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07.31.17

The War on CAFC, on Alice and on Patent Reform is Getting Ugly

Posted in America, Deception, IBM, Patents at 11:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gene Quinn

Summary: Gene Quinn’s attack site, Watchtroll, continues its long tradition of attacking people who actually create things, in order for patent parasites like himself (and patent trolls/bullies) to gain at the expense of those who create things

THE USPTO has begrudgingly evolved after Alice, but as we showed on numerous occasions earlier this month, the patent microcosm is lobbying the USPTO and even hiring (i.e. bribing) former USPTO officials to help the lobbying. It’s truly nefarious and politicians need to be made aware of it.

“IBM, we must add, should be utterly shamed of itself for associating with this site — a supposedly ‘informed’ site that has called techies “idiots”, even in the headlines.”Watchtroll is one of the worst culprits in all this; it is making the patent microcosm look like a bunch of bullies. “Bullies of any kind don’t want their victims to speak out,” one person explained to us last night — a fact that we know having covered these matters for over a decade. It has gotten so bad that Microsoft extortion or blackmail with patents seeks to gag/silence/bribe the victim. As part of the settlement, for example, the victim is obliged to put on a happy face and issue a press release to that effect. We have seen that since the 2006 Microsoft/Novell deal. We saw that in 2016 with Xiaomi (patent settlement over Android and maybe Chrome OS too).

Focusing on Watchtroll for a moment, never forget its many attacks on Michelle Lee — attacks which were largely based on ‘conspiracy theories’ they had come up with and all sorts of ‘fake news’ intended to make her look bad. She eventually resigned. The USPTO is without a leader now.

“What has the patent microcosm succumbed to?”IBM, we must add, should be utterly shamed of itself for associating with this site — a supposedly ‘informed’ site that has called techies “idiots”, even in the headlines. Malicious firms like IBM (GNU/Linux-hostile now) would resort to supporting Watchtroll because all they have left now is patents (and lawsuits).

Yesterday, Watchtroll outdid itself (having already attacked judges); it now goes on the attack against PRACTICING firms and techies who dare warn about software patents, trolls etc.

It’s almost purely ad hominem, e.g.:

Tom Lee, a software engineer at geodata firm Mapbox, took time during his testimony to voice his concerns on “bad patents” and “patent trolls,” adding that it was “particularly galling to see efforts to weaken the inter partes review (IPR) system.”

Why does Mapbox’s viewpoint on patent litigation echo in the halls of Congress given the fact that it doesn’t appear that it has faced abusive patent litigation? In fact, it almost looks like there is no merit to Lee’s statement that “Mapbox has had multiple experiences with patent trolls: non-practicing entities who file meritless lawsuits that are cheaper to settle than to defend.” Mapbox certainly hasn’t had multiple experiences with lawsuits; going back to January 1st, 2000, Mapbox has been sued just once in a patent case according to data collected from Lex Machina’s legal data analytics service.

The comments are even ruder. They are linking to previous attacks from Watchtroll, e.g. attacks on Mark Cuban (calling him an “idiot” right there in the headline).

What has the patent microcosm succumbed to?

They only alienate themselves and make themselves new enemies (except IBM, which seems perfectly alright with such behaviour).

Publisher Funded by Nokia’s and Microsoft’s Patent Trolls Expects More Attacks on Android OEMs

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 10:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Joff Wild USPTOSummary: IAM, which is known for its pro-patent trolls and Microsoft-leaning coverage, foresees more patent aggression (based on the Editor-in-Chief)

THE USPTO spent decades granting software patents. A lot of them are totally bunk, more so after Alice, but they continue to exist and they are used in bulk to shake down OEMs that distribute GNU/Linux. This was covered last night in light of Nokia’s actions, which are still prominent in the news (earlier today, e.g. [1, 2]). Nokia is adopting the Microsoft-led modus operandi which is overwhelming Android OEMs with patent fees, over-encumbering them with costs; in the patent profession/s this strategy is known as “patent stacking”.

“…in the patent profession/s this strategy is known as “patent stacking”.”Joff Wild, who runs IAM (it was funded in part by a patent troll that Microsoft had armed with Nokia’s patents), wrote this morning that we should “expect more to follow,” i.e. the Microsoft-led Nokia will attack even more Android OEMs (it’s already “done” with Apple). Here is the eyebrow-raising part of Wild’s euphemisms-filled ‘masterpiece’:

But it was not just the Apple deal. Suri referred, too, to the recently concluded Xiaomi agreement: “We also closed a licensing deal with Xiaomi, a milestone win with a Chinese smartphone vendor, setting the stage for us to engage further with other vendors in the country.”

It’s all about patents and payments for patents. It’s a settlement. Hardly a win for Xiaomi, which was also extorted by Microsoft a year earlier.

Can anyone else feel the “love” Microsoft must have for Linux? Microsoft loves Linux like pythons love rats.

“It’s not too hard to see one major motivation for Microsoft’s de facto takeover of Nokia.”In the case of Nokia, billions of dollars are extracted from one OEM (Apple) just for patents. That can be the difference between life and death for some OEMs. A press release from today spoke of a patent settlement which included “one-time payment of $13 million…”

In the case of Nokia we’re talking about billions, not millions. It’s not too hard to see one major motivation for Microsoft’s de facto takeover of Nokia. As we’ve pointed out since 2011, it has a lot to do with patent stacking.

German Media Finally Waking up to EPO Scandals?

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

FAZ EPO article

Summary: Signs of change or at least a glimmer of hope as large publishers in the Federal Republic of Germany (most relevant to EPO coverage) revisit EPO scandals

SOMETHING INTERESTING happened in the German media this past week; the above article (EPO article from FAZ) aside, there is another one (titled “Den Chef nennen sie Putin”) pointed out by SUEPO this morning. A translation would be nice and maybe SUEPO is already working on it. “Finally,” one insider wrote, “the German Press starts to write about the EPO” (more in [1, 2] to that effect). There seem to also be attempts to pressure the German media to cover the Lufthansa scandals (“EPO, Lufthansa, and the German Government – Part II” will be out soon) and days ago German media mentioned German court/s forbidding the use of keyloggers (like Battistelli and his British spies — with actual connections to the Stasi through Desa — illegally did on German soil). This was covered also in the English media around the same time (it’s in our daily links). Is the tide turning? It’s too early to tell, but one can hope. Will lawlessness end? Eager to see the UPC, Maas never seemed to care about lawlessness at the EPO; he intentionally looked the other way, even when he was approached directly. The UPC now faces a serious constitutional complaint in Germany and earlier today we found the following new comment in IP Kat:

For the present:

As there is no judicial review by a national court of a member state of the EU in case of revocation of a patent or refusal of an application, we are bang in the constitutional problems which are to be discussed before the German Constitutional court.

The liability of the member states of the EU might also be at stake with the present amendment of R 27 and 28 EPC, see CIPAs observations.

Another interesting point:

Are the implementing regulations as decided by the Administrative Council always applicable to the Boards of Appeal?

The answer is no, cf. G 6/95, OJ 1996, 649. At the time of this decision, the Praesidium of the BA decided upon the RPBA, which were subsequently enacted by the AC.

With the new structure of the Boards of Appeal, the Praesidium of the Boards having been given the opportunity to comment, the RPBA are decided by the BA Committee, cf R 12c(2)EPC. It means that the Praesidium has just to be heard, but his opinion can be disregarded. I therefore wonder whether a decision like G 6/95 would still be possible.

But the perception of independence of the Boards has been increased….

For the future
And we do not yet have the UPC up and running, and are over the transitional period for opt out.

Once a patent has been granted, the UPC can only take decisions as to infringement and validity, under the control (directly or indirectly) of the CJEU, valid for its member states. It can, at a pinch, decide for member states of the EU which are not member states of the UPC, but it cannot decide for member states of the EPC, which are are neither member states of the EU nor of the the UPC.

Where is the simplification heralded by all the proponents of the UPC?

Why has the UPC not be brought in front of the CJEU?

We really live in interesting times!

The collapse of the Rule of Law at the EPO seems to have come at a very high cost: the potential death of the UPC.

Links 31/7/2017: Linux 4.13 RC3, New MythTV, Mesa 17.2 RC2, Sparky 5.0 Special Editions

Posted in News Roundup at 9:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Alpha Store litebook laptop Linux review

      I ordered a litebook after emailing back and forth questions about Linux and the product. They replied super fast and everything sounded great.

      In reality, if I had to guess what is happening, it’s a couple teenagers working out of their moms basement, ordering laptops from aliexpress in bulk, installing Linux and then selling them for a profit.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Coming Soon | For The Record

      Are we too dependent our Internet connectivity? Should we instead, explore creating our own Linux media servers in place of common streaming services? I’ll give you a preview of my effort to reduce my reliance with common streaming services. I’ll talk about upcoming videos featuring Plex, Kodi, Ubooquity, Subsonic, calibre and more!

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Kernel – When It All Started & How It Is Here

      ​Many of the open source lovers know Linux. I know, you are also one of them, cause you are also a supporter of open source. However, many don’t. Today I am going to mention the history of the famous kernel, Linux.

    • Linux 4.13-rc3

      Another week, another rc.

      Usually rc2 is the really quiet one, but this release cycle rc2 was
      fairly busy and it made me worry a bit about whether there was
      something bad going on with 4.13.

      But no, it was just random timing, and people got started sending in
      fixes early, and this release cycle it’s rc3 that is small. It’s about
      half the size (in commits) of rc2 – usually things are the other way
      around. Maybe people are starting to go on vacation (August tends to
      be quiet in Europe in particular).

      I’m not complaining. Quiet weeks are nice.

      Linus

    • Linux 4.13-rc3 Kernel Released: It’s A Small One
    • Linus Torvalds pens vintage ‘f*cking’ rant at kernel dev’s ‘utter BS’

      Linux overlord Linus Torvalds has fired off an expletive-laden rant of the sort that only he seems to find acceptable.

      His post to the Linux Kernel mailing list takes aim at a chap named Kees Cook, who The Register believes to be a Google employee working on security for the company’s Pixel phones.

      Cook appears to have earned Torvalds’ ire with his post warning of a bug in the way the Linux kernel deals with memory leaks.

      Torvalds’ response is stern, kicking off with “Kees, stop this idiocy already”, explaining that the bugs Cook discusses are false positives and then launching into “ it’s a f*cking disgrace that you are in denial about the fact that it’s the *checking* that is broken, not the code, and are making excuses for shit.”

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • AMDGPU-PRO 17.30 vs. Linux 4.13 + Mesa Git RadeonSI Benchmarks

        With this week’s release of AMDGPU-PRO 17.30, here are some fresh benchmarks of this latest AMD hybrid Linux graphics driver release compared to using the newest pure open-source driver stack in the form of the Linux 4.13 development kernel and Mesa Git.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Recipes turns one year old

        I’ve given a presentation today and explained that recipes turns one year old at this GUADEC in Manchester. That is of course nothing compared to GNOME, which turned 20, so we send our congratulations:

      • My talk at GUADEC 2017

        Thanks so much to the GNOME Foundation for its support to the events I do to spread the GNOME word in my local community in Peru. I have had the opportunity to share my work done in 2016 and 2017 at GUADEC 2017.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Set up web services quickly with UBOS 11

        Some people might think that UBOS is targeting less experienced users with its talk of quickly and easily setting up popular web services at home. At least that was my initial impression of the project’s mission. However, I came to realize that UBOS makes certain admin tasks very fast and convenient, but not necessarily beginner friendly. Running UBOS means using the command line and being comfortable with the Linux command line tools. The UBOS project does provide us with documentation for using the ubos-admin software which is very useful, but we are not given manual pages or guides for other commands. This means UBOS users should already be comfortable working from a terminal, but do not necessarily need to know anything about setting up an Apache web server or web applications.

        For the most part, UBOS does a good job of making it quick and easy to set up a handful of web services. What would usually take me twenty minutes to install, configure and test takes less than five minutes with UBOS and I appreciate this time saving technology. The ability to backup multiple websites and their databases in seconds with one command is also a very welcome feature.

        There were downsides to using UBOS I ran into. One was the distribution refusing to reboot after services were installed. The second was the issue I ran into where I could not install new services once web applications had already been installed. This seems like a restriction which would get in the way in any situation where we want to experiment with new applications.

        A final issue I ran into was UBOS currently does not offer many pre-packaged services. There are, at the time of writing, eight available web services we can install and configure with a single command. This is a good start, but I hope more services are added later, perhaps for other blogging software, development tools and other common web services. The basics many home users are likely to want are already in UBOS’s inventory and I hope the selection is expanded to appeal to a wider audience in the future.

    • New Releases

      • Sparky 5.0 Special Editions

        New live/install iso images of special editions of SparkyLinux 5.0 “Nibiru” are out.
        Sparky 5 follows rolling release model and is based on Debian testing branch “Buster”.

        GameOver Edition features a very large number of preinstalled games, useful tools and scripts. It’s targeted to gamers.

        Multimedia Edition features a large set of tools for creating and editing graphics, audio, video and HTML pages.

        The live system of Rescue Edition contains a large set of tools for scanning and fixing files, partitions and operating systems installed on hard drives.

      • [MythTV] v29.0 Released

        The MythTV Team is pleased to announce the release of MythTV version v29.0

        This release is the first release of the new stable branch fixes/29.

      • MythTV 29 Released

        It’s been a while since last having anything to report on with the once very popular MythTV HTPC/DVR software, but today it’s out with a new stable release: MythTV 29.

        Rather than being released as MythTV 0.29 with v0.28.1 being their previous stable release, instead they have bumped their major version number and are now MythTV 29.

    • Arch Family

      • Bluestar Linux A Solid Arch Based Linux Distribution With KDE Desktop Environment

        ​Bluestar Linux is an Arch based Linux distro powered by the KDE desktop. The developers seek to provide up to date packages and a host of desktop and multimedia apps out of the box. The aim of the distro is to provide a solid operating system that provides a wide range of functionality and ease of use without sacrificing beauty and aesthetics.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • FAmSCo August 2017 elections: Thoughts on a global community

          A new release of Fedora makes headlines this month. With every release, it also means a new round of the Fedora community leadership elections. On 24 July 2017, the call for nominations went out for candidates. The Fedora Engineering Steering Committee (FESCo), Fedora Ambassador Steering Committee (FAmSCo), and the Fedora Council all have seats open. Already, discussions on nominations are happening. The candidate interview templates are being prepared. Even now, the nomination lists are filling up. However, I want to share an opinion on the upcoming FAmSCo election specifically.

        • 10 Days with Fedora 26 and Mageia 6

          About 13 days ago or so, I posted an entry on my preparations to upgrade Fedora Workstation KDE 25 to Fedora 26.

          My original intention was to do it via CLI, but it did not go well because, after having downloaded all the packages, the system reported insufficient space in / for the install. Apparently I, being a Fedora noob, had not removed all the old packages and had less than 75 MB left.

    • Debian Family

      • Calibre in Debian

        Some news about Calibre in Debian: I have been added to the list of maintainers, thanks Martin, and the recent release of Calibre 3.4 into Debian/unstable brought some fixes concerning the desktop integration. Now I am working on Calibre 3.5.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • [Video] Ubuntu 4.10 (Warty Warthog) Review! (Re-upload)
          • Canonical Works on Linux 4.13 for Ubuntu 17.10, GCC 7 Transition in Early August

            They promised, and they will deliver! Canonical recently announced that they started working on rebasing the upcoming Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) operating system on the Linux 4.13 kernel.

            One of the highlights of Ubuntu Kernel Team’s latest newsletter is the fact that work started on the building and testing Linux kernel 4.13 for Ubuntu 17.10, and it looks like users can already install the second Release Candidate (RC) milestone announced by Linus Torvalds last week.

            Canonical plans to ship the final release of Ubuntu 17.10 with the Linux 4.13 kernel, but, for now, the current daily builds and the recently released Alpha 2 milestone for opt-in flavors are powered by the Linux 4.11 kernel packages of Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus), yet the Linux 4.12 kernel is available in the staging repository.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Deepin System Monitor invites you to go on a Process Killing Spree

              Deepin has unveiled its latest first-party app, a stylish new system monitor — and it makes me want to go all Dexter on my distro.

              The app, named ‘Deepin System Monitor’, marries the aesthetic appeal of resource monitors like Conky with the functionality of regular process management tools. The end result is an app that looks as good as it works.

            • System76′s Pop!_OS Linux Distro to Get the Volume Improvements from Ubuntu 17.10

              System76′s engineers won’t take a break from adding new features to the first major release of the Ubuntu-based Pop!_OS Linux distribution, and they recently shared a blog article to keep the community up-to-date with what’s they’re planning lately.

              First off, it would appear that System76 devs noticed the Ubuntu Desktop team working on porting the volume setting that lets laptop users raise the volume over the 100% limit using the keyboard volume buttons to the upcoming Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) operating system, so they’ll add that to Pop!_OS, too.

              “Upstream Ubuntu has been working on a problem with volume settings that we here at System76 agree with 100%. Currently, the ability to raise the volume above 100% is present in GNOME/Ubuntu, this exists because some devices at 100% can still come across as fairly quiet,” said System76′s Pop!_OS devs on the blog article.

            • [Linux Mint] Monthly News – July 2017

              Many thanks to all the people who donated to us. Thank you for your support.

              I hope you enjoyed the recent release of Linux Mint 18.2 and the upgrades in LMDE.

              The development cycle for Linux Mint 18.3 was started and some really exciting improvements landed already.

              The software sources tool was ported to GTK3 and now supports HiDPI.

              Cinnamon gained support for HybridSleep.

            • Linux Mint ‘Software Manager’ Sees Some Major Improvements

              Major improvements are coming to the Linux Mint Software Manager app, the Ubuntu-based distribution’s default app store.

              Announcing the news in the latest newsletter Linux Mint project lead Clement Lefebvre says his distro was one of the first Linux distributions to ship with a graphical “app store” of sorts, called ‘Software Manager’.

            • Development work begins in earnest on Linux Mint 18.3

              Clem Lefebvre has announced via the Linux Mint Blog that the next version of the Linux Mint distribution is in the works and will include a revamp to the Software Manager which “needed attention”. The new Software Manager comes with a more modern look giving users a better user experience.

            • Linux Mint’s Software Manager Is Getting Big Updates For Linux Mint 18.3

              In their latest news letter, the Linux Mint team has announced the changes which are part of the development cycle of Linux Mint 18.3. Until now, a considerable number of changes have been made to Software Manage, the inbuilt package management application in Linux Mint.

            • Loki Updates for July

              We kicked off July with a new release of AppCenter. The most obvious change you may have noticed is the new “Trending” carousel on the home page. This represents apps with the most downloads over the last 24 hours. You may also notice that we now show a spinner in the headerbar when AppCenter is working on something, whether that’s fetching updates or installing a new app. Speaking of apps, all of our default apps now appear alongside AppCenter Dashboard apps instead of in the “Uncurated” section.

Free Software/Open Source

  • ReactOS 0.4.6 Is On The Way With Many Fixes, More UEFI Prepping

    ReactOS 0.4.6 has more work towards UEFI booting support, memory management improvements, various Win32 subsystem improvements, an NFS driver, a lot of USB work, various DLL fixes, and more.

  • AT&T Open Sources Telco Software, Widens Workforce Culture

    Stalwart of American industrial branding AT&T has embraced open source. Well, who hasn’t? The multinational telecommunications conglomerate has moved to open source its ECOMP (Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy) technology.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Azul Systems Collaborates with Qualcomm to Bring Enterprise-Grade Open Source Java on ARM to Datacenters

      Azul Systems, Inc., in collaboration with Qualcomm Datacenter Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, today announced the general availability of new versions of Zulu Enterprise and Zulu Embedded, a complete open source development and runtime platform for server-side Java applications, for the Qualcomm Centriq™ 2400 Server Processor. The new version of Zulu supports Java 8 and the ARM®v8-A architecture.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD/UNIX

    • Trying OpenIndiana Hipster On The Core i9 7900X

      Following the Linux and BSD multi-threaded tests on the Intel Core i9 7900X, I next decided to try this system with the Solaris-based OpenIndiana. Sadly, it didn’t end well.

      With various BSDs working fine on the Core i9 7900X box paired with the NVMe storage, MSI X299 SLI PLUS motherboard, etc, I figured OpenIndiana would play fine. Sadly, I was wrong.

    • Bitrig: The Short-Lived OpenBSD Fork

      Bitrig, the operating system that forked OpenBSD back in 2012, is no longer being developed.

      Bitrig saw its initial release in 2014 but it’s been relatively quiet since. In fact, pretty much forgotten on my end until seeing an LLVM commit this week mentioning Bitrig is dead and has been merged back into OpenBSD.

      Further showing the project is no more is the GitHub project area showing no more work since 2016.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • How open courses are slashing the cost of higher education

        As Michael said at Saylor’s recent education summit, to meet the world’s growing need for learning, “the cost per education unit delivered has to go way down, the capacity’s got to go way up. To do that, you need a machine to manufacture education. The world doesn’t need 100,000 algebra teachers; [we need] one really, really good algebra teacher [whose teaching can be] automated and manifested in software that delivers an algebra education to the next 10 billion people.”

        We offer nearly 100 free courses, and 100% of the courses we develop are openly licensed under a CC BY license. We also deliver our courses using the Moodle open source learning platform and have made our own updates and customizations to Moodle openly available.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Efabless launches open-source hardware design portal

        Efabless Corp. (San Jose, Calif.) has opened a website called Chiplicity that offers an online design framework for the design, verification, prototyping and prototyping of mixed-signal ASICs.

        Chiplicity supports community-developed intellectual property cores (IP cores) and ICs and allows community members to create, share, make derivatives of and commercialize their mixed-signal ICs. Chiplicity includes all the tools needed for a full design cycle from idea to completed manufacturable GDSII files. Community members can manufacture their designs as prototypes through Efabless on shuttles at German foundry X-Fab.

      • FlyPi: an open source 3D printed microscope that can be made for €100

        Those of us who were fortunate enough to attend well funded schools might take for granted that laboratory equipment, such as microscopes, are actually quite expensive. This, of course, means that most schools around the globe do not have access to scientific equipment which can be used to teach, train, and research.

      • Better Call Saul needed 3D printing and an Arduino to arm Mike Ehrmantraut
  • Programming/Development

    • Web Development Trends 2017

      JavaScript has been rising since 2016 and its rapid growth allows developers to work on chatbots, virtual reality and many other trending things.

      The language grammar and efficiency of writing the apps were improved and overall, JS is now the most popular language among full stack developers.

      Check out our article about most popular JavaScript projects on GitHub.

    • A quick guide to types in functional programming

      Functional programming is taking off, but there appears to be some misunderstanding about the theoretical background of its types. Many programmers incorrectly name types and create confusion around simple ideas. To clarify, let’s look at the differences between union, tagged unions, and algebraic data types.

    • Grasp Prolog Programming with Free Books

      Prolog is a general purpose, declarative, logic programming language, often associated with artificial intelligence, computational linguistics, intelligent database retrieval, and problem solving. It’s widely used in research and education for natural language processing.

      Automatic backtracking is one of the most characteristic features of Prolog. It’s a form of searching, fundamental to all artificial intelligence techniques. Prolog also supports multi-directional reasoning; arguments to a procedure can freely be designated inputs and outputs in different ways in different procedure calls. This is a powerful theorem-proving technique. Another key feature of Prolog is that its syntax and semantics are closer to formal logic than say Lisp.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • OpenGL 4.6 Released With Vulkan/SPIR-V Ingestion, Parallel Shader Compiles & Finally AF

      As we have been anticipating for weeks/months, a new formal update to OpenGL has been in the works and it’s officially out today. Meet OpenGL 4.6! This is a pretty significant update and internally they had the debate whether to call it OpenGL 5.0, but here we are with OpenGL 4.6 that features Vulkan/SPIR-V extensions and more. The good news is the open-source Mesa drivers aren’t too far out from OpenGL 4.6 support, at least RadeonSI and Intel.

Leftovers

  • Central Park Five Case, Explained
  • Science

    • When a 200,000-Year-Old Culture Encountered the Modern Economy
    • History shows that stacking federal science advisory committees doesn’t work

      Scientists are busy people, but every year thousands donate many hours of their time without payment to advise Congress and federal government agencies. They provide input on all kinds of issues, from antibiotic resistance to mapping the world’s oceans in three dimensions.

      The Trump administration has raised alarms by signaling that it is determined to replace scientific advisers who are not in line with its political philosophy. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is replacing most of the members of EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors and, very likely, its Science Advisory Board. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has suspended the activities of numerous advisory panels, including many scientific committees, pending review of their purpose and composition.

      Will Trump Cabinet members really be able to shift the scientific advice on which their agencies rely? And how should scientists respond?

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Professionals who exposed Flint water crisis win first MIT ‘Disobedience’ award

      Marc Edwards, an engineering professor at Virginia Tech whose tests of Flint water showed dangerous amounts of lead, and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician whose research revealed that children in Flint had high levels of lead in their blood, will share a $250,000 prize.

    • State Police: Non-Residents Taking Free Bottled Water Meant For Flint

      Capt. Chris Kelenske says it might be time to require identification at the nine distribution sites in Flint. He says he has a “lot of anecdotal evidence” that non-residents are taking water following the struggling city’s water crisis.

    • Snyder aide: Flint water delay costs $600K a month

      A top aide to Gov. Rick Snyder told Flint and Genesee County officials Friday that the city council’s indecision on a long-term water source costs more than a half million dollars each month and risks “significant” water rate increases next year if something isn’t done soon.

    • Councilman asks why Flint water crisis whistleblower is still off the job

      The former operator of Flint’s water treatment plant remains on administrative leave without pay, and a city councilman wants to know why.

    • Cass County sheriff says intense North Dakota pipeline protests haunted his dreams nightly

      Paul Laney’s phone rang on a Saturday while he was relaxing as he watched televised coverage of the summer Olympics. Little did the Cass County sheriff know that his professional life was about to be upended.

      The call was from a fellow sheriff asking for help in dealing with the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline in Morton County, just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

      After he arrived two days later, Laney would spend the next 4½ months confronting a massive influx of protesters trying to halt the $3.8 billion crude oil pipeline from crossing Lake Oahe on the Missouri River just upstream from the reservation.

      Laney expected the altercation would last, at most, two weeks and he and his deputies would soon be back home. Instead, the pipeline’s contested river crossing would draw waves of protesters from around the nation, including hundreds of tribes, attracting worldwide attention.

    • Pipeline under consideration: Largest since DAPL
    • DAPL cases dropped by state in record numbers

      Officially, 761 people were arrested during the months-long opposition to the 1,172-mile Dakota Access Pipeline, and already 114 cases have been dismissed by the state. Eleven people received guilty verdicts; 50 pled guilty – primarily on lesser charges, and three have been acquitted.

      [...]

      Another reason the state is dropping cases en masse is because of evidence the camps were infiltrated by TigerSwan operatives, who were on a mission to “find, fix, and eliminate” pipeline opposition, according to Nastacio’s lawyers.

    • Trump Denies Declaring Disaster In N.D. Following DAPL Protests

      The Trump administration rejected North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum’s request for a “major disaster declaration” to help cover some of the estimated $38 million cost to police protests of the Dakota Access pipeline, a spokesman for the Republican governor said Thursday.

    • More oil coming for Dakota Access pipeline

      American Midstream Partners, LP, has been seeking additional oil to transport in its Bakken Pipeline system, which is to connect to Dakota Access in McKenzie County near Watford City. The open season began June 26 and will end July 17.

    • In Victory for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Court Finds that Approval of Dakota Access Pipeline Violated the Law

      A federal judge ruled that the federal permits authorizing the pipeline to cross the Missouri River just upstream of the Standing Rock reservation, which were hastily issued by the Trump administration just days after the inauguration, violated the law in certain critical respects.

  • Security

    • Hackers accidentally create network busting malware

      The malware is a variant of the Mirai botnet. Mirai infected internet-connected security cameras and coordinated them to repeatedly access the same server at the same time. The traffic would overwhelm the targeted server with requests and knock it offline. That type of attack is known as a distributed denial of service (DDoS).

    • Mirai Goes Open-Source and Morphs into Persirai [Ed: Sure, sure... make it sound like an "open source" issue...]

      The Mirai malware has become notorious for recruiting Internet of Things devices to form botnets that have launched some of the largest distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks recorded to date. Mirai came onto the scene in late 2016 as the malware behind very large DDoS attacks, including a 650 Mbps attack on the Krebs on Security site. It’s also purported to have been the basis of the attack in October 2016 that brought down sites including Twitter, Netflix, Airbnb and many others. Since then, Mirai has morphed into an even more aggressive and effective botnet tool.

      When the research team at Imperva accessed the Incapsula logs after the Krebs attacks last fall, they found that, indeed, the Mirai botnet had been active well before the notorious September attack. Imperva discovered a botnet of nearly 50,000 Mirai-infected devices spread throughout 164 countries, with the top-infected countries identified as Vietnam, Brazil and the United States. But even before Mirai became public, the Imperva team saw vulnerable IoT devices as a problem in the making.

    • Microsoft refuses to fix 20-year-old SMB zero-day

      A 20-year-old flaw in the server message block protocol used in Windows has been uncovered by two researchers who presented the details of their finding at last week’s DEFCON security conference in Las Vegas.

    • Swedish Cabinet reshuffled in wake of IT security row

      IT scandal turns into political crisis for Swedish government following outsourcing of Swedish Transport Agency contract

      It’s not often that an IT security breach leads to the departure of two government ministers. But that is just what has happened in Sweden in the aftermath of a series of disclosures about a data breach and an outsourced IT contract.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Why not a Commission to probe the Genocide in Kashmir during 1989-90?

      Very unfortunately, the Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a PIL filed by an NGO seeking an order to investigate and prosecute various people for a clutch of offences including the massacre of over 700 Kashmiri Pandits between 1989 and 1990, saying it was too late.

    • How ISIS pushed me to make a video claiming responsibility for a terrorist attack
    • Hamburg attacker who killed one and injured six is ‘known Islamist’ with psychological problems
    • From ‘never aggressive’ asylum seeker to Hamburg knife attacker

      But in recent weeks, he “had a crisis, he bought Islamist clothes and read the Koran very loudly in his room,” added the 31-year-old Syrian refugee.

    • Survivors of 9/11 attack urge Theresa May to release Saudi Arabia terror report she suppressed

      Survivors of the 9/11 attacks have written to Prime Minister Theresa May – urging her to make public a British government report into the extent of Saudi Arabia’s funding of Islamist extremism in the UK.

    • To the Government, Saudi Arabia is ‘The Kingdom Whose Name We Dare Not Speak At All’

      Theresa May’s attitude towards Saudi Arabia is to ignore the issues and claim – no matter how vague and illogical – that it’s to protect ‘national security’

    • Kushner and Bannon Team Up to Privatize the War in Afghanistan

      At the meeting (which neither Prince and Feinberg would confirm), they urged the Pentagon to turn the war over to what they call “private military units” who would fight for profit as an alternative to the Pentagon’s recent proposal to send thousands more US military troops to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban.

    • Trump Aides Recruited Businessmen to Devise Options for Afghanistan

      Erik D. Prince, a founder of the private security firm Blackwater Worldwide, and Stephen A. Feinberg, a billionaire financier who owns the giant military contractor DynCorp International, have developed proposals to rely on contractors instead of American troops in Afghanistan at the behest of Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, and Jared Kushner, his senior adviser and son-in-law, according to people briefed on the conversations.

    • Afghan Fashion Magazine ‘Gellara’ Dares to Challenge the Culture’s Traditional Dress
    • Trump Intel Chief: North Korea Learned From Libya War to “Never” Give Up Nukes

      The media is now filled with headlines about North Korea’s missile test on Friday, which demonstrated that its ICBMs may be able to reach the continental U.S. What isn’t mentioned in any of these stories is how we got to this point — in particular, what Dan Coats, President Donald Trump’s Director of National Security, explained last week at the Aspen Security Forum.

      North Korea’s 33-year-old dictator Kim Jong-un is not crazy, said Coats. In fact, he has “some rationale backing his actions” regarding the country’s nuclear weapons. That rationale is the way the U.S. has demonstrated that North Korea must keep them to ensure “survival for his regime, survival for his country.”

      Kim, according to Coats, “has watched, I think, what has happened around the world relative to nations that possess nuclear capabilities and the leverage they have and seen that having the nuclear card in your pocket results in a lot of deterrence capability.” In particular, “The lessons that we learned out of Libya giving up its nukes … is, unfortunately: If you had nukes, never give them up. If you don’t have them, get them.”

    • McCain’s Brain Cancer Draws Renewed Attention to Possible Agent Orange Connection

      When Amy Jones’ dad, Paul, was diagnosed with glioblastoma last month, she wondered whether it might be tied to his time in Vietnam.

      Then, last week, when Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., also a Vietnam veteran, was diagnosed with the same aggressive brain cancer, Jones searched online for glioblastoma and Vietnam vets.

      She soon learned the disease is one of a growing list of ailments that some Vietnam veterans and their relatives believe is caused by exposure to Agent Orange, the toxic herbicide sprayed during the war.

      “Honestly, it’s not easy to even admit that this is happening, let alone to even talk about it,” said Jones, whose 68-year-old father has had surgery to remove a brain tumor and now is receiving radiation treatments. “It’s only been six weeks. It’s such a devastating diagnosis.”

    • New Film Shows the Brutality of Duterte’s Murderous Drug War in the Philippines

      President Donald Trump attracted bipartisan criticism in April for enthusiastically endorsing one of the world’s most brazen human rights catastrophes: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s murderous anti-drug campaign. Since Duterte took office last June, police and vigilante death squads have killed more than 7,000 people, and devastated poor in communities in cities across the country.

      Now, a new film shows the human toll of Duterte’s campaign. “Duterte’s Hell,” by Aaron Goodman and Luis Liwanag and produced with the documentary unit Field of Vision, shows graphic images of Philippine police examining and carting off dead bodies, and grieving communities struggling to cope with the government-sanctioned murders.

      In 2016, Duterte campaigned on a policy of mass extermination for anyone involved in the drug trade — not only drug traffickers, but addicts as well. “Hitler massacred three million Jews,” Duterte said in September. “Now there is three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”

      In April, Trump stunned observers of the crisis by placing what his aides described as a “very friendly” call to Duterte, inviting the Philipine president to the White House. Weeks later, The Intercept, in partnership with the Philipine news site Rappler, obtained and published a transcript of that call, showing that Trump heaping praise on the drug campaign. “I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem,” he told Duterte.

    • Collateral Damage: U.S. Sanctions Aimed at Russia Strike Western European Allies

      Do they know what they are doing? When the U.S. Congress adopts draconian sanctions aimed mainly at disempowering President Trump and ruling out any move to improve relations with Russia, do they realize that the measures amount to a declaration of economic war against their dear European “friends”?

      Whether they know or not, they obviously don’t care. U.S. politicians view the rest of the world as America’s hinterland, to be exploited, abused and ignored with impunity.

      The Bill H.R. 3364 “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” was adopted on July 25 by all but three members of the House of Representatives. An earlier version was adopted by all but two Senators. Final passage at veto-overturning proportions is a certainty.

      This congressional temper tantrum flails in all directions. The main casualties are likely to be America’s dear beloved European allies, notably Germany and France. Who also sometimes happen to be competitors, but such crass considerations don’t matter in the sacred halls of the U.S. Congress, totally devoted to upholding universal morality.

    • How Obama Fell into the Syrian Trap

      Last week, a Trump administration official decided to inform the news media that the CIA program to arm and train anti-Assad Syrian forces had been terminated. It was welcome news amid a deepening U.S. military commitment reflecting the intention to remain in the country for years to come.

    • We Need a Broad-Based Movement to Stop Killing at Home and Across the Globe

      The $600 billion annual cost of the US military budget eats up 54% of all federal discretionary funds. It’s no wonder we don’t have money to address the crisis of global warming, build effective public transportation systems, institute a Medicare-for-All health system, or provide the free college education that all our youth deserve.

      You would think it would be easy to form a united front with activists from different movements who want to redirect our tax dollars. Students fighting for free education should understand that stopping just one weapons system, the expensive and unnecessary Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets, would fund the education of all college students for the next two decades. Nurses fighting for universal health care should understand that if we cut the bloated military budget, we’d have plenty of money for a national health care system like the Europeans have. Environmentalists paddling their kayaks to block oil-digging ships should understand that if we dramatically cut our military spending, we’d have hundreds of billions of dollars to propel us into the era of green, sustainable energy. Unions should recognize that the military is one of the worst creators of jobs in relation to money spent.

    • Kaboom! Russian Drone With Thermite Grenade Blows Up a Billion Dollars of Ukrainian Ammo

      A drone carrying a grenade infiltrated an ammunition dump in Ukraine, setting off an explosion that caused an astounding billion dollars worth of damage. The incident points to the growing use of drones in wartime, particularly off the shelf civilian products harnessed to conduct sabotage and other attacks.

    • For Pakistan, a grim reminder from Sri Lanka: China gives loan, then grabs land

      Experts have warned CPEC is China’s colonial ploy to create a permanent foothold in Pakistan. A good illustration is the deal Sri Lanka has signed with China today.

    • Police use plastic barrier to foil possible terror attack

      The man, who was walking through Melilla, Spain’s border crossing to Morocco, continually shouted the phrase and managed to wound one agent, who received a cut to his finger.

    • High Court blocks bid to prosecute Tony Blair over Iraq War

      The High Court has blocked a bid by a former chief of staff of the Iraqi army to bring a private prosecution against Tony Blair over the Iraq War.

      General Abdul Wahed Shannan Al Rabbat has accused Mr Blair of committing a “crime of aggression” by invading Iraq in 2003 to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

      Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the Lord Chief Justice, and Mr Justice Ouseley dismissed the general’s application, saying there was “no prospect” of the case succeeding.

    • Media Mourn End of CIA Killing Syrians and Strengthening Al Qaeda

      The US government has finally announced an end to its years-long program to arm and train Syrian rebels. The initiative, one of the CIA’s largest covert operations, with billions of dollars of funding, fueled mass killing in Syria and significantly prolonged the country’s horrific war. Widely respected experts have also acknowledged that it greatly strengthened murderous extremist groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda.

      If one only read corporate media reporting, however, you would likely think that the termination of the CIA program was an abject tragedy. Spin doctors at major news outlets depicted the Trump administration’s decision as variously a spineless concession to the evil Russian puppet master and/or a wretched abandonment of a supposedly noble US commitment to “freedom and democracy.”

    • Donald the Destroyer: Assessing the Trump Effect

      So, we’ve officially gone from The West Wing to Animal House. To the regret of Democrats and liberals, Donald Trump cuts a presidential image far removed from the Sorkinite Aristotelian Quaalude (h/t Emmet Penney) of a Jed Bartlett in the Oval Office. To the chagrin of Republicans and corporate conservatives, his demeanor increasingly resembles the adolescent antics of a Bluto punching it out ringside at the WWF. Politicians and commentators from both sides of the narrow aisle are all shocked and saddened at the ongoing insult to American “presidentialness.”

      In a recent irruption of his self-sabotaging panglossia, Trump has given a bizarre interview to the New York Times in which, among other gems: 1) He warned the Special Counsel to stay away from his businesses. 2) He stated that health insurance costs $12 a year. 3) He taught his interviewers that the head of the FBI does not report to the Attorney General. And 4) In a series of blurts that I find particularly bizarre and telling, he repeatedly emphasized that French President Emmanuel Macron is a “strong” guy who “loves holding my hand… people don’t realize he loves holding my hand…He’s a very good person. And a tough guy…but he does love holding my hand.” As the man with the cigar might say, textbook symptomatic utterance. (It’s such a feeling…I can’t hide. I can’t hide. I can’t hide.)

    • Even Fake Law Enforcement Agencies Can Get Weapons of War for ‘Policing’

      The GAO was able to acquire $1.2 million in weapons from the Pentagon posing as a fake law enforcement agency.

      It appears all law enforcement — even a “fictitious federal agency” — can get federally supplied weapons of war, with quite literally, no questions asked.

      We learned this a few days ago when the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a troubling assessment of the Department of Defense 1033 program. The 1033 program gives federal, state, and local law enforcement surplus military weapons and equipment for use in routine policing. The 1033 program is the poster-child of federal programs responsible for the militarization of U.S. police.

      GAO indicated that the Defense Department does not verify the identification of individuals picking up military weapons through 1033. And GAO found that the Pentagon does not verify the quantity of military weapons transferred through 1033. GAO said Defense “lacks reasonable assurance that it has the ability to prevent, detect, and respond to potential fraud and minimize associated security risks.”

      And just how did GAO reach this conclusion? GAO posed as a fake federal law enforcement agency and secured military weapons through 1033. They sought $1.2 million worth of rifles, pipe bomb equipment, and night vision googles. And they got them. “It was like getting stuff off of eBay,” according to GAO staff.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • An Interview with WikiLeaks’ Assange

      Julian Assange: Interestingly, we didn’t intend to specifically publish Kent State documents. It was part of our large archive of cable documents from the 1970s called “The Kissinger Cables.” Often when you take the internal communications of the State Department or another powerful organization, it tends to touch on nearly everything. And the public’s ability to spot relevant connections in your material often greatly outstrips your own.

      I am always extremely irritated with journalists who sit upon hordes of historical treasure detailing how our institutions actually behave. The public’s ability to take this information and connect it to their own personal histories, using it in litigation and political campaigns, is actually much greater than the rather narrow character of any particular journalist or editor, including myself.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • The hidden extra costs of living with a disability

      Disability is often incorrectly assumed to be rare. However, global estimates suggest than one in seven adults has some form of disability.

      The term “disability” covers a number of functional limitations – physical, sensory, mental and intellectual. These can range from mild to severe and might affect someone at any time across the lifespan, from an infant born with an intellectual impairment to an older adult who becomes unable to walk or see.

    • Huge rise in average income inequality between south-east England and rest of the UK, study finds

      The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) also identified weak earnings growth – with employment income in 2015-16 lower than its pre-recession levels – as “the primary reason for the malaise in living standards” in the UK.

    • Now we find out the real cost of austerity – our lives cut short
    • Being American almost an embarrassment: JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon

      “We have become one of the most bureaucratic, confusing litigious societies,” he said. “It would be much stronger growth had we made intelligent decisions to end that gridlock.”

    • The great Brexit brain drain

      A large question mark hangs over Britain’s university sector. Academics, researchers and students from the European Union who have chosen to make their careers in the United Kingdom say they feel unsure about their future in the wake of last year’s Brexit vote: should they remain at some of the world’s leading educational institutions or move abroad to centers that may not enjoy the same recognition, but whose governments are more welcoming.

      Meanwhile, these institutions, which contribute a respectable 2.8% to the UK’s GDP, have been joining forces to pressure Downing Street in the hope of reducing the impact of divorce with the EU as much as possible. But the consequences will be felt: the number of people applying to UK universities from abroad has already fallen, while 47% of EU citizens resident in Britain are considering leaving, according to a recent survey by Deloitte LLP.

    • Brexit, Dunkirk and a Britain where the past shapes the future

      The European project was the future – progress, and liberation from old-fashioned British ways, from incompetent management (the same class who had proven their uselessness at Dunkirk), from sectional trade union leaders and shop stewards. Europe would save us from ourselves.

      Behr says that this national mood produced a certain pathology: a ‘demoralised entry… tangled up with subconscious feelings of shame.’ Brexit isn’t a calm, reflective, cost-benefit vote for change and self-government, but ‘self-harm, born of a neurotic urge to expiate on imaginary guilt; the sin of having been obliged to join the enterprise in the first place.’

      This seems without getting too Freudian in our metaphors an acute reading, and with all this hurt, suppressed emotions and open wounds about, it certainly makes it much less likely Brexit will work out well, and much more likely it will be an almighty and painful mess.

    • World’s Richest Person Escapes Scrutiny From His Own Paper—and Its Rivals

      The three most prominent US newspapers haven’t run a critical investigative piece on Jeff Bezos’ company Amazon in almost two years, a FAIR survey finds.

      A review of 190 articles from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Bezos-owned Washington Post over the past year paints a picture of almost uniformly uncritical–ofttimes boosterish–coverage. None of the articles were investigative exposes, 6 percent leaned negative, 54 percent were straight reporting or neutral in tone, and 40 percent were positive, mostly with a fawning or even press release–like tone.

    • Brexit border chaos will cause huge delays and cost £1bn a year, says report
    • Being rich wrecks your soul. We used to know that.

      With a billionaire real estate tycoon occupying America’s highest office, the effects of riches upon the soul are a reasonable concern for all of us little guys. After all, one incredibly wealthy soul currently holds our country in his hands. According to an apocryphal exchange between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, the only difference between the rich and the rest of us is that they have more money. But is that the only difference?

    • Chicagoans say ‘Yes In My Backyard’ to affordable housing

      Andrea Mitchell knows a dog whistle when she hears one. In the ongoing struggle against housing segregation, they come in the form of chants of “No Section 8.” The fear of a voucher holder’s “miscreant cousin, nephew, brother, son” doing damage in the community. Calls for the children of low-income housing applicants to be screened for criminal records, to rapt applause.

      For Mitchell, a homeowner in the almost-suburban, majority-white Jefferson Park neighborhood in Chicago, those dog whistles were heard in early February at a neighborhood meeting regarding the proposed construction of a low-income housing development at 5150 N. Northwest Highway, and she decided she had to do something about it.

      “I just didn’t want the rest of the city to see that and think that’s what my neighborhood is like,” Mitchell said. “I thought to myself, there should be another voice — we’re homeowners, too.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Liberals, cut your cable cords

      Liberals keep Rupert Murdoch rich by paying their bundled cable bills. Every month, local cable providers remit a portion of their bill to Fox News, a portion to MSNBC, and a portion to each of the other channels in any package. How much time is spent viewing any particular channel is meaningless. Thanks to cable industry practice, every channel gets paid no matter whether it’s viewed or not. And, according to Variety, Fox News makes $1.55 per subscriber while MSNBC makes only 26 cents.

    • Secret donations are helping to boost President Trump’s agenda, fights with investigators

      Groups spending millions in anonymous donations are leading the outside efforts to either defend President Trump or sell his agenda with voters and Congress, despite the president’s repeated calls to “drain the swamp” in Washington of special-interest money.

    • Can Trump Find the ‘Great’ Path?

      But do I think any of this will happen? Not really. Far more likely, the Trump presidency will remain mired in its “reality-TV” squabbles with the sort of coarse language that would normally be bleeped out of network TV; the Democrats will continue substituting the Russia-gate blame-game for any serious soul-searching; the Republicans will press on with more tax cuts for the rich; and the Great American Experiment with Democracy will continue to flounder into chaos.

    • GOP Operative Calls Trump’s White House a ‘Snake Pit’

      Following a tumultuous week in which newly appointed White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci attacked President Donald Trump’s inner circle — which led to White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus being ousted — GOP operatives are fearful that the chaos will never end.

      One longtime GOP operative surveying the past week’s damage put it succinctly: “The White House is a snake pit.”

      According to The Hill, Mac Stipanovich, a veteran GOP operative in Florida with ties to the Bush family, noted Jeb Bush’s comment during last year’s presidential primary that Trump would be “the chaos president.”

      “I think that is absolutely the case. It’s not even a matter of interpretation,” Stipanovich told The Hill. “We don’t have any effective government, we don’t have any effective leadership and the White House is a snake-pit.”

    • When Reality Exceeds Satire

      The whole Washington scene resembles an adult version of a zombie apocalypse.

    • Forget Breitbart: The White House Has a New Favorite Right-Wing Media Outlet

      Fox News has such an influence on Donald Trump that US journalists now react to the president’s proclamations on Twitter by searching for the Fox and Friends segment that inspired them.

      This intimate feedback loop between the Fox morning show and the president has made it “the most powerful TV show in America”, in the words of a New York Times critic. For Rupert Murdoch, a ruthless player in conservative politics across continents, such influence is striking. But it’s not new.

    • Lessons from JFK in a time of Trump

      In the last week of July, 54 years ago, President John F. Kennedy initialed the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with his counterpart, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. Kennedy spoke to the nation in a remarkable address, which reminds us of his gifts of vision and eloquence; of the obligation and wisdom to pursue peace even in the most unlikely circumstances; and of the world’s clear and present danger with President Trump, who manifests the opposite of Kennedy’s moral vision and steady hand.

      A little over a half century ago, the world stood at the brink of nuclear war. The United States and Soviet Union came to the edge of conflict on three occasions in less than two years, during 1961 and 1962, in Berlin, Laos, and Cuba. In his speech, Kennedy describes in harrowing terms how thermonuclear war could end the human race or (as Khrushchev had put it) leave the survivors envying the dead.

    • Canada: Flexing Military Might is Capitulation to Trump, Despite Liberal Spin

      Even after The Economist magazine ran an article headlined “Tony Blair is not a poodle,” the British prime minister was unable to shake the slur of being George W. Bush’s loyal lapdog for supporting his invasion of Iraq.

      So there must be a huge sigh of relief inside our own Prime Minister’s Office these days, now that fears seem to have passed that Justin Trudeau could end up similarly branded a poodle — with the leash held by the current U.S. president.

      Certainly, the Trudeau government’s announcement last month that it would dramatically increase Canada’s military spending — as Donald Trump has loudly demanded — was risky, given the distaste Canadians have for big military budgets and for prime ministers who cave in to U.S. presidents.

    • ‘The President Is a Pyromaniac’: The Week Trump Set (Metaphorical) Fire to the White House

      Donald Trump began the week by turning a national scout jamboree into something resembling a youth rally. He ended it in front of more massed ranks in uniform, telling police officers “please don’t be too nice” to suspects they arrest in what sounded to many like an endorsement of police brutality.And then, amid a blizzard of stories about White House infighting, chief of staff Reince Priebus resigned, becoming the shortest-serving occupant of the post in history. Though he seemed blithely unaware of it, it was a fitting finale to the worst week of Trump’s short political career.

    • Trump v. Sessions: Who Do You Root For? The Truth

      I never thought we’d all live this long. My assumption after November was that Donald Trump would have figured out a way by now to blow the mantle off the planet and scatter our collective component elements into the farthest reaches of space. As we are somehow still here, let’s take a moment to enjoy the ridiculous steel cage match unfolding between Trump and his attorney general, Jeff Sessions. There is so much wrong baked into this situation, so much error and ego and straight-up birdbrained ignorance, that we’re left with a simple question.

    • The Past 5 GOP Presidents Have Used Fraud and Treason to Steer Themselves to Electoral Victory

      People are wondering out loud about the parallels between today’s Republican Party and organized crime, and whether “Teflon Don” Trump will remain unscathed through his many scandals, ranging from interactions with foreign oligarchs to killing tens of thousands of Americans by denying them healthcare to stepping up the destruction of our environment and public lands.

      History suggests – even if treason can be demonstrated – that, as long as he holds onto the Republican Party (and Fox News), he’ll survive it intact. And he won’t be the first Republican president to commit high crimes to get and stay in office.

      In fact, Eisenhower was the last legitimately elected Republican president we’ve had in this country.

    • Border Agency Set to Jumpstart Trump’s Wall in a Texas Wildlife Refuge

      U.S. Customs and Border Protection will begin constructing the first segment of President Trump’s border wall in November through a national wildlife refuge, using money it’s already received from Congress.

      That’s what a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official recently told a nonprofit group that raises money to support two national wildlife refuges in South Texas, according to the group’s vice president.

      “I was alarmed,” said Jim Chapman of Friends of the Wildlife Corridor. “It was not good news.”

      For the past six months, CBP has been quietly preparing a site to build a nearly 3-mile border barrier through the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, according to The Texas Observer. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also has reportedly begun drilling and soil testing in California and New Mexico.

    • The Dance of Death

      The ruling corporate elites no longer seek to build. They seek to destroy. They are agents of death. They crave the unimpeded power to cannibalize the country and pollute and degrade the ecosystem to feed an insatiable lust for wealth, power and hedonism. Wars and military “virtues” are celebrated. Intelligence, empathy and the common good are banished. Culture is degraded to patriotic kitsch. Education is designed only to instill technical proficiency to serve the poisonous engine of corporate capitalism. Historical amnesia shuts us off from the past, the present and the future. Those branded as unproductive or redundant are discarded and left to struggle in poverty or locked away in cages. State repression is indiscriminate and brutal. And, presiding over the tawdry Grand Guignol is a deranged ringmaster tweeting absurdities from the White House.

      The graveyard of world empires—Sumerian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Mayan, Khmer, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian—followed the same trajectory of moral and physical collapse. Those who rule at the end of empire are psychopaths, imbeciles, narcissists and deviants, the equivalents of the depraved Roman emperors Caligula, Nero, Tiberius and Commodus. The ecosystem that sustains the empire is degraded and exhausted. Economic growth, concentrated in the hands of corrupt elites, is dependent on a crippling debt peonage imposed on the population. The bloated ruling class of oligarchs, priests, courtiers, mandarins, eunuchs, professional warriors, financial speculators and corporate managers sucks the marrow out of society.

    • The real clash of civilisations

      Six months into the Presidency of Donald J. Trump, two speeches can serve as bookends to aid our understanding of what has been a tumultuous and deeply worrying time—his Inaugural address and his speech in Poland on July 6 2017. What stand out from these two speeches are the images of “American carnage” from his opening statement to the nation, and the ominous warning he issued in Warsaw of a ‘clash of civilisations’—along with the corresponding need to act decisively to save ‘Western values.’

      “The fundamental question of our time,” Trump warned in Poland, “is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost?” Although the spectre of communism no longer haunts Europe, he continued, another existential threat has emerged. “We are confronted by another oppressive ideology—one that seeks to export terrorism and extremism all around the globe.”

      Poland is a fitting setting in which to speak about the dangers of a ‘clash of civilisations,’ since no other country has experienced the horrors of human cruelty so brutally. The country was targeted by Hitler for mass annihilation, with only a remnant of its people to be preserved to act as slave labour for the Third Reich. It was occupied by the Soviet Union and brutally cleansed in waves of executions to remove those whom Stalin deemed a threat to ‘Soviet values.’ And it was chosen by Hitler as the site of the largest factories of mass murder in history: Chelmo, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Majdenek and Auschwitz.

    • Hacked Emails Show UAE Building Close Relationship With D.C. Think Tanks That Push Its Agenda

      The United Arab Emirates has one of the most repressive governments in the world. The Gulf dictatorship brutally cracks down on internal dissent and enables abusive conditions for its massive migrant labor force. It also plays a key role in the bloody war in Yemen, running a network of torture prisons in the “liberated” parts of the country.

      That makes it all the more shocking that the UAE is so rarely criticized by leading U.S. think tanks, who not only ignore the Gulf dictatorship’s repression, but give a privileged platform to its ambassador, Yousef Al-Otaiba. Otaiba is a deeply influential voice in U.S. foreign policy circles, and is known in Washington for using his pocketbook to recruit allies.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Malaysia accused of bowing to Islamists with book ban

      The ban comes at a time when questions are raised over the reach of Malaysia’s Islamic authorities and its impact on government bureaucracy, and whether the voices of moderate Muslims are being cast aside and replaced by those with deeply conservative views.

    • International Conference on Freedom of Conscience and Expression in the 21st Century

      The two-day conference will highlight the voices of people on the frontlines of resistance — many of them persecuted and exiled – as well as address challenges faced by activists and freethinkers, elaborate on the links between democratic politics and free expression and conscience, promote secular and rights-based alternatives, and establish priorities for collective action. Art and culture will be integral to the event as will lively debate with the dauntless use of the free word.

    • ‘World’s most famous atheist’ booted from Berkeley because of his ‘hurtful speech’ on Islam

      Richard Dawkins’ biggest critics used to be conservative Christians. Now they’re Berkeley progressives who defend anything and everything Islamic.

    • Richard Dawkins Event in Berkeley Canceled Due To His “Abusive,” “Hurtful” Words

      The world’s most famous atheist criticized Islam and upset people… so he can’t give a talk about science? It’s a ridiculous reason that gets even more absurd when you consider the source.

    • Let’s put the ‘mattress girl’ case to bed

      Many are saying that with the settlement of the lawsuit, justice has been done. But in fact, this case highlights the sorry state of justice in these campus cases. On the one hand, you have a young woman who accuses another student of a serious crime and who feels the only way she can achieve a resolution is by harassing him through artwork. On the other is a student who has been exonerated of said serious crime, and who rightly expects to be able to move on with his life. Whatever actually happened on the night, the use of this case to make broad statements about the justice system has made it harder for either side to achieve anything resembling justice.

    • Apple removes VPN apps used to evade China’s internet censorship
    • Apple removes apps used to bypass Chinese censors
    • Apple removes apps from China store that help evade censorship
    • Apple bows to Chinese laws again, removes VPN apps

      Apple has confirmed that it removed a number of VPN apps from the mainland China version of its App Store because they contravene a recent law issued by China that bans the use of private VPNs.

    • Federal Court: Public Officials Cannot Block Social Media Users Because of Their Criticism

      That question has hung over the White House ever since Donald Trump assumed the presidency and continued to block users on Twitter. The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University has sued the president on behalf of blocked users, spurring a lively academic debate on the topic. But Trump isn’t the only politician who has blocked people on social media. This week, a federal court weighed in on the question in a case with obvious parallels to Trump’s. It determined that the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause does indeed prohibit officeholders from blocking social media users on the basis of their views.

    • Pakistani Christian boy, 16, charged with blasphemy for discussing his faith

      A 16-year-old Pakistani Christian boy has been charged with blasphemy for talking with a colleague about his belief in Jesus, the second such incident in a month.

    • Christian teenager in Pakistan arrested for alleged blasphemy

      For Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, the arrest of the Christian boy is a source of sorrow. He lamented that the draconian blasphemy laws were being used as a tool for discrimination and forcible conversion every day while the world stood silent. “This poor boy will now face a most daunting court case and will lose most of his life in prison; moreover, in the current climate a sentence could lead to his death via judicial or extrajudicial process,” Chowdhry said.

    • Pakistan: 16-year-old Christian Boy Arrested For Alleged Blasphemy

      Shahzad Masih, who worked as a sweeper at the Shahmim Riaz hospital in Dinga city in Punjab Province’s Gujrat district, was accused of insulting the prophet Muhammad by a member of Tehreek-e-Tuhafaz, an Islamist extremist party. Since his arrest on July 14, his family has not been able to see him and police have denied holding the boy.

    • Humanists call on Saudi Arabia to release man sentenced to death for atheism

      US-based organizations the American Humanist Association (AHA), the Center for Inquiry (CFI), and the Secular Coalition of America (SCA), along with the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) have petitioned the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s to release Ahmad Al-Shamri, who was sentenced to death earlier this year having been accused of blasphemy and apostasy.

    • Salman Taseer’s granddaughter raises funds to support family of imprisoned Aasia Bibi

      The granddaughter of slain Punjab Governor Salman Taseer is collecting funds for the family of the jailed Aasia Bibi, the woman accused of blasphemy Salman Taseer defended and was murdered over by his own security guard, the infamous Mumtaz Qadri.

    • In China, internet censors are accidentally helping revive an invented “Martian” language

      When Chinese social media users on microblog Weibo came across an almost illegible post earlier this month, many of them would have instantly recognized it as “Martian,” a coded language based on Chinese characters that was very popular many years ago.

      It was a version of a post by a prominent retired sociologist and sex adviser, Li Yinhe, in which she called for the elimination of censorship in China. The original post went viral on Weibo, which is similar to Twitter and has some 340 million monthly active users. More than 60,000 users (link in Chinese) shared the post—unsurprisingly, it was soon deleted.

    • Police censorship: A free press is the lifeblood of Israeli democracy

      No coherent explanation has been given by the police for the way journalists have been treated.

      [...]

      Sinan Abu Maizer, a cameraman with Reuters, suffered a concussion after being beaten by police with a baton near Lions’ Gate a week ago Thursday, according to a complaint addressed to Jerusalem District Police commander Yoram Halevy by the Association for Human Rights. The incident is captured on video.

      In another incident, Faiz Abu Rmeleh, a freelance journalist and a member of the photojournalism group ActiveStills, was arrested Tuesday night while covering clashes at Lions’ Gate. A video seems to contradict police charges that Abu Rmeleh was aggressive. Following Abu Rmeleh’s arrest, the Union of Journalists in Israel published a statement calling on the police to provide clarifications and explanations.

    • Google’s chief search engineer legitimizes new censorship algorithm

      Between April and June, Google completed a major revision of its search engine that sharply curtails public access to Internet web sites that operate independently of the corporate and state-controlled media. Since the implementation of the changes, many left wing, anti-war and progressive web sites have experienced a sharp fall in traffic generated by Google searches. The World Socialist Web Site has seen, within just one month, a 70 percent drop in traffic from Google.

    • NSA whistleblower Snowden: VPN ban makes Russia ‘less safe and less free’
    • Edward Snowden: Russian crackdown on web freedom is ‘violation of human rights’
    • How Threats Against Domain Names Are Used to Censor Content
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • EFF Supports Senate Email and Location Privacy Bill

      EFF applauds Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) for today introducing the ECPA Modernization Act of 2017 to protect user privacy in cloud content and geolocation information. As part of a congressional effort to reform the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Senate bill complements the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 387), which the House passed in February 2017 by voice vote—the second time the House has passed this legislation with overwhelming bipartisan support.

      EFF supports these bills and urges Congress to enact ECPA reform legislation this year.

    • Crossing the U.S. Border? Here’s How to Securely Wipe Your Computer

      Many people crossing the U.S. border are concerned about the amount of power that the government has asserted to search and examine travelers’ possessions, including searching through or copying contents of digital devices, like photos, emails, and browsing history. The frequency of these intrusive practices has been increasing over time.

      Some travelers might choose to delete everything on a particular device or disk to ensure that border agents can’t access its contents, no matter what. Our 2017 guide for travelers addressed this option, but did not give detailed advice on how to do it, because we think most travelers won’t consider it their best option. Before embarking on wiping your computers, please read our guide to understand your legal rights at the U.S. border.

      We don’t recommend disk wiping as a border crossing security measure for most travelers. It’s a less common data protection technique than the other ones highlighted in our guide, which include encryption and minimizing data that you carry. Wiping your computer will make it unusable to you. Also, it may draw the attention of border agents, since it is unusual for travelers to carry blank devices with them. This may be of particular concern to travelers who are not U.S. citizens, who may receive more scrutiny from border agents. Again, you should consider your risks and security needs carefully before deciding how best to secure your data for border crossings as everyone’s individual risk factors and data security needs are different.

      Now that you’ve been sufficiently cautioned, let’s look closely at wiping your computers.

    • Russian censorship law bans proxies and VPNs

      It’s going to be much harder to view the full web in Russia before the year is out. President Putin has signed a law that, as of November 1st, bans technology which lets you access banned websites, including virtual private networks and proxies. Internet providers will have to block websites hosting these tools. The measure is ostensibly meant to curb extremist content, but that’s just pretext — this is really about preventing Russians from seeing content that might be critical of Putin, not to mention communicating in secret.

    • Ex-NSA insider suspected to be link to Shadow Brokers

      The US government is trying to trace the identities behind the group called Shadow Brokers which dumped a number of NSA Windows exploits on the Web in April, some of which were used in the last two global ransomware attacks.

      A report in Cyberscoop said the counter-intelligence investigation had made contact with a number of ex-NSA employees to try and find out how these tools came into the possession of the Shadow Brokers.

    • Palantir: the ‘special ops’ tech giant that wields as much real-world power as Google
  • Civil Rights/Policing

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Throttling on Mobile Networks Is a Sign of Things to Come, Unless We Save Net Neutrality Now

      Major mobile carriers are slowing down video streams, a net neutrality violation that heralds things to come if they get their way and roll back legal protections against data discrimination.

      Recent reports on Reddit from Verizon Wireless customers have drawn attention to video streams being throttled, which Verizon claimed were caused by a temporary test of a new video “optimization” system. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s not the first time a carrier has throttled certain content sources while claiming to optimize them.

      We’ve previously reported on how T-Mobile tried to pass off throttling as optimization with their Binge On “feature.” T-Mobile’s Binge On has evolved since we last wrote about it, but hasn’t abandoned throttling: it now throttles video for customers on their unlimited plan, and charges them extra to not be throttled, which is also against the principles of net neutrality.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • France: 13 million in damages awarded for linking to downloadable copyright works

        In this case, the total amounted to 13 millions euros, and followed a prison sentence of one year awarded by the Paris Criminal Court. (Paris Court of Appeal, Pol 5, Ch 13, 7 June 2017, D.M. v APP, Microsoft, Sacem and others, available in French language here; Paris Criminal Court of First Instance, 2 April 2015 [unreported]).

        This 13-million liability (and prison sentence) fell on the owner and manager of the website “wawa-mania.eu”. Wawa-mania.eu offered a forum platform allowing members to index links redirecting internet users to servers hosting infringing content they could then download. Wawa-mania also offered downloadable circumvention tools to remove anti-piracy locks shielding Windows software from copying.

07.30.17

Microsoft’s (Patent) War on GNU/Linux Continues, But It’s Disguised Using Intermediaries

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 2:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft and trolls

Summary: A look at Microsoft’s latest manoeuvres that implant patent traps in Linux and have patents passed to patent aggressors, which in turn go after original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that distribute GNU/Linux

THE previous post was about companies that choose to use patents for pure aggression (even pro-actively). They typically use terms like “protection” or “defense”, but they are not the defendants. They’re the bullies. Such is the case with Microsoft, which leverages software patents (granted by the USPTO) against companies all around the world. Microsoft typically uses proxies to do the litigation (for fear it might otherwise damage the image of Microsoft). Almost every day we still see some gullible journalists who mindlessly repeat the “Microsoft loves Linux” jingle.

“Microsoft typically uses proxies to do the litigation (for fear it might otherwise damage the image of Microsoft).”Let something be very clear; Microsoft still attacks GNU/Linux with patents; pretty hard in fact. Silently, Microsoft uses patents to compel companies to pre-install Microsoft programs (even on operating systems such as Android) and sometimes — as the lawsuit against Samsung served to show — Microsoft takes the aggression public (outside the back room) by filing lawsuits and flinging a lot of weak patents at the defendant, in order to pressure towards quick (albeit ruinous) settlement.

Microsoft is not a reformed company; it’s actively taxing everything in an effort to raise costs (or “rents”) associated with production and distribution, even of mere software, i.e. no devices/hardware sold. See what Azure has become patents-wise [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. Using various consortia (like those of the Linux Foundation), Microsoft also acts like a Trojan horse. It’s trying to add patents-encumbered ‘standards’ to all sorts of things. 3 days ago Tuxera resurfaced again, this time promoting a Microsoft patent trap (and tax) inside Linux with the promotional headline “Tuxera FAT+ File System for Embedded Systems is Compatible with FAT32, Faster, and Supports Files up to 16TB” (putting aside GPL issues, not just patent issues).

“Microsoft is not a reformed company; it’s actively taxing everything in an effort to raise costs (or “rents”) associated with production and distribution, even of mere software, i.e. no devices/hardware sold.”To make matters worse, a couple of days ago MOSAID resurfaced again in “Conversant” clothing (it changed its name after all the negative publicity) and this pro-patent trolls site put a happy face on it. A Microsoft-connected patent troll (which Microsoft passed Nokia patents to) comes to Europe and IAM seems satisfied. “The NPE has seen mixed results in its attempts to monetise the portfolio,” it wrote, “although recently it has notched up significant court victories in the US against LG and Apple. Despite those wins, filing this latest case in London shows that, like many patent owners that have become frustrated with the US courts, Conversant believes that in certain circumstances Europe offers a much more conducive climate for patent assertion.”

It means trolling, not “climate for patent assertion.” Disregard these euphemisms. As noted above, they also go after Android OEMs (not just the likes of Apple). They are doing this already. And in Europe! For those who missed it, Ericsson's troll is doing this as well in Europe. It has become a growing problem and potentially a massive headache for firms in Europe.

No company in Europe, however, has been a bigger ‘troll’ than Nokia, especially after Microsoft took charge. As we showed earlier this month, Nokia now targets Android OEMs with its patents.

“No company in Europe, however, has been a bigger ‘troll’ than Nokia, especially after Microsoft took charge.”Having already assigned, at the behest and request of Microsoft, some of its patents to the above patent troll, Nokia now goes further. “Microsoft Transfers 500 Nokia Design Patents To HMD Global,” said a report some days ago, but nobody else seems to have covered it. “None of the involved parties have yet issued a comment on the matter in any capacity,” the report said. So they pass 500 patents and nobody says a thing? I informed the Linux Foundation about it (2 days ago), but have heard nothing since.

Is Microsoft still using Nokia as a patent attack vector against Microsoft’s rivals?

Here are the details:

Microsoft transferred approximately 500 Nokia-related design patents to HMD Global Oy, according to the filings uncovered in the database of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The patent portfolio that the Redmond, Washington-based tech giant yielded to the Finnish tech company doesn’t represent the entirety of Microsoft’s remaining Nokia-related holdings, with the company’s mobile division still owning around 200 design patents that it originally acquired following its purchase of Nokia in mid-2014. It’s currently unclear whether the patents that have now changed hands were part of the original deal that saw Microsoft sell Nokia to the Foxconn-owned FIH Mobile for $350 million and HMD Global Oy being granted a license by Nokia to develop and sell new devices under its brand, or if the transfer was negotiated at a later date.

For those who view it as benign, mind the role of HMD after Microsoft essentially destroyed Nokia. It’s more like a licensor. Microsoft turned Nokia into a patent troll that attacks Microsoft’s rivals. It’s even in the news today. A few days ago a reader sent us this link, quoting the following passage:

The lawsuit, the second high-profile patent dispute between Apple and Nokia in the last decade, began last year when Nokia accused Apple of infringing on dozens of patents it owns, as well as patents owned by Nokia subsidiaries.

Yes, “Nokia subsidiaries.” The same old trick. Microsoft too has all sorts of subsidiaries that act like classic patent trolls.

“For those who view it as benign, mind the role of HMD after Microsoft essentially destroyed Nokia.”Tom Hochstatter‏, a patent professional, asked Unified Patents: “Is Nokia considered at troll? Nokia gets $2 billion from Apple $AAPL for #patent infringement…”

He linked to this article, but it’s all over the news today (even though it’s a Sunday), e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]. This is about software patents too; they’re definitely in the mix. As one article put it, “Nokia alleged Apple of 32 patent infringements related to display, user interface, software, antenna, chip-set, and video encoding…”

“Microsoft too has all sorts of subsidiaries that act like classic patent trolls.”A lot of these are pure software.

When does Nokia sue or settle with Microsoft? Well, the answer here says it all really. Nokia and Microsoft are in this together.

Here is how AOL framed it 2 days ago:

After a quick fight, Apple and Nokia settled a patent lawsuit back in May. But the two companies didn’t comment on the value of this settlement. While terms of the deal are still undisclosed, Nokiamob first spotted that Nokia announced that it has received a $2 billion upfront cash payment from Apple (€1.7 billion).

[...]

It’s going to be interesting to look at Nokia’s upcoming quarterly earnings release to figure out how much Apple is paying for this agreement. But there’s one thing for sure — Nokia must be quite happy with this new revenue stream.

At whose expense?

“Android OEMs are already affected by this and some need to shell out money to avoid being sued.”Not only Apple is impacted.

Android OEMs are already affected by this and some need to shell out money to avoid being sued. BlackBerry, for that matter, is on a similar boat, except without Microsoft on it. BlackBerry too has become a patent parasite, suing companies in the Eastern District of Texas as it cannot sell enough products to survive. Some people evidently continue to worship BlackBerry’s patents. If only they knew what BlackBerry has truly become…

Our Wiki page about Nokia chronicled its various attacks on Android over the years; don’t be mistaken by the company’s new Android phones (or BlackBerry’s). They take advantage of Android (because there’s nothing else they can use; iOS is an Apple monopoly) while suing fellow Android OEMs.

“Microsoft — more so than Apple — does a lot of these patent battles via intermediaries and the mainstream media rarely bothers mentioning that. Instead it’s obsessing over “Microsoft loves Linux” and advertising proprietary Microsoft software as if it’s a “Linux” thing.”Suffice to say, what makes matters even worse is that Apple too sues Android OEMs. Florian Müller has the latest on the Samsung case. “The parties have until Tuesday to propose a briefing schedule, and a case management conference will be held on Wednesday,” he wrote this weekend. And in other noteworthy news, Apple is being sued again. “Florida company CustomPlay filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple today,” Mac Rumours said on Thursday, “claiming a Siri feature that allows fourth-generation Apple TV users to rewatch a portion of video with closed captioning copies its movie companion software.”

Timothy B. Lee seems to be back at Ars Technica and he wrote about it too. “It’s a problem everyone has had,” he said, when “you’re watching a movie and don’t catch a key bit of dialogue. In September 2015, Apple unveiled a new feature for Apple TV that solves the problem. Users can ask “what did she say?” and Siri will skip back 15 seconds and temporarily enable captions.”

Software patents again.

But the bottom line is, patents that oughtn’t even be valid (under Alice/Section 101) are actively used to elevate the price of products with GNU and/or Linux in them. Microsoft — more so than Apple — does a lot of these patent battles via intermediaries and the mainstream media rarely bothers mentioning that. Instead it’s obsessing over “Microsoft loves Linux” and advertising proprietary Microsoft software as if it's a "Linux" thing.

“Microsoft is asking people to pay them for patents, but they won’t say which ones. If a guy walks into a shop and says: “It’s an unsafe neighbourhood, why don’t you pay me 20 bucks and I’ll make sure you’re okay,” that’s illegal. It’s racketeering.”

Mark Shuttleworth

PACE of Prosecution Prioritised Over Quality of Patents and Examination

Posted in America, Deception, Europe, Patents at 1:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patents are not just for lawsuits unless you’re an aggressive firm

Inviting patent aggression

Summary: Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) puff pieces neglect to highlight the danger of the concept, which promotes litigation at the expense of thorough examination (including proper opportunity for oppositions)

THERE IS a real danger that one day there will be a UPC-like regime in Europe. It won’t happen any time soon and if we combat this threat, it will almost certainly fail to materialise. Firms that profit from litigation (whether successful or not) are egging on the Battistellis of the world, urging them to put the burden on defendants, not plaintiffs (accusers). Very dangerous! Lethal in the case of Goliath v David situations.

The UPC, at its core, is about broadening and speeding up litigation. Very bad idea. Applicants sometimes prefer a slower process which properly assesses all the facts, otherwise it’s only the lawyers who profit. Various parties need to get involved in order for patents to be correctly assigned and verified.

“It does not improve quality, it probably reduces quality and just like the notorious PACE program it gives some actors disproportional power over others (typically small and vulnerable businesses are affected badly/worst).”Yesterday we found a new marketing/puff piece from Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick. It’s about PPH. It’s an old global system, but it focuses on large, wealthy nations or works in their favour (giving advantage to their national patent offices). The firm focuses on the EPO in southeast Asia rather than the USPTO. Battistelli did some publicity stunts in small countries with barely any European Patents, waving PPH documents as some kind of ‘trophy’ (or a sign of accomplishment). We covered that earlier this year.

Like ITC, which we wrote about yesterday, PPH presents all sorts of issues, including lack of neutrality and lack of appeals/oppositions window. Putting quick prosecution and potentially embargo before quality control of patents is rather dangerous, but the puff piece titled “The Patent Prosecution Highway gets more traffic” says this: “The PPH framework promotes work sharing and accelerated processing where patent examiners can make use of work carried out by other offices. The framework allows leveraging of an eligible application whose claims have been determined to be patentable in the Office of First Filing (OFF) to go through an accelerated examination in the Office of Second Filing (OSF) with a simple procedure upon an applicant’s request. The intention is to secure more uniform patent rights, improve quality and reduce the search and examination burden on the participating offices.”

“They are obviously becoming more and more concerned that antitrust (competition abuse) issues are being raised in relation to patents.”That’s not what happens in practice. It does not improve quality, it probably reduces quality and just like the notorious PACE program it gives some actors disproportional power over others (typically small and vulnerable businesses are affected badly/worst).

The article (or ad) from Mary Munroe contains a lot of statements we could easily challenge if not successfully rebut, but there’s even more eyebrow-raising material out there, including this latest IAM piece about SEPs and patent pools in China. They are obviously becoming more and more concerned that antitrust (competition abuse) issues are being raised in relation to patents. When massive corporations amass patents and merely use these as a tool to bar competition, what good are these patents on a societal basis? We’ll give an example in our next post.

Dutch Government Publication Confirms Battistelli’s Influence Over Smaller EPC States

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“An unreal situation”

Bank robbery

Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) makes a mockery of the Convention (EPC) by allegedly 'laundering' or buying the votes of the small member states to the advantage of Battistelli

“Official Dutch Government publication,” a reader told us, “confirms Battistelli’s influence over smaller EPC states.”

From the “Bijblad bij De Industriële Eigendom,” an official publication of the Dutch Patent Office (Supplement to the Intellectual Property Gazette) Issue No. 2 – April 2017 – Vol. 85:

De Administrative Council (AC) van de European Patent Organisation (EPO) kwam laatstelijk bijeen op 15 en 16 maart 2017.
Ter inleiding kan worden gesteld dat de AC, nog maar één jaar nadat de AC zelf met een (unanieme) resolutie zeer concrete opdrachten meegaf aan EOB-President Battistelli, inmiddels veel terrein heeft verloren. Door zijn evidente invloed op een grote groep van kleinere landen hoeft Battistelli niet erg beducht te zijn voor de kleinere groep van grotere (kritische) octrooilanden (Zwitserland, Nederland, Duitsland, Frankrijk, Verenigd Koninkrijk, Zweden). Een onwerkelijke situatie.

Translation: “The Administrative Council (AC) of the European Patent Organization (EPO) held its latest meeting on 15 and 16 March 2017. To begin with, the AC has now lost a lot of ground, just one year after the AC itself issued very concrete instructions to EPO President Battistelli, with a (unanimous) resolution. Due his apparent influence on a large group of smaller countries, Battistelli does not have to worry about the smaller group of larger (critical) EPC states (Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Sweden). An unreal situation.”

That’s pretty serious.

“2018 promises to be one heck of a year at the EPO.”“Summer recess agenda” said today: “Lately some rumours going on, that BB [Battistelli] and VP4 look to replace 3 of his PD’s in the framework of the new DG2 re-structuration. Apparently the areas procurement, HR social dialogue and buildings are named. A new EPO era?”

VP4 is the subject of our ongoing series about Lufthansa and the EPO (we are fact-checking future parts). 2018 promises to be one heck of a year at the EPO. Can it get any worse than it already is?

Links 30/7/2017: Flathub, Jolla Tablet Refunds, Cutelyst 1.8.0

Posted in News Roundup at 11:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Dual Boot Happy Hacking Linux and Mac OS

      Last December, I created a new Linux distro called Happy Hacking Linux, specifically for developers who need fast, minimalist desktop that comes with a good package system. Arch Linux has been my favorite distro for past 10 years, because it lets you build your system by yourself, and gives more than 55.000 packages in its official and community package registires.

      So I took Arch Linux, changed the logo with a cat wearing sunglasses (my wife drew it for me), built a new installation wizard from scratch, and automated what many developers do; setting up users, fonts, network, Xmonad desktop with default config, etc… This new installer is created using command-line dialogs, but it’s smart enough to detect if user is on a Macbook. It automatically sets up wifi, audio, also configures screen brightness, keyboard backlight buttons so you don’t have to.

    • This Project is Going to Create Linux Laptops … Based on PowerPC

      Recently, a new group has appeared in cyberspace with the goal of creating a line of Linux computers based on the PowerPC architecture. They are currently raising money and are in the early planning. The question is: Can they pull it off? And, if they do, will it be worth it?

  • Kernel Space

    • Some stable kernel updates
    • Linux 4.12.4
    • Linux 4.9.40
    • Linux 4.4.79
    • Linux 3.18.63
    • Reconsidering the scheduler’s wake_wide() heuristic

      The kernel’s CPU scheduler is charged with choosing which task to run next, but also with deciding where in a multi-CPU system that task should run. As is often the case, that choice comes down to heuristics — rules of thumb codifying the developers’ experience of what tends to work best. One key task-placement heuristic has been in place since 2015, but a recent discussion suggests that it may need to be revisited.

      Scheduler wakeups happen all the time. Tasks will often wait for an event (e.g. timer expiration, POSIX signal, futex() system call, etc.); a wakeup is sent when the event occurs and the waiting task resumes execution. The scheduler’s job is to find the best CPU to run the task being woken. Making the correct choice is crucial for performance. Some message-passing workloads benefit from running tasks on the same CPU, for example; the pipetest micro-benchmark is a simple model of that kind of workload. Pipetest uses two communicating tasks that take turns sending and receiving messages; the tasks never need to run in parallel and thus perform best if their data is in the cache of a single CPU.

    • Why Codethink is a founding member of the Civil Infrastructure Platform, a Linux Foundation initiative
    • Graphics Stack

      • libinput and button debouncing

        A few days ago, I pushed code for button debouncing into libinput, scheduled for libinput 1.9. What is button debouncing you ask? Well, I’m glad you asked, because otherwise typing this blog post would’ve been a waste of time :)

        Over in Utopia, when you press the button on a device, you get a press event from the hardware. When you release said button, you get a release event from the hardware. Together, they form the button click interaction we have come to learn and love over the last couple of decades. Life is generally merry and the sunshine to rainbow to lollipop ratio is good. Meanwhile, over here in the real world, buttons can be quite dodgy, don’t always work like they’re supposed to, lollipops are unhealthy and boy, have you seen that sunburn the sunshine gave me? One way how buttons may not work is that they can lose contact for a fraction of a second and send release events even though the button is being held down. The device usually detects that the button is still being down in the next hardware cycle (~8ms on most devices) and thus sends another button press.

      • Vulkan-CPU Has Working SPIR-V To LLVM IR Translation, x86 Code Almost Working

        Jacob Lifshay, the student developer via GSoC 2017 working on a Vulkan CPU-based implementation to essentially serve as a software renderer that is making use of LLVM, now has working SPIR-V to LLVM IR translation.

        SPIR-V, of course, being the intermediate representation used by Vulkan and OpenCL 2.1+. Jacob’s work is separate from the other SPIR-V LLVM work being pursued by other parties. Lifshay has now implemented enough of a SPIR-V to LLVM IR translator that it can translate simple shaders onwards to LLVM IR. He also says he is almost at a stage where in turn it can then generate x86 machine code. So in the end it will go from SPIR-V shaders to x86 code that can be executed by the CPU.

      • Mesa 17.2 Is Measuring In As One Of The Largest Releases Ever

        Mesa 17.2 is coming in as one of the largest updates ever to Mesa 3D, at least in terms of code delta.

        Out of curiosity given the recent branching and release candidate, I used Git to compare the code size of the 17.1 branch to 17.2.

      • OpenMAX Tizonia G3D State Tracker Begins Working For H.264 Encoding

        One of this year’s Google Summer of Code projects affecting Mesa is porting its OpenMAX IL Gallium3D state tracker from using Bellagio to Tizonia.

      • The Etnaviv Driver Is Beginning To Work Out For Android Users

        The Etnaviv open-source driver stack that provides reverse-engineered graphics driver support for Vivante graphics cores is working now not only on conventional Linux distributions but also Android environments.

        Collabora has been working on some improvements in this space and a few days ago recapped some of the highlights going into Etnaviv for i.MX6 and Android.

      • Linux Driver Expectations For The Radeon RX Vega
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Akademy 2017 in Almería, Spain: Wrap-up

        Akademy, KDE’s annual developer conference, is over — and as always, it was a great experience! Thanks a lot to the local organization team, and of course to all the nice people attending and discussing things.

      • Cutelyst 1.8.0 released

        Cutelyst the Qt Web Framework, has another stable release, this release is mostly filled with bug fixes, the commit log is rather small.

        It got fixes on Cutelyst-WSGI to properly work on Windows, QtCreator integration fixes, properly installing dll’s on Windows, fix returning the right status from views (this allows you to know if for example View::Email sent the email with success).

      • KDE PIM on Akademy

        Me and Volker sat down and went through all KDE PIM wikipages on community.kde.org, userbase.kde.org and techbase.kde.org. Most of our wiki pages are horribly outdated, so we tried to clean them up, remove pages that are no longer relevant or useful. With fewer pages to take care of and better overview of what all content we have, we should be able to keep them more up-to-date than we did in the past years.

        [...]

        We will be meeting soon again in Randa. Our main plan for the sprint is to continue with removal of KDateTime from our code, and thus making KDE PIM free of kdelibs4support.

      • Live data features alive in LabPlot

        Hey guys. It’s been a while since my last post here, but we did a good job meanwhile. Beside implementing the features I have described in my previous post I have implemented some other useful features/additional options. Let’s see what we have here.

      • A new Beginning
      • GSoC Second phase analysis

        The month took a rough start with me getting ill from the very start of the month. I decided to get the relatively “easy” job done within the first month, so that I can fully focus on the topics that require much more concentration once I start recovering. I started out by refactoring the code and using nodeWidth and nodeHeight and keeping the same generation node within the same vertical level. Also, I made sure that the changes get reflected with change in the dimensions of the activity.

      • Policy Updates

        KDE is getting good at writing statements on visions and missions and values which define who we are. But less sexy and more technical is our various policies some of which are getting out of date. Pleasingly at Akademy we’ve been able to update two of these policies to comply with current practices and define our activities better.

        Application Lifecycle policy defines how projects get into KDE and how they die. The new version adds in Incubator our method of bringing projects into KDE from elsewhere. It also says what is allowed to be done with Playground projects, you can make an alpha release but if you want to make a beta or final release it should go through kdereview.

      • Meteo-Qt: Keep An Eye On Weather Directly From Indicator Panel

        There are various weather applications available for Linux. Meteo-Qt is an elegant weather application written in Python3 and Qt5 licensed under GNU General Public License v3, it displays weather information right on the panel and show notifications, further more you can check current week weather on its own window.

      • GSoC’17-Week #6

        I will just give an overview of what all I have worked on during the past few weeks. The main aim of the project was to integrate share. krita.org with our Krita application. It should have the ability to download the items from the site directly into default folders of the resources we choose to download. So, I created a widget content_downloader widget to perform all sorts of functionalities we needed to get from the downloader. The functions like download then install and to perform uninstall the items downloaded were added. Then search functionality, different ways to filter resources using the categories and order by method too. Used KRating API to rate the items showed inside the content downloader. Also, small functionalities like, Description viewer as labels and printing out certain data like the author and all as well were added.

  • Distributions

    • Nine Months and Counting With Solus

      According to my /var/log/eopkg.log file, I installed Solus on this computer–my main work machine–on October 19 of last year. After more than nine months in production, it’s safe to say that I’m highly satisfied with how Solus has performed. Indeed, I have not given serious consideration to switching to another Linux distribution since I made the move to Solus.

      Like many Linux users, my first distribution was Ubuntu, specifically the recently expired 12.04 LTS release. But within a few months I fell into the trap of “distrohopping”–trying virtually every Linux project for a few weeks, days, or even hours–hoping to find something better. While many Linux folks swear by distrhopping, I personally found it a miserable slog.

      Eventually I settled on CrunchBang, a minimalist distribution based on Debian. But the original developer discontinued the project–which was subsequently revived by the user community as BunsenLabs, now a fine distribution in its own right–so I went back to hopping for awhile.

    • New Releases

      • Linux Lite 3.6 Arrives September 1, Still Based on Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS, Linux 4.4

        Linux Lite developer Jerry Bezencon and his team have recently started working on the next major release of the Ubuntu-based GNU/Linux distribution designed for old computers or PCs with little RAM and CPU power.

        The current version of Linux Lite is 3.4, and it’s based on the Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system, using the Linux 4.4 LTS kernel, but the team is now preparing the Linux Lite 3.6 release, which they say will bare two major new features while remaining based on Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS and Linux kernel 4.4 LTS.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE aims to tackle skills shortage in open source in ME

        SUSE is teaming up with the training arm of technology distributor Ingram Micro to offer a set of 18 instructed-led SUSE training modules in the Middle East.

        A Linux Foundation study last year found out that 87% of hiring managers say open skills are hard to come by.

    • Slackware Family

      • Chromium 60 packages available

        Google released chrome/chromium 60.0.3112.78 on 25 July. My mother-in-law passed away which shifted my priorities this week, but I found some time to compile new packages. In my VM, the 64bit package creation took more than 24 hours… perhaps now is a good time to look at that Ryzen CPU and empty my savings account. This is getting ridiculous.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Packettracer 7 in Fedora 26

          Cisco Packet Tracer 7.0 is created by Cisco SystemsTM and is now provided for free distribution. Self learners are now able to download Cisco Packet Tracer after registering on Cisco Netacad website. A free Packet Tracer 101 (English), a 1-hour self-paced online course is also offered to every registered (free) student to help them get started with PacketTracer 7.0, So you can register and download from here.

        • GSoC2017 (Fedora) — Week 5-8
        • Reaching Beyond My Screen

          I’ve been involved with Women’s Leadership Community (WLC) at Red Hat since starting my first internship last summer and about a week and a half ago (maybe two weeks ago) I heard about an opportunity that I just could not turn down. This opportunity came in the form of an outreach and mentoring-type program hosted at Boston University (BU) called the Artemis Project. The Artemis Project is coordinated by a group of four female undergraduate students studying computer science or engineering at BU to expose Boston-area 9th grade girls to the traditionally made-dominated fields referred to as STEM (science, technology, engineering, math).

          The folks at Artemis reached out to Red Hat in search for a couple of women willing to speak to the girls and I, having spoken about STEM initiatives for women and served as a coordinator for the I Hate Math: Women in STEM Conference at Southern New Hampshire University, immediately responded that I wanted to be involved! My friend, colleague, and fellow designer Laura Wright also volunteered to speak, so we decided to use this platform to draw connections between graphic design and computer science.

        • It Will Still Take Fedora A Few More Releases To Switch Off Python 2

          Finalizing Fedora’s switch from Python 2 to Python 3 by default is still going to take several more Fedora release cycles and should be done by the 2020 date when Python 2 will be killed off by upstream.

          While much of Fedora’s Python code is now compatible with Py3, the /usr/bin/python still points to Python 2, various python-* packages still mean Python 2, and the end game is to eventually get rid of Python 2 from Fedora but that is even further out.

        • Hello again!

          In any case, the main point of this blog post is that I’m at GUADEC in Manchester right now, and I’d like to blog about Flathub, but I thought it would be weird to just show up and say that after 7 years of silence without saying hello again.

        • Welcome, Flathub!

          At the Gtk+ hackfest in London earlier this year, we stole an afternoon from the toolkit folks (sorry!) to talk about Flatpak, and how we could establish a “critical mass” behind the Flatpak format. Bringing Linux container and sandboxing technology together with ostree, we’ve got a technology which solves real world distribution, technical and security problems which have arguably held back the Linux desktop space and frustrated ISVs and app developers for nearly 20 years. The problem we need to solve, like any ecosystem, is one of users and developers – without stuff you can easily get in Flatpak format, there won’t be many users, and without many users, we won’t have a strong or compelling incentive for developers to take their precious time to understand a new format and a new technology.

          [...]

          Enter Flathub. The idea is that by creating an obvious “center of gravity” for the Flatpak community to contribute and build their apps, users will have one place to go and find the best that the Linux app ecosystem has to offer. We can take care of the boring stuff like running a build service and empower Linux application developers to choose how and when their app gets out to their users. After the London hackfest we sketched out a minimum viable system – Github, Buildbot and a few workers – and got it going over the past few months, culminating in a mini-fundraiser to pay for the hosting of a production-ready setup. Thanks to the 20 individuals who supported our fundraiser, to Mythic Beasts who provided a server along with management, monitoring and heaps of bandwidth, and to Codethink and Scaleway who provide our ARM and Intel workers respectively.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Jolla Tablet refund update

      Dear Jolla Tablet contributor, As promised, we are beginning to process the refunds further on cash flow positive months by randomly selecting a number of backers and providing them with a few of options in order to handle their refund situation. As of end of July is now at hand, we can confirm the financial situation is allowing us to start the process with 100 random backers. While admittedly that is not a huge number, it is what the situation permits us to do so far. We are determined to continue with the process each month we have a positive cash flow.

    • Rugged Skylake box PC offers up to 8x USB and 5x HDMI ports

      Advantech’s Linux-ready “UNO-2484G” Box PC offers dual-core 6th Gen U-series CPUs, 4x GbE ports, and either HDMI/USB or “iDoor” expansion units.

      Like Advantech’s Linux-on-Quark based UNO-1252G IoT gateway and Intel Apollo Lake based ARK-1124C embedded computer, the new Skylake based UNO-2484G embedded PC offers up to four of the company’s homegrown “iDoor” expansion modules. The mini-PCIe based iDoor modules, which include varying mixes of wired and/or wireless features, are protected in an enclosure extension located on the bottom of the unit.

    • Microsoft culture led to Windows Phone failure: ex-Apple chief

      “Microsoft’s smartphone troubles started well before the birth of Android,” he said. “In a reversal of the famous dictum Victory Has Many Fathers But Defeat Is An Orphan, Windows Phone’s collapse seems to have had many progenitors deeply embedded in the company’s decades-old culture.”

Free Software/Open Source

  • Digital transformation and IoT will drive investment in IT ops management

    A primary driver for organisations moving to ITOM open-source software (OSS) is lower cost of ownership, it said.

  • How IT operations management is embracing open source

    Open source software adoption continues to disrupt the traditional IT markets, as enterprise CIOs and CTOs seek ways to evolve by working with progressive vendors and service providers who have a proven track record of open innovation.

    The growth of digital business transformation and the Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to drive large investment in IT operations management (ITOM) through 2020, according to the latest global market study by Gartner. A primary driver for organisations moving to ITOM open-source software (OSS) is lower cost of ownership.

  • Events

    • [Older] Containers micro-conference at Linux Plumbers 2017

      This year’s edition of the Linux Plumbers Conference will once again feature a containers micro-conference. This is a great occasion for users and developers of Linux container technology to meet and talk about the feature.

      LPC 2017 will be held in Los Angeles, California from the 13th until the 15th of September 2017. This will be in the same venue as the Open Source Summit 2017 (11th to 14th) and the Linux Security Summit (14th to 15th).

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Milestone Complete! OpenRC conversion

      The OpenRC conversion project is done! Over one thousand script/port conversions are complete, and all will be available in the TrueOS UNSTABLE and STABLE tracks soon. The project wants to extend a huge thank you to all those who contributed to completing this milestone, and a special thank you to contributors ZackaryWelch and elarge011 for doing the lion’s share of the work.

    • TrueOS Finishes Porting Scripts To OpenRC

      The TrueOS BSD distribution has finished porting over more than one thousand FreeBSD RC scripts into OpenRC format for this dependency-based init system.

      This year the TrueOS crew has been working on migrating to the OpenRC init system for better boot performance, easier configuration, better organization of configuration files, more reliable service status, etc. Popular services had been in OpenRC form already but now they have finished porting over more than 1,000 other scripts for OpenRC on TrueOS.

    • mandoc-1.14.2 released

      With the improved mandoc features, only twenty-five out of the ten thousand software packages in the OpenBSD ports tree still need groff to format their manual pages.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • 3DR Solo Back as Open Source Platform

        Don’t play Taps for 3DR‘s Solo yet. 3DR’s CEO Chris Anderson tweeted today that the Solo is getting a second life.

        In an article title “The Solo Lives On,” on the ArduPilot Blog – ArduPilot is an opensource autopilot system – the team explains how a community of developers worked to give the Solo a “heart transplant.” The developer of the now-obselete Pixhawk 2.0 hardware flight system, the Solo’s stock system, has developed a bolt-on replacement which will allow for new ArduCopter firmware changes.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Bluetooth Mesh networks: Is a standards body right for IoT innovation?

      Mesh networks are not new. It is a network topology in which each node relays data for the network. All mesh nodes cooperate in the distribution of data in the network. The IoT-purpose-built Zigbee—a low-power, low-bandwidth ad hoc network—is a mesh network. Dating to 2002, Aruba Networks was founded to build Wi-Fi mesh networks. In 2014, student protesters in Hong Kong used mobile app FireChat to turn the crowd’s smartphones into a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth mesh network so authorities could not interrupt protester’s coordinating conversations by blocking 3G and 4G network access.

Leftovers

  • Google Grabs Nielsen as Business Apps User From Microsoft

    For word processing and spreadsheets, Nielsen staff now uses Google Docs and Sheets instead of Microsoft’s Word and Excel applications from its familiar Office suite of software. For video conferencing and messaging, Nielsen dropped Microsoft’s Skype in favor of Google equivalents.

  • Science

    • Report: Human embryo edited for first time in US, pushes limits

      Until now, the only three published reports of human embryo gene editing were from researchers in China. But their experiments—using a gene-editing method called CRISPR—caused “off-target” genetic changes, basically sloppy changes in the DNA that were not intended. Also, not all the cells in the embryos were successfully edited, causing an effect called “mosaicism.” Together, the problems suggested that the technique was not advanced enough to safely alter human embryos without unintended or incomplete genetic consequences.

    • Genetic evidence suggests the Canaanites weren’t destroyed after all

      The Canaanites are famous as the bad guys of the Book of Joshua in the Tanakh, or the Hebrew Bible. First, God orders the Hebrews to destroy the Canaanites along with several other groups, and later we hear that the Canaanites have actually been wiped out. Among archaeologists, however, the Canaanites are a cultural group whose rise and fall has remained a mystery. Now, a group of archaeologists and geneticists has discovered strong evidence that the Canaanites were not wiped out. They are, in fact, the ancestors of modern Lebanese people.

      The Canaanites were a people who lived three to four thousand years ago off the coast of the Mediterranean, and their cities were spread across an area known today as Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and Syria. Though they were one of the first civilizations in the area to use writing, they wrote most of their documents on papyrus leaves that didn’t survive. As a result, our only information about these people has come from their rivals and enemies, like the Hebrews, whose accounts were likely biased.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Senators buck Sessions, move to protect state medical marijuana laws

      The amendment prevents the Department of Justice from using any of its funds to prevent states from “implementing a law that authorizes the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.” It was added by a voice vote to the 2018 Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill.

    • John McCain Isn’t a Hero for Not Killing His Constituents

      John McCain was no hero this week, but his vote did expose the cowardice of 49 of his colleagues. Senator Lindsey Graham, McCain’s frequent partner-in crime, called the GOP’s “skinny” repeal bill “half-assed,” the “dumbest thing in history” and a “disaster,” before voting for it.

    • FDA wants to make cigarettes non-addictive, give e-cig makers a leg up

      The US Food and Drug Administration announced a comprehensive, multi-year plan Thursday to stamp out the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the country—tobacco use.

      The agency intends to reduce the amount of nicotine allowed in traditional combustion cigarettes with the goal of making them “non-addictive.” At the same time, the FDA will delay regulations on electronic cigarettes and other newer products to “afford the agency time to explore clear and meaningful measures to make tobacco products less toxic, appealing, and addictive,” the agency said in a press statement.

    • Goop doctor says she’s not really Goop’s doctor, calls site a “caricature”

      Two weeks ago, Dr. Aviva Romm provided a signed letter included in a Goop post titled “Uncensored: A Word from Our Doctors.” The post, written in part by the Goop team, including Romm and another doctor (Steven Gundry), collectively defended Goop’s questionable health products and penchant for unproven and often nonsensical medical theories. Those theories include Moon-powered vaginal eggs and energy-healing space-suit stickers.

    • Meta-analysis finds sperm counts dropped 50%, media predicts human extinction

      Men’s spunk may be getting noticeably less spunky in some high-income countries, according to a meta-analysis of international swimmers.

      Skimming and re-examining sperm data from 185 past independent studies, researchers estimated that sperm counts of men from select high-income regions—North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe—dropped about 52 percent between 1973 to 2011, from 99 million sperm per milliliter to about 47 million per milliliter. Likewise, estimates of total sperm count per batch dropped 59 percent, from 337.5 million in 1973 to 137.5 million in 2011.

      The researchers, led by Hagai Levine of Hebrew University, also looked at data from what they referred to as “other” countries, including some in South America, Asia, and Africa. They saw no trends in these places, but they also had relatively little data from them.

    • In wake of CTE study, Ravens’ smarty John Urschel retires from football at 26

      John Urschel, a Baltimore Ravens’ offensive lineman and PhD candidate in applied mathematics at MIT, has announced his retirement from football at the age of 26. The announcement comes just days after publication of a case study that found widespread signs of a degenerative brain disease among football players who donated their brains to research.

  • Security

    • Security pros at hacker conference: Be more boring
    • Linux SystemD Wins Pwnie Award at Black Hat, and No It’s Not a Good Thing

      Some awards are better than others. When it comes to security awards, the Pwnie Awards can sometimes be a good thing to win and other times – not so much.

    • Systemd wins top gong for ‘lamest vendor’ in Pwnie security awards

      The annual Pwnie Awards for serious security screw-ups saw hardly anyone collecting their prize at this year’s ceremony in Las Vegas.

      That’s not surprising: government officials, US spy agencies, and software makers aren’t usually in the mood to acknowledge their failures.

      The Pwnies give spray-painted pony statues to those who have either pulled off a great hack or failed epically. This year it was nation states that got a significant proportion of the prizes. The gongs are divided into categories, and nominations in each section are voted on by the hacker community. The ponies are then dished out every year at the Black Hat USA security conference in Sin City.

    • Seattle man held over DDoS attacks in Australia, US and Canada

      The DDoS attacks took place in 2015 and many of the businesses were contacted by an individual who made unspecified demands from them.

    • Joint international operation sees US citizen arrested for denial of service attacks on IT systems [iophk: "no word yet on any arrests of those that deployed Microsoft systems and connected them to the network in the first place"]

      A two and a half year joint operation between the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Toronto Police Department has resulted in a 37-year-old Seattle man being arrested in connection with serious offences relating to distributed denial of service attacks on IT systems.

    • Broadcom chip bug opened 1 billion phones to a Wi-Fi-hopping worm attack

      It’s not often that a security researcher devises an attack that can unleash a self-replicating attack which, with no user interaction, threatens 1 billion smartphones. But that’s just what Nitay Artenstein of Exodus Intelligence did in a feat that affected both iOS and Android devices.

      At the Black Hat security conference, Artenstein demonstrated proof-of-concept attack code that exploited a vulnerability in Wi-Fi chips manufactured by Broadcom. It fills the airwaves with probes that request connections to nearby computing devices. When the specially devised requests reach a device using the BCM43xx family of Wi-Fi chipsets, the attack rewrites the firmware that controls the chip. The compromised chip then sends the same malicious packets to other vulnerable devices, setting off a potential chain reaction. Until early July and last week—when Google and Apple issued patches respectively—an estimated 1 billion devices were vulnerable to the attack. Artenstein has dubbed the worm “Broadpwn.”

    • Sounds bad: Researchers demonstrate “sonic gun” threat against smart devices

      At the Black Hat security conference on Thursday, a team of researchers from Alibaba Security demonstrated how sound and ultrasound could be used to attack devices that depend on sensor input from gyroscopes, accelerometers, and other microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). A sonic “gun” could in theory be used to knock drones out of the sky, cause robots to fail, disorient virtual or augmented reality software, and even knock people off their “hoverboard” scooters. It could also potentially be used to attack self-driving cars or confuse air bag sensors in automobiles.

      Many of the commercial gyroscope sensors in electronic devices are tuning fork gyroscopes—MEMS devices that use the vibrations of two “proof masses” to track rotation and velocity. But an outside source of vibration matching the resonant frequency of the gyroscope could interfere with the sensor’s stability and cause the sensor to send bad data to the device it is embedded in.

    • Stealthy Google Play apps recorded calls and stole e-mails and texts

      Google has expelled 20 Android apps from its Play marketplace after finding they contained code for monitoring and extracting users’ e-mail, text messages, locations, voice calls, and other sensitive data.

    • For a security conference that everyone claims not to trust the wifi, there sure was a lot of wifi
    • WikiLeaks releases Manual for Linux Implant “Aeris”
    • New Car Hacking Research: 2017, Remote Attack Tesla Motors Again

      Keen Lab discovered new security vulnerabilities on Tesla motors and realized full attack chain to implement arbitrary CAN BUS and ECUs remote controls on Tesla motors with latest firmware.

    • Hackers {sic} break into voting machines in minutes at hacking competition

      Hackers {sic} at at a competition in Las Vegas were able to successfully breach the software of U.S. voting machines in just 90 minutes on Friday, illuminating glaring security deficiencies in America’s election infrastructure.

    • This is how absolutely headdeskingly clueless politicians are at anything IT security related

      The Swedish IT leak scandal has caused a governmental crisis: even when having every kind of self-interest to read up on IT security, today’s politicians just can’t get it right. The Swedish leak where classified data and networks were outsourced outside the European Union was not an isolated incident, but a pervasive pattern where things are kept safe mostly by good luck and the occasional person who knows their stuff fixing things properly out of pure subordination. This week, the opposition leader stated that the physical location of a server is of no importance as far as security goes.

    • Hackers ‘could make car wash attack’

      The pair shared their findings with PDQ in February 2015, but the firm only replied to their emails this year.

    • How hackers can hijack drug pumps to kill patients
    • Wikileaks Exposes CIA’ 3 Linux/macOS Malware- Aeris, Achilles, SeaPea

      We all know what CIA is capable of but what WikiLeaks has been publishing lately under the Vault 7 leaks series is simply astonishing. According to the latest set of information provided by WikiLeaks in its ongoing Vault 7 leaks saga, the CIA developed three dangerous malware for Linux and macOS systems.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Finance

    • Detroit charter school teachers get tough news: Their school was in debt so they won’t get paid
    • Why the feds took down one of Bitcoin’s largest exchanges

      As some suspected, Vinnik’s alleged crimes go beyond just operating the exchange. Feds believe he played a role in the theft of more 800,000 bitcoin — about $400 million at the time — from Mt. Gox, a staggering loss that ultimately shuttered the exchange. According to the indictment, 530,000 of those bitcoin ended up passing through wallets controlled by or associated with Vinnik, although his role in the larger scheme remains unclear.

    • Drinking Rum Until I Understand the Cuban Embargo

      It was easier for me to pass through Cuban customs and immigration than it was for me to come home to the U.S. “Be sure to try our rum while you’re here!” said the Cuban official. “You’ll need to pay duty on that rum,” grumped the American official a week later, after the retinal scan, facial recognition scan, photo, passport inspection, agricultural questioning, and bag check that allowed me home.

      The rum is in a way what a trip to Cuba for an American is really all about. Rum, and el bloqueo.

      It becomes the first Spanish word you learn after the glasses are filled: el bloqueo, the blockade, the economic and political embargo. Some 60 years ago the United States slapped a near-complete economic embargo on Cuba, a Cold War spasm that lives on long after the struggle it may have served ended. It accomplished little of substance in Cuba except perhaps to impoverish some while fostering blackmarkets and corruption that enriched others. And like that other imperial boil, Guantanamo, the embargo sits atop Cuba as a symbolic wet blanket of American foreign policy, maintained by presidents Democratic and Republican alike.

      [...]

      The embargo started in earnest back in 1962, and grew to include almost all commerce between the United States and Cuba, snaring famously that Cuban rum (and cigars. Then-president John F. Kennedy loved his Cuban cigars so much he had an aide buy out existing stocks in Washington DC before he initialed the embargo paperwork.)

      The stated purpose of the embargo is to pressure the Cuban government toward “democratization and greater respect for human rights.” The result was that American businesses could not invest or operate in Cuba. Cubans could not sell their agricultural products in the United States. The embargo preserved those wonderful classic American cars you see in any documentary about Cuba, frozen in time as new vehicles could be imported. The Russians slid into place as Cuba’s economic godfather, followed by the Special Period, those years of particularly acute suffering after the collapse of the Soviet Union. There was a limited loosening of the embargo as it applied to tourists under the Obama administration (and a titular change of the American Interests Section in Havana into the American Embassy in Havana; “unofficial” diplomacy never really ceased) followed by a planned re-tightening of tourist travel by President Trump.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • First proof that Facebook dark ads could swing an election

      Though Facebook doesn’t explicitly provide the tools to target people based on political opinions, the new study shows how the platform can be exploited. Using combinations of people’s interests, demographics, and survey data it’s possible to direct campaigns at individuals based on their agreement with ideas and policies. This could have a big impact on the success of campaigns.

    • Guarding Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club cost taxpayers $6.6 million: report

      President Trump’s Florida club cost taxpayers more than $6.6 million to protect since January, according to a new report published Friday.

      Mar-a-Lago, one of Trump’s resort golf courses which sits on waterfront property on Florida’s coastline, requires protection by both air and sea while the president is visiting.

      Spending for one of Trump’s trips to Mar-a-Lago is close to $1 million dollars, The Washington Post reported on Friday.

      In comparison, security costs for a similar trip to Florida by former President Barack Obama in 2013 cost closer to $586,000.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Apple Bans VPNs From App Store in China

      Apple has started to ban VPN applications from its iOS store in China. According to the company, these apps include content that’s illegal in the country, thereby violating Apple’s policies. Needless to say, VPN providers and users are not happy with the privacy-obstructing censorship efforts.

    • Apple removes China censorship-dodging apps from store, software makers say
    • Apple Accused Of Removing Apps Used To Evade Censorship From Its China Store
    • Apple Removes Apps From China Store That Help Internet Users Evade Censorship
    • Apple removes VPN apps from the App Store in China
    • Apple says it is removing VPN services from China App Store
    • China’s Struggle for a Free Internet Worsens as Apple Removes VPN Apps from its Store
    • China Says It Will “Severely Strike” Websites Involved in Piracy

      A new campaign launched by Chinese authorities is threatening tough action against any Internet site that assists in the unlawful online distribution of movies, TV shows, eBooks, and even news articles. Pirate sites and app stores will come under the spotlight while social media platforms will be subjected to “strict supervision.”

    • Judge Tosses Vexatious Litigant Brett Kimberlin’s Lawsuit Against Conservative Blogger

      This should have been a simple anti-SLAPP case. Should have. Wasn’t. (Part of it is Maryland’s weak take on anti-SLAPP.) It took four years to resolve and tons of pro bono hours. Kimberlin claimed he had been defamed by Frey’s post, which was based on four news sources and covered his conviction for bombing and his rise to dubious fame as Dan Quayle’s pot dealer (back when Quayle was still VP/relevant).

      Kimberlin has a long history of abusive, vexatious lawsuits — all of them filed with the intent of shutting down criticism. His defamation claim was just the tip of iceberg. In his legal threat (all the way back in 2010), Kimberlin claimed a variety of injuries from Frey’s post, accusing him of cyberstalking, cyberbullying, and “interference with business.”

    • How Arby’s Dealt With Their Greatest Twitter Troll By Being Awesome; Also Sandwiches And Puppies

      There are many ways to handle being trolled on Twitter if you’re a company or a famous person. You can track down the trolls, investing hundreds of hours all for a payoff that amounts to showing up at their house physically and making them uncomfortable. You can figure out who the trolls are and call their parents, because that’s apparently a thing that actually happened. Or you can be James Woods, completely the worst, and whip out the lawsuits to unmask the troll and then gloat gleefully like a three year old that stole his favorite popsicle when the guy happens to die.

    • Politicians’ social media pages can be 1st Amendment forums, judge says

      Now there’s some legal precedent on the matter. It comes from a federal judge in Virginia who said that a local politician had violated the First Amendment rights of a constituent because the politician briefly banned the constituent from the politician’s personal Facebook account.

    • Censorship of ‘Time’ magazine in China sparks outrage and ridicule on the Web

      Taiwanese netizens yesterday responded feverishly to a microblog post by a Chinese subscriber of Time magazine that a page containing a report on the death of Nobel Peace Price winner Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) had been torn out of the latest issue of the magazine’s Asia edition, saying the incident could be the result of Chinese authorities censoring Time.

      “A page in the latest issue of Time was secretly ripped out. I managed to find the missing content and now I know what it is about. It is very old school to censor content by tearing pages out of books in this day and age,” the subscriber said on Sina Weibo.

    • Cinema & censorship

      In a system that sets much store by retaining the power to censor films in the name of certifying them, random attempts by petitioners seeking cuts or even a ban often add to the pre-release anxieties of filmmakers. While rejecting the petition filed by a person claiming to be the daughter of the late Sanjay Gandhi to set aside the certificate granted to Indu Sarkar, a film directed by Madhur Bhandarkar, the Supreme Court has rightly banked on a well-established principle that freedom of expression cannot be curtailed without a valid reason. It has reiterated that the film is nothing but artistic expression within the parameters of law and that there is no warrant or justification to curtail it. Earlier, the Central Board of Film Certification, which under its present director, Pahlaj Nihalani, has not exactly distinguished itself, had granted a certificate to the film after suggesting 14 cuts. The Revision Committee had reduced the number of cuts, leaving nothing to be adjudicated as far as the suitability of the film for exhibition is concerned. Yet, a single individual managed to create some uncertainty over the release of the film by approaching the courts. The film relates to events set during the 1975-77 Emergency and, going by the director’s disclaimer, its factual content is limited to 30%. Apart from the expression of concern by some Congress functionaries, there was little to suggest that anyone would take seriously the claim that the party’s leaders may be convincingly shown “in a bad light”.

    • Cinema & censorship
    • When is censorship a good idea?

      Let’s take the example of Charlie Hebdo. Created in 1970 by François Cavanna and Professor Choron, it was originally named Hebdo Hara-Kiri. It was published every Wednesday and cost €3. In France this newspaper is considered as the guardian of a free press. They did essentially caricatures of politics, religions, sects, far right, Islam.

    • Google Asks US Court To Block Terrible Canadian Supreme Court Ruling On Global Censorship

      Going back to the earliest days of Techdirt, we wrote numerous times about what a jurisdictional mess the internet was for various laws and legal regimes. But, even so, decades later, it’s still pretty shocking just how messy Google’s dispute over global censorship with Canadian courts has become. Last month, we wrote about a positively terrible decision in the Canadian Supreme Court, which upheld an appeals court and a district court, ruling that a Canadian court could order a site to block access to content on a global basis. The lawsuit itself, brought by a company called Equustek against another company apparently selling knockoff/counterfeit equipment, pulled Google into its orbit when the court ordered Google, as a non-party in the case — to block access worldwide to sites managed by the defendant in the lawsuit (who never showed up in court).

      Google pointed out (quite reasonably) that Canadian courts don’t have jurisdiction over the global internet any more than a Chinese or Iranian or Russian court would have jurisdiction across the globe. Over and over again, the Canadian courts more or less ignored the issue, saying, “doesn’t matter, block it, this is bad stuff.” We’ve discussed at great length the dangers of such a decision, so we won’t rehash it now — go read the previous posts, if you want to review that argument.

    • Court says politicians can’t block people on social media
    • Saudi investor buys significant stake in the Independent

      The Saudi investment is likely to cause concern among staff at the Independent given the publication’s liberal stance and the Middle Eastern country’s record on freedom of speech. Saudi Arabia is one of several Middle Eastern countries that has demanded the closure of broadcaster Al-Jazeera in return for lifting a blockade of Qatar. The Independent has written a number of articles questioning Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy.

    • Activists Say Censorship in North Korea Will Not Last
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • When sextortion suspect refused to unlock her iPhone, the FBI stepped in

      The FBI has inserted itself into an ongoing state case in Miami involving two suspects accused of sextorting Julieanna Goddard, a South Beach socialite who goes by YesJulz online. The accused sextortionists are reality-TV star Hencha Voigt and her then-boyfriend, Wesley Victor.

      According to a recent court filing, which was provided to Ars by the Miami Herald, the FBI offered to cover Florida’s costs to pay Cellebrite, a well-known Israeli digital forensics firm, to extract data off of one of the suspects’ iPhone 6. The Cellebrite effort was successful.

    • Shadow Brokers post new message as US hunts for disgruntled ex-NSA agent in cyberweapons leak

      On Thursday (27 July), the mysterious hacker group Shadow Brokers once again advertised their recently launched monthly dump of NSA cyberweapons. Even as the hacker group’s alleged sale of NSA hacking tools continues, US investigators probing the matter are reportedly looking into former insiders, who may have links to the Shadow Brokers.

      According to a report by CyberScoop, US authorities believe that a disgruntled ex-NSA agent or an insider within the US intelligence community (IC) is involved in the theft and subsequent leak of the spy agency’s cyberweapons. Several former NSA employees have reportedly already been contacted by investigators probing how the Shadow Brokers got their hands on the vast trove of NSA hacking tools.

    • Facebook gains patent on privacy settings

      Social media major Facebook has received a patent in India for systems and methods providing privacy settings for applications installed in their profiles.

      According to the Patents Act, 1970, a mere invention in software is not eligible for patent, but the Patent Office observed that the amended claim of Facebook showed the necessary physical interactions among the hardware components and the invention was patentable.

    • Privacy Isn’t Dead. It’s More Popular Than Ever [Ed: Wired spreads the lie that whatsApp offers privacy. It does not. It's surveillance. The vendor, Facebook, sees everything and holds the keys.]
    • Joint letter to European Commission on EU-US Privacy Shield

      Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International write to urge the European Commission to re-evaluate its Implementing Decision 2016/1250 on the adequacy of the protection provided by the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield on the basis that the United States of America (United States) does not ensure a level of fundamental rights protection regarding the processing of personal data that is essentially equivalent to that guaranteed within the European Union (EU).

      We further call on the European Commission to encourage the US legislative and executive branches to adopt the necessary binding reforms so that the transfer of personal data to the United States does comply with the requirements of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, the Data Protection Directive, and the General Data Protection Regulation.

    • Court Blocks Wisconsin Augmented Reality Permit Law From Being Enforced

      You will recall that earlier this year we discussed a lawsuit brought by the makers of a mobile augmented reality game entitled Texas Rope ‘Em against the city of Milwaukee over an ordinance it had put in place requiring game developers to obtain a permit to function within the city. Aside from the $1,000 permit fee the ordinance put in place, the requirements to obtain the permit were both odious and laughably non-applicable to the makers of mobile games such as Texas Rope ‘Em. Examples of these requirements include plans for garbage collection left by players, plans for on-site security to protect players, and estimates of “crowd sizes.” For makers of augmented reality apps, none of these requirements make any sense. When the developer of the game, Candy Lab, cried foul over First Amendment concerns, Milwaukee County replied that the game maker is not entitled to First Amendment rights, arguing that the game wasn’t expressive enough to warrant them.

    • First Playpen FBI Spyware Warrant Hits The Appeals Court Level; Is Upheld On ‘Good Faith’

      The first FBI Playpen investigation warrant challenge to reach the appellate level has been denied. Andrew Workman moved to suppress evidence obtained by the FBI’s Network Investigative Technique (NIT) because warrant was deployed far outside its Eastern District of Virginia jurisdiction. Workman lives in Colorado.

    • Live Event: Discussing Data Protection at a New York Times ‘CryptoParty’

      Raise a drink to locked-down data at our first-ever “CryptoParty,” where you’ll learn the basics of cybersecurity and how to protect your data against online vulnerability in the age of WikiLeaks.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • 34 criminal cases tossed after body cam footage shows cop planting drugs

      Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said that, in all, 123 cases are under review in the wake of a scandal in which one officer has been suspended and two others put on administrative duty. Body cam footage revealed nearly two weeks ago showed one of the officers planting drugs when he didn’t realize his body cam was recording. The Baltimore Police Department’s body cams, like many across the nation, capture footage 30 seconds before an officer presses the record button. The footage was turned over to defense attorneys as part of a drug prosecution—and that’s when the misdeed was uncovered.

    • British hacker Lauri Love: I’d rather kill myself than go to a US prison

      Last September, Westminster Magistrates’ Court granted the extradition request. If found guilty of the charges, Love faces up to 99 years in prison and $9 million (£7 million) in fines.

    • British computer hacker Lauri Love ‘would rather kill himself’ than spend years in US jail

      In April, the High Court granted Mr Love permission to appeal against his extradition to the United States.

    • New York City Council Passes Bill Making NYPD’s Forfeiture Process More Transparent

      For months now, the NYPD has been arguing in court it can’t possibly hand over records related to its forfeitures. The problem appears to be the NYPD itself. The department spent millions on new software specifically to track the disposition of seized items. But when faced with a public records suit by the Bronx Defenders, the NYPD claimed the software can’t do the one thing it’s supposed to do: track the disposition of seized items.

      The NYPD provides limited reporting on forfeitures, but the numbers produced have almost zero relation to reality. According to the NYPD, it only forfeited $12,000 in cash in 2015. According to numbers obtained by the Bronx Defenders, the NYPD’s forfeiture office had nearly $69 million in cash on hand when queried in 2013 — something that would take 5,750 years to amass at the rate cited by the NYPD. Not only that, but other documents showed NYPD property clerks were processing thousands of dollars every month, totaling $6 million in forfeiture transactions in 2013 alone. It seems unlikely the NYPD’s forfeitures dropped to this impossibly-low level between 2013 and 2015.

    • Court Strips Immunity From Sheriff’s Office That Raided Hobby Gardener’s Home Over Tea Leaves

      The whole ordeal lasted two-and-a-half hours. Robert and Addie Harte, along with their children, were held at gunpoint for most of it. The supposed probable cause were tea leaves pulled from the Hartes’ trash, which supposedly tested positive for marijuana. There was no follow-up lab test. The gardening supplies were… well, gardening supplies. Robert Harte was a stay-at-home dad who liked gardening.

      This hobby is what brought law enforcement to the Hartes’ house in the first place. A state trooper with nothing better to do spent a few hours every day sitting in a local gardening store’s parking lot writing down descriptions of shoppers and logging their license plates.

    • Police body cam footage of man tased in back prompts $110K settlement

      Body cam footage of an Aurora, Colorado, cop tasing an unarmed black man in the back paved the way for the city to pay $110,000 to settle police abuse allegations, the man’s lawyers told Ars Thursday.

      Footage from September’s tasing shows two black men being questioned by police who are responding to a weapons incident at a nearby apartment building. One of the men is seen and overheard on the video demanding to know why he’s being questioned. “For what… ?” he says.

      The victim, Darsean Kelley, then appears to thump his chest with his right hand and yell, “I know my rights.” He’s then tased in the back, loses his faculties, and falls flat on his back. He begins screaming uncontrollably, according to the video. Adding insult to injury, he’s also arrested, charged with failure to obey police, and then jailed for three days because he’s unable to post bail.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • [Older] ‘It’s digital colonialism’: how Facebook’s free internet service has failed its users

      Free Basics, Facebook’s free, limited internet service for developing markets, is neither serving local needs nor achieving its objective of bringing people online for the first time.

    • Sprint seeks merger with Charter to create wireless and cable giant

      Wireless carrier Sprint is trying to merge with cable giant Charter Communications, The Wall Street Journal reported today.

      Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son proposed the merger to create “a new publicly traded entity that would combine Sprint and Charter and be controlled by Japan’s SoftBank Group,” the Journal wrote, citing “people familiar with the matter.” Son is the founder and CEO of SoftBank, which owns Sprint.

    • West Virginia Tries To Improve Broadband Competition, Incumbent ISPs Immediately Sue

      So by now you’ve probably noticed that the broadband industry is somewhat, well, broken. Unaccountable giant telecom incumbents, with a stranglehold on both federal and state lawmakers, work tirelessly alongside well-compensated lawmakers and covertly paid policy vessels to protect the status quo (read: limited competition, high prices, poor customer service). Often that involves quite literally writing and buying state laws that make it impossible for anybody to do much of anything about this dance of dysfunction.

      And when it comes to highlighting the end result of this corruption, there’s no better state than West Virginia. Whereas bigger incumbents in more populated states can often hide their stranglehold over a broken market under layers upon layers of exquisitely crafted bullshit, many West Virginia lawmakers and regional incumbent Frontier Communications lack the savvy and competence to mask what they’re truly up to.

    • Cable lobby claims US is totally overflowing in broadband competition

      Many Americans who feel that they have only one viable choice for home broadband might think that cable lobbyists are describing an alternate reality. But it’s easy to see the difference between NCTA marketing and Internet users’ actual experiences. Yes, if you factor in any wireline home Internet provider offering any speed, then US customers can generally choose between a fast cable network and a slow DSL one. But if one of your two options isn’t fast enough to meet your needs, then there’s really just one choice.

      The NCTA post makes a better case that competition is prevalent in subscription TV services, noting that nearly all American homes have access to a wireline TV provider and two satellite providers. Netflix and other online streaming services also take up a huge share of TV watching, the NCTA pointed out.

    • Over 190 Engineers & Tech Experts Tell The FCC It’s Dead Wrong On Net Neutrality

      There’s now 11 million comments on the FCC’s plan to kill net neutrality, a record for the agency and a significantly higher output than the 4 million comments the FCC received when crafting the current rules. And while many of these comments are fraudulent bot-crafted support for the FCC’s plan, the limited analysis we’ve seen so far suggests the vast majority of those organizations, companies and individuals prefer keeping the existing rules intact. And most people generally understand that removing regulatory oversight in the absence of organic market competition doesn’t end well for anybody not-named Comcast.

    • MPs demand compensation for poor broadband speeds

      The Broadband 2.0 report, which is backed by 57 MPs, calls for automatic compensation for customers who do not get the level of speed promised from the internet packages they buy.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Apple paid Nokia $2 billion to escape fight over old patents

      The lawsuit, the second high-profile patent dispute between Apple and Nokia in the last decade, began last year when Nokia accused Apple of infringing on dozens of patents it owns, as well as patents owned by Nokia subsidiaries.

    • Trademarks

      • Olive Garden Apologizes To Allofgarden.com, Blames IP Enforcement Bot For Legal Threat

        You will hopefully recall the recent story we did on Darden, parent company of the Olive Garden restaurant chain, sending a legal threat letter to the man behind allofgarden.com, a site that reviews Olive Garden dishes, because the internet is a strange, strange place. At issues, according to the threat letter, was that allofgarden.com named Olive Garden in metatags in its reviews of the dishes, which you should already know is nothing remotely resembling trademark infringement or infringement upon any other types of intellectual property, either. With that in mind, Vincent Malone replied to the threat letter in a manner both well-informed of his own rights and one which demonstrated just how funny Malone is. After refusing to comply with the requests in the letter, he demanded a reply within nine days in limerick form.

      • E And J Gallo Sends Cease And Desist Trademark Notice To E And B Beer

        It’s been a refreshing bit of time since we’ve last written about a silly trademark dispute in the beer and alcohol space, so perhaps you, the dear Techdirt reader, had thought that the complete fuster-cluck that is trademark and alcohol had somehow begun to calm the hell down. Sadly, not so much, it seems. To serve as one reminder, E & J Gallo, maker of wines and spirits and a company that has previously demonstrated its inability to tell different kinds of drinks apart, has sent a cease and desist notice to E & B Beer, a company that makes, you know, beer.

      • Cigar City Brewing Sues Cigar City Salsa Over Trademark Despite Being In Different Marketplaces

        I’m generally not much for the summer season, but one sensation I do love is getting home from work on a painfully hot day, having just purchased a six-pack of beer, and cracking open a cold one in the evening. The only thing that occasionally gets in the way of that is when I lift the bottle to my mouth and then immediately realize that instead of beer, I bought salsa.

    • Copyrights

      • YouTube Red and Google Play Music may merge into one service

        Google is notorious for having many services that do similar things, like its array of chat apps. Google’s music services have been fragmented for years, but the company may change that soon. According to a report from The Verge, YouTube’s head of music Lyor Cohen stated at the New Music Seminar conference in New York last night that YouTube Red and Google Play Music should merge to make a singular, cohesive service.

        Although the report doesn’t mention YouTube Music (which is a another separate service), it’s safe to say that all three streaming offerings could be combined into one. Google merged the YouTube Music and Google Play Music product teams together earlier this year, and that move came shortly after the business development teams for both services merged in 2016.

      • Which Domain Names Are Safe From Copyright Bullies?

        In recent years many “infringing” domain names have been suspended following complaints from rightsholders. How these complaints are handled largely depends on the policies of the associated domain registries. In a new whitepaper, EFF and Public Knowledge give some helpful pointers to find out which domains are safe from copyright bullies, and which aren’t.

      • Portugal’s Pirate Site-Blocking System Works “Great,” Study Shows

        New research, commissioned by Hollywood, concludes that Portugal’s voluntary pirate site-blocking system is very effective. It significantly reduced traffic to the country’s most used pirate sites and serves as an example for other countries. The MPAA hopes that these results will help to export the anti-piracy measures across the globe.

      • Italian ISPs Say New Copyright Amendment Infringes Human Rights

        A copyright amendment approved by the Italian authorities breaches the EU convention on human rights, an ISP organization has warned. The law allows the Italian Communications Regulatory Authority to issue “take down, stay down” instructions to websites listing allegedly infringing content but without intervention from the judiciary.

      • Kim Dotcom set to receive seized funds, “4 containers full of seized property”

        The Megaupload founder has been battling an American criminal copyright case from New Zealand for years now, and so far he’s successfully resisted extradition. Dotcom was also hit with a civil forfeiture case filed by the Department of Justice, which was brought 18 months after the initial criminal charges. Prosecutors have sought to seize an extensive list of assets, including millions of dollars in various seized bank accounts in Hong Kong and New Zealand, multiple cars, four jet skis, the Dotcom mansion, several luxury cars, two 108-inch TVs, three 82-inch TVs, a $10,000 watch, and a photograph by Olaf Mueller worth over $100,000.

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