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11.17.17

EPO ‘Business’ From the United States Has Nosedived and UPC is on Its Death Throes

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 7:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Issuing lots of garbage patents is not a long-term strategy but akin to organisational suicide and immesurable harm to all existing EPs

Elodie Bergot letter

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

THE EPO‘s management had bet the farm on UPC and it wasn’t just unethical and reckless; it was terrible for everyone.

We already know who UPC was for. It was for few multinational giants and their litigators — firms such as Bristows.

Bristows staff (“AmeriKat”) which was accused of "brown-nosing" Colin Birss (after he had ruled to the benefit of patent trolls) is doing it again today and quoted from within her previous post (quote from the European Judges Forum): “death is a certain change of status, a passage to a better status. I believe so, and I believe the UPC will live with Orpheus … and all the others that had lived a life of honor, and have died of an unjust sentence.”

Another quote from that speech: “Therefore, it is clear to me that we do not need the UPC, since everything is dealt with in the Court of Milan. I would suggest to pack up and go home.”

Yes, things are very grim for the UPC. Even insiders say so and Bristows staff goes through the effort of translating/publishing that.

Read the latest comment on this (about how “EPO itself considers that it is only obliged to be bound by “G” decisions”):

While reference has been made to establihshed case law of the EPO, it is clear from numerous decisions that the EPO itself considers that it is only obliged to be bound by “G” decisions. In many decisions it has been pointed out, seemingly mainly to UK authorised representatives, that the EPO relies on a legal code (the EPC) and, unlike Anglo-Saxon legal practice, is not necessarily bound by precedents because non-”G” decisions are not “case law” as per UK practice.

See for example T 0154/04: para 2.

2. …. the legal system of the European Patent Convention gives room for evolution of the jurisprudence (which is thus not “case law” in the strict Anglo-Saxon meaning of the term) and leaves it to the discretion of the boards whether to give reasons in any decision deviating from other decisions or to refer a point of law to the Enlarged Board.

G 0003/08 : reasons:

7.3.1 Development of the law is an essential aspect of its application, …. That is especially true of Anglo-Saxon law, where a decision on an individual case has far greater implications as a precedent than judgments in continental civil law.

T0910/06

2.8 To the extent that the absence in the decision under appeal of any reference to the “established case law” … is seen in itself by the appellant as a “substantial procedural violation” it must be recalled that unlike some Anglo-Saxon legal systems which are precedent driven, the instances of the European Patent Organisation work within a codified system of law, i.e. the European Patent Convention and its implementing regulations, and are constrained by case law only in the case of decisions handed down by the Enlarged Board of Appeal.

Benoît Battistelli has basically, and quite blatantly, attacked the authority of these technical boards. At what cost?

Well, we already know that (and earlier on wrote about) the EPO prioritises US corporations, not European ones. To make matters worse, the EPO is consulting the legal ‘industry’ (firms such as Bristows and their front groups) rather than scientists. Hours ago the EPO published this: (warning: epo.org link)

This year’s meeting of the US Bar-EPO Liaison Council, a forum to facilitate informal exchanges with US applicants, took place at the EPO’s Munich headquarters on 15 November. Consisting of representatives of IP special-interest groups and IP sections of State Bar associations, the Council provides the EPO and US Bar representatives with an excellent opportunity to discuss contemporary issues in the patent system and to address questions of mutual interest. For the EPO, it is also a valuable opportunity to present recent developments at the EPO and gather feedback from US users, currently the EPO’s largest origin of patent applications.

[...]

Feedback from US Bar members revealed that the meeting had helped them deepen their understanding of European patent practice and they welcomed the possibility of another such meeting in 2018.

Notice who’s in attendance. No wonder the EPO is nowadays just reduced to shameless UPC lobbying. No wonder the EPO has seen the number of patent applications declining this past year. “EPO Jobs” said a few hours ago that “The @EPOorg is reducing a number of fees. Head over to the President’s Blog to read all about it…”

Well, as we explained before, Benoît Battistelli may be trying to cook the books. Lower cost means that more applications might be filed (albeit bringing less income). Gaming the numbers? Either way, the writings are on the wall. The value of EPs has gone down considerably, patent quality is nowhere near what it used to be, and earlier today someone told us this:

I don’t see how the EPO is going to find recruits under that new contract form.

The EPO only recruits examiners fresh from the University. They don’t want anything else and the pay for people with experience is not attractive anyway, especially in Munich where the industry is also recruiting engineers and scientists. But for someone fresh from the University, the first job will determine the rest of your career. An employer will typically look at your past 5 years experience and not at your diplomas any more. So if you start your career with patents, it will be very difficult to do anything else afterwards.

But in patents, there are only two jobs: patent examiner and patent attorney. The EPO is basically the only provider of patent examiner jobs in Europe, so if they fire you after 5 years, that road is closed. Patent attorneys cannot absorb a significant number of recruits either. They never did, they are not going to change their policy when the office starts laying off people in significant numbers after 5 years. So, basically, after 5 years you are out of a job with no perspective.

Besides I don’t understand the need for the new policy. The EPO can already fire people at will, they even did so for a judge and some staff representatives.

Suffice to say, this is a recipe for disaster. There’s no substitute to the EPO in the form of UPC, there’s no imminent redemption for the appeal boards, and if things go along the same trajectory, patent backlog (queue) will have run out next year, rendering many examiners redundant. Short-term contracts serve to indicate that EPO management already has this expectation. The EPO is shrinking and growing irrelevant. Battistelli stole all the golden eggs (and many bonuses).

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

Posted in News Roundup at 5:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • 5 New & Powerful Dell Linux Machines You Can Buy Right Now

      The land of powerful PCs and workstations isn’t barren anymore when we talk about Linux-powered machines; even all of the world’s top 500 supercomputers now run Linux.

      Dell has joined hands with Canonical Inc. to give Linux-powered machines a push in the market. They have launched five new Canonical-certified workstations running Ubuntu Linux out-of-the-box as a part of the Dell Precision series. An advantage of buying these canonical-certified machines is that the users won’t have to worry about incompatibility with Linux.

    • How to set up a Pixelbook for programming

      The beauty of Chrome OS is that most of the “state” of your system is in the cloud, attached to your Google Account, but if you have any local documents those will be gone. This is because Developer Mode basically destroys the physically secure design of Chrome OS. Now you’re in Linux land, and local security is your job, not Google’s.

      Every time you boot up now, you’ll have the option to press Space bar and wipe the system again and return to the safety of vanilla Chrome OS. Press Ctrl-D to continue into the unknown.

  • Kernel Space

    • Broadcom Hurricane 2 & Allwinner R40 Supported By Linux 4.15

      More ARM platform upstreaming has taken place for the Linux 4.15 kernel development cycle among other ARM hardware improvements.

    • Intel Coffee Lake & Cannonlake Thermal Support In Linux 4.15

      While Intel Coffee Lake hardware is shipping already, a few bits of tardy kernel code for these “8th Gen Core” CPUs is only hitting the Linux 4.15 kernel. The Intel DRM driver is most notably enabling Coffee Lake graphics by default in 4.15, but there’s also some thermal code now landing among other changes now happening.

      Zhang Rui sent in the thermal updates for Linux 4.15 on Thursday and they include late additions for Coffee Lake but at the same time the relevant additions for Cannonlake that will be shipping in 2018 as the next-gen Intel CPUs.

    • AMDGPU DC Pull Request Submitted For Linux 4.15 Kernel – 132,395 Lines Of Code

      One day after submitting the main DRM feature pull request for Linux 4.15, David Airlie of Red Hat has submitted the secondary pull request that would feature the long-awaited introduction of AMDGPU DC into the mainline kernel.

    • Linux Foundation

    • Graphics Stack

      • R600 Gallium3D Shader Image Support Lands, Other R600g Patches Pending

        As a follow-up to OpenGL 4.2 Support Could Soon Land For AMD Cayman GPUs On R600g, the patches have landed in Mesa 17.4-dev Git! Plus other R600g patches are on the mailing list for review.

        These shader image support patches for R600g expose OpenGL’s ARB_shader_image_size and ARB_shader_image_load_store for Radeon HD 5000/6000 series. In the process, this ends up taking Radeon HD 6900 “Cayman” GPUs to having OpenGL 4.2 compliance from 4.1 with the shader image support having been the last blocker. Other GPUs on R600g remain at OpenGL 3.3 due to lacking FP64 support, as outlined more extensively in that previous article.

      • GeForce GTX 900 Series Re-Clocking Patches Updated By Karol Herbst

        Frequent Nouveau open-source NVIDIA driver contributor Karol Herbst has posted his latest patch series in working towards GeForce GTX 900 “Maxwell 2″ graphics processor re-clocking.

      • 25 More AMDGPU DC Patches, Mostly Focused On Raven DCN

        DCN in this context is for current the DCN 1.0 Raven Ridge family of display engines. The just-launched Vega+Zen APUs feature a new display engine and that’s what this DCN code is for, which is also under a separate Kconfig tunable from the rest of AMDGPU DC.

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux File-System Benchmarks On The Intel Optane 900P SSD

        Earlier this week I presented out initial Linux benchmarks of the Intel Optane 900P SSD with this 3D XPoint memory U.2 solid-state drive delivering incredible performance figures. Those tests were done with EXT4 while in this article are more tests with other mainline Linux file-systems and also testing some of the different mount options.

      • Some reading

        I’ve complained previously about disliking benchmarking. More generally, I’m not really a fan of performance analysis. I always feel like I get stuck at coming up with an approach to “it’s going slower, why” beyond the basics. I watched a video of Brendan Gregg’s talk from kernel recipes, and ended up going down the black hole1 of reading his well written blog. He does a fantastic job of explaining performance analysis concepts as well as the practical tools to do the analysis. He wrote a book several years ago and I happily ordered it. The book explains how to apply the USE method to performance problems across the system. This was helpful to me because it provides a way to generate a list of things to check and how to check them. It addresses the “stuck” feeling I get when dealing with performance problems. The book also provides a good high level overview of operating systems concepts. I’m always looking for references for people who are interested in kernels but don’t know where to start and I think this book could fill a certain niche. Even if this book has been out for several years now, I was very excited to discover it.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Kubuntu 17.10 review – Hello darkness my old friend

        This must be one of the worst Kubuntu releases I’ve tried in a long time. Part of the fault lies with the parent distro, and the heartless switch to Gnome, which just shows that the passion to making Ubuntu an important desktop player is gone. This is just inertia and apathy. Still, there’s so much wrong with Kubuntu on its own that I feel like a total fool for investing my time in this effort. And it also proves that there is only one good release for every three, showing that distro teams are overstretched roughly by 300%. The whole fast-release bullshit is just the modern-era agile-crap nonsense. It helps no one. Shitty products serve no purpose. Being fast for the sake of it is like running head first into an industrial blender to have your outstretched arms finely chopped by spinning blades.

        Kubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark makes me sad. Makes me angry. Zesty was one of the finest distros ever created. This is one of the worst. That makes no sense. How can it be? Where’s the modicum of care and diligence to ensure this kind of stuff does not happen? Application crashes, kernel crashes, media bugs, weird artifacts. Horrible.

        My suggestion is not to upgrade for now. And even then, the foundation of your sanity is shaken. Come the upgrade, you do not know what will happen. You’re hostage to arbitrary code decisions. There’s no peace and stability in the Linux desktop. You will always have to dread the update process, not knowing what will break next. That is the essence of amateurism. And I’m right there, advocating Plasma and Kubuntu like the biggest of fools in this universe. Anyway, for the sake of public sacrifice, I’ll also check 17.10 in-vivo upgrades on other machines, but my expectations are low. Aardvark gets 4/10. Don’t bother for now, give it six months for the bugs to be fixed before a new release erases the slate and the cycle of depression starts again.

      • KDE Applications 17.12 Sees Some New KF5 Ports, Other Apps Dropped

        The beta of KDE Applications 17.12 is now available ahead of next month’s official debut for this quarterly update to the collection of official KDE programs.

        As previously covered, 17.12 is the point where only Qt5 / KDE Frameworks 5 apps will be included and any programs depending upon the older Qt4/KDE4 components will be dropped.

      • Applications 17.12 Pre-Beta available for testing with KDE neon Developer Stable branch edition

        Please join us in testing 17.12 pre-beta of KDE applications!

      • Akademy 2018 – Vienna, Austria – 11-17 August

        Vienna Calling! This is not only a song by the famous austrian singer Falco, but could also the motto for next years Akademy.

        In 2018 Akademy will be held at the University of Technology (TU Wien) in Vienna, Austria, from Saturday 11th to Friday 17th August.

        The conference is expected to draw hundreds of attendees from the global KDE Community to discuss and plan the future of the Community and its technology. Many participants from the broad free and open source software community, local organizations and software companies will also attend.

        Akademy 2018 is being organized together with Fachschaft Informatik (FSINF). Apart from representing and counseling computer science students, they engage in diverse political topics e.g. FOSS, Privacy and social justice.

      • CI for Windows installer and macOS bundle generation: KDE Binary Factory

        For some time now the KDE community has had a separate Continuous Integration system running which repeatedly generates Windows installers and macOS app bundles (DMG) for a specific subset of KDE projects.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME’s Calendar & TODO Applications Are Looking Better For v3.28

        Adding to the growing list of changes for GNOME 3.28 are improvements to the Calendar and To Do applications by Georges Stavracas.

        Stavracas has been reworking the month view of GNOME Calendar and it’s looking much better, some applications for Calendar via libdazzle, and more.

  • Distributions

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Software taking over, but hardware still has a role: Linux expert

        Matthias Eckermann (below, right), director of product management for SUSE Linux Enterprise at the the Nuremberg-based company, said in response to queries from iTWire that software-defined infrastructure would bring about a change in existing business processes, and allow new business processes to be implemented.

        But he said this did not necessarily mean that hardware businesses were staring down the barrel at extinction.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • How to Get Started With the Ubuntu Linux Distro

            The Linux operating system has evolved from a niche audience to widespread popularity since its creation in the mid 1990s, and with good reason. Once upon a time, that installation process was a challenge, even for those who had plenty of experience with such tasks. The modern day Linux, however, has come a very long way. To that end, the installation of most Linux distributions is about as easy as installing an application. If you can install Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop, you can install Linux.

            Here, we’ll walk you through the process of installing Ubuntu Linux 17.04, which is widely considered one of the most user-friendly distributions. (A distribution is a variation of Linux, and there are hundreds and hundreds to choose from.)

          • An ‘Ubuntu Unity Remix’ Might Be on the Way…

            A new Ubuntu flavor that uses the Unity 7 desktop by default is under discussion. The plans have already won backing from a former Unity developer.

          • Ubuntu News: Get Firefox Quantum Update Now; Ubuntu 18.04 New Icon Theme Confirmed

            Earlier this week, Mozilla earned big praises in the tech world for launching its next-generation Firefox Quantum 57.0 web browser. The browser claims to be faster and better than market leader Google Chrome.

            Now, Firefox Quantum is available for all supported Ubuntu versions from the official repositories. The Firefox Quantum Update is also now available.

          • New Icon Theme Confirmed for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

            ‘Suru’ is (apparently) going to be the default icon theme in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. That’s Suru, the rebooted community icon theme and not Suru, the Canonical-created icon theme that shipped on the Ubuntu Phone (and was created by Matthieu James, who recently left Canonical).

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Networking Days: Think Globally, Collaborate Locally

    Something that we’ve learned at The Linux Foundation over the years is that there is just no substitute for periodic, in-person, face-to-face collaboration around the open source technologies that are rapidly changing our world. It’s no different for the open networking projects I work with as end users and their ecosystem partners grapple with the challenges and opportunities of unifying various open source components and finding solutions to accelerate network transformation. This fall, we decided to take The Linux Foundation networking projects (OpenDaylight, ONAP, OPNFV, and others) on the road to Europe and Japan by working with local site hosts and network operators to host Open Source Networking Days in Paris, Milan, Stockholm, London, Tel Aviv, and Yokohama.

  • The Open-Source Driving Simulator That Trains Autonomous Vehicles

    Self-driving cars are set to revolutionize transport systems the world over. If the hype is to be believed, entirely autonomous vehicles are about to hit the open road.

    The truth is more complex. The most advanced self-driving technologies work only in an extremely limited set of environments and weather conditions. And while most new cars will have some form of driver assistance in the coming years, autonomous cars that drive in all conditions without human oversight are still many years away.

    One of the main problems is that it is hard to train vehicles to cope in all situations. And the most challenging situations are often the rarest. There is a huge variety of tricky circumstances that drivers rarely come across: a child running into the road, a vehicle driving on the wrong side of the street, an accident immediately ahead, and so on.

  • Events

    • Fun with Le Potato

      At Linux Plumbers, I ended up with a Le Potato SBC. I hadn’t really had time to actually boot it up until now. They support a couple of distributions which seem to work fine if you flash them on. I mostly like SBCs for having actual hardware to test on so my interest tends to be how easily can I get my own kernel running.

      Most of the support is not upstream right now but it’s headed there. The good folks at BayLibre have been working on getting the kernel support upstream and have a tree available for use until then.

    • PyConf Hyderabad 2017

      In the beginning of October, I attended a new PyCon in India, PyConf Hyderabad (no worries, they are working on the name for the next year). I was super excited about this conference, the main reason is being able to meet more Python developers from India. We are a large country, and we certainly need more local conferences :)

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Quantum Now Rolling Out to All Ubuntu Linux Users, Update Now

        It didn’t take long, and just two days after its official launch, the Mozilla Firefox Quantum web browser (version 57.0) landed today in the stable software repositories of Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark), Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr).

        Firefox 57.0 a.k.a. Firefox Quantum is Mozilla’s latest and greatest web browser, offering speeds twice as fast as of previous releases, thanks to the implementation of an all-new Photon browsing engine that’s capable of leveraging the full potential of your personal computer, as well as a brand-new interface.

      • First Basilisk version released!

        This is the first public version of the Basilisk web browser, building on the new platform in development: UXP (code-named Möbius).

      • Pale Moon Project Rolls Out The Basilisk Browser Project

        The developers behind the Pale Moon web-browser that’s been a long standing fork of Firefox have rolled out their first public beta release of their new “Basilisk” browser technology.

        Basilisk is their new development platform based on their (Gecko-forked) Goanna layout engine and the Unified UXL Platform (UXP) that is a fork of the Mozilla code-base pre-Servo/Rust… Basically for those not liking the direction of Firefox with v57 rolling out the Quantum changes, etc.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • WordPress 4.9: This one’s for you, developers!

      WordPress 4.9 has debuted, and this time the world’s most popular content management system has given developers plenty to like.

      Some of the changes are arguably overdue: syntax highlighting and error checking for CSS editing and cutting custom HTML are neither scarce nor innovative. They’ll be welcomed arrival will likely be welcomed anyway, as will newly-granular roles and permissions for developers. The new release has also added version 4.2.6 of MediaElement.js, an upgrade that WordPress.org’s release notes stated has removed dependency on jQuery, improves accessibility, modernizes the UI, and fixes many bugs.”

    • New projects on Hosted Weblate
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Cilk Plus Is Being Dropped From GCC

      Intel deprecated Cilk Plus multi-threading support with GCC 7 and now for GCC 8 they are looking to abandon this support entirely.

      Cilk Plus only had full support introduced in GCC 5 while now for the GCC 8 release early next year it’s looking like it will be dropped entirely.

  • Licensing/Legal

  • Programming/Development

    • 5 open source fonts ideal for programming

      What is the best programming font? First, you need to consider that not all fonts are created equally. When choosing a font for casual reading, the reader expects the letters to smoothly flow into one another, giving an easy and enjoyable experience. A single character for a standard font is akin to puzzle piece designed to carefully mesh with every other part of the overall typeface.

      When writing code, however, your font requirements are typically more functional in nature. This is why most programmers prefer to use monospaced fonts with fixed-width letters, when given the option. Selecting a font that has distinguishable numbers and punctuation, is aesthetically pleasing, and has a copyright license that meets your needs is also important.

    • The power of open source: Why GitLab’s move to a Developer Certificate of Origin benefits the developer community

      Over the past few years, open source software has transformed the way enterprises operate and ship code. In an era where companies are striving to deliver the next best application, enterprises are turning to the sea of open source contributors to create projects faster and more effectively than ever before. For instance, 65 percent of companies surveyed in The Black Duck Future of Open Source Survey reveal they are contributing to open source projects – with 59 percent doing so to gain a competitive edge. As open source continues to have a positive influence on software development, it’s important for developers to continue to participate in and contribute to open source projects.

    • What Is Teletype For Atom? How To Code With Fellow Developers In Real Time?

      In a short period of three years, GitHub’s open source code editor has become one of the most popular options around. In our list of top text editors for Linux, Atom was featured at #2. From time to time, GitHub keeps adding new features to this tool to make it even better. Just recently, with the help of Facebook, GitHub turned Atom into a full-fledged IDE.

      As GitHub is known to host some of the world’s biggest open source collaborative projects, it makes perfect sense to add the collaborative coding ability to Atom. To make this possible, “Teletype for Atom” has just been announced.

Leftovers

  • Twitter: Our blue check marks aren’t just about “verification”

    A Twitter rules update rolled out on Wednesday to address the site’s “verification” system, and it attached a new set of standards to any user whose account receives a “blue check mark.”

    Twitter’s “verification” system is used to confirm accounts of celebrities and other accounts of “public interest.” However, the feature has long straddled a blurry line between identity confirmation and “elite” user status, especially since verified accounts receive heightened visibility and perks such as content filters. That issue returned to the headlines last week when Twitter gave a blue check mark to white nationalist Jason Kessler. Kessler is best known as an organizer of the Unite The Right white-supremacist rally, but before then, he had racked up a significant record of online hate propagation, particularly with anti-Semitic rhetoric about “cultural Marxism.”

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Google investigators find hackers swipe nearly 250,000 passwords a week

      Hackers are constantly trying to break into Google accounts, so Google researchers spent a year tracing how hackers steal passwords and expose them on the internet’s black market.

      To gather hard evidence about the tools hackers use to swipe passwords, Google collaborated with University of California Berkeley cybersecurity experts to track activity on some of these markets. On Thursday, they published their results.

    • Time Will Tell if the New Vulnerabilities Equities Process Is a Step Forward for Transparency

      The White House has released a new and apparently improved Vulnerabilities Equities Process (VEP), showing signs that there will be more transparency into the government’s knowledge and use of zero day vulnerabilities. In recent years, the U.S. intelligence community has faced questions about whether it “stockpiles” vulnerabilities rather than disclosing them to affected companies or organizations, and this scrutiny has only ramped up after groups like the Shadow Brokers have leaked powerful government exploits. According to White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Rob Joyce, the form of yesterday’s release and the revised policy itself are intended to highlight the government’s commitment to transparency because it’s “the right thing to do.”

    • Security updates for Friday
    • Quad9 Secure DNS Service Embeds IBM Security Intelligence
    • New “Quad9” DNS service blocks malicious domains for everyone

      The Global Cyber Alliance (GCA)—an organization founded by law enforcement and research organizations to help reduce cyber-crime—has partnered with IBM and Packet Clearing House to launch a free public Domain Name Service system. That system is intended to block domains associated with botnets, phishing attacks, and other malicious Internet hosts—primarily targeted at organizations that don’t run their own DNS blacklisting and whitelisting services. Called Quad9 (after the 9.9.9.9 Internet Protocol address the service has obtained), the service works like any other public DNS server (such as Google’s), except that it won’t return name resolutions for sites that are identified via threat feeds the service aggregates daily.

    • The Internet of Shit is so manifestly insecure that people are staying away from it in droves
    • Security updates for Thursday
    • [Ubuntu] Security Team Weekly Summary: November 16, 2017
    • Hacking Blockchain with Smart Contracts to Control a Botnet

      Blockchain has been hailed by some in the technology industry as a potential method to help improve cyber security. However, security researcher Majid Malaika warns that Blockchain can potentially be abused to enable a new form of botnet that would be very difficult to take down.

      Malaika detailed his Blockchain-powered botnet in a session at the SecTor security conference on Nov. 15. The overall attack method has been dubbed “Botract” by Malaika, as it abuses inherent functionality in the smart contracts that help to enable Blockchain.

    • What Can The Philosophy of Unix Teach Us About Security?
    • Kaspersky blames NSA hack on infected Microsoft software

      Embattled computer security firm Kaspersky Lab said Thursday that malware-infected Microsoft Office software and not its own was to blame for the hacking theft of top-secret US intelligence materials.

      Adding tantalizing new details to the cyber-espionage mystery that has rocked the US intelligence community, Kaspersky also said there was a China link to the hack.

    • Investigation Report for the September 2014 Equation malware detection incident in the US

      In early October, a story was published by the Wall Street Journal alleging Kaspersky Lab software was used to siphon classified data from an NSA employee’s home computer system. Given that Kaspersky Lab has been at the forefront of fighting cyberespionage and cybercriminal activities on the Internet for over 20 years now, these allegations were treated very seriously. To assist any independent investigators and all the people who have been asking us questions whether those allegations were true, we decided to conduct an internal investigation to attempt to answer a few questions we had related to the article and some others that followed it:

    • Kaspersky: Clumsy NSA leak snoop’s PC was packed with malware

      Kaspersky Lab, the US government’s least favorite computer security outfit, has published its full technical report into claims Russian intelligence used its antivirus tools to steal NSA secrets.

      Last month, anonymous sources alleged that in 2015, an NSA engineer took home a big bunch of the agency’s cyber-weapons to work on them on his home Windows PC, which was running the Russian biz’s antimalware software – kind of a compliment when you think about it. The classified exploit code and associated documents on the personal system were then slurped by Kremlin spies via his copy of Kaspersky antivirus, it was claimed.

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Why Everyone Should Do What WikiLeaks Did

      By far the best thing about the WikiLeaks-Don Jr. controversy has been watching the talking heads on CNN and MSNBC who spent a year and a half priming everyone for President Hillary now saying, “Ha! WikiLeaks claims they’re a legitimate news organization, and yet here they are, advancing an agenda!”
      WikiLeaks has an agenda. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t exist. I have an agenda, too. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t write. And I’ll tell you right now that if I had the ear of the US president’s son, I would most certainly use it to advance my agenda.

    • Free Press Group Ready to Cut Off WikiLeaks

      In the heat of the presidential election campaign last year, Xeni Jardin, a journalist and free speech advocate, developed a sickening feeling about WikiLeaks.

      Jardin had been a supporter of the radical transparency group since at least 2010, when it published hundreds of thousands of U.S. military and State Department documents leaked by Chelsea Manning. In 2012, Jardin was a founding member of the board of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a nonprofit established as a censorship-proof conduit for donations to WikiLeaks after PayPal and U.S. credit card companies imposed a financial blockade on the site.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Ageing Satellites Put Crucial Sea Ice Climate Record at Risk

      The final probe in the series, the unlaunched F-20, was dismantled last year after Congress stopped funding the programme.

    • The U.S. is now the only country not part of Paris climate agreement after Syria signs on

      “As if it wasn’t already crystal clear, every single other country in the world is moving forward together to tackle the climate crisis, while Donald Trump has isolated the United States on the world stage in an embarrassing and dangerous position,” Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune told EcoWatch, in response to Syria’s move.

    • New Zealand’s new leader: We must be ready for ‘climate refugees’

      “We need to acknowledge that we are, unless we make dramatic changes, at the front of seeing refugees as a result of climate change,” Arden told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview, her first since taking office last Thursday.

    • Keystone pipeline shut down after spilling 5,000 barrels of oil in South Dakota

      The Keystone oil pipeline spilled more than 5,000 barrels of oil on Thursday before workers took it offline, a large spill that comes days before operators hope to secure a key permit for a sister project.

      A TransCanada crew shut down the Keystone pipeline at 6 a.m. Thursday morning after detecting an oil leak along the line, the company said in a statement. The leak was detected along a stretch of pipeline about 35 miles south of a pumping station in Marshall County, South Dakota.

      TransCanada estimates the pipeline leaked 5,000 barrels of oil, or about 210,000 gallons, before going offline. The company said it shut off the pipeline within 15 minutes of discovering the leak, and it’s working with state regulators and the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to assess the situation.

    • We Are Still In: Local US Reps Stand for Climate Action in Bonn

      A US Climate Action Center has been set up for delegates in Bonn, representing the climate change priorities of several thousand US cities, states, tribes and businesses. Corporate giants Mars, Walmart and Citi are expected to push for action on climate change. The center is in lieu of an official US presence—for the first time, the US government won’t have a pavilion at the annual UN climate summit.

    • STUDY: 95% of plastic in the sea comes from 10 rivers

      Top ten most polluted lakes

      Yangtze River, Yellow Sea, Asia
      Indus River, Arabian Sea, Asia
      Yellow River (Huang He), Yellow Sea, Asia
      Hai River, Yellow Sea, Asia
      Nile, Mediterranean Sea, Africa
      Meghna/Bramaputra/Ganges, Bay of Bengal, Asia
      Pearl River (Zhujiang), South China Sea, Asia
      Amur River (Heilong Jiang), Sea of Okhotsk, Asia
      Niger River, Gulf of Guinea, Africa
      Mekong River, South China Sea, Asia
      Plastic is an integral component of modern society, but this “miracle material” has a downside.

    • The Big Game killing field: Sickening bloodlust of trophy hunters who kill endangered animals for sport exposed

      A trophy hunter poses with pride beside the young elephant he has just killed. Philip Glass shows no remorse and even boasts: “God says we have dominion over the animals . That means we can do what we choose with them.”

      He is so convinced of his divine right to shoot big game, he also agreed to be filmed hunting a lion and hippo in South Africa for shocking new film Trophy.

    • UK and Canada lead global alliance against coal

      The UK and Canada have launched a global alliance of 20 countries committed to phasing out coal for energy production.

      Members including France, Finland and Mexico, say they will end the use of coal before 2030.

      Ministers hope to have 50 countries signed up by the time of the next major UN conference in Poland next year.

      However some important coal consuming nations, including China, the US and Germany have not joined the group.

      Reducing global coal use is a formidable challenge, as the fuel produces around 40% of the world’s electricity at present.

  • Finance

    • Spinning E-Commerce as Rust Belt’s Salvation

      Times are tough in Middle America, but the New York Times (10/22/17) says there’s hope on the horizon—conveniently packaged in the economic boom of e-commerce. The paper’s reporting, unfortunately, avoids confronting the insecurity inherent in relying on retail conglomerates for long-term work.

    • ‘There’s All Kinds of People Who Have Their Snouts in the Trough Here’

      Establishment media cover poverty sometimes, sometimes in a compassionate and compelling way. And they cover wealth and the rich, sometimes, sometimes in a thoughtful and critical way. When the discussion called for is about the relationship between the two, the limits of media’s spotlight approach are salient. Such a case may be presented by the Paradise Papers, a trove of some 13 million documents leaked to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and then shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, that describes various tax-hiding and avoidance schemes used by politicians and celebrities, along with corporations.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Experts Question Role of Data Mining Firms in Kenya’s Annulled Election

      Owned in part by the influential Mercer family, U.S.-based billionaires and political donors, Cambridge Analytica compiles demographic information to build vast databases of voter profiles. It then delivers personalized advertisements to key voters in an attempt to sway them.

    • Worker describes experience in Russian troll [sic] factory

      Vitaly Bespalov, 26, told NBC News that the Internet Research Agency (IRA) in St. Petersburg, Russia, employed hundreds of workers around the clock to produce inflammatory political propaganda during the time of the election.

    • As the Russiagate Investigation Builds Momentum, Trump’s Allies Attack the CIA

      Page’s testimony, all 200-plus pages of it, is popcorn-worthy entertainment, with him denying, obfuscating, and prevaricating under intense questioning from both Republicans and Democrats on the HPSCI.

    • It looks like Jeff Sessions committed perjury
    • Minutes

      But George Papadopoulos’s guilty plea indicates that there were attempts in the Trump campaign to arrange a meeting with Putin, and that Sessions was aware of them. As CNN reports this morning, “The chairman of Trump’s national security team, then Alabama Senator and now Attorney General Jeff Sessions, shut down the idea of a Putin meeting at the March 31, 2016, gathering, according to the source. His reaction was confirmed with another source who had discussed Sessions’s role.”

    • A Minneapolis Socialist Thanks the Local Paper for Not Endorsing Her

      Ginger Jentzen, an anti-establishment candidate for City Council, makes a critique of local media part of her campaign.

    • Donna Brazile wanted to replace Clinton with Joe Biden as Democratic nominee: Report

      Brazile first made headlines on Thursday after she published an op-ed in which she said Clinton’s campaign had exerted total control over the DNC since as early as August 2015, and that Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., was hardly treated fairly.

    • Elizabeth Warren: “Yes” The Democratic Primary Was Rigged For Clinton
    • Inside Hillary Clinton’s Secret Takeover of the DNC
    • Revealed: Ukip whistleblowers raised fears about Breitbart influence on Brexit
    • The Trump Administration Wants to Sell a Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to Big Oil
    • Why Trump’s Executive Order Is Targeting the Environment
    • Trump move stirs debate over Utah monuments

      On one side, Native American groups and environmentalists expressed anger and are ready to sue the U.S. government. On the other, conservative-leaning residents welcomed the decision, seeing it as a reversal of government overreach and a boost for traditional [sic] industries like drilling, mining and grazing.

    • Trump judge nominee, 36, who has never tried a case, wins approval of Senate panel

      Brett J. Talley, President Trump’s nominee to be a federal judge in Alabama, has never tried a case, was unanimously rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Assn.’s judicial rating committee, has practiced law for only three years and, as a blogger last year, displayed a degree of partisanship unusual for a judicial nominee, denouncing “Hillary Rotten Clinton” and pledging support for the National Rifle Assn.

      On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee, on a party-line vote, approved him for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench.

    • Another Special Counsel? The right way forward to investigate the real scandal of the US Presidential election

      To understand their importance it is necessary to go the recent article by Joe Lauria – in my opinion the single most important article anyone has written about Russiagate, and one which the Huffington Post disgracefully has sought to suppress – and a further article by Mike Whitney, which goes over the same ground though in rather more detail, and which is based on (as it admits) on Joe Lauria’s article.

      Many things that are actually said about investigations are simply not true. By way of example, it is very rare for motive to be a good or reliable guide to establishing the perpetrator of a crime.

      However “follow the money” is one of those things which is commonly said about investigations which in the great majority of cases is actually true. In this case the money does not point either to Moscow or to Donald Trump; it points to Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.

    • Kushner working with temporary security clearance in the White House
    • It Is Time to Impeach the President

      “Given the magnitude of this constitutional crisis, there’s no reason to delay,” Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen said this week, as he and a group of colleagues announced five articles of impeachment against Donald Trump.

      The Tennessee Democrat, who serves on the House Judiciary Committee as the ranking member of the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, explained: “There are already sufficient facts in the public record that warrant the start of impeachment proceedings in Congress.”

      Cohen is correct in this assessment. And he is correct when he says, “The train of injuries to our Constitution must be brought to an end.”

    • Alabama Senate poll: Jones opens up lead over Moore

      Democrat Doug Jones has opened up an eight-point lead in the US Senate race in Alabama amid multiple sexual abuse allegations against Republican Roy Moore, according to a new Fox News poll released Thursday.
      Jones leads Moore by 50 to 42% among likely voters in the special election to fill the seat left vacant by Jeff Sessions when he became US attorney general, now less than a month away.

    • The Pathological Refusal to Report the Simple Truth About Presidential Lying

      It is a truism to say that everyone lies to someone. Since public officials entrusted with power in our democracy are no exception to this human trait—as historical research documents—it should be exceedingly acceptable to point out that all politicians, from your local city council right up to the White House, lie as well. The Framers afforded the press special constitutional protection in large part to ensure that such lies would not reach the public unchallenged.

      Tragically, one of the most honest rhetorical tools that journalists have in the fight for truth has been struck from the lingua franca of US journalists. Within the stilted framework of mainstream news “objectivity,” the simple act of calling out “lies” or “lying” by a politician—especially a president—is now taboo. It imputes impossible-to-determine motives to those accused, the thinking goes, so the use of these words to identify a documented falsehood is now considered controversial, partisan, inflammatory, unfair.

      Last fall, NPR editorial director Michael Oreskes constructed his own Orwellian logic to defend his news organization’s refusal to use “liar,” asserting that the word constitutes “an angry tone” of “editorializing” that “confirms opinions” (FAIR.org, 3/1/17). In January, Maggie Haberman, one of the New York Times’ preeminent political reporters, said much the same, claiming that her job was “showing when something untrue is said. Our job is not to say ‘lied.’”

    • Cards Against Humanity’s Trolling Of Trump’s Border Wall Shows How The Internet Has Removed Gatekeepers

      I suppose because too many of my fellow citizens in America have devolved into hyper-partisan rage-beacons, I have to issue the following stupid caveat that I shouldn’t have to issue at all: this post is not a commentary on Trump’s border wall policy. Great. I’m sure that will keep our comments free and clear of anyone insisting otherwise. With that being said, a common topic we discuss here is how one of the chief benefits of the internet is how it has removed gatekeepers that have long stood in the way of new businesses, or have governed how established businesses do their business. Typically, we have focused on the former, detailing how the internet has allowed for new players in everything from the entertainment industry to products that would have previously existed solely at the pleasure of brick and mortar retail stores.

    • Trump’s Saudi Scheme Unravels

      President Trump and his son-in-law bet that the young Saudi crown prince could execute a plan to reshape the Mideast, but the scheme quickly unraveled revealing a dangerous amateur hour, writes ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke.

    • William Hartung on Nuclear Overkill, Karen Orenstein on Climate Disconnect

      The opinion column in Scientific American headlined “The Caveman and the Bomb” conveys, just a little more colorfully, the sense one got from the Senate hearing on the process involved in the use of a nuclear weapon. Put simply, folks are scared that Donald Trump may not understand the difference between threats to “rain fire and fury” on the people of North Korea and the devastating reality of nuclear war. But while we’re talking about the dangers of Trump having his hand on the figurative button, we should also be asking why we maintain a world-ending arsenal at all. We’ll hear from William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, about what drives nuclear-weapons production.

    • Guardian, NYT Paint Power-Grabbing Saudi Dictator as Roguish, Visionary ‘Reformer’

      Two weeks ago, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman carried out a brutal crackdown on his political opponents, arresting dozens of high-ranking relatives, kidnapping the prime minister of Lebanon, and seeing eight of his political rivals die in a convenient helicopter crash. The “consolidation of power” by the de facto Saudi ruler comes as his government ramps up its siege of Yemen and gets even closer to its US sponsor, thanks to a Trump’s dopey love affair with—and direct assistance of—the regime.

      The cynical plan has been met, in some media quarters, with condemnation, but for many in the Western press, Mohammed’s self-serving power grab is the action of a bold “reformer,” a roguish bad boy doing the messy but essential work of “reforming” the kingdom—the “anti-corruption” pretext of the purge largely repeated without qualification.

      [...]

      The article painted the “consolidation of power” by Mohammed as an inevitability with broad support—using the dubious “reform” narrative without irony. With Guardian editors again painting Mohammed as a populist hero by insisting he “upended” “previously untouchable ultra-elite,” one is left to wonder why they don’t consider the absolute-monarch-in-waiting—who just bought a $590 million yacht—part of the “ultra elite.” It’s a curious framing that reeks more of PR than journalism.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Block Porn or Be Blocked, Indonesia Warns Google, Twitter

      Twitter Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and a host of companies have been put on notice by Indonesian Communications Minister Rudiantara, who warned that “all platforms” now face serious consequences if they don’t adhere to government requests to block content.

    • Roy Moore’s Threat Letter To Sue The Press Is An Artform In Bad Lawyering

      By now it’s become something of a pattern over the past few months, after many of the recent accusations come out about sexual harassment, abuse (or worse), lawyers representing the powerful men accused of such horrible acts threaten or promise to sue, often on incredibly flimsy reasons. In most cases, no such lawsuits will ever be filed. This is, in part, because the accusers know they have no case and in part because they know that if the case gets that far, going through discovery is likely to backfire big time. But, of course, for decades people have (often falsely) believed that in place of a real basis for making a legal threat, pure bluster will suffice.

      The bluster in these letters is often impressive, but we have a new entrant that I think may quickly shoot to the top of the list. Roy Moore, of course, was the former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, which would lead you to believe he knows a lot of good lawyers. And, yet, somehow, he ended up with Trenton Garmon. Garmon made some news earlier this week when he went on CNN with Don Lemon and called him “Don Lemon Squeezy Keep It Easy” But then he followed it up by sending one of the most profoundly ridiculous threat letters we’ve ever seen to the Alabama Media Group, the publisher of al.com, which has been reporting on Moore. You can click the link, or see it embedded below. It’s fairly astounding. Beyond the poor grammar and the typos, it makes no sense.

    • Censorship of music: who gets to sing in Belarus?

      While the particular reasons for banning a musical show in Belarus change from event to event, the possibility of concerts taking place unchangeably depends on the authorities.

      The official motivation of concerts’ cancellation often refers to extremism, the “low quality of lyrics,” or logistical obstacles such as overlaps with other events. Although excuses vary, there exists a clear pattern: Belarusian authorities attempt to restrain musicians for social and political reasons.

    • Russian Duma Approves Bill Restricting Foreign Journalists

      In other media news, the lower chamber of Russia’s parliament has approved legislation to require foreign journalists to register as foreign agents and declare details about their funding and finances. Amnesty International described the vote as a serious blow to press freedom in Russia. The vote comes shortly after the United States forced the international Russian broadcaster RT to register as foreign agents.

    • Bisexual student criticized radical Islam. Guess what happened next …

      MacDonald, who has since transferred out of UT San Antonio to study at another college, said the affair is indicative of a larger problem.

    • Meet the sheriff who threatened to arrest someone for anti-Trump sticker on their car

      “I have received numerous calls regarding the offensive display on this truck as it is often seen along FM 359,” he wrote on Facebook. “If you know who owns this truck or it is yours, I would like to discuss it with you. Our Prosecutor has informed us she would accept Disorderly Conduct charges regarding it, but I feel we could come to an agreement regarding a modification to it.”

      The easily-offended Nehls, himself reportedly considering a run for political office, has a problem: the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees the right to upset the delicate feelings of public officials like him and president Trump — even if the words are naughty.

    • China Denies Claims Of Online Information Censorship
    • China calls for ‘orderly’ internet in half-baked effort to defend online censorship
    • China named world’s worst abuser of internet freedom again

      The key point: Chinese officials, some of who have warned for years of “hostile foreign forces” using the internet to subvert China, believe they have found the solution to managing the political risks from the internet while harnessing its economic and technological power. The interference in the U.S. presidential election process by Russia, a “hostile foreign force” to America, only strengthens their resolve.

    • Court Rules Platforms Can Defend Users’ Free Speech Rights, But Fails to Follow Through on Protections for Anonymous Speech

      A decision by a California appeals court on Monday recognized that online platforms can fight for their users’ First Amendment rights, though the decision also potentially makes it easier to unmask anonymous online speakers.

      Yelp v. Superior Court grew out of a defamation case brought in 2016 by an accountant who claims that an anonymous Yelp reviewer defamed him and his business. When the accountant subpoenaed Yelp for the identity of the reviewer, Yelp refused and asked the trial court to toss the subpoena on grounds that the First Amendment protected the reviewer’s anonymity.

    • How North Koreans bypass media censorship

      Kim recently told delegates in Germany about his work, speaking at a site intricately linked with the history of political persecution: Berlin’s Hohenschönhausen Memorial, a former Soviet secret police prison and later remand center for the East German secret police, the Stasi.

      A site “with walls and fences,” just like his native North Korea, 56-year-old Kim told the audience.

    • Censorship blues

      Two reports unhappily complement each other. In “Anti-coup elements in the crosshairs”, Thai authorities boast “that many [with dissenting opinions] have already been detained”, solidly confirming the Freedom House report that Thailand’s internet freedom of speech has been downgraded to “not free”.

      The ruling politicians making up a rule of law to force their agenda on the nation plainly do not want and are not willing to allow Thai citizens to understand or even be aware of matters of great importance to the Thai nation, the sole reason for such censorship against free speech being to enforce ignorance on the censored topics so that lawful opinion is untested, unchecked, unsubstantiated, and hence worthless.

    • EU anti-fake news authority prepares mass censorship

      The European Union (EU) is launching the construction of an authority to monitor and censor so-called fake news. It is setting up a High-Level Expert Group on the issue and soliciting criticisms of fake news by media professionals and the public to decide what powers to give to this EU body, which is to begin operation next spring. An examination of the EU’s announcement shows that it is preparing mass state censorship aimed not at false information, but at news reports or political views that encourage popular opposition to the European ruling class.

    • Professor Says Threats Of Retaliation By China Stopped Publication Of His Book Revealing Chinese Influence In Australia

      It’s a little hard to see how an entire nation might sue successfully for defamation, but that’s not the point. Once again, the mere threat of litigation was enough to cause someone — in this case a publisher — to self-censor. Interestingly, the ABC News article notes that the Australian government is expected to unveil soon new legislation to counter foreign interference in the country, which suggests that it is becoming a serious problem. We can expect more such attempts to censor overseas sources of information it doesn’t like from the increasingly self-confident and intransigent China.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • What the Founders Would Say About Cellphone Surveillance

      On Nov. 29, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in an important case called Carpenter v. United States. Although the question in the case may feel very modern — whether government agents can obtain the location data generated by cellphones without a warrant — history can tell us a lot about how the court should answer that question.

      The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.” The amendment arose from the Founders’ concern that the newly constituted federal government would try to expand its powers and undermine rights that were guaranteed to Americans by the common law and their state constitutions. Based on experience, they knew that equipping government officers with unfettered discretion to search and seize would be a formidable means of oppressing “the people.”

      Prior to the American Revolution, British subjects in the colonies and in England had lived with threats posed by “general warrants.” Unlike contemporary search warrants — which require probable cause, judicial approval, and limits on the place to be searched and the things to be seized — general warrants gave government agents license to search wherever they pleased, no matter their reasons, with impunity. And because the king’s ministers could issue general warrants on their own authority, these devices also opened the door to unchecked executive power.

      This, of course, was a recipe for abuse.

    • FBI Acts Like It’s Still 1960 With Its Report On ‘Black Identity Extremists’

      We already knew Jeff Sessions was a throwback. The new head of the DOJ rolled back civil rights investigations by the agency while calling for harsher penalties and longer jail terms for drug-related crimes, while re-opening the door for asset forfeiture abuse with his rollback of Obama-era policy changes.

      But it’s more than just the new old-school DOJ. The FBI is just as regressive. Under its new DOJ leadership, the FBI (inadvertently) published some speculative Blue Lives Matter fanfic [PDF] — an “Intelligence Assessment” entitled “Black Identity Extremists Likely Motivated to Target Police Officers.”

      There’s no hedging in the title, despite what the word “likely” usually insinuates. According to the FBI, this means there’s an 80-95% chance it believes its own spin.

    • European Court Ruling Could Recognize Mass Surveillance Violates Human Rights

      The European Court of Human Rights last week held a hearing in a challenge to the United Kingdom’s mass surveillance practices, brought by the ACLU, Privacy International, Liberty, and seven other human rights organizations from around the world.

      The case challenges practices, revealed by Edward Snowden, that breach the rights to privacy and freedom of expression, which are guaranteed not only under U.S. domestic law, but also under international human rights law.

    • EFF Urges DHS to Abandon Social Media Surveillance and Automated “Extreme Vetting” of Immigrants

      EFF is urging the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to end its programs of social media surveillance and automated “extreme vetting” of immigrants. Together, these programs have created a privacy-invading integrated system to harvest, preserve, and data-mine immigrants’ social media information, including use of algorithms that sift through posts using vague criteria to help determine who to admit or deport.

      EFF today joined a letter from the Brennan Center for Justice, Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology, and more than 50 other groups urging DHS to immediately abandon its self-described “Extreme Vetting Initiative.”Also, EFF’s Peter Eckersley joined a letter from more than 50 technology experts opposing this program. This follows EFF’s participation last month in comments from the Center for Democracy & Technology and dozens of other advocacy groups urging DHS to stop retaining immigrants’ social media information in a government record-keeping system called “Alien Files” (A-files).

    • Here’s How People Can Read Your Deleted WhatsApp Messages — Curse This Flaw
    • No boundaries: Exfiltration of personal data by session-replay scripts

      You may know that most websites have third-party analytics scripts that record which pages you visit and the searches you make. But lately, more and more sites use “session replay” scripts. These scripts record your keystrokes, mouse movements, and scrolling behavior, along with the entire contents of the pages you visit, and send them to third-party servers. Unlike typical analytics services that provide aggregate statistics, these scripts are intended for the recording and playback of individual browsing sessions, as if someone is looking over your shoulder.

    • The Brutal Fight to Mine Your Data and Sell It to Your Boss
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Young people are confusing flirting with abuse
    • Feminist Denial Of Biological Sex Difs: A Big Scoop Of Govt.-Funded Fairy Tale On “Mean Girls”
    • Alabama task force performs drug raid, man dies. Officials take his home, split the proceeds.

      Yes, they took the family home. The police did apparently fine some cocaine and about $18,000 in cash in the house. But they never proved the family had anything to do with the drugs, or that the home was bought with drugs. They didn’t need to. They needed only to allege the most spurious of connections, and finding the drugs and the house was more than enough. The family hired an attorney with their life insurance money to try to keep the house. They lost. Then this happened:

    • Those Mangled Bikes

      However, until we are honest about Islam — until we stop pretending it is “a religion of peace,” which is it the antithesis of — we will not be able to do anything about it.

    • Britain blasted for ‘discriminating AGAINST Christians fleeing Islamic State’ in Syria [Ed: Hate-spewing media pretends that only people whose religion is Christianity can be trusted]

      Of 8,136 given shelter in the UK in 2015 and 2016, only 70 were Christians. A mere 22 were Yazadis, a religious group that combines Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

    • Online protests as Iranian Zoroastrian councillor suspended
    • Uber, Lyft ban right-wing activist after anti-Islamic tweets
    • Uber, Lyft ban far-right commentator after anti-Muslim tweets

      She also wrote she was taking legal action against Uber after a driver reportedly named Mohammed allegedly wouldn’t take her to her hotel after he overheard her talking about the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah.

    • Bangladeshi Man Convicted Of Raping Elderly Nun In Bengal
    • Muslims decry ‘double standard’ after attacks

      Having to denounce an act committed in the name of their faith is a double standard, say Muslim leaders, who reluctantly step into that role even as other groups aren’t asked to do the same.

    • Philippines’ Duterte to Trump: ‘Lay off’ human rights when we meet
    • Men: The Imprisoned Rape Victims Who Don’t Matter

      Simply put: I am for defending the rights of all people who have them violated. Whether they are male or female is immaterial. If you’re human and your rights are violated, you’re of concern to me.

    • Indonesia delivers supplies to villages after Papua rebels’ threat to Freeport

      More recently, Freeport, the world’s largest publicly listed copper producer, has been grappling with labour problems at Grasberg and a mine rights dispute with Indonesia.

    • Indonesia Ruling Lifts Blasphemy Prosecution Threat to Religious Minorities

      All Indonesians must obtain a national ID card at age 17 and are required to apply for official documents including birth, marriage, and death certificates. For decades, the religious identity category of national ID cards and their implicit blasphemy prosecution threat for officially unrecognized religions have led some members of those communities to avoid applying for ID cards, depriving themselves of essential state services. Some local governments have imposed even more onerous discriminatory rules restricting religious minorities’ access to ID cards. In June, representatives of the Ahmadiyah community in Manislor district in West Java’s Kuningan regency filed a formal complaint against a local government requirement that they renounce their faith to obtain a national ID card.

    • Some Indonesians Fear Country’s Religious Intolerance Is Growing

      He said, people should not be fooled by politicians who say Muslims can only vote for Muslim candidates. Hard-line Muslim groups accused Ahok of blasphemy, of insulting Islam. And he was put on trial during the campaign.

    • One in five Indonesian students support Islamic caliphate: survey

      Nearly 20 percent of high school and university students in Indonesia support the establishment of a caliphate in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country over the current secular government, a new survey showed this week.

    • British woman arrested for drug trafficking in Egypt

      Family members told the Sun that Miss Plummer, 33, signed a 38-page statement in Arabic thinking it would lead to her release, but instead she has been kept in a cell with 25 other women for nearly a month.

      They also say they have been told she could face up to 25 years in prison, or even the death penalty.

    • Egyptian lawyer says it’s a national duty to rape girls who wear revealing clothing like ripped jeans

      The comments come after the Egyptian capital of Cairo was last month branded the “most dangerous” megacity for women in the first international poll which looked at how women fare in cities with over ten million people. Women’s rights campaigners in the city say this stems from deeply entrenched centuries-old traditions of discrimination there and women having limited access to good healthcare, education, and finance.

    • DNAinfo and Gothamist Are Shut Down After Vote to Unionize

      A week ago, reporters and editors in the combined newsroom of DNAinfo and Gothamist, two of New York City’s leading digital purveyors of local news, celebrated victory in their vote to join a union.

      On Thursday, they lost their jobs, as Joe Ricketts, the billionaire founder of TD Ameritrade who owned the sites, shut them down

    • Locals claim six youths and a cleric were instigators

      Alamgir and Julfikar also reportedly used the loudspeakers of the mosques to spread hateful messages.

    • Arabian nightmares: How women from Punjab end up in ‘Gulf of slavery’

      It’s like someone died. But Gurbaksh Kaur — crying intermittently as relatives hug her — insists it’s her second birth. She returned from Saudi Arabia on November 4 after three months of “torture” while working for a family there. She’s crying because the fate of her daughter, Reena, 21, wasn’t known till two days ago.

    • The troubling spread of plea-bargaining from America to the world

      Mr Banks is not alone in pleading guilty to a crime he did not commit. Of the 149 Americans absolved of crimes in 2015, 65 had pleaded guilty. The Innocence Project, an organisation that uses DNA evidence to re-examine convictions, has proven the innocence of 300-odd people, most of them convicted for rape and murder. At least 30 had pleaded guilty. According to the National Registry of Exonerations, a collaboration between several law schools, a quarter of Americans cleared of murder between 1989 and 2012 had confessed. But such figures only hint at the scale of the problem. Often, plea bargains are conditional on giving up the right to challenge a conviction later. And exoneration efforts focus on serious crimes, where sentences are long and there is more likely to be forensic evidence.

    • Islamist Rally Cripples Life in Pakistani Capital

      Charged protesters are demanding the federal government immediately remove Law Minister Zahid Hamid for allegedly pushing a constitutional amendment favoring Pakistan’s persecuted Ahmadi religious minority.

    • Remembering Operation Torch on its 75th anniversary
    • Religious code of conduct adopted at German university after complaints about Muslim students

      The University of Hamburg has imposed a new religious code of conduct for its students. It reportedly comes after numerous complaints about Muslim students praying loudly in the library and crowding the bathrooms to wash their feet.

    • Woman Murdered by Boyfriend for Refusing to Convert to Islam and Marry
    • New Turkish marriage law prompts fears of child weddings

      Turkey has passed a new law to allow Islamic muftis to conduct civil marriage ceremonies, a move which liberal critics say undermines Turkey’s secular constitution and opens the door for child marriages.

    • French politicians protest over Muslim street prayers in Paris

      About 100 French politicians have marched on a street in a Paris suburb in protest at Muslims holding Friday prayers in public.

    • Black men sentenced to more time for committing the exact same crime as a white person, study finds

      Black men who commit the same crimes as white men receive federal prison sentences that are, on average, nearly 20 percent longer, according to a new report on sentencing disparities from the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC).

      These disparities were observed “after controlling for a wide variety of sentencing factors,” including age, education, citizenship, weapon possession and prior criminal history.

    • Georgia Is Fighting to Keep Its Laws Secret — Unless You Pay

      For more than three decades, the state of Georgia has charged anyone who wants to see its official state law hundreds of dollars for that privilege. Now the state is suing the non-profit website that purchased a copy of that official compilation and put it on the internet for the public to see.

      The problem with all of this? Knowing the law is a right, not a privilege.

    • Racist Sheriffs Are Reapplying to Be Part of Trump’s Deportation Force

      The federal program that delegates immigration enforcement duties to local police is about to expand to as many as 24 additional jurisdictions across the country. The program, known as 287(g), deputizes state and local police to carry out federal immigration enforcement orders. After several years of decline, these arrangements are growing again under the Trump Administration.

      Sixty jurisdictions in 18 states have existing agreements under 287(g). This week Immigration and Customs Enforcement began the process of reviewing applications for 24 more jurisdictions, most of which have troubling civil rights records.

    • ACLU Poll Finds Americans Reject Trump’s Tough-on-Crime Approach

      In a rejection of President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ tough-on-crime approach, a new ACLU poll finds that a large majority of Americans believe the criminal justice system is unjust and needs to be significantly reformed.

      Nine out of 10 Americans from across the political spectrum told our pollster that our criminal justice system needs fixing. This is an astounding number, but the results are even more impressive when you drill down into them. They show that criminal justice reform is a political issue the American people care about.

    • Federal Prison Illegally Bans Christian Head Scarves for Visitors Like Me

      Yes, some Christian women cover their heads for religious reasons. No, you can’t discriminate against them for it.

      See that woman in the photo to the right?

      That’s me, Audra Ragland, wearing one of my many head coverings. As a Christian, I’ve come to believe that Scripture requires me to cover my head in public to show my submission to, and reverence for, God. I wear my head covering everywhere.

      Last year, however, when I tried to visit my brother in the United States Penitentiary Atlanta, a prison officer demanded I remove my headscarf before entering the visitation area. According to the officer, the headscarf would have been allowed if I were Muslim or Jewish but, he claimed, the prison did not recognize “Christian head covering.”

    • Too Old and Too Sick to Execute? No Such Thing in Ohio.

      Ohio’s bungled execution of an elderly man shows that the death penalty is broken and barbaric.

      The famous appellate judge Richard Posner once wrote, “A civilized society locks up [criminals] until age makes them harmless, but it does not keep them in prison until they die.” The state of Ohio apparently hasn’t heard of Judge Posner, as they went one step further and tried to execute an elderly Alva Campbell and failed.

      Ohio’s lethal injection team spent more than 30 minutes poking Alva Campbell’s decrepit body in search of any decent vein into which they could inject their lethal cocktail to no avail. They finally relented — but only temporarily.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Why Are People Celebrating Al Franken’s Incomprehensible Speech About The Internet?

      Last week, Karl wrote a post about Senator Al Franken’s keynote speech at the Open Markets Institute — a group that has been getting plenty of attention of late for arguing that big tech companies are too big and too powerful. Karl’s post focused on Franken’s weird argument that “net neutrality” should apply to edge companies like Google and Facebook, which made no sense. But what’s more troubling to me is that Franken’s whole speech was bordering on incomprehensible. This is disappointing, as I tend to think that Franken is pretty thoughtful and careful as a Senator (even when I disagree with him at a policy level — such as with his support of PIPA).

      The speech seems to basically be Franken throwing off random quips that attack just how big internet companies are, which is certainly red meat for the Open Markets crowd. And I don’t deny that there are some very serious questions to be asked about the size and power of companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon and the like… but Franken’s speech was not that. But because it has a few quotable lines and is attacking everyone’s favorite punching bags, it’s being hailed by sites like Wired as “the speech big tech has been dreading.” If this is the speech that big tech has been dreading, they’ve been worrying about nothing.

    • FCC Plans December Vote to Kill Net Neutrality Rules

      Pai plans to seek a vote in December, said two people who asked not to be identified because the matter hasn’t been made public. As the head of a Republican majority, he is likely to win a vote on whatever he proposes.

    • The FCC’s Latest Moves Could Worsen the Digital Divide
    • FCC votes to limit program funding internet access for low income communities

      The FCC voted in a 3-2 split along party lines favoring Republicans to reform [sic] the program during the agency’s monthly open meeting.

    • Google will stop letting sites use AMP format to bait and switch readers
    • Tim Berners-Lee on the future of the web: ‘The system is failing’

      The spread of misinformation and propaganda online has exploded partly because of the way the advertising systems of large digital platforms such as Google or Facebook have been designed to hold people’s attention.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • New Proposal At WIPO On Exceptions To Broadcasting Rights

        The document says it follows the same kinds of limitations and exceptions as countries already provide in their national legislation in the context of copyright in literary and artistic works, and the protection of related rights.

      • Center For Justice Wants Court to Unveil Copyright Trolling Secrets

        Center for Justice, a Washington non-profit organization, has asked a federal court to unseal several documents that may provide more insight into the financial agreements between filmmakers, lawyers and piracy tracking outfits. The so-called copyright trolling operations may, in fact, be well-coordinated “illegal settlement factories” that prey on people with limited financial resources.

      • Kodi Addon Developers Quit Following Threats From MPA, Netflix, Amazon

        Two Kodi addon developers, both of whom distributed addons via the popular Colussus addon repository, have been told to cease and desist their activities. A letter delivered to one, apparently by hand in the UK, reveals that the MPA/MPAA led Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, which counts Netflix and Amazon among its members, is behind the action.

      • 65 out of the top 100 most-cited scientific papers are behind a paywall, with a weighted average cost of $32.33/each

        Noting that “the web was built specifically to share research papers amongst scientists,” Josh Nicholson and Alberto Pepe report on the dismal state of the web for accessing the most-cited scientific papers across the literature — 65 of the top 100 most-cited papers being behind paywalls.

Today’s EPO and Team UPC Do Not Work for Europe But Actively Work Against Europe

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Their goal is to have more European companies sued (lawyers profit from it)

“The day that the software sector forms a clear front against software patents, as pharma does for a unitary patent system… will be the day our cause comes close to winning.” —Pieter Hintjens (he died last year)

Summary: 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

WE HAVE often shown that EPO benefits US interests more than European interests because large multinational corporations take precedence/priority over local European companies. Moreover, the EPO often contracts US-based companies, e.g. for PR/reputation laundering. What is even the point calling it EPO? The only “European” thing about it is the staff. We said that years ago.

“What is even the point calling it EPO? The only “European” thing about it is the staff.”Yesterday, the EPO published (warning: epo.org link) this news [sic] that reinforces the view regarding detachment from science and technology. The EPO listens not to industry or actual engineers; it does not even listen to European ones. It often feels like the EPO is working for US lobbies (IPO and AIPLA, which are aggressively in favour software patents [1, 2]) and in the EPO’s own words:

The EPO and the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO – a US association of patent attorneys mainly in industry) have a long standing relationship. IPO is, together with the AIPLA, the American counterpart for Trilateral and IP5 industry meetings.

What an inappropriate meeting. Longtime readers of ours probably know the true nature of IPO and AIPLA; they are not friends/allies but foes/enemies of science and technology. They only serve themselves. What motivates the EPO to meet them? As a reminder, the number of US applications for European Patents collapsed in the past year. Battistelli tries to cook the books by lowering fees now (game the numbers) and maybe he’s trying to get these trends reversed. Whatever the motivation, it’s rather infuriating because it in no way serves the underlying goals of the EPO (as per the EPC). It’s a disservice not only to Europe but to innovation worldwide.

“It’s a disservice not only to Europe but to innovation worldwide.”And speaking of toxic front groups, watch what CIPA has just posted. CIPA is a dangerous cult which lobbies governments for the UPC and thereby attacks British and European interests. Its UPC advocacy is only one among many nefarious activities and now it quotes this: ““We have been trying to move to something like a Unified Patent Court for 45 years and now is the time to get it done,” Kevin Mooney, Chair of the Drafting Cttee for the Rules of the UPC, tells #CIPALS2017″ (yes, that’s a lobbying event of CIPA).

Team UPC’s Bristows has also just posted something about the European Judges Forum, which turned into UPC lobbying in the form/embodiment of Alexander Ramsay. To quote IP Kat (where CIPA is now among those in charge):

This, the 12th year of the conference, saw 35 judges of 15 nations (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom) pull together. They were joined by 31 European lawyers and seven officers of the EPO. This year, the forum debated SEP and FRAND, discretion on injunctive relief under the UPC, case law on damages and an update on the UPC from Alexander Ramsay. The focus of the forum was a mock trial decided by judges from the Netherlands, Sweden, Italy and Germany.

Be sure to read the first comment there, as it’s complaining that UPC “pleading from vested interests, parties with “an Agenda” is enough to make one puke” (the author of this post is an integral part of Team UPC). Here is the full comment:

as to the usefulness of the UPC, here is what I posted, earlier today, to the Kluwer blog:

When it comes to the UPC, the level of pleading from vested interests, parties with “an Agenda” is enough to make one puke.
I started in the patent profession before the EPO, in the days prior to the Protocol on Art 69 EPC, when Germany decided scope of protection one way, and England in a very different way.
Since then, there has been ever greater harmonisation throughout EPC-land, and a huge gain in legal certainty. Not because of any pan-European court but because of enlightened performance at the EPO (until recently), and comradely behaviour from the patent judges in the leading EU jurisdictions. Judges are only human. They want their clear and logical thinking to be adopted by their brother and sister judges in the other jurisdictions. Bear in mind that these other jurisdictions have very different procedural law. But they come together regularly, to debate and minimise their differences, which are steadily diminishing (see the latest Decision by the UK Supreme Court, to aligh itself with mainland Europe).
This rivalry between different procedures and different legal interpretations is what improves the clarity of the law of infringement in the whole of Europe. If you doubt me, observe how rivalry between the various Technical Boards in EPO DG3 has produced a body of caselaw, in the White Book of Established Caselaw, that is unassailable in its logic and so has swept the world. For the most recent example, see the current IPKat interview with the Head of the Patent Office in Australia.
The proponents of the UPC should be ashamed of themselves, sacrificing all this legal certainty and harmonisation at the behest of the multi-national corporate interests, the bulk users of the EPO patent grant service, to rid themselves of the attentions of troublesome SME patent owners. And we were doing quite well enough recently, with engineering disputes litigated in Germany and pharma litigation concentrated in London, and no need to litigate everywhere in order to resolve the dispute.
As Robin Jacob has said “We can learn from the Americans. Watch what they do, and don’t then make the same mistakes”. Introducing this UPC is to make the same mistake as the Americans. And note, for the same reason.
Germany, the home of the SME engineering manufacturer is, with its Constitutional doubts, is belatedly seeing the light. Better late than never.

Europe continues to be besieged by a very small group of people who secretly put together the UPCA, held secret/exclusionary events to advocate the UPC, and lobbied/corrupted politicians to ram it all down Europe’s throat (even if by showing up at 1AM — past midnight that is — to covertly vote in favour and then deny public access to what actually happened that night).

“It’s not even alarmist, that’s just the reality of it, however bluntly we sometimes put it because most of the media is complicit (cooperative with the coup for short-term gain).”The whole thing, as described above, represents serious corruption at the very heart of Europe. It’s systemic/organised corruption and the sooner we recognise it, the better we can tackle it. We didn’t spend the past decade antagnosing the UPC (it wasn’t always known as “UPC”) for no reason at all. It’s not even alarmist, that’s just the reality of it, however bluntly we sometimes put it because most of the media is complicit (cooperative with the coup for short-term gain).

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