EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

04.21.17

Even Patent Bullies Like Microsoft and Facebook Find the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Useful

Posted in America, Microsoft, Patents at 6:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

PTAB

Summary: Not just companies accused of patent infringement need the PTAB but also frequent accusers with deep pockets need the PTAB, based on some new figures and new developments

THE US has virtually excluded software patents, if not at the USPTO, then at least at the higher courts. Moreover, a lot of software patents are being eliminated outside the courts, owing to PTAB.

For those who used to make money from software patents, notably patent law firms, this trend may be an existential threat, so such firms just give bad advice almost every day. They interject themselves into news sites and give the impression that software patents are OK. The latest anti-Alice rant comes from the patent microcosm, as usual, and now it’s Patricia Martone who writes that the “Court declined to hold that all improvements in computer-related technology and all software patents are inherently abstract and can never pass the Step One test for patentable subject matter.”

“…a lot of software patents are being eliminated outside the courts, owing to PTAB.”The article is actually a bunch of tips for working around restrictions and patenting software. Don’t pursue these patents, however, as most such patents end up enriching nobody but patent lawyers. That is why they keep pretending that things are OK and they can work their way around Alice.

Curiously enough, as this new article points out, PTAB is at it again (squashing patents) and for a change it’s a patent aggressor behind the petition, along with a company it previously blackmailed with patents. Here is the key parts:

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit mostly affirmed a Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) ruling that a patent challenged by technology companies ZTE and Microsoft is invalid.

IPR Licensing is the owner of the patent, US number 8,380,244, which describes and claims “dual mode” communications devices that can use cellular and Wi-Fi networks.

“For those who used to make money from software patents, notably patent law firms, this trend may be an existential threat, so such firms just give bad advice almost every day.”“How Facebook learned to love the PTAB,” IAM also wrote today, alluding to this news about all-time highs at PTAB, which even the pro-trolls sites bother to note. The author admits that patent reformers are succeeding but fails to identify patent trolls as such. “There has been much to pick over from the litigation data for the first quarter of this year,” he says. “There was the ongoing fall in the number of new cases which has dropped to levels not seen since 2011. There was also a notable spike in activity at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which according to analysis from Unified Patents made it the most active quarter ever with 561 reviews filed.”

“What’s noteworthy here is that PTAB comes handy even for patent maximalists; it serves justice faster than the courts and at a lower cost.”Notice how many of the patent holders are LLCs that are mostly likely patent trolls. To quote, “Facebook’s 21 reviews for Q1 were filed against five patent owners with three NPEs — Skky LLC, Sound View Innovations LLC and Windy City Innovations LLC — accounting for all but two according to data from Lex Machina. The company is in litigation with all five patent owners. This PTAB strategy has been seen before with Apple the leading exponent but as Facebook’s recent burst of activity shows, the social media business is a quick learner.”

Well, it shows that patent trolls are preying on such sites. Suffice to say, the patents in question would be software patents — something that Facebook too has been stockpiling and sometimes using for litigation purposes.

What’s noteworthy here is that PTAB comes handy even for patent maximalists; it serves justice faster than the courts and at a lower cost.

Links 21/4/2017: Qt Creator 4.2.2, ROSA Desktop Fresh R9

Posted in News Roundup at 5:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 12 ways to maintain your existing community: How you deal with difficult conversations?

    Help us collect community knowledge by blogging about the weekly community management theme. Blog posts are due the following Thursday after each new theme is announced. Next week’s challenge is Difficult Conversations.

    Check out ways to recruit new community members in week #1 blogging challenge.

  • Baidu To Open-Source Its Self-Driving Vehicle Platform
  • Baidu launches Apollo, opens self-drive platform
  • Baidu Makes Its Self-Driving Car Technology Available for Free
  • Uber has high hopes for its open source data visualization software

    Any time a representative of car sharing service Uber Technology Inc. shows up at an analytics conference, his or her session is always packed.

    People crowd into the room for two reasons. First, Uber does a lot of interesting things with advanced analytics, and getting a peak under the hood at how it all works can inspire new projects at other enterprises.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Tor Browser 6.5.2 Features Important Security Updates from Firefox 45.9.0 ESR

        Tor Project announced the release and immediate availability for download of the second and probably the last scheduled point release of the Tor Browser 6.5 stable series of the anonymous web browser based on Mozilla Firefox.

        Tor Browser 6.5.2 is out for all supported platforms, including GNU/Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows, and it looks like it incorporates all the important security updates that Mozilla implemented in the Firefox 45.9.0 ESR (Extended Support Release), along with HTTPS-Everywhere 5.2.14 and NoScript 5.0.2.

      • This Simple Tweak Will (Apparently) Make Firefox Faster
      • Firefox 53 Introduces Quantum Compositor, Reducing Browser Crashes

        Mozilla released its Firefox 53 update on April 19, introducing a new browser engine and patching 39 vulnerabilities in the open-source web browser.

        The new browser engine technology in Firefox 53 is known as Project Quantum and is a multipart effort to accelerate and improve the web browsing experience for users. The Project Quantum component included in Firefox 53 is known as the Quantum Compositor; it is designed to help reduce the number of browser crashes due to graphics issues.

  • Databases

    • The new replication features in MySQL 8

      This year at the Percona Live open source database conference, I will present a talk on the latest replication features in MySQL 8.0.

      It was a huge amount of work to get the MySQL Group Replication plugin out with MySQL 5.7.17. Group Replication is a new plugin that gives the user some nice replication properties by resorting to group communication and state machine replication. This makes the system able to protect data against split brain situations, enables fault-tolerance and high availability, and provides coordination between servers committing transactions that change the data.

      In addition to Group Replication, the team has also invested quite a bit on core replication features. Some of these features were already released, and others will be released at some point in time in a MySQL Development Milestone Release (DMR).

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Programming/Development

    • Meet Mark Hinkle, the New Executive Director for the Node.js Foundation

      These days, Node.js is under the hood of everything from the web, the Internet of Things and desktop applications to microservice architectures. Node’s 15 million-plus downloads per month, and more than a billion package downloads per week, render it the world’s biggest open source platform.

      The Node.js Foundation was started in 2015, under the aegis of the Linux Foundation, to support Node’s ongoing growth and evolution. The foundation represents an open governance of the Node ecosystem, with a steadily growing roster of members from every cohort, from Fortune 500 companies to sole proprietor freelancers.

    • Node.js Monitoring/Debugging Tool Now Free for Open Source Projects
    • Announcing Free Node.js Monitoring & Debugging with Trace

      Today, we’re excited to announce that Trace, our Node.js monitoring & debugging tool is now free for open-source projects.

    • veggies: Haskell code generation from scratch

      I wish we had a formally verified compiler for Haskell, or at least for GHC’s intermediate language Core. Now formalizing that part of GHC itself seems to be far out of reach, with the many phases the code goes through (Core to STG to CMM to Assembly or LLVM) and optimizations happening at all of these phases and the many complicated details to the highly tuned GHC runtime (pointer tagging, support for concurrency and garbage collection).

Leftovers

  • Science

    • How Garry Kasparov Learned To Stop Worrying & Love The Machines That Beat Him At His Job

      I am sure that some will dismiss this as a retread of techno-utopianism, but I think it’s important for people to be focusing on more broadly understanding these changes. That doesn’t mean ignoring or downplaying the disruption for those whose lives it will certainly impact, but so much of the discussion has felt like people throwing up their arms helplessly. There will be opportunities for new types of work, but part of that is having more people thinking through these possibilities and building new companies and services that recognize this future. Even if you can’t predict exactly what kinds of new jobs there will be (or even if you’re convinced that no new jobs will be coming), it’s at the very least a useful thought exercise to start thinking through some possibilities to better reflect where things are going, and Kasparov’s essay is a good start.

    • Computer pioneer Harry Huskey dies aged 101

      Engineer Harry Huskey, who helped build many of the first ever computers, has died aged 101.

      Dr Huskey was a key member of the team that built the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (Eniac) which first ran in February 1946.

      Eniac is widely considered to be one of the first electronic, general purpose, programmable computers.

      Dr Huskey also helped complete work on the Ace – the Automatic Computing Engine – designed by Alan Turing.

    • Scientists prepare for protest: ‘the march should be a starting point’

      The placards are made, the speeches prepared. On Saturday, crowds in their thousands are expected at 500 marches in more than 35 countries to remind the world, and its many politicians, that society cannot thrive without science. It will be the largest show of solidarity for science the globe has ever seen.

      Arranged to coincide with Earth Day, the anniversary of the modern environmental movement, organisers hope that the mobilisation of so many can help restore science to what they consider to be its rightful place. But despite healthy support for the events – more than 100 professional societies and organisations have endorsed them – marches alone will not be enough, according to researchers who study protest movements.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • WHO: Hepatitis Death Toll Rising, Vaccination Works But Access To Tests And Medicines Still Issue [Ed: People die from hepatitis (maybe a million dead over the years) because companies bicker over money.]

      Hepatitis-related mortality is on the rise, despite the existence of an efficient vaccine for hepatitis B and a cure for hepatitis C, according to the World Health Organization hepatitis report 2017 published today. One of the issues is that a majority of people are unaware of their condition due to limited access to affordable hepatitis testing. The price of the hepatitis C medicines has decreased in low-income countries, but still remains a barrier in upper-middle income and high-income countries, the WHO said.

    • Licence For A New Hepatitis Treatment, With An Eye To Affordability

      The Medicines Patent Pool has received a licence to develop ravidasvir, a new treatment for hepatitis C.

      The new licence is in partnership with Pharco Pharmaceuticals in Egypt, and expands upon the licence issued in March 2016 by Presidio, the original developer of ravidasvir, and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi).

  • Security

    • Security updates for Friday
    • Network Firewalls: How to Protect Your Network from Unauthorized Access
    • The Architecture of the Web Is Unsafe for Today’s World

      The Internet is based on protocols that assume content is secure. A new, more realistic model is needed.

      Twenty-eight years ago, British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee proposed a system to link text documents across a computer network. It changed the way the world communicates and does business. From its humble beginnings, the Internet has become a complex, dynamic, and heterogeneous environment.

      Today, the Internet revolution’s main instrument, the Web browser, exposes users to unbounded malicious content and has become unmanageable.

      How did browsers become such a liability? Because they’re based on an ancient set of communication rules, protocols that assume connections are secure and content is safe. The openness and utility of the protocols led to enormous innovation. But today, with all its sophistication, the Web is still based on protocols that weren’t designed for security or enterprise-class management.

    • In encrypted-messaging market, open source not only key to success [Ed: Overlooked the point that easy-to-use programs whose sources code you cannot study are worse than nothing, just a trap. In this age of government-mandated back doors in programs and protocols the term "proprietary encryption" should be a paradox.]

      A couple months ago, one of the oldest encrypted, ephemeral messaging apps, Wickr, decided to open up its cryptographic code for the world. By allowing hackers and developers to examine their crypto code, it reasoned, it could earn a veritable security merit badge. And the approach had already boosted the appeal of another secure-messaging app, Signal.

      At least on the surface, Wickr’s open-source move appears to be paying off. Scott Stender, vice president of cryptography at NCC Group, a British company that specializes in helping clients manage cybersecurity risks, says it influenced his company’s decision to use Wickr, which incorporates end-to-end encryption, to keep its internal communications private.

    • Self Driving Taxis Are Going To Be A Nightmare To Secure, Warns Ex-Uber Security Researcher [Ed: Trams, trains, subways etc. go on rails; flights managed by programs nowadays. But there's a reason a pilot/driver is still crucial. Same for cars. Unless your driver/pilot is a suicidal maniac (which happens), the negative impact of accident on her/him helps secure the passengers.]

      So over the last few years you probably remember seeing white hat hackers demonstrate how easily most modern smart cars can be hacked, often with frightening results. Cybersecurity researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek have made consistent headlines in particular by highlighting how they were able to manipulate and disable a Jeep Cherokee running Fiat Chrysler’s UConnect platform. Initially, the duo documented how they were able to control the vehicle’s internal systems — or kill it’s engine entirely — from an IP address up to 10 miles away.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • New York Times defends hiring extreme climate denier: ‘millions agree with him’

      Amidst backlash and subscription cancellations for hiring extreme climate science denier, Bret Stephens, the New York Times offered a stunning defense: There are “millions of people who agree with him.”

      With that ‘logic’, the Times could hire as a columnist former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke — or a flat earther or someone who thinks vaccines pose a health hazard. After all, millions agree with them.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • VIDEO: iPhones Are iSpies – Wikileaks “Vault 7” Revelations Continue To Terrify

      Most of us carry smartphones and watch web-enabled TVs without much thought. But the revelations found in Wikileaks’ “Vault 7” release warn that we should consider the sinister capabilities that such devices could lend to those who might abuse them.

    • In Secret Court Hearing, Lawyer Objected to FBI Sifting Through NSA Data Like It Was Google

      In her first appearance representing the American public before the top-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in 2015, Amy Jeffress argued that the FBI is violating the Fourth Amendment by giving agents “virtually unrestricted” access to data from one of the NSA’s largest surveillance programs, which includes an untold amount of communications involving innocent Americans.

      The NSA harvests data from major Internet companies like Facebook, Google and Apple without a warrant, because it is ostensibly “targeting” only foreigners. But the surveillance program sweeps up a large number of Americans’ communications as well. Then vast amounts of data from the program, including the Americans’ communications, are entered into a master database that a Justice Department lawyer at the 2015 hearing described as the “FBI’s ‘Google’ of its lawfully acquired information.”

    • In Time for the Reform Debate, New Documents Shed Light on the Government’s Surveillance of Americans

      The ACLU today released more than a dozen new documents concerning the government’s warrantless surveillance of millions of Americans. They were obtained from several intelligence agencies in an ongoing Freedom of Information Act lawsuit and relate to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the law that the government relies on to conduct its PRISM and Upstream spying programs.

    • Frms make sweet 8K 360 cameras using Facebook Surround’s open source [Ed: Facebook is openwashing a truly spooky and villainous surveillance apparatus; remember what Zuckerberg said]
    • Weeping Angel

      Today, April 21st 2017, WikiLeaks publishes the User Guide for CIA’s “Weeping Angel” tool – an implant designed for Samsung F Series Smart Televisions. Based on the “Extending” tool from MI5/BTSS, the implant is designed to record audio from the built-in microphone and egress or store the data.

      The classification marks of the User Guide document hint that is was originally written by the MI5/BTSS and later shared with the CIA. Both agencies collaborated on the further development of the malware and coordinated their work in Joint Development Workshops.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright & Censorship on Instagram: How Marie Claire Stole My Photo

        I soon discovered that my photo had been picked up by a few other Instagram accounts before Marie Claire, the main one being Bumble and bumble, a company owned by Estée Lauder. The other accounts, including Bumble and bumble, at least had the decency and respect to credit me as well as the hair stylist when reusing my photo. Sadly the model wasn’t credited, which upset me quite a bit.

      • Singapore Court Tosses Copyright Troll Cases Because IP Addresses Aren’t Good Enough Evidence

        We’ve been saying this for years, but IP addresses are not good enough evidence on which to base copyright infringement lawsuits. At some level, everyone already knows this to be true. You can tell that’s the case because the typical pretenders stating otherwise are the copyright trolls with a business model that relies on gathering large numbers of supposedly infringing IP addresses, mailing out settlement demands to the supposed pirates that own the accounts of those IP addresses, and then collecting very real money from some percentage of the recipients. On top of that, even these trolls will often claim that the onus is on the account holder of an internet connection to police their own pipe, which is a delightful end-around to the common concept of punishing true infringers as opposed to innocent third parties.

        There are places with legal systems that have had enough of this practice and we can now add Singapore’s to the list. The High Court in Singapore recently threw out requests from several copyright trolls made to ISPs there to produce account information for IP addresses they claim were used to infringe on two movies, Fathers & Daughters and Queen Of The Desert.

At the EPO, Seeding of Puff Piece in the Press/Academia Sometimes Transparent Enough to View

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The EPO‘s PR team likes to 'spam' journalists and others (for PR) and sometimes does this publicly, as the tweets below show — a desperate recruitment and reputation laundering drive

Affordable and Sophisticated Mobile Devices Are Kept Away by Patent Trolls and Aggressors That Tax Everything

Posted in Apple, Patents, Samsung at 11:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

With hundreds of thousands of patents (around the world) on mobile technology, including SEPs, one is unable to operate without being sued ad infinitum

Patent thicket
Reference: Patent thicket

Summary: The war against commoditisation of mobile computing has turned a potentially thriving market with fast innovation rates into a war zone full of patent trolls (sometimes suing at the behest of large companies that hand them patents for this purpose)

THE MOBILE market (as in mobile phones, connections etc.) is a sordid mess when it comes to patents. It’s so saturated with patent thickets that one is unable to operate without being sued (or simply overtaxed) from every single direction. Simple devices now cost more than a sophisticated personal computer (where patents are expired or barely enforced anymore).

“Simple devices now cost more than a sophisticated personal computer (where patents are expired or barely enforced anymore).”As mentioned in this older post of ours, Samsung now need to pay a lot of money to Rembrandt Wireless (Rembrandt Wireless Technologies LP), which is a patent troll that relied on a jury in Texas (the capital of patent trolling). Here is one new article about it:

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit remanded part of a patent suit earlier this week, meaning that Samsung may not have to pay the full $15.7 million in damages to Rembrandt Wireless.

Handed down on Monday, April 17, the Federal Circuit’s ruling disagreed with the district court’s denial of Samsung’s motion based on the marking statute, so it remanded the issue.

Samsung is not even an American company, it is Korean.

“Will we finally see the demise of Qualcomm, which is a relic that has been reduced to just patent aggression?”To make matters worse, a ‘supertroll’, Qualcomm [1, 2], has been grabbing a lot of money (possibly billions) from Samsung and only a decade too late Judge Lucy Haeran Koh, an American judge of Korean descent, decides to look into the case. As Florian Müller put it the other day: “After last week’s joint case management statement in FTC v. Qualcomm (Northern District of California), Qualcomm filed a revised proposed schedule on Monday. Judge Koh had denied a stay of discovery and asked Qualcomm to revise its proposed schedule accordingly. Now Judge Koh has set a schedule that is materially consistent with the FTC’s proposal and a lot more ambitious than Qualcomm’s revised schedule (this post continues below the document)…”

Will we finally see the demise of Qualcomm, which is a relic that has been reduced to just patent aggression? IAM, the voice of patent trolls, says this week that “Qualcomm reveals $150 million dispute with licensee as it provides more detail on Apple lawsuit” and here is the key part:

There was plenty to discuss yesterday on Qualcomm’s call with analysts concerning the company’s latest quarterly results. On the positive side the company is in the final stages of its acquisition of NXP Semiconductors and reported that it is seeing strong sales in China, a market where it has had some well-publicised problems.

But throughout the call there was an Apple sized cloud hanging over the discussions as the company updated its position in its high-profile dispute with the iPhone manufacturer. It also revealed an additional dispute, unconnected with the Apple case, with an additional, unnamed licensee, which has resulted in an underpayment in royalties of more than $150 million.

That’s a lot of money. Apple is challenging this and we hope that Apple wins because it would also help Android OEMs if Apple got its way.

Meanwhile, as per Apple advocacy sites, patent troll Acacia is at it again. It is a patent troll with Microsoft connections and according to Apple Insider, “Apple and a handful of partner cellular carriers are the target of a new lawsuit leveled by Acacia Research subsidiary Cellular Communications Equipment, which alleges the iPhone maker infringed and continues to infringe on four patents developed by Nokia covering messaging, emergency alerts and other key cellular technologies.”

“Apple is challenging this and we hope that Apple wins because it would also help Android OEMs if Apple got its way.”A day earlier Apple Insider wrote that “Apple settles Unwired Planet patent suit for undisclosed amount” (via). Unwired Planet is a patent troll that now operates in Europe, too (it does for Ericsson what MOSAID/Conversant does for Microsoft through Nokia). It recently got its way in London and Germany is already attracting lots of patent lawsuits (many of which are initiated by trolls now), from companies that are not even German. Whose system is this? Here is a new press release titled “Motorola Solutions Files Patent Infringement Complaints in Germany Against Hytera Communications and Hytera Mobilfunk” (another case involving mobile).

Regarding the troll lawsuit in London, which we covered here very recently, this new guest post by Prof. Mark Patterson from Fordham Law (patent maximalists) covers it by promoting FRAND patent thickets. It’s mostly FRAND advocacy but it is supporting a notorious patent troll in the process. Here is the outline: “Last week Professor Jorge Contreras provided here an excellent summary of the April 5 decision of Mr. Justice Birss of the UK’s High Court of Justice in Unwired Planet International Ltd. v Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., [2017] EWHC 711. The case addresses the problems that arise in determining FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) licensing terms. Professor Contreras highlighted several novel aspects of the decision.”

“In China right now there is not a thicket but smog of low-quality patents.”What we have here is a disturbing passage of trolling venues into Europe (for which the EPO can be partly blamed). The same thing is happening in China, which the EPO seems to be imitating. In China right now there is not a thicket but smog of low-quality patents. SIPO’s quality control is a joke, resulting in protectionism for massive corporations that create a patent thicket in China. Here is Huawei, a government-connected company, having a go against Korea’s government-connected company and getting its way in Chinese courts. To quote government-connected Chinese press: “Huawei Technologies Co Ltd scored another point in its patent fight with its rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd in China, which may weigh down on the South Korean company’s business in the world’s largest smartphone arena.” As IAM admitted yesterday, patent lawsuits in China skyrocket due to SIPO’s policy (patent microcosm profits at the expense of real workers). IAM says that “civil patent litigation cases increased by 20% compared to last year.” It also says “we’ll be getting a lot of statistical insight into China’s relatively closed court system in the coming days as the Supreme People’s Court releases white papers summing up how many IP case were filed and by whom in 2016.”

“This is anything but desirable and it’s antithetical to the patent system as it was perceived at the time of inception.”What it all boils down to is more patents and a lot more patent lawsuits over mobile devices; each such lawsuit will ultimately artificially elevate the price of phones and money will typically end up in the pockets of lawyers, not technologists. At the same time phones will have featured removed from them (intentionally hobbled), meaning inferior products available in the market. This is anything but desirable and it’s antithetical to the patent system as it was perceived at the time of inception.

In Spite of Lobbying and Endless Attempts by the Patent Microcosm, US Supreme Court Won’t Consider Any Software Patent Cases Anymore (in the Foreseeable Future)

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 10:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Alice stands firm.

Alice (software)
Software patents are being invalidated en masse using Alice. Not to be confused with Alice the software.

Summary: Lobbyists of software patents, i.e. proponents of endless litigation and patent trolls, are attempting to convince the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to have another look at abstract patents and reconsider its position on cases like Alice Corp. v CLS Bank International

THE USPTO can grant as many software patents as it wants, but American courts reject these and litigation with such patents has become an unattractive, risky strategy. Even pursuing such patents in the first place may prove to be a waste of time and money, irrespective of the outcome at the patent office.

Earlier this week we spotted this press release about HEVC — certainly a massive software patents trap [1, 2] (evergreening). “This innovative product utilizes Beamr’s 29 granted patents and 18 pending patent applications to produce HEVC video encodes that are up to 50% smaller than Beamr’s market-leading HEVC software encoder, Beamr 5,” the press release stated. Wanna bet all of these patent applications, even if they got granted, would be thrown away by courts like the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), if not SCOTUS above it? This whole thing in an exercise in ‘thicketing’ — i.e. making up for the invalidity of patents by quantity rather than quality (to make legal challenges more lengthy and thus expensive). Microsoft does this quite a lot. It flings a large pile of lousy software patents at poor companies and demands that they settle (pay ‘protection’ money) or spend years in courtrooms (at the expense of millions of dollars, making settlement the cheaper option, securing the patents from much-needed scrutiny).

“Even pursuing such patents in the first place may prove to be a waste of time and money, irrespective of the outcome at the patent office.”The matter of fact is, software patents should no longer be issued by the USPTO. These contribute to extortion, not innovation. Only the law firms profit from that.

The other day we saw this new rant about Alice, courtesy of Matthew Schantz who profits from legal chaos. That’s just latest example of patent law firms promoting software patents and yearning for them. Watch the language of optimism and positivism: “Software patents have seen better times. The glory days of the 1980s and 1990s, after the U.S. Supreme Court held in Diamond v. Diehr (1981) that inventions implemented in software are not unpatentable just because they are implemented in software, continued long past the generalized expansion of patentable subject matter by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in State Street Bank v. Signature Financial Group (1998). But the Supreme Court shook the foundations of the software patent world in 2012 (Mayo v. Prometheus) and 2014 (Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International), leaving business leaders (and their patent attorneys) to wonder whether — or even hope that — software patents were dead. While the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and courts have struggled to find reasonable, “new normal” limits on software patents that are practical in application and justifiable under precedent, recent cases reflect a maturing of the law surrounding patents on software-implemented inventions.”

“The matter of fact is, software patents should no longer be issued by the USPTO.”That’s good. That’s very desirable. Just ask any software professional about it. These professionals do not want software patents, unlike those who pretend to speak on ‘their behalf’. Some of them repeatedly heckle PTAB and try to slow it down, for it invalidates a growing number of software patents these days (a lot more than courts do). Patently-O, one of the scarcely-closeted opponents of PTAB, only accentuates the negatives, not the positives, and then proceeds to looking into SCOTUS cases that have nothing whatsoever to do with software patents. The first of these says: “A newly filed petition for writ of certiorari offers a substantial challenge to the quick-look eligibility decisions that have been so popular among district courts. The challenge here is especially focused on no-evidence eligibility decisions that serve as a substitute for an obviousness determination.”

Again, he is hoping to slow down (or prevent) invalidation of bogus patents. The second of these says: “The Court affirmed that requirement in a non-patent case, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Haeger (Apr. 18, 2017). In that case, Goodyear engaged in a years-long effort to hide key documents from the plaintiffs, who, not knowing of them, settled the case. When they sought sanctions, the district court awarded all of the litigation fees the plaintiff had incurred from the time when the scheme had begun: $2.7 million. It also held, conditionally, that $2 million was caused directly by the shenanigans.”

“Maybe we can urge some readers of ours to submit an amicus brief to explain why software patents are a bad idea and Alice already tackling the issue means that there’s no point revisiting the matter.”But this case isn’t even about patents. Why is Patently-O covering this?

The threat that SCOTUS will revisit Alice-type cases isn’t quite there, at least not yet. Watchtroll is trying to change this right now, by urging (in the form of amici) an escalation of a software patents case to SCOTUS. To quote: “BBiTV appeals from the Federal Circuit’s Rule 36 affirmance of two summary judgment decisions in which the district court found claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,631,336, entitled “Method for converting, navigating and displaying video content uploaded from the internet to a digital TV video-on-demand platform,” to be directed to the abstract idea of “using the same hierarchical ordering based on metadata to facilitate the display and locating of video content.” The following excerpts of the Petition set forth the issues presented and portions of BBiTV’s arguments. Amicus briefs in support of the Petition are due by May 15, 2017.”

Maybe we can urge some readers of ours to submit an amicus brief to explain why software patents are a bad idea and Alice already tackling the issue means that there’s no point revisiting the matter.

“Software patents are on the rocks in the United States, but this should not be taken for granted and we must never rest on our laurels knowing that the opposition, i.e. those who prey on software developers, try to overturn and cancel prior decisions.”We are no doubt going to see many more attempts like the above to crush Alice. There is in fact a whole "task force" now, led by IBM and its lobbyists (people like David Kappos), dedicated to doing just that.

Software patents are on the rocks in the United States, but this should not be taken for granted and we must never rest on our laurels knowing that the opposition, i.e. those who prey on software developers, try to overturn and cancel prior decisions.

Expect Team UPC to Remain in Deep Denial About the Unitary Patent/Unified Court (UPC) Having No Prospects

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s called belief disconfirmation

A belief disconfirmation

Summary: The prevailing denial that the UPC is effectively dead, courtesy of sites and blogs whose writers stood to profit from the UPC

READERS keep telling us (even today) that patent quality at the EPO is farcical. It’s not the fault of examiners but the fault of their superiors, who threaten them with unemployment (for ‘daring’ to do their job like they’re supposed to). We can relate to the problem as we have covered similar scenarios (elsewhere) over the years.

“The only ‘businesses’ that are guaranteed to profit are litigation firms, even if (or especially if) the litigation is frivolous.”The EPO, based on this new press release, grants yet more controversial and low quality patents while working to make litigation easier and harsher (UPC). Who benefits from that? Certainly not the average European business. The only ‘businesses’ that are guaranteed to profit are litigation firms, even if (or especially if) the litigation is frivolous. They would profit from both sides of a legal dispute over patents.

Here in Techrights we have been amicable and oftentimes collaborative with other sites that covered EPO scandals, including IP Kat, so we are deeply disturbed to see what this blog has become lately. We have begun joking that Bristows has managed to ‘buy’ the blog, so to speak. The past 7 posts in the blog, for example, are all composed by Bristows staff (this is the latest) and it’s just self promotion like this: “The IPKat’s own Annsley Merelle Ward (a.k.a. the Amerikat) eloquently introduced the philosophical question: is there an existential crisis in the equilibrium between patent filings and trade secrets? She noted that various commentators from industry have suggested an increased trend for a preference for trade secrets, leading to a decrease in innovation.”

“So they hope that the British government will change the law too, in order to accommodate the UPC, even when British companies oppose it?”She is talking about “innovation” while not practicing/championing any and also while promoting UPC and software patents. Who are these people kidding? It’s an echo chamber-like event that we have scrutinised here over the years [1, 2], even 7 years ago.

Responding to the part about UPC (echoing Battistelli’s paid-for liars), one person tackled the issue of changing national laws for Battistelli and his ilk by stating: “Regarding Unitary Patents: Couldn’t the UK Government simply legislate unilaterally to recognise the effect of Unitary Patents in the UK? No agreement with the EU or official negotiation of an agreement under Article 142 EPC required?”

So they hope that the British government will change the law too, in order to accommodate the UPC, even when British companies oppose it? All that latest propaganda from Bristows serves to reinforce our accusations from last year. Another new comment said: “And so, the summary is?? It’s hard to tell whether the ‘oh, it’ll be alright’ is knowledge, blind optimism or desperation. CH and NO seem to be complicated whereas UK is tootling along nicely (although it is still complicated?). I’m lost. 2017? 2018? 2019?…”

“It probably won’t be long before Bristows posts another IP Kat analysis spinning the General Election as “good” news for UPC.”And soon they’ll say 2020, 2021…

It probably won’t be long before Bristows posts another IP Kat analysis spinning the General Election as “good” news for UPC. Maybe they’re still working/figuring out on how to construct such a lie. Remember that infamous lie about SMEs? Or Bristows' latest spin about UPC and trolls?

Linking to pro-UPC sites, UPC proponents in Germany state: “Don’t you have a constitutional discontinuity principle in the #U.K.? Meaning: after elections all legislative processes are reset? We have.”

“Remember the swpat [software patents] directive,” Benjamin Henrion responded, “it was discussed to reset the directive because they don´t have it at the EU level.”

“It’s a lobbying strategy, designed to seduce if not actively pressure politicians to ratify. We have seen this strategy in action for over half a decade now.”They are going to try all sorts of workarounds to ensure that they can maintain the charade of UPC being “inevitable”, “unstoppable”, “just a matter of time” or whatever (all lies).

In the above, Mark Richardson should say “call off”, not delay, but for those in the business of legal attacks the UPC means a lot of money so they still pretend that the UPC is bound to happen sooner or later. That’s patently false. It’s a lobbying strategy, designed to seduce if not actively pressure politicians to ratify. We have seen this strategy in action for over half a decade now. It’s truly a classic!

EPO in 2017: Erroneously Grant a Lot of Patents in Bulk or Get Sacked

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

All about litigation (legal aggression), in the spirit of the UPC

Minnoye MAGA

Summary: Quality of patent examination is being abandoned at the EPO and those who disobey or refuse to play along are being fired (or asked to resign to avoid forced resignations which would stain their record)

THE EPO, by the admission of Board 28, is in crisis. Every EP (European Patent) ever granted is at risk now. How can the accused or the defendant be expected to assume that EPs are valid (also upon scrutiny by a court) when EPO leaks such as these show that patents are being granted after very shallow searches? The only winner here is the litigation business. It’s a massive tax on innovation and a distraction from productive activities.

We are extremely concerned about what happens at the EPO and what this will inevitably cause to the European economy. The social conflict/fiasco at the EPO is a symptom if not a side effect of this. There is growing resistance to abandonment of quality and reputation; EPO management responds by attacking figureheads, essentially crushing the unions (and beyond) that represent the interests of EPO workers — people to whom the integrity of the EPO also assures their job security (they are bound to be made redundant unless things are turned around).

“Social atmosphere for patent examiners at the European Patent Office,” one reader explained to us, will go “from bad to worse soon…” (alluding to the imminent departure of Minnoye (VP1), who recently attacked truth-tellers). Here is an explanation of what is happening and is about to happen:

VP1 is two months away from retiring (thank God) but fact is that he lost control over DG1 years ago whilst pathetically following orders from above like the docile private he actually is. PD 43 is the one now controlling HR policies over 4500 examiners all by far better educated and more qualified than herself. Sources from within DG 4 reports that a non-public policy for DG1 exists that foresees a scenario 1 and a scenario 2.

Examiners falling under scenario 1 e.g. examiners having difficulties to cope with the pace of work, or refusing to produce low quality level of work (since they were professionally trained not to cut corners but to deliver solid patents) are now being told baldly by their superiors to resign or they will be fired.

Obviously many scientists, who are not the most outspoken profiles among EPO staff, are scared and do not even speak to their union or staff reps, choosing to resign since the psychological pressure is too painful for them.

Examiners falling under scenario 2 will be punished without any further discussion. The aim of PD 43 would be to fire every year at least 2 examiners per cluster (one in TH and one in MUC/BE), so that each examiner no matter where he/she works, hears and/or knows about one colleague having been dismissed.

Education for the masses so to speak.

>From the same source, PD 43 would plan to introduce a policy (this time it should become public) where in a soon future, EPO staff can be fired for lack of professional competency/efficiency or-the-like, in any case a very vague and utterly subjective wording, without having to remit the case to a disciplinary committee.

Indeed since PD 43 and her minions do not apply (much less understand) the current (simple) rules for disciplinary procedures, the best is to be able to circumventing them so that they do as they please without taking the risk to violating them.

The recently conveyed grotesque disciplinary boards during which several SUEPO officials were harshly (and very likely illegally) sanctioned should not be repeated in the future.

But all this being said, have not worry, the EPO is a great place to work for: according to PD 43 the EPO respects the rule of law, human rights, unions, staff reps, pregnant females, handicapped staff, coloured staff etc

We actually have a lot more stories to publish (regarding abuses of workers’ rights), but if anyone else can elaborate on decline in patent quality, potentially with supporting evidence, we would greatly appreciate it. We can be reached anonymously.

The EPO’s management is clearly driving into a wall here; the sooner it’s removed, the better for everyone. Even EPO stakeholders’ complaints are growing louder over time. With no EPO left, they too would suffer.

Links 21/4/2017: System76 Entering Phase Three, KDE Applications 17.04, Elive 2.9.0 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 7:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Dangers of in-person meetings for an existing community

    It is inarguable there is a lot of value that we humans get from meeting with people in person. For a free/open source software project, this is often cited as the glue that holds together people whose normal interactions are textual (email, IRC) and lower-resolution than an in-person interaction gives. People who are bound together not by an employment agreement but rather a social agreement.

  • How to run your small business with free open source software ["This article was originally published in November, 2013. It was last updated in April 2017."]

    Take a look at the next desktop PC or laptop you come across. Odds are good it won’t be running an open-source operating system. Microsoft’s closed-source Windows has by far the highest share of the PC client operating system market, followed in a distant second by Apple’s macOS. Linux and other wholly open source operating systems have only a tiny market share.

    It’s not hard to see why. Despite the advances made by distributions such as Ubuntu, desktop Linux is still miles behind Windows and macOS in terms of the look, the feel and the slickness that most office workers have come to expect. The vast majority of companies simply aren’t prepared to make office workers use an open source OS — and most office workers aren’t prepared to use them, either.

  • Agreement on software preservation signed at UNESCO

    UNESCO and the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation (INRIA) today signed an agreement at the Organization’s headquarters to contribute to the preservation of the technological and scientific knowledge contained in software. This includes promoting universal access to software source code.

  • How the ‘itch-to-scratch model’ can solve our UX woes

    Open source is a developer-centric solutions model, which, in a nutshell, could be described as building communities of developers to solve problems.

  • Baidu to Open Source Its Self-Driving Technology

    Baidu Inc. will share software technology it is developing for self-driving cars in a bid to catch up with competitors including General Motors Co. and Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google parent Alphabet Inc.

  • Baidu To Open-Source Autonomous Driving Platform Apollo to Spur Industry Innovation
  • A Chinese internet giant just made a big move to compete with Tesla in the self-driving-car space
  • Baidu Has Decided To Open-Source Its Self-Driving Car Tech
  • Events

    • Event report: FOSSASIA 2017

      FOSSASIA 2017 reminded me of foss.in. After a long time, finally, a conference which has the similar aspects. Similar kind of tight organizing team, the presence of upstream communities from different locations. The participation from the local Singapore tech community along with Hackerspace Singapore is a serious boost. This was my 4th FOSSASIA conference, and also 3rd time in Singapore. I should thank Mario, Hong, and rest of the organizers to make this event a very pleasant experience.

    • Share Your Apache Mesos Expertise and Best Practices at MesosCon Events in 2017
  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Will Google move to block adverts?

        Google’s vast wealth and huge influence is built on one thing – advertising – so it might seem bizarre for the search giant to make it less likely that users would see ads.

        But the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google is planning to introduce ad-blocking in its popular Chrome web browser.

      • Google might roll out their own ad-blocker in Chrome
      • The Weird Antitrust Questions Of A Google Chrome Ad Blocker

        So rumors have started flying that Google is about to build some ad blocker technology into Chrome, that would block ads that the company considers to be “unacceptable ads” — as determined by the “Coalition for Better Ads.” Of course, while a coalition for “better ads” sounds like a good thing, this Coalition for Better Ads has been criticized. It was put together by the biggest companies in the internet ad space, and many worry that it’s just an attempt to whitewash over a lot of bad practices by declaring just the extremely egregious practices as “bad.” Either way, the original report from the paywalled Wall Street Journal notes that the ad blocker might even block all ads on sites that run “bad” ads (i.e., not just the bad ads).

        There have been all sorts of reactions to the news of a built-in Chrome ad blocker, but a lot of people are raising the antitrust questions. Obviously, Google is unlikely to consider its own ads to be the “bad ads.” And thus, an official Google ad blocker — especially one that allows its own ads through and is default on its very popular browser — at least raises eyebrows about antitrust issues. There’s a strong argument to be made (and I’m pretty sure that some ad firms would raise this with a court within a day or so of such an ad blocker being released) that this is an anti-competitive move to suppress competing ad firms.

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Firefox web browser may no longer be supported on your Linux computer

        Firefox is a wonderful open source web browser. As a result, it comes pre-loaded on many Linux-based operating systems, such as Ubuntu and Fedora. Yeah, some people choose to install Chromium or Chrome instead, but Mozilla’s offering remains a staple in the Linux community.

      • If Only Thunderbird Did Look Like This…

        If Thunderbird looked like the design you see above would there be any question on whether Ubuntu should drop it from the default install? I think not.

      • Mockups of a new Thunderbird style look quite incredible
      • Ubuntu might retire Thunderbird

        The open saucy Ubuntu is considering dumping the Thunderbird mail app because users tend to favour using webservices mail instead.

        Ubuntu 17.10 may not include a default desktop email app at all and Thunderbird is Ubuntu’s default email app at the moment.

      • Firefox 53 Released With 2 New Compact Themes

        Mozilla Firefox 53 has been released, and is now available to download right now. The latest release of the popular open-source web-browser ships with two new compact themes, reader mode improvements, and updated site permission requests.

      • This April, Mozilla is Standing Up for Science

        We believe openness is a core component not just of a healthy Internet, but also a healthy society. Much like open practices can unlock innovation in the realm of technology, open practices can also invigorate fields like civics, journalism — and science.

        In laboratories and at academic institutions, open source code, data and methodology foster collaboration between researchers; spark scientific progress; increase transparency and encourage reproducibility; and better serve the public interest.

      • Mozilla, Microsoft rebuilding their browsers’ foundations without anyone noticing

        Project Quantum is how Mozilla plans to adapt for this new age. Mozilla is using its safer Rust programming language for parts of Quantum. The company has an experimental rendering engine called Servo that’s written in Rust, and pieces of this will make their way into Firefox. The initial focus will be on updating those parts of Gecko that are most amenable to parallel or GPU-based computation, and Firefox 53 contains the first element of this. Firefox 53 will (for most people; it requires Windows 7 with the Platform Update, or better, plus a GPU that isn’t blacklisted) create a separate GPU process that’s used to perform compositing. The compositor process takes the different elements of the page and the Firefox window and merges them together to create the finished product.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Mirantis enters the Kubernetes game and ups its OpenStack play

      The Sunnyvale, Calif. company is doing this by launching a new single integrated distribution of OpenStack and Kubernetes: Mirantis Cloud Platform (MCP) 1.0. This new release also offers a unique build-operate-transfer delivery model.

    • Mirantis launches its new OpenStack and Kubernetes cloud platform

      Mirantis, one of the earliest players in the OpenStack ecosystem, today announced that it will end-of-life Mirantis OpenStack support in September 2019. The Mirantis Cloud Platform, which combines OpenStack with the Kubernetes container platform (or which could even be used to run Kubernetes separately), is going to take its place.

      While Mirantis is obviously not getting out of the OpenStack game, this move clearly shows that there is a growing interest in the Kubernetes container platform and that Mirantis’ customers are now starting to look at this as a way to modernize their software deployment strategies without going to OpenStack. The new platform allows users to deploy multiple Kubernetes clusters side-by-side with OpenStack — or separately.

    • Open Source Tools for Enterprise Data Science
    • Open for business: Hortonworks aims for open source profitability

      It used to be the Hadoop Summit, but the strategic focus at Hortonworks the enterprise-ready open source Apache Hadoop provider, has evolved. So, this year it was renamed DataWorks Summit. The company now encompasses data at rest (the Hadoop Data Platform now in version 2.6), data in motion (the Hadoop Data Flow) and data in the cloud (the Hadoop Data Cloud). Hortonworks aims to become a multi-platform and multi-cloud company. The focus is on the data in data driven organisations. Just a few years ago Hortonworks connected with IT architects. Today it’s launching conversations with lines of business and chief marketing officers.

    • What’s new in OpenStack Ocata

      OpenStack Ocata has now been out for a little over a month and we’re about to see the first milestone of the Pike release. Past cycles show that now’s about the time when people start looking at the new release to see if they should consider moving to it. So here’s a quick overview of what’s new in this release.

    • Research: OpenStack user satisfaction ratings drop, as adoption of the open source cloud rises
  • CMS

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Rewriting the bottom line: Docker EE and the open-source profit question

      Docker Inc., which provides an open platform for developers and sysadmins to build, ship and run distributed applications, is a company sometimes knocked for failing to monetize, is a case study in how the evolving open-source community is rethinking how to drive profit.

      “Open source today is very different than open source five years, ago, 10 years ago,” said Jerry Chen, partner at Greylock Partners. “The ecosystem is very different, because all of a sudden, the developers and contributors are not just kind of your misfits and rebels working on the weekends. They are Fortune 100, Fortune 500 companies.”

  • BSD

  • Compiler

    • Psychec: A Type Inference Engine For C, The C Language Meets Unification

      Here, at the Compiler’s Laboratory of UFMG, we’ve been trying to understand the meaning of incomplete C code. How well can a parser reason about a source when declarations (or complete headers) are missing? In the C language, challenges appear already during parsing, since, not only syntax, but also semantic information (possibly absent) is required. Yet, the really cool challenges emerge when we want to reconstruct a partial program into a complete one that passes the type-checker.

    • GCC 7 Has Been Branched, GCC 8.0 Now On Master

      The GCC 7 mainline code-base hit the important milestone today of having zero P1 regressions — issues of the highest priority — and as such they branched the GCC7 code-base and GCC 7.1 RC1 is then being announced later this week as they prepare for this first stable release of GCC 7.

  • Public Services/Government

    • UK GDS looking for architects with open source expertise

      The UK Government Digital Service (GDS) has released a ‘Technical Architects recruitment guide’. The agency hopes to attract more technical architects by describing its recruitment process, thereby helping candidates to prepare better for the job interviews and making these more accessible to people unfamiliar with the Civil Service Commission recruitment principles.

    • Two tender announcements: lock-in vs. moving freely

      Using open source software and avoiding proprietary products is the only way to structurally prevent vendor lock-in. This principle has once again become clear from two procurement announcements recently published on Tenders Electronic Daily (TED), the public procurement journal of the European Union.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open source @ Midburn, the Israeli burning man

      Our code is available on GitHub at https://github.com/Midburn/. And while it still need to be more tidy, I prefer the release early and often approach. The main idea we want to bring to the Burn infrastructure is using Spark as a database and have already began talking with parallel teams of other burn events. I’ll follow up on our technological agenda / vision. In the mean while, you are more than welcome to comment on the code or join one of the teams (e.g. volunteers module to organize who does which shift during the event).

    • Flying The First Open Source Satellite

      The Libre Space Foundation is an organization dedicated to the development of libre space hardware. It was born from the SatNOGS project — the winners of the first Hackaday Prize — and now this foundation is in space. The Libre Space Foundation hitched a ride on the Orbital ATK launch yesterday, and right now their completely Open Source cube sat is on its way to the International Space Station.

    • Why open source pharma is the path to both new and cheaper medicines

      We can all agree that we have some life-saving medicines available to us. We may have benefited directly, or have family members who are benefiting at the moment.

      Some medicines, however, are too expensive. Some don’t work too well and there are, of course, many terrible diseases for which we have no medicines at all. These issues affect rich and poor nations alike.

    • Open Access/Content

      • States are moving to cut college costs by introducing open-source textbooks

        Every cost associated with higher learning has steadily increased over the past decade, but none more so than college textbooks. While tuition increased by 63% between 2006 and 2016, and housing costs increased by 50%, the cost of textbooks went up by 88%, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    • Hardware/Modding

      • Atreus: Building a custom ergonomic keyboard

        As mentioned in my Working on Android post, I’ve been using a mechanical keyboard for a couple of years now. Now that I work on Flowhub from home, it was a good time to re-evaluate the whole work setup. As far as regular keyboards go, the MiniLa was nice, but I wanted something more compact and ergonomic.

      • Korean researchers develop open source 3D bioprinter

        Researchers from Seoul National University of Science and Technology in Korea have published the schematics for an open source 3D bioprinter.

      • 3d-Printing is cool

        I’ve heard about 3d-printing a lot in the past, although the hype seems to have mostly died down. My view has always been “That seems cool”, coupled with “Everybody says making the models is very hard”, and “the process itself is fiddly & time-consuming”.

      • Intel Open Sources All Lustre Work, Brent Gorda Exits

        In a letter to the Lustre community posted on the Intel website, Vice President of Intel’s Data Center Group Trish Damkroger informs that effective immediately the company will be contributing all Lustre development to the open source community. Damkroger also announced that Brent Gorda, General Manager, High Performance Data Division at Intel is leaving the company. Gorda is the former CEO of Whamcloud, the Lustre specialist acquired by Intel in 2012.

      • Intel axes lack Lustre file systems and open sources features

        According to The Register, Trish Damkroger, Intel’s Vice President and General Manager for Technical Computing Initiative sent an email this week to partners and customers confirming the change.

        [...]

        The Enterprise Edition provides large-scale, high bandwidth storage with the power and scalability of Lustre, whilst the Foundation Edition offers maximum speed and scale Lustre storage with support from Intel.

      • Should Desktop 3D Printing Be Open Source or Closed Source?

        Open source development has brought a lot of advantages to desktop 3D printing. Is our flirtation with open source a youthful indiscretion that will soon be discarded? Or is open source the key to our recent past and to unlocking the future of 3D printing?

      • How desktop 3D printing’s open source platforms shaped the industry’s diverse material supply

        Ten years ago, John Kawola remembers the 3D printing industry as a very different place to how it looks today. While still a dynamic field with innovation aplenty, it was dominated by a handful of players. “3D Systems, Stratasys, EOS and EnvisionTEC,” the President of Ultimaker North America lists. Between them, they dominated the 3D printer business, they drove innovation at a rate smaller companies could not keep up with, and they all had a closed materials environment.

  • Programming/Development

    • 5 ways to succeed at learning a programming language

      Whether you’re taking up programming for the first time, or learning your 50th language, you might ask, “What’s the best way to learn to program?” I surveyed dozens of people who taught themselves to program in Rust as part of my OSCON talk in 2016, and asked the expert autodidacts what advice they would give to others for picking up a new language. I found that despite their diverse backgrounds, all of my interviewees shared five common approaches to building new programming skills.

    • GitHub Developer Program shows bigger love

      The GitHub Developer Program (programme, if we’re using Her Majesty’s English) has been around for around three years now.

      Essentially, this initiative exists to encourage developers to test out application builds that integrate with GitHub.

    • GitHub Opens Developer Program to All

      GitHub Inc. has revamped its developer program with several changes, including opening it up to all developers for the first time.

      Previously, the three-year-old GitHub Developer Program was available to only those developers who had paid accounts at the open source code repository and software development platform specializing in Git-based version control.

    • 3 open source code libraries to handle MARC-formatted records
    • RcppQuantuccia 0.0.1
    • Rblpapi 0.3.6

Leftovers

  • A user’s guide to failing faster

    Most failures in the pure software realm don’t lead to the same visceral imagery as the above, but they can have widespread financial and human costs all the same. Think of the failed Healthcare.gov launch, the Target data breach, or really any number of multi-million dollar projects that basically didn’t work in the end. In 2012, the US Air Force scrapped an ERP project after racking up $1 billion in costs.

  • Artist Sues Church For Moving His 9/11 Memorial Sculpture

    It’s pretty rare for us to bring up the issue of “moral rights” over creative works in the US, and even rarer to directly reference VARA — the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 — and yet, here we are, twice in one week discussing VARA claims. Even more incredibly, both are about sculptures that were placed for free in parts of lower Manhattan, right off Wall St. The claim that’s received lots of attention was the one over the Wall St. Bull and the fact that another statue was placed near the bull, which the artist claims changes his message, and thereby violates VARA. This other claim is from another sculptor, Steve Tobin, who is suing Trinity Church for moving his 9/11 memorial sculpture to Connecticut.

    [...]

    In the end, while the damaging of the statue perhaps adds at least some greater credibility to the VARA claim — even though it wasn’t designed to be a mutilation, just an accident while moving — the fact that an artist can claim (even after giving up all rights and title to the piece) that because the piece has some connection to a site, the owners can no longer move it, would be really, really dangerous. Yes, there’s a stronger argument here as to why this one location is directly tied to this piece of artwork (and many other artists would have trouble showing the same level of connection), any time you argue that artwork is so connected to its siting that moving it would violate the law… something seems to have gone wrong. I can certainly understand why the artist is upset, but as we noted with the bull, artists give up quite a lot of control when they let art out into the world and, as in this case, hand ownership over to a third party.

  • Science

    • Scientists to take to the streets in global march for truth

      Scientists and science supporters will take to the streets in a global March for Science on 22 April . What began as a small Facebook group in the US capital, Washington DC has spiralled into a global phenomenon that will now see marches and other events in more than 500 locations around the world, from Seattle to Seoul.

      It is great news that so many people are prepared to stand up and defend the need for evidence-based thinking and the scientific method. But it is also a sad comment on our times that a March for Science is needed at all. Post-truth populism has infected democracies around the world, scientific objectivity is under threat from multiple sources and there seems a real danger of falling into a modern dystopian dark age.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • African Civil Society, Farmers Demand ARIPO Lift Blackout On Protocol Protecting Plant Varieties

      Civil society and farmers allege communication blackout from by the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) about a protocol protecting new plant varieties. The 2015 protocol was highly criticised by those organisations as endangering traditional practices of African farmers. Draft regulations could not be adopted in December, but the regional organisation, according to the civil society and farmer groups, is keeping the outcome of the December meeting secret.

    • Open-source mungbean genetic information website enables better varieties

      Scientists and mungbean growers around the world now have access to an open-source website containing the latest genetic information on the qualities of 560 accessions of mungbean.

      The new website, from QUT’s Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities, provides a database of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genetic markers which can be used to map a variety of traits like disease resistance and yield.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Reproducible Builds: week 103 in Stretch cycle
    • ‘Benign’ worm seeks out vulnerable smart devices

      A “benign” worm is scouring the net seeking out poorly protected smart gadgets.

      CCTV systems, routers, digital video recorders and other internet-of-things (IoT) devices are now believed to be harbouring the Hajime worm.

    • How to manage the computer-security threat

      COMPUTER security is a contradiction in terms. Consider the past year alone: cyberthieves stole $81m from the central bank of Bangladesh; the $4.8bn takeover of Yahoo, an internet firm, by Verizon, a telecoms firm, was nearly derailed by two enormous data breaches; and Russian hackers interfered in the American presidential election.

      Away from the headlines, a black market in computerised extortion, hacking-for-hire and stolen digital goods is booming. The problem is about to get worse. Computers increasingly deal not just with abstract data like credit-card details and databases, but also with the real world of physical objects and vulnerable human bodies. A modern car is a computer on wheels; an aeroplane is a computer with wings. The arrival of the “Internet of Things” will see computers baked into everything from road signs and MRI scanners to prosthetics and insulin pumps. There is little evidence that these gadgets will be any more trustworthy than their desktop counterparts. Hackers have already proved that they can take remote control of connected cars and pacemakers.

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Open Source Remote Access Trojan Targets Telegram Users

      Remote access Trojans are mainly used to steal consumer data, either for consumers themselves or the conglomerate keeping this information safe from prying eyes. However, it appears criminals are looking at a different approach for these tools right now. A new open source remote access Trojan can now be used to extract data from the Telegram communication platform.

    • New Open Source RAT Uses Telegram Protocol to Steal Data from Victims
    • Open Source Remote Access Trojan Targets Telegram Users
    • Should we worry the general election will be hacked? [iophk: "it will be. no worries."]
    • Hackers use old Stuxnet-related bug to carry out attacks
    • Oracle databases at risk because of a leaked NSA hacking tool, researcher says
    • Script kiddies pwn 1000s of Windows boxes using leaked NSA hack tools

      The NSA’s Equation Group hacking tools, leaked last Friday by the Shadow Brokers, have now been used to infect thousands of Windows machines worldwide, we’re told.

      On Thursday, Dan Tentler, founder of security shop Phobos Group, told The Register he’s seen rising numbers of boxes on the public internet showing signs they have DOUBLEPULSAR installed on them. These hijacked machines can be used to sling malware, spam netizens, launch further attacks on other victims, and so on.

      DOUBLEPULSAR is a backdoor used to inject and run malicious code on an infected system, and is installed using the ETERNALBLUE exploit that attacks SMB file-sharing services on Windows XP to Server 2008 R2. That means to compromise a computer, it must be running a vulnerable version of Windows and expose an SMB service to the attacker. Both DOUBLEPULSAR and ETERNALBLUE are leaked Equation Group tools, now available for any script kiddie or hardened crim to download and wield against vulnerable systems.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Actual Lawyer Thinks That Criminalizing Showing Murder On Facebook Will Prevent Murders On Facebook

      Earlier this week, we wrote about the silly take at Wired, more or less suggesting that it was somehow Facebook’s issue that a troubled individual took a video of himself randomly killing an elderly man and then uploaded the video to Facebook. Unfortunately, others have had similar takes, including the New Yorker’s Steve Coll, whose piece is mostly balanced and admits that it’s basically impossible for Facebook to prevent this thing… but then at the end ignores all that and says, effectively, “Well, Facebook’s big so it has no excuse not to do something.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Chancellery investigated in hunt for WikiLeaks sources: reports

      German media reported on Thursday that Angela Merkel’s Chancellery has been included in an ongoing investigation into a recent WikiLeaks release of confidential documents.

      Broadcaster NDR reported on Thursday that according to unnamed sources, public prosecutors in Berlin are investigating employees of the Chancellery in their search to find who sent confidential documents to WikiLeaks.

    • Journalism in the Doxing Era: Is Wikileaks Different from the New York Times?

      The question is provocative, but the answer is hard. The reaction to WikiLeaks’ publication of the fruits of Russia’s DNC hack raises many puzzles about how we should think about publication of truthful secret information that touches on public affairs. These puzzles are important to figure out, since organizational doxing is growing more prevalent and consequential and our intuitions about it are not obviously coherent. I don’t have great answers to what traditional news sources like the Times should do with hacked documents, but in practice I think the Times and other mainstream news organizations operate more like WikiLeaks than we have appreciated. Even if I am wrong about that, I hope the following analysis and questions shed a little light on the problem.

      Many people who are appalled by WikiLeaks’ publication of the stolen DNC emails applauded the publication by mainstream news organizations of Snowden’s stolen NSA documents. They emphasize Snowden’s good intent as a whistleblower, the Times’ aim to foster the public interest, and the positive consequences of publication for the public interest (such as exposure of the U.S. intelligence practices, the spread of encryption, more NSA transparency, and a global privacy movement). By contrast, one story goes, Russia and WikiLeaks had bad intent and publication of the DNC emails skewed the public interest.

    • Julian Assange: US set to ‘seek arrest of Wikileaks founder’

      US authorities have prepared charges to arrest the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, according to CNN.

    • Sources: US prepares charges to seek arrest of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange

      US authorities have prepared charges to seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, US officials familiar with the matter tell CNN.

      The Justice Department investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks dates to at least 2010, when the site first gained wide attention for posting thousands of files stolen by the former US Army intelligence analyst now known as Chelsea Manning.

      Prosecutors have struggled with whether the First Amendment precluded the prosecution of Assange, but now believe they have found a way to move forward.

      During President Barack Obama’s administration, Attorney General Eric Holder and officials at the Justice Department determined it would be difficult to bring charges against Assange because WikiLeaks wasn’t alone in publishing documents stolen by Manning. Several newspapers, including The New York Times, did as well. The investigation continued, but any possible charges were put on hold, according to US officials involved in the process then.

    • German chancellery investigated in probe into WikiLeaks sources

      Berlin’s chief public prosecutor has extended an investigation into the release of a trove of documents by WikiLeaks to include the chancellery as well as the Bundestag lower house of parliament, broadcaster NDR said on Thursday.

      Last December, WikiLeaks released the confidential documents, which German security agencies had submitted to a parliamentary committee investigating the extent to which German spies helped the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) to spy in Europe.

    • Justice Dept. debating charges against WikiLeaks members in revelations of diplomatic, CIA materials

      Federal prosecutors are weighing whether to bring criminal charges against members of the WikiLeaks organization, taking a second look at a 2010 leak of diplomatic cables and military documents and investigating whether the group bears criminal responsibility for the more recent revelation of sensitive CIA cyber-tools, according to people familiar with the case.

      The Justice Department under President Barack Obama had decided not to charge WikiLeaks for revealing some of the government’s most sensitive secrets — concluding that doing so would be akin to prosecuting a news organization for publishing classified information. Justice Department leadership under President Trump, though, has indicated to prosecutors that it is open to taking another look at the case, which the Obama administration did not formally close.

  • Finance

    • Immigrants flooded California construction. Worker pay sank. Here’s why

      But for more than a decade before immigrants flooded the market, contractors and their corporate clients were pushing to undercut construction wages by shunning union labor.

      [...]

      The result: Today slightly more than 1 in 10 construction workers are in a union, compared with 4 in 10 in the 1970s.

    • The final tipping point for O’Reilly and Fox was plain old money
    • EU leader: UK would be welcomed back if voters overturn Brexit

      The president of the European parliament has said Britain would be welcomed back with open arms if voters changed their minds about Brexit on 8 June, challenging Theresa May’s claim that “there is no turning back” after article 50.

      Speaking after a meeting with the prime minister in Downing Street, Antonio Tajani insisted that her triggering of the departure process last month could be reversed easily by the remaining EU members if there was a change of UK government after the general election, and that it would not even require a court case.

    • Argentina: Brexit could end Europe’s support for UK control of Falklands

      Argentina believes Brexit might cost Britain the support of European allies for its control of the Falkland Islands and is watching developments closely, the Argentinian foreign minister said in Brussels.

      Visiting the EU capital for trade talks on Thursday, Susana Malcorra stressed it was too soon to say whether Britain quitting the bloc might soften EU backing for London against an 18th-century claim to the South Atlantic islands that Buenos Aires has maintained despite losing a brief war there in 1982.

    • EU leader: UK would be welcomed back if voters overturn Brexit

      The president of the European parliament has said Britain would be welcomed back with open arms if voters changed their minds about Brexit on 8 June, challenging Theresa May’s claim that “there is no turning back” after article 50.

      Speaking after a meeting with the prime minister in Downing Street, Antonio Tajani insisted that her triggering of the departure process last month could be reversed easily by the remaining EU members if there was a change of UK government after the general election, and that it would not even require a court case.

      “If the UK, after the election, wants to withdraw [article 50], then the procedure is very clear,” he said in an interview. “If the UK wanted to stay, everybody would be in favour. I would be very happy.”

    • Corporate Sovereignty Used To Bully Ukraine, Colombia And Italy For Protecting Public Health And The Environment

      Since Rockhopper is an oil exploration company, it must have carried out detailed studies on the geology of the field before deciding to drill for oil and gas. Either its geologists were negligent in not spotting that there was a risk of earthquakes which made the area unsuitable for exploitation, or the company knew about the dangers, and decided to continue with its plans anyway. In any case, it’s ridiculous that Rockhopper thinks the Italian government owes it money for “lost future profits” that clearly never existed anywhere other than in the company’s fantasies.

      This is a general problem with corporate sovereignty claims: they often invoke some mythical “future profits” as if those were indisputable and guaranteed. But business is based on rewarding calculated risk-taking, and that includes the risk that hoped-for profits never materialize. ISDS is an attempt to remove the risk of investment from companies, and place it squarely on the public’s shoulders, without any quid pro quo.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Could Trump’s Financial Ties Have Influenced His Phone Call With Erdogan?

      Instead, Trump’s actions point to a subtler type of influence. Whether or not he wants it to be—indeed, whether or not he even knows it—it is natural that Trump’s attitude toward Erdogan and Turkey is shaped in part by the fact that he has business interests within the country.

    • Poll: Trump gets historically low approval ratings

      President Trump’s average approval rating is the lowest since Gallup began presidential approval surveys in 1953, the polling firm said Thursday.

      Trump’s approval rating has been as low as 39 percent since January, but averaged out at 41 percent. According to Gallup, the historical average approval of presidents is 61 percent.

      The previous president to hold Gallup’s lowest approval rating in their first quarter was former President Bill Clinton, who had a 55 percent approval rating.

    • A quarter of news shared about French election is fake: report

      One in four political links shared on social media in France ahead of the first round of the country’s presidential election Sunday contained misinformation, according to a study by Oxford University researchers.

      “Highly automated accounts,” which “occasionally generated large amounts of traffic” are particularly targeting Conservative presidential candidate François Fillon, according to the study, which is to be published Friday but was previewed by Reuters.

      But Europeans are sharing better quality news than Americans did ahead of the U.S. presidential election last year, the study found.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • New GCHQ chief arrives in wake of UK-US wiretap spat

      A senior intelligence officer who led counter-terrorism operations for the London 2012 Olympics has been appointed as head of the UK’s surveillance agency GCHQ.

    • Intelligence Community Pushes to Keep Surveillance Powers

      The Office of the Director of National Intelligence Wednesday published a document advocating for the protection of what newly minted spy chief Dan Coats has described as the “crown jewels” of the intelligence community.

      The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act, in particular Section 702, authorizes the bulk of the intelligence community’s overseas digital collection powers. A new informational questionnaire published by the ODNI, says maintaining those surveillance powers is “the intelligence community’s top legislative priority for 2017.”

      If Congress didn’t reauthorize those authorities, it would “greatly impair the ability of the United States to respond to national security threats,” the document notes.

    • We’re spying on you for your own protection, says NSA, FBI

      A new factsheet by the NSA and FBI has laid bare ludicrous contradictions in how US intelligence agencies choose to interpret a law designed to prevent spying on American citizens, but which they use to achieve exactly that end.

    • Schiff advocates for NSA, Cyber Command split

      Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) on Wednesday said it would be “wise” to have separate leaders for the two organizations, pushing for a civilian head of the NSA during remarks at Columbia Law School in New York.

      Currently, the two organizations are both led by Adm. Mike Rogers. Congress elevated Cyber Command to a unified combatant command using annual defense policy legislation passed last year, but also required the Pentagon to conduct a full assessment before splitting it from the NSA.

    • The Teddy Bear And Toaster Act Is Device Regulation Done Wrong

      Should government to protect us from snooping teddy bears and untrustworthy toasters? The California State Senate seems to think so.

      With traditional devices on the decline, laptop and desktop computers now account for less than 25 percent of internet network traffic. Indeed, American households now use, on average, seven connected devices every day. As this so-called “internet of things” continues to expand, an array of connected objects—from toasters to lightbulbs to dishwashers—now include embedded microprocessors, multiplying the number of potential threat vectors for data breaches and cyberattacks.

    • Thursday’s papers: New intelligence powers under scrutiny, also, warm summer ahead? Nope.

      On Wednesday Juha Sipilä’s government unfurled long-awaited draft legislation aimed at beefing up the country’s intelligence-gathering muscle. Experts immediately weighed in, saying that the draft bill clearly needs finessing.

      Capital-based daily Helsingin Sanomat interviewed two experts who both said that the government’s attempt to craft unified legislation governing intelligence-gathering activities still needs work. HS spoke with international law professor Martin Scheinin, who said outright that Finland doesn’t need such legal reform – at least not in the form proposed by the Interior and Defence ministries.

      “It has not been shown that there are any shortcomings in the powers of Finnish police, customs and intelligence police,” Scheinin told the paper.

    • Microsoft will cut services to standalone Office users so they’ll subscribe to Office 365

      In an update to Microsoft’s Office 365 system requirements released on Thursday, Microsoft said that consumers who have already purchased “perpetual”—i.e., standalone—versions of Office, such as Office 2010, Office 2013, and Office 2016, would be cut off from accessing the business versions of OneDrive and Skype after mainstream support expires.

    • Facebook Just Handed Out Thousands of 360 Cameras. We’ve Got a Review

      Giroptic released a new Android-compatible version of its mobile 360 camera as part of the F8 giveaway.

    • Illinois resident sues Bose over alleged wiretapping

      Zak said he had bought a set of Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless Bluetooth headphones. He alleged that unknown to customers, a Bose Connect app had been designed to collect and record the titles of the music and audio files that users of its wireless products played.

      Additionally, he claimed, Bose was transmitting this data, including personal identifiers, to third parties, including a data miner, without the user’s consent or knowledge.

    • Bose faces lawsuit claiming headphone apps collects user data

      The complaint filed in U.S. district court in Illinois alleges Bose collected information such as music and audio choices through its Connect mobile app, then shared that with other companies — including a data mining firm — without user consent.

    • DHS Boss Calls For More Fear, Less Encryption

      The Trump administration is rebranding the country: Make America Fear Again. In response to a national crime wave that doesn’t exist, the head of the DOJ is rolling back police reform and replacing it with extra “toughness.” Under the new regime, law enforcement officers will have the full (and, apparently, unconditional) backing of the White House.

      The DHS is joining the DOJ in flexing its new muscle. DHS Secretary John Kelly has already stated he’s looking to turn requests for visitors’ social media/email account information into demands, which would include the mandatory relinquishment of account passwords.

    • Digital Economy Bill: What Could Happen After the Government Crackdown on Online Pornography

      “What they [the government] haven’t taken into account is privacy or security,” Mr Jackman told The Independent explaining there is “absolutely no prohibition” on companies that provide the age verification checks from “monetising” the data of the website visitors.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Don’t Bet On The Emergence Of A ‘Religious Left’
    • Taslima Nasreen supports Sonu Nigam, says Kolkata Imam issued fatwa against her too

      The row began after Sonu Nigam tweeted saying how the sound of azaan woke him up from sleep. He had said that it was “forced religiousness” and use of loudspeakers at religious places should stop. Reacting to Sonu’s statement, a Kolkata Imam Syed Shah Atif Al-Qaderi said that he would give Rs 10 lakh to anyone who shaves Sonu Nigam’s head and garlands with him footwear.

    • Iran’s Guardian Council Tries to Exclude Non-Muslims from Running

      Just one week before parliament is to approve a list of candidates, a letter published this week by Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council, declared it is against Sharia (Islamic law) for non-Muslims to be candidates in Shia Muslim-majority areas in city and village council elections. These contests, along with the presidential election, are set for May 19.

    • Indonesia prosecutors call for Christian Jakarta governor to be jailed amid election defeat

      Hardline Muslim groups alleged that the governor had insulted Islam and dishonoured the Quran by quoting a verse during his campaign to boost his chances of winning the governor’s post for a second term.

    • Ayaan Hirsi Ali on What the Future Holds for Muslim Women

      At many American universities today, any critical examination pertaining to Islam, including Shariah and the treatment of women in Islam, is declared to be out of the realm of scrutiny. My thoughts on the crisis within Islam were so terrifying to Brandeis University — the university named for a champion of the First Amendment — that it withdrew its invitation to speak and accept an honorary degree. A strange irony that my story frightened the university more than the litany of honor killings and wholesale abuse of women in so many parts of the Islamic world.

    • Indian Army tie captured Kahmiri man to the front of a jeep to deter rock-throwers
    • NYPD Finally Comes Up With A Body Camera Policy, And It’s Terrible

      Nearly four years after the NYPD was ordered by a federal judge to implement body cameras, the department is finally getting around to finalizing its rule set for deployment. Part of the delay is due to the NYPD seeking input from the public — input it has apparently decided to ignore.

      As Scott Greenfield notes, the NYPD gets everything wrong about its policies, applying guidelines that directly contradict the responses received from everyone in New York City not wearing a blue uniform.

    • First prison unit for extremists to open this summer

      Three purpose-built blocks are to open within high-security jails to hold the most dangerous extremist prisoners away from other inmates.

      The Ministry of Justice said the blocks will have their own facilities and be able to hold up to 28 people in total.

      The first unit will open this summer at Frankland Prison, County Durham, with two more to follow at other jails.

      Ministers said last year that they wanted to isolate extremist inmates who “seek to poison the minds of others”.

      [...]

      Justice Secretary Liz Truss first announced the plans last August after accepting a recommendation from an independent review into radicalisation in English and Welsh prisons.

      The report had found evidence of inmates advocating support for so-called Islamic State and some prisoners acting as “self-styled emirs” to radicalise offenders.

    • Cop Arrested, Fired After Wife Captures His Abusive Actions On His Own Body Camera

      This is one of the strangest “but for video” cases ever. We know many cops are hesitant to clip body-worn cameras on themselves for a variety of reasons. The official statements always express concern about privacy, as though people interacting with public servants somehow believe these interactions are private. Others show concern for police officers’ privacy, as though the public is really hoping to FOIA footage of officers sitting in the break room or using the restroom.

      Deep down, everyone knows the cameras are a tool of accountability, albeit one that’s far from perfect. Body camera footage frequently goes “missing” when force is deployed questionably. And it’s completely possible to make the footage subjective with strategic body positioning and constant yelling of exonerative phrases like “Stop resisting!”

      So, it’s accountability in its infancy, run through a layer of law enforcement-friendly filters (footage is controlled by police officers and often sheltered from FOIA requests). But it’s much better than what we had before, where all action had to take place in front of stationary dashboard cameras.

    • 162 Tech Companies Tell Appeals Court That Trump’s 2nd Travel Ban Is Illegal

      As you’ll recall, back in early February, over 100 tech companies signed onto an amicus brief, arguing that President Trump’s initial plan to bar immigration from certain countries was unconstitutional and illegal. A month later, a smaller group of companies signed onto an amicus brief in the district court in Hawaii concerning the revised travel ban (and a few people noted that some of the companies that signed onto the first brief had not signed onto the second one — wondering if that meant many companies weren’t as worried about the revised ban. Except, yesterday an even larger group of tech companies (162 in total) signed onto a new amicus brief for the 4th Circuit court of appeals which is the next appeals court hearing a case on the revised travel ban. And, yes, we at the Copia Institute signed onto this one as well (we also signed onto the first two).

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • CRTC strengthens its commitment to net neutrality, consumer choice and free exchange of ideas by citizens

      The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today strengthened its commitment to net neutrality by declaring that Internet service providers should treat data traffic equally to foster consumer choice, innovation and the free exchange of ideas. As such, the CRTC today is publishing a new framework regarding differential pricing practices.

    • Canada Censures Quebecor in Net Neutrality Split With U.S.

      Canada is strengthening regulations to protect the principle of net neutrality just as the U.S. is preparing to gut Obama-era internet rules.

    • Your internet provider can’t pick which apps and services count against your data cap, says CRTC

      “While the CRTC could have gone further,” the group said in a statement, “today’s ruling is still a very positive step in the right direction.”

    • Roku Hires DC Lobbyists For First Time To Fight For Net Neutrality

      With broadband privacy rules dead, ISP lobbyists and their loyal lawmakers have begun quickly shifting their attention to killing FCC oversight of broadband providers and net neutrality. We’ve pointed out how folks concerned about this shouldn’t expect a lot of help from the likes of Facebook, Netflix and Google this go round. We’ve also noted how folks need to begin waking up to the false arguments being used to sell the pitch (namely that gutting net neutrality and FCC authority over ISPs will be fine because existing FTC rules will protect users, which simply isn’t true).

    • FCC Moves To Make Life Easier For Business Broadband Monopolies

      By now, most people understand that the residential broadband market simply isn’t very competitive. They also understand that’s in large part due to the lobbying and financial stranglehold many providers have over both state and federal lawmakers and regulators. But however uncompetitive the residential broadband market is, the business “special access market” (often called Business Data Services (BDS)) is notably worse. This important but overlooked segment of the telecom market connects schools, cell towers, ATMs, retailers, and countless others to the internet at large.

      But consumer groups and smaller companies for years have complained that this segment suffers under an absurd amount of monopoly control, resulting in many companies and organizations paying sky-high rates for basic connectivity. According to the FCC’s own data (pdf), in the lion’s share of markets, 73% of the special access market is controlled by one provider (usually AT&T, CenturyLink or Verizon), 24% usually “enjoys” duopoly control, and only a tiny fraction of markets have more than two choices of BDS providers providing this key connectivity.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • ISP Can’t Have Blanket Immunity From Pirating Subscribers, Court Rules

        A New York federal court has dismissed the ‘piracy liability’ case U.S. Internet provider Windstream filed against music group BMG and its anti-piracy partner Rightscorp. The court rules that, without concrete examples of alleged copyright infringements, it can’t just give blanket approval to the ISPs business model.

      • Departure Of YouTube From Russia Could Result In Growth Of Pirated Content, Government Warns

        The use of pirated content in Russia may significantly increase in the event of a decision by leading foreign video-sharing websites and servers to leave the country due to the planned imposition of restrictions on their ownership by foreigners, which is currently being considered by the Russian government and the local Parliament (State Duma).

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts