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03.02.17

Dominion Harbor Group (DHG) is a Patent Troll Connected to Intellectual Ventures

Posted in Patents at 5:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This seems to be the only thing that this ‘group’ is bragging about, even months down the line

Dominion Harbor Group's Twitter account
Screenshot taken minutes ago

Summary: Dominion Harbor touches and plays with fire when it gets patents from a patent troll with thousands of satellite firms, but that’s what it’s all about anyway (a patent “monetization firm,” by its very own description)

THE patent troll Intellectual Ventures (IV) was covered here earlier this evening and last night we found this new article from Michael Loney, dressed up as an interview and sheltered behind a paywall. Dominion Harbor took patents from the world’s biggest troll (and Microsoft’s biggest troll) with the apparent intention is to become a troll, based on the following text:

Dominion Harbor has acquired Intellectual Ventures’ portfolio of Kodak patents. Its CEO, David Pridham, tells Michael Loney his plans for the portfolio and how he views the patent monetisation market

Intellectual property transaction and advisory firm Dominion Harbor has high hopes for its new purchase from Intellectual Ventures. In February it acquired more than 1,000 patent families in Kodak’s portfolio of patented technologies for an undisclosed sum.

This press release suggests that it happened just a few months ago, calling the buyer “an affiliate of Dominion Harbor Group, an integrated patent advisory and monetization firm.” That’s just a euphemism for patent troll. Expect a lot of ‘action’ from this troll.

The Latest Three Stories Which Show Why the US Supreme Court Must Stop Patent Trolls

Posted in Apple, Courtroom, Google, Patents at 5:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

How long and how much more will it take for the Supreme Court to realise there is a profound issue in Texas?

Rodney Gilstrap

Summary: The lack of justice in the American patent system, where trolls receive favourable treatment from particular judges and one bogus patent (now invalid) can earn a person over $45 million in ‘protection’ money, necessitates firm and decisive intervention from the US Supreme Court

Federal Circuit Once Again Overrules Mistakes by the Kangaroo Patent Court of Rodney Gilstrap in the Eastern District of Texas

Kangaroo courts are not monopolised by the EPO and the USPTO hasn’t a monopoly on bad patents, either (thankfully, the USPTO is actually improving and lowering the incentive for trolls). The US Supreme Court, together with CAFC below it, already do a fine job, further aided by PTAB (the appeals board) for quicker and cheaper determinations against bad patents.

When Apple celebrates the death of bad patents we too are happy, even if we are far from friends of Apple (we used to call for boycotts). Apple has just defeated Smartflash and there are a lot of articles about this, especially or initially in pro-Apple sites. Headlines include “Apple has $533m verdict against iTunes software patents thrown”, “Apple won’t have to pay $533 million to an iTunes patent troll”, “U.S. appeals court tosses patent verdict against Apple”, and “Apple tastes victory against Smartflash at Federal Circuit”.

“When Apple celebrates the death of bad patents we too are happy, even if we are far from friends of Apple (we used to call for boycotts).”“This ruling isn’t surprising,” one of the above articles states, “as US District Judge Rodney Gilstrap ordered a damages retrial, saying the jury’s view of Apple’s infringement might have been confused by his instructions on how properly to calculate royalties.”

But the pro-trolls Judge Rodney Gilstrap did not in fact dispute a liability. To him, it was just a matter of how much money would be paid. First to cover the news, as far as we were able to see, was Michael Loney of MIP. He wrote about it as early as yesterday, noting that CAFC had found yet another ruling from the notorious Eastern District of Texas to be bunk. “The Federal Circuit has found invalid three Smartflash patents,” he wrote, “reversing the Eastern District of Texas.”

Eolas Driven Out of the Eastern District of Texas

There is another important development down in Texas and Joe Mullin probably wrote the best report about it (Mullin is quite the expert in this domain). To quote Mullin:

Eolas Technologies, which has been called a “patent troll,” has continued to file against big companies, even after losing a landmark 2012 trial. But following an appeals court order (PDF) last week, Eolas will have to pursue its lawsuits in California—not its preferred patent hotspot of East Texas.

As of Friday, Eolas’ lawsuits against Google has been transferred to the Northern District of California. The move could reduce Eolas’ chances of winning a settlement or verdict since East Texas courts have been viewed by some as favoring patent holders. Similar lawsuits against Amazon and Wal-Mart remain in East Texas, for now.

Michael Loney wrote about it too, noting that CAFC is potentially moving trolls out of that notorious Eastern District of Texas (even before the Supreme Court rules on TC Heartland LLC v Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC). To quote:

Google’s request for a writ of mandamus to transfer a case brought by Eolas Technologies to the Northern District of California from the Eastern District of Texas has been granted, with the Federal Circuit citing “a clear abuse of discretion”

Eolas was mentioned here as far back as one decade ago and many more times since. It’s definitely a patent troll, but Mullin put the word “troll” (in the headline) and “patent troll” (in the body) within scare quotes, perhaps fearing legal action against the publisher (his employer).

Software patents, as in the above case, are bunk, but it’s very expensive (usually too expensive) going to court to show it (especially if there are appeals). This means that most defendants will silently fold and pay the Mafia (or troll) ‘protection’ money. Insistent and persistent aggressors or trolls, some of whom are well-funded, will just file more and more motions until the defendant — even if repeatedly deemed innocent — decides that it’s simply cheaper to settle. It means that wealth trumps justice and it can be exploited time after time, by simply choosing vulnerable litigation targets which are almost certainly going to buckle.

“Software patents, as in the above case, are bunk, but it’s very expensive (usually too expensive) going to court to show it (especially if there are appeals).”Speaking of software patents, this tweet says that “Salesforce tries to patent Records Management……quick take” (in an image).

Erich Spangenberg Turns Out to be a Patent ‘Fraud’

In the above cases we see deep-pocketed companies like Google and Apple fighting back, again and again, simply because they can afford it. So can smaller (but still very large companies) such as Newegg, which already spent millions of dollars on very few patent cases — and that’s just in legal fees!

According to Mullin’s other new report, mega-troll Erich Spangenberg went after Newegg and finally (belatedly) lost. That’s another software patent dead and we can expect more to come; it’s expensive to prove the invalidity. The USPTO should clean up this (its own) mess. PTAB helps towards that. Mullin wrote:

Patent-holding company TQP Development made millions claiming that it owned a breakthrough in Web encryption, even though most encryption experts had never heard of the company until it started a massive campaign of lawsuits. Yesterday, the company’s litigation campaign was brought to an end when a panel of appeals judges refused (PDF) to give TQP a second chance to collect on a jury verdict against Newegg.

The TQP patent was invented by Michael Jones, whose company Telequip briefly sold a kind of encrypted modem. The company sold about 30 models before the modem business went bust. Famed patent enforcer Erich Spangenberg bought the TQP patent in 2008 and began filing lawsuits, saying that the Jones patent actually entitled him to royalties on a basic form of SSL Internet encryption. Spangenberg and Jones ultimately made more than $45 million from the patent.

Will Spangenberg now refund the extortion money (more than $45 million), plus legal expenses? Or will this be another case of an invalid patent costing a fortune to countless companies, even though they were innocent all along because this patent was bogus?

We certainly hope that the Supreme Court is watching all these cases and will take them into account later this year when TC Heartland can become the new “patent killer” (precedent).

China Adopts Software Patents and IAM ‘Magazine’ (Lobbyists) Continues to Shame India Into It

Posted in Asia, Deception, Patents at 4:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

By lawyers, for lawyers, but carefully and shrewdly disguised as news/journalism

India IAM lobbyingSummary: China’s patent office, SIPO, maintains its misguided policy that software is patentable and India, which antagonises these policies in the face of a never-ending shaming campaign, comes under attack from IAM ‘magazine’ twice in a single week

SIPO is one of the world’s worst patent offices, if not the worst among prominent nations with a high-tech industry. We previously wrote about misguided new guidelines from SIPO and also used SIPO as an insult to the EPO, which seems eager to emulate SIPO’s mistakes. See the following posts for example:

SIPO examiners are now working against their national interest, for the appearance of “progress” (by artificially-inflated numbers). Trolls are already infesting China, which damages their economy. Sadly, over time, the same is becoming true in Europe and examiners from the EPO seem to be realising this. They didn’t join the EPO to get enlisted into an assembly line but in order to work like researchers who carefully study prior art — something akin to peer review.

“So they are promoting software patents under the guise of “clarity” — the same propaganda that is used in the US by lobbyist David Kappos and his large corporate clients, such as Microsoft and IBM.”A few months ago we noted that India and China were moving in opposite directions; India had created a massive software (development and services) industry, whereas China is known for making billions of devices, so India rejects software patents, whereas China adopts them to give the impression of ‘leadership’ (as measured with a Battistellite yardstick).

According to this new post, SIPO wants to become even more of a joke or an insult. On April 1st (an interesting choice of date) it will officially allow software patents, i.e. patents on mathematics… (what next? Patents on clean air and clean water?)

To quote:

In an effort to further enhance protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) and to promote implementation of the innovation-driven development strategy, the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) of China has revised its Examination Guidelines for Patents, which will come into force as of April 1, 2017.

The revised Guidelines include the patent eligibility of computer softwareand business method, the acceptability of post-filing experimental data for chemistry inventions, the rules of claim amendments during patent invalidation procedures, and the availability of public access to patent documentations. Notably, the revisions may lift the long standing curbs on software patents.

Meanwhile, IAM is up to its usual business, which seems to be lobbying.

Only two days have passed since IAM last attacked India's policy for banning or excluding software patent. It does this again today, quoting somewhat of a Microsoft proxy (Wipro) as follows:

Faiz ur Rahman, head of intellectual property for Wipro, pointed to the agency’s flip flop on software patents over the last couple of years as an egregious example. The patent office has issued guidelines for examining computer-related inventions in 2013, 2015 and 2016. While the 2015 rules seemed to move more in the direction of making software-related inventions patentable, the latest edition swung back in the opposite direction. For an IT services company like Wipro, that makes it very difficult to plot out a strategy for IP and innovation. “We need finality and quicker clarity over whether software is patentable in India”, Rahman said. “The uncertainty is really killing innovation”.

So they are promoting software patents under the guise of “clarity” — the same propaganda that is used in the US by lobbyist David Kappos and his large corporate clients, such as Microsoft and IBM. When is IAM officially recognised (and perhaps registered) as a lobbyist/think [sic] tank, e.g. of the EPO, USPTO maximaists, and the patent trolls? Just watch IAM's pattern on India alone

The Long Reach of Microsoft’s Patent Troll, Intellectual Ventures, and the Impact on TiVo

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 3:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Becoming more of a patent parasite than it already was

TiVo

Summary: Patent wars in the broadcasting market and the role played by Microsoft and its largest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures, headed by Microsoft’s former CTO

THE CONNECTIONS between Intellectual Ventures (IV) and Rovi were covered here before, e.g. in [1, 2]. IV is the world’s largest patent troll, which covertly operates through thousands of shells and it is financially connected to Microsoft and Bill Gates. IV is a major threat to Free/libre software and GNU/Linux because, as we have shown here in the past, it also blackmails companies that manufacture and/or distribute BSD- and Linux-based devices.

TiVo is an infamous Linux-based device and also a company. It’s infamous because of what became known as “TiVoisation” (we covered it here repeatedly more than a decade ago) and all sorts of patent aspects which we covered half a decade ago (see our Wiki page about TiVo).

TiVo exploits Free software and Linux, but it’s hardly an ally or a friend. Now that Rovi has bought TiVo and considering “Rovi’s deal with Intellectual Ventures,” as IAM put it today, it’s hardly surprising that it’s followed by TiVo’s patents turning into shakedown or extortion. As IAM put it (obviously lauding and praising the aggressor):

Pre-dating last year’s merger was Rovi’s deal with Intellectual Ventures, where the two agreed to package together their IP relating to over-the-top (OTT) technology for Rovi to license. Since they announced that relationship, licensing deals have been unveiled with both Netflix and HBO. Armaly contends that it’s a model that can be replicated. The digital entertainment and OTT sectors weren’t necessarily high on IV’s list of licensing priorities, so last year’s agreement means that it can benefit from TiVo’s growing experience in the space and its technology offering.

There’s more history to it. Back in 2010 we wrote about how Intellectual Ventures fueled patent wars against TiVo, which had already been sued by Microsoft. And Microsoft keeps telling us that it “loves Linux”…

Microsoft is very malicious and its latest attack plan is reminiscent of the Microsoft/Novell deal. We explained this plan in the following four articles:

When patents get weaponised like that and where Microsoft’s patent trolls have influence over such decisions we simply cannot ignore the persistent danger.

EPO Budget Obscures and Distorts Facts About the Unitary Patent (UPC) in a Classic Antidemocratic Exercise by an Unaccountable Institution

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 3:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EPO keeps meddling in policy and corrupting the media, but it knows that it’s immune/exempted from the law

When Lobbyists Literally Write The Bill
Reference: When Lobbyists Literally Write The Bill

Summary: Interference in politics and misinformation designed to mislead the public have both become a hallmark of the EPO under Battistelli, not just opportunistic legal firms which stand to benefit from the UPC (at everyone’s expense)

ADDITIONAL people are signing the petition against the UPC, but the vast majority of the public here in the UK still does not know what it is or what it is for (or who the UPC is really for). The EPO has gone as far as paying crates of money to publications in order to generate fake news [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] about the UPC, or to distort public perceptions. That’s just one among many abusive aspects of the EPO under Battistelli’s embarrassing ‘leadership’ (more like a reign of terror, in which even bloggers are being threatened).

“The EPO has gone as far as paying crates of money to publications in order to generate fake news about the UPC, or to distort public perceptions.”Dimitris Xenos wrote the other day [1, 2] that the “#unitarypatent is available to EUmember states only:‘this [ #UPC] Agreement should be open to accession by any Member State’ at 6 #Brexit [...] the term ‘member state(s)’ appears 127 times in the #UPC http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:42013A0620(01)&from=EN … #unitarypatent #Brexit”

It doesn’t take a genius to see that the UPC is inherently incompatible with Brexit, yet there has been a lot of lobbying and deception about it, courtesy of Team Battistelli and Team UPC (a marriage of convenience). Publications are moreover being paid to lie about it, at the expense of EPO budget. Last night we wrote about yet another event which will soon become a platform for the EPO's UPC propaganda. In some cases, such events are sponsored by the EPO's PR firm and supported by the EPO. It should be scandalous and covered in the media accordingly (as a scandal), but it certainly seems like the corporate media has become a willing if not also witting cooperator. Some of this supposedly ‘elite’ media is paid by the EPO, so why bite the hand that feeds?

According to this new post from IP Kat, there is an upcoming discussion about the issues associated with the UPC amid Brexit. To quote this short post:

This event is organised by the United Kingdom Association for European Law, and features three speakers who will be familiar to IPKat readers:

Dr Christopher Stothers, partner at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP
Dr Luke McDonagh, Lecturer in The City Law School at City, University of London
Prof Duncan Matthews, Professor of Intellectual Property Law at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of London

This is being discussed elsewhere too, according to this new tweet as far as India. It says that “Dr Jonathan Atkinson & Martyn Fish presenting on #Brexit and the #UPC at @CPhI_PharmaIPR 2017 in Mumbai #IP #Pharma” (there is also a photo in there).

Pharmaceutical giants must be drooling over the UPC, which would enable them to bankrupt/embargo/control their competition. Understandably, their lawyers too are cautiously excited and they try to hide their motivation. Consider this new interview with patent law firms that want litigation Armageddon (more profit to them):

“The Unified Patent Court (UPC) without Britain is a far less potent idea,” says Nick McDonald, partner of Potter Clarkson.

In this video interview with LSIPR, McDonald explains that there are many good reasons why the UK should be part of the UPC and discusses the implications of Brexit.

What about those who don’t work for law firms? What about the more than 99% of the population, which would be subjected to the UPC if it ever became a reality?

Well, published earlier this week and found via David Pearce‏ (Tufty the Cat) was this article titled “Patent law: Theresa May’s new Brexit battlefield” — an article that cites Douglas Carswell and pro-Brexit media:

The only people who really care about patent law are patent holders, patent lawyers and patent academics. And yet Theresa May’s rash promise to remove the UK from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) is about to turn this esoteric area into a major Brexit battleground. No matter how you approach it, there is no way to square what the government is doing on patents with its red line on the ECJ.

The fundamentalist fringe of the hard Brexit movement has started to notice too. A couple of weeks ago, Douglas Carswell put down an early day motion demanding a change on patent policy.

The Daily Express covered it with its usual restraint. “EXPOSED,” it said. “Secret plan to tie Britain to EU”. Ukip warned of a “stealth attempt” by ministers to carry out some sort of Brexit conspiracy.

Team UPC firms, e.g. Bristows in the UK, are still trying to effectively take over the law which governs them (like oil companies trying to write, by proxy, environmental regulations or telecommunication giants trying to remove limits on their operations). Watch this latest update from Bristows, an enemy of British democracy, working behind the curtains. “Unitary Software Patents like a letter through the post in Germany,” as Benjamin Henrion put it.

“Several days remain for concerned European citizens who can hopefully spare one minute to sign this petition.”If the UPC ever became a reality, a lot of small firms would receive a lot of letters through the post, not just from patent trolls that demand a lot of money but also from large competitors in other countries, threatening to take down small rivals all across Europe (one ruling, in one single city in Europe, affecting all “member states” in one fell swoop).

Several days remain for concerned European citizens who can hopefully spare one minute to sign this petition.

Supplying Techrights With Leaked Material

Posted in Site News at 2:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

tl;dr We prefer not to know who is sending the material

What Was New York Times Reporter James Risen’s Seven-Year Legal Battle Really for?
Reference: What Was New York Times Reporter James Risen’s Seven-Year Legal Battle Really for?

Summary: An updated advice or guidance for sending documents and/or information to us without getting caught by prying eyes, not even if we are legally threatened by an out-of-control institution that bends the law

THE number of leaked documents that we have received from EPO insiders is very high and we prefer not to comment about the number of leakers/sources. Last year, upon request, we published some tips for submitting leaks to us.

Some people requested further clarifications and some people have suggested improvements to the article since it was first published, as better options became available (not that our advice was altogether bad, just suboptimal or deficient). “Please help,” one person wrote to us. “I saw your article “How to Securely Provide Techrights With Information, Documents”. Could you please clarify the following in a future article?”

“We never got caught publishing anything fake, which means we have a 100% accuracy record, as far as source material goes.”The main amendments suggested to us were the sorts of sites/services to use for increased anonymity/privacy/security. These sites, as one might expect, are not well known or even mainstream. Some people wish to send images, some send plain text, some send rich text, and some send documents, scans of documents, or photographs (if not screenshots) of documents. We generally think that photographs of things are less likely to leave legible watermarks (like kerning signatures) and the same goes for plain text, so it’s probably safe to reduce everything down to images and plain text. We prefer not to know where these are coming from, even if we can manually remove personally-identifying metadata. It makes both us and our sources safer when neither side has identity information. Put bluntly, we typically prefer not to know where material comes from; we just need to know that it’s verifiable (given context and/or accompanying explanation) and then we can cross-check to ensure its authenticity. We never got caught publishing anything fake, which means we have a 100% accuracy record, as far as source material goes. We do check everything carefully before publication. We don’t wish to get tricked into publishing fake material as that would be self-discrediting and it’s a commonly-used tactic for muddying the water or poisoning the well.

“I am unsure whether it is safe to send you a .pdf document,” a person told us anonymously, “including text only.”

We don’t really need the original PDFs if there is enough to verify by; PDFs are of a clunky format type that tends to migrate with it all sorts of signatures and it drips metadata. If people can upload an image somewhere on the Web (preferably not through service such as Google’s, as they have a poor record on anonymity) and then send us a link, that ought to be enough. Remailers can be used to send us anonymous messages (or links) and we can typically cope with the input without having to even reply to the source.

“We do check everything carefully before publication.”“Anonmgur does no longer exist,” we were told, “but Anonmgur now refers to anonimag.es as an alternative. I’ve tried anonimag.es, several times, but it does not work properly.”

We got into some discussions last year about which image and text ‘bins’ are best or safest for preserving anonymity (even at the face of legal threats, which are rendered useless if logs are purged permanently). If we recommend one particular service (there are many), it will enable the surveillance lackeys at EPO to latch onto particular domains, so we prefer not to suggest just one particular service. Diversity breeds safety here.

“Thanks for updating or amending your article “How to Securely Provide Techrights With Information, Documents” so that thing become clearer for me and others,” we were told, but we decided to lay things out again, rather than modify the previous article (we rarely edit old articles, except just hours after publication).

“If we recommend one particular service (there are many), it will enable the surveillance lackeys at EPO to latch onto particular domains, so we prefer not to suggest just one particular service.”To date, the most damaging EPO leak was probably this one. It generated a lot of media coverage and caused a great stir among EPO stakeholders, who rightly felt like they had been discriminated against.

Today or last night Research and Markets published details about an upcoming one-day seminar with tips for EPO applications and another for advanced drafting. We could not help joking about it because in today’s EPO it seems like anyone can just pay under the table or lobby for preferential treatment. We are certain that many examiners have come across examples of that and we hope for more leaks to that effect.

“Like any publication out there, we strive to have impact, as do our sources.”Regarding the timing of disclosure, it’s not always immediate (upon receiving material) because we need to verify authenticity, we need to wait for relevant development/news, and sometimes there are two connected stories that we investigate at the same time and they can be fused together. Like any publication out there, we strive to have impact, as do our sources. So if we don’t release something promptly, then there is probably a reason behind it. We rarely post teasers (quite rarely we do, for a change) because the element of surprise enables us to catch the EPO’s management, for example, unprepared and unable to properly respond, distract, or undermine publication (as attempted in the past).

Links 2/3/2017: Systemd 233, GNOME 3.24 Beta 2

Posted in News Roundup at 1:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 4 open source tools for sharing files

    There comes a time in your life when you have to share one or more files with someone, whether that someone is a friend, a family member, a colleague or collaborator, or a client. Many people stay true to their open source convictions by doing the job using applications like ownCloud, Nextcloud, or SparkleShare.

    All three are solid and flexible, but they’re not the only games in town. Maybe your needs lean towards a simpler application. Or maybe you just want a dedicated file sharing tool that puts the power and the data in your hands.

    You have a number of open source options which give you all of that and more. Let’s look at four additional open source tools that can meet all of your file sharing needs.

  • 3 projects successfully using mesh network technology

    Hyperboria is an end-to-end encrypted mesh network that uses IPv6. The focus of Hyperboria is to create a large-scale neutral network with a security as a first priority. The technology uses CJDNS (no relation to DNS) for Layer 3 routing and employs a novel public key cryptosystem to establish connections and encrypt traffic. Austin, Texas currently boasts the largest segment of Hyperboria with a network size of around 500 nodes. Unlike most traditional networks, and similar to Bitcoin, it uses a public key as an address that data can be sent to.

  • Open Source Boosts Innovation in Software, Hardware and Beyond

    Many think the development of technology is reserved only for the super-intelligent, and that the average person cannot comprehend it.

    This particular view of technology is a product of a closed-type environment, which hides key information related to the development of technology behind patents, copyrights and trademarks. While it’s debatable how intellectual property rights of inventors must be saved from abuse, traditional modes of doing so can block the flow of information in society.

    This model is primarily driven by commercial interests— where key technological inventions sell at very high prices. But this model increases the divide between the ‘privileged’ class and the ‘under-privileged’ class. The division of the world between developed, developing and under-developed nations is primarily based on the level of technology they possess. This leads to prohibitively expensive technology and an increasing technological divide— we are producing a generation of technology users instead of technology developers.

  • Cloud Native Computing Foundation Adds Google gRPC Project

    The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) which itself is a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project, is expanding its roster of supported projects today with the addition of the gRPC project.

    The gRPC project is an open source, high performance remote procedure call (RPC) framework originally developed by Google. The gRPC project has already been used outside of Google, with CoreOS and Netflix among the technology’s adopters.

  • EMC’s Joshua Bernstein on When to Deploy Open Source [Ed: When someone who works for a proprietary company software and back doors facilitator tells you when to use FOSS]

    “A lot of people are a little shocked and confused to hear about how EMC is contributing to and supporting open source development,” Joshua Bernstein said to open his keynote address at last year’s MesosCon conference in Denver. “I think that while many of us already understand the benefit of that, convincing large companies to do this sort of thing is a challenge.”

    Berstein became Dell EMC’s vice president of technology in 2015, after a four year stint as manager of Siri development and architecture at Apple. At MesosCon, he talked about some of the things that DevOps should consider when deciding whether to deploy open source or proprietary solutions.

  • SDN, Blockchain and Beyond: The Spaces Where Open Source Is Thriving Today [Ed: Black Duck is a malicious firm whose goal is to sell proprietary software by attacking FOSS]

    What are the newest frontiers that open source software is conquering? Black Duck’s latest open source “Rookies of the Year” report, which highlights areas like blockchain and SDN, provides some interesting insights.

    The report, which Black Duck published Monday, highlights what the company calls “the top new open source projects initiated in 2016.” It’s the ninth annual report of this type that Black Duck has issued.

  • Events

    • Embedded Linux Conference 2017 Videos Now Online

      If you are interested in embedded Linux development but missed out last week’s Linux Foundation event in Portland, the videos are now available online.

      Last week was the Linux Foundation’s annual Embedded Linux Conference with a wide-range of mobile and embedded talks. Details from the event are available here.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD errata, Mar 1, 2017

      A man-in-the-middle vulnerability has been found in OpenBSD’s wireless stack. A malicious access point can trick an OpenBSD client using WPA1 or WPA2 into connecting to this malicious AP instead of the desired AP. When this attack is used successfully the OpenBSD client will send and accept unencrypted frames.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Government launches UK Digital Strategy to make Britain ‘a world-leading digital economy that works for everyone’

      The UK government finally published its Digital Strategy today, outlining its plans for making the country a global capital of the digital economy.

      Culture Secretary Karen Bradley MP launched the strategy by laying out the government’s vision of how to develop the requisite infrastructure, regulations and skills to make the UK the ideal place for digital businesses, new technology and advanced research.

      “The Digital Strategy will help to create a world-leading digital economy that works for everyone,” she pledged at the Entrepreneur First startup accelerator. The London incubator is housed in a converted Biscuit Factory, a fitting example of the digital transformation the plans intend to support.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • How to Raise Awareness of Your Company’s Open Source License Compliance

      Communication is one of the seven essential elements to ensure the success of open source license compliance activities. And it’s not enough to communicate compliance policies and processes with executive leadership, managers, engineers, and other employees. Companies must also develop external messaging for the developer communities of the open source projects they use in their products.

    • removing everything from github

      Github recently drafted an update to their Terms Of Service. The new TOS is potentially very bad for copylefted Free Software. It potentially neuters it entirely, so GPL licensed software hosted on Github has an implicit BSD-like license. I’ll leave the full analysis to the lawyers, but see Thorsten’s analysis.

      I contacted Github about this weeks ago, and received only an anodyne response. The Free Software Foundation was also talking with them about it. It seems that Github doesn’t care or has some reason to want to effectively neuter copyleft software licenses.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

Leftovers

  • New route between Sweden and Denmark announced

    Good news for anyone in the Øresund region this summer: a new route between Sweden and Denmark is set to open, as a ferry designed to carry cyclists between the two bike-mad nations is trialled during the warmer months.

    The ferry will run across the Øresund strait between Dragør near Copenhagen to Limhamn, west of Malmö city centre.

    Dragør’s municipal council last week gave the green light to allow a shipping company to run the pilot project, which will ferry cyclists across the strait in the historic M/S Elephanten, a converted shipping boat built in 1940. It will hold 36 passengers, with the journey taking about one hour to complete.

  • Microsoft is adding Google Calendar support to Outlook on Mac

    Microsoft is adding Google Calendar and Contacts support to the Mac version of Outlook 2016, the company announced yesterday. The change means that Outlook users will be able to synchronize and track their Google Calendars across a range of devices, from Mac, to Android phone, to Windows PC.

  • Science

    • Is anything tough enough to survive on Mars?

      Two recent publications suggest that life, in the form of ancient, simple organisms called methanogens, could survive the harsh conditions found near the surface of Mars, and deep in its soils. Using methanogens to test for survivability is particularly relevant because scientists have detected their byproduct, methane, in the Martian atmosphere. On Earth, methane is strongly associated with organic matter, though there are non-organic sources of the gas, including volcanic eruptions.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Michigan Ends Flint Water Credit Amid Disagreement on Recovery

      After weeks of meetings aimed at extending state-provided water relief credits, residents of Flint, Michigan, will resume paying the full price for water they still need to filter and have not been able to drink safely since April 2014.

      The credits, totaling roughly $40 million in aid, have covered 65 percent of residents’ water usage since 2014 when the city’s water crisis began. The credits have also covered 20 percent of city businesses’ water use.

      The dangers of Flint’s water drew national attention after an emergency manager answering to the state’s governor, Rick Snyder, ordered the city’s utility to switch water providers from Detroit Water and Sewerage Department water to the Flint River. The move filled the city’s water pipes and residents’ taps with water contaminated by high levels of lead.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Researchers find “severe” flaw in WordPress plugin with 1 million installs

      More than 1 million websites running the WordPress content management system may be vulnerable to hacks that allow visitors to snatch password data and secret keys out of databases, at least under certain conditions.

      The vulnerability stems from a “severe” SQL injection bug in NextGEN Gallery, a WordPress plugin with more than 1 million installations. Until the flaw was recently fixed, NextGEN Gallery allowed input from untrusted visitors to be included in WordPress-prepared SQL queries. Under certain conditions, attackers can exploit the weakness to pipe powerful commands to a Web server’s backend database.

    • cloudbleed hero graphics
    • Botnets

      Botnets have existed for at least a decade. As early as 2000, hackers were breaking into computers over the Internet and controlling them en masse from centralized systems. Among other things, the hackers used the combined computing power of these botnets to launch distributed denial-of-service attacks, which flood websites with traffic to take them down.

      But now the problem is getting worse, thanks to a flood of cheap webcams, digital video recorders, and other gadgets in the “Internet of things.” Because these devices typically have little or no security, hackers can take them over with little effort. And that makes it easier than ever to build huge botnets that take down much more than one site at a time.

    • Yahoo boss Marissa Mayer loses millions in bonuses over security lapses

      Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer will lose her annual bonus and the company’s top lawyer has been removed over their mishandling of security breaches that exposed the personal information of more than 1 billion users.

      Mayer’s cash bonus is worth about $2m a year and her personal cost from the security flaws increased when the board also accepted her offer to relinquish an annual stock award worth millions of dollars.

      Mayer, whose management team was found by an internal review to have reacted too slowly to one breach in 2014, said on Wednesday she wanted the board to distribute her bonus to Yahoo’s entire workforce of 8,500 employees. The board did not say if it would do so.

    • Unlimited randomness with the ChaosKey?

      A few days ago I ordered a small batch of the ChaosKey, a small USB dongle for generating entropy created by Bdale Garbee and Keith Packard. Yesterday it arrived, and I am very happy to report that it work great! According to its designers, to get it to work out of the box, you need the Linux kernel version 4.1 or later. I tested on a Debian Stretch machine (kernel version 4.9), and there it worked just fine, increasing the available entropy very quickly. I wrote a small test oneliner to test. It first print the current entropy level, drain /dev/random, and then print the entropy level for five seconds.

    • Startup Offers Free ‘Bug Bounty’ Help to Open Source Projects

      Many people don’t realize much of the Internet is built on free software. Even giant companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon rely extensively on big libraries of code—known as “open source” software”—written by thousands of programmers, who share their work with everyone.

      But no software is perfect. Like the proprietary code developed by many companies, open source software contains flaws that hackers can exploit to steal information or spread viruses. That’s why a new initiative to patch those holes is important.

    • 50 Google Engineers Volunteered to Patch Thousands of Java Open Source Projects

      A year ago, several Google engineers got together and lay the foundation of Operation Rosehub, a project during which Google employees used some of their official work time to patch thousands of open source projects against a severe and widespread Java vulnerability.

      Known internally at Google as the Mad Gadget vulnerability, the issue was discovered at the start of 2015 but came to everyone’s attention in November 2015 after security researchers from Foxglove Security showcased how it could be used to steal data from WebLogic, WebSphere, JBoss, Jenkins, and OpenNMS Java applications.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The New Yorker’s Big Cover Story Reveals Five Uncomfortable Truths About U.S. and Russia

      The New Yorker is aggressively touting its 13,000-word cover story on Russia and Trump that was bylined by three writers, including the magazine’s editor-in-chief, David Remnick. Beginning with its cover image menacingly featuring Putin, Trump and the magazine’s title in Cyrillic letters, along with its lead cartoon dystopically depicting a UFO-like Red Square hovering over and phallically invading the White House, a large bulk of the article is devoted to what has now become standard – and very profitable – fare among East Coast news magazines: feeding Democrats the often-xenophobic, hysterical Russia-phobia for which they have a seemingly insatiable craving. Democratic media outlets have thus predictably cheered this opus for exposing “Russian President Vladimir Putin’s influence on the presidential election.”

    • Sweden to reintroduce conscription amid rising Baltic tensions

      Sweden has voted to reintroduce military conscription by 1 July after struggling to fill army ranks on a voluntary basis, citing increased Russian military activity in the Baltics as one of the reasons for the policy U-turn.

      In 2010, Sweden’s centre-right government of the time abolished the draft after more than 100 years, arguing that targeted recruitment would increase the quality of a military that had shrunk by more than 90% since the end of the cold war.

      But with unemployment rates having returned to pre-2008 levels, the country has been struggling to meet its target of 4,000 new recruits per annum.

    • Conscription

      Canadian armed forces are barely enough to hold a single town together, let alone to fight a war. That’s not good enough. We should ramp up bodies, especially shooters, by at least a factor of five and we should procure vehicles and weapon-system in numbers sufficient for a general mobilization. Modern warfare is not like WWII where we had years to get ready. Things can get really bad in days with ICBMs, suicide bombers, chemical/biological weapons and many thousands of really insane people possessing them with evil intent. Conscription is fine to mobilize a population but we probably don’t need that if our reserves are much larger and our weapon-sytems more capable. We should aim to recruit ~10% of the population for military training and have 1% of the population ready to go instantly. That would give us flexibility similar to other countries who recognize the dangers around the world.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • No Immediate Ruling Made on Dakota Access Pipeline Work

      A federal judge said Tuesday that he’ll decide within a week whether to temporarily halt construction of the final section of the Dakota Access pipeline over claims that it violates the religious rights of two Indian tribes.

      U.S. District Judge James Boasberg told lawyers at a hearing that he wants to issue a ruling before oil begins flowing in the pipeline, which could be weeks away.

    • Swiss study: snow to largely disappear from Alps by 2100

      By the end of the century up to 70 percent of snow cover in the Alps will have melted and the ski season will be much shorter, Swiss researchers predict.

      If global warming is not halted, only ski areas above 2,500 metres will have enough snow for winter sports, said the scientists from the Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) and the EPFL Lausanne.

      Writing in European Geosciences Union (EGU) journal The Cryosphere, they predicted that the amount and duration of snow cover in typical Alpine areas would have shrunk by the end of the century, even in best-case climate scenarios.

  • Finance

    • As Uber Melts Down, Its CEO Says He ‘Must Fundamentally Change’

      It took eight years and at least as many back-to-back-to-back-to-back controversies to break Travis Kalanick.

      After a stunning month of scandals at Uber, Kalanick, its founder and CEO, sent an emotional and uncharacteristically apologetic memo to his employees Tuesday night. “This is the first time I’ve been willing to admit that I need leadership help,” Kalanick wrote. “And I intend to get it.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Why some German politicians want Erdogan banned

      “German-Turkey relations are facing one of their greatest challenges of the modern era,” German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said, a day after a German-Turkish journalist was formally charged in Turkey with producing terrorist propaganda and undermining the government.

      The detention of Deniz Yucel, who works for German newspaper Die Welt, has led to an outpouring of anger and frustration from German politicians and media figureheads alike.

      Some politicians have even called into question whether future visits to Germany by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as part of an upcoming election campaign should be allowed to go ahead.

    • Is it reasonable for a private industry to demand governmental censorship power over general communications?

      The copyright industry is trying – again – to forcefully conscript Internet Service Providers into doing their bidding. This time, the RIAA and other organizations are demanding “filtering”, which is a pretty word for censorship, of anything they don’t want people to send to each other privately.

      Ask yourself this one question: is it any shade of reasonable that a private industry gets a governmental mandate to silence our phonecalls when we talk about things that the private industry in question don’t want us to talk about? Because that’s exactly what the copyright industry is demanding here, exactly what they’re demanding, as applied to the Internet.

    • Twitter to get even harsher on trolls

      Twitter is cracking down even harder against trolls, including temporarily barring accounts that are harassing other users.

      In a blog posted Wednesday, Twitter’s vice president of engineering, Ed Ho, announced more safety measures to stop abuse on its platform.

      One of the methods includes using the company’s internal algorithms to identify problematic accounts and limiting certain account functions — such as only allowing the aggressor to see their followers — for a set period of time if they engaged in troublesome behavior.

    • Twitter will use algorithms to sniff out trolls

      SOCIAL NETWORK Twitter has announced that it’s making more updates to its service that will help to silence trolls and better allow users to filter out abusive content.

      Last month, Twitter announced a ‘three-step plan’ to tackle trolls, which included an easier way for user filter “abusive and low-quality replies” from users’ timelines by default, a ban on suspended users from creating new accounts, and a new ‘safe search’ feature which the firm claims will remove offensive tweets – along with tweets from blocked and muted accounts – from a users timeline.

      On Wednesday, the firm announced it’s expanding on these efforts, and will now look to algorithms to more actively identify accounts that spread abusive content.

    • Plymouth clerk’s anti-Muslim post investigated, city manager says

      Longtime Plymouth City Clerk Linda Langmesser is the subject of an internal investigation after an anti-Muslim post she made on Facebook came to light, City Manager Paul Sincock confirmed Tuesday.

      “It’s a matter of an internal investigation,” Sincock said. “We have no further comment.”

      According to Sincock, Langmesser’s posting was a response to a story about a Muslim woman who’d lost her job at the White House; the story, headlined “I was a Muslim in Trump’s White House for 8 Days,” penned for The Atlantic by former White House staffer Rumana Ahmed, who hired into the White House during President Obama’s first term.

      According to Sincock, Langmesser’s post — which has since been removed — talked about how Ahmed wasn’t telling the truth “because that’s what they do in their culture” and that she should “be sent back to where she can worship the koran.”

    • A positive step forward against the “censorship machine” in the Copyright Directive

      On 24 February 2017 the Rapporteur of the European Parliament (EP) Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO), Catherine Stihler MEP, published her draft Opinion on the Copyright Directive. The Opinion sends a strong message against the most extremist parts of the European Commission’s proposal: the “censorship machine” (aka upload filter) proposal in Article 13 and the suggestion to expand the “ancillary copyright ” (aka “link tax”), that failed so miserably in Germany and Spain to every country of the EU.

    • We can’t just blame the Left for student censorship – every side is at it now

      If you dare to walk onto a university campus, you better prepare yourself. Flags bearing the stern face of Lenin drape from windows. Reincarnated soldiers of the Red Army patrol the corridors. The harmonic chime of ‘The Red Flag’ hangs in the air.

      Yes, according to a ground-breaking study by the Adam Smith Institute, eight out of ten UK universities are ‘left-wing’.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • 9-month probation for youth who used criminal force against blogger Amos Yee

      A youth who attacked blogger Amos Yee at a Jurong West mall in May last year was ordered to undergo nine months of probation on Wednesday (March 1).

      Bryon Loke Thong Ler, 19, who had confronted the 17-year-old for taking a video of him at Jurong Point, was also ordered to complete 100 hours of community service. Loke’s parents, who were in court, placed a $5,000 bond to ensure his compliance.

      Loke had earlier pleaded guilty to using criminal force on Amos between noon and 12.50pm on May 29 last year. The court had called for a probation report.

    • Body Worn Cameras Continue To Reduce Police Misconduct, Citizen Complaints In San Diego

      On the other hand, lower-level uses of force have increased 23.5% over the same period. What could be taken as an indication of a partial accountability favor is more likely just a statistical adjustment. For one, the increase in real numbers is only 71 more force deployments than last year, which isn’t all that much when compared to the number of police interactions. According to SDPD numbers, officers responded to 520,000 incidents in 2016.

      As for the uptick in lower-level force deployment — which is much more significant than the drop in higher-level force use — this is little more than a reflection of a positive change in tactics. In most arrests, some level of force is deployed. If San Diego cops are aware they’re being recorded, they’re less likely to deploy high-level force techniques as quickly as they would in pre-camera days. These numbers show there’s more de-escalation occurring, which naturally results in fewer deployments of high-level force. But since some force is still needed in many cases, the numbers have to go somewhere. And they’ve traveled from the high-level stats to the low-level.

    • Swedish medics need military equipment to enter certain areas – Ambulance Drivers Union

      Gordon Grattidge, chairman of the union, told DGS TV that medics need tactical units and special equipment in order to enter risky areas across Sweden.

      In 2016, more than 55 places were outlined as areas police were struggling to maintain law and order, as thugs attack officers and wreak havoc.

      The situation on Sweden came under scrutiny in February as US President Donald Trump suggested the Scandinavian country’s troubles was a result of its liberal refugee policy.

    • Police dispute US journalist’s claim he was escorted out of Rinkeby

      Police have disputed American journalist Tim Pool’s claim that he received an escort out of the Rinkeby suburb of Stockholm on Wednesday after he and his colleague were followed by masked men.

      “Several men started masking up and following us. Police told us to leave and had to escort us to our car,” he wrote in a Twitter post on Wednesday.

    • Danish prison more expensive than luxury hotel

      The list of dignitaries and stars who have pampered themselves in the luxurious settings at D’Angleterre Hotel in Copenhagen goes on into infinity.

      But really, if they’d wanted to spend the night at an even more expensive (though perhaps not as exclusive) establishment in Denmark, they should have booked themselves in at Vridsløselille Prison in the western Copenhagen suburb of Albertslund.

    • Murderer Tanveer Ahmed inspires Pakistani hardliners from Scottish jail

      When Tanveer Ahmed was sentenced to a minimum of 27 years in jail for murder last August, Judge Lady Rae said he had committed a “brutal, barbaric and horrific crime”.

      Ahmed stabbed to death Glasgow shopkeeper Asad Shah – who belonged to the persecuted Ahmadi sect – because he believed he was committing blasphemy by uploading online videos in which he claimed to be a prophet.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC Boss Calls Net Neutrality A ‘Mistake,’ Repeats Debunked Claim It Stifled Broadband Investment

      So for several years now, the broadband industry (and the politicians, think tankers, and policy folk paid to love them) has desperately tried to claim that the FCC’s net neutrality rules killed investment in broadband networks, clouding the entire telecom market in a dark shroud of “regulatory uncertainty.” And it doesn’t matter how many times we (and others) debunk this claim, it just keeps popping up like an undead groundhog. The reality is this: net neutrality had zero negative impact on the CAPEX, growth, or financials of major broadband providers. It simply isn’t true.

    • Can YouTube TV Get You to Cut the Cord for $35 a Month?

      For years, YouTube has served up almost every imaginable kind of video.

      The site’s top trending attractions on a recent afternoon included clips of a gymnasium roof collapsing in the Czech Republic, a colossal alligator lumbering across a footpath in Florida, some North Korean refugees digging into American barbecue for the first time, and a guy demonstrating how to wash a car with a baby. (Step one: Hand the baby the hose.) Now, a dozen years after its creation and about a decade after its absorption into Google Inc., YouTube is on the verge of adding yet one more genre—a category of programming that has long eluded it. YouTube is finally getting regular TV.

  • DRM

    • Xbox Games Pass: Microsoft launches $10 monthly subscription for over 100 titles [Ed: Microsoft wants you to stop owning games and just rent them instead]

      Microsoft is launching the Netflix of games, letting people play as many as they want for just $10 a month.

      The Xbox Games Pass will be a monthly subscription service that gives access to 100 games, Microsoft has said. As such, it works like Netflix or similar to the PlayStation Now service that Sony has offered for years.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • USTR Issues 2017 Trade Policy Review, Listing IPR Priorities [Ed: USTR is a front group for large US corporations that smear, attack and shame poor countries to get their way]

      The Office of the United States Trade Representative today released its 2017 trade policy agenda. The report includes numerous references to intellectual property rights, mainly focused on enforcement, plans for multilateral discussions on IPR and trade, and promises of an aggressive stance on geographical indications. But overall it is short on overall details about what’s to come with the new administration.

    • Text Protecting Indigenous Cultural Expressions Streamlined At WIPO, But Divergence Persists

      Renewed discussions on the protection of traditional cultural expressions at the World Intellectual Property Organization have produced a new draft text that provides a clearer view of the different ways in which countries see a that treaty could help against misappropriation of indigenous cultural heritage. Divergences remain on core questions such as what and who should benefit from the protection of an international treaty, in which terms, and to what extent.

    • Indigenous Peoples At WIPO Call For Respect Of Their Sovereign Rights, Prevention Of Cultural Genocide

      A panel of indigenous peoples speaking at the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization on a potential treaty protecting their folklore from misappropriation asked that indigenous culture be recognised as unique, and not unduly considered as belonging to the whole of mankind. The keynote speaker chastised the United States position in the committee, criticised a US recent document equating the cultural significance of Santa Claus, pizza and sand paintings, and called for the respect of indigenous peoples’ sovereign rights over their cultural expressions.

    • Copyrights

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