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02.19.17

Links 19/2/2017: GParted 0.28.1, LibreOffice Donations Record

Posted in News Roundup at 6:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Call to adopt free and open source software in Oman

    Adoption of free software applications in the public and private sectors in the Sultanate was one of the recommendations of the just concluded Free and Open Source Software Conference.

    It also called for strengthening the role of small and medium enterprises in deploying free software developed in accordance with the requirements of the market and its needs.

  • Open Source Ethereum Unveils New Partners Santander and JP Morgan

    Open-source blockchain platform Ethereum has unveiled its latest blockchain development group, with partners Santander and JP Morgan pledging support for the project.

  • The best open source CRM software

    If you’re a small business looking to take the next step in your evolution, you may be looking at implementing a customer relationship management (or CRM) solution. But with enterprise-grade vendors like Oracle and Salesforce charging such a high premium for their services, how can smaller companies afford to get started with CRM software?

    The answer lies in open source. As with many kinds of software, there are multiple vendors who provide open source CRM solutions that are completely free to use. They may have restrictions on them, such as limited features and support, but for small businesses looking to try out CRM, they can be an excellent starting point.

  • NGINX moves towards web server dominance with European expansion

    Web server NGINX powers more than 317 million sites around the globes, and has rapidly replaced Apache as the engine of choice for the world’s 100,000 busiest, counting Netflix, Airbnb and Dropbox among its high-profile clients.

    NGINX Inc – the company set up to commercialise the open source technology – has now set its sights on developing its business in Europe and recently opened a new EMEA headquarters in Cork, Ireland as a launching point to the region.

    NGINX began life as a web server written by a Russian engineer called Igor Syosev in 2002 while he was working as a system administrator for the portal site Rambler.

  • Fermat announces alpha release of blockchain-enabled open source project

    Fermat has made upgrades to the technology and architecture behind the decentralized and blockchain-enabled open source project Internet of People (IoP). Its goal is providing device-to-device communication independent of any entity of web server.

    Since its April 2016 launch, Fermat has added more than 60 national and regional chapters, each mining IoP tokens in a decentralized manner. Each chapter president is charged with advocating for the project in their community, running testnet nodes, organizing meet-ups, marketing, and token mining. Every chapter can run a single mining node and earn IoP tokens from the IoP blockchain as their reward.

  • Events

    • Be Ready To Attend SCALE x15 Conference in March 2-5, USA

      We just witnessed the end of FOSDEM 2017; The largest FOSS event in Europe. It held around 660 different events about a lot of different topics and aspects of open source software. You can check their summary here.

    • #LinuxPlaya Preparation

      As #LinuxPlaya draws near, we’ve been preparing things to the event. We first did a workshop to help others to finish the GTK+Python tutorial for developers. While some other students from different universities in Lima did some posts to prove that they use Linux (FEDORA+GNOME). You can see in the following list, the various areas where they had worked: design, robotics, education, by using tech as Docker and a Snake GTK game.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.3 triggers a record of donations

      In this case, one image is better than 1,000 words, as the histogram represents donations during the first 10 days of each month, since May 2013, and doesn’t need any further comment. LibreOffice 5.3 has triggered 3,937 donations in February 2017, 1,800 more than in March 2016, and over 2,000 – sometimes over 3,000 – more than any other month. Donations are key to the life and the development of the project. Thanks, everyone.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Why I Love Free Software

      I’m a Linux desktop user, because Linux doesn’t try to lock me into their platform and services only to abandon me halfway through the journey.

      Instead of having my access to remote management features, convenient encryption features, and even how long I’m allowed to use my own device be restricted by how much I’ve paid for my operating system edition; I’m free to choose whichever edition I want based on my needs of the moment.

    • Here’s a sneak peek at LibrePlanet 2017: Register today!
    • What’s a cryptovalentine?

      Roses are red, violets are blue; I use free software to encrypt my online communication and you can too.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Bradley Kuhn Delivered Copyleft Keynote at FOSDEM

      At FOSDEM last week, Conservancy’s Distinguished Technologist Bradley Kuhn delivered a keynote “Understanding The Complexity of Copyleft Defense.” The speech reviews the history of GPL enforcement efforts, pointing out development projects such as OpenWRT and SamyGo that began thanks to GPL compliance work. Kuhn focused in particular on how copyleft compliance can further empower users and developers as more kinds of devices run GPL’d software, and he concluded his remarks urging developers to take control of their own work by demanding to hold their own copyrights, using mechanisms such as Conservancy’s ContractPatch initiative.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Yahoo releases deep learning software, RethinkDB resurrected, and more open source news
    • That Was The Week That Was (TWTWTW): Edition 1

      This is the first edition of TWTWTW, a weekly blog promoting interesting developments in the open source world. TWTWTW seeks to whet your curiosity. The name pays homage to the satirical British TV comedy programme aired in the early 1960s. Except satire isn’t the the raison d’etre for this blog. Instead, it provides a concise distilled commentary of notable open source related news from a different perspective. For the first edition, we present a brief catchup covering software, hardware, and a useful web service.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Wikipedia, open source and the truth

        In a world where fact is increasingly treated like fiction, and fiction is presented as fact, few online resources
        have managed to preserve and retain their credibility the way Wikipedia has.

        The online, open-source encyclopedia has become an indispensable reference tool for those in search of information, including journalists.

  • Programming/Development

    • DWARF Version 5 Standard Released

      The DWARF Debugging Information Format Standards Committee is pleased to announce the availability of Version 5 of the DWARF Debugging Format Standard. The DWARF Debugging Format is used to communicate debugging information between a compiler and debugger to make it easier for programmers to develop, test, and debug programs.

      DWARF is used by a wide range of compilers and debuggers, both proprietary and open source, to support debugging of Ada, C, C++, Cobol, FORTRAN, Java, and other programming languages. DWARF V5 adds support for new languages like Rust, Swift, Ocaml, Go, and Haskell, as well as support for new features in older languages. DWARF can be used with a wide range of processor architectures, such as x86, ARM, PowerPC, from 8-bit to 64-bit.

    • Things that won’t change in Python

      A lengthy and strongly opinionated post about Python features to the python-ideas mailing list garnered various responses there, from some agreement to strong disagreement to calling it “trolling”, but it may also lead the Python community to better define what Python is. Trolling seems a somewhat unfair characterization, but Simon Lovell’s “Python Reviewed” post did call out some of the fundamental attributes of the language and made some value judgments that were seen as either coming from ignorance of the language or simply as opinions that were stated as facts in a brusque way. The thread eventually led to the creation of a document meant to help head off this kind of thread in the future.

    • modulemd 1.1.0

      This is a little belated announcement but let it be known that I released a new version of the module metadata library, modulemd-1.1.0, earlier this week!

    • RPushbullet 0.3.1
    • A rift in the NTP world

      The failure of the Network Time Protocol (NTP) project could be catastrophic. However, what few have noticed is that the attempts to prevent that catastrophe may have created entirely new challenges.

Leftovers

  • Teen Edits Band’s Wikipedia Page To Bluff His Way Into VIP Section

    This teenager got seriously creative to get a better view at a music concert.

    Adam Boyd said he bluffed his way into the VIP area at the Albert Hall in Manchester, northern England, on Friday night after editing The Sherlocks’ Wikipedia page on his cell phone to say he was the lead singer’s cousin.

    He then showed the switched-up entry to a security guard, who let him slide into the roped-off section without issue.

  • Calculating contrast ratios of text
  • Security

    • Security updates for Friday
    • A Typo in Zerocoin’s Source Code helped Hackers Steal ZCoins worth $585,000

      If yes, then you would know the actual pain of… “forgetting a semicolon,” the hide and seek champion since 1958.

    • Israeli soldiers hit in cyberespionage campaign using Android malware
    • Yahoo Hacked Once Again! Quietly Warns Affected Users About New Attack

      Has Yahoo rebuilt your trust again?

      If yes, then you need to think once again, as the company is warning its users of another hack.

      Last year, Yahoo admitted two of the largest data breaches on record. One of which that took place in 2013 disclosed personal details associated with more than 1 Billion Yahoo user accounts.

      Well, it’s happened yet again.

    • Insecure Android apps put connected cars at risk
    • Mobile apps and stealing a connected car

      The concept of a connected car, or a car equipped with Internet access, has been gaining popularity for the last several years. The case in point is not only multimedia systems (music, maps, and films are available on-board in modern luxury cars) but also car key systems in both literal and figurative senses. By using proprietary mobile apps, it is possible to get the GPS coordinates of a car, trace its route, open its doors, start its engine, and turn on its auxiliary devices. On the one hand, these are absolutely useful features used by millions of people, but on the other hand, if a car thief were to gain access to the mobile device that belongs to a victim that has the app installed, then would car theft not become a mere trifle?

    • [Video] Keynote: Security and Privacy in a Hyper-connected World – Bruce Schneier, Security Expert
    • RSA Conference: Lessons from a Billion Breached Data Records

      Troy Hunt sees more breached records than most of us, running the popular ethical data breach search service “Have I been pwned.” In a session at the RSA Conference this week, Hunt entertained the capacity crowd with tales both humorous and frightening about breaches that he has been involved with.

      One of things that Hunt said he is often asked is exactly how he learns about so many breaches. His answer was simple.

      “Normally stuff just gets sent to me,” Hunt said.

      He emphasized that he doesn’t want to be a disclosure channel for breaches, as that’s not a role he wants to play. Rather his goal is more about helping people to be informed and protect themselves.

    • How Google Secures Gmail Against Spam and Ransomware

      Google’s Gmail web email service is used by millions of companies and consumers around the world, making it an attractive target for attackers. In a session at the RSA Conference here, Elie Bursztein, anti-fraud and abuse research team lead at Google, detailed the many technologies and processes that Google uses to protect users and the Gmail service itself from exploitation.

    • IBM Reveals Security Risks to Owners of Previously Owned IoT Devices

      hen you sell a car, typically the new owner gets the keys to the car and the original owner walks away. With a connected car, Charles Henderson, global head of X-Force Red at IBM Security, found that the original owner still has remote access capabilities, even years after the car has been sold.

      Henderson revealed his disturbing new research into a previously unexplored area of internet of things (IoT) security at the RSA Conference here on Feb. 17. In a video interview with eWEEK, Henderson detailed the management issue he found with IoT devices and why it’s a real risk.

      “As smart as a connected car is, it’s not smart enough to know that it has been sold, and that poses a real problem,” Henderson said.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Thousands of Filipino Catholics march against death penalty, war on drugs

      Thousands of Roman Catholics marched in the Philippines capital Manila on Saturday in the biggest gathering denouncing extra-judicial killings and a government plan to reimpose the death penalty for criminals.

      Dubbed a “Walk for Life” prayer rally and endorsed by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the gathering came just days after the church launched its strongest attack against President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

      Organizers claimed as many as 50,000 people took part in the march toward Manila’s Rizal Park, while about 10,000 based on police estimates stayed to hear speeches.

      More than 7,600 people have been killed since Duterte launched his anti-drugs campaign seven months ago. More than 2,500 died in shootouts during raids and sting operations, according to the police.

      Amid mounting criticism about a surge in killings, Duterte said on Saturday that the campaign was “by and large successful”.

      Speaking at the Philippine Military Academy’s alumni homecoming in Baguio City, he said the drug problem was more complex than he initially thought, prompting him to seek military support.

    • Eight killed in Xinjiang knife attack: police shoot three attackers

      Eight people were killed in a violent attack in China’s restive region of Xinjiang on Tuesday, mainland media reported.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • End persecution of Zambian journalist Dr M’membe

      The Courage Foundation calls for an immediate end to all legal and political persecution against Zambian journalist Dr. Fred M’membe, his lawyer and his family.

      While he was giving a lecture in Jamaica, Dr M’membe’s home in Zambia was raided and his wife, Mutinta Mazoka M’membe, was arrested, detained for two nights and then released on bail. She’s due to face charges in court on 3 March.

    • Ecuadorians Tell Presidential Candidates They Want Assange Safe

      Ecuador was hit by a Twitterstorm on Thursday as people around the world joined a national campaign to pressure the South American country’s right-wing presidential candidates to retract their promises to kick famed whistleblower Julian Assange out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

    • What Wikileaks Docs Say About Ecuador’s Presidential Candidates

      In the final days of Ecuador’s presidential campaign, WikiLeaks republishes U.S. diplomatic cables related to the three major candidates.

      As Ecuador’s leading presidential candidate of the governing Alianza Pais party, Lenin Moreno, wrapped up his campaign with a massive rally in the nation’s capital, Quito, on Wednesday, WikiLeaks tweeted out portions of the U.S. diplomatic cables related to the three major candidates in Sunday’s election.

    • Turkey Arrests Journalist For Reporting On Hack

      Turkey, already in the midst of a crackdown on the media, has arrested a journalist for reporting on hacked emails that revealed apparent corruption in the country’s government. His colleagues say he may have been caught after sharing a group direct message on Twitter with a hacker group and several fellow journalists.

      Deniz Yucel, a Turkey correspondent for the German newspaper Die Welt, has been held in police custody since Tuesday, the paper has reported. Yucel is the seventh journalist jailed for reporting about the emails of Turkey’s Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, which were publicly released in October by the marxist hacktivist group RedHack, then indexed by WikiLeaks.

      If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Scientists have just detected a major change to the Earth’s oceans linked to a warming climate

      A large research synthesis, published in one of the world’s most influential scientific journals, has detected a decline in the amount of dissolved oxygen in oceans around the world — a long-predicted result of climate change that could have severe consequences for marine organisms if it continues.

      The paper, published Wednesday in the journal Nature by oceanographer Sunke Schmidtko and two colleagues from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, found a decline of more than 2 percent in ocean oxygen content worldwide between 1960 and 2010. The loss, however, showed up in some ocean basins more than others. The largest overall volume of oxygen was lost in the largest ocean — the Pacific — but as a percentage, the decline was sharpest in the Arctic Ocean, a region facing Earth’s most stark climate change.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • President Trump, White House Apprentice

      It’s with a whiff of desperation that President Trump insists these days that he’s the chief executive Washington needs, the decisive dealmaker who, as he said during the campaign, “alone can fix it.” What America has seen so far is an inept White House led by a celebrity apprentice.

      This president did not inherit “a mess” from Barack Obama, as he likes to say, but a nation recovered from recession and with strong alliances abroad. Mr. Trump is well on his way to creating a mess of his own, weakening national security and even risking the delivery of basic government services. Most of the top thousand jobs in the administration remain vacant. Career public servants are clashing with inexperienced “beachhead” teams appointed by the White House to run federal agencies until permanent staff members arrive.

    • Congressman calls for probe into Trump’s use of Android phone

      In a letter to the House Oversight Committee, a Democrat from Los Angeles worries hackers could hijack Trump’s “prized Twitter account” through the personal phone he reportedly chooses to use.

    • Mitch McConnell Just Reached a New Low

      In ramming through Trump’s EPA pick, the majority leader committed an egregious cover-up and a “total abdication of the Senate’s constitutional responsibility.”

    • The man who brought down Nixon says Trump is even ‘more treacherous’

      Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein has attacked Donald Trump’s “lying” and said his attacks on the media are more treacherous than those of Richard Nixon, the president he helped bring down.

      Bernstein, whose reporting with Bob Woodward and Ben Bradlee helped exposed the Watergate scandal of the 1970s, has told his 26,000 twitter followers: “The most dangerous ‘enemy of the people’ is presidential lying – always. Attacks on the press by Donald Trump [are] more treacherous than Nixon’s.”

      Apparently questioning Trump’s mental stability, Bernstein added: “Real news (not fake) is that Donald Trump is trying to make conduct of the press the issue instead of egregious (and unhinged) conduct of POTUS [President of the United States].”

    • Leaked tape reveals Trump invited club guests to ‘come along’ during cabinet interviews

      Newly leaked audio from a November party at President Trump’s Bedminster, N.J., golf club reveals then president-elect Trump touting to guests his scheduled interviews on premises with potential cabinet members and White House staff.

      “We’re doing a lot of interviews tomorrow — generals, dictators, we have everything,” Trump says in the tape, obtained by Politico and published Saturday. “You may wanna come around. It’ll be fun. We’re really working tomorrow. We have meetings every 15, 20 minutes with different people that will form our government.”

    • Uber exec broke ethics rule when lobbying about rights at Chicago airports
    • Is It Time to Call Trump Mentally Ill?

      A lot of people seem to be questioning President Trump’s mental health. This month, Representative Ted Lieu, a California Democrat, went so far as to say he was considering proposing legislation that would require a White House psychiatrist.

      More controversial is the number of mental health experts who are joining the chorus. In December, a Huffington Post article featured a letter written by three prominent psychiatry professors that cited President Trump’s “grandiosity, impulsivity, hypersensitivity to slights or criticism, and an apparent inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality” as evidence of his mental instability. While stopping short of giving the president a formal psychiatric diagnosis, the experts called for him to submit to a full medical and neuropsychiatric evaluation by impartial investigators.

      A practicing psychologist went further in late January. He was quoted in a U.S. News and World Report article titled “Temperament Tantrum,” saying that President Trump has malignant narcissism, which is characterized by grandiosity, sadism and antisocial behavior.

    • Trump tweets: The media is the ‘enemy of the American people’

      He had posted and then quickly deleted a slightly different version of the tweet just a few minutes earlier, which omitted ABC and CBS. He also included the word “SICK!” at the end of the original post.

      The tweet came one day after Trump held an adversarial and lengthy news conference, in which he berated the media as “very fake news” and dismissed news reports about his and his associates’ ties to Russia as a “ruse.”

    • Donald Trump says ‘fake news’ media is ‘enemy of the American people’

      Donald Trump has branded his critics in the US press “not my enemy” but the “enemy of the American people”, in a tweet that came a day after he launched a sustained attack on the media during a White House press conference.

      In his latest barb aimed at US journalists, the Republican billionaire took to Twitter to accuse reporters of publishing “fake news” and singled out several broadcasters for criticism.

    • Donald Trump’s administration is in ‘disarray’, warns John McCain at Munich Security Conference

      Donald Trump’s administration is in “disarray” and has “a lot of work to do”, a senior Republican figure has warned at a high-level meeting of defence and security chiefs in Germany.

      Senator John McCain, an outspoken critic of the US President, said Mr Trump was prone to contradicting himself and said his remarks should not be taken at face value.

      His warning was significant as other US officials speaking at the Munich Security Conference had sought to reassure America’s allies that the apparent chaos in Washington was being overblown.

      It followed a day after Mr Trump insisted his administration was running like a “finely-tuned machine”, amid a furore over the resignation of Michael Flynn as national security adviser.

    • Everything Trump Did in His 4th Week That Actually Matters

      Signed a bill to allow coal-mining operations to put more pollution in streams. That’s really not an ungenerous reading of the bill Trump signed on Thursday. The legislation, as David Dayen outlined recently, used a heretofore rarely used mechanism instituted by the Congressional Review Act of 1996 (CRA), by which Congress can junk recent regulations and prevent the executive branch from ever signing something similar in the future without Congress. By signing the bill, Trump eliminated an Obama rule that protected 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 square miles of forest from mountaintop-removal operations that dump debris rich with heavy metals into nearby ecosystems.

    • Finland grants asylum to Russian opposition leader

      Petrozavodsk businessman and Karelian Republic opposition leader Vasili Popov has been granted political asylum in Finland. He confirmed his status to a reporter on the public broadcaster Yle’s Novosti Russian-language news team on Friday.

      Before fleeing to Finland in the spring of 2015, Popov was a leader in the liberal Russian United Democratic Party known as Yabloko in the Karelian Republic, a federal subject of Russia.

      In August 2015, Yle reported that Russian authorities had declared Popov to be detained in absentia, as an international search warrant for his arrest was issued via the international police body Interpol. The tabloid Ilta-Sanomat reported at the time that Popov was arrested by Finnish police from his Joensuu home at the request of Russian authorities.

    • Popular newsletter uses open-source techniques to cover ‘WTF’ is happening with Trump
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • ACLU calls Hogan Facebook policy ‘censorship’

      The ACLU of Maryland contends Gov. Larry Hogan’s deletion of Facebook comments is tantamount to censorship.

      The civil rights organization sent the Republican governor a letter Friday outlining its legal argument that Hogan violated the First Amendment rights of his constituents when he deleted their comments from his official Facebook page and banned some people from posting.

    • Techdirt lawyers ask judge to throw out suit over “Inventor of E-mail”

      The motion holds that Techdirt’s allegedly defamatory statements are actually constitutionally protected opinion. “This lawsuit is a misbegotten effort to stifle historical debate, silence criticism, and chill others from continuing to question Ayyadurai’s grandiose claims,” write Masnick’s lawyers.

      The motion skims the history of e-mail and points out that the well-known fields of e-mail messages, like “to,” “from,” “cc,” “subject,” “message,” and “bcc,” were used in ARPANET e-mail messages for years before Ayyadurai made his “EMAIL” program.

      Ayyadurai focuses on statements calling him a “fake,” a “liar,” or a “fraud” putting forth “bogus” claims. Masnick counters that such phrases are “rhetorical hyperbole” meant to express opinions and reminds the court that “[t]he law provides no redress for harsh name-calling.”

    • PewDiePie calls out media “attack” in response to Disney fallout

      This week started with controversial PewDiePie news—and that’s how it’s going to end, too. The YouTube megastar, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, posted a response video today addressing The Wall Street Journal’s report about alleged anti-Semitic comments. Those comments cost him both a lucrative contract with Disney and his deal with YouTube Red.

      In his response, Kjellberg apologized for jokes that “went too far” and acknowledged that he offended people. But he also claimed that “old-school media” (in this case the Journal) attacked him personally for being a YouTube personality who makes a substantial living off the online video platform.

    • Kids Shouldn’t Use the Internet, Russia’s Site-Blocking Chief Says

      The head of Rozcomnadzor, the body that oversees website-blocking in Russia, made a shocking statement this week. According to Alexander Zharov, children under ten years of age shouldn’t use the Internet, and there’s “nothing good” about a three-year-old who uses a tablet to watch cartoons.

    • Calling time on the War, censorship and exceptional difficulty

      ‘Europe’s nightmare is over” was the dramatic first sentence of the Irish Independent’s editorial on the day when Victory in Europe was celebrated, marking the end of six years of “slaughter and desolation” on the continent. The paper suggested that it would be up to future historians to argue over whether “it was the tenacity and resources of the British, the colossal weight of American intervention, or the astonishing power of Russia” which had played the decisive role in Germany’s downfall. Looking back at it now it is easier to agree that it was a combination of all three.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Implementing Privacy Preserving Auction Protocols

      In this thesis we translate Brandt’s privacy preserving sealed-bid online auction protocol from RSA to elliptic curve arithmetic and analyze the theoretical and practical benefits. With Brandt’s protocol, the auction outcome is completely resolved by the bidders and the seller without the need for a trusted third party. Loosing bids are not revealed to anyone. We present libbrandt, our implementation of four algorithms with different outcome and pricing properties, and describe how they can be incorporated in a real-world online auction system. Our performance measurements show a reduction of computation time and prospective bandwidth cost of over 90% compared to an implementation of the RSA version of the same algorithms. We also evaluate how libbrandt scales in different dimensions and conclude that the system we have presented is promising with respect to an adoption in the real world.

    • Riseup moves to encrypted email in response to legal requests.

      After exhausting our legal options, Riseup recently chose to comply with two sealed warrants from the FBI, rather than facing contempt of court (which would have resulted in jail time for Riseup birds and/or termination of the Riseup organization). The first concerned the public contact address for an international DDoS extortion ring. The second concerned an account using ransomware to extort money from people.

    • How cryptocurrency will cripple today’s governments – and they won’t see it coming

      Cryptocurrency will cripple governmental ability to collect taxes, and they won’t see it coming. When it’s already happened, expect major changes to take place in how society is organized on a large scale – but also expect governments to act in desperation to retain control.

      As bitcoin launched in 2009, most early adopters saw its disruptive potential. While bitcoin has stalled for some time approaching a valid use of the term “stagnation”, cryptocurrency in a larger context is still just as disruptive. In 2011, I stated that bitcoin (cryptocurrency) will do to banks what e-mail did to the postal services. This is not just true, but it will be even more brutal to governments, and by extension, governmental services.

      Now, governments love anything that smells like innovation, because it means jobs, this magic word that smells of magic unicorns to anybody in government. Therefore, people who like innovation are nurturing this bitcoin thing, this cryptocurrency thing, this ethereum thing (as if governments made a difference, but still). Lots of startups in tip-of-the-spear financial technology means that their government may get a head start over other governments. They have no idea that cryptocurrency will radically scale back the power of government, not just their own one, but also all those other governments over which it seeks a competitive edge.

    • Op-ed: Mark Zuckerberg’s manifesto is a political trainwreck

      Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has just published a 5,700 word “letter” on his profile, where he asserts that Facebook represents one of history’s “great leaps.” Though he covers a number of topics, what’s most interesting is how he positions Facebook as a force for political change in the coming years. His goals are lofty, sometimes even grandiose. That’s not the problem.

      The problem is a fundamental contradiction built into the way he hopes to create what he calls a “global community” by essentially gerrymandering the Internet.

    • Germans, do you own a Cayla doll? Kill it with fire

      IN GERMANY, people are outraged by the news that a doll that can listen to what a child says, record that information, connect to the internet and be hacked.

      We have heard of bad dolls before. Often they appear in horror movies like Child’s Play, sometimes they are just cursed and live on a shelf in your nan’s spare bedroom with eyes that follow you around. In this instance it is a doll called Cayla.

    • Your personal Facebook Live videos can legally end up on TV

      Man streams son’s birth on Facebook Live – sees footage on Good Morning America.

      Think you control what happens to your personal videos? Think again.

      One father who live-streamed his partner’s labour on Facebook last May, has found out the hard way: he saw the birth of his son replayed on Good Morning America and numerous other media outlets.

      This week, he lost a high-profile court battle against the broadcasters.

      If you don’t want this to happen to you, don’t make the same mistakes.

    • Mark Zuckerberg’s letter annotated: what he said and what he didn’t

      Mark Zuckerberg opens his missive with a grammatical ambiguity: who are “we”? Is this a letter to Facebook, or to the world? It can be read both ways. But regardless of the intended audience, there’s a subtext to the opening paragraph which informs the whole 5,700-word letter: for an increasing number of people, the answer to Zuckerberg’s question is “no”. Zuckerberg wants for more than Facebook to be an insanely profitable mega-corporation. He wants the company to be seen as a force for good in the world, and right now, he’s concerned that it isn’t.

    • Mark Zuckerberg Shares Facebook’s Plan to Bring the Global Community Together
    • Mark Zuckerberg’s Answer to a World Divided by Facebook Is More Facebook

      When I ask Mark Zuckerberg if the presidential election changed the way he sees Facebook—if he made poor assumptions, if Facebook functioned in ways he didn’t intend—he pauses.

      I’ve interviewed Zuckerberg before, and he tends to pause like this, gathering his thoughts in complete silence, sometimes turning to face the empty space across the room. But this dead air lasts particularly long. Five seconds. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten. “I don’t know,” he finally says. “It’s a very interesting question.” Pause.

      “If you continue giving people voice and work to create a diversity of ideas and common understanding and strengthen the social fabric,” he says, not directly answering the question, “then over the long term we will go in the right direction regardless if you disagree on short-term things.”

    • Stalkscan Is A Creepy Tool That Exposes All Your Facebook Public Information In One Click

      A Belgian ethical hacker has created an online tool, named Stalkscan, that shows you how powerful Facebook’s search tool is and what kind of information is available on the social network publicly. All you need to do is type the URL of a person’s profile in the web interface and you’re good to go. The creator of the tool also outlines that the tool doesn’t violate Facebook’s privacy policies.

    • Data Selfie: This Free And Open Source Tool Shows How Facebook’s AI Tracks You All The Time

      How does Facebook know what to show to you? How does it make predictions and guesses your interest? Some of you might be having a rough idea that Facebook’s algorithms keep tracking your activity and user-interactions, but what’s the real deal?

    • Now sites can fingerprint you online even when you use multiple browsers

      Researchers have recently developed the first reliable technique for websites to track visitors even when they use two or more different browsers. This shatters a key defense against sites that identify visitors based on the digital fingerprint their browsers leave behind.

      State-of-the-art fingerprinting techniques are highly effective at identifying users when they use browsers with default or commonly used settings. For instance, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s privacy tool, known as Panopticlick, found that only one in about 77,691 browsers had the same characteristics as the one commonly used by this reporter. Such fingerprints are the result of specific settings and customizations found in a specific browser installation, including the list of plugins, the selected time zone, whether a “do not track” option is turned on, and whether an adblocker is being used.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • It’s Not Ok

      Writer Shazia Hobbs was invited to Cleveland Police HQ, in Middlesborough, to speak at a conference titled ‘It’s Not OK’. The event was about breaking the silence on sexual violence and how to better protect victims. Shazia was representing the Halo Project Charity, an organisation that supports victims of honour-based violence, forced marriages and FGM Here’s what she had to say on the subject.

    • Two West Midlands Police officers charged over ‘plot to steal and sell drugs’

      Pc Wahid Husman and Pc Tahsib Majid, who were based in Perry Barr, are among a group appearing before magistrates today.

      The pair face charges including drug offences, conspiracy to steal and misconduct in a public office.

      The constables were immediately suspended from duty following their charge.

      Six other people were arrested in early morning raids across the West Midlands area on Tuesday morning.

    • In Somaliland, women are being raped as a result of extreme drought and lack of support

      “Two days ago four men came, grabbed me and started raping me. Most women and girls in the camp have been assaulted or raped by gangs,” begins Hodan Ahmedan, 23, sitting in her makeshift shelter where she has lived since she arrived from drought-ridden eastern Somaliland to a camp for internally displaced in Maxamed Mooge, Hargeisa.

      Cases of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) are rife here. A lack of police presence, inadequate lighting, an absence of sanitary facilities and an increase in the number of female-only households has rendered this camp an ideal ground for SGBV. “The ground is really hard here so we can’t dig to make lavatories.

    • Right to Record Police Established in U.S. Fifth Circuit

      The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit covers the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, the second most populous state. The court has issued a decision that clearly establishes the right to record police, which did not previously exist in the Fifth Circuit.

      The plaintiff, Phillip Turner, was recording a Fort Worth police station (6:35 YouTube) from a public sidewalk (known as a “First Amendment audit”) when officers approached him and asked for identification. Turner refused to ID himself and was eventually handcuffed and placed in the back of a patrol car. Turner was released at the scene and later filed charges against three officers (amended to include the City of Fort Worth) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The officers moved to dismiss the case, claiming qualified immunity, which was granted by the district court. The Fifth Circuit has affirmed, reversed, and remanded portions of the district court’s decision in what can be considered an overall win for Mr. Turner (10:59 YouTube).

    • 1,00,000 Hindus rally against the Jihadis in Kolkata, say Donald Trump vindicates them

      In a major show of strength against Islamic Terrorism, around 1,00,000 Hindus of all race, color and gender marched and rallied through the streets of Kolkata in the state of West Bengal, India. On the occasion of the Foundation Day of the organization Hindu Samhati, the organizers recalled the sufferings of the Hindu community worldwide. Founded in 2008, Hindu Samhati is a Hindu organization working on ground in West Bengal and in the other states of Eastern India.

      In recent years there is a tremendous growth of Radical Islam in the Eastern part of India. There has been a series of attacks on the Hindu community. According to Tapan Ghosh, President and Founder of Hindu Samhati, who is also a Monk, “In 2016 attack against the Hindu community started with the burning of the Kaliachak Police Station of Malda by the Islamic Radicals (on 3rd of January). It ended with the misery of the Hindus in Dhulagarh in Howrah (on 14th December). In between these two incidents, Hindus of Bengal had to witness countless episodes of gruesome attacks and Jihadi atrocities throughout this year. Kaligram, Ramganz, Ilambazar, Tufanganz, Chopra, Naihati, Kharagpur, Shankrail, Mallarpur, Baduria, Mohammadbazar, Barchandghar, Jalangee, Toltoli and many more places observed similar occurrences. The sheer volumes of these events, the limitless atrocities and unparalleled aggression have become the eye-openers for the Hindus. The persecuted people in Eastern India are seeing the organization as their only hope”.

    • Pakistani Hindus lose daughters to forced Muslim marriages.

      Anila Dhawan, 17, was kidnapped last spring from her home in Hyderabad, forced to convert to Islam and marry her abductor.

      The police refused to intervene. Her kidnapper told them she ran away from home, and converted to Islam and married him voluntarily. But after her family pressured a court to intervene, she told judges the truth and they freed her.

      “Her life was threatened,” her attorney, Ramesh Gupta, said. “She wanted to go back to her parents and the statement (she made to the court) helped to sway the decision in her favor and she was freed to join her family.”

      Anila is one of many Pakistani Hindu girls kidnapped because of religious discrimination in a country that is 98% Muslim.

    • While a Londoner languishes in prison in Iran, Sadiq Khan thinks it’s a good idea to invite an Iranian director to the city

      “On Sunday 26 February, the night of the Oscars, we’re transforming Trafalgar Square into London’s biggest cinema,” says Sadiq Khan in a publicity video for the screening of Iran’s Oscar-nominated film, The Salesman.

      “I want to welcome people from all across the capital and beyond,” the Khan adds – “khan” in Persian is aptly the daddy, godfather, don, the head of the village – “to share in this celebration of London as an international hub of creativity and as a global beacon of openness and diversity.”

      But hold on – why is London doing this when Tehran is holding one of its citizens in jail over unclear charges and refusing her urgent medical care?

    • EU citizens ‘denied residency documents’

      EU citizens living in the UK say they are being denied a guarantee of permanent residency because they do not have health insurance.

      Under a little-known rule, EU citizens not in work or those looking for work must buy comprehensive insurance.

      One man told the Today programme his application had been rejected, despite living in the UK since the age of 13.

      Peers are now trying to change the law. The Home Office said securing the status of EU migrants was a priority.

      Since the referendum in June, many EU citizens have applied for documents guaranteeing the right to live permanently in the UK.

      But the documents can only be obtained by migrants who have consistently either worked, sought work, or bought the insurance for five years.

  • DRM

    • Source: Apple Will Fight ‘Right to Repair’ Legislation

      Apple representatives plan to tell Nebraska lawmakers that repairing your phone is dangerous.

      Apple is planning to fight proposed electronics “Right to Repair” legislation being considered by the Nebraska state legislature, according to a source within the legislature who is familiar with the bill’s path through the statehouse.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Chinese Trademarks And The Emoluments Clause: Do They Intersect In The Trump Presidency?

        As the world continues to get used to an America with a President Donald Trump at its head, the binary nature of the current political climate has reared its own head in unfortunate ways. One example of this is the stunning speed with which many of those previously ignorant of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, as the Title of Nobility Clause is commonly called, have feigned familiarity with it. As one of my colleagues here termed it, the “emoluments hunting” going on is transparently political in nature, rather than representing a serious effort at protecting the public interest from the shadow of undue influence and sanctioned bribery over our highest political office.

    • Copyrights

      • Is Megaupload’s ‘Crime’ a Common Cloud Hosting Practice?

        Five years ago the US Government launched a criminal case against Megaupload and several of its former employees. One of the main allegations in the indictment is that the site only deleted links to copyright-infringing material, not the actual files. Interestingly, this isn’t too far off from what cloud hosting providers such as Google Drive and Dropbox still do today.

      • Study: 70% of Young Swedish Men Are Video Pirates

        A new study from Sweden has found that just over half of all young people admit to obtaining movies and TV shows from the Internet without paying, a figure that rockets to 70% among young men. With The Pirate Bay about to be blocked by one ISP with more to follow, can piracy rates be controlled?

      • Judge Splits $750 Piracy Penalty Between BitTorrent Peers

        A District Court judge in Seattle has taken a novel approach in a series of default judgments targeting alleged BitTorrent pirates. Since the defendants are accused of sharing files in the same swarm, they should also share the penalty among each other, the judge argues. According to the order, these cases are not intended to provide a windfall to filmmakers.

      • Copyright power matrix

        Copyright reform is the largest, loudest and most divisive battle in EU policy this year. It pits the full might of Paris and Berlin with Europe’s deep-rooted publishing industry, against internet search giants, pirates and the speed of technological change.

        The rules that govern who’s allowed to make copies of music, films, books and other media were last updated in 2001, before internet streaming existed and when piracy’s biggest villain was Napster’s MP3 file-sharing service. Now illegally downloading content is a habit for tens of millions of Europeans, who often struggle to find a legal version of the content they’re after. Or just don’t want to pay.

The EPO is Becoming an Embarrassment to Europe and a Growing Threat to the European Union

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Who needs parties like UKIP and National Front (France) when people like Battistelli do so much more to discredit the Union?

Juncker
By Factio popularis Europaea, CC BY 2.0

Summary: The increasingly pathetic moves by Battistelli and the ever-declining image/status of the EPO (only 0% of polled stakeholders approve Battistelli's management) is causing damage to the reputation of the European Union, even if the EPO is not a European Union organ but an international one

SO FAR in 2017 the EPO has attempted to keep a relatively low profile. The main PR attempt was this nonsense about Cambodia — a country with zero European patents. The Singapore-based (read: patent trolls’ new heaven) Mirandah Asia repeats the PR, essentially regurgitating EPO talking points. Gladys Mirandah and Ang Chuan Heng try to make it appear like some sort of EPO ‘victory’, perhaps not quite grasping how pathetic it looks. Even EPO insiders have begun making fun of it, for it immortalises what has become of the EPO under Battistelli. Today’s EPO is widely regarded as a laughing stock, so dysfunctional and abusive in fact that it has become a textbook example of international bodies gone rogue. Union officials have already been informed, but there is not much that they can do as they lack authority over the EPO, which also enjoys immunity.

“Today’s EPO is widely regarded as a laughing stock, so dysfunctional and abusive in fact that it has become a textbook example of international bodies gone rogue.”The other day SUEPO took note of the good reporting by McCarthy from The Register. He wrote about some of the latest debacles:

The president of the European Patent Office, Benoit Battistelli, is ignoring yet another formal rebuke of his policies by disregarding two decisions by the International Labour Organization.

In letters going back and forth between EPO management and the organization’s main staff union, SUEPO, representatives are refusing to take part in a “voluntary” drawing of lots to decide on new members for the EPO’s appeals committee.

[...]

In response, the regional Bavarian government – which oversees Munich, where the EPO is headquartered – is due to consider a lengthy sanction of Battistelli that argues he had been behind a “whole range of major intrusions into essential fundamental rights of the employee” and calls on the state government to “take action accordingly.”

It is unclear what action the German government can take against Battistelli. Even though several governments have formally broken with protocol to publicly condemn the EPO president and his actions, due to the unusual make-up of the EPO, only the full Administrative Council of over 30 European countries can actually fire him before his term is up.

“All I can say is that he must have some real dirt on someone, somewhere to have kept his job this long,” one person wrote.

Another person said: “The host country may not be able to do anything directly, but as with anyone under diplomatic immunity they could say that he is no longer welcome, and ask him to leave. But unlikely to happen.”

The Administrative Council’s complicity was brought up as follows: “Here’s the list of members of the administrative council. Perhaps they need to explain why they’re not doing their job ?”

Some people believe that Battistelli controls people by blackmail, but the explanation might actually be simpler.

One person said: “It’s not surprising and not uncommon, someone running ‘something’ and elected or not, thinking himself more important than the importance of what they are running, like the security guard at the gate who acts like he owns the place, typical/despicable human nature.”

That perfectly describes what happened at the EPO, which the following comment describes as a “European organization” even though non-European nations are part of it:

It’s not the first time that some European organization has got into this sort of mess, with a power-hungry type who’s hard to be sacked creating a little empire. The need for every government to agree to sack him seems typical of these groups, no-one trusts the others to do the right thing so they insist on full agreement of all 30-odd people before any major decision gets taken. Inevitable result: no major decisions ever get taken (well, except for salary increases & expenses payments, of course). Meanwhile, of course, we (the taxpayers) continue to finance this fiasco.

Come the revolution that wall is going to be very crowded…

It’s common to see the EPO exploited by anti-EU elements, so then came an old reminder to readers (happens in almost every comments thread):

Just to clarify – it’s not actually a European organisation. Its an international organisation based in Munich, the Hague and (a little bit) Berlin. It is not funded by the EU at all, but instead by fees levied for patent searches and examination.

And you, the tax payer, should educate yourself a little more about what you actually vote to reject.

But the above wasn’t intended to be EU bashing, as the reply made apparent:

I very carefully didn’t mention the EU at all, because I am well aware that it isn’t an EU organisation. It is, however, a European one (the clue is in the name: European Patent Organisation) and while it may be funded by the patent applications, the Administrative Council that oversees it, and about which I was commenting, is made up of “representatives of the contracting states” who are most assuredly financed by their respective taxpayers.

And it’s not about Brexit at all, as the latter part states:

And you, the Anonymous Coward, should perhaps remove the Brexit chip from your shoulder long enough to actually read the post you reply to.

Paradoxically, Brexit was very damaging to the EPO’s UPC ambitions and the EPO’s own behaviour contributed to the perception — at least in the UK — that the EU was out of order. In a sense, bad EPO behaviour led to the demise of the very initiative it was trying to bring across the Channel.

A View From Australia

Speaking of the EU, Madeleine Kelly (FB Rice), an Australian hoping that the “European Union” [sic] (EPO is not an EU thing) clarifies patent scope, wrote: “Common sense has prevailed, much to the relief of patentees and practitioners alike, and this new and much more liberal test for partial priority should mean the end for poisonous priority and poisonous divisionals, at least in Europe. Whether or not the Australian courts will follow suit remains to be seen.”

The above is a contribution from the Boards, not Battistelli’s Office. Patent scope in Europe has gone all wrong and even software patents are habitually being granted now.

Australian software patents were covered here before. They are still the subject of active debate and the Productivity Commission advises strongly against them. Australian patent attorney Bradley Postma was a featured item a few days ago and another Australian patent attorney, Mark Summerfield, bemoans the difficulty patenting business methods these days (he last wrote about it some days ago, having ranted about it for a while). It looks like sooner or later even IP Australia will look better than the EPO, which now overcharges for low-quality work.

Patent Misconceptions Promoted by the Patent Meta-Industry

Posted in Deception, Patents at 4:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

To a carpenter, for example, every problem looks a nail

Law of the instrument
Reference: Law of the instrument

Summary: Cherry-picking one’s way into the perception of patent eligibility for software and the misguided belief that without patents there will be no innovation

CHERRY-PICKING is somewhat of an art form in legal blogs. They so often altogether ignore cases/decisions that don’t bolster the narrative which they promote and simply act as a megaphone when the exceptions occur.

Such was the case with this CAFC decision — one of those truly unusual cases (happened about 20% of the time last year) where PTAB is sort of ‘vetoed’ (overruled) by CAFC. This was reported on by Patently-O the other day and now there’s more, including from MIP:

A Patent Trial and Appeal Board finding of unpatentability for obviousness based on two prior-art references in Personal Web Technologies v Apple has been remanded because “the Board did not adequately support its findings”

This is about software patents and we wrote about that some days ago, around the same time we highlighted Mintz Levin's bad/misleading advice. People from this firm are still spreading their misinformation, e.g. in another domain or with slight variations in the same domain. They want to make is appear as though software patents are alive and well because of a few, cherry-picked decisions. They just want more business from poorly informed clients whose patents would turn out to be worse than worthless (costly if litigation is even attempted).

Another site, Banana IP (more like banana republic), offers tips for workarounds where software patents are simply disallowed (as a matter of law).

Patents: Understanding Software Inventions in India and US

[...]

The Indian patent law does not provide a proper definition of the term ‘software’ or ‘computer program’. But, under the section 2 of the Copyright Act, 1957 a computer program is defined as “a set of instructions expressed in words, codes, schemes or in any other form, including a machine readable medium, capable of causing a computer to perform a particular task or achieve a particular result”. Section 3 of the Indian Patent Act, 1970 summarizes about the inventions that are not patentable. In particular, Section 3(k) of the Patents Act excludes mathematical methods, business methods, computer program per se and algorithms from the patentable subject matter. According to the Computer Related Inventions (CRI) guidelines issued by the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks on 19th February, 2016, the computer program in itself is never patentable. The Examiners are advised to deny the claims if the contribution lies only in mathematical method, business method or algorithm. However, software can be patented in India if the software is in conjunction with a new hardware. In other words, the software must be in relation to a specific hardware (a device or apparatus) and the claims will include the device or apparatus used in conjunction with the software. Inventions that are combined with hardware and software features that are inventive, novel and hold industrial applicability are patentable.

Misconceptions around potency of software patents would do a disservice to everyone, including their proponents. What it all boils down to is a lie by omission, much like the lie just published in this article, disseminated under numerous headlines including “America’s always had black inventors – even when the patent system explicitly excluded them”.

This is a decent article (not much like the propaganda one finds in lawyers’ sites who market their services) as it clarifies that inventorship does not require patents. In software we count lines and quality of code rather than assess something silly such as patents. People can invent with or without expensive papers to ‘prove’ merit. From the article:

One group of prolific innovators, however, has been largely ignored by history: black inventors born or forced into American slavery. Though U.S. patent law was created with color-blind language to foster innovation, the patent system consistently excluded these inventors from recognition.

As a law professor and a licensed patent attorney, I understand both the importance of protecting inventions and the negative impact of being unable to use the law to do so. But despite patents being largely out of reach to them throughout early U.S. history, both slaves and free African-Americans did invent and innovate.

We are often being told by the patent microcosm that patents are necessary for innovation or are a measure (or surrogate) of innovation. Basing one’s worldview on such a belief leads to claims that rich nations like Switzerland innovate the most rather than rich nations being able to patent (expensive) the most — a subject which we tackled here last year.

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