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04.19.17

Patents on Business Methods and Software Are Collapsing, But the Patent Microcosm is Working Hard to Change That

Posted in America, Patents at 9:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

People like Robert Sachs (on the right) try to cherry-pick cases and make these precedential (to help patent maximalists/aggressors)

Robert R. SachsSummary: The never-ending battle over patent law, where those who are in the business of patents push for endless patenting, is still ongoing and resistance/opposition is needed from those who actually produce things (other than litigation) or else they will be perpetually taxed by parasites

FOLLOWING a SCOTUS decision nearly 3 years ago the patent landscape has not been the same in the US. The “effect of the Supreme Court’s Alice decision was to kill about 75% of all BM [business method] patent applications stone dead,”
Mark Summerfield has just said, having said the same thing earlier this year. Here is the part about software patents:

Software patent grants, however, continue to track the rates at which patents are issued by the USPTO across all fields of technology. I therefore feel confident in reiterating my earlier comments that ‘software patents’ in general are not in trouble. There is no evidence that the mere fact that computer software is used to implement an invention – even where the invention relates wholly to computer technology, such as in user interfaces, document processing, databases, and so forth – is a barrier to patent eligibility in the US.

But these die at the courts and in the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), so this merely indicates that the USPTO does not do enough to account for these decisions. We wrote this many times before.

Watch Fenwick & West, a law firm that habitually attacks Alice, still working hard this month not just to spread software patents but also business method patents. To quote the latest from them:

On Wednesday, the Federal Circuit, in a per curiam order, denied SHzoom’s motion to make the Trading Technologies opinion precedential. The order of course gave no reasons for the decision. Nonetheless, the underlying decision is still a good one for patentees and applicants.

While not binding on the USPTO, it can nonetheless be argued as persuasive authority with examiners where the facts in the application “uniquely match” those in the case. Prosecutors should consider arguing this case to examiners where they have specifically claimed graphical elements that provide specific functionality.

We certainly hope that these patent maximalists don’t get their way. Software patents have long hobbled Free/Open Source software and proprietary software too. Up until now, including in 2017, these have been turning software freedom into something synonymous with “infringement”. As someone put it some days ago: “*whispers into the air* …the final patents on MP3 technology expired today…”

It’s about time. How many people suffered due to these patents? How many people struggled to get decoders to play their audio files? Or resorted to do something against patent law?

Finally, as an aside, we used to think more highly of Law 360, but Matthew Bultman adopts the misleading language of the patent microcosm, where defense from patents magically means “attack” (on the patent/s). This is not an attack, it’s a defense, but watch how Bultman put it both in the headline and the opening paragraph:

PTAB Rejects Some Follow-Up Attacks To Software Patents

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board has rejected a handful of recent attacks brought by Xactware Solutions Inc. against a rival’s patents covering aerial rooftop measurement software, saying the New Jersey company was morphing its challenges based on earlier board decisions.

This is another example of PTAB stepping in to reassess and usually correct the USPTO. The patent microcosm likes to just cherry-pick the situation in which the patents “survive” (their misleading term) scrutiny. As in the above…

IAM, the Patent Trolls’ Voice, is Trying to Deny There is a Growing Trolling Problem in Europe

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 9:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cheerleading for patent trolls (and their facilitators) while attacking/smearing those who stand in their way

IAM THE VOICE OF PATENT TROLLS

Summary: IAM Media (the EPO’s and trolls’ mouthpiece) continues a rather disturbing pattern of propaganda dressed up as “news”, promoting the agenda of parasites who drain the economy by extortion of legitimate (producing) companies

THE site/’magazine’ known as IAM is quite a riddle. Actually, it’s not much of a riddle; it’s more like a think tank and it no longer does a good job hiding it. Just watch what it covers almost every day this year.

“So a Korean patent troll, having a go in the US, loses.”Alluding to a case of a Korean troll-like entity, ETRI, and Huawei (China), a reasonably OK site said: “A Korean patent company behind a slew of infringement suits is actually just a litigation agent for the true patent holder and therefore doesn’t have standing in court, a California federal judge ruled in a Monday decision dismissing a long-running case against Huawei Technologies Co.”

So a Korean patent troll, having a go in the US, loses. IAM, on the other hand, called this a campaign to “monetise IP”. Note that the plaintiff is actually called “SPH America, LLC” (classic cover for a troll); IAM says it’s dubbed “litigation agent”, but it’s actually a troll — a word that hardly exists in IAM's lexicon because it's a trolls denialist that is funded by some trolls. It denies that companies that are patent trolls actually are trolls! Talk about whitewashing or reputation laundering.

“It denies that companies that are patent trolls actually are trolls! Talk about whitewashing or reputation laundering.”The lobbying site of trolls, IAM, also seems upset this week at claims of troll (re)surgence (challenge to the UPC actually), in this much belated post about IP2Innovate (IP2I). To quote: “Just as important, it seems to me, is that beyond equating trolls with patent assertion entities, IP2I provides no definitions of what it is that it is actually referring to. So, while it is certainly true that some do directly equate PAEs with trolls, it is equally the case that many others do not. That would include IAM, for example.”

IAM is funded by trolls. It’s in bed with them. It’s basically trying to groom them and it challenges those who dare point out that there is a problem. It was actually IAM itself, as we covered before, admitting a surge in NPE (not PAE) activity in Germany. What is this if not trolling? IAM itself admitted, back in late March, that troll litigation in Germany was booming. Suddenly it’s upset that IP2I says the same thing? We guess they’re so desperate for the UPC, so seeing the IP2I antagonising it makes IAM’s paymasters sweat a little. Facts are temporarily suspended, as usual, and IAM tries to delegitimise and discredit IP2I.

“Sites like IAM still deny that trolls exist, so while they do know that there’s a rise in troll activity in Europe they just don’t want it to be called “troll activity”.”Remember that IAM also attacked the FTC’s report on PAEs, i.e. patent trolls. Why even carry on pretending it’s a news site? It’s a think tank for the highest bidder. It keeps attacking every single threat to trolls. Even refuting its own reporting when it suits it! “The evidence was,” as I explained yesterday, “among other places, in IAM itself…”

Sites like IAM still deny that trolls exist, so while they do know that there’s a rise in troll activity in Europe they just don’t want it to be called “troll activity”. They use all sorts of euphemisms (like “monetise IP” above).

“Of the 12 patent suits filed today,” wrote United for Patent Reform a short while ago, “11 were filed by patent trolls — that’s 92%.”

“Right now in Europe the proportion of troll lawsuits is still low, but it is rising sharply. The UPC, if it ever became more than a sordid fantasy, would accelerate this.”Imagine what will happen if this comes to Europe. Right now in Europe the proportion of troll lawsuits is still low, but it is rising sharply. The UPC, if it ever become more than a sordid fantasy, would accelerate this.

The matter of fact is, the world is becoming a tough place for trolls. Some go bankrupt and some try to reinvent themselves. Canada’s most notorious patent troll, for example, is obviously failing and trying to do something else now, as even IAM admits right now. To quote:

Yesterday’s news that WiLAN will purchase an Internet of Things (IoT) business as it looks to diversify away from patent licensing represented another nail in the coffin of the NPE sector as we know it.

WiLAN is acquiring International Road Dynamics, an Industrial IoT business, for $47.7 million and following that deal will change its name to Quarterhill. WiLAN will then become the patent licensing subsidiary of the new business, responsible for monetising the more than 10,000 patent assets that the Canadian NPE has built up in the US alone. The company is not jettisoning patent licensing completely but in an interview this morning CEO Jim Skippen made clear that the business is no longer convinced that investing in patent deals is the right approach. “We will look at patent acquisitions but more and more we’re not sure that investing significant amounts of capital in patents really makes sense for us,” he said.

Recently, IAM promoted trolls in London (Unwired Planet) almost every single day and sometimes more than once a day! One must always remember the raison d’être of IAM if or when reading it. We don’t read it for entertainment value but in order to track and rebut the latest misinformation from Joff Wild and his boys (no women there).

The Patent Microcosm Keeps Attacking Every Patent Office/System That is Doing the Right Thing

Posted in America, Asia, Patents at 8:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chess

Summary: Patent ‘radicals’ and ‘extremists’ — those to whom patents are needed solely for the purpose of profit from bureaucracy — fight hard against patent quality and in the process they harm everyone, including individual customers

THE USPTO is under attack from the patent microcosm. They are still working overtime to chase away Director Lee, now basing claims that she is on her way out on some article about something else. At the same time they also keep bullying the Indian patent office because it disallows software patents and, as mentioned here before, since Japan is getting tougher on patents, the patent microcosm is not happy about it either. The patent system in Japan is improving (better quality) and right now IAM (the trolls’ think tank) bemoans it and says: “Continuing a trend manifested over the past decade, the number of patent applications submitted to the Japan Patent Office (JPO) fell again in 2016, as businesses reappraise the role that Japanese assets play in their IP portfolios. However, the decrease was significantly smaller than in previous years – suggesting that filing rates may be levelling out, for now.”

“Fundamental ideas are being patented and companies that produce and sell a lot of things are being preyed on (at the expense of customers).”Why is this happening? Because the patent microcosm wants legal chaos. It profits from that. Companies like Samsung, for example, are being sued by all sorts of trolls and extorted by Microsoft. “A jury found for Rembrandt and awarded $15.7 million in damages,” Patently-O writes this week about a case against Samsung. “On appeal, the Federal Circuit has affirmed on infringement and validity – but rejected the lower court’s finding that the patent had been properly marked.”

In addition, Samsung is being attacked by Apple in several different patent lawsuits, using truly dubious patents that we wrote about before. Apple has some truly awful patents that make the USPTO look worse (and the same goes for the EPO under Battistelli). As one good article noted the other day, the notorious “rubber banding” patent is back in action:

Apple went all-out in its patent assault on Samsung beginning in 2012, when Steve Jobs’ promised “thermonuclear war” against Android became a reality. The patents used by the Cupertino device maker weren’t just challenged in court, though. Various parties have challenged Apple’s most important patents at the US Patent and Trademark Office, as well.

On Friday, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued an opinion (PDF) about an “ex parte reexam,” filed against Apple’s patent by an anonymous party. The reexam claimed that one of the patents upholding Apple’s big win against Samsung, US Patent No. 7,844,915, never should have been issued at all. The ’915 patent was described in a general way as the “pinch to zoom” patent, but its claims describe a way of distinguishing between one-touch and two-touch operations.

These sorts of ridiculous patent cases serve to illustrate the depth of the problem. Fundamental ideas are being patented and companies that produce and sell a lot of things are being preyed on (at the expense of customers). India, Japan and the US under Lee have basically done the right thing; that’s why they’re constantly under attack by the patent microcosm, whereas a lot of this same microcosm seems perfectly happy with Battistelli turning the EPO into the world's laughing stock.

Another Final Nail in the UPC Coffin: UK General Election

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

But UPC lobbyists (typically Kats) will soon put this rodent on gymnastics (in logic)

Rodent's coffin

Summary: Ratification of the UPC in the UK can drag on for several more years and never be done thereafter, throwing into uncertainty the whole UPC (EU-wide) as we know it

THE EPO has been extremely quiet this past week, probably due to Easter. But there’s a storm brewing for Battistelli and his UPC hopeful allies.

Jo Johnson, for example, seems to have had a change of mind, based on this former Kat who says “The #UPC made it into today’s @faznet in Germany. Headline: “All new with a question mark.” Cites @JoJohnsonMP (“UPC part of #Brexit talks”)…”

“…there’s a storm brewing for Battistelli and his UPC hopeful allies.”So this can take ages. Maybe 3 years if not 2. In the meantime the UPC is in a limbo.

“Presumably, the fact that a general election has been called will now prevent the ratification of the treaty until after June (if ever),” somebody wrote at IP Kat shortly after the news came in.

“Well said,” another person responded, “my thoughts exactly…”

Team UPC was then openly mocked. These law firms, liars like Bristows, consistently lied about the UPC and misinformed everyone. The next comment said: “Watch out for Mr Mooney et al declaring that the upcoming general election has nothing to do whatsoever with British UPCA ratification and will not in any way have an impact on it. Will we even see some barristers’ written opinon ‘independently’ confirming this? /irony off”

“Team UPC was then openly mocked.”We are sure they are going to spin this, as they always do.

“Parliament to meet for maybe only 7 days before 8th June due to holidays and local elections in May,” the latest comment said. “There will be plenty of trawling over May’s words as to whether Brexit negotiations are delayed, going on or are just not happening anyway at the moment.”

One might ask, where’s IAM? It’s the UPC’s and Battistelli’s well-paid UPC mouthpiece. Yesterday they granted some more bogus awards to patent maximalists and partners (for them to show off in their Web site or whatever). Watch who’s among the awarded people!

“We are sure they are going to spin this, as they always do.”“OMG,” one employee of the EPO hollered at them, “are you guys working for Battistelli and Kongstad?” (linking to the above). S/he continued: “IAM hardcore UPC – Battistelli supporter and promoter backpedaling?”

No, they’re just money-grabbing and they want to come across as legitimate/honest at the same time. IAM was already paid by the PR agency of the EPO to promote the UPC (Battistelli AstroTurfing) and yesterday it wrote: “Strong rumours a UK general election to be called for 8th June. If that is the case, it’s likely to further delay the UK’s UPC ratification.”

Delay? How about call off? Bye bye UPC. It was never meant to be and we barely knew thy…

“The UPC timetable is likely to slip into 2018,” said another person, “assuming that ratification is still on the cards after the election.”

“Bye bye UPC. It was never meant to be and we barely knew thy…”Not 2018. Only the UPC hopefuls would still say that. “This could well derail UPC in its current form. Expect a pretty long delay now – maybe until after Brexit,” IAM wrote about the above tweet from Dr. Alex Robinson, whose blog post states: “If UK ratification of the UPC Agreement is still on the agenda after the general election, it is unlikely to take place until July or August at the earliest. Consequently, the “sunrise period” may well be delayed until at least autumn or winter 2017, with the UPC and Unitary Patent coming online in early-to-mid 2018.”

They keep changing the dates all the time. Recently they said 2018, soon you’ll say 2020 and who knows what’s next… it was the same when UPC was branded “EU patent” or “Community patent”; only a gullible fool would take their predictions seriously.

“Recently they said 2018, soon you’ll say 2020 and who knows what’s next… it was the same when UPC was branded “EU patent” or “Community patent”; only a gullible fool would take their predictions seriously.”There are of course many other problems with the UPC, both inside and outside the UK. Team UPC does not like to openly air these problems. As one patent professional put it this week, “Absence of a Supreme Court or Cour de Cassation in #UPC could be a problem?”

It’s another barrier for the UPC, which “complicates the licensing process for a patent holder.” To quote a portion of the corresponding new analysis:

The UPC complicates the licensing process for a patent holder. He has to decide whether he wants to stay or wants to opt-out from the UPC before licensing his inventions, which could be contentious topic between a licensor and a licensee.

The UPC will bring licensing issues between a patent owner and a licensee. A patent owner, anytime during the seven years transition period, can opt-out from the UPC jurisdiction. However, there isn’t any such provision of a licensee or for an exclusive licensee.

This could bring different issues to the table for a licensor and licensee. An exclusive licensee, for example, in a case of filing an injunction against an infringer may not want the owner to opt out as it prevents him seeking a pan-Europe injunction. On the other hand, in the case of a successful counter-claim, he may want the owner to opt-out to prevent losing his rights over the whole jurisdiction.

“Sometimes you wonder why those associations that aims to defend FLOSS and freedoms are doing on UPC and swpats v3.0,” Benjamin Henrion wrote, alluding to FFII, FSFE, FSF and so on. We have repeatedly invited them to help respond to Team UPC and the EPO’s management, but they have done virtually nothing except this press release that we had drafted.

Links 19/4/2017: DockerCon Coverage, Ubuntu Switching to Wayland

Posted in News Roundup at 5:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 Open Source companies to watch in 2017

    As if getting venture funding themselves isn’t exciting enough for open source-oriented startups, seeing an open source-focused company like Deis get snapped up by Microsoft must be a thrill as well.

    While it would be more thrilling, perhaps, if Microsoft disclosed how much it paid, I’m sure those in the startup world and their backers have ways of finding out that information. Not that the acquisition path is necessarily the exit route that all of these startups envision for themselves, but such money can obviously talk.

  • Open source telco projects will struggle to gain traction until 5G matures

    Large-scale telco cloud deployments will reach global critical mass after 2020, in parallel with the deployment for 5G, according to a new study from ABI Research. Such massive deployments will likely require the new core network currently being architected by 3GPP to allow for advanced concepts, including network slicing and services geared toward different business verticals. The research firm adds that early 5G deployments will likely focus on enhanced mobile broadband, during which time there will not be an immediate need for a new telco core.

  • 3 things community managers can learn from the 50 state strategy

    There are a lot of parallels between the world of politics and open source development. Open source community members can learn a lot about how political parties cultivate grass-roots support and local organizations, and empower those local organizations to keep people engaged. Between 2005 and 2009, Howard Dean was the chairman of the Democratic National Congress in the United States, and instituted what was known as the “50 state strategy” to grow the Democratic grass roots. That strategy, and what happened after it was changed, can teach community managers some valuable lessons about keeping community contributors. Here are three lessons community managers can learn from it.

  • Open source is changing the build or buy question
  • Events

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Partnerships and collaboration: the secret to big data innovation done better with open source software and Obsidian Systems

      The strength of open source software is the community that helps to develop it and the vendors that adopt it, and that’s just as true in the world of high-end enterprise solutions for real-time big data management as it is for traditional data warehousing and business intelligence. That’s why Obsidian Systems, South Africa’s leading open source software provider, has partnered with global leaders in the field to bring the benefits of live data capture and analytics to local companies with some of the most powerful and cost-effective platforms available.

      Obsidian has built a strong reputation for real-time analytics in finance, retail, mining and telecommunications. It’s done this by leveraging the capabilities of its key partners in the field, Hortonworks and Talend.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.4 Office Suite Enters Development, Slated for Release in Late July

      The Document Foundation, through Italo Vignoli, announced today, April 18, 2017, that the upcoming major update to the popular LibreOffice open-source office suite, versioned 5.4, has entered development.

      While the LibreOffice 5.4 release should hit the streets sometime at the end of July, the folks over at The Document Foundations already planned the first bug hunting session for the first Alpha build, which should happen next Friday, on April 28, 2017. During this session, the team plans to squash numerous bugs.

    • A Look At Some Of The Changes So Far For LibreOffice 5.4

      LibreOffice 5.4 is due out this summer as the next feature update to this open-source cross-platform office suite.

      Some of the changes queued so far for LibreOffice 5.4 include various Writer and Calc refinements, improved importing of EMF+ vector images, integration of pdfium for rendering inserted PDF images, Notebookbar improvements, a responsive design for the document iframe, some performance improvements, localization enhancements, and more.

    • The felt dependency on Microsoft Outlook [iophk: "psychological addiction"]

      On 10th April an international journalist team around Harald Schumann of the German tagesspiegel published the results of researches they did over several months about “Europe’s dire dependency on Microsoft“. The article mainly focuses on LibreOffice as an alternative to Microsoft Office. I can only underline all of the explanations, experiences and facts described in this article from my eleven years of experience in the OpenSource groupware scene.

    • [Old] The Problem Isn’t Email, It’s Microsoft Exchange

      If your email experience is via Exchange and Outlook, the net effect is both time consuming and disruptive.

    • iWork and iLife apps are now free for old and new Mac and iOS users [iophk: “No ODF support for the garbage

      Previously, users with old hardware had to pay for each app. Individual programs cost between $5 and $20 each

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • These New Yorkers Are Covering Advertisements with Art
  • The Building Shaker: a thumping gadget for annoying your noisy neighbors

    The Chinese media report on a man called Zhao from Xi’an who took revenge on his noisy upstairs neighbors whose boy wouldn’t stop jumping on his ceiling by buying a “building shaker” — a gadget that thumps your shared walls until your neighbors capitulate — and leaving it on while he went away for the weekend.

  • Science

    • Explained: Neural networks

      In the past 10 years, the best-performing artificial-intelligence systems — such as the speech recognizers on smartphones or Google’s latest automatic translator — have resulted from a technique called “deep learning.”

      Deep learning is in fact a new name for an approach to artificial intelligence called neural networks, which have been going in and out of fashion for more than 70 years. Neural networks were first proposed in 1944 by Warren McCullough and Walter Pitts, two University of Chicago researchers who moved to MIT in 1952 as founding members of what’s sometimes called the first cognitive science department.

    • Why Slashing the NIH Budget Is Indefensible

      We can’t afford to defund the vital efforts that could help solve some of our greatest challenges, from cancer to climate change.

  • Hardware

    • Chinese HDMI-to-SDI converters

      The last issue is by far the worst, but it only affects 3G-SDI resolutions. 720p60, 1080p30 and 1080i60 all work fine. And to be fair, not even Blackmagic’s own converters actually send 352M correctly most of the time…

      I wish there were a way I could publish this somewhere people would actually read it before buying these things, but without a name, it’s hard for people to find it. They’re great value for money, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them for almost all use… but then, there’s that almost. :-)

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • History of Iran Covert Action Deferred Indefinitely

      A declassified U.S. Government documentary history of the momentous 1953 coup in Iran, in which Central Intelligence Agency personnel participated, had been the object of widespread demand from historians and others for decades. In recent years, it finally seemed to be on the verge of publication.

      But now its release has been postponed indefinitely.

      Last year, “the Department of State did not permit publication of the long-delayed Iran Retrospective volume because it judged the political environment too sensitive,” according to a new annual report from the State Department Historical Advisory Committee (HAC). “The HAC was severely disappointed.”

      “The HAC was unsuccessful in its efforts to meet with [then-]Secretary Kerry to discuss the volume, and now there is no timetable for its release,” the new report stated.

    • Julian Assange Tweets About Running in the UK Election

      The Brits are having an election on June 8th, as Prime Minister Theresa May looks to shore up support before things really get messy with Brexit. But an unlikely person has just floated the idea of running for British Parliament. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange just asked his followers on Twitter if he should run for election.

    • Hypocritical CIA Director Goes On Rant About Wikileaks, Free Speech

      The current administration is back to threatening free speech. On his way to being elected, Trump’s passion for bogus defamation suits led him to declare he would “open up” libel laws to make it easier for him to sue people for saying things he didn’t like.

      This continued after the election. Trump tweeted his opposition to “fake news,” calling out pretty much any major network that wasn’t Fox News and calling them “enemies of the people.” His new CIA director, Mike Pompeo, is similarly threatening the First Amendment. In his remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Pompeo went on a rant about Wikileaks — one no doubt motivated by the site’s recent data dumps on CIA computer exploits.

      [...]

      This is an interesting change of heart for Pompeo. Last year, when he was running for re-election in Kansas, he seemed pleased with Wikileaks and its ability to obtain damning documents.

    • Pompeo vs. WikiLeaks: It’s No Contest

      Last July, while stumping for then-candidate, now-president Donald Trump, US Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS) gleefully referenced nearly 20,000 Democratic National Committee emails released by the transparency/disclosure journalists at Wikileaks. “Need further proof that the fix was in from Pres. Obama on down?” Pompeo tweeted. The emails showed that DNC officials had worked overtime to rig their party’s primaries for eventual nominee Hillary Clinton and against challenger Bernie Sanders.

    • Intercepted podcast: Julian Assange speaks out as Trump’s CIA director threatens to “end” Wikileaks
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Denmark to contest UK efforts to ‘take back control’ of fisheries

      The British government’s plan to “take back control” of its waters after leaving the EU is about to be challenged by a claim from Denmark that its fishermen have a historical right to access to the seas around Britain dating back to the 1400s.

      Officials in Copenhagen have mined the archives to build a legal case that could potentially be fought in the international court of justice in The Hague, although officials hasten to say that this is not their intention.

      Denmark is seeking a Brexit deal that recognises the right of its fleet to continue to exploit a hundred shared stocks of species such as cod, herring, mackerel, plaice and sand eel.

  • Finance

    • It’s time to regulate the gig economy

      Over a century ago, labour laws began to be instituted in diverse countries throughout the world. These laws were intended to provide protection to workers in what was recognised as an unequal relationship of exchange, but it also gave authority to managers to organise and direct their employees’ work. While the world of work has changed since these initial labour regulations were instituted, the fundamental reasons for the existence of labour protections – to ensure safe and healthy workplaces, to give workers a voice, and to provide minimum protections with respect to working time and earnings – remain valid.

    • Why The Command-and-Control Mindset Is Killing Your Company

      The world has reached a key moment in the history of the way we work. We have entered a new business environment, dictated by rapid changing technological variables that create an entirely new economic landscape. Exponential growth of our interconnected world forces us to see the world anew. The 21st century asks for a different mindset now the rules of the game have fundamentally changed.

      In this game it is not anymore relevant to optimize an organization’s efficiency based on a stable set of known variables. Instead, there’s a strong need to adapt as fast as possible to increasingly complex working conditions. Efficiency has to make place for engagement and adaptability. The organizations that know how to fully engage their employees and those who are natives in this information-rich, densely interconnected world of the 21st century are the ones that thrive.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Poll: Bernie Sanders country’s most popular active politician

      Sanders is viewed favorably by 57 percent of registered voters, according to data from a Harvard-Harris survey provided exclusively to The Hill. Sanders is the only person in a field of 16 Trump administration officials or congressional leaders included in the survey who is viewed favorably by a majority of those polled.

    • Up In Arms in Jakarta

      His election victories have sparked a backlash. Since he ran for deputy-governor in 2012, hard-line Muslim organizations have argued that the Quran forbids Muslims from selecting non-Muslims as leaders, in an effort to attack the ambitious, highly popular pluralist politician.

    • ‘It’s performance art’: Lawyer for Alex Jones says InfoWars founder is ‘playing a character’

      The real Alex Jones is not his bombastic, conspiratorial InfoWars persona, his lawyer is hoping to convince a Texas jury in the radio host’s child-custody battle.

      That’s more or less what attorney Randall Wilhite told Texas District Judge Orlinda Naranjo, the Austin American-Statesman reported on Sunday.

      Wilhite told Naranjo that Jones’ public personality should not be considered as material in evaluating the InfoWars founder’s ability to be a father. Wilhite said doing so would be comparable to judging actor Jack Nicholson in such a custody battle based on his performance as the Joker in “Batman.”

      “He’s playing a character,” Wilhite said of Jones. “He is a performance artist.”

      But Kelly Jones, the InfoWars host’s ex-wife who is seeking sole or joint custody of the couple’s three children in the case, testified that Jones’ InfoWars personality was indeed the real Jones.

      [...]

      Jones, with millions of followers, rose to new prominence during the 2016 election cycle after Donald Trump, then the Republican frontrunner, appeared on his broadcast in late 2015. Trump’s Democratic challenger in the election, Hillary Clinton, called Jones out in a speech she delivered in August that targeted Trump’s support from the so-called alt-right.

    • 7 takeaways on Britain’s snap election

      The most tumultuous period in post-war British history just got more tumultuous.

      Over the next seven weeks and two days, Theresa May will take on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the most consequential election of the last 30 years.

      On the ballot paper is Britain’s future outside the European Union.

      Standing outside Number 10, the prime minister framed the election as a choice between an orderly, clean Brexit under her leadership, or a half-hearted, chaotic version under the most radical Labour leader since the 1930s.

    • Lenin Again Wins Ecuador’s Presidential Race After Recount

      Despite the opposition alleging fraud in the presidential elections, they didn’t bother to send any delegates to observe the recount process.

      Ecuador’s National Electoral Council President Juan Pablo Pozo reported that Tuesday’s recount of the ballots that had inconsistencies during the April 2 presidential run-off election was completed, with Alianza Pais candidate Lenin Moreno again winning the vote.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Facebook adds a login shortcut to other Android apps
    • NVIDIA and Facebook Team Up to Supercharge Caffe2 Deep Learning Framework
    • Caffe2: A New, Open-Source Deep Learning Framework From Facebook [Ed: Facebook is openwashing surveillance again; what do people think it's used for?]

      Facebook just announced Caffe2, a new deep learning framework developed in cooperation with NVIDIA and other vendors.

    • German Consumers Face $26,500 Fine If They Don’t Destroy Poorly-Secured ‘Smart’ Doll

      We’ve noted repeatedly how modern toys aren’t immune to the security and privacy dysfunction the internet-of-broken-things has become famous for. A new WiFi-enabled Barbie, for example, has come under fire for trivial security that lets the toy be modified for use as a surveillance tool. We’ve also increasingly noted how the data these toys collect isn’t secured particularly well either, as made evident by the Vtech incident, where hackers obtained the names, email addresses, passwords, and home addresses of 4,833,678 parents, and the first names, genders and birthdays of more than 200,000 kids.

    • Microsoft Latest Service Provider To Pry A National Security Letter Free From Its Gag Order [Ed: Show trials and publicity stunts are made for the media, for the most privacy-infringing companies (NSA PRISM also) to come across as heroes. PR stunt here. As Microsoft also secretly helps the NSA by inserting back doors into everything...]

      Microsoft is the latest to publish a National Security Letter, following Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Calyx, Cloudflare, and… the Internet Archive. Microsoft’s NSL [PDF] was issued by the FBI (of course) and demanded the usual subscriber info.

      In the post accompanying the disclosure, Microsoft points out the USA Freedom Act is the only reason it’s been able to release the NSL. This is one of the benefits of the recent law: a better, faster way to compel review of NSL gag orders, which used to take place almost never.

      In addition, Microsoft notes FISA orders are on the rise. Of course, its reporting is limited to useless “bands,” so the only thing that can definitely be determined is Microsoft’s FISA interactions have at least doubled.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Manual on protesting CIA drew the Agency’s ire

      A 1987 CIA memo shows that the Agency was not only deeply concerned about anti-CIA protests on college campuses in the United States, but held the protestors themselves in derision.

      While some of the protest tactics were described by the CIA as “so sophomoric that it’s depressing,” it should be noted that several years before these very tactics had been extremely effective – as a result of Yale and Harvard Law Schools’ questioning of the Agency’s (flagrantly homophobic) policies towards homosexuals, the Agency’s General Counsel had recommended cancelling the recruitment trips.

    • Judge: Doctor in alleged genital mutilation case a danger to public

      In a historic female genital mutilation case that has planted a bull’s-eye on what prosecutors are calling an “incredibly secretive” religious ritual, a federal magistrate on Monday denied bond to an Indian-Muslim doctor accused of mutilating the genitals of two Minnesota girls at a Livonia medical clinic.

  • DRM

    • Microsoft Follows Valve Down The Road Of Refunds On Digital Game Purchases [Ed: If you buy a boxed game at the store (as people did before), you have many rights, including the right of return. No EULAs. Rarely DRM.]

      With Steam’s policy for providing refunds on digital game purchases being roughly two years old, many people forget the context of the time when Valve began offering those refunds. It’s worth being reminded that at that time nobody in the neighborhood of the Steam client’s popularity was offering any real avenue for getting refunds on digital game purchases. Those that did mostly did so under the most restrictive conditions, with insane single-digit day windows in which a refund could be had, and only for certain reasons, of which the game being shitty was not included. Steam’s criteria was that you could request a refund during a two-week period for any reason, be it the game not living up to expectations, the gamer’s machine not being able to run it properly, or anything else. The other contextual aspect to keep in mind was that Steam had endured several weeks of absolutely brutal PR, with awful customer service ratings and the whole fiasco over its attempt at creating a paid-mod system.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Mac DeMarco Tells Fans to Grab Leaked Album From The Pirate Bay, Or Kazaa…

        Instead of complaining, he actively encouraged fans to download a free copy from The Pirate Bay, Soulseek, or even long defunct pirate classics such as Napster, Limewire, and Kazaa.

      • No, The Wall St. Bull Sculptor Doesn’t ‘Have A Point’

        Last week, we wrote twice about sculptor Arturo Di Modica and his claim that the “Fearless Girl” statue, that was placed last month in front of his “Charging Bull” statue, violates his rights. As we explained, in detail, he has almost no legal case here. His letter to New York City argues three possible claims of action — all of which would almost certainly be losers in court (as we detailed in that last post).

        However, I still have seen a bunch of people arguing in support of Di Modica, claiming that he “has a point.” Many have pointed to a blog post by Greg Fallis that is literally titled “Seriously, the guy has a point.” Others have raised other issues in discussions I’ve seen (and taken part in…) on Twitter and Facebook. I still don’t think he has any point at all, but I wanted to do a post addressing each of the key issues I’ve seen raised, and explaining why I think they fail as legitimate arguments.

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