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09.05.17

Links 5/9/2017: Mesa 17.2, Qt Creator 4.4

Posted in News Roundup at 6:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Linux adoption on the rise as Windows market share collapsed once again [Ed: What's significant here: 1. this is a Microsoft propaganda site 2. citing a Microsoft-connected firm 3. claiming Windows "collapse"]

      Despite Microsoft’s Windows 10 is better than its predecessor, Windows market share has witnessed yet another collapse, while Linux adoption is on a rise. A new data published by NetMarketShare reveals that Microsoft’s Windows market share declined to 90.70 percent from 91.45 percent.

    • Linux Doubles Its Market Share Since 2015, Windows And Mac Adoption Slows Down

      The FOSS and Linux community tosses up this idea at the beginning of a new year and expects the Linux adoption to rise exponentially in the upcoming months. While a complete Linux dominance in the desktop scene looks like a far-fetched dream, Tux continues to make slow strides.

      According to the latest data from NetMarketShare, Linux is running on 3.37% desktop computers and laptops. This Linux market share number is from August 2017.

    • Desktop Linux Now Has its Highest Market Share Ever

      There has been an upsurge in the desktop Linux market share which has seen a rise to 3.37% in the latest statistics on Net Market Share for operating systems. Linux market share has witnessed a steady increase, especially in the last two summer months.

  • Server

    • Review: 5 top Linux distros for enterprise servers

      Linux distros are plentiful, and choosing the right server product can be a daunting task. Are you looking for a supported product, or can you go with a free version? Need Cloud support or virtualization? We’ll try to provide some answers.

      Although many Linux distros can quite capably be configured to run as a server, for this review we focused solely on dedicated server products, named and supported as such.

    • Review: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4 cloud-friendly, but pricey management tools

      If you need comprehensive support, the comfort of having a well-established Linux vendor on your side and you have the budget to pay for it, then you should give Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4 a careful look.

      It is should also get your attention if you’re looking for an operating environment that embraces the cloud, from tools to build your infrastructure to management platforms.

    • Review: Considering Oracle Linux is a no-brainer if you’re an Oracle shop

      Oracle Linux has been around for more than 10 years, but has been gaining market share and the company says it has over 14,000 customers world-wide.

      Part of its popularity may be the way it plays well within an Oracle environment and its full support for Red Hat Linux, on which it is based.

  • Kernel Space

    • Future Proof Your SysAdmin Career: Getting Certified

      In today’s rapidly changing system administration landscape, skills and credentials count for a lot, but professional certification can also make a difference. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five valuable types of certification for sysadmins along with relevant training options.

    • How Open Source is Transforming the Automotive Industry

      One key benefit of open source is its ability to enable rapid innovation. Collaborating on non-competitive pieces of technology frees up resources, enabling companies to focus more on developing new products and services.

      We are seeing this play out now in the automotive industry as automakers are adopting open source software for core technologies like the infotainment operating system. This allows them to focus more resources towards the industry-wide race to develop new technologies, mobility services, and autonomous vehicles.

      According to the 2017 Autotrader Car Tech Impact Study, 53 percent of consumers expect vehicle technology to be as robust as their smartphone. Unfortunately, the automotive industry has fallen behind the smartphone in terms of features and functionality. Automotive innovation is too slow, time-to-market is too long, and there’s very little software reuse.

    • Greg Kroah-Hartman: The Commander-in-Chief of the Linux Stable Branch

      In the sometimes-contentious Linux Kernel developer community, the gentle giant of a man Greg Kroah-Hartman is the friendliest face. When you plug a device into a Linux system and it works out of the box, the credit goes to Kroah-Hartman. He travels around the globe, talking to hardware vendors to get Linux to work on their devices.

      But Kroah-Hartman was not a Linux user from the beginning: He evolved over time into one of the most influential kernel developers.

      Kroah-Hartman has been a techie from a very early age. He started programming on his parent’s personal computer that they bought for home use.

    • EXT4 Has Scalability Improvements For Linux 4.14

      Ted Ts’o has submitted the EXT4 file-system feature updates for the Linux 4.14 kernel merge window.

    • XFS Prepares Many Fixes For Linux 4.14

      Darrick Wong has submitted the XFS file-system feature updates targeting the Linux 4.14 merge window.

    • P-State Continues Evolving, More Power Management Changes For Linux 4.14

      Rafael Wysocki of Intel submitted the power management updates on Monday for continuing to improve this area of the Linux kernel. This time around there was a lot of focus as usual on bettering the Intel P-State driver as well as improving system suspend for some hardware.

    • WinBtrfs 1.0 Released For Supporting Btrfs On Windows
    • Linux 4.13 Kernel Launches With Accelerated Security Feature

      The fourth new Linux kernel milestone of 2017 is now available, providing improved performance and security features including Kernel Transport Layer Security.

    • Linux Kernel 4.13 Debuts Officially with Intel Cannon Lake & Coffee Lake Support

      As expected, the Linux 4.13 kernel series was made official this past weekend by none other than its creator, Linus Torvalds, which urges all Linux users to start migrating to this version as soon as possible.

    • Linux Kernel 4.13: Don’t Use SMB1

      Linus Torvalds pushed out version 4.13 of the Linux Kernel on Sunday, right on schedule and almost exactly two months after 4.12.

      Among all the changes, Torvalds highlights the one concerning the implementation of the SMB protocol in the kernel: The CIFS behavior in kernel 4.13 defaults to SMB3 as opposed to SMB1, which was the default in previous kernels.

      SMB is a protocol used to access and share files, printers, and other services over a network, and the reason for the switch is that SMB 1 has aged horribly and is rife with vulnerabilities. The number of servers that still use it was one of the reasons the WannaCry ransomware spread like wildfire back in May. However, SMB1 is still accessible from kernel 4.13 for those that really, really have to use it. If you can’t make the change (although you are highly encouraged to find a way to do so), you may need to add an explicit

    • EFI In Linux 4.14 Will Better Handle Rebooting Of Buggy Systems

      There are a few notable EFI fixes to find for the in-development Linux 4.14 kernel.

      First up, EFI will now fallback to other poweroff methods if the EFI poweroff process fails. If the EFI_RESET_SHUTDOWN returns without powering off the system during this EFI shutdown process, the kernel will fall back to the traditional power-off process. The EFI-based shutdown process was originally added since some systems otherwise do not shutdown. But it appears that at least some systems/tablets exposing EFI_RESET_SHUTDOWN do not actually behave correctly. In particular, Red Hat’s Hans de Goede noted that some Bay Trail devices are not behaving correctly and warranty this transparent fallback during the power-off process.

    • Cgroup2 Thread Support Added For Linux 4.14

      Tejun Heo has submitted the control group changes for the Linux 4.14 kernel.

    • Several ARM64 Changes Queued For Linux 4.14, VMAP_STACK Support

      There are a few noteworthy ARM64 (64-bit ARM) architecture updates worth noting for the ongoing Linux 4.14 merge window.

      First up, ARM64 (AArch64) now supports VMAP_STACK to let kernel stacks be allocated in vmalloc space with a guard page for trapping possible stack overflows. It was back during Linux 4.9 that x86_64 picked up the vmap’ed stack support.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • In finish line but not in the end

        It’s been again a great experience to learn new things, techniques during this GSoC. You can read “but not in the end” in the title, this means that the end of this program shouldn’t mean that we quit contributing to open source software. I am sure that all of us had great moments of success during GSoC and I think as we use a lot of software for free we should give something back to the open source community. If it would be possible I would apply again to be a GSoC student again next year or anytime.

      • Results of the Requirements Survey for a KDE-wide Chat Solution

        A week ago, I wrote my previous blog post about a survey I had set up, to figure out how important each of the requirements we had collected for a common IM / chat solution for KDE is for us.

        All in all, 132 people followed my request to participate in the survey, and answered the 108 questions in it. Thank you all for taking the time!

      • Konversation 2.x in 2018: New user interface, Matrix support, mobile version

        It’s time to talk about exciting new things in store for the Konversation project!

        Konversation is KDE’s chat application for communities. No matter whether someone is a newcomer seeking community, a seasoned participant in one, or a community administrator: our mission is to bring groups of people together, allow them to delight in each other’s company, and support their pursuit of shared interests and goals.

        One of the communities we monitor for changes to your needs is our own: KDE. Few things make a Konversation hacker happier than journeying to an event like Akademy in Almería, Spain and seeing our app run on many screens all around.

        The KDE community has recently made progress defining what it wants out of a chat solution in the near future. To us, those initial results align very strongly with Konversation’s mission and display a lot of overlap with the things it does well. However, they also highlight trends where the current generation of Konversation falls short, e.g. support for persistence across network jumps, mobile device support and better media/file handling.

        This evolution in KDE’s needs matches what we’re seeing in other communities we cater to. Recently we’ve started a new development effort to try and answer those needs.

      • QtLocation 5.9

        It is now possible to rotate and tilt maps. Items on it will be transformed accordingly. In this figure a MapQuickItem embedding a QtMultimedia Video element is used to overlay a video of the shore.

        In addition to this, a new fieldOfView property has been added to the Map, to control the camera field of view when the map is tilted. Note that this property, like the tilt and the zoomLevel properties, have lower and upper bounds. In some cases these bounds will prevent changing the property (e.g., a plug-in using a third-party renderer that does not allow changing the field of view will return a lower bound for the field of view equal to the upper bound).

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • #LASGNOME

        This is a long overdue blog post, that should’ve, ideally, been written a week ago, while it was most fresh in my mind. From my own observations of everything that went on during the conference, together with the good feedbacks and reviews we received from the participants, I dare say the first Libre Application Summit, hosted by GNOME (“LAS GNOME”) transpired successfully. So I admit, after a week of keeping myself on my toes, I arrived home, and basked in the afterglow of the success of the very first edition of LAS GNOME.

      • Fedora26, jhbuild and gnome-shell

        Ok, so in my previous previous post I wrote about not being able to restore my build in time. Given the fact that reinstalling the OS would take more time, I took a shot at rebuilding gnome-shell (with the beloved jhbuild, of course) inside a virtual machine, on a Fedora26 OS.

        This was the first step towards fixing my issue. As you will see, this post aims at helping newcomers install gnome-shell on their machines by describing all the issues that I encountered while building.

        First thing you want to do is read the jhbuild guide that can be found here and then install jhbuild.

      • My first GUADEC experience

        One long plane ride and two trains later, I finally arrived in Karlsruhe, three evenings earlier than Day 1 of GUADEC since Cosimo was participating in the Board and AdBoard meetings. As we checked-in at the Achat Plaza Hotel, the first familiar face we saw was Jeff. I had been working on the Foundation’s FY 2015 Annual Report closely with Jeff, Zana and Nuritzi for the past few months and I was excited to get my hands on a printed copy of the report; Jeff actually checked in a ~20kg luggage filled with the reports!

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • The September 2017 issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine

        The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the September 2017 issue. With the exception of a brief period in 2009, The PCLinuxOS Magazine has been published on a monthly basis since September, 2006. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community. The magazine is lead by Paul Arnote, Chief Editor, and Assistant Editor Meemaw. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is released under the Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 Unported license, and some rights are reserved. All articles may be freely reproduced via any and all means following first publication by The PCLinuxOS Magazine, provided that attribution to both The PCLinuxOS Magazine and the original author are maintained, and a link is provided to the originally published article.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • openSUSE Tumbleweed Users Get KDE Plasma 5.10.5 and KDE Applications 17.08

        If you’re wondering why you haven’t received any snapshots lately for your openSUSE Tumbleweed rolling operating system, you should know that the openSUSE Linux devs had a hard time last week fixing various things and integrate the DNF package manager.

        openSUSE Project’s Dominique Leuenberger recently informed the Tumbleweed community that the main reason behind the single snapshot released last week for the GNU/Linux distribution was that the DNF integration created metadata in the repository that was only valid for Tumbleweed systems, not Leap.

      • openSUSE Leap 42.3 Cloud Images Debut for Google Compute Engine, Microsoft Azure

        If you want to use the latest openSUSE Leap 42.3 open-source computer operating system on the cloud, you should know that the openSUSE Project released a set of cloud images for various of the most popular cloud services on the market.

        openSUSE Leap 42.3 launched for 64-bit and 32-bit platforms at the end of July 2017, based on the commercial SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) 12 Service Pack (SP) 3 operating system, and it’s currently the latest stable release of the popular RPM-based Linux OS. It ships with the long-term supported Linux 4.4 kernel and up-to-date packages.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat, Microsoft to help businesses accelerate to hybrid cloud
      • Containers drive evolution of Red Hat / Microsoft collaboration
      • Solutions Architect

        Today is my first day at Red Hat! Well, OK, I’ve been here a few years, but today I move from Engineering to Sales. My new role is “Specialist Solutions Architect” where that specialty is Cloud.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Flatpak-Builder Is Now a Standalone Tool for Building Flatpaks from Sources

          Flatpak developer and maintainer Alexander Larsson released earlier today Flatpak 0.9.10, the latest version for the 0.9.x series of the Linux application sandboxing and distribution framework (formerly XDG-App).

          While Flatpak 0.9.10 is a hotfix release that addresses a regression from version 0.9.9 in the D-Bus proxy, which made various apps to no longer function properly, Flatpak 0.9.9 (full changelog attached below) was published this past weekend with more enhancements, including the split of the flatpak-builder command into a separate tool that application developers can use to package their apps as Flatpaks.

        • My experience of Flock 2017

          Flock, the annual Fedora contributor’s conference, is now over. It took place in Cape Cod this year (near Boston, MA), and it was great once again.

        • That’s all… Flock!
        • Flock Cape Cod 2017 – day 0
        • Flock Cape Cod – day 1
        • Flock Cape Cod – day 2
        • Flock Cape Cod – day 3
        • Fedora 26 + Wireless + BCM43142
        • Transform applications into Flatpaks at Flock 2017

          The reason why I attended Owen Taylor’s Flatpak talk was to get a little more insight about Flatpak when it comes down to working with RPMs or applications in general. The most obvious way is a container nowadays. We already do this with Home Assistant but it’s adds an hurdle for the end users. There is Docker support for Windows but still, containers are not for end-users. Sandboxing and compartmentalization must be completely transparent from my point of view. If one day Flatpaks are available in the same quantity as RPMs then the users don’t need to care. Flatpaks are also playing the major role with Atomic.

          Flatpaks could fill the gap between RPMs or sandboxed applications and containers. It allows one to run a desktop application and profit from a bunch of features. For example, updates without restart, isolation, and availability when something arrives. The access to the rest of the world is restricted and only allowed through so-called portals. Multiple options for deduplication helps to keep the footprint on the file system small.

        • Flock to Fedora 2017

          This year Flock to Fedora took place in Hyannis, Massachusetts at Cape Cod. It was mostly focused on so called do-sessions or workshops and was therefore action-oriented.

          Marie riecatnor and I did our usual Badges Workshop on day 1. A quick recap: I think (hope) we’re getting better and better each year. We started off with the presentation and went through badge structure and process. Badges have migrated to pagure since last year, so we made quite a few additions to the presentation. Another very welcome change was having a co-presenter: Kanika a2batic, who is working on a symbol library to make it easier to make badges resources. She gave a small presentation during badges intro. You can take a look here. After that we moved on to actual designing and several people finished their badges by the end of 3 hours. Everyone got a Padawan badge for attending – we came up with the idea for it at last year’s Flock.

        • Flock Cape Cod – day 4 and considerations
        • Fedora IoT at Flock 2017
    • Debian Family

      • Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” Installer Enters Alpha with Linux 4.12 Support

        Work on the next major version of the Debian GNU/Linux operating system is ongoing since early July, a couple of weeks after the Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” series arrived, and it now looks like it’s already in Alpha stages of development.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Review: Ubuntu LTS 16.04.02 has a long shelf-life
          • Controlling snap releases with channels, tracks and branches – Part 1

            Ever since snaps were introduced, a crucial part of their feature set has been the ability to release a snap on a particular “channel” indicating how stable or production-ready it is. The well-known channel names stable, candidate, beta and edge indicate a snap’s stability, according to the developer, and users are then empowered to choose the level of risk they are prepared to accept when installing a snap.

            From a developer’s point of view, it makes sense to release new changes on edge, which will presumably have a small number of users willing to accept some instability in exchange for bleeding-edge features (but also, tacitly, a disposition to report problems), and as any rough edges are taken care of, release the updated snap to beta, candidate and finally to stable once it’s deemed adequate for anyone to use.

          • Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) Beta 1 Out for Opt-In Flavors, Here’s What’s New

            On the last day of August, the upcoming Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) operating system entered Beta stages of development, but only for some of the official flavors, including Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Kylin, and Ubuntu Budgie.

            Ubuntu itself will be available for public beta testing at the end of the month, on September 28, when the Final Beta development milestone is expected to launch for all Ubuntu flavors. Until then, let’s have a look at the new features introduced by the Beta 1 release for the opt-in flavors.

          • Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Ardvark) to Support All Known Driverless Printing Standards

            Now that Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) received a fresh coat of paint for the default GNOME Shell theme and login/lock screens, it’s time to look a bit under the hood for some of the upcoming features.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Lite 3.6 Operating System Launches Officially Based on Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS

              Linux Lite developer Jerry Bezencon had the pleasure of announcing the general availability of the final release of the Ubuntu-based Linux Lite 3.6 operating system.

              Coming five months after the release of Linux Lite 3.4, Linux Lite 3.6 is based on Canonical’s latest Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system, which means that it’s powered by its long-term supported Linux 4.4 kernel, though users can install a wide range of kernels from the distro’s stable repositories. Linux Lite 3.6 also introduces the Lite Sources in-house built app and several improvements across the entire system.

            • Linux Mint 18.3 to Launch with Revamped Backup Tool, Window Progress, and More

              Work on the upcoming Linux Mint 18.3 operating system continues, and Clement Lefebvre recently published the monthly report to give us a glimpse of more of the new features to be implemented in the final release.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • OpenProject Foundation Joins Open Source Initiative

    The Open Source Initiative® (OSI), the founding organization of the open source software movement, announced that the OpenProject Foundation has joined the global non-profit as an Affiliate Member. OpenProject joins a who’s who of global open source projects and foundations in support of software freedom, including Drupal Association, Eclipse Foundation, Linux Foundation, Mozilla Foundation, WordPress Foundation, Wikimedia, and many more. The OSI Affiliate Member Program allows any non-profit community, organization or institution—unequivocally independent groups with a clear commitment to open source—to join the OSI in support of its mission to educate about and advocate for the benefits of open source software and to build bridges among different constituencies in the open source community.

  • Events

    • Randa Approaches

      Later this week, I’m leaving for Zurich, and from there I’ll take the train up to Randa (up, in the sense that I live at sea level, and Randa is the length of one million micro-SD cards laid end-to-end higher).

      In Randa, I’ll be working as a KDE developer, and as a Calamares developer, and learning about accessibility tooling. There’s about 60 hacking hours in that week. I’ll also be working as the cook, for one day. There’s about 12 cooking hours in a day, since feeding 30 people takes a lot of vegetable-chopping, bread-slicing, and dish-washing.

    • FOSScamp Syros 2017 – day 2

      The morning stated by taking the bus to Kini beach. After some to enjoy the water (which were still cold in the morning), we sat for talking about the local Debian community and how can we help it grow. The main topic was localization (l10n), but we soon started to check other options. I reminded them that l10n isn’t only translation and we also talked about dictionaries for spell checking, fonts and local software which might be relevant (e.g. hdate for the Jewish/Hebrew calendar or Jcal for the Jalali calendar). For example it seems that regular Latin fonts are missing two Albanian characters.

      We also talked about how to use Open Labs to better work together with two hats – member of the local FOSS community and also as members of various open source projects (not forgetting open content / data ones projects as well). So people can cooperate both on the local level, the international level or to mix (using the other’s project international resources). In short: connections, connections, connections.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • The sudden death and eternal life of Solaris

      As had been rumored for a while, Oracle effectively killed Solaris on Friday. When I first saw this, I had assumed that this was merely a deep cut, but in talking to Solaris engineers still at Oracle, it is clearly much more than that. It is a cut so deep as to be fatal: the core Solaris engineering organization lost on the order of 90% of its people, including essentially all management.

      Of note, among the engineers I have spoken with, I heard two things repeatedly: “this is the end” and (from those who managed to survive Friday) “I wish I had been laid off.” Gone is any of the optimism (however tepid) that I have heard over the years — and embarrassed apologies for Oracle’s behavior have been replaced with dismay about the clumsiness, ineptitude and callousness with which this final cut was handled. In particular, that employees who had given their careers to the company were told of their termination via a pre-recorded call — “robo-RIF’d” in the words of one employee — is both despicable and cowardly. To their credit, the engineers affected saw themselves as Sun to the end: they stayed to solve hard, interesting problems and out of allegiance to one another — not out of any loyalty to the broader Oracle. Oracle didn’t deserve them and now it doesn’t have them — they have been liberated, if in a depraved act of corporate violence.

    • Solaris update plan is real, but future looks cloudy by design

      Ever since Oracle quietly announced it would not deliver any more point-zero upgrades to its Solaris operating system and instead move to continuous delivery, The Register has wondered exactly what Big Red plans to deliver, and when. Our interest grew after Solaris boss John Fowler left Oracle and then grew again as soon-to-be-former Oracle staffers told us of big cuts to he Solaris and SPARC teams.

    • Oracle Cuts More Jobs in Its Hardware and Solaris Units

      Oracle has laid off what appears to be a significant number of employees working on its hardware and Solaris operating system efforts, according to anonymous posts on TheLayoff.com, the gist of which were confirmed to Fortune by former Oracle employees.
      Both Oracle’s server and Solaris efforts emanated out of Sun Microsystems, a company Oracle acquired in 2010 for $7.4 billion. Before then Oracle had been a software company specializing in databases and financial applications, so jumping into computer servers and SPARC microprocessors—another Sun business—was a stretch. Solaris was Sun’s version of Unix, a powerful operating system that powered its servers.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Univa Open Sources Universal Resource Broker for Kubernetes [Ed: Could go a step further and liberate more than just a single component]

      Today Univa announced the open source availability of the Universal Resource Broker (URB) adapter for Kubernetes. This new URB adapter will be of interest for organizations running Apache Mesos frameworks that are looking to deploy Kubernetes and Mesos workloads on a common infrastructure. The release of the URB adapter for Kubernetes marks a significant open source contribution by Univa and demonstrates its commitment to the Kubernetes community and to helping users get the most from their infrastructure investments.

    • Tapping technology to collect data on biodiversity

      The concept behind such workshops is to empower citizens in the use of open source software, which is freely available and can be downloaded to collate macro-level data. S. Narendra Prasad from Open Source Geospatial Foundation-India said such workshops aimed at imparting knowledge to residents and the student community on recording data pertaining to biodiversity.

    • Atos launches world’s first Open Source high-performance data warehouse for Amazon Web Services

      Powered by Pivotal Greenplum, the new massively parallel clustered data warehouse features unique machine learning, text and natural language analytic together with geospatial location queries and windowing functions. It allows users to build and test an Open Source analytics cluster directly from zData’s Website without any limitations, to enable powerful and rapid Big Data analytics on petabyte scale data volumes, taking advantage of the Atos Codex expertise.

    • Facebook demystifies smartphone AI with open source building blocks
    • Is Open Source More Risky? [Ed: Anti-FOSS Microsoft ‘proxy’ Black Duck creeps into another FUD piece about FOSS security/licensing ; Black Duck was, by its own admission, created to attack the adoption of GPL-type licences.]
    • Don’t believe the hype, AGPL open source licensing is toxic and unpopular [Ed: Black Duck again]
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Programming/Development

    • Qt Creator 4.4.0 released

      We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.4.0!

    • Qt Creator 4.4 Released With New Inline Warning/Errors, CMake Improvements

      The Qt Company has announced the immediate availability of the Qt Creator 4.4 integrated development environment focused on Qt/C++ development.

      Qt Creator 4.4 has new inline annotations when in the Clang code model, some C++ highlighting improvements, improvements when using the CMake build system in its recent server-mode, removal of Windows CE support, and a variety of other improvements to this cross-platform IDE.

    • Ecere SDK: A cross-platform toolkit for GUIs and graphics

      In the summer of 1997, I was an avid gamer of the golden classics of the real-time strategy (RTS) and immersive 3D/sandbox role-playing games that defined those genres. After wasting many hours gaming, I wanted to do something more constructive. I had dreams of building my own video games.

      The previous year, I had created a basic textured-mapping, software-rendering 3D engine for a tutorial series called the 3D Coding BlackHole. I was working on developing a clone of a popular RTS game—as a learning experience and a stepping stone to building a new game with potential contributors.

    • More Benchmarks Of AMD’s Threadripper With LLVM Clang 6.0 SVN

      With AMD a few days ago having landed an updated scheduler model for Zen CPUs within LLVM, I ran some fresh compiler benchmarks to see how the performance compares.

      This weekend I ran tests of LLVM Clang 4.0, Clang 5.0, and Clang 6.0 SVN after the landing of the recent znver1 scheduler model update. Just some quick tests from the AMD Threadripper 1950X Linux system while a more formal compiler comparison is in the works.

    • ‘Women Were in Fact Pioneers in Computing Work’

      When a white male Google employee was fired after the release of a memo in which he complained about efforts to increase gender or racial diversity because employment gaps in tech may be due in part to “biological differences” which are “universal across human culture”—woman like feelings more than ideas, that sort of thing—this is not indication that, as USA Today hyperventilated, “the hot button issue of gender bias in the workplace has just gone thermonuclear.” It did provide occasion for the airing of some old ideas involving sexism and scientism, presented as somehow new, because technology.

    • a new interview question

      Obviously if you discover a person that thinks that gender imbalance is just the way it is and that nothing can or should be done about it, or that women don’t program well, or the like, then that’s a great result: clear no-hire. This person is likely to make life unpleasant for their female colleagues, and your company just avoided the problem. High fives, interview team!

Leftovers

  • 3 lessons in effective open partnership
  • Romania builds exchange for data and documents

    In May, Romania began the development of an eDelivery AccessPoint, an electronic exchange for data and documents that makes it easier for public services, companies and citizens to transmit and receive records, including across borders. The system will be linked to the European Union’s core data exchange.

  • Belgian data exchange urges switch to web services

    For the automatic exchange of authenticated records, public services in Belgium are being advised to prepare to switch to web services. The country’s Crossroads Bank for Social Security says it will phase out support for other (legacy) methods of exchanging data.

  • Science

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Senator Sanders, We Cannot Begin Medicare for All From a Position of Compromise

      Recent reports are that Sanders’ bill falls far short of HR 676 in fundamental ways. In fact, Sanders’ bill is a multi-payer system not a single-payer system. His bill reportedly would allow private insurers to compete with the public system, allow the wealthy to buy their way out of the public system and allow investor-owned health facilities to continue to profit while providing more expensive and lower quality health care.

      As a leader in the Democratic Party in the Senate, Sanders is trying to walk the line between listening to the concerns of his constituency, which overwhelmingly favors single payer health care, and protecting his fellow Democrats, whose campaigns are financed by the medical industrial complex. Sanders needs to side with the movement not those who profit from overly expensive US health care.

    • Why Giving Birth Is Safer in Britain Than in the U.S.

      Enraptured by new motherhood, she barely noticed when the obstetrician’s head appeared around the surgical drape. “We need to give you a drug to help stop the bleeding, is that OK?” Helen nodded. Ten minutes passed before the question came again. Then again. The fourth time, Helen realized something was seriously wrong.

      During pregnancy, the uterine blood vessels that nourish the fetus are wide open. Once the baby is delivered and the placenta removed, these vessels should constrict and close. If they don’t, as with Helen, the mother can bleed profusely. She may reach a point where her body can no longer compensate for the blood loss. The extent of the flow can be unpredictable and sometimes catastrophic. The surgical team’s response must be meticulous. And fast.

    • Second-guessing your GP’s referral – NHS denials leave big questions unanswered

      In today’s NHS these referrals have pound signs attached to them. Every GP referral is seen by NHS England as another burden on the NHS budget and they are now looking at ways to reduce those referrals to hospital doctors. NHS England focuses on the pound signs but seem to forget that behind those referrals are real people with real problems who have already seen their GP, often many times, and in need of the help of a hospital specialist.

      The former head of the Royal College of GPs, Maureen Baker, said in response that she is “concerned about the patient safety implications of referral management” and asks “what – if any – risk assessment has been done?”

  • Security

    • Security updates for Monday
    • The father of modern security: B. F. Skinner

      What I mean with that statement is our security process is often based on ideas that don’t really work. As an industry we have built up a lot of ideas and processes that aren’t actually grounded in facts and science. We don’t understand why we do certain things, but we know that if we don’t do those things something bad will happen! Will it really happen? I heard something will happen. I suspect the answer is no, but it’s very difficult to explain this concept sometimes.

      [...]

      Here’s where it gets real. It’s easy to pick on the password example because it’s in the past. We need to focus on the present and the future. You have an organization that’s full of policy, ideas, and stuff. How can we try to make a dent in what we have today? What matters? What doesn’t work, and what’s actually harmful?

    • US judge says that Yahoo must face lawsuits over data breaches

      The lawsuit concerns two major breaches: one that occurred in 2013 that impacted more than a billion users, and another in late 2014 that affected at least 500 million accounts. in December, a judicial panel consolidated five putative class action suits that sought to represent account holders who had e-mails, passwords, and other sensitive information compromised.

    • Yahoo must face litigation by data breach victims: U.S. judge

      A U.S. judge said Yahoo must face nationwide litigation brought on behalf of well over 1 billion users who said their personal information was compromised in three massive data breaches.

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Episode 61 – Market driven security
    • Six-Year-Old “Loop Bug” Re-Discovered to Affect Almost All Major PDF Viewers

      A bug discovered in an obscure PDF parsing library back in 2011 is also present in most of today’s top PDF viewers, according to German software developer Hanno Böck.

      The original bug affected the PDF parser component included with Evince, a document viewer app for Linux. It was discovered by fellow German software developer Andreas Bogk, who helped Evince fixed the flaw, and presented his findings at the 2011 Chaos Communication Camp.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • ‘No More Road Left’ for Diplomacy, US Ambassador Tells Security Council

      Doubling-down on the previous threats made by President Donald Trump and Defense Secretary James Mattis over the weekend, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Monday morning declared “enough is enough” when it comes to diplomatic efforts with North Korea—indicating that both military strikes and sanctions against Pyongyang’s trading partners could be next.

      At an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council, in response to reports on Sunday that Pyongyang tested a hydrogen bomb—its most powerful nuclear test yet—Haley called on members to pass “the strongest sanctions” possible and said “the time has come to exhaust all diplomatic means” in order to end this crisis.

    • How ‘Regime Change’ Wars Led to Korea Crisis

      The U.S.-led aggressions against Iraq and Libya are two war crimes that keep on costing, with their grim examples of what happens to leaders who get rid of WMDs driving the scary showdown with North Korea, writes Robert Parry.

    • Afghanistan: Why We Won’t Leave

      Trump’s recent decision to add troops in Afghanistan has nothing to do with combating terrorism (or mining mineral resources, or confusing militants as to when the U.S. military might finally leave), no matter what the endless stream of pundits and think-pieces have argued since it was announced. After 16 years of occupation the Taliban control 48 of nearly 400 administrative units, the Islamic State has established a foothold, the United States supplies almost the entirety of the military and civilian budget, the Afghan military is incapable of functioning without U.S. support, opium production has increased so that Afghanistan supplies 77% of the world’s heroin, and by the end of the next fiscal year the total cost of the 16-year Afghan war alone will be $1 trillion. Afghanistan and Pakistan have engaged in their worst border clashes in years as militants shift back and forth between both countries at will. Chinese troops operate openly in the country and conduct joint security exercises with Afghan forces. Russia is now debating a military intervention, ostensibly to counter the growing Taliban threat.

    • ‘God help us all’: Twitter horrified after Trump lashes out at North Korea in ‘petulant’ tweetstorm

      “Your impeachment can’t come soon enough, for the sake of the entire planet,” one Twitter user said.

    • Putin says the country that perfects AI will be ‘ruler of the world’

      Forget the arms race or space race — the new battle for technological dominance revolves around AI, according to Vladimir Putin. The Russian President told students at a career guidance forum that the “future belongs to artificial intelligence,” and whoever is first to dominate this category will be the “ruler of the world.” In other words, Russia fully intends to be a frontrunner in the AI space. It won’t necessarily hog its technology, though.

      Putin maintains that he doesn’t want to see anyone “monopolize” the field, and that Russia would share its knowledge with the “entire world” in the same way it shares its nuclear tech. We’d take this claim with a grain of salt (we wouldn’t be surprised if Russia held security-related AI secrets close to the vest), but this does suggest that the country might share some of what it learns.

    • At Last, Air Monitor Set to Test for Lead Near Military Open Burn Site

      Virginia environment officials say they will soon begin monitoring the air near a public elementary school outside the town of Radford amid concerns that pollution from an Army weapons plant there is endangering people’s health.

      For the first time in the more than 65 years since the facility, the Radford Army Ammunition Plant, began burning hazardous explosives and other waste without environmental controls, the monitoring will measure how much lead reaches the surrounding community. Officials may add the capability to measure arsenic, chromium and other pollutants as well.

      In July, ProPublica reported that open burning of hazardous waste was standard practice at U.S. military facilities despite the fact it has been banned by law for years at almost every other type of industrial operation. The Radford plant is just one of at least 51 military sites across the country where dangerous materials are burned on a regular basis, according to documents obtained from the Environmental Protection Agency and reported by ProPublica.

    • North Korea Says It Might Negotiate on Nuclear Weapons. But the Washington Post Isn’t Reporting That.

      No normal human being should ever have to read the Washington Post’s op-eds and unsigned editorials. But the Post’s words have a huge impact on the hive-mind of America’s foreign policy apparatus — and hence where we’re going to war next — so it’s important that someone normal pay attention and report back.

    • On the Brink of Nuclear War

      My experience in what was certainly the most dangerous situation America ever experienced, the Cuban Missile Crisis, led me to believe that at least in a crisis how we think about events and what we remember of the past often determines our actions and may be the deciding difference between life and death. So here I will begin with the mindset that underlay American policy for the last half century.

      Anyone who reads the press or watches TV is beset with countless scraps of information. In my experience in government service, the deluge of information was almost paralyzing. Some of my colleagues joked that the way to defeat our adversaries was to give them access to what passed over our desks every day. It would immobilize them as it sometimes immobilized us.

    • Unnerving the Donald: North Korea’s Sixth Nuclear Test

      Tediously, China is again being pressed, as if Beijing wishes to aid in perpetrating a collapse in Pyongyang. Trump is ever decent enough to suggest that Beijing might be trying to help, but has proven ineffectual – much like an ignored parent. “North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success.”[5]

      Turnbull similarly likes speaking for China, having, it would seem, a telepathic linen into the Chinese foreign ministry. “The Chinese are frustrated and dismayed by North Korea’s conduct, but China has the greatest leverage, and with the greatest leverage comes the greatest responsibility.”[6]

      Given that China does trade with Pyongyang, the cessation of trade between the US and the world’s second largest economy is bound to be an own goal of dramatic idiocy. Doing so will make the US smaller rather than great, somewhat against the current puffy rhetoric preferred in the White House.

    • Militias and crony capitalism to hamper Syria reconstruction

      Reconstruction is a main project of the regime and crony capitalists, linked with a plan to consolidate their political and economic power, while rewarding foreign allies for their assistance with a share of the market. Reconstruction will also reinforce the neo-liberal policies of the deeply indebted regime as it lacks the capacity to fund the reconstruction.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Undocumented in Texas: Surviving Hurricane Harvey and the Repeal of DACA

      Today we bring you a conversation about undocumented families seeking relief from Hurricane Harvey, the ongoing fight against an anti-immigrant bill in Texas, DACA and more with Greg Casar, a city councilman in Austin representing District 4.

    • At times during Harvey, the European model outperformed humans

      As a resident of Houston and a meteorologist, I closely tracked the development or Hurricane Harvey for much of the month of August. As part of that, I watched every new cycle of forecast model runs to determine which one handled the track forecast best.

    • The very different depictions of Hurricanes Harvey and Katrina

      Bush’s disconnection from the region reflected a larger sense that post-Katrina New Orleans resembled a ‘Third World’ disaster zone.

    • ‘Putting Politics Before Science,’ Trump’s EPA Restricting Grants for Climate Research

      In what environmentalists characterized as an “outrageous” scheme by the Trump administration to put “politics before science,” the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now only issuing grants and awards if they are approved by a political appointee, the Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin reported on Monday.

      John Konkus—a GOP operative who served as President Donald Trump’s Leon County, Florida campaign chairman—now “reviews every award the agency gives out, along with every grant solicitation before it is issued,” Eilperin noted.

    • Americans who live far from coasts should also be worried about flooding

      Catastrophic flooding in Houston from Hurricane Harvey is the latest reminder that floods kill more people in the United States than any other type of natural disaster and are the most common natural disaster worldwide. Many communities along U.S. coastlines have begun to take heed and have slowed development in coastal flood zones. The bad news, as Harvey shows, is that inland communities are also at risk – and in some, development in flood zones is increasing.

      With post-doctoral research associate Yi Qiang and graduate students, I recently studied development patterns in the United States from 2001 to 2011. We found that while new urban development in flood zones near coasts has generally declined, it has grown in inland counties. This is a worrisome trend. It implies that people who have experienced flooding on the coast migrate inland, but may not realize that they are still vulnerable if they relocate to an inland flood zone.

    • Will Houston’s Post-Harvey Recovery Exacerbate Inequities or Build a More Just City?

      Residents across Houston are beginning to return to their communities in the wake of devastating flooding from Hurricane Harvey. Congress is slated to begin debate on how to distribute billions of dollars in aid for Houston and the Texas Gulf Coast. To understand who stands to profit from the relief effort, and who may not, Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman, Renée Feltz and Hany Massoud sat down with Dr. Robert Bullard, known as the founder of the environmental justice movement, at his home in Houston over the weekend.

    • Petro Metro: A Toxic Tour of Houston from Refineries to Superfund Sites in Wake of Harvey

      In Texas, the devastation from Hurricane Harvey continues. At least 63 people have died, more than 40,000 homes have been lost, and as many 1 million cars have been destroyed. Meanwhile, the long-term environmental impact of the storm is just beginning to be felt. The Center for Biological Diversity reports flooded oil refineries and chemical plants released as much as 5 million pounds of pollutants into the air during the storm. On Friday night, another large fire broke out at the flooded Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Texas. Then, on Sunday, authorities set fire to six remaining containers of chemicals in what was described as a controlled burn. The company continues to refuse to inform local residents of what chemicals burned at the site. For more, Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman, Renée Feltz and Hany Massoud take a “toxic tour” of Houston’s fenceline communities, led by environmental justice organizer Bryan Parras.

    • August/September 2017: Hurricane Harvey

      From August 27-September 4, the National Geodetic Survey (NGS) collected damage assessment imagery in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The aerial imagery was collected in specific areas identified by FEMA and the National Weather Service. You can access all of the images collected online.

      Select the round icon with directional arrows using your mouse (or your finger) and slide back and forth to view a “before and after” comparison. “Before” images are provided by Mapbox, Digital Globe, and OpenStreetMap; “After” images were captured by NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

    • Trump Budget Cuts Could Halt the Investigation Into the Texas Chemical Plant Explosion

      But in President Donald Trump’s budget proposal, the CSB was completely defunded. If Congress acts on that request, we might never see the results of the Arkema investigation, nor many of the other studies CSB is conducting. Even budget cuts might hamper those investigations.

    • Big Oil to Blame for Harvey’s Toxic Legacy

      Yesterday, the Governor of Texas warned that the bill for reconstruction after Superstorm Harvey could be as high as $180 billion. To put this into perspective, this is much worse that Hurricane Katrina.

      It also does not include the hidden huge impact on local health and the environment from the toxic release of dozens of chemicals from the state’s petrochemical infrastructure – from refineries, chemical plants to toxic pits.

      Brock Long, the Head of the Government’s Disaster Management Agency, also told CBS News that Harvey should be a wake-up call for local officials. “It is a wake-up call for this country for local and state elected officials to give their governors and their emergency management directors the full budgets that they need to be fully staffed, to design rainy-day funds, to have your own stand-alone individual assistance and public assistance programmes,” he said

    • Look Around: The Costs of Not Acting on Climate Are Adding Up Fast

      As Houston begins a recovery from Hurricane Harvey that is likely to last several years and cost many billions of dollars, the threat of extreme weather events around the country and the globe are illustrating the impact of climate change—and the damage being done by right-wing politicians including President Donald Trump who have refused to heed repeated warnings from scientists and other experts.

    • Florida governor declares state of emergency over Hurricane Irma

      Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) has declared a state of emergency affecting every county in Florida in preparation for Hurricane Irma, which has been upgraded to a Category 4 storm.

      Scott’s order signed Monday notes that the National Hurricane Center predicts the storm will be a “major hurricane located somewhere north of Cuba and south of Andros Island in the Bahamas.”

      “Hurricane Irma poses a severe threat to the entire State of Florida, and requires that timely precautions are taken to protect the communities, critical infrastructure, and general welfare of this State,” the order states.

      “As governor, I am responsible to meet the dangers presented to this state and its people by this emergency.”

    • Green Energy Jobs: Top 7 Pieces of Rare Good News for US Workers on Labor Day
    • Houston, Bangladesh and Global Warming

      The pictures that came out of Houston and other areas that were hard hit by Hurricane Harvey were pretty awful. There were numerous photographs of people with young children and pets wading through high water in the hope of being rescued by boat or helicopter. There was also the picture of elderly people in a nursing home sitting in waist-high water waiting to be rescued. It was a pretty horrible story.

      Because the United States is a wealthy country, we do have large numbers of boats and helicopters and trained rescue workers able to assist the victims of the storm. We also have places where we can take these people where they will have shelter, as well access to food and medical care. However bad the human toll will be from Harvey, it would be hugely worse without these resources.

    • Hundreds of firefighters continuing La Tuna Fire battle through the night

      Fueled by hot conditions and shifting winds, a brush fire exploded across the eastern San Fernando Valley on Saturday, consuming thousands of acres while prompting hundreds of mandatory evacuations.

      Parts of Burbank, Glendale and Sunland-Tujunga were under evacuation orders for the La Tuna Fire.

    • Climate Breakdown

      Climate breakdown, as George Monbiot calls it, is happening before our eyes at the same time the science on climate change grows stronger and has wider acceptance. Hurricane Harvey, which struck at the center of the petroleum industry – the heart of climate denialism – provided a glimpse of the new normal of climate crisis-induced events. In Asia, this week the climate message was even stronger where at least 1,200 people died and 41 million were impacted. By 2050, one billion people could be displaced by climate crises.

      Climate disasters demonstrate the immense failure of government at all levels. The world has known about the likely disastrous impacts of climate change for decades. Next year will be the thirtieth anniversary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which operates under the auspices of the United Nations and was founded in 1988. The IPCC published the first of five reports in 1990. Thousands of scientists and other experts write and review the reports and 120 countries participate in the process. The most common surprises in successive reports are more rapid temperature increases and greater impacts than scientists had predicted.

    • Our Collective Response to the Houston Tragedy Is Proof That Greed and Capitalism Aren’t the Only Ways to Run Society
  • Finance

    • Trump’s Tax Push Begins
    • ‘Toxic to Democracy’: New Project Reveals Corrupting Web of Trump Empire

      In a report accompanying the launch of the project—titled “President Trump Inc.”—Tanglis notes that despite Trump’s persistent refusal to release his tax returns, there is abundant evidence of “a massive conflict problem based on what we already know from his 278e financial disclosures.”

      Public Citizen’s analysis of available documents found that “Trump has created at least 49 business entities since he announced his bid for the Republican nomination on June 16, 2015.”

    • You Can’t Be Serious: Debunking The Dangerous Arguments Against Dodd-Frank

      Not content with their fruitless assault on Obamacare, one of President Obama’s two signature achievements, Republicans are now staging a similarly symbolic challenge to the other. In June, the House passed a measure that would significantly pare back the Dodd-Frank financial reforms. While it’s highly unlikely to become law, the bill promotes bogus and dangerous arguments for unregulated finance.

      Passed in 2010, Dodd-Frank was Congress’s response to the 2008 financial crisis, which was a product of Wall Street excess more than the naïve homebuyers who are often blamed for it. The idea was partly to rein in the inordinate risk-taking by large financial institutions that pose a hazard to innocent bystanders. There’s a link here: When out-of-control financial systems crash and burn and the economy contracts in response, as happened in 2007-09, millions of people lose jobs. Pre-Obamacare, that meant losing your health insurance.

    • Concession Fatigue in Connecticut

      Corporate tax rates are some of the lowest in the country… incomes of the top 1 percent grew 290.8 percent

    • Why the Post Office Gives Amazon Special Delivery

      This arrangement is an underappreciated accident of history. The post office has long had a legal monopoly to deliver first-class mail, or nonurgent letters. The exclusivity comes with a universal-service obligation—to provide for all Americans at uniform price and quality. This communication service helps knit this vast country together, and it’s the why the Postal Service exists.

      In 2001 the quantity of first-class mail in the U.S. began to decline thanks to the internet. Today it is down 40% from its peak levels, according to Postal Service data. But though there are fewer letters to put into each mailbox, the Postal Service still visits 150 million residences and businesses daily. With less traditional mail to deliver, the service has filled its spare capacity by delivering more boxes.

    • No Worker Left Behind

      Everyone gets a day off for Labour day, right?

      Wrong.

    • Concession Fatigue in Connecticut

      Public employees were forced to the table because the state budget faced a $5 billion shortfall over two years, conservative forces were resurgent and vocal in their anti-union rhetoric, and the state’s Democratic Party was paralyzed by poor leadership and a fear of raising taxes. With Democratic Governor Dan Malloy (elected by the unions) threatening 4,200 layoffs, concessions were a foregone conclusion.

      How did Connecticut, one of the wealthiest states in the country, get into a budget mess so bad that state workers were forced to solve it? The answer is that Connecticut is one of the most unequal states in the nation.

    • The Union Was the Only Friend He Had: On Joe Hill, Now More Than Ever

      So many offenses against human decency, so little time. Just in time for Labor Day, we note the “death by a thousand cuts” that are curbs, stalls, rollbacks and “staggering” assaults on workers’ rights and protections – many engineered by so-called labor officials who turn out to be racists, oligarchs or brazenly anti-union crusaders whose credentials come from conservative Christian correspondence courses, so we know just how good they are. Some of the damage to date: Cuts to measures helping victims of discrimination, a halt to Obama-era reporting by large companies to address gross pay inequity, threats to overtime pay and a pullback by OSHA on previously vital actions like reporting injuries and issuing news releases.

      The latest travesty: Last week, under loathsome cover of Harvey – and using the same slimy method of making things like climate change and sexual awareness just go poof from websites – OSHA scrubbed from their home page a longtime running list of workers killed on the job, because, really, who wants to know about that? The list, which included the worker’s name, date of accident and cause of death, disappeared Friday just as Little Donny was making his unpresidentedly surreal visit to wish Harvey victims, “Have a good time, everybody!” Gone was also the list’s preface, noting that, “More than 4,500 workers lose their lives on the job every year….OSHA’s mission is to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths.” Also gone: a video telling workers they have the right to speak up about safety conditions, without reprisal.

    • This Labor Day the Struggle Continues

      Labor Day was established in 1894 by President Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, as a concession to the labor movement days after he used federal troops to crush a strike by railroad workers which resulted in 30 deaths and some $80 million in property damages. Workers then, and workers now, were fighting for decent wages and working conditions and the end of human exploitation.Labor Day was established in 1894 by President Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, as a concession to the labor movement days after he used federal troops to crush a strike by railroad workers which resulted in 30 deaths and some $80 million in property damages. Workers then, and workers now, were fighting for decent wages and working conditions and the end of human exploitation.

    • A Beautiful Moment of Socialism. But Now Killer Capitalism Resumes

      People in Texas and around the nation pitched in, through their labors and donations; neighbors and first responders saved lives; the Red Cross and other charitable organizations, including many local churches, brought food and supplies and medicine to hurricane victims; many GoFundMe initiatives were set up; the business community—especially furniture man Jim McIngvale—donated their goods and services; government officials remained focused on the people they were elected to represent; even the military contributed with rescue helicopters. No one seemed to care about the skin color or religion or politics of those in need.

    • How noncompete clauses clash with US labor laws

      Most Americans with jobs work “at-will”: Employers owe their employees nothing in the relationship and vice versa. Either party may terminate the arrangement at any time for a good or bad reason or none at all.

      In keeping with that no-strings-attached spirit, employees may move on as they see fit – unless they happen to be among the nearly one in five workers bound by a contract that explicitly forbids getting hired by a competitor. These “noncompete clauses” may make sense for CEOs and other top executives who possess trade secrets but seem nonsensical when they are applied to low-wage workers such as draftsmen in the construction industry.

    • Criticising UK’s Brexit difficulties is like following a crap football team

      Watching the UK government deal with Brexit is a lot like watching Aston Villa in decline.

      Unforced error after unforced error, as the side does ever more badly over time.

      The memories of greatness only making things worse.

      Some suggest that criticising the UK’s many mistakes over Brexit is to be on the side of the EU. That one is “talking down” the UK and “cheering on” Juncker, Barnier, or whoever.

      But a person can be critical of a thing, and express that criticism, without it meaning that the person is opposed to it.

      One suspects the people expressing such views have never followed a crap football team.

      There is no pleasure in watching the government’s foreseeable difficulties on Brexit, just as there was no pleasure in watching Aston Villa’s foreseeable relegation.

    • The Drudgery of Modern Work

      A bitter irony of modern life is just when computers and robots should give people more time for creativity and relaxation, the opposite is often the case for many, a continued life of drudgery, as Lawrence Davidson observes.

    • The Rollback of Pro-Worker Policies Since Trump Took Office Is Staggering

      The rollback of labor rights and protections since Trump took office is staggering. It puts worker safety at risk and guarantees that many workers will earn less, but that’s not all. Measures to help victims of discrimination receive redress are on the scrap heap. Unions are running scared. “It’s a death by a thousand cuts,” explains Heidi Shierholz, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute.

    • AFL-CIO head rips Trump on Labor Day: ‘He’s assaulted’ worker regulations

      “He’s assaulted just about every health and safety regulation out there, whether it’s from beryllium or silica,” Trumka said. “He attacked the overtime regulations, he attacked regulations for consumer protection.”

    • Tory government launches ‘secretive amnesty’ for up to 3,000 firms that fail to pay minimum wage

      The Tory government has launched a “secretive amnesty” for up to 3,000 firms who failed to pay the minimum wage.

      Businesses will be able to repay cheated workers without being fined or exposed publicly under the programme, which launched around a month ago.

      Since a crackdown began in 2013 more than 1,000 firms have been named, shamed and issued penalties for failing to pay staff the minimum wage.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Alex Jones and the War on the Minds of the Working Class

      Yes, this is a serious article about InfoWars. For many of us, it’s easy to laugh off the unhinged theories of Alex Jones, a self-proclaimed leader of the alt right, as inconsequential and absurd. Yet, demagogues like Jones maintain formidable influence over the minds of many working class whites by channeling their frustrations in patterns that amplify raced and gendered inequality.

    • A Treatise on European Government: on the international and the problems of the treaties

      The problem with founding a constitutional order on the basis of treaties has been amply discussed by observers of the European construct for decades, and from the crucial decade of the 1990s in particular. Chief among these concerns is that in reality, treaties are international law. Treaties are drafted by ministers of state and diplomats and not by the people to which they will apply; it is the states rather than their citizens, who are the ‘High Contracting Parties’.

    • Decades Ago, Paul Manafort Played a Leading Role in a Pioneering Operation to Secretly Funnel Foreign Money into U.S. Politics

      Former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was a major player in a transnational operation that was both pioneering and innovative during its time, according to court documents and interviews with key figures. This decades-old scheme may fit the same pattern investigators are probing in regard to Russian government’s influence on the 2016 campaign.

      When Manafort joined Trump’s campaign, a flurry of stories was written about the shady clients the lobbyist had represented over his long career. But by shifting the focus from who he represented to how, a more interesting picture begins to emerge.

      Trump accepted Manafort’s resignation in August 2016 — just three months after he joined the campaign — after reports of Manafort’s ties to a pro-Russian Ukrainian became too much to stomach. He is known to have worked for a series of controversial clients, including an international arms dealer. A closer look into one of Manafort’s former clients, as well as details from a past top official of that organization, provide insight into a scheme to funnel foreign government money into the United States through a nonprofit partner, evading the notice of authorities.

      In the early 1990s, Manafort’s lobbying firm, Black, Manafort, Stone, and Kelly, worked for the Kashmiri American Council, a group that tried to influence U.S. policy toward the disputed territory of Kashmir. Later, the group, led by Kashmiri native Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, was proven to be a front for Pakistan’s intelligence agency in Washington. The KAC hired Manafort in October 1990, just months after its founding.

    • Manafort and the Big Nothingburger

      In a secretly taped video CNN’s Van Jones referred to the Trump-Russia story as a “big nothingburger.” Interesting that one of the network’s senior news commentators would say that, although not publicly, but privately to someone in an elevator. The cable network’s news director has apparently urged anchors to refer to the story of Russian interference in the U.S. election as something confirmed by all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies (which is in fact not quite true). Hence it must be supported by any reasonable person as settled fact. When Trump supporters (or others) point out that the same agencies asserted that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and al-Qaeda ties in 2003, they are told that many improvements have been made in intelligence collection since then. But intelligence is always susceptible to high-level manipulation.

      Dick Cheney and his neocons obliged the intellect community to accept, or at least reference in official reports, what turned out to be sheer disinformation (in order to get their war). I believe Obama wanted a joint report alleging Russian intervention in the presidential election on Trump’s behalf, both to draw doubt upon Trump’s legitimacy (as Trump had sought to do to him), and to further vilify Putin.

      [...]

      Manafort resigned from the campaign in June 2016, due to criticism about his ties to “pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarchs.” Of course, oligarchs control the economies of most former Soviet states. That’s what happens when state property is suddenly privatized. There are anti-Russian Ukrainians too. Would Manafort have escaped blame if he had been working with them, on the right (pro-NATO) side? I suspect he will be convicted of some crime or another, but it will have nothing to do with Putin and Trump.

      We keep hearing references to Trump campaign contacts with “the Russians.” As though such contact was legally prohibited and morally abhorrent. Brief conversations between Trump aides and the Russian ambassador (that sound to be very routine and polite) are being subject to stern scrutiny. The cable anchor (such as MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid and Rachel Maddow) lusts for impeachment—on the grounds of Trump-camp collusion with Russia to deny Hillary her right to rule.

    • Lifting the Veil on Another Batch of Shadowy Trump Appointees

      President Donald Trump has left hundreds of government jobs unfilled that require a vote by the Senate. Yet his administration has installed more than 1,000 people through political appointments at every major federal agency, handing over control of the government’s day-to-day operations to industry insiders and loyalists to an unprecedented degree.

      Among the latest Trump administration appointees is a lobbyist who until March worked for a leading hepatitis C drugmaker that priced its treatment at $1,000 a pill and is now leading a White House working group setting drug pricing policies. The list includes the new head of the government’s offshore oil drilling safety and enforcement agency, who previously sat on the board of Sunoco Logistics and who told an industry conference earlier this month that deepwater drilling should ramp up. Then there’s the Hollywood actor who has called global warming and climate change a “leftist political tool” and “not sound science” on Twitter and who is now the communications director at the Department of Health and Human Services. Finally, this group also includes the 80-year-old retired chief legal officer of Morgan Stanley, who once told government lawyers he was “going to kick your ass” and is now a deputy attorney general in the Justice Department’s antitrust division, overseeing litigation while his boss awaits Senate confirmation. (At the time, Kempf denied using the expletive in exactly those terms.)

    • Fake Assanges Drive Far-Right Messages

      All four accounts — @JuliannAssange, @Julien_Assange, @RealAssange and @JulianAssanged — copied the profile of the genuine Assange (@JulianAssange), occasionally claiming to be a “parody” (or “parity”) account when they were exposed. Their content was not parody, however, but a cocktail of far-right propaganda which achieved the greatest impact when it linked itself with Wikileaks.

      Some Twitter users appear to have been fooled by these accounts; others claimed not to have been, but supported their efforts anyway.

      Three of the four accounts were created in May. By the time the last of them was suspended on September 4, while under investigation by @DFRLab, it had over 25,000 followers. Minutes after the suspension, a new account was created, using the same techniques.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • EPA now requires political aide’s sign-off for agency awards, grant applications

      The Environmental Protection Agency has taken the unusual step of putting a political operative in charge of vetting the hundreds of millions of dollars in grants the EPA distributes annually, assigning final funding decisions to a former Trump campaign aide with little environmental policy experience.

      In this role, John Konkus reviews every award the agency gives out, along with every grant solicitation before it is issued. According to both career and political employees, Konkus has told staff that he is on the lookout for “the double C-word” — climate change — and repeatedly has instructed grant officers to eliminate references to the subject in solicitations.

    • The Strange (and Tortured) Legacy of “Free Speech”

      Christ noted that free speech as a basic constitutional right remains vital to the “Berkeley community”, adding: “That protection involves not just defending your right to speak, or the right of those you agree with, but also defending the right to speak by those you disagree with, even of those whose views you find abhorrent.” A ringing endorsement of political freedom right out of the pages of John Stuart Mill’s classic On Liberty. Throughout American society and its hundreds of college campuses, however, this ideal was destined to fall short, and Berkeley – as we have amply seen – is hardly an exception. The historic birthplace of “free speech” is simultaneously a bastion of formidable restrictions, limits, and obstacles, where violent conflict has all-too-often crowded out any free exchange of ideas.

      [...]

      At Berkeley, clashes surrounding the Yiannopolous and Coulter events this year probably did more to bolster than to undermine right-wing politics. If attempts to silence objectionable speech run counter to historical FSM values, they are also profoundly self-negating. Chomsky’s argument that chaos brought on by Antifa and kindred groups has been a much-appreciated gift to the extreme right seems on the mark. One campus leftist railed: “We can’t keep producing this audio-visual propaganda. It is recruiting for the right.”

    • BBC cuts ties with Burmese TV station over censorship

      The BBC has stopped providing news programmes for a Burmese television station which it claims has been censoring broadcasts.

      The corporation’s decision appears to relate to coverage of communal violence in the western state of Rakhine.

      BBC deputy director of news and current affairs Francesca Unsworth said in a statement posted on the BBC Burmese website that the censorship by Yangon-based MNTV “violated the trust between the BBC and its audience”.

      It said the BBC has warned MNTV since March against interfering with BBC programming.

    • How does the Cuban government censor the internet? Report reveals some details
    • Google Pushes Back on Accusations of Aiding Censorship in Cuba
    • China rewrites history with new censorship drive [Ed: Google cache to bypass paywall]
    • Sense and censorship
    • Blockchain-based YouTube has potential to be censorship-resistant alternative
    • Google Continues to Hire in China Even as Search Remains Blocked
    • Chinese Man Jailed For Nine Months For Selling VPN Software

      A man who sold VPN software via a website has been sentenced to nine months in prison by China’s Supreme People’s Court. The decision, handed down earlier this year but only just made public, notes that the software supplied by the man allowed the public to circumvent China’s Great Firewall while granting access to foreign websites.

    • China bans all ICOs and digital currency launches as ‘illegal public financing’

      The hype around ICOs or initial coin offerings has reached fever pitch in the US, with celebs like Paris Hilton endorsing new digital currencies and mainstream outlets such as CNBC offering viewers advice on how to build their own “cryptocurrency portfolio.” In China, though, the authorities have had enough, and today the Chinese government took the bold move of banning ICOs all together.

    • Bitcoin falls as China bans initial coin offerings
    • Bitcoin Tumbles as PBOC Declares Initial Coin Offerings Illegal

      The People’s Bank of China said on its website Monday that it had completed investigations into ICOs, and will strictly punish offerings in the future while penalizing legal violations in ones already completed. The regulator said that those who have already raised money must provide refunds, though it didn’t specify how the money would be paid back to investors.

    • Yes, Google Uses Its Power to Quash Ideas It Doesn’t Like—I Know Because It Happened to Me [Updated]
    • Cambridge University Press should never bow down to China’s censorship again
    • Censorship: Egypt blocks 424 websites
    • Egyptian authorities’ blocking of NGO website condemned
    • We Are At War For A Free And Open Internet

      Without any of these things an individual website can not possibly compete and operate at scale. If left unchecked, these centralized platforms will continue their dominance and control the means of all information, personal data, and communication on the internet.

      It’s not too late to save the free and open internet. Decentralized platforms built on the blockchain (including Gab in the near future) will inevitably give the power and control to The People and make the internet censorship-proof.
      Gab wants to lead the creation of the next level of the internet. If Web 2.0 was about centralized, social, and mobile networks: Web 3.0 will be a decentralized, blockchain-based, radically transparent, people-powered internet infrastructure.
      We are actively looking for a new registrar. This post will hopefully inspire other teams to start building or attract talented engineers to Gab who want to help us protect the free and open web. Until then, we will continue to build and fight for the freedoms we cherish.

    • Putin: no censorship or pressure behind arrest of prominent director

      Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that there was no censorship or official pressure behind the arrest of a film and theater director whose edgy work has angered traditionalists in the Russian establishment.

      Russian prosecutors say they suspect the director, Kirill Serebrennikov, of embezzling at least 68 million rubles ($1.17 million) in state funds earmarked for an art project. Serebrennikov, under house arrest awaiting trial, denies the charges.

    • Lack of good jobs, censorship leads Chinese youth to dunk despair in ‘Sang’ tea

      Chinese millennials with a dim view of their career and marriage prospects can wallow in despair with a range of teas such as “achieved-absolutely-nothing black tea”, and “my-ex’s-life-is-better-than-mine fruit tea”.

      While the drink names at the Sung chain of tea stalls are tongue-in-cheek, the sentiment they reflect is serious: a significant number of young Chinese with high expectations have become discouraged and embrace an attitude known on social media as “sang”, after a Chinese character associated with the word “funeral” that describes being dispirited.

      “Sang” culture, which revels in often-ironic defeatism, is fuelled by internet celebrities, through music and the popularity of certain mobile games and TV shows, as well as sad-faced emojis and pessimistic slogans.

    • The Big ‘If’ in The Rebel’s Censorship Claim

      Ezra Levant used it to recruit supporters in his latest online campaign, built on the phrase “They tried to kill The Rebel” and launched after the website was briefly unavailable to some regions of the world.

      [...]

      But The Rebel did not do this. And two weeks later, the vague claim remains on the site, and 14,176 people have handed their email addresses over to the business as they filled out a form to show they “Stand with The Rebel.” (Less than half Levant’s 30,000 goal.)

      It’s hard to understand The Rebel’s secrecy, as the issues aren’t complex.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Romanian whose messages were read by employer ‘had privacy breached’

      A European court of human rights judgment has bolstered the rights of employees to have a significant degree of privacy when sending and receiving workplace emails.

      The surprise decision by the Strasbourg appeal court, overturning an earlier ruling, will force employers to give more explicit warnings to staff if they want to monitor internet use.

      The case, which relates to a Romanian engineer who was sacked in 2007 for exchanging messages on an office account about his sexual health with his fiancee, will set a legal precedent across Europe.

    • Harman CEO: Samsung will outdo Google, Amazon with AI speaker

      IFA 2017 was not only for the unveiling of new products, it was also used as an opportunity to strengthen existing business relationships. Samsung Electronics has created a formidable relationship with its new affiliate, Harman International, after the chiefs of the two firms held an exclusive private meeting at the IFA 2017 conference held in Berlin, Germany some days ago. This association appears to be very vital for the manufacturing giant to launch an “unbeatable” artificial intelligence device next year. Harman is a US audio and car electronics maker which was acquired by Samsung for $8 billion in March.

    • What is edge computing? [Ed: It’s a new buzzword to teach us it’s “cool” to be spied on and “hip” to have surveillance inside homes]

      This is where edge computing comes in. Edge computing is essentially the process of decentralizing computer services and moving them closer to the source of data. This can have a significant impact on latency, as it can drastically reduce the volume of data moved and the distance it travels.

    • UIDAI refutes Wikileaks reports of Aadhaar data snoop, says system is secure

      The UIDAI on Sunday asserted that Aadhaar system has stringent security features to prevent any unauthorised capture or transmission of data, refuting reports that hinted at sensitive biometric data being allegedly accessed by certain foreign agencies.

    • NSA Has Identified Satoshi Nakamoto, Author Claims

      Although several people have come forwad and claimed to be Satoshi, the generally acknowledged bitcoin inventor, no one has been able to definitively prove any real identity.

    • Employers’ rights to monitor office emails to be decided by European court

      The extent to which employers can monitor their employees’ office emails could be shaped by a test case on workplace privacy to be resolved by the European court of human rights this week.

      The final ruling in a long-running appeal brought by a Romanian man against his dismissal revolves around whether it was reasonable for his firm to investigate whether he had been sending private messages on his professional Yahoo Messenger account.

      The case brought by Bogdan Bărbulescu dates back to 2007 when he was employed in sales and was asked to set up an email account to answer clients’ inquiries.

      Three years later, the company informed him that his use of the account had been monitored and that he had been found to have used it to exchange private messages with his brother and fiancee. Some of the exchanges related to their sexual health.

    • Why 16% of the code on the average site belongs to Facebook, and what that means

      According to data collected by BuiltWith.com, 6% of the top 10,000 most high-traffic sites load content from Facebook’s servers. For the vast majority of them, that content is likely Facebook’s Javascript SDK, a huge block of code that is needed to display such features as the Like button (as seen on many media sites) and Facebook comments widgets (also used on many big media sites, Buzzfeed among them). The SDK code is so big that it represents about 16% of the total size of all Javascript on the average web page.

    • Inside the black market where people pay thousands of dollars for Instagram verification

      But it’s clear from people who spoke on the condition of anonymity, many of whom have their own blue checkmarks, that a black market for Instagram verification is alive and well.

    • Forget Aadhaar, there’s a bigger privacy risk you have already taken

      Those who protest against Aadhaar, the 12-digit biometric identification number, due to privacy concerns and risk of data theft, may have missed the elephant in the room — the smartphone. Indians run a bigger risk of data theft and loss of privacy through their smartphones.

    • California’s Top Court Says Cops Have To Hand Over Automatic Plate Reader Records

      The EFF and ACLU have achieved a victory in an acronym-heavy public records case. The California Supreme Court has ruled the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) will have to turn over data acquired by their automatic license plate readers (ALPRs).

      Both entities tried to keep these records from the EFF and ACLU by claiming every single one of the millions of plate records were “investigatory records,” exempt from disclosure under California’s public records law. This apparently included the millions of “non-hit” records never utilized in any LAPD/LASD investigation. With the plate readers collecting 1.5-2 million records per week, they were basically arguing every driver passing by an ALPR was under investigation.

    • Black Lives Matter Sues Police Department Over Illegal Surveillance Based On First Amendment Activities

      Members of a New York “Black Lives Matter” group are suing the town of Clarkstown and its police department over illegal surveillance. The plaintiffs allege they were placed under surveillance by the Clarkstown PD’s Strategic Intelligence Unit (SIU) for a number of reasons, none of which were legal uses of the agency’s spy wares.

      It would seem the lawsuit [PDF] has a good chance of paying off. Allegations of racial profiling and illegally surveilling citizens for their First Amendment activities are backed by the results of investigations and one police official’s own admissions.

      A letter to the US Attorney’s office in New York, attached as an exhibit, bolsters the claims made in the BLM lawsuit. In it, Clarkstown town Supervisor George Hoehman details a long list of surveillance violations and other police misconduct.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Shock of Panorama on G4S Abuse of Security Detainees

      Every now and then BBC Panorama can still come up with a truly shocking investigation that can prick the public conscience. Today’s report by the excellent and brave Callum Tulley on the appalling physical and mental abuse of immigration detainees was so atrocious it may result in action other than the sacking of low level employees which appears to be in train. I do urge you strongly to watch the programme if you have not done so before.

      The BBC failed dismally in their duty to explain that Theresa May is personally responsible for the abuse having supported the system throughout her long period as Home Secretary. We do not have similar undercover footage for the females held in Yarls Wood detention centre, but levels of physical abuse by staff are similar there and it is a matter of undisputed public record that they have included rape and sexual abuse.

    • Haiti in Crisis: What Next After the Stolen Election?

      Addressing an overflow audience in Oakland in late April, Dr. Maryse Narcisse, presidential candidate of Fanmi Lavalas, the party of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, spoke about the necessity of reforming the justice system, investing in education and health, and the decisive role of women in the fight for democracy. Reflecting on the devastation wrought by both the 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Matthew, she focused on the growing threats posed by climate change to the island nation and the need for a vigorous environmental campaign to meet that threat. She emphasized that the Lavalas movement “places human beings at the center.”

      Dr. Narcisse spoke in the wake of the selection of Haiti’s new president, Jovenel Moise, a right-wing businessmen and protégé of former president Michel Martelly, who took office via an electoral process so replete with fraud and voter suppression that opposition forces called it an “electoral coup.” She denounced the stolen elections and the corrupt electoral commission that validated the outcome. But she reiterated that the deteriorating economic and social conditions in Haiti would be the catalyst for renewed protest in the days and months ahead. “There is no choice”, she stated, “but for the people to resist. And Lavalas will be there to support them.”

      We can see the truth of this throughout Haiti. Market women – the very heart of Haiti’s economy and the foundation of so many Haitian families’ ability to survive – have been targeted by police trying to move them off the streets of Port-au-Prince, where they have been selling their goods for generations. When the women organized themselves and refused to move, police burned down their stalls.

    • The road to torture: How the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” became legal after 9/11

      The FBI allows agents to take one of two approaches when conducting an interrogation. The Informed Interrogation Approach calls for the interrogator to become as fully informed on issues important to the subject as possible, and then to establish a rapport with the target. Under this approach, the interrogator builds trust over a period of time until the subject begins to supply useful information. In contrast, the Coercive Interrogation Approach—sometimes called the Coercive Interrogation Technique—calls for interrogators to employ force and pain, and to create a feeling of helplessness and isolation which will make the subject more likely to talk to his interrogator.

      But the FBI would not be the only ones interrogating Abu Zubaydah.

    • Immigrant Groups Mobilize To Combat Trump’s ‘Cruel’ and ‘Heartless’ Plan to End DACA

      United We Dream and their allies are mobilizing to stage protests this week amid reports that President Donald Trump will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act, which allows undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as minors to apply for work permits and shields them from deportation.

      After Politico reported on Sunday evening that the president would announce a six-month delay before he terminates DACA protections for nearly 800,000 people, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was among many Trump critics who expressed outrage at the president’s plan.

    • Venezuela in the Media: Double Standards and First Impressions

      The New York Times went one step further, echoing an opposition leader’s claim that people had voted multiple times. This was in fact proven to be impossible by a journalist. And we can only wonder where these fears of multiple voting were when this actually did happen during the opposition’s consultation, an event that the New York Times considered as a supreme democratic event with “staggering” results.

    • Staying single not good for demographics

      Unlike men, China’s single women are concentrated mainly in large cities, and a huge number of them are highly educated, and have high incomes and enjoy high social status. Such women are single because of their high requirements from their would-be spouse, such as sharing work and being treated as equals. But since traditionally, husbands are supposed to be “superior” to their wives in terms of education, income and social status, it is difficult for highly qualified and successful women to find a suitable spouse, not only because there are few such men but also because many Chinese men prefer to have a wife who is “not better than” them.

    • Why Does Trump Always Shoot The Hostages?

      President Trump, cornered, weakened, and apparently unable to get his hands on the usual levers of presidential powers, has adopted pretty much the worst possible strategy for someone trying to wield the power of the most powerful job in the world: He’s shooting the hostages.

      Trump can’t seem to get the hard stuff associated with the presidency done. He hasn’t been able to mount a legislative agenda or give federal employees (besides ICE agents and the occasional EPA regulator) the foggiest idea of what he wants them to do. Congress is beyond his control and doesn’t fear him: They slapped him in the face on Russia, and when his allies “burned the ships” to pass a health care bill, his confused conquistadors didn’t make it out.

      His remaining political leverage has come largely from the policies left to him as hostages by President Barack Obama: the Paris Climate accord; the Iran nuclear deal; the Trans-Pacific Partnership; and, most of all, DACA and the nearly 800,000 sympathetic young Americans it allows to live normal, and sometimes extraordinary, lives.

    • Sacred activism: the story of Tamera

      There are people who think that Odeceixe is the most beautiful beach in the world. Nature has created a pearl in southern Portugal, a sandbank between the green meanders of the Seixe River and the blue of the Atlantic Ocean. Each day in summer, the sandbank is flooded with tourists, and on this particular day—August 12 2017—they expect nothing more spectactular than sunscreen, surfboards and sandcastles. They don´t yet know it, but today they will be part of a prayer. A widely visible prayer, formed with their bodies to protect the coastline from oil drilling by national and international corporations

      From early morning, a part of the beach is being separated, and people are working hard in the sun, forming a giant image in the sand. In the afternoon buses arrive, full with hundreds of indigenous elders from different cultures, activists, trade unionists, shamans from Latin America, Palestinians and Israelis arm in arm, musicians, and lots of young people.

    • Prosecutors: human rights defenders or violators?

      Prosecutors play a pivotal role in this negative trend. In Russia, right before hosting the prosecutors’ global Annual Conference in 2013, the Office of the Prosecutor General launched a massive nationwide campaign of extraordinary (and unannounced) inspections of NGOs that aimed at “forcing them to enter the register of foreign agents”. Hundreds of NGOs throughout the country were subjected to these inspections, which were highly invasive and seemed to have the purpose of intimidating these organizations. The campaign was unprecedented in its scale and scope – there has never been such a wide-scale inspection of any legal entities (including not only NGOs, but also commercial companies and state institutions) in the history of modern Russia. This campaign was based on the wide-ranging powers of the Prosecutor’s Office to supervise the observance and application of laws.

      In July 2015, Chinese police rounded up and interrogated about 300 rights lawyers, legal assistants and activists across the country, a campaign widely seen as a rupture in China’s rule of law development. This repression of rule of law advocates is known as the “709 crackdown” for the July 9 date of the 2015 roundup. While most have been released, at least three are held while pending trial and another two are serving prison sentences; yet other were served suspended sentences. The UN Committee against Torture in December 2016 noted “consistent reports that human rights defenders and lawyers, petitioners, political dissidents and members of religious or ethnic minorities continue to be charged, or threatened to be charged, with broadly defined offences as a form of intimidation. Such offences reportedly include ‘picking quarrels and provoking trouble’, ‘gathering a crowd to disturb social order’ or more severe crimes against national security.” Severe torture has been reported, with no effective steps taken by prosecutors to investigate the allegations and eliminate use of information extracted under torture.

    • The Latest: Pakistan condemns attacks on Myanmar’s Rohingya

      Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Monday called for “effective measures to prevent the recurrence of such violence” against the Muslim minority. He said Pakistan is committed to providing humanitarian assistance, without elaborating.

    • Watch What Trump Does, Not What He Says. He May Not Actually End DACA.

      Some 800,000 people brought to the United States as children without proper authorization had their lives thrown into limbo on Tuesday when the Trump administration said that it would eventually be ending a 4-year-old program that affords them legal protections.

      “The program known as DACA, that was effectuated under the Obama administration, is being rescinded,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions told reporters, ending the program but implementing a six-month delay before protections are taken away.

      The run-up to the announcement played out with the “will-he-or-won’t-he” formulaic drama of a reality TV show, only with real lives at stake. Trump used the suspense of whether the he would kick the “Dreamers” off the island to drive ratings. The move was both a fulfillment of a campaign pledge and a broken promise Trump made to DACA recipients because of the variety of public statements Trump has made on the issue.

      On Sunday night, a news item in Politico sparked early public pushback to the yet-to-be-made announcement canceling the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which indefinitely put off deportation for young immigrants in the country without authorization. “Trump has decided to end the Obama-era program that grants work permits to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children,” Politico reported.

    • DACA Is Ending. But the Movement Is Not.

      Undocumented youth will fight for their rights, just like every other group seeking to become fully a part of America.

      Today the Trump administration announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has enabled nearly 800,000 young men and women who came to the United States as children to live and work without fear. President Trump proved once again that he is not a president for all Americans, but only a few. As with his recent pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, his message is clear: He stands with the nativists in rejecting communities of color and people of good will who understand that America’s greatest strength comes from inclusivity, not exclusion.

      Attorney General Sessions claimed today at his press conference that DACA needs to end because it is unconstitutional. He’s dead wrong. He also claimed that ending DACA was “compassionate.” Nothing could be further from the truth. The rescinding of DACA is a cruel and disgraceful act. But these young people, known as Dreamers, who have used DACA to build their lives, will not be defeated. They will not quietly disappear into the shadows. They will continue to fight for the Dream Act, which will put youth who came here as a children on a path to citizenship. And they will fight to fix our broken immigration laws for all families in the future.

    • As a Dreamer, I Will Not Be A Bargaining Chip for Trump’s Attack on Immigrants

      The end of DACA means returning to a life of enormous uncertainty. For us Dreamers, it also means the fight of our lives.

      So many words come to mind right now to describe how I feel about the loss of DACA: devastation, anger, rage, betrayal, hopelessness, fear, sadness. DACA transformed my life.

      DACA allowed me to attend college, plan for my future, and work. But one of the most valuable things DACA brought me was peace of mind. I knew that I would no longer have to duck my head to scurry past police officers. I knew I would have my driver’s license as a form of government-issued ID so I would not stand out when boarding a plane or even getting a library card. I stopped constantly fearing deportation. I slept easier at night knowing that I would wake up the next day with the ability to plan at least the next two years of my life and that I would be able to help my parents. I didn’t have a seemingly unending pit of fear in my stomach that often turned into full-fledged panic attacks.

      The enormity of the obstacles I had been up against, for once, seemed manageable. I became more confident in my status and in talking openly about it. But now, as I once again “become” undocumented, I worry that many of us who have been public about our stories will be forced to go back into the shadows.

      Being undocumented forces people to live a huge amount of uncertainty. My parents and I came to the United States from Chile in search of a better life when I was 6 years old. Growing up undocumented, I couldn’t imagine my future. I didn’t know how I was going to be able to go to college or pay for it. Once I was in college, before I got DACA, I did not know if I was going to be able to use my degree afterwards. Even as I consider grad school now, I don’t know whether I’ll be able to attend, or later, to work. My way of handling all of this has been by carefully concocting contingency Plans B, C, D, and E, always prepared to go into effect at any moment. “Expect the worst and hope for the best,” is my family motto.

    • Calling Nurse A ‘Hero,’ Utah Hospital Bars Police From Patient-Care Areas

      The Salt Lake City hospital where a police officer roughly arrested a nurse who was protecting her patient’s rights in July will no longer allow law enforcement agents inside its patient care areas. They’ll now have to check in, rather than enter through the emergency room.

      “Law enforcement who come to the hospital for any reason involving patients will be required to check in to the front desk of the hospital,” said chief nursing officer Margaret Pearce of the University of Utah Hospital. “There, a hospital house supervisor will meet the officers to work through each request.”

    • Will Trump Kill the Dream for These Immigrants?

      Marco Guajardo starts a new job today that, he said, will provide him with health insurance for the first time. Matias Zubko is set to close on a new house on Wednesday. Roberto Angulo is hoping for a promotion at the electrical company that employs him as he nears his first anniversary there.

      All three of them, immigrants in their 20s, now fear those prospects could vaporize in a matter of days. Guajardo, Angulo and Zubko were all brought to the U.S. illegally as children, yet since 2012 they’ve been able to work legally, get access to credit, obtain drivers’ licenses, buy houses and travel around the country. In short, they could achieve a semblance of a normal life.

    • Normalising torture

      The Mitchell/Jessen case is a sharper focus. The two men designed, oversaw, participated, and trained others to carry out the CIA’s torture programme of men which most notably marked the Bush administration’s attack on International Human Rights Law.

    • Celebrating Oktoberfest in Alabama with Executions
    • Traces of Crime: How New York’s DNA Techniques Became Tainted

      Over the past decade, the DNA laboratory in the office of New York City’s chief medical examiner emerged as a pioneer in analyzing the most complicated evidence from crime scenes. It developed two techniques, which went beyond standard practice at the F.B.I. and other public labs, for making identifications from DNA samples that were tiny or that contained a mix of more than one person’s genetic material.

    • Ofcom and Diversity: lies, lawyers and whatever next? (Part 1)

      Ofcom has had a statutory duty to promote equal opportunities since December 2003. It has been so neglectful of its equality duties over the past thirteen years that when it came to sending out invitations to diversity stakeholders, Ofcom didn’t appear to know who many of the key players were. If it did, it didn’t want to hear from them.

      The aggressively noisy Campaign for Broadcasting Equality (CBE) wasn’t missed out but organisations like Act for Change and DirectorsUK were – so was the TV Collective until CBE suggested that Simone Pennant, who had given evidence, by invitation, to the Lords on broadcasting diversity, should be sent an invitation too.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Dr. Phil Video Leads to Novel Copyright Decision Involving Woman Alleging False Imprisonment

        This isn’t the typical copyright story.

        In 2015, television personality Dr. Phil McGraw was sued by Leah Rothman, who worked as a segment director on his show for 12 years. She alleges suffering emotional distress and false imprisonment when during a meeting, Dr. Phil locked the door, yelled profanities and threatened employees for supposedly leaking internal information to the press. Before she sued, Rothman says she attempted to get evidence by accessing a database of videos from the Dr. Phil Show archives and recording on her iPhone a nine-second clip of something she thought would be valuable to her.

        In response, Peteski Productions — Dr. Phil’s company — obtained a registered copyright on those nine seconds of video and filed a lawsuit alleging infringement against Rothman in Texas federal court.

        That’s led to a novel decision from U.S. District Court Judge Rodney Gilstrap about whether Rothman’s use of the nine-second video was a fair use under copyright law. On Thursday, Gilstrap handed Dr. Phil the victory by granting Peteski summary judgment on the fair use issue.

      • Awful Court Decision Says Dr. Phil Producer’s Video Evidence Of Imprisonment Not ‘Fair Use’

        We’ve seen some awful copyright rulings over the years, but this latest one from Judge Rodney Gilstrap in Texas* is a real corker. First covered by Eriq Gardner, over at the Hollywood Reporter, the story is a complex one involving TV personality Dr. Phil and accusations of him imprisoning a producer who worked for him. What could that possibly have to do with copyright? Well, read on…

        * If you recognize the name, it’s because for the past few years, he’s handled a huge number of patent cases. Indeed, last year alone, he (yes, just this one judge) handled 20% of all patent cases in the US

Dominion Harbor is an Internet Troll as Well as a Patent Troll

Posted in Patents at 12:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Name-calling is all Dominion Harbor can do when exposed

Trolls' harbour

Summary: My experience speaking or responding to Dominion Harbor after it reacted to my articles using nothing but ad hominem attacks (which were also defamatory)

THIN-SKINNED patent trolls like Dominion Harbor Group are nothing new to us. Trolls don’t like media exposure; they prefer to operate quietly behind the scenes, as far as possible from potential scrutiny.

“Trolls don’t like media exposure; they prefer to operate quietly behind the scenes, as far as possible from potential scrutiny.”When the media is noting (usually correctly) what the trolls are about to do their ability to shake down companies is severely harmed; in fact, many of these victimised companies can then start communicating with one another and organise collective action against the troll or the troll’s patent/s. One troll once issued a paid-for press release attacking me (yes, in a press release) and trying to discredit a blog post of mine because it had revealed the troll’s litigation intention before it could become a reality, thus undermining the strategy and scaring away their investors.

We have been writing about patent trolls for over a decade and Dominion Harbor Group alone, for example, was already covered in articles including:

Recently, Dominion Harbor Group decided to ‘troll’ me a little bit; not in the patent sense (they cannot) but more in the “Internet trolling” sense. There’s a lot of context to this online; it can be found in Twitter (about three dozen tweets). To keep it succinct, much of this started when Tom Hochstatter‏, who now works for the above-mentioned patent troll down in Texas, was doing attacks on me because I had exposed them. Reposting libel is what he did. What he dubbed “fellows Linux peers” was Microsoft AstroTurfing in a blog dedicated just to attacking 10 Linux advocates, by making stuff up about them. I responded by telling Hochstatter‏, “if this is the best dirt (defamation) you can dig on me, then you’re low on material and just reproducing lies…”

Hochstatter’s boss, David Pridham,‏ then foolishly joined in. Yes, his boss wrote to me: “Sorry bro. You have been exposed. Listen to the podcast @IP_Frequently @DominionHarbor @ipwire”

Actually, I have not been “exposed” for anything; it’s Dominion Harbor Group which is being exposed. I’m merely reporting the findings.

“Recently, Dominion Harbor Group decided to ‘troll’ me a little bit; not in the patent sense (they cannot) but more in the “Internet trolling” sense.”Notice their use of the hashtag “inventorsfirst”; it sounds like the racist motto “Britain first” or “America first”. Anyway, there seems to be little to this troll other than Hochstatter’s account, a blog, and a podcast that nobody seems to listen to. Pridham has very little following and the same goes for the troll’s official account. As it turns out, they did a whole episode just about me.

“We’ve been operating as desired since our 2013 founding,” they told me, “at record levels each year b/c we help inventors & overcome efficient infringers.”

That’s because of trolling and extortion. Not much to brag about…

“We’re a 4 year old firm,” they added, but that’s not new to us. Buying patents to attack companies in Texas with its biased courts is “nothing more than PAE-type patent trolling,” I told the troll.

Citing a blog post from a month ago, Hochstatter told me: “We promised to call out efficient infringer apologists…”

“Notice their use of the hashtag “inventorsfirst”; it sounds like the racist motto “Britain first” or “America first”.”For those who don’t know, “efficient infringer” is a relatively new propaganda term typically used by patent extremists like Watchtroll.

That’s what they basically tend to call technology companies, no matter the size of these companies. The blog post quickly reveals that these people are trolls denialists like IAM, a site funded by these. To them, no such thing exists. “Trolls” are to them what “climate change” is to Donald Trump.

The trolls wanted me to come on their podcast, but the “audience is far too small to be worth it,” I responded (at the time, the latest episode had just 8 page views).

When I pointed out to them that they are trolling (as they do), their official account, “Dominion Harbor IP”, said: “What’s with name calling? We’re a valued/valuable patent middleman helping inventors & operators connect efficiently #notatroll #notapae”

I then asked them: “What products do you offer?”

“”Trolls” are to them what “climate change” is to Donald Trump.”They never replied.

It’s a litigation front, masquerading/disguising itself using terms like “Premier Patent Advisory & Transactions.”

The bottom line is, they are trolls, but are afraid of being publicly recognised as such because it weakens their leverage power behind closed doors or in courts.

At the end, the troll resorted only to insults. The troll’s CEO wrote: “It seems we have hit a nerve with the copyright thief!”

Copyright thief?

“At the end, the troll resorted only to insults.”I said I hadn’t updated my Web site for the past decade. This patent troll therefore calls me “copyright thief”! Because I don’t have time to update my personal site anymore? How odd. What does one thing have to do with the other? At this stage they simply reverted to private communication (perhaps not liking all the above happening in public).

The troll’s CEO could not end this amicably. He threw another insult at me like an Internet troll: “Do you get the signal in your mom’s basement? #copyrightthief”

I’ve not lived with my parents since I was 18 and the “copyrightthief” is, again, totally baseless.

Remember: this is a CEO (seriously!) of a company which claims to be “Premier Patent Advisory & Transactions.”

“They don’t even act like adults and the CEO never became a grown-up.”It’s not just a patent troll but also an infantile, trollish entity. This kind of behaviour (of the CEO of a patent troll in Texas, flinging insults after losing an argument) says quite a lot about Dominion Harbor. They don’t even act like adults and the CEO never became a grown-up.

Generally speaking, this isn’t an unusual experience. When patent trolls try to confront me it always, at the end, backfires on them. Why do they even bother? Poor, tactless behaviour.

One Week Left for Battistelli’s Coronation of Another Frenchman, António Campinos, to Lobby for UPC?

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Coronation planned for Christmas, but the deadline for applications is September 14th

Order of succession
Reference: Order of succession

Summary: The UPC remains in a deadlock, Battistelli’s departure stays on schedule, but the successor is likely to be Battistelli’s pick

THE EU-IPO’s António Campinos will be the subject of some future posts of ours (we can guarantee that he and Battistelli won’t like it, and not because it’s false). Campinos is apparently the only person in the run to succeed Battistelli as EPO President. It’s almost like a succession plan.

This article, similar to another article from the same author, had SUEPO publish an English translation [PDF] and another in French [PDF]. We already reposted a translation of an article almost identical to it, but here are bits highlighted in the new text:

European Patent Office

The new boss needs to be a peacemaker

Beleaguered but still boss of the European Patent Office in Munich: Benoît Battistelli.

Munich. The European Patent Office is looking for a President who can put the house back in order. The international authority needs this badly;
while it is actually based in Munich, it is not subject to German labour laws.

By Thomas Magenheim, 09.08.2017

Job adverts like these don’t normally appear in newspapers. The European Patent Office in Munich is looking for a new President as a successor to the beleaguered and controversial Frenchman Benoît Battistelli, whose contract expires in mid-2018. Applications will be considered by the Administrative Council, as the highest supervisory authority of the Office, with immediate effect, and up until 14 September. The quest for a new leader is being conducted by way of advertisements in leading European newspapers and periodicals, and the wording of the job description is striking, casting an interesting sidelight on the situation in the Office which has come about under Battistelli’s autocratic stewardship.

The new President must have a marked ability to take up and nurture a social dialogue, as one of the main criteria for the appointment. Other decisive prerequisites are negotiating skills and a talent for communication. Also of advantage would be practical experience in patent matters. This last requirement, however, does not sound nearly as important as those that precede it. It looks as if the supreme protectors of intellectual property in Europe are looking primarily for a peacemaker, who can restore peace and harmony to the Office once again.

And the international authority, based in Munich but not subject to German labour laws, really needs someone like this. Because Battistelli is not exactly departing in peace. The Frenchman, now 67, was appointed as head of the Office in March 2010, and since then there have been moments at which it looked decidedly doubtful as to whether he would reach the end of his term of office. The specialist jurist web site recently conducted a survey among 168 international technology concerns and major patent applicants to the European Patent Office, and the results were not exactly flattering for Battistelli. More than half of the big Patent Office customers voted for the Frenchman to go.

Choosing the new Administrative Council leader

Large sections of the staff and of the in-house union Suepo, which Battistelli has forced to its knees, have been wanting him to go too – for years. Among other things, the 67-year-old has fired three leading unionists and a patent judge, under questionable circumstances, as well as keeping an eye on employees by means of spyware. At one stage, staff members were also forbidden to hold a demonstration. A former judge at the Federal Constitutional Court has condemned Battistelli’s behaviour as illegal, as too did a Dutch court, but Battistelli ignored this by sheltering behind the independent status of his Office.

Fear of being thrown out means that no-one among the staff dares to speak out any longer. The same applies to the readiness to take on union organization. Anyone wishing to communicate with the in-house union Suepo must contact an attorney.

So a new boss for the Office with social skills is urgently needed. An indication that a peacemaker is being sought is also the new choice of the leader for the Administrative Council. Predestined for the job was Christoph Ernst, jurist and ministerial director at the Federal Ministry of Justice. Ernst is regarded as a moderate Battistelli critic and intimately aware of the conditions in the Office. He will be replacing the present officiating leader of the Council, Jesper Kongstad, who is seen as being closely associated with Battistelli.

Social contract management style – hopefully

To this extent, the course is already set for a new style of management in the organizational body which actually chooses the new Patent Office President.
When the Administrative Councils of the 38 European Member States meet in October, they intend to produce a list of candidates, and the new boss of the Office should then be elected by December. It may well not be easy. On the one hand, it needs a two-thirds majority. On the other, when it comes to matters of management style the Council has really proved not to be united. Up to now, a majority have been on Battistelli’s side, and every country, large or small, has only one vote.

When Battistelli was chosen, more than 30 voting procedures were needed, as those who were there remember well. The person with the best chance of being chosen this time around is rumoured to be Antonio Campinos, if he chooses to throw his hat into the ring. The Portuguese is the Executive Director of the European Union Intellectual Property Office in Alicante, and knows what he would be letting himself in for.

An annual salary of some 300 000 Euro could provide incentive, even if the job promises not to be an easy one. In any event, the staff are hoping for someone with a management style more sensitive to the social contract – even if at present no-one dares say so out loud.

Campinos is a new face, sure, but his policies would not be much different (if he got the job).

Christoph Ernst, as we noted here before, is a UPC proponent and Campinos comes from an EU body that already has a ‘unitary’ effect.

“In the UK, more importantly, Brexit is not compatible with the UPC and the UPC cannot go on without the UK (because of the way it’s codified in text and legally set up).”Suffice to say, the UPC is in a bad state. It’s so bad in fact that earlier today Bristows was rushing back to July (we’re in September now!) in a chase for something positive to say (illusion of progress), noting a motion from July 18th by the Hungarian Minister of Justice. There are still questions regarding the Constitution; like in many other nations, the UPC is probably unconstitutional. Even in Germany perhaps. In the UK, more importantly, Brexit is not compatible with the UPC and the UPC cannot go on without the UK (because of the way it’s codified in text and legally set up). Don’t believe anyone who claims otherwise.

Today, Koen Lievens From EPO is Promoting Pursuits of Software Patents in Defiance of the European Rules

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Will these patents too be invalidated en masse?

Koen Lievens
Photo credit: Managing IP

Summary: Koen Lievens’ talk, as reported this afternoon by Managing IP‘s “IP STARS”, is evidence of the EPO’s ongoing acceptance of software patents in spite of the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council against the patentability of computer-implemented inventions (CII)

THE EPO scandals have many aspects to them; one of these many aspects is patent quality. Originally, our sole criticism of the EPO (before we knew better and got in-depth knowledge about Battistelli et al) was granting of software patents in Europe. It didn’t start with Battistelli, but it definitely accelerated and exacerbated due to him. Insiders tell us that they are pressured to grant software patents that they don’t wish to grant (some of them are, as a matter of principle, against software patents).

“The EPO’s public advocacy of software patents is nothing new; Georg Weber did it earlier this year and Grant Philpott still does it every now and then.”But EPO policy is detached from common sense, public will, European rules, the EPC and so on. There is only one motto: “production!”

The EPO’s public advocacy of software patents is nothing new; Georg Weber did it earlier this year and Grant Philpott still does it every now and then. We have given many other examples earlier this year and last year.

Managing IP, as usual, is offering them a platform. It’s a platform for the nefarious agenda shared by Managing IP‘s revenue sources, notably patent maximalists. Even the travel expenses (to Munich) seem not to be a problem for these people… it’s like they collude or conspire with the EPO. Such is the nature of the relationship, as we noted in our previous article about this latest event (today).

“It’s a platform for the nefarious agenda shared by Managing IP‘s revenue sources, notably patent maximalists.”Benjamin Henrion drew my attention to today’s lobbying for software patents in Europe, courtesy of the EPO. They don’t want to say “software patents” (a dirty word/term), so they say “CII” instead (it’s the same thing).

“Koen Lievens of @EPOorg explaining how the office deals with software inventions + dos & don’t,” Managing IP wrote a couple of hours ago. “Says office not slow #EUPATENT2017 #CII [] If you’re drafting and filing CII applications make sure you check @EPOorg http://www.epo.org/law-practice/legal-texts/guidelines/cii-index.html … #software #patentability #EUPatent2017 [] 2 hurdles to overcome for ‘mixed type’ inventions. 2nd is high, what @EPOorg has in mind when reviewing your CII application #EUPATENT2017. [] The CII guidelines will be updated this year with more information and examples. #software #patent #EUPatent2017″ (notice that even Managing IP now tags it #software and #patent).

“This is a recipe for disaster!”“CII applications” are being welcomed by those who should reject them as a matter of principle and still, in spite of all this, the number of applications for EPs is declining. How much longer can these people break the rules and how much longer can the Organisation tolerate patents that should never have been granted (it has just voided many in one fell swoop)?

This is a recipe for disaster!

We suppose that the above tweets will later be summarised in the form of article/s, but by beating Managing IP to it we can show just how absurd the EPO’s actions really are. They don’t care about patent quality. At all!

Deepening EPO Crisis and a New Report Titled “EPO Patent Filing a Rigged Game in Europe”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

God and EPO

Summary: The demise of the EPO and of European Patents (EPs) under Battistelli, a man who fancies himself a god and ignores rationality for the sake of the litigation ‘industry’

THE EPO scandals will pick up the pace again as people return from holiday. We have begun scrutinising it more closely, based on numerous alerting mechanisms and informants. The EPO knows it’s in trouble because it never managed to catch anyone; its ‘fishing expeditions ‘never stopped anybody and neither did the SLAPP tactics (which merely emboldened us to write even more). Blocking Techrights accomplished almost nothing as people like EPO insiders can still read the site outside work. Many former EPO staff tell us that they too follow these developments closely. The EPO never caught us in a lie. We published nearly 2,000 articles about it.

“How much money has Philips wasted on EPs, whose value is likely to have vastly diminished due to the EPO’s failings?”The head of the European Patent Organisation is about to leave. He was preceded by Battistelli, who is also going to leave (next summer). Guess who else is leaving…

Head of patents at the top EPO patenter (as per filings), Philips. How much money has Philips wasted on EPs, whose value is likely to have vastly diminished due to the EPO’s failings? Remember that Philips has been a patent bully that uses proxies like Sisvel to attack and rob innocent companies at expos. Philips is definitely a patent aggressor, it just outsources the shakedowns to other firms. Sisvel, by the way, was presenting alongside the EPO not too long ago in Turin.

The news about the Philips departure was probably broken by Battistelli's favourite fake news site. It said this yesterday:

Brian Hinman, chief IP officer at Philips, will be leaving the company in the middle of this month, IAM can reveal. The departure is entirely amicable and has been driven by Hinman’s desire to be closer to and spend more time with his family. Since taking the position in 2013, Hinman has split his time between the US and Philips HQ in Eindhoven, and now wishes to re-establish himself full-time State-side.

Why did he leave after all this time? We’re not easily buying the template of “spend more time with his family.” We saw similar claims from the head of the European Patent Organisation; it later turned out, based on rumours, that his government actually fired him (albeit politely, giving him the chance to step down). We were never able to verify this based on hard documents, but the source of this claim is quite credible.

“Raimund Lutz says Germany’s Constitutional Court has asked for comments on the UPC lawsuit.”
      –Managing IP
The EPO cannot deny the fact that there is a crisis. The European Patent Organisation said so explicitly in an internal document. It used the word "crisis". It’s also difficult to ignore the fact that IAM refuses to cover any of this. Managing IP too hasn’t mentioned it in nearly a year. Right now it is (once again) organising a pro-UPC event where keynote speeches are from the EPO, namely the architect of Battistelli’s regime and facilitator of human rights abuses, according to EPO insiders. A laster tweet said this: “Raimund Lutz says Germany’s Constitutional Court has asked for comments on the UPC lawsuit.”

So here we go again, Managing IP as UPC and EPO management’s megaphone.

Managing IP is promoting this thing today. It’s in Munich. Just serves to remind us of the incestuous relationship between EPO management and some of the media…

The patent microcosm too is culpable in the sense that the vast majority of it chooses to remain silent, unwilling to speak out against what is clearly breaking the EPO apart. Juve‘s poll/survey showed that Battistelli had a 0% approval rating among the respondents (a fact that was later recklessly spun by the EPO, internally).

Yesterday, writing about the subject more than 2 months late, Roschier’s Anne Kyyrö and Vilhelm Schröder wrote about admission from the European Patent Organisation that EPs had been granted in error:

On 29 June 2017, the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (EPO) made a decision by which it intends to change the earlier practice of the EPO regarding the patentability of products obtained by an essentially biological process. Said decision of the EPO amends Rules 27 and 28 of the Implementing Regulations to the European Patent Convention (EPC) by inter alia stating that plants and animals exclusively obtained by means of an essentially biological process will no longer be patentable. The decision entered into force on 1 July 2017. The amended rules are not only applied to European patent applications submitted on or after 1 July 2017, but also to European patent applications and European patents pending at that time.

The ramifications of this are huge and we wrote half a dozen or so articles about it. What happens now that people (or corporations) with EPs realise that they can lose these EPs overnight, without even a trial/appeal rights?

More interesting was this article from yesterday, which had been titled “Is EPO Patent Filing a Rigged Game in Europe?”

They have since then changed the headline to “Here’s Why the Current Patent Filing System May Be Stifling Innovation” and it covers ‘legalised’ tax evasion through patents (Patent Box regime was covered here many times before):

The Patent Box Regimes

Another important decision is to choose in which country bring the intangible asset to be protected. The larger the size of the taxpayer, the more money being managed, the greater the financial administration being more tolerant to the potential contributor. The consequences are many: the taxable amount payable in the country with the highest tax decreases, whereas the tax base to pay in the country with lower taxation increases. In this way, there is a detriment to the more expensive country, a benefit to the less expensive country and an additional benefit for the shareholders of that company.

Which countries demand less taxes? Switzerland does not attract much, in Europe every country sets the rates it wants and for this reason, the biggest companies in the world have transferred trademarks and patents to the Netherlands and Ireland where taxes are very low.

With the 2015 Stability Law in Italy, the Patent Box was introduced. Currently, income from patents and trademarks are subject to a tax of 31.4%, with the Patent Box it will halve to 16%. In France, the Patent Box was introduced in 2000 and provides for a 15% tax. In Hungary, introduced in 2003, a tax of 9.5%. In the Netherlands, introduced in 2007, a tax of 5%. In Spain, since 2008, 12%. United Kingdom, from 2013, 10%. Belgium, since 2007, 6.8%. Cyprus, from 2012, 2.5%. Malta, since 2010, there is no taxation. Switzerland has, since 2011, 8.84%. Portugal, from 2014, 15%. Europe is becoming increasingly weakened by “tax wars”.

The article’s author then wrote about centrally-managed nepotism at the EPO — a subject first exposed by Techrights with this leak — an important leak that was later covered in international media and resulted in many face-saving moves from the EPO, then threats of lawsuits (SLAPP). Here is what it says:

The European Patent Organisation (EPO)

While this war is played, Munich decides: inventors and small and large companies from 38 European countries have to submit their patent application to the EPO (European Patent Office). The European Patent Office examines the applications and finally it decides whether to grant or refuse the patent. It takes roughly four or five years.

The procedure isn’t always fair. Companies such as Canon, Philips, Microsoft, Qualcomm, BASF, Bayer, Samsung, Huawei, Siemens, Ericsson and Fujitsu receive “V.I.P. treatment” from the EPO, although most of them are not even European. Due to the fact that they carry real money, they receive dedicated assistance and more attention. In conclusion, it goes against small inventors who will spend years and much more money to protect their idea. An outsider might well argue that the EPO operates like a business rather than a public service (to Europeans).

The EPO does not depend on Europe, it is not part of the European Union. It is a private institution that has immunity. So who controls the controller? The Administrative Council is made up of representatives of the member states. There is also the European Commissioner, who is an observer within the Administrative Council. However, there is no supranational authority independent of the council that exercises control over EPO’s activities.

The article correctly concludes by saying that “US applications have decreased substantially, while Japanese companies have presented a slightly lower number of applications.”

Yes, the EPO is running out of work. This will, inevitably, mean a lot of layoffs.

EPO Silencers of the Media – Part V: Jadranka Oklobdžija Versus EPO Vice-President Topić

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Patents at 8:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jadranka Oklobdzija

Summary: Final part concluding the series about the EPO’s attack on media in Zagreb and a court decision due tomorrow

THE EPO is embroiled in a war with the media. Not the media which it is paying, but the one that’s actually doing its job. This subject was introduced in part 1 and part 2. In part 3 we showed the substance (or lack therefore) of the EPO Vice-President’s lawsuit and a summary of the written reply to the SLAPP lawsuit was shown in part 4.

“The EPO is embroiled in a war with the media.”There are other civil lawsuits in Zagreb. We might get around to covering these too. There are apparently SLAPP actions also in Munich. “Just for information,” someone alerted us the other day, “another ongoing civil lawsuit [exists] in which former DZIV employees took an action against the DZIV and the former Director (i.e. Topić).” References for this include some of our past writings. There is a lot more coverage in Croatian and we mentioned the case in [1, 2, 3].

“According to sources in Zagreb,” we got told, “a verdict is due to be announced soon in that case. The most recent news about this case is as follows…”

Topić made an appeal against the medical opinion in the case of Mrs. Jadranka Oklobdžija (former staff union official) and others who alleged harassment.

The last hearing before the Civil Court in Zagreb was held on 14 July.

The hearing was attended by the medical expert who issued the medical opinion, the legal representative of the DZIV, the State Attorney for civil lawsuits, Mrs. Jadranka Oklobdžija and her lawyer.

The verdict is due to be delivered on 6th September 2017.

The lawsuit was originally filed back in 2008!

Wow, a whole decade! And the verdict will come tomorrow?

“We will soon start another series, this time focused on Battistelli.”And on it went: “Observers who have been following the case are guessing that the verdict is likely to be in favour of the plaintiffs (i.e. the harassment victims). Sources in Zagreb are predicting that things are likely to get “hot” for Topić in Zagreb from September onwards.”

We probably won’t revisit the subject until weeks/months from now, so for those who wish to explore/track down further details, the E-mail address for Tjedno.hr is info@tjedno.hr. The name of the Chief Editor is Mr. Drazen Stjepandic. We never spoke to him. Our sources have no direct stake in the outcome. “According to available information,” one source told us, “the publisher of the news portal Tjedno.hr is represented by the Zagreb lawyer Ivo Farčić. Mr. Farčić can be contacted by E-mail via this link. He might be willing to provide more details about the case.”

We will soon start another series, this time focused on Battistelli.

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