF]).

“Between 2003 and 2007, that is to say under Lamy’s chairmanship, SIDRU concluded a number of loan contracts with various banks.”This report confirms that from 1999 onwards the chairman of the SIDRU was none other than the late Emmanuel Lamy, the longtime Mayor of St. Germain-en-Laye from 1999 until 2017.

Between 2003 and 2007, that is to say under Lamy’s chairmanship, SIDRU concluded a number of loan contracts with various banks.

The loans were related to the financing of a new intercommunal waste processing and incinerator facility Azalys located in Carrières-sous-Poissy.

The Azalys incinerator had initially been financed with a conventional loan totalling around € 49 million at a fixed interest rate of about 5%.

After some time the SIDRU management came to the conclusion that the interest rate was too high. During the period 2003 to 2007 it was decided to “swap” the original fixed interest loan for a number of more sophisticated “structured debt products”. These “structured debt products” took the form of adjustable-rate loans whose interest rates were indexed to the movements of foreign exchange rates between the Euro and other currencies.

Back in 2003, or even in 2007 before the collapse of Lehman Brothers, such “structured debt products” may have seemed like a good idea.

“DEPFA has since been “wound down”. It achieved notoriety in 2008 after it ran into liquidity problems as a result of the economic and financial turmoil in the United States which in turn unleashed shock-waves in the German financial sector and ultimately necessitated a multi-billion bailout of its parent company Hypo Real Estate.”Or at least it was comparatively easier for the snake-oil salesmen pushing them to dazzle prospective customers by exaggerating the claimed advantages while downplaying the risks.

However as chaos and instability engulfed the financial markets in 2008, the unfortunate customers all too often woke up to find that what had been sold to them as sophisticated “structured debt products” had suddenly metamorphosed into “toxic loans” saddling them with dire financial consequences which in many cases still remain to be resolved.

One of the SIDRU loans negotiated by Lamy in 2007 was with the DEPFA Bank, the Dublin-based public-sector financing subsidiary of the German Hypo Real Estate (HRE).

DEPFA has since been “wound down”. It achieved notoriety in 2008 after it ran into liquidity problems as a result of the economic and financial turmoil in the United States which in turn unleashed shock-waves in the German financial sector and ultimately necessitated a multi-billion bailout of its parent company Hypo Real Estate.

“The interest rate of the DEPFA loan rose dramatically in 2011, jumping from 13.35% to 25% in March, then reaching 34% in April and eventually hitting a peak value of 55% in August 2011!”The loan which Lamy concluded with DEPFA for a tranche of SIDRU’s debt was scheduled to run for a ten year period.

For the first year from 15 December 2008 to 15 December 2009 a fixed rate of interest of 3.68% was to be charged.

For the remaining 9 years the interest rate on the loan depended on the difference between the exchange rate of the Euro in US Dollars and the exchange rate of the Euro in Swiss francs and it was to be calculated based on the following formula:

4.68 + 1.7 x max (0; EURUSD – EURCHF)

The arrangement turned out to be catastrophic when instability in the global financial markets unexpectedly led to both a strong rise in the Euro against the Dollar and a strong rise in the Swiss Franc against the Euro.

The interest rate of the DEPFA loan rose dramatically in 2011, jumping from 13.35% to 25% in March, then reaching 34% in April and eventually hitting a peak value of 55% in August 2011!

The fluctuation of the interest rates on the DEPFA loan between December 2009 and December 2014 can be seen in a graphic posted on the website of the opposition group Saint-Germain Autrement.

In July 2011 SIDRU decided to suspend its payments on the DEPFA loan.

“In July 2011 SIDRU decided to suspend its payments on the DEPFA loan.”The controversy surrounding the DEPFA loan and other “toxic loans” dragged on [PDF].

After the local elections in 2014 Lamy was replaced as Chairman of SIDRU by Jean-Frédéric Berçot, the Deputy Mayor of the neighbouring municipality of Poissy.

Following SIDRU’s suspension of payments in July 2011 the matter of the DEPFA loan eventually ended up in court.

“On 4 November 2016 the Court of Appeal of Paris issued a final judgment against SIDRU and ordered it to pay DEPFA all outstanding debts plus other charges which in total amounted to just over € 20 million!”On 4 November 2016 the Court of Appeal of Paris issued a final judgment against SIDRU and ordered it to pay DEPFA all outstanding debts plus other charges which in total amounted to just over € 20 million!

A PDF file of the judgment can be found here [PDF] (local copy [PDF]).

The judgment underlined the personal responsibility of Emmanuel Lamy in the affair.

“The SIDRU is an informed party to the contract, whose director, Emmanuel Lamy, Mayor of the commune of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, ENArque, head of mission for general economic and financial control for the Ministry of Finance, had all the skills required to understand and analyse the possible consequences of both a strong rise in the Euro against the Dollar and a strong rise in the Swiss Franc against the Euro even if such a scenario had been presented as unlikely”.

In a statement published in the “Free Opinion” column of issue no. 697 [PDF] of the Journal de Saint-Germain the opposition group Saint-Germain Autrement spoke in terms of a “damning judgment” against Lamy: “SIDRU: le jugement accable E. Lamy”.

Links 23/5/2018: DragonFlyBSD 5.2.1 and Kata Containers 1.0 Released

Techrights - Wednesday 23rd of May 2018 07:05:03 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • How open-source computing is making AI affordable

    computing and the cloud have brought many previously unaffordable IT options to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The same is becoming true of artificial intelligence (AI), although it brings new challenges to all sizes of company.

    Even though many of the commercial, high-profile products are aimed at Global 2000 companies, and others marketed at SMEs are perhaps heavier on hype than intelligence, the smarter smaller organisations can learn, build on and use AI techniques right now, with those same open-source and
    .

  • Free Ebook Offers Insight on 16 Open Source AI Projects

    Open source AI is flourishing, with companies developing and open sourcing new AI and machine learning tools at a rapid pace. To help you keep up with the changes and stay informed about the latest projects, The Linux Foundation has published a free ebook by Ibrahim Haddad examining popular open source AI projects, including Acumos AI, Apache Spark, Caffe, TensorFlow, and others.

    “It is increasingly common to see AI as open source projects,” Haddad said. And, “as with any technology where talent premiums are high, the network effects of open source are very strong.”

  • Open source image recognition with Luminoth

    Computer vision is a way to use artificial intelligence to automate image recognition—that is, to use computers to identify what’s in a photograph, video, or another image type. The latest version of Luminoth (v. 0.1), an open source computer vision toolkit built in Python and using Tensorflow and Sonnet, offers several improvements over its predecessor.

  • Finally: Historic Eudora email code goes open source

    The source code to the Eudora email client is being released by the Computer History Museum, after five years of discussion with the IP owner, Qualcomm.

    The Mac software was well loved by early internet adopters and power users, with versions appearing for Palm, Newton and Windows. At one time, the brand was so synonymous with email that Lycos used Eudora to brand its own webmail service. As the Mountain View, California museum has noted, “It’s hard to overstate Eudora’s popularity in the mid-1990s.”

  • The Computer History Museum Just Made Eudora Open Source
  • Openlab: what it is and why it matters

    Six months on from its announcement at Openstack Summit Sydney in late 2017, community testing project OpenLab is in full swing.

    OpenLab was initially formed by Intel, Huawei and the OpenStack foundation as a community-led project for improving SDK support and also introducing other platforms like Kubernetes and Cloud Foundry to the Openstack environment. Ultimately the idea is to improve usability in hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

    Melvin Hillsman sits on the governance board along with Dr Yih Leong Sun of Intel and Chris Hoge from the Foundation. Hillsman moved from Rackspace to Huawei to work specifically on the project.

    “The reason we think Openlab is important is, basically, Openstack for some time has been very specific about testing and integration for Openstack services, focusing only on the projects started at Openstack,” Hillsman tellsComputerworld UK at the Openstack Vancouver Summit. “It’s been working very well, it’s a robust system. But for me as a person in the user community – my getting involved in Openstack was more on the operator-user side.

  • Open source innovation tips for the customer-driven economy

    New technologies, ranging from big data and blockchain to 3D printing, are giving rise to new opportunities and challenges for companies today. To stay competitive, organizations need to become more intelligent, customer-centric, and increasingly agile to cope with changing business demands.

    The worry for many companies which are trying to innovate is that while the speed and scope of applications are expanding rapidly, the variety and complexity of technology is increasing simultaneously, putting pressure on their IT infrastructure.

    Speaking at the SUSE Expert Days 2018 held in Singapore recently, Dr Gerald Pfeifer, VP of Products and Technology Program, SUSE, told attendees that these prevailing trends have come together to make Open Source the primary engine for business innovation.

  • Qualcomm is able to release the Snapdragon 845 source code in 6 weeks

    Qualcomm‘s latest high-end system-on-chip, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, was announced at the Snapdragon Tech Summit back in December. The chipset offers 4 Kryo 385 (A75 “performance”) and 4 Kryo 385 (A55 “efficiency”) CPU cores, the latest Adreno 630 GPU, the Spectra 280 ISP, the Hexagon 685 DSP, the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem, and a new Secure Processing Unit (SPU). The Snapdragon 845 SoC is a powerhouse in benchmarks and it is already available in devices like the Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, and the OnePlus 6. Developers on our forums have been itching to get their hands on a device with Qualcomm’s latest and greatest, but there’s just one thing that has made some developers worry about the future of development on the platform: The lack of publicly available source code for the kernel, HALs, framework branches, and more on the CodeAurora Forums.

  • SaaS/Back End
    • Kata Containers 1.0

      The 1.0 release of Kata Containers is here! Thank you to the more than 40 individuals who have contributed to the first release of Kata Containers and to developing the Kata community.

    • VM-container chimera Kata Containers emerges from lab

      The open source Kata Containers project, an effort to combine the security advantages of virtual machines with the deployment and management advantages of software-based containers, hit its 1.0 milestone on Tuesday.

      Forged from a merger of Intel’s Clear Containers and Hyper’s runV announced last December, Kata Containers delivers an Open Container Initiative (OCI)-compatible runtime that addresses the downside of traditional container architecture, a shared kernel.

    • Kata Containers Project Releases 1.0 to Build Secure Container Infrastructure
    • Kata Containers 1.0
    • OpenStack Makes its Open Source CI/CD Platform Available to the Wider World

      The OpenStack Foundation made Zuul, an open source continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD) platform, into an independent project. Zuul also released version 3 of its software.

      Zuul was originally developed for OpenStack CI testing and has since attracted contributors and users across many different organizations, including BMW, GoDaddy, OpenLab, and Wikimedia. It’s the third project to be managed by the OpenStack Foundation, joining OpenStack and Kata Containers.

    • Kata Containers 1.0 Released, Formerly Intel Clear Containers

      Back in December was the announcement of Intel’s Clear Containers being spun into a new project called Kata Containers in collaboration with other organizations. Kata Containers has now reached their version 1.0 milestone.

      Kata Containers 1.0 is now available for this container technology designed for offering a secure and scalable container experience built atop Intel VT technology.

    • What’s new in OpenStack?

      As OpenStack Foundation Chief Operating Officer Mark Collier referenced in his opening keynote, the uses which OpenStack is seeing today expand far beyond what most who were involved in the early days of the project could have ever imagined. While OpenStack started out primarily in the traditional data center and found many large-scale users, particularly in the telecommunications industry, who were using it to manage huge installations of traditional x86 server hardware, the flexibility of OpenStack has today allowed it to thrive in many other environments and use cases.

      Today, we see OpenStack powering everything from academic and research projects to media and gaming services, from online retail and e-commerce to manufacturing and industrial applications, and from finance to healthcare. OpenStack is found in all of these different places not just because it is cheaper than using the public cloud, not just because it makes compliance with various regulations easier, but because its open source code makes it flexible to all sort of different situations.

  • Databases
    • Should Red Hat Buy or Build a Database?

      For a decade, at least, observers of the company have speculated about whether Red Hat would or should enter the database market. The primary argument, one made in this space eight years ago, has historically been that Red Hat is de facto leaving potential dollars on the table by limiting itself to operating platform and immediately adjacent markets. In a more recent piece, analyst Krishnan Subramanian adds that Red Hat is at risk because databases represent a control point, one that the company is effectively ceding to competitors such as AWS or Microsoft.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • LibreOffice 6.1 Beta Arrives Next Week for Second Bug Hunting Session on May 28

      Now that the first bug hunting session, which took place last month on April 27 for the alpha milestone, was a success leading to 91 bugs (8 of them marked as critical and 4 already fixed) being reported by those who attended the event, it’s time for a second bug hunting session at the end of May to discover and squash more of those pesky bugs and issues that may block the release of LibreOffice 6.1.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Funding
    • Tidelift Raises $15M Series A From General Catalyst, Foundry, & Others

      This morning Tidelift, a startup focused on helping developers work with open source technology, announced that it has closed a $15 million Series A round of funding co-led by General Catalyst, Foundry, and Matthew Szulik, the former CEO of Red Hat, a public open source-centered technology company.

      The subscription-powered startup has an interesting business model which we’ll dive into shortly, but it’s worth noting that the open source space as a whole is quite active. It’s something that Crunchbase News covered last year, describing how startups working with open source software have enjoyed a dramatic rise in investor interest.

      That puts Tidelift in the midst of a trend.

    • Tidelift lands $15M to deliver professional open-source support

      Tidelift Inc. is raising $15 million as it looks to boost its unique open-source software model that sees companies pay for professional support of their favorite projects, allowing those that maintain them to get compensated too.

      The Series A round was led by the investment firms General Catalyst and Foundry Group, as well as former Red Hat Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Matthew Szulik. The company was able to attract the investment after coming up with a novel idea for maintaining the most popular open-source software projects in a way that benefits both the users and those who help to create them.

      It works like this: Companies pay a subscription fee that entitles them to professional-grade support, similar to the kind of commercial subscriptions offered by firms such as Red Hat, Cloudera Inc. and Docker Inc. A part of these fees are then used to pay the developers who maintain the software. The net result, at least in theory, is that everyone is happy, as companies enjoy the benefits of professional support at lower rates than they might expect from an established firm, and the developers of the software are finally rewarded for their efforts.

  • BSD
    • DragonFlyBSD 5.2.1 Released

      While DragonFlyBSD 5.3/5.4 is exciting on the performance front for those making use of the stable DragonFly operating system releases, DragonFlyBSD 5.2.1 is available this week.

      This is the first and perhaps only point release over DragonFly 5.2.0 that premiered back in April. DragonFlyBSD 5.2 brought stabilization work for HAMMER2 to make it ready for more users, Spectre and Meltdown kernel work, and months worth of other important updates.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Public Services/Government
    • Do European Governments Publish Open Source Software?

      From time to time I come across news articles about Governmental bodies in Europe adopting the use of Open Source Software. This seems to be a slowly increasing trend. But if European Governments make software for themselves, or are having it made for them, do they publish that software as Open Source?

      This was a question that came up in a meeting at one of my clients. To find an answer, I asked my friends at the FSFE NL-team and did a Quick Scan. Here are the results.

      The short answer: Yes, they do!

      The longer answer: read on.

  • Programming/Development
Leftovers
  • Bill Gates Tries and Fails To Install Windows Movie Maker In Epic 2003 Email Rant
  • Science
    • Tempow raises $4 million to improve Bluetooth

      French startup Tempow has raised a $4 million funding round. Balderton Capital led the round, with C4 Ventures also participating. The company has been working on improving the Bluetooth protocol to make it more versatile.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Africa Takes Steps For Access To Medicines: Conference To Fight Fakes, Develop Local Production

      A week after African ministers of health adopted a treaty for the establishment of an African Medicines Agency, an international conference held on the side of the World Health Assembly denounced the rampant and increasing issue of fake medicines in Africa, and the lack of adequate action and political will. The Benin president said Benin’s efforts to fight traffickers is so far unsupported, and called developed countries to commit to the fight. Other speakers insisted on the importance of local production of medicines, and the need for biting legislation to defeat fake medicines.

      [...]

      The AMA was praised at the OIF conference, which was meant to bring to the international attention the issue of falsified and sub-standard medicines, everywhere in the world, but in particular in francophone Africa, and what is needed to curb the rampant criminal trade.

      Michel Sidibé, executive director of UNAIDS, opening the conference, said Africa is bearing 25 percent of the global weight of disease, but only produces about 3 percent of the medicines it needs. He called for a criminalisation of fake medicines manufacturers and distributors.

    • 50 Years Of Global Health Progress – Interview With IFPMA Head Thomas Cueni

      Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, in his inaugural speech at the World Health Assembly this week, explained that partnerships are a key strategy for the WHO to ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages. He added that the WHO is engaging with the private sector as a crucial partner in achieving health for all. Thomas Cueni, IFPMA’s Director General, in an interview with Health Policy Watch on the occasion of the IFPMA’s 50-year anniversary, explains how the research-based biopharmaceutical industry together with IFPMA have contributed to the huge strides in health progress over 50 years. He explains the major leaps forward, setbacks and mistakes, as well as how industry is part of the solution, as “do-ers” and partners in global health progress. Cueni also talks about pricing and cost of R&D.

  • Security
    • efail: Outdated Crypto Standards are to blame

      I have a lot of thoughts about the recently published efail vulnerability, so I thought I’d start to writeup some of them. I’d like to skip all the public outrage about the disclosure process for now, as I mainly wanted to get into the technical issues, explain what I think went wrong and how things can become more secure in the future. I read lots of wrong statements that “it’s only the mail clients” and the underlying crypto standards are fine, so I’ll start by explaining why I believe the OpenPGP and S/MIME standards are broken and why we still see these kinds of bugs in 2018. I plan to do a second writeup that will be titled “efail: HTML mails are to blame”.

      I assume most will have heard of efail by now, but the quick version is this: By combining a weakness in cryptographic modes along with HTML emails a team of researchers was able to figure out a variety of ways in which mail clients can be tricked into exfiltrating the content of encrypted e-mails. Not all of the attack scenarios involve crypto, but those that do exploit a property of encryption modes that is called malleability. It means that under certain circumstances you can do controlled changes of the content of an encrypted message.

      [...]

      Properly using authenticated encryption modes can prevent a lot of problems. It’s been a known issue in OpenPGP, but until know it wasn’t pressing enough to fix it. The good news is that with minor modifications OpenPGP can still be used safely. And having a future OpenPGP standard with proper authenticated encryption is definitely possible. For S/MIME the situation is much more dire and it’s probably best to just give up on it. It was never a good idea in the first place to have competing standards for e-mail encryption.

      For other crypto protocols there’s a lesson to be learned as well: Stop using unauthenticated encryption modes. If anything efail should make that abundantly clear.

    • Comcast Leaked Customer Wi-Fi Logins in Plaintext, Change Your Passcode Now

      A Comcast Xfinity website was leaking Wi-Fi names and passwords, meaning now is a good time to change your Wi-Fi passcode.

      The site, intended to help new customers set up new routers, could easily be fooled into revealing the location of and password for any customer’s Wi-Fi network. A customer ID and a house or apartment number was all would-be attackers needed to get full access to your network, along with your full address.

    • Update Fedora Linux using terminal for latest software patches
    • Patch for New Spectre-Like CPU Bug Could Affect Your Performance
    • container_t versus svirt_lxc_net_t
    • Linux Redis Automated Mining For Worm Analysis and Safety Advice [Ed: Rather old an issue]

      Since Redis has not authorized the disclosure of the attack method of root authority of Linux system, because of its ease-of-use, the hacking behaviors of mining and scanning of Linux services by using this issue have been endless. Among the many cases that handle this problem to invade the server for black production, there is a class of mining that USES this problem and can automatically scan the infected machine with pnscan. The attack has always been there, but it has shown a recent trend of increasing numbers, which has been captured many times, and we’ve been able to do a specific analysis of it.

    • Turla cyberespionage group switched to open-source malware [Ed: Crackers share code, so let's badmouth FOSS?]

      The Turla cyberespionage group has implemented some new tactics over the last few months incorporating some open-source exploitation tools instead of relying solely on their own creations to run campaigns.

      ESET researchers found that starting in March the Turla has been leveraging the open-source framework Metasploit to drop the group’s proprietary Mosquito backdoor. The group has periodically used open-source hacking tools for other tasks, but ESET believes the group has never before used Metasploit as a first stage backdoor.

    • A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Not Getting Hacked

      Crackers are so to speak the evil hackers. Although these very often also do not offer the possibilities in order to do justice to the descriptions of the media. Then there are the would-be hackers, also called ScriptKiddies who use themTrojan2 and pre-programmed programs to get into computers and do damage.

      The “Kiddie” leads is a departure from the English “kid” (child), since young people are often behind such attacks. Due to their young age and lack of experience, ScriptKiddies often do not even know what they are doing. Let me give you an example. I have seen ScriptKiddies that use methods to intrude into Windows NT Calculator tried to break into a Linux machine. ScriptKiddies are often bored teenagers who try to have fun with the first tool. These tools are usually so simply knitted that actually, each normal, somewhat educated user can serve them.

      [...]

      According to Blendrit, co-founder at Tactica “One thing is clear: this language culture is constantly evolving, and many words find their way into the media, where they have a completely different meaning. Just as our most famous word, “hacker”, has fared.”

    • More Meltdown/Spectre Variants
    • Spectre V2 & Meltdown Linux Fixes Might Get Disabled For Atom N270 & Other In-Order CPUs

      There’s a suggestion/proposal to disable the Spectre Variant Two and Meltdown mitigation by default with the Linux kernel for in-order CPUs.

      If you have an old netbook still in use or the other once popular devices powered by the Intel Atom N270 or other in-order processors, there may be some reprieve when upgrading kernels in the future to get the Spectre/Meltdown mitigation disabled by default since these CPUs aren’t vulnerable to attack but having the mitigation in place can be costly performance-wise.

    • Linux 4.17 Lands Initial Spectre V4 “Speculative Store Bypass” For POWER CPUs

      Following yesterday’s public disclosure of Spectre Variant Four, a.k.a. Speculative Store Bypass, the Intel/AMD mitigation work immediately landed while overnight the POWER CPU patch landed.

    • New Variant Of Spectre And Meltdown CPU Flaw Found; Fix Affects Performance
    • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Gets First Kernel Update with Patch for Spectre Variant 4 Flaw

      Canonical released the first kernel security update for its Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system to fix a security issue that affects this release of Ubuntu and its derivatives.

      As you can imagine, the kernel security update patches the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system against the recently disclosed Speculative Store Buffer Bypass (SSBB) side-channel vulnerability, also known as Spectre Variant 4 or CVE-2018-3639, which could let a local attacker expose sensitive information in vulnerable systems.

    • RHEL and CentOS Linux 7 Receive Mitigations for Spectre Variant 4 Vulnerability

      As promised earlier this week, Red Hat released software mitigations for all of its affected products against the recently disclosed Spectre Variant 4 security vulnerability that also affects its derivatives, including CentOS Linux.

      On May 21, 2018, security researchers from Google Project Zero and Microsoft Security Response Center have publicly disclosed two new variants of the industry-wide issue known as Spectre, variants 3a and 4. The latter, Spectre Variant 4, is identified as CVE-2018-3639 and appears to have an important security impact on any Linux-based operating system, including all of its Red Hat’s products and its derivatives, such as CentOS Linux.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • A New Flotilla Steams Towards Gaza

      Elizabeth Murray is aboard a new flotilla to highlight the illegality of the 12-year old blockade that is choking the people of Gaza.

      [...]

      Elizabeth Murray served as Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East in the National Intelligence Council before retiring after a 27-year career in the U.S. government, where she specialized in Middle Eastern political and media analysis. She is a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

    • An Alarming Tip About a Neo-Nazi Marine, Then An Uncertain Response

      It was Oct. 29, 2017, when Ed Beck decided he had to contact the military police.

      For weeks, Beck had been tracking the online life of a 21-year-old lance corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps. He said he had concluded the young man, a North Carolina native named Vasillios Pistolis, was deeply involved in neo-Nazi and white supremacist activities.

      Beck said he had compiled an exhaustive dossier on the young Marine, tracing the evolution of Pistolis’ racist worldview over recent years and linking him to violent altercations at the bloody white power rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last August. The most recent piece of evidence, Beck said, was a fresh video that appeared to show Pistolis standing alongside a leader of the Traditionalist Worker Party, a fascist group, during a confrontation with an interracial couple at a restaurant in a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee.

      Beck was well positioned both to be offended by Pistolis’ alleged conduct and to report it: Beck had served in the Marines from 2002 through 2006, including a tour in Iraq. In fact, he’d been assigned to the 2nd Marine Logistics Unit, the same unit in which Pistolis was serving.

      Beck said he contacted the authorities at the unit’s headquarters, Camp Lejeune, a large Marine Installation on the North Carolina coast, and spoke briefly with an investigator for the post’s military police.

    • Drones Don’t Wear Uniforms. They Should.

      The video from Gaza starts with a just-visible multirotor drone juxtaposed against a remarkably blue sky. A group of TV journalists in blue helmets stand at the bottom of the frame, looking up at it. It hangs there for a second, and then tear gas canisters fall from it, issuing waving tails of white smoke. The canisters come to earth immediately in front of the cameras, and the reporters begin to run in all directions, coughing. The camera looks to the blue sky again, and the little black dot recedes, mysteriously, into the distance.

      Welcome to the next stage of the drone revolution.

      Israel may have become the first-ever nation observed using armed consumer drones in a real-world setting on March 12, when a Lebanese news network ran footage (probably dating from March 9) of one dropping tear gas on Gazan protesters. The deployment of drones against crowds of protesters — even armed ones — raises new and worrying questions about legality, identification, and purpose. Such usage may be unavoidable, but the international community at the very least needs to establish — and enforce — legal and ethical standards as soon as possible.

    • Real-Life CIA Card Game Makes Toppling Governments Fun!

      Maybe it’s because I’m a games journalist, but I really do believe that everything is a game. It’s just that some games have vastly higher stakes than others. There’s a big difference between The Game of Life the board game and The Game of the Life the experience of existing in this world.

      And you know who’s even better at turning incredibly serious real-world events into the most dangerous games? The Central Intelligence Agency. That’s why we were saddened but not at all surprised to learn there’s a card game being made based on real-life CIA tactics.

    • Forced to Choose Between a Job — and a Community

      After high school, Arnett joined the U.S. Marine Corps, in 1999. His unit, the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines — the storied Suicide Charley — took him to the other side of the world: South Korea, Japan, Thailand. In the spring of 2003 he was an infantryman in the invasion of Iraq, spending five months in country — Baghdad, Tikrit, Najaf.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • WikiLeaks suspect Joshua Schulte accused of leaking to reporters from behind bars: Reports

      A former CIA employee suspected of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks was accused Monday of sharing secrets with reporters involving the government’s case against him.

      Joshua Schulte, 29, violated a September 2017 protective order barring him from discussing elements of his case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Laroche argued in Manhattan federal court Monday, local media reported.

      “It is clear the defendant is discussing the search warrants,” Mr. Laroche said, according to New York Daily News.

      Mr. Schulte was arrested last year on federal child porn charges, though it only emerged last week that prosecutors also suspect he leaked top-secret CIA hacking tools published by WikiLeaks in 2017 under the label “Vault 7.”

    • GOP lawmaker: Julian Assange is a ‘very honorable man’

      Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) praised WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in an interview published on Wednesday, calling him honorable.

      “He’s a very honorable man,” Rohrabacher told CNN.

      The California congressman visited Assange last August at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to discuss the 2016 hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which Assange has said he believes was an “inside job” and not perpetrated by the Russian government.

      After his meeting with Assange, Rohrabacher said there was no evidence to suggest the hacking of the DNC was spearheaded by the Kremlin.

    • A GOP congressman’s lonely quest defending Julian Assange

      President Trump’s secretary of state has dubbed Julian Assange’s group WikiLeaks a “hostile intelligence service.” Trump’s national security adviser once called on the US to use WikiLeaks for “target practice.” And his attorney general asserted that the arrest of Assange remains a “priority” for the United States.
      But Rep. Dana Rohrabacher sees Assange differently.
      “He’s a very honorable man,” Rohrabacher told CNN.

      Rohrabacher, a California Republican facing a potentially difficult re-election this fall, occupies an unusual space in politics. He’s an unapologetic defender of someone viewed as a villain in Washington and a sharp skeptic of the widely held view in Congress and from US intelligence agencies that Russia meddled in the US elections.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • We Examined 885 European Cities’ Plans To Tackle Climate Change — Here’s What We Found

      Around the world, cities endeavor to cut greenhouse gas emissions, while adapting to the threats – and opportunities – presented by climate change. It’s no easy task, but the first step is to make a plan outlining how to meet the targets set out in the Paris Agreement, and help limit the world’s mean temperature rise to less than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

      About 74% of Europe’s population lives in cities, and urban settlements account for 60-80% of carbon emissions – so it makes sense to plan at an urban level. Working to meet carbon reduction targets can also reduce local pollution and increase energy efficiency – which benefits both businesses and residents.

      But it’s just as important for cities to adapt to climate change – even if the human race were to cut emissions entirely, we would still be facing the extreme effects of climate change for decades to come, because of the increased carbon input that has already taken place since the industrial revolution.

    • The Netherlands Announces Ban On Coal, Plans Close Of 2 Power Plants By 2024

      The Netherlands has announced that it will ban the use of coal for electricity generation from 2030 onwards, and that the two oldest plants must close by the end of 2024, in a move that Germany utility company RWE has deemed “ill judged.”

    • City Trees Are Disappearing

      Forests are essential to combating climate change. They drink up huge amounts of planet-heating carbon from the atmosphere and provide shelter for species struggling to adapt to global warming. For that reason, experts have called for measures to protect forests. But what about trees in cites? We hear much less about them. Yet the trees that line streets and backyards are just as important as those in the forest — actually, maybe even more so. And we are losing them, too.

      New research suggests that American cities and their surrounding areas have been losing as many as 36 million trees a year. That might not sound like a lot when you think about the number of trees in our nation’s forests, but those trees have a powerful impact on health and well-being — and on climate change.

  • Finance
    • Amid Affordable Housing Dispute, Conservatives Seek a Home in Chicago

      When news broke last week that a proposed affordable housing development on Chicago’s Northwest Side had likely been put on hold, Ammie Kessem, a Republican candidate for state representative, vowed on Facebook that it wasn’t the end of the story. Democrats, Kessem wrote, would pay for pushing the plan — including 45th Ward Ald. John Arena, its chief sponsor, and Kessem’s opponent, state Rep. Robert Martwick.

      Martwick, she wrote, “cannot continue to hide on this subject. … The people are going to hold you accountable for it come November.”

      Kessem’s opposition to building the affordable housing complex in her neighborhood has been a central part of her campaign for the Illinois House. And she’s had help.

    • A Guide for Digging Through Trump’s Financial Disclosures

      When President Donald Trump’s latest financial disclosure form was released last week, we dropped what we were doing and started digging.

      We found a few things, including some newly registered companies and a jump in revenue for Trump Productions, which helped produce shows like “The Apprentice” and the lesser-known dating show, “Donald J. Trump Presents: The Ultimate Merger.”

      We’ve decided to show how we did it so you can help us go deeper. Below are tips and tricks for finding noteworthy items buried in the 92-page disclosure.

      First, some background. Trump’s financial disclosure form, which he files each year with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, provides the most detailed account available of the president’s finances, from his sprawling business empire to individual payments made to his personal attorney, Michael Cohen. The forms are the best window we have into his financial holdings. (His tax returns would also be helpful, but he hasn’t released those.)

      To see newly created companies, we put Trump’s new disclosure form next to last year’s form. That’s how we found T Retail LLC, an “online retail business; startup” that’s listed in the 2018 disclosure, but not in the 2017 one.

    • The ‘Black Hole’ That Sucks Up Silicon Valley’s Money

      The San Francisco Bay Area has rapidly become the richest region in the country—the Census Bureau said last year that median household income was $96,777. It’s a place where $100,000 Teslas are commonplace, “raw water” goes for $37 a jug, and injecting clients with the plasma of youth —a gag on the television show Silicon Valley—is being tried by real companies for just $8,000 a pop.

      Yet Sacred Heart Community Service, a San Jose nonprofit that helps low-income families with food, clothing, heating bills, and other services, actually received less in individual donations from the community in 2017 than it did the previous year. “We’re still not sure what it could be attributed to,” Jill Mitsch, the funds development manager at Sacred Heart, told me. It’s not the only nonprofit trying to keep donations up—the United Way of Silicon Valley folded in 2016 amidst stagnant contributions.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • The Tired Trope of Blaming Trump on ‘Liberal Smugness’

      In an attempt to understand the coalition that gave Trump his narrow victory, for the past year and a half the press has spun a whole new subgenre of stilted, tautological feature reporting on how Trump supporters support Trump (FAIR.org, 2/15/17).

      And in their opinion sections, corporate media have fared no better. They have routinely given platforms to those who claim, with little to no firm evidence, that Trump’s election and his steady (though historically low) popularity (as well as his predicted eventual reelection) are all partly if not wholly the fault of liberal smugness and left-wing political correctness run amok.

    • Giuliani’s New Stance On Russian Collusion: So What? It’s Not Illegal.

      His client insists there was “NO COLLUSION” with Russia to win the presidency, but Donald Trump’s lead lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has a new theory of the case: What’s the big deal if he did?

      In a recent interview with HuffPost, Giuliani initially disputed the notion that Trump’s daily citing, in the final month of his campaign, of Russian-aligned WikiLeaks and its release of Russian-stolen emails constituted “colluding” with Russia.

      “It is not,” Giuliani said.

      Then he switched tacks.

    • ‘Collusion’ and the insane media divide
    • Yes, a Reasonable Prosecutor Would Have Ordered an Investigation of the Trump Campaign

      We’re rapidly reaching a point in the Russia investigation where partisan opinion revolves almost entirely around unproven assertions. On the anti-Trump left (and parts of the Never Trump right) there exists a burning conviction that Robert Mueller “has the goods” — that there is strong evidence of criminal collusion by Trump and/or his campaign, and critics of the investigation intend to either block Mueller before he can deliver his final report or discredit his conclusions to save the Trump presidency.

      Conversely, among the president’s supporters, there is now a presumption that the entire Russia investigation was and is a bad-faith effort by the “deep state” to create an “insurance policy” against a Trump victory — that there was never reason to investigate Trump, and each new revelation about a different investigatory technique (national-security letters, informants, FISA applications, etc.) is proof of additional wrongdoing.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Tor Hidden Services

      When people write privacy guides, for the most part they are written from the perspective of the client. Whether you are using HTTPS, blocking tracking cookies or going so far as to browse the internet over Tor, those privacy guides focus on helping end users protect themselves from the potentially malicious and spying web. Since many people who read Linux Journal sit on the other side of that equation—they run the servers that host those privacy-defeating services—system administrators also should step up and do their part to help user privacy. Although part of that just means making sure your services support TLS, in this article, I describe how to go one step further and make it possible for your users to use your services completely anonymously via Tor hidden services.

    • Google sued for ‘clandestine tracking’ of 4.4m UK iPhone users’ browsing data

      Google is being sued in the high court for as much as £3.2bn for the alleged “clandestine tracking and collation” of personal information from 4.4 million iPhone users in the UK.

      The collective action is being led by former Which? director Richard Lloyd over claims Google bypassed the privacy settings of Apple’s Safari browser on iPhones between August 2011 and February 2012 in order to divide people into categories for advertisers.

    • Google Sued For Secretly Collecting Data Of 4.4 Million iPhone Users

      Google has been accused of “clandestine tracking” of 4.4 million iPhone users in the UK and is facing a lawsuit in the high court for as much as £3.2 billion.

    • FBI repeatedly overstated encryption threat figures to Congress, public

      The FBI has repeatedly provided grossly inflated statistics to Congress and the public about the extent of problems posed by encrypted cellphones, claiming investigators were locked out of nearly 7,800 devices connected to crimes last year when the correct number was much smaller, probably between 1,000 and 2,000, The Washington Post has learned.

    • FBI Admits It’s Been Using A Highly-Inflated Number Of Locked Devices To Push Its ‘Going Dark’ Narrative

      Call it a lie. Call it a misrepresentation. Call it a convenient error. Call it what you want. Just don’t call it a fact. Devlin Barrett at the Washington Post delivers a bombshell: the thousands of phones the FBI supposedly just can’t crack despite a wealth of tech solutions at its disposal? It’s nowhere near as many as consecutive FBI directors have claimed.

      [...]

      The FBI’s count was inflated by bad software and sloppy recordkeeping. But it had no incentive to fix it. Even if the error was never detected by the methodology test, someone should have asked how the FBI’s stash of locked phones suddenly exploded from less than 900 to nearly 8,000 in 18 months. But, given the IG’s findings about its slow-walked search for outside tech solutions in the Apple court battle, any red flags were probably ignored in favor of pushing the most dramatic “going dark” narrative possible. Why ask why? Just go with the more jaw-dropping number, even if there’s no physical evidence to back the claim.

    • Ministry of Defence calls for registry of AI experts

      THE UK’S MINISTRY OF DEFENCE has suggested that the government should build a registry of security-cleared artificial intelligence and robotics experts, who can be called-up should Queen and country ever require their services.

      That’s according to a new Ministry of Defence Joint Concept Note entitled Human and Machine Teaming. It also laments the UK’s technical skills shortages and calls for ‘a register of security-cleared UK nationals’ with AI and robotics expertise.

      The document sets out the Ministry’s vision of the future in a world where artificial intelligence is critical to national defence.

      With development of both AI and robotics shifting from the public sector to the private sector, ‘civil commercial investment in AI and robotic technologies, and the recruitment of subject matter experts’, is vastly outstripping the resources available to nation states.

    • President Trump Thinks Basic Phone Security Is Simply Too Inconvenient

      For the past year much has been made of the President’s unwillingness to adhere to anything close to reasonable security when using his mobile phones. Whereas the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and the National Security Agency usually work in concert providing state leaders with “hardened” devices that are heavily encrypted, routinely updated, and frequently swapped out, Trump has refused to use these more secure DMCC-S devices (effectively a Samsung Galaxy S4 device utilizing Samsung’s Knox security architecture) because they apparently infringe on his ability to Tweet.

    • Folks are shocked – shocked – that CIA-backed Amazon is selling face-recog tech to US snoops, cops

      The American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday expressed dismay that Amazon Web Services has been urging US government agencies to use its Rekognition API for state-sponsored facial recognition.

      The advocacy organization published emails obtained over a six-month investigation documenting marketing efforts by Amazon employees to convince officials in Orlando, Florida, and Washington County, Oregon, to deploy its cloud-based image analysis tech.

    • Amazon Teams Up With Law Enforcement to Deploy Dangerous New Facial Recognition Technology

      Amazon, which got its start selling books and still bills itself as “Earth’s most customer-centric company,” has officially entered the surveillance business.

      The company has developed a powerful and dangerous new facial recognition system and is actively helping governments deploy it. Amazon calls the service “Rekognition.”

      Marketing materials and documents obtained by ACLU affiliates in three states reveal a product that can be readily used to violate civil liberties and civil rights. Powered by artificial intelligence, Rekognition can identify, track, and analyze people in real time and recognize up to 100 people in a single image. It can quickly scan information it collects against databases featuring tens of millions of faces, according to Amazon.

    • ACLU Obtains Documents Showing Amazon Is Handing Out Cheap Facial Recognition Tech To Law Enforcement

      It’s already been deployed to several areas around the country, with Amazon acting as the government’s best friend a la AT&T historic proactive cooperation with NSA surveillance efforts. The documents [PDF] obtained by the ACLU show Amazon has been congratulated by local law enforcement officials for a “first-of-its-kind public-private partnership,” thanks to its deployment efforts. On top of providing deployment assistance, Amazon also offers troubleshooting and “best practices” for officers using the tech. It has even offered free consulting to agencies expressing an interest in Rekognition.

      These efforts aren’t surprising in and of themselves, although Amazon’s complicity in erecting a law enforcement surveillance structure certainly is. Amazon is looking to capture an underserved market, and the more proactive it is, the more market it will secure before competitors arrive. To further cement its position in the marketplace, Amazon is limiting what law enforcement agencies can say about these public-private partnerships.

    • FBI Admits It Inflated Number of Supposedly Unhackable Devices

      We’ve learned that the FBI has been misinforming Congress and the public as part of its call for backdoor access to encrypted devices. For months, the Bureau has claimed that encryption prevented it from legally searching the contents of nearly 7,800 devices in 2017, but today the Washington Post reports that the actual number is far lower due to “programming errors” by the FBI.

      Frankly, we’re not surprised. FBI Director Christopher Wray and others argue that law enforcement needs some sort of backdoor “exceptional access” in order to deal with the increased adoption of encryption, particularly on mobile devices. And the 7,775 supposedly unhackable phones encountered by the FBI in 2017 have been central to Wray’s claim that their investigations are “Going Dark.” But the scope of this problem is called into doubt by services offered by third-party vendors like Cellebrite and Grayshift, which can reportedly bypass encryption on even the newest phones. The Bureau’s credibility on this issue was also undercut by a recent DOJ Office of the Inspector General report, which found that internal failures of communication caused the government to make false statements about its need for Apple to assist in unlocking a seized iPhone as part of the San Bernardino case.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Should AI Always Identify Itself? It’s more complicated than you might think.

      The Google Duplex demos released two weeks ago—audio recordings of the company’s new AI system scheduling a hair appointment and the other of the system calling a restaurant—are at once unsettling and astounding. The system is designed to enable the Google personal assistant to make telephone calls and conduct natural conversations, and it works; it’s hard to tell who is the robot and who is the human. The demos have drawn both awe and criticism, including calls that the company is “ethically lost” for failing to disclose that the caller was actually a bot and for adding human filler sounds, like “um” and “ah,” that some see as deceptive.

      In response to this criticism, Google issued a statement noting that these recordings were only demos, that it is designing the Duplex feature “with disclosure built-in,” and that it is going “make sure the system is appropriately identified.” We’re glad that Google plans to be build transparency into this technology. There are many cases, and this may be one of them, where it makes sense for AIs or bots to be labeled as such, so that people can appropriately calibrate their responses. But across-the-board legally mandated AI- or bot-labeling proposals, such as a bill currently under consideration in California, raise significant free speech concerns.

      The California bill, B.O.T. Act of 2018 (S.B. 1001), would make it unlawful for any person to use a social bot to communicate or interact with natural persons online without disclosing that the bot is not a natural person. The bill—which EFF opposes due to its over-breadth—is influenced by the Russian bots that plagued social media prior to the 2016 election and spambots used for fraud or commercial gain. But there are many other types of social bots, and this bill targets all of them. By targeting all bots instead of the specific type of bots driving the legislation, this bill would restrict and chill the use of bots for protected speech activities. EFF has urged the bill’s sponsor to withdraw the proposal until this fundamental constitutional deficiency is addressed.

    • Jeff Sessions Wants Police to Use Stop and Frisk Without Reasonable Suspicion

      The attorney general’s recent comments reaffirm his support for unconstitutional policing.

      Attorney General Jeff Sessions has claimed that the settlement of a lawsuit brought by the ACLU of Illinois against the Chicago Police Department resulted in approximately 236 additional victims killed and over 1,100 additional shootings in 2016 alone. This represents a new low for Sessions. He is wrong on the facts — there was no ACLU lawsuit — and wrong on what is required by the Constitution.

      This is not the first time Sessions has been wrong on the facts and argued for bias-filled unconstitutional policies that have been abject failures. He said nothing when the president expressly encouraged police officers not to worry about injuring suspects during arrests. In one of his first actions, he sought to back out of a consent decree imposed on the Baltimore Police Department, but the judge in the case refused his request. He has opened no investigations of systemic policing abuse since taking office, even refusing to act on a scathing report issued by the Justice Department on the Chicago police.

      The ACLU of Illinois did not sue the Chicago Police Department. A lawsuit was not necessary. It wrote a report, backed up by the department’s own data, demonstrating that its stop-and-frisk policy was unconstitutional and ineffective. The policy was characterized by random stops conducted under circumstances where there was no reasonable suspicion that any criminal activity was occurring or had occurred with respect to the person or people being stopped.

    • The Supreme Court Favors Forced Arbitration at the Expense of Workers’ Rights

      The #MeToo movement has offered an important lesson on the collective power of voices joining together to take on individual experiences of injustice. On Monday, the Supreme Court dealt a huge blow to precisely this kind of collective power, ruling against the ability of workers to join together to take on employment discrimination and abuse.

      The court ruled that employers are free to force workers who have been victims of unfair labor practices into private arbitration to address their claims — even in cases where workers sought to bring a collective legal action. The decision came in a case about failure to pay overtime, but its implications are far broader and extend to many of the claims of harassment and discrimination that have surfaced thanks to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.

      Arbitration contracts are agreements to bring any future legal dispute through a private system rather than through the public courts. Employees are often required to sign such agreements along with a raft of paperwork on their first day on the job, and many have no memory of signing them.

      The Supreme Court has long held that employers are free to enforce arbitration agreements for individual lawsuits. Monday’s decision extended that principle to cases brought on behalf of a “class” of individuals who claim they were harmed in the same way by discriminatory or unfair policies and seek to bring a single legal action on behalf of the group.

      [...]

      The court’s decision — which Justice Ginsburg, in dissent, called “egregiously wrong” — tips the scales even further in favor of employers and large corporations, at the expense of workers.

    • Chicago Wins ‘Most Corrupt City’ Award Due In No Small Part To Its Awful Redlight Camera System

      We’ve talked a great deal about my home city of Chicago, largely for the myriad of awful, corrupt practices it has put in place around topics that we cover here. For instance, we have an alderman trying to shore up the city budget by taxing the shit out of Uber and Lyft, our Mayor thought it was a great idea to have his own private email accounts to conduct business, and a red light camera system so hilariously geared towards bilking money from citizens that the courts have tossed out huge swaths of the tickets it generated, which led the city to decide to make it barely less corrupt by a measure of tenths-of-seconds worth of leeway for drivers crossing the intersection.

      Now, you might be thinking that all of this effort to be corrupt and insidious seems like a waste. Wouldn’t it be far easier, you might be thinking, to simply run the city in a sensible way? Wouldn’t that actually require less effort and be better for the people of Chicago? Perhaps, but then Chicago wouldn’t have received the prestigious award of “most corrupt city”, as it did this past week.

    • As new CIA chief takes helm, torture questions in Thailand remain

      With her formal swearing-in on Monday by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, as President Donald Trump looked on, Gina Haspel has made history as the first female director of the Central Intelligence Agency and for now has outrun a controversy over torture in Thailand — a country outside her seven career postings at points officially undisclosed in Africa, Europe and beyond.

      In addition to English, Haspel speaks Russian and Turkish. Like a character in a spy novel, she has left no digital fingerprints from a 33-year clandestine career. She recently recounted to the U.S. Senate intelligence committee some “real life” adventures. “I excelled in finding and acquiring secret information that I obtained in brush passes, dead drops or in meetings in dusty alleys of Third World capitals,” she said.

    • The Belhaj case shows British intelligence agencies are out of control

      For years, Britain’s three security and intelligence agencies – the Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6; the domestic Security Service, MI5; and GCHQ, the worldwide communications eavesdropping agency – have insisted they are accountable to ministers, that they are responsible to democratically-elected politicians. And for years, ministers have insisted that the agencies are properly accountable to them.

      We all now know what some of us have been saying for a very long time: such assertions are myths. The Prime Minister herself has admitted it.

      On 13 December 2005, Jack Straw, then foreign secretary responsible for MI6, told the Commons Foreign Affairs committee: “Unless we all start to believe in conspiracy theories and that the officials are lying, that I am lying, that behind this there is some kind of secret state which is in league with some dark forces in the United States …There is simply no truth in the claims that the United Kingdom has been involved in rendition full stop, because we never have been”. Straw added that the British government was not compliant in rendition, nor did it turn a blind eye to it.

    • Canadians Subject to CIA Brainwash Experiments Seek Damages

      The Survivors Allied Against Government Abuse (SAAGA) group met in Montreal, Canada, on May 20. “The government should offer an apology and there should be recognition of the injustice that was done,” said Gina Blasbalg, a patient at the institute in 1960.

      Dr. Ewen Cameron, who co-founded the World Psychiatric Association, served as director of the Allan Memorial Institute psychiatric hospital between 1943 and 1964.

      Cameron oversaw ‘depatterning’ and ‘psychic driving’ experiments which attempted to erase a patient’s memories and reprogram them with new thoughts, according to CBC News.

      Cameron tested experimental drugs such as LSD and PCP, medically induced sleep for extended periods, and also oversaw extreme forms of electroshock therapy and sensory deprivation. Many of his patient suffered brain damage as a result.

    • When the CIA Infiltrated a Presidential Campaign

      President Donald Trump seems to believe that FBI agents infiltrated his presidential campaign for political purposes, and has tweeted that the bureau’s actions could amount to a scandal “bigger than Watergate.”

      Trump hasn’t provided evidence to support these allegations, but regardless of their veracity, there is precedent for an American intelligence agency spying on a presidential campaign. It happened in the summer of 1964; the target was Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, and the perpetrator was the CIA, not the FBI.

    • Blood Will Tell

      Most mornings, the sky was still black when Mickey Bryan made the short drive from her house on Avenue O, through the small central Texas town of Clifton, to the elementary school. Sometimes her car was the only one on the road. The low-slung, red-brick school building sat just south of the junction of State Highway 6 and Farm to Market Road 219 — a crossroads that, until recent years, featured the town’s sole traffic light. Mickey was always the first teacher to arrive, usually settling in at her desk by 7 a.m. A slight, soft-spoken woman with short auburn hair and a pale complexion, she prized the solitude of those early mornings, before her fellow teachers appeared and the faraway sound of children’s voices signaled, suddenly and all at once, that the day had begun.

      [...]

      Joe was sent back to the same prison where he was previously held: Texas’ oldest penitentiary, known as the Walls Unit in Huntsville, where the state’s execution chamber is housed. In letters back home to his mother, his older brother and the few friends who remained in touch with him, Joe was circumspect, revealing little about his existence behind bars or the emotional toll of incarceration. By then, he no longer heard from many people he loved — including Jerry, his twin brother, who distanced himself after Joe’s first trial. Even his last remaining Clifton friends gradually faded away. Linda Liardon wrote to Joe every now and then, but eventually she let the correspondence languish. “I was busy raising my boys, and life moved on,” she said. “I’m ashamed to admit that. But after a while, I struggled with what to say.”

      Still, she was left with an uneasy feeling. After Joe’s first conviction, she told me, people had stopped talking about Judy Whitley’s death. “One rumor went around that maybe Joe killed her too,” she said. “I think wrapping all this violence up in one neat little package was comforting to people. Everyone could put this behind them and not have to think that maybe someone was out there who had gotten away with murder.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Senators Ask FCC Why It Did Nothing To Stop Their Names From Being Fraudulently Used During Net Neutrality Repeal

      Last year you’ll recall that somebody abused the nonexistent privacy protections at the FCC website to flood the net neutrality repeal proceeding with millions of fake comments. While the vast majority of real people oppose the repeal, a bad actor was able to either fraudulently use the identities of real people (like myself), or hijack the identities of dead people to spam the proceeding with bogus support. The goal: undermine public trust in the public comment period in order to downplay the massive opposition to the FCC’s handout to AT&T and Comcast.

      Up to this point, the FCC has done less than nothing to investigate the fraud or prevent it from happening again, largely because it aided the FCC’s agenda. In fact, the FCC went so far as to block a law enforcement investigation into who was behind the fraud.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Oncology drives major pharma deals while immuno-oncology patent activity soars

      Cancer immunotherapy is an exciting, relatively new therapy that treats cancer by unleashing the power of the immune system. It has been hailed as one of the most promising advances in the treatment of cancer in recent times.

      Immuno-oncology research is growing at a rapid pace and for the last three years this has begun to translate into a patenting frenzy as players seek to stake their claim in this wide commercial landscape. In this month’s piece from Clarivate Analytics, Bob Stembridge – the company’s marketing communications manager – looks at what the data is telling us.

    • Trademarks
      • Tam’s unanswered questions of dilution and Section 7

        Scandalous, immoral and disparaging marks are all now fair game, but the question of dilution is less clear. A speaker at the INTA Annual Meeting also questioned why the government didn’t use Section 7 of the Lanham Act to bolster its argument in Tam

    • Copyrights
      • German Court: TV show may not use ‘bloopers’ from other network without permission

        In a judgment dated 20.04.2018 (case No. 6 U 116/17), the Higher Regional Court of Cologne found that short video clips taken from other networks’ TV shows for entertainment purposes are not permissible as a parody or a quotation and thus need to be licensed.

        NDR, a German public broadcaster, had created a series of TV shows titled “Top Flops”. The show featured “funny” sequences (‘bloopers’) taken from various other programs, including shows belonging to RTL’s commercial television network.

      • Copyright Being Used To Prevent Actress From Showing Her Own Demo Reel

        Lawyer Stephen Doniger seems to be going out of his way to file lawsuits that involve creative interpretations of copyright (and by “creative” I mean “wrong.”) You may recall that Doniger was the lawyer behind Playboy suing Boing Boing for copyright infringement for linking to an Imgur collection of Playboy centerfolds. That case went so poorly that the judge tossed it out in just two months. Before that, Doniger made a name for himself (I kid you not) being a fabric copyright troll, filing loads of lawsuits against companies offering similar designs on fabric. He’s also jumped in on the whole situation created by the “Blurred Lines” mess by filing a bunch of “sounds alike” copyright cases.

        It’s almost as if he’s filing all sorts of nutty copyright cases just to demonstrate for us just how ridiculous modern copyright law has become, and how far from its purpose it has strayed. Indeed, that’s about the only explanation I can find for a new filing by Doniger, as noted by the Hollywood Reporter, in which Doniger, representing director Robin Bain is suing actress Jessica Haid for using a clip of the film, Nowhereland in her own demo reel.

        In short, Bain claims that Haid asked for permission to use clips in her demo reel and Bain refused (nice of him). She then got a copy of the film and gave it to another company to include it in her demo reel. Bain is now suing, claiming it’s an “unauthorized derivative work.” Indeed, the lawsuit claims that the clips in the demo reel “included a significant amount of unreleased footage from The Film, which taken together, encompassed the heart of The Film, as well as revealed the ending to The Film.”

      • EFF Presents Mur Lafferty’s Science Fiction Story About Our Fair Use Petition to the Copyright Office

        the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA 1201) makes it illegal to get around any sort of lock that controls access to copyrighted material. Getting exemptions to that prohibitions is a long, complicated process that often results in long, complicated exemptions that are difficult to use. As part of our ongoing to effort to fight this law, we’re presenting a series of science fiction stories to illustrate the bad effects DMCA 1201 could have.

        It’s been 20 years since Congress adopted Section 1201 of the DMCA, one of the ugliest mistakes in the crowded field of bad ideas about computer regulation. Thanks to Section 1201 if a computer has a lock to control access to a copyrighted work, then getting around that lock, for any reason is illegal. In practice, this has meant that a manufacturer can make the legitimate, customary things you do with your own property, in your own home or workplace, illegal just by designing the products to include those digital locks.

        A small bit of good news: Congress designed a largely ornamental escape valve into this system: every three years, the Librarian of Congress can grant exemptions to the law for certain activities. These exemptions make those uses temporarily legal, but (here’s the hilarious part), it’s still not legal to make a tool to enable that use. It’s as though Congress expected you to gnaw open your devices and manually change the software with the sensitive tips of your nimble fingers or something. That said, in many cases it’s easy to download the tools you need anyway. We’re suing the U.S. government to invalidate DMCA 1201, which would eliminate the whole farce. It’s 2018, and that means it’s exemptions time again! EFF and many of our allies have filed for a raft of exemptions to DMCA 1201 this year, and in this series, we’re teaming up with some amazing science fiction writers to explain what’s at stake in these requests.

Masking Abstract Patents in the Age of Alice/§ 101 in the United States

Techrights - Wednesday 23rd of May 2018 05:34:48 AM

Summary: There are new examples and ample evidence of § 101-dodging strategies; the highest US court, however, wishes to limit patent scope and revert back to an era of patent sanity (as opposed to patent maximalism)

AS noted in our previous post, software patents aren’t doing well in the US. The USPTO has become tougher on them, with or without the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the courts weighing in.

“Recent patents in New Hampshire,” published earlier this week in local media, reveal a little bit of information in the form of summaries. Some of these newly-granted (by USPTO) patents definitely sound like software patents. Having reviewed the media so far this week, we see other examples of it, including one from Accenture. “The newly issued patent,” it says regarding U.S. Patent No. 9,818,067, “is the latest in the worldwide intellectual property (IP) portfolio for Accenture, which includes more than 6,000 granted patents and pending patent applications.”

Many of these are just dubious software patents. How about this new example from Monday, which name-drops both “Blockchain” and “IoT” in the headline? It says:

HK-based AnApp’s founders are well-versed in computer hardware and software, holding more than 20 patents in semiconductor and electronics designs, and believe that the integration of IoT and blockchain will benefit our industries and daily lives.

Well, blockchains are software, but media hype about blockchains has been out of control lately, so the applicants hope it will make them sound innovative. The patent trolls’ lobby/Richard Lloyd has in fact just name-dropped all the misleading buzzwords which are often misused to patent software even in an age when software patents are not ponent (at least in courts). “AI, blockchain and IoT patents all on the shopping list for latest IP3 buying programme” is the headline and the summary adds more buzzwords, such as “virtual reality” and “automotive”. To quote:

Details of the latest iteration of IP3, the patent buying programme hosted by AST designed to give IP owners a quick and efficient way of selling their assets, were announced this morning with this year’s version open to non-AST members and focused on some of the hottest tech areas. On the shopping list for this year’s programme are patents in eight different categories including artificial intelligence, virtual reality, automotive, blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT).

They are simply trying to put new ‘clothing’ on abstract patents. Or ascribe algorithms to some device or vehicle they’re installed on…

How about this one as a new example? Or this new press release about “Two New Design Patents” (design patents are somewhat of a farce; applicants would be wise to rely on trademarks and copyrights instead).

Yesterday, in Above the Law, Gaston Kroub said that “[t]here is a vulnerable population hungry for IP advice,” but who are these vulnerable people? Victims of patent trolls or the ones patent law firms urge to sue just about everyone? The following loaded question is revealing:

3) There has been a lot of expressed concern about the declining value of U.S. patents, and the possible repercussions to the innovation economy. How do you think the clinic’s participants have adjusted or responded to the alleged malaise in the patent system?

There’s no such “malaise”; the quality of patents is being elevated and there’s nothing wrong with that. But they speak on behalf of the patent microcosm, not scientists.

Charlotte Tillett and Camille Arnold (Stevens & Bolton LLP, i.e. another law firm) has just published this new article alluding to the Supreme Court in relation to the pharmaceutical industry. To quote:

February saw the long-awaited Supreme Court hearing of Warner-Lambert v Generics t/a Mylan relating to the second medical use patent of pregabalin (Lyrica) for the treatment of pain. The judgement has huge importance to the pharmaceutical industry, clarifying the test for plausibility in patent applications, and determining the approach to take when applying for, or enforcing, second medical use patents.

[...]

The decision should come in the next few weeks, but what should companies do in the interim to protect their positions? Patent applications filed now run the risk of being found invalid for lack of plausibility later, should the Supreme Court enforce a higher threshold test. However, waiting to obtain further support for the patent application may be unwise, if there is a risk that another party may submit an application in the meantime.

Ultimately the decision will be a commercial one – if funding is required to progress research into the drug and cannot be acquired without a patent, then it will not be possible to wait to obtain clinical trials. However, if the Supreme Court does set a high bar for plausibility, funders may well be less inclined to accept patents that risk invalidity in the future.

Judging by many recent decisions from the Supreme Court (regarding patents), it’s not hard to guess the outcome; either way, the law firm above perpetuates the “research” (or R&D) myth. It’s common knowledge that much of the research money actually comes from government, e.g. university grants. In reality, for practical reasons, access to medicine is a lot more important than patents. We shall soon know if the Supreme Court maintains the consistency of its rulings.

PTAB’s Latest Applications of 35 U.S.C. § 101 and Obviousness Tests to Void U.S. Patents

Techrights - Wednesday 23rd of May 2018 05:01:38 AM

Summary: Validity checks at PTAB continue to strike out patents, much to the fear of people who have made a living from patenting and lawsuits alone

THE U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) now enjoys the scrutiny of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, PTAB. It helps eliminate patents which were granted in error. Suffice to say, the patent microcosm is not happy about it. It keeps moaning about PTAB and about its application of US law, notably 35 U.S.C. § 101.

Yesterday, for example, this post about Praxair Distribution, Inc. v Mallinckrodt Hospital Products IP Ltd. was published by Kevin Noonan to say that a patent had been voided:

Last week, the Federal Circuit found all patent claims invalid for obviousness in an inter partes review, in Praxair Distribution, Inc. v. Mallinckrodt Hospital Products IP Ltd. But the Court did not render its decision without engendering a judicial disagreement between the majority and Judge Newman on the proper role of the printed matter doctrine in obviousness determinations.

Mallinckrodt’s patent-in-IPR, U.S. Patent 8,846,112, was directed to methods for providing nitric oxide gas as a treatment for dilating pulmonary blood vessels in neonates. However, the art recognized a side effect, pulmonary edema, for which infants with pre-existing left ventricular dysfunction (LVD) were at particular risk. A diagnostic assay (pulmonary capillary wedge pressure, or “PCWP”) having greater than a specific value was taught in Mallinckrodt’s patent to exclude infants at risk for this side effect. Claim 1 is representative of the claims invalidated by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board…

Noonan, noting Section 101 “fatigue”(whatever he intended by that), then resorted to propping up the habitual dissent from Newman:

As is frequently the case, Judge Newman makes the better argument. Perhaps due to Section 101 fatigue or because the Supreme Court’s penchant for ignoring the statutory silos of eligibility, anticipation, and obviousness is contagious, the majority’s decision imports the incoherence of eligibility law into the obviousness context (doing little to clarify the standards in either). And by extending the application of the printed matter doctrine to claims that don’t recite printed matter, this precedential decision has the capacity to make mischief (having the Court’s imprimatur) until such time that another panel can creatively avoid its application or in the unlikely event that the Federal Circuit considers the question en banc (an eventuality that seems likely only if the Court becomes enamored with this approach to invalidating claims on eligibility grounds under the auspices of an obviousness determination). Neither possibility can be particularly comforting to the patent community.

When he says “patent community” he means patent microcosm. They’re not happy.

Yesterday, once again at midday, Watchtroll covered the patent scam of Allergan and St. Regis Mohawk Tribe. Some patent lawyers seem rather eager to make themselves look like crooks rather than law professionals. The whole post was about this amicus brief:

Askeladden again submitted an amicus brief to the Federal Circuit on May 17, 2018 supporting the PTAB’s decision below. A copy of that amicus brief is available here.

Why should a massive corporation disguise itself as a tribe and find itself exempted from the law? PTAB, as the highest US court recently found, is perfectly within its right to revoke patents which should not have been granted. Even IAM, a patent maximalists’ site, isn’t denying it (Watchtroll has always been a lot more radical in its views). IAM has just advertised some upcoming ‘event’ about “The impact of Oil States and SAS Institute on your PTAB strategy” as if it’s a question of “strategy” rather than legality (they seek new strategies for working around the law).

“Why should a massive corporation disguise itself as a tribe and find itself exempted from the law?”At the start of this week a post by Michael Borella was also published regarding SAP America, Inc. v InvestPic, LLC — the latest reminder of many that software patents are worthless to PTAB in light of 35 U.S.C. § 101. To quote some relevant bits:

SAP America, Inc. (SAP) filed a declaratory judgment action in the Northern District of Texas, alleging that U.S. Patent No. 6,349,291 of InvestPic, LLC (InvestPic) was invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The District Court invalidated the ’291 patent during the pleadings stage. InvestPic appealed the ruling to the Federal Circuit.

[...]

The Supreme Court’s Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l case set forth a test to determine whether claims are directed to patent-eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. One must first decide whether the claim at hand is directed to a judicially-excluded law of nature, a natural phenomenon, or an abstract idea. If so, then one must further decide whether any element or combination of elements in the claim is sufficient to ensure that the claim amounts to “significantly more” than the judicial exclusion. But generic computer implementation of an otherwise abstract process does not qualify as significantly more. On the other hand, a claimed improvement to a computer or technological process is typically patent-eligible.

[...]

Declaring the claims abstract, the Court moved on the second step of Alice. Here, InvestPic fared no better, as the Court stated “[w]e readily conclude that there is nothing in the claims sufficient to remove them from the class of subject matter ineligible for patenting and transform them into an eligible application,” and (subtlety invoking Berkheimer v. HP Inc.) “there are no factual allegations from which one could plausibly infer that they are inventive.” Particularly, all additional elements were either abstract themselves or (as recited in other claims) conventional computer components.

[...]

Even under a generous reading of Alice and its progeny, these claims might be found lacking. But the difficulty with cases like this one is how they are applied. We have seen how the Electric Power Group case has been broadly viewed by the courts and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to contend that virtually any invention involving collection, processing, and output of information is ineligible. Clearly, this is improper, it can be rebutted in many situations, but the process for doing so requires time and money — something that small companies might not have.

As we shall show in our next post, companies continue to seek new ‘clothing’ for abstract patents, basically making these appear more concrete than they really are.

France is Irrelevant to Whether or Not UPC Ever Becomes a Reality, Moving/Outsourcing de Facto Patent Examination to European Courts Managed in/Presided by France

Techrights - Wednesday 23rd of May 2018 04:04:25 AM

The ‘Three Frenchmen’ of UPC


The UPC/EPO/EU plot, with Barnier as a longtime ‘activist’ for the EU-centric UPC, Battistelli as a saboteur of the EPO and especially the Boards of Appeal (which UPC would render obsolete), and Campinos as Battistelli’s succession choice (Campinos already works for an EU agency, EU-IPO)

Summary: Team UPC is still focusing on France as if it’s up for France to decide the fate of the UPC, which EPO insiders say Battistelli wants to be the chief of (the chief, it has already been decided, would have to be a Frenchman)

LONGTIME readers are already aware that EPO patent quality is getting worse, whereas it’s said to be improving at the USPTO or US courts. It’s no exaggeration to say that European patent courts will grapple with many bogus patents in the coming years. Cui bono? Patent lawyers. They bill for the trouble (at both ends). The UPC would vastly expand their scope of operations, damages and so on. This is why many patent law firms happily ‘enlist’ themselves to join what we call “Team UPC” — basically a cabal of patent maximalists who don’t mind smashing Europe’s economy if they can make a buck (or a euro) in the process. It’s actually Team UPC, aided by Battistelli, which came up with the UPCA, crafting the very same rules they’d be governed by (if they ever managed to pull this off). These rules are as ridiculous (overzealous) as one might expect.

“It’s actually Team UPC, aided by Battistelli, which came up with the UPCA, crafting the very same rules they’d be governed by (if they ever managed to pull this off).”Bristows LLP’s Vanessa Rieu wrote and then promoted some fluff about France (cross-posting it later, maybe for a fee, in sites of lawyers). We already mentioned this a few days ago because other Team UPC ‘activists’ had pushed this envelope as well, no matter if France ratified a long time ago and is in no way ‘the’ barrier to UPC. Germany isn’t ratifying and the UK, even if it ratified, cannot actually participate in the UPC. In other words, only 1 of 3 countries whose ratification is imperative (France that is) would be eager to see the thing kicked off; hardly surprising given the projected role of France and the role played by Frenchmen like Barnier, Battistelli and Campinos.

Meanwhile, Kluwer Patent Blog, a blog dominated by UPC propaganda which is often composed by Bristows (and ‘unwanted’ comments deleted by them as well), publishes this new reminder that bogus patents are worthless patents unless one can use these for blackmail alone (the patent trolls’ modus operandi), usually against the poor and weak — those unable to afford a court battle. “If you know your patent lacks novelty, you’d better not enforce it” was the title of this post from yesterday:

The Barcelona Court of Appeal (Section 15) recently handed down an interesting judgment (dated 6 February 2018) revoking a utility model and ordering the owner to pay the damages caused by having enforced it while knowing that it lacked novelty. According to Article 114 of the former Spanish Patent Act (equivalent to Article 104 of the Act now in force), when a patent or utility model is revoked, as a general rule, the revocation does not affect, inter alia, final judgments where infringement has been declared. However, there is an exception for cases where the owner had acted in bad faith.

What is interesting about this recent judgment is that it is one of the very few to date, if not the only one, in which the contours of this exception have been examined. The facts of the case can be summarised as follows:

In 2002, the owner of the utility model filed a patent infringement action against the company that brought the revocation action that led to the judgment of 6 February 2018 being discussed here. As a result, at second instance, on 6 April 2006 the Barcelona Court of Appeal (Section 15) handed down a judgment declaring the infringement and ordering the defendant to pay 532,109.85 Euros by way of damages.

Imagine thousands of such cases per year, including some affecting European companies well outside their juristriction with proceedings in a language foreign to them. Imagine patents being asserted against them, using legal documents in a foreign language, alluding to dubious patents granted in a hurry. This is the vision Battistelli and Team UPC have for Europe.

Saint-Germain’s Poisonous Legacy of “Toxic Loans”: The Emperor’s New Investment Guidelines

Techrights - Wednesday 23rd of May 2018 03:18:03 AM

“Speculators may do no harm as bubbles on a steady stream of enterprise. But the position is serious when enterprise becomes the bubble on a whirlpool of speculation. When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done.”

–John Maynard Keynes, “The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money,” Chapter 12: The State of Long-Term Expectation

Summary: Details about a secret vote to ‘gamble’ the EPO’s budget on “a diversified portfolio managed by external experts”

In a document dated 24 November 2017 (CA/F 18/17 Rev. 1) the current and soon-to-depart Emperor or “Sun-King” of the European Patent Office, Mr Battistelli, presented the Administrative Council with a proposal for “New Investment Guidelines of the European Patent Office”. (warning: epo.org link; see local copy [PDF])

“The official record shows that of the 32 delegates present, only 6 voted against, 2 abstained and the remaining 24 voted in favour.”According to information from EPO insiders the proposal was rubber-stamped with almost indecent haste by the Budget and Finance Committee of the EPO’s Administrative Council in December 2017. See SUEPO Den Haag publication. [PDF]

The official record shows that of the 32 delegates present, only 6 voted against, 2 abstained and the remaining 24 voted in favour.

An interesting detail here is that the matter was decided by means of a secret vote which was apparently requested by the Italian delegation.

More recently, EPO insiders report (see above) that at the last meeting of the BFC, which took place in Munich on 16 and 17 May, Mr Battistelli’s proposal to invest the EPO’s whopping cash surplus of around € 2.3 billion in the newly established “treasury investment fund” was also approved by a large majority of the delegations with only one vote against by the German delegation.

Soon after the adoption of the New Investment Guidelines in December 2017, a contributor to the Kluwer Patent Blog voiced his concern about certain aspects of the guidelines and he expressed the view that the permitted range of exotic “financial instruments” “appears to be unnecessarily extensive”.

“An interesting detail here is that the matter was decided by means of a secret vote which was apparently requested by the Italian delegation.”These concerns were echoed in March 2018 by another regular contributor to the Kluwer Patent Blog, Dr. Thorsten Bausch, who noted that the EPO “literally sits on a heap of money; so much money that the President has written (warning: epo.org link; see local copy [PDF]) to the AC’s Budget and Finance Committee, asking them to liberalize the Investment Guidelines, so that the EPO can start investing in more exciting financial instruments such as currencies, derivative instruments, asset-backed securities (ABS), mortgage-backed securities (MBS), Credit Default Swaps (CDS) or in summary: ‘a diversified portfolio managed by external experts’.

Bausch recommended his readers “to study this document in full” and noted that it had already been critically discussed in the earlier January posting on the Kluwer Patent Blog. He shared the concerns expressed by the previous contributor and opined that “the experiences of Harvard University and others in 2008/2009 should be a lesson to all of us.”

“Mr Battistelli’s proposal to invest the EPO’s whopping cash surplus of around € 2.3 billion in the newly established “treasury investment fund” was also approved by a large majority of the delegations with only one vote against by the German delegation.”If Dr. Bausch was looking for cautionary tales in such matters he need not have ventured so far afield across the Atlantic to Harvard.

A quick glance over the Franco-German border into the political “backyard” of the Deputy Mayor for culture in St. Germain-en-Laye would have been sufficient to alert readers to the risks of dabbling in the kinds of exotic and exciting “financial instruments” foreseen in the Emperor’s New Investment Guidelines.

We think that it could be instructive to have a closer look at the SIDRU “toxic loan” débâcle in St. Germain-en-Laye.

“We think that it could be instructive to have a closer look at the SIDRU “toxic loan” débâcle in St. Germain-en-Laye.”Our aim is to encourage a more critical approach on the part of all stakeholders including the general public to current attempts to (mis)use EPO funds for speculative gambling in the global casino of the international financial markets.

We hope that a careful and diligent study of the cautionary tale which follows will yield a “prudential” dividend for all those who make the effort to digest the details.

Saint-Germain’s Poisonous Legacy of “Toxic Loans”: Cautionary Tale for the EPO?

Techrights - Wednesday 23rd of May 2018 02:46:47 AM

Summary: Preface or background to a series of posts about Battistelli’s French politics and why they can if not should alarm EPO workers

THE EPO keeps talking about the so-called “Inventor Award” — a ceremony which will take place in Battistelli’s theatre at the start of next month. The EPO mentions it about half a dozen times per day and a new puff piece has just been produced. This helps distract from the scam which is passage of EPO budget to Battistelli’s other employer, not to mention awarding literal scams. We wrote dozens of articles about that already.

“Over the coming days — starting today — we shall publish information not only about the toxic politics in Saint-Germain but also the toxic loans.”“We are in the process of finalising a rather long report on the above topic,” readers of Techrights said. There had been ongoing work whose aim was to highlight the relevance of local politics in Saint-Germain to the EPO itself. Those things aren’t entirely separable because, as has been proven over the years, Battistelli runs the EPO in a very political rather than technical/professional fashion. “For convenience,” said our readers, “we have broken it down into “five chunks” as it is probably too long and complex for a single posting.”

Over the coming days — starting today — we shall publish information not only about the toxic politics in Saint-Germain but also the toxic loans.

Links 22/5/2018: Parrot 4.0, Spectre Number 4

Techrights - Tuesday 22nd of May 2018 07:14:24 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Desktop
    • Lenovo denies claims it chose Windows over Linux in second row over technology

      Lenovo Group has angrily denied claims it chose the popular Microsoft Windows system over a domestically-produced Linux operating system (OS) in a recent government procurement programme.

      The company branded the allegations as “slander” in a statement that follows an internet storm in China in recent weeks over the company’s decisions on domestic versus overseas technology.

      China’s largest personal computer (PC) maker insisted it had suggested using a domestically-produced Linux OS for both desktop and notebook PCs in a recent PC procurement meeting for suppliers organised by the Central Government Procurement Center, according to the company statement on Tuesday.

    • Lenovo denies on voting against preloading domestic operating systems: report

      Lenovo says the report about it voting against preloading domestic operating systems (O/S) are “deliberate slander,” and the company “strongly condemns” the rumor, according to a report by qq.com late Monday.

      Lenovo claimed the suggestion it made was to use a separately made domestic Linux system solution, including in desktops and notebooks, adding that the advice has been submitted.

      The company has always supported the development of domestic O/S, Lenovo said.

      The response came after domestic news site guancha.cn reported earlier the same day that four leading computer manufacturers including Lenovo voted against preloading domestic O/S in personal computers in a poll organized by a government purchasing center on May 16.

    • Linux app support coming to older Chrome OS devices

      Linux apps on Chrome OS is one of the biggest developments for the OS since Android apps. Previous reports stated Chromebooks with certain kernel versions would be left in the dust, but the Chrome OS developers have older devices on the roadmap, too.

      When Google first broke silence on Linux app functionality, it was understood that Linux kernel 4.4 was required to run apps due to dependencies on newer kernel modules. Thanks to an issue found on Chromium’s public bugtracker, we have confirmation that containers won’t be limited to the handful of Chrome OS devices released with kernel 4.4.

  • Kernel Space
    • Looking Ahead To The Linux 4.18 Kernel

      There still are several weeks to go until the Linux 4.17 kernel will be officially released and for that to initiate the Linux 4.18 merge window, but we already know some of the features coming to this next kernel cycle as well as an idea for some other work that may potentially land.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
      • Plasma 5.12.5 bugfix update for Kubuntu 18.04 LTS – Testing help required

        Are you using Kubuntu 18.04, our current LTS release?

        We currently have the Plasma 5.12.5 LTS bugfix release available in our Updates PPA, but we would like to provide the important fixes and translations in this release to all users via updates in the main Ubuntu archive. This would also mean these updates would be provide by default with the 18.04.1 point release ISO expected in late July.

      • Revisiting my talk at FOSSASIA summit, 2018

        Earlier this year, I had the chance to speak about one of KDE community’s cool projects that is helpding developers erase the line between desktop and mobile/tablet UI’s with ease. I’m referring to the Kirigami UI framework – a set of QtQuick components targetted at the mobile as well as desktop platforms.

        This is particularly important to KDE and a lot of projects are now migrating towards a Kirigami UI, particularly keeping in mind the ability to run the applications on the Plasma Mobile.

      • This Week in KDE, Part 2 : OYLG, Workspace KCM, Single/Double Click

        Last weekend, I went to İstanbul to attend Özgür Yazılım ve Linux Günleri (Free Software and Linux Days 2018) to represent LibreOffice. We had 3 presentations during the event about LibreOffice Development and The Open Document Format. We had booth setup with stickers, flyers, roll-up etc. These were all thanks to The Document Foundation’s supports! You can find detailed information about the event from here : https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Events/2018/OYLG2018

      • Watching the Detectives

        For instance, Kevin Ottens has been writing about understanding the KDE community by the “green blobs” method, showing who is active when. Lays Rodrigues has written about using Gource to show Plasma growing up. Nate Graham describes the goings-on in the KDE community nearly every week.

        Those are, roughly: a metric-, a visual-, and a story-based approach to understanding the community, over different timescales. But understanding of a system doesn’t come from a single dimension, from a single axis of measurement. It comes from mixing up the different views to look the system as a whole.

      • Managing cooking recipes

        I like to cook. And sometimes store my recipes. Over the years I have tried KRecipes, kept my recipes in BasKet notes, in KJots notes, in more or less random word processor documents.

        I liked the free form entering recipes in various notes applications and word processor documents, but I lacked some kind of indexing them. What I wanted was free-ish text for writing recipes, and some thing that could help me find them by tags I give them. By Title. By how I organize them. And maybe by Ingredient if I don’t know how to get rid of the soon-to-be-bad in my refridgerator.

      • KDAB at Qt Contributor’s Summit 2018, Oslo

        KDAB is a major sponsor of this event and a key independent contributor to Qt as our blogs attest.

        Every year, dedicated Qt contributors gather at Qt Contributors’ Summit to share with their peers latest knowledge and best practices, ensuring that the Qt framework stays at the top of its game. Be a Contributor to Qt!

      • Krita 2018 Sprint Report

        This weekend, Krita developers and artists from all around the world came to the sleepy provincial town of Deventer to buy cheese — er, I mean, to discuss all things Krita related and do some good, hard work! After all, the best cheese shop in the Netherlands is located in Deventer. As are the Krita Foundation headquarters! We started on Thursday, and today the last people are leaving.

      • Back from Krita Sprint 2018

        Yesterday I came back from 3,5 days of Krita Sprint in Deventer. Even if nowadays I have less time for Krita with my work on GCompris, I’m always following what is happening and keep helping where I can, especially on icons, and a few other selected topics. And it’s always very nice to meet my old friends from the team, and the new ones!

      • GSoC 2018 Week #1 with KDE

        There were quite some implementations out of the pre-plans and were huge. They got me very nervous at first. Such changes meant big updation in the code base and lots of time to have everything in place and with no warnings/errors ( well I can’t say much about bugs :p as they always arise in some cases which I or others haven’t tried, but hopefully they will be much less ).

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
  • Distributions
    • New Releases
      • Bodhi Linux 5.0 Enters Development Based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, First Alpha Is Out

        Now that Canonical released Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), more and more Ubuntu-based GNU/Linux distributions would want to upgrade to it for their next major releases, including Bodhi Linux with the upcoming 5.0 series. The first Alpha is here today to give us a glimpse of what to expect from the final release.

        Besides being based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, the Bodhi Linux 5.0 operating system will be shipping with the forthcoming Moksha 0.3.0 desktop environment based on the Enlightenment window manager/desktop environment, and it’s powered by the Linux 4.9 kernel series. Also, it supports 32-bit PAE and non-PAE systems.

      • Emmabuntüs Debian Edition Linux Is Now Based on Debian GNU/Linux 9.4 “Stretch”

        Emmabuntüs Linux developer Patrick d’Emmabuntüs informs us today on the immediate availability for download of the Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 2 1.02 release.

        Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 2 1.02 is the second maintenance update to the Debian-based operating system used in schools and other educational institutions across the globe. It’s based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux 9.4 “Stretch” operating system and brings various updated components, as well as improvements like the ability to turn off the script that handles the screensaver images and support for automatically detecting and configuring printers.

    • Slackware Family
      • VLC rebuilt for -current, Chromium and Palemoon updated

        Browser updates: both Google Chromium (66.0.3359.181) and Palemoon (27.9.2) released new versions last week which I packaged for Slackware 14.2 and -current. The Palemoon update contains CVE-tagged security fixes. You are advised to upgrade.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • OSCAL’18 Debian, Ham, SDR and GSoC activities

        Debian has three Google Summer of Code students in Kosovo this year. Two of them, Enkelena and Diellza, were able to attend OSCAL. Albania is one of the few countries they can visit easily and OSCAL deserves special commendation for the fact that it brings otherwise isolated citizens of Kosovo into contact with an increasingly large delegation of foreign visitors who come back year after year.

      • Derivatives
        • Parrot 4.0 is out

          Parrot 4.0 has been released. Parrot is a security-oriented distribution aimed at penetration tests and digital forensics analysis, with additional tools to preserve privacy.

        • Parrot 4.0 release notes
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Don’t expect Ubuntu maker Canonical to IPO this year

            Canonical, the company best known for its Ubuntu Linux distribution, is on a path to an IPO. That’s something Canonical founder and CEO Mark Shuttleworth has been quite open about. But don’t expect that IPO to happen this year.

            “We did decide as a company — and that’s not just my decision — but we did decide that we want to have a commercial focus,” Shuttleworth told me during an interview at the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, Canada today. “So we picked cloud and IoT as the areas to develop that. And being a public company, given that most of our customers are now global institutions, it makes for us also to be a global institution. I think it would be great for my team to be part of a public company. It would be a lot of work, but we are not shy of work.”

            Unsurprisingly, Shuttleworth didn’t want to talk about the exact timeline for the IPO, though. “We will do the right thing at the right time,” he said. That right time is not this year, though. “No, there is a process that you have to go through and that takes time. We know what we need to hit in terms of revenue and growth and we’re on track.”

          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 528

            Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 528 for the week of May 13 – 19, 2018.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver – Canonical giveth, Canonical taketh

            This review focuses on Ubuntu with Gnome 3 – and so I will leave my findings with the Unity desktop separate, except a single sentence: Unity is the desktop environment that 18.04 should have had, and everything else is a fallout consequence of that. So yes, Ubuntu Bionic Beaver is okay. But that’s like saying paying mortgage for the rest of your life and then dying unceremoniously is okay. It’s not okay. Mediocre has never been anything to strive for. EVER.

            Ubuntu Beaver does a few things well – and with some updates, it’s also polished up some of them early turds, as I’ve outlined in the Kubuntu review; hint, the same is ALSO happening in Kubuntu, and we may have a presentable offering soon. Yes to media, phones, app stack, package management. But then, the network side of things should be better, resource utilization should be better, the desktop should be more usable for ordinary humans. It’s ridiculous that you NEED extensions to use Gnome 3, in addition to all the hacks Canonical introduced to make the system usable. So yes, if you wanna be mediocre go for it. 7/10. If not, wait for Kubuntu or MATE to get its game together, or stick Unity onto 18.04. More to follow soon.

          • Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth takes aim at VMware and Red Hat at OpenStack Summit

            “Google, IBM, Microsoft [are] all investing and innovating to drive down the cost of infrastructure. Every single one of those companies engages with Canonical to deliver public services,” he said.

            “Not one of them engages with VMware to offer those public services – they can’t afford to. Clearly they have the cash, but they have to compete – and so does your private cloud.”

            To capitalise on this trend, the firm is in the throes of rolling out a migration service to help users shift from VMware to a “fully managed” version of Canonical’s Ubuntu OpenStack distribution, which Shuttleworth said costs half as much to run.

            “When we take out VMware, and displace VMware, we are regularly told that a fully managed OpenStack solution costs half of the equivalent VMware estate [to run],” he added.

  • Devices/Embedded
Free Software/Open Source
  • Open Source Storage: 64 Applications for Data Storage

    As data storage needs continue to grow and many organizations move toward software-defined infrastructure, more enterprises are using open source software to meet some of their storage needs. Projects like Hadoop, Ceph, Gluster and others have become very common at large enterprises.

    Home users and small businesses can also benefit from open source storage software. These applications can make it possible to set up your own NAS or SAN device using industry-standard hardware without paying the high prices vendors charge for dedicated storage appliances. Open source software also offers users the option to set up a cloud storage solution where they have control over security and privacy, and it can also offer affordable options for backup and recovery.

  • OpenStack Moves Beyond the Cloud to Open Infrastructure

    The OpenStack Summit got underway on May 21, with a strong emphasis on the broader open-source cloud community beyond just the OpenStack cloud platform itself.

    At the summit, the OpenStack Foundation announced that it was making its open-source Zuul continuous development, continuous integration (CI/CD) technology a new top level standalone project. Zuul has been the underlying DevOps CI/CD system that has been used for the past six years, to develop and test the OpenStack cloud platform.

  • OpenStack makes Zuul continuous delivery tool its second indie project

    The OpenStack Foundation has launched its Zuul continuous delivery and integration tool as a discrete project.

    Zuul is therefore Foundation’s second project other than OpenStack itself. The first was Kata Containers. Making Zuul a standalone effort therefore advance’s the Foundation’s ambition to become a bit like the Linux and Apache Foundations, by nurturing multiple open source projects.

  • OpenStack spins out its Zuul open source CI/CD platform

    There are few open-source projects as complex as OpenStack, which essentially provides large companies with all the tools to run the equivalent of the core AWS services in their own data centers. To build OpenStack’s various systems the team also had to develop some of its own DevOps tools, and, in 2012, that meant developing Zuul, an open-source continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) platform. Now, with the release of Zuul v3, the team decided to decouple Zuul from OpenStack and run it as an independent project. It’s not quite leaving the OpenStack ecosystem, though, as it will still be hosted by the OpenStack Foundation.

  • Nextcloud 13: How to Get Started and Why You Should

    In its simplest form, the Nextcloud server is “just” a personal, free software alternative to services like Dropbox or iCloud. You can set it up so your files are always accessible via the internet, from wherever you are, and share them with your friends. However, Nextcloud can do so much more.

    In this article, I first describe what the Nextcloud server is and how to install and set it up on GNU/Linux systems. Then I explain how to configure the optional Nextcloud features, which may be the first steps toward making Nextcloud the shell of a complete replacement for many proprietary platforms existing today, such as Dropbox, Facebook and Skype.

  • Why use Puppet for automation and orchestration

    Puppet the company bills Puppet the automation tool as the de facto standard for automating the delivery and ongoing operation of hybrid infrastructure. That was certainly true at one time: Puppet not only goes back to 2005, but also currently claims 40,000 organizations worldwide as users, including 75 percent of the Fortune 100. While Puppet is still a very strong product and has increased its speed and capabilities over the years, its competitors, in particular Chef, have narrowed the gap.

    As you might expect from the doyenne of the IT automation space, Puppet has a very large collection of modules, and covers the gamut from CI/CD to cloud-native infrastructure, though much of that functionality is provided through additional products. While Puppet is primarily a model-based system with agents, it supports push operations with Puppet Tasks. Puppet Enterprise is even available as a service on Amazon.

  • Events
  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Mozilla uncovers ‘new conceptual framework’ for open source

        A report has been generated which claims to offers ‘a new conceptual framework’ of open source project archetypes.

        This research cover aspects of open source spanning business objectives, licensing, community standards, component coupling and project governance.

        It also contains some practical advice on how to use the framework (it actually is a working framework) and on how to set up projects.

      • Qt for WebAssembly – check out the examples!

        WebAssembly is now supported by all major web browsers as a binary format for allowing sand-boxed executable code in web pages that is nearly as fast as native machine code. Qt for WebAssembly makes it possible to run Qt applications on many web browsers without any download steps or special server requirements (other than serving the wasm file).

        To give you a closer look, we compiled some demos. For best performance, use Firefox.

      • Redeploying Taskcluster: Hosted vs. Shipped Software

        The Taskcluster team’s work on redeployability means switching from a hosted service to a shipped application.

        A hosted service is one where the authors of the software are also running the main instance of that software. Examples include Github, Facebook, and Mozillians. By contrast, a shipped application is deployed multiple times by people unrelated to the software’s authors. Examples of shipped applications include Gitlab, Joomla, and the Rust toolchain. And, of course, Firefox!

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • Funding
    • City student emerges winner in Google contest

      Abishek, who lives in Panangad, was among the 1,000-odd students roped in by FOSSASIA, an organisation from Asia engaged in developing open source software, as part of the contest. He was asked to complete 93 coding tasks in 49 days between November and January this year.

    • Open source startup Tidelift snags $15 mln Series A

      Boston-based Tidelift, an open source startup, has secured $15 million in Series A funding. General Catalyst, Foundry Group and former Red Hat Chairman and CEO Matthew Szulik led the round. In conjunction with the funding, Larry Bohn, managing director at General Catalyst, Ryan McIntyre, co-founder and managing director at Foundry Group and Szulik have all joined Tidelift’s board of directors.

    • Tidelift raises $15M to find paying gigs for open-source developers maintaining key projects

      Tidelift wants to give open-source developers a way to earn some money for contributing to important open-source projects and while helping the companies that are using those projects in key parts of their business, and it just raised $15 million to build those connections.

      General Catalyst, Foundry Group, and former Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik co-led the Series A founding round into the Boston-based startup, the first time the 17-person company has taken financing, said Donald Fischer, co-founder and CEO of Tidelift. The other co-founders — Havoc Pennington, Jeremy Katz, and Luis Villa — share a wealth of open-source experience across companies like Red Hat and organizations like The Wikimedia Foundation and the Mozilla Foundation.

    • Tidelift Raises $15M Series A To Make Open Source Work Better–For Everyone
  • BSD
    • DragonFlyBSD 5.3 Works Towards Performance Improvements

      Given that DragonFlyBSD recently landed some SMP performance improvements and other performance optimizations in its kernel for 5.3-DEVELOPMENT but as well finished tidying up its Spectre mitigation, this weekend I spent some time running some benchmarks on DragonFlyBSD 5.2 and 5.3-DEVELOPMENT to see how the performance has shifted for an Intel Xeon system.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC
  • Licensing/Legal
    • VMware Announces OpenStack 5, Tesla Releases Some Source Code, KDE’s Plasma 5.13 Beta and More

      Tesla has released some of the source code for its in-car tech. Engadget reports that the company “has posted the source code for both the material that builds the Autopilot system image as well as the kernels for the Autopilot boards and the NVIDIA Tegra-based infotainment system used in the Model S and Model X.”

    • Tesla inches toward GPL compliance in low gear: Source code forcibly ejected into public

      Following five years of hectoring, Tesla has released a portion of the open-source code it’s obligated to provide under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL).

      Since 2013, the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), responding to complaints of GPL violations related to software in the Tesla Model S, has pressed the carmaker to comply with the terms of the GPL.

      The SFC provides legal support to open source projects. In theory, Tesla could be sued for flouting the GPL, but even the SFC, which backed the controversial GPL claim against VMware, prefers resolving compliance issues outside of court.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Phase Genomics and Pacific Biosciences Announce the Release of Co-Developed Genome Assembly Phasing Software – ‘FALCON-Phase’

      FALCON-Phase is available as open source to scientists and also as a service through Phase Genomics. Scientists can utilize the new software to advance their current research and even revive historic genome projects with the addition of Hi-C data.

    • Open Data
      • Mapping Palestine Before Israel

        During the founding of the state, the Israeli military destroyed more than 500 Palestinian villages; some were completely abandoned, while others became the foundation for Jewish villages and towns. Some villages survived. A new open-source mapping project, Palestine Open Maps, allows users to see the Palestinian landscape as it looked before 1948—and to search for villages and towns from that era to find out whether they remain, were depopulated, or were built over.

        [...]

        The maps’ level of detail is exceptional, showing roads, topographic features, and property boundaries. The team’s next task: to make the maps downloadable.

        [...]

        In the decades since 1948, what Palestinians call the nakba (“catastrophe”) remains a matter of debate between the sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For Barclay, an aim of the mapping project is to clarify at least one part of this debate: the land itself, and what was once there. “Putting the villages on screen that were destroyed, depopulated, and built over in the form of these maps makes what happened irrefutable,” he said. He also noted the irony of using the maps of the former colonizer for such a project. “The British essentially drew these maps as part of their control of Palestine,” he said. “But the maps unintentionally captured the moment before the destruction occurred.”

Leftovers
  • Science
  • Hardware
  • Health/Nutrition
    • World Health Assembly Begins Discussion On Access To Medicines

      On the second day of this week’s annual World Health Assembly, delegates began discussing the issue of “shortages of, and access to, medicines and vaccines.” It is generally held that access to safe, efficacious, and affordable medicines is of paramount importance to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, but there seems to be no expeditious solution, and no lack of divergent views on how to get there.

    • Global Antimicrobial Resistance R&D Hub Launched At Health Assembly

      According to a press release today from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, “the German Federal Government has led the establishment of the Global AMR R&D Hub: Under the German Presidency, the G20 Heads of State and Government resolved in the summer of 2017 to intensify global cooperation in the fight against AMR. The Federal Research Ministry subsequently proposed plans for the Global AMR R&D Hub and supported its establishment. Initially, the secretariat of the Global AMR R&D Hub will be based in Berlin, at the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF).”

      “We urgently need new drugs, particularly antibiotics, in the fight against infectious diseases in order to protect the health and lives of people around the world,” German Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek said in the release. “Resources need to be used more effectively in order to develop more new treatments, diagnostics and prevention measures for resistant pathogens. We will therefore strengthen and improve the coordination of our research on antimicrobial resistance at the national and international level.”

    • WHO Director Dr Tedros Opens First Annual World Health Assembly With ‘Keys For Success’

      According to Tedros, the eradication of smallpox stands as one of the greatest achievement in the history of the WHO but also in the history of medicine. This victory shows “what WHO is capable of,” he said, adding that it could change the course of history, with partners.

    • Global Influenza Initiative Celebrates 10 Years, Adds Former WHO Official

      As the annual World Health Assembly opened today, a global initiative for sharing influenza genetic data celebrated its tenth anniversary and announced new senior advisors for international affairs and biosecurity issues, one of which is Marie-Paule Kieny, former World Health Organization Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation.

  • Security
    • Google and Microsoft disclose new CPU flaw, and the fix can slow machines down

      Microsoft and Google are jointly disclosing a new CPU security vulnerability that’s similar to the Meltdown and Spectre flaws that were revealed earlier this year. Labelled Speculative Store Bypass (variant 4), the latest vulnerability is a similar exploit to Spectre and exploits speculative execution that modern CPUs use. Browsers like Safari, Edge, and Chrome were all patched for Meltdown earlier this year, and Intel says “these mitigations are also applicable to variant 4 and available for consumers to use today.”

      However, unlike Meltdown (and more similar to Spectre) this new vulnerability will also include firmware updates for CPUs that could affect performance. Intel has already delivered microcode updates for Speculative Store Bypass in beta form to OEMs, and the company expects them to be more broadly available in the coming weeks. The firmware updates will set the Speculative Store Bypass protection to off-by-default, ensuring that most people won’t see negative performance impacts.

    • Spectre variants 3a and 4

      Intel has, finally, disclosed two more Spectre variants, called 3a and 4. The first (“rogue system register read”) allows system-configuration registers to be read speculatively, while the second (“speculative store bypass”) could enable speculative reads to data after a store operation has been speculatively ignored. Some more information on variant 4 can be found in the Project Zero bug tracker. The fix is to install microcode updates, which are not yet available.

    • Red Hat Says It’ll Soon Fix the Speculative Store Bypass Security Vulnerability

      Red Hat informed us today that they are aware of the recently disclosed Speculative Store Bypass (CVE-2018-3639) security vulnerability and will soon release updates to mitigate the issue on all of its affected products.

      Speculative Store Bypass (CVE-2018-3639) is a security vulnerability recently unearthed by various security researchers from Google and Microsoft, and it appears to be a fourth variant of the Spectre hardware bug publicly disclosed earlier this year in modern microprocessor, and later discovered to affect billions of devices. The Speculative Store Bypass vulnerability appearently lets an unprivileged attacker to bypass restrictions and gain read access to privileged memory.

    • Spectre chip security vulnerability strikes again; patches incoming

      After the first-wave of Spectre and Meltdown attacks were conquered, people relaxed. That was a mistake.

      Since the CPU vulnerabilities Spectre and Meltdown showed an entirely new way to attack systems, security experts knew it was only a matter of time until new assault methods would be found.

      They’ve been found.

    • Spectre Variants 3A & 4 Exposed As Latest Speculative Execution Vulnerabilities
    • Speculative Store Bypass explained: what it is, how it works
    • After Meltdown and Spectre, Another Scary Chip Flaw Emerges

      At the same time, though, a larger concern was also looming: Spectre and Meltdown represented a whole new class of attack, and researchers anticipated they would eventually discover other, similar flaws. Now, one has arrived.

    • 22 essential security commands for Linux

      There are many aspects to security on Linux systems – from setting up accounts to ensuring that legitimate users have no more privilege than they need to do their jobs. This is look at some of the most essential security commands for day-to-day work on Linux systems.

    • CVE-2018-3639: Spectre Variant 4 Vulnerability Affects the Linux Kernel

      A Spectre variant 4 vulnerability has been identified in the Linux kernel and represents a very dangerous threat to all affected machines. All system administrators are urged to apply the latest updates as soon as possible to mitigate any possible impact.

    • Spectre Number 4, STEP RIGHT UP!

      In the continuing saga of Meltdown and Spectre (tl;dr: G4/7400, G3 and likely earlier 60x PowerPCs don’t seem vulnerable at all; G4/7450 and G5 are so far affected by Spectre while Meltdown has not been confirmed, but IBM documentation implies “big” POWER4 and up are vulnerable to both) is now Spectre variant 4. In this variant, the fundamental issue of getting the CPU to speculatively execute code it mistakenly predicts will be executed and observing the effects on cache timing is still present, but here the trick has to do with executing a downstream memory load operation speculatively before other store operations that the load does not depend on. If the CPU is convinced to speculatively execute down this victim path incorrectly, it will revert the stores and the register load when the mispredict is discovered, but the loaded address will remain in the L1 cache and be observable through means similar to those in other Spectre-type attacks.

    • Email Might Be Impossible To Encrypt
    • Email Is Dangerous

      One week ago, a group of European security researchers warned that two obscure encryption schemes for email were deeply broken. Those schemes, called OpenPGP and S/MIME, are not the kinds of technologies you’re using but don’t know it. They are not part of the invisible and vital internet infrastructure we all rely on.

      This isn’t that kind of story.

      The exploit, called Efail by the researchers who released it, showed that encrypted (and therefore private and secure) email is not only hard to do, but might be impossible in any practical way, because of what email is at its core. But contained in the story of why these standards failed is the story of why email itself is the main way we get hacked, robbed, and violated online. The story of email is also the story of how we lost so much of our privacy, and how we might regain it.

    • Real Security Begins At Home (On Your Smartphone)

      When the FBI sued Apple a couple of years ago to compel Apple’s help in cracking an iPhone 5c belonging to alleged terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook, the lines seemed clearly drawn. On the one hand, the U.S. government was asserting its right (under an 18th-century statutory provision called the All Writs Act) to force Apple to develop and implement technologies enabling the Bureau to gather all the evidence that might possibly be relevant in the San Bernardino terrorist-attack case. On the other, a leading tech company challenged the demand that it help crack the digital-security technologies it had painstakingly developed to protect users — a particularly pressing concern given that these days we often have more personal information on our handheld devices than we used to keep in our entire homes.

    • Software fault triggered Telstra mobile network outage

      The blackout was the third in May, with an outage to its triple-zero service occurring on 4 May after a cable between Bowral and Orange in NSW was cut due to lightning. On 1 May, the telco suffered an outage of its NBN services and 4G services.

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Red Hat responds to Speculative Store Bypass and helps explain Variant 4 chip vulnerability
    • Microsoft, Google: We’ve found a fourth data-leaking Meltdown-Spectre CPU hole
    • Google and Microsoft Reveal New Spectre Attack
  • Defence/Aggression
    • This Article From 1985 Predicted Deadly Force by Police Would Be ‘Nonexistent’ in the Future

      When you imagine the American police officer of the future, what do you see? In the 1980s, one police officer saw “supercops”—a highly trained force of professionals who had the most high-tech toys at their disposal and almost never killed people.

      James R. Metts wrote an article for the October 1985 issue of The Futurist magazine about these “supercops” of the future. The piece is part utopian fantasy (jetpacks!) and part dystopian nightmare (surveillance!), but it’s also a fascinating look into what some people thought cops would look like in the future—just two years before the original RoboCop would hit theaters.

    • The U.S. Considered Declaring Russia a State Sponsor of Terror, Then Dropped It

      The attempt to kill a former Russian spy in England bore an ominous signature: The assailants used a lethal nerve agent of a type developed in the Soviet Union, and British investigators quickly concluded that only the Kremlin could have carried out such a sophisticated hit.

      Soon after the March attack, Rex Tillerson, then the U.S. secretary of state, ordered State Department officials to outline the case for designating Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism under U.S. law. Experts in the department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism began to assemble what they thought was a strong case.

      But almost as quickly as the review began — within about two days — the secretary of state’s office sent new instructions to drop the initiative, according to State Department officials familiar with the episode.

    • 2,000 years ago in Denmark, a fierce battle left dozens dead

      Months after the battle, people ritually damaged remains and put them under water.

    • Russia downs drone near military base in Syria

      The Russian military sais on Monday it shot down an unidentified drone approaching the Russian Hmeimim air base in Syria’s Latakia province.

      A statement carried on Monday by Russian news agencies reported that there were no casualties or damage to the base.

      The Hmeimim air base serves as the main hub for Russian operations in Syria.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Australian workers and youth defend Julian Assange

      Over the past week, the imperialist-led campaign against WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange has intensified. The Guardian, acting as a mouthpiece of the intelligence agencies, has published a stream of articles aimed at providing the pretext for Assange to be expelled from Ecuador’s London embassy, where he was granted political asylum almost six years ago, and forced into the hands of the British and US authorities.

      [...]

      The sentiments of ordinary people stand in stark contrast to the venomous hostility to Assange on the part of governments and the corporate media. On Sunday, the Socialist Equality Party held a successful public meeting in Brisbane, concluding a national series titled “Organise Resistance to Internet Censorship, Free Julian Assange.” The Brisbane meeting, like previous events in Sydney, Melbourne and Newcastle, was attended by workers, retirees, students and WikiLeaks supporters.

    • For Ecuador, Currying Favor with Washington is as Simple as Sacrificing Julian Assange

      For all practical purposes, whistleblower and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is now a prisoner in asylum at the Embassy of Ecuador in London, facing the torture of near-total isolation from the outside world and hanging by the thread of the Andean state’s dwindling hospitality.

      On Thursday, the Australian – who, strangely enough, was given Ecuadorian citizenship last December – faced a new layer of precariousness atop his six-year refuge, when Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno ordered that additional security assigned to the building be withdrawn.

    • Assange looks to be one step closer to eviction from embassy

      After half a decade of stagnation, the story of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and his endless stay at the Ecuadorian embassy in London may be moving into high gear. It was only a week ago when we learned that his hosts were talking about either trying to sneak him out of the country to Russia or simply telling him to pack his things and walk out the door. They were also complaining about his grubby living conditions and describing him as being a “threat” to embassy personnel. Now, in yet another signal that it may be time to go, Ecuador has fully withdrawn Assange’s special security detail who had been protecting him. (Reuters)

    • Assange Team Lawyer: It’s Important That Ecuador Maintains Independence From US

      Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has blasted the country’s government for depriving WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of access to the outside world. Meanwhile Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Maria Espinosa stated that she and the UK share the intention to solve the issue. Sputnik spoke with Greg Barns, a member of Julian Assange’s legal team.

    • Judge admonishes ex-CIA worker over protective order

      A federal judge has sternly reminded a former CIA employee who may face charges connected to a leak at the agency that he can’t discuss sensitive material covered by a protective order with anyone other than his attorney.

      U.S. District Judge Paul A. Crotty spoke to 29-year-old Joshua Schulte on Monday at prosecutors’ request.

    • Accused CIA leaker must keep quiet about case, judge says

      Prosecutors said in Manhattan Federal Court that the terms of a September 2017 protective order regarding the case of Joshua Schulte, 29, had been broken by recent articles revealing he is under investigation for leaking the closely guarded cyber tools.

    • Alleged CIA leaker accused of sending press info about case

      A former CIA software engineer suspected of leaking classified documents to Wikileaks is also leaking information about his case to the press, it emerged in Manhattan federal court on Monday.

    • Suspect identified in CIA ‘Vault 7’ leak, that revealed iOS-Mac exploits

      U.S. Authorities have identified a major suspect in the so-called “Vault 7” leak that has released a huge cache of information detailing the Central Intelligence Agency’s cyber-tools, including software exploits targeting iPhone and Mac devices.

    • Courts Says CIA Can Dump Classified Info To Members Of The Public And Still Deny They’ve Been Publicly Released

      Journalist Adam Johnson’s FOIA lawsuit against the CIA has been brought to a halt. Johnson sued the CIA for refusing to release classified documents it had previously voluntarily “leaked” to selected journalists. The CIA argued the documents were still classified and not subject to FOIA requests. Johnson argued the CIA had already released the documents to the public when it decided to release this classified info to journalists.

      Back in February, it appeared the court was on Johnson’s side. Responding to the government’s motion to dismiss, the court pointed out the CIA couldn’t waive FOIA exemptions when dumping docs to journalists and then seek to use them when other journalists asked for the same info.

  • Finance
    • Rupert Murdoch Believes In The Free Market… Until His Company Is Struggling: Then He Wants To Regulate Competitors

      Yes, Rupert Murdoch believes this right up until his own companies have trouble adapting and competing. Then he goes running to government to regulate those companies who are actually succeeding.

      There may be reasonable arguments for certain kinds of regulations. But Murdoch’s only reason for calling for regulations of internet companies — after whining about socialism and talking up free markets — is pretty blatantly an attempt to whine for a handout for his own businesses that have failed to adapt to changing times.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Twitter bots may have affected voters on Brexit, U.S. presidential race: study

      “Overall, our results suggest that the aggressive use of Twitter bots, coupled with the fragmentation of social media and the role of sentiment, could contribute to the vote outcomes,” wrote the authors of the paper, researchers at the University of California at Berkeley and the United Kingdom’s Swansea University.

    • Twitter Bots May Have Boosted Donald Trump’s Votes by 3.23%, Researchers Say

      Automated tweeting played a small but potentially decisive role in the 2016 Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s presidential victory, the National Bureau of Economic Research working paper showed this month. Their rough calculations suggest bots added 1.76 percentage point to the pro-“leave” vote share as Britain weighed whether to remain in the European Union, and may explain 3.23 percentage points of the actual vote for Trump in the U.S. presidential race.

    • “Just be fair”: when does journalism undermine its own reputation?
    • Media Ignore Government Influence on Facebook’s Plan to Fight Government Influence

      Facebook announced Thursday it was partnering with DC think tank the Atlantic Council to “monitor for misinformation and foreign interference.” The details of the plan are vague, but Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab wrote in a non-bylined Medium post (5/17/18) that the goal was to design tools “to bring us closer together” instead of “driving us further apart.” Whatever that means, exactly.

      Behind its generic-sounding name and “nonpartisan” label, the Atlantic Council is associated with very particular interests. It’s funded by the US Department of State and the US Navy, Army and Air Force, along with NATO, various foreign powers and major Western corporations, including weapons contractors and oil companies. The Atlantic Council is dead center in what former President Obama’s deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes called “the blob”—Washington’s bipartisan foreign-policy consensus. While there is some diversity of opinion within the Atlantic Council, it is within a very limited pro-Western ideological framework—a framework that debates how much and where US military and soft power influence should be wielded, not if it should in the first place.

    • Antifa or Antiwar: Leftist Exclusionism Against the Quest for Peace

      CounterPunch has astonished many of its old fans by its current fundraising ad portraying the site as a prime target of Russia hostility. Under the slogan, “We have all the right enemies”, CP portrays itself as a brave little crew being blown off the water by an evil Russian warship out to eliminate “lefty scum.”

      Ha Ha Ha, it’s all a joke of course. But it’s a joke that plays into the dangerous, current Russophobia promoted by Clintonite media, the deep state and the War Party. This is a reminder that Russophobia finds a variant in the writing of several prominent CounterPunch contributors.

      Yes, CounterPunch continues to publish many good articles, but appears also to be paying its tribute to the establishment narrative.

      Put on the defensive by the “fake news” assault against independent media, CP senior editor Jeffrey St Clair seemed to be shaken by Washington Post allegations that he had published articles by a “Russian troll” named Alice Donovan. St Clair never publicly questioned the FBI claim that the ephemeral plagiarist worked for the Kremlin, when she could as well have been planted by the FBI itself or some other agency, precisely in order to embarrass and intimidate the independent website.

    • Why Are So Many Democrats Afraid of Impeachment?

      Party leaders need to make clear that impeachment is always valid when there is evidence of presidential wrongdoing, cover-ups, and corruption of justice.

    • Virtually Everything the Government Did to WikiLeaks is Now Being Done to Mainstream US Reporters

      At Freedom of the Press Foundation, we believe it’s vital to defend WikiLeaks’ right to gather and publish classified information in the public interest, just as it’s vital to protect the rights of Associated Press and Fox News to do the same. Under the law, the AP, Fox News, and WikiLeaks are no different (a fact that even the government argues). If one falls, the others will not be far behind.

      Despite this fact, many journalists and mainstream media organizations purposefully stayed silent when WikiLeaks first came under attack by the Justice Department in early 2011. That disappointing silence left open the possibility that the Justice Department could use those same tactics against others in the future.

      And unfortunately now it’s clear: virtually every move made by the Justice Department against WikiLeaks has now also been deployed on mainstream US journalists.

    • Philip Cross Madness Part IV

      Mike Barson, keyboard player of the great ska group Madness, had his Wikipedia entry amended by “Philip Cross” to delete his membership of Momentum and interview with The Canary.

      [...]

      A number of people have opined in reply to my posts that the time spent to make all of Cross’s daily edits, as per the number of keystrokes, is not great. That ignores the colossal effort that goes into research and above all monitoring of Wikipedia by the “Philip Cross” operation.

      Finally, this is an excellent example of the bias of Wikipedia. The information about Barson is totally true. He is a proud member of Momentum. It is also quite interesting and an important bit of his life. But according to Wikipedia’s pro-MSM rules, “Philip Cross” can indeed delete it because the information is not from an MSM source. In the unlikely event of the Times or Telegraph ever writing about Barson’s Momentum membership, it would of course be in a hos

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Progressive groups launch petition for government to break up Facebook

      The groups, which include the Content Creators Coalition, Demand Progress and the Open Markets Institute, are urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to force Facebook to do three things: spin off its subsidiaries like Instagram and WhatsApp into separate companies, make it possible to communicate across third-party social media platforms and strengthen its privacy rules.

    • The most significant UK data breaches

      With only months until GDPR comes into effect in May 2018, high-profile breaches are still occurring. Here are some of the more significant from UK organisations.

    • Cookies That Go the Other Way

      The original cookie allowed the server to remember the client when it showed up again. Later the cookie would remember other stuff: for example, that the client was a known customer with a shopping cart.

      Cookies also came to remember fancier things, such as that a client has agreed to the server’s terms of use.

      In the last decade, cookies also arrived from third parties, some for site analytics but mostly so clients could be spied on as they went about their business elsewhere on the web. The original purpose was so those clients could be given “relevant” and “interest-based” advertising. What matters is that it was still spying and a breach of personal privacy, no matter how well its perpetrators rationalize it. Simply put, websites and advertisers’ interests end at a browser’s front door. (Bonus link: The Castle Doctrine.)

      Thanks to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into full force this Friday, that kind of spying is starting to look illegal. (Though loopholes will be found.) Since there is a world of fear about that, 99.x% of GDPR coverage is about how the new regulation affects the sites and services, and what they can do to avoid risking massive fines for doing what many (or most) of them shouldn’t have been doing in the first place.

    • Microsoft makes inroads with U.S. spy agencies [iophk: "now Russia, China, and others have easiest access to the 17 agencies data"]

      Microsoft has secured a potentially lucrative agreement that makes the full suite of the tech giant’s cloud-computing platform available to 17 U.S. intelligence agencies, executives said recently, moving agencies’ computer systems onto Office 365 applications and adding certain cloud-based applications not previously available to them.

    • The backlash that never happened: New data shows people actually increased their Facebook usage after the Cambridge Analytica scandal
    • Chinese school uses facial recognition to check if pupils aren’t concentrating
    • Acer becomes first PC maker to bring Alexa to laptops

      Acer first revealed its plans to bring Amazon’s easily-fooled AI assistant to its hardware line-up back in January, and news of the impending rollout comes just days after rival PC maker HP showed off the first all-in-one to come with Alexa smarts baked-in.

      The Acer Spin 5 line of convertibles, which come kitted out with four-microphone arrays for far-field voice detection, will be the first in line to receive the software update on 23 May, with the gaming-focused Nitro 5 Spin set to offer Alexa when it goes on sale next month.

    • Google has almost completely expunged ‘don’t be evil’ from its Code of Conduct

      Alphabet, the shell company created to house Google and other unrelated projects such as Waymo, never used the phrase, though they have something similar, but Google has always stuck to the idea that not being evil is worth mentioning. Heck, it’s even been the wifi password for shuttles to Google Campus.

    • Google Duplex will warn anyone it calls that they are being recorded

      Duplex calls will need to be recorded so they can be sent to the cloud for parsing. The other solution would be an on-device AI chip that would be much slower although Amazon is said to be looking at one as an accelerator for Echo devices.

    • Google’s Duplex AI Robot Will Warn That Calls Are Recorded

      On Thursday, the Alphabet Inc. unit shared more details on how the Duplex robot-calling feature will operate when it’s released publicly, according to people familiar with the discussion. Duplex is an extension of the company’s voice-based digital assistant that automatically phones local businesses and speaks with workers there to book appointments.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • UK gov will have fresh [I]nternet safety laws ready in a ‘couple of years’

      But you’d be wrong. The Department got Digital, Culture, Media & Sport will work with the Home Office and other government departments and industry to knock out a white paper later this year that’ll set out legislation to be brought forward to tackle [I]nternet nastiness.

    • Predatory behavior runs rampant in Facebook’s addiction support groups

      After the call, Couch was surprised to find that she could not log back in to Affected by Addiction. In fact, she came to realize, she’d been banned. The experience left her feeling paranoid, like she couldn’t trust anyone. She warned her son to be careful about support groups.

    • The Pointless “Security” At Airports Stops Everyone But The Criminals

      # warning: references the Fail

      This is the antithesis of security and means that we are actually more insecure than if we put all those TSA dollars into probable cause-based policing. No showy show show at the airport out of that, but it would actually keep us safer.

    • The effect of the new UK cybersecurity laws

      Interestingly, despite earlier indications, the UK government has moved away from applying the very high potential fines linked to percentage of turnover that the GDPR has. Instead, there is a sliding scale of fines depending on the severity of the contravention with the highest being £17 million for a material contravention which caused/could cause an immediate threat to life or significant adverse impact on the UK economy.

    • The Latest: Haspel jokes about rocky confirmation process

      Newly sworn-in CIA Director Gina Haspel says she wants to send more officers into the field, improve foreign language proficiency among the ranks and strengthen the agency’s working relationships with intelligence agencies in partner nations.

    • President Trump swears in new CIA Director Gina Haspel
    • Trump targets former CIA Director John Brennan, quoting a pundit on ‘Fox & Friends’
    • Here’s Why Donald Trump Is Criticizing Former CIA Director John Brennan
    • Trump lambastes a former CIA director ahead of installation of a new one
    • Group affected by CIA brainwashing experiments wants public apology, compensation from government

      A group of Canadians affected by CIA brainwashing experiments conducted at McGill University’s Allan Memorial Institute met for the first time on Sunday to start organizing for a public apology and compensation from the federal government through a possible class-action.

      Around 40 people gathered at a Montreal condo to share their stories, cry and support each other. The pain, many said, was palpable in the room.

      “The government should offer an apology and there should be recognition of the injustice that was done,” says Gina Blasbalg, who became a patient at the Allan in her teens in 1960, and drove with her husband from Richmond, B.C., to attend the weekend meeting.

      ​Survivors Allied Against Government Abuse (SAAGA), as the group calls itself, includes both victims and family members of people who were unwitting participants in brainwashing experiments conducted under the supervision of Dr. Ewen Cameron, director of the psychiatric hospital between 1943 and 1964.

    • China must stop pushing territorial claims, censorship on foreign firms

      China imposes its political assertions on foreign companies, and if they do not comply, it retaliates against them. China should end this excessive censorship, which hinders free economic activities by the private sector.

      The Chinese government has demanded Japanese, U.S. and other airlines describe Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao as part of China on their websites. They have also been directed to label Taiwan “Chinese Taiwan” and use the same color for Taiwan on their maps as the one for mainland China.

    • Chinese publishers are in uncharted territory as maps get left out of books

      New rules have made it so difficult for publishers to get maps of China past the censors that some are choosing to leave them out of books entirely.

      Three separate publishing sources have told the South China Morning Post that the process of getting them approved for publication is so difficult and costly, they’re even suggesting authors remove maps before they will go ahead with a book deal.

      While Beijing has always been fastidious about maps of China – particularly whether they include the nine-dash line showing its disputed claim in the South China Sea, and the self-ruled island of Taiwan – the censors are now also turning their attention to how the country is represented on maps of the world, and even historical maps.

    • China Now Leads the World — at Bullying

      China has made known that it wants to be the world’s premier power, and it already leads in one area: bullying. The latest example is GAP clothing retailer, which just issued a groveling apology to Beijing for releasing a t-shirt emblazoned with an “erroneous” map of China. The “error” was omitting Taiwan, parts of Tibet, and certain South China Sea islands — all places that Beijing fancies part of its territory.

      The kicker is that, apparently, the shirt wasn’t even being sold in China. In fact, it was photos of the garment taken in Canada’s Niagara region that attracted the Chinese attention after being circulated online. This reflects a little known phenomenon: Through economic bullying, China is influencing markets well beyond its borders.

    • Patriot or Double Agent? CIA Officer on Trial as U.S. Targets Spying by China

      To the U.S. government, Kevin Mallory was a man in desperate straits, with no income in his pocket but with information in his head useful to China, given his longtime work as a covert CIA officer who spoke Mandarin.

    • State TV Says Fishing Rods ‘Used To Communicate With CIA’

      Despite Iran’s Intelligence Ministry insisting there is no proof to suggest that the environmentalists who have been detained were involved in espionage against their homeland, their attorney sees no breakthrough in his clients’ situation.

      At least 13 environmentalists, charged with espionage for “enemies,” have been behind bars since January 24.

      The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) intelligence organization also detained more than 40 environmentalists, rangers, and their relatives on May 7 and 8 in Hormozgan Province, southern Iran.

    • South Carolina Legislature Repeals Racist ‘Disturbing School’ Law for Students

      In 2015, video surfaced of a police officer violently dragging a Black girl from her school desk. He was arresting her, and using shockingly excessive force, because she was “disturbing school,” a vague law that more or less made it a crime for a student to be loud, to talk back to staff or school police. In other words, it criminalized being a kid.

      Unsurprisingly, this law has disproportionately affected students of color, who are already over-policed outside the school walls, so we sued in August 2016. Last week, we scored a victory on behalf of all students who have been pulled into the maze of the state’s criminal justice system.

      On Thursday, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster signed an amendment repealing the crime of disturbing schools for students in the state of South Carolina. The importance of this law being signed cannot be understated. Its passage will eliminate a major source of the school-to-prison pipeline, which has caused grievous and lifelong harm to students across South Carolina.

    • Uncle Sam Is Helping Missouri Cops Steal From the State’s Public Education Fund

      When it comes to the practice of civil asset forfeiture, the state of Missouri has the right idea. State law mandates that 100 percent of proceeds from cash and property forfeitures that result in convictions be used to fund the state’s public schools. That’s a sound idea, but there’s one problem: It isn’t happening.

      In 2016, local law enforcement only sent $100,000 to public schools when it seized $6.3 million worth of property. And of that total, 44 percent went to the feds. What accounts for this discrepancy?

      Simple: Missouri law enforcement has conspired with the Department of Justice, in defiance of state law, to ensure that the cash goes into their coffers rather than to the school children of Missouri.

      In 2001, Missouri’s Civil Asset Forfeiture Act (CAFA) was amended in an effort to impede state and local law enforcement from policing for profit, a common practice in many states across the county whereby police are incentivized to seize property and pocket its cash value. CAFA aimed to ensure that upon a defendant’s conviction their seized property be handed off to the local county prosecutor who would “deposit the proceeds into the public education fund as required by the Missouri Constitution,” thereby curtailing law enforcement’s incentive to arbitrarily and pervasively seize, and then keep or cash in, property allegedly involved in a crime.

    • The CIA made a Magic: The Gathering-style card game for training agents, and we played it

      Last year during SXSW, the CIA revealed it designs elaborate tabletop games to train and test its employees and analysts. After receiving a Freedom of Information Act request, the CIA sent out censored information on three different games it uses with trainees — and thanks to Diegetic Games, an adapted version of one of them will soon be available to the public.

      CIA: Collect it All is based off a card game described in the documents as “Collection Deck,” which was designed by CIA Senior Collection Analyst David Clopper. Its play style is roughly based on Magic: The Gathering, and demonstrates how different intelligence tactics can be used to address political, economic, and military crises — and how the system often manages to screw it all up. If you want a copy of your own, there’s a funded Kickstarter campaign for it that ends on Tuesday that charges $29 for a set of physical cards or $10 for a print-and-play version.

    • It takes more than a makeover to make a woman

      Munroe Bergdorf is pushing a pretty sexist view of womanhood.

    • A Death in Slow Motion

      James “Lee” Lewis had waited years for a new heart, praying for the day he would be free of the mechanical pump doctors implanted in him in 2015. The device had extended his life after his heart began to fail, but he hated that its wires and the portable battery pack kept him tethered to land and off his fishing boat.

      [...]

      For the next three months, he remained connected to life-support machines, enduring nearly 20 follow-up surgeries and procedures, before dying on March 23. For many weeks, the hospital withheld key details about his care, the family said, including what went wrong in the operating room during his transplant.

      Along the way, his wife and daughter chronicled Lee’s downward spiral in matter-of-fact Facebook posts that belied their sadness and anger but sometimes hinted at their frustration with the transplant program. ProPublica and the Chronicle confirmed their account through a review of medical records, answers to written questions from the hospital and an interview with a physician involved in Lee’s care.

      Taken together, excerpts from their social media feeds show how loved ones coped after Lee’s transplant — his shot at deliverance — went seriously wrong.

    • An old CIA memo provides rare proof of abuses by Brazil’s dictatorship

      From 1964 to 1985, Brazil was ruled by a military dictatorship that tortured and murdered dissidents in the name of fending off communism. The generals who ran the country have long denied the use of such brutal tactics, but a newly unearthed CIA memo reveals that Brazil’s top leaders knew and approved of a policy to execute people seen as threatening to the regime.

      In the two decades after Brazil’s military overthrew a democratically elected government in 1964, researchers say, the regime committed numerous atrocities. Interrogators utilized electric shocks on victims, drilled nails into their hands and doused their extremities in alcohol before setting them on fire. Hundreds of people deemed a threat to the government died or disappeared.

    • MoD wants to maintain a register of AI experts
    • Military brainboxes ponder ‘UK needs you’ list of AI boffins
  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Verizon Begins ‘Testing’ DSL Usage Caps It Refuses To Call Usage Caps

      For years now broadband providers have used a lack of competition to impose all manner of obnoxious additional fees on the backs of broadband consumers. That includes arbitrary and obnoxious usage caps and overage charges, which not only raise rates on captive customers, but quite intentionally make using streaming video competitors more expensive and cumbersome. Once caps are in place, large ISPs often exempt their own content from usage caps while still penalizing streaming competitors (aka zero rating).

      ISPs used to claim that such limits were necessary to manage network congestion, but as that argument was increasingly debunked (caps don’t actually help manage congestion) they’ve shifted their justifications to more flimsy alternatives. These days, ISPs usually offer no justification at all, or issue vague declarations that they’re simply trying to help users “better understand their consumption habits.”

    • FCC will take public comments on Sinclair-Tribune merger
    • T-Mobile should stop claiming it has “Best Unlimited Network,” ad group says

      AT&T challenged T-Mobile’s ads to the National Advertising Division (NAD), which ruled that T-Mobile hasn’t substantiated its claim that it has the best wireless network.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Chinese company which raised $1.3 billion in IP-backed financing has Virginia factory site foreclosed

      It would appear that the recipient of the largest ever IP-backed loan has come full circle to cautionary tale.

      Tranlin Paper, based in China’s Shandong Province, borrowed well over a billion dollars from the China Development bank in 2014 on the strength of its IP portfolio. It planned to invest part of the sum in a US-based paper mill which promised to provide 2,000 jobs.

      On the US side at least, the deal appears to have gone pear-shaped. And in China as well, serious questions are being asked about Tranlin’s financial situation.

    • Examining the Role of Patents in Firm Financing

      First, I’m working on a paper on this topic right now, using a high quality dataset that nobody has been able to exploit for this question. I hope my coauthor (David Ratigan, an economist here at Villanova) and I can do so! Hall’s paper lays out some of the challenges we face, and the primary criticism of prior papers: whether the benefit of financing is simply the patent right, or instead the underlying quality of the invention. Professor Hall suggests that the best approach may be a detailed study of companies with unpatented inventions as compared to companies with patented inventions. I think it would be great, but really difficult, to do such a study. But I’m not convinced it is necessary with the proper random sample and controls. We’ll find out, because that’s what we’re trying to do. Even if we fail, I think there is value in knowing the role of the patent right even if it is simply a proxy signal – more on this theoretical question below.

      Second, I think it would be good for law folks to read this. This is not a literature I hear discussed or cited very often.

      [...]

      This last question is the most important, and the one highlighted in this literature review. Must we separate the patent right from the patent innovation in order to determine that the patent system has value? Whenever I have propounded this theory of patenting, that’s the pushback I get – that the patent is just a correlated signal with firm quality, so the patent doesn’t have any real value on its own (this pushback even implies that the patent right has little value). But imagine a world where there is no patent system and firms innovate. How would they signal their quality? The method doesn’t really matter, except to note that those very same firms that don’t patent now can signal their quality in the exact same way.

    • A litigious Chinese Internet startup worth up to $30 billion buys patents for the first time

      China’s most popular news app, Toutiao, uses an algorithm to deliver a personalised feed of content to 120 million active users. The service, which produces no original content of its own, has dedicated most of its IP efforts to date to fending off copyright complaints. But a recent US assignment shows that it is preparing for potential patent conflict, too. Toutiao’s parent company, Bytedance, has raised money at a valuation of up to $30 billion, and remains independent of China’s three big internet giants, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent.

    • Trademarks
    • Copyrights
      • Sleepwalking towards a perpetual (news?) publishers’ right in online publications
      • US Congress considers extending copyright term

        A Bill has been put before the US Congress that extends copyright protection for sound recordings (that were fixed before 1972) until 2067. This could mean that sound recordings fixed as early as 1923, would remain out of the public domain for evvvveeerrrr 144 years.

      • HBO Wins Stupid Copyright, Trademark Lawsuit Brought By Graffiti Artist Over 2 Seconds Of Background Scenery

        Whenever a company like HBO gets targeted with a lawsuit over intellectual property concerns, you might think we find it tempting to jump all over them in each and every case. After all, HBO has the distinction of being notably horrible when it comes to enforcing its own IP, from shutting down viewing parties, to offering streaming options, to abusing the the DMCA process just to keep spoilers from existing, as though that could possibly work.

        But the truth is the fun we have in cases where these types are found to be in legal trouble over intellectual property only extends to when that legal trouble is in some way warranted. When its not, we find that there is a helpful other party on which to heap our ire. That’s the case in a lawsuit HBO recently won against graffiti artist Itoffee R. Gayle, who complained about his work appearing in a scene of the HBO show Vinyl. The court ruled that HBO’s use was de minimis, or so fleeting so as to cause no injury and therefore not be actionable.

      • How The Recording Industry Hid Its Latest Attempt To Expand Copyright (And Why You Should Call Your Senator To Stop It)

        Last month, we wrote about the problems of the CLASSICS Act that the House was voting on. There’s a lot of background (much of it included in that post), that is not worth repeating, but the very short version is that sound recordings from before 1972 are treated somewhat differently under copyright law than songs recorded since February of 1972. Specifically, pre-1972 sound recordings are not covered by federal copyright law, but by a weird batch of state laws. Due to a bunch of shenanigans, many of those works will not be put into the public domain until 2067, even if by any other measure they should be in the public domain. The RIAA has always liked this aspect of pre-1972 songs. However, there are other aspects of pre-1972 songs that the RIAA does not like, and that’s mainly that the lack of federal copyright coverage means that those works (mostly) don’t get any performance rights, since most state laws didn’t have such a concept. That’s money the RIAA feels is being left on the table.

        One way to handle this would be to just federalize the copyright on pre-1972 works and put all works on an equal footing. Easy, right? But that’s not what the CLASSICS Act does. Instead, it just modernizes the parts of copyright for those works that help extract more money from people (such as adding in performance rights) while refusing to bring with it the parts of copyright law that protect the public — including the timeline for things moving into the public domain.

        [...]

        Instead, it’s just a welfare bill for musicians. And, hey, Congress can set up a welfare system for musicians if it wants to, but it should be described as such and debated as such. Instead, this is being positioned very differently, because of course that’s how the RIAA plays things.

      • Kodi-Addon Developer Gives Up Piracy Defense Due to Lack of Funds

        Shani, the brains behind the popular Kodi-addon ZemTV, has asked his attorney to stop defending him. The London-based developer says he doesn’t have the funds to fight the legal battle against Dish Networks in a US court. As a result, there’s a high likelihood that the broadcast provider will win a default judgment.

      • Singapore ISPs Block 53 Pirate Sites Following MPAA Legal Action

        Several major ISPs have blocked dozens of pirate torrent and streaming platforms following orders from the Singapore High Court. The action, which covers platforms including The Pirate Bay plus KickassTorrents and Solarmovie variants, follows a successful application from the MPAA, which accuses the platforms of flagrant copyright infringement.

Chamber of Commerce Lies About the United States Like It Lies About Other Countries for the Sole Purpose of Patent Maximalism

Techrights - Tuesday 22nd of May 2018 08:02:20 AM

Summary: When pressure groups that claim to be “US” actively bash and lie about the US one has to question their motivation; in the case of the Chamber of Commerce, it’s just trying to perturb the law for the worse

THE “Cult of Patents” (patent maximalism) has infected the EPO, whereas the USPTO disinfected itself some years ago. But the cult strikes back and we nowadays see front groups such as CIPU amplifying misleading propaganda from think tanks and bullies (like the Chamber of Commerce). They had been doing it to India for a number of years (because software patents are not allowed in India and the same goes for patents on life/nature).

“Do not be misled by “US” in their names; the Chamber of Commerce and USTR do not represent the US; they represent a few people in the US, usually to the detriment of the republic.”This morning we saw the article “US leads the way in Madrid trade mark filing” and another new one titled “US Patent System Remains 1st In The World, Despite Errors In Chamber Rankings” (by Josh Landau, the Patent Counsel at the CCIA, where “he represents and advises the association regarding patent issues,” according to his biography).

We already wrote several responses to these Chamber of Commerce lies; others too have complained about these lies. The ‘Chamber’ basically shames the US in an effort to change patent policy for the worse. Here are parts of Landau’s response:

Over the past few months, US officials ranging from PTO Director Andrei Iancu to a number of Congressional members, most recently Rep. Kelly (Illinois-2), have cited to the Chamber of Commerce’s ranking of intellectual property systems, which has dropped the US patent system from 1st in the world to 12th. They cite the rankings as evidence that the US patent system is in urgent need of review.

Unfortunately, the rankings are based on misinterpretations and falsehoods. These are worth noting ahead of a House Judiciary hearing Tuesday with Iancu testifying.

[...]

For example, the Chamber’s ranking claims that life sciences patents experience a disproportionately high number of trials. But biological and pharmaceutical patents represent only 10% of all challenges—which is slightly lower, proportionally, than the percentage of patent applications that relate to biological and pharmaceutical technologies. And when the PTO looks at drug patents, not only is the number of trials requested lower than would be expected by proportion, but the rate at which the PTO agrees to review those patents is slightly lower than average.

And when the PTO does review drug patents, they are significantly less likely to find them invalid. In other words, the statements in the Chamber’s ranking are completely at odds with the reality when it comes to life sciences patents.

Do not be misled by “US” in their names; the Chamber of Commerce and USTR do not represent the US; they represent a few people in the US, usually to the detriment of the republic. Will the media finally realise this and stop amplifying such misleading claims? We can understand why Iancu would cite them. He is, after all, himself from the patent microcosm.

TechBytes Episode 89: Back Into Season 5

TechBytes - Friday 4th of September 2015 07:05:21 AM



Direct download as Ogg (2:14:03, 59.0 MB) | High-quality MP3 (30.7 MB)

Summary: An episode which focuses on the rise of Chromebooks, serious issues pertaining to privacy, media bias, and the demise of Windows

This is the first show to have been recorded this year and hopefully the resumption of TechBytes as a weekly of bi-weekly show. We are hoping to facilitate live broadcasting of the show as well (coming soon). The show officially turns 5 in just 4 weeks from now.

We hope you will join us for future shows and consider subscribing to the show via the RSS feed. You can also visit our archives for past shows.

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End of Era

LinuxGames - Thursday 16th of July 2015 12:25:49 AM
After 17 years on the Internet, AtomicGamer, the site who has been hosting LinuxGames is shutting down at the end of the month. I think it is time also that we put LinuxGames to bed as well. It has been a wild and fascinating ride all these years watching the Linux community mature and come […]
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Red Hat News

  • An Open Source Load Balancer for OpenShift
    A highly-available deployment of OpenShift needs at least two load balancers: One to load balance the control plane (the master API endpoints) and one for the data plane (the application routers). In most on-premise deployments, we use appliance-based load balancers (such as F5 or Netscaler).
  • Red Hat Beefs Up Platform as a Service Suite
    Red Hat has begun shipping Red Hat Fuse 7, the next major release of its distributed, cloud-native integration solution, and introduced a new fully hosted low-code integration platform as a service (iPaaS) offering, Fuse Online. With Fuse 7, the vendor says expanding its integration capabilities natively to Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, an enterprise Kubernetes platform. Fuse gives customers a unified solution for creating, extending and deploying containerized integration services across hybrid cloud environments.
  • Red Hat ‘Fuses’ Low Code Development and Data Integration
    Red Hat, a provider of open source solutions, has announced Red Hat Fuse 7, the next major release of its distributed, cloud-native integration solution, and introduced a new fully hosted low-code integration platform as a service offering, Fuse Online. With Fuse 7, Red Hat is expanding its integration capabilities natively to Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, a comprehensive enterprise Kubernetes platform. Fuse gives customers a unified solution for creating, extending and deploying containerized integration services across hybrid cloud environments.
  • The GPL cooperation commitment and Red Hat projects
    As of today, all new Red Hat-initiated open source projects that opt to use GPLv2 or LGPLv2.1 will be expected to supplement the license with the cure commitment language of GPLv3. The cure language will live in a file in the project source tree and will function as an additional permission extended to users from the start. This is the latest development in an ongoing initiative within the open source community to promote predictability and stability in enforcement of GPL-family licenses. The “automatic termination” provision in GPLv2 and LGPLv2.x is often interpreted as terminating the license upon noncompliance without a grace period or other opportunity to correct the error in compliance. When the Free Software Foundation released GPLv2 in 1991, it held nearly all GPL-licensed copyrights, in part a consequence of the copyright assignment policy then in place for GNU project contributions. Long after the Linux kernel and many other non-GNU projects began to adopt the GPL and LGPL, the FSF was still the only copyright holder regularly engaged in license enforcement. Under those conditions, the automatic termination feature of GPLv2 section 4 may have seemed an appropriate means of encouraging license compliance.
  • Monness Believes Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) Still Has Room to Grow
  • Comparing Red Hat (RHT) & Autoweb (AUTO)
  • As Red Hat (RHT) Share Value Rose, Calamos Advisors Upped Its Position by $300,831; Chilton Capital Management Increases Stake in Equinix (EQIX)
  • Blair William & Co. IL Buys 23,279 Shares of Red Hat Inc (RHT)

Total War: WARHAMMER

Red Hat changes its open-source licensing rules

From outside programming circles, software licensing may not seem important. In open-source, though, licensing is all important. So, when leading Linux company Red Hat announces that -- from here on out -- all new Red Hat-initiated open-source projects that use the GNU General Public License(GPLv2) or GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL)v2.1 licenses will be expected to supplement the license with GPL version 3 (GPLv3)'s cure commitment language, it's a big deal. Read more

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