EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

12.05.17

The Latest Noise About UPC in the UK

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 12:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: With no substantial progress for the UPC anywhere in Europe, Team UPC and the EPO cherry-pick insignificant things and try to come up with sensational claims (as they always do)

UPC and UP (Unitary Patent) advocacy make one seem delusional and pro-UPC (re)tweets make one seem morally bankrupt.

This, however, is exactly what the EPO did a few hours ago, passing on this tweet which said: “Pierre Treichel (EPO) explaines the new uniform protection tool developed by the @EPOorg the #unitarypatent”

“UPC and UP (Unitary Patent) advocacy make one seem delusional and pro-UPC (re)tweets make one seem morally bankrupt.”But there is no Unitary Patent. It’s dead. It’s a lame duck.

The EPO then repeated its paid-for lies, generated on demand to corrupt academia and allegedly influence German courts (mind the timing of the so-called ‘study’).

To make matters worse, Team UPC then joined in, referring even to itself as “Team UPC”. Alex Robinson wrote: “OK #teamupc – Lords are due to discuss the #upc privileges & immunities order tomorrow. Doubt it’ll shed any more light on the Government’s intentions (if it has any…!) but I’ll keep an eye out for anything significant… @weberpatent @CMJewell28 @BirgitC”

“To make matters worse, Team UPC then joined in, referring even to itself as “Team UPC”.”He later wrote about this article of his, which admitted: “The legislation must now go before the House of Lords and then the Privy Council, after which the UK wil [sic] be in a position to ratify the UPC Agreement.”

But it will never be in such a position though. Never. It’s a fata morgana, as someone put it a couple of days ago. It is not compatible with Brexit and this pretty meaningless a stride means nothing whatsoever.

Team UPC at Bristows (Alan Johnson) had only a very short (two sentences) post about it and a tweet. That’s it!

“As a reminder, ILO will deliver “exceptional” rulings about the EPO tomorrow.”Meanwhile, posting a response to Robinson/Bristows at IP Kat (fake headline) someone responded to this question: “So can anyone solve the riddle: To what court or tribunal will UPC staff be able to apply for judicial review in the case of employment disputes?”

The answer: “That bastion of defence of employee’s rights, the ILOAT? The very same one that is snowed under with appeals filed by EPO employees? Oh dear…’

Indeed. The UPC would violate human rights and also, as pointed out in this last comment, the defunct ILO would likely oversee things. As a reminder, ILO will deliver “exceptional” rulings about the EPO tomorrow. Who among our readers will tune in (there’s a live video) and/or read the documents (formal decisions)? We sometimes do that. Be in touch with any information regarding these decisions. We need to cover these and we need informed/professional input.

The EPO Relies on Media Cowardice and Complicity (to Not Report Obvious Issues With Battistelli at CEIPI)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Centre for International Intellectual Property Studies

Summary: With Battistelli poised to enter CEIPI (against the will of insiders, based on our sources) the media offers nothing but shallow puff pieces, as usual

THE EPO’s management moves from inside (internal) scandals to outside scandals, too. There’s no lack of scandals. After 2,000 EPO articles we’ve lost track of the number of separate scandals. That number probably does not matter as much as ensuring everything gets documented and is searchable.

Recently, Battistelli brought the perception of corruption to CEIPI. We have been writing about this since the EPO mentioned it [1, 2] and earlier today WIPR published this puff piece that repeats the most shallow of possible quotes. Battistelli “will succeed António Campinos, who has chaired the council since 2013. Battistelli was elected as chair for a three-year term.”

“It’s worth noting that the EPO did not disclose the Battistelli/Campinos chair-swapping exercise out of genuine will.”Go ahead and leap to the obvious conclusion then. No? Why not? Fear of the typical threats/legal bullying from the EPO? I happen to know that at WIPR things do not work like in ordinary publishing houses. They actually removed and later on reinstated a censored version of an article about the EPO’s legal threats against me. “It came from above,” as the infamous saying goes.

We wish to emphasise that the EPO absolutely does bully the media. And this, in part, is why reporting about the EPO is so appalling (with few exceptions here and there).

It’s worth noting that the EPO did not disclose the Battistelli/Campinos chair-swapping exercise out of genuine will. It is not about transparency. Uncharacteristically, 4 days later, the EPO’s Twitter account still refuses to even link to this disclosure. We can guess why…

The CEIPI, as it turns out, beat the EPO to it by several days, so it was just a disclosure/face-saving move for the EPO to mention this late on a Friday when everyone is absent (and to never link to it from Twitter, which is unusual and thus rather suspicious; perhaps leaks of internal correspondence can help shed light on the reasoning).

The European Patent Office Enrages the Powerless to Empower the Super-Powerful (Outside Europe)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Farmers’ protest against EPO 8 years ago (with inflatable pigs)

EPO backlash

EPO backlash

EPO Cartoon by KrewinkelKrijst
Full size (larger)

Summary: The realisation that the European Patent Office (EPO) is a money-making operation rather than a functioning patent office results in public anger that’s targeted not at human rights abuses (which exist aplenty at the Office) but monopolistic aspects

TWO years ago we published leaked evidence that the EPO was discriminating against SMEs. Since then, in order to limit the damage to the EPO’s reputation, the EPO changed PACE somewhat (changing history as much as possible, only after it had been caught).

“The EPO is fast becoming a rubber-stamping operation which in no way offers value for money (to applicants).”This month and last month the EPO posted every single day (except during weekends) something with the hashtag #IPforSMEs. Here is today’s example, muttering something about “invention” and “business case” (marketing/management talk).

In reality, however, the EPO serves multinational corporations such as Monsanto/Bayer (US/Germany) and helps these corporations shield themselves from the masses, including SMEs. Moreover, the EPO is an enemy of farmers (i.e. food), which is why farmers often protest against the EPO (we covered some protests about a decade ago). Here is an article published by British media earlier today to warn about “patenting of plants”. Here are some excerpts:

Thor Kofoed, chairman of C and C’s Seed Working Party, stressed that th “Breeders in Europe currently make around 2000 varieties a year which shows how well the system works. Without this system, 90% of the varieties would disappear in the next 10 years to the economic benefit of a few multinationals. Farmers do not dare to take that chance and we can never accept a movement in that direction,” he concluded. e EPO was ignoring farmers who rely and use these products: “The new system favoured by EPO would be a disaster for farmers and small breeders. Small seed breeders would disappear which would cut the number of plant varieties on the market considerably. Only the big breeders – the multinationals – who can afford to make patent applications would survive.”

C and C accused the EPO of already authorizing patents on naturally occurring products like tomatoes and broccoli, and ignoring the latest Commission advice which recommends not using patents on plants whose DNA belongs to nature.

[...]

“Breeders in Europe currently make around 2000 varieties a year which shows how well the system works. Without this system, 90% of the varieties would disappear in the next 10 years to the economic benefit of a few multinationals. Farmers do not dare to take that chance and we can never accept a movement in that direction,” he concluded.

The EPO has not only enabled patents on life but also on software/algorithms, even in direct defiance of the rules. Earlier today a site of the patent microcosm published this piece titled “2017 European Patent Office Updates,” conveniently excluding any mention of EPO scandals and instead writing about computer programs:

Reflecting recent case law, the revision replaces and expands on its comments concerning user interfaces. The Guidelines now state that user interfaces comprise “features of presenting information and receiving input in response as part of human-computer interaction.” Features that define user input are more likely to have a technical character (and therefore be patentable subject matter) than those solely concerning data output and display, because input requires compatibility with the predetermined protocol of a machine, whereas output may be largely dictated by the subjective preferences of a user.

This change reflects recent case law about what can be considered patentable subject matter. When drafting claims involving a UI, we will be carefully considering input means and structures to help ensure allowance.

These are just software patents, like that infamous old European Patent on progress bars. When will people inside and outside the EPO recognise that patent scope at the EPO has blurred to the point of barely even existing? The EPO is fast becoming a rubber-stamping operation which in no way offers value for money (to applicants). EPO management does not want applicants to find this out (they lie, they attack judges, they punish staff members who speak about it), but applicants eventually find out anyway. And applications have, unsurprisingly, gone down in number (panic over this may result in further decline in fees).

Links 5/12/2017: Qt 5.10.0 RC3, DragonFly 5.0.2 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 11:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Moscow Government Open-Sources Blockchain Voting Tool

    The government of Moscow is pushing ahead with plans to test blockchain for use in local voting initiatives.

    Last year, officials from Moscow’s government told local media that they were looking into the technology in a bid to reduce the risk of fraud when people are voting on city management issues. The possible use would come as part of its “Active Citizen” e-government project, constituting one of several areas in which blockchain is being explored (including as a basis for a new land registry system).

    Now, according to a Dec. 4 statement, officials have developed a pilot system for tracking votes via blockchain, declaring that the tech would make its ongoing Active Citizen program “more open” according to a translated statement.

  • Orange OCast software goes Open Source release

    OCast is designed to allow viewers to use a smartphone to play videos on devices including TV set-top boxes, TV sticks or TVs and control playback of the video with commands such as pause, fast forward and rewind. With the software, users can browse and explore their content libraries via their preferred interface, either the screen on their smartphone or on their tablet. Moreover, it means that with a single application they can watch content on a mobile or tablet outside or on their TV at home. Beyond video, OCast can also play and control slideshows, playlists and web apps.

  • Orange looks to tempt rivals with open sourced TV software

    Orange is making software that turns smartphones into remote controls open source as it looks to make the technology available to other operators.

    The France-based operator’s OCast software can be added to set-top boxes to enable consumers to use a smartphone to play videos, control playback and browse content libraries on their TVs.

    It said the kit was now available without licence fees to operators and developers.

    Deutsche Telekom is already testing OCast, Orange said.

  • Applying Open Source Strategies to the Data Center

    The open source story is a story about the power of collaboration in spurring innovation. Beyond software, open source allows a tech organization to deliver the most efficient piece of technology in the most efficient way possible at the time. Using an open source methodology, harnessing the power of the ecosystem, lets us deliver innovation in real time. To be clear, when we talk about innovation in this context, we are talking about innovation in delivery, which means finding new ways to reduce cost, increase speed, and make the data center more adaptive.

  • This Interview Was Conducted on an Anonymous, DIY Cell Phone Network

    Most people in the United States—and increasingly, around the world—carry the most sophisticated surveillance devices ever created in their pockets day in and day out. Although smartphones have enabled governments and corporations to track our movements and monitor our conversations with unprecedented ease, these devices are also an incredibly useful personal tool and have become an indispensable part of modern life.

    It’s a crappy trade off, but evidently one that most of us seem OK with. But Denver Gingerich, a programmer based in New York City, doesn’t see why we can’t have our smartphones and our privacy, too.

  • Sopranica: Text And Call Using This Open Source Cellular Network For Complete Anonymity

    Even without the revelations made by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and others, it was known to many that different governments across the world had been long involved in the act of mass surveillance.

    To deal with this privacy trade-off, a New York-based programmer named Denver Gingerich has worked hard to develop an open source cellular network named Sopranica. This DIY network lets one make phone calls, communicate via texts, and browser the web. All this with total privacy and anonymity.

  • 3 ways university classrooms can be more open

    Institutions of higher education stress the importance of student autonomy in academic exploration—yet the typical configuration of university courses does not take full advantage of students’ potential to become actors in their education, rather than just receivers of it. To realize this potential and make university learning more inclusive of—and meaningful for—students, professors could learn a lesson from open organizations.

  • Bitnami Launches Open Source In-Cluster Kubernetes App Environment

    Packaged server application provider Bitnami released Kubeapps, an open source and free application deployment environment that allows enterprises to discover, launch, and manage pre-packaged Kubernetes-ready applications and developer tools from within their Kubernetes cluster.

    Bitnami has contributed to previous Kubernetes projects including Helm, a Kubernetes package manager; Monocular, a search and discovery front-end for Helm Chart repositories; and Kubeless, a configuring application that runs on Kubernetes. The new product builds on these contributions and provides a simple method of deploying applications in a Kubernetes environment.

  • Nudi 6.0 to be open source

    To bridge the gap between latest technology and Nudi, Kannada Ganaka Parishat (KGP) will release Nudi 6.0 as an open source software, making the source code public for the first time.

  • Orange announces the Open Source release of its OCast software technology

    OCast is a software technology that allows you to use a smartphone to play videos on devices including TV set-top boxes, TV Sticks or TVs and control playback of the video (pause, fast forward and rewind, for example). Beyond video, OCast can also play and control slideshows, playlists and web apps.

  • Orange makes OCast TV software open source
  • Events

    • LISA17 Event Report

      LISA is the annual vendor-neutral meeting place for the wider system administration community. The LISA17 program will address the overlap and differences between traditional and modern IT operations and engineering, and offers a highly curated program around three topics: architecture, culture, and engineering.

    • Khmer Translation Sprint Round 2

      After two years it was really time to organize another sprint to move on in Fedoras translation to khmer. I started to organize it back in September. Normally enought time to get it done, but like often here the communication chain was broken and I didnt hear back from the event place if we can do it. So I did hear as I did ask on which date we might delay it. So now the last things had to be organized in very short time. With the consequence also have to have only a short time to make marketing for the event. But the result was not that bad, we have in Cambodia anyway the problem that for a lot of people the Saturday is a normal working day. Especially students, who have during week a normal job, going on Saturday to university. Like Kuylim Tith, he could join us for translation only on sunday. But then he translated like two years ago, a lot.

    • Extraordinary Session 3.x for the #PeruRumboGSoC2018
    • Talking at Cubaconf 2017 in Havanna, Cuba

      My first talk was on PrivacyScore.org, a Web scanner for privacy and security issues. As I’ve indicated, the conference was a bit messily organised. The person before me was talking into my slot and then there was no cable to hook my laptop up with the projector. We ended up transferring my presentation to a different machine (via pen drives instead of some fancy distributed local p2p network) in order for me to give my presentation. And then I needed to rush through my content, because we were pressed for going for lunch in time. Gnah. But I think a few people were still able to grasp the concepts and make it useful for them. My argument was that Web pages load much faster if you don’t have to load as many trackers and other external content. Also, these people don’t get updates in time, so they might rather want to visit Web sites which generally seem to care about their security. I was actually approached by a guy running StreetNet, the local DIY Internet. His idea is to run PrivacyScore against their network to see what is going on and to improve some aspects. Exciting.

    • Fedora returns to HackMIT 2017

      Every year, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) hosts an annual hackathon, HackMIT, for students around the world. Students gathered again for HackMIT 2017 on the weekend of September 16-17, 2017. During the weekend, students form teams with other students and work on projects to compete in various categories. Participants often release their projects under open source licenses at the end of the hackathon.

      The Fedora Project participated as a sponsor for the second year in a row. Justin W. Flory and Mike DePaulo attended as Fedora Ambassadors to represent the project and the community.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Quietly Adds Features From Tor Browser to Firefox

        In 2017, the developers at Mozilla have quietly added several features to Firefox that originated from the Tor Project’s Tor Browser. The new features come from the Tor Uplift project, which helps Mozilla integrate patches to Firefox that are used in the Tor Browser. The Tor Uplift project patches to Firefox help increase privacy and security, and the project has been helping improve Firefox since last year.

        Around 95% of the code in the Tor Browser itself comes from Mozilla, as it is based on Mozilla’s Firefox Extended Support Release (ESR). Mozilla, which earlier this month released Firefox version 57, known as Firefox Quantum, has most recently included a feature from the Tor Browser known as First Party Isolation.

      • Mozilla talks up speech-to-text application platform

        Mozilla is on a mission… and it’s a mission designed to ‘empower’ software application developers with tools to help create more STT apps.

        STT you say?

        Yes, that would be speech-to-text applications.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Intel’s Clear Containers Leads To OpenStack Kata Containers

      Kata Containers is the latest tech in the container space and is an effort hosted by the OpenStack Foundation in conjunction with many participating organizations. The underlying tech for Kata Containers originated from the Intel / Clear Linux Clear Containers project.

      Clear Containers has been around since 2015 and like the Clear Linux distribution has been about delivering a performant Linux containers experience. But it’s not been just about raw speed but also security, to which Clear Containers beefed up their security by supporting Intel VT virtualization.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • DragonFly 5.0.2 released

      DragonFly version 5 has been released, including the first bootable release of HAMMER2. Version 5.0.2, the current version, came out 2017/12/04.

    • DragonFlyBSD Now Supports Up To 64TB Of RAM

      DragonFlyBSD now supports up to 64TB of physical memory.

      Up to now DragonFlyBSD has supported up to about 32TB of physical memory but as of today that’s been bumped to now support up to 64TB.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open-source community stresses worries on new Copyright Directive in open letter to EU

      This week, more than 80 organisations involved in open source software wrote an open letter to the Council of the EU and the European Commission expressing their concerns on the new Copyright Directive as it is currently proposed. According to the signatories, Article 13 in particular will cause irreparable damage to their fundamental rights and freedoms, their economy and competitiveness, their education and research, their innovation and competition, their creativity and their culture.

      Article 13 obliges Internet service providers that store and provide public access to large amounts of works or other subject matter uploaded by their users to ensure the functioning of agreements concluded with rightholders. Where such agreements do not apply, service providers must prevent the availability of the rightholders’ intellectual property on the service. To that purpose, service providers should cooperate with rightholders and implement measures such as the use of effective content recognition technologies.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • IRNAS researchers 3D print ear-shaped vasculature using open source Vitaprint 3D bioprinter

      Researchers from the Symbiolab at the Institute IRNAS in Slovenia have marked a step forwards in their 3D bioprinting research. Using the Institute IRNAS’ open source Vitaprint bioprinter platform, the team has demonstrated its ability to bioprint “freeform perfusable vessel systems in biocompatible hydrogels.”

    • JDRF Initiative Aims to Speed Development of ‘Open Source’ Artificial Pancreas Systems

      For those watching from the outside, who have heard about the benefits that open-protocol closed-loop systems provide but feel intimidated by the technological skill that’s now required, JDRF’s involvement gives hope that these advances will become more mainstream. As Finan says, “Through observing where the community has gone over the past few years, it’s become unignorable that there’s value out there to be harnessed and to be spread out so more patients can use it. So we’re just trying to figure out a way that we can do that safely and with the most efficacy.”

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Western Digital Transitions to RISC-V Open-Source Architecture for Big Data, IoT

        RiSC-V, the open-source computer core architecture, will be getting a big push from Western Digital in the coming years as the company has pledged to transitioning its own consumption of processors to RISC-V. According to the company Western Digital ships over one billion cores per year, and plans to double that number. And if all goes according to plan, they will all be based on RISC-V.

  • Programming/Development

    • Reflecting on Haskell in 2017

      Alas, another year has come and gone. It feels like just yesterday I was writing the last reflection blog post on my flight back to Boston for Christmas. I’ve spent most of the last year traveling and working in Europe, meeting a lot of new Haskellers and putting a lot of faces to names.

      Haskell has had a great year and 2017 was defined by vast quantities of new code, including 14,000 new Haskell projects on Github . The amount of writing this year was voluminous and my list of interesting work is eight times as large as last year. At least seven new companies came into existence and many existing firms unexpectedly dropped large open source Haskell projects into the public sphere. Driven by a lot of software catastrophes, the intersection of security, software correctness and formal methods have been become quite an active area of investment and research across both industry and academia. It’s really never been an easier and more exciting time to be programming professionally in the world’s most advanced (yet usable) statically typed language.

      Per what I guess is now a tradition, I will write my end of year retrospective on my highlights of what happened in the Haskell scene in retrospect.

    • C++17 Is Now Official

      The final standard of C++17 (formerly known as “C++1z”) is now official.

      The final standard of C++17 has been published as ISO/IEC 14882:2017 and has been published on ISO.org.

      C++17 introduces a number of new language features, support for UTF-8 character literals, inline variables, fold expressions, and more. On the C++ standard library side is parallel versions of the STL algorithms, a file-system library derived from Boost, and other additions.

    • easy gopher-lua bridge
    • Increasing the number of lights in Qt 3D

      While it is possible to draw scenes with almost unlimited numbers of lights using deferred rendering in Qt 3D, the default materials in Qt 3D Extras have been limited to eight lights because they are tied to forward rendering. Although we apply a few tricks that allow you to define more than eight lights in the scene, we only select the eight closest lights when rendering.

    • Qt Company offers 3D interface authoring system

      Emanating from its development bases in Helsinki, Finland and Santa Clara, California, Qt explains that its latest product is a 3D design and development tool for major industrial use cases.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • C++17 Final Standard Is Now Official

      Earlier this year in May, we told you that C++17 standard is now feature complete and expected to ship soon. Well, if you’ve been waiting for the same, that time has finally arrived as the official standard has been published on ISO.org.

Leftovers

  • How Two Guys and an Internet Forum Built a Kickass Computer
  • Apple Forces iPhone Retailers to Spend Millions on Replacing Windows with iOS

    Apple is known as a company that uses its power for all kinds of more or less controversial decisions in its relationship with partners across the world, and a new report from South Korea points to such an example that’s impacting telecom carriers.

    ET News writes that the country’s three largest carriers, namely SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus, are being required by Apple to make the switch to a new sales system for the iPhone that would essentially come down to replacing Windows PCs with iOS.

    Apple, however, isn’t just pushing for carriers to replace PCs with iPads to sell service plans and iPhones, but to actually spend their own money for this new system. The company wants this to happen as fast as possible because it aims the new sales system to be ready by the time it opens the flagship store in Seoul in early 2018.

  • Science

  • Hardware

    • HDMI 2.1 specs and features: Everything you need to know

      We should also point out that like 3860-by-2160-pixel video being marketed as 4K (an aspect ratio of 16:9), 7680-by-4320-pixel video will be marketed as 8K. As you can see below, 5K and 10K video are mathematically and grammatically correct.

  • Security

    • Barclays follows UK government in axing Kaspersky products
    • GCHQ: UK Govt Must Drop Russian AV for Secret Systems
    • Security updates for Monday
    • .NET-Based Ransomware Families Encrypt Users’ Files via Open Source Repositories

      Vortex and BUGWARE are both compiled in Microsoft Intermediate Language (MSIL) and have been packed with the so called ‘Confuser’ packer.

    • A look at two ransomware strains using open source code [iophk: "Microsoft malware"]
    • Researchers dissect open-source ransomware programs Bugware and Vortex

      In addition to leveraging open-source code, both cryptors are also compiled in Microsoft Intermediate Language (MSIL) and packed with the Confuser packer, the cloud security company noted in a 1 December blog post.

    • Blockchains Are Poised to End the Password Era

      The massive password heists keeping coming, and one thing is certain: the way we prove our identities online is in need of a major upgrade. A growing chorus of technologists and entrepreneurs is convinced that the key to revolutionizing digital identity can be found in the same technology that runs cryptocurrencies.

    • Microsoft Breaks Down Windows Update on Windows 7, PCs Hit with Error 80248015

      A number of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 systems are experiencing a Windows Update error that prevents them from checking for updates for an unclear reason.

      Posts on the company’s Community forums seem to indicate that the bug first appeared on December 3 and it’s a server-side issue, which means that users might not have anything to do to have this fixed. Instead, Microsoft has remained tight-lipped on the actual cause of the bug, despite the growing number of posts on the said Community thread.

      Checking for updates on the impacted systems fails with error “Windows could not search for new updates,” with some saying that an additional message reading “Windows Update cannot currently check for updates because the service is not running. You may need to restart your computer,” when they click the “Get help with this error” option in Windows Update.

    • Apple’s macOS 10.13.1 Update Brings Back Critical Root Vulnerability
    • Information Commissioner warns MPs over sharing passwords

      “We’re aware of reports that MPs share logins and passwords and are making enquiries of the relevant parliamentary authorities,” said a spokesman for the Information Commissioner.

    • Three Laptop Makers Are Disabling Intel ME

      For years now, security experts warned that Intel’s Management Engine (ME) is at risk of being exploited; ME allows administrators to remotely access a computer and is present within every Intel processor since 2008. Finally – after staying quiet during the period of concern – Intel last month admitted that ME is vulnerable to exploitation. As a result, PC makers are making moves to protect users from said vulnerability. Indeed, Dell, Purism, and Linux PC vendor System76 are all disabling Intel ME on their laptops.

    • ​Computer vendors start disabling Intel Management Engine

      Hidden inside your Intel-based computer is a mystery program called Management Engine (ME). It, along with Trusted Execution Engine (TXE) and Server Platform Services (SPS), can be used to remotely manage your computer. We know little about Intel ME, except it’s based on the Minix operating system and, oh yes, ME is very insecure. Because of this, three computers vendors — Linux-specific OEMs System76 and Purism and top-tier PC builder Dell — have decided to offer computers with disabled ME.

      These ME security holes impact millions of computers. ME supports Intel’s Active Management Technology (AMT). This is a powerful tool that allows admins to remotely run computers, even when the device is not booted. Let me repeat that: If your PC has power, even if it’s not running, it can be attacked. If an attacker successfully exploits these holes, the attacker can run malware that’s totally invisible to the operating system.

    • Get These Laptops With Intel ME Chip Disabled From Dell, System76, And Purism

      Intel ME chip which recently became popular is giving sleepless nights to the security community and PC users around the world.

      Why? Because the vulnerabilities in the Management Engine chip, running a closed source variant of MINIX OS, can allow attackers to take complete control of a system without the users noticing.

    • WebGoat Teaches You To Fix Web Application Flaws In Real-time

      Good day, web developers! Today, we are going to discuss about a super useful application that teaches you web application security lessons. Say hello to WebGoat, a deliberately insecure web application developed by OWASP, with the intention of teaching how to fix common web application flaws in real-time with hands-on exercises. This application can be quite useful for those who wants to learn about application security and penetration testing techniques.

      A word of caution: WebGoat is PURELY FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSE. It turns your system extremely vulnerable to attackers. So, I insist you to use it in a virtual machine in your local area network. Don’t connect your testing machine to Internet. If you are using it in a production environment either intentionally or unknowingly, your company will definitely fire you. You have been warned!

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The crisis in Honduras should matter to the U.S.

      A week after voting in a bitterly contested presidential election, Hondurans still don’t know who their next president will be. The front-runners — incumbent Juan Orlando Hernández and opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla — have claimed victory. According to the country’s election commission, Hernández has a narrow lead with most of the ballots counted. But there is substantial evidence of voter irregularities and fraud, which seemed only to occur after Nasralla had established a significant lead in the vote count.

    • The President of Honduras Is Deploying U.S.-Trained Forces Against Election Protesters

      HONDURAN PRESIDENT JUAN Orlando Hernández, using the specter of rampant crime and the drug trade, won extensive support from the American government to build up highly trained state security forces. Now, those same forces are repressing democracy.

      The post-election situation in Honduras continues to deteriorate as Hernández, a conservative leader and stalwart U.S. ally in Central America, has disputed the result of last week’s vote while working to crack down on protests sweeping the nation.

    • WaPo’s One-Sided Cheerleading for Coup and Intervention in Venezuela

      The only voices allowed in the Washington Post on the subject of Venezuela over the past year have been those calling for the overthrow or sanction of its government. A review of 15 opinion pieces featured in the Post shows voices even remotely sympathetic to the government of President Nicolás Maduro are omitted entirely. For the capitol’s paper of record, Venezuela joins the status of Adolf Hitler or ISIS: a settled evil without any nuance.

    • Apparent Election Theft in Honduras

      In 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton excused a coup in Honduras to stop a possible second term by a progressive president, but the U.S. now sits by as a right-wing president steals a second term, says Rick Sterling.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Court Orders Monitoring Of Dakota Access Pipeline After Keystone XL Spill

      A federal court ordered the United States Army Corps of Engineers and Dakota Access to participate in multiple measures to monitor the oil pipeline constructed on land which under the 1851 treaty belongs to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

      The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia invoked the recent spill of 210,000 gallons of oil from the Keystone XL pipeline in Marshall County, South Dakota, to justify the need for court monitoring.

  • Finance

    • Feds shut down allegedly fraudulent cryptocurrency offering

      The Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday announced that it was taking action against an initial coin offering (ICO) that the SEC alleges is fraudulent. The announcement represents the first enforcement action by the SEC’s recently created cyber fraud unit.

      In recent months, the SEC has been wrestling with what to do about ICOs. US securities laws impose a number of requirements on anyone who offers new investments to the public. ICOs—in which a company offers the public cryptocurrencies that could appreciate in value the way Bitcoin has—look a lot like securities offerings. But most ICOs have ignored the SEC’s requirements.

    • Tax cuts could make it harder to fight the next recession

      By deepening the national debt at a time when the economy doesn’t need help, the tax overhaul threatens to leave Congress with less wiggle room to respond when recovery from the Great Recession eventually dies.

      Normally, presidents ask Congress to borrow vast sums of money to pay for tax cuts when the economy needs to be rescued from trouble. But President Trump is on the verge of enacting a $1.5 trillion tax plan with an economy enjoying its best growth in three years.

    • Asset management startups using blockchain get their own trade body: MAMA

      An international consortium of leading asset management companies, investors, technology and service providers in the Blockchain ecosystem have formed a new industry organisation (if you consider blockchain tech to be an industry…) to “work towards a new vision for asset management using blockchain and other supporting decentralized technologies.” In other words, the asset management industry — which reached $84.9 trillion in value in 2016 and is predicted to almost double to hit $145.4 trillion in 2025 — is about to be massively disrupted by blockchain technologies, and pioneers in this space are clubbing together to promote the tech and push for common standards.

      The Multichain Asset Management Association (or MAMA for short) was recently formed at the first annual M-0 conference in Zug, Switzerland. Initiated by Melonport AG, MME Legal Tax Compliance and Bussmann Advisory with the support of the Swistzerland-based Canton of Zug Economic Affairs, MAMA’s 22+ founding members will function as a trade body. Zug has become ‘ground zero’ for the nascent crypto industry because of its legal oversight over the new financial area.

    • No dissident thoughts allowed in Singapore

      After months of investigations, Singapore police finally dropped a bombshell at the end of November: social worker and activist Jolovan Wham would be charged for organizing public assemblies without a permit, vandalism and refusing to sign police statements.

      Wham, who has spent his career as a social worker fighting for the rights of low-wage migrant workers, has been investigated multiple times by the police for various events deemed to be “illegal” under Singapore’s restrictive Public Order Act.

    • The Winklevoss twins are now Bitcoin billionaires

      Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss won $65 million from the Facebook lawsuit, and invested $11 million of their payout into Bitcoin in 2013, amassing one of the largest portfolios of Bitcoin in the world — 1 percent of the entire currency’s dollar value equivalent, said the twins at the time. Their slice of the Bitcoin pie is now worth over $1 billion after Bitcoin surged past $10,000 last week to now trade at $11,100, according to CoinDesk.

    • Housebuilders issue Brexit plea as poll shows UK reliance on EU workers

      More than one in six people working on housebuilding sites across Britain come from other EU countries, rising to half of site workers in London, according to a new report.

      A survey of 37,000 housebuilding workers across Britain shows 17.7% are from the EU. More than half of those come from Romania, with 12% from Poland and almost 10% from Ireland.

      In London, where housing demand is at its most acute, some building skills are dominated by EU workers, with more than 70% of carpenters, 63% of demolition and groundworks workers, 61% of general labourers, 54% of plasterers, painters and decorators, 44% of bricklayers and nearly 40% of roofers hailing from other EU countries.

    • Apple agrees to pay over $15 billion to Ireland in back taxes

      According to a top Irish official, Apple has agreed to to pay Ireland around $15.4 billion in back taxes.

      “We have now reached agreement with Apple in relation to the principles and operation of the escrow fund,” Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe told reporters before a meeting with European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, per Reuters.

      “We expect the money will begin to be transmitted into the account from Apple across the first quarter of next year.”

    • Ireland expects Apple back tax in escrow account in first quarter, 2018: minister

      Ireland expects iPhone maker Apple to start paying up to 13 billion euros ($15.4 billion) in back taxes into an escrow account in the first quarter of 2018, the finance minister said on Monday.

      [...]

      Both Dublin and Apple have challenged the EU order.

    • A brief history of Bitcoin hacks and frauds
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Feehery: End of objective reporting
    • George Papadopoulos’ late night with the FBI

      When former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos stepped off a flight from Germany at Dulles Airport outside Washington last July, he had no inkling of the unwelcome surprise in store for him: FBI agents waiting to place him under arrest.

      For the 29-year-old Chicago native, it was going to be a long night.

      Jail records obtained by POLITICO show Papadopoulos was booked in at the Alexandria (Va.) city detention center at 1:45 a.m. the following morning.

      Despite the late arrival at the jail and the fact that Papadopoulos later agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, his Chicago-based defense lawyers Thomas Breen and Rob Stanley said in an interview that the FBI did not attempt to interrogate him right away.

    • Mueller Subpoenas Trump Deutsche Bank Records

      Special prosecutor Robert Mueller zeroed in on President Donald Trump’s business dealings with Deutsche Bank AG as his investigation into alleged Russian meddling in U.S. elections widens.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Google to hire thousands of moderators after outcry over YouTube abuse videos

      Google, which owns YouTube, announced on Monday that next year it would expand its total workforce to more than 10,000 people responsible for reviewing content that could violate its policies. The news from YouTube’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki, followed a steady stream of negative press surrounding the site’s role in spreading harassing videos, misinformation, hate speech and content that is harmful to children.

    • Apple CEO backs China’s vision of an ‘open’ Internet as censorship reaches new heights

      Reading headlines from the World Internet Conference in China, the casual reader might have come away a little confused. China was opening its doors to the global Internet, some media outlets optimistically declared, while others said Beijing was defending its system of censorship and state control.

      And perhaps most confusing of all, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook stood up and celebrated China’s vision of an open Internet.

    • Defiant artists cry foul over censorship, vow not to be silenced

      A GROUP of young Malaysian and Indonesian artists say they will not back down on their right to express themselves after their works were censored and allegedly tampered with at a major arts exhibition in Kuala Lumpur recently.

      The artists from Pusat Sekitar Seni (PSS) withdrew its participation in the Kuala Lumpur Biennale 2017 exhibition at the National Art Gallery a day before its official opening on November 23 after they claimed the show’s curator informed them that several elements in their exhibit had to be taken down.

    • How Russia-gate Rationalizes Censorship

      The Russia-gate hysteria has spread beyond simply a strategy for neutralizing Donald Trump or even removing him from office into an excuse for stifling U.S. dissent that challenges the New Cold War, reports Joe Lauria.

    • Cloudflare’s CEO has a plan to never censor hate speech again

      Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince hated cutting off service to the infamous neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer in August. And he’s determined not to do it again.

      “I’m almost a free-speech absolutist.” Prince said at an event at the New America Foundation last Wednesday. But in a subsequent interview with Ars, Prince argued that in the case of the Daily Stormer, the company didn’t have much choice.

      Cloudflare runs a popular content delivery network that specializes in protecting clients from distributed denial-of-service attacks. The Daily Stormer published a post mocking a woman who was killed during the white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia in August. That had made a lot of people angry at the Daily Stormer, attracting massive attacks on the site.

    • Home Security Company Says No One Linking To Its Website Is Allowed To Disparage It

      This isn’t even legal in this day and age, but hiding it in a bunch of words users will likely never read is a great way to fly under the federal law radar. This, of course, only lasts until someone points it out on the internet and, while linking to ADT’s site, points out the clause is stupid, the company is stupid for deploying it, and the company’s lawyers are just as stupid for suggesting it/signing off on it.

      To be fair, ADT’s stupid non-disparagement clause isn’t part of the update scriptjunkie received. The moronic “promise” it extracts from site linkers dates back to at least 2014. It predates the federal law banning these clauses, which makes its pre-2016 existence somewhat explicable. But that doesn’t explain why it hasn’t been removed to make the Terms of Use federal law-compliant.

      Considering the amount of effort it would take (next to none) to remove this from the site’s Terms of Use, its continued existence is perplexing, especially in light of ADT’s repeated promise to remove the clause. At the time of this writing, more than 16 hours have passed since ADT promised to remove it and the clause still exists on the Terms of Use page. Even more perplexing is ADT’s explanation/apology, which is actually neither.

    • Angry, Threatening Lawyer Fails To Sue As Promised, Drops His SLAPP Suit

      A couple weeks back we wrote about the somewhat odd decision making of an angry lawyer named Jason Lee Van Dyke, whom we’d also written about years ago for some spectacularly bad lawyering. This year he’s also gotten really really pissed off at three (very different) people: Ken White, Asher Langton and Talib Kweli. The first two have appeared on Techdirt many times. Ken is a criminal defense and First Amendment lawyer. Asher has an astounding ability to sniff out frauds online. And Talib is a musical genius among other things. But, Van Dyke has spent months angrily lashing out about them on the internet (well, the lashing out at Kweli was more recent).

      When we last checked in on him, he was threatening to add those three individuals — plus the Huffington Post — to a fairly obvious SLAPP suit that he had already filed in Texas against an Ohio-based publication called the Mockingbird. Lots of people had pointed out that Texas has a fairly robust anti-SLAPP law, which could lead to Van Dyke having to pay up — and Van Dyke’s response (not atypical from his earlier responses) was to lash out and threaten more lawsuits and to promise violence if he was sanctioned.

    • Facebook and Apple praise China as Beijing introduces strict new censorship, data storage laws

      Top executives at Apple Inc and Facebook Inc managed to find something to praise Beijing for at an internet conference in China this week, even as its Communist Party rulers ban Western social media and stamp on online dissent.

      China’s World Internet Conference attracted the heads of Google and Apple for the first time to hear China vow to open up its internet – just as long as it can guard cyberspace in the same way it guards its borders.

    • Cook Kisses the Ring

      Tim Cook is desperate to hold onto any remaining scraps of the China market. That’s a boon for the country’s model for the internet, and the local players who dominate.

    • Tim Cook touts privacy, security at Chinese conference promoting internet censorship
    • The CEOs of Apple and Google spoke at a conference that critics say makes them ‘complicit actors in the Chinese censorship regime’
    • Apple CEO Tim Cook Brushes Off Senators, Taunts Activists On Chinese Censorship
    • Apple CEO Tim Cook Speaks at Chinese Internet Conference, Praises Partners’ ‘Vision’ for ‘Openness’
    • Apple’s Tim Cook says Developers Have Earned $17 Billion From China App Store
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • German Government Official Wants Backdoors In Every Device Connected To The Internet

      The US Department of Justice is reviving its anti-encryption arguments despite not being given any signals from the administration or Congress that undermining encryption is something either entity desires. The same thing is happening in Germany, with Interior Secretary Thomas de Maizière continuing an anti-encryption crusade very few German government officials seem interested in joining.

    • New Orleans Police Watchdog Warns of Dangers of Expanded Surveillance

      In a stern warning to the New Orleans City Council, the city’s top police watchdog has criticized a plan to expand surveillance without also expanding oversight. The Office of Independent Police Monitor (OIPM) warned that the city is on a path that may lead to abuse, racial discrimination, and fiscal waste.

    • Court Recognizes First Amendment Right to Anonymity Even After Speakers Lose Lawsuits

      Anonymous online speakers may be able to keep their identities secret even after they lose lawsuits brought against them, a federal appellate court ruled last week.

      The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Signature Management Team, LLC v. John Doe is a victory for online speakers because it recognized that the First Amendment’s protections for anonymous speech do not end once a party suing the anonymous speaker prevails. Instead, the court ruled that revealing anonymous speakers’ identities has far-reaching consequences that must be weighed against opposing parties’ and the general public’s rights to learn speakers’ names once they’ve been found to have violated the law. This is good news, because many vulnerable speakers will self-censor unless they have the ability to speak anonymously and thereby avoid retaliation for their whistleblowing or unpopular views.

      The ruling, however, is not all good news for anonymous speech. The test announced by the court sets unmasking as the default rule post-judgment, placing the burden on the anonymous party to argue against unmasking. Additionally, the court expanded the competing First Amendment right of access to judicial proceedings and records—which EFF strongly supports—to a novel right to learn the identity of an anonymous litigant—which we do not support.

    • Top EU Privacy Campaigner Says He Wants Lots Of Money For ‘None Of Your Business’

      In the long-term, it has even more ambitious plans. For example, widening the scope of the noyb organization from privacy to other digital rights such as net neutrality, or related consumer rights, and to set up national NGOs in countries that currently lack local initiatives. Of course, this all requires money. Noyb estimates that it needs a minimum of €250,000 in the start-up period of 2018, while the regular operating costs will be around €500,000 per year. It is hoping a combination of sponsorship and crowdfunding will provide those amounts.

      Raising money will probably be the organization’s biggest challenge. After all, Schrems has shown more than once that he can take on the biggest Internet companies and win. As with those victories, it’s important to note that the legal framework that noyb intends to use may be purely European, but the global nature of the Internet and the companies that serve it means the impacts of any successful legal actions are likely to be felt worldwide.

    • Nadine Dorries admits to unlawful data privacy in her offices

      Reacting to Nadine Dorries’ admission on Twitter that she routinely gives access to her personal Parliamentary accounts to interns, Jim Killock said:

      “On the face of it, Nadine Dorries is admitting to breaching basic data protection laws, making sure her constituents’ emails and correspondence is kept confidential and secure. She should not be sharing her log in with interns.

      “More worryingly, it appears this practices of MPs sharing their log ins may be rather widespread. If so, we need to know.

    • NSA, DOJ Still Aren’t Letting Defendants Know They’re Using Section 702 Evidence Against Them

      The NSA has never taken its evidentiary obligations seriously. The agency is supposed to inform the court and defendants if surveillance-derived evidence is being used against them. (And it’s actually supposed to hand over the evidence as well.)

      This just doesn’t happen. The NSA encourages parallel construction to obscure the true source of evidence used in court cases. The FBI’s access to Section 702 collections makes this much easier. It allows the FBI to present NSA evidence as its own, heading off any scrutiny of the NSA’s programs and collection methods.

      The NSA was always supposed to hand over this information. It’s been mandatory for years. But it doesn’t. After it was reported the NSA has misled none other than the Supreme Court of the United States about its fulfillment of evidentiary obligations, the agency briefly began complying with the law. It issued five notices in the span of a year (2013-2014) before going dark again.

    • Four Aadhaar linking deadlines you should not miss
    • Facebook launches a version of Messenger for young children

      Now Facebook is creating a pipeline for children to become regular users of its products, starting as young as six years old, by claiming to offer an alternative better than what it exists today.

    • You thought targeted Facebook ads were bad for privacy? Wait until you see cross-screen addressable ads…

      Addressable TV employs the same techniques that allowed Cambridge Analytica to target Facebook users with pinpoint precision. A company analyzes viewer data gathered from digital set-top boxes to build up a detailed profile of each household. It can then combine that information with data that it buys from other sources about people living at the address where the set-top box is located. Putting this all together, data analysis companies try to work out what kind of ads will work best for each household. Because the TV transmission is based on set-top boxes, it is then possible to send tailored ads to single households – what is called “one-to-one” advertising in the industry – rather than to everyone watching a broadcast, as in traditional TV advertising.

    • Contactless ticketing set to explode over next 5 years

      The number of mobile users adopting NFC ticketing will exceed 375 million by 2022, up from an estimated 122 million globally in 2017, according to a new report from Juniper Research.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Flash mob by Muslim girls irks social media moral cops

      It seems three burqa clad girls who participated in a flash mob organised as part of the AIDS day awareness programme of health department in Malappuram, are latest victims of the ‘Moral police’ attack in social media platforms.

    • A Dubious Arrest, a Compromised Prosecutor, a Tainted Plea: How One Murder Case Exposes a Broken System

      The case of Demetrius Smith reads like a preposterous legal thriller: dubious arrests, two lying prostitutes, prosecutorial fouls and a judge who backpedaled out of a deal.

      It also delivers a primer on why defendants often agree to virtually inescapable plea deals for crimes they didn’t commit.

      ProPublica has spent the past year exploring wrongful convictions and the tools prosecutors use to avoid admitting mistakes, including an arcane deal known as an Alford plea that allows defendants to maintain their innocence while still pleading guilty. Earlier this year, we examined a dozen such cases in Baltimore.

    • Why America Fails at Gathering Hate Crime Statistics

      In the early hours of June 5, 2015, Gary Bravo was leaving Sammy T’s in downtown Huntsville, Alabama. The club was hosting a gay night because the last of the city’s few gay bars had closed and some downtown bars were picking up the slack.

      As Bravo walked out with two co-workers, they encountered a group of young men. One grabbed Bravo’s friend, and Bravo intervened. The next thing he remembers, someone spun him around, and he was on the ground being punched and kicked while his attackers shouted homophobic slurs. Faggot. Cocksucker.

      “A couple more hits and I would have ended up being brain dead,” he recalled.

    • Malta: Suspects Arrested over Murder of Anti-Corruption Journalist

      In Malta, police have arrested at least eight people in connection with the assassination of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who died in October when a powerful bomb planted in her car exploded near her home. Police will have 48 hours to question the suspects before either charging or releasing them. Galizia was known for her work exposing corruption, tax evasion and organized crime.

    • Sikh youth immolates self at Delhi railway station while passersby film incident

      A 20-something youth set himself afire at a railway station in Delhi, his charred body remained at the platform for over three hours- and all the passersby did was videotape the whole incident.

    • Are Rhode Island Police Implementing Illegal Traffic Ticket Quotas?

      Nobody likes getting pulled over by the police, but when even the police officers making the stops are doing it against their will, something is seriously wrong.

      Welcome to the world of traffic ticket quotas.

      Before Thanksgiving, amid news reports that some police departments in the state were requiring, or strongly recommending, that their officers issue a certain number of traffic tickets each time they were on patrol, the ACLU of Rhode Island warned departments that they faced legal action if they continued the practice. Rhode Island is one of a number of states that has a statute prohibiting law enforcement from implementing ticket quotas as well as arrest quotas.

    • Judge Hands Back $92,000 Taken From Musician By Cops For Failing To Buckle His Seatbelt

      With all apologies to Parhamovich — who got screwed by the civil asset forfeiture system — Wyoming law enforcement couldn’t have asked for a better mark to come passing through their state. Parhamovich disavowed ownership of the money and signed a waiver stating the same thing. That’s a perfect storm of complicity.

      But while we’re still being fair, most Americans aren’t aware law enforcement officers regularly engage in pretextual traffic stops for the sole purpose of warrantless searches and seizures. According to the musician, the cops made it sound like cash was just another form of illegal contraband.

    • Security Researcher Held In Jail For 8 Months Because He Wrote An Angry Blog Post, Released For Now

      Over the past month or so we’ve written a few times about security research Justin Shafer. As you may recall, he first came to our attention, when the Justice Department decided to subpoena the identities of five Twitter users because Shafer had tweeted a smiley emoji at them. No, really. I’m not exaggerating. That’s literally what happened. Shafer saw some Twitter users discussing a case totally unrelated to his own, tweeted an emoji, and the DOJ is demanding the identity of those he tweeted the emoji at.

      [...]

      Of course, immediately after that it also talks about how he can use a computer, but all usage will be monitored. It’s a bit confusing, but it appears that he can use his own computer in very limited ways, if it has monitoring software, but cannot use other computers. And he’s barred from social media (Facebook, Twitter). He’s allowed to blog, if the blog posts “comply” with the rest of the release conditions — including not “providing identifying information” on the people he’s accused of “cyber stalking” or encouraging or inviting “others to contact or harass such persons.” And, generally speaking, it’s probably a good idea for him to refrain from such activity whether or not it was a condition of getting freed.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Democrat asks why FCC is hiding ISPs’ answers to net neutrality complaints

      With a vote to eliminate net neutrality rules scheduled for December 14, the Federal Communications Commission apparently still hasn’t released thousands of documents containing the responses ISPs made to net neutrality complaints.

      The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) request in May of this year for tens of thousands of net neutrality complaints that Internet users filed against their ISPs and for the ISPs’ responses to those complaints. The FCC initially stalled in releasing all of the complaints, saying it would be too “burdensome” for FCC staff. The commission eventually complied with some portions of the request and released more than 60,000 pages worth of consumer complaints.

    • New York AG Provides Tool To Help You Check If Your Name Was Used To Support Killing Net Neutrality

      So we’ve noted several times now how the FCC’s open comment period for its Orwell-inspired “Restoring Internet Freedom” net neutrality proceeding was simply awash in all manner of fraud. From bots that filled the comment proceeding with bogus support from fake or even dead people, to fake DDoS attacks intended to downplay the wash of angry users that flooded to the agency’s website in protest. All of this stuff is more than likely to pop up in the inevitable lawsuits that are filed in the new year after the net neutrality repeal formally hits the federal register.

    • Ajit Pai Attacked Hollywood & Silicon Valley Because Even Republicans Are Against His Net Neutrality Plan

      We were mystified last week when FCC chair Ajit Pai decided to attack both Hollywood and Silicon Valley because some (not all) people in both communities have spoken out against his plans to gut net neutrality. The attacks were weird on multiple levels. Regarding Hollywood, the comments were strangely personal — picking out a list of entertainers, often taking their comments out of context, and attacking them in very personal ways. It was, to say the least, unbecoming of an FCC chair to directly pick on entertainers for voicing their opinions. The attacks on Silicon Valley were… even stranger. First, he claimed that the demand to keep net neutrality was really a ploy by the largest internet companies (i.e. Google & Facebook) to keep their dominant position. But that ignores the fact that without net neutrality, they’re well positioned to further entrench their position. More importantly, it totally ignores the fact that neither Google nor Facebook have been strong advocates of net neutrality (and, in many cases, have pushed back against net neutrality).

    • FCC won’t delay vote, says net neutrality supporters are “desperate”

      The Federal Communications Commission will move ahead with its vote to kill net neutrality rules next week despite an unresolved court case that could strip away even more consumer protections.

      FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says that net neutrality rules aren’t needed because the Federal Trade Commission can protect consumers from broadband providers. But a pending court case involving AT&T could strip the FTC of its regulatory authority over AT&T and similar ISPs.

      A few dozen consumer advocacy groups and the City of New York urged Pai to delay the net neutrality-killing vote in a letter today. If the FCC eliminates its rules and the court case goes AT&T’s way, there would be a “‘regulatory gap’ that would leave consumers utterly unprotected,” the letter said.

    • The F.C.C. Wants to Let Telecoms Cash In on the Internet

      The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission wants to let Comcast, Verizon and other broadband companies turn the internet into a latter-day version of cable TV, in which they decide what customers can watch and how much they pay for that content.

    • Charter brags about big speed boost—after saying Title II stalled investment

      Charter Communications is really excited to tell you about all its new broadband network investments.

      “Increasing Flagship Broadband Speeds; Giving Customers More For Less,” is the title of the company’s latest announcement on this topic. The second-largest cable company in the US has increased its standard download speed from 60Mbps to 100Mbps—”at no extra cost to our customers”—while providing speeds of 200Mbps or 1Gbps in some markets. Gigabit service is available in “Oahu, Hawaii with additional markets to be launched in the weeks ahead,” Charter said.

  • DRM

    • Suppressing The Concerns Over HDCP Content Protection For Intel’s Linux DRM Driver

      Last week I wrote about a Google engineer working on HDCP content protection support for Intel’s Direct Rendering Manager driver on Linux that is also obviously open-source. Understandably, that raised concerns by free software purists not wanting to potentially lock-down their system in any manner to playback protected content on their systems.

      HDCP / content protection / Digital Rights Management remains a very polarized topic for Linux users as can be seen by looking at the 65+ comments to last week’s article about the Intel i915 Direct Rendering Manager driver bits for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection.

      One user and developer concerned about the possibility of HDCP restricting their rights had inquired on the Intel graphics mailing list. He was seeking to have a Kconfig switch for this HDCP code so it wouldn’t even be compiled into their distribution’s kernel.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • ResearchGate CEO denies scraping accounts from rival site to generate sign-ups

        Ijad Madisch, co-founder and CEO of ResearchGate – the so-called Facebook for scientists – shot down an accusation about a questionable way it may have acquired users in the past. The question was raised by a panel moderator, TechCrunch’s Mike Butcher, at the Disrupt Berlin 2017 conference this morning.

        According to Butcher’s multiple sources, ResearchGate had scraped rival Academia.edu in order to spam their users in an effort to get them to sign up to ResearchGate.

      • Why is it so difficult to the make the case against counterfeiting (or does it just seem so)?

        Moral arguments, equating counterfeiting with stealing, do not seem to go very far with swathes of certain populations (have you had a talk about counterfeiting with a millennial lately?). Criminalizing counterfeiting, and the penal sanctions that go with it, may carry some weight, especially against the middlemen who import and then distribute the counterfeit goods. But the criminal sanction reaches only a small number of offenders. So what strategic measures are left? The United States Chamber of Commerce has chosen to appeal to consumer self-interest, as witnessed in a recent piece written by Kasie Brill, executive director of the Global Brand Council for the U.S. Chamber’s Global Innovation Property Center (GIPC) (“Count Out Counterfeits this Holiday Season: Top Ten Tips to #ShopSafe “).

      • Coalition Against Piracy Wants Singapore to Block Streaming Piracy Software

        The recently-formed Coalition Against Piracy, which counts Disney, Fox, Sony, HBO, NBCUniversal, BBC Worldwide and the Premier League among its members, is demanding greater action against illicit streaming. The powerful group has called on the government in Singapore to not only block ‘pirate’ streaming software but also unlicensed streams from entering the country.

PTAB, Which Invalidates Software Patents, is Still Under Attack Using Lies From Sites Like Patently-O

Posted in America, Patents at 5:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Trolly-O Patently-O

Summary: In an effort to put an end to inter partes reviews (IPRs), which basically reassess the potency/legitimacy of granted US patents, the patent microcosm promotes the canard of patents as “rights” and “property”

THE PTAB has helped put an end to most software patents in the US. In fact, the USPTO now makes it a lot harder to pursue software patents and already-granted US patents get invalidated every day. This is a good thing. Except for the patent microcosm…

Found via this tweet was yesterday’s article about a fashionable new trick for dodging Section 101 and somehow patenting software, essentially by tying computer code to “a car” or something along those lines. “To answer that,” the article said, “and other questions about Autonomous Drive Systems (ADS), we looked at both acquisitions and patents to get a better grasp on where the industry is headed.”

Well, it is certainly trying to make a patent pool out of the mere act of driving, which has over a century of prior ‘art’ (people who actually drive). I already developed some software intended to automate driving and there’s nothing in it which wasn’t already attempted a long time ago. Computer vision is just a branch of computer science and/or mathematics. There’s no room for patents there. Any patents in that area would just stifle/slow down programmers.

The patent microcosm is trying hard to kill PTAB, for the very fact is that PTAB helps end software patents. It even invalidates patents which were granted before Alice.

Several different strategies have been used in an effort to weaken if not altogether eliminate PTAB. One such strategy was misuse of tribal immunity in the US. Josh Landau from CCIA has just revisited the subject. Last night he wrote:

At the House Judiciary Committee’s IP Subcommittee hearing on sovereign immunity, Chairman Issa had a simple request for Phil Johnson, one of the witnesses—to, for the record, “look at the various off-ramp possibilities” for PTAB proceedings. An off-ramp is a way for a patent owner to take their patent and amend it in front of a patent examiner, instead of defending the validity of their claims in an inter partes review (IPR).

Given the factual errors I found in Mr. Johnson’s testimony, I decided to take Chairman Issa up on his request and look at off-ramps in PTAB proceedings. Not a new off-ramp—the ones that already exist and are already being used.

Legislation appears to be on its way to void such tribal immunity and a Federal judge has already ruled against it. But don’t expect the anti-PTAB lobby to rest. Sites like Watchtroll and IAM continue to perpetually attack PTAB and so does Patently-O, which as recently as yesterday (and days beforehand) promoted anti-PTAB papers to influence SCOTUS. It’s not surprising; this anti-PTAB blogger used to attack PTAB almost every day and this latest paper that he links to comes from some dodgy company whose Web site does not even list any services and was generated in a rush using GoDaddy tools. Ron Katznelson’s abstract says:

This paper shows that the Framers empowering Congress to act by “securing for limited Times to … Inventors the exclusive Right to their … Discoveries” understood that the exclusive patent right is not “granted” but is a preexistent right emanating from the inventor – not from Congress. This exclusive right is only secured by statute, as part of the patent bargain in exchange for the inventor’s public disclosure of the invention. Therefore the right adjudicated in administrative validity review of issued patents is a “private right.” It is shown that the notion of post-issuance administrative “error correction” is fiction, as it overlooks the irreversible and uncorrectable exchange of rights upon patent issuance. It is concluded that only Article III courts can extinguish such private rights and that arguments advanced by proponents of post-issuance administrative patent revocation are therefore deficient in supporting the constitutionality of such proceedings.

The abstract alone mentions the word “rights” 5 times, but patents are not rights. That’s just that old and tired canard from Patently-O.

In other news, yesterday came this update regarding Axon/TASER. It’s about the “‘950 Patent [which] is asserted against WatchGuard in a patent infringement lawsuit pending in the U.S. District Court in Kansas.”

This press release [1, 2] says that the USPTO rejected a request to review the patent. Quoting the press release:

Digital Ally, Inc. (NASDAQ: DGLY) today announced that the United States Patent Office has rejected the request of Enforcement Video, LLC (d/b/a WatchGuard Video) to institute an inter partes review (“IPR”) on U.S. Patent No. 9,325,950 (“the ‘950 Patent”). The ‘950 Patent is asserted against WatchGuard in a patent infringement lawsuit pending in the U.S. District Court in Kansas. The lawsuit also involves U.S. Patent Nos. 8,781,292 (“the ‘292 Patent”) and 9,253,452 (“the ‘452 Patent”), the same two patents asserted against Axon Enterprise, Inc. (“Axon,” formerly known as TASER International, Inc.). Digital’s lawsuit against WatchGuard claims infringement of these three patents by WatchGuard’s VISTA WiFi® body camera and its 4RE® Digital HD Panoramic In-Car System. Digital is seeking both damages and an injunction preventing the sale of these products.

This comes to (once again) demonstrate that PTAB does not blindly invalidate everything. It helps assure patent quality, not take away the “rights” [sic] of so-called ‘inventors’.

Ericsson’s Chief ‘IP’ Officer Kasim Alfalahi Has Become a Parasite and Patent Troll in Avanci

Posted in Asia, Europe, Patents at 3:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Avanci is just one of many

Regulators should stop tech innovators from becoming patent trolls
Reference: Regulators should stop tech innovators from becoming patent trolls (article published September 11th 2017 regarding Avanci and it looks like it has since then been pressured to change the headline)

Summary: Trolls have ridden the latest wave of fronting for large corporations by taking their patents for so-called ‘assertion’ or ‘monetisation’ (trolling like MPEG-LA and many of Microsoft’s patent trolls)

TECHRIGHTS published many articles about Ericsson’s trolling by proxy. Ericsson now does this in Europe as well, even in London.

Last night we became aware that Ericsson’s chief IP [sic] officer, Kasim Alfalahi, had become a parasite and patent troll. He now hides under the name “Avanci” and pressures companies to pay ‘protection’ money. Latest victim? BMW. They got a settlement.

Alfalahi/Avanci then contacted the patent trolls’ lobby (IAM) for this puff piece. IAM gives him a platform as follows:

German car giant BMW has become the first automaker to take a licence with Avanci, the patent licensing platform for certain Internet of Things (IoT) industry verticals headed by former Ericsson chief IP officer Kasim Alfalahi.

[...]

Alfalahi, who was speaking to the IAM blog shortly after the deal was announced, admitted that putting the first agreement in place was particularly significant. He then added: “I think BMW decided to do the right thing to put this agreement in place knowing that they get 11 companies’ patent portfolios with just one signature.”

[...]

Despite Avanci’s collection of patents and the licensing expertise of Alfalahi and his team, they have been faced with an auto industry that is unaccustomed to the licensing practices of the mobile world and other tech sectors. Traditionally a complex web of cross-licensing agreements has covered the automakers and their universe of suppliers meaning that patent infringement disputes have been very rare.

Notice how IAM is virtually a tool/messenger for the troll here. This is very typical. On the same day (earlier on) IAM was whitewashing patent trolls again, this time in China. “A fair share of Chinese patent plaintiffs are individuals, but don’t call them trolls,” the headline said. But if these individuals make nothing at all and merely applied for patent, then yes, they are patent trolls. Here is how IAM put it:

Just as interesting as the 35% figure is how the Beijing IP Court contextualised it. The court-affiliated authors of the statistical report declared that the prevalence of assertions by individuals is the embodiment of ‘Mass Entrepreneurship and Innovation’, a policy slogan that is supposed to direct the government’s economic and innovation policies. An encouraging sign, in other words.

That policy is horrible; it encouraged the pursuit of many low-quality patents and then, as expected, it resulted in a surge of lawsuits. Only patent law firms/prosecutors will benefit from that in the long run. Meanwhile, Hong Kong would be wise not to imitate China’s patent gold rush. According to this post from several hours ago, changes are afoot, namely:

User testing for new patent system can be expected in early 2018. One implementation challenge will be that there are not enough technical people to do patent examinations in Hong Kong

The creation of an original grant patent (OGP) system is part of Hong Kong’s package of initiatives to turn itself into a technology and innovation hub.

China has made itself particularly attractive to patent trolls, serving as a cautionary tale to Hong Kong. Sites like IAM, fronting for trolls, are obviously not interested in technology but in litigation and shake-downs.

French Disgrace: Teachers at CEIPI Not Happy About Benoît Battistelli as Upcoming President of the CEIPI Administrative Board

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The French connection

The French connection

Summary: Battistelli, who is believed to be exploiting the Centre for International Intellectual Property Studies (CEIPI) in order to personally dominate UPC in France, is now disgracing CEIPI in France and also coming under fire for conspiring to patent seeds with help from the France-based Community Plant Variety Office (CPVR)

THE reputation of the EPO is very, very bad. People who are working in that professional field/domain cannot escape reality; they’re being exposed — occasionally in their own language too — to reports about the EPO. It doesn’t look good. Before Battistelli came the EPO was still regarded as world leader (as judged by yardsticks such as patent quality and workers’ salary etc.) and nowadays it’s better known for suicides, miscarriage of justice, and even corruption. From model employer it turned into nightmare employer.

“Battistelli wants to become ‘king’ of justice, EU-wide and beyond. It’s incredible!”Nowadays, the EPO is attacking justice itself and disgracing anything it touches. The EPO’s Boards of Appeal were sent to exile just a couple of months ago, in order to punish and/or terrorise judges. Watch how the EPO framed it yesterday; Some “news”, eh?

It looks possible that Battistelli will ruin another institution — one that we wrote about thrice since Friday. It looks like another Battistelli 'scam'. CEIPI is believed (by some) to be a temporary launching pad for a UPC role. Battistelli wants to become ‘king’ of justice, EU-wide and beyond. It’s incredible!

We have, thus far, seen only one article about it, in effect copying the late Friday ‘news’ (disclosure more-like) without exploring it futher. It said:

Battistelli succeeds António Campinos, who is also the current executive director of the EU IP Office and president elect of the EPO. Campinos will begin his five-year term at the EPO on 1 July 2018.

It doesn’t take a genius, based on the above alone, to see what’s going on here and sources close to the EPO say that “CEIPI teachers are not happy…”

We are trying to acquire more information about it; the above source is pretty reliable.

In other news from yesterday, an article showed up (behind paywall) which spoke about the CPVR ‘news’. We responded to that some days ago.

“Several prominent French politicians have already cautioned the Assembly, informing everyone there that Benoît Battistelli was doing irreparable damage to the image of the whole country.”“Already,” it says, “the EPO has authorised patents on naturally occurring products like tomatoes and broccoli even though the DNA remains a product of nature. Moreover, the EPO is ignoring latest advice made by the Commission which recommends not using patents on” such things…

The article also mentions a “move [which] came at a conference organised by the European Patent Office (EPO) and Community Plant Variety Office (CPVR) to look at intellectual property rights in the sector.”

As wrote about it before, it might be worth reminding readers that the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVR) — just like CEIPI — is based in France (Angers to be precise).

Several prominent French politicians have already cautioned the Assembly, informing everyone there that Benoît Battistelli was doing irreparable damage to the image of the whole country.

Unified Patent Court (UPC) is “Fata Morgana”

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 2:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Werner Herzog's Fata Morgana

Summary: Additional new comments which rebut false claims that the UK will enter the Unitary Patent — a case of wishful thinking and distortion by those looking to financially gain in the UK from UPC

TEAM Battistelli (top-level EPO management) and Team UPC don’t say much about the UPC anymore. It was very different a year ago.

Bristows’ Brian Cordery and Rachel Mumby are busy writing about something else (nothing to say about UPC lately) the Bristows staff at IP Kat continues to be rebutted in the comments (as usual). The UPC jingoism doesn’t carry water and people are noticing. “To sum it up,” said a comment the day before yesterday, “post Brexit stay of the UK in the UPC is a fata morgona…” [sic]

Here is the full comment:

To sum it up: post Brexit stay of the UK in the UPC is a fata morgona [sic], only held alive by those having a (big financial) finger in the pie.

I like the barely blip!

All the corresponding waffling coming from this side should stop. It is getting tiring.

There is also an interesting point raised in JJ’s plea before the committee:

“The judges and staff of the court will be exempt from national taxation on their salaries and from national insurance once the court applies its own equivalent tax and puts in place its own social security and health system, but neither exemption will apply to court staff who are British nationals or permanent UK residents.”

One of the reasons for not directly taxing salaries of staff of international organisations is to avoid the situation of a different salary for staff of different nationalities and/or working in different places of employment. This applies whether the staff is a citizen of the country in which he works or not.

JJ is thus implying that UK nationals and permanent UK residents will see their UPC salary taxed by HMG. Has anybody realised what an incongruity that is? It is another proof, if one needed one, that HMG is not prepared at all.

And yesterday came this reply:

And this in my opinion leads on to the even more interesting question as to what form of employment law will apply to the staff of the UPC.

The UPC will have its own staff regulations but has it been clarified what court or tribunal then has competence in the case of disputes concerning the application of these regulations.

Please don’t say that EU law applies here and that the EU Court has jurisdiction.
The UPC like the EPO is not an EU institution.
If it would be an EU institution then surely it wouldn’t need to have its own Protocol on Privileges and Immunities because the EU PPI would apply.

So can anyone solve the riddle: To what court or tribunal will UPC staff be able to apply for judicial review in the case of employment disputes ?

Nothing. As we noted here several times before, the UPC is envisioned as a law-making or law-enforcing body which itself operates outside the law and is open to endless abuse, such as nepotism. The UPC just needs to be buried. For good. It was a terrible idea all along, for various different reasons other than language differences.

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts