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10.12.17

Links 12/10/2017: Cutelyst 1.9.0, Qt Creator 4.5 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 11:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Why Linux Works

      The Linux community works, it turns out, because the Linux community isn’t too concerned about work, per se. As much as Linux has come to dominate many areas of corporate computing – from HPC to mobile to cloud – the engineers who write the Linux kernel tend to focus on the code itself, rather than their corporate interests therein.

    • Windows 10 mandatory October KB4041676 update is causing machines to BSOD

      Today when people started waking up from their machines automatically updating during the night, however, they have been faced with a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) instead of the Windows 10 desktop, and unfortunately, no-one seems to know why the installations are failing, only that it relates to KB4041676, which is yesterday’s update.

    • Global shipments of PCs slump for 12th successive quarter, research suggests [iophk: "PCs no longer have any Windows or Microsoft stickers, hiding the infection"]

      An assessment by research and analysis outfit Gartner found that shipments totalled 67 million units in the third quarter of 2017; a decline of 3.6% on an annualised basis compared to the same quarter last year.

      The latest decline marked the 12th consecutive quarter of PC shipments slump.

    • The PC still isn’t dead and the market is ‘stabilising’, says IDC

      In its Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker, IDC announced worldwide shipments of traditional PCs, which includes desktops, notebooks, workstations, totalled 67.2 million units in the third quarter of 2017.

      While this translates into a slight year-over-year decline of 0.5 percent, IDC said [...]

  • Server

    • Using Containers? Look for the OCI Seal of Approval

      Some standards have been set for container technology. That’s a good thing. Without standards, everybody working on developing a technology goes in separate directions, with no thought about how their implementation will work and play with the work being done by others. Without standards, vendor lock-in is practically unavoidable.

      Until July, when the Open Container Initiative (OCI) released version 1.0 of its specification, there were no standards when it came to containers. Products from one vendor didn’t necessarily work with the offerings from another. Obviously, this was a problem for DevOps working in diverse environments.

    • 6 ways to work with database admins in the DevOps world

      DevOps is defined as “unifying the operations and engineering teams,” in order to foster a culture of cross-team collaboration, codify how infrastructure is built, and become a more data-driven organization. But it seems databases and the teams that care for them are treated as an exception to this environment. In most companies, databases are still treated like walled gardens, with the database hosts tended to like delicate flowers and the database administrators (DBAs) guarding any and all access to them.

      This walled-garden attitude invariably affects the rest of the organization, from tech ops, to delivery engineering, all the way to product planning, as everyone tries to work around the datastore. Ultimately this reduces the benefits of an agile approach to software development, which is a problem for companies that have been running for a few years and have reached a solid financial footing with loyal paying customers, but are having a hard time shedding that startup skin (the one that flies by the seat of its pants), and are feeling the pressure to achieve a sense of stability in existing and future offerings.

    • Container Runtime Brings Greater Flexibility to Kubernetes and BOSH

      The Cloud Foundry Foundation on Wednesday launched Cloud Foundry Container Runtime, or CFCR, as the default deployment and management platform for containers using Kubernetes and BOSH.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux LTS Kernel Support Extended to 6 Years

      Despite being a free and open source OS, Linux has one of the quickest development cycles. Every 70 days, a major new version of the Linux kernel rolls out. This deprecates any older versions except for the few Long Term Support releases. In a sign of changing times, the Linux kernel lifetime is getting a major boost. From now on, the Linux LTS kernel will be supported for a whole 6 years. Jumping up to 6 years is a tripling of the current 2 year support period. This is especially goods news for Android.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

    • XikiHub: The Social Command Line

      Brief: A new Linux project named XikiHub has been spotted on Kickstarter. It aims to add a social community feature right into the Linux command line.

    • qTox – An Open Source P2P Instant Messaging and VoIP App

      As you probably already know, GNU/Linux has no shortage of VoIP apps. We’ve written on Wire and Discord. And we even compiled a list of The 10 Best Instant Messaging Apps for Linux.

      Today, we’ve got a new app to add to our list of instant messaging apps and it goes by the name of qTox.

      qTox is a free and open source p2p instant messaging, audio and video calls app and is (apparently) the most feature-rich Tox client. As a powerful Tox client, it follows Tox’s design guidelines while maintaining a uniform UI/UX across all the major platforms.

    • Dash to Panel Adds Support for Dynamic Transparency

      The popular Dash to Panel GNOME extension has been updated to support GNOME 3.26.

      The upcoming release will also include support for dynamic transparency, a bit of desktop eye candy that was introduced by GNOME developers in the recent GNOME 3.26 release.

      Dynamic Transparency in Ubuntu 17.10 works on both the top bar (the panel across the top of the screen) and the Ubuntu Dock. When an app window touches either element, or is maximised, the transparency of the dock and panel is reduced to help improve legibility.

    • Proprietary

      • The Slack Threat

        During a long era, electronic mail was the main communication tool for enterprises. Slack, which offer public or private group discussion boards and instant messaging between two people, challenge its position, especially in the IT industry.

        Not only Slack has features known and used since IRC launch in the late ’80s, but Slack also offers file sending and sharing, code quoting, and it indexing for ulterior searches everything that goes through the application. Slack is also modular with numerous plug-in to easily add new features.

        [...]

        Slack is a Web service which uses mainly Amazon Web services and most specially Cloudfront, as stated by the available information on Slack infrastructure.

        Even without a complete study of said infrastructure, it’s easy to state that all the data regarding many innovative global companies around the world (and some of them including for all their internal communication since their creation) are located in the United States, or at least in the hands of a US company, which must follow US laws, a country with a well-known history of large scale industrial espionage, as the whistleblower Edward Snowden demonstrated it in 2013 and where company data access has no restriction under the Patriot Act, as in the Microsoft case (2014) where data stored in Ireland by the Redmond software editor have been given to US authorities.

        [...]

        Officially, Slack stated that “No financial or payment information was accessed or compromised in this attack.” Which is, and by far, the least interesting of all data stored within Slack! With company internal communication indexed—sometimes from the very beginning of said company—and searchable, Slack may be a potential target for cybercriminal not looking for its users’ financial credentials but more their internal data already in a usable format. One can imagine Slack must give information on a massive data leak, which can’t be ignored. But what would happen if only one Slack user is the victim of said leak?

        [...]

        Because Slack service subscription in the long term put the company continuously at risk. Maybe it’s not the employees’ place to worry about it, they just have to do their job the more efficiently possible. On the other side, the company management, usually non-technical, may not be aware of what risks will threaten their company with this technical choice. The technical management may pretend to be omniscient, nobody is fooled.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Cutelyst 1.9.0 released!

        Cutelyst the Qt web framework got a new release. This is a rather small release but has some important fixes so I decided to roll sooner.

      • Qt 5.10 Beta available for testing with KDE neon

        Qt 5.10 Beta was released this week and the neon builder cloud elves have been compiling it away ready for testing.

        There’s no QtWebEngine or Qt3D so stuff which needs those will be broken.

      • Qt Creator 4.5 Beta released

        We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.5 Beta!

        There has been very little time between the 4.4 release and the 4.5 feature freeze, but 4.5 still comes with a bunch of very nice improvements.

        Locator now does fuzzy camel case matching in the same way as code completion does. Type “c andesu” in locator to open the “AndroidDebugSupport” class.

      • Qt Creator 4.5 Beta Arrives With Few Changes

        Just over one month since the release of Qt Creator 4.4, the 4.5 beta is now available as the latest feature testing release for this Qt/C++ focused integrated development environment.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.28 Expected To Ship On Pi Day

        The GNOME team has firmed up the release schedule for the in-development GNOME 3.28 desktop environment.

        GNOME 3.28.0 is expected to be released on 14 March 2018, which many in the tech/mathematics community celebrate each year as Pi day.

      • A scrolling primer

        A few years ago, I wrote a post about scrolling in GTK+ 3. Time for another look!

      • Stable GNOME Photos Flatpaks moved to Flathub
      • Going to GNOME.Asia 2017

        To be honest, I’m really exited about this trip. I’ve never been to ChongQing before.

      • How to Enable Fractional Scaling in Gnome

        Fractional scaling is practically necessary if you’re running a HiDPI display, and you want your desktop to scale uniformly to match your display. It’s always been an issue on Linux, but the latest version of the GNOME desktop has implemented a true fractional scaling feature to keep your desktop looking good.

        Even though GNOME 3.26 does have fractional scaling support, it wasn’t mature enough to make the release. As a result, it’s still a testing feature that you need to enable yourself.

  • Distributions

    • Endless OS Is First Linux Distro to Support Flatpak Apps from Flathub by Default

      Endless Computers announced today on their Twitter account that Endless OS has recently become the first GNU/Linux distribution to enable support for Flatpak apps from Flathub by default with the latest release.

    • Reviews

      • LinuxAndUbuntu Review Of Pantheon Desktop Environment

        Pantheon is beautiful, lightweight, fast, simple and brings something new to Linux desktops. For Linux newbies, Pantheon is pretty straightforward and easy to use. For advanced users who prefer to tinker with their desktop, Pantheon is a no go as there is little to do in terms of customizations. Changing wallpapers and switching workspace could surely do with some simplification Nonetheless, I believe everyone who used Pantheon is going to be impressed with how beautiful this desktop environment is.

        ​The Pantheon desktop is definitely among the very best desktop environments. Currently, there are efforts to bring the Pantheon desktop to some major distributions such as Fedora and Arch. There is even a community version of Manjaro that comes with Pantheon. But if you really want to use this desktop go with elementary OS.

    • New Releases

      • ExTiX 17.8 – “The Ultimate Linux System” – with LXQt 0.11.1, Refracta tools, Nvidia 384.90 and kernel 4.13.0-15-exton – Build 171012

        I have made a new version of ExTiX – The Ultimate Linux System. I call it ExTiX 17.8 LXQt Live DVD. (The previous version was 17.4 from 170418).

        ABOUT
        ExTiX 17.8 LXQt DVD 64 bit is based on Debian 9 Stretch and Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark, to be released 171019. The original system includes the Desktop Environment Gnome. After removing Gnome I have installed LXQt 0.11.1. LXQt is the Qt port and the upcoming version of LXDE, the Lightweight Desktop Environment. It is the product of the merge between the LXDE-Qt and the Razor-qt projects: A lightweight, modular, blazing-fast and user-friendly desktop environment.

        The system language is ENGLISH.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian and the GDPR

        GDPR is a new EU regulation for privacy. The name is short for “General Data Protection Regulation” and it covers all organisations that handle personal data of EU citizens and EU residents. It will become enforceable May 25, 2018 (Towel Day). This will affect Debian. I think it’s time for Debian to start working on compliance, mainly because the GDPR requires sensible things.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Outs Important Linux Kernel Updates for All Supported Ubuntu Releases

            Canonical released new kernel updates for all supported Ubuntu Linux releases, including Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), and Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus), fixing a total of five security vulnerabilities.

          • elementary on why snaps are right for their Linux distro

            elementary is the company behind the elementary OS Linux distribution and the associated app store. Celebrating their tenth anniversary this year, elementary began in 2007 with their first release in 2011. They are currently on their 4th release (Loki) and are working towards their 5th (Juno) with Jupiter, Luna and Freya as previous releases. At the Ubuntu Rally in New York, we spoke to elementary’s founder Daniel Fore and Systems Architect, Cody Garver, to discover what made snaps the right Linux application packaging format for their distro.

          • Kernel Team Summary- October 11, 2017
          • MAAS 2.3.0 beta 2 released!
          • Ubuntu Server Development Summary – 10 Oct 2017

            The purpose of this communication is to provide a status update and highlights for any interesting subjects from the Ubuntu Server Team. If you would like to reach the server team, you can find us at the #ubuntu-server channel on Freenode. Alternatively, you can sign up and use the Ubuntu Server Team mailing list.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 benefits of contributing to open source projects

    Open source was once seen as a risky bet for the enterprise. If open source software was used at all it was by small companies, or by larger firms in stealthy pockets by IT and development professionals who saw the value of the model but couldn’t “sell” it upstream.

    To be fair, it was a different time with a different pace of business, and the open source model was a little too loose for most companies. Today? Open source is wearing figurative pinstripes while enabling companies of all sizes and industries to innovate at the pace of digital. And savvy companies are not only using it, but also contributing to open source projects to drive innovation, growth, and revenue.

  • How an open team can assess threats and opportunities

    You may be familiar with the “SWOT” decision-making tool. It’s a methodology for helping teams clearly outline a set of conditions, compare options, and make transparent decisions based on an idea’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (“SWOT”). SWOT is an efficient tool in my strategic planning toolkit.

  • Open-source in India: 3 of 4 coders come from product firms, Amazon leads
  • ONAP Collaborates with MEF on Open Source Efforts, Reaches ‘Tipping Point’ in Subscribers Participating

    Open source community leader ONAP is teaming up with standards body MEF to further harmonize open source efforts ahead of 5G.

    Arpit Joshipura, GM of Networking and Orchestration at the Linux Foundation, told Wireless Week the agreement will allow for “collaboration between open source and open standards.”

    Both groups said they share the same objectives, including orchestrating services across multiple providers and multiple network technology domains and building a framework for real-time, policy-driven software automation of virtual and physical network functions.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Announced Plans to Open Source All Features of Their JDK and Address Shortcomings in Java EE

      During the opening keynote at JavaOne this year, Oracle announced plans to release Java SE under GPL and to open-source all the features in Oracle’s JDK. The vendor also admitted that Java EE wasn’t fit for the new world of microservices and serverless, and talked about plans to address the issue. Case studies on modern microservices architectures were provided by Alibaba and Spotify. The full keynote video is available on YouTube, but below we’re providing a summary of the key information.

    • Q. Why’s Oracle so two-faced over open source? A. Moolah, wonga, dosh

      Oracle loves open source. Except when the database giant hates open source. Which, according to its recent lobbying of the US federal government, seems to be “most of the time”.

      Yes, Oracle has recently joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) to up its support for open-source Kubernetes and, yes, it has long supported (and contributed to) Linux. And, yes, Oracle has even gone so far as to (finally) open up Java development by putting it under a foundation’s stewardship.

      Yet this same, seemingly open Oracle has actively hammered the US government to consider that “there is no math that can justify open source from a cost perspective as the cost of support plus the opportunity cost of forgoing features, functions, automation and security overwhelm any presumed cost savings.”

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Metsä Wood: From Desktop Designs to Actual Projects – Join Open Source Wood
    • Open Access/Content

      • Penn Libraries to End Partnership with bepress

        This fall, the Penn Libraries will begin exploring open source options for hosting Penn’s institutional repository, ScholarlyCommons, which provides free and open access to scholarly works created by Penn faculty, staff and students.

        For 13 years, Penn Libraries has hosted ScholarlyCommons on the platform Digital Commons, which we contract from the commercial company bepress. Through ScholarlyCommons and other initiatives, the Penn Libraries has enabled Penn authors to lower barriers to accessing scholarship, publish new research, and take advantage of library services that benefit not only our own community but those around the world. For 13 years, bepress was a partner in this endeavor.

        In August, bepress sold their company to Elsevier, a business with a history of aggressive confidentiality agreements, steep price increases, and opaque data mining practices. In their acquisition of bepress and other companies like SSRN and Mendeley, Elsevier demonstrates a move toward the consolidation and monopolization of products and services impacting all areas of the research lifecycle.

  • Programming/Development

    • Why Testing Is Important for Distributed Software

      As developers, we often hear that tests are important. Automated testing minimizes the number of bugs released to production, helps prevent regression, improves code quality, supplements documentation, and makes code reviews easier. In short, tests save businesses money by increasing system uptime and keeping developers working on new features instead of fighting fires. While software testing has been around for about as long as software has, I would argue that testing is especially important (and unfortunately more challenging) in modern distributed software systems.

    • RcppArmadillo 0.8.100.1.0
    • ConCom, and calls for programming, charity, and staff (oh my!)
    • HyperCard

      One of my favorite pastimes is imagining and planning to write new coding projects: researching technologies, checking out libraries I might use, making GUI mockups, downloading similar projects.

      I was thinking the other day that it might be fun to create a desktop-based editor that had an HTTP server embedded. The HTTP server would serve up only one document, which is the document being currently edited, and it would show a live representation of the screen as being show the person editing the document.

      I was thinking it might be fun to re-implement the old HyperCard system.

Leftovers

  • Nintendo Nixes Live Streams For Its Own Creators Program For Some Reason

    In 2014, following nearly a full year of waging an intellectual property war on YouTubers doing “let’s play” videos with its games, Nintendo unleashed upon the world what would eventually become its “Creators Program”. Through the program, YouTubers would be allowed to put videos including Nintendo IP on their channels in exchange for revenue sharing between the creator and Nintendo itself. For a company like Nintendo, which had built a reputation for exerting strict control in this arena, it felt like a huge step forward. It took only a few months before the whole thing began devolving into a bureaucratic mess, with: language in the affiliate agreement clearly geared towards garnering positive coverage from YouTubers; a mishandling of the influx of interest in the program by creators themselves; and a strange whitelist and blacklist of what games could be covered, which hurt channels with extensive back catalogs of content that might need to be deleted. Some high profile YouTubers swore off covering Nintendo games in revolt, while everyone else was left wondering why this had to be handled so badly.

  • Science

    • The Earth nearly froze over when today’s coal was first buried

      Our burning of fossil fuels is, to an extent, a reversal of a process that happened millions of years ago. At one point, all this carbon was in the air. Over millions of years, life extracted it from the air before dying and getting buried. Geology took over from there, gradually converting the formerly living material into things like coal and oil. Since this process was relatively slow, it presumably didn’t result in radical changes to the climate.

      But a new study suggests that it came really, really close. Lots of the fossil fuels we currently use derive from the Carboniferous, a 60-million-year-long period where forests flourished across much of the Earth. While not sudden, activity during this time period did pull a lot of carbon out of the atmosphere, and so a researcher decided to look at some of the consequences. The results suggest that the Earth skirted the edge of a global freeze, forming glaciers in the mountains of the tropics.

    • Study claims vaccines-autism link; scientists find fake data, have rage stroke

      A recent study linking a component of vaccines to signs of autism in mice is set for retraction after scientists thoroughly demolished the study’s design, methods, and analysis—and then, for good measure, spotted faked data.

      The original study, led by Christopher Shaw and Lucija Tomljenovic of the University of British Columbia, suggested that aluminum in vaccines can alter immune responses and trigger the development of autism. (Aluminum adjuvants are used in some vaccines to boost protective immune responses.) The study is just the latest in a long line of publications from the researchers who appear unwavering in their effort to reveal supposed neurotoxic effects of aluminum in vaccines even though dozens of studies have found no evidence of such toxicity.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Congress’ pharmacist hints some members have Alzheimer’s, backpedals furiously

      Wednesday morning, Stat published a piece on the quaint, old-school pharmacy that hand-delivers prescription medications to our hardworking Congress members on the Hill each day.

    • Is that water drinkable? Fast test may hold the answer

      Detecting the agents of disease is often really hard. Imagine that you live in a village in a developing country. You may not have electricity, and your water comes via a well of unknown quality. Is the lining in that well sufficient to keep shallow, polluted groundwater from seeping in?

      No matter how good your well-building skills are, you still need to regularly test drinking water to ensure that it is safe. A new development in detecting bacterial nasties has scientists saying there’s a solution, one that looks like high-tech litmus paper. But I’m not so sure it’s all it’s cracked up to be.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #128
    • T-Mobile customer data plundered thanks to bad API

      A bug disclosed and patched last week by T-Mobile in a Web application interface allowed anyone to query account information by simply providing a phone number. That includes customer e-mail addresses, device identification data, and even the answers to account security questions. The bug, which was patched after T-Mobile was contacted by Motherboard’s Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai on behalf of an anonymous security researcher, was apparently also exploited by others, giving them access to information that could be used to hijack customers’ accounts and move them to new phones. Attackers could potentially gain access to other accounts protected by SMS-based “two factor” authentication simply by acquiring a T-Mobile SIM card.

    • Criminals stole millions from E. Europe banks with ATM “overdraft” hack

      Banks in several former Soviet states were hit with a wave of debit card fraud earlier this year that netted millions of dollars worth of cash. These bank heists relied on a combination of fraudulent bank accounts and hacking to turn nearly empty bank accounts into cash-generating machines. In a report being released by TrustWave’s SpiderLabs today, SpiderLabs researchers detailed the crime spree: hackers gained access to bank systems and manipulated the overdraft protection on accounts set up by proxies and then used automated teller machines in other countries to withdraw thousands of dollars via empty or nearly empty accounts.

      While SpiderLabs’ investigation accounted for about $40 million in fraudulent withdrawals, the report’s authors noted, “when taking into account the undiscovered or uninvestigated attacks along with investigations undertaken by internal groups or third parties, we estimate losses to be in the hundreds of millions in USD.” This criminal enterprise was a hybrid of traditional credit fraud and hacking. It relied on an army of individuals with fake identity documents, as these folks were paid to set up accounts at the targeted institutions with the lowest possible deposit. From there, individuals requested debit cards for the accounts, which were forwarded to co-conspirators in other countries throughout Europe and in Russia.

    • Buggy Microsoft Outlook Sending Encrypted S/MIME Emails With Plaintext Copy For Months

      Beware, If you are using S/MIME protocol over Microsoft Outlook to encrypt your email communication, you need to watch out.

      From at least last 6 months, your messages were being sent in both encrypted and unencrypted forms, exposing all your secret and sensitive communications to potential eavesdroppers.

      S/MIME, or Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, is an end-to-end encryption protocol—based on public-key cryptography and works just like SSL connections—that enables users to send digitally signed and encrypted messages.

    • Fake Crypto: Microsoft Outlook S/MIME Cleartext Disclosure (CVE-2017-11776)

      Outlook version XXX (we are still waiting for Microsoft to release detailed information and update the blog accordingly) was the first affected version. So any S/MIME encrypted mail written since that date might be affected.

      Unfortunately there is no easy solution to remediate the impact of this vulnerability (we are still waiting for Microsoft to release detailed information and update the blog).

      In cases where mails have been send to third parties (recipient is outside of the sender’s organization) remediation is not possible by the sending party, since the sender has no authority over the recipient’s mail infrastructure.

    • Accenture data leak: ‘Keys to the kingdom’ left exposed via multiple unsecured cloud servers

      A massive trove of sensitive corporate and customer data was left freely exposed to the public by Accenture, one of the world’s biggest management firms. The tech giant left at least four cloud storage servers, which contained highly sensitive decryption keys and passwords, exposed to the public, without any password protections.

    • Equifax website hacked again, this time to redirect to fake Flash update

      In May credit reporting service Equifax’s website was breached by attackers who eventually made off with Social Security numbers, names, and a dizzying amount of other details for some 145.5 million US consumers. For several hours on Wednesday the site was compromised again, this time to deliver fraudulent Adobe Flash updates, which when clicked, infected visitors’ computers with adware that was detected by only three of 65 antivirus providers.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Airport Bomber From Last Week You Never Heard About

      IT’S STRANGE HOW some things really catch on and go viral and others don’t. These days, nothing quite makes a story blow up — no pun intended — like the president’s fixation with it. That’s why it’s so peculiar that what sure looks like an attempted terrorist attack was narrowly thwarted at an American airport this past Friday without so much as peep from Donald Trump about it. No tweets. No nicknames for the alleged would-be-terrorist. Nothing. You’ll see why in a minute.

      On past Friday morning, at 12:39 a.m., security footage from the Asheville Regional Airport in North Carolina showed a man walking through the front doors wearing black clothing and a black cap, while carrying a bag. “Based on a review of the video, the individual walked near the entrance to the terminal, went out of sight momentarily, and was then seen departing the area without the bag,” according to the criminal complaint.

      Following the Transportation Security Administration’s protocols, airport security allowed a bomb dog to sniff the bag for explosives and the dog signaled to the team the presence of dangerous materials in the bag. The concourse was then shut down. The street leading to the airport was shut down. And Asheville Regional Airport officials found themselves in a dangerous emergency situation.

    • 10 Reasons the US Should Stick With the Iran Nuclear Deal

      President Trump is expected to announce this week that he will not recertify that Iran is complying with the 2015 nuclear deal. He will argue, falsely, that the agreement is no longer in the national interest of the United States.

      The president’s announcement will not end the deal but will pass the buck to Congress. In the next 60 days, Congress could impose new sanctions that would scuttle the deal or it could pass new legislation addressing issues that were never part of the original mandate, which would also effectively kill the agreement. Enough public pressure could keep the agreement intact.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Hurricane Ophelia is on course to strike Ireland and the UK early next week

      Hurricane Ophelia is churning the waters of the northeastern Atlantic, headed for Europe. It’s far from land right now, but it’s noteworthy for its location, intensity, and direction of movement.

      The storm is the 10th straight tropical cyclone to reach hurricane intensity in the Atlantic Ocean. Which means this year has tied the all-time record set in 1878 — which was also met in 1886 and 1893, though lack of satellite measurements until the latter half of the twentieth century means there’s some uncertainty here.

    • FDA head: Hurricane Maria set to hit hospitals nationwide, clobber drug supply

      After Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico on September 20, the nation’s drug supply and hospitals should brace for their own beating in the next two to three weeks, head of the US Food and Drug Administration Scott Gottlieb warned in an interview with Reuters Tuesday.

      With more than four dozen FDA-approved pharmaceutical plants, Puerto Rico manufactures 10 percent of drugs prescribed in the US. The list of drugs made there includes 13 of the world’s top-selling brand-name drugs, such as Humira, the rheumatoid arthritis drug, and Xarelto, a blood thinner for stroke prevention, The New York Times reported. Some of the medicines made there are made nowhere else.

    • Dutch government wants all new cars to be emissions-free by 2030

      On Tuesday, the fractured Dutch government announced a coalition of several leading parties and put forward a roadmap for the Netherlands’ future. Besides reaffirming the country’s support of the EU and offering tax and immigration plans, the coalition said that it wanted all new cars to be zero-emissions vehicles by 2030. The coalition also called for more aggressive emissions goals in general—specifically, a 49-percent reduction in the country’s CO2 emissions compared to 1990 levels by 2030, according to EU Observer.

    • Plugging in to a volcano: Geothermal power and the science that enables it

      In Rotorua, New Zealand, the evidence of geothermal activity is everywhere. Often, the grates covering street drains will steam. Every now and again, a homeowner will wake up to find that their backyard has been replaced by a steaming hole in the ground. But all of this was nearly lost in my youth thanks to humanity’s attempts to tap into it. Geothermal fields cannot be endlessly plundered, it turns out.

      But this is a good-news story. Geothermal activity, in 2017, supplies some 17-18 percent of New Zealand’s electricity. But there are many places in the world that have volcanoes, and many of them are more active than New Zealand’s. In New Zealand, geothermal fields cover sleeping volcanoes, not the restless, ready-to-throw rocks volcanoes. Which raises the obvious question of why the islands’ sleeping volcanoes can be tapped so effectively.

    • EPA chief says wind tax credits should be eliminated

      On Monday night, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt told a meeting of the Kentucky Farm Bureau that the federal government should end tax credits for the wind industry. Although the EPA doesn’t have control over tax incentives for renewable energy, the agency has considerable authority to hamper similar programs that boost renewables—most recently seen in Pruitt’s efforts to repeal the Clean Power Plan—and his comments reflect how energy policy is being approached in the nation’s environmental bureau.

    • As Deadly Wildfires Rage in California, a Look at How Global Warming Fuels Decades of Forest Fires

      In California, powerful winds and bone-dry conditions are fueling massive wildfires. A state of emergency has been declared in northern areas as the fires have left at least 17 people dead, destroying whole neighborhoods and forcing 20,000 people to evacuate their homes. The wildfires come after the U.S. Forest Service warned last year that an unprecedented 5-year drought led to the deaths of more than 100 million trees in California, setting the stage for massive fires. Climate scientists believe human-caused global warming played a major role in the drought. We speak with Park Williams, bioclimatologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and co-author of a 2016 report showing that global warming is responsible for nearly half of the forest area burned in the western United States over the past three decades.

    • Disabled 85-year-old woman dragged across busy road by police at fracking protest

      A disabled 85-year-old woman was left bruised after being dragged across a busy road by three police officers during an anti-fracking protest.

      Anne Power, a Green Party member and anti-fracking campaigner, was sitting outside a fracking site near Little Plumpton, Lancashire, when a scrum of officers lifted her from her seat.

      Video of the incident, seen by The Independent, shows her being dragged across a major road by her shoulders, with her heels scraping along the ground.

    • Trump threatens to abandon Puerto Rico recovery effort
    • In ”Disgusting” Attack, Trump Blames Puerto Rico; Says FEMA Can’t Stay ”Forever”

      In less than an hour on Thursday morning, President Donald Trump went from encouraging Americans to watch his favorite show, Fox & Friends, to telling residents of Puerto Rico the crisis there is “largely of their own making” to ultimately saying that the US government cannot keep federal emergency workers there “forever.”

  • Finance

    • Bitcoin isn’t money — it’s a ‘censorship-resistant asset class’

      Cryptocurrency Bitcoin isn’t technically money in the full sense of the word, according to analysts at Bernstein.

      While it allows transactions in a similar way to cash, Bitcoin is still just a “censorship-resistant asset class,” out of the reach of state control and yet to form a part of the system of settlement and credit that defines money.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • How Facebook rewards polarizing political ads

      Unless Facebook makes its internal data public, it’s impossible to say which ads reach which audiences, or how much candidates spend to reach them. After the 2016 presidential election, a senior Facebook employee said that Trump’s cost of reaching voters was substantially lower than Clinton’s, according to communications reviewed by The Verge. Trump was able to reach a larger audience than Clinton for less money, the employee said, illustrating the power of mastering Facebook’s ad platform. At a time when the company’s advertising business is under increasing scrutiny, Facebook’s platform dynamics could represent a new avenue for regulators to investigate.

    • Meet the guy who spent 12 months undercover in Europe’s alt-right movement

      These people feel emboldened. They see this as a culture war — and they believe they’re winning.”

      That’s what Patrik Hermansson, a Swedish graduate student who spent twelve months undercover in the European alt-right movement, told me. Hermansson was part of Hope Not Hate, a UK-based organization established in 2004. The group is known for combating racist and fascist organizations with unorthodox methods like infiltration.

    • ‘Republicans Have a Starting-Line Advantage of 10 Percent’

      One of the reasons for that is being considered right now in the Supreme Court. Recalled by many of us as an old-timey graphic in middle school textbooks, the term “gerrymander” refers to the drawing of political districts in such a way as to benefit a particular party. The case Gill v. Whitford is focused on Wisconsin, where in 2012 Republicans won just 48.6 percent of the statewide vote, but captured 60 out of 99 seats in the state assembly.

    • “I HATE EVERYONE IN THE WHITE HOUSE!”: TRUMP SEETHES AS ADVISERS FEAR THE PRESIDENT IS “UNRAVELING”

      At first it sounded like hyperbole, the escalation of a Twitter war. But now it’s clear that Bob Corker’s remarkable New York Times interview—in which the Republican senator described the White House as “adult day care” and warned Trump could start World War III—was an inflection point in the Trump presidency. It brought into the open what several people close to the president have recently told me in private: that Trump is “unstable,” “losing a step,” and “unraveling.”

      The conversation among some of the president’s longtime confidantes, along with the character of some of the leaks emerging from the White House has shifted. There’s a new level of concern. NBC News published a report that Trump shocked his national security team when he called for a nearly tenfold increase in the country’s nuclear arsenal during a briefing this summer. One Trump adviser confirmed to me it was after this meeting disbanded that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a “moron.”

      In recent days, I spoke with a half dozen prominent Republicans and Trump advisers, and they all describe a White House in crisis as advisers struggle to contain a president who seems to be increasingly unfocused and consumed by dark moods. Trump’s ire is being fueled by his stalled legislative agenda and, to a surprising degree, by his decision last month to back the losing candidate Luther Strange in the Alabama Republican primary. “Alabama was a huge blow to his psyche,” a person close to Trump said. “He saw the cult of personality was broken.”

    • U.S. withdraws from U.N.’s cultural agency UNESCO

      The United States announced on Thursday it was withdrawing from UNESCO, the U.N.’s cultural and educational agency, complaining about how it is run and about what Washington described as bias against Israel.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Roger Dingledine: “Tor: Internet privacy in the age of big surveillance”
    • Time to make Data Protection work for consumers

      The test for data protection fulfilling its purpose is whether it is improving consumer rights. Open Rights Group are calling for a specific improvement in consumer rights as the Data Protection Bill reaches its second reading debate in the House of Lords on Tuesday.

    • Open Rights Group briefing on the Data Protection Bill – HoL Second Reading
    • Trump’s DOJ tries to rebrand weakened encryption as “responsible encryption”

      A high-ranking Department of Justice official took aim at encryption of consumer products today, saying that encryption creates “law-free zones” and should be scaled back by Apple and other tech companies. Instead of encryption that can’t be broken, tech companies should implement “responsible encryption” that allows law enforcement to access data, he said.

      “Warrant-proof encryption defeats the constitutional balance by elevating privacy above public safety,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a speech at the US Naval Academy today (transcript). “Encrypted communications that cannot be intercepted and locked devices that cannot be opened are law-free zones that permit criminals and terrorists to operate without detection by police and without accountability by judges and juries.”

      Rosenstein was nominated by President Donald Trump to be the DOJ’s second-highest-ranking official, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He was confirmed by the Senate in April.

    • US Intelligence Unit Accused Of Illegally Spying On Americans’ Financial Records

      The intelligence division at the Treasury Department has repeatedly and systematically violated domestic surveillance laws by snooping on the private financial records of US citizens and companies, according to government sources.

      Over the past year, at least a dozen employees in another branch of the Treasury Department, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, have warned officials and Congress that US citizens’ and residents’ banking and financial data has been illegally searched and stored. And the breach, some sources said, extended to other intelligence agencies, such as the National Security Agency, whose officers used the Treasury’s intelligence division as an illegal back door to gain access to American citizens’ financial records. The NSA said that any allegations that it “is operating outside of its authorities and knowingly violating U.S. persons’ privacy and civil liberties is categorically false.”

    • Treasury Department Wing Latest To Be Accused Of Domestic Spying

      Some more domestic spying taking place, this time by financial regulators. While the US Treasury Department is well within its legal wheelhouse to investigate domestic financial wrongdoing, its Office of Intelligence and Analysis is only supposed to monitor financial activity occurring outside of the US. The OIA has apparently been helping itself to domestic financial records, as Jason Leopold reports.

    • How to Send Messages in Private

      If you’d like an easy way to use secure, end-to-end encrypted messaging, we highly recommend Signal. It’s free, open source, and available from the iPhone and Android app stores. Not only that, it also allows you to make secure voice calls. Your butler would approve!

    • Google Home Mini review—A gateway drug for the Google Assistant
    • Kaspersky Lab Has Been Repeatedly Targeted By U.S., British, and Israeli Intelligence Services

      2015 was a busy year for Western intelligence agencies and Kaspersky Lab.
      SOMETIME IN EARLY 2015 — An NSA contractor was caught with classified materials on his home computer thanks to Kaspersky Lab AV software working exactly as it should.
      FEBRUARY 2015 — Kaspersky Lab released a detailed report on how the NSA had been breaching systems in 42 countries for the past fourteen years.
      A few days later, a group of CIA contractors did a post-mortem on what mistakes the NSA had made which allowed Kaspersky’s GReAT team to detect them.

    • Israel Hacked Kaspersky, Then Tipped The NSA That Its Tools Had Been Breached

      In 2015, Israeli government hackers saw something suspicious in the computers of a Moscow-based cybersecurity firm: hacking tools that could only have come from the National Security Agency.

      Israel notified the NSA, where alarmed officials immediately began a hunt for the breach, according to people familiar with the matter, who said an investigation by the agency revealed that the tools were in the possession of the Russian government.

    • Russian Hackers Reportedly Stole NSA Data from a Contractor’s Computer

      Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Russian hackers stole National Security Agency (NSA) data after an NSA contractor put highly-classified information on his home computer. According to the WSJ article, “NSA Contractor’s Breach of Cybersecurity Protocol at Heart of Russian Hack,” hackers identified and then targeted NSA files on the contractor’s personal computer by exploiting vulnerabilities in the antivirus software used by the contractor. Notably, given concerns about the particular version of antivirus software used by the contractor, last month the Department of Homeland Security banned all U.S. government departments and agencies from using it.

    • Update: Russian hackers use Kaspersky AV, find NSA info on home device

      Israel’s discovery that Russian hackers had used anti-virus software from Kaspersky Lab to search computers worldwide for information on US intelligence programmes reportedly prompted the US government in September to ban the security company’s software from all US federal agencies.

    • NSA Declassifies Internet Surveillance Files from 2011 Case

      In response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by The New York Times, the National Security Agency has declassified these previously secret documents from the docket of a 2011 case before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The case concerned problems with the NSA’s so-called “upstream” Internet spying conducted under the FISA Amendments Act warrantless surveillance program, and resulted in a then-secret ruling, made public in August 2013, that the agency had violated the Fourth Amendment. The NSA has previously released two other tranches of files from that litigation in response to the lawsuit.

    • Elite Hackers: Stealing NSA Secrets Is ‘Child’s Play’

      Last week, multiple outlets reported that its elite Tailored Access Operations unit—tasked with breaking into foreign networks—suffered another serious data breach. The theft of computer code and other material by an employee in 2015 allowed the Russian government to more easily detect U.S. cyber operations, according to The Washington Post. It’s potentially the fourth large-scale incident at the NSA to be revealed in the last five years.

    • Cyberstalking Case Highlights How VPN Provider Claims About Not Keeping Logs Are Often False

      When the Trump administration recently decided to gut consumer privacy protections for broadband, many folks understandably rushed to VPNs for some additional privacy and protection. And indeed, many ISPs justified their lobbying assault on the rules by stating that users didn’t need privacy protections, since they could simply use a VPN to fully protect their online activity. But we’ve noted repeatedly that VPNs are not some kind of panacea, and in many instances you’re simply shifting the potential for abuse from your ISP — to a VPN provider that may not actually offer the privacy it claims.

    • Dubai airport’s virtual tunnel-shaped aquarium can scan faces as people walk through

      Dubai airport has come up with an innovative solution to get the travellers’ faces scanned. The airport will introduce virtual aquariums shaped like tunnels with screens placed along the interior. It will have 80 cameras that will scan faces as people walk by.

      The scanners will also record irises, according to a report by The National. The idea is to create a system where travellers will not need to pass through security gates or stand in line in front of counters for clearance.

    • How big companies make billions from your personal data but never take any responsibility

      “A century ago, we found ways to rein in the unaccountable power associated with the Industrial Revolution,” Sandel concluded. “Today, we need to figure out how to rein in the unaccountable power associated with the digital revolution.”

    • U.S. signals tougher stance with tech companies on encryption

      Rosenstein’s first lengthy comments on encryption signaled a desire for Congress to write legislation mandating that companies provide access to encrypted products when a law enforcement agency obtains a court order.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Uber facing at least five criminal investigations from US Justice Department

      Uber is facing at least five criminal investigations by the US Justice Department over numerous allegations including intellectual property [sic] theft, a lack of price transparency and the use of regulator-dodging software.

    • Uber Pushed the Limits of the Law. Now Comes the Reckoning

      Uber faces at least five criminal probes from the Justice Department—two more than previously reported. Bloomberg has learned that authorities are asking questions about whether Uber violated price-transparency laws, and officials are separately looking into the company’s role in the alleged theft of schematics and other documents outlining Alphabet Inc.’s autonomous-driving technology. Uber is also defending itself against dozens of civil suits, including one brought by Alphabet that’s scheduled to go to trial in December.

    • Uber Pushed the Limits of the Law. Now Comes the Reckoning

      Uber faces at least five criminal probes from the Justice Department—two more than previously reported. Bloomberg has learned that authorities are asking questions about whether Uber violated price-transparency laws, and officials are separately looking into the company’s role in the alleged theft of schematics and other documents outlining Alphabet Inc.’s autonomous-driving technology. Uber is also defending itself against dozens of civil suits, including one brought by Alphabet that’s scheduled to go to trial in December.

    • Black man attacked by white supremacists in Charlottesville faces felony charge
    • Bahrain is buying arms in London – and my family is paying the price

      Next week the giant Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair returns to the Excel centre in east London. The protests have already started. As a Bahraini living in exile in Britain, I’ve previously joined them. I’m far from happy that Bahraini officials can pop over to London to do their weapons shopping when security forces are shooting peaceful protesters back in Bahrain.

      Yet, as things stand I’m not sure how safe it will be for me or my family if I go to Docklands and hold up a protest placard. That’s because I’m one of a number of Bahrainis in the UK who are suffering reprisals whenever we put our heads above the parapet.

    • Supreme Court Leaves Troubling CFAA Rulings In Place: Sharing Passwords Can Be Criminal Hacking

      For many, many years now, we’ve talked about problems with the CFAA — the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act — which was passed in Congress in the 1980s in response to the Hollywood movie War Games (seriously). It was a messed up moral panic back then, and over the years it’s been abused widely in both civil and criminal cases to define almost anything as hacking. Over the past few years we’ve been following two cases in particular related to the CFAA: the David Nosal case and the Power.com case. Both involved fairly twisted interpretations of the CFAA — and, unfortunately, the 9th Circuit found both to be okay. And, unfortunately, this week, the Supreme Court declined to review both cases, meaning they remain good (if stupid) law in the 9th Circuit (which will likely influence cases elsewhere).

      I won’t go into all of the background in both cases, but the super short version is that under the Facebook v. Power ruling, it’s a CFAA violation for a service to access a website — even if at the request of users — if the website has sent a cease-and-desist. That shouldn’t be seen as hacking, but the court said it’s “unauthorized access.” Power was a service that tried to help consolidate different social networks into a single user interface for users — and lots of people found that valuable and signed up for the service. But, Facebook didn’t like it and sent a cease-and-desist to Power. Power figured that since users were asking it to continue and they were the ones who had the accounts, it was okay to continue. The court, unfortunately, claimed that it was a CFAA violation — the equivalent of “hacking” into a system (despite having legit credentials) just because of the cease-and-desist.

    • More Women Accuse Harvey Weinstein of Rape, Assault & Harassment

      A shocking new investigation by The New Yorker has revealed a slew of new rape and sexual assault allegations against disgraced and now-fired movie producer Harvey Weinstein, who had been one of the most powerful men in Hollywood for decades. Weinstein has also been a major Democratic donor.

      The New Yorker reports three women say Harvey Weinstein raped them, while more say Weinstein masturbated in front of them or forcibly touched them without their consent. Among the accusers is former aspiring actress Lucia Evans, who says she had just finished her junior year at Middlebury College when she was invited to a daytime meeting with Weinstein at the Miramax office. She said he pushed her head down and “forced me to perform oral sex on him. I said, over and over, ‘I don’t want to do this, stop, don’t.’ … I tried to get away. … He’s a big guy. He overpowered me.”

    • Harvey Weinstein Tries Every Possible Response To Explosive NY Times Story

      Last week, the Hollywood Reporter broke the story that famed Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein (formerly of Miramax and more recently of the Weinstein Company — from which he was fired over the weekend, despite practically begging for his friends to support him) had seriously lawyered up, hiring three high profile lawyers: David Boies, Lisa Bloom and Charles Harder to deal with two apparent stories that were in the works — one from the NY Times and another from the New Yorker (two publications not known for backing down from threats) — about some fairly horrible alleged behavior by Weinstein towards young female actresses, employees and more.

      A day later, the NY Times published its article about Harvey Weinstein and, damn, it’s quite an article. It details multiple cases of alleged sexual harassment by Weinstein against both employees and hopeful actresses — and includes claims of Weinstein having to pay off some of those individuals. The article was not based on a single source, but many sources, including one actress (Ashley Judd) willing to put her name behind the accusations (and just as we were completing this post, the New Yorker published its piece which appears to be more detailed and more damning, with more names and even more horrifying stories about Weinstein). And with the NY Times’ publication, much of the “legal team” leaped into action. Of course, if you’re not familiar with the three lawyers named above, it may help to do a quick review, before we dig in on the myriad (often contradictory) responses we’ve now seen from Weinstein and his legal team over the past few days.

    • Miami Beach Police Unaware Of The First Amendment, Arrest Guy For Twitter Parody Account

      Back in 2014, the police in Peoria, Illinois raided the home of a guy, Jon Daniel, suspected of running a Twitter account parodying Peoria’s mayor, Jim Ardis. Despite knowing no laws had been broken, Ardis pushed hard to prosecute the person for daring to mock him on Twitter. It didn’t end well. A year and a half later, the taxpayers of Peoria were on the hook to pay Daniel $125,000 to settle the lawsuit filed against the city (with help from the ACLU).

      Someone might want to share that story with the police in Miami Beach. Last week they arrested a guy for having a Twitter parody account of the police spokesperson, Ernesto Rodriguez. The story sounds fairly familiar to the Peoria story. As in that case, police are claiming that the “crime” committed by Ernesto Orsetti here is “falsely impersonating” a public official. Yet, as the Miami New Times notes, just a little while ago Rodriguez (the real one) joked with reporters and made it clear he considered it a parody account. He also appears to have made some tweets that are clearly laughing off the parody account.

    • What Jemele Hill’s Suspension Means For Social Media Censorship

      In this ESSENCE Now segment, our guests discuss the recent two-week suspension of ESPN anchor Jemele Hill over her tweets about the NFL.

      “People become selective in how they support Black women who speak out bout issues related to black liberation and black freedom,” activist and writer Feminista Jones said. “As long as the racism continues, as long as the police brutality and all the things that they’re protesting continues, you have to continue speaking, she was taking a huge risk and deserves our support.”

    • Gov. Brown Vetoes Internet Access For Juvenile Halls and Foster Homes—For Now

      California Gov. Jerry Brown today vetoed A.B. 811, a bill that would have required the government to provide youth in state care—be they juvenile halls or foster homes—with reasonable access to computers and the Internet for educational purposes. In some cases, juveniles would also have been able to use computers to stay in touch with their families and for extracurricular and social activities.

      The bill, authored by Assemblymember Mike Gipson, was supported by the Youth Law Center, EFF, and Facebook, and received no opposition when it landed on the governor’s desk. More than 250 supporters sent letters to the legislature and the governor asking for this bill to become law.

    • Spain: Police Used Excessive Force in Catalonia

      Spanish police engaged in excessive force when confronting demonstrators in Catalonia during a disputed referendum, using batons to hit non-threatening protesters and causing multiple injuries, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch received many allegations of unjustified police use of force on October 1, 2017, and carried out on-site investigations after the poll to document specific incidents.

      Human Rights Watch spoke to victims and witnesses and reviewed video, photographic, and medical evidence from the city of Girona and two villages in Girona and Barcelona provinces. Human Rights Watch found that the Civil Guard (Guardia Civil) or National Police Corps (Cuerpo Nacional de Policia) at times used excessive force in all three locations on October 1 as they sought to execute court orders to prevent the poll.

    • As a man with no daughters, here are my views on feminism
  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • 10Gbps cable Internet uploads and downloads coming in DOCSIS update

      Cable Internet with download and upload speeds of 10Gbps may eventually come to American homes thanks to a new specification for higher-speed, symmetrical data transmissions.

      The industry’s R&D consortium, CableLabs, today announced that it has completed the Full Duplex Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification, an update to DOCSIS 3.1. The completion of the 10Gbps full duplex spec comes 18 months after the project was unveiled.

    • Analysts Predict Sprint, T-Mobile Merger Will Be A Massive Job Killer

      For much of the year, Sprint has been trying to butter up the Trump administration to gain approval for a merger with T-Mobile. Sprint’s previous attempts at such a merger were blocked by regulators, who correctly noted that reducing wireless competitors from four to three would raise rates and reduce carrier incentive to improve and compete. But with the Trump administration spearheading a new wave of mindless merger mania in the telecom space, Sprint is poised to try again, and is expected to formally announce its latest attempt to acquire T-Mobile in just a matter of weeks.

      Of course like any good merger, that will involve countless think tankers, lobbyists, consultants, fauxcademics and other policy voices willfully ignoring M&A history, insisting that the deal will magically spur competition, save puppies, cure cancer, and result in countless thousands of new jobs. But many respected sector analysts are busy noting that the job is expected to be a mammoth job killer.

    • FCC’s claim that one ISP counts as “competition” faces scrutiny in court

      A Federal Communications Commission decision to eliminate price caps imposed on some business broadband providers should be struck down, advocacy groups told federal judges last week. The FCC failed to justify its claim that a market can be competitive even when there is only one Internet provider, the groups said.

      Led by Chairman Ajit Pai, the FCC’s Republican majority voted in April of this year to eliminate price caps in a county if 50 percent of potential customers “are within a half mile of a location served by a competitive provider.” That means business customers with just one choice are often considered to be located in a competitive market and thus no longer benefit from price controls. The decision affects Business Data Services (BDS), a dedicated, point-to-point broadband link that is delivered over copper-based TDM networks by incumbent phone companies like AT&T, Verizon, and CenturyLink.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • New Members But No Change In WIPO Program And Budget Committee – For Now
    • WIPO: Rise In Retirement Age Delayed 2 Years; LGBT Workers Get Protection

      The World Intellectual Property Organization will increase the retirement age to 65 for all workers starting in 2020, one year earlier than it had proposed but still a delay aimed at freeing up some job posts through earlier retirements.

    • WIPO Delegates Solve Budget For 2 Years; US Still Vigilant On GI Treaty

      On the last day of the annual World Intellectual Property Organization General Assembly, delegates today found a way to agree on the issues blocking the adoption of the 2018/2019 budget. In particular delegates found a way to address requests made by the United States on the program and budget, notably on the financing of the WIPO agreement protecting geographical indications.

    • WIPO: New 2-Year Mandate For Traditional Knowledge Committee; Design Law Treaty Stalls

      Late tonight on the last day of the annual World Intellectual Property Organization General Assembly, delegates agreed on a mandate and a work programme of the committee seeking ways to protect genetic resources, traditional knowledge, and folklore from misuse and misappropriation. Meanwhile, no agreement was found on the convening of a high-level negotiating meeting for a new treaty on industrial designs.

    • Copyrights

      • Court To Guy Who Sued News Stations Over His Facebook Live Video: Pay Their Legal Fees… And Maybe Sue Your Lawyers

        If the name Kali Kanongataa doesn’t ring a bell, he was the man who sued roughly all of the news for copyright infringement earlier this year. The whole episode stemmed from Kanongataa having put the birth of his child up on Facebook through the site’s live streaming function in 2016. Many, many news organizations used snippets of the video in their reporting on the viral nature of the video, which had been viewed over 100,000 times. Kanongataa ultimately lost those suits on obvious Fair Use grounds and the various news organizations subsequently petitioned to be awarded attorney’s fees, which the court ultimately granted.

        [...]

        The court can preface this footnote any way it wants, but this sure reads like a heavy-handed hint to Kanongataa that he may want to look into recouping costs through his attorney for even bringing this case before the court in the first place, never mind failing to properly advise him on his claims of financial strife. This pretty clearly reads like a court that knows this is a case that never should have made it past the idea stage in Kanongataa’s head, with clear implications that his attorney should have advised him against, or refused to even assist him with, putting any of this in motion.

      • Library trolls copyright zealots by naming collection after Sonny Bono

        The Internet Archive is an online library known for pushing the boundaries of copyright law to promote public access to obscure works, including classic video games and historic images. Now the organization is taking advantage of a little-noticed provision of the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act to publish complete copies of out-of-print books published between 1923 and 1941. The group hopes that the move will inspire other libraries to follow its lead, making hundreds of thousands of books from the mid-20th Century available for download.

        The Internet Archive has cheekily named this the “Sonny Bono Memorial Collection.” Bono was a musician turned member of Congress who died in a skiing accident months before the legislation passed. His widow, Mary Bono, won his seat in the House of representatives. During the debate over the Copyright Term Extension Act, Mary Bono said that “Sonny wanted the term of copyright protection to last forever. I am informed by staff that such a change would violate the Constitution.” So Congress did the next best thing, retroactively extending copyright terms by 20 years and naming the legislation after Sonny.

      • New ‘Coalition For Responsible Sharing’ About To Send Millions Of Take-Down Notices To Stop Researchers Sharing Their Own Papers

        Those formal steps include sending “millions of takedown notices for unauthorized content on its site now and in the future.” Two Coalition publishers, ACS and Elsevier, have also filed a lawsuit in a German regional court, asking for “clarity and judgement” on the legality of ResearchGate’s activities. Justifying these actions, the Coalition’s statement says: “ResearchGate acquires volumes of articles each month in violation of agreements between journals and authors” — and that, in a nutshell, is the problem.

      • An obscure copyright law is letting the Internet Archive distribute books published 1923-1941

        Section 108h of the Copyright Act gives libraries the power to scan and serve copies of out-of-print books published between 1923 and 1941; it’s never been used before but now the mighty Internet Archive is giving it a serious workout, adding them to their brilliantly named Sonny Bono Memorial Collection (when Bono was a Congressman, he tried to pass a law that would extend copyright to “forever less a day” and was instrumental in moving millions of works from the public domain back into copyright, “orphaning” them so that no one could preserve them and no one knew who the copyrights belonged to).

      • Books from 1923 to 1941 Now Liberated!

        The Internet Archive is now leveraging a little known, and perhaps never used, provision of US copyright law, Section 108h, which allows libraries to scan and make available materials published 1923 to 1941 if they are not being actively sold.

      • Kim Dotcom Plots Hollywood Execs’ Downfall in Wake of Weinstein Scandal

        In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Kim Dotcom is offering support to victims of similar abuse. The entrepreneur says he’ll find funding for a class-action lawsuit exposing the crimes of high-ranking Hollywood executives. Five years after the Megaupload raid, it seems that having a shared enemy could bring kindred spirits together.

      • Pirate Bay is Mining Cryptocurrency Again, No Opt Out

        The Pirate Bay is mining cryptocurrency again, causing a spike in CPU usage among many visitors. For now, the notorious torrent site provides no option to disable it. The new mining expedition is not without risk. CDN provider Cloudflare previously suspended the account of a site that used a similar miner, which means that The Pirate Bay could be next.

      • EU study finds even publishers oppose the ‘link tax’ – and some journalists are afraid to speak out

        A new study conducted upon request of the European Parliament finds that the planned extra copyright for news sites is a terrible idea. But MEPs may not learn about it until after they have voted on the controversial proposal.

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  9. PTAB is Safe, the Patent Extremists Just Try to Scandalise It Out of Sheer Desperation

    The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA), which gave powers to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) through inter partes reviews (IPRs), has no imminent threats, not potent ones anyway



  10. Update on the EPO's Crackdown on the Boards of Appeal

    Demand of 35% increases from the boards serves to show that Battistelli now does to the 'independent' judges what he already did to examiners at the Office



  11. The Lobbyists Are Trying to Subvert US Law in Favour of Patent Predators

    Mingorance, Kappos, Underweiser and other lobbyists for the software patents agenda (paid by firms like Microsoft and IBM) keep trying to undo progress, notably the bans on software patents



  12. Patent Trolls Based in East Texas Are Affected Very Critically by TC Heartland

    The latest situation in Texas (United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in particular), which according to new analyses is the target of legal scrutiny for the 'loopholes' it provided to patent trolls in search of easy legal battles



  13. Alice Remains a Strong Precedential Decision and the Media Has Turned Against Software Patents

    The momentum against the scourge of software patents and the desperation among patent 'professionals' (people who don't create/develop/invent) is growing



  14. Harm Still Caused by Granted Software Patents

    A roundup of recent (past week's) announcements, including legal actions, contingent upon software patents in an age when software patents bear no real legitimacy



  15. Links 18/11/2017: Raspberry Digital Signage 10, New Nano

    Links for the day



  16. 23,000 Posts

    23,000 blog posts milestone reached in 11 years



  17. BlackBerry Cannot Sell Phones and Apple Looks Like the Next BlackBerry (a Pile of Patents)

    The lifecycle of mobile giants seems to typically end in patent shakedown, as Apple loses its business to Android just like Nokia and BlackBerry lost it to Apple



  18. EFF and CCIA Use Docket Navigator and Lex Machina to Identify 'Stupid Patents' (Usually Software Patents That Are Not Valid)

    In spite of threats and lawsuits from bogus 'inventors' whom they criticise, EFF staff continues the battle against patents that should never have been granted at all



  19. The Australian Productivity Commission Shows the Correct Approach to Setting Patent Laws and Scope

    Australia views patents on software as undesirable and acts accordingly, making nobody angry except a bunch of law firms that profited from litigation and patent maximalism



  20. EPO 'Business' From the United States Has Nosedived and UPC is on Its Death Throes

    Benoît Battistelli and Elodie Bergot further accelerate the ultimate demise of the EPO (getting rid of experienced and thus 'expensive' staff), for which there is no replacement because there is a monopoly (which means Europe will suffer severely)



  21. Links 17/11/2017: KDE Applications 17.12, Akademy 2018 Plans

    Links for the day



  22. Today's EPO and Team UPC Do Not Work for Europe But Actively Work Against Europe

    The tough reality that some Europeans actively work to undermine science and technology in Europe because they personally profit from it and how this relates to the Unitary Patent (UPC), which is still aggressively lobbied for, sometimes by bribing/manipulating the media, academia, and public servants



  23. Links 16/11/2017: WordPress 4.9 and GhostBSD 11.1 Released

    Links for the day



  24. The Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) is Rightly Upset If Not Shocked at What Battistelli and Bergot Are Doing to the Office

    The EPO's dictatorial management is destroying everything that's left (of value) at the Office while corrupting academia and censoring discussion by threatening those who publish comments (gagging its own staff even when that staff posts anonymously)



  25. EPO Continues to Disobey the Law on Software Patents in Europe

    Using the same old euphemisms, e.g. "computer-implemented inventions" (or "CII"), the EPO continues to grant patents which are clearly and strictly out of scope



  26. Links 16/11/2017: Tails 3.3, Deepin 15.5 Beta

    Links for the day



  27. Benoît Battistelli and Elodie Bergot Have Just Ensured That EPO Will Get Even More Corrupt

    Revolving door-type tactics will become more widespread at the EPO now that the management (Battistelli and his cronies) hires for low cost rather than skills/quality and minimises staff retention; this is yet another reason to dread anything like the UPC, which prioritises litigation over examination



  28. Australia is Banning Software Patents and Shelston IP is Complaining as Usual

    The Australian Productivity Commission, which defies copyright and patent bullies, is finally having policies put in place that better serve the interests of Australians, but the legal 'industry' is unhappy (as expected)



  29. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Defended by Technology Giants, by Small Companies, by US Congress and by Judges, So Why Does USPTO Make It Less Accessible?

    In spite of the popularity of PTAB and the growing need/demand for it, the US patent system is apparently determined to help it discriminate against poor petitioners (who probably need PTAB the most)



  30. Declines in Patent Quality at the EPO and 'Independent' Judges Can No Longer Say a Thing

    The EPO's troubling race to the bottom (of patent quality) concerns the staff examiners and the judges, but they cannot speak about it without facing rather severe consequences


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