06.11.16

Patent Lawyers Want a ‘Death Squad’ to Kill PTAB, Which Eliminates Software Patents at a Growing Pace

Posted in America, Europe, Law, Patents at 1:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO killing the appeals department, whereas the USPTO strengthens it

PTAB

Summary: The Patent Trial and Appeal Board causes the patent microcosm to get all worried and vindicative, having come to the point of reviewing over 2,000 patents per year (expected to exceed 2,000 this year), i.e. almost a 10,000% growth since it all started

THE protests from patent lawyers against PTAB are rather revealing. They help demonstrate that PTAB is doing something right. IAM, which is funded by patent trolls and all sorts of patent parasites, tries to reinforce the discrediting/insulting label, “death squad”, in relation to PTAB. This isn’t the first time and now it’s right at the middle of the headline. Yes, “patent death squad” is what the patent propagandists are nowadays calling appeals, or specialised groups of scientists and/or judges who identify invalid patents, trashing these before they do enormous damage to small firms (or sole developers) which cannot afford legal defense.

“IAM, which is funded by patent trolls and all sorts of patent parasites, tries to reinforce the discrediting/insulting label, “death squad”, in relation to PTAB.”To quote IAM: “No patent owner likes to find itself subject to an inter partes review or covered business method patent procedure before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board at the USPTO. Not only do you end up spending good money to defend your position, but the statistics show that the chances are you will find at least some of your claims – if not the entire patent in question – being wiped out.”

How about the people who become victims of these patents, not the “patent owners” [sic]? One single patent can be used to attack, e.g. with extortion-like nastygrams dispatched in a warehouse/retail/wholesale fashion, literally thousands of small developers. It happens every year, but IAM does not care for them. They don’t fund IAM.

Looking at MIP, which is a lot more balanced than IAM, here are some information and numbers. “Managing IP rounds up interesting quotes, statistics, slides and tidbits from speakers at the US PTAB Forum 2016 in New York,” it claims, “which included panels on Patent Trial and Appeal Board rule changes, Federal Circuit appeals, district court strategies, pharma challenges and more” (quite an informative series).

“Watch how the number of petitions/appeals grew: 25 in 2012, 562 the following year, then 1489, 1897 last year and so far this year (just five months) 1053, which means it’ll go over 2000 this year, assuming the same pace persists.”Here is MIP showing the raw numbers. It’s sumamrised as “PTAB Monthly Data: Ford filed the most PTAB petitions in May, with Versata the most-targeted patent owner. Four PGR petitions were filed, a sign that this type of petition is gaining traction” (not just this type).

Watch how the number of petitions/appeals grew: 25 in 2012, 562 the following year, then 1489, 1897 last year and so far this year (just five months) 1053, which means it’ll go over 2000 this year, assuming the same pace persists.

“Whatever makes these greedy folks angry or puts them in a bit of a panic must be real impediment to software patents and various other abstract patents.”PTAB (or USPTO) needs to hire more and more people for this as there’s clearly high demand for the service. An experienced chief judge was recently added. While the EPO systematically crushes its quasi-equivalent of PTAB, sometimes by getting rid of people and not hiring replacements, the USPTO seems to gain/hire more such people. In other words, as the bubble inevitably bursts the USPTO regains some sanity (e.g. Alice test), whereas the EPO goes in the opposite direction, emulating neoliberal errors.

IP Hawk, a patents maximalist, bemoans the above. “CAFC crushed the PTAB,” he wrote, and “will likely issue a scathing Precedential opinion” (wishful thinking or lobbying). Here is another patents maximalist joining the echo chamber, quoting: “I don’t know what the Board thinks it’s doing” (or words to that effect).

Well, judging by those who are afraid of PTAB right now [1, 2, 3] we have some reassurance that it is doing the right thing. Whatever makes these greedy folks angry or puts them in a bit of a panic must be real impediment to software patents and various other abstract patents.

EPO Press Spokesperson and Director External Communications Busy Creating Distractions From EPO Controversies

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Distraction by media
Reference: Distraction by media

Summary: Distractions from Battistelli’s very serious abuses and his portrayal (in paid media and press releases) as some kind of science celebrity come only a short time before he can (and should) be sacked by the Administrative Council

THIS weekend we shall focus on software patents and patent trolls, but the EPO simply cannot be overlooked. Below are various new observations about the EPO’s media strategy and how it helps distract from real EPO news.

It seems like the EPO's PR team is spending a lot of money on press releases because apparently spending millions to seed puff pieces in the media is not enough.

Mittermaier et al are mentioned in the latest press releases [1, 2] as follows:

Contact the European Patent Office in Munich, Germany
Jana Mittermaier
Director External Communications

Rainer Osterwalder
Press Spokesperson

European Patent Office
Tel. +49-(0)89-2399-1820
Mobile: +49-163-8399527
rosterwalder@epo.org
press@epo.org

Some of the puff pieces have spread as far as India and no research/fact-checking is required. Watch the disclaimer in this ‘article’ from Automotive World. It says: “Automotive World is not responsible for the content of this news release.”

How much lower can the EPO management stoop in an effort to drown out the signal (i.e. the real news)? Catarina Holtz, whom we mentioned here before, lashes out at Battistelli’s regime today. Earlier on she wrote: “Has nobody read the ECHR? What is the problem? At an international organisation no employee lives in a complete national legal system, with the protection offered by it. Many employees of the EPO have tried to complain before the ECTHR about violated rights. They were all dismissed as inadmissible. Why? Because the States which create an international organisation simultaneously transfer their governmental powers to it. So the victim employee has encountered a catch 22.If he tries to sue a national state, it is immune because of the transfer, if he tries to sue the EPO it is immune because it is not a contracting state of the ECHR. President Battistelli was right when he said that he was totally free and did not have to listen to anybody.

“Battistelli ought to be sacked, but he spent millions of the EPO’s budget interjecting himself into this month’s media as though he’s some kind of science champion or the next Nobel.”“This is a disgrace.”

An anonymous comment then wrote: “Let us not forget the essential here. The question is not whether 2 years [sanctions on post-EPO employment] is reasonable or not. The question is that Battistelli was explicitly instructed to negotiate and he is doing exactly the opposite of what the council asked. How can that be? Where will this systematic power grab lead the Office?”

Battistelli ought to be sacked, but he spent millions of the EPO's budget interjecting himself into this month’s media as though he’s some kind of science champion or the next Nobel.

In the coming week we shall do our best to focus on real EPO news, not the nonsense from Battistelli and the liars whom he surrounds himself with. We will also do our best to ignore an element of trolling and troll-/bottom-feeding, which does a disservice to the IP Kat discussion as a whole and wastes many people’s time. Will commenters please stop feeding “PB” for example? She or he is clearly there to interfere/undermine constructive discussion and portray EPO staff representatives as a bunch of whiners. One has to wonder if that’s a genuinely concerned reader or just a reputation laundering Plan B (after trying and failing to block IP Kat as a whole).

[ES] Se Dice Que Battistelli Esta Fabricando Más Ataques en Contra de la Gente a la Que Ya Despidió de la EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

English/Original

Article as ODF

Publicado en Europa, Patentes at 8:38 am por Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Battistelli no puede tolerar a la disidencia, comolo muestran sus acciónes, ni siquiera de fuera de la Oficina (com Erdoğan en Alemania)

Erdoğan for EPO

Sumario: El Rey Sol’ Battistelli esta perdiendo la trama y aparentemente como las reciéntes acciónes lo sugieren, preparándo una serie de feroces ataques en contra de personas a las que ya despidió basado en extremadamente falsas alegaciónes y a un falso juicio’ (donde el acusador es jurado, juez, ejecutador y lo demás)

LA EPO es peor que abusiva. Es probable que, al menos por el momento, sea la institución más abusiva de Europa (a menos que alguien puede señalar que nos convierte en uno que es peor). Mientras el Sr. Battistelli permanezca dentro de la EPO significa un mayor daño sostenido a (y a la organización) la reputación de la Oficina; esto se traduce en la erosión de la marca y la demanda en peligro de Patentes Europeas (EPS) en el largo plazo, o disminución del valor (percibida), incluso para las patentes concedidas hace más de una década. ¿Qué pasaría con las pensiones de las personas, la protección de los inventores, y así sucesivamente? Los examinadores tienen razón para estar preocupados. Incluso la EPO se está marchitando a sí misma en este momento, con incalculables millones de euros gastados en cosas que no tienen nada que ver con el examen (pérdida de dinero, la corrupción). Considere guardaespaldas, medios de comunicación comprados, contratos privados secretas con las firmas dudosas con el propósito de PR, represión sindical, la censura y la vigilancia. ¿En que mierda se ha convertido la EPO? Es un estado dentro del estado, incluso con su propia policía y militar. Tal vez Battistelli aka ´Caligulita´ tomó el título de “Presidente” demasiado lejos.

¿Cuándo Battistelli arrojará a los empleados honestos, representantes de empleados y jueces al foso de los leones para su propio entretenimiento?”

Las protestas de los empleados de la EPO comenzaron hace tres horas en La Hague y en Munich. Nosotros escribimos acerca estas protestas incluso ayer. Estas son protestas justificadas, incluso si algunos provocativos comentarios en IP Kat tratan de desacreditar a los protestantes/examinadores, retratándolos como millonarios mimados con lujísomos carros deportivos (no deseamos linkear a esos embarres). ¿Es una estrategia de compromiso después de simplemente tratar de bloquear la totalidad de IP Kat (esto culateó malamente)?

Hace unos días decíamos que EBoA puede decidir si el juez suspendido ilegalmente-va ser oídas abiertamente. Creemos que fue difamado graves y, según informes del Procurador del Estado de Munich estaba considerando cargos criminales contra la Oficina Europea de Patentes más de esto. “Un anuncio del juicio oral en el arte. 23 1/16 se pueden encontrar en la zona pública del edificio Isar “, dijo uno de los comentarios en esta IP Kat. Una respuesta a esto fue: “Público? Si el o ella lo acusaron está prohibido de entra a el edificio? “

Eso es un buen punto de realidad. noción medieval/otomana de “justicia” es prevalente en virtud de Battistelli; lo que es peor – que data del Imperio Romano. ¿Cuándo Battistelli arrojará a los empleados honestos, representantes de empleados y jueces al foso de los leones para su propio entretenimiento? ¿Pagará a sus “socios de los medios” para transmitir un evento de alguna Coliseo Portugués?

Estamos entrando a la segunda fase de la estrategia de Battistelli para “mejorar” a la EPO,” un comentario resaltó, explicando la situación como sigue:

Oh querido. La OEP solía ser una “jaula de oro”, donde los empleados estaban atrapados por el paquete de salario y beneficios generosos. Ahora las barras de oro al parecer no son suficientes, y requieren un refuerzo de acero.

Me temo que esto es un signo muy inquietante. Estamos entrando en la segunda fase de la estrategia de Battistelli para “mejorar” la OEP:

1) decapitar a la representación del personal

2) bloquear todas las salidas

3) hacer lo que quiera con el personal, debido a que los tienes exactamente donde quiere, y hay todo lo que pueden hacer al respecto b **** r.

Eso es un excelente punto de realidad. Fue ampliado más adelante por este comentario, que dijo, “tan pronto como las nuevas normas entrarán en vigor, la pequeña reivindicativo Battistelli los usará para prohibir el despido Sra Hardon colaborar con SUEPO.” A modo de recordatorio (de lo que cubrimoos aquí antes), Hardon fue reelegida para el liderazgo SUEPO, incluso después de Battistelli la había despedido, creyendo erróneamente que ella sería la historia a partir de entonces.

A modo de recordatorio (de lo que cubrimoos aquí antes), Hardon fue reelegida para el liderazgo SUEPO, incluso después de Battistelli la había despedido, creyendo erróneamente que ella sería la historia a partir de entonces.”

Estos comentarios tienen sentido perfectamente y cada uno de los miémbros del Consejo Administrativo debe darse cuenta de ello. He aquí los detalles para contactar a los miémbros del Consejo Administrativo. Parece ser aparente, como nuestro previo post sirver para indicar, que la Unión de empleados de la EPO (no los amarillos que cada vez más actuan racistamente) todavía esta bajo ataque de Battistelli y sus chacales; sólo la estrategia a cambiado un poquito.

[ES] Medios Holandeses Revelan que Battistelli Continua su Feroz Guerra Contra el Sindicato de Empleados, Laurent Prunier la Última Victima (La Hague)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

English/Original

Article as ODF

Publicado en Europa, Patentes at 7:59 am por Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Incluso peor que no cumplir ninguna de las demandas del Consejo Administrativo

Battistelli in Dutch media

Sumario: “La semana pasada,” dicen los medios Holandeses, Laurent Prunier de la SUEPO en La Haguele fue entregado su reporte final. Conclusiónn: culpable de “mala conductaque socava el liderazgo de Battistelli

La EPO esta ocuadísima distrayéndo al público de protestas como las de hoy que nos ocuparemos en nuestro próximo post. Pero no todos los medios recibieron dinero de la EPO (a pedido de Battistelli), no toman esa tonta EIA16 Kool-Aid.

Como una persona señáló en IP Kat el otro díá, “la EPO regreso de nuevo a la NL prensa de reputación” (señálando a este poco de publicidad negative de los medios principales Holandeses).

Bueno, “traducciónes son bienvenidas,” dijimos, y creemos que el artículo ya estaba en deuda a causa de las últimas protestas (que cubrirémos más tarde). Sólo un dia más tarde la SUEPO añadió una link a este artículo y Petra Kramer, una native hablante Holandesa, preparó una traducción para nosotros y añadió: “Ni un poquito de progreso se ha hecho.”

He aquí la traducción en su totalidad, con los más importantes bits resáltados en amarillo:

Guerra Privada entre el CEO y y la Unión de la Oficina de Patentes aún no Termina

Conflicto laboral nuevo, hay problemas en la Oficina de Patentes Europea. La naturaleza despiadada de CEO Battistelli es una preocupación para los Estados miembros.

EPPO König

9 de junio de, el año 2016

A principios de este año parecía o Battistelli Presidente de la EPO renunciaría.

La guerra entre el presidente Benoît Battistelli de la Oficina Europea de Patentes (EPO) y su sindicato sigue. Mientras que el francés el jueves en Lisboa premia el inventor del año, su personal en La Haya tiene una marcha de protesta a lo largo de las embajadas de los Estados miembros de la UE. “Nuestra gestión es intimidación e intimidar a los sindicatos y los comités de empresa de una manera que sería inaceptable en su país“, escribieron a los embajadores.

La oficina de patentes (38 Unidos, 7.000 empleados) es la mayor organización intergubernamental en Europa, después de la Comisión Europea. La agencia revisa las solicitudes y concesiones de patentes patentes europeas. Con sede en Munich, entre otras cosas, una oficina en Rijswijk.

A principios de este año, las tensiones en la EPO eran tan altos que parecía como si Battistelli (65) renunciaría. El máximo órgano de la Agencia, el Consejo de Administración en representación de los 38 Estados miembros, obligó Battistelli para sostener la espalda contra la unión SUEPO.

La intervención siguió el despido de dos dirigentes sindicales, la holandesa Elis Hardon, presidente del sindicato, en Munich, su predecesor alemán Ion Brumme. Tesorero Malika Weaver se corta en su salario. Las acusaciones oficiales conspiran contra Battistelli y la intimidación de un miembro del consejo que era pro-Battistelli.

Culpable de Mala Conducta

Pero el presidente no ha terminado con el sindicato, que representa la mitad de los empleados. La unidad de investigación propia de la EPO completó la investigación de secretario del sindicato Laurent Prunier, que estaba demasiado estresado para trabajar y ha estado en licencia sin sueldo durante cinco meses. La semana pasada se consiguió emitió su informe final. Conclusión: culpable de “mala conducta” que socavan el liderazgo de Battistelli.

“O usted no ha entendido la resolución de los Estados miembros, de lo ignorado desde el principio,” el abogado de Prunier Liesbeth Zegveld escribió en una carta a todos la semana pasada Estados miembros y Battistelli. El presidente fue llamado a suspender todos los procedimientos pendientes contra sindicalistas. Él necesita la revisión de los procedimientos de disciplina ” para asegurarse de que son justos y que la forma en que son vistos por el mundo exterior.

El punto es que la oficina de patentes como una organización internacional no está cubierto por la legislación laboral nacional. Somos inmunes a nuestras reglas y no se puede juzgar a través de los ojos holandeses, dice Battistelli. Al negarse a reconocer al sindicato SUEPO que es un desafío a la Corte de La Haya. Los empleados con un conflicto de trabajo deben ir a la Organización Internacional del Trabajo, un cuerpo lento de la ONU en Ginebra. La oficina en Rijwijk utiliza un médico de la empresa belga que no está registrado como médico en los Países Bajos.

Del mismo modo que la agencia tiene su propia unidad de investigación – que conoce de los empleados sin un abogado presente, es la crítica de la unión. Incluso investigación independiente confirma que la “integridad” y “comportamiento ético” de este paquete se pueden mejorar. Una definición “muy clara” de la mala conducta debe elaborarse, según un informe de mayo. El servicio debe explicar claramente cómo se investigan correo electrónico y ordenadores. Y sobre todo: la unidad debe funcionar independientemente del presidente.

“La unidad de investigación responderá sin un abogado trabajadores allí”

El caso Prunier puede terminar siendo un tema sensible de este mes, la junta directiva se reúne de nuevo. Los principales países, como Holanda, Alemania, Francia, Suecia y Suiza, en gran medida han criticado por Battistelli, según las fuentes. La publicidad negativa sobre los conflictos daño a la reputación de la agencia, que cuenta con investigadores de patentes pendientes. Los incidentes averguenzan a los países que la acogen como los Países Bajos porque la intervención es casi imposible.

En términos sustantivos Estados miembros críticos están de acuerdo con Battistelli. Apoyan las reformas que ha puesto en marcha, como la inversión en TI y bonificaciones para el rendimiento en lugar de la antigüedad. la preocupación de los Estados miembros recae principalmente en el carácter implacable, irascible Battistelli. Parece que librar una guerra privada contra un sindicato, que es tan guerrera como el propio presidente. El conflicto por lo tanto es también obstaculizan las operaciones de negocio, tales como la reforma del sistema de pensiones.

A medida que el presidente de la EPO Battistelli tiene una gran cantidad de energía, los 38 Estados miembros no pueden hacer mucho. No existe un procedimiento de juicio político en el reglamento, aparte de la cuestión de si o no una mayoría de los Estados miembros lo apoyaría. Cuanto más tiempo pasa, más cerca Battistelli llega al final de su mandato. Eso podría significar dos largos años de conflicto, las demandas y la mala publicidad.

La oficina de patentes no responde a los casos individuales, dijo un portavoz. La agencia dice que el consejo de administración es informado regularmente sobre la reforma de las investigaciones y sanciones.

Como vamos a demostrar en nuestro próximo post, no hay duda que Prunier esta bajo ataque adicionalde parte de Battistelli, quien está verdaderamente loco y fuera de la realidad (talvez piensa que realmente es indespedible). ¿es Jesus, que al parecer sufrió crisis nerviosas debido a los ataques violentos contra él (y al parecer también su esposa sufrió ataques asolapados), el que sigue en la linea de fuego del tirano Battistelli por el alegado ‘crimende ayudar a conducir una encuesta a los empleados? Basado enperfiles de los ataques de la EPO en contra de la SUEPO, The Hague es la próxima, después de todos los ataques en Munich (que crecerán más aún).

[ES] El Premio al Inventor Europeo 2016 (EIA16) del la EPO No es un Evento de Premiación, es Sólo un Evento de Propaganda y Cabildeo de Battistelli, la EPO Simplemente Paga por Ello

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 11:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

English/Original

Article as ODF

Publicado en Decepción, Europa, Patentes at 7:31 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

La ratificación de la UPC y otros favores ente las motivaciónes reales y por medio de pago a los medios de comunicación

Portugal and Battistelli

Sumario: La verdadera terrible realidad detrás del EIA16, que no es otra cosa que propaganda servil a Battistelli que cuesta mucho dinero y distorsióna a los medios Europeos

LA EPO (Organización) en su totalidad simplemente se abochorna a sí misma con el tonto (y riesgoso) con el desfile/despilfarro de la EIA16, que es algo como un desfile de belleza disfrazado como “ciencia”. Refleja lo que Blatter estuvo haciéndo en la FIFA en sus últimos días.

Hace poco más de una hora la gente PR de la EPO retweeted lo siguiente de Carlos Moedas (con la foto de la parte superior): “# EIA16 inspiradora ceremonia de apertura con el presidente EPO.org Sr. Battistelli y el primer ministro de Costa” (Moedas es comisario europeo de Investigación, Ciencia e Innovación, al que también se presionó y tal vez fue invitado para lavarle el cerebro).

Battistelli, quien hizo que la EPO cubra los costos de esta su charada, está casi tan loco como Blatter (totalmente fuera de la realidad).”

El sr. Battistelli está cabildeando Portugal como es de esperarse, como fue correctamente previsto en nuestro previo cubrimento de esto. Para usar las palabras de alguien de la EPO quien vió aquello: “Se me revuelve el estómago con este absurdo teatro!”

La EPO nos muestra que no sólo los políticos pueden comprar los medios de comunicación. El Sr. Battistelli hace lo mismo; literalmente ha pagado un estimado de millones de euros a los medios de comunicación (el número exacto es desconocido para nosotros, pero podemos extrapolarlo basándonos en el año pasado).

Battistelli, quien hizo que la EPO cubra los costos de esta su charada, está casi tan loco como Blatter (totalmente fuera de la realidad). El aparentemente dijo: “Es nuestra ambición que el premio al inventor europeo se convierta en el Premio Nobel de la Ciencia” (¿quién se cree que es?, ¿Alfred Nobel? No nos sorprénde que desperdicie una fortuna en sus seis guardias pretorianos (a no ser que le guarden otra cosa que no sea la espalda), demonstrando su megalomanía y hacer que la EPO cubra todos los costos con pretextos dudosos).

EIA2016 no puede ser suficientemente eficaz como una distracción (por ejemplo, las protestas de hoy), pero ¿le importa Battistelli? Él no paga un centavo por esto. Él está drenando la Oficina sólo para cubrir su propia trasero en este momento.”

viEUws, que es un socio de medios de la EPO de este año (suponemos que recibió un pago por EPO de Battistelli, pero no sabemos cuánto), continúa fabricando piezas de hojaldre, habiéndo ya producido algunas para Battistelli hace varios meses (como se ya lo hizo una pelota de béisbol a las preguntas de la entrevista ‘con Battistelli). ¿Cuánto se gastó en esto? La EPO sin duda pagó mucho dinero para el Financial Times (Londres) para jugar junto con esta farsa y que todavía se muestra. Más propaganda patrocinada por EPO del Financial Times se puede ver hoy es parte de una ola más amplia de piezas de hojaldre en Francia, en Alemania, y varios otros países (la EPO compró otra media docena de compañías de medios).

EIA2016 no puede ser suficientemente eficaz como una distracción (por ejemplo, las protestas de hoy), pero ¿le importa Battistelli? Él no paga un centavo por esto. Él está drenando la Oficina sólo para cubrir su propia trasero en este momento.

La EPO esta colapsando al mismo tiempo que desperdicia millones de Euros escondiéndo este colapse. Battistelli ha destruído totalmente a la EPO y si él no es despedido a finales de mes, habrán serias consecuencias. la Sala 28 ciertamente lo sabe.

Links 11/6/2016: Wine 1.9.12, PHP 7.1 Alpha

Posted in News Roundup at 9:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Evolution of Fish Bioluminescence

      From the bizarre-looking anglerfish to sharks, bioluminescence is surprisingly common among ocean dwellers. Now, researchers from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota have shown that fish evolved the ability to make their own light on at least 27 separate occasions, according to a study published yesterday (June 8) in PLOS ONE. The fishes use their glowing abilities for everything from finding prey, to luring in mates, to communicating with one another.

      “This is the most comprehensive scientific publication on the distribution of fish bioluminescence ever written, and the authors show that bioluminescence evolved way more times independently than previously thought,” Prosanta Chakrabarty of the Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science, who was not involved in the study, told Smithsonian.

    • Exploring the Effects of Dimensionality on a PDF of Distances

      Every so often I’m reminded that the effects of changing dimensionality on objects and processes can be surprisingly counterintuitive. Recently I ran across a great example of this, while I working on a model for the distribution of distances in spaces of varying dimension.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • World’s “ugliest color” will be used on cigarette packs

      According to an Australian survey, the shit brown color seen above (Pantone 448C, or “Opaque Couché”) is the ugliest hue around, reminding respondents of dirt and death. To deter smoking, Australian officials required Opaque Couché to be the main color and cigarette packages and now the UK is following suit. Apparently, Australian officials first referred to the color as “olive green” but the Australian Olive Association was none-too-pleased. Now, Pantone is grumpy about the choice of Opaque Couché. “At the Pantone Color Institute, we consider all colours equally,” Pantone’s exec director Leatrice Eiseman told The Guardian. “(There’s no such thing as the ugliest color.”

    • Stylewatch: Is Pantone 448C really the ugliest colour in the world?

      A thousand Australian smokers voted Pantone’s ‘opaque couché’ the world’s least desirable hue. But hey, it’s still in fashion …

    • Lee Fang on Industry’s Role in the Opioid Crisis

      This week on CounterSpin: Opioids can be a lifesaver for some people with severe pain. But the overuse and abuse of powerful drugs like oxycodone is driving what the Centers for Disease Control says is an epidemic in this country, with some 16,000 overdose deaths from prescription opioids a year. But when the CDC pushed for non-binding guidelines encouraging doctors to seek alternatives where possible, the opioid industry, which made $9 billion last year, pushed back.

    • European Parliament speaks out against agricultural colonialism in Africa

      MEPs have called on the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition to radically alter its mission. The Alliance currently pushes African countries to replicate the intensive agricultural practices employed in many developed countries. EurActiv France reports.

      For a large majority of MEPs, the G7’s decision to base its programme for food security in Africa on intensive agriculture is a mistake. The European Parliament took its first official stance on the subject with the adoption of a report on the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN) on Tuesday (7 June).

      “We have already made the mistake of intensive agriculture in Europe, we should not replicate it in Africa because this model destroys family farming and reduces biodiversity,” said Mara Heubuch, a German Green MEP and rapporteur on the New Alliance.

  • Security

    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • Thursday’s security updates
    • Security advisories for Friday
    • Slicing Into a Point-of-Sale Botnet

      Point-of-sale based malware has driven most of the credit card breaches over the past two years, including intrusions at Target and Home Depot, as well as breaches at a slew of point-of-sale vendors. The malware usually is installed via hacked remote administration tools. Once the attackers have their malware loaded onto the point-of-sale devices, they can remotely capture data from each card swiped at that cash register.

    • Microsoft’s BITS file transfer tool fooled into malware distribution

      Researchers at Dell SecureWorks have spotted a new and dangerous way to misuse of Microsoft’s Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS).

      While working on a customer clean-up project, SecureWorks staff found that attackers had created self-contained BITS tasks that didn’t appear in the registries of affected machines, and their footprints were limited to entries on the BITS database.

      The attack was spotted on a Windows 7 machine in an academic administration environment.

    • Massive DDoS attacks reach record levels as botnets make them cheaper to launch

      There were 19 distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks that exceeded 100 Gbps during the first three months of the year, almost four times more than in the previous quarter.

      Even more concerning is that these mega attacks, which few companies can withstand on their own, were launched using so-called booter or stresser botnets that are common and cheap to rent. This means that more criminals can now afford to launch such crippling attacks.

    • Twitter locks user accounts that need ‘extra protection’

      Better safe than sorry, or so goes Twitter’s latest thinking.

      The social network on Friday maintained it was not the victim of a hack or data breach, as previously reported. But Michael Coates, Twitter’s head of information security, wrote in a blog post that the company has identified some accounts that need “extra protection.” Those accounts have been locked, requiring users to reset their passwords in order to access them.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • ‘It as if we have created 10 open-air Bataclans and invited the jihadists to do their worst’: French bars banned from showing Euro 2016 matches on big screens for fears they could be terror targets

      Bars and restaurants in France have been banned from screening Euro 2016 matches on giant screens amid fears of a terrorist attack.

      Fans will instead have to watch games indoors or in the heavily policed fan zones across the ten host cities – which have been likened to ‘open air Bataclans’.

    • What pushes the US towards war with Russia

      First of all the US does not have a media. It has a ministry of propaganda. The media in the US is a function of the military security complex and of neoconservatives, and their ideology is world hegemony. That means American control of the entire world includes Russia and China. The neoconservative ideology says that history chose America to be the empire to rule the world. That is why they say that the United States is an indispensable country, and that the American people are the exceptional people. So, what you have here is the same ideology as Adolf Hitler. No one else matters.

    • The Democratic Party Has Destroyed Itself. Will It Now Destroy The Rest Of Us?

      Obama, Clinton and bipartisan neocons infesting Washington explain the deplorable state of America today – a democracy in name only, enriching the privileged few at the expense of most others, waging endless wars on humanity, leaving its fate up for grabs.

      Clinton was chosen Democrat party nominee last year before primary/caucus season began, assuring endless wars of aggression if elected, perhaps the madness of confronting Russia and China belligerently.

      The possibility of her succeeding Obama should terrify everyone, heightening the risk of global war with super-weapons making WW II ones look like toys by comparison.

    • The US-Russia Info-War: What’s Real?

      The Obama administration is dangling the possibility of real peace progress in Ukraine to convince the Europeans to renew sanctions on Russia, but is that just a bait-and-switch trick to keep Europe in line, asks Gilbert Doctorow.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Singapore offers Indonesia aid in countering haze

      Singapore has offered aircraft, satellite photos of fires and fire-fighting assistance to Indonesia for the dry season, which runs from this month to October and often brings haze to the region.

      The assistance package, offered every year since 2005, is part of the Singapore Government’s commitment to support Indonesia’s fire mitigation efforts, the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) said in a statement yesterday.

      This year, Singapore is offering up to two C-130 transport planes to fly a Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) fire-fighting team to Indonesia and one C-130 aircraft for cloud seeding.

    • Restoring peatlands a game changer in anti-haze battle

      In recent months, Indonesia has taken major steps to prevent a repeat of last year’s epic fires. The Joko Widodo administration, shocked into action by the scale of the damage and impact on ordinary Indonesians, has decided to act like no other Indonesian government has before.

      These steps are crucial and long overdue, though only part of the solution.

    • IOI’s Indonesian forest fire legacy revealed at European palm oil summit

      Jakarta, 9 June 2016 – New analysis reveals the scale of fires in and around the IOI Group’s palm oil concessions in Indonesia. The findings, published today by Greenpeace International, come as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) meets in Milan for its European Summit.

    • Singapore Aims to Prosecute Indonesian Polluters Under Haze Law

      Singapore is prepared to prosecute any Indonesian companies found responsible for the fires that produced hazardous ash clouds last year, a minister said, standing his ground even as recent efforts to take firms to account drew ire from the country’s largest Southeast Asian neighbor.

      Under the Transboundary Haze Pollution Act of 2014, Singapore has ordered six suppliers of Indonesia’s Asia Pulp and Paper Group to provide information on steps they are taking to prevent fires on their land, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said in an interview on June 7. APP, one of the world’s largest paper producers, didn’t reply to e-mailed requests for comment, while its parent company didn’t reply to calls for comment.

      “We are standing on high moral ground,” said Masagos. “We have the support of the international community. We are not doing anything criminal nor wrong. We are just asking for the companies and the directors to own up and be accountable for what they’ve done.”

      The six companies have been told that Singapore has the right to bring their directors to court, and firms involved in haze-producing fires face fines of up to S$100,000 ($74,000) a day for every day of fire, the minister said.

  • Finance

    • 6 Ways You Didn’t Realize Ronald Reagan Ruined The Country

      Given the nature of this article, it would border on bad taste for me to mention that this past Sunday marked the 12th anniversary of the death of Conservative Republican Godhead Ronald Reagan, but alas, I just did. That said, he’d merit a mention even if I didn’t still have a bunch of decorations to take down, solely on the strength of all the comparisons the Donald Trump candidacy has drawn to that of Reagan’s.

    • Germany Waves ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ to Costly Wall Street Tax Scheme

      The German Parliament voted Thursday to end a trading strategy that helps foreign investors, many of them Americans,avoid an estimated $1 billion or more a year in taxes on dividends paid by German companies.

      The trades were exposed in a joint ProPublica investigation last month with The Washington Post and German news outlets Handelsblatt and Bayerischer Rundfunk. The report prompted widespread outrage among German lawmakers, some of whom called the maneuver “criminal.”

      This week’s vote effectively shuts down the transactions in Germany, which had been the biggest market for such trades. They live on in more than 20 other countries across Europe and other nations where authorities attempt to collect taxes on dividends.

      While German lawmakers closed the spigot on future tax losses, it remains unclear if tax officials there will be able to recoup billions of lost revenues from previous years.

    • Sen. Warren Slams For-profit College Accreditor for ‘Appalling Record of Failure’

      Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., released a report today slamming an accreditor of for-profit colleges for its “appalling record of failure.”

      “Students and taxpayers have paid the price” for the failures of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, she wrote in an accompanying letter to the U.S. Secretary of Education. Warren urged the Department of Education to take “strong, aggressive action to hold ACICS accountable.”

      Citing ProPublica’s reporting, Warren blasted ACICS for accrediting schools that “consistently produce astronomical debt levels and terrible outcomes for students.”

      Warren’s report comes nearly a year after she grilled members of ACICS during a senate hearing on their failure to sanction Corinthian Colleges, which kept its accreditation until the day the school collapsed in bankruptcy.

    • It’s Up to Us to Level CEO Pay

      Does anyone really need two mansions in the Hamptons, Wall Street’s favorite summertime watering hole? Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO at banking giant Goldman Sachs, has apparently decided he can get by with just one.

      Blankfein recently sold his first Hamptons manse — a seven-bedroom affair with a sunken tennis court that he bought in 1995 — for $13 million. From now on, he’ll have to make do with only his second Hamptons manse, a 7.5-acre spread that set him back $32 million in 2012.

    • Google Comes Down On The Wrong Side Of The TPP

      The TPP expands copyright rules to ridiculous levels in many countries, including extending copyright terms at a time when there is no sound basis for advocating for extending copyright terms. And the “requiring fair and reasonable copyright exceptions and limitations that protect the Internet” is just wrong. Yes, it’s true that for the first time the USTR actually acknowledges user rights in such an agreement. In the past, all such trade agreements only focused on expanding copyright holder rights. So you can argue that’s progress. But the details showed that it’s not creating “fair and reasonable copyright exceptions and limitations,” but instead pushing a misleading tool that will limit the way countries can explore fair use, and (even more important) makes the fair use stuff optional. Google claiming that it requires such things is just… wrong.

    • Devastating report reveals a bribery and fraud crimewave sweeping Britain that is costing City £127bn a year

      A bribery and fraud crimewave is sweeping Britain and is costing the City £127bn a year, a devastating report has revealed.

      A major study has uncovered how fraud is costing the economy as a whole £193bn – with the vast majority of this being lost through false invoices, dodgy payments and fake contracts.

      The study suggests banks, charities and the NHS are all major victims. And it shows that the public is also suffering, with millions of people falling victim to identity theft and other scams every year.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • An Election Season Conversation With Ralph Nader, the Nation’s No. 1 Public-Interest Crusader

      It’s been an interesting couple of years for left-wing populist movements, from Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter to Bernie Sanders’ insurgent run for president. Driven by widening inequality and fanned by social media, some have already brought about real changes — like the fight for a $15 minimum wage across the country — while others have quietly faded away. Few people have a longer-term perspective on what it takes to have an impact than public-interest crusader and political maverick Ralph Nader, who, over the span of five decades, has leveraged the courts, the media, and the electoral system to win hefty gains for consumers and the environment. A five-time candidate for president, he’s sitting this election out, working the channels through his role with the Center for Study of Responsive Law, the research and advocacy organization he founded in 1968. The center is housed at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., where we met in a grand, bookshelf-lined conference room and talked politics, elections, and organizing for change as the late-afternoon sun slanted through tall windows.

    • Clinton helped create Trump: Green Party’s Jill Stein blasts Hillary for already implementing Donald’s policies

      The Clintons’ own right-wing policies helped spawn the rise of far-right demagogues like Donald Trump, argues the Green Party’s presidential candidate. She warns that a Hillary Clinton presidency would only continue to fuel this right-wing extremism.

      Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee for president, spoke on Democracy Now on Thursday. She blasted Hillary Clinton for implementing many of the same policies that Trump is currently calling for, and expressed hope that Bernie Sanders will consider continuing his presidential run on a third-party ticket.

      The present electoral system “tells you to vote against what you’re afraid of and not for what you believe,” Stein said. “This politics of fear has actually delivered everything we were afraid of.”

    • Sen. Sanders Goes to Washington

      At a Bernie Sanders rally ahead of Washington D.C.’s last-in-the-nation June 14 primary, I wanted to get a sense of how his supporters would vote in the fall with Hillary Clinton now the presumptive Democratic nominee.

      Based on media accounts of how “unruly” Sanders supporters are supposed to be, I was, frankly, somewhat surprised by the number of attendees who said they would vote for Clinton, although this could partly stem from the fact that the rally on Thursday took place in Washington, D.C. which is, by definition, more comfortable with establishment politics.

      [...]

      Still others completely rejected the idea of voting for Clinton in November. “I would rather eat my own hand than cast a vote for Hillary Clinton, and you can quote me on that,” said Nikki Diamantopoulos from Baltimore County, Maryland.

    • State Department Says It Will Take 75 Years to Release All Requested Clinton Emails

      The State Department this week, apparently with a straight face, defended its claim that releasing all the emails sought by the Republican National Committee (RNC) would take 75 years. “It’s not an outlandish estimation, believe it or not,” spokesman Mark Toner told reporters.

    • Special Appeal from Senator Bernie Sanders

      It’s been a hell of a journey, we’ve come a long way, and now we are on the verge of our biggest victory! The Democratic Party is about to nominate my opponent, Hillary Clinton, who represents everything we have campaigned against from the very beginning of this race.

      I always said, this isn’t about Bernie Sanders, it is about the Revolution, the young people rising up and confronting Wall Street, confronting militarism, confronting an oligarchy that is killing us all with its climate change and low wage jobs and control of our democracy!

    • Hillary Clinton Used Leadership PAC as “Slush Fund” in 2008-09

      The Bernie Sanders campaign in April accused Hillary Clinton of “looting” her joint fundraising committee to fund her presidential campaign, effectively circumventing rules that cap donations at $5,400 per person.

      Clinton’s joint committee, called the Hillary Victory Fund, can raise $358,500 per person because it’s supposed to share money with the Democratic National Committee and state parties.

      The Sanders campaign pointed to news reports that the fund has been covering expenses for the Clinton campaign instead of spending on down-ballot races.

      The Clinton campaign called the charges irresponsible.

    • Why US Politics and Policy Are Adrift

      The U.S. system of politics and public policy is in disarray awash with elites trying to manipulate the public and the public drifting away from any factual grounding, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

    • Sanders Encourages Struggle Against Establishment Politics To Continue

      “The struggle continues,” Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders declared in a speech, which capped off his statewide campaign in California. He described the struggle broadly as one for social, economic, racial, and environmental justice.

      Sanders also noted he has overwhelmingly won young people in the majority of the United States. Young people recognize they must shape the future, and they share the Sanders campaign’s vision for a government that works for lower class citizens instead of catering to the interests of corporations and the rich.

      The primary contests did not go as well as Sanders supporters hoped. The campaign won decisively in North Dakota. It eked out a victory in Montana, but the campaign lost in South Dakota and New Mexico. It was blown out in New Jersey. Sanders did not win California, and there is ample evidence of massive irregularities at polling places, which should have Californians concerned.

    • Jill Stein to Bernie Sanders: Run on the Green Party Ticket & Continue Your Political Revolution

      As Bernie Sanders prepares to meet with President Obama, we speak to Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, who has also been reaching out to the Vermont senator. With Hillary Clinton claiming victory in the Democratic race, Stein is attempting to start a dialogue with the Sanders campaign. In an open letter in April, Stein wrote, “In this hour of unprecedented crisis—with human rights, civilization, and life on the planet teetering on the brink—can we explore an historic collaboration to keep building the revolution beyond the reach of corporate party clutches, where the movement can take root and flourish, in the 2016 election and beyond?” Stein joins us from Albany ahead of this weekend’s New York Green Party convention.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Censorship makes you feel that the audience is like children

      Versatile actress Tisca Chopra will now be seen in a comic caper, ’3 Dev’ which will question the faith in a humourous way. Her last big outing on the silver screen ‘Ghayal Once Again’ was received well by the critics and moviegoers alike. In an exclusive interview to the Timesofindia.com, the ’24′ girl spoke about her future plans, censor board and more…

      [...]

      Do you agree with censor board’s way of working like it happened with ‘Udta Punjab’?

      I am against censorship in principle. I am completely averse to the idea of censoring films because that makes you feel that the audience is like children and they need to be told what they can do and what they can’t do. I think the better and smarter way to do it is to grade films with stuff like PG, A, UA certification like they grade internationally for films. There, the films are rated as ‘above 16′ and ‘above 18′. And then its parent’s choice and the children’s choice. Here, they have a strict identification at the cinema point that this child is not 18 and can’t go and see the film. We are behaving like an immature society by creating this kind of structure.

    • Gawker Files for Bankruptcy, Will Be Put Up for Auction [Ed: You don’t have to agree with a media organisation to be able to see what’s wrong with rich people shutting down Web sites they dislike. Gawker ceasing operation may mean not only that there won't be further publishing but that all existing/published material will vanish. Sad day for free media and free speech as controversial site/network destroyed by legal bullying.]

      Gawker Media filed for bankruptcy Friday and the company will be put up for auction after a judge ruled that a $140 million jury judgment against it in a costly legal battle with former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan would stand.

    • Gawker Media files for bankruptcy

      Gawker Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday, in order to protect its assets from seizure by former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan.

      In March, Hogan won a $140.1 million judgment against Gawker Media, CEO Nick Denton and former Gawker.com editor A.J. Daulerio. Following the trial, Gawker asked the presiding judge, Pamela Campbell, to either reduce the judgment or issue a routine stay to give them time to appeal the judgment. In May, Campbell upheld the full amount of the judgment. On Friday morning, she denied Gawker’s request for a stay.

    • Gawker Files For Bankruptcy, Begins Process Of Auctioning Itself Off

      Either way, this is still unfortunate. Even if you believe the Hogan case was justified (and I think you’re wrong about that), we should still be concerned when a billionaire basically sets out to destroy a media organization through a variety of lawsuits (many of which appear to be extremely questionable).

      What if the next billionaire who gets upset about coverage targets a publication you do like? And don’t say that it won’t matter if that publication doesn’t do anything wrong. Just the lawsuits alone can kill a company. And, even worse, the threat of lawsuits may create a massive chilling effect on what companies publish and how they go about their reporting. And disagree with Gawker’s decisions and tactics all you want, the company did break a ton of important news stories. While this does not mean the end of Gawker, it’s certainly the crippling of Gawker, and that should be a concern for anyone who believes in a free and open press.

    • Swedes slam ‘censorship’ of cartoon lesbian romance

      A group of Swedes have launched a petition urging Cartoon Network to stop censoring a lesbian romance depicted in one of its shows, after a scene showing two women flirting was apparently altered in the Swedish dub of the programme.

    • Bankrupting Gawker over a grudge isn’t justice. It’s censorship

      Though Gawker’s chapter 11 filing may not end it, the fact that a personal vendetta caused the act sets a chilling precedent

      [...]

      Gawker has, on occasion, run pieces which teeter on the brink of bad taste. Sometimes the site has even run pieces which fell from that ledge. But those lapses don’t justify bringing the whole structure down in flames.

      The infamous article outing a Condé Nast executive as gay last year was one of those, and Gawker was rightly excoriated for it. The 2007 story outing venture capitalist Peter Thiel was another. Stories in which people’s private sexual preferences, without genuine public interest at stake, are splashed without their consent on the front pages of newspapers or news sites have no place in a modern, enlightened press.

    • Gawker Union Takes On Peter Thiel

      The legal saga that is Hulk Hogan’s winning suit against Gawker Media for publishing his sex tape is far from over. While Gawker’s attorneys are working to postpone payment of the former professional wrestler’s $140.1 million award and filing for bankruptcy, the media company’s union is taking on Peter Thiel — the PayPal cofounder who surreptitiously bankrolled Hogan’s lawsuit.

      The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) has launched a petition requesting Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to remove Thiel, who was one of the social network’s early investors, from the company’s board of directors.

    • Gawker Bankruptcy Filing Means Peter Thiel Has Already Won

      But that was before Hogan won a $140 million judgement from a Florida jury—and before it emerged that billionaire Peter Thiel was financing the case, in an attempt to drive Gawker out of business. And now he appears to have succeeded in doing exactly that.

      [...]

      Despite the agreement with Ziff Davis, however, there is no guarantee that it will emerge the eventual owner of Gawker Media. Since the assets the company is selling are the subject of a bankruptcy filing, there will be a court-mandated auction, and it is likely that other bidders will appear (Ziff Davis is what’s called a “stalking horse”). It’s even possible that Peter Thiel could acquire the company and shut it down, a scenario some Gawker-watchers have already speculated about.

      [...]

      Gawker may have published a handful of articles that were beyond the pale of civilized conduct or pushed the boundaries of what should be allowed by privacy rules (although it’s worth noting that two judges ruled that the Hogan material was newsworthy), but it has also done some ground-breaking and valuable journalism on a range of subjects.

      Should all of that have to be destroyed because it published some pieces that upset a billionaire or his friends? If free speech laws don’t protect media outlets that push the boundaries, then who will they protect?

      The reality is that Thiel’s vendetta has pushed an entire media organization into bankruptcy, and forced it to auction off its already damaged assets to the highest bidder. That could mean dozens or even hundreds of journalists will lose their jobs. And for what? And while some of the sites it operated may survive under new ownership, something unique will inevitably be lost. And that’s not something we should be celebrating, regardless of what we think of Gawker or Nick Denton.

    • Govt must think about film industry: Irrfan on censorship
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • As horrible as Internet surveillance is, the alternative could have been far worse

      While the Internet has turned into a global surveillance machine, with only tech-aware and privacy-aware people opting out of the surveillance, it’s important to remember that we could have had something far worse. In the 1990s, the telcos were aggressively pushing for their own version of a packet switched network – and had they won over the Internet’s simplicity, we wouldn’t even have had the option to turn on privacy today.

    • Reviewing Microsoft’s Automatic Insertion of Telemetry into C++ Binaries

      Recently Reddit user “sammiesdog” posted claims that Visual Studio’s C++ compiler was automatically adding function calls to Microsoft’s telemetry services. The screenshot accompanying their post showed how a simple 5 line CPP file produced an assembly language file that included a function call titled “telemetry_main_invoke_trigger”.

      The ensuing discussion then revolved around how to disable this unannounced “feature” while also speculating its purpose. “sammiesdog” noted that this appears in release builds, while user “ssylvan” also indicated that it appeared in debug builds too. The telemetry function is intended to communicate with ETW.

    • German Domestic Intel Chief Accuses Snowden of Working for Russia

      German domestic intelligence chief suggested that Edward Snowden was a Russian spy, the German parliament said in a Friday press release.

    • NSA’s Word Problem

      NSA analysists fill out lots of paperwork. That paper work is a core protection against NSA abuse. It constrains their activities, and facilitates legal and compliance review. As Justice Sotomayor has noted in her famous Jones concurrence the importance of costs as a constraint on surveillance. Some costs are monetary, but some costs are time. And when presented with things that require time or money, there is a natural inclination to find efficiencies.

    • Snowden Emails Reveal the NSA Used Notoriously Insecure Microsoft Word Macros

      At the heart of the NSA’s intelligence reporting process are—or at least were, in 2012—some templates using Microsoft Word macros. That’s one of the unbelievable details revealed in a series of Edward Snowden’s emails to NSA’s SIGINT Oversight and Compliance Division released to VICE News in response to a FOIA request. The revelation comes amid renewed focus in the security community on hackers’ uses of Microsoft macros as a vector to launch malware.

      In August 2012, compliance personnel in NSA’s Fort Meade headquarters had a problem. As part of NSA’s oversight of the use of congressionally-authorized spying authorities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Department of Justice and NSA compliance personnel review the intelligence reports written by analysts to ensure they meet legal guidelines, including ensuring that analysts only targeted appropriate people and masked the identities of any Americans in the reports. But because of new security compartmentalization implemented on its network in Hawaii, personnel in NSA’s headquarters stopped being able to open the files sent by the Hawaii location.

    • The SSCI Contemplates Splitting CyberCommand from DIRNSA

      The Intercept’s Jenna McLaughlin liberated a copy of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Intelligence Authorization for 2017 which was passed out of committee a few weeks back. There are two really shitty things — a move to enable FBI to get Electronic Communications Transaction Records with NSLs again (which I’ll return to) and a move to further muck up attempts to close Gitmo.

      But there are a remarkable number of non-stupid things in the bill.

    • How Did Booz Employee Analyst-Trainee Edward Snowden Get the Verizon 215 Order?

      It’s not clear why Snowden made the switch, but we have certainly seen a number of cybersecurity related documents — see the packet published by Charlie Savage in conjunction with his upstream cyber article. Even the PRISM PowerPoint — the second thing released — actually has a cybersecurity focus (though I think there’s one detail that remains redacted). It’s about using upstream to track known cyberthreat actors.

    • Communications Show GCHQ’s ‘Oversight’ Talking Itself Out Of Performing Any Sort Of Oversight

      New documents obtained by Privacy International as a result of its ongoing litigation over GCHQ bulk surveillance shows (yet again) there’s really no such thing as “oversight” when it comes to spying. Owen Bowcott of The Guardian highlights conversations between GCHQ and its supposed oversight, in which the former talks the latter out of applying more restrictive guidelines from updated laws to its massive data intake. (Unfortunately, Bowcott discusses the documents but does not link to them, and I have been unable to locate these at Privacy International’s website.)

    • William Hague to InfoSec community: ‘there can be no absolute right to privacy’ [iophk: “the war on math continues”]

      Former foreign secretary and life peer William Hague said that in light of technological developments there can be no absolute right to privacy versus security, and that although the public is in favour of “unbreakable” encryption now, it might not remain so.

      Former foreign secretary William Hague has advised the information security community that public opinion in support of full encryption can be reversed.

      Speaking at the Infosec 2016 information security conference today, life peer of Richmond – who personally reviewed interception requests from the secret intelligent services in his previous role – outlined his views on achieving a balance between state surveillance and individual privacy.

      Hague said that, in his opinion, there can be no absolute right to privacy with technology.

      “If I was advising networks and technology companies offering unbreakable encryption – unbreakable by law enforcement authorities – I would give this advice: public opinion on this issue can turn around very quickly,” Hague said.

    • Creepy startup will help landlords, employers and online dates strip-mine intimate data from your Facebook page

      There’s a scene in the dystopian scifi novel “Ready Player One” in which the protagonist glimpses the dossier of personal information a major tech company has gathered on him. It includes his height and weight, his browser history, his address — even several years of his school transcripts.

      We’re still several years away from that vision, thankfully, but a new British startup called Score Assured has taken a big step in that direction: The company wants to, in the words of co-founder Steve Thornhill, “take a deep dive into private social media profiles” and sell what it finds there to everyone from prospective dates to employers and landlords.

    • Adobe fined by German privacy watchdog over lifeless EU-US data transfer deal

      Adobe Systems took a kick to the shins from a German privacy regulator, after the software maker was found to be using the defunct Safe Harbour deal to transfer data from the European Union to the US.

      The fine of €8,000 was levied by the office of the Hamburg Data Protection Supervisor, a regulator known for its tough stance on outfits that it feels are breaching privacy laws.

    • Sir Tim Berners-Lee: Internet has become ‘world’s largest surveillance network’

      WORLD WIDE WEB CREATOR Sir Tim Berners-Lee has said that the internet has fallen into the hands of large corporations and governments and become the “world’s largest surveillance network”.

      Berners-Lee explained in an interview with The New York Times that his invention has steadily come under the control of powerful interests.

      “It controls what people see. It creates mechanisms for how people interact. It’s been great, but spying, blocking sites, repurposing people’s content, taking you to the wrong websites completely undermines the spirit of helping people create,” he said.

    • Privacy habits: Full-disk encryption goes from optional to very recommended

      As US authorities decide they have the right to seize any data, the mandatory privacy suite expands: full-disk encryption goes from optional to very recommended, in addition to using a firewall and some sort of encrypting anonymizer.

      A decision by a U.S. appeals court says that all your hard drives can be searched without warrant to determine if you’re guilty of a crime, any crime. This means that in addition to an encrypting anonymizer (such as Tor or a VPN) and a good firewall, full-disk encryption is now a must not just for geeks and nerds, but for everybody.

    • Newspaper Association Thinks FTC Should Force Readers To Be Subject To Godawful Ads And Invasive Trackers

      This assertion continues to scapegoat ad blocking for many publications’ decision to force readers to play “find the content” when visiting their sites. As user ad blindness eventually rendered banner ads invisible, the response has been to escalate intrusion, via new ad delivery methods like popunder/popups, autoplay video ads, pervasive trackers, or escalating encroachment of ads into the “content” area. If ad blocker usage is more prevalent, publishers really have no one but themselves to blame.

      And there’s nothing out there that suggests the only way a publication can remain profitable is by assaulting users with ads and tracking them all over the internet. But that’s the narrative publishers have chosen because it’s simpler to make users conform to their wishes than it is to cede ground to site visitors’ best interests.

      [...]

      The supposed “deception” the NAA refers to is things like AdBlock Plus selling companies spaces on its “whitelist.” Then it has the audacity to make claims about the darkish shade of ad blockers’ kettles by claiming any information about these built-in whitelists is buried in the terms of service. Burial of crucial details under several pages of fine print is SOP for 99.9% of the internet — including (especially) the same tracking software the NAA says is crucial to the survival of the industry.

      The NAA also claims that evading paywalls — if enabled by ad blockers — is an “unfair method of competition.” Considering how easy it is to evade most paywalls (via referral links, Google searches, going “incognito,” etc.), it seems rather disingenuous to claim the automation of this process is somehow a violation of trade laws. For that matter, the complaint offers no proof that any popular ad-blocking extension actually offers this “service.” (There are extensions written solely for that purpose, however.)

      The complaint also takes issue with “replacement” services that substitute bad ads with better ads or offer micropayments to sites in exchange for blocking their revenue generators. The NAA insists these, too, are deceptive and should be kicked of the ‘net by the FTC.

    • NSA Looking to Exploit Internet of Things, Including Biomedical Devices, Official Says

      The National Security Agency is researching opportunities to collect foreign intelligence—including the possibility of exploiting Internet-connected biomedical devices like pacemakers, according to a senior official.

      “We’re looking at it sort of theoretically from a research point of view right now,” Richard Ledgett, the NSA’s deputy director, said at a conference on military technology at Washington’s Newseum on Friday.

      Biomedical devices could be a new source of information for the NSA’s data hoards—“maybe a niche kind of thing…a tool in the toolbox,” he said, though he added that there are easier ways to keep track of overseas terrorists and foreign intelligence agents.

      When asked if the entire scope of the Internet of Things, billions of interconnected devices, would be “a security nightmare or a signals intelligence bonanza,” he replied: “both.”

    • Intelligence: Ban The NSA

      A growing number of American politicians (and their constituents) are calling for the elimination of the National Security Agency (NSA). Yet the recent anniversaries of the World War II Battle of Midway (in 1942) and D-Day landings (in 1944) both stand as testaments as to why the NSA matters for grunts on the front line.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Latest Absurd Moral Panic: Parents Complain Amazon Echo Is Creating Rude Children

      It wouldn’t be a month at Techdirt without one group or another engaging in a fit of moral hysteria over something they really don’t need to spend precious calories worrying about. Whether it’s the false claim that video games create deadly assassins, VR makes us slaves to Mark Zuckerberg, smartphones have demolished cultural civility or having Google at our fingertips makes us dumber, there’s always something new to waste time having a hissy fit over.

    • Parents are worried the Amazon Echo is conditioning their kids to be rude

      Alexa will put up with just about anything. She has a remarkable tolerance for annoying behavior, and she certainly doesn’t care if you forget your please and thank yous.

      But while artificial intelligence technology can blow past such indignities, parents are still irked by their kids’ poor manners when interacting with Alexa, the assistant that lives inside the Amazon Echo.

    • REPORT: Migrants Burn Down Asylum Centre After Not Receiving Ramadan Wake Up Call

      A massive fire at Düsseldorf’s major international trade fair grounds yesterday has been followed by reports that the blaze was set deliberately by migrants who were angry because of Ramadan.

      Officially, some 160 migrants were resident at hall 18 of the Messe Düsseldorf conference centre, but it was a facility plagued by racial conflict which had seen violence spark before. Düsseldorf’s Express newspaper reports these conflicts were not between European German staff and their guests, but between the predominantly Arab residents, and a minority of Afghans who sided with the security staff running the facility — who were mainly Iranian.

    • Germany’s migrant crisis turns into a NIGHTMARE as 80% of refugees have NO documents

      THE true scale of the migrant crisis in Germany has been uncovered as it emerges 80 per cent of asylum seekers have arrived there WITHOUT a passport – and hundreds of thousands are now planning to bring over their FAMILIES.

    • As Brasília’s Corruption Is Exposed, Lawmakers Try to Criminalize Dissent

      Leaked secret audio recordings of Brazil’s most powerful figures have sparked a series of explosive scandals in the nation’s ongoing political crisis. Now, Brazilian lawmakers are trying to outlaw publication of such recordings.

    • ‘Media Money Matters With the Olympics’

      Another one that often comes up is displacement. For example, in Beijing, 1.5 million people were displaced to make way for the Summer Olympics that year, 1.5 million. In Rio, we’ve seen 77,000 people being displaced for Olympic structures and for Olympic venues since Rio got the games in 2009.

    • Muhammad Ali: ‘The Truth Must Ultimately Prevail’

      So while media talked about Ali’s conversion to Islam, and his refusal to be inducted into the Army—because, as some even quoted, he refused, in his words, to go “10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over”—it’s still hard to convey how these things were heard, including by media, what it meant to say them, in 1967.

    • UN chief says he removed Saudi Arabia from damning human rights report under ‘undue’ financial pressure

      The United Nations Secretary General excised the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen from an annual UN register of children’s rights violators, after the middle-eastern country and its coalition partners threatened to cut off crucial funding to the world body.

      Ban Ki-Moon said the removal of Saudi Arabia from the list was “one of the most painful and difficult decisions” he has had to make as Secretary General, describing the pressure the Arab nation had exerted on the UN as “unacceptable”.

    • African-American Women Now Top the List of Most-Educated Group in the Country

      Statistics on black women and education have shown them leading all other gender and racial groups for a few years now. More than half of all black women specifically between the ages of 18 and 24 are enrolled in college, and black women overall outpace other race and gender groups in terms of college enrollment, according to the National Center of Education Statistics/U.S. Census numbers.

    • UK was Involved in Libyan Torture Flights and Politicians Knew, Say British Prosecutors

      UK Government prosecutors investigating the kidnap and ‘rendition’ of two families to Libya by MI6 and the CIA have today announced their conclusions that a senior British intelligence official was involved in the operation and had – to a limited extent – sought political approval for it.

    • My Metropolitan Police Evidence on Torture and Extraordinary Rendition

      This is a transcript of the evidence I gave, at their request, to the Metropolitan Police. I published scans of the witness statements yesterday, and a commenter has kindly transcribed them to make them web searchable. I was interviewed by the Police both at my home and at their headquarters, and it was made very plain to me that not only Sir Mark Allen, but Tony Blair, Jack Straw and numerous officials in the FCO and the Security Services were in the frame. I confess I therefore always expected the Establishment would have the case dropped despite overwhelming evidence.

      I first offered this evidence to the Gibson Inquiry, I was treated by that Inquiry as an important witness and Judge Gibson ordered the FCO to give me full access to all documents I saw while Ambassador, to refresh my memory. No. 10 panicked at this and other evidence that Gibson was doing a genuine job, and the Gibson Inquiry was closed down by Cameron with the active complicity of Nick Clegg. I was then told by the Gibson secretariat that the Metropolitan Police were taking over aspects of that inquiry. I was then contacted and interviewed by the Metropolitan Police and gave this evidence.

      [...]

      All the disciplinary allegations were false and around this time my security clearance was up for review. My security clearance reviewer contacted me to state my clearance had been passed by him but it had then been sent back to him and he had been put under pressure not to clear me. He said that he was sticking by his recommendation and my clearance was renewed.

      l was suspended for four months and sent back to Tashkent and told not to speak to anyone about the outstanding allegations. l was banned from entering embassy buildings and the stress of it all caused my health to collapse. I suffered severe heart and lung problems as a result.

      After four months of investigation l was cleared of all l8 allegations: there was a formal hearing in relation to two matters only. These related to being seen with a ‘hangover’ by a local member of staff in Tashkent and secondly misusing an embassy car, l was cleared on both counts and the evidence against me was shown to be rubbish or non-existent.

      l was however found guilty of telling someone about the existence of the allegations when I returned to Tashkent for which I was given a final written warning in January 2004.

      Later in June 2004 one of the initial telegrams l had written was somehow leaked to the Financial Times newspaper and the Times printed sections of it. This was not done by me and although I denied it I was suspended as a result and in February 2005 I resigned from the Civil Service. I was given six years early retirement severance pay.

      I firmly believe that the allegations against me were knowingly false or grossly exaggerated,. and were concocted against me deliberately to silence me after l was the only senior civil servant to enter a written objection to the policy of collusion in torture. As a consequence my career was destroyed and my health permanently damaged.

    • England fans in fresh clashes with riot police in Marseille

      French riot police made nine arrests and were involved in a series of pitched battles with England football fans in Marseille as violence threatened to overshadow the country’s opening Euro 2016 game on Saturday.

      On the eve of England’s first game in the European Championship at the city’s Stade Velodrome, riot police fired teargas repeatedly into large groups of fans who had gathered around the city’s old port.

      The fans, many of whom had been drinking heavily for much of the day, responded by hurling bottles at the police as they marched towards them.

    • Muslim waitress is assaulted in south of France for serving alcohol on first day of Ramadan

      Police have launched a criminal investigation after a Muslim waitress in the south of France was attacked for serving alcohol on the first day of Ramadan.

      The horrifying assault took place in Nice, the seaside city that will play host to thousands of football fans attending Euro 2016 next week.

      Politicians immediately claimed that the incident was an example of the growing influence of religious extremism in France.

    • African migrant smuggler extradited; wife in Sweden, money in USA banks

      An Eritrean dubbed “the general”, suspected of controlling a people-smuggling network responsible for shipping thousands of people to Europe, has been extradited to Italy.

      Prosecutors said that Medhane Yehdego Mered had a reputation for risky practices, often packing more humans than was safe, Reuters wrote. The NCA reportedly believes that Mered had arranged the transit of a boat that sank near the Italian island of Lampedusa in October 2013.

      Eritrean Medhane Yehdego Mered, accused of organising a trafficking route through Africa, is flown to Rome from Sudan.

    • Welcome to Swedenistan…and have a lousy day

      ‘All my life I’d been grateful to be part of a civilized society,’ explains Dan, whose parents were among almost the entire population of 8,000 Danish Jews, who were secretly ferried from Nazi-occupied Denmark in 1943 to sanctuary in neutral Sweden.
      ‘And, until about 2005, I felt blessed to live in a true social democracy, where people willingly paid high taxes for a fine welfare system and liberal values.’

      So what prompted – or rather drove – the amiable Dan and his gentle wife, creator of the world’s most lip-smacking gravidlax, to sell their Malmö shoreline home, rip up their roots and migrate to Spain?

      ‘Sure, the sunshine and lifestyle played some part in our decision,’ he explains. ‘But the real reason was Sweden’s changing demographics and politics. The radical, Left-wing establishment became totally obsessed with multiculturalism and political correctness, which we didn’t need reminding had been part of Swedish ethos for centuries.

      ‘But this was different. It was verging on authoritarian diktat and the open-door immigration policy was threatening the nation’s cohesion. Only a fool couldn’t see this, but there was a conspiracy of silence, or rather a policy to whitewash the adverse effects of accepting half-a-million immigrants from the Middle East, who plainly weren’t interesting in adopting Sweden’s values and Swedish culture.

      ‘The politicians, the media, the intellectuals…they all played their parts in pandering to this dangerous ideology and, sadly, it’s changing the fabric of Swedish society irreversibly.’

    • Police Defend Actions On Barricaded Suspect: ‘Property Is Last’

      The Greenwood Police Department defended the actions of its officers during a 20-hour standoff last week that left a home, where a barricaded shoplifting suspect had taken refuge, destroyed.

      “I made the right call because we’re standing here instead of standing over a casket,” said Greenwood Village Police Cmdr. Dustin Varney.

      Police believe they executed the standoff, which ended with the capture of the suspect with no one injured, tactically well. The homeowner disagrees, calling it a blatant example of excessive force because there was only one suspect inside with a handgun.

    • It’s not a Fourth Amendment search if a cop swipes your credit card, court finds

      A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that law enforcement can legally scan or swipe a seized credit card—in fact, it is not a Fourth Amendment search at all, so it doesn’t require a warrant.

      In the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals’ 15-page opinion, swiping a card does not constitute a physical search, as the magnetic stripe simply contains the same information obviously visible on the front of the card. Plus, the defendant, Eric-Arnaud Benjamin Briere De L’Isle, couldn’t have had a reasonable privacy interest in the card, the court concluded, because he would have tried to use it when he tried to buy something, thereby giving up privacy interests to a third party (the issuing bank).

      According to court records in United States v. De L’Isle, the case began in June 2014 when Eric-Arnaud Benjamin Briere De L’Isle was driving westbound on I-80 and was pulled over by a Seward County, Nebraska, sheriff’s deputy.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Regulators genuinely don’t understand the Internet can work fine without their regulation

      Every now and then, we see regulators trying the most asinine move toward the Internet: banning encryption, requiring this, prohibiting that. They seem to be trying things at random, and a lot of it can be explained with regulators not being permitted to allow the Internet to come into being in the first place.

      Regulators remain utterly confused when it comes to the Internet – everything from what it is (it’s an agreement about a communications network with endpoints only) via who is responsible for it (no one, it is an organic agreement between millions much like a language) to whether human rights should apply as usual when using it (yes, very yes).

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Merck’s $200m patent damages award voided after “misconduct”

      Northern District of California judge rules Merck forfeited its right to assert patents against Gilead because of “unclean hands” and “numerous unconscionable acts”, voiding the second-largest US patent damages award of 2016 so far

      A California federal judge has ruled that Merck forfeited its right to assert its Hepatitis C drug patents against Gilead because of “unclean hands,” and voided the $200 million jury verdict that was awarded to Merck in March.

      In the conclusion of her opinion in Gilead Sciences v Merck, Judge Beth Labson Freeman of the Northern District of California wrote that: “Candor and honesty define the contours of the legal system. When a company allows and supports its own attorney to violate these principles, it shares the consequences of those actions. Here, Merck’s patent attorney, responsible for prosecuting the patents-in-suit, was dishonest and duplicitous in his actions with Pharmasset, with Gilead and with this Court, thus crossing the line to egregious misconduct.

    • Kenya’s Fledgling Innovation Agency Could Be Dissolved

      Kenya could disband its infant innovation agency and have its functions taken up by the state’s science, technology and innovation body, if changes suggested by the government to reform the science, technology and innovation (ST&I) sector are carried through.

    • Amid Allegations Of IP Theft By Corporations, Local Kenyan Innovators React [Ed: When ideas are "property", people are "inventors" (or innovators or whatever) and copying/inspiration is "theft" surely we're brainwashed]

      As start-up and innovation centres spring up across Africa, Kenya – which birthed the continent’s tech movement – is emerging as one of its leading innovation nuclei. But concerns are intensifying here that young inventors are losing their innovations to conglomerates, in what is alleged as intellectual property theft or abuse.

    • Copyrights

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