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

01.19.18

Links 19/1/2018: Linux Journalism Fund, Grsecurity is SLAPPing Again

Posted in News Roundup at 4:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • $25k Linux Journalism Fund

    Linux Journal’s new parent, Private Internet Access, has established a $25k fund to jump-start the next generation of Linux journalism—and to spend it here, where Linux journalism started in 1994.

    This isn’t a contest, and there are no rules other than the ones that worked for journalism before it starting drowning in a sea of “content”.

  • Private Internet Access and Linux Journal set up $25,000 fund to reward experienced and aspiring writers
  • NHS used Linux project to negotiate with Microsoft: claim

    Britain’s National Health Service appears to have used a project set up to create a Linux alternative for its employees’ smartcards — and later, hopefully, a desktop alternative to Windows — to bargain with Microsoft and obtain an enterprise-wide desktop deal.

  • Desktop

    • Introducing my new friend: a Slimbook

      I have been following Slimbook for some time now. As you probably know, they ship a KDE laptop that is very cool, with KDE Neon pre-installed. They have attended to a couple of events I have attended to so I have been able to test their laptops, get feedback from buyers and ask them questions directly. The fact that they are a Spanish company was a beautiful surprise, We do not have that many hardware integrators and vendors in Spain.

      But what definitely caught my attention was the fact that they pay a lot of attention to the software. They ship the laptops with Linux pre-installed. Ok, that is not new any more. But they do pre-install several different distros. Now, that’s uncommon. But news do not stop there.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation

    • Graphics Stack

      • Android Support Removed from Intel Graphics Driver Debugging Tool for Linux

        For those unfamiliar with intel-gpu-tools, it’s a collection of tools for GNU/Linux distribution that allows the debugging the official Intel graphics driver for Intel GPUs. Tools include a GPU hang dumping program, performance microbenchmarks for regression testing the DRM, as well as a performance monitor.

        The latest release, intel-gpu-tools 1.21, adds quite a bunch of changes, including automatic loading of DRM modules when opening a DRM device, much-improved GPU quiescing code to more thoroughly flush pending work and old data, as well as production support for the Meson build system while automake is still kept around.

      • X.Org Server Finally Adapted To Better Deal With 16:9 & 16:10 Displays

        In 2018 the X.Org Server will introduce better support for 16:9 and 16:10 ratio monitors!

        While 16:9 has been the most common aspect ratios for TVs and monitors for about the past decade and 16:10 ratio displays were popular in the early 2000′s, the X.Org Server is finally being adapted in moving past the time of being focused on supporting 4:3 aspect ratio CRT monitors.

    • Benchmarks

      • 16-Way Graphics Card Comparison With Radeon On ROCm, NVIDIA With Initial 2018 Linux Drivers

        Towards the end of December AMD quietly released ROCm 1.7.60 as the newest version of their Radeon Open Compute stack complete with their maturing OpenCL implementation. With the improvements there plus NVIDIA recently introducing their 390 Linux driver series (390.12 Beta currently), I ran some fresh Linux OpenCL GPU compute benchmarks on a variety of AMD and NVIDIA graphics cards for those curious how the current performance stacks up.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Photos App Improves Its Editing Tools

        The next stable release of GNOME Photos includes a number of core improvements, including new photo editing features. As a Shotwell alternative Photos is …Well, it’s getting there. It handles the basics well enough, letting you import and browse photos, sort them into albums, and share them via email.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Educational-Oriented Escuelas Linux 5.6 Distro Released with LibreOffice 6.0

        Based on the latest release of the Ubuntu-based and Enlightenment-focused Bodhi Linux operating system, Escuelas Linux 5.6 is powered by the Linux 4.14.13 kernel, which includes patches against the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, and comes with a bunch of up-to-date educational apps.

        These include the OnlyOffice 4.8.6 office suite (only for the 64-bit edition), Vivaldi 1.13, Chromium 63, Google Chrome 63, and Mozilla Firefox 57 “Quantum” web browsers, Geogebra 5.0.414 geometry, algebra, statistics, and calculus app, latest Adobe Flash Player 28 plugin, and the upcoming LibreOffice 6.0 open-source office suite.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat global survey finds field services operations bullish on emerging technologies

        For many industries, from transportation to utilities, manufacturing and more, field workers are pivotal to the success of business operations, the satisfaction of customers, and the growth of the bottom line. Field workers are now at the forefront of digital transformation where artificial intelligence (AI), smart mobile devices, the Internet of Things (IoT) and business process management (BPM) technologies have created new opportunities to better streamline and transform traditional workflows and workforce management practices.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Makes Progress On Their New Modularity Concept

          After abandoning their Fedora Server 27 Modular Edition work last year, Fedora developers interested in modularizing Fedora packaging have drawn up new plans that are now approved by the Fedora Council.

          At Wednesday’s Fedora Council meeting, the new Fedora modularization plan was approved. The goal outlined by “Objective: Fedora Modularization — The Release” is “Modularity will transform the all-in-one Fedora OS into an operating system plus a module repository, which will contain a wide selection of software easily maintained by packagers. This iteration of the Objective focuses on the second part — providing a wide selection software in various versions — while laying the groundwork for the first.”

          The new Fedora Modular plans no longer involve modularizing the entire distribution but rather “traditionally built packages” will remain and only components benefiting from modular features would be modularized. The components targeted are things like database servers, web servers, Node.js, etc, where users may prefer sticking to one particular version of a program and not upgrade until it’s end-of-life or has other particular reasons to want to move on to a newer version.

        • PHP version 7.1.14RC1 and 7.2.2RC1
    • Debian Family

      • Google moves to Debian for in-house Linux desktop

        Google has officially confirmed the company is shifting its in-house Linux desktop from the Ubuntu-based Goobuntu to a new Linux distro, the DebianTesting-based gLinux.

        Margarita Manterola, a Google Engineer, quietly announced Google would move from Ubuntu to Debian-testing for its desktop Linux at DebConf17 in a lightning talk. Manterola explained that Google was moving to gLinux, a rolling release based on Debian Testing.

      • Building packages with Meson and Debhelper version level 11 for Debian stretch-backports

        Enforce the build to pull-in meson from stretch-backports, i.e. a meson version that is newer than 0.40.0.

      • Not being perfect
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Wants to Stick to Older Nautilus for Desktop Icons in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

            As you may be aware, upstream GNOME team decided to remove the handling of desktop icons from the Nautilus file manager, moving it to the GNOME Shell user interface through an extension. The change will take effect with the upcoming GNOME 3.28 desktop environment, due for release on March 14, 2018.

            Now that Ubuntu switched to GNOME as default desktop environment, the change will affect all upcoming releases of the operating system, starting with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), which is currently under heavy development.

          • Slack comes to Linux as a snap

            Slack’s ambition to become the default, go-to place for employees chat to each other and link into hundreds of other applications to get work done is getting one more step up today by becoming available on a new platform. From today, Slack will be available as a Snap, an application package that’s available across a range of open-source-based Linux environments.

          • Slack now available as a Snap for Linux

            At the end of last year, the Linux desktop scored a huge win when Spotify became available as a Snap. If you aren’t familiar with Snaps, please know that they are essentially software packages designed to run as a container on any Linux distro. Not only does it make installing software packages easier for users, but it makes things simpler for developers too. Ultimately, Snaps have the potential to solve the big fragmentation problem in the Linux desktop community.

          • Slack Is Now Available as a Snap for Ubuntu and Other Linux Distros

            Canonical and Slack announced today that the popular Slack team collaboration and communication platform is now available as a Snap for Ubuntu and other Snappy-enabled GNU/Linux distributions.

            With the promise of making your working life simpler, more productive and pleasant, Slack is used by numerous organizations and businesses to increase the productivity of their employees. It’s an all-in-one platform that offers messaging, planning, calendaring, budgeting, code reviewing, and many other tools.

            “Slack brings team communication and collaboration into one place so you can get more work done, whether you belong to a large enterprise or a small business. Check off your to-do list and move your projects forward by bringing the right people, conversations, tools, and information you need together,” reads project’s page.

          • Canonical brings Slack to the snap ecosystem

            Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, today announced the first iteration of Slack as a snap, bringing collaboration to open source users.

            Slack is an enterprise software platform that allows teams and businesses of all sizes to communicate effectively. Slack works seamlessly with other software tools within a single integrated environment, providing an accessible archive of an organisation’s communications, information and projects.

            In adopting the universal Linux app packaging format, Slack will open its digital workplace up to an-ever growing community of Linux users, including those using Linux Mint, Manjaro, Debian, ArchLinux, OpenSUSE, Solus, and Ubuntu.

          • Want to Install Slack on Ubuntu? It’s Now Easier Than Ever

            You can easily install Slack on Ubuntu as a Snap application from the Ubuntu Software app. The popular app lets people chat and collaborate in realtime.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • SBC kit runs Linux on a quad -A53 i.MX8M SoC

      CompuLab released details and pricing for its “SBC-iMX8 Evaluation Kit.” The sandwich-style SBC includes an i.MX8M-based CL-SOM-iMX8 module, and provides WiFi, BT, GbE, USB 3.0, PCIe, HDMI 2.0, and more.

      Earlier this week when we reported on CompuLab’s CL-SOM-iMX8 compute module, there were only a few details on the board’s SBC-iMX8 Evaluation Kit. Now, Compulab has posted a product page and a price, which for single units including the COM, start at $415.

    • RF-enabled Raspberry Pi add-on brings Google Assistant to gizmos, speakers, and robots

      JOY-iT and Elector have launched a $42 “Talking Pi” RPi add-on that enables Google Home/AIY compatible voice activation of home automation devices linked to the Pi’s GPIO, and includes a mic board, PWM servo controls, and support for a 433MHz SRD radio.

      Elektor has begun selling a $42, open source voice control add-on board that is programmable via the Google Assistant SDK. Built by Germany based JOY-iT, and marketed by Conrad Business Supplies, the RF-enabled Talking Pi enables voice control of home automation equipment such as smart lights, power sockets, and other gizmos via addressable extensions to the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Jio is committed to use open source technology: Akash Ambani

    Speaking at the India Digital Open Summit 2018, Akash Ambani, Director of Reliance Jio Infocomm, said that open source is very important for his company.

    “The year 2017 was the tipping point for AR and VR globally. In India, AR and VR are in the initial stages of adoption but at Jio, we believe it will grow at a 50 percent compounded rate for the next five years,” Akash said.

    He also spoke on the evolution of artificial intelligence and blockchain.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • VMware and Pivotal’s PKS Distribution Marries Kubernetes with BOSH [Ed: It looks like Swapnil Bhartiya has been reduced to Microsoft propaganda and other openwashing puff pieces sponsored by proprietary software giants. We have given up on several writers who used to support GNU/Linux. Seeing their activity, it seems as though they ended up with neither gigs nor credibility (used to get far more writing assignments from LF, often for Microsoft openwashing).]
  • Licensing/Legal

    • Linux’s Grsecurity dev team takes blog ‘libel’ fight to higher court

      Open Source Security, Inc., the maker of the Grsecurity Linux kernel patches, suffered a setback last month when San Francisco magistrate judge Laurel Beeler granted a motion by defendant Bruce Perens to dismiss the company’s defamation claim, with the proviso that the tossed legal challenge could be amended.

      The code biz and its president Brad Spengler sued Perens over a blog post in June in which Perens said that using the firm’s Grsecurity software could expose customers to a contributory infringement claim under the terms of the Linux kernel’s GPLv2 license.

      Open Source Security contends that statement has damaged its business.

    • Israel’s Information and Communications Technology Authority Bows to Pressure to Comply with Affero GPL

      Under pressure from open source advocates, the Israeli Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Authority recently shared its first open source software, extensions made by the ICT Authority to the CKAN data portal platform to help make the platform usable in Hebrew.

      The CKAN software is an open source data portal platform used since 2016 by the ICT Authority to make Israeli government data open and available on its government database website. The CKAN software is licensed under the GNU AGPL Version 3 license, an “ultra-strong” open source license that requires users of modified versions of CKAN software to offer its source code, even in the absence of distribution, to users interacting with software over the Internet.

    • Xiaomi Violating GPL 2.0 License With Mi A1 Kernel Sources

      Xiaomi is in violation of the GPL 2.0 license of the Linux Kernel project by still not releasing the kernel sources for the Mi A1 Android One and has been publicly criticized on the matter by established Android developer Francisco Franco earlier this week. While the smartphone was released in September and the Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer’s official policy is to publicize kernel sources for its devices within three months of their market launch, the Android One edition of the Mi A1 remains undetailed in this regard. Mr. Franco — best known for his work on the Franco Kernel, one of the most popular custom OS cores in the Android ecosystem — had some harsh words for the company on Twitter, calling its laidback approach to publicizing the kernel sources for the Mi A1 “an embarrassment” for the open source community and the type of software it allows it to create its commercial devices in the first place.

  • Programming/Development

    • Hehe, still writing code for a living? It’s 2018. You could be earning x3 as a bug bounty hunter

      Ethical hacking to find security flaws appears to pay better, albeit less regularly, than general software engineering.

      And while payment remains one of the top rationales for breaking code, hackers have begun citing more civic-minded reasons for their activities.

      A survey of 1,700 bug bounty hunters from more than 195 countries and territories by security biz HackerOne, augmented by the company’s data on 900 bug bounty programs, has found that white-hat hackers earn a median salary that’s 2.7 times that of typical software engineers in their home countries.

      In some places, the gap is far more pronounced. In India, for example, hackers make as much as 16 times the median programmer salary. In the US, they earn 2.4 times the median.

Leftovers

  • China’s two-child policy has already stopped working

    When China officially ended its one-child policy in 2015, couples promptly heeded the call and had a lot more babies. Under its new two-child policy, China recorded 18.46 million births in 2016—the highest since 2000—with almost half of those babies having at least one older sibling.

    But in 2017, the number of live births fell 3.5% to 17.23 million from the year before, according to data released by the government. About half of them were second children in the family. The reason for the decline was attributed to a decrease in the number of women of fertile age and more women delaying marriage and pregnancy (paywall).

    [...]

    China’s working-age population has been falling since 2012, and the government warns of a “sharp decline” after 2030. A rapidly aging population will also put huge strain on the country’s social services.

  • Science

    • Using crumpled graphene balls to make better batteries

      Lithium metal-based batteries have the potential to turn the battery industry upside down. With the theoretically ultra-high capacity of lithium metal used by itself, this new type of battery could power everything from personal devices to cars.

    • Bullets and bombs on China’s high-speed rail network

      Christened Fuxing, which means “renaissance” or “rejuvenation” in Mandarin, the bullet trains will be able to cruise at 400 kilometres per hour and will replace the slower Hexie (“harmony”) locomotives on the nation’s sprawling 22,000 km high-speed rail network.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Heading Off Global Action On Access To Medicines In 2018

      At the dawn of 2018, political and health leaders must seize the growing momentum and opportunities to tackle the protracted challenges of access to medicines that undermines efforts to save lives and improve health as committed under the Agenda 2030 SDG [Sustainable Development Goals] by all UN member states.

    • Angered by high prices and shortages, hospitals will form their own generic drug maker

      A

      Angered by rising prices and persistent shortages of generic drugs, four of the nation’s largest hospital systems are forming a new, not-for-profit manufacturer.

      The new company plans to either directly make or subcontract manufacturing to combat “capricious and unfair pricing practices” that are damaging the generic drug market and hurting consumers, according to a statement from the four hospital groups — Intermountain Healthcare, Ascension, SSM Health, and Trinity Health, which together run more than 300 hospitals.

      “It’s an ambitious plan,” said Dr. Marc Harrison, chief executive officer and president of Intermountain Healthcare, which is leading the initiative, “but healthcare systems are in the best position to fix the problems in the generic drug market. … We are confident we can improve the situation for our patients by bringing much needed competition to the generic drug market.”

    • U.S. court invalidates J&J cancer drug patent, hitting UK’s BTG

      A U.S. administrative court invalidated a Johnson & Johnson patent on its blockbuster prostate cancer drug Zytiga, bringing rivals closer to selling generic versions and hitting shares in its British partner BTG Plc .

      The Patent Trial and Appeal Board said a Johnson & Johnson patent describing a method of administering Zytiga should not have been granted because the process it described was obvious.

      Wednesday’s ruling was a victory for U.S. generic drug company Argentum Pharmaceuticals LLC, which had asked the board to invalidate the patent in the hope of being able to bring its own version to market.

    • Senate committee approves Trump pick for Health Secretary who vowed to tackle ‘gaming’ of the patent system

      But, even if Azar is unlikely to push for radical reforms, his words – coming as they do from a former branded pharmaceuticals chief – reflect the extent to which drug prices, and especially market exclusivity for pharmaceuticals, are under the political spotlight in the US at present. Whether or not Azar clears the final hurdle to become Health and Human Services Secretary, that seems unlikely to change – and one day, perhaps not too far into the distance, that might mean we see developments that could have a significant impact on the market where many big pharma patent owners tend to make most of their money.

    • Industry Alliance Report: Companies Invest In AMR R&D, Need More Pull Incentives

      According to a press release of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), in 2016, 22 Alliance companies invested at least US$2 billion in research and development, and more than two out of three Alliance companies have strategies, policies or plans in place to improve access to their AMR-relevant products.

  • Security

    • CentOS Linux 7 and 6 Users Receive New Microcode Updates for Intel and AMD CPUs

      CentOS developers released new microcode updates for Intel and AMD processors for the CentOS Linux 7 and 6 operating system series to revert to the previous microcode update.

      CentOS Linux is an open-source, free, enterprise-class, and community-supported operating system based on and compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux. As such, it regularly receives new important security updates as soon as they are released upstream by Red Hat.

    • Ubuntu Preparing Kernel Updates With IBRS/IBPB For Spectre Mitigation

      Canonical has rolled out Spectre Variant One and Spectre Variant Two mitigation to their proposed repository with updated kernels for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS / 16.04 LTS / 17.10. These kernels with IBRS and IBPB added in will be sent down as stable release updates next week.

    • Canonical Invites Ubuntu Users to Test Kernel Patches for Spectre Security Flaw

      Canonical has released preliminary kernel updates to mitigate both variants of the Spectre security vulnerability in all supported Ubuntu Linux operating systems, including all official flavors.

      The company promised last week that it would release new kernel updates on Monday, January 15, 2018, for all supported Ubuntu releases. But it didn’t happen as they needed more time to thoroughly test and prepare the patches that would presumably address variant 1 and 2 of the Spectre exploit, which is harder to fix than Meltdown, so that it won’t cause any issues.

    • Purism Progress Report, Spectre Mitigation for Ubuntu, Malicious Chrome Extensions and More

      Canonical has made Spectre Variant One and Spectre Variant Two mitigation availble in Ubuntu Proposed with updated kernels for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, 16.04 LTS and 17.10. Those kernels will be in the stable release updates starting January 22, 2018. See ubuntu insights for more information.

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Security From Whom, Indeed
    • Firefox locks down its future with HTTPS ‘secure contexts’
    • EFF and Lookout Uncover New Malware Espionage Campaign Infecting Thousands Around the World

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and mobile security company Lookout have uncovered a new malware espionage campaign infecting thousands of people in more than 20 countries. Hundreds of gigabytes of data has been stolen, primarily through mobile devices compromised by fake secure messaging clients.

      The trojanized apps, including Signal and WhatsApp, function like the legitimate apps and send and receive messages normally. However, the fake apps also allow the attackers to take photos, retrieve location information, capture audio, and more.

    • Four Malicious Google Chrome Extensions Affect 500K Users
    • Latest Fedora 27 Linux Updated Live ISOs Ship with Meltdown and Spectre Patches

      Fedora ambassador and founder of the Fedora Unity project Ben Williams announced the release of a new set of updated live ISO images for the Fedora 27 Linux operating system.

      The F27-20180112 respin live installation images are now available, including the Linux 4.14.13-300 kernel with patches against the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, as well as all the latest software updates and security fixes.

    • Some thoughts on Spectre and Meltdown

      Contrast that with what happened this time around. Google discovered a problem and reported it to Intel, AMD, and ARM on June 1st. Did they then go around contacting all of the operating systems which would need to work on fixes for this? Not even close. FreeBSD was notified the week before Christmas, over six months after the vulnerabilities were discovered. Now, FreeBSD can occasionally respond very quickly to security vulnerabilities, even when they arise at inconvenient times — on November 30th 2009 a vulnerability was reported at 22:12 UTC, and on December 1st I provided a patch at 01:20 UTC, barely over 3 hours later — but that was an extremely simple bug which needed only a few lines of code to fix; the Spectre and Meltdown issues are orders of magnitude more complex.

    • Menacing Malware Shows the Dangers of Industrial System Sabotage

      At the S4 security conference on Thursday, researchers from the industrial control company Schneider Electric, whose equipment Triton targeted, presented deep analysis of the malware—only the third recorded cyberattack against industrial equipment. Hackers [sic] were initially able to introduce malware into the plant because of flaws in its security procedures that allowed access to some of its stations, as well as its safety control network.

    • 25 per cent of hackers don’t report bugs due to lack of disclosure policies

      One of the standout discoveries was that almost 25 per cent of respondents said they were unable to disclose a security flaw because the bug-ridden company in question lacked a vulnerability disclosure policy (VDP).

    • ‘Professional’ hack [sic] on Norwegian health authority compromises data of three million patients [iophk: "Windows TCO"]
  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • FBI Whistleblower on Pierre Omidyar and His Campaign to Neuter Wikileaks

      FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds asserts Pierre Omidyar decided to create The Intercept to not only take ownership of the Snowden leaks but also to continue his blockade against WikiLeaks and create a “honey trap” for whistleblowers.

      [...]

      Lee has also claimed that Assange is a “Putin fanboy” who doesn’t care “about government transparency if the government in question is Russia,” even though WikiLeaks has published information damaging to the Russian government while Putin was president. Lee also intimated that Assange may have a direct relationship to the Kremlin, an outlandish claim for which there is no basis.

      [...]

      Sibel Edmonds, FBI whistleblower and founder of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, told MintPress News that the FPF has a reputation for being a “very, very partisan organization and populated with ideologues.” She further asserted that the “number one reason” for the FPF’s decision was directly related to Wikileaks’ releases in 2016, namely the DNC leaks and the Podesta emails.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Facebook top choice for Philippines wildlife traders: Watchdog

      “This magnitude of commerce in live wild animals online is just mind-boggling,” said Serene Chng, TRAFFIC’s programme officer for South-east Asia.

    • Infiniti says it will go ‘all electric’

      Infiniti, the luxury brand of Japanese automaker Nissan, will start phasing out gas-powered vehicles in 2021 and switch to “all electrified” models, the maker’s new CEO Hiroto Saikawa said Tuesday afternoon.

      Making an appearance at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit — his first in the U.S. since succeeding Carlos Ghosn as Nissan Motor Co. CEO last April — Saikawa also suggested that the Euro-Asian Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance could look to add a fourth partner.

      “Infiniti will have a specific focus on electrification,” said Saikawa, adding, “We are trying to position Infiniti as the premier electrified brand” as part of the five-year Nissan business plan that will extend through 2022.

  • Finance

    • Corbyn on Carillion: we’ll end outsourcing ‘racket’ in rule change

      Labour will call a halt to the “outsourcing racket” exposed by Carillion’s collapse, by tearing up procurement rules to make the public sector the default choice for providing government services, Jeremy Corbyn has revealed.

      Carillion’s collapse has emboldened Corbyn to press home his message that Labour rejects the “dogma of privatisation”.

    • The Fall of Travis Kalanick Was a Lot Weirder and Darker Than You Thought

      A year ago, before the investor lawsuits and the federal investigations, before the mass resignations, and before the connotation of the word “Uber” shifted from “world’s most valuable startup” to “world’s most dysfunctional,” Uber’s executives sat around a hotel conference room table in San Francisco, trying to convince their chief executive officer, Travis Kalanick, that the company had a major problem: him.

    • Forget banks, in 2018 you’ll pay through Amazon and Facebook
    • Majority back continued single market membership after Brexit, new poll finds

      The majority of Britons would support remaining in the single market and customs union post-Brexit, a new opinion poll suggests.

      Some 60 per cent of those surveyed said they backed remaining in the single market, with 24 per cent neither agreeing nor disagreeing and 16 per cent opposed.

      The BMG Research poll for website Left Foot Forward found that 57 per cent said the UK should remain a member of the customs union, with 16 per cent said it should leave.

      The survey was carried out before French President Emmanuel Macron warned that a post-Brexit free trade agreement would not provide full access to the single market for financial services at the same level as that offered to members.

    • Power will always trump mutual interest in the Brexit talks

      Please use the sharing tools found via the email icon at the top of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email licensing@ft.com to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found at https://www.ft.com/tour.

      https://www.ft.com/content/7641d1f8-fc2e-11e7-9b32-d7d59aace167

      Politicians in London are looking on the bright side of the Brexit negotiations. The phase one deal in December showed agreement was possible and ministers have stopped issuing the empty threat that they were happy with “no deal”. In Germany last week, chancellor Philip Hammond described the negotiations as a “courtship”. Dangling the carrot of easy access to the British consumer in front of the EU27, an ally of the prime minister says “economics are going to come to the fore now”.

      The specific theory this official had in mind was one of constrained optimisation. Britain’s red lines are inviolable: it wants to be out of the single market, giving it regulatory freedom and immigration control; it wants to leave the customs union to allow autonomy in trading agreements; and it wants to end net contributions to the EU budget. Accepting those constraints, the optimisation part is for the EU27 to seek the best deal compatible with the UK’s stipulations.

      London envisages that economic considerations will dictate the answer. The result will be close to frictionless borders for goods but not people, mutual recognition of regulations and the UK continuing to sell services into the single market almost as now. Anything less would involve the EU shooting itself unnecessarily in the foot, it deduces.

    • Everything you need to know about the Brexit endgame in five minutes

      Things are going OK, right? We’ve got that first-phase agreement. Next they’ll talk transition and then a trade deal. Maybe everything’s going to be alright.

      Hah, you poor fool. No, we’re still screwed. Take a closer look at that first-phase agreement. It’s a tremendous fudge. It took the major problem at the heart of Brexit and kicked it into 2018.

      We’ve been given a hospital pass by our past selves?

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Here’s how Donald Trump changed social media

      US President weaponised Twitter, using it not just to reach the masses but to control news through bullying and distraction.

    • NBI: Case about search of journalist’s home should be handled behind closed doors

      The person in charge of the preliminary investigation, Markku Ranta-aho said that the police will request that the matter be handled in private and that the documents concerning the probe be confidentially sealed.

    • Newsweek says DA raided its offices for computer server information
    • Newsweek’s headquarters just got a visit from the police

      More than a dozen police showed up this morning at the office that serves as the shared headquarters for Newsweek magazine and IBT Media, which rebranded in 2017 as Newsweek Group, according to multiple sources who were present.

      The reason for the visit was not clear, but one employee said police were taking photos of the company’s servers.

      Employees said the police appeared to be from the NYPD, but a spokesperson for the NYPD said its officers were not involved. A spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney declined to comment.
      The office is at 7 Hanover Square in New York’s financial district. Police also visited the office in December, a former employee said. Employees were told that it was because a white substance had been mailed to Executive News Director Ken Li, which they were then told turned out to be a false alarm.

      Representatives for Newsweek Group did not immediately respond to questions.

    • Democrats Prepare Bill to Censure Trump over “Shithole” Comments

      On Capitol Hill, Democrats are preparing a bill that would formally censure Donald Trump over racist comments in which the president reportedly called African nations, El Salvador and Haiti “shithole countries.” The effort is being led by New York Congressmember Jerrold Nadler and Representative Cedric Richmond, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. It comes as several Democratic lawmakers have announced they will skip the State of the Union address on January 30 over Trump’s racist remarks. Among them are Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, Frederica Wilson of Florida, Pramila Jayapal of Washington, Maxine Waters of California and John Lewis of Georgia.

    • ‘Independent’ Watchdog’s Secret Funder: Conservative Small-Government Group

      When former Chicago City Council inspector general Faisal Khan launched his not-for-profit anti-corruption group close to two years ago, he insisted that it was independent and nonpartisan.

      At the same time, Khan refused to disclose who was funding the organization, which he called Project Six — a reference to the group of civic leaders who led the fight against Al Capone during Prohibition.

      Now, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times and ProPublica Illinois show almost all the money to launch Khan’s Chicago-based watchdog organization came from a right-leaning group that is leading a crusade against government regulations, state spending and labor unions in Illinois.

      The most recent federal tax filing for the Illinois Policy Institute shows it gave $623,789 to Project Six in 2016 — accounting for 98 percent of the group’s first-year budget. The records don’t reveal — and Project Six officials haven’t said — where the rest of its money comes from.

    • Trump Ends Protections for El Salvador

      El Salvador is the latest country targeted by the Trump administration’s termination of protections for people under TPS, which provides relief for migrants fleeing humanitarian crises, reports Dennis J. Bernstein.

    • The President and the Porn Star
    • Moscow Protests Leak Of Russian Embassy Bank Transfers Around 2016 U.S. Election

      The Russian Foreign Ministry is demanding that the United States stop the leak of confidential diplomatic information after a media report this week provided details of what it said were “suspicious” Russian embassy bank transfers.

      The Kremlin demand on January 18 came after the U.S. online outlet Buzzfeed reported that U.S. officials investigating allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election are studying bank transfers to and from the Russian Embassy in Washington before and after the November 2016 election.

      Buzzfeed said U.S. banks flagged a number of embassy bank transfers and reported them to U.S. regulators, as required by U.S. law, because they were large and looked “suspicious.”

    • FBI investigating whether Russian money went to NRA to help Trump

      The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency, two sources familiar with the matter have told McClatchy.

      FBI counterintelligence investigators have focused on the activities of Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA, the sources said.

      It is illegal to use foreign money to influence federal elections.

      It’s unclear how long the Torshin inquiry has been ongoing, but the news comes as Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sweeping investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including whether the Kremlin colluded with Trump’s campaign, has been heating up.

      All of the sources spoke on condition of anonymity because Mueller’s investigation is confidential and mostly involves classified information.

    • How Trump’s Base Inspired an International Racist Fiasco, Again

      Stephen Miller, the administration’s latest iteration of Official Screaming Person, flexed his White House muscles last week and made history in all the wrong ways. Everything that has gone down since “Shithole Thursday” — the collapse of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) negotiations, the real threat of a government shutdown and an eruption of unvarnished racist invective from the president of the United States — came about because Miller picked up the phone with one priority in mind: Play to the Trump base.

      Unspooling this pluperfect fiasco takes some doing. A week ago Tuesday, Donald Trump staged a bit of theater by not being demonstrably incapacitated by incompetence for 90 whole minutes during a meeting with members of Congress on immigration. The White House felt such a performance was necessary after Trump went on Twitter and accused the leader of a volatile nuclear adversary of having a small penis. Editorial pages from sea to shining sea were dusting off the text of the 25th Amendment again, so a good showing with the Congress members was pretty much required.

      During the entire Tuesday meeting, Trump was smiling, friendly and coherent. He was open to several legislative proposals offered by Democrats, including one for a clean DACA bill, to which he reacted enthusiastically — said enthusiasm being later erased “accidentally” from the transcript of the event. The press loved it. That night, most news stations led their evening broadcasts with some permutation of, “Wow, the president didn’t humiliate us all today!”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Marriott says it chose to stop posting on social media after China ban

      The Shanghai government had shut down Marriott’s Chinese website and mobile app for a week as punishment for a Mandarin-language survey sent to customers that listed Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau as separate countries, as reported by Reuters. There was backlash from the Chinese public as well. Marriott’s Instagram posts from a week ago are littered with comments like “get out of China” and “remember!people’s republic of china!only one!marriott hotels roll out of china!”

    • Facebook and Google outline unprecedented mass censorship at US Senate hearing

      Behind the backs of the US and world populations, social media companies have built up a massive censorship apparatus staffed by an army of “content reviewers” capable of seamlessly monitoring, tracking, and blocking millions of pieces of content.

      The character of this apparatus was detailed in testimony Wednesday from representatives of Facebook, Twitter, and Google’s YouTube before the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, chaired by South Dakota Republican John Thune.

      The hearing was called to review what technology companies are doing to shut down the communications of oppositional political organizations. It represented a significant escalation of the campaign, supported by both Democrats and Republicans, to establish unprecedented levels of censorship and control over the Internet.

    • YouTube and Google planning new anti-extremism technique: the ‘Redirect Method’

      Social media giants Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube appeared in front of the US Senate cyber-terror committee yesterday and everyone seemed very happy with the progress they have made in tackling extremist content.

      The session, which was entitled “Terrorism and Social Media: #IsBigTechDoingEnough?” was expected to be a grilling of the three platforms seen by many as being most responsible for the spread of extremist content online.

    • The problem with human moderators

      If Big Tech in 2018 already has a theme, it’s that social networks are passive platforms no longer. Since the new year, both Facebook and YouTube have stepped up with new guidelines and processes to manage — and in some cases police — content on their networks.

      All of this started well before the new year, of course. Twitter has been following through on a lengthy project to both clarify its content policies and take a more active role in saying who and what is allowed on its platform, most recently with its so-called “Nazi purge.” The current trend arguably started with Reddit, when then-CEO Ellen Pao pushed for tighter control of harassment and revenge porn on the site.

    • Philippines Trying To Shut Down Popular News Site For Reporting On President Duterte

      From Filipinos I’ve spoken to, they seem rightfully proud of this right to free speech. And they should be. But these things only matter if they’re actually respected. And there’s growing evidence that, under President Duterte, there’s little respect for such things. A few days ago, the news broke that the Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission was pulling the license of Rappler, a popular Filipino news source started by Maria Ressa. I was privileged to hear Ressa speak at a conference last summer (she was originally supposed to be a participant in a session that I was organizing, but it was much better having her speak separately about the challenges she was facing in covering news in the Philippines). Rappler has really done some amazing work under fairly challenging circumstances.

      And… it appears that those challenging circumstances are leading the government in the Philippines to try to shut them down. The official reason for pulling the license is the claim from the SEC that Rappler has violated rules concerning foreign ownership.

    • Bigoted Landlord Files Criminal Complaint Against Critic Who Called Him Bigoted

      In yet another example of how the UK’s government’s stated respect for free speech is continually undercut by its actions, a bigoted landlord is bringing charges against a YouTuber for calling him bigoted.

    • Iowa State’s Attempt To Violate Its Students First Amendment Rights To Cost State Nearly $400k In Damages

      In the early part of 2017, we brought you the story of an Iowa State University student group pushing for marijuana reform in the state that was being targeted by the university for trademark infringement after the group used some school iconography on t-shirts it developed for its cause. The whole episode was fairly bonkers, with the school initially approving the students’ use of the imagery, only to rescind that approval after Iowa House Republicans sent a letter to the school’s leadership questioning the decision. That sort of infringement of speech by a school and, in the background, by state legislators that really should have known better, was always destined to result in legal proceedings, given the enormous First Amendment implications. Well, as we reported, that trial ran its course, including an appeal, and was decided in the favor of the student group.

      While all of that was settled last year, what we didn’t know until recently is just how much taxpayer money would be paid out as a result of a public university and state legislators seeking, quite plainly, to infringe on perhaps the most sacred right this country enjoys. Now we have an answer to that question: at least $350,000.

    • EFF to Court: Requiring Universities to Ban Anonymous Online Speech Platforms on Campus is Counterproductive and Unconstitutional

      Requiring public universities to ban access to anonymous online speech platforms would undermine activism occurring on those campuses and violate the First Amendment, EFF argued in a brief filed on Thursday.

      Plaintiffs in the case, Feminist Majority Foundation et al. v. University of Mary Washington, claim that university officials violated federal anti-discrimination law by not taking appropriate steps to address threats and harassment directed at students, including messages posted on the now-defunct online platform Yik Yak.

      One way university officials could have prevented the harassment, according to plaintiffs, is by blocking access to Yik Yak. After a federal trial court dismissed their claims last year, the plaintiffs appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • A Bunch Of Politicians Who Complain About Trump’s Authoritarian Tendencies Just Gave Him 6 Years To Warrantlessly Spy On Americans

      As was widely expected after Tuesday’s close vote on cloture, the Senate officially voted to renew (in a somewhat expanded way) Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act by a vote of 65 to 34. That also means a few of those who voted against cloture switched over and voted for the program, including Senators Ted Cruz and Chuck Schumer. President Trump will almost certainly sign the bill shortly, despite confusing basically everyone last week by tweeting out complaints about the program, despite his White House vehemently supporting it.

      Trump’s confusion isn’t all that surprising. What is surprising is just how many people who have been complaining and warning about Trump made this possible. In the House, vocal Trump critics including Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell were among those who voted for this bill which, again, gives the FBI the power to spy on Americans without warrants via the collection of content (not metadata) swept up by the NSA. While defenders of the program keep insisting the program cannot be used to “target” Americans, they leave out that a ridiculous amount of American content is swept up into this collection, which can then be sifted through without a warrant, including a huge amount of communications of Americans.

    • Stasi files: scanner struggles to stitch together surveillance state scraps
    • After The ‘Octopus Incident’ White House Threatened To Stop ‘Menacing Logos’ From Spy Satellites

      Records released to William Pierce show that the fallout from the National Reconnaissance Office’s infamous “world-eating octopus” logo was enough for the White House to threaten veto power over future logos on spy satellites. Despite this warning to steer clear of controversy, the designers for the NROL-76 logo tried their best to sneak in a “Talladega Nights” reference – even resorting to Latin to get around copyright.

      In early May of 2016, someone within the NRO asked if the mission patch for the NROL-76 mission had been approved.

    • How License Plate Covers Would Protect Vulnerable Communities

      EFF is a strong supporter of S.B. 712, a California bill that would allow vulnerable communities to cover their license plates when parked. This provides a way for individuals to protect their confidentiality when visiting sensitive locations, such as religious sites of worship, medical facilities, and social support centers.

      Under current law, drivers can cover their entire vehicles, including the license plates, when parked. S.B. 712 simply says that you are allowed to cover just the plate when you are parked. This common-sense solution allows drivers to opt-out of unwanted data collection when they have reached their destinations, not unlike how installing an ad-blocker may prevent online advertisers from gathering your information.

      The threat to privacy is increasing as automated license plate readers (ALPRs) have made it easier for private companies to amass billions of records in commercial databases. This data can be used to track drivers in real time or to reveal their travel patterns and community networks.

    • Congress Just Passed a Terrible Surveillance Law. Now What?

      Both Democrats and Republicans deserve sharp criticism for continuing to allow the NSA to engage in mass, warrantless spying.

      Congress today missed a historic opportunity to reform an unconstitutional surveillance law, instead passing a version that makes it worse. Both Democrats and Republicans deserve sharp criticism for continuing to allow the NSA to engage in mass, warrantless spying.

      (You can see how your member of Congress voted here and here, so they can be held accountable.)

      The vote concerned Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act — a law disclosed by Edward Snowden that revealed the NSA had been spying on Americans in unprecedented ways. As a result of the expiration of this law, Congress needed to decide, for the first time since those revelations, whether to reform, reauthorize, or do away with the law altogether.

      For years, the government claimed that Section 702 was primarily used to stop foreign terrorists. In 2013, we learned that was a lie. The government uses the hundreds of millions of communications collected under Section 702 — which it gets directly from tech companies or by tapping into the physical infrastructure that makes up the internet — to access the sensitive information of Americans for purposes that have nothing to do with national security.

    • California Police Chiefs Misrepresent License Plate Privacy Bill

      EFF supports S.B. 712, a California bill that would allow drivers to cover their plates when they’re parked. This simple privacy measure would create an opportunity for drivers to protect sensitive information about their travel and whereabouts from mass collection by law enforcement and private data brokers.

      The threat is all too real. Police agencies have surveilled Muslims by collecting plates in parking lots at mosques. Police officers have used license plates of vehicles parked at gay clubs to blackmail patrons. Anti-choice activists are trained to amass license plates of doctors and patients parked at reproductive health centers. Immigration & Customs Enforcement plans to use private license plate databases, effectively dodging state restrictions on data sharing, as it ramps up its deportation efforts.

      The California Police Chiefs Association opposes our bill. This week, its lobbyists issued a “floor alert” to state senators that misrepresents how the bill would work.

    • EFF to NSA: you scammed your way to another six years of warrantless spying, and you’d better enjoy it while it lasts

      Last week, cowards from both sides of the aisle caved into America’s lawless spy agencies, and today bipartisan senators reprised that cowardice to ensure that the Senate would not get a chance to vote on amendments to the renewal of Section 702, the rule that has allowed the NSA to conduct mass, warrantless surveillance on Americans in secret, without meaningful oversight or limits.

      It was a crushing defeat for anyone who cares about civil liberties, the rule of law, and the Bill of Rights. In a stirring open letter, Electronic Frontier Foundation executive director Cindy Cohn (previously) gives us all the furious post-game analysis we need: people everywhere, of every political persuasion, are waking up to the dangers of the mass surveillance that the spies poisoned the digital world with, and their time is running out. More people than ever, from more walks of life, stood up for limits on Section 702, and that number will only grow from here on in.

    • Senate passes bill renewing internet surveillance program

      The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed a bill to renew the National Security Agency’s warrantless internet surveillance program for six years with minimal changes, overcoming objections from civil liberties advocates that it undermined the privacy of Americans.

      The legislation, which easily passed the House of Representatives last week, is expected to be signed into law by President Donald Trump by Friday.

    • NSA surveillance programs renewed by Senate

      With little debate, the US Senate voted 65 to 34 Thursday to renew the law authorizing key surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency.

      The programs, known as Prism and Upstream, allow the NSA to collect online communications of foreigners outside the US. Prism collects these communications from internet services, and Upstream taps in to the internet’s infrastructure to capture information in transit. Some communications from Americans and others in the US are collected in the process.

    • An Open Letter to Our Community On Congress’s Vote to Extend NSA Spying From EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn

      Today, the United States Congress struck a significant blow against the basic human right to read, write, learn, and associate free of government’s prying eyes.

      Goaded by those who let fear override democratic principles, some members of Congress shuttered public debate in order to pass a bill that extends the National Security Agency’s unconstitutional Internet surveillance for six years.

    • Senate passes bill to renew controversial NSA spying powers

      The bill was passed 65 to 34, and now moves to President Trump’s desk. He is expected to sign it into law. Earlier this week, a group of senators threatened to filibuster the bill, but lawmakers cleared a 60-vote hurdle earlier this week that allowed them to block the attempt.

      The bill allows for continued spying operations under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Critics charge that the bill, which renews 702 and powers National Security Agency spying, is nominally for foreign targets, but allows the government to sweep up American communications with few safeguards.

    • It Wasn’t Just Republicans — Democrats Also Voted to Shut Down Debate on Trump Administration’s Surveillance Powers

      A critical mass of Senate Democrats voted with Republicans on Tuesday to shut down any further debate on a bill that strengthens the government’s spying powers. The bill would renew a key surveillance authority for the National Security Agency until 2023 and consolidate the FBI’s power to search Americans’ digital communications without a warrant.

      The motion, which passed 60-38, virtually guarantees that the final bill will pass likely later this week and quashes any opportunity to debate whether protections should be added. Eighteen Democrats — including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who had previously proposed an amendment to restrict the FBI’s surveillance authority — voted in support of the motion. They were joined by 41 Republicans and one independent, Angus King, giving the pro-surveillance bloc the supermajority needed to push the bill forward. Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Dan Sullivan, R-Ala., did not vote.

    • US Senate Ends Debate on NSA’s Warrantless Mass Surveillance Proposal

      The bill in question doesn’t bode well for American citizens. Nor is it good news for anyone else on the planet, as the NSA conducts mass surveillance on a very large scale these days. The government agency was granted significant surveillance power decades ago, and it seems things have only gotten worse over time. This week, the US Senate moved a step closer to giving the NSA the right to spy on all American citizens in a virtually limitless and warrantless manner, which is shocking.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Facebook is a ‘living, breathing crime scene,’ says one former tech insider

      “Facebook is a living, breathing crime scene for what happened in the 2016 election — and only they have full access to what happened,” said Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google. His work centers on how technology can ethically steer the thoughts and actions of the masses on social media and he’s been called “the closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience” by The Atlantic magazine.

    • Tencent Widens Its Lead Over Facebook

      That entrenches the Chinese company among the global top five, well ahead of arch-foe Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Investors are betting that Tencent can lean on its billion-plus users and hit games to evolve into an advertising and entertainment titan along the lines of a Google or Facebook. Created almost two decades ago as a desktop messaging platform before morphing into one of the world’s biggest purveyors of video games, the argument is that its dominance of Chinese social networking also bankrolls an expansion into newer markets from video streaming to finance.

    • Tory youth tsar Ben Bradley backed police brutality

      A vice-chairman of the Conservative Party said that “police brutality should be encouraged” after the London riots, The Times can reveal.

    • Diversion Keeps Kids Out of the Criminal Justice System, but Too Many Police in New Jersey Fail to Use It

      Ending mass incarceration starts with keeping young people from being arrested in the first place.

      We’ve all seen something like this on TV or in an old movie: A parent arrives at a police station to pick up their child, who, instead of being arrested and charged with a crime, has just been given a stern warning and an opportunity to make amends.

      The technical term for this practice is diversion, and it’s a critical tool in ending mass incarceration. If we’re going to reduce the number of people we put behind bars, we can’t only focus on people who are incarcerated or who have already had extensive contact with the criminal justice system. We need to prevent that involvement in the first place. That starts in childhood with diversion.

      A forthcoming report from the ACLU of New Jersey, “Missed Opportunities: Youth Diversionary Programs in New Jersey,” delves into strategies to stop the criminalization of our youth, specifically programs that allow young people to avoid arrest for low-level offenses.

    • Appeals Court Says Accessing Data In A Way The Host Doesn’t Like Doesn’t Violate Computer Crime Laws

      The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled [PDF] that accessing publicly-accessible info in a way the hosting entity has said isn’t permissible isn’t a violation of the law. In this case, it’s a couple of laws, since Oracle’s bid to shut down a competitor involves two different states and two different computer crime laws.

      Oracle sued Rimini Street alleging a bunch of computer law-related violations after it continued to harvest data without Oracle’s explicit permission. The EFF, which filed a brief in this case backing Rimini Street, breaks down the details of the alleged violation.

    • Baltimore Judge Tosses Alford Plea, Rebuking Prosecutor

      In a hearing in Baltimore City Circuit Court today, a judge threw out Demetrius Smith’s conviction for a shooting he has long insisted he did not commit and chastised the prosecutor in the case for making several misrepresentations to the court.

      Judge Barry Williams said wiping the shooting conviction from Smith’s record was “in the interest of justice,” adding “there’s too much going on to leave it as is.”

      Smith rejoiced that after a nine-year odyssey through the justice system, he had finally cleared his name. The conviction, he said, “shouldn’t be on my record, because I’m innocent. Period.”

    • Macron-May talks: UK and France must put a stop to ‘systematic violation’ of Calais refugees, warn charities

      The UK and France must urgently put an end to the “systematic violation” of refugees in Calais, a group of charities has warned.

      In a letter shared exclusively with The Independent, eight aid organisations urged leaders Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron to uphold their commitment to human rights law, as conditions for the thousands living on the border become increasingly perilous.

      The group, which includes l’Auberge des Migrants, Help Refugees, Safe Passage and Utopia56, wrote to the leaders on the same day Ms May welcomed the French President to the UK-France Summit at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • .UK overseer Nominet abandons its own charitable foundation – and why this matters

      Nominet, which runs the UK’s domain-name registry, has abandoned its own charitable foundation, raising questions about the organization’s direction and accountability.

      In an email earlier this week, CEO Russell Haworth stunned members of the non-profit, public-interest outfit by announcing that he was withdrawing from the Nominet Trust – a foundation set up over a decade ago by Nominet’s board to deal with excess revenue from registrations of .uk domain names.

      “We’ve been working with Nominet Trust to think about how best to deliver public benefit,” Haworth wrote. “It became clear that the grant-giving, single funder model we set up in 2008 was not the most effective route to greatest impact moving forward. With that in mind, we have agreed that Nominet Trust should be free to attract other investors in order to fulfill their social tech ambitions.”

    • Senate panel approves FCC commissioner for full term

      The panel advanced the nomination in a 14-13 party-line vote on Thursday. Carr, a Republican, was nominated and confirmed in August to a partial term that was set to expire later this year.

    • FCC Won’t Redefine ‘Broadband;’ Move Could Have Worsened Digital Divide

      The FCC announced Thursday that it will continue to define home broadband as connections that are 25 megabits per second (mbps). The commission also established a new standard for mobile broadband as a connection of 10mbps or higher, and said it had rejected the idea—which it had floated last year—of labeling mobile internet service an adequate replacement for home broadband.

    • FCC admits mobile can’t replace home Internet, won’t lower speed standard

      Pai’s FCC has determined that mobile broadband is not a full substitute for home Internet services. The FCC says this even after previously suggesting that mobile Internet might be all Americans need. The FCC also won’t be lowering the speed standard that it uses to judge whether broadband deployment is happening quickly enough.

    • The first lawsuits to save net neutrality have been filed

      Attorneys general from 22 states filed a lawsuit on Tuesday to block the repeal of the rules. Mozilla, maker of the Firefox browser, also said it has filed a suit against the FCC, and several public interest groups have filed petitions in court.

      New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is leading the charge among the states, calling the FCC’s repeal “arbitrary and capricious,” according to a press release announcing the lawsuit. The suit also claims that the FCC “improperly and unlawfully includes sweeping preemption of state and local laws.”

    • Senate Push To Save Net Neutrality Needs Just One Vote, But You Still Shouldn’t Get Your Hopes Up

      While success here has long odds (though this shouldn’t discourage you from contacting your lawmaker anyway), the gambit does have the practical purpose of forcing AT&T, Verizon and Comcast’s lackeys in both houses to put their disdain for the public down on the public record. That’s going to prove particularly useful during the looming midterms, where net neutrality is very quickly becoming a wedge issue. That’s especially true among Millennial voters, who seem to have a more innate understanding of why letting Comcast run amok isn’t a particularly great idea.

      The entire effort again highlights the stupidity of viewing net neutrality through a partisan lens. Despite a healthy, competitive internet being in everybody’s best interest, ISPs have spent fifteen years successfully framing net neutrality as a partisan issue to help sow dissent and stall progress on meaningful rules. Survey after survey however have indicated that the concept has broad, bipartisan support among the public at large. Anger at being ignored will drive voter turnout, and lawmakers (as well as Ajit Pai, whose post-FCC political ambitions couldn’t be clearer) are going to figure that out the hard way.

      All of that said, there’s still plenty of ways to bring net neutrality back to the table should this effort fail. While it will take a while, the looming lawsuits have a solid chance at reversing the FCC’s repeal given the FCC’s numerous procedural and ethical missteps. A massive shakeup in Congress could also finally drive support for a real net neutrality law down the road, provided ISPs aren’t successful in passing their own, entirely bogus legislation first.

    • Mozilla, Consumer Groups Sue The FCC For Its Attack On Net Neutrality

      The Open Technology Institute also says it also filed its own lawsuit against the FCC early, hoping to ensure a favorable court selection during the Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) lottery. All told, four of the net neutrality lawsuits were filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, while the Free Press lawsuit was filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
      This is just the opening salvo in what will be a long-standing legal standoff between people who’d prefer the internet remain healthy and competitive, and ISPs eager to abuse a lack of competition in the broadband last mile to their own, additionally anti-competitive advantage. All of the lawsuits will attempt to prove that the FCC violated the Administrative Procedure Act by engaging in an “arbitrary and capricious” reversal of extremely popular policy without proving that the broadband market changed dramatically enough in just two years to warrant it.

      As we’ve noted previously, the lawsuits will also focus on how the FCC turned a blind eye to identity theft and comment fraud during the FCC’s open comment period, and efforts by some group or individual to try and downplay the massive public opposition to the FCC’s handout to the telecom sector. Expect more details on the origins (and potentially funding) of these efforts as the legal fight moves forward over the coming months and years. Though some ISPs surely won’t be able to help themselves, expect ISPs to try and remain on their best behavior for a while to avoid undermining their arguments in court.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Google inks patent deal with Tencent

      “We’re pleased to enter into a patent cross-license with Tencent. [...] ”

    • Trademarks

      • Trump DOJ Considering Challenging Brunetti Scandalous Mark Decision

        In Brunetti, the Federal Circuit extended Matal v. Tam, 137 S. Ct. 1744 (2017) to further reject the Lanham Act’s restriction on registration of immoral or scandalous marks — finding the limitation to be an unconstitutional restriction of free speech. (In Tam, the Supreme Court found the restriction on registering disparaging marks to be unconstitutional.)

        In this case, the USPTO is being represented by attorneys from the Department of Justice rather than the its own internal solicitors. The DOJ is considering requesting en banc rehearing and has now requested and received an extension to file its petition until February 12, 2018.

    • Copyrights

      • EFF to Court: Linking Is Not Copyright Infringement

        Playboy Entertainment’s lawsuit accusing acclaimed website Boing Boing of copyright infringement—for doing nothing more than reporting on a historical collection of Playboy centerfolds—is groundless and should be thrown out, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) told a federal court today.

        As EFF and co-counsel Durie Tangri LLP explain in a request to dismiss the lawsuit filed on behalf of Boing Boing owner Happy Mutants LLC, Playboy’s copyright claim seeks to punish Boing Boing for commenting on and linking to an archive of Playboy “playmate” centerfold images that a third party posted. The blog contained links to an imgur.com page and YouTube video—neither of which were created by Boing Boing. But courts have long recognized that simply linking to content on the web isn’t unlawful.

      • Happy Together Once More: The California Supreme Court and Congress Take Up The Question of Copyright in Old Music Recordings

        Federal copyright law doesn’t give artists and labels the right to control most ways music recordings are played in public. That’s how FM and AM radio stations work. That’s how stores playing soothing “don’t you want to buy something?” music work. And that’s how restaurants playing music at an uncomfortably loud decibel so you can’t talk to your friends work. But because older recordings aren’t covered by these laws, some copyright holders keep trying to use them to gain more control over how their recordings are played – something they’ve never been able to do.

        EFF just weighed in on one of these cases, in the California Supreme Court. In Flo & Eddie v. Pandora Media, we argued that state law, which governs sound recordings made before 1972, doesn’t include a right to control public performances of sound recordings, including radio play. If this sounds familiar, that’s because this fight has played out across the country over the past three years. The high courts of New York and Florida have already ruled that their own state laws don’t let pre-1972 copyright holders control public performances of their sound recordings.

      • Copyright, The First Wave of Internet Censorship

        When someone wants to remove speech from the Internet, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) notice and takedown process can provide the quickest path. This has made copyright law a tempting tool for unscrupulous censors. As content companies push for even more control over what gets posted online, it’s important to remember that any tool used to police copyright will quickly be abused, then adapted, to censor speech more widely.
        We’ve seen abusive DMCA takedown notices from a would-be Senate candidate, small businesses, and Ecuador’s President. We’ve also seen robots-run-amok and sending takedowns for public domain material and white noise. One disturbing trend involves businesses targeting bad reviews. The business, or a shadowy reputation management company acting on its behalf, copies the bad review and “publishes” it elsewhere on the Internet. The business then sends a DMCA takedown notice alleging infringement of the copied, and falsely backdated, review.

      • Playboy is suing Boing Boing – but linking is not copyright infringement

        Playboy’s lawsuit is based on an imaginary (and dangerous) version of US copyright law that bears no connection to any US statute or precedent. Playboy — once legendary champions for the First Amendment — now advances a fringe copyright theory: that it is illegal to link to things other people have posted on the web, on pain of millions in damages — the kinds of sums that would put us (and every other small publisher in America) out of business.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 24/5/2018: RIP Robin “Roblimo” Miller, Qt 5.11 Released

    Links for the day



  2. Walmart, Bank of America, Allied Security Trust (AST) and the Rush for 'Blockchain' Patents

    The hoarding of patents on novel-sounding code has reached ridiculous levels; very large corporations and even patent trolls arm themselves with such patents, hoping to make returns by means of litigation or an 'arms trade'



  3. Stupid Blogs, Stupid Lawsuits, and Stupid Patents

    The stupidity of the patent microcosm, which would like to see everything in the world patented and which would gleefully smear or even sue its critics (the EFF was sued several times for libel over its "Stupid Patent of the Month" series)



  4. Perpetuating the Big Lie That Unitary Patent (UPC) is About to Kick Off

    The (in)famous old lie about UPC being "just around the corner" is still being circulated, mainly if not only by patent law firms which stand to benefit from a litigation Armageddon in Europe



  5. EPO Validation in Former French Colonies That Have Zero European Patents

    The strategy of the EPO seems to be centered around the interests of Benoît Battistelli and his political career rather than that of the EPO; validation deals and dubious 'Inventor Awards' seem to be part of this pattern



  6. Saint-Germain's Poisonous Legacy of "Toxic Loans": The Cautionary Tale of SIDRU and Its “Toxic Loans”

    The town where the EPO‘s President (Battistelli) is a deputy mayor has a track record of financial hardship and alleged financial misconduct, attributed to the same financial practices Battistelli has just implemented at the EPO



  7. Links 23/5/2018: DragonFlyBSD 5.2.1 and Kata Containers 1.0 Released

    Links for the day



  8. Masking Abstract Patents in the Age of Alice/§ 101 in the United States

    There are new examples and ample evidence of § 101-dodging strategies; the highest US court, however, wishes to limit patent scope and revert back to an era of patent sanity (as opposed to patent maximalism)



  9. PTAB's Latest Applications of 35 U.S.C. § 101 and Obviousness Tests to Void U.S. Patents

    Validity checks at PTAB continue to strike out patents, much to the fear of people who have made a living from patenting and lawsuits alone



  10. France is Irrelevant to Whether or Not UPC Ever Becomes a Reality, Moving/Outsourcing de Facto Patent Examination to European Courts Managed in/Presided by France

    Team UPC is still focusing on France as if it's up for France to decide the fate of the UPC, which EPO insiders say Battistelli wants to be the chief of (the chief, it has already been decided, would have to be a Frenchman)



  11. Saint-Germain's Poisonous Legacy of "Toxic Loans": The Emperor’s New Investment Guidelines

    Details about a secret vote to 'gamble' the EPO's budget on "a diversified portfolio managed by external experts"



  12. Saint-Germain's Poisonous Legacy of "Toxic Loans": Cautionary Tale for the EPO?

    Preface or background to a series of posts about Battistelli's French politics and why they can if not should alarm EPO workers



  13. Links 22/5/2018: Parrot 4.0, Spectre Number 4

    Links for the day



  14. Chamber of Commerce Lies About the United States Like It Lies About Other Countries for the Sole Purpose of Patent Maximalism

    When pressure groups that claim to be "US" actively bash and lie about the US one has to question their motivation; in the case of the Chamber of Commerce, it's just trying to perturb the law for the worse



  15. Links 21/5/2018: Linux 4.17 RC6, GIMP 2.10.2

    Links for the day



  16. The Attacks on the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Have Lost Momentum and the Patent Microcosm Begrudgingly Gives Up

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), reaffirmed by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) and now the Supreme Court as well, carries on preventing frivolous lawsuits; options for stopping PTAB have nearly been exhausted and it shows



  17. Software Patenting and Successful Litigation a Very Difficult Task Under 35 U.S.C. § 101

    Using loads of misleading terms or buzzwords such as "AI" the patent microcosm continues its software patents pursuits; but that's mostly failing, especially when courts come to assess pertinent claims made in the patents



  18. António Campinos Will Push Toward a France-Based Unified Patent Court (UPC)

    Frenchmen at EPO will try hard to bring momentum if not force to the Unified Patent Court; facts, however, aren't on their side (unlike Team UPC, which was always on Team Battistelli's side)



  19. In Apple v Samsung Patents That Should Never Have Been Granted May Result in a Billion Dollars in 'Damages'

    A roundup of news about Apple and its patent cases (especially Apple v Samsung), including Intel's role trying to intervene in Qualcomm v Apple



  20. Links 20/5/2018: KDevelop 5.2.2 and 5.2.3, FreeBSD 11.2 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  21. Aurélien Pétiaud's ILO Case (EPO Appeal) an Early Sign That ILO Protects Abusers and Power, Not Workers

    A famous EPO ‘disciplinary’ case is recalled; it’s another one of those EPO-leaning rulings from AT-ILO, which not only praises Battistelli amid very serious abuses but also lies on his behalf, leaving workers with no real access to justice but a mere illusion thereof



  22. LOT Network is a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

    Another reminder that the "LOT" is a whole lot more than it claims to be and in effect a reinforcer of the status quo



  23. 'Nokification' in Hong Kong and China (PRC)

    Chinese firms that are struggling resort to patent litigation, in effect repeating the same misguided trajectories which became so notorious in Western nations because they act as a form of taxation, discouraging actual innovation



  24. CIPU is Amplifying Misleading Propaganda From the Chamber of Commerce

    Another lobbying event is set up to alarm lawmakers and officials, telling them that the US dropped from first to twelfth using some dodgy yardstick which favours patent extremists



  25. Patent Law Firms That Profit From Software Patent Applications and Lawsuits Still 'Pull a Berkheimer' to Attract Business in Vain

    The Alice-inspired (Supreme Court) 35 U.S.C. § 101 remains unchanged, but the patent microcosm endlessly mentions a months-old decision from a lower court (than the Supreme Court) to 'sell' the impression that everything is changing and software patents have just found their 'teeth' again



  26. A Year After TC Heartland the Patent Microcosm is Trying to 'Dilute' This Supreme Court's Decision or Work Around It

    IAM, Patent Docs, Managing IP and Patently-O want more litigation (especially somewhere like the Eastern District of Texas), so in an effort to twist TC Heartland they latch onto ZTE and BigCommerce cases



  27. Microsoft Attacks the Vulnerable Using Software Patents in Order to Maintain Fear and Give the Perception of Microsoft 'Safety'

    The latest patent lawsuits from Microsoft and its patent trolls (which it financially backs); these are aimed at feeble and vulnerable rivals of Microsoft



  28. Links 19/5/2018: Mesa 18.0.4 and Vim 8.1

    Links for the day



  29. Système Battistelli (ENArque) at the EPO is Inspired by Système Lamy in Saint-Germain-en Laye

    Has the political culture of Battistelli's hometown in France contaminated the governance of the EPO?



  30. In Australia the Productivity Commission Decides/Guides Patent Law

    IP Australia, the patent office of Australia, considers abolishing "innovation patents" but has not done so yet (pending consultation)


CoPilotCo

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 Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts