Echo Chamber’s Lobbying: Team UPC Citing Team UPC as ‘Proof’ Regarding the UPC

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 6:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Another TTIP/TPP-like spiel… because they want all the money and power and would lie for it

Peter Popoff
Reference: Peter Popoff
Mr. Popoff lied to people (said he spoke for God) and seriously harmed them in order to get their money. Likewise, the EPO and so-called ‘experts’ (a conspiracy of self-serving law firms) are lying to people (while claiming to speak for SMEs) in order to systematically rob Europe with broad lawsuits and shakedowns.

Summary: Another fine example where the echo chamber of Team UPC is trying to sell us the illusion that European businesses want the UPC

THIS Web site has spoken out against the UPC for nearly a decade, since before it was even known as “UPC”. One might think that it’s all over for UPC amid Brexit, but don’t put the guards down and rest on the laurels because history shows that foul play and nefarious tricks can accomplish all sorts of things, by pulling the right strings behind closed doors. We see this in TISA, CETA, TTIP, TPP, ACTA or whatever the powerful corporations and their lobbyists/lawyers want to have.

Also, the UPC ‘mission creep’ can still be found on the surface…

Bristows, a UPC pusher and British parasite, wants us to believe that the words of Tilmann (mentioned here before in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]) count for something objective. Team UPC basically cites another Team UPC member and people notice this. One of them said that the paper was “authored under the chairmanship of Prof. Tilmann” (which isn’t OK).

IP Kat promotes the UPC quite a lot these days, at least when it’s Bristows staff authoring the posts. Here is the comment in full (under the misleading article with a misleading headline, courtesy of Bristows staff):

Since the author is keeping quite on this: “The German Bar Association’s recent position paper” was authored under the chairmanship of Prof. Tilmann who is presiding over the relevant sub-committee. For obvious reasons, this is not irrelevant and should be mentioned, at least if an objective information of the readers was intended.

So Tilmann of Team UPC interjected himself into IP Kat through Bristows (Team UPC). Nice propaganda, but people do notice:

To be fully objective, it should be stated as well that Prof. Tilmann is as well uttering a pro-domo plea as he has been heavily involved in the launching of the UPC. That the German Bar Association position paper reflects the position of its chairman is not a surprise.

In German he can be qualified as “Wendehals”, i.e. flexible neck.

In a first paper analysing Opinion 1/09 of the EuCJ, he was most adamant that the UPC was only open to EU member states. After Brexit, this opinion was not so important and a few amendments to the UPC under Art 87 would allow not only the post Brexit participation of the UK, but also further non EU member states.

It is amazing to see how an opinion can change when one’s own interests are at stake…..

We hope that IP Kat realises what it’s stooping down to. I confronted one of their writers this morning.

Loose Patent Scope Becoming a Publicity Nightmare for the EPO and Battistelli Does a China Outreach (Worst/Most Notorious on Patent Quality)

Posted in Asia, Europe, Patents at 6:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Who needs examiners anyway? Battistelli makes the EPO more like INPI or SIPO (China).

SIPO and Battistelli

Summary: The highly corrosive and destructive nature of Battistelli’s EPO presidency is demonstrated by his latest moves, which he foolishly advertises in the EPO’s Web site today (both the so-called ‘news’ section and his so-called ‘blog’)

WHETHER or not the EPO is becoming 'French' (i.e. no patent examination) it might be too early to tell, but in a matter of 2-3 years the stock will have run out and EPO examiners can expect massive layoffs. Insiders too tell us so.

“Battistelli is causing irreparable damage and people are seeing that.”The very low quality of patents in China (granted by SIPO, not the Croatian one) may be a sign of things to come at the EPO, under the leadership of Battistelli and the people he brought to the EPO (mostly from France, usually former colleagues from INPI where there’s no quality control). It’s all about quantity, not quality. Apparently, as I was told this earlier today by a university professor, Saudi Arabia had been pursing a similar strategy. They just use patents as trophies (false surrogate for innovation) and provide incentives — sometimes huge financial awards — for people to pursue the dumbest of patents just to increase the number of patents and give the illusion of scientific advancement/leadership. If this sounds like what the EPO is becoming, then it’s probably because it’s true.

“Dusting off some old files (some as old as 18 years ago we’re told!) and rubberstamping them is not “production” but a shoddy job, a cheat, and a rapid destruction of everything that the EPO stands for.”In my daily life I happen to speak to various academics and people who work in my domain. A lot of companies in Europe — as today I’ve learned — are reassessing the value of EPs (European patents) after the EPO descended to the gutter of patent quality. Dutch attorneys too are receiving queries to that effect, based on their letter which we published last week. Battistelli is causing irreparable damage and people are seeing that. Dusting off some old files (some as old as 18 years ago we’re told!) and rubberstamping them is not “production” but a shoddy job, a cheat, and a rapid destruction of everything that the EPO stands for.

Based on this tweet from earlier today and the Battistelli brain fart it links to (warning: epo.org address), the very low-quality patents of China are now common grounds for Battistelli. Is this what he strives for now? Attracting all the rejects, even from other countries, in order to just rubberstamp their rubbish? Is this the future of the EPO? It’s spelling doom for the EPO’s reputation and value. How much would people pay for EPs? 500 Euros apiece? What would that mean to existing grantees of EPs? How can one separate the wheat from the chaff or the noise from the signal? Battistelli, in our view, finds friends only in authoritarian regimes these days (including China) because no honourable politicians in Europe would associate with such a thug (they do their homework or have it done for them by their PAs). Here is the bogus ‘news’ from today (warning: epo.org address), complete with a photo op and glamourisation of the thug, Battistelli. To quote: “On Friday 30 September, President Benoît Battistelli welcomed Commissioner Shen of the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (SIPO) to Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France. The visit was held on the occasion of the annual EPO-SIPO Heads of Offices meeting, this year hosted by the EPO in Europe. The meeting is an annual fixture for the two offices and offered a valuable opportunity to discuss strategic topics of mutual interest and to take stock of the results achieved within the framework of both IP5 and bilateral co-operation.”

“Battistelli, in our view, finds friends only in authoritarian regimes these days (including China) because no honourable politicians in Europe would associate with such a thug (they do their homework or have it done for them by their PAs).”Worth noting: this meeting took place in France. Saint-Germain-en-Laye even (Battistelli was the mayor of the Paris suburb of Saint-Germain-en-Laye). The EPO has no branches/office in France. France is not a host country and France’s patent system is mostly a joke (some say because language barriers discourage applications from being sent there).

Battistelli has made the EPO look like something worse than a joke. It’s a banana republic!

And speaking of bananas, watch today’s news headlines to find “Seedy business: Patent war looms over Europe’s crop diversity”

Well, how far should patent scope go? Under Battistelli, anything goes…

Patents on seeds and plants are supporting a monopoly’s business model, not innovation or common interests. Here is what the article says:

An imminent EU legal opinion on food patents has raised fears among smaller businesses that agrichemical giants such as Monsanto and Syngenta will be able to monopolize varieties of staples like carrots and broccoli.

The European Commission is expected to issue an opinion before the end of the year to clarify ambiguities in EU law over the extent to which food products can be patented. The forthcoming decision has sparked a flurry of 11th-hour lobbying from industry and green campaigners.

The debate hinges on the nature of the innovation and whether the plant breeding techniques constitute genetic modification, or involve processes that are seen as altered or accelerated versions of more natural, biological processes.

Big companies argue that the ability to patent foods and seeds is critical to their business model, which involves pouring millions of euros into engineering bio-tech crops that they say are healthier for consumers and more resistant to pests. Their opponents say biological processes and their products should not be allowed to become exclusive to individual companies. They complain that food security and the environment could be at risk if crop diversity is reduced, with the most common vegetables being controlled by a handful of deep-pocketed companies.

In other news from today, the EPO has granted another crappy patent, this time on a thing that can prevent access to life-saving treatment. The patent is now partly revoked [1, 2, 3, 4]. How many people need to die from Hepatitis C because the EPO under Battistelli continues to fail to actually do the job properly*? Verging endorsement of software patents again, today the EPO links to a notorious page that we wrote about before and soon enough the Office is going south (not just literally), to a country where software patents sort of exist.

“How many people need to die from Hepatitis C because the EPO under Battistelli continues to fail to actually do the job properly?”If the EPO does not sort out its patent quality, for which it earned reputation in the first place, then it will lose everything. Battistelli doesn’t need to care because he can always go back to his political career in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Politicians needn’t retire in their 60s and Nicolas Sarkozy, Battistelli's political ally, is reportedly running for leadership again.
* Like organising stupid and self-aggrandising festivals for lobbying purposes at the expense of millions of Euros while buying the media — all this instead of focusing on actually examining patents, then granting or rejecting them based on their merit.

No Justice Even for a Judge at the EPO, as the Whole Institution is Beyond Rotten and Quite Corrupt

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Patents at 5:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The file against me contains so many demonstrably fabricated accusations that I have little doubt I can defend myself – or, rather I would be able to if, our internal system were not what it is currently, a kangaroo court.”

Laurent Prunier, EPO staff representative


Summary: The EPO’s kangaroo courts and farcical notion of justice should serve as a warning sign to anyone seeking patent justice at the EPO, either as partners/employees or stakeholders/applicants

THE EPO is a horrible, horrible place to work at. The staff survey speaks for itself and people who work for the EPO constantly remind us of the nature of the workplace, comparing it to being in the trenches.

The kangaroo courts of the EPO are some of the most jaw-dropping aspects of the EPO. Anyone can be accused of anything and so-called ‘evidence’ even fabricated or ‘sexed up’ in order to do whatever the egoistic President wants, making up for his insecurities and cluelessness by merely bullying people. We covered several examples of that over the past year. It’s not about one person. There are many victims and only few of them are courageous enough to go public.

President Battistelli believes he can be the accuser, the jury and a judge above the law (both national and international). He also acts a lot like an executioner, judging by the number of dismissal letters he sends out to people who represent staff (we might elaborate on this in some future series). Would EPO managers get away with murdering little girls because of the immunity they proudly claim inside Eponia? Read this new comment (posted today in relation to the EPO):

To: “Et sinon je reprendrais bien des croquettes”

When a drunken diplomat kills a little girl, immunity is upheld, but the diplomat is declared “persona non grata” and sent back to his or her country. The diplomat is then supposed to be judged there.

The Vienna convention was never designed so that diplomats can kill little girls with impunity. It was designed to protect, for example, USA diplomats to be judged for “anti-communist activities” in the former USSR.

In the case of International organisations, however, I am not really sure how the “persona non grata” concept is supposed to apply.

The above continues with more direct statements rather than hypothetical analogies:

Something else.

It has been 3 months since the Enlarged Board published that the EPO President violated judicial independence and nothing has happened. This is outrageous.

There is also the subject of the frivolity of the accusations. The board of appeal member who is the subject of the decision did, as far as I can tell from the available documents, nothing wrong. The accusations were downright ridiculous: having “objects which can be constructed as weapons” and “nazi memorabilia”. The exact wording at the time fails me, but it really sounded as if they combed his office and found nothing but a pocket knife and an history book to frame him.

This is also absolutely outrageous. It looks like the so called “investigation team”, even with major breaches of confidentiality (they bugged the computers used by the Council themselves, remember?) could not find anything serious and yet the board member is still guilty. Of what?

Next, we have had members of Suepo dismissed for, apparently, also nothing. Pure “coincidence”, according to a vice-president. Apparently, a few more will be dismissed soon.

As it was said on German TV: this is “Gantanamo auf Deutschem Boden”. How long will this scandal last?

From what we understand, it was sports equipment (a club), not a knife. It’s amazing how far Battistelli would go to get his way… we can also envision Parallel Construction being used to entrap or perhaps wrongly/falsely accuse the person, who in principle enjoys complete independence from the Office of Battistelli (evidently not in practice, especially when the Council and the Board of Mr. Kongstad become lapdogs rather than watchdogs of Battistelli).

The comment above is interesting and it is new. It’s a comment to which one person replied with a famous saying: “For evil to prevail it is only necessary that good men do nothing …”

I agree. There is a moral duty here. All my coverage regarding the EPO was done for zero financial gain. It’s just the right thing to do.

Another person said this:

The original accusation was that the member of the board of appeal used the public computers of the Office to spread “defamatory” material on VP3 – the weapons and nazi memorabilia were conveniently found later in his office and used for a classical case of character assassination.

To further reinforce the narrative about defamation, VP3 sued the member of the board of appeal for in a German court – you may have read the outcome above (28/09): it appears that the Procurator dismissed the case recently.

How long will this scandal last?

Scandal? Who says this is a “scandal” – you? And what about Newspapers, Lawyers, Judges, the IP world? Did you see any reaction from them? Because I didn’t. Therefore, it’s not a scandal. The Administrative Council is acting like this is totally normal. No scandal here.

If you wanna a scandal read TMZ.

The corporate media — and even so-called ‘IP’ media for that matter (we put IP in scare quotes because it’s a vague term that can refer to a plethora of entirely different things, not necessarily patents) — aids the EPO’s abuses by a conspiracy of silence and indifference. We spoke to some people from within this media and we know how and why they are gagged regarding the EPO. We think that a lot of so-called ‘IP’ media wants to just receive prepared ‘articles’ or advertise in ‘article’ form for the EPO, not engage in actual journalism. We recently covered examples from two major 'IP' media sites. Don’t expect them to cover the EPO scandals because they’re not designed or equipped for that. It’s just not their business model.

“Something is not just rotten at Eponia. Rotten is far too gentle a term and we intend to dig as deep as necessary to show what the EPO has truly become.”“Isn’t that just the point,” asked another new commenter (clustered deep inside an article from June at IP Kat, as the site no longer covers the scandals, just promotes the UPC for Battistelli). “The EPO’s immunity is designed to protect French Enarques from being pursued for “anti-union activities” on the territory of EPOnia. I see no incompatibility with the aims of the Vienna Convention …”

Tomorrow we shall continues our series about Mr. Kongstad. There will be a total of (by our estimation) nearly 10 parts.

Something is not just rotten at Eponia. Rotten is far too gentle a term and we intend to dig as deep as necessary to show what the EPO has truly become.

Pieter Hintjens’s Legacy of Fighting Against Software Patents Lives On

Posted in Patents at 4:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Poster from Pieter Hintjens
Full size | Original PDF

Summary: Pieter Hintjens died yesterday, but his campaign to end software patents won’t die

LONG before we covered the EPO in depth we had published a lot of articles about software patents in Europe. One of our most powerful voices was Pieter Hintjens, who sometimes even contributed. Pieter died yesterday. It was a sad day for many including yours truly and we are still thinking about him. Many people only discovered him after his death or while he was in his deathbed.

The Wikipedia page does him some justice. Speaking from my own experience, Hintjens had a wonderful sense of humour, playful cleverness as Stallman likes to call it, and avid activism with a technical edge. I really liked him and I will miss him forever. Many other people feel the same way.

Pieter HintjensDuring the software patents “war”, Wildeboer said, Hintjens did this, pointing to the image above. Georg Greve, the guy behind the FSFE, said the same thing.

“I have a big box of papers from the swpat directive at my parents’ place,” Benjamin Henrion responded. “There should be one on there. And SSP [Stop Software Patents] tshirts as well.” He later added a link to the original PDF (of the above, we’ve made a local copy).

What a great example of the clever humour of Hintjens! He did many other stunts like this.

“Before slashdot era,” Henrion recalls, “there was segfault. Pieter wrote an article in 1998 predicting that Microsoft was patent tax FOSS #visionary” (and he was right!).

So rest in piece, online friend. We shall carry on fighting against abstract patents on algorithms.

Photo credit: Hintjens “really liked this photo,” says Adam Flaherty. Photo by Tim Lossen.

Links 5/10/2016: New KDE (LTS), Mad Max Coming To GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 8:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop/Microsoft

    • Lenovo won’t make Windows 10 phones due to Microsoft’s commitment issues

      Lenovo’s COO, Gianfranco Lanci, has said that the Chinese tech giant doesn’t intend to release any new phones running Windows 10 Mobile. This is because he doubts Microsoft’s commitment to its floundering smartphone platform.

      Speaking at the Canalys Channel Forum 2016, Lanci said that while Windows 10 for desktops has been doing well in the business world, it has no plans to build smartphones using the operating system.

    • Latest Windows 10 Anniversary Update Build Sends Some Users To Reboot Loop Hell

      Those of you rocking a PC with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update may want to hold off on letting your system apply the latest round of fixes. There are several user complaints that Build 14393.222 (KB3194496), the seventh Cumulative Update since the Anniversary started flooding PCs in August, is borking systems by putting them into an endless reboot loop.

      The latest update package is supposed to deliver “quality improvements” in the form of several bug fixes for various issues, as well as improve the reliability of certain tasks, such as downloading and updating games from the Windows Store. Unfortunately, in many cases the installation fails somewhere along the way and rolls back the changes it made, as indicated by complaints posted to Microsoft’s support forums and Twitter. It also happened to me when I tried installing the update on my primary desktop.

    • More than half of PCs don’t have Windows 10 AU yet, and no one’s quite sure why

      Just 34.5 percent of all PCs are running Windows 10 version 1607, aka the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, according to AdDuplex, maker of a Windows 10 SDK for third-party app makers. The majority, 59.9 percent, are still running Windows 10 version 1511, also known as the Fall Update.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linus Torvalds admits ‘buggy crap’ made it into Linux 4.8

      Linus Torvalds gave the world Linux 4.8 earlier this week, but now appears to wish he didn’t after spotting some code he says can “kill the kernel.”

      When Torvalds announced Linux 4.8 on Sunday he said the final version added “a few stragging fixes since rc8.”

      But by Tuesday he was back on the Linux Kernel Mailing list apologising for a bug fix gone bad.

    • Open source compliance specs advance at LinuxCon

      The Linux Foundation announced the SPDX 2.1 and OpenChain 1.0 specs, which aim to clarify and standardize open source compliance and management.

      At LinuxCon Europe in Berlin, the Linux Foundation announced two new releases from different groups attempting to standardize open source license tracking, compliance, and supply chain management. The Software Package Data Exchange (SPDX) Project announced SPDX 2.1 for tracking complex open source license dependencies, adding new “Snippets” and appendix features, and the OpenChain Workgroup released OpenChain 1.0 for managing the open source supply chain.

    • Linux: The free operating system alternative that changed computing

      For most of us, when we think of PCs, we think of Windows. But Microsoft’s popular and well-known operating system isn’t the only option.

      Many users choose to live without Windows and run different operating systems like Linux instead.

      This year is a special one for Linux, as October 5 marks 25 years since the release of the Linux kernel.

      If you’re discovering Linux for the first time, find out all about it below.

    • Linux 4.8 adds Pi, Surface support but Linus Torvalds fumes over ‘kernel-killing’ bug [Ed: Linux foes go full swing to make the kernel look bad]

      Announcing the 4.8 release on Sunday, Torvalds’ correspondence on the Linux kernel mailing list appeared calm despite a few “pretty small” issues carried over from the eighth and final 4.8 release candidate. He signed off with his usual “go forth and test” command.

      The several highlights of 4.8 include support for the touchscreen on Microsoft’s Surface 3 device and the Raspberry Pi 3′s System on a Chip.

    • Linux 4.8 Kernel Support for Microsoft Surface 3 touchscreen [Ed: Microsoft sites put a "Microsoft" slant on Linux]
    • Solving the Linux kernel code reviewer shortage

      Operating system security is top of mind right now, and Linux is a big part of that discussion. One of the questions to be solved is: How do we ensure that patches going upstream are properly reviewed?

      Wolfram Sang has been a Linux kernel developer since 2008, and frequently talks at Linux conferences around the world, like LinuxCon Berlin 2016, about ways to improve kernel development practices.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • An Everyday Linux User Review Of Kubuntu 16.04

        My experience with Kubuntu has done nothing to convince me that I want to use KDE in the long term. If I did want to use KDE long term then my experience with Manjaro would definitely make me lean in that direction.

        This is an LTS release yet there are so many little niggles. New users to Linux will not be enamoured with having to find solutions to simple things like installing software.

        The problems are worse than those that I experienced with Ubuntu. At least with Ubuntu I could install a separate application for installing the good stuff like Chrome. With Kubuntu it is command line all the way and searching forums for solutions.

        With Linux Mint being so good it is hard for me to recommend Kubuntu 16.04.

        I am not the only person to have issues with Kubuntu, read this review by Dedoimedo, he runs into many of the same issues as I did.

      • KDE Neon 5.8 User Edition Linux OS Offers the Latest KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS Desktop

        The KDE Neon development team proudly announced a few minutes ago the release of the KDE Neon 5.8 User Edition GNU/Linux distribution with the recently released KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS desktop environment.

      • KDE 5.8 LTS, Fedora PSA, Magic Security Dust

        The top story today was the release of KDE Plasma 5.8 which was covered by all the top sites. This release brings some new features and long term support. It’s already in KDE neon as well. Elsewhere, The Inquirer began a new series on the legends of Linux and Fedora’s Adam Williamson posted a public service announcement for version 24. A bit of drama emerged from Andrew Ayer’s systemd post and Martin Owens ruminated on Free Software Faith.

      • KDE Turning 20, Launches Plasma 5.8 LTS Desktop To Celebrate Its Birthday
      • openSUSE: Beta 3 Release Updates FireFox, KDE Applications, VirtualBox

        The openSUSE Leap 42.2 Beta 3 was released today one day ahead of schedule and the last beta for 42.2 brought quite a few new versions for people to test.

        VirtualBox was upgraded from version 5.0.24 in Beta 2 to version 5.1.4 and there were an enormous amount of fixes applied to this newer version, which was released in August.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Arch Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Releases WildFly Application Server Version 10.1

        Improved load balancing is accomplished through a new profile, called “load-balancer” in the default domain.xml file. Profiles in domain mode allow for centralized management of multiple nodes (physical or virtual). This allows for multiple instances of WildFly that can be configured to provide different services.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • FOSS Wave: Goa, India

          These sessions mark the beginning of FOSS Wave: Goa, India. We have seen a lot of enthusiasm in this event and many people were interested in learning about FOSS and cutting-edge technologies. Contributors are already flowing in and we expect more in the near future!

        • X crash during Fedora update when system has hybrid graphics and systemd-udev is in update

          Hi folks! This is a PSA about a fairly significant bug we’ve recently been able to pin down in Fedora 24+.

          Here’s the short version: especially if your system has hybrid graphics (that is, it has an Intel video adapter and also an AMD or NVIDIA one, and it’s supposed to switch to the most appropriate one for what you’re currently doing – NVIDIA calls this ‘Optimus’), DON’T UPDATE YOUR SYSTEM BY RUNNING DNF FROM THE DESKTOP. (Also if you have multiple graphics adapters that aren’t strictly ‘hybrid graphics’; the bug affects any case with multiple graphics adapters).

        • Fedora 24 Users: Don’t Run “DNF Update” From The Desktop

          Fedora 24 users are advised against currently updating your system using the common dnf update command when running GNOME, KDE, or any other graphical desktop. Due to an awkward bug being explored, it could leave your system in an unhappy state.

        • Fedora Devs Warn Users Not to Run “dnf update” Inside a Desktop on Fedora 24

          Earlier today, October 4, 2016, Fedora Project’s Adam Williamson published a public service announcement (PSA) to inform the Fedora Linux community about an important issue with the internal update process.

          It appears that many users of the Fedora 24 operating system have reported in the last 24 hours that they are getting “duplicated packages” and “kernel updates not working” errors when attempting to run the “dnf update” command to update their installations with new package versions released through the official software repositories.

    • Debian Family

      • My Free Software Activities in September 2016

        My monthly report covers a large part of what I have been doing in the free software world. I write it for my donators (thanks to them!) but also for the wider Debian community because it can give ideas to newcomers and it’s one of the best ways to find volunteers to work with me on projects that matter to me.

      • Derivatives

        • Parsix GNU/Linux 8.15 “Nev” Is Shipping with Linux Kernel 4.4 LTS, GNOME 3.22

          We reported a couple of days ago that the Parsix GNU/Linux 8.5 “Atticus” operating system had reached end of life on September 30, 2016, and its repositories will be closing too on October 10 to make room for the next Parsix GNU/Linux release.

          That’s right, we’re talking here about Parsix GNU/Linux 8.15 “Nev,” which was already announced last week by the developers of the Debian-based operating system and reported right here on this space. It looks like work on Parsix GNU/Linux 8.15 “Nev” had already begun, and the development team is teasing us with its new features.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Dell EMC ‘backs’ Huawei open-source management disrupter

    LinuxCon Berlin Huawei today announced OpenSDS, an open-source project to replace vendor-specific storage controllers and says it has the weight of world number three Dell EMC behind it.

    It’s understood OpenSDS was presented to Linux Foundation reps on a recent visit to China.

    The idea is that vendors’ products would plug into one side of the finished OpenSDS and third parties’ tools and software, such as Docker, Kubernetes or OpenStack, into the other.

  • What CIOs need to know about open source forking

    Forking is a concept that can strike terror into the heart of any CIO that relies on open source software. Here’s how to make sure you’re on the right side of the split.

  • Open Source MANO Issues First Release

    ETSI’s Open Source MANO (OSM) group has today announced the availability of its OSM Release ONE, an open source Management and Orchestration (MANO) software stack closely aligned with ETSI NFV, and focused on helping industry accelerate the implementation of network virtualization. The OSM community aims to deliver a production-quality open source MANO stack that meets the requirements of commercial NFV networks.

    Available less than six months since the inaugural meeting of the OSM community, Release ONE has been engineered, tested and documented to allow for rapid installation in operator labs worldwide that seek to create a scalable and interoperable open source MANO environment. Release ONE substantially enhances interoperability with other components (VNFs, VIMs, SDN controllers) and creates a plugin framework to make platform maintenance and extensions significantly easier to provide and support.

  • Magisk Updated to v7, Now Completely Open Source

    Amongst the most notable changes, Magisk is now fully open source from v7 onwards, including the binaries that it makes use of. In addition to this, the Magisk Manager is now a completely different app altogether, becoming a part of the core experience. New features and improvements are planned, so we can be sure that things will continue to improve in the future.

  • Nextcloud 10.0.1 Maintenance Release Improves the Updater, Patches Over 40 Bugs

    The Nextcloud developers have released recently the first maintenance update to the Nextcloud 10 series of the open-source and cross-platform self-hosting cloud server forked from ownCloud.

  • Study: open source groups take security serious

    The IT security practices of some open source communities are exemplary, shows a study for the European Commission and European Parliament. Many communities use experts to ensure software security and to help their developers avoid security flaws. “These communities take security serious”, says Alberto Dominguez Serra, one of the authors working for Everis, a IT consultancy.

  • ZeroMQ founder Pieter Hintjens dies

    Pieter Hintjens, Belgian software developer and past president of the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII), gave much of his time and effort to the open-source community.

    He did so even up until the day he planned for his own death, which was today.

    Hintjens, who chose euthanasia today after dealing with terminal cancer, was a writer and a programmer who spent much of his life building large software systems and online communities, which he described as “Living Systems.”

  • It’s good to be an open source pro in Europe

    Open source employees in Europe have it good, especially when we compare that market to the rest of the world. This is according to a new report by Dice and The Linux Foundation. The report says that out of 1,000 European respondents, 60 per cent said it would be fairly easy to find a new job this year. Globally, the figure stands at about 50 per cent.

    “Demand for open source talent is growing and companies struggle to find experienced professionals to fill open roles,” said Bob Melk, President of Dice. “Rising salaries for open source professionals indicate companies recognize the need to attract, recruit and retain qualified open source professionals on a global scale. Regardless of where they reside around the world, these professionals are motivated by the opportunity to work on interesting projects.”

  • The 2016 Open Source Jobs Report Update: Insights From European Open Source Professionals
  • Walmart opens website to OS community
  • @WalmartLabs applies Electrode to get current with web dev
  • WalmartLabs open sources platform that powers Walmart.com
  • WalmartLabs open sources its React-powered universal application platform that underlines Walmart.com
  • Introducing Electrode, an open source release from WalmartLabs
  • These open-source compute technologies can help you build and scale your apps faster

    From ordering food, to finding a good doctor in the vicinity or enhancing our learning skills, most of us use an app, whether we are a teenager, in our 30s or even a septuagenarian.

    Not just big brands or multi-national companies, even small and medium businesses and startups are going down the app route. In fact, even your small neighbourhood street food joint wants you to rate their food and service on a popular restaurant search and discovery app because it means better business and value.

    For most organisations today, there are no second thoughts on whether an app is vital for their growth or not. The advantages of having an app are evident – from being able to stay on top of the customers’ mind and building brand loyalty, to being able to provide value to the customers, and doubling up as a marketing channel, apps are playing a vital role.

  • Tibco releases IoT integration toolkit to open source
  • Open Source Project Flogo Pushes IoT Integration and Connectivity to the Edge

    TIBCO Software Inc., a global leader in integration and analytics, today announced the immediate availability of its ultra-lightweight IoT integration solution, Project Flogo™. Its tiny open source integration engine allows application and business logic to run on edge devices, simplifying IoT integration challenges, avoiding technological lock-in, and reducing costs.

  • Tips from a software engineer for a balanced life

    Kent Dodds is a busy, busy guy. He’s a full stack JavaScript engineer at PayPal, hosts JavaScript Air, co-hosts React30, is an instructor on Egghead.io, is a Google Developer Expert, and spends a lot of time on Twitter and GitHub.

    He’s speaking at All Things Open this year on automating the open source contributions and maintenance management process in two sessions: Managing an Open Source Project and How to Open Source Your Stuff.

  • How to champion your committers

    A number of companies today proudly wear the open source badge to show their dedication to various projects, particular communities, or simply the idea of free software licensing. Many have gone down the Red Hat business route, creating a revenue model based on support and services, while others have built their business around proprietary features and add-ons to open source projects.

  • Aditya Mukerjee: Crossing the Language Divide in Open Source

    This fascinating talk from September’s GitHub Universe 2016 in San Francisco by Aditya Mukerjee, an engineer at Stripe, made me think a lot about language privilege and global digital inclusion. Mukerjee grabs you in his opening remarks, “I always keep my eye out for the ways technology can empower the disenfranchised — how it can amplify the voices of the subaltern. And it’s crucial to listen to those voices if we want to solve the biggest problems that the world faces.”

  • Web Browsers


    • Free Software Faith for the Long Term

      But that naturally led to the in-fighting. It’s typical for the front runner to be targeted by all the also-ran distributions. The FSF targeted Ubuntu’s practicalist concessions (even though they were fairly minimal), Other distributions ripped Ubuntu and their community apart, trying to block Ubuntu’s success. I’m not saying they meant to do it, or that it was a conspiracy. But that these other communities did not see Ubuntu’s success as their own success and naturally tried to undermine it as humans are likely to do.

      So for very human reasons, we’re here with no real champion for Free Software in the practical arena. Ubuntu has fallen for its own hype and is not able to being the Free Software faith with it, even if it was successful. The societal and long term benefits of Free software remain largely unknown to the majority of the world and we wait patiently for a successor that can try again to change the world.

    • Free Software Directory meeting recap for September 30th, 2016
    • Twenty-two new GNU releases in September


  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Amyris and Autodesk Offer Powerful Open Source Tools for Genetic Design to Enable Rapid DNA Engineering

        Genotype Specification Language (GSL), is a programming language that facilitates the rapid design of large and complex DNA constructs used to engineer genomes. The GSL compiler implements a high-level language based on traditional genetic notation, as well as a set of low-level DNA manipulation primitives. The language allows facile incorporation of parts from a library of cloned DNA constructs and from the “natural” library of parts in fully sequenced and annotated genomes. GSL was designed to engage genetic engineers in their native language while providing a framework for higher level abstract tooling. GSL was developed and open sourced by Amyris.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • OpenMYR Open Source Wireless Motors (video)

        The creator of the wireless motors Kyle Berezin explains more about their inspiration, design and features as well as some of the applications that they can be used for.

  • Programming/Development

    • The cost of forsaking C

      The C programming language is not trendy. The most recent edition of the canonical C text (the excitingly named The C Programming Language) was published in 1988; C is so unfashionable that the authors have neglected to update it in light of 30 years of progress in software engineering. Everyone “has been meaning to” learn Rust or Go or Clojure over a weekend, not C. There isn’t even a cute C animal in C’s non-logo on a C decal not stuck to your laptop.

      But Myles and I are not trendy people, so we insist that all of our students become fluent in C. A fresh class of C converts has just finished working through the K&R bible, making this a good time for me to reflect on why we deify this ancient tongue.

      We give students four reasons for learning C:

      It is still one of the most commonly used languages outside of the Bay Area web/mobile startup echo chamber;
      C’s influence can be seen in many modern languages;
      C helps you think like a computer; and,
      Most tools for writing software are written in C (or C++)

      The first is easy to dismiss if one likes the Bay Area web/mobile startup echo chamber, the second if one hates C’s influence on many more modern languages. Most engineers should take head of reason three, although our students also learn computer architecture and at least one assembly language, so have a firm mental model of how computers actually compute. But reason four is hard to ignore.

      Forsaking C means forsaking anything below the level of abstraction at which one happens to currently work. Those who work for instance as web developers forsake thoroughly understanding the browsers, operating systems and languages on top of which their own work stands.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Revealed: MRSA variant found in British pork at Asda and Sainsbury’s

      Meat produced from British pigs has been shown to be infected with a livestock strain of MRSA, the Guardian can reveal, raising concerns that the UK is on the brink of another food scandal.

      Tests on a sample of 97 UK-produced pork products from supermarkets show that three – sold at Asda and Sainsbury’s – were contaminated with the superbug strain which can cause serious health problems.

      The Guardian, working with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ), has also established that a loophole in import regulations is leaving an open door for MRSA CC398-infected live pigs from countries such as Denmark, where the disease is rife.

    • Poland abortion strike: Thousands of women in over 60 cities refuse to work in protest over restrictive laws

      Thousands of Polish women dressed in black have boycotted work and taken to the streets in protest against a plan to ban abortions.

      Without half their workforce, government offices, universities and schools in 60 cities across the country closed their doors.

      For the day of action, dubbed “Black Monday”, women donned dark-coloured clothes in a symbol of mourning for the loss of reproductive rights they fear.

      Poland already has one of Europe’s most restrictive abortion laws and opinion surveys show very little support for an even stricter law, despite the nation’s deep Catholicism and conservative political direction.

    • Flint Hit With Bacterial Illness as Residents Shun City Water

      Residents of Flint, Mich., affected by the contaminated-water crisis have added a new complication to their lives: an outbreak of shigellosis, a bacterial illness that is easily transmitted when people do not wash their hands.

      Health department officials in Genesee County, where Flint is the largest city, said there has been an increase in the gastrointestinal illness, which can lead to severe diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting, cramps and stools containing blood and mucus, according to a statement issued last month.

    • UNITAID-FIND Partnership To Scale Up Hepatitis C Diagnostics

      New medicines have revolutionised HCV treatment in high-income countries, yet the lack of appropriate diagnostic tools for HCV infection remains a challenge. Catharina Boehme, chief executive officer of FIND, outlined that HCV is “a silent killer which goes unnoticed until it is almost too late.” Accordingly, 85 percent of cases occur in low- and middle-income countries, with fewer than 1 percent of persons aware of their infection.

      The US$38.3 million project aims to develop “better, simpler, point-of-care diagnostic tools for HCV, and will introduce HCV testing and treatment in HIV programmes” with national governments and local implementation partners in Cameroon, Georgia, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, over the next three years.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Putin Suspends Weapons-Grade Plutonium Deal With US

      resident Vladimir Putin on Monday suspended a Russia-U.S. deal on the disposal of weapons-grade plutonium, a move that comes amid escalating tensions over Syria between Moscow and Washington.

      Putin’s decree released by the Kremlin cited Washington’s “unfriendly actions” and the United States’ inability to fulfill its obligations under the 2000 deal as reasons for the move.

      However, the decree says that the weapons-grade plutonium that has fallen under the agreement will be kept away from weapons programs.

    • Clinton: ‘I don’t recall any joke’ about droning WikiLeaks founder

      Hillary Clinton on Tuesday said she doesn’t remember ever commenting — joking or otherwise — about using a drone strike against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

      “I don’t recall any joke,” Clinton said, when asked Tuesday at a press conference in Pennsylvania.

      “It would have been a joke, if it had been said, but I don’t recall that.”

      The website TruePundit posted a report Sunday that alleged Clinton had in 2010 spoken of a drone strike against Assange.

      The report cited State Department sources and claimed Clinton had said: “Can’t we just drone this guy?”

    • Sen Mitch McConnell blames Obama for bill that Obama vetoed and McConnell repeatedly voted for

      Congress has overridden Obama’s repeated veto for the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act,” which allows US citizens to sue the Saudi government over its alleged complicity in the 9/11 attacks — and which may allow people in other countries hamed by actions sponsored by the US government sue the US in those countries’ courts.

      However you feel about the Saudi role in 9/11, or the US government’s actions abroad, there is one absolutely unequivocal fact: Obama opposed the bill, and Republicans in the House and Senate passed it over his strenuous, repeated objections.

      But those facts haven’t stopped senior GOP senator Mitch McConnell from blaming Obama for the law, despite the fact that McConnell vote for the law, voted again for it, then voted “Aye” on the proposition, “Shall the Bill S. 2040 Pass, the Objections of the President of the United States to the Contrary Notwithstanding?” (McConnell was joined by 28 senators who’d also written a letter condemning the law, warning of the risk of “potential unintended consequences”).

      McConnell said “I hate to blame everything on him, and I don’t” but “it would have been helpful had we had a discussion about this much earlier than last week.” The White House had repeatedly sent information to the Senate about the potential negative consequences of the bill for US interests. Nevertheless, McConnell accused Obama of “dropping the ball” by merely repeatedly vetoing the bill and pleading with Congress to reconsider, which left Congress in a state where “[n]obody [in Congress] really had focused on the potential downside in terms of our international relationships.”

    • Philippine president: Obama to hell, EU to purgatory

      Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has told President Barack Obama “you can go to hell” in his latest tirade against the U.S. over its criticism of his deadly anti-drug campaign.

      He also lashed out anew at the European Union in a speech Tuesday saying the 28-nation bloc, which has also criticized his brutal crackdown, “better choose purgatory, hell is filled up.”

      Duterte, who took office in June, has been hypersensitive to criticisms over his anti-drug fight, which has left more than an estimated 3,000 suspected drug dealers and pushers dead in just three months, alarming the United Nations, the E.U., the U.S. and human rights watchdogs.

    • PM wants British troops pulled out of European convention on human rights

      The Tory government want British soldiers to be exempt from the European Convention on Human Rights during future conflicts so they cannot be sued, in a move that has outraged activists.

      The plans were announced by prime minister Theresa May and defence secretary Michael Fallon at the Conservative party conference on Tuesday.

      The ECHR was established in 1953 by the Council of Europe with Britain as a founding member. Now, after more than 60 years, May wants out of the bits she doesn’t like.

    • FBI’s Comey: Actually, Chasing ISIS Off Twitter Makes It More Difficult For Us To Follow Them

      Over and over again we keep hearing politicians and others going on and on about the need for social media companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google to kick ISIS users off their platforms. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have called for this. And some people at these companies are supportive of this idea. Twitter regularly feels compelled to talk about how many ISIS accounts it removes.

      Yet, as we’ve pointed out each time it’s done so, this seems backwards. We’ve noted that intelligence officials have claimed that they actually get really good intelligence from following these social media accounts. But generally those voices aren’t heard as much. So it’s actually great to see FBI Direct James Comey (someone we rarely agree with) come out and say it directly: kicking ISIS members off Twitter makes things more difficult for law enforcement.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Indexing the Empire: How to Use Wikileaks’ Public Library of US Diplomacy

      “The Public Library of US Diplomacy,” or “PlusD,” is a very large and constantly expanding collection of internal documents from the US Department of State, published by WikiLeaks in a searchable archive. The library began in 2010 and at the time of writing contains 2,325,961 individual documents made up of about 2 billion words, spread over three collections of cables: Cablegate, the Kissinger Cables, and the Carter Cables. The State Department is the foreign affairs department of the US government and oversees the embassies and consulates of the United States all over the world. Each embassy or consulate corresponds with the State Department in Washington, DC, by sending daily telegram reports, or “cables,” between them, using a special electronic communications system.

      PlusD contains within it the WikiLeaks publication known as Cablegate: the collection of State Department cables published by WikiLeaks in 2010 and 2011. Cablegate itself consists of 251,287 cables, accounting for 261,276,536 words in total. If printed out in a standard-sized font, Cablegate alone would form a single line over 6,000 kilometers long — the distance to the center of the Earth. The cables are an average of 1,039 words long, revealing detailed internal information about the operation of 274 US embassies and consulates, and their activity within their host country.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • How the Earth will pay us back for our carbon emissions with … more carbon emissions

      The really scary thing about climate change is not that humans will fail to get their emissions under control. The really scary thing is that at some point, the Earth will take over and start adding even more emissions on its own.

      A new study underscores this risk by looking closely at Indonesia, which has a unique quality — some 70 billion of tons of carbon that have built up in peatlands over millennia. In this, Indonesia is much like the Arctic, where even larger quantities of ancient carbon are stored in permafrost, and are also vulnerable.

    • Research Suggests Peat Fires In Indonesia Could Worsen Global Warming In This Century

      The really scary thing about climate change is not simply that humans may fail to get their emissions under control. It’s that at some point, the Earth could take over and start adding even more emissions on its own.

      A new study underscores this risk by looking closely at Indonesia, which has a unique quality – some 70 billion of tons of carbon that have built up in peatlands over millennia. In this, Indonesia is much like the Arctic, where even larger quantities of ancient carbon are stored in permafrost, and are also vulnerable.

      In each case, if that carbon gets out of the land and into the atmosphere, then global warming will get worse. But global warming could itself up the odds of such massive carbon release. That’s a dangerous position to be in as the world continues to warm.

      In the new study in Geophysical Research Letters, a team of researchers led by Yi Yin of the French Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement look at the potential of peat bogs in equatorial Asia – a region that includes Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and several other smaller countries but is dominated by Indonesia and some of its largest islands, Kalimantan and Sumatra – to worsen our climate problems. It’s timely, considering that last year amid El Niño-induced drought conditions Indonesian blazes emitted over 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalents into the atmosphere. That’s more than the annual emissions of Japan (or, needless to say, of Indonesia’s fossil fuel burning).

  • Finance

    • Bitcoin makes inroads with new ATM in Kouvola

      A new Bitcoin ATM to be located in the southeastern city of Kouvola at the end of October will bring the number of such machines in Finland to nine. Officials say that because Bitcoin is a virtual currency that knows no borders, it’s difficult to estimate the number of users in Finland. Current guesstimates range from hundreds to tens of thousands.

    • Ericsson Slashes 3,000 Jobs in Sweden

      Ericsson AB said Tuesday that it plans to lay off nearly 20% of its home-country workforce, as the Swedish maker of telecom-network equipment races to cut costs amid intensifying competition from Chinese rivals and weak demand for its specialty wireless products.

    • Ericsson to slash about 3,000 jobs – up to 175 in Finland

      Some 175 Ericsson employees in Finland will be affected by the employer-employee negotiations that the Swedish telecom company announced it was starting on Tuesday.

      The company said that it plans to reduce up to 3,000 positions globally in production, research and development and sales and administration. Most of the personnel cuts will be made in Sweden.

      In a press release issued on Tuesday, Ericsson said that dismissals will be carried out using a combination of voluntary and forced reductions, as well as other measures, such as outsourcing.

      Altogether some one thousand of the affected employees work in Ericsson’s production unit, about 800 in research and development and around 1,200 in other departments.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Tim Kaine brings Wall Street fundraising muscle to Clinton campaign

      Pundits were quick to point out the benefits Sen. Tim Kaine may bring Hillary Clinton as her running mate in helping win his home-and-battleground state of Virginia.

      But what flew under the radar was that Kaine may play a key role in helping Clinton raise money, especially when it comes to Wall Street.

      Clinton has proven herself a capable fundraiser, announcing nearly $90 million in contributions for the past month. The former secretary of state is a known quantity with Wall Street as well, having delivered speeches to banks and representing the heart of the financial services industry as a senator from New York.

      In the lead-up to Clinton’s pick of a running mate, the potential that she might choose Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren — who has made cracking down on banks a centerpiece of her agenda — had Wall Street ready to tighten its pockets for donations.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • After Facebook “censors” anti-Muslim posts, hate groups sue US gov’t

      In July 2016, an organization called the “American Freedom Defense Initiative” joined another group called Jihad Watch in suing US Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Both entities felt slighted by Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

      In their 25-page civil complaint, the two anti-Muslim activists and their respective organizations made a ludicrous argument. The groups claimed that as the country’s top cop, Lynch “enforces” Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a law that limits libel and other civil suits filed against websites, service providers, and other online publishers. However, the Communications Decency Act is a civil, rather than a criminal, statute.

      AFDI—which the Southern Poverty Law Center designated last year as an anti-Muslim hate group—is the same group that opposed the proposed Park51 Islamic center that was to be built two blocks from Ground Zero. In 2013, the AFDI’s co-founder, Pamela Geller, and her fellow co-founder, Robert Spencer (who also founded JihadWatch), were banned from entering the United Kingdom for their “extremist” views.

    • ‘The end of Trump’: how Facebook deepens millennials’ confirmation bias

      HBO host John Oliver achieved the destruction of Donald Trump on 29 February 2016. At least, according to the Daily Beast.

      Fansided, a popular social news aggregator, dates Trump’s destruction at 1 August while the Daily Good called it for 21 March. Salon found no fewer than “13 glorious times” that Oliver had destroyed the real estate tycoon.

      Sharp-eyed consumers of the news might note that it is impossible to, as the dictionary says, “put an end to the existence of something” more than a single time. But for #NeverTrump Facebook users who love any content they see as bringing Trump down a peg, the formulaic headline is indicative of the Facebook media landscape: the most shareable, clickable and likable content on the site aligns strongly with its readership’s pre-existing biases, assumptions and political affiliation.

      For millennials who have never known an election without Facebook, the political landscape of the social media network has massive implications for the upcoming contest between Hillary Clinton and Trump – not least of which because of Facebook’s outsized influence on their exposure to political news.

      Six out of every 10 millennials (61%) get their political news on Facebook, according to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center, making the 1.7 billion-user social behemoth (which includes more than 200 million in the United States) the largest millennial marketplace for news and ideas in the world. But within Facebook’s ecosystem exists a warren of walled gardens, intellectual biomes created by users whose interest in interacting with opposing political views – and those who are them – is nearly nonexistent.

    • Spare me the campus ayatollahs ruining my student life: An undergraduate’s fearless broadside against the joyless PC takeover of our universities

      The drunken travails of Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim — a shambolic junior academic — have long become a byword for the excesses of university life.

      Flirting, seduction and seeing how many pints you could fit in between lectures were once relatively harmless pastimes on campuses across Britain.

      Yet today, too many universities seem determined to nanny students who are deemed too fragile to be exposed to the rough and tumble of the real world.

      Consider the fact that, this week, it emerged that all new students arriving at Oxford and Cambridge are being asked to attend ‘consent classes’ aimed at preventing rape and sexual harassment at the universities.

      At Oxford, the courses are compulsory as part of freshers’ week, while the student union is urging rugby players to attend anti-sexism workshops to fight ‘lad culture’.

      At Cambridge, consent classes are also being held for freshers, with students of some colleges having to opt out if they don’t wish to attend.

    • Censorship turns up the volume
    • Far-right Twitter and Facebook users make secret code to avoid censorship
    • Right-wingers and ‘free speech’ trolls devise secret internet language to dodge online censorship
    • White supremacy worms around censorship to create larger threats

      The alt-right has found a way to evade the censorship policies on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram.

      The far, far, far-right hate group has begun using the names of Internet applications like “Yahoo” and “Google” as stand-ins for racial slurs and insults. This way, they can still congregate online to spread slander and white supremacy without the worry that their accounts will be flagged and deleted.

      This amount of hatred one group can have towards — seemingly — every population of non-white non-heterosexual people is flabbergasting.

      It’s hard not to feel helpless when trying to minimize the threat of a movement that is so dead-set on cultivating heinously racist views it feels it must re-code innocuous household words.

    • Eduardo Hernández Santos: Conflict, Censorship & the Male Body

      Following part one of his conversation with Lidia Hernández Tapia, Eduardo Hernández Santos talks about his groundbreaking early exhibitions, his recent series El Muro, and the “boom of the phallus” in Cuban art.

    • U.S. universities in China get academic freedom, but face internet censorship – report

      U.S. universities operating in China say they are given the freedom to teach what they like in class, but face restrictions such as internet censorship, according to a report by an independent, nonpartisan U.S. agency.

      In the recent report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), its survey of 12 U.S. universities found that while administrators had control over curriculum content, fewer than half of them had unrestricted access to the internet.

      For example, at one of the universities reviewed by GAO for the survey, users were unable to access Google’s search page and other sites that were available to users at other universities.

    • Propaganda and censorship remain China’s favoured tools of control

      Two recent court battles over historical facts have demonstrated how tight China’s ideological control is and how anxious the party leadership is about its legitimacy of rule.

      Two weeks ago, a Beijing court ruled against a popular blogger and a Hong Kong-based beverage company for mocking a Communist Party propaganda tale about a Korean war hero.

      And in August, a Beijing court upheld a libel ruling against a writer for two articles published in 2013 questioning certain details about five second world war heroes.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Hackable Speed Cameras Highlight Risk Of Rush Toward IoT-Enabled ‘Smart’ Cities

      We’ve been talking at length about how the lack of security in the Internet of Things space is seen as a sort of adorable joke, but isn’t always a laughing matter. While the hillarious stupidity of some of the “smart” products flooding the market is undeniable, the reality is that the abysmal state of security in “IoT” devices (read: little to none) is creating millions of new attack vectors every year. And as Bruce Schneier recently warned, it’s only a matter of time before the check comes due, and these vulnerabilities contribute to hacking attacks on core infrastructure resulting in notable fatalities.

      Refrigerators that leak your Gmail credentials are one thing, but this looming calamity is going to be made notably worse by the rush toward “smart” cities. The same hardware vendors that can’t bother to secure their consumer-side hardware haven’t done a much better job securing the gear they’re shoveling toward cities under the promise of a better, more connected tomorrow.

    • AT&T Stops Charging Broadband Users Extra For Privacy

      A few years ago, AT&T came up with an “ingenious” idea: charge broadband consumers more money if they want to protect their privacy. Under this plan, users ordering AT&T’s U-Verse broadband service could get broadband for, say, $70 a month. But if you want to opt out of AT&T’s Internet Preferences program (which uses deep packet inspection to study your movement around the Internet down to the second) you’ll pay $30 to $50 more, per month. AT&T also made opting out as cumbersome as possible, knowing full well that few people would dare take the option.

      With its decision, AT&T effectively made user privacy a luxury option.

    • Subpoenas and Gag Orders Show Government Overreach, Tech Companies Argue

      It has been six months since the Justice Department backed off on demands that Apple help the F.B.I. break the security of a locked iPhone.

      But the government has not given up the fight with the tech industry. Open Whisper Systems, a maker of a widely used encryption app called Signal, received a subpoena in the first half of the year for subscriber information and other details associated with two phone numbers that came up in a federal grand jury investigation in Virginia.

      The subpoena arrived with a court order that said Open Whisper Systems was not allowed to tell anyone about the information request for one year.

      Technology companies contend that court-imposed gag orders are being used too often by law enforcement and that they violate the Bill of Rights. The companies also complain that law enforcement officials are casting a wide net over online communications — often too wide — in their investigations.

    • ShadowBrokers NSA Cyber-weapon Auction Generates Collective Yawn
    • Hackers find little demand for their stolen NSA hacking tools
    • Hacker group finds almost no takers for stolen NSA cyber tools
    • New Documents Reveal Government Effort to Impose Secrecy on Encryption Company

      When it comes to this country’s courts, longstanding practice, history, and the Constitution make clear that openness—of doors, of evidence, of arguments, of opinions—is the rule. Like the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech, that rule is not absolute. But it puts in place a default, one that forces those who want to keep court proceedings secret to show, in each case, that secrecy is warranted—and that the need for secrecy overcomes the traditions and values of openness that animate the default rule in the first place.

      But in far too many cases across the country, the government appears to have reversed the presumption that the First Amendment establishes, opting to keep secret information about its demands for private data where transparency is required and would serve the public good.

    • Feds Gagged Encrypted Communications Firm Open Whisper Systems Over Massively Overbroad Subpoena

      This morning the ACLU announced that it had convinced the government to remove a ridiculous gag order on a subpoena that had been sent to Open Whisper Systems, the makers of the popular Signal encrypted messaging app, and whose encrypted communication protocol is used by many others, including WhatsApp, Facebook and Google for their encrypted messaging offerings. It’s not that surprising that a grand jury would issue a subpoena to Open Whisper Systems demanding “subscriber name, address, telephone numbers, email addresses, method of payment, IP registration, IP history logs and addresses, account history, toll records, upstream and downstream providers, any associated accounts acquired through cookie data, and any other contact information from inception to the present” for certain accounts being investigated. But, of course, Open Whisper Systems has basically none of that data.

    • Decentralise (in a kind of centralised way)

      Once a month I am involved in running an informal session, loosely affiliated with Open Rights Group and FSFE, called Cryptonoise. Cryptonoise explores methods for protecting your digital rights, with a leaning towards focusing on privacy, and provides a venue for like minded people to meet up and discuss the state of the digital landscape and those that may try to infringe on the rights of digital citizens.

      We’ve all made it easy for large enterprises and governments to collect masses of data about our online activities because we perform most of those activities in the same place. Facebook, Google and Twitter spring to mind as examples of companies that have grown to dangerous sizes with little competition. This is not paranoia. This is real. We make it a lot more difficult when we spread out.

    • Surprise! Millennial office workers love email [Ed: Overreliance by young people on unencrypted communications]

      Millennials hate email, and they will finally kill this business scourge — or so you would think from popular discussions on the topic. But do a little research, and you discover that millennials not only don’t hate email, they use it more than any other age group.

      Yes, the text-obsessed and social-media-loving millennials are addicted to email, a recent survey of 1,004 mobile-using American office workers by Adobe Systems has found. Millennials (born between 1981 and 2001) check their email more often than any other group — even more than Gen X (born between 1961 and 1981) and baby boomers (born between 1947 and 1961) for whom email is the mainstay business communication method.

    • Bulk surveillance review is ‘fiction’, claims former NSA technical director

      Former NSA technical director Bill Binney talks about the Investigatory Powers Bill and the UK government’s independent review of bulk surveillance powers

    • Yahoo ‘secretly monitored emails on behalf of the US government’

      Some surveillance experts said this represents the first known case of a US internet company agreeing to a spy agency’s demand by searching all arriving messages, as opposed to examining stored messages or scanning a small number of accounts in real time.

    • Yahoo Secretly Scanned Users’ Emails For The NSA and FBI: Report

      Reuters says that U.S intelligence officials were searching for a specific set of characters within Yahoo emails, but it is unknown what exactly they were looking for. Reuters also reports that the order to search user emails came in the form of a “classified directive” sent to Yahoo’s legal team.

    • How American Companies Enable NSA Surveillance

      Without the cooperation of American companies — both voluntary and compelled — the National Security Agency’s system of mass surveillance simply would not have been possible. And on Tuesday, Reuters added the name of yet another American corporate giant to the list of those who have made it possible for American intelligence to intercept huge troves of information: Yahoo.

      According to the news service, the American internet giant designed custom software to filter its users’ emails according to a set of search terms, and deliver those messages to the NSA. The decision to enable NSA surveillance was reportedly made by CEO Marissa Mayer and without the knowledge of the company’s security chief, who quit in protest when he learned of the program.

    • Google and Microsoft Not Part of NSA Email Scanning Tied to Yahoo

      The details of the Yahoo email surveillance program, reportedly installed in 2015, are still emerging, but they immediately raise questions about whether other companies are participating as well. So far, four tech giants say they are not.

      “We’ve never received such a request, but if we did, our response would be simple: ‘no way’,” said a spokesperson from Google in response to a query about whether the NSA asked the company to build similar custom software to scan Gmail.

    • Yahoo Secretly Built Software To Scan All Emails Under Pressure From NSA Or FBI

      So Reuters has big exclusive report this morning about Yahoo creating “custom software to search all of its customers’ incoming emails for specific information” at the behest of the NSA or FBI. This was built last year — which came well after the Snowden disclosures, and after Yahoo had been revealed to have legally challenged earlier NSA dragnet attempts — and after it had rolled out end to end encryption on email.

      Apparently, this was a decision made at the top by Marissa Mayer, and pissed off the company’s top security guy, Alex Stamos (who is awesome and a big supporter of end-to-end encryption) leading him to leave the company (and move to Facebook, where he is currently).

    • Exclusive: Yahoo secretly scanned customer emails for U.S. intelligence – sources

      Yahoo Inc last year secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers’ incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials, according to people familiar with the matter.

      The company complied with a classified U.S. government demand, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI, said three former employees and a fourth person apprised of the events.

    • Delete Your Yahoo Account

      There’s no good reason to have a Yahoo account these days. But after Tuesday’s bombshell report by Reuters, indicating the enormous, faltering web company designed a bespoke email-wiretap service for the U.S. government, we now know that a Yahoo account is a toxic surveillance liability.

      Reuters’s Joseph Menn is reporting that just last year, Yahoo chose to comply with a classified “directive” to build “a custom software program to search all of its customers’ incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials” — the NSA in particular.

    • Yahoo! spied on users’ email at spy agencies’ behest: report

      Yahoo! searched all its users’ emails using a specially built program in order to try and locate specific information demanded by American intelligence officials, according to a Reuters report.

      The company, which was bought by Verizon in July for US$4.83 billion, agreed to scan all mail accounts in line with a classified directive from the US government, Reuters said, citing two former Yahoo! workers and a third person who had been informed about it.

      The directive came from the NSA or the FBI, the sources said.

      What the spy agencies were after was not specified by the sources, who said only that they had asked Yahoo! to search for a set of characters.

      Reuters said it had not been able to determine what kind of data, if any, was handed over to the spooks, and if other email providers had been confronted with similar demands.

    • Yahoo Reportedly Scanned Millions of Email Accounts for Intelligence Agencies

      Yahoo reportedly scanned hundreds of millions of email accounts at the behest of U.S. intelligence or law enforcement. The scans, reported by Reuters, allegedly selected incoming messages that contained a string of unknown characters.

      Yahoo did not deny the report, saying only that it is a “law abiding company, and complies with the laws of the United States.”

      According to the Tuesday report, Yahoo acceded to a 2015 government directive to give email access to the National Security Agency or the FBI. Reuters cited anonymous sources including two former employees and another person with knowledge of the events.

    • Yahoo ‘secretly scanned emails for US authorities’

      Yahoo secretly scanned millions of its users’ email accounts on behalf of the US government, according to a report.

      Reuters news agency says the firm built special software last year to comply with a classified request.

      “Yahoo is a law abiding company, and complies with the laws of the United States,” the tech firm said in a statement provided to the BBC.

      The allegation comes less than a fortnight after Yahoo said hackers had stolen data about many of its users.

    • Are smart toys spying on kids and stealing their imagination?

      Last weekend, I saw my first Christmas ad. And what a Smart Christmas it will be, judging by the haul on offer. Over the past year, companies have been teasing the various connected must-haves for the holidays: bots that can respond to kids’ questions and movements, and capture audio and video; an imitation smartwatch that chats with other devices over Bluetooth; not to mention the Barbie Hello Dreamhouse, a pink-and-white smart house for the iconic doll.

      Not everyone is excited about the intelligence creeping into kids’ toys. Privacy activists and developmental psychologists have objected on grounds ranging from security and privacy to fundamental worries about the nature of play. So should you be crossing these gadgets off your list? Or is this just a new variation on a familiar old song?

      As it happens, Barbie was at the centre of the last big smart toy brouhaha. Hello Barbie, perhaps 2015’s most controversial toy, could hold court on a wide range of topics – from fashion and family to dreams and paddleboarding. “Did you know that butterflies live everywhere in the world except Antarctica?” she might say, before confessing in a less guarded moment to “daydreaming about cupcakes”.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Islamic communities contain ‘tsunamis of atheism’ that are being suppressed, says leading ex-Muslim

      Thousands of ex-Muslims in Britain are living in fear of violent revenge for abandoning the Islamic faith while others are afraid to admit they no longer believe, a support group for ex-Muslims has said.

      Maryam Namazie, founder of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, described a “tsunami of atheism” in Muslim communities and urged that more needs to be done to recognise the dangers often faced by those who choose to renounce their faith.

      Speaking ahead of the release of Exposure, an ITV documentary that explores the lives of ex-Muslims faced with abuse and discrimination, Ms Namazie told The Independent: “There is a large group of people who are not seen and heard. Many young people living in Britain have left Islam and are facing huge ostracisation and isolation from their communities as a result.

    • State Appeals Court Says Not Just Any Nonexistent Law Can Be Used To Initiate Traffic Stops

      The US Supreme Court issued law enforcement fishing licenses with the Heien decision. Vehicle stops no longer needed to be predicated on legal violations. (If they ever were…) Law enforcement officers were no longer required to know the laws they were enforcing. The Supreme Court’s decision combined reasonable suspicion with an officer’s “reasonable” grasp of moving violations, further deteriorating the thin Fourth Amendment insulation protecting drivers from suspicionless, warrantless searches.

      With the standards lowered, officers can now stop anyone for almost any reason, provided they can make the justification stated in their report sound like a reasonable approximation of what they thought the law was, or what they wanted the law to be. (The Supreme Court’s Rodriguez decision still allows for bogus traffic stops. It just puts a highly-subjective time limit on the fishing expedition.)

      The Supreme Court’s case originated in North Carolina. Oddly enough, further down the judicial food chain, a North Carolina state appeals court has just suppressed evidence based on a traffic stop with no legal basis. (h/t The Newspaper)

      Antwon Eldridge was pulled over because his vehicle was missing the driver’s side mirror. This led to a search of his vehicle and the discovery of crack and marijuana. But the reason for the stop failed to hold up in court, even with the Heien decision in place.

  • DRM

    • HP Issues Flimsy Mea Culpa For Recent Printer Cartridge DRM Idiocy, But It’s Not Enough

      A few weeks ago we noted how HP had effectively delivered a DRM time bomb in the form of a software update that, once detonated, crippled customers’ ability to use competing third-party print cartridges in HP printers. While such ham-fisted behavior certainly isn’t new, in this case HP had actually first deployed the “security update” to its printers back in March — but didn’t activate its stealthy payload until last month. Once activated, the software update prevented HP printers from even detecting alternative ink cartridges, resulting in owners getting a rotating crop of error messages about faulty cartridges.

      HP customers were obviously annoyed, and the EFF was quick to pen an open letter to HP, quite correctly noting that HP abused its security update mechanism to trick its customers and actively erode product functionality. Ultimately HP was forced to respond via a blog post proclaiming the company was just “dedicated to the best printing experience” and wanted to correct some “confusion” about its DRM sneak attack. In short, HP strongly implied it was just trying to protect consumers from “potential security risks” (what sweethearts)…

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Taco John’s Continues To Wage A Long-Lost Trademark War To Keep ‘Taco Tuesday’ From Becoming Generic

        Way back in 2010, Mike wrote about how the Taco John’s restaurant chain had threatened a small restaurant in Oklahoma for daring to use the phrase “Taco Tuesday” in a promotion for cheap tacos on…you know…Tuesdays. Taco John’s did indeed have a trademark on the term in 49 of our 50 states, with the exception being New Jersey, because life is strange. The question at the time, as tends to be the question in most trademark disputes, was whether or not there was any potential customer confusion to worry about. Given the somewhat descriptive nature of the phrase, not to mention its widespread use both commercially and in common parlance, the whole thing seemed rather silly.

        Six years does little to change things, it seems. Taco John’s recently fired off a cease and desist notice to the Old Fashioned Tavern and Restaurant in Wisconsin for using the phrase.

      • The Trademarking of “Taco Tuesday”

        When the owners of the Old Fashioned Tavern and Restaurant received a cease and desist letter demanding they stop holding Taco Tuesdays, they thought it was a joke.

        For almost a decade, the restaurant had sold $2 tacos on Tuesday night. Other restaurants and bars in the area had similar promotions, and in cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, Taco Tuesday specials are as plentiful as yoga classes.

        But the author of the letter claimed that “Taco Tuesday” was a federally registered trademark that belonged to Taco John’s, a chain of around 400 Mexican-style fast food restaurants. And as Old Fashioned manager Jennifer DeBolt told the local Cap Times, they quickly realized that “the law firm is completely legit.”

      • Following Coverage Of Trademark Dispute, Lawyer Demands Image On News Story Be Taken Down As Infringing
    • Copyrights

      • Judge: Vague IP-Address Evidence is Not Enough to Expose BitTorrent ‘Pirates’

        While relatively underreported, many U.S. district courts are still swamped with lawsuits against alleged film pirates.

        The copyright holders who initiate these cases generally rely on an IP address as evidence. This information is collected from BitTorrent swarms and linked to a geographical location using geolocation tools.

        With this information in hand, they then ask the courts to grant a subpoena, forcing Internet providers to hand over the personal details of the associated account holder.

        In most cases, courts sign off on these subpoenas quite easily, but in a recent case California Magistrate Judge Mitchell Dembin decided to ask for further clarification and additional evidence.

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