When It Comes to Software Patents, the EPO Has Become Among the Worst in the World

Posted in America, Asia, Europe at 3:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This EPO presentation spoke of software patents (“CII”). Photo credit: EPO Patent Information Conference 2016 (Grant Philpott)

Summary: Software patents, which were never meant to be granted by the EPO, are nowadays being granted quite leniently and easily (whereas other patent offices growingly reject these, deeming them too abstract and not beneficial)

THE EPO does not seem to mind the law (or any of the laws). It exists in a vacuum and it grants software patents in Europe in defiance of directives, the public interest, and the EPC.

Earlier today Graham McGlashan from Marks & Clerk said that a “computer program itself can potentially be patented at the European Patent Office” because the EPO has gone rogue and the subject isn’t even up for debate anymore; the EPO promotes these patents in public events and by doing so it metaphorically spits at the Parliament, at the European public, and on the EPC.

Here is the relevant paragraph:

The European Patent Office will potentially allow a patent if the claimed subject matter is novel and inventive and has a technical character – even if the invention is computer implemented. A computer program itself can potentially be patented at the European Patent Office if it is capable of bringing about, when running on a computer, a further technical effect going beyond the “normal” physical interactions between the program (software) and the computer (hardware) on which it is run.

This was published by people who put misleading puff pieces in British media and promote software patents, the UPC etc.

The above is of course the old mumbo-jumbo where general-purpose computers on which programs run are used to attribute some magical physical properties to code. It’s a clever trick, but it’s all just a sham. Yet it helps bypass examiners.

Several months ago Marks & Clerk said in a public event that it had become easier to patent software at the EPO than at the USPTO. How revealing a statement!

Looking elsewhere in the news today, IAM published another marketing piece (this one for Bereskin & Parr LLP) with nothing in it about patent scope as CIPO (Canada’s patent office) is having a consultation and there’s no sign of growing tolerance towards software patents. Innofy’s Katherine Rock wrote about software patents in Australia, taking stock of quite a few recent cases and concluding that “Australian Patent Office Says No” (to software patents).

From the concluding part:

On the face of it, the decision issued in July by the Australian Patent Office may be discouraging as the apparent rejections relate to a broad range of fields of innovation – from collection and analysis of data, targeting advertising, statistical optimisation for assay analysis, and insurance policy management.

However, it does appear that the Patent Office is operating on a case by case basis, and in addition looking to authorities which ostensibly require a demonstrable technical effect (see, eg, Aerotel), a concrete, physical effect (see, eg, Grant), and/or distinctions from a generic computer system(s). Therefore, we would advise that when seeking to apply for patent protection in Australia, you consider these authorities and seek a professional opinion – so feel free to contact us with any questions.

Notwithstanding the above, given the contention around the issue of patent eligibility of software, and the fact that the interpretation of the Patents Act may be subject to change as more cases are brought before the courts, we could well see a relaxing (or tightening) of these requirements in years to come.

Is it harder to get software patents in Australia than it is in Europe? Remember that in the US even if one manages to get a software patent, this patent is very unlikely to be upheld in courts. We have heard that the same is becoming true in Japan (the only other stronghold of software patents*). These patents just lack potency and would be worthless if asserted, which is why patent trolls prefer going after small firms which would settle out of court.

Earlier today we spotted this announcement about purchase [sic] (reassignment) of patents that are basically on software but are painted as “mobile” (to bypass abstractness tests). Here are the patents:

USPTO 8,369,828 “Mobile-to-Mobile Payment System and Method”;
USPTO 8,073,895 & 8,572,166 “System and Method for Delivering Web Content to a Mobile Device”;
USPTO 8,315,184 “Computer to Mobile Two-Way Chat System and Method”

This seems like a waste of time and money. Maybe they just didn’t get the ‘memo’ about software patents in the US.

So how did the EPO become a laughing stock for low patent quality? (or broad scope)

Part of the problem, we suspect, is Battistelli's attack on the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office (BoA), which exist to help guard — independently — the integrity and quality of the EPO. “In Decision T 488/16,” we learned today, BoA “have revoked EP 1 169 038…”

Here are the details:

In Decision T 488/16, the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office (BoA) have revoked EP 1 169 038, which protected the blockbuster protein tyrosine kinase (PTK) inhibitor dasatinib (Sprycel®). The only request on file — a single claim directed to dasatinib per se or a salt thereof — was found to lack inventive step in view of the absence of evidence in the application as filed (and the common general knowledge) which rendered the activity of dasatinib in inhibiting PTK “plausible”. A general statement in the application as filed that “Compounds described in the following Examples have been tested in one or more of these assays, and have shown activity” was not by itself considered enough to render it credible to the skilled person that the described compounds were PTK inhibitors. In the absence of a plausible disclosure of activity against PTK in the specification as filed, the objective technical problem was defined by the Board of Appeal as merely “the provision of a further chemical compound”. The extensive clinical data which became available after the filing date of the patent evidencing biological activity was not taken into account when determining inventive step.

The Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office have for many years imposed a requirement that claims for large molecules (e.g., proteins) must be supported by a plausible disclosure of biological activity in the application as filed (see, for example, T 1329/04). A similar requirement for a plausible disclosure of activity in the original specification has also been required to support medical use claims (see, for example, T 0609/02). However, this Decision indicates that the Boards are willing to apply the same strict standards when assessing claims for small molecule drugs per se.

Based on recent reports, the BoA may already be ‘in transit’, having been exiled by Battistelli with help from Kongstad (who will be leaving the EPO next month). We are very worried that the EPO without a strong and independent BoA will take the European patent regime into total oblivion.
* Japan has long been known as the ‘twin’ of the US when it comes to software patents, with Korea highly reluctant to follow suit and only China relaxing the rules as it opens the floodgates to just about any patent (not just on software).

Sinking Patent Quality at the Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office (BPTO)

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 2:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

NASCAR sponsorsHas Battistelli gotten a patent on this policy?

Summary: The neglect of patent quality (and high-quality assessment of applications) is becoming a worldwide phenomenon, having already become the norm in Europe

EARLIER today IAM published this ad which claims that Brazil “may grant 230,000 pending patent applications to eliminate backlog” and if it sounds familiar (recipe for disaster), then it’s probably because of the EPO. So Brazil wants to ‘pull a Battistelli’ by granting bogus patents? Supposedly to pretend it’s doing well?

“So Brazil wants to ‘pull a Battistelli’ by granting bogus patents?”The USPTO did something similar a few decades ago and look what it got them… a country saturated with patent trolls and thousands of lawsuits per year, with almost trillions on the line (aggregated).

The ad (self-promotional piece) from IAM says: “The government is considering an emergency measure to eliminate the Brazilian Patent and Trademark Office’s (BPTO) chronic patent backlog by automatically granting 230,000 pending applications by 2020. The government labelled this proposed emergency measure an “extraordinary solution” for the problem, and a draft of the plan has been introduced for public discussion.”

That is a very bad idea. India and China dealt with a similar situation, but they did not label it “extraordinary solution” or an “emergency”. They just hired more staff.

“…the whole PPH programme there (officially started at the beginning of July) was primarily a publicity stunt of Battistelli, timed to distract from all the awful things he had been doing.”Incidentally, earlier this week we saw another PPH ‘article’ (self-promotional piece). It was the fourth such piece from that region (southeast Asia) regarding PPH and the EPO. Denise Mirandah and Rudina Pescante (of Mirandah Asia) miss the point that the EPO essentially abolished patent neutrality, not only with PACE (introduced covertly) but also this so-called ‘highway’. This piece is about PPH (PACE is mentioned also) and it says this: “The European patent application will be processed in an accelerated manner once the request for participation in the PPH pilot programme has been granted. EPO’s existing PACE programme, a popular free programme for accelerating prosecution of patent applications, can be applied by analogy to the prosecution of European patent applications processed under the present agreements of EPO with IPOPHL.”

The problem though, as we noted before, is that these countries barely have any EPs (about 3 orders of magnitude less than large economies in the West) and the whole PPH programme there (officially started at the beginning of July) was primarily a publicity stunt of Battistelli, timed to distract from all the awful things he had been doing. He even did these stunts in countries with not a single EP!

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Continues to Invalidate Software Patents, Should Tackle Public Universities Too

Posted in America, Patents at 2:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The more we have of PTAB, the better, argue lobbyists of technology companies (as opposed to law firms)


Summary: A look at the latest progress from PTAB, which is dealing with almost 2000 petitions to invalidate patents every year

THE large pool of patents on software (those granted by the USPTO, estimated to be hundreds of thousands in number) are on very shaky ground right now. It has been several months if not half a year since we last heard about a high US court accepting a software patent; and we watch these things closely…

“It has been several months if not half a year since we last heard about a high US court accepting a software patent; and we watch these things closely…”PTAB too is going strong, not just the courts. Michael Loney’s latest report with statistics says that “filings [to invalidate patents] fall,” but they’re about the same as in prior years (same period of time) and are still relatively high.

Perhaps neglecting to account for the fact that it’s summertime (people on holiday), Loney said: “Petition filing at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) fell to 139 petitions in July, down greatly from 206 petitions in June and below the monthly average of 167.4 petitions for the year so far.”

But these things ought to be compared year-to-year, month-to-month. Either way, in another new article (behind a paywall) it’s said that PTAB is making Athena Automation v Husky Injection Molding System precedential:

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s October 2013 decision determining that the doctrine of assignor estoppel is not an exception to Section 311(a) is the ninth to be deemed precedential

The PTAB has designated the Athena Automation v Husky Injection Molding System decision as precedential.

Earlier today, in a paid press release, a defendant said that the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) had “affirmed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) February 2016 decision invalidating all three patents”; these seem to be software patents. As the statement puts it, “Audatex, a unit of Solera Holdings, Inc., sued Mitchell in February 2012 alleging that Mitchell’s WorkCenter software infringed three Audatex patents.”

“…universities should not be immune from PTAB as they often sell their patents to trolls (not only in the US) and thus deserve no shielding from scrutiny.”That’s 5 years of legal bills because of just 3 bogus patents on software. Imagine the cost. What if the examiners simply rejected these patent applications?

Also today there’s this so-called ‘international report’ (advertisement) from IAM, titled “Public universities are immune from [PTAB] inter partes review, but are their patent co-owners?”

No, universities should not be immune from PTAB as they often sell their patents to trolls (not only in the US) and thus deserve no shielding from scrutiny. We wrote about this quite a few times in the past.

Links 9/8/2017: Wine Staging 2.14, Brooklyn 0.2

Posted in News Roundup at 12:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Ubooquity Comic Book Linux Server | For The Record

      As part of an ongoing series about re-taking control of our digital media, this first installment will address how to serve and organize your scanned comic book collection files by running Ubooquity Comic Book Server on Ubuntu.

    • BTRFS is Toast | TechSNAP 331

      We discuss just how hard, or not, responsible disclosure really is, share some sad news about the status of BTRFS on RHEL, a few more reasons to use ZFS.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Make Your Desktop Elegant With Victory Theme And Icons

      Victory Gtk theme is not new and the initial release was way back in April, 2010. The development was stopped then creator started working again on this theme a while ago. The entire theme is recreated as a vibrant, elegant, bright and flat using minimalistic approach. From day one this theme is targeting Xfce and Lxde desktops but now it does work in Gnome and Cinnamon desktops as well without any issue, and Openbox desktop also supported by this theme. It is available for Gtk 3.18/3.22/2.24 that means you can install it in Ubuntu 17.10/17.04/16.04 and Linux Mint 18, as well as other related Ubuntu derivatives. There is also Victory icon theme available by the same creator which we did share in past and below you can find the commands to install those icons as well. If you find any kind of bug or problem with the theme then report it creator and hopefully it will get fixed in the next update.

    • Flat Remix Icon Theme for Linux
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Akademy 2017 Review

        Akademy 2017 was held in Almeria, Spain for a week full of discussion around the Plasma project. Our VDG team was represented by Jens Reutenberg (jensreu) and Andy Betts (anditosan). Our aim at the event was to provide help to many of the developers who gathered at the event and needed help in designing new applications using guidelines or just coming up with design ideas.

      • Akademy group photo time series

        Akademy is the oldest yearly meeting of KDE programmers. This year I attended for the tenth time.

        Dublin in 2006 was my first Akademy. I will never forget it. It was my first time meeting the people from whom I learned so much.

      • KDE Brooklyn Chat Bridge Declared Production-Ready

        The GSoC student developer working on “Brooklyn”, the protocol-independent chat bridge for KDE systems and written in Java, has declared his project a success. In ending out the GSoC summer work, he has released Brooklyn v0.2 and has deemed it ready for production use.

        The Brooklyn chat program for KDE as of version 0.2 supports the Telegram, IRC, and Rocket Chat services.

      • Brooklyn 0.2 released, ready for production

        For Debian 9 users who want to use it without too many configurations, there is an Ansible config ready to be used.

      • Randa Meetings 2017: It’s All About Accessibility

        Randa 2015 was about bringing touch to KDE apps and interfaces. At Randa 2016, developers worked on building frameworks that would allow KDE apps to work on a wider range of operating systems, like Windows, MacOS and Android.

        Randa Meetings 2017 will be all about accessibility.

        At KDE, we understand that using an application – be it an email client, a video editor, or even educational games aimed at children – is not always easy. Different conditions and abilities require different ways of interacting with apps. The same app design will not work equally well for somebody with 20/20 vision and for somebody visually impaired. You cannot expect somebody with reduced mobility to be able to nimbly click around your dialogue boxes.

        This year we want to focus on things that have had a tendency to fall by the wayside; on solving the problems that are annoying, even deal-breaking for some, but not for everyone.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Hands On With Manokwari, a GNOME Desktop Shell Built Using HTML5

        It’s not often that I get to write about a new desktop shell — especially one I’ve never heard of! So when a reader mailed me this ask to ask exactly that, I had to say yes.

        The desktop shell in question is Manokwari. It’s built for GNOME 3 using GTK+ and HTML5 and is, I’m told, an evolution of an earlier project called blankon-panel. That project didn’t ring any bells with me, but it may for you as blankon-panel, now Manokwari, is the desktop used by the BlankOn Linux distribution.

      • My first GUADEC :D

        I attended my first GUADEC this year which was held at Manchester, UK. One of the reason I started contributing to GNOME was becasue of the family like community it has. Being a newcomer at GNOME, I felt so welcomed and part of this huge family at GUADEC!

      • My trip to GUADEC 2017

        One week ago attended this years GUADEC (Gnome User And Developer European Conference) taking place at the MMU Birley Fields Campus in Manchester, UK.

        Unfortunately I could not attend the first half of Day 1 so I missed some nice talks, but I just arrived in time to present my work on the cloud provider API for the Google Summer of Code at the Interns lightning talks. You can find my slides here. It was really amazing to hear about all the other interesting project going on and also meeting people to talk about the stuff they were doing. I also got a lot of positive feedback on my own GSoC project which was really motivating to me.


        The first talk was done by Jonathan Blandford who gave an entertaining overview of the history of the GNOME project and how it evolved from having 5 different clocks to a user experience focused desktop environment just by removing more and more features. In the second one by Neil McGovern, the current GNOME Foundation Executive Director, was more a overall look at the near future and how free software and a free desktop system could have an influence on that.

      • GUADEC 2017

        I attended my first GUADEC this year, held in beautiful city of Manchester. I am in general not very enthusiastic about social meetings but GUADEC was something I always wished to attend and I am glad I did.

      • Building local firmware in fwupd

        Most of the time when you’re distributing firmware you have permission from the OEM or ODM to redistribute the non-free parts of the system firmware, e.g. Dell can re-distribute the proprietary Intel Management Engine as part as the firmware capsule that gets flashed onto the hardware. In some cases that’s not possible, for example for smaller vendors or people selling OpenHardware. In this case I’m trying to help Purism distribute firmware updates for their hardware, and they’re only able to redistribute the Free Software coreboot part of the firmware. For reasons (IFD, FMAP and CBFS…) you need to actually build the target firmware on the system you’re deploying onto, where build means executing random low-level tools to push random blobs of specific sizes into specific unnecessarily complex partition formats rather than actually compiling .c into executable code. The current solution is a manually updated interactive bash script which isn’t awesome from a user-experience or security point of view. The other things vendors have asked for in the past is a way to “dd” a few bytes of randomness into the target image at a specific offset and also to copy the old network MAC address into the new firmware. I figured fwupd should probably handle this somewhat better than a random bash script running as root on your live system.

      • The GNOME Way

        When I first got involved in GNOME, one of the things that struck me was how principled it was. The members of the project had a strong set of values, both about what they were doing and why they were doing it. It was inspiring to see this and it’s one of the things that really made me want to get more involved.

        Over the years that I’ve participated in the project, I’ve been able to get a better sense of GNOME’s principles and the role that they play in the project. They are the subject of this post.

        The principles that the members of the GNOME project hold in common play an important practical role. They make problem-solving more efficient, by providing a basis on which decisions can be made. They also help to coordinate activities across the project.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • GParted 0.29.0

        This release of GParted includes enhancements, bug fixes and language translation updates.

      • GParted / GParted Live 0.29 Released

        GParted, the widely-used GNOME/GTK Partition Editor for Linux systems, is out with a new release and is joined by an updated GParted Live, the live CD/USB Linux distribution for editing your partitions/file-systems.

    • Gentoo Family

      • ScyllaDB meets Gentoo Linux

        I am happy to announce that my work on packaging ScyllaDB for Gentoo Linux is complete!

        Happy or curious users are very welcome to share their thoughts and ping me to get it into portage (which will very likely happen).

    • Arch Family

      • Arch Linux 2017.08.01 Available to Download as First ISO Powered by Linux 4.12

        A new month, a new ISO snapshot of the popular and lightweight Arch Linux operating system surfaces, bringing us fresh packages and all of last month’s security patches for easy deployment on new computers.

        Arch Linux 2017.08.01 has been released, and it’s now available for download if you want to reinstall your Arch Linux OS for various reasons or deploy the GNU/Linux distribution on new PCs without going through all the hustle of download hundreds of updates from the official repositories after the installation.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • I just spent about 5 hours trying to install Linux mint, Then finally gave up and installed OpenSuse in about half an hour.
      • openSUSE Leap 42.3 Linux OS Release Features

        The Linux best project openSUSE Project releases its latest & most powerful Linux based operating system openSUSE Leap 42.3 brings the community version aligned with its core of SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) 12.

        The Linux users, administrators & developers use the newest chameleon distribution with the support of mutual packages of both Leap & SLE distributions. The leap 42.3 new release has SUSE adopters including server OS so as to deploy IT in physical, virtual & cloud environments.

        openSUSE Leap 42.3 is the Leap’s 3rd edition which has more than 10,000 packages and offers better stability for the Linux users with a new refresh hardware enables release.The release is powered by Linux 4.4 Long-Term-Support (LTS) kernel. Leap 42.3 supports KDE’s Long-Term-Support LTS release 5.8 as the default desktop selection. It also offers GNOME 3.20 as well as SUSE Linux Enterprise support.

    • Red Hat Family

      • RedHat: Open Source driving innovation and digital transformation

        Slow growth in Latin American countries in recent years has stood open source software giant RedHat in good stead as companies seek to reduce costs and innovate to create new business models.

        “Often what is a limitation to certain companies during an economic downturn, like budget cuts, is favorable for us. We’re not so exposed to economic fluctuations. We’re counter cyclical,” Adrián Cambareri (pictured) Latin America region manager for Red hat’s infrastructure business group, told BNamericas, speaking on the sidelines of the RedHat Forum in Santiago, Chile.

      • Red Hat updates OpenShift container platform with new service catalog

        Red Hat issued its quarterly update to the OpenShift platform today, adding among other things, a Service Catalog that enables IT or third-party vendors to create connections to internal or external services.

        OpenShift is RedHat’s Platform as a Service, based on Kubernetes, the open source container management platform, which was originally developed by Google. It also supports Docker, a popular container platform, and adheres to the Open Container Initiative, a set of industry standards for containers, according to the company.

        As companies make the shift from virtual machines to containers, there is an increasing need for platforms like OpenShift, and Red Hat is seeing massive interest from companies as varying as Deutsche Bank, Volvo and United Health.

      • Red Hat Enhances Cloud-Native Security, Application Consistency with Latest Version of Red Hat OpenShift Container
      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • William Beauford and Bryan Rhodes: How Do You Fedora?

          We recently interviewed William Beauford and Bryan Rhodes on how they use Fedora. This is part of a series on the Fedora Magazine. The series profiles Fedora users and how they use Fedora to get things done. Contact us on the feedback form to express your interest in becoming a interviewee.

        • Fedora Classroom Session 3

          Ankur Sinha (“FranciscoD”) is a Free Software supporter and has been with the Fedora community for the better part of a decade now. Rahul Sundaram mentored him as font package maintainer in his early days with Fedora. Ankur has since branched out to acquaint himself with many other teams and SIGs.

          He is a Fedora Workstation user, and prefers to use the terminal as much as possible. Currently, he is working on his PhD in computational neuroscience in the UK. When he does have time to spare, he focuses on the Fedora Join SIG and on maintaining his packages.

    • Debian Family

      • DebConf17 first videos published

        Due to some technical issues, it took a slight bit longer than I’d originally expected; but the first four videos of the currently running DebConf 17 conference are available. Filenames are based on the talk title, so that should be reasonably easy to understand. I will probably add an RSS feed (like we’ve done for DebConf 16) to that place some time soon as well, but code for that still needs to be written.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Needs Your Help to Finalize the Unity to GNOME Shell Transition
          • Canonical needs your help transitioning Ubuntu Linux from Unity to GNOME
          • Ubuntu 17.10 to Enter Feature Freeze on August 24, Python 3 Transition Continues

            We like the way Canonical keeps the community behind its popular Ubuntu Linux operating system up-to-date with what’s going on behind closed doors, and a new newsletter from Ubuntu Foundations Team is out now.

            The Ubuntu Foundations Team newsletters highlight some of the biggest things happing behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system, and we’d like to inform the reader about some of them, too, in particular those affecting the upcoming Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) release.

          • Ubuntu Community Hub Proposal

            For over four years now, the Ubuntu Community Portal has been the ‘welcome mat’ for new people seeking to get involved in Ubuntu. In that time the site had seen some valuable but minor incremental changes; no major updates have occurred recently. I’d like us to fix this. We can also use this as an opportunity to improve our whole onboarding process.

          • Ubuntu Foundations Development Summary: August 8, 2017
          • Ubuntu in NYC: Kubernetes in minutes and enterprise support on AWS

            On August 14th, at the Javits Convention Center in midtown Manhattan, Canonical will be participating in the AWS Summit. Ubuntu has long been popular with users of AWS due to its stability, regular cadence of releases, and scale-out-friendly usage model. Canonical optimizes, builds, and regularly publishes the latest Ubuntu images to the EC2 Quickstart and AWS Marketplace, which ensures the best Ubuntu experience for developers using AWS’s cloud services. And in April, we even launched an AWS-tuned kernel, which provides up to 30% faster boot speeds, on a 15% smaller kernel package, as well as many other features.

          • A Small Unity Feature Missing in GNOME Shell [Video]

            A world of change is headed to Ubuntu as the distro switches from Unity to GNOME Shell. Long time Unity users accustomed to the workflow, feature set and quirks of Ubuntu’s incumbent releases will need to adapt to different ways of doing familiar things in its upcoming ones.

          • The Fridge: Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 515

            Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter. This is issue #515 for the week of August 1 – 7, 2017, and the full version is available here.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Is the Path to Secure Elections Paved With Open Source Code?

    Increased use of open source software could fortify U.S. election system security, according to an op-ed published last week in The New York Times.

    Former CIA head R. James Woolsey and Bash creator Brian J. Fox made their case for open source elections software after security researchers demonstrated how easy it was to crack some election machines in the Voting Machine Hacking Village staged at the recent DefCon hacking conference in Las Vegas.

  • Company Solutions: Is Open Source Software Right For Your Small Business?

    If you have decided that open source is right for your business, then there’s a plethora to choose from these days. It may take some trial and error, but once you find the right program, you will be good to go and can start watching your savings grow. For a comprehensive office suite, Apache OpenOffice is a highly-rated substitute for Microsoft Office that runs on Windows, macOS and Linux. For finance and accounting programs like Quicken, a great open source option is GnuCash, which also runs on Windows, macOS and Linux. Lastly, for an alternative to large, expensive ERPs, the popular ADempiere, which runs on Windows, macOS, Linux and Unix, can help your small business with things like material management, project management, as well as finance and human resources.

  • Former CIA director: secure US elections with open-source voting machines

    Former CIA director R. James Woolsey and legendary free software creator Brian “bash” Fox took to the New York Times’s op-ed page to explain that proprietary software and voting machines don’t mix, because unless anyone who wants to can audit the software that powers the nation’s elections, exploitable bugs will lurk in them, ready to be used by bad guys to screw up the vote-count.

  • Inocybe Expands Reach, Leadership as SDN Controller Market Matures

    Inocybe Technologies is banking on the continued growth of open source-based software-defined networking (SDN) controllers. The company is expanding the physical reach of its operations and depth of its leadership team.

  • The Actually Distributed Web

    I thought my mind was through getting blown until I heard in mid-June 2017 that Brave raised $35 million in less than 30 seconds, though an ICO (Initial Coin Offering). I did know ICOs were hot stuff. I also knew Brave’s ICO was about to happen, because Brendan Eich, the company CEO, said so over breakfast two days earlier. So my seat belt was fastened, but the acceleration of the ICO still left my mental ass on the pavement two counties back.

    Since then, I’ve hyper-focused on cryptocurrencies, tokens, distributed ledgers, ICOs and the rest of it for two reasons. One is that there is a craze going on. See Figure 1.

  • Succeeding with Open Source in the Municipal Government Enterprise

    Everyone wants to hop onthe bandwagon of Open Source application development for the most obvious reason, eliminating commercial software licensing costs. However, an organization’s decision-makers need to consider a much more complicated set of Open Source advantages and disadvantages before making a commitment on its development strategy.

    At the start, it seems there are more questions than answers. What are the constraints local government agencies have in embracing the Open Source culture? How do you prepare an organization to move from proprietary, vendor-supported software development practices to a non-commercial, community-based environment? Why should a municipal government agency invest in a new technology practice that manyconsider risky, and that needs significant upfront investment in new computing environments and training? What are the right Open Source frameworks, code, and systems supported by a robust development community?

    This discussiontries to answer these questions by describing one initiative undertaken by the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT). We successfully ventured into Open Source development practices for a major IT system replacement moving from mainframe to web.

  • The Faces of Open Source: Luis Villa

    This is the second episode from the series, “The Faces of Open Source Law,” by Shane Martin Coughlan. The series puts a face to the vibrant open source community, and the fascinating discussions happening within it, through a series of interviews that we’ll be sharing here. This first “season” focuses on issues related to law (copyright, licensing, patents, foundations, governance, etc.) and includes interviews with several current and former OSI Board Directors.

    In addition, Shane has graciously offered his own insights from the interviews, which we’ve included below.

  • 3 open source projects that make Kubernetes easier

    Clearly, Kubernetes is an elegant solution to an important problem. Kubernetes allows us to run containerized applications at scale without drowning in the details of balancing loads, networking containers, ensuring high availability for apps, or managing updates or rollbacks. So much complexity is hidden safely away.

    But using Kubernetes is not without its challenges. Getting up and running with Kubernetes takes some work, and many of the management and maintenance tasks around Kubernetes are downright thorny.

    As active as Kubernetes development is, we can’t expect the main project to solve every problem immediately. Fortunately, the community around Kubernetes is finding solutions to those problems that, for one reason or another, the Kubernetes team hasn’t zeroed in on.

  • Local government migrates to open source cloud

    Open source software has come a long way since the turn of the century. Every year, more and more people are embracing open source technology and development models. Not just people, though—corporations and governments are exploring open source solutions, too. From the White House to the Italian army, open source is appearing more frequently in the public sector. One of the newest additions to the list is the municipality of Tirana, Albania.

  • Vodafone joins Prpl Foundation to spur open-source

    Mobile telephone service provider Vodafone Group has joined Prpl Foundation an open-source consortium with a focus on enabling the security and interoperability of embedded devices.

  • Vodafone Joins prpl Foundation To Spur Open-Source Innovation In The Digital Home And Smart Gateways
  • Big data storage continues evolution in state, local government

    With such an array of data types, sizes and uses, Bierweiler advocates for state and local agencies to embrace enterprise open source platforms to address users’ many needs.

  • Container Networking Challenges the Focus of Tigera Calico Update

    The boldly named Essentials for Kubernetes product is the firm’s first commercial packaged platform. The product is specifically targeted at management of the container networking space, which includes a set of interfaces for adding and removing containers from a network.


    Tigera is targeting a handful of connectivity platforms, including Container Networking Interface (CNI), its own Calico offer, Flannel, and Istio.

    Tigera has been a proponent of CNI, with Tipirneni explaining the firm’s history of contributing to the standard.

    CNI was initially proposed by CoreOS to define a common interface between network plugins and container execution. It has limited responsibility over network connectivity of containers, and it removes allocated resources when the container is deleted.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Firefox 55 Web Browser Is Now Available to Download, Here’s What’s New

        It’s not yet official, but the Firefox 55.0 open-source and cross-platform web browser is now available for download on GNU/Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows operating systems.

        Mozilla will make the release of Firefox 55 official on August 8, 2017, but you can get an early taste right now by downloading the binary or source packages for supported OSes from Mozilla’s FTP servers if you can’t wait to update your Firefox web browser through OTA updates.

        And it just happens that we got our hands on the preliminary release notes that were seeded on the Beta channel since Firefox 55 entered development on June 14, 2017. Thirteen RCs later and the final release of Firefox 55.0 is now ready to be savored on your favorite operating system.

      • Firefox 55 Released, This Is What’s New

        Firefox 55 features a number of welcome improvements in memory usage and startup time, and offers ‘search suggestions’ in the URL bar.

      • Firefox Is Better, For You. WebVR and new speedy features launching today in Firefox

        Perhaps you’re starting to see a pattern – we’re working furiously to make Firefox faster and better than ever. And today we’re shipping a new release that’s our best yet, one that introduces exciting, empowering new technologies for creators as well as improves the everyday experience for all Firefox users.


        Are you a tab hoarder? As part of our Quantum Flow project to improve performance, we’ve significantly reduced the time it takes to start Firefox when restoring tabs from a previous session. Just how much faster are things now? Mozillian Dietrich Ayala ran an interesting experiment, comparing how long it takes to start various versions of Firefox with a whopping 1,691 tabs open. The end result? What used to take nearly eight minutes, now takes just 15 seconds.

      • The Mozilla Information Trust Initiative: Building a movement to fight misinformation online

        Today, we are announcing the Mozilla Information Trust Initiative (MITI)—a comprehensive effort to keep the Internet credible and healthy. Mozilla is developing products, research, and communities to battle information pollution and so-called ‘fake news’ online. And we’re seeking partners and allies to help us do so.

  • BSD

    • openbsd changes of note 626
    • kcollect description
    • New mechanism: kcollect

      There’s a new facility in DragonFly: kcollect(8). It holds automatically-collected kernel data for about the last day, and can output to gnuplot. Note the automatic collection part; your system will always be able to tell you about weirdness – assuming that weirdness extends to one of the features kcollect tracks.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • A Realistic Approach to Mixing Open Source Licenses

      At the upcoming Open Source Summit in Los Angeles, Lars Kurth, director of Open Source Solutions at Citrix and chair of the Advisory Board of the Xen Project at The Linux Foundation, will be delivering a wealth of practical advice in two conference talks.

      The first talk is “Mixed License FOSS Projects: Unintended Consequences, Worked Examples, Best Practices” and the second talk is “Live Patching, Virtual Machine Introspection and Vulnerability Management: A Primer and Practical Guide.”

      Here, Kurth explains more about what he will be covering in these presentations.

    • Mir Relicensed To GPLv2 Or GPLv3

      While we await the Mir 1.0 release with its new target of supporting Wayland clients directly, we noticed there was a re-licensing change this week for the Mir code-base.

      Previously the Mir code was licensed under the GPLv3 for the Mir server and LGPLv3 for the client code. The license has now been updated to reflect GPLv2 or GPLv3 for the Mir server code and LGPLv2 or LGPLv3 for the Mir client code.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • 13 amazing maps to celebrate 13 years of OpenStreetMap

        Maps have been helping humans find their way since the beginning of recorded time, but in the modern era of data, who owns the map you use, and what effect does that have on how you can use it?

        OpenStreetMap (OSM) was founded to provide a way for the global community to construct a map of the world which is available for anyone to use, for any purpose they see fit, under a free and open license.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Does RISC-V mean Open Source Processors?

        Before answering this, let’s consider the broader issue of whether open standards automatically mean open source. Open standards are widespread in technology. The communication protocols TCP/IP have been an open standard for decades. In wireless communication, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are open standards with multiple versions. In IC design, Verilog is an open standard maintained by the IEEE, and a widely used hardware description language. Verilog is used by a variety of commercial and open source simulators. Incisive, Questa, and VCS are examples of well-known commercial simulators supporting Verilog, however Cver is an example of an open source Verilog simulator. Generally, the commercial Verilog simulators are recognized for their high quality and performance.

  • Programming/Development

    • What Laravel 5.5 means for developers (part #1)
    • The Rise of Test Impact Analysis

      Google’s fabled internal build system Blaze, has been copied into a few open source technologies over the years. Most notable are Buck from Facebook and Bazel from Google. Pants by Twitter, Foursquare and Square. Blaze inside Google navigates a single directed graph across their entire monorepo. Blaze has a mechanism of direct association of test to production code. That mechanism is a fine grained directory tree of production sources and associated test sources. It has explicit dependency declarations via BUILD files that were checked in too. Those BUILD files could be maintained and evolved by the developers, but could also be verified as correct or incorrect by automated tooling. That process repeated over time goes a long way to make the directed graphs correct and efficient.

    • Agile2017: What the Agile development model needs to do next

      Just released data from a survey of more than 150 managers by CA Technologies underscores that fact — only 12% say their entire organization is on a path to achieving an Agile development model, even while 70% say they know it’s the process that can help them be organized and respond faster.


  • Datamining Pokémon
  • Health/Nutrition

    • Citizen Groups Will Sue DuPont and Chemours for Contaminating Drinking Water in North Carolina

      In this series, Sharon Lerner exposes DuPont’s multi-decade cover-up of the severe harms to health associated with a chemical known as PFOA, or C8, and associated compounds such as PFOS and GenX.

      After years of litigation over PFOA, an industrial toxin used to make Teflon and other non-stick and stain-resistant products, in 2009 DuPont introduced GenX. Now the slippery substitute has followed the path of the molecule it replaced, contaminating water near plants in West Virginia and North Carolina and attracting its own intense legal interest.

      The lawsuits over PFOA exposed the chemical’s links to several diseases, including kidney and testicular cancer. Like PFOA, also known as C8, GenX is a perfluorinated compound, and as with PFOA, GenX was the subject of internal DuPont research showing it poses many of the same health concerns as the original chemical. Also like PFOA, GenX persists indefinitely in the environment.

    • Chic, plant-based “Impossible Burger” meets FDA that’s hungry for data

      For the plant-based “Impossible Burger” that bleeds like real meat, venture capitalists have forked over millions, and high-profile chefs have called in orders for their swanky eateries. But the Food and Drug Administration, it seems, has chewed it up and spit out safety concerns.

      The agency informed Impossible Foods, the company behind the famous faux burger, that it has not proven the safety of the food additive being used to simulate blood and meat-like taste—a protein from the roots of soybean plants called soy leghemoglobin. The protein has not been used in foods before and may be an allergen, the agency said. The concern was revealed in documents obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request filed by environmental and consumer groups, including the ETC Group. The documents were then reviewed by The New York Times.

  • Security

    • Everything is an HTTPS interface

      Serverless applications by their nature are heavily decomposed into a variety of services, such as autonomous functions, object storage, authentication services, document databases, and pub/sub message queues. The interfaces between these services are typically HTTPS. When you’re using the AWS SDK to call an AWS services, the interface it’s calling under the hood is an HTTPS interface. This is true for the majority of cloud platforms, with some alternative protocols occasionally being used (WebSockets and MQTT) in specific use cases.

    • Future Proof Your SysAdmin Career: Locking Down Security

      For today’s system administrators, gaining competencies that move them up the technology stack and broaden their skillsets is increasingly important. However, core skills like networking remain just as crucial. Previously in this series, we’ve provided an overview of essentials and looked at evolving network skills. In this part, we focus on another core skill: security.

      With ever more impactful security threats emerging, the demand for fluency with network security tools and practices is increasing for sysadmins. That means understanding everything from the Open Systems Interconnect (OSI) model to devices and protocols that facilitate communication across a network.

    • The IoT Botnet Wars: How to Harden Linux Devices from DoS Attacks

      While fighting botnets like Mirai and BrickerBot with another botnet, Hajime, may help prevent denial-of-service attacks on the IoT, the best defense is a basic system security-hardening plan.

    • Security Scan Checks Binary Open Source [Ed: Someone turned the openwashing press release into an article. Proprietary trying to come across as "open"]
    • Malicious code in the Node.js npm registry shakes open source trust model

      Software development relies heavily on trust, especially when it comes to open source components. JavaScript developers recently got a reminder just how fragile the trust model is with the news that 39 malicious packages were removed from npm, the Node.js package management registry.

    • UK firms could be fined up to £17 million for poor cyber security, here’s how to avoid them

      The fines will be seen as a “last resort” and only apply if the organisation is deemed to have not taken appropriate security measures. Organisations that have “assessed the risks adequately, taken appropriate security measures, and engaged with competent authorities but still suffered an attack” will not face the fines.

    • [Open Source Security Podcast] Episode 58 – Backwards compatibility to the point of insanity
    • Top 15 Linux Security Questions You Didn’t Know You Had

      Beginner Linux administrators and users should know that even though the operating system is deemed secure, there are many pitfalls and details to consider. Linux security may be there by default but the various distributions may opt to enable certain “user-friendly” features and programs that can potentially expose the machines to risks.

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Company Storing Families’ Personal Data Blocks Users/Researchers Informing It Of A Security Flaw

      It must be repeated over and over: people who discover security flaws and report them are not the enemy. And yet, company after company after company treat security researchers and concerned users like criminals, threatening them with lawsuits and arrests rather than thanking them for bringing the issue to their attention.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Blackwater founder Erik Prince cites East India Company as a model to privatize Afghanistan war

      With recent cable news appearances, Prince appears to be trying to grab the ear of the president, but it may be something he’s had for quite some time already.

    • DPRK says no intention to use nuke weapons against any country except U.S.

      The foreign minister of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Ri Hong-Yo, said on Monday that his country has no intention to use nuclear weapons against any other country except the United States.

      Ri, in Manila to attend the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), said DPRK “is a responsible nuclear power and ICBM state,” referring to the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile.

      “We have no intention to use nuclear weapons or threaten with nuclear weapons against any other country except the U.S., unless it joins action of the U.S. against DPRK,” Ri said in a statement to the ARF.

    • North Korea now making missile-ready nuclear weapons, U.S. analysts say

      North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles, crossing a key threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power, U.S. intelligence officials have concluded in a confidential assessment.

    • Sorry, No War in North Korea

      Let’s start with the obvious. A war on the Korean peninsula benefits no one and is really, really bad for everyone (we’ll get to the irrational madman theory in a moment.)

      Any conflict means the end of North Korea, and the end of the Kim dynasty. The U.S. will win any fight, nuclear or not, and Kim and everyone with any power or money in the North knows that. North Korea has no reason to start a war that will end in its own destruction. The people there with power and money do not want to give those things up.

    • Morality, Expediency, and Hiroshima

      August 6 usually doesn’t make headlines in America. But mark the day by what absence demonstrates: on the 72nd anniversary of the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and some 140,000 non-combatants, there is no call for reflection in the United States.

      In an era where pundits routinely worry about America’s loss of moral standing because of an offish, ill-mannered president, the only nation in history to employ a weapon of mass destruction on an epic scale, against an undefended civilian population, otherwise shrugs off the significance of an act of immorality.

      But it is August 6, and so let us talk about Hiroshima.

      Beyond the destruction lies the myth of the atomic bombings, the post-war creation of a mass memory of things that did not happen. This myth has become the underpinning of American war policy ever since, and carries forward the horrors of Hiroshima as generations of August 6’s pass.

    • Hiroshima and the Scar of Moral Injury

      The only indication in Tokyo that any war at all took place is tucked away in the Yushukan War Memorial Museum. Attached to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, where the souls of Japan’s war dead reside (including some who committed war crimes), Yushukan is in its own way a marker of things cleaned up and things buried. The building houses carefully curated artifacts from the war. The choices speak of things almost no Japanese person, and few Japanese textbooks, will otherwise talk about.


      But no matter how many truly genuine smiles or how many Big Macs, you can’t get away. Hiroshima is an imperfect place, and one which will not easily allow you to forget the terrible things that preceeded its day of infamy.

      Outside of Japan, most people feel the Japanese government has yet to fully acknowledge its aggressiveness in plunging East Asia into war. Indeed, the museum inside the Peace Park has been chastised as focusing almost exclusively on a single day, out of a war that began over a decade earlier and claimed millions of innocent lives before the bomb fell on August 6, 1945. The criticism is particularly sharp, given the rise in militarism occurring under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Now, as in decades past, China watches to see what Japan will do with its armed forces.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • The ecological disaster that is Trump’s border wall: a visual guide

      During the campaign, it was easy to scoff at President Donald Trump’s promise to build a “big, beautiful” concrete wall along the US-Mexico border. It sounded, well, preposterous.

      But now the prospect of a border wall is quite real. Trump has requested $1.6 billion for fiscal year 2018 to build three segments totaling 74 miles. The Department of Homeland Security is planning to construct four to eight border wall prototypes in San Diego this summer.

    • US government’s grim climate summary draft gets unofficially published

      In 1990, during the presidency of the first George Bush, Congress passed the Global Change Research Act. Along with reorganizing government-funded climate research, the Act stipulates that, every four years, the federal agencies involved provide an update on the state of climate science.

      It has been four years, and the next report’s draft has been completed and has undergone scientific vetting.

      The draft paints a grim picture of how the US is already dealing with a variety of issues related to climate change and how much worse most of those issues will get during the coming decades. And the report places the blame squarely on humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions.

      This message won’t go over well with the administration of President Donald Trump, which has a number of members who are openly hostile to the scientific community’s conclusions. As a result, a lot of people are worried that the report will never be formally published or its conclusions will be watered down by further edits. These are the fears that undoubtedly prompted someone to leak the draft to The New York Times.

  • Finance

    • Non-compete deals hamstring job market, says union

      According to a report by white-collar union federation Akava, an increasing number of experts and executives have a non-compete clause in their contracts. Akava says this makes it unnecessarily hard for employees to switch jobs. Industrial employers lobbyist EK says the clauses are necessary.

    • The Guardian view on the judges and Brexit: ministers must come clean

      In a BBC interview this week, the president of the United Kingdom supreme court posed an apparently simple question. After Brexit, Lord Neuberger asked, should the UK judges take into account the rulings of the European court of justice or not? Britain’s most senior judge, who steps down next month, was very clear about his own answer: “If the UK parliament says we should take into account decisions of the ECJ then we will do so. If it says we shouldn’t then we won’t.”

      Constitutionally, this was an impeccable answer to his own question. Parliament makes laws; judges interpret them. Yet politically, and even legally, it leaves many profound questions unresolved. The starting point of Lord Neuberger’s unease may well be the current drafting of clause 6 of the government’s EU withdrawal bill, which says that the UK court “need not have regard” to the ECJ’s rulings after Brexit day, while adding that it “may do so if it considers it appropriate to do so”. In essence, this means the decision to take account of the ECJ is up to the UK courts.

    • Leaving the Single Market will tear apart Britain’s economy – and Jeremy Corbyn will perish with it

      We are plausibly living through the endgame of a neoliberalism that has drastically over-reached itself. The great value of Corbynism is its recognition of this reality. It is why I voted for Jeremy Corbyn to lead Labour twice, and also why I was not entirely surprised by the election result.

      Labour suffered a precipitous decline in support after the mid-2000s because of an absence of a convincing narrative, and an unwillingness to decisively challenge the decaying neoliberal ‘consensus’. The party’s fortunes have changed now that it has offered something different. We can of course argue about whether Corbynism is really a radical departure or not, something Matt Bolton has done very eloquently. Regardless, there is no doubt that in June, for the first time since 2001, millions of people voted enthusiastically for Labour, rather than grudgingly against the alternatives.

    • Can’t pay, won’t pay? Britain needs to be realistic about its Brexit bill

      Whenever reality enters the Brexit debate, its supporters in parliament go beserk. They’re not used to it. Throughout the referendum campaign and the year that followed, the topic was covered like some sort of fairytale. Leading Brexiters could say whatever they liked without anyone challenging them.

      Then the negotiations began and objective reality invaded our daydream. A report in the Sunday Telegraph cited Whitehall figures suggesting they would offer a divorce bill of £36bn to move talks on to future trade arrangements. The EU side is reported to be expecting something around the €75bn (£66bn) mark.

      Citing headline figures is unhelpful. The talks will take place by agreeing broad principles on assets and liabilities and then seeing what kinds of numbers they produce. There are two main calculations: the financial framework liability and pensions.

      EU financial frameworks work in seven-year cycles, with the current one agreed in 2013. Member states decide in advance how much they will spend for the years ahead, covering everything from academic research grants in Romania to decommissioning nuclear power stations in France. The EU is likely to argue that we’re on the hook until the end of 2020, when the existing period ends.

    • The end of child poverty? Not with the Tories in power

      This hurts. This almost makes me despair of politics. Why invest such emotion, such hope in what a well-intentioned new government can do, only to see it all torn from the roots and trashed at the next roll of the electoral dice?


      And under this government? The Institute for Fiscal Studies expects a million more children in poverty by 2020. Severe benefit cuts have stripped away the tax credits that powered Labour’s child poverty reduction. Incomes stagnate or fall, with far worse to come as universal credit rolls out. The latest Eurostat figures show nine out of the 10 poorest regions in northern Europe are here in Britain – and so is the EU’s richest place, London.

    • Brexit round-up – referendum promises, EU position, UK position, Ireland, single market, Brexit bill, ECJ
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Why Is Donald Trump Still So Horribly Witless About the World?

      Trump’s painful public gaffes, they warn, indicate that he’s not reading, retaining, or listening to his Presidential briefings.

    • Months Later, VP Mike Pence Ready To Turn Over Private Emails, Explain What An AOL Account Is

      Months after he left office to become Trump’s running mate, former Indiana governor Mike Pence is finally releasing emails from his personal AOL accounts. This sort of thing would normally be reserved for only the wonkiest of public records wonks, but the Trump campaign spent a great deal of time deriding Hillary Clinton for using a personal email account to handle official State Department email.

      It’s slightly more of a big deal, thanks to Pence’s efforts to keep these emails from becoming public. He went to court late last year to protect the content of certain emails from being released. Pence’s lawyer actually argued the court had no business telling the governor’s office what can and can’t be redacted. So much for the idea of checks and balances.

    • Are States Coordinating With the Trump Administration to Take Down DACA? We Aim to Find Out.

      We have requested records on any coordination on DACA between state officials and members of the Trump administration.

      The ACLU filed public records requests today in 10 states that have launched a legal attack on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The requests seek to uncover any coordination by state officials and members of the Trump administration to take down the DACA program.

      We’ve filed these requests because the Trump administration continues to speak out of both sides of its mouth on DACA, leaving the future of the program in doubt. President Trump has described Dreamers as “absolutely incredible kids” who have “worked here” and “gone to school here,” assuring them that they “should rest easy” about being allowed to stay in the country. At the same time, other administration officials have long opposed DACA — including Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

      This matters now because DACA is under attack. In late June, 10 states — led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton — wrote Sessions demanding that the Trump administration agree to end the program. If the administration refuses to fall in line by September 5, the states will seek to amend a lawsuit pending in the federal district court in Brownsville, Texas, to stop the program.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • ACLU: Absent warrant standard, police could monitor anyone via location data

      Lawyers representing a man convicted of six robberies in the Detroit area have now filed their opening brief at the Supreme Court in one of the most important digital privacy cases in recent years.

      This case, Carpenter v. United States, asks a simple question: is it OK for police to seize and search 127 days of cell-site location information (CSLI) without a warrant?

      Previously, lower courts have said that such practices are compatible with current law. But the fact that the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case suggests that at least four justices feel that perhaps the law should be changed.

    • EFF To Court: Border Agents Need Warrants to Search Contents of Digital Devices

      Searches of mobile phones, laptops, and other digital devices by federal agents at international airports and U.S. land borders are highly intrusive forays into travelers’ private information that require a warrant, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said in a court filing yesterday.

      EFF urged the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to require law enforcement officers at the border to obtain a warrant before performing manual or forensic searches of digital devices. Warrantless border searches of backpacks, purses, or luggage are allowed under an exception to the Fourth Amendment for routine immigration and customs enforcement. Yet EFF argues that, since digital devices can provide so much highly personal, private information—our contacts, our email conversations, our work documents, our schedules—agents should be required to show they have probable cause to believe that the device contains evidence of a violation of the immigration or customs laws. Only after a judge has signed off on a search warrant should border agents be allowed to rifle through the contents of cell phones, laptops, or tablets.

    • West Coast Jurisdictions Advance Community Oversight of Police Surveillance

      This summer, two of the west coast’s largest metropolitan areas—Seattle and Los Angeles County—took major steps to curtail secret, unilateral surveillance by local police. These victories for transparency and community control lend momentum toward sweeping reforms pending across California, as well as congressional efforts to curtail unchecked surveillance by federal authorities.

      On July 31, the Seattle City Council adopted an ordinance requiring public participation when local police departments acquire surveillance technologies. Days before, a Los Angeles County oversight body rejected a proposed use policy governing the sheriff’s department’s use of surveillance drones, with a majority of commissioners expressing a preference for deputies not to use drones at all.

    • New houses will have Alexa and Wi-Fi built into the walls

      The Wi-Fi Alliance, the non-profit organization that certifies Wi-Fi enabled products, is ready to usher in a new era of the smart homes.

      Traditionally, there have been no set standards for integrating a wireless network directly into home blueprints, unlike other essential utilities, such as plumbing and electricity. But as our houses continue to be filled with IoT appliances that depend on the internet, a strong network signal is becoming increasingly important.

    • I FOIA’d the NSA’s Recycling Mascot, and Now I Have More Questions Than Answers

      Yes, the NSA wanted children to go snooping through trash, which seems almost too on the nose to be true.

    • BuzzFeed News Trained A Computer To Search For Hidden Spy Planes. This Is What We Found.

      A secret spy plane operated by the US Marshals hunted drug cartel kingpins in Mexico. A military contractor that tracks terrorists in Africa is also flying surveillance aircraft over US cities. In two stories published last week, BuzzFeed News revealed the activities of aircraft that their operators didn’t want to discuss.

      These discoveries came not from tip-offs from anonymous sources, but by training a computer to recognize known spy planes, then setting it loose on large quantities of flight-tracking data compiled by the website Flightradar24.

      Here’s how we did it.

    • Australia: Shelve Proposed Law to Weaken Encryption

      The Australian government should not force technology companies to weaken the security of their products or to subvert encryption, Human Rights Watch said last week in a letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. That strategy would undermine cybersecurity for all users and would not stop determined criminals from using encryption.

    • Suspected sextortionist hiding behind Tor is outed by booby-trapped video

      The booby-trapped video revealed the public IP address Hernandez allegedly used. Agents then subpoenaed his ISP address.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Turkish government accused of trying to silence critics with arrest of Swedish writer

      “This is an attempt from Erdogan to extend his power outside of the country’s borders. He wants to show that he can reach critical voices even if they do not exist in the country. It’s an abuse of international police cooperation that risks having major consequences,” RSF Sweden president Jonathan Lundqvist said in a statement.

    • Formerly Jailed CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou: Jeff Sessions Is Extending Obama’s War on Leaks

      Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced that the FBI has formed a new team focused on investigating potential leaks to the press. During a press conference on Friday, Sessions said that leak investigations have tripled since President Donald Trump took office. Civil liberties groups criticized Sessions’s remarks. Ben Wizner of the ACLU said, “A crackdown on leaks is a crackdown on the free press and on democracy as a whole.” We speak with John Kiriakou, the former CIA analyst who exposed the Bush-era torture program and became the only official jailed in connection with it.

    • Destination misery: seven ways they turned airports into hell
    • Google has hired a diversity VP — just as it struggles with a sexist memo from an employee

      treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group (tribalism).

    • Google Manifesto Author Just Might Have a Legal Case

      However, Damore says that before he was fired, he filed a complaint, formally known as a charge, with the National Labor Relations Board, which administers some aspects of federal labor law. Under the National Labor Relations Act, it’s against federal law to fire someone in retaliation for filing a complaint to the board, lawyers say.

    • That Google Manifesto Really Put Executives in a Bind

      [...] Google’s liberal leanings and emphasis on training around “unconscious bias” have created an ideological echo chamber that makes it difficult to discuss these issues openly inside the company.

    • The Google diversity memo should start the conversation — not end it

      Lost in the controversy is the fact that the memo raises complicated and interesting questions about what factors should be considered in creating diversity programs.

    • The Rise of the Social Media Vigilante

      Before posting or sharing a vigilante style post on a social media platform, please stop and think of the damage you are doing to a potentially innocent person and also the damage you may be doing to the efforts of the police and the judiciary system in convicting someone who is guilty.

    • Section 230 Matters. Congress Needs To Be Reminded Of That

      If you represent a tech company, please consider signing our letter to Congress from tech companies about concerns regarding the latest attempt to dismantle Section 230 of the CDA in a manner that will be completely counterproductive to the stated goals of the bill. Sex trafficking is an incredibly serious issue, and we support efforts by law enforcement and various groups to fight it — but we are greatly concerned that the approach being put forth here will actually be counterproductive to that goal, and create numerous other problems.

      As we’ve discussed over the past week, Congress has launched a highly questionable attempt to modify Section 230 of the CDA, ostensibly as an effort to takedown Backpage (ignoring (1) that they already passed another law two years ago targeting Backpage and then never used it (2) that the DOJ is already able to go after Backpage if it broke the law and may be investigating the company as we speak and (3) that Backpage has already shut down its adult section), but which will actually create havoc for basically the entire internet. It will do a variety of damaging things, including opening up every tech platform to frivolous lawsuits from individuals and fishing expeditions from states Attorneys General, if anyone uses any part of a platform in a manner that touches on sex trafficking. We’ve already discussed how the bill could kill Airbnb, for example.

    • In Louisiana, a Private Company Is Operating a Court-Approved Shakedown

      People awaiting trial have been forced to pay exorbitant fees to a private company under the threat incarceration.

      Imagine being arrested. You haven’t been convicted of a crime, but you are told you have to pay bail to be released. If you don’t have enough money to pay the full bail amount, you could pay a bail bondsman, who will keep 10 percent of your bail fee as profit. Either way, if you cannot afford to purchase your freedom, you stay in jail.

    • As We Remember the Militarized Response to the Ferguson Uprising, Trump Says Civilian Police Are Making ‘Good Use’ of Military Weapons

      President Trump continues to applaud a Pentagon program that outfits American peace officers with weapons of war.

      Tomorrow marks the third anniversary of the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. It was this shooting that woke this country up to the epidemic of police violence.

      We as a nation have watched dozens of fatal police shootings, often of unarmed boys and men of color since August 9, 2014.

      We’ve seen almost no police accountability for these fatalities over the last few years. In 2014 and 2015, zero officers were convicted of murder or manslaughter, while in 2016 there have been just a few convictions. And we’ve witnessed the outrage and protest around these unjustified shootings being met with militarized policing.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • One broadband choice still counts as “competition” after court decision

      A Federal Communications Commission decision to eliminate price caps in much of the business broadband market can remain in place after a federal judge denied a petition to halt the FCC order.

      The FCC’s Republican majority in April imposed a new standard that deems certain local markets competitive even when they have only one broadband provider. In those markets, incumbent phone companies like AT&T, Verizon, and CenturyLink will be able to charge higher prices for business data services that are delivered over copper-based TDM networks.

    • Congress Gives The FCC An Earful On Its Despised Plan To Kill Net Neutrality

      At this point, more than sixteen million comments have been filed in response to the FCC’s myopic plan to kill net neutrality protections, the majority of them in fierce opposition to the idea. We’ve also noted how more than 900 startups, countless engineers, and a wave of large companies and websites have similarly urged Ajit Pai to stop, pause, and actually listen to what the majority of the country is saying. And what they’re saying is that they want Title II and net neutrality protections to remain in place to protect them from giant telecom duopolies with long histories of fiercely-anti-competitive behavior.

      Unfortunately. there’s no indication that the Ajit-Pai lead FCC much cares. Pai’s FCC has made every effort to comically try to downplay this massive wave of opposition, and dress up the agency’s blatant giant gift to Comcast, AT&T and Verizon as an ingenious attempt to somehow restore “freedom” to the internet (yeah, big fucking citation needed).

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • South Africa Government Completes IP Policy, Plans To Publish It This Month

      At the time, there was no confirmation of when next Cabinet would see the document.

    • Trademarks


        will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas (and solo) has a registered mark on his professional name, but is now seeking a mark of more biblical proportions: “I AM.”

        Actually, his company i.am.symbolic already has registered the mark “I AM” for all sorts of clothing in class 25, but is now seeking to register the mark in other classes including cosmetics, sunglasses, and jewelry. The problem for will.i.am is not the Talmud, but instead the “I am” mark owned by beeline group that sells sunglasses, jewelry as well as registrations owned by others.

    • Copyrights

      • Canadian Telcos Lose Their Goddamn Minds Over TVAddons

        For years, we’ve expressed general bewilderment at the practice in British Commonwealth countries to effectively allow private search warrants, which are given to non-government private parties, engaged in civil infringement cases, to effectively break down other people’s doors and dig through their stuff. We’ve discussed such “Anton Piller” orders in Australia and the UK. And, apparently they apply in Canada too.

        And that leads us to the craziest damn story you’ll ever read about a bunch of private companies losing their freaking minds over something they believe is infringing. In this case, it’s the site TVAddons, which is a site that links to various Kodi software add-ons. Kodi, if you’re unaware, is open source home theater software (it was originally the Xbox Media Center, XBMC, but has expanded since then). It’s quite popular and an easy way to use a device with Kodi to turn your TV into a smart TV. There are tons of perfectly legitimate and non-infringing uses for Kodi, and a variety of sources of “Kodi boxes” that allow people to make use of the features and to install a variety of useful apps — such as adding YouTube or Netflix to your TV. Admittedly, there are some add-ons that allow users to access infringing content, though even those add-ons are just really linking to content stored openly and available online.

      • VPNs have a trust issue: Here’s what TunnelBear did about it
      • Pirate Domain Blocking ‘Door’ Should Remain Open, RIAA Tells Court

        The RIAA wants the court to keep an order in place that opens the door to widespread site blocking efforts. The order applies to CDN provider Cloudflare, which previously argued that the targeted domains are no longer using its services. However, according to the RIAA, Cloudflare is misdirecting the court because it doesn’t like the legal consequences of the ruling.

EPO, Lufthansa, and the German Government – Part VIII: Outcome at DZIV (Zagreb) Miraculously Known Six Months in Advance

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO, Lufthansa, and the German Government

Summary: The allegedly rigged process at DZIV (then run by today’s EPO Vice-President Željko Topić) as illustrated by letters from 2009

THE series has two parts remaining after this part (see part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6 and part 7). In the previous part we explained the value of Željko Topić’s EPO contract and the special value of the immunity which comes with it.

ENThis is also supported by the fact that certain EU bodies based in Brussels have taken an interest in this international corruption scandal. In passing it should be mentioned that the lawyer representing the injured party of the actual trademark owner Air Plus, Constantin Mascher, is in possession of a letter dated 24.07.2009 from the German representatives of Lufthansa Air Plus Servicekarten GmbH, the law firm W & W which clearly states that the Croatian trademark owner Air Plus will lose the proceedings at the DZIV in Zagreb, a claim which was made six months before the DZIV took its decision against the trademark owner. (annexed documents #11 & #12, letter from W & W and authorization from Lufthansa Airplus Servicenkarten GmbH). The German representatives of the Lufthansa subsidiary from the law firm W & W thus seem to have known in advance the result of the legal dispute which was being conducted by the DZIV.

The original documents were submitted to the DORH (the Croatian Public Prosecutor’s Office) and USKOK (the Office for the Suppression of Corruption and Organized Crime) and to the Office of the Croatian Attorney General. They were systematically ignored and an official investigation was obstructed for nine years. It is also apparent from the attached letter from W & W that in a subtle way they are threatening the lawyer, Constantin Mascher, not to contact Lufthansa Airplus Servicekarten GmbH directly but to deal exclusively with them as legal representatives.

In our estimation, we consider that further comments on the described and documented criminal activity are superfluous. On the contrary, it is now up to the EU bodies to investigate the obvious incident of corruption and sanction those involved.

DEDafür spricht auch die Tatsache, daß gewisse Gremien der EU mit Sitz in Brüssel an diesem Korruptionsskandal mit internationalem Ausmaß interessiert sind. Ergänzend ist zu erwähnen, daß der Rechtsanwalt der geschädigten Seite des tatsächlichen Markeninhabers Air Plus, Constantin Mascher das Schreiben der deutschen Vertreter von Lufthansa Air Plus Servicekarten GmbH, der Rechtsanwaltskanzlei W&W vom 24.07.2009 besitzt und worin eindeutig erwähnt wird, daß der kroatische Markenzeichenträger Air Plus, das Verfahren bei DZIV in Zagreb verlieren wird und zwar sechs Monate bevor DZIV RH zu Lasten des Inhabers entschieden hat. (#11 & #12. Schreiben von W&W und Vollmacht der Lufthansa Airplus Servicenkarten GmbH, siehe Anlage). Die deutschen Vertreter der Lufhansa von der Kanzlei W&W haben also im Voraus das Ergebnis der juristischen Auseinandersetzung, welche bei DZIV RH durchgeführt wurde, gekannt.

Die genannten Originalunterlagen wurden der DORH, USKOK (Staatsanwaltschaft der Republik Kroatien und Kanzlei zur Bekämpfung von organisierter Kriminalität) und der General – Staatsanwalschaft der Republik Kroatien vorgelegt. Sie haben sie systematisch ignoriert und eine Untersuchung unter staatlicher Obhut ganze neun Jahre lang verhindert. Aus dem beigefügten Schreiben der Kanzlei W&W geht auch hervor, daß sie auf subtille Art und Weise dem Rechtsanwalt Constantin Mascher drohen, sich künftig nicht mehr direkt an die Lufthansa Airplus Servicekarten GmbH, sondern ausschließlich an sie als juristische Vertreter zu wenden.

Nach unserem Ermessen halten wir weitere Kommentare zur dargestellten und dokumentierten Kriminalität für überflüssig. Vielmher sind die EU – Gremien gefragt, die offensichtliche Korruptionsaffäre und die Involvierten zu sanktionieren.

Document #11 (click images to open separately)

W & W document

Document #12

W & W document

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