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04.09.16

Links 10/4/2016: MATE 1.14, LibreOffice 5.1.2

Posted in News Roundup at 2:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source geeks in a world of silos

    Bryan Lunduke is well known in free software circles. He’s a writer of books and Network World articles. He co-founded the Linux Action Show and is a co-host of the Bad Voltage podcast. In between hobbies, he has a day job doing marketing for SUSE and serving on the openSUSE board. Perhaps his longest-lasting contribution, though, is the Linux distro building simulator game Linux Tycoon.

    At LinuxFest Northwest, Bryan will be debating James Mason on the subject of Open source geeks in a world of silos. We asked him some questions and turned him loose.

  • Qubole releases SQL optimizer as open source

    Big data-as-a-service provider Qubole Inc. has open-sourced its Quark cost-based SQL optimizer that simplifies and optimize access to data across multiple hosts.

    Quark essentially chooses between popular big data open source query systems such as Hive, RedShift and Presto/Impala to select that which will deliver the best query results. “All of these query engines are good at some things and bad at others,” said Ashish Thusoo, co-founder and CEO of the 90-employee Qubole. “Subsuming that intelligence allows the machine to decide what engine is best used for that query.”

  • Building Bonobo, the Guardian’s open source API key management tool

    We built the application using the Play Framework and Scala – the programming language that the Guardian widely uses for backend development. This required a lot of patience as the community for these technologies is still quite small and the documentation can be rather limited. However, having very talented Scala developers in our team allowed us to make mistakes and guided us in the right direction. They made a big difference.

  • Signal desktop app with end-to-end encryption now open to all
  • Signal, the open-source encrypted messaging app, is now available for desktop
  • Open-source software provides new opportunities

    Crashes happen. Open-source software can remedy that. It’s known for higher security and fewer code errors. The numbers speak for themselves: Linux, a major developer of open-source software has an average of 0.17 bugs per 1000 lines. Proprietary software has an average of 20 to 30 bugs per 1000 lines.

  • Events

    • ELC 2016

      I got home from ELC on Wednesday night. I’m not doing embedded work on a day to day basis as much anymore but I gave a talk on Ion which was my primary reason for attending. IoT was unsurprisingly a big theme of the conference. I was amused to hear other people referring to IoT as “embedded Linux plus the cloud” which is what my mental model has always been. I didn’t go to many (any?) of the sessions about various IoT solutions mostly because there are too many to choose from. I’m not in a position right now where I’m directing IoT strategy and if that ever were to change my information would be out of date anyway. The useful sessions were mostly covering specific aspects of IoT or general Linux.

    • FOSDEM 2016 notes

      While being on the committee for the FOSDEM MySQL & friends devroom, I didn’t speak at that devroom (instead I spoke at the distributions devroom). But when I had time to pop in, I did take some notes on sessions that were interesting to me, so here are the notes. I really did enjoy Yoshinori Matsunobu’s session (out of the devroom) on RocksDB and MyRocks and I highly recommend you to watch the video as the notes can’t be very complete without the great explanation available in the slide deck. Anyway there are videos from the MySQL and friends devroom.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Introducing Mozilla’s Web Literacy Map, Our New Blueprint for Teaching People About the Web

        Within the next decade, the number of individuals with access to the Internet will rise to five billion. These billions of new users, many from emerging markets, have the potential to experience unprecedented personal, civic and economic opportunity online — but only if they have the necessary skills to meaningfully wield the Internet.

        To this end, Mozilla is dedicated to empowering people with the knowledge they need to read, write and participate online. We define this knowledge as “web literacy” — a collection of core skills and competencies like search engine know-how, design basics, online privacy fundamentals, and a working understanding of sharing, open source licensing and remixing.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.1.2, Ubuntu Numbers, OS is Dead

      The Document Foundation today announced the release of LibreOffice 5.1.2, the second update in the 5.1 Fresh branch. Nearly 90 bugs were squashed this cycle dealing heavily with rendering and placement issues. In other news, Red Hat touts a new client and Canonical is still trying to convince folks of their hundreds of millions of users. Matt Asay said today that the OS is dead thanks to the cloud and that “developers are becoming babies.”

    • LibreOffice 5.1.2 available for download

      Berlin, April 7, 2016 – The Document Foundation (TDF) announces LibreOffice 5.1.2, the second minor release of the LibreOffice 5.1 family.

    • LibreOffice Receives Better OpenGL Rendering Support
  • Education

    • Teaching teachers to teach open source

      This seems obvious, but the ability to learn independently is very important to successful student participation in HFOSS projects. Students have to be able to learn in a variety of manners from a range of different sources, and they need to take ownership of their learning in order to flourish in an open source community.

      Communication, teamwork and the ability to problem solve are also critical skills. While understanding technologies such as version control is emphasized by most open source communities, students who don’t understand how to navigate a professional environment by communicating clearly or who can’t work on a team won’t even get to the point of using those technologies. These process skills can sometimes be more difficult to teach than teaching a student Java.

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD/PC-BSD 10.3 vs. Linux Benchmarks

      With FreeBSD 10.3 having been released followed by the desktop-oriented PC-BSD 10.3 release that’s running rather nicely, I decided to run some open-source performance benchmarks atop PC-BSD 10.3 x64 compared to various Linux distributions.

      Originally I also aimed to run some PC-BSD vs. Linux gaming tests using the updated Linux binary compatibility layer in FreeBSD 10.3′s kernel, but sadly, that didn’t pan out. As noted in the aforelinked article, I’ve been running into a variety of issues that made my usual test candidates not run on PC-BSD 10.3 with either the x86 or x86_64 Linux binaries. If you want to see my old tests, there is FreeBSD: A Faster Platform For Linux Gaming Than Linux? from a few years ago.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: April 8th
    • When Free Software Depends On Non-Free

      When a program is free software (free as in freedom), that means it gives users the four freedoms (gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html) so that they control what the program does. In most cases, that is sufficient for the program’s distribution to be ethical; but not always. There are additional problems that can arise in specific circumstances. This article describes a subtle problem, where upgrading the free program requires using a nonfree program.

  • Public Services/Government

    • GSA’s 18F Assembles Open Source Code Repositories on GitHub

      The General Services Administration‘s 18F organization has assembled repositories that contain open source code on its GitHub account in an effort to help federal government employees reuse the code for their work and personal use.

      Britta Gustafson, content designer at 18F, wrote in a blog post published Wednesday that the code repositories include client projects, guides, prototypes and open source tools 18F plans to adapt.

    • 18F surfaces code for 35 useful projects

      Although the General Services Administration’s 18F digital services shop publicly shares code from its projects as a matter or course, finding useful code among the hundreds of entries in the 18F GitHub repository can be time consuming.

    • Talend latest firm to back open source training network in France

      Talend, a specialist in Big Data integration software, has joined Acquia, Open Wide, OW2 and Red Hat as a Founding Partner of France’s national Open Source School, an institution dedicated to higher education training and continuing education for open source solutions (OSS).

    • Make your voice heard: take part in an open public consultation on Interoperability in Europe

      As of this week, through this public consultation, administrations, businesses and private organisations, research centres, academic institutions, standardisation organisations and others can all have their say in setting up an interoperability framework and strategy in Europe.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • OpenTraffic for Manila, US agencies to release 20% code as open source, and more news
    • FABrics: Open Source Furniture

      FABrics are open source chairs designed to be manufactured locally by the user. The chairs consist of CNC routed plywood and laser-cut leather. They are assembled together using 3D printed connectors.

      The aim of this project was to create a collection of lounge furniture that can be made anywhere in the world using universal materials and technologies. These digital processing technologies can be found in local facilities and in Fab Labs or Maker Spaces around the world. The manufacturing process is designed to be simple and straightforward in order to accommodate a large variety of users.

    • Open Access/Content

      • A letter to Carlos Moedas on open science

        “I’m offering to come to Brussels and demonstrate on my (or your) laptop the value of text and data mining for open science,” says Peter Murray-Rust of Cambridge University, as he presses the EU to go further on copyright reform

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Happy Hardware Freedom Day!

        Today is the new selected date for Hardware Freedom Day. We did a community survey a few months back and that was by far the most popular time. While our website is back up the wiki and registration are still down though. Considering the status we’re hoping to get things back up and encourage people who missed the date to celebrate a HFD on their schedule. Following up our mail list you may know there are events in Barcelona and India or can simply ping us there.

      • An Open Source Two Stroke Diesel

        With a welder and a bunch of scrap, you can build just about anything that moves. Want a dune buggy? That’s just some tube and a pipe bender. Need a water pump? You might need a grinder. A small tractor? Just find some big knobby tires in a junkyard. Of course, the one thing left out of all these builds is a small motor, preferably one that can run on everything from kerosene to used cooking oil. This is the problem [Shane] is tackling for his entry to the 2016 Hackaday Prize. It’s an Open Source Two-Stroke Diesel Engine that’s easy for anyone to build and has minimal moving parts.

  • Programming/Development

    • Which Is The Most Complex Programming Language?

      Very often we talk about the most popular and most loved programming languages, but we skip the discussion dealing with the most complex programming languages. Here’s an infographic that outlines the complexities in JavaScript and other modern programming languages.

    • Face it: Developers are becoming babies

      Way back in the dawn of the open source era, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) uncovered an interesting fact: Open-source developers weren’t anarchists and didn’t sport purple mohawks (usually). Typically, developers in the open source community were comfortably middle-aged (30 years old, on average), generally bringing 11 years of experience to their craft.

    • Software ‘developer fatigue’, it’s now a thing

      JNBridge’s core message is as follows: it’s not Java OR Microsoft .NET, it’s Java AND .NET — working on this premise, JNBridge has become a supplier of Java/.NET interoperability tools for software developers.

Leftovers

  • ‘Taxi Driver’ Oral History: De Niro, Scorsese, Foster, Schrader Spill All on 40th Anniversary
  • Yahoo’s once-great website eyed by Google, Verizon
  • Verizon to plan Yahoo bid, Google weighs offer
  • Verizon, Google said to be planning bids for Yahoo

    Verizon Communications Inc. plans to make a first-round bid for Yahoo Inc.’s Web business next week, and is willing to acquire the company’s Yahoo Japan Corp. stake to help sweeten the offer, according to people familiar with the matter.

  • Mashable mixes it up, lays off staff as it shifts focus

    Hot on the heels of snagging $15 million in funding from Turner/Time Warner, Mashable Inc. decided to put a number of its employees on the chopping block.

    The tech and lifestyle site now wants to be an online video and TV production company. As part of that reorganization, New York-based Mashable is laying off a number of staffers. It is also deemphasizing its world news and politics coverage, preferring to focus more on technology, science, social media, entertainment and lifestyle.

  • The executive deficit of the European Union

    The oft-repeated mantra of ‘more coordination’ won’t provide a real solution to Europe’s political crises unless the EU’s dual executive architecture is first rationalized and democratized.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • 20 million people in Bangladesh are drinking water laced with arsenic, Human Rights Watch survey finds

      Each year, 43,000 Bangladeshis die as a result of drinking arsenic-contaminated water, a figure which has not significantly altered since steps were taken to clean up Bangladesh’s water supply at the turn of the century.

      Corruption and international neglect are to blame for the fact 20 million people in Bangladesh are still drinking water laced with arsenic, more than a decade after the extent of the problem was made clear, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

    • VA bosses in 7 states falsified vets’ wait times for care

      Supervisors instructed employees to falsify patient wait times at Veterans Affairs’ medical facilities in at least seven states, according to a USA TODAY analysis of more than 70 investigation reports released in recent weeks.

      Overall, those reports — released after multiple inquiries and a Freedom of Information Act request — reveal for the first time specifics of widespread scheduling manipulation.

      Employees at 40 VA medical facilities in 19 states and Puerto Rico regularly “zeroed out” veteran wait times, the analysis shows. In some cases, investigators found manipulation had been going on for as long as a decade. In others, it had been just a few years.

      In many cases, facility leaders told investigators they clamped down the scheduling improprieties after the Phoenix scandal, but in others, investigators found they had continued unabated.The manipulation masked growing demand as new waves of veterans returned from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and as Vietnam veterans aged and needed more health care.

  • Security

    • ‘BillGates’: Linux botnet is launching DDoS attacks on online gaming services

      IRONY ALERT: Bill Gates-themed software wants to get on as many computers as possible and not budge.

      Not Windows, of course, but a botnet called BillGates. The malware has been around since 2014 but now seems to be leaping forwards (not over a chair) and making a nuisance of itself, according to Akamai.

    • Mumblehard spam-spewing botnet floored

      Security researchers have teamed up with authorities in Ukraine to take down a spam-spewing Linux-infesting botnet.

      Security firm ESET teamed up with CyS-CERT and the Cyber Police of Ukraine to take down the Mumblehard botnet.

    • Authorities Shut Down Botnet of 4,000 Linux Servers Used to Send Spam

      The six-year-old Mumblehard botnet is no more, ESET reports, explaining that a joint effort with CyS Centrum LLC and the Cyber Police of Ukraine has finally allowed them to sinkhole the botnet’s main C&C (command and control server).

    • Mumblehard Linux Spamming Botnet Finally Taken Offline

      Thousands of servers running Linux and BSD had been affected by one of world’s most damaging botnets

    • Academics claim Google Android two-factor authentication is breakable

      Computer security researchers warn security shortcomings in Android/Playstore undermine the security offered by all SMS-based two-factor authentication (2FA).

    • Google adds Cloud Test Lab integration to new Android Studio 2.0

      Google has updated its key Android development tool, Android Studio, to version 2.0 and added cloud test integration, a GPU debugger, and faster emulation and resource allocation.

      Mountain view touts the instant run feature as just about the most important new feature in the upgrade, as it analyses Android app code as it runs and determines ways it can be deployed faster, without requiring app re-installation.

    • Heartbleed Remains a Risk 2 Years After It Was Reported

      A vulnerability publicly disclosed in the open-source OpenSSL project two years ago continues to have an impact today.
      On April 7, 2014, CVE-2014-0160, better known as Heartbleed, was publicly disclosed by the OpenSSL project, affecting millions of users and devices around the world. Today, two years to the day it was first reported, the vulnerability remains a risk, and the trend of branded vulnerabilities it created continues to have an impact.

    • Friday’s security advisories
    • Thursday’s security updates
    • Nation-wide radio station hack airs hours of vulgar “furry sex” ramblings

      Some Tuesday morning listeners of KIFT, a Top 40 radio station located in Breckenridge, Colorado, were treated to a radically different programming menu than they were used to. Instead of the normal fare from Taylor Swift, The Chainsmokers, or other pop stars, a hack by an unknown party caused one of the station’s signals to broadcast a sexually explicit podcast related to the erotic attraction to furry characters. The unauthorized broadcast lasted for about 90 minutes.

      KIFT wasn’t the only station to be hit by the hack. On the same day, Livingston, Texas-based country music station KXAX also broadcast raunchy furry-themed audio. And according to an article posted Wednesday by radio industry news site RadioInsight.com, the unauthorized broadcasts from a hobbyist group called FurCast were also forced on an unnamed station in Denver and an unidentified national syndicator.

    • Maryland hospital: Ransomware success wasn’t IT department’s fault

      MedStar refused to respond to Ars Technica’s inquiries about the attack. In the statement released to media, MedStar’s spokesperson said, “As we have said before, based on the advice of IT, cybersecurity and law enforcement experts, MedStar will not be elaborating further on additional aspects of this malware event. This is not only for the protection and security of MedStar Health, its patients and associates, but is also for the benefit of other healthcare organizations and companies.” The spokesperson claimed the hospital had “no evidence of any compromise of patient or associate data… furthermore, we are pleased that we brought our systems back up in what can only be viewed as a very rapid recovery led by dedicated MedStar and external IT expert partners.”

    • Its a good thing SELinux blocks access to the docker socket.

      I have seen lots of SELinux bugs being reported where users are running a container that volume mounts the docker.sock into a container. The container then uses a docker client to do something with docker. While I appreciate that a lot of these containers probbaly need this access, I am not sure people realize that this is equivalent to giving the container full root outside of the contaienr on the host system. I just execute the following command and I have full root access on the host.

    • New Malware Headlines, Fedora Stickers, New RMS Article

      A new Linux botnet named BillGates is making headlines today. The Russian-based Asian designed malware seems to be focusing on gaming sites. Elsewhere, Richard Stallman posted a new article today explaining the problem when free software requires non-free to function and Matt Hartley explained the difference between GNOME, Unity, and MATE. Then, for some fun, the new Plasma 5.7 wallpaper was revealed, a new Linux poll beckons, and Fedora announced a partnership with UnixStickers.com.

    • A perfect storm of broken business and busted FLOSS backdoors everything, so who needs the NSA?

      In 2014, Poul-Henning Kamp, a prolific and respected contributor to many core free/open projects gave the closing keynote at the Free and Open Source Developers’ European Meeting (FOSDEM) in Belgium, and he did something incredibly clever: he presented a status report on a fictional NSA project (ORCHESTRA) whose mission was to make it cheaper to spy on the Internet without breaking any laws or getting any warrants.

    • Researchers help shut down spam botnet that enslaved 4,000 Linux machines
    • Mumblehard Linux botnet eliminated as a threat: ESET

      Security researchers at ESET reported that the spam-dispensing Mumblehard Linux botnet is no longer active due to the combined efforts of ESET, the Cyber Police of Ukraine and CyS Centrum.

    • OSVDB Shuts Down, Firefox Add-ons Unsafe & More…

      Speaking of vulnerabilities: We lost an open source security asset this week. On Tuesday we received word that OSVDB, or the Open Sourced Vulnerability Database project, an organization that’s cataloged computer security flaws since 2002, is closing up shop. The news came by way of an OSVDB blog that said, “We are not looking for anyone to offer assistance at this point, and it [the database] will not be resurrected in its previous form.” As for why the database is being shut down, the post went on to somewhat cryptically explain, “The industry simply did not want to contribute and support such an effort.” A good analysis of the details by Jon Gold was published Thursday on Network World.

    • Do You Think Linux Is More Secure Than Other OS?

      There’s an old school of thought that says that Linux is more secure than other operating systems. This topic has been hotly debated over the years. What’s your opinion? Do you think Linux is more secure than other OS?

    • Adobe Issues Emergency Update to Flash After Ransomware Attacks
    • FBI: $2.3 Billion Lost to CEO Email Scams

      The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) this week warned about a “dramatic” increase in so-called “CEO fraud,” e-mail scams in which the attacker spoofs a message from the boss and tricks someone at the organization into wiring funds to the fraudsters. The FBI estimates these scams have cost organizations more than $2.3 billion in losses over the past three years.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Pulling the Trigger: An Interview With the ‘Eye in the Sky’ Filmmaker Gavin Hood

      I had the opportunity recently to see Gavin Hood’s new film, “Eye in the Sky,” at a screening hosted by Reprieve. The film weaves together the lives of ordinary people in Nairobi living in the shadow of a largely secret drone war, the high-level deliberations between British and American officials concerning a fictional drone operation, and the individual moral responsibility of a U.S. drone operator sitting safely in Nevada who must ultimately decide whether or not he will pull the trigger. Although some of the technology shown in the film is more advanced than what we know to be available today, the questions it explores are starkly contemporary: What are the costs of conducting a secret war with ambiguous boundaries and goals? Who gets to decide when civilians are to be put in danger? What is the lived experience of those people who live below the buzz of drones, and the pilots half a world away who are charged with pulling the trigger?

    • The Revolt Against NATO

      This has the foreign policy Establishment in a panic, with legions of “experts” rising up to denounce Trump’s heresy as misguided, absurd, and – of course! – “isolationist.” Yet the politicians can’t afford to be so dismissive: after all, they have to listen to their constituents, at least to some extent. And it’s quite telling what Sen. Corker – who has warned the “Never Trump” crowd to back off – had to say to Stoltenberg:

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • 77% of Freedom of Information Act Requests Not Fully Answered

      On his election, President Obama promised greater governmental transparency to the American people. In practice, the Obama administration has set a record for failures to find and produce government documents in response to Freedom of Information Act requests. Signed into law by President Johnson in 1966, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) encourages and enforces government disclosures to the people with only nine specific exemptions. As Ted Bridis and Jack Gillum reported for the Associated Press’s Big Story, in response to the public’s FOIA requests, 129,825 times (or more than one in every six cases), government searchers said they came up empty-handed last year. Bridis and Gillum write, “People who asked for records under the law received censored files or nothing in 77 percent of requests, also a record.” The 77% figure represents a twelve percent increase, compared with the first full year after President Obama’s election.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Bruce Stanley on Coal-Industry Crime

      When Massey Energy, the biggest coal company in Appalachia, polluted the groundwater of the community Massey CEO Don Blankenship lived in, he had employees run a private water line direct to his mansion, while fighting off the lawsuit from his poisoned neighbors. That’s just the kind of guy he is, and it’s decades of that behavior, as much as the 2010 explosion that killed 29 people at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine, that led to Blankenship’s sentencing this week to a year in prison on a charge of conspiracy to violate mine safety standards.

    • Australia Is Letting the Great Barrier Reef Die Over a Lot of Coal

      If there was one thing Australia could’ve done to save the Great Barrier Reef, it would’ve been to block the development of the country’s largest coal mine, which its state government approved with resounding confidence this week.

      The Great Barrier Reef, true to its name, is the most expansive reef ecosystem in the world. It’s the largest living organism on the entire planet, and is so big we can actually see it from outer space. Remember the Seven Natural Wonders of the World? It’s one of those, too.

      But its vast size will not keep it from dying—which it is—at an astounding rate, thanks to humans.

  • Finance

    • EU trade secrets law under fire in wake of Panama papers

      In the light of the Panama papers scandal, a soon-to-be adopted EU law on trade secrets has come under renewed scrutiny over fears it will hamstring journalists and whistleblowers.

      New EU rules to protect trade secrets could prevent leaks like the Panama papers from coming to light in future, member of European Parliament (MEPs) and activists fear.

      According to MEPs and activists, a draft EU directive on the “protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets)” focuses on protecting companies over private individuals and freedom of expression.

    • Labour says PM ‘losing trust’ over offshore fund row

      Labour has said David Cameron’s admission that he owned shares in an offshore fund set up by his late father has undermined public trust in him.

      On Thursday, the PM said he sold the shares before he entered Number 10 in 2010 and had paid all UK taxes due on profits from the £30,000 sale.

      He said the firm, Blairmore Holdings, had not been set up to avoid tax.

      But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the PM had “misled the public” and “lost the trust of the British people”.

    • In recent test, blockchain brings transparency to notorious credit default swaps

      On Thursday, Wall Street’s bookkeeper announced that it had successfully tested blockchain technology to manage single-name credit default swaps (CDS) among four big banks: Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, Credit Suisse, and JP Morgan.

    • ‘Please do not feed the animals’: Oklahoma GOP Compares Food Stamp Recipients to Park Animals

      In America, we have a very crude understanding of social welfare programs. For most Americans, anything the government gives to its people (i.e., us) to keep us healthy, fed and educated, is a “handout” to lazy people who don’t deserve it.

      Helping each other, using our tax money for us, as does most of the civilized world, is somehow wrong. In America, we’d prefer you starve to death, quietly if possible, as the rest of us are binge watching Netflix whilst eating Doritos.

    • Predatory Tactics by For-Profit Colleges Affecting Students Nationwide

      In March 2016, Annie Waldman, writing for ProPublica, reported how Corinthian College used disingenuous recruiting tactics to mislead impoverished, prospective students to sign up for programs they offered, with the intention to make a profit. Legal documents have been filed against the school for misconduct and there are several suits pending. The college allegedly coerced students who were homeless and/or had low self-esteem to enroll. They encouraged students to take out federal student loans, despite their financial position.

    • Downing Street Protest Attracts Attention Of Anarchist Group Class War

      The Metropolitan Police say that appropriate plans are in place ahead of a protest outside Downing Street due to take place on Saturday.

      Facebook events for the Panama-themed demonstration show over two thousand people as attending, including the singer Lily Allen, inspired by the Panama Papers revelations.

      Abi Wilkinson, one of the event’s organisers, said: “We’re hoping to have a fun, tropical party vibe and to get ordinary people out rather than committed activist types.”

    • What time is the David Cameron tax havens protest and where does it start?

      Thousands are expected to take to the streets of London on Saturday to demand David Cameron resign as Prime Minister.

      It follows the Prime Minister’s admission that he trousered thousands of pounds in profits from an offshore firm owned by his father.

      He and his wife finally admitted to having owned 5,000 shares in Blairmore Holdings, a firm set up Dave’s stockbroker dad Ian Cameron.

      The fund was set up in Panama to avoid paying UK corporation and capital gains tax.

      The protest gained a boost in interest last night, after fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden retweeted it to his 1.9m followers, urging Brits to rise up against Mr Cameron’s leadership.

    • Edward Snowden: ‘Demand Cameron’s resignation over tax dodging’

      Cameron came clean about his tax affairs on Thursday evening, admitting that between 1997 and 2010 he and his wife, Samantha Cameron, owned shares in his father’s Blairmore Investment Trust – a multimillion-pound offshore trust fund.

    • Cameron odds-on to step down

      BOOKIES rushed to cut David Cameron’s odds to step down to 11/2 yesterday after the PM admitted he had profited from his father’s offshore dealings.

      Paddy Power labelled the dramatic shortening of its original 20/1 odds “the equivalent of a first fence faller” in the Grand National.

      A spokesman for the betting agency said: “Forget Many Clouds in the Grand National tomorrow, this is the real one-horse race right now.”

    • Timeline of David Cameron’s scathing attacks on those who evade tax

      After four days of dodging ­questions about his tax affairs, David Cameron finally cracked and admitted he did profit from his dad’s offshore investment fund.

      The embarrassed PM revealed he and his wife Samantha held £30,000 of shares in Bahamas-based Blairmore Holdings, one of the firms named in the explosive Panama Papers .

      Mr Cameron is facing calls to quit over his bombshell confession, which after intense pressure from the Mirror.

      He had arrogantly brushed off his tax affairs as a private matter then insisted he had not benefited from any offshore funds, before finally coming clean in a TV interview.

    • The Conservatives may live to regret this shameless generational discrimination

      How broke is the Government? It depends who’s asking. If you’re unemployed, then things are impossibly tough: far more cuts are needed from the welfare budget because there is no alternative. If you’re at school, then things are not quite so bad. The school budget is being “protected,” which is a nice way of saying “frozen”. But if you’re a pensioner, then David Cameron has some great news for you. Thanks to the “difficult decisions” his government has taken, he can now afford the largest increase to the state pension in 15 years. The new, enlarged cheque will be in the post this week.

    • Why Cameron went public over Blairmore shares

      When a politician is under pressure, facing questions about their family and their finances, their natural instinct is to protect their privacy and say as little as possible.

    • ‘Resign Cameron’ protests: Thousands to gather at Downing Street to ask Prime Minister to step down

      Thousands of protersters are expected to move on Downing Street to call for tough action on tax avoidance – or David Cameron’s resignation.

      Following the revelations about his tax affairs in the Panama papers, demonstrators are asking Mr Cameron to either “close tax loopholes or resign”. The protests are being organised around the hashtags “Resign Cameron” and “Close tax loopholes”, and have gained support from high-profile figures including Edward Snowden and Lily Allen.

    • UK ministers humiliated after Cayman and BVI leaders repeatedly ignore requests for meetings

      The governments of two notorious tax havens have repeatedly ignored UK ministers’ requests to meet about cracking down on corporate tax avoidance of the kind detailed on the so-called Panama Papers, The Independent can reveal.

      Official letters obtained using freedom of information rules show humiliated ministers “disappointed” at being stood-up after “numerous attempts” to meet with the premiers of the British Virgin Island and Cayman Islands.

      Campaigners reacted to the letters by berating the Government’s “meek” and “softly-softly” approach towards the havens, while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has accused the Government of “pussyfooting” around the issue.

    • David Cameron protest: Live updates as thousands call for PM’s resignation after Panama Papers scandal
    • Law to make all company ownership transparent in UK dependencies & territories

      As the Panama Papers prove the British Virgin Islands is one of the world’s capitals of tax avoidance, evasion and money laundering. The territory has 600,000 companies registered there with a population of around 30 thousand.

    • David Cameron: I could have handled tax row better

      Prime Minister David Cameron has said he could have handled the row over his financial affairs “better”, admitting it had “not been a great week”.

      Addressing the Tories’ spring forum, he said he was to blame for the handling of revelations about his holding in his late father’s offshore fund.

      Days after questions were first raised, the PM admitted this week he had owned and later sold units in the fund.

    • VIDEO: ‘Thousands’ descend on Downing Street for ‘Resign Cameron’ protest
    • Crowds march in London to demand Cameron resignation following Panama Papers leak (IMAGES)

      A massive protest has gathered in front of PM David Cameron’s residence at Downing Street 10, calling for his resignation. The rally follows the so-called Panama Papers leak, which among others exposed the offshore dealings of Cameron’s late father.

      “Cameron must go!” and “Tories out!” read the placards held by the demonstrators, RUPTLY’s live feed showed. A huge paper pig was erected by the protesters, with Cameron’s image pinned to its face.

    • Thousands gather outside Downing Street calling on David Cameron to resign

      Thousands of people were expected to march through London this morning calling on David Cameron to close tax loopholes or resign.

      We went along to the protest in Whitehall – watch our live feed here and see if you can spot the Hawaiian shirts, pig pinatas and shouts of ‘We hate you Cameron, we do!’

      Our reporters have been talking to people both for and against David Cameron to see why some feel so strongly that he needs to go.

    • Hold a General Election in 2016

      The General Public were purposefully misguided before the 2015 election.The lies David Cameron told before the election have now been widely acknowledged as such, and it is only reasonable that the public should be allowed to vote with full knowledge about his true agenda in 2016.

    • David Cameron: blame me for mishandling Panama Papers revelations

      Addressing the Conservative party spring forum, the prime minister admitted it had “not been a great week”, to laughter from the gathered supporters.

      Cameron said he would publish details of his tax return “later on” as he attempts to assuage calls for further transparency about his financial dealings.

      “I know I should have handled this better,” he said. “I could have handled this better. I know there are lessons to learn and I will learn them. And don’t blame No 10 Downing Street, or nameless advisers, blame me. And I will learn the lessons.”

    • “Resign Cameron” Protest Targets Conservative Spring Forum As PM Tells Party To Blame Him For Tax Fallout

      Thousands of protesters in London called on prime minister David Cameron to resign on Saturday, after he admitted owning shares in his father’s offshore fund that avoided paying corporation tax in Britain.

    • Defence Secretary blames journalists for not asking Cameron the right questions

      Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, has provided the most bizarre defence yet of David Cameron and Downing Street taking five attempts before admitting the Prime Minister had benefited from the offshore fund created by his father, impying it was journalists’ fault for failing to ask the right questions.

    • Downing Street protesters call for Cameron to resign
    • David Cameron did not declare his earnings from the offshore fund either

      It would be reasonable to say that benefitting from an offshore trust may influence Cameron’s view on whether such trusts should be tightly regulated or not.

    • Pyramid vs. obelisk

      Doctors and attorneys have employer-independent credibility, being vouched-for by their professional associations…

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • CIA’s Work With Filmmakers Puts All Media Workers at Risk

      The CIA’s history of producing or helping to produce films goes back decades. The Agency, for example, secretly bought the rights to Animal Farm after Orwell’s death in 1950 and produce an animated adaptation centered on demonizing the Soviet Union rather than capturing Orwell’s broader critiques of power.

      And as the CIA got involved in film production, Hollywood players have likewise taken part in covert operations. For years, legendary film producer Arnon Milchan (Pretty Woman, Fight Club, back-to-back Oscar winner for Best Picture in 2014 and 2015) worked for Israeli intelligence to deal arms and obtain technologies Israel needed to make nuclear weapons. “At the peak of his activities,” according to the Guardian, he was “operating 30 companies in 17 countries and brokering deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars,” an arrangement that, Milchan told the BBC (11/26/13), involved Sydney Pollack—director of Sabrina, Tootsie and, ironically enough, Three Days of the Condor.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • EU-US Privacy Shield may not pass muster, according to leaked extract

      Leaked extracts from an imminent assessment of the EU-US Privacy Shield replacement for Safe Harbour suggests that a key group of EU data protection authorities will not support it in its present form.

      It is expected that the Article 29 Working Party will say that it is “not yet in a position to confirm that the current draft adequacy decision does, indeed, ensure a level of protection [in the US] that is essentially equivalent to that in the EU.” Any transatlantic data transfer scheme that does not provide an “essentially equivalent” level of protection is unlikely to withstand a legal challenge in the EU courts.

    • How a Cashless Society Could Embolden Big Brother

      In 2014, Cass Sunstein—one-time “regulatory czar” for the Obama administration—wrote an op-ed advocating for a cashless society, on the grounds that it would reduce street crime. His reasoning? A new study had found an apparent causal relationship between the implementation of the Electronic Benefit Transfer system for welfare benefits, and a drop in crime.

    • The Burr-Feinstein Proposal Is Simply Anti-Security

      Sens. Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein recently released a draft bill forcing nearly all U.S. companies to decrypt any encrypted data they may handle. Specifically, it would place a new, sweepingly broad duty on device manufacturers, software developers, ISPs, online services and others to decrypt encrypted data or offer “such technical assistance as is necessary” if ordered to do so by any court anywhere in the country.

      The draft reflects an ignorance of everyday computer security practices that safeguard your devices and information from criminals. As currently written, the draft likely even outlaws forward secrecy, an innovative security feature that many major tech providers, including WhatsApp, have implemented to limit the damage to user privacy in the event encryption keys are compromised.

    • The California Bill to Undermine Smartphone Encryption Actually Got Worse

      State lawmakers recently introduced some misguided changes to California’s Assembly Bill 1681, which would require that manufacturers and operating system providers be able to decrypt smartphones sold in the state. On first glance, the amendment to A.B. 1681 might seem to address some of EFF’s previous criticisms, but the new version actually makes an already bad bill even worse. EFF has signed on to a new letter in opposition to the bill, and you can still join our action calling on lawmakers to vote against it.

    • Bill That Would Ban End-to-End Encryption Savaged by Critics

      A LONG-ANTICIPATED DRAFT of anti-encryption legislation written by the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee circulated late Thursday night and left may critics apoplectic.

    • HTTPS Everywhere: Encryption for All WordPress.com Sites
    • WordPress Upgrades All Websites To HTTPS Encryption For Free

      WordPress.com is enabling HTTPS encryption for all of its websites. This change is an automatic one and the website owners don’t have to do anything to enable HTTPS redirect on their websites. This new step will benefit millions of websites on the web and help to make it a more secure place.

    • “The Internet of Broken Things”

      Third, resist the temptation for gee-whiz devices. Do you really need a refrigerator that can talk to the Internet? Do you really need a “smart” thermostat that can fail due to a software bug and leave you freezing, with no way to fix it? Prefer simple, autonomous devices over complex, networked gadgets.

    • Maryland Court Says Cops Need Warrants To Deploy Stingray Devices

      The Baltimore Police Department’s warrantless deployment of Stingray devices has come to an end. It may have gotten away with more than 4,300 times so far, but the Maryland Special Appeals Court has declared these devices operate as searches under the Fourth Amendment.

      The 74-page opinion — which belatedly follows its two-page order from nearly a month ago, indicating which side it had taken in this dispute — dives into every issue implicated by the warrantless use of Stingray devices and examines them alongside a long list of Fourth Amendment-related Supreme Court decisions and the Fourth Circuit Appeals Court’s precedent-setting US v. Graham opinion on cell site location info.

    • New Reports On Terror Attacks Underline Why Crypto Isn’t A Serious Problem: It’s Hard To Use And Easy To Get Wrong

      The picture that emerges from these two reports is of a large, well-established network of terrorists located across several European countries. Many of them were known in multiple ways to the authorities, which repeatedly failed to bring all this crucial information together, probably because there was too much, not too little, to sift through. What is conspicuous by its absence is any suggestion that the would-be attackers escaped arrest by using encrypted communications. Both stories do, however, reveal that ISIS-trained terrorists have used encryption tools, but in a non-standard way.

      @thegrugq has written a good piece on Medium analyzing the system. It seems the discontinued encryption program TrueCrypt was provided by ISIS on a USB drive. The program was used to place one or more messages inside an encrypted volume, which was then uploaded to an inconspicuous online site. By employing a shared password to encrypt the volume, more than one person could read the messages in a relatively secure and anonymous way. The system creates a kind of digital dead letter drop that can’t be addressed simply by mandating crypto backdoors.

    • Coalition opposes allowing NSA to share surveillance data

      “Considering the extent and scope of the information collected under EO 12333, the policy changes under consideration could allow agencies like the FBI to circumvent constitutional protections and will pose new threats to the privacy and civil liberties of ordinary Americans,” the letter stated.

    • Juniper Completes Removal of Dual_EC

      Juniper Networks hopes to remove any clouds of uncertainty that its networking gear might still have a backdoor that could allow the NSA or hackers to snoop on traffic running through its hardware.

      On Thursday, Juniper completed an update to the way its ScreenOS software handles encryption. Juniper said it has integrated the company’s widely used random number generator component into the ScreenOS software, abandoning older controversial methods.

    • Are Pins, Posts, Tweets and Likes Appropriate for Use in Selecting Jurors?

      When you hear the name of someone you can’t place or don’t know much about, what do you do? Chances are, you “Google” them. Well that is what attorneys are doing to learn more about prospective jurors too! But they are not stopping there. They are looking at a number of social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to learn about the profiles, likes, dislikes, friends, hobbies, biases, religion, and preferences of individuals in the jury pool. This practice has raised a number of issues related to ethics, privacy, and responsibility. To date, courts have taken positions ranging from banning these searches to practically requiring them.

    • Illinois Law Requiring Sex Offenders To Report All Internet Activity Violates Free Speech Rights

      With the goal of keeping tabs on sex offenders, the state of Illinois has veered way off course. Its offender registration statute requires individuals to report every nook and cranny of their online activities to law enforcement—or face jail time. Every Internet site they visit, every online retailer account they create, and every news story comment they post must be reported to police.

    • Richard Burr’s Encryption (AKA Cuckoo) Bill, Working Thread

      A version of Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein’s ill-considered encryption bill has been released here. They’re calling it the “Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016,” but I think I’ll refer to it as the Cuckoo bill. This will be a working thread.

      (2) Note the bill starts by suggesting economic prosperity relies on breaking encryption. There are many reasons that’s not true, most obviously that it will put US products at a disadvantage in other countries.

      (2) Note this only applies to “providers of communications services and products (including software).” Does it apply to financial companies? Because they’re encrypting data between themselves that should be accessible to law enforcement. Does it apply to car companies? IoT companies?

      (2) Note they mention “judicial order” and “court order” here. It’s clear (and becomes clearer later) that this includes orders that aren’t warrants, so FISA orders. Which suggests they’re having a problem with encryption under FISA too.

      (3) The Cuckoo Bill builds in compensation. That’s one way companies could fight this: to make sure it would take a lot to render data intelligible.

      (4) I suspect this license language would expand to do scary things with other “licensing” products.

      (4) Note that they’ve expanded the definition of metadata to include “switching, processing, and transmitting” data. I bet that has already been done in secret somewhere.

      (5) The language on destination and switching suggests they’re trying to include location data in metadata.

    • Burr And Feinstein Release Their Anti-Encryption Bill… And It’s More Ridiculous Than Expected

      They’ve been threatening this for months now, but Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein have finally released a “discussion draft” of their legislation to require backdoors in any encryption… and it’s even more ridiculous than originally expected. Yesterday, we noted that the White House had decided to neither endorse nor oppose the bill, raising at least some questions about whether or not it would actually be released. Previously, Feinstein had said she was waiting for the White House’s approval — but apparently she and Burr decided that a lack of opposition was enough.

      The basics of the bill are exactly what you’d expect. It says that any “device manufacturer, software manufacturer, electronic communication service, remote computing service, provider of wire or electronic or any person who provides a product or method to facilitate communication or the processing or storage of data” must respond to legal orders demanding access to said information. First off, this actually covers a hell of a lot more than was originally expected. By my reading, anyone providing PGP email is breaking the law — because it’s not just about device encryption, but encryption of communications in transit as well. I wonder how they expect to put that genie back in the bottle.

    • Former NSA Chief Urges U.S.-Silicon Valley Deal on Encryption
    • Former NSA Chief Urges U.S.-Tech Deal on Encryption
    • Liberty advocates warn of NSA’s massive new threat to privacy

      In a letter to Defense Intelligence Agency head James Clapper, the groups said the NSA is making policy changes that “would fatally weaken existing restrictions on access to the phone calls, emails, and other data the NSA collects.”

    • Here’s the latest travesty of secrecy from the NSA

      Now, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the National Security Agency is withholding its own ethical and legal guidelines, calling them “top secret.” This is ridiculous.

    • GCHQ is having problems meeting Osborne’s 2020 recruitment target

      Blighty’s surveillance and security agency GCHQ is facing significant challenges in meeting the government’s targets for recruitment over the next four years.

      Last year the chancellor promised that 1,900 new recruits would be hired by the intelligence agencies by 2020 – with the lion’s share expected to head to GCHQ in Cheltenham, as total “cyber spending” rises to £3.2bn (by Osborne’s maths).

      However, independent sources close to GCHQ have complained to The Register that the agency would struggle to land the best candidates, with one Cheltenham staffer telling us that they simply didn’t know where the new talent was going to come from.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Leveraging Shame And The Presumption Of Guilt To Destroy Lives And Punish Consenting Adults

      The criminal justice system theoretically operates on a presumption of innocence. An arrest booking is hardly an indicator of guilt, but try telling that to millions of people who believe being accused is no different than being found guilty by a jury. Everyone knows this presumption of guilt exists, despite it being wholly contrary to the basis of our justice system.

      Cops know this best. A high-profile bust is as good as a guilty verdict. So it’s no surprise that they’ve increasingly turned to the greatest shaming mechanism known to man: the internet.

    • NYPD Raises Middle Finger To Public, Oversight In Inspector General’s Year-End Roundup

      The NYPD’s Office of the Inspector General has just released its year-end report summarizing its 2015 oversight work. We covered its use of force report late last year — a report which found the NYPD completely uninterested in policing itself. The report noted the NYPD has “historically… failed to discipline officers who use force without justification.”

      This report points to the OIG’s investigation of chokehold use by NYPD officers — the tactic that ended Eric Garner’s life during his arrest. As is the case with most other excessive uses of force, this tactic — which has been forbidden by department policy — tended to be greeted with shrugs from PD supervisors and a middle finger raised to the general public.

    • Chokehold Audit Paints Grim Portrait of NYPD

      In a report prompted by the death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner, city investigators found the New York City Police Department failed to put officers on trial for using chokeholds in 10 substantiated cases.

    • Stand Your Ground, Unless You’re a Battered Woman

      When victims defend themselves, they put themselves at risk of becoming doubly victimized—first by their abusers, then by the criminal justice system.

    • When Hatred Is Just Around the Corner

      Escaping civil war in Lebanon, my family landed in Dearborn, Michigan, in 1986. Like many immigrants, my parents still speak of Lebanon with the same familiarity they did in the weeks after my aunt opened her doors to her brother, his wife, and their four kids — including me, their clever but slightly odd four-year-old.

      I had one friend, a cousin, and spoke only a few words of English (the necessities: food-related words, “no,” and “dude”). During this time, my social butterfly of a mother tried to convince me through broken English, “You don’t need friends; you have family.” I wasn’t helping my cause. I often wore a cheap red pleather jacket and pants suit with frayed fingerless gloves painted with glitter and told everyone I was Michael Jackson from the Thriller music video.

    • Sharia Villages: Bosnia’s Islamic State Problem

      Radical Islamists have found a new refuge in Bosnia. They recruit fighters, promote jihad and preach a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam — just across the border from the European Union.

    • Bangladeshi student blogger known for secular views hacked to death

      Three motorcycle-riding assailants hacked and shot a student activist to death as he was walking with a friend in Bangladesh’s capital, police said Thursday.

      The killing on Wednesday night follows a string of similar attacks last year, when at least five secular bloggers and publishers were killed, allegedly by radical Islamists.

      Police suspect 28-year-old Nazimuddin Samad was targeted for his outspoken atheism in the Muslim-majority country and for supporting a 2013 movement to demand capital punishment for war crimes involving the country’s independence war against Pakistan in 1971, according to Dhaka Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Nurul Amin.

    • The Body-Worn Camera As State’s Witness: How Cops Control Recordings

      Abusive conduct by police officers — up to and including killing someone for, say, holding a plastic bucket — has always flown under the “your word against ours” radar. But now everyone has a camera, even the cops.

      The push for body-worn cameras is still a good idea, but it has many, many flaws. It won’t save the nation from police misconduct but it will put a dent in it. Back when the NYPD was ordered to begin a body camera pilot program, then-Mayor Bloomberg said the devices would become nothing more than another way to play “gotcha” with good cops.

      [...]

      Officers are actors and directors in their own scenes. Even when performances are captured by bystanders and their cell phones, there’s still plenty of “drama.” Multiple cops swarm the same suspect, blocking the body from view. Officers shout “Stop resisting!” even when subjects are prone with hands behind their back and under the weight of four or five cops. This allows officers to deliver extra amounts of force, instantly justified by the repeated shouts about resistance.

      This scenario has played out again. Footage captured by police body cameras appears to show a tough, physical struggle to subdue a suspect. Shouts of “stop resisting” continue throughout the recording. The up-close-and-personal body cam footage gives every appearance that officers are wrestling with a highly-combative suspect. But footage captured by another camera shows an entirely different scenario.

    • Wrongly-convicted Virginia inmate released from prison

      A man has been released from a Virginia prison after serving more than three decades for crimes authorities now say he didn’t commit.

      Keith Allen Harward walked out of the Nottoway Correctional Center on Friday after the Virginia Supreme Court agreed that DNA evidence proves he’s innocent of the 1982 killing of Jesse Perron and the rape of his wife in Newport News.

      Harward was a sailor on the USS Carl Vinson, which was stationed close to the victims’ home. The prosecution in Harward’s case leaned heavily on the testimony of two experts, who said Harward’s teeth matched bite marks on the woman’s leg.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The FCC Is Pushing A ‘Nutrition Label’ For Broadband Connections

      A report last year by the GAO (pdf) found that most consumers have no real idea what kind of a broadband connection they’re buying. The report argued that caps, interconnection squabbles, throttling, and other line limitations make it virtually impossible for many consumers (especially the more Luddite-inclined among us) to understand what they’re buying, or compare it with competing services. As a result, the FCC this week proposed a new “nutrition label” (pdf) for broadband that would include not only connection speed — but any network management, latency, usage caps, overage fees, or other conditions impacting the line.

    • Tennessee Man Builds His Own Gigabit Network Thanks To State’s Protectionist Broadband Law

      We’ve noted how Tennessee is one of twenty states that has passed state laws, quite literally written by companies like AT&T, prohibiting towns and cities from wiring themselves with broadband — even if nobody else will. When the FCC announced it would be taking aim at these protectionist broadband laws last year, Tennessee politicians threw a hissy fit, suing the FCC for “violating states rights.” That incumbent ISPs are being allowed to write awful state law that’s hampering a generation of business development in the state? Not apparently much of a concern.

  • DRM

    • 80% of people have no idea about the Netflix price hike that’s coming next month

      Netflix is going to raise prices on around 17 million of its standard accounts next month, and most people have no idea.

      In May of 2014, Netflix raised the price of its standard streaming plan, for new subscribers, to $9.99 per month. Existing subscribers, however, were grandfathered into the plan at $7.99 per month for the two-stream, “HD” quality plan.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • ‘Corn Thins’ trade mark found to be descriptive

        The Cancellation Division also found that the evidence submitted, showing that ‘Thins’ had been used descriptively on many other products, was not relevant because they either post-dated registration or were undated. The Division asserted that evidence regarding descriptive use of the word in the food sector had to be prior to the date of registration. They found that the arguments asserting distinctiveness under Article 7(1)(b) were also based on the arguments asserting descriptiveness and thus failed for the same reasons.

      • Trademark For ‘Square Donuts’ At Heart Of Trademark Dispute Despite It Being Entirely Descriptive

        One of the rules that is supposed to keep trademark law from creating language-lock insanity is the prescription against trademarking purely descriptive terms. That’s why you get a trademark on Coca-Cola and Pepsi, but not on “soda.” It’s why “computer” is not a valid trademark term. Were this not the case, companies could simply lock up the language of their marketplaces, restricting terms not to the benefit of the consumer, but purely as a monopolizing strategy.

      • English Brewer And French Wine Group In Trademark Dispute Over ‘Champ’

        The Comite Champagne, or CIVC, has never bothered to pretend it is anything other than a jealous protector of the word “champagne.” The trade group and its winery members have made quite a name for themselves ensuring that nobody else anywhere could possibly market a product that in any way suggests it is champagne. This is supposedly done to ensure the reputation of wine from the Champagne region of France remains as sparkling as the product, but predictably devolves into the kind of protectionist racket too often seen in trademark cases.

    • Copyrights

      • The FCC’s Plan To Unlock Your Set-Top Box Is About Competition, Not Copyright

        This isn’t about control over copying, but c of TV watching, from the studio to your eyeballs, and over search and discovery as well as viewing. Open competition could bring many more options, like new TV interfaces that present recommendations from various critics and tastemakers, or from your friends. New video devices could take you straight to those shows and movies in one step, no matter which of your pay-TV or Internet video services they appear on. This could be a boon for niche and non-mainstream programs of all kinds.

      • The Ultimate In CwF: How Lovers Of Stardew Valley Fought Piracy By Buying The Game For Pirates

        Our advocating for the Connecting with Fans and giving them a Reason to Buy equation (CwF+RtB) being a solution to piracy has become something of a mantra for us here at Techdirt. And we’ve seen an absolute ton of success stories of people implementing some version of it. But, really, if you want a recent story of a creator going about this in a way that appears to hit every single note just about perfectly, you need only look toward the latest PC gaming hit: Stardew Valley.

      • Linking to Pirated Content Is Not Copyright Infringement, Says EU Court Adviser

        Linking to pirated content that is already available to the public can not be seen as copyright infringement under the European Copyright Directive. This is the advice Advocate General Melchior Wathelet has sent to the EU Court of Justice, in what may turn out to be a landmark case.

      • UK Govt Issues Advice on Dealing With Copyright Trolls

        The UK government has just published advice for people receiving cash demands from so-called copyright trolls. The Intellectual Property Office says that bill payers who are not necessarily infringers are receiving these letters and it is for the copyright holder to prove who committed the alleged offenses.

      • EU Consults On “Neighbouring Rights” For Publishers And “Panorama” Copyright Exceptions

        The European Commission is considering giving publishers the same “neighbouring” rights currently available to broadcasters and producers of someone else’s copyrighted content, it said in a 23 March consultation document. The inquiry is part of the EC’s digital single market initiative to boost Europe’s digital economy.

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  27. “EPO Lawlessness Again”

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  28. Unitary Patent (UPC) is All About Imposing Patent Maximalists' Ideology of Greed and Self Interest on Courts in the Name of 'Unification' or 'Consistency' or 'Community'

    Pushers of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) are upset that they don’t always get their way when independent judges get to decide; as it turns out, many European Patents are just fake patents, more so under António Campinos



  29. Battistelli's Bodyguard, Part V: Mediapart Explains the 'Raid' Attempt, Reporters Without Borders Involved

    Mediapart, an investigative site that unearths a lot of incriminating things about Battistelli's former bodyguard Alexandre Benalla, was the target of a raid attempt some weeks ago



  30. Links 13/2/2019: Tails 3.12.1, MongoDB Being Dumped

    Links for the day


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