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09.07.17

Links 7/9/2017: GNOME 3.26 RC 2, LLVM 5.0.0, GnuCOBOL 2.2 Releases

Posted in News Roundup at 6:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Coinbase’s GDAX announces open source library of cryptocurrency trading tools

    San Francisco-based Coinbase has announced that its professional based exchange Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX) has introduced the ‘GDAX Trading Toolkit (GTT)’ an open source library for trading digital currency across a variety of exchanges.

    The GTT provides a suite of tools for traders to design, create, and operate trading features such as automated trading bots and personal portfolio trackers.

  • The Washington Post starts using Talk, an open-source tool for improving online comments

    An open-source tool called Talk is being rolled out on The Washington Post website starting today (6 September), to help reimagine the online commenting experience for both the newsroom and readers.

    The tool is developed by The Coral Project, a joint initiative from Mozilla, Washington Post and The New York Times, initially supported by the Knight Foundation and funded by the Democracy Fund, the Rita Allen Foundation, and Mozilla.

    Talk is currently live on three sections on washingtonpost.com – business, politics and The Switch blog. Over the coming weeks, it will become more widely available on The Washington Post, and other organisations such as Fairfax Media titles in Australia will start using it.

    The tool, which launched in beta in March and is currently on its third version, can be installed by any newsroom using the available documentation, and more features are being added regularly.

  • CyberArk open-sources Conjur

    Security vendor CyberArk has released an open-source version of its Conjur secrets management software.

    CyberArk Conjur enables DevOps teams to automatically secure and manage secrets used by machines and users to protect containerised and cloud-native applications across the DevOps pipeline, company officials said.

  • Open-source stewardship key as CyberArk moves to help devs avoid another Heartbleed

    Conjur’s credential-management technology includes specific functionality for securely managing ‘secrets’ – access keys, privileged account credentials, API keys, and other sensitive information – and Lawler expects that the release of CyberArk Conjur Community Edition to the open-source community will drive a flurry of innovation that will further raise the level of open-source security overall.

  • CyberArk Launches Open Source Secrets Management Solution for DevOps
  • Eric S. Raymond: Heirloom Software: the Past as Adventure

    Through the years, I’ve spent what might seem to some people an inordinate amount of time cleaning up and preserving ancient software. My Retrocomputing Museum page archives any number of computer languages and games that might seem utterly obsolete.

    [...]

    For a work of art that was the first of its genre, ADVENT’s style seems in retrospect startlingly mature. The authors weren’t fumbling for an idiom that would later be greatly improved by later artists more sure of themselves; instead, they achieved a consistent (and, at the time, unique) style that would be closely emulated by pretty much everyone who followed them in text adventures, and not much improved on as style even though the technology of the game engines improved by leaps and bounds, and the range of subjects greatly widened.

  • Ohio Supercomputer Center Releases Open Source HPC Access Portal

    An innovative web-based portal for accessing high performance computing services has matured beyond the beta phase and now is available to HPC centers worldwide.The Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) has launched Open OnDemand 1.0, an open-source version of OSC OnDemand, the Center’s online, single-point-of-entry application for HPC services.

  • CMS

    • ‘Open Innovation Initiative’ By Blackboard To Lure Open Source Developers [Ed: Malicious company and patent aggressor Blackboard is trying to swallow FOSS people]

      With the likely goal of enticing more learning developers to adopt its platform, Blackboard has made a series of announcements and releases to make it easier to code functionality for the commercial LMS. They are wrapped into what Blackboard calls the “Open Innovation Initiative” that gives developers access to REST and LTI integrations to expand Blackboard services without upfront costs.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • LLVM 5.0.0 Release

      This release is the result of the community’s work over the past six months, including: C++17 support, co-routines, improved optimizations, new compiler warnings, many bug fixes, and more.

    • LLVM 5.0 Released With C++17 Support, Ryzen Scheduler, AMDGPU Vega & Much More

      After delays pushed its release back by about one month, LLVM 5.0 was just released a few minutes ago along with its associated sub-projects like the Clang 5.0 C/C++ compiler.

      LLVM 5.0 features a number of improvements to the ARM and MIPS targets, greater support for the POWER ISA 3.0 in the PowerPC target, the initial AMD Ryzen (znver1) scheduler support (already improved in LLVM 6.0 SVN), support for Intel Goldmont CPUs, greater AVX-512 support, improved Silvermont/Sandybridge/Jaguar schedulers, and initial Radeon Vega (GFX9) support within the AMDGPU target.

    • Android NDK r16: Developers Should Start Using LLVM’s libc++ With GCC On The Way Out

      Google has announced the availability today of the Android Native Development Kit (NDK) Release 16. This release is worth mentioning in that Google is now encouraging developers to start using libc++ as their C++ standard library.

      Moving forward, Google will only be supporting LLVM’s libc++ as the C++ standard library and not supporting other STLs. The Android platform has already been using libc++ since Lollipop and now they are looking to get more application developers using this STL.

    • Google publishes its documentation style guide for developers

      Documentation is often an afterthought — especially for open-source projects. That can make it harder for newcomers to join a project, for example, and sometimes badly written documentation is worse than having no documentation at all. To help developers write better documentation, Google this week opened up its own developer-documentation style guide.

    • Trying Out FreeBSD/TrueOS On The Xeon Scalable + Tyan GT24E-B7106 Platform

      While we have tested a number of Linux distributions on Intel’s new Xeon Scalable platform, here are some initial BSD tests using two Xeon Gold 6138 processors with the Tyan GT24E-B7106 1U barebones server.

    • FreeBSD Developers Tackle AMD Zen/Ryzen Temperature Monitoring Before Linux

      While Linux users of AMD’s new Zen-based Ryzen/Threadripper/Epyc processors are still waiting for thermal driver support to hit the mainline Linux kernel, FreeBSD developers have already managed to produce the Zen “Family 17h” CPU thermal monitoring support on their own.

      From this FreeBSD bug report, developers have managed to get the AMD CPU temperature monitoring working for Zen processors under Linux with their existing temperature driver.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • European Libraries’ Five Principles For Open Access Negotiations With Publishers

        European research libraries have issued five principles for libraries to use when holding open access negotiations with publishers, seeking to prevent over-charging and promote transparency and sustainable access.

      • Open educational resources can offer relief from high textbook prices

        Timbo X. Spartan is your typical MSU student. He goes to Economics 201 and Spanish 202 on Monday and Wednesday, and ISS 215 and Accounting 201 on Tuesday and Thursday.

        According to the Student Book Store’s current listings, the required texts for these courses would have our friend Timbo spending $100 on economics, $88 on Spanish, $160 on the ISS course and $187 on accounting. This adds up to $535 in materials for one semester.

        Of course, this is all hypothetical, but not unrealistic. Chemical engineering sophomore Megan Richardson has spent more than $400 on materials for classes this semester and isn’t finished shopping yet.

        “Last year I spent close to $300 on one chemistry textbook,” Richardson said. “This is on the higher end of what I’ve spent so far, but yeah. It’s kind of ridiculous.”

  • Programming/Development

    • What is your favorite open source Java IDE?

      That developers have strong opinions about the tools they use is no secret, and perhaps some of the strongest opinions come out around integrated development environments.

      When we asked our community what their favorite Python IDE is, more than 10,000 of you responded. Now, it’s time for Java developers to get their turn.

    • Qt Creator 4.4 Open-Source IDE Released with C++ and CMake Improvements, More

      The Qt Company’s Eike Ziller announced the release of the Qt Creator 4.4.0 free and open-source IDE (Integrated Development Environment) software for all supported platforms, including GNU/Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows.

      More than two months in the making, Qt Creator 4.4 introduces new inline annotations in the build-in editor, which could come in handy if you’re using Clang code model or bookmarks, along with the ability for the editor to display Clang errors, bookmarks errors, as well as other warnings at the end of the corresponding text line. The feature can be enabled under Options -> Text Editor -> Display.

    • C++17 Formally Approved, Just Waiting On ISO Publication

      C++17 (formerly C++1z) is ready for its debut. C++17 has been formally approved by its committee and is just waiting on ISO publishing.

      Back in March we reported on “C++17 being done” while work on C++20 is already underway. C++17 hasn’t changed since while the last major ballot has now passed with 100% approval and they are now ready to officially publish this latest C++ standard. They just need to make a few editorial comments to the standard for spelling/formatting and then send the firmed up document to the ISO for publishing.

    • Improving security through data analysis and visualizations

      My last tip is that in recent years, there have been a lot of new tools that make designing nice visualizations much easier. In fact, many really prevent you from creating the disasters that you’d find here: https://www.reddit.com/r/dataisugly/. If you are a Python user, you really should take a look at Seaborn, YellowBrick, and Altair as they are all really impressive libraries.

    • The DevSecOps Skills Gap
    • How I learned Go Programming

      Go is a relatively new programming language, and nothing makes a developer go crazier than a new programming language, haha! As many new tech inventions, Go was created as an experiment. The goal of its creators was to come up with a language that would resolve bad practices of others while keeping the good things. It was first released in March 2012. Since then Go has attracted many developers from all fields and disciplines.

    • Must go faster, must go faster! Oracle lobs Java EE into GitHub, vows rapid Java SE releases

      Oracle plans to accelerate the pace of Java SE releases – and has moved Java EE’s code repository to GitHub in keeping with its avowed desire to step back from managing the beast.

      Java SE has been on a two-year release cycle. That’s no longer fast enough, according to Mark Reinhold, chief architect of Oracle’s Java platform group.

      Java competes with other platforms that get updated more often, he explained.

    • GNU Tools Cauldron 2017 Kicks Off Tomorrow

      The annual GNU Tools Cauldron conference focused around the GNU compiler toolchain will kickoff tomorrow, 8 September, in Prague.

    • GnuCOBOL 2.2 Released To Let COBOL Code Live On As C

      For those of you still maintaining COBOL code-bases, GnuCOBOL 2.2 is now available as what was formerly OpenCOBOL and also the project’s first stable release in nearly one decade.

      GnuCOBOL has been living under the GNU/FSF umbrella for a few years while today’s GnuCOBOL 2.2 release is the first stable release since OpenCOBOL 1.1 back in 2009. (Since then was the GnuCOBOL 1.1 release, but just for renaming the project.)

    • GnuCOBOL 2.2 released

      Version 2.2 of the GNU COBOL compiler is out. Changes include a relicensing to GPLv3, a set of new intrinsic functions, a direct call interface for C functions, and more.

Leftovers

  • An open leader’s guide to starting digital transformation conversations
  • Science

    • Why Google’s AI Can Write Beautiful Songs but Still Can’t Tell a Joke

      Eck has spent about 15 years studying AI and music, and these days he’s a research scientist on the Google Brain team, leading Magenta—Google’s open-source research project that’s aimed at making art and music with machine learning.

    • We ignore what doesn’t fit with our biases – even if it costs us

      Most research on confirmation bias has focused on stereotypes that people believe to be true, says Stefano Palminteri at École Normale Supérieure (ENS) in Paris. In such experiments, people hold on to their beliefs even when shown evidence that they are wrong. “People don’t change their minds,” says Palminteri.

  • Hardware

    • European court to review $1.3B fine against Intel

      The EU General Court is now slated to examine Intel’s arguments that it did not violate antitrust laws, raising the possibility for the chipmaker to avoid paying the $1.26 billion in full.

    • Intel’s $1.3 Billion Fine in Europe Requires Review, Court Says

      The move by the Court of Justice of the European Union raises the prospect that the 1.06 billion euro fine on Intel in 2009, equivalent to $1.26 billion at current exchange rates, could be reduced or scrapped entirely. The penalty — at the time the largest of its kind — was upheld by a lower court in 2014 and is likely to be the subject of legal battles for years.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Tap water from around the world contains tiny bits of plastic, survey finds

      Tiny bits of plastic commonly come rushing out of water taps around the world, according to a new survey of 159 water samples collected from more than a dozen nations.

      Overall, 83 percent of the 159 samples contained some amount of microplastics. Those samples came from various places in the US, Europe, Indonesia, Uganda, Beirut, India, and Ecuador. No country was without a plastic-positive water sample. In fact, after testing a handful of samples from each place, the lowest contamination rate was 72 percent. The highest—found in the US—was 94-percent positive rate.

    • House GOP blocks vote protecting medical marijuana states

      Several lawmakers said Wednesday that GOP leaders won’t allow the full House to vote on an amendment that bars the Justice Department from pursuing states that have legalized medical marijuana.

      Without legislation, states would lose protection they have enjoyed for the past four years, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions could begin his long-sought crackdown on the rapid expansion of legalized pot.

      At a Wednesday morning closed-door briefing of House Republicans, California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R) implored his GOP colleagues to press House leaders to allow a vote on his amendment.

      Fellow Californian Rep. Duncan Hunter told The Hill that after Rohrabacher “talked about it this morning in conference,” GOP leaders said “it splits the conference too much so we’re not going to have a vote on it.”

    • Texas Abortion Ban That Would “Require Doctors to Experiment on Women” Is Temporarily Blocked

      A federal judge in Austin issued a temporary restraining order last week blocking Texas from enforcing a new law that would in effect ban second-trimester abortions in the state.

      “The state cannot pursue its interests in a way that denies a woman her constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy before the fetus is viable,” District Judge Lee Yeakel wrote in a 17-page order suspending the law just hours before it was slated to take effect on September 1.

      Texas quickly vowed that it would continue to “defend our state’s legal right to protect the basic human rights and dignity of the unborn,” a spokesperson for Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement.

      At issue is an abortion method known as dilation and evacuation, or D&E, which is considered the safest and most effective method of termination during the second trimester of pregnancy. While Texas argues that it isn’t banning D&E per se, but rather the way the procedure is performed, doctors would have to completely change the procedure to comply with the new law.

    • Elizabeth Warren Jumps on Board Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All Bill

      Elizabeth Warren on Thursday announced her support for an upcoming bill from Vermont’s independent Sen. Bernie Sanders.

      Sanders said in March that he would follow through on his long-held support for single-payer insurance by introducing a bill extending Medicare-like coverage to achieve universal health care. The bill, which is still being crafted, is due to be unveiled Wednesday

      Warren, a Democratic senator from Massachusetts, shared the news with her supporters in an email that began, “I’m co-sponsoring Bernie’s Medicare-for-All bill.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Nikki Haley Falsely Accuses Iran

      The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the agreement that limits Iran’s nuclear program, is for Donald Trump one more of the Obama administration’s achievements to be trashed. It goes alongside the Affordable Care Act, the Paris climate change agreement, and other measures (most recently the “dreamers” program involving children of illegal immigrants) as targets for trashing because fulfilling campaign rhetoric is given higher priority in the current administration than whether a program is achieving its purpose, whether there are any realistic alternatives available, or what the effects of the trashing will be on the well-being of Americans and the interests and credibility of the United States.

    • Danish U-boat commander: Hatch slipped from fingers, bashed reporter’s head

      In a Copenhagen court hearing, Peter Madsen—the owner and skipper of the crowdfunded, amateur-built diesel-electric submarine UC3 Nautilus—testified that the death of Swedish reporter Kim Wall aboard the Nautilus was an accident. He also claimed that threw her body into the ocean, of which only the apparently deliberately dismembered torso was recovered, because he knew his career was over and burial at sea is a maritime tradition. He also claimed it was his intention to commit suicide by taking the sub to the depths of the Baltic Sea and sinking it.

    • Three Years After 43 Students Disappeared in Mexico, a New Visualization Reveals the Cracks in the Government’s Story

      The Mexican government’s story goes like this: On the night of September 26, 2014, roughly 100 students from Ayotzinapa, a rural teaching college, clashed with municipal police in the city of Iguala, in the southern state of Guerrero. Rocks were thrown, shots were fired, and 43 students were snatched up by the authorities and handed over to a local drug gang. The students were then driven to a garbage dump where they were murdered, burned to ash, and tossed into a river, never to be seen again. This, Mexico’s attorney general once said, was “the historical truth.”

      Horrific as it sounds, this “truth” is a hollow and misleading narrative, which has been debunked and exploded by independent inquiries. With the third anniversary of the tragedy approaching, a new project by an international team of investigators has taken the most damning of those inquiries and visualized them, offering a means of seeing the night of September 26 for what it truly was: a coordinated, lethal assault on the students involving Mexican security forces at every level, and grave violations of international law.

      The interactive platform, constructed by the research agency Forensic Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London, and shared with The Intercept in advance of its public release, pulls from a voluminous body of investigations into the crime. In addition to utilizing the most credible evidence available to illustrate how the night unfolded, the platform highlights inconsistencies in the government’s account of the events and tracks individual actors throughout the ordeal.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Climate Denialism Is Literally Killing Us

      What makes this so infuriating is that it shouldn’t be happening. Experts have warned for decades that global warming would increase these sorts of weather extremes and that people would suffer and die if protective measures were not implemented.

    • Natural Disasters Call for Good Governance, Not Charity

      Trump promised to donate $1 million to Harvey relief efforts—while dismantling the government we all rely on.

    • What to Know About Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Katia
    • Wind turbine manufacturers are dipping toes into energy storage projects

      Danish company Vestas Wind Systems is one of the biggest makers of wind turbines in the world, recently surpassing GE’s market share in the US. But as the wind industry becomes more competitive, Vestas appears to be looking for ways to solidify its lead by offering something different. Now, the company says it’s looking into building wind turbines with battery storage onsite.

      According to a Bloomberg report, Vestas is working on 10 projects that will add storage to wind installations, and Tesla is collaborating on at least one of those projects. Vestas says the cooperation between the two companies isn’t a formal partnership, and Tesla hasn’t commented on the nature of its work with Vestas. But the efforts to combine wind turbines with battery storage offer a glimpse into how the wind industry might change in the future.

    • HURRICANES And Hurricanes

      The damage will happen one way or another. Many deaths can be prevented by evacuating systematically starting today. The highways should be made one-way streets to the north. Every bus, truck or plane should be moving people north. Even northern Florida is not far enough. People should avoid the east coast all the way to the Carolinas.

      Instead, people are wasting time buying groceries and putting up plywood sheets. Half the highway lanes are being cluttered with fuel trucks bringing fuel to the south. Governments claim evacuation is not possible. They should make a plan and make it possible. Starting too late is avoidable.

    • Here’s what the world’s most accurate weather model predicts for Irma

      If you closely follow hurricane forecasting, you know that in recent years, the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts has the best forecast model in the world based upon skill scores. Often, the model produced by this intergovernmental organization of 34 nations generates the best forecasts for hurricane tracks. In some cases, during Hurricane Harvey, it even exceeded the skill of human forecasters at the National Hurricane Center.

  • Finance

    • Debt Ceiling, Explained
    • Apple Refusal to Approve India Spam App Antagonises Regulator

      Apple has put forth a long list of demands, including tax breaks and other concessions, to set up manufacturing facilities.

    • New leak of Brexit papers reveals fissures between Britain and EU

      The EU will risk heightening tensions with the UK on Brexit by publishing five combative position papers in the coming days, including one that places the onus on Britain to solve the problem of the Irish border, according to documents leaked to the Guardian.

      The Irish document shows that Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, will call on the UK to work out “solutions” that avoid the creation of a hard border and guarantee peace on the island.

      The leaks come a day after the Guardian obtained a draft memo showing the British government’s position on post-Brexit EU migration, which has been denounced as “completely confused”, “economically illiterate” and “a blueprint on how to strangle London’s economy”.

      The Ireland paper is one of five due to be published by the European commission in the coming days. Each is dated 6 September and was drawn up by Barnier’s article 50 taskforce in Brussels.

    • If we are serious about eliminating poverty, we need to re-humanise social security

      Amir is exactly the kind of person our welfare system exists to support. He suffers from a rare neurological condition which affects his movement and has left him struggling to walk. It’s one which his GP has only encountered once before in her career, “in 1986 when I was a medical student”. Amir wants to work – not least because his girlfriend Lindsey won’t move in until he’s in work. He’s awaiting a medical procedure to alleviate his symptoms and restore some movement, but his condition is degenerative – it will get worse with time. Yet following his work capability assessment, his Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) has been taken away. In an episode of Radio 4’s recent documentary series, The Untold, the producers followed Amir through the obstacle course that is the UK’s welfare system – a series of degrading hurdles which stand in the way of many would-be claimants. Part-way through, Amir attends a tribunal for Personal Independence Payments (PIPs), after failing the paper “mandatory reconsideration” for his ESA. He is so desperate that to prove he is sick he offers to show the panel his feet, which are primarily affected by his condition. This comes after he is quizzed on his ability to get in and out of the bath – something which has very little bearing on his ability to work in a factory. Amir’s case demonstrates starkly the unfairness of the UK’s welfare system. It also demonstrates the sheer number of those affected. GPs are allowed to object in writing to benefits decisions which contradict their medical judgement. But as Amir’s doctor points out, she just doesn’t have time to provide this kind of support to her patients alongside the medical advice and counselling she must provide to patients like Amir (all in a ten-minute slot). When Amir catches up with her in the documentary, he is the third of her patients to have their benefits cut that week. Instead, medical judgements are left up to outsource worker with insufficient medical training, who use “decision-making software” and a points-based system to make a work-capability assessment.

    • Merger review of Qualcomm-NXP: European Commission stops the clock AGAIN

      The website of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition (DG COMP) indicates that the clock has been stopped for an unusual second time in the regulatory review of Qualcomm’s proposed acquisition of NXP, which went into Phase II a few months back as it raises serious concerns. In fact, the previous suspension ended on August 16, 2017 (as I mentioned in a recent post), but just the next day–August 17–the deadline was suspended again.

      Whatever the reason may be, it means that the deal still isn’t ready to be cleared.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The lies Brits tell themselves about how they left behind a better India

      In May 2015, Shashi Tharoor, a former undersecretary general of the United Nations and a current member of India’s parliament, gave a stirring speech at a debate in the Oxford Union. He was speaking for the proposition that “Britain owes reparations to her former colonies.” The speech went viral, and Tharoor was perplexed.

    • May refuses invitation to address European parliament in public

      Theresa May has caused further ill will in Brussels by rejecting an invitation to address the European parliament in public, EU sources have said, instead insisting she will only talk to its leaders behind closed doors.

    • Nigel Farage to address far-right rally in Germany

      Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage will appear at a rally held by Germany’s far-right party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) inside a renaissance fortress in Berlin on Friday.

      The South East England MEP will appear at the Spandau Citadel in the west of the German capital to talk about “developments in the European Union, Brexit, direct democracy” and “how to make the impossible possible”, according to AfD MEP Beatrix von Storch, who is hosting the event.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Venezuelan Citizens React Against State Censorship

      Many major news outlets have been covering the political crisis in Venezuela for quite some time, following President Nicolás Maduro’s decision to change the Venezuelan constitution through an elected constituent assembly. Many in the opposition interpret this as a power grab — an attempt to change Venezuelan law to give the president more power.

      However, the Maduro government is making it increasingly difficult for foreign news services to report in Venezuela.

      [...]

      AP reporter Hannah Dreier wrote about the decline of press freedom in Venezuela, covering the decline since Chavez.

    • Despite censorship, China has some cool bookshops

      IN AN underground railway station below the main public library in Shanghai is a spacious bookshop called Jifeng. It is one of the city’s most respected, but its days are numbered. A display inside the entrance (pictured, top) shows how many of them remain before the shop closes—147 as of September 6th. The authorities, it seems, have had enough of its open-minded selection of works and the talks it hosts on controversial topics.

    • European Union Calls For Massive Internet Censorship

      A leaked document from the European Union reveals that the EU presidency is calling for massive internet censorship and filtering. European Digital Rights (EDRi) reported on Wednesday that a Council of the European Union document leaked by Statewatch…

    • Leaked document: EU Presidency calls for massive internet filtering

      A Council of the European Union document leaked by Statewatch on 30 August reveals that during the summer months, that Estonia (current EU Presidency) has been pushing the other Member States to strengthen indiscriminate internet surveillance, and to follow in the footsteps of China regarding online censorship. Standing firmly behind its belief that filtering the uploads is the way to go [...]

    • Mandatory Piracy Filters Could Breach Human Rights, EU Members Warn

      Several EU member states are questioning whether plans to modernize copyright law in Europe are fully compatible with EU law. One of the main problems is the mandatory piracy filters Internet services could be required to use, which could violate existing case law and human rights.

    • Google fears monopoly talk spreading to US: sacked think-tank employee

      Any narrative about monopoly practices is deemed a threat by Google because it has just had to give in to the European Union on a big case, according to Barry Lynn, a former employee of the New America Foundation think-tank who lost his job recently after he criticised the search giant.

    • The anti-monopoly case against Google

      It’s important to talk about monopoly power in general because monopolies are a threat to our democracy and to our basic liberties and to our communities. Monopolization, this concentration of wealth and power, is a threat to everything that is America — everything we established America to ensure. So Open Markets is built to fight the environment of law and regulation that currently promotes unrestrained monopoly.

    • New America Chair Says Google Didn’t Prompt Critic’s Ouster

      The researcher, Barry Lynn, was director of Open Markets, which had been affiliated with New America. Lynn was told that Open Markets would be pushed out of the think tank, shortly after Lynn issued a statement praising a European antitrust ruling against Google and urging US regulators to take action against the search giant.

    • Journalist silenced: Amnesty flags concern over free speech

      “Critical journalists and activists have increasingly faced threats and attacks across India in recent years. State governments must act to protect those whose voices of dissent are being silenced,” Basu said.

    • Case Dismissed: Judge Throws Out Shiva Ayyadurai’s Defamation Lawsuit Against Techdirt

      As you likely know, for most of the past nine months, we’ve been dealing with a defamation lawsuit from Shiva Ayyadurai, who claims to have invented email. This is a claim that we have disputed at great length and in great detail, showing how email existed long before Ayyadurai wrote his program. We pointed to the well documented public history of email, and how basically all of the components that Ayyadurai now claims credit for preceded his own work. We discussed how his arguments were, at best, misleading, such as arguing that the copyright on his program proved that he was the “inventor of email” — since patents and copyrights are very different, and just because Microsoft has a copyright on “Windows” it does not mean it “invented” the concept of a windowed graphical user interface (because it did not). As I have said, a case like this is extremely draining — especially on an emotional level — and can create massive chilling effects on free speech.

      A few hours ago, the judge ruled and we prevailed. The case has been dismissed and the judge rejected Ayyadurai’s request to file an amended complaint. We are certainly pleased with the decision and his analysis, which notes over and over again that everything that we stated was clearly protected speech, and the defamation (and other claims) had no merit. This is, clearly, a big win for the First Amendment and free speech — especially the right to call out and criticize a public figure such as Shiva Ayyadurai, who is now running for the US Senate in Massachusetts. We’re further happy to see the judge affirm that CDA Section 230 protects us from being sued over comments made on the blog, which cannot be attributed to us under the law. We talk a lot about the importance of CDA 230, in part because it protects sites like our own from these kinds of lawsuits. This is just one more reason we’re so concerned about the latest attempt in Congress to undermine CDA 230. While those supporting the bill may claim that it only targets sites like Backpage, such changes to CDA 230 could have a much bigger impact on smaller sites like our own.

    • Judge dismisses Shiva “I Invented EMAIL” Ayyadurai’s libel lawsuit against Techdirt

      A federal judge in Massachusetts has dismissed a libel lawsuit filed earlier this year against tech news website Techdirt.

      The claim was brought by Shiva Ayyadurai, who has controversially claimed that he invented e-mail in the late 1970s. Techdirt (and its founder and CEO, Mike Masnick) has been a longtime critic of Ayyadurai and institutions that have bought into his claims. “How The Guy Who Didn’t Invent Email Got Memorialized In The Press & The Smithsonian As The Inventor Of Email,” reads one Techdirt headline from 2012.

      One of Techdirt’s commenters dubbed Ayyadurai a “liar” and a “charlatan,” which partially fueled Ayyadurai’s January 2017 libel lawsuit.

      In the Wednesday ruling, US District Judge F. Dennis Saylor found that because it is impossible to define precisely and specifically what e-mail is, Ayyadurai’s “claim is incapable of being proved true or false.”

      The judge continued: “One person may consider a claim to be ‘fake’ if any element of it is not true or if it involves a slight twisting of the facts, while another person may only consider a claim to be ‘fake’ only if no element of it is true.”

    • The far-right’s favorite social network is facing its own censorship controversy

      Social network Gab.ai, known as an anything-goes haven for the far-right, is seeing blowback from the past month’s online white supremacist crackdown. CEO Andrew Torba writes that last week, domain registrar AsiaRegistry told Gab to take down a post by the founder of neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer. Torba complied, but in the process, he set off a debate over the platform’s “free speech” bona fides — and the state of moderating online hate speech.

    • Stop SESTA: Congress Doesn’t Understand How Section 230 Works
    • Stop SESTA: Section 230 is Not Broken

      EFF opposes the Senate’s Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act (S. 1693) (“SESTA”), and its House counterpart the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (H.R. 1865), because they would open up liability for Internet intermediaries—the ISPs, web hosting companies, websites, and social media platforms that enable users to share and access content online—by amending Section 230’s immunity for user-generated content (47 U.S.C. § 230). While both bills have the laudable goal of curbing sex trafficking, including of minor children, they would greatly weaken Section 230’s protections for online free speech and innovation.

      Proponents of SESTA and its House counterpart view Section 230 as a broken law that prevents victims of sex trafficking from seeking justice. But Section 230 is not broken. First, existing federal criminal law allows federal prosecutors to go after bad online platforms, like Backpage.com, that knowingly play a role in sex trafficking. Second, courts have allowed civil claims against online platforms—despite Section 230’s immunity—when a platform had a direct hand in creating the illegal user-generated content.

      Thus, before Congress fundamentally changes Section 230, lawmakers should ask whether these bills are necessary to begin with.

    • Defend Our Online Communities: Stop SESTA

      A new bill is working its way through Congress that could be disastrous for free speech online. EFF is proud to be part of the coalition fighting back.

      We all rely on online platforms to work, socialize, and learn. They’re where we go to make friends and share ideas with each other. But a bill in Congress could threaten these crucial online gathering places. The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) might sound virtuous, but it’s the wrong solution to a serious problem.

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation, R Street Institute, and over a dozen fellow public interest organizations are joining forces to launch a new website highlighting the problems of SESTA. Together, we’re trying to send a clear message to Congress: Don’t endanger our online communities. Stop SESTA.

    • Canadian students must stand up to censorship
    • Zodwa ban – Too much censorship emerging in Zimbabwe

      The Aeneas Chigwedere-led Board of Censors has unleashed controversy by banning South African socialite Zodwa Wabantu from performing at the Harare International Carnival.

      Apparently, the board -whose vision is to be the best providers of moral guidance and advisers to the public on entertainment matters in Zimbabwe as provided for in the Censorship and Entertainment Control Act (Chapter 10:04) – banned Zodwa ostensibly because she wanted to take part in the carnival without wearing underwear, her trademark.

    • ​Why many Russians have gladly agreed to online censorship

      The Russian government has persuaded many of its citizens to avoid websites and social media platforms that are critical of the government, a new study has found.

      Researchers analyzing a survey of Russian citizens found that those who relied more on Russian national television news perceived the internet as a greater threat to their country than did others. This in turn led to increased support for online political censorship.

      Approval of the government of President Vladimir Putin amplified the impact of those threat perceptions on support for censorship, according to the study.

    • Former Soviet republic goes to court in bid to ‘export censorship’ beyond its borders
    • California passes bill to protect scientific data from federal censorship

      Soon after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, a page on climate change vanished from the White House website, sending a chill through the scientific community.

      Within weeks, state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, proposed a bill to protect whistleblowers and safeguard data collected by scientists, many of whom are worried that their research might be censored, rewritten or even destroyed for political reasons by those who have questioned the scientific consensus on climate change.

    • Our Opinion: Confederate flag censorship teaches the wrong lessons

      A controversial symbol that can stand for Southern pride as well as racial prejudice has been banned from three North Carolina public school districts.

      Durham Public Schools became the latest district to censor the Confederate battle flag on students’ clothing and accessories, following the Orange County and Chapel Hill-Carrboro school systems’ lead.

    • Editorial: Too many Virginians want a safe space for censorship

      Lost in the Labor Day weekend news about North Korea and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) was a dismaying new poll released by VCU. It showed how much the campaign against fundamental liberties has made inroads among the general public.

      Conducted by the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, the poll shows that half of Virginians think colleges and universities should place more emphasis on protecting people from discrimination, even if that infringes on the right to free expression. Only 40 percent thought colleges and universities should guarantee freedom of expression even if that means some groups face discrimination.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Another Client Loses Privilege Because Employer Policies Allowed Monitoring

      I’ve written about this a few times but, sadly, no one listens to me!

      Here’s the fact pattern: your client is emailing you from their work email account, or your client is using a computer that its employer owns. (Your client is not the employer, but an individual.) Whether your client is in litigation with its employer — or someone else! — if the employer has policies in place and in use that allow it to monitor employee email or the computer itself, there likely is no reasonable expectation of privacy in those emails or in the files on the computer and, if so, no privilege.

    • The Privacy Countdown is On: California’s Legislature Has Days to Decide to Protect Your Personal Data from Big Telecom

      California lawmakers have until Sept. 15 to decide whose side they’re on: broadband consumers like you or giant cable and telephone companies like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon.

      The matter at hand: A.B. 375, legislation from Assemblymember Ed Chau that would restore many of the privacy protections that Congress stripped earlier this year, despite roaring opposition from their constituencies. The bill would require broadband providers to obtain your permission before selling your data, like the websites you visit.

      All things being equal, this should be a no-brainer for the Democratic-controlled California legislature. In Congress, the repeal was opposed unanimously by Democrats, who were joined by 15 Republicans. So what gives?

      That is not to say that Republican legislators would benefit from opposing the bill, because 75 percent of Republican voters believed the President should have vetoed the bill.

    • [Older] Trump Quietly Nominates Mass Surveillance Advocate To “Protect” Your Privacy Rights

      Amid this lack of attention toward the NSA, the president recently nominated a staunch advocate of mass surveillance to chair one of the few barriers standing between intrusive government spying and the American people’s privacy. The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) was created in 2004 at the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission and was intended “to help the executive branch balance national security priorities with individual rights,” the Intercept reported earlier this year.

    • Privacy International: 21 EU countries are unlawfully retaining personal data

      Further to this, none of those states are in compliance with human rights standards as applied to their own legislation on data retention.

      The countries affected are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

    • Facebook digital ads figures differ from census data: analyst
    • Facebook sold 2016 election-related ads to “shadowy Russian company”

      This information was disclosed to congressional investigators, according to “several people familiar with the company’s findings,” after an internal Facebook investigation this spring linked $100,000 of ad buys to a Russian company known as the Internet Research Agency. The WP’s sources described the company as a pro-Kremlin “troll farm.” Facebook’s investigation confirmed, via “digital footprints,” that 3,300 ads from 470 “suspicious and likely fraudulent Facebook accounts and pages” were all linked to the same Russian company.

    • Facebook says it sold political ads to fake Russian accounts

      Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief security officer, made the revelation in a blog post Wednesday. Stamos said that 470 inauthentic accounts spent about $100,000 to buy roughly 3,000 ads. He added that the accounts have since been suspended.

    • No one is using Facebook stories, so Facebook is borrowing Instagram’s

      Facebook has apparently found a new approach to giving its Stories feature a much-needed shot in the arm: soon you’ll be able to just double-post your Instagram stories to Facebook directly from the Instagram app.

    • Facebook is testing a way for you to share your Instagram Stories directly to Facebook

      Under the test, Instagram users see a new option to share photos and videos created with Instagram’s in-app camera to their Facebook Story, as well as their Instagram Story, according to screenshots posted to Twitter.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • She laughed at Jeff Sessions — and now the feds are pursuing their 2nd trial against her

      Federal prosecutors could have decided to drop the case then and there. But they persisted — and now plan to continue prosecuting Fairooz after she rejected a plea deal {sic} that would have involved time served.

    • How Right-Wing Extremists Stalk, Dox, and Harass Their Enemies

      Chat logs obtained from message boards used by neo-Nazis and other far-right groups show a concerted effort to compile private information on leftist enemies and circulate the data to encourage harassment or violence.

      The messages were obtained by an anonymous source, who infiltrated and gained the trust of white nationalists and other right wingers and has been leaking the material to Unicorn Riot, a “decentralized media collective” that emerged from leftist protest movements.

      The chat logs originate from various web discussion communities hosted by the provider Discord and closed to the public. The communities, which have names like “Vibrant Diversity,” “Ethnoserver,” “Safe Space 3,” “4th Reich,” and “Charlottesville 2.0,” range from having 36 users to 1,269 users. The most active, with nearly a quarter million messages over seven months, is “Vibrant Diversity,” a neo-Nazi community forum that includes a channel called “#oven,” where users share racist memes. The 4th Reich server, the second most active, has 130,000 messages over the course of four months, and includes a channel called “#rare_hitlers,” where users share propaganda posters and other glorified media from Nazi Germany. The “Charlottesville 2.0” server, which contains 35,000 messages, is where the Unite the Right hate rally in Charlottesville was organized.

      This article is based solely on chat logs from a community called “Pony Power” (Unicorn Riot published the logs yesterday). The Pony Power server has 50 users, and the chat logs contain just over one thousand messages, posted over the course of 10 days and ranging in topic from far-right politics to advice about digital and operational security to debates about the legal limits of online behavior. The primary activity on the Pony Power server is posting private information like names, photos, home addresses, and phone numbers of dozens of anti-fascist activists.

    • Growing Fears in Immigrant Communities

      Federal and state initiatives targeting undocumented immigrants have spread alarm through Latino communities as people face ethnic profiling, and some in Houston even feared seeking refuge from Hurricane Harvey because of the possibility they would run afoul of law enforcement.

      “Texas is ground zero for the fight against Trump-inspired, white nationalist legislation,” said Salvador Sarmiento, National Campaign Coordinator for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), which represents thousands of day laborers across the country. Sarmiento has also been leading the fight against recently passed anti-immigrant legislation in Texas known as SB 4.

      I spoke to him in Dallas on August 30 about the dangers that SB 4 presents for undocumented people in Texas and about the implications for hundreds of thousands of so-called “Dreamers” and their families as President Trump moves to rescind President Obama’s directive allowing them to stay in the U.S., known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

    • Socialist Forced Off Democratic Campaign for Criticism of Israel

      Chicago Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, a young populist politician who is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), has been forced off a gubernatorial ticket that he only recently joined, after coming under fire for his ties to DSA and the group’s support of the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement (BDS).

      Ramirez-Rosa joined Democratic state senator Daniel Biss’s gubernatorial ticket in late August — setting up Biss’s campaign as the unapologetic left edge of a Democratic primary in a field that includes a billionaire and a member of the Kennedy family.

      Ramirez-Rosa came under fire this week from a prominent member of his state party, but not for his support for democratic socialism.

      Illinois Democratic Congressman Brad Schneider penned a Facebook post on September 3 citing the alderman’s views on Israel and particularly his “affiliation with a group that is an outspoken supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel” — namely, DSA — as a cause for concern. He wrote that he had spoken to both Biss and Ramirez-Rosa and decided to withdraw his endorsement of the campaign.

    • Judge won’t release man jailed 2 years for refusing to decrypt drives

      A man jailed for two years for refusing to decrypt his hard drives must remain confined while he appeals his contempt-of-court order to the US Supreme Court, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

    • Military Appeals Court Says Demands To Unlock Phones May Violate The Fifth Amendment

      A decision [PDF] handed down by the Appeals Court presiding over military cases that almost affirms Fifth Amendment protections against being forced unlock devices and/or hand over passwords. Almost. The CAAF (Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces) doesn’t quite connect the final dot, but does at least discuss the issue, rather than dismiss the Fifth Amendment question out of hand. (h/t FourthAmendment.com]

      The case stems from a harassment case against a soldier who violated (apparently repeatedly) a no-contact order separating him from his wife. After being taken into custody, Sgt. Edward Mitchell demanded to speak to a lawyer. Rather than provide him with a lawyer, investigators asked him to unlock his phone instead.

    • The Politics of the DREAM Act Seem Pretty Easy, But Some Democrats Are Still Screwing It Up

      If Senate Democrats were united in 2010, undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children would already be on the path to citizenship. A vote on the DREAM Act held after the disastrous midterm elections got three Republican votes, enough to break a filibuster at the time if Democrats held firm. But six Democratic defections — five no votes and one abstention — sunk the bill, leading then-President Barack Obama to eventually establish the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, to protect the “Dreamers.”

      Jon Tester, D-Mont., is one of two senators still in office who opposed the proposal seven years ago. Back then he faced enormous criticism from the left for calling a path to citizenship for those who had no choice in coming to the U.S. “amnesty.”

      On Tuesday, Tester criticized President Donald Trump’s decision to cancel DACA six months from now. “I don’t support what the president did,” Tester told reporters. “I think it’s ill-informed, I think it rips families apart, and it’s not what this country stands for.”

      But, a reporter from The Intercept asked, would Tester commit to voting for the DREAM Act, which he voted against in 2010? “I support comprehensive immigration reform,” he said.

      Tester’s reaction (he said approximately the same thing in a prepared statement) is clearly well ahead of where he was in 2010. But where he lands on solving the problem — wedding relief for DACA recipients to an overall plan to “secure our borders” and “crack down on folks illegally entering our country” — is where the prospects for a reversal of the DACA reversal may break down in Congress.

    • Brexit: a ‘not welcome’ sign for forced migrants

      Forced migrants are turning away from the UK for fear of racial discrimination post-Brexit. While some on the right may cheer, is this really something to celebrate?

    • What Country is This?

      Our freedoms—especially the Fourth Amendment—are being choked out by a prevailing view among government bureaucrats that they have the right to search, seize, strip, scan, shoot, spy on, probe, pat down, taser, and arrest any individual at any time and for the slightest provocation.

      Forced cavity searches, forced colonoscopies, forced blood draws, forced breath-alcohol tests, forced DNA extractions, forced eye scans, forced inclusion in biometric databases: these are just a few ways in which Americans are being forced to accept that we have no control over our bodies, our lives and our property, especially when it comes to interactions with the government.

      [...]

      What country is this indeed?

      Unfortunately, forced blood draws are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the indignities and abuses being heaped on Americans in the so-called name of “national security.”

      Forced cavity searches, forced colonoscopies and forced roadside strip searches are also becoming par for the course in an age in which police are taught to have no respect for the citizenry’s bodily integrity whether or not a person has done anything wrong.

      For example, 21-year-old Charnesia Corley was allegedly being pulled over by Texas police in 2015 for “rolling” through a stop sign. Claiming they smelled marijuana, police handcuffed Corley, placed her in the back of the police cruiser, and then searched her car for almost an hour. No drugs were found in the car.

    • Breaking Down the Assault on Antifa

      Of late, violence has made headlines in the U.S. corporate media by serving to discredit the work of anti-fascist activists and distract from the actual threats of fascism and white supremacy. One would think that the very expression “anti-fascism” would immediately convoke pledges of allegiance in a country whose nationalist narratives include the story of its own rise to power as the global hegemon through the militant defeat of fascism in WWII. Regardless of whether or not we sanction its veracity, the story of the violent fight against fascism—not with kicks and punches, but with bombers, tanks, heavy artillery and nuclear bombs—is, indeed, one of the founding narratives of contemporary America.

    • Richard Spencer’s Racist Group Has a New Leader

      The infamous white nationalist Richard Spencer occupied his fair share of the spotlight at the “Unite the Right” gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month. As the far-right rally turned deadly — with 19 injured and 32-year-old Heather Heyer killed when a man rammed a crowd of counterprotesters — Spencer appeared shirtless on a livestream talking about how he was pepper-sprayed. Later, he held a brief press conference. As usual, Spencer had foisted himself into the center of attention.

      Quietly attending the rally alongside Spencer, however, was the new executive director of the right-wing leader’s nonprofit, the National Policy Institute. Evan McLaren had seemingly come out of nowhere: a far-right figure of little note, with little more than a history of online postings that espoused his white nationalist beliefs and a trail of older postings revealing the path that brought him to his worldview. In Charlottesville, McLaren didn’t attract the same attention as Spencer, but he was there nonetheless, taunting journalists on social media before the event kicked off, and tweeting out slogans of white pride after its bloody conclusion.

    • Multiple Legislators Looking To Neutralize AG Sessions’ Rollback Of Federal Forfeiture Reforms

      Jolly new Attorney General Jeff Sessions can’t wait to put the screws to all those Americans who didn’t have the sense to seek employment as law enforcement officers. Sessions wants harsher drug sentencing, less oversight, and the revival of programs abandoned in the 80s and 90s after they proved to have zero effect on rising crime rates.

      Sessions, with the support of the Trump Administration, is rolling back the last administration’s minor reforms to the 1033 program, which allowed local law enforcement agencies to obtain MRAPs, assault rifles, grenade launchers… whatever it took to defend the annual Mule Day Parade from terrorist attacks. Fun fact: these same items are apparently crucial components of flood rescue efforts in Houston, TX. [Cue shooting star and the words "The More You Know," soon to be riddled with bullet holes for startling MRAP-riding 1033 recipients with their sudden appearance…]

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • IPv10 Draft Specification Published

      It has been about one year since last hearing anything about the Internet Protocol v10 (IPv10) proposal while this week it’s now available in draft form.

  • DRM

    • How DRM and EULAs make us into “digital serfs”

      Washington and Lee law professor Joshua Fairfield is the author of a recent book called Owned: Property, Privacy, and the New Digital Serfdom, which takes up the argument that DRM and license agreements mean that we have no real property rights anymore, just a kind of feudal tenancy in which distant aristocrats (corporations) dictate how we may and may not use the things we “buy,” backed by the power of the state to fine or jail us if we fail to arrange our affairs to the company’s shareholders.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Federal Circuit: Even the Best Secondary Indicia Cannot Overcome this Prima Facie case of Obviousness

      In a split opinion, the Federal Circuit has affirmed summary judgment of obviousness in Intercontinenntal Great Brands (Kraft) v. Kellogg (Fed. Cir. 2017). Writing in dissent, Judge Reyna argued that the majority improperly applied a shortcut “prima facie obviousness test” without allowing for a full consideration of the patentee’s objective indicia of non-obviousness that the district court found both substantial and compelling.

    • Copyrights

      • European Union states question copyright law proposal

        Six European countries have publicly questioned whether a proposed new law that would require automatic upload filtering is actually legal.

        Article 13 of the controversial European Union (EU) copyright reform, which has been lumbering on for years, includes a rule to force any website that allows users to upload content to implement filtering mechanisms to detect if it is copyrighted.

      • Sci-Hub: ‘The Pirate Bay of science’ faces fines and a shut down

        Sci-Hub offers access to 62 million academic documents according to Wikipedia, and grabs them directly from the source before what is seen as illegally sharing them.

      • America’s crappiest patent judge hands down epically terrible copyright ruling

        Before leaving the show, Rothman used her phone to capture a nine-second video from the show’s archives, to use as evidence in a lawsuit alleging emotional distress and false imprisonment.

        Dr Phil’s company retaliated by registering a copyright in the nine-second clip and then sued her for infringement for having made her evidentiary video.

EPO Management is Lobbying for Software Patents and the UPC in ICT Seminar 2017

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 2:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Super PAC

Summary: Super PAC-like behaviour from the European Patent Office (EPO) in direct violation of the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council against the patentability of computer-implemented inventions

THE EPO just can’t help breaking the rules. Earlier this week we showed that it was publicly pushing for software patents in Europe. This has become so routine! They just don’t care about patent quality or patent scope anymore! Anything goes!

“They just don’t care about patent quality or patent scope anymore!”Well, European Patents (EPs) are no longer difficult to get; just ask EPO examiners as some of them explicitly tell us so (under conditions of anonymity). People or companies pay a lot of money (prohibitive costs to small companies or sole inventors) for examination/search that some professionals say is inferior to that offered by national patent offices like Spain’s. Why waste money like this and how long will it last? The number of applications (EPs) is already declining and this new press release (from today) sounds like a software patent just got granted by the EPO. It speaks of a “mobile-based transaction authentication system and the cryptographic processes it uses to identify individual mobile devices and secure communications to and from them” (i.e. software-level security).

“….European Patents (EPs) are no longer difficult to get; just ask EPO examiners as some of them explicitly tell us so (under conditions of anonymity).”Why are such patents still being granted? It sounds like the classic type of patent to be passed to trolls for litigation/blackmail against any company that merely uses software, not just companies that develop software.

Earlier today the EPO resumed promotion of both software patents and the UPC (see the cited page about “ICT seminar 2017″). These two things are connected, for reasons we wrote about in past years. The EPO keeps granting patents on software even though that’s against the rules and then it says this: “Join us to find out about the differences between US & European practice for ICT patent applications…”

By “ICT” they mean mostly software and here is the part about UPC:

There will also be sessions on “Streamlining patent prosecution at the EPO” and “Latest developments in the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court” as well as overviews from both the EPO and IPO on recent developments relevant to the audience.

Guess who will be in the “audience”… it’s an echo chamber again.

“The EPO’s lobbying activity (influencing the governments) makes as much sense as border control agencies publishing an endorsement of a political party ahead of an election.”As noted in our last post, the UPC is stuck and its proponents can only ever pretend that its ratification is inevitable. The EPO seeds some lies about it and then the patent industry uses that as ‘proof’ that the UPC is coming. We wrote some posts about it (several times since it had come out). Today we found this new example of the echo chamber effect. Camilleri Preziosi’s Henri Mizzi, Sharon Xuereb, Terence Cassar and Kristina Azzopardi wrote an article titled “EPO Publishes a Guide on Obtaining, Maintaining and Managing Unitary Patents” (which don’t even exist).

One major problem is, the UPC agreement isn’t happening and the Unitary Patent as a whole may be dead. EPO management is just lobbying; it forgot the purpose of its existence. The EPO’s lobbying activity (influencing the governments) makes as much sense as border control agencies publishing an endorsement of a political party ahead of an election.

Personal Attacks, Censorship of Comments and More Nefarious Tricks Expected in the Wake of UPC Panic

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Reactions from blogs occupied by Team UPC to the identity of the complainant in Germany, namely Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna

THE summer is over and the EPO scandals resume; in our next post we’ll show how the EPO keeps lobbying for the UPC even though (or because) the UPC is stuck in the middle of nowhere.

“As longtime readers already know, censorship of comments is nothing new at IP Kat, including (notably) comments about the UPC.”The latest development was covered here last night. Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna, whom we humorously dubbed “UPC slayer”, is in the headlines of patents-centric blogs today; we are anticipating personal attacks from Team UPC (however subtle) and so far we are seeing all sorts of other nefarious behaviour. It’s only to be expected from Team UPC; they have been consistent in that regard.

As longtime readers already know, censorship of comments is nothing new at IP Kat, including (notably) comments about the UPC. We gave some examples before. “This comment has been removed by a blog administrator,” said this comment when we checked in the evening, but the Internet never forgets. There are caches, for instance (at several different levels/layers).

Kluwer Cat

See the above screenshot and notice how this post and comment section have developed since then. Mark Schweizer’s article no longer has the above comment. See the text of it; these people don’t care about legality, ethics, economics etc. (the common good); they’re just corrupting the entire system and then attack those who ‘dare’ point that out and do something about it.

The next comment (not deleted) alludes to the above (deleted) and says:

IPkat = CopyKat? Not nice for the mice.

A German minister had to resign as big chunks of his PhD Thesis were copied……

And then someone wrote: “Leaves me wondering whether some like-minded principled person is going to have the guts/money/determination to file a case in the hope of a referral by the Supreme Court in the UK as to the competence of the EUCJ over UK court decisions with regard to the UPC…any takers ?”

Yes, here in the UK the UPC is stuck as well. And it should be pulled down for similar reasons, ranging from nefarious lobbying to lack of public consultation.

Here is what the next comment said:

What kind of legal challenge were you envisaging?

Perhaps a potential litigant might want to consider raising the protection of legitimate expectations as a ground of objection. That might have some mileage, especially given the rather troubling decision to write the UP Regulation in such a way that it applies new / different laws of infringement to pre-existing situations. I am pretty sure that there ought to be at least something in the UK’s “constitution” that prevents a legal sanction being imposed in respect of acts that were perfectly legal at the time they were committed – which is a principle that the UP Regulation completely fails to respect.

“Quite clear that the UPC is excluded from consideration,” said another comment today, “since it is not mentioned in the list of relevant rights.” This comment was left in a short blog post, titled “Brexit: European Commission publishes guiding principles on Intellectual Property” [sic]

“…it should be pulled down for similar reasons, ranging from nefarious lobbying to lack of public consultation.”What’s interesting is that none of the above IP Kat blog posts came from Bristows (at least not directly). Bristows’ Annsley Merelle Ward barely writes there anymore and instead she wrote (for the first time in a long time) in her employer’s blog (the employer then promoted it). Here is what she wrote:

Dr Stjerna is a Düsseldorf intellectual property law attorney and his publications include The European Unified Patent Court: what can still go wrong? and The Parliamentary UPCA ratification proceedings in Germany (this article opening with ‘The Parliamentary proceedings on the ratification of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (“UPCA”) in Germany have revealed a state of political affairs which should cause concern to each citizen’).

It’s not quite an attack on him (at least not yet). We are aware of additional complaints/input/comments being pursued this week (details will be published at a later date). Not only Team UPC should be asked for participation in the process of judgment, for obvious reasons.

“Not only Team UPC should be asked for participation in the process of judgment, for obvious reasons.”As usual, Team UPC wants us to believe that nothing will come out of it; optimism for self-serving purposes (self-fulfilling prophecies and more selling of services) is the same old habit, so Ulrich Blumenröder of Grünecker, who is not a judge, decided that “there’s nothing to see here, move along” (something to that effect). As if he already knows the outcome of the case. Bristows did the same thing without even knowing the nature of the complaint!

As Managing IP put it a short while ago, “Ulrich Blumenröder of Grünecker has read the #upc constitutional challenge & predicts it will be resolved by end of 2017.”

They’re now on a showcase for the EPO and the UPC (Munich, Paris). Managing IP acts like some kind of “media partner”, which is a weasel term used by the EPO for cooperative ‘journalism’ (journalists who receive expensive gifts).

Mathieu Klos‏, who has been covering the UPC saga for quite some time, said about the interventions: “Not a surprise. @BVerfG requested German Bundestag to comment on the complaint as well #UPC…

Managing IP acts like some kind of “media partner”, which is a weasel term used by the EPO for cooperative ‘journalism’ (journalists who receive expensive gifts).”It has become a political circle’s circus, driven by financial agenda of very few malicious actors. All they care about is how much they can profit from lawsuits, not who will be hurt by these lawsuits.

For those who wonder what Kluwer has written (for IP Kat to copy), here it is, taking stock of who is involved in commenting (the patent microcosm for the most part). It looks like Bristows has gone anonymous in this blog after several scandals (like deleting readers’ comments) and now links to its own site to give an illusion of UPC progress at the end (even though it’s about something from 2 months ago). Here is the relevant part (to us):

In answer to questions of Kluwer IP Law, a spokesperson of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection confirmed that the German Government was ‘approached by the Constitutional Court on August the 23rd with the opportunity to submit its observations in this matter’. The UPC Preparatory Committee was not contacted by the Court and the EPO couldn’t immediately react on the matter. According to the German legal website JUVE, the German Bar Association DAV and the European Patent Lawyers Association EPLAW were approached by the Constitutional Court as well.

In Twitter they said: “Court asks for comments on German complaint against Unified Patent Court Agreement; #stjerna plaintiff.”

We shall see if the Court will accept input from parties other than Team UPC and/or the patent microcosm. There have been contact attempts which we’ll cover in the future (once the outcome is known). The poor handling of this whole situation — from start to finish — does not bode well for the government (Stjerna named the parties to blame) ahead of the general election later this month.

SUEPO Protests Against the Apparent Complicity of ILO in EPO Abuses

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 12:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reinforcing our long-held view that ILO — like the Administrative Council — has become complicit by inaction

Guy Ryder
Guy Ryder, Director-General of ILO

Summary: The ILO Administrative Tribunal (ILOAT) continues to protect EPO abuse by failing to actually look at the avalanche of complaints and do something about these

ILO is an international institution based in Switzerland. Does it do its job? If its job is to bury the dead (metaphorically speaking) and shelter the abusers, then it’s certainly doing a terrific job!

“Since it seems clear that even ILO staff is complaining (the 124th session had about half a dozen such examples), we welcome whistleblowers from ILO itself.”This is a subject that we covered here before, but SUEPO (Staff Union of the EPO) has just published more details [PDF], preceded by this introduction which says: “In its 124th session the Tribunal delivered a total of 80 judgments, of which only nine (!) concern the EPO. Of those only two cases were fully reasoned. Both concerned disciplinary sanctions. Six cases, of which 5 coming from the EPO, were summarily dismissed. This paper discusses the latest cases that illustrate the on-going changes in the jurisprudence the Tribunal. We also informs about changes in the composition of the Tribunal and the recent developments in the Appeals Committee.”

Here is the text from the concluding part (the PDF is long and contains potentially personal details about complainants):

The insistence on individual complaints not only leads to a lack of regulatory control but also strongly increases the number of complaints to be treated as staff members will have to file complaints for each one of their cases once they are personally affected. The frequent remittals further increase the workload of the EPO and the Tribunal. These also increase the already considerable delays which can be of the order of 4-6 years at the ILO-AT and a similar time internally in the EPO, see e.g. Judgments 3793-3795 in the previous session.

The above list is not complete, but it shows a clear change of direction to the detriment of the complainant. As a consequence only very few EPO cases 28 are judged on the substance and even fewer actually won by staff. In recent years the majority of the EPO cases have been either dismissed as irreceivable or sent back to the Office for one reason of the other. The few EPO cases that have been won by staff members tend to be strictly individual (Judgments 3541, 3781) and have no impact beyond those individual cases. We are not aware of any recent judgments that are favourable to staff as a whole or to a significant part of staff. Although many complaints about Mr Battistelli’s reforms have been filed and have reached the Tribunal, thus far all have been dismissed or sent back on the above grounds.

As indicated above, questions about the Tribunal’s independence have been raised before. The most charitable interpretation of the current developments – including the extremely low number of EPO cases dealt with in the latest session – is that the Tribunal is irritated about what it feels to be an excessive workload coming from the EPO. Should this be the case then the Tribunal apparently blames EPO staff and not the EPO management, as can be seen from Mr Rouiller’s praise for the EPO management (introduction to session 123), his gloating over the Dutch Court case won by the EPO (idem), and the fact that ILO and the Tribunal discuss workload matters with the EPO management but repeatedly refused requests from the staff representation to be involved. Finally, the outcomes of the Judgments speak for themselves.

The current lack of legal guidance will not, however, solve the workload problems of the Tribunal. It does not serve the EPO either: the extreme delays created by the mass remittals lead to long-term legal insecurity, whereas the lack of normative control further frustrates an already frustrated staff. The – by now obvious – collapse of the EPO’s internal justice system and the failure of the Tribunal to provide effective remedies may ultimately lead to the EPO’s immunity in labour matters being lifted. This would probably not be a bad thing for staff. But until then SUEPO will maintain its request for a constructive dialog between the representatives of the Tribunal, the EPO and SUEPO in order to address the current problems.

SUEPO Central’s long PDF (with just over 30 footnotes) goes into some of the pertinent details in decisions we covered far too concisely (outcomes alone) last month. Since it seems clear that even ILO staff is complaining (the 124th session had about half a dozen such examples), we welcome whistleblowers from ILO itself. We wish to understand what is going on there because it seems like EPO politics crept in. They met Team Battistelli without even involving staff representation from the EPO.

Remember what the European Public Services Organisation (IPSO) said to Merkel earlier this year? As far as we know, Merkel never even bothered responding to them. It’s the European Central Bank’s trade union.

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