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02.01.18

Links 1/2/2018: Linux Journal 2.0, Microsoft’s $6.3B Loss, AtCore 1.0.0

Posted in News Roundup at 7:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux Journal 2.0 FAQ

    A. Digital privacy/digital responsibility. We’ve wiped all advertising off the Linux Journal site and from the magazine and are starting with a clean slate. When we go back to running ads, they won’t be of the spying kind you find on most sites, generally called “adtech”. The one form of advertising we are willing to bring back is sponsorship. That’s where advertisers support Linux Journal because they like what we do and want to reach our readers in general. At their best, ads in a publication and on a site like Linux Journal provide useful information as well as financial support. There is symbiosis there. Email publisher carliefairchild@linuxjournal.com if you’re interested in talking about Linux Journal sponsorship.

  • The Refactor Factor

    Then, Linux Journal announced that it wasn’t dead after all! Since that announcement, everyone has been working both publicly and behind the scenes to figure out exactly what a refactored Linux Journal 2.0 looks like. Refactoring a magazine raises a lot of questions. Would there still be magazine subscriptions? If so, how often? What about the website? What writers are coming back?

  • Desktop

    • Exclusive: U.S. sanctions curb Microsoft sales to hundreds of Russian firms

      Two of Microsoft’s official distributors in Russia have imposed restrictions on sales of Microsoft software to more than 200 Russian companies following new U.S. sanctions, according to notifications circulated by the distributors.

      While much of the focus around U.S. sanctions has been on ways they are being skirted, the moves by the Russian distributors show how tougher restrictions that came into force on Nov. 28 are starting to bite.

      The new measures cut the duration of loans that can be offered to Russian financial firms subject to sanctions to 14 days from 30 days and to 60 days from 90 days for Russian energy companies on a U.S. sanctions list.

  • Server

    • Portworx open-sources STORK software to fix issues with data services on Kubernetes

      Software container company Portworx Inc. is unveiling a new open-source project aimed at developers, enabling them to run stateful applications such as databases, queues and key value stores more efficiently on Kubernetes.

      The STorage Orchestrator Runtime for Kubernetes, or STORK, works by communicating with storage drivers via a plugin interface so it can help address a number of issues that plague data services when running container software at scale.

    • Cisco jumps into containers

      How do you know when a technology has really made it? When companies that are not known for being innovators adopt it. That’s the case today, as Cisco announced its Cisco Container Platform (CCP), a Kubernetes-based container platform. Another day, another company betting on Kubernetes for the cloud win.

      The CCP is designed to enable companies to build multi-cloud architectures with consistent application deployment and management on Cisco HyperFlex, virtual machines (VMs), and bare metal, both on premises and in the cloud. It will be available first on HyperFlex in April 2018. CCP will show up on other platforms this summer.

    • Portworx Release Its Open Source Kubernetes Scheduler Extender, STORK

      Today Portworx released its new STorage Orchestrator Runtime for Kubernetes or STORK. According to the company, this new open-source project that takes advantage of the extensibility of Kubernetes to allow DevOps teams to run stateful applications like databases, queues and key-value stores more efficiently on Kubernetes. STORK provides key hyperconvergence, failure-domain awareness, storage health monitoring, and snapshot features for Kubernetes while being delivering through a plugin interface enabling it tow work with any storage driver for Kubernetes.

    • Kernel 4.16-rc1, Qubes OS 4.0, OpenSUSE’s Tumbleweed and More

      Cisco announced its new Cisco Container Platform yesterday, which “simplifies and accelerates how application development and information technology (IT) operations teams configure, deploy, and manage container clusters based on 100 percent upstream Kubernetes.”

    • Cisco Debuts Its Own Kubernetes Container Platform

      Cisco is getting deeper into the container world with the announcement on Jan. 31 that the company is building its own Cisco Container platform. The new platform is based on the open-source upstream Kubernetes container orchestration platform.

      The Cisco Container Platform will initially be available in April for Cisco’s Hyperflex server system architecture, with a plan to add support for bare metal set to follow. The Cisco Container Platform adds Cisco’s own control plane services on top of Kubernetes to enable what the company aims to be a turnkey deployment model.

      Sanjeev Rampal, Principal Engineer at Cisco, explained to ServerWatch that the plan is to have the Cisco Container Platform follow the upstream Kubernetes releases in an “N-1″ cadence. The current most recent release of Kubernetes is version 1.9, with a 1.10 update expected to debut by March.

    • Kubernetes in 2018: When the going gets good, the good get boring

      Backers of the open-source Kubernetes container-orchestration project could be forgiven for taking a victory lap this week at Kubecon 2017, given the growth in adoption and capitulation of competitive projects. But the path to ongoing success for this project now lies in making Kubernetes boring again, according to several keynote speakers.

  • Kernel Space

    • BPFd: Running BCC tools remotely across systems and architectures

      BPF is an increasingly capable tool for instrumenting and tracing the operation of the kernel; it has enabled the creation of the growing set of BCC tools. Unfortunately, BCC has no support for a cross-development workflow where the development machine and the target machine running the developed code are different. Cross-development is favored by embedded-systems kernel developers who tend to develop on an x86 host and then flash and test their code on SoCs (System on Chips) based on the ARM architecture. In this article, I introduce BPFd, a project to enable cross-development using BPF and BCC.

      The BPF compiler collection (BCC) is a suite of kernel tracing tools that allow systems engineers to efficiently and safely get a deep understanding into the inner workings of a Linux system. Because they can’t crash the kernel, they are safer than kernel modules and can be used in production. Brendan Gregg has written several nice tools, and has given talks showing the full power of eBPF-based tools; see also this introduction to BCC published on LWN.

    • The XArray data structure

      Sometimes, a data structure proves to be inadequate for its intended task. Other times, though, the problem may be somewhere else — in the API used to access it, for example. Matthew Wilcox’s presentation during the 2018 linux.conf.au Kernel miniconf made the case that, for the kernel’s venerable radix tree data structure, the latter situation holds. His response is a new approach to an old data structure that he is calling the “XArray”.

      The kernel’s radix tree is, he said, a great data structure, but it has far fewer users than one might expect. Instead, various kernel subsystems have implemented their own data structures to solve the same problems. He tried to fix that by converting some of those subsystems and found that the task was quite a bit harder than it should be. The problem, he concluded, is that the API for radix trees is bad; it doesn’t fit the actual use cases in the kernel.

    • Deadline scheduler part 2 — details and usage

      Linux’s deadline scheduler is a global early deadline first scheduler for sporadic tasks with constrained deadlines. These terms were defined in the first part of this series. In this installment, the details of the Linux deadline scheduler and how it can be used will be examined.

      The deadline scheduler prioritizes the tasks according to the task’s job deadline: the earliest absolute deadline first. For a system with M processors, the M earliest deadline jobs will be selected to run on the M processors.

      The Linux deadline scheduler also implements the constant bandwidth server (CBS) algorithm, which is a resource-reservation protocol. CBS is used to guarantee that each task will receive its full run time during every period. At every activation of a task, the CBS replenishes the task’s run time. As the job runs, it consumes that time; if the task runs out, it will be throttled and descheduled. In this case, the task will be able to run only after the next replenishment at the beginning of the next period. Therefore, CBS is used to both guarantee each task’s CPU time based on its timing requirements and to prevent a misbehaving task from running for more than its run time and causing problems to other jobs.

    • Shrinking the kernel with link-time optimization

      This is the second article of a series discussing various methods of reducing the size of the Linux kernel to make it suitable for small environments. The first article provided a short rationale for this topic, and covered the link-time garbage collection, also called the ld –gc-sections method. We’ve seen that, though it is pretty straightforward, link-time garbage collection has issues of its own when applied to the kernel, making achieving optimal results more difficult than it is worth. In this article we’ll have a look at what the compiler itself can do using link-time optimization.

      Please note that most examples presented here were produced using the ARM architecture, however the principles themselves are architecture-independent.

    • XFS In Linux 4.16 Continues With “Great Scads Of New Stuff”

      Back during the Linux 4.15 kernel merge window XFS file-system maintainer Darrick Wong commented there was great scads of new stuff and now with Linux 4.16 he’s repeating that line. XFS for Linux 4.16 brings several significant changes to this mature Linux file-system.

      XFS for Linux 4.16 restructures metadata verifiers to provide more information in the event of failures, enhancements to the online fsck feature, and preparations to remove the experimental tag from a few XFS features.

    • Many Networking Changes Queued For Linux 4.16, New “Netdevsim” Driver

      David Miller has presented the set of networking subsystem changes targeting the Linux 4.16 and once again it’s on the heavier side.

      First up on the networking side of Linux 4.16 is a new driver: netdevsim. This “netdevsim” as implied by the name is a tool for network developers and is a simulator. This simulated networking device is used for testing various networking APIs and at this time is particularly focused on testing hardware offloading related interfaces. This network device simulator has already been extended to support loading (e)BPF programs and other developer-focused functionality.

    • Staging Updates Submitted For Linux 4.16

      Greg Kroah-Hartman sent in pull requests this morning for the various subsystems he oversees for the mainline Linux kernel, including the staging area.

    • Linux 4.16 Gets Three New Driver Subsystems Plus VirtualBox Guest Driver

      Greg Kroah-Hartman’s pull request of the char/misc driver work usually isn’t too exciting each kernel cycle, but for Linux 4.16 it’s definitely on the heavier side with introducing three new subsystems for different hardware busses.

      The three new subsystems are Siox, Slimbus, and Soundwire.

    • Linux 4.15 Kernel Includes Fixes for Meltdown, Spectre Vulnerabilities

      Today’s topics include Linus Torvalds releasing Linux 4.15; an IBM study finding users favor security over convenience; Microsoft updating Intel’s buggy Spectre patch; and Innovid releasing a new video platform for reaching millennials.

      Linus Torvalds released the first new Linux kernel of 2018 on Jan. 28, which ended up being the longest development cycle since Linux 3.1 was released in 2011. The new Linux 4.15 kernel features fixes for the core reason for the kernel’s delay, namely the Meltdown and Spectre CPU flaws.

    • Flex & Bison Are Now Needed To Build The Linux Kernel; Linux 4.16 Can Also Be Snap’ed

      Building the kernel beginning with Linux 4.16 now requires two more dependencies: Bison and Flex.

      Kconfig infrastructure work is rarely notable for kernel merge windows, but this time around with Linux 4.16 there are more significant changes. The lexer and parser for Kconfig are now built from sources rather than relying upon pre-generated C files. Because of this, Flex and Bison are added now as requirements for building the Linux kernel.

    • Linux 4.16 Is Off To A Busy Start With Big New Features

      We are less than half-way into the Linux 4.16 kernel merge window and it’s already proven to be a very busy cycle with significant additions to the Linux code-base.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Cloud Native Computing Foundation Expands With Rook Storage Project

        The Cloud Native Computing Foundation announced on Jan. 29 that it is expanding its project roster, with the addition of the Rook project.

        Rook is a container storage effort that works with the Kubernetes orchestration platform. Kubernetes was the founding project at the CNCF when the organization was created in July 2015 by the Linux Foundation. Rook becomes the 15th hosted project at the CNCF and is the first new project announced for 2018.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel’s Mesa Driver Is OpenGL 4.6 Compliant, But Won’t Be Mainline For A While

        As noted when covering the news yesterday of Khronos launching the OpenGL 4.6 Adopters Program, the NVIDIA proprietary driver and Intel’s open-source Linux driver are the first OpenGL drivers considered 4.6 compliant. But on the Intel Linux side, the OpenGL 4.6 work has yet to be all upstreamed into Mesa.

        Igalia has put out a blog post today covering the new OpenGL Conformance Test Suite (CTS) and their work along with Intel developers in getting Intel’s i965 Mesa driver across the OpenGL 4.6 milestone. But why I’m less than excited at the moment is the work isn’t yet living within Mesa, meaning it will still be quite some time before users see this OpenGL 4.6 support with the latest Intel hardware. It’s already too late for getting this work into the upcoming Ubuntu 18.04 LTS release.

      • Some Early Bits Of The “Soft FP64″ Infrastructure Will Be Mainlined Soon In Mesa

        David Airlie has announced his plans to begin mainlining some early infrastructure work on the “soft” FP64 code into Mesa Git. This doesn’t yet allow for soft FP64 on older GPUs lacking the hardware capability to do this otherwise, but will help in another area and can make for easier mainlining of the actual soft FP64 support in the future.

        Due to some of his int/double conversion code not passing the OpenGL Conformance Test Suite or Piglit tests, David Airlie has decided to start bringing in some of the soft FP64 code into Mesa for addressing the problem. This doesn’t yet enable soft FP64 but is a step in that direction and could make it easier to merge the actual support when the time comes. Elie Tournier at Collabora has been working on most of the soft FP64 code itself for emulating this capability with GLSL shaders.

      • Raven Ridge Gets Yet More AMDGPU DC Fixes

        While the Linux 4.15 kernel introduces AMDGPU DC display code support and is currently enabled just by default for RX Vega GPUs and newer, a lot of work continues going into this new display code stack.

        There are routine patch series being published for AMDGPU DC that expose the recent internal development efforts around AMDGPU DC, similar to how AMDVLK’s public code-base gets updated in stages every so often. The common trend of recent AMDGPU DC updates is on fixes for the Raven Ridge APUs.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Calligra 3.1.0 released

        We are pleased to announce the release of Calligra 3.1.0 with the following apps included:
        Words, Sheets, Karbon, Gemini, and Plan.

        Note that Gemini, the KDE Office suite for 2-in-1 devices, is back after missing from the initial Calligra 3.0 release.

        Also note that Kexi, the visual database applications creator is close to release 3.1.0.
        See http://www.kexi-project.org.

        The following is a list of new features and bug fixes since the last release (3.0.1).

      • KDE’s Calligra 3.1 Officially Released, Gemini Ported To KDE Frameworks 5

        The KDE Calligra graphics/office suite forked from KOffice is up to version 3.1.

        Landing the same week as the big LibreOffice 6.0 open-source office suite unveil is now the Calligra 3.1 suite’s release.

        We’ve known the update was coming and they managed to deliver this v3.1 release one year after Calligra 3.0.

      • Write-up for SoK Project – OpenQA Plasma Mobile

        KDE Goal: Usability and Productivity proposed by Nate Graham, is one of the three goals selected by KDE. This goal will focus on polishing our basic software so everyone will be delighted to use it. One of important aspect of Usability and Productivity is focus on quality assurance.

        In this Season of KDE (SoK) 2018, I am working on “OpenQA Plasma Mobile” project. This project indirectly helps to achieve the goal of Usability and Productivity as it would work to get the higher quality version of the mobile by creating integration testing for it. It would make it easier to test the common operations of the mobile.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Black Lab Enterprise Server 11.52 and Black Lab Enterprise Desktop 11.52 released

        Today the Black Lab team is releasing a revamp of our OS projects. With the new year comes new changes. First of all, the entire management team has changed. Second, we trimmed down our solutions to two products. Desktop and Server. Third, our solutions are 100% completely free. You can download as many copies as you would like but since we are now a self funding community project so we do take donations and all of our products are available for a single price if users need it on LiveUSB, $19.99 USD plus tax.

        Another change is there are no more desktop spins. We have one UI release and that is XFCE. We chose XFCE because many of our users and customers run this system on older systems and XFCE can run on first generation x64 systems as well as newer Intel and AMD processors. We have setup the system so users migrating from GNOME and our other releases will feel right at home and will have superior performance and resource management.

      • MythTV 29.1 Released

        Last July marked the release of MythTV 29 as the latest release of this once super popular Linux DVR/PVR software. Today marks the availability of MythTV 29.1.

      • Happy Release Day!

        The MythTV Team is pleased to announce the release of MythTV version v29.1

      • 4MLinux 23.3 released.

        This is a minor (point) release in the 4MLinux STABLE channel, which comes with the Linux kernel 4.9.78. Desktop users can enjoy GIMP, which is now available out of the box. The 4MLinux Server includes Apache 2.4.29, MariaDB 10.2.12, and PHP 7.2.1 (see this post for more details). Important remainder: this is the last release supporting the 32-bit version of the 4MLinux LAMP server (more info available here).

      • “Lightweight” Linux Lite 3.8 & “Mature” openSUSE Leap 15 Beta Released: Download Here

        Marking the final release in 3.x series, the Linux Lite developers have released Linux Lite 3.8 operating system. One of the best lightweight Linux distros around, this distro comes with a number of changes since the 3.6 release.

        The major changes for Linux Lite 3.8 include better support for LibreOffice, regional DVD support, Font Viewer/Installer, and Google Search-powered homepage in Firefox.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Trying Out openSUSE Leap 15.0 Beta, Comparison Linux Benchmarks

        With this morning’s debut of the openSUSE Leap 15.0 public beta that is derived from the upcoming SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 source code, I was curious to check it out and also run some benchmarks. For seeing how the current beta performance is stacking up I ran some benchmarks against openSUSE Leap 42.3, openSUSE Tumbleweed, Clear Linux, and a daily snapshot of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

    • Red Hat Family

      • MYCOM OSI collaborates with Red Hat for telco cloud assurance

        MYCOM OSI, the leading independent provider of Assurance, Automation and Analytics solutions to the world’s largest communications service providers (CSPs), has announced a collaboration with Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, to assure and manage telco clouds.

      • Red Hat explains its $250 million purchase of a hot Google-backed startup

        On Tuesday, Red Hat announced the $250 million purchase of CoreOS, a hot startup that competed in the market for “software containers,” a trendy developer technology.

        Since its founding in 2013, CoreOS raised $48 million in venture capital — likely making this a solid exit for its high-profile bunch of Silicon Valley investors, including Kleiner Perkins, Intel Capital, Y Combinator, and GV (formerly Google Ventures).

      • Red Hat Buys CoreOS for $250M to Expand Its Kubernetes and Containers Leadership

        Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, announced that it would acquire CoreOS, Inc., a company known for providing the Container Linux operating system (formerly CoreOS Linux), Tectonic for Kubernetes, and Quay Enterprise container registry, for the price of $250 million USD.

        CoreOS joining Red Hat means automated operations are coming to all. In other words, both companies will work together to expand Kubernetes, the open-source system for automating scaling, deployment, and management of containerized applications in business environments, as well as to innovate in containers and distributed systems.

      • Red Hat buys the creator of a Chrome-based OS for servers

        The underpinnings of Chrome OS have found their way into the server room in a very roundabout way. Red Hat has acquired CoreOS, the creators of an operating system for containerized apps (Container Linux) that shares roots with both Google’s Chromium OS project and Gentoo Linux. The $250 million deal promises to help Red Hat fulfill its dreams of helping people use open code to deploy apps in any environment they like, whether it’s on a local network or multiple cloud services.

      • Red Hat Acquires CoreOS to Bolster Its Containerisation Efforts

        Expanding its presence in the world of containerisation, Red Hat has announced the acquisition of CoreOS, the container management startup that has been renowned for its CoreOS Tectonic, for $250 million (roughly Rs. 1,600 crores). The new deal is not only likely to help the North Carolina-headquartered company that is dominating the open source market but would also eventually give a boost to the existing enterprise-grade containerised infrastructure. CoreOS is also popular for developing Container Linux, which is a dedicated platform for containerised apps. The operating system shares foundations with Google’s Chromium OS and Chrome OS in addition to leveraging modular Linux distribution Gentoo Linux. Having said that, the core interest of the acquired company lies within Kubernetes that is a modern distributed system designed by Google.

      • Linux Pioneer Red Hat Buys CoreOS for $250 Million

        Red Hat is an acknowledged player in open-source technologies, best known for its contribution to the success of Linux. The company has just disclosed a deal to buy CoreOS Inc. for $250 million – the container applications provider could be a great fit for the Red Hat ecosystem.

        Their products include a Linux distribution, also called CoreOS and Tectonic – a container management system based on Kubernetes, originally a Google platform.

        Red Hat already possesses a sizable container offerings portfolio, like Red Hat OpenShift, along with Kubernetes capabilities. CoreOS’s complementary solutions would accelerate development and encourage businesses to move to hybrid cloud structures – now a quick, easy transition.

      • CIOs should take time to understand a company’s ‘values, culture and strategy,’ Red Hat CIO says

        Stepping into a new organization, chief information officers have to decide whether to upend internal technology operations or continue with the status quo.

        CIOs on average stay in their role for no more than five years, and each new position presents an opportunity to try something new with technology and cherry pick what processes predecessors installed while incorporating a new approach.

        How a CIO chooses to take on new role depends on the environment. In legacy settings, a transformational CIO is lucrative for long-term business success. But in other organizations, with a robust technology stack and digital environments, reinventing the internal technology landscape would prove wasteful.

      • Firmware Telemetry for Vendors

        I found out this nugget of information using a new LVFS vendor feature, soon to be deployed: Telemetry. This builds on the previously discussed success/failure reporting and adds a single page for the vendor to get statistics about each bit of hardware. Until more people are running the latest fwupd and volunteering to share their update history it’s less useful, but still interesting until then.

      • Red Hat Buys CoreOS to Extend Influence in Kubernetes Community

        Today’s topics include Red Hat’s acquisition of CoreOS for $250 million; Cisco adding assurance capabilities to their Network Intuitive initiative; Google’s partnership with MobileIron on a platform for buying and distributing cloud services; and the Rook storage project that’s being launched by the Cloud Native Computing Platform.

      • CoreOS to join Red Hat to deliver automated operations to all
      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Qubes OS 4.0-rc4 has been released!

          We’re pleased to announce the fourth release candidate for Qubes 4.0! This release contains important safeguards against the Spectre and Meltdown attacks, as well as bug fixes for many of the issues discovered in the previous release candidate. A full list of the Qubes 4.0 issues closed so far is available here. Further details about this release, including full installation instructions, are available in the Qubes 4.0 release notes. The new installation image is available on the Downloads page.

          As always, we’re immensely grateful to our community of testers for taking the time to discover and report bugs. Thanks to your efforts, we’re able to fix these bugs before the final release of Qubes 4.0. We encourage you to continue diligently testing this fourth release candidate so that we can work together to improve Qubes 4.0 before the stable release.

        • Improving Linux battery life, enabling PSR by default, testers wanted

          As you’ve probably read already I’m working on improving Linux laptop battery live, previously I’ve talked about enabling SATA link powermanagement by default. This is now enabled in rawhide / Fedora 28 since January 1st and so far no issues have been reported. This is really good news as this leads to significantly better idle power consumption (1 – 1.5W lower) on laptops with sata disks. Fedora 28 will also enable HDA codec autosuspend and autosuspend for USB Bluetooth controllers, for another (aprox) 0.8W gain.

        • Fedora 28 Will Hopefully Enable Intel PSR To Further Conserve Laptop Power

          Red Hat developer Hans de Goede has recently been on a mission to improve Linux battery life on Fedora. Now that SATA link power management is better handled and other tweaks, his latest target is on getting Intel’s Panel Self Refresh (PSR) support enabled.

          Panel Self Refresh has been available for years but isn’t enabled by default since for some hardware it can run into issues. PSR is part of the Embedded DisplayPort standard (eDP) for conserving power by being able to refresh the screen pixels directly when the screen’s contents is not changing. PSR is supported by laptops/ultrabooks with eDP-based panels for the past several years, but again some quirky hardware can have issues with this functionality enabled.

        • Spec change statistics

          Over the last couple of days I took a look at all the spec files in Fedora. I wanted to find out how many packages have not been updated by someone else than release engineering for mass-rebuilds.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Now Verizon drops plans to sell Huawei phones in USA

      CES 2018 was supposed to mark Huawei’s proper entry into the US market, teaming up with major networks to sell phones on contract.

      Unfortunately, AT&T pulled out of the deal in the days before CES, apparently due to US government pressure. It all made for a rather awkward speech by Huawei’s Richard Yu.

      Now, Bloomberg reports that fellow US network Verizon has also decided to drop Huawei phones. The publication, citing “people familiar with the matter”, said this was due to pressure from the US government as well.

    • Apple to Cut iPhone X Production in the Face of Weak Demand

      Apple Inc. is slashing planned production of the iPhone X for the three-month period ending March 31, people familiar with the matter say, in a sign of weaker-than-expected demand for the pricey handset.

    • Top iPhone Suppliers Warn of Slower Sales Ahead of Apple Results

      Some of Apple’s iPhones are built with Qualcomm’s modems, which are chips for connecting to cellular networks. The San Diego-based chipmaker said Wednesday that orders from a large “thin modem” customer tailed off at worse-than-typical levels in the quarter. It was widely interpreted that the customer is Apple.

    • Apple tells U.S. government it isn’t slowing old iPhones to get people to buy new ones

      Apple has confirmed the U.S. government is investigating the company after it was discovered Apple slowed down (a.k.a “throttled”) older iPhones. The U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission are reportedly probing the company, though Apple wouldn’t confirm any specific agencies.

      The tech giant, however, has denied any malicious intent, and reiterated that “we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.”

    • Are We Going To See The “$10 iPhone” in 2020? No, the clone of 2010 superphones will probably cost around $20 in 2020

      To be clear, right from the start, I emphasized, that Apple will not sell us a $10 iPhone in year 2020. I said it would be a clone-phone-maker, probably running Android or possibly one of the low-cost smartphone OS systems that were then in development. But 8 years ago, in year 2010, if you went into a mobile phone shop anywhere, and picked the top model, you’d get roughly the same specs, which were: [...]

    • Wireless enabled SODIMM-style COM runs Linux on i.MX6 ULL

      Toradex is shipping the Linux-driven “Colibri iMX6ULL,” one of the first computer-on-modules to adopt NXP’s cost-optimized i.MX6 ULL SoC. The module also features dual-band WiFi-ac and BT 4.2/BLE wireless and industrial temperature support.

      The Colibri iMX6ULL is the first of member of Toradex’s 67.6 x 36.7mm Colibri computer-on-module family to offer onboard wireless. It follows the i.MX6 based Colibri i.MX6, among other Toradex Colibri modules. The Colibri iMX6ULL competes primarily with other recently announced, and similarly compact and rugged i.MX6 ULL-capable modules, such as iWave’s W-RainboW-G18M-SM and Variscite’s DART-6UL.

    • ELC + OpenIoT: From Cloud Computing to Robot Apocalypse

      It’s time once again for that grand gathering of embedded Linux geeks known as the Embedded Linux Conference (ELC), as well as the co-located, non-Linux specific OpenIoT Summit. In this article, we take a closer look at the conference schedule, with keynotes and sessions you won’t want to miss.

      ELC + OpenIoT is happening Mar. 12-14 in Portland, Oregon, the home of Linus Torvalds, who created Linux as a desktop OS and has watched it spread throughout the server world. Over the past decade, Linux has found similar success in embedded gear ranging from mobile devices to Internet of Things hubs to industrial equipment to drones.

    • Privacy-Minded Smart Speaker May Struggle to Get to Know You

      Mycroft AI earlier this week announced that its Mark II smart speaker achieved full funding on Kickstarter in just 6.5 hours. As of Wednesday, pledges reached more than three times its US$50K goal — with 23 days remaining in the campaign.

    • Mini-ITX board fosters flexibility and fights obsolescence

      Congatec unveiled a Mini-ITX style “conga-IT6” board that uses a plug-in COM Express module to supply processor and other core functions. CPU options currently include Intel Core, Xeon, Celeron, and Pentium, and AMD G-series and R-series chips, with up to 4x CPU cores and clocked at up to 4.3GHz.

    • Custom Embedded Linux Distributions

      In the past, many embedded projects used off-the-shelf distributions and stripped them down to bare essentials for a number of reasons. First, removing unused packages reduced storage requirements. Embedded systems are typically shy of large amounts of storage at boot time, and the storage available, in non-volatile memory, can require copying large amounts of the OS to memory to run. Second, removing unused packages reduced possible attack vectors. There is no sense hanging on to potentially vulnerable packages if you don’t need them. Finally, removing unused packages reduced distribution management overhead. Having dependencies between packages means keeping them in sync if any one package requires an update from the upstream distribution. That can be a validation nightmare.

      Yet, starting with an existing distribution and removing packages isn’t as easy as it sounds. Removing one package might break dependencies held by a variety of other packages, and dependencies can change in the upstream distribution management. Additionally, some packages simply cannot be removed without great pain due to their integrated nature within the boot or runtime process. All of this takes control of the platform outside the project and can lead to unexpected delays in development.

      A popular alternative is to build a custom distribution using build tools available from an upstream distribution provider. Both Gentoo and Debian provide options for this type of bottom-up build. The most popular of these is probably the Debian debootstrap utility. It retrieves prebuilt core components and allows users to cherry-pick the packages of interest in building their platforms. But, debootstrap originally was only for x86 platforms. Although there are ARM (and possibly other) options now, debootstrap and Gentoo’s catalyst still take dependency management away from the local project.

    • GNOME and KDE in PureOS: diversity across devices

      PureOS, a Free Software Foundation endorsed GNU distribution, is what Purism pre-installs on all Librem laptops (in addition to it being freely available for the public to run on their own compatible hardware or virtual machines). It comes with a GNOME desktop environment by default, and of course, since we love free ethical software, users can use KDE that is also available within PureOS. This is the future we will continue to advance across all our devices: a PureOS GNOME-first strategy, with other Desktop Environments (DEs), such as KDE, available and supported by Purism.

      At Purism we want a unified default desktop environment, and considering that we have chosen GNOME to be the default on laptops, we hope to extend GNOME to also be the default on phones. The ability for users to switch is also very powerful, and having a strong, usable, and supported alternative—that is, KDE/Plasma—for the Librem 5 offers the best of the “unified default” world and the “usable user choice” worlds.

    • Purism Hopes To Default To GNOME On The Librem 5 Phone, But Still Supporting KDE

      Purism has been supporting both the GNOME and KDE projects with their mobile ambitions and looking to have both desktop environments feature their wares on the in-development Librem 5 smartphone. But as far as the default user experience/interface goes on the Librem 5, they are leaning towards GNOME.

      While KDE Plasma Mobile is a lot further along than GNOME on the mobile front, Purism is hoping to see the converged GNOME Shell working in time for the Librem 5 iMX-powered smartphone that will hopefully be shipping in early 2019.

    • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • 6 pivotal moments in open source history

    Open source has taken a prominent role in the IT industry today. It is everywhere from the smallest embedded systems to the biggest supercomputer, from the phone in your pocket to the software running the websites and infrastructure of the companies we engage with every day. Let’s explore how we got here and discuss key moments from the past 40 years that have paved a path to the current day.

  • How I coined the term ‘open source’

    In a few days, on February 3, the 20th anniversary of the introduction of the term “open source software” is upon us. As open source software grows in popularity and powers some of the most robust and important innovations of our time, we reflect on its rise to prominence.

    I am the originator of the term “open source software” and came up with it while executive director at Foresight Institute. Not a software developer like the rest, I thank Linux programmer Todd Anderson for supporting the term and proposing it to the group.

    This is my account of how I came up with it, how it was proposed, and the subsequent reactions. Of course, there are a number of accounts of the coining of the term, for example by Eric Raymond and Richard Stallman, yet this is mine, written on January 2, 2006.

  • Top 7 open source project management tools for agile teams

    Opensource.com has surveyed the landscape of popular open source project management tools. We’ve done this before—but this year we’ve added a twist. This time, we’re looking specifically at tools that support agile methodology, including related practices such as Scrum, Lean, and Kanban.

    The growth of interest in and use of agile is why we’ve decided to focus on these types of tools this year. A majority of organizations—71%—say they are using agile approaches at least sometimes. In addition, agile projects are 28% more successful than projects managed with traditional approaches.

  • Events

    • Linux Foundation Training Surpasses One Million Served

      All around the open source technology industry, the skills gap is widening, making it ever more difficult to hire people with much needed job skills. In response, the demand for training on open source topics is growing. The Linux Foundation, in partnership with edX, has been steadily working on closing these skills gaps, by offering online courses on vital open source platforms, tools, and practices. Now, Linux Foundation training has just passed the one million mark for people enrolled in courses on edX.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Unsanitary Firefox gets fix for critical HTML-handling hijack flaw

        Mozilla has patched a nasty security bug in Firefox, affecting versions 56, 57 and 58, and their point updates.

        The CVSS-8.8-rated flaw means that if an attacker can get a user to open a malicious document or link, remote code execution becomes a possibility – allowing spyware, ransomware and other nasties to be installed and run.

      • Open by Design: How NASA Innovates to Take on the Universe, with Steven Rader

        As Mozilla rethinks how we do open, thinking strategically about how we work with contributors and others throughout the product lifecycle (and sharing some of our approaches, well, openly), we thought it would be good to take a look at how NASA engineers use open innovation as an valuable tool.

        On January 31, we’ll hear from Steve Rader, the Deputy Manager for NASA’s Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (CoECI). We’ll learn how a large, bureaucratic organization tasked with the wildest innovation goals became more nimble and innovative by identifying and effectively working with outside collaborators, and what lessons might apply to us as we innovate in the open at Mozilla.

      • Rep of the Month – January 2018

        Cynthia is digital communications strategist and front-end developer with expertise on technical consulting, user and staff training and customer service in IT and Telecom segments. She has been a part of the Mozilla community for a long time and and her work has made a big push into Mozilla’s mission through local community efforts.

      • MDN browser compatibility data: Taking the guesswork out of web compatibility

        The most powerful aspect of the web is also what makes it so challenging to build for: its universality. When you create a website, you’re writing code that needs to be understood by a plethora of browsers on different devices and operating systems. It’s difficult.

        To make the web evolve in a sane and sustainable way for both users and developers, browser vendors work together to standardize new features, whether it’s a new HTML element, CSS property, or JavaScript API. But different vendors have different priorities, resources, and release cycles — so it’s very unlikely that a new feature will land on all the major browsers at once. As a web developer, this is something you must consider if you’re relying on a feature to build your site.

      • In Rust, ordinary vectors are values

        I’ve been thinking a lot about persistent collections lately and in particular how they relate to Rust, and I wanted to write up some of my observations.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice, the best office suite, gets even better with LibreOffice 6.0

      OK, if you are tied at the hip to Microsoft Office I can see why you’ll continue to pay year after year for your Office subscription. But, seriously, if you’re not, why aren’t you using the newest version of LibreOffice 6.0?

      The bottom line is the open-source LibreOffice just works. I’ve used every office suite since WordStar and DataStar were things. LibreOffice is every bit as good as Microsoft Office and it’s free to boot.

      You can run LibreOffice on Linux, macOS, and Windows. You can also use on your web browser, if you deploy LibreOffice Online as software-as-a-service server on a cloud, bare-iron, or in a Docker container.

    • LibreOffice and EPUB

      LibeOffice 6.0 is now available. And it’s through the inevitable Korben I discovered this morning it has a builtin EPUB export. So let’s take a closer look at that new beast and evaluate how it deals with that painful task. Conformant EPUB? And which version of EPUB? Reusable XHTML and CSS? We’ll see.

    • LibreOffice 6.0 Released – Install on RHEL/CentOS/Fedora and Debian/Ubuntu/Linux Mint
    • LibreOffice 6.0 Released With Major Improvements and New Features

      The latest major release of LibreOffice brings better interoperability with Microsoft Office documents, ePub export, OpenPGP document signing, improved user interface and a number of other functional improvements.

    • LibreOffice 6.0 Released With New Features: Available For Linux, macOS, and Windows

      As expected, LibreOffice cross-platform release is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. You can also use its cloud version as well from any computer or web browser. There are many significant changes made to the core engine as well as the Writer, Calc, Impress/Draw modules.

    • LibreOffice 6.0: major update for the free office suite

      LibreOffice is the free power-packed Open Source personal productivity suite for Windows, Macintosh and Linux, that gives you six feature-rich applications for all your document production and data processing needs: Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math and Base. Support and documentation is free from our large, dedicated community of users, contributors and developers. You, too, can also get involved!

    • Migrating from IPF to Packet Filter in Solaris 11.4

      This blog entry covers the migration from IPF to Packet Filter (a.k.a. PF).

  • CMS

    • Understanding Software as a Service

      Some others are WordPress, Salesforce, NetSuite and SurveyMonkey. Not all forms of SaaS are necessarily based on a paid subscription model; there are even open-source efforts such as Drupal, which is distributed under the GNU General Public License and can be found in use in over 2% of all of the web sites in the world.

  • BSD

    • Install OpenBSD on dedibox with full-disk encryption

      I run several “dedibox” servers at online.net, all powered by OpenBSD. OpenBSD is not officially supported so you have to work-around. Running full-disk encrypted OpenBSD there is a piece of cake. As a bonus, my first steps within a brand new booted machine ;-)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Our future relationship with FSFE

      Personally, I support an overhaul of FSFE’s democratic processes and the bulk of the reasons for this change are quite valid. One of the reasons proposed for the change, the suggestion that the election was a popularity contest, is an argument I don’t agree with: the same argument could be used to abolish elections anywhere.

      One point that came up in discussions about the elections is that people don’t need to wait for the elections to be considered for GA membership. Matthias Kirschner, our president, has emphasized this to me personally as well, he looks at each new request with an open mind and forwards it to all of the GA for discussion. According to our constitution, anybody can write to the president at any time and request to join the GA. In practice, the president and the existing GA members will probably need to have seen some of your activities in one of the FSFE teams or local groups before accepting you as a member. I want to encourage people to become familiar with the GA membership process and discuss it within their teams and local groups and think about whether you or anybody you know may be a good candidate.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Will the Brexit impact EUPL licensors in UK?

      This is not the case with the EUPL, which clearly specifies the applicable law in its article 15, first part:

      • this Licence shall be governed by the law of the European Union Member State where the Licensor has his seat, resides or has his registered office.

      After the Brexit, the United Kingdom will not be considered anymore as “European Union Member State”, so what will be the applicable law?

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

    • Hardware/Modding

      • No new batches of ColorHug2

        In the true spirit of OpenHardware and free enterprise, if anyone does want to help with the design of a new ColorHug device I’m open for ideas. ColorHug was really just a hobby that got out of control, and I’d love for someone else to have the thrill and excitement of building a nano-company from scratch. Taking me out the equation completely, I’d be as equally happy referring on people who want to buy a ColorHug upgrade or replacement to a different project, if the new product met with my approval :)

        So, 50 ColorHugs should last about 3 months before stock runs out, but I know a few people are using devices on production lines and other sorts of industrial control — if that sounds familiar, and you’d like to buy a spare device, now is the time to do so. Of course, I’ll continue supporting all the existing 3162 devices well into the future. I hope to be back building OpenHardware soon, and hopefully with a new and improved ColorHug3.

      • Open-Source Adreno A6xx GPU Support Posted

        Recently I wrote about Qualcomm’s Code Aurora working on Adreno A6xx GPU support and sure enough that has panned out with the initial patch series being posted for this latest-generation Qualcomm GPU architecture.

  • Programming/Development

  • Standards/Consortia

    • After industry adopts open video standards, MPEG founder says the end is nigh

      Chiariglione says that this also spells the end of real R&D for video, because without the potential for a huge patent-payday, no one will invest in making video playback better.

      In this regard, Chiariglione totally ignores the history of other open formats and systems, which are often better than their proprietary counterparts, for two reasons:

Leftovers

  • Microsoft offers three unconvincing reasons why its consumer business isn’t dead yet

    While Microsoft continues to be buoyed by enterprise and cloud services like Azure, chief executive Satya Nadella tried to reassure analysts that Microsoft still has a consumer strategy: Xbox, PC gaming, and devices powered by digital assistants like Cortana. But he wasn’t especially convincing.

  • Microsoft 2Q18: Trump tax hit turns strong quarter into $6.3B loss

    The TCJA imposed one-time tax rates of 15.5 percent on foreign-held cash and cash equivalents and 8 percent on non-cash, as if that foreign money had been repatriated to the US and hence subject to US corporate income tax. Many firms with large foreign-held cash piles are going to be taking big tax hits this quarter as a result; Citibank claimed a $22 billion charge, and Apple is expected to take a hit as big as $38 billion.

    Microsoft currently has three reporting segments: Productivity and Business Processes (covering Office, Exchange, SharePoint, Skype, and Dynamics), Intelligent Cloud (including Azure, Windows Server, SQL Server, Visual Studio, and Enterprise Services), and More Personal Computing (covering Windows, hardware, and Xbox, as well as search and advertising).

  • SAP predicts cloud to overtake license revenue in 2018, makes major SaaS acquisition

    For the full year up to December 31 2017 new cloud bookings rose 26% to €1.45 billion, total cloud subscriptions and support revenue was €3.77 billion and its more traditional software licence business line held up with 2% growth to €4.87 billion.

  • Science

    • Driverless cars: Men and women have very different opinions on letting go of the wheel

      The Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) were staunchly against the technology. Some 79% said they would not accept driverless cars. It was the biggest rejection from any age or sex surveyed.

    • The Earth’s Magnetic Field Is Shifting, Poles May Flip: “This Could Get Bad”

      The signs of the Earth’s poles reversing are also apparent to Daniel Baker, who says this would devastate the power grid. If a switch happens, we would likely be exposed to solar winds capable of punching holes into the ozone layer. In a new report, Baker, who is the director of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder, claims if this reversal happens, it is likely to render some areas of the planet “uninhabitable” by knocking out power grids.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Why Democrats Love Bush Now

      It was a funny bit, I guess. Ferrell reminded the SNL audience how “historically not good” Dubya was, joked about thrown shoes and how Dick Cheney’s heart is made of Legos now, and of course snuck in the obligatory comment about Russia rigging America’s elections as though that’s a real thing.

      The majority of the skit was built around a refrain you’re hearing more and more from Democratic pundits who haven’t quite lost their minds yet, reminding viewers that as bad as Trump is, he still hasn’t done anything remotely as bad as Bush’s full-scale ground invasions of nations where US troops are still involved.

      Anyone with even a drop of self-awareness knows that the cuddly wuddly new image Dubya is enjoying in mainstream America is taking Trump hysteria a bridge too far. Even MSNBC stooge Chris Hayes said not long ago that “The Iraq War was worse than anything Donald Trump has done (so far).”

    • Turkish Invasion Pits Neocons Against Traditional Imperialists

      US foreign policy in the Middle East is not merely adrift, it is in a state of severe crisis. Even as Turkish tanks and warplanes continue to pound US allies in northwestern Syria (The Kurds), powerbrokers in the White House and the Pentagon are unable to settle on a way forward. The frantic attempts to placate their NATO ally, Turkey, while trying to assuage the fears of their mostly Kurdish proxy-army (Syrian Democratic Forces) has further underscored the dismal absence of a coherent policy that would not only address the rapidly-changing battlespace but also deal with the prospect that a critical regional ally (Turkey) might seek strategic objectives that are directly at odds with those of Washington. The present disaster that is unfolding in the Afrin canton in Syria’s northwest corner could have been avoided had the Trump administration abstained from announcing that it planned a permanent military presence in east Syria, which implied its tacit support for an independent Kurdish state. This, in fact, was the trigger for the current crisis, the provocation that set the dominoes in motion.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • EFF Asks California Court to Reverse Ruling That Could Weaken Open Records Rules, Impede Public Access to Government Records

      State agencies in California are collecting and using more data now than they ever, and much of this data includes very personal information about California residents. This presents a challenge for agencies and the courts—how to make government-held data that’s indisputably of interest available to the public under the state’s public records laws while still protecting the privacy of Californians.

      EFF filed an amicus brief today urging a state appeals court to reverse a San Francisco trial judge’s ruling that would impede and possibly preclude the public’s ability to access state-held data that includes private information on individuals—even if that data is anonymized or redacted to protect privacy.

    • Wikileaks’ Assange Messages Fake Hannity Account With ‘News’ On Sen. Warner
    • Top-secret Australian files ‘left at second-hand shop’

      The ABC described it as “one of the biggest breaches of Cabinet security in Australian history”, saying the filing cabinets contained hundreds of documents – most of them classified.

    • Roger Stone Says He Visited the Ecuadorian Embassy in London Where Julian Assange Is In Hiding

      Former Trump presidential campaign adviser Roger Stone paid a visit to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Wednesday where Julian Assange has been holed up for the last five years.

      Stone is in Britain for a short speaking tour that will include addresses at the Oxford and Cambridge Unions. He told The Daily Beast that he had taken time out to drop by the embassy where Assange has been in hiding from an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.

    • Roger Stone Visits Ecuadorian Embassy Where Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Is Staying
    • Roger Stone ‘dropped off card’ for Julian Assange at embassy
    • Julian Assange chides Daily Beast over report on Roger Stone’s visit to Ecuadorian Embassy

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange condemned the outlet that published a report detailing Trump associate Roger Stone’s visit to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where Assange has remained in asylum for five years.

      Stone, who has come under scrutiny in various Russia probes for having an intermediary to Assange, visited the embassy and said he did not see Assange, but “dropped off a card to be a smart ass,” according to the Daily Beast. Stone also suggested Assange was no longer at the embassy and may have been “extracted” recently.

      “Typical fake news Daily Beast (owned by Barry Diller; Chelsea Clinton sits on board) falling over shoes for Roger Stone,” Stone tweeted in response. “Censored is that I obtained political asylum, with UN backing, in relation to Clinton’s prosecution attempts. Instead libeled as ‘hiding’ for ‘sex’.”

    • Trump Ally Roger Stone Shows Up at Ecuadorian Embassy Housing Julian Assange

      Longtime Donald Trump political advisor Roger Stone visited the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Wednesday, where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has received diplomatic immunity for the last five years, The Daily Beast reports.

      Stone has a long history of communication with Wikileaks. Stone’s coordination with Wikileaks has been investigated by Congress; Assange’s coordination with Stone has been scrutinized by journalist Amy Goodman.

    • Former Ambassador Reflects on Current Events

      Former British Ambassador Craig Murray discussed the current situation with Julian Assange, the alleged Russian election hack, Trump’s Israel embassy move and more in an interview with Randy Credico and Dennis J Bernstein.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Winter sports face a double threat, from climate and demographic change

      Sooner or later (through regulation and carbon pricing, or global warming) resorts will have to rethink their model. Small, low-lying stations will have to find alternatives to skiing or close. Rich ones in high places and with good sources of water and electricity may thrive.

    • 5 People Who Predicted Disasters And Were Mocked Mercilessly

      Climate change is one of those super-polarizing subjects these days. On the one hand, you have almost every meaningful scientist in the world saying it is real; on the other hand, no climate change denier has drowned yet, so there’s that. But if the level-headed scientists of today think they have a hard time on stupidly “balanced” news panels battling wits against a Christian “scientist” with a blog, imagine how utterly frustrating it would have been to convince people of climate change a century ago.

    • Bear pushes his injured trainer around in wheelchair after he breaks both legs in horrific 60ft fall

      A man who trained three bears from when they were tiny cubs is now being pushed around in a wheelchair by one of his hairy “pets”.

      Animal trainer Oleg Alexandrov fell 60ft during an horrific accident at the Nizhegorodsky Circus where he worked, which left him with two broken legs and a broken arm.

      Speaking after the accident Oleg said: “We bought all the baby food from the shops because they ate, we gave them drink them from bottles and we looked after them.”

      But he was worried that the bears may not recognise him after he was stuck in hospital for four months recovering from his injuries.

      He said: “I was very worried about whether our relations will change.

  • Finance

    • When you cannot sue your employer

      Over half of non-unionised employees are now covered by mandatory arbitration

    • Fujifilm acquires Xerox for $6.1 billion

      Beyond photocopying, Xerox is probably best known in the tech world for failing to capitalize on a number of 1970s-era inventions that eventually became standard on modern personal computers. Ethernet, the mouse, the laser printer, and many other protocols and technologies were created at its Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) for the first time.

    • Fujifilm Is Taking Over Xerox in a $6.1 Billion Deal

      # bullshit MBA pursuit of indefinite growth at ever-increasing rates

      The acquisition announced on Wednesday comes as Xerox (xrx) has been under pressure to find new sources of growth as it struggles to reinvent its legacy business amid waning demand for office printing. Fujifilm (fujiy) is also trying to streamline its copier business with a larger focus on document solutions services.

    • Senate Republicans call on Trump to preserve NAFTA
    • Uber sells its leasing business to startup Fair.com

      In contrast to traditional new-car leasing, Fair connects consumers with pre-owned vehicles. After a lease comes to an end, Fair gives the dealer who leased the car the first right of refusal to buy the vehicle back. If the dealer declines, Fair sells the car on the secondary market.

    • Bangladesh experiments with a new approach to poverty alleviation

      So, for the past ten years, researchers led by Mushfiq Mobarak, an economist at Yale University, have tried offering cash to poor households so long as somebody moves to a city to look for work. The effects of this intervention have been measured through randomised controlled trials, including a large one, covering 133 villages, which began in 2014. They turn out to be strong.

    • TEU tokens – first cryptocurrency for container shipping is launched

      Container shipping could see the first widespread use of a cryptocurrency this week.

      Hong Kong-based blockchain developer ETH Smart Contract Tech will tomorrow start handing out its bespoke TEU tokens to shippers, forwarders and 3PLs under its 300cubits project.

      The company will release some 20m TEU tokens, “custom-designed as digital shipping booking deposits, using smart contract blockchain technology, to solve the no-show and rolling problems plaguing the container shipping industry”, to container line customers for free – but on a first-come-first basis.

    • Square is rolling out bitcoin trading to most of its cash app users

      Square Inc.’s stock climbed after Chief Executive Jack Dorsey said the company is introducing bitcoin trading for almost all users of its cash payments app, signaling support for the volatile cryptocurrency.

      “We support bitcoin because we see it as a long-term path towards greater financial access for all,” Dorsey, who also is CEO of Twitter Inc., said in a tweet Wednesday. “This is a small step.”

    • As March Primary Nears, Study on Cook County Property Tax System Still Under Wraps

      An independent study to gauge the fairness and accuracy of residential property tax assessments in Cook County was scheduled to be completed in mid-December, records show, but now its first findings may not be delivered until the end of February — days after early voting commences in an election that could be affected by the results.

      The study was ordered nearly seven months ago by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle after the Chicago Tribune published the first three parts of “The Tax Divide,” an investigation that found high error rates in residential property valuations produced under Assessor Joseph Berrios. The assessments also burdened poorer homeowners with unfairly high tax bills while giving wealthier taxpayers a break.

      Planning documents from August show that the independent study is based on the same kind of statistical analysis carried out by the Tribune with the goal of determining whether assessments under Berrios have met standards used in municipalities around the world.

      [...]

      Orr, who also is supporting Kaegi, called on the CCA to release the study’s results immediately.

      “The CCA is a credible organization, but they are unfortunately gaining the reputation of helping with what has become a big stall until after the March 20th primary election,” Orr said.

    • The WIRED Guide to the Blockchain

      The original blockchain is the decentralized ledger behind the digital currency bitcoin. The ledger consists of linked batches of transactions known as blocks (hence the term blockchain), and an identical copy is stored on each of the roughly 200,000 computers that make up the bitcoin network. Each change to the ledger is cryptographically signed to prove that the person transferring virtual coins is the actual owner of those coins. But no one can spend their coins twice, because once a transaction is recorded in the ledger, every node in the network will know about it.

    • Why Brexit could give cashless Sweden a big tech boost
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • FBI warns it has ‘grave concerns’ about omissions in Nunes memo

      Intelligence committee Republicans, led by Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), voted to release the document over the strident objections of committee Democrats, who say it is a cherry-picked set of inaccurate accusations designed to kneecap special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign.

    • Was There Anything Actually True in Trump’s State of the Union?

      Trump’s Teleprompter reading of his State of the Union speech was reprehensible in so many ways—why bother listening at all? Don’t we already know enough about him? Harold Meyerson of The American Prospect comments on the lies, and the inadvertent truths, in the president’s speech.

    • There’s something fishy about Hillary Clinton’s apology for protecting an accused sexual harasser

      On Tuesday night, 15 minutes ahead of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, Hillary Clinton said she should have fired a top aide from her 2008 presidential campaign who was accused of sexual harassment by a subordinate female staffer instead of allowing him to continue to work for her.

    • North Carolina Mismanaged Itself Into Electoral Chaos
    • Facebook Wants to Fix Itself. Here’s a Better Solution.

      And in mid-2012, I drew up a map of data vulnerabilities facing the company and its users. I included a list of bad actors who could abuse Facebook’s data for nefarious ends, and included foreign governments as one possible category.

    • NLRB Member Is Under Investigation for a Conflict of Interest

      William Emanuel, already criticized for allegedly favoring clients of the corporate law firm he used to work for, now faces a probe by the agency’s inspector general.

    • Facebook enables ‘fake news’ by reliance on digital advertising – report

      Another former Facebook executive has spoken out against the company’s current business practices, arguing that they directly enable electoral interference.

      Dipayan Ghosh, once a privacy and public policy advisor for the social network, argues now that disinformation of the sort used to interfere in the US election and the EU referendum is strongly linked to the nature of Facebook as an advertising platform.

      “Political disinformation succeeds because it follows the structural logic, benefits from the products and perfects the strategies of the broader digital advertising market,” Ghosh and his co-author Ben Scott wrote in a report, Digital Deceit, published by the New America foundation.

      Ghosh left Facebook in 2017, shortly after the US general election raised troubling questions for him about the relationship between the company and disinformation. In the new report, he and Scott argue that attempts to put a lid on the practice with tweaks to the platform are doomed to failure while the basic business model of a social network is advertising-driven, algorithmically-run and attention-focused.

    • Facebook usage falls in the US as it begins to tinker with the News Feed

      After a few months of tweaking the News Feed in order to make it more personal and harder for fake stories to spread, Facebook says that overall usage has dropped by “roughly 50 million hours every day.”

    • Zuckerberg: Users spending 50 million fewer hours a day on Facebook

      “In total, we made changes that reduced time spent on Facebook by roughly 50 million hours every day,” he said. “By focusing on meaningful connections, our community and business will be stronger over the long term.”

    • Facebook Users Spent 50 Million Fewer Hours Per Day on the Site Last Quarter
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Analog Equivalent Privacy Rights (15/21): Our digital children’s conversations are muted on a per-topic basis

      At worst, our analog parents could be prevented from meeting each other. Our digital children are prevented from talking about particular subjects, once the conversation is already happening. This is a horrifying development.

    • ‘Halal’ internet means more control in Iran after unrest

      Authorities’ solution has been to create a so-called “halal net,” Iran’s own locally controlled version of the internet aimed at restricting what the public can see.

    • T-Mobile Blocks Pirate Sites Then Reports Itself For Possible Net Neutrality Violation

      After blocking several Pirate Bay clone sites following requests from rightsholders, T-Mobile in Austria has reported itself over a potential net neutrality breach. EU law says that pirate sites can be blocked but the ISP is concerned that doing so without a court order could be a breach of the Telecom Single Market (TSM) Regulation passed in 2015.

    • New Anti-Piracy Coalition Calls For Canadian Website Blocking

      A new coalition of Canadian companies is calling on the local telecom regulator CRTC to establish a local piracy site blocking program. The plan is the first of its kind in North America, aimed at lowering local piracy rates. Opponents, however, believe the proposal goes too far and equate it to a censorship deal.

    • Are You Ready for Facebook Changes? More Censorship?

      On January 11, 2018, Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social media giant Facebook was making significant changes to its news feed algorithm. The biggest change is its effort to reduce public news content from showing up on individual’s pages and news feeds. Businesses are likely to pay more to have to their posts show up on news feeds.

      One reasoning is that “Facebook is going back to its roots” to prioritize posts from family, friends, and groups in people’s news feeds. However, others argue it’s just another form of censorship.

    • We Need To Shine A Light On Private Online Censorship

      In the wake of ongoing concerns about online harassment and harmful content, continued terrorist threats, changing hate speech laws, and the ever-growing user bases of major social media platforms, tech companies are under more pressure than ever before with respect to how they treat content on their platforms—and often that pressure is coming from different directions. Companies are being pushed hard by governments and many users to be more aggressive in their moderation of content, to remove more content and to remove it faster, yet are also consistently coming under fire for taking down too much content or lacking adequate transparency and accountability around their censorship measures. Some on the right like Steve Bannon and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai have complained that social media platforms are pushing a liberal agenda via their content moderation efforts, while others on the left are calling for those same platforms to take down more extremist speech, and free expression advocates are deeply concerned that companies’ content rules are so broad as to impact legitimate, valuable speech, or that overzealous attempts to enforce those rules are accidentally causing collateral damage to wholly unobjectionable speech.

      Meanwhile, there is a lot of confusion about what exactly the companies are doing with respect to content moderation. The few publicly available insights into these processes, mostly from leaked internal documents, reveal bizarrely idiosyncratic rule sets that could benefit from greater transparency and scrutiny, especially to guard against discriminatory impacts on oft-marginalized communities. The question of how to address that need for transparency, however, is difficult. There is a clear need for hard data about specific company practices and policies on content moderation, but what does that look like? What qualitative and quantitative data would be most valuable? What numbers should be reported? And what is the most accessible and meaningful way to report this information?

    • Chinese filmmakers compromising on sensitive topics to pass censors

      New censorship laws in China have enforced stricter moral guidelines and nationalistic storytelling at the movies.

      Some independent filmmakers are compromising and working with authorities to reach a much larger audience.

      Li Yang is one of the stars of Chinese independent film.

      He’s pushed the boundaries and his films have been banned in China.

      But his gritty and realist portrayal of the underbelly of China’s rapid rise has earned Li a swag of international awards including a silver bear at the Berlin Film Festival and best feature at Tribeca Film Festival.

    • James Woods Saved By A Question Mark, But Still A Total Hypocrite

      Karma works in funny ways sometimes. Over the past few years, we covered how actor James Woods filed a totally ridiculous defamation lawsuit against an anonymous internet troll who made some hyperbolic statements about Woods — statements that were little different than what Woods had said about others. The case never went anywhere… because the defendant died. But Woods gloated over the guy’s death, which just confirmed what a horrible, horrible person Woods appears to be.

      So, while we found the karmic retribution of someone else then suing Woods for defamation on similarly flimsy claims noteworthy, we still pointed out just how weak the case was and noted that, as much of an asshole as Woods was in his case against his internet troll, he still deserved to prevail in the case against him. And prevail he has. The case has been tossed out on summary judgment. While the opinion also details Woods continuing to do the assholish move of trying to avoid being served (his lawyers refused to give an address where he could be served and Woods refused to have his lawyer waive service requirements — which is usually a formality in these kinds of things).

    • China Exporting Its Surveillance Tech And Philosophy To Other Countries, Helped By Equipment Donations

      Soft power is key focus for China at the moment, particularly as part of its One Belt, One Road mega infrastructure project. Another way China spreads its influence around the world is by donating surveillance equipment, as happened in Ecuador. It’s a shrewd move. Local governments can say that it would be foolish to turn down generous gifts from such a powerful nation, and that once accepted, it would be a waste not to use the equipment. China can claim that it is “helping” other nations improve their internal security, while establishing a beachhead for Chinese companies that manufacture the surveillance equipment. The latter can then build on that to win further sales — and to help spread Chinese-style surveillance yet further.

    • Theresa May Again Demands Tech Companies Do More To Right The World’s Social Media Wrongs

      In the face of “extremist” content and other internet nasties, British PM Theresa May keeps doing something. That something is telling social media companies to do something. Move fast and break speech. Nerd harder. Do whatever isn’t working well already, but with more people and processing power.

      May has been shifting her anti-speech, anti-social media tirades towards the Orwellian in recent months. Her speeches and platform stances have tried to make direct government control of internet communications sound like a gift to the unwashed masses. May’s desire to bend US social media companies to the UK’s laws has been presented as nothing more than as a “balancing” of freedom of speech against some imagined right to go through life without being overly troubled by social media posts.

      Then there’s the terrorism. Terrorists use social media platforms to connect with like-minded people. May would like this to stop. She’s not sure how this should be accomplished but she’s completely certain smart people at tech companies could bring an end to world terrorism with a couple of well-placed filters. So sure of this is May that she wants “extremist” content classified, located, and removed within two hours of its posting.

    • Facebook Ban on Crypto Ads Amounts to Censorship, says Blockchain Developer Stepwyze

      The sweeping ban imposed by social media giant Facebook on all ads related to cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) is a form of censorship that could eventually prove detrimental to the company itself, according to a blockchain expert.

    • Paris court hears Facebook ‘censorship’ case over nude art
    • ‘Origin of the world’: Facebook on trial over Courbet’s vagina
    • Teacher sues Facebook for suspending his account after he posted a photo of a famous 19th century nude painting
    • ‘Gender trouble’: Museum removes 19th century painting to ‘prompt conversation’
    • Purging art from public places: it’s not censorship, just contextualising
    • Gallery removes naked nymphs painting to ‘prompt conversation’
    • When Artists Are Disgraced, Should Their Work Be Banished?
    • Manchester Art Gallery removes Waterhouse’s Hylas and the Nymphs to ‘prompt conversation’
    • Gallery denies censorship after removing Victorian nymphs painting

      A gallery has temporarily removed a Victorian painting of naked adolescent girls in a move to “encourage debate” about how such images should be displayed in the modern age.

    • Presenting the female body: Challenging a Victorian fantasy

      We have left a temporary space in Gallery 10 in place of Hylas and the Nymphs by JW Waterhouse to prompt conversation about how we display and interpret artworks in Manchester’s public collection.

    • Campus censorship is a false monster

      Shepherd was understandably upset during the meeting, cried a little and then released the recording to the media.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • How Congress’s Extension of Section 702 May Expand the NSA’s Warrantless Surveillance Authority

      Last month, Congress reauthorized Section 702, the controversial law the NSA uses to conduct some of its most invasive electronic surveillance. With Section 702 set to expire, Congress had a golden opportunity to fix the worst flaws in the NSA’s surveillance programs and protect Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights to privacy. Instead, it reupped Section 702 for six more years.

      But the bill passed by Congress and signed by the president, labeled S. 139, didn’t just extend Section 702’s duration. It also may expand the NSA’s authority in subtle but dangerous ways.

      The reauthorization marks the first time that Congress passed legislation that explicitly acknowledges and codifies some of the most controversial aspects of the NSA’s surveillance programs, including “about” collection and “backdoor searches.” That will give the government more legal ammunition to defend these programs in court, in Congress, and to the public. It also suggests ways for the NSA to loosen its already lax self-imposed restraints on how it conducts surveillance.

    • The State of the Union: What Wasn’t Said

      President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address last night was remarkable for two reasons: for what he said, and for what he didn’t say.

      The president took enormous pride last night in claiming to have helped “extinguish ISIS from the face of the Earth.”

      But he failed to mention that Congress passed a law at the start of this year to extend unconstitutional, invasive NSA surveillance powers. Before it passed the House, the Senate, and received the president’s signature, the law was misrepresented by several members of Congress and by the president himself.

    • Firmware Telemetry for Vendors

      I found out this nugget of information using a new LVFS vendor feature, soon to be deployed: Telemetry. This builds on the previously discussed success/failure reporting and adds a single page for the vendor to get statistics about each bit of hardware. Until more people are running the latest fwupd and volunteering to share their update history it’s less useful, but still interesting until then.

    • My Question To Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein On Encryption Backdoors

      Never mind all the other reasons Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s name has been in the news lately… this post is about his comments at the State of the Net conference in DC on Monday. In particular: his comments on encryption backdoors.

      As he and so many other government officials have before, he continued to press for encryption backdoors, as if it were possible to have a backdoor and a functioning encryption system. He allowed that the government would not itself need to have the backdoor key; it could simply be a company holding onto it, he said, as if this qualification would lay all concerns to rest.

      But it does not, and so near the end of his talk I asked the question, “What is a company to do if it suffers a data breach and the only thing compromised is the encryption key it was holding onto?”

    • ICE Finally Gets The Nationwide License Plate Database It’s Spent Years Asking For

      ICE is finally getting that nationwide license plate reader database it’s been lusting after for several years. The DHS announced plans for a nationwide database in 2014, but decided to rein that idea in after a bit of backlash. The post-Snowden political climate made many domestic mass surveillance plans untenable, if not completely unpalatable.

      Times have changed. The new team in the White House doesn’t care how much domestic surveillance it engages in as long as it might aid in rooting out foreign immigrants. The first move was the DHS’s updated Privacy Impact Assessment on license plate readers — delivered late last year — which came to the conclusion that any privacy violations were minimal compared to the national security net benefits.

    • Denmark split as row over teenage Facebook sex video widens

      Police revived the case late last year, when Kjærside’s unit was contacted by Europol and handed data collected by Facebook detailing all the Danish citizens who had shared the video.

      Facebook detected US citizens sharing the video and passed the data to the US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, who passed it to the Department of Homeland Security, who contacted Europol.

    • Facebook reveals privacy principles for first time, helps users control access

      Facebook’s privacy principles, which are separate from the user terms and conditions that are agreed when someone opens an account, range from giving users control of their privacy, to building privacy features into Facebook products from the outset, to users owning the information they share.

    • Child development experts urge Facebook to pull Messenger Kids app

      Open letter signed by more than 100 advocates warns of dangers social media poses to under 13s and asks Mark Zuckerberg to halt app

    • Facebook should shut down Messenger Kids, child advocates say

      After it launched with mixed reviews, more than 100 child development experts, health advocacy groups, educators, and parents have called on Facebook to shut down Messenger Kids, a spinoff of the company’s messenger app that’s specifically designed for children ages six to 12. The collective, led by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, addressed its open letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, warning that the app is “harmful to children and teens,” and that it could “undermine children’s healthy development.”

    • The Latest Data Privacy Debacle

      Data privacy is not like a consumer good, where you click “I accept” and all is well. Data privacy is more like air quality or safe drinking water, a public good that cannot be effectively regulated by trusting in the wisdom of millions of individual choices. A more collective response is needed.

    • Appeals court rules parts of Snoopers Charter unlawful

      The Court of Appeal in London has ruled that an overarching data retention law put in place by the UK Government, allowing access to phone and email records, lacks adequate safeguards.

    • Giving Aadhaar the finger

      Sunday Times surveys the main camp of Aadhaar opposition

    • Aadhaar-based profiling fears serious, Supreme Court says

      Divan responded that there was a genuine apprehension that Aadhaar data could be aggregated to profile individuals in what will be violative of the right to privacy. He said with the government and private entities making Aadhaar mandatory, profiling will be an easy task after collecting data pertaining to the use of the ID.

    • Analog Equivalent Privacy Rights (14/21): Our analog parents’ dating preferences weren’t tracked, recorded, and catalogued

      Our analog parents’ dating preferences were considered a most private of matters. For our digital children, their dating preferences is a wholesale harvesting opportunity for marketing purposes. How did this terrifying shift come to be?

    • In China, consumers are becoming more anxious about data privacy

      China has a reputation for lax controls over the gathering, storage and use of digital data about individuals. But sensitivities about such matters are growing, and not just when information is stolen.

    • You will soon have to prove you’re 18 to watch PornHub – are you freaking out yet?

      From April, under the Digital Economy Act, websites such as PornHub or YouPorn could face fines of up to £250,000 if under-18s in the UK can access the streams. The changes were designed to protect children from potentially damaging material, the government says.

      A system called AgeID, managed by PornHub parent company MindGeek, is likely to be a dominant player in the verification process.

      Users will have to create an account and then prove their age via a third party service. Details will be taken from a legitimate passport, credit card or smartphone.

    • Facebook to launch privacy center ahead of EU regulations

      Facebook is bracing for new regulations designed to help Europe’s 500 million consumers take back some control over how online businesses use their personal information.

      But Facebook won’t be giving its more than 2 billion global users any additional say over what it does with the mountains of personal information Facebook collects to target advertising.

    • Snoopers’ Charter will have to be changed following UK Court of Appeal ruling

      The ruling found that the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA) – a previous law covering state surveillance which has been expanded upon with the Investigatory Powers Act of 2016 – is unlawful.

    • The Snoopers’ Charter: Everything you need to know about the Investigatory Powers Act

      Web and phone companies (CSPs) will store records of websites visited by every customer for 12 months for access by police, security services and other public bodies upon issue of a warrant.

    • Appeals Court: Britain’s Snoopers Charter is illegal mass surveillance and must be urgently reformed

      The challenge came from Labour MP Tom Watson (previously), who condemned the legislation as having been “rushed” and blamed the Tories’ unwillingness to properly debate the spying rule for surveillance of the communications data of “hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom are innocent victims or witnesses to crime.”

    • UK mass digital surveillance regime ruled unlawful

      The three judges said Dripa was “inconsistent with EU law” because of this lack of safeguards, including the absence of “prior review by a court or independent administrative authority”.

    • Concern Fitness Tracking App Exposed US Military Bases Just the Start

      And U.S. intelligence officials have been warning for years about the impact of what they call “digital dust,” information that by itself seems to have little relevance and that users have posted to social media.

    • Advanced Denanonymization through Strava

      Here are some things Strava may reveal

      Whether you run, swim, ski or cycle.
      If you tell it, what bicycles you have.
      Who you go out on a run or ride with
      When you are away from your house
      Where you commute to, and when
      Your fitness, and whether it is getting better or worse.
      When you travel, what TZ, etc.

    • What is the IoT? Everything you need to know about the Internet of Things right now

      A lightbulb that can be switched on using a smartphone app is an IoT device, as is a motion sensor or a smart thermostat in your office or a connected streetlight. An IoT device could be as fluffy as a child’s toy or as serious as a driverless truck, or as complicated as a jet engine that’s now filled with thousands of sensors collecting and transmitting data. At an even bigger scale, smart cities projects are filling entire regions with sensors to help us understand and control the environment.

    • Facebook Really Wants You to Come Back

      The social network is getting aggressive with people who don’t log in often, working to keep up its engagement numbers.

    • Dems demand answers from fitness app that revealed sensitive military info

      The lawmakers, led by Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), on Wednesday asked for a briefing from the company following reports that analysts have been able to use its publicly available “heat map” to pinpoint the locations of U.S. military bases in the Middle East.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Tinder told to stop discriminating against over 30s

      The California court of appeal ruled that Tinder Plus, which is priced at $9.99 for under 30s and $19.99 for overs, is discriminatory.

    • Tinder must stop charging its older California users more for “Plus” features

      The online dating service Tinder must change one of its key monetization strategies. A Los Angeles appellate court reversed a lower court’s decision on Monday and told Tinder to stop charging older users more money per month for its “Tinder Plus” service.

    • Dating App Tinder Cited for Age Discrimination
    • Academic Faces Charge for Misidentifying PM’s Wife Purse

      For misidentifying the purse first lady Naraporn Chan-ocha carried at the White House as a brand-name product, Charnvit will be charged with violating the Computer Crime Act, police said Thursday. The act bans spreading false information online, which it describes as “importing false information into a computer system.”

      “We will issue him a summons for him tomorrow,” Col. Olan Sukkasem of the police cyber crime unit said.

    • Urgent Threats to Academic Freedom in Thailand

      In a second case, Mr. Charnvit, a professor of history and former rector of Thammasat University, has been summoned to report to the police on January 31 for allegedly violating Thailand’s Computer Crimes Act. The charge stems from an alleged Facebook post in which Professor Charnvit shared a widely circulated news piece featuring Naraporn Chan-ocha, the wife of NCPO leader Prayut Chan-ocha, carrying what was described as a two-million baht Hermes purse, and commented “Thai leaders must look expensive not cheap.” Government officials denied the story, and the Technology Crime Suppression Division alleged that sharing this content constituted a violation of the Computer Crimes Act. Professor Charnvit has long been publicly critical of the NCPO and a proponent of democracy and human rights issues on social media. If convicted, Charnvit could face up to five years in prison, a 100,000 baht fine, or both.

    • All workers need unions – including those in Silicon Valley

      Today, over 1 million people in the Bay Area are on low-wage jobs that pay only $18 an hour – well below the living wage of $22 an hour. And there is a racial dimension: BAME workers comprise 58% of the cleaners, bus drivers, caterers and other subcontractors working for big tech firms, but only 10% of the core tech workforce.

    • The in-depth tale of Bylock, the Turkish messenger app whose 1×1 tracking GIF was the basis for tens of thousands of treason accusations

      The report shows just how arbitrary and changeable the Turkish state’s case has been. For example, the state maintains that Bylock was instrumental in planning and executing the failed 2016 coup, even though the app had been discontinued four months before the coup took place.

    • Muslim woman receives death threats after leading prayers in Kerala

      “These are extremists who cannot tolerate any reform. I have had threats on WhatsApp, on YouTube, on Facebook, but I am not scared,” she says.

    • Risking arrest and prison, Iranian women cast off their hijabs in protest

      The protests in Tehran Monday were against the mandatory hijab laws that have been in place since the 1979 revolution that ushered in the current government.

    • Women in Iran remove hijabs in public to protest country’s Islamic dress code

      The protests, still small in number, are significant as a rare public sign that dissatisfaction with certain Islamic laws governing personal conduct may have reached a boiling point.

    • Congressman’s Bill Would Force Trump Administration to Fulfill Pledge to Study Racial Disparities in Auto Insurance Pricing

      Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., introduced legislation last week requiring federal authorities to examine racial disparities in auto insurance premiums, citing a story co-published by ProPublica and Consumer Reports last April.

      The legislation, which has six Democratic co-sponsors, is in part a rebuke to the Trump administration for seeking to shift the mission of the Treasury Department’s Federal Insurance Office from being a watchdog agency tasked with studying auto insurance pricing into an industry booster. The bill calls for the office to collect ZIP-code level claims data from insurers across the nation, and use the information to study whether higher prices in minority neighborhoods are justified by the risk of bigger payouts in those areas.

    • A Father Abuses His Children but Somehow Their Mother Goes to Prison for 30 Years

      Tondalao Hall spent her 13th New Year’s Day inside a prison cell this month. The man who abused her and her young children never served a single day in prison. The details of Hall’s story speak volumes about criminal injustice in the nation today.

      Thirteen years ago, Tondalao Hall’s ex-boyfriend and abuser, Robert Braxton Jr., pleaded guilty to breaking the ribs and femur of their 3-month-old daughter. Hall had not abused her children. She herself was also a victim of her ex’s violence. Prosecutors presented no evidence that Hall, then 19 years old, knew of any abuse against her children. On the advice of her original attorney, Hall signed a “blind” guilty plea — meaning, a plea without any deal with the prosecutor promising leniency. That plea resulted in a 30-year sentence for “failing to protect” her children from abuse.

      Hall’s sentence violates the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, which prohibits the government from handing out cruel and unusual punishments to individuals convicted of crimes, in two ways. First, her sentence is disproportionate to her crime in relation to Braxton’s light sentence. Second, it lacks any consideration of the abuse she endured and the choices she was forced to make as a result.

      In a cruel coincidence, Braxton was released from custody on the same day Hall was told she’d serve 30 years in a maximum security prison. Now, after eight years of probation, he lives with minimal consequences for his violent crimes.

      The ACLU of Oklahoma is representing Hall and seeking her release because she has been abused and denied justice. Her suffering mirrors that of so many women of color who have been the subject of unjust prosecution.

    • Golden Dawn Girls documentary gives new voice to women in Greece’s far-right elite

      When I first heard about the documentary Golden Dawn Girls, I was more than a little sceptical. Why would three women of the Greek far-right party’s elite invite cameras into their homes, around their dinner tables and inside the party headquarters, for a feature-length film? What was their agenda?

      Norwegian documentary maker, Håvard Bustnes, presents the film as a quest to discover “what happened to Greece?” How did a country known for its beaches and sunny hospitality, come to vote members of a far-right political party into parliament? In 2015, Golden Dawn became the third largest party.

    • Red Cross General Counsel David Meltzer Resigns Over Handling of Sexual Assault and Harassment Allegations

      American Red Cross General Counsel David Meltzer has resigned after a ProPublica story detailed troubling aspects of how he handled a sexual misconduct case involving another senior official at the charity.

      In his resignation letter, dated Jan. 31 and effective immediately, Meltzer wrote to American Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern that he deeply regretted his handling of the case. “I want to ensure that the reputation of the institution remains strong and that nothing interferes with the organization’s ability to effectively carry out its important mission,” his letter says.

      In an organization-wide email this morning, McGovern announced the resignation. “Over the course of the last year, we have seen news accounts of other organizations and institutions contending with serious instances of sexual harassment and the harmful repercussions that such misconduct can create. Last week, it was our organization’s turn to again struggle with these issues,” McGovern wrote. “I am committed to moving forward in a way that strengthens us as an organization.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • California’s Senate Misfires on Network Neutrality, Ignores Viable Options

      Yesterday, the California Senate approved legislation that would require Internet service providers (ISPs) in California to follow the now-repealed 2015 Open Internet Order. While well-intentioned, the legislators sadly chose an approach that is vulnerable to legal attack.

      The 2015 Open Internet Order from the Federal Communications Commission provided important privacy and net neutrality protections, such as banning blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization. It is important for states to fill the void left behind by the FCC’s abandonment of those protections.

    • Iceland fibre network focuses on final 1500 remote sites

      In the next two years, telecommunications network contractors are to connect the final 1500 remote buildings to complete Iceland’s Rural Fibre Project (Ísland ljóstengt), the government reports. The project delivers 100 Mb/s Internet access to 99.9% of Iceland’s households and businesses.

    • Dem FCC commish trolls chairman with Burger King mug

      Burger King earlier this month released a pro-net neutrality video using the price of its Whopper burger to explain the potential implications of repealing the Obama-era rules.

    • California Senate defies FCC, approves net neutrality law

      California may be the closest to passing such legislation after yesterday’s Senate approval of SB-460, a bill proposed by Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles).

      The bill passed 21-12, with all 21 ayes coming from Democrats. The bill is now being moved to the State Assembly, where Democrats have a 53-25 majority over Republicans.

  • DRM

    • Apple, Verizon Continue to Lobby Against The Right To Repair Your Own Devices

      A few years back, frustration at John Deere’s draconian tractor DRM resulted in a grassroots tech movement. John Deere’s decision to implement a lockdown on “unauthorized repairs” turned countless ordinary citizens into technology policy activists, after DRM and the company’s EULA prohibited the lion-share of repair or modification of tractors customers thought they owned. These restrictions only worked to drive up costs for owners, who faced either paying significantly more money for “authorized” repair, or toying around with pirated firmware just to ensure the products they owned actually worked.
      The John Deere fiasco resulted in the push for a new “right to repair” law in Nebraska. This push then quickly spread to multiple other states, driven in part by consumer repair monopolization efforts by other companies including Apple, Sony and Microsoft. Lobbyists for these companies quickly got to work trying to claim that by allowing consumers to repair products they own (or take them to third-party repair shops) they were endangering public safety. Apple went so far as to argue that if Nebraska passed such a law, it would become a dangerous “mecca for hackers” and other rabble rousers.

    • The future of O’Reilly and DRM

      O’Reilly is a major publisher of technical books. Previously an important player in working towards a DRM-free world, they spent years as one of the largest participants in the International Day Against DRM. They maintain a vast selection of DRM-free ebooks on everything from AI to design, operations to security, and many things in between.

      While O’Reilly releases most of of their technical books under proprietary licenses — preventing users from sharing and improving the text — we also recognize that they have taken a strong and helpful stance against DRM.

      Like many Defective by Design (DbD) supporters, we were surprised to hear that O’Reilly is moving away from selling DRM-free ebooks on their Web site. Now, their ebooks are only available through Safari, which requires proprietary software to use.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Can ‘public morals’ prevent the use of religious symbols and motifs in advertising? No, says the European Court of Human Rights

      Is the prohibition to use in advertising the image of Jesus and Mary on grounds of public morals an undue compression of one’s own freedom of expression?

      This is essentially the issue that the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) had to address in Sekmadienis v Lithuania (Appl No 69317/14).

      In yesterday’s judgment the Court answered … in the affirmative.

      The decision is interesting because the ECtHR reviewed the application of freedom of expression within Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in the context of commercial advertising and in light of the vague concept of ‘public morals’.

    • WIPO Traditional Knowledge Division Provides Capacity Building, Publications

      The protection of genetic resources and traditional knowledge through the intellectual property system has been discussed for many years at the World Intellectual Property Organization. While delegates are working on potential international instruments to provide such protection, the WIPO Traditional Knowledge Division is involved in technical assistance and capacity building, providing information and issuing publications.

    • Qualcomm’s extended licensing deal with Samsung is a big play, but Apple effect hits the bottom line

      Qualcomm has announced the expansion of its licensing agreement with Samsung as the effects of the company’s litigation battle with Apple continue to bite.

      The deal between the chipmaker and Korean tech giant means that their existing agreement will be extended to 2023 and sees Samsung withdraw its opposition to Qualcomm’s appeal of a more than $800 million fine from the Korean Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) in relation to the US company’s licensing practices. As they announced news of the deal Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf stressed that it was at the device level, which patent owners prefer, rather than the chipset level.

    • New deal with Samsung makes Qualcomm a little less isolated on the antitrust front

      After the EU “grandslammed” Qualcomm with a $1.2 billion fine (joining the FTC and Asian regulators in holding Qualcomm’s conduct illegal), Qualcomm has finally had some good news to report: just in time for its earnings call, Qualcomm announced a new five-year license agreement with Samsung. In addition to the joint press release with Samsung, Qualcomm issued a press release in which it mentioned that “Samsung will be withdrawing its interventions in Qualcomm’s appeal of the KFTC decision in the Seoul High Court.”

    • Apple gets support from Lawyers for Civil Justice in fight against discovery sanctions

      In connection with the FTC’s antitrust lawsuit against Qualcomm, Magistrate Judge Nathaniel Cousins of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California crafted a “Christmas present” for Apple that the iPhone maker would probably have liked to return to the shop immediately: a sanctions order ($25K per day starting December 16) and a December 29 deadline for the production of documents. Bloomberg reported (as did other media, while this blog didn’t due to its focus on IP and antitrust issues). The Bloomberg article I just linked to quotes an Apple spokesman as saying that Apple was going to appeal the ruling and that Apple had already produced “millions of documents for this case” and would deliver “millions more.”

    • Google completes its $1.1 billion HTC deal

      Google’s billion-dollar deal to acquire a part of HTC (along with a non-exclusive license for its intellectual property [sic]) is done. The two companies announced its completion tonight, and the details appear to be the same as originally announced. While the team behind the Pixel phones is joining Google, HTC says it will continue to make mobile devices under its own brand name while using Vive products to compete in VR. It won’t stop there either, as the company says it will pursue innovations in AR, AI and IoT technology.

    • Trademarks

      • Local Brewery Wins Battle With Portland City Hall Over Leaping Stag Trademark

        The city has surrendered in a battle over who gets to use the iconic image of a leaping stag from the Portland Oregon sign and will not seek a trademark that would conflict with one already owned by a local brewery.

      • Portland Surrenders To Old Town Brewing Over Stag Sign Trademark

        For some time, we’ve been following an odd trademark dispute between the city of Portland and a small brewery, Old Town Brewing, all over a famous city sign featuring a leaping stag. Old Town has a trademark for the image of the sign and uses that imagery for its business and beer labels. Portland, strangely, has pursued a trademark for the very same market and has attempted to invalidate Old Town’s mark for the purpose of licensing the image to macro-breweries to fill the municipal coffers. What I’m sure city officials thought would be the quiet bullying of a local company without the breadth of legal resources Portland has at its disposal has instead ballooned into national coverage of that very same fuckery, with local industry groups rushing to the brewery’s aid.

        The end result of all of this has been several months of Portland officials looking comically bad in the eyes of the public. Of all places, the people of Portland were never going to sit by and let their city run roughshod over a local microbrewery just so that the Budweisers of the world could plaster local iconography over thin, metal cans of pilsner. And now, despite sticking their chins out in response to all of this backlash for these past few months, it seems that the city has finally decided to cave in.

    • Copyrights

      • Huge Rightsholder Coalition Calls on New EU Presidency to Remove Safe Harbors

        A huge coalition of international rightsholder organizations has appealed to the new presidency of the European Council to find an effective solution to the so-called ‘Value Gap’. Featuring an army of record labels, film groups, sports bodies and publishers, the authors are calling for an end to safe harbors and compulsory licensing for sites like YouTube.

      • Court Orders Tickbox to Keep Pirate Streaming Addons Out

        A group of major Hollywood studios plus Amazon and Netflix have won a preliminary injunction against TickBox TV, a Kodi-powered streaming device. The device seller is ordered to keep pirate addons out of its box and halt all piracy-inducing advertisements. In addition, both parties are instructed to resolve several outstanding questions and update the injunction accordingly.

      • The extra copyright for news in Germany was a failure – yet the Bulgarian EU presidency now presents it as a good compromise for all of Europe

        In fact, the proposed exception for short snippets would be implemented in a way that would be even more far-reaching than the Estonian proposal: The lack of an originality requirement would mean that unoriginal longer texts published by news sites are covered, such as tables of football results or AI-generated texts, which are currently ineligible for copyright protection for good reason.

Too Much to Cover Up at the EPO, the UN, and UN Agencies

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 5:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cash cows to their host countries, so infringements of human rights are brushed aside

US Constitution

Summary: The post-Constitution, post-financial transparency, post-human rights phase that’s sweeping across the EPO (and the UN) gives room for concern

THE EPO and USPTO coverage from Managing IP has always been biased. Probably intentionally and by design. They know what their target audience wishes to believe and that belief itself can lead to certain outcomes.

“The week in IP” by “Guest author” was published earlier today and spoke of “German organisations’ support for dismissing a UPC complaint,” basically alluding to the patent microcosm. At Managing IP, as usual, the vast majority of the text is behind a paywall, so only the patent microcosm can see it and likely won’t scrutinise it (preaching to the choir again). Whatever…

Meanwhile, there’s this couple of new pages [1, 2] about a former judge at the German Federal Constitutional Court (FCC). He doesn’t think the UPC should even get off the ground and as someone put it earlier today or last night at IP Kat comments:

A speech and an article by Prof. Dr. Siegfried Broß, former judge at the German Federal Constitutional Court of Karlsruhe.

Both documents also deal with the employment situation of staff members of international organisations. They are a available in English and in German.

The speech: “European Patent Convention, Unified Patent Court and the German Basic Law”

https://www.cohausz-florack.de/en/mehr/blog/article-en/news/detail/News/european-patent-convention-unified-patent-court-and-the-german-basic-law/

The article: “The modern constitutional state becomes a farce”

https://www.cohausz-florack.de/en/mehr/blog/article-en/news/detail/News/the-modern-constitutional-state-becomes-a-farce/

We maintain our assertion that Team UPC is either totally deluded or deliberately lying. Whichever it is, that’s bad. It harms their credibility and reputation.

There’s another interesting new comment on an article we wrote about last night, having covered the matter twice about a month ago [1, 2]. Germany’s cash cow at the EPO continues to raise questions.

Patently Transparent wrote:

There were some interesting comments about this matter in a publication issued by SUEPO in December 2017.

“To their credit, the German delegate (and Head of the German Patent Office) in the Budget & Finance Committee objected:
“We have submitted the proposals to the Federal Court of Auditors. Their assessment is that the risk is too high.
Capital preservation should be in the foreground. First, one should move closer to the RFPSS guidelines.
Provision should be made for cumulative risk of default. Sanction mechanisms should be provided.
Under g) in the RFPSS guidelines, there is a list of approved and unauthorized instruments of investment.
We cannot agree today. If contracts with the fund managers existed, we may be able to decide otherwise, but not yet today.”
(Translated from German, not verbatim)

Several Delegations (IE, IT, DK, UK, NO, CZ, HU, SI) and the staff representatives, too, voiced substantial concerns and called for prudence and strict governance. In the end, out of 32 delegations, 6 voted against, 2 courageously abstained – the rest (24) voted in favour (Italy requested a secret the vote with the apparent aim to prevent possible retaliation from Battistelli; So we do not know who voted what).

So much for transparency, prudence and financial accountability.

We wish Mr Ernst, the German Chair of the Administrative Council, good luck in explaining this fiasco to his own government and to the German Federal Court of Auditors.”

Those who are interested in following up the story could consider trying to obtain a copy of the opinion of the German Federal Court of Auditors, e.g. by making a freedom of information request.

Albertine replied: “Indeed, the question can also be summarized with “Cui bono?”. This is an eternally revolving question and will not be answered properly until the concept of “glasnost” is introduced in the operating rules of the EPO. Without transparency, operations involving billions in a context of a questionable governance will always give rise to suspicions.”

We’ll probably revisit it in the future. There seems to be more urgent matters where lives of people and entire families (not just money) are at stake.

Days ago we saw some coverage about the International Labour Organization’s Administrative Tribunal (ILOAT) protecting Battistelli, rendering itself almost complicit in alleged corruption (or coverup thereof) and violations of human rights. Earlier today WIPR wrote about that as well. To quote:

The International Labour Organization’s Administrative Tribunal (ILOAT) dismissed a series of complaints against the president of the European Patent Office (EPO), Benoît Battistelli, in its 125th session, held in October and November last year.

One of the dismissed complaints had been filed by Elizabeth Hardon, a former chairman of the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO).

In May 2012, an EPO employee committed suicide. The Munich section of SUEPO sent a letter to Battistelli requesting an independent investigation into the circumstances that may have contributed to the suicide.

For ILOAT to become defensive of Battistelli’s abuses makes sense. In a way…

I once received some UN leaks showing similar abuses inside the UN itself (not just WIPO, where Battistelli nearly became the chief). We might get around to releasing these one day (source protection is an issue as it would become perfectly obvious who it concerns). We have just made contact with the source, primarily in pursuit of approval (for publication). For the time being, think of ILO/UN to EPO accountability along the lines of Gurry (WIPO/UN) to Battistelli accountability. Oh wait

Patent Sharks Hope to Regain Control of the US Patent System With Iancu Appointment Likely Just 4 Days Away

Posted in America, Patents at 4:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Big shark

Summary: The campaign to dethrone Michelle Lee and replace her with someone like Andrei Iancu is almost complete; the objective is to turn the USPTO (US patent office) into a trolls-friendly and PTAB-hostile place

THE USPTO has been headless since Michelle Lee got bullied out (like Ms. Brimelow at the EPO). Her colleague was thereafter the PTO Director (in the interim). He too got mobbed/bullied at times, but not to the same degree. The patent microcosm was eager to replace him with one of its own.

“The patent microcosm was eager to replace him with one of its own.”Here is a reminder of why the PTO does not need a person like Andrei Iancu but a technical person. Will they ‘get’ that? How about Drew Hirshfeld? Do not listen to Koch-funded ‘scholars’ like Adam Mossoff, who are still pushing for maximalism this week (“Here’s just one of many examples of how small biz & individuals need stable & effective #IP protections, contrary to the rhetoric that IP hurts new creators, startups & small biz.”) because their aim is to prop up the litigation ‘business’ and patent trolls. And speaking of which, Watchtroll followed IBM’s patent chief Manny Schecter (close to Watchtroll) in noting, based on this publication, that “Senate Schedules Andrei Iancu Confirmation Vote for February 5″; Schecter tweeted: “Says here that the full Senate will take up confirmation of Andrei Iancu as US Patent & Trademark Office Director on Monday, February 5 http://bit.ly/2l2VmjU” (“EXECUTIVE CALENDAR”).

These people would love to see a patent microcosm person like Iancu in charge of the PTO. They lobbied towards that.

And lobbying being noted, watch what Dennis Crouch wrote yesterday about Trump’s speech. Trump never even mentioned patents, but Dennis Crouch already ‘helps’ by ‘interpolating’ and filling the ‘blanks’, so to speak. For example: “Although, high drug prices are, in many cases, premised upon exclusive rights granted by patents, the Administration has – thus far – not offered any indication that it will be breaking (or bending) pharma patent rights.”

“These people would love to see a patent microcosm person like Iancu in charge of the PTO.”There are no “patent rights” because patents are not "rights" — a miconception just repeated again in “Litigation Conduct Evincing Lack of Respect for Patent Rights and Litigation Process Supports Attorney Fees Award” (“Respect for Patent Rights” is very lawyer/liar talk).

What these people generally hope for is a PTO Director who uses nonsensical terms like these. The last thing they want is a person like Lee, herself a former scientist with high qualifications.

A few hours ago (Thursday) Watchtroll was once again defending the Mohawk patent scam, quite frankly as usual. That scam relies on misconceptions such as patents being “property”. With anti-PTAB on their agenda, such overt misconceptions too are considered “OK”.

Mitchell Feller, partner with Gottlieb, Rackman & Reisman, wrote that “Native American tribes have the same types of sovereign immunity that states do. Absent a waiver, they too are immune from lawsuits asserting infringement of Federal patent, trademark, and copyright laws and subject to the same types of waiver considerations.”

“What these people generally hope for is a PTO Director who uses nonsensical terms like these. The last thing they want is a person like Lee, herself a former scientist with high qualifications.”But those patents have nothing to do with tribes. It’s a major scam. A Federal judge and several politicians have already called it that. “In September,” he continued, “2017, the large pharmaceutical company Allergan took steps to employ tribal immunity to protect its patents on the drug Restasis. Allergan assigned its patents to the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe. The tribe then licensed the patents back for $13.5M and more than that amount in yearly royalties. Immediately afterwards, the Tribe argued that an IPR challenging those patents could not proceed because of tribal immunity. The motion has not been decided.”

At the moment, as we pointed out earlier this week, this tribe is just being completely exploited by the patent microcosm as a vector for attacks on PTAB. For a large sum of money the tribe has basically disgraced its name/reputation.

What we have here isn’t US interests being served but the profits of few ultra-wealthy individuals being guarded so that they can deny access to medicine (e.g. generics).

“What the US needs is a technology-centric PTO; what it might soon get, however, is a legal ‘industry’-centric PTO, promising to further exacerbate things for the benefit of patent trolls (not technologists but litigators).”The notion that patent maximalism is somehow “great” for the US is a false one; it’s promoted by people who profit from litigation activity. Depending on what the highest court has to say (if anything) about design patents [1, 2], we may soon see more setbacks like this one for Apple. Apple uses patents against a Korean giant that now yields more chips than the US-based Intel (as per new reports). As sales of “iPhone” fall (many reports about this throughout this week) the patent case too seems to be falling apart. 2 days ago in Law.com:

Apple will soon return to court to continue its legal battle with Samsung over Samsung’s infringement of Apple’s iPhone design. The latest chapter of this saga concerns the proper methodology for calculating damages that Samsung must pay to Apple for infringing Apple’s design patents.

As background to this case, a jury trial in the Northern District Court of California back in 2012 resulted in a verdict ordering Samsung to pay Apple more than $1 billion for willfully infringing Apple’s design patents. The damage calculation was based upon 35 U.S.C. 289 of the Patent Act. Section 289 includes a special profit-disgorgement provision for design infringement damages requiring that “Whoever during the term of a patent for a design … sells or exposes for sale any article of manufacture to which such design or colorable imitation has been applied shall be liable to the owner to the extent of his total profit.”

What the US needs is a technology-centric PTO; what it might soon get, however, is a legal ‘industry’-centric PTO, promising to further exacerbate things for the benefit of patent trolls (not technologists but litigators).

EFF Has Just Warned That Depending on Outcomes of US Supreme Court Cases, US Could Have Most Notorious Patents in the World

Posted in America, EFF, Patents at 3:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The US Supreme Court has been pushing back against patent maximalism, but will it carry on?

US in the world

Summary: While patent extremists and patent maximalists salivate over the growth in number of US patents, it is becoming clear that many are farcical at best and we already know why that might be

THE SHEER NUMBER of USPTO-granted patents is insane (compare it to Europe for instance). Many patent maximalists have been raving in recent days that there will soon be 9-digit long patent numbers (over 10 million in total). We don’t want to entertain this senseless pseudo-jingoism with links; they obviously think it’s some sort of “score” or a numbers “game”. We don’t. Patents are monopolies and granting them must therefore be a process requiring great care.

Earlier today the EFF published January’s Stupid Patent of the Month. Vera Ranieri argued it could “effectively become stupid patents for the entire world.” (the EFF ought to petition PTAB against such patents)

From the post:

For more than three years now, we’ve been highlighting weak patents in our Stupid Patent of the Month series. Often we highlight stupid patents that have recently been asserted, or ones that show how the U.S. patent system is broken. This month, we’re using a pretty silly patent in the U.S. to highlight that stupid U.S. patents may soon—depending on the outcome of a current Supreme Court case—effectively become stupid patents for the entire world.

Lenovo was granted U.S. Patent No. 9,875,007 [PDF] this week. The patent, entitled “Devices and Methods to Receive Input at a First Device and Present Output in Response on a Second Device Different from the First Device,” relates to presenting materials on different screens.

We have been writing about some other awful patents. Many were equally bad. The Supreme Court, we still hope, will tackle design patents [1, 2] (more on that later tonight), having already tackled business methods and software patents in Alice. So far this week we have also seen reports about Ford pursuing this Orwellian sci-fi patent, Amazon scheming to track workers using wristbands, attempting to replace workers and so on.

Apple has its share of worrying new patents as well [1, 2] and a day ago its EPO patent ventures were mentioned in this article:

Back in May, 2015, Apple filed a patent with the European Patent Office (EPO) covering a ‘multimedia-centric video headset’ – a device which, via a connected iPhone or iPad, was designed to provide users with a realistic viewing experience of live events.

Nearly three-years after it’s application was sent into the EPO, PatentlyApple reported that Apple was awarded a similar video display patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

We have already learned (but promised not to publish) stories regarding Apple’s rogue patents at the EPO. These get granted anyway (they should not).

Patents were also mentioned this week in a few other domains, e.g. [1, 2]. It’s very hard to exhaustively cover these kinds of things because in addition to thousands of legal cases (patents alone) every single year there are about twice as many threats and millions of patents.

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