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03.31.18

The ITC Administrative Law Judges Continue to Do Bizarre Things About Expiring Patents, Including Cisco-Imposed Embargo on Competition Using Invalid (Rejected by PTAB) Patents

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 10:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Administrative Law Judge Photos
Reference: Administrative Law Judge Photos

Summary: Once again we are seeing the International Trade Commission giving ‘teeth’ to patents that aren’t really legitimate (or nearly invalid/expired) and serve no purpose other than embargoes, which merely harm customers by limiting choice

Yesterday we found this new little rant from the CCIA. Josh Landau alluded to something from Thursday:

Yesterday, the ITC published the Federal Register notice of the initial determination of an ITC administrative law judge (ALJ). The ALJ determined that the investigation, instituted in January based on a complaint filed last year, shouldn’t go further forward and terminated the case for good cause.

I’m going to totally set aside the merits of the (questionable) patent involved in this case, U.S. 7,930,340. (I will note that the plaintiff has previously been sanctioned by the Federal Circuit for trying to evade word count limits by deleting spaces between words.) I’m going to focus on one thing—expiration.

The patent was filed claiming priority to an application filed August 5, 1996. It was given 577 days of extra patent term due to time in prosecution. That means that it expires 20 years and 577 days after August 5, 1996—on March 6, 2018.

The ITC just forced the defendants to spend several months paying to defend themselves against a patent that everyone involved knew would expire before the ITC acted.

This is truly incredible (and well caught by CCIA). What is the ITC thinking?

“The odd thing is, Cisco is one of the vocal proponents of PTAB.”Unfortunately we’ve found ourselves having to criticise ITC quite a lot over the past year. Even earlier this month. The latest in Arista Networks v Cisco Systems, or Arista challenging patents that Cisco uses in an effort to embargo the competition (through ITC), is now the subject of a new post at Patently-O. As a reminder, ITC (in)famously discarded the judgment of PTAB and persisted with an embargo. To quote Patently-O:

In what is mecoming [sic] a more regular outcome, the Federal Circuit has again vacated a PTAB IPR holding — holding that the USPTO’s panel of Administrative Patent Judges failed to “adequately explain its reasoning on a point that was central to its analysis.”

This time the case involves a PTAB finding for the patentee — that the IPR challenger Arista had not proven obviousness (for several challenged claims of Cisco’s Patent No. 8,051,211). The identified failure was in addressing a particular argument for how the prior art taught the claimed invention.

Does it mean that the embargo carries on (or products modified, i.e. made worse, just to bypass it)? That while guilt has not been established Arista is still being punished (quite severely in fact, sinking the stock)?

“The bottom line is, Cisco seems to enjoy PTAB and support PTAB as long as ITC weirdly enough snubs PTAB and simply maintains an embargo on Cisco’s competitors.”The odd thing is, Cisco is one of the vocal proponents of PTAB. It even funds PTAB advocacy front groups.

Meanwhile, a Microsoft-connected law firm mentions (as recently as yesterday) some company we never heard of. It’s suing Cisco using patents, which might explain why Cisco does support PTAB (it also employed Patent Troll Tracker, who got himself and Cisco sued after the late Ray Niro had unmasked him). To quote:

In a new twist in competitor-based lawsuits involving cloud computing, Centripetal Networks, a relative newcomer, filed a patent lawsuit against industry incumbent and Fortune 100 Company Cisco in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in February 2018. Centripetal has focused its technology on network intelligence and security solutions since its founding in 2009. In its 136 page complaint against the networking solutions giant, Centripetal has alleged infringement of ten patents (out of its total portfolio of fourteen patents).

The bottom line is, Cisco seems to enjoy PTAB and support PTAB as long as ITC weirdly enough snubs PTAB and simply maintains an embargo on Cisco’s competitors.

Massive Discovery Misconduct and New Litigation Misconduct Show That the Patent World is Not Always About Justice

Posted in America, Courtroom, Deception, Patents at 9:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We have got a winner

Summary: Manipulation of the legal system, or arm-wrestling the law in order to get one’s way, still a problem for the credibility of today’s patent system (rife/riddled with misconduct)

EVERY now and then we document or pile/assemble together examples of misbehaviour, not necessarily at patent offices (EPO, USPTO and so on) but in courts and law firms. There’s no lack of examples. The system is far from perfect, transparency can always help, and pointing out flaws can help correct these.

A few days ago “massive discovery misconduct” was reported in a case where the “plaintiff’s severed litigation misconduct was exceptional.”

“Following plaintiff’s post-Markman stipulation of dismissal and a bench trial finding inequitable conduct,” Docket Navigator summarised, “the court granted defendant’s motion for attorney fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 because plaintiff’s severed litigation misconduct was exceptional.”

Well, patents are, with few exceptions, not used amicably. And those who use them for hostile purposes are not exactly likely to act in good faith.

Another example of misconduct was covered a few days ago by David Hricik, who focuses on ethical matters. “In addition to this evidence,” he said, “the district judge heard evidence of various litigation misconduct…”

Here are the details:

Last month, the Federal Circuit held oral argument in an appeal, styled Gilead Sciences, Inc. v. Merck & Co., Inc. (Appeal Nos. 16-2302 & -2615) from a judge’s decision which held a patent unenforceable — for unclean hands — after a jury returned a verdict of $200 million. A more detailed write up is here which includes a link to the oral argument.

Boiled down, in a bench trial after the verdict, the judge heard evidence that Gilead had agreed to share information with Merck regarding an antiviral agent against Hep C — provided Merck personnel working on Merck’s competing work be walled off rom the information. Gilead shared information on a call… and a Merck attorney who was on the call who was prosecuting a Merck competing application then amended claims to cover the Gilead product.

As a twist, the application that was amended supported the Gilead product, and the jury had found no derivation. The reason was that the amended Merck application had support for a large genus of compounds, but the amendment narrowed to a subgenus which included Gilead’s leading agent. In other words, Merck had invented the Gilead product, and so there was no but-for materiality (in any meaningful sense that I can see, at least).

In an ideal patent system the patents granted would be of high quality, litigation be a last resort, and the legal process involve no misconduct. But in a world where lawyers on both sides just try to win the case can we expect justice or a shouting match where the longterm goal is to drain the opposition’s pockets (with legal fees)?

Political Actions Against PTAB Are Still a Fringe Phenomenon and the Supreme Court’s Justices Are Unlikely to be Swayed/Persuaded by Such ‘Stunts’

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 9:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Last weekend: Using Politics to Do the Patent Trolls’ Bidding With STRONGER Patents Act, Just Like the UPC in Europe

Steve Stivers and Sarkozy

Summary: A little update about the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and attempts to disrupt PTAB inter partes reviews (IPRs) at a political level

THE big (and rather encouraging) strides of the USPTO‘s PTAB have been tracked here for years. We, notably software professionals, ought to guard PTAB from critics, who are mostly patent parasites who became accustomed to suing or threatening to sue using software patents. PTAB, for the uninitiated, eliminates a lot of software patents. There’s no lack of examples and we’re unable to keep abreast of them all (some try, mostly PTAB haters).

One very vocal PTAB hater recently spoke about a patent which he said got “rejected anyway under 101 because calculating cost of virtual processor cores is an “abstract idea” when you don’t do anything tangible with the result…”

“PTAB, for the uninitiated, eliminates a lot of software patents.”“Palantir loses patent case at PTAB,” he also said, because “analyzing large data sets is just an “abstract idea”” and, among the exceptions: “Super RARE split decision at PTAB declares advertising in virtual worlds with Avatars is NOT “abstract idea” [...] What a difference a panel makes!”

PDFs are included there (original decisions).

A few days ago Docket Navigator took note of DODOCASE VR, Inc. f/k/a DODOcase, Inc. v MerchSource, LLC d/b/a Sharper Image et al. It’s about denying a petition (IPR) at PTAB: “The court granted plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction requiring defendants to withdraw their petitions to the PTAB seeking to invalidate plaintiff’s patents-in-suit because plaintiff established a likelihood of success on the merits of its related breach of contract claim.”

“Those who dislike IPRs (and try to stop them altogether) are typically those possessing and actively using — in a litigious sense — weak patents. A lot of these are patent trolls.”PTAB typically considers some very weak and very abstract software patents after defendants (or victims of extortion) petition it to do so. Those who dislike IPRs (and try to stop them altogether) are typically those possessing and actively using — in a litigious sense — weak patents. A lot of these are patent trolls. Sometimes it’s their representatives and front groups, e.g. sites such as IAM.

Politicians for patent trolls, however, persist with their laughable proposal or a bill, the “STRONGER Patents Act” (actually weaker patents). Reposted yet again by Jones Day was this piece titled “STRONGER Patents Act Being Introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives” and United for Patent Reform wrote: “The STRONGER #Patents Act prevents state attorneys general from protecting their citizens from abusive #patenttrolls & creates numerous loopholes that will allow trolls to escape liability.” Read more of our letter to @RepSteveStivers and @RepBillFoster: http://bit.ly/2ukBoKS

We posted that letter earlier this month. The CCIA’s Josh Landau has just mentioned another threat, this time from Senator Coons: He explains:

Senator Coons has long been interested in strengthening patents. While some of his efforts, like the STRONGER Patents Act, would actually harm the U.S.’s innovation economy by strengthening patents at the expense of innovation, his latest bill is different.

Last week, Senator Coons (along with Senator Hatch) introduced the Building Innovation Growth through Data for Intellectual Property Act, or “BIG Data for IP Act.” The bill has two main features—extending the Patent Office’s fee-setting authority, and requiring the Office to produce a report on its IT infrastructure, a plan for modernizing that infrastructure, and a report on the use of advanced data science techniques to improve the examination process.

Fee-Setting Authority Matters

Prior to the America Invents Act, the Patent Office didn’t actually set its own fees. Instead, Congress set them. This meant that, even though the Patent Office is supposed to fund its operations through the fees it collects, they couldn’t change those fees to reflect changing costs or to fund needed infrastructure—they had to wait for Congress to do it for them. That’s not an ideal situation.

But it’s actually worse than that. The Patent Office now collects enough, overall, to fund its own operations—but the fees for a given action don’t necessarily reflect the cost of that action. In particular, the fee for examining a patent is actually significantly lower than the cost of examination, with the shortfall made up for by issuance and renewal fees (which are significantly more expensive than the cost of issue or renewal.)

[...]

The final portion of the bill, reporting on the use of data science like machine learning and big data to improve the patent examination process, is also useful. Using big data tools like Google BigQuery, Patent Progress has been able to show that the Alice decision affects a very small proportion of patent applications and that so-called “IPR off-ramp” procedures are already available, if patentees want to use them.

If a patent lawyer can produce this kind of insight in a limited timespan using these kinds of tools, a trained data scientist with support from the Patent Office should be able to provide real insights into improving patent examination. And improved patent examination, in turn, leads to fewer low-quality patents issuing, fewer inter partes reviews to challenge low-quality patents after issue, and less abusive patent litigation.

PTAB IPRs, part of AIA (America Invents Act), will certainly come under many attacks ahead of a decision on Oil States (expected to come soon from the US Supreme Court). Over the past week, for example, Watchtroll ramped up its attacks on CAFC and on PTAB, even during the holiday.

“PTAB IPRs, part of AIA (America Invents Act), will certainly come under many attacks ahead of a decision on Oil States (expected to come soon from the US Supreme Court).”Joseph Robinson and Robert Schaffer wrote two pieces just before Easter [1, 2] in which they speak about PTAB (the Board).

“The Federal Circuit thus vacated the Board’s claim construction as erroneous,” they wrote, “construed aseptic to mean the “FDA level of aseptic,” as previously decided, vacated the Board’s non-obviousness determination, and remanded for further proceedings.”

Robinson and Schaffer basically picked one of those rare cases. Here’s a more common outcome:

The ’435 patent, owned by Steuben, is directed to a sterilization tunnel pressurized with sterile air, as part of aseptic packaging of food products. After Nestle challenged the ’435 patent in an inter partes review, the Board found a number of the claims obvious and unpatentable. The claims recited a specific sterilant concentration levels in the different zones of the sterilization tunnel. Steuben appealed, and the Federal Circuit affirmed.

Watchtroll went a lot further than this in recent days, but we shall cover that separately. Attacks of PTAB recently become attacks on Techrights itself. I’ve received threats.

Unified Patents: Patent Litigation in the US is Still Dominated by Patent Trolls That Create Nothing But Lawsuits

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 7:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This is not innovation but parasitic taxation

IoT NPE litigation

Summary: Some complete/exhaustive statistics (not interpolated/extrapolated but limited to one area) from Unified Patents help demonstrate trends in patent litigation in the United States; it’s clear that much work remains to be done by patent reformers

EVEN though it’s Easter (so we’ve been writing less) the USPTO continues granting patents and lawsuits continue to be filed. On Wednesday/Thursday, for example, Unified Patents showed that patent litigation is dominated by patent trolls, at least when it comes to software patents ‘dressed up’ as “Internet of Things”. There are plenty of figures in this analysis and we have reproduced only one (above) under Fair Use.

From the outline:

From 2012 to 2017, NPE litigation activity for Internet of Things (IoT) technologies remained consistently high (between 85% and 98% of all IoT litigation). After reaching a record number of new IoT litigations in 2016, new filings in 2017 returned to pre-2016 levels. While litigation involving most IoT technologies either decreased or saw marginal increases in 2017, the proporation of IoT litigation over Communication Protocols & Networking increased from 3% (2016) to 44% (2017).

Unified Patents’ Robert Jain later (yesterday) added: “Whatever the cause, the volume of NPE-related filings [troll lawsuits] remains high as is seen in the figures below.”

Patent litigation in Q1 2018 held steady with the number of new filings slightly exceeding the volume of cases seen in the second half of 2017. In recent years, the number of new filings has been highest in the first and second quarters which may indicate we will see fewer patent litigations in 2018. However, the uncertainty surrounding upcoming changes in patent law, such as the pending Oil States decision, may be in part responsible for these lower filing rates. Whatever the cause, the volume of NPE-related filings remains high as is seen in the figures below.

In relative terms, patent trolls are still a major problem. Sure, the overall number of patent lawsuits nosedived, but that did little to tackle patent trolls specifically and a lot of their nefarious activity goes on not inside the courtroom but outside the legal system. They bully and eventually extort companies, otherwise that ends up with lawsuits.

We are far from done reforming things; the software community should not assume that 35 U.S.C. §101 changes have fixed everything. Much of the blackmail is extrajudicial in nature, which means that the views/interpretations of courts/PTAB never get factored in (or into calculations associated with the harm done by trolls).

Links 31/3/2018: Wine 3.5, KDE Connect Updates, Raspberry Pi Targeted by SUSE, Mozilla Turns 20

Posted in News Roundup at 6:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Why Classrooms Are Apple, Google and Microsoft’s Next Big Battleground

      Google’s Chromebooks accounted for 59.6% of mobile computing shipments in the kindergarten through 12th grade market in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to Futuresource Consulting. By comparison, Windows accounted for 25.6% and iOS comprised 10.6% of shipments.

      Among the reasons tech giants are scrambling to get their gadgets into schools: It’s a big business opportunity. The education technology market is expected to reach $252 billion by 2020, according to a report published by education-focused technology conference host EdTechXGlobal and advisory firm IBIS Capital. But there’s potential upside even after students leave the classroom and turn into fully-fledged consumers, too. “It gets people using your technology young,” says Avi Greengart, research director for consumer platforms and devices for GlobalData. “The hope is that they stick with it.”

    • My Linux Workstation Environment in 2018

      I’ve been wanting to make another list of the apps on my workstation since the last one but I couldn’t because I was switching between my Linux Mint and Ubuntu PCs on an almost daily basis. Now, I have settled on using one PC to work and let go of the other so I can dive right into the topic.

      My distro of choice is – you guessed it, Ubuntu. I run 17.10 and am waiting to see what 18.04 will officially bring when it is released in April. “Why 17.10 and not 16.04 LTS?“, I hear you ask. Well, I have always been one to test Ubuntu’s builds and it includes the new shell, so heaven yeah!

      It wouldn’t be resourceful to list every single installation on my PC so my list will regard the apps that I use the most, especially for my web development and writing jobs. For my design gigs, I mainly use a Mac and easy-to-use online tools whenever I’m away from home.

    • Librem laptop orders now shipping within a week

      As many team members have been travelling to negotiate hardware supplies or participate in community events lately, we are taking this opportunity to give you an update on Librem laptop operations this month, while regular posts about the Librem phone are expected to resume in a week or two.

    • Qubes Version 4.0 Released, Purism Laptops Shipping Quickly, New Rust Version 1.25.0 and More

      Purism announces that its Librem laptop orders are now shipping within a week—in other words, on average, the company now can fulfill orders within five business days. See the Purism blog for more information on this milestone.

  • Server

    • The evolution of IT infrastructure – from mainframe to server-less

      The world of IT architecture has been on a long and complex journey over the last 60 years and the rate of change is showing no signs of slowing.

      This journey is commonly split into five stages, each one with its own specific technology drivers, underpinned by the exponential increase in processing power and decline in the cost of computer technology, more commonly known as Moore’s Law.

      That’s not to say each stage has resided in isolation. There has been plenty of crossover throughout the years, with some businesses – and indeed industries – being slower than others to move on from legacy technologies.

      While this wasn’t such an issue in the past, today’s rapid rate of innovation and unprecedented levels of competition mean businesses simply can’t afford to stand still.

    • Public cloud: 8 stats to see

      CIOs don’t want to debate cloud adoption any more: They want to talk cloud optimization, as Jeff Budge, VP at OneNeck IT Solutions, recently noted. Analyst outlooks and research reports back this up, showing rapid growth for public cloud and hybrid cloud in the months and years ahead.

      As you explain cloud – and your own cloud decisions – to others in the organization, you’ll want some data points for context. So we’ve highlighted a few studies that help tell the public and hybrid cloud story for 2018 and answer some relevant questions: Where does cloud land on a CIO’s priorities list? Is it living up to its cost-savings promise? How much work is shifting to the public cloud? Dig in for more.

    • Founder Solomon Hykes Bids Docker
  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.15.14
    • Linux 4.14.31
    • Linux 4.9.91
    • Linux 4.4.125
    • Phoenix RC Flight Controller Driver Coming For Linux 4.17

      One of several new drivers slated for Linux 4.17 is PXRC for the Phoenix RC flight controller adapters.

      This is a flight controller modeled after that’s used by radio control airplanes/helicopters/drones. Phoenix RC makes a PC flight simulator and for going with that software they have this controller. While there doesn’t appear to be a Linux port of the Phoenix RC software that has been around for years, with Linux 4.17 at least their RC flight controllers will now work under Linux if you want to use it as an input device for another game, etc.

    • LightNVM Getting Open-Channel 2.0 Support For Linux 4.17

      LightNVM patches are called for pulling into the Linux kernel’s block layer that would land for the Linux 4.17 kernel and provide Open-Channel 2.0 support.

      The Open-Channel SSD 2.0 specification was ratified in January by the LightNVM group. As a reminder, LightNVM / Open-Channel is a specification for extending the NVMe specification whereby the solid-state drive exposes its internal parallelism and lets the host operating system determine data placement and I/O scheduling rather than the SSD itself. Open-Channel SSDs aim for better I/O isolation, predictable latency, and better drive management.

    • Some Of The Best Additions In Linux 4.16

      The Linux 4.16 kernel is hopefully being released this Sunday, marking the end to another busy kernel development cycle. We have already written dozens of articles about changes to be found with Linux 4.16 and benchmarks, while here is a quick recap of what makes Linux 4.16 special.

    • Seven Reasons To Already Get Excited For Linux 4.17, Especially For AMD/Radeon Users
    • Linux Foundation

      • Linux Foundation Launches Open AI Effort

        The Linux Foundation launched a deep learning initiative this week designed to create a “neutral space for harmonization and acceleration” of AI, machine learning and deep learning technologies. The initial focus will be an AI standardization effort.

        The open source project called LF Deep Learning Foundation seeks to make the emerging AI technologies widely available to data scientists and developers, the group said during this week’s Open Networking Summit in Los Angeles.

        Founding members include several Chinese technology giants that are pouring huge sums into AI research as part of a national strategy to dominate AI. They are: China’s search giant Baidu; networking giant Huawei (SHE: 002502); Tencent, often referred to as China’s Facebook; and telecommunications equipment vendor ZTE (SHE: 000063).

      • The Linux Foundation Announces 35 New Silver and 3 New Associate Members

        The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announced the addition of 35 Silver members and three Associate members. Linux Foundation members help support development of the greatest shared technology resources in history, while accelerating their own innovation through open source leadership and participation.

      • Ripple [XRP] announces an open source collaboration with Hyperledger – Another blockchain revolution

        Ripple has just announced a collaboration with Hyperledger, an open source initiative, which is a very important step in establishing their long vision of the Internet of Value. They announced proudly about being a part of the Blockchain revolution.

        Hyperledger is an industry-wide open source initiative to advance Blockchain technology, governed by the Linux Foundation. Hyperledger also tweeted the same stating, 14 organizations from India to Switzerland, BVIs to Spain are investing in open blockchain and distributed ledger technologies.

      • Ripple makes big waves by joining hyperledger initiative
      • Ripple (XRP) is Now an Official Partner with Hyperledger Blockchain Consortium
      • Ripple has Joined Hyperledger Blockchain Consortium
      • Ripple, 13 others join Hyperledger Blockchain Consortium
      • Hyperledger Adds 14 New Members to Blockchain Consortium
      • Ripple Joins Hyperledger Blockchain Consortium
      • Should You Invest in Ripple (XRP) or Litecoin (LTC)?
      • AT&T open sources network OS under DANOS project

        The Linux Foundation recently introduced the Disaggregated Network Operating System (DANOS) project, with a code release slated for the second half of this year.

        DANOS is based upon AT&T’s “dNOS” software framework, which the company first unveiled last year. It was developed in an effort to accelerate the adoption and use of white boxes in the infrastructure of service providers. In January, the company announced it was open sourcing its dNOS project through the Linux Foundation. DANOS is the same project under a different name. It serves as an operating system for the white boxes that compose a network.

      • At the Linux Foundation, a Marketplace for Artificial Intelligence
      • The Linux Foundation launches LF Deep Learning Foundation

        The Linux Foundation has launched the LF Deep Learning Foundation, an umbrella organization that will support and sustain open source innovation in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning while striving to make these critical new technologies available to developers and data scientists everywhere.

        Founding members of LF Deep Learning include Amdocs, AT&T, B.Yond, Baidu, Huawei, Nokia, Tech Mahindra, Tencent, Univa, and ZTE. With LF Deep Learning, members are working to create a neutral space where makers and sustainers of tools and infrastructure can interact and harmonize their efforts and accelerate the broad adoption of deep learning technologies.

      • Linux Foundation beefs up roster with 35 Silver, 3 Associate members

        As this week’s Open Network Summit wraps, The Linux Foundation adds 35 new Silver members and three associate members to its growing rank.

        Besides joining the Foundation, several of the new members have joined Linux Foundation projects like Automotive Grade Linux, Cloud Native Computing Foundation, EdgeX Foundry, Hyperledger, LF Networking and other projects.

      • LF Networking Gets Ambitious About Open Harmonization

        Building on significant momentum in the networking space, the Linux Foundation’s networking arm is getting even more ambitious, announcing a move to harmonize its open source networking efforts with those of adjacent ecosystems including containers and cloud-native efforts, edge computing, network operating systems for white boxes and AI/deep learning.

        The LF Networking Fund (LFN) today made a series of announcements including the launch of DANOS, an open network operating system for white boxes and switches that brings together existing projects such as Free Range Routing and dNOS, and creates an “uber” operating system for white boxes that should speed their commercialization, said Arpit Joshipura, general manager of networking for the Linux Foundation.

      • AT&T to Deploy More than 60,000 White Box Routers

        AT&T on Sunday detailed its plans to use open hardware designs as the carrier virtualizes its network on the road to 5G.

        The company said it will deploy more than 60,000 “white box” routers in cell towers across the U.S. over the next several years — a transition from traditional proprietary routers to open hardware that can be upgraded more quickly.

        “White box represents a radical realignment of the traditional service provider model,” said Andre Fuetsch, CTO and president of AT&T Labs, in a statement. “We’re no longer constrained by the capabilities of proprietary silicon and feature roadmaps of traditional vendors. We’re writing open hardware specifications for these machines, and developing the open source software that powers these boxes.”

    • Graphics Stack

      • Mesa 17.3.8 Is Being Prepared With Another Dozen Fixes

        While Mesa 17.3 started out very buggy, the developers have slowly been getting it into shape. If you are waiting to upgrade to the newly-released Mesa 18.0 until it further stabilizes with some point releases, Mesa 17.3.8 will be released in the days ahead as the latest and greatest off last quarter’s driver code-base.

        Igalia’s Juan Suarez Romero has put out the release candidate of Mesa 17.3.8, which at the moment contains 18 patches over the huge 17.3.7 release that recently shipped with more than 50 fixes.

      • Mir 0.31.1 Released With Various Wayland Fixes

        Another minor update to Mir has arrived ahead of next month’s Ubuntu 18.04 LTS “Bionic Beaver” release.

        Mir 0.31.1 takes care of some warnings emitted now by GCC 8, a few minor fixes, and then is mostly focused on Wayland fixes.

      • More Intel OpenGL 4.6 SPIR-V Code Lands In Mesa 18.1 Git

        It looks like we’re getting quite close to finally having OpenGL 4.6 in mainline Mesa.

        Igalia developers that have been assisting the Intel OTC crew on OpenGL 4.6 support for the i965 GL driver have landed their latest round of SPIR-V patches. Solely left blocking OpenGL 4.6 for Intel (and RadeonSI) has been the ARB_gl_spirv / ARB_spirv_extensions OpenGL extensions for allowing the SPIR-V IR to be ingested by the OpenGL drivers for greater cross-operability with Vulkan. These latest patches now in Mesa 18.1-devel are landing i965 SPIR-V bits.

    • Benchmarks

      • A Look At Ubuntu 10.04 To Ubuntu 18.04 Linux Performance

        With the Ubuntu 18.04 “Bionic Beaver” release fast approaching and it being the latest Long-Term Support release, the latest benchmarking at Phoronix has been looking at how the Ubuntu LTS performance has evolved going as far back as the Ubuntu 10.04.0 LTS “Lucid Lynx” release. On three systems where supported Ubuntu 10.04 / 12.04 / 14.04 / 16.04 / 18.04 were tested each time.

      • Benchmarks Of Linux 4.14 On The Raspberry Pi

        This week Raspbian OS, the official Debian-based operating system of the Raspberry Pi, finally upgraded to the Linux 4.14 LTS kernel. Considering that Raspbian was previously on Linux 4.9, it’s quite the kernel upgrade, and I decided to run some before/after benchmarks.

        Going from Linux 4.9 to 4.14 means the Raspbian maintainers need to carry less out-of-tree patches for the Raspberry Pi since in this timeframe more of their work has been upstreamed to the Linux kernel. Plus there’s been a whole array of improvements to the mainline Linux kernel in this timeframe. Some users have been hopeful of performance improvements being part of that, so I decided to run some improvements.

      • Linux RAID Performance On Dual NVMe SSDs

        Here are our latest Linux RAID benchmarks using the very new Linux 4.16 kernel while using two high-end Samsung 960 EVO 500GB NVMe solid-state drives with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. Using MDADM Linux soft RAID were EXT4, F2FS, and XFS while Btrfs RAID0/RAID1 was also tested using that file-system’s integrated/native RAID capabilities.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Yahoo hit QupZilla.

        As most you already know as an XFCE environment installation comes with QupZilla web browser.
        The QupZilla web browser is a lightweight multiplatform web browser written in Qt Framework and using its web rendering engine QtWebEngine.
        If you using Fedora 28 the you can get the Falkon web browser.
        The wikipedia tell us about Falkon browser “(formerly QupZilla[3]) is a free and open-source web browser, intended for general users. Falkon is licensed under GPLv3.”
        The Falkon browser working well with Yahoo.

      • Building KDE Connect

        After I shared the link to the KDE Connect Development Telegram group almost 20 people joined within 24 hours. I certainly did not expect such a interest in KDE Connect. When I joined the project about a year ago the hardest part for me was setting up a proper development workflow, meaning configuring, building, installing and debugging the application and interacting with git and Phabricator. To ease your start in KDE Connect development I would like to give you the guide I wish I had back then.

        I will show you how to fetch the project, build, run and debug it using KDevelop. It’s an IDE by the KDE Community designed with KDE projects in mind. In theory you can use any IDE you like, if you figure out how to configure it properly.

      • KDE Connect – New stuff I

        In my first post about KDE Connect I told you about the album cover art on Android. Thanks to Matthijs it now also works when the cover art is a local file, for example when you are using VLC. It already worked when the cover art was a remote URL, for example with Spotify. The cover art is now also shown in the media control notification and added to the Android media session.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • That Huge GNOME Shell Memory Leak? It’s Being Fixed

        Some good news: the (rather large) GNOME Shell memory leak we spotlighted last week is in the process of being fixed.

        GNOME developers have spent the past week or so trying to identify the root of the issue, which causes system memory usage to increase each minute GNOME Shell is used.

        Following our report hundreds of GNOME Shell users across various Linux distros took to internet forums and social media to confirm the memory creep issue exists on their systems.

      • Maps, Gitlab, and Meson

        It’s been a couple of weeks now since GNOME 3.28 was realeased. I´ve already written some about the new features in Maps for 3.28. But already now there´s some exiting news looking forward. The first is not related to code or features of Maps itself. But the project has been migrated to GNOME´s Gitlab instance (along with other projects now that mass-migration of the remaining projects from Cgit and Bugzilla is going on). I think this will simplify newcomer contributions and bug reporting quite a bit. Also the code review interface for the merge requests looks pretty nice.

        The other big news is that Maps is now built using Meson. Even though the amount of compiled code (the private C library we use for interfacing with things like libxml2 and libfolks, which doesn´t natively support GIR bindings) is quite small, I still think build times are noticeably quicker now. I decided to remove support for building using Autotools right away, since we had some shell:ish magic going with installing our icons where shell sub process ran cut to parse file names into path destinations based on splitting on underscore characters. So I took the opportunity to clean this up and move the icons into suitable directory structures directly in the repo. I didn´t think it was worth the effort to “back-port” this the Autotools build system, so from now on master can now only be built with Meson (ofcourse on the stable “gnome_3_28” branch building is done the old way using Autotools).

      • The ways of the GNOME people

        Hidden away in the farthest corner of the planet, its slopes covered in mist and darkness and its peaks lost in the clouds, stands the formidable Mount GNOME. Perched atop the mountain is a castle as menacing as the mountain itself – its towering walls made of stones as cold as death, and the wind howling through the courtyard like a dozen witches screaming for blood.

        Living inside the imposing blackness are a group of feral savages, of whom very little is known to the world outside. The deathly walls of the castle bear testimony to their skull-crushing barbarism, and their vile customs have laid waste to the surrounding slopes and valleys. Mortally fearful of invoking their mad wrath, no human traveller has dared to come near the vicinity of their territory. Shrouded in anonymity, they draw their name from the impregnable mountain that they inhabit – they are the GNOME people.

      • Leak Hunting and Mutter Hacking

        Last week, when I upgraded to GNOME 3.28, I was sad to notice an extremely annoying bug in Mutter/GNOME Shell: every once in a while, a micro-stuttering happened. This was in additions to another bug that was disappointing me for quite a while: the tiling/maximize/unmaximize animations were not working on Wayland too.

  • Distributions

    • 4MLinux A Miniature Linux Distribution

      I’ve always been quite a fan of minimalist/light distros. They have ability to work on many computers where others do not come. One of my recent discoveries is 4MLinux, a much smaller distro, almost a miniature of what we are accustomed to see, but able to do amazing things.

    • IPFire: A User-Friendly Linux Firewall Distribution

      Securing your network is an incredibly challenging task, one that’s made even more difficult by software that adds yet another layer of complexity on top. And let’s face it, most firewall tools are the stuff of user nightmare. That’s why, when a firewall tool strips away some of that complexity, it deserves attention.

      One such tool is IPFire, an open source Linux distribution geared specifically for the task of firewalls. This particular distribution is hardened, secure, easy to operate, and ready to serve enterprise, small-to-medium businesses, and even home users. IPFire was designed for users new to firewalling, so it places a premium on user-friendliness.

    • Arch Family

      • Become an Arch Power User with Pacli and PacUI

        Before I introduce you to these applications, let me explain what they are and why you may find them useful.

        Both of these applications are designed to help you install packages on Arch and Arch-based Linux distros (both from the repos and from the Arch User Repository). They are also designed to fix some system errors. Both of them run in the terminal and both give you access to complex commands with the tap of a key.

        In terms of usability, they stand somewhere between using pacman (Arch’s package manager, generally used from the terminal) and Pamac (the graphical frontend for pacman).

        For some, pacman (and other terminal package managers) are difficult to use because they don’t know all of the possible commands. The man is a couple keyboard strokes away, but it can be difficult to understand at times. On the other hand, when you use Pamac, you might have to search through a number of menus to find what you are looking for.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Tumbleweed Now Has Ratings for Snapshots

        openSUSE’s rolling distribution Tumbleweed produces high-quality snapshots and a new rating tool for the snapshots has labeled two out of the last four snapshots as stable.

        The past two snapshots are still pending a rating as it takes about a week after the snapshot release to develop a rating. This blog will cover the last two snapshots that are pending and list some of the new software that arrived in the snapshots.

        The most recent snapshot, 20180326, had several new packages including python-packaging 17.1 and python-setuptools 39.0.1. The python-packaging 17.1 dropped support for python 2.6, 3.2, and 3.3. The update version python-setuptools from 38.5.2 to 39.0.1 now vendors its own direct dependencies and no longer relies on the dependencies as vendored by pkg_resources. The C library for reading, creating, and modifying zip archive, libzip 1.5.0, enabled more functionality by updating dependencies and simplified the licence by the use of a standard cryptographic library instead of custom Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) implementation. IRC client hexchat 2.14.1 made some changes to the preferences so the window can be scroll-able. GNOME’s messaging program empathy reverted back to version 3.12.14 and gnome-documents 3.28.0 updated translations and replaced pkgconfig(libgepub) with pkgconfig(libgepub-0.6). The Linux Kernel 4.15.13 became available in the snapshot, which added the Intel Total Memory Encryption feature, and YaST had several packages updated including autoyast2 4.0.44, which can properly abort when probing devices fails during installation.

      • Linux on Raspberry Pi: SUSE support turns $35 board into enterprise IoT platform

        SUSE has released a SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP3 (SLES) for the popular Raspberry Pi, which comes with full commercial support for enterprise customers.

        The release upgrades an unsupported version of SLES SP2 Raspberry Pi image released at 2016 SUSECON, which offered enterprises an alternative to Raspbian OS with an OS that uses the SUSE Linux Enterprise kernel for Arm.

        Raspberry Pi chief Eben Upton was very pleased with SUSE’s experimental release, because it was first the major 64-bit OS to support the Raspberry Pi’s wireless networking and Bluetooth.

      • Raspberry Pi and Linux take on enterprise with SUSE support for the $35 computer

        Yet today that is exactly what is happening in an increasing number of businesses, which are finding ways to tailor the versatile but sub-$40 Raspberry Pi computer to their needs.

        The growing use of Pi boards by business has led SUSE to begin offering commercial support for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) for Arm running on the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B.

      • SUSE bakes a Raspberry Pi-powered GNU/Linux Enterprise Server

        SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP3 (SLES) has been released for the diminutive Raspberry Pi computer.

        SLES is aimed at enterprise users of the open-source operating system, restricting itself to a major version update every three or four years, with more minor service packs hitting every 18 months or so.

        Longer term support makes the product an attractive one for users less keen to live at the bleeding edge of an ill-advised apt-get command on a rival distro.

      • openSUSE Elections Postponed

        The elections for the openSUSE Board have been postponed until April 15.

        The postponement will extend Phase 1 of the elections and give candidates more time to campaign and engage with the community. The voting phase (Phase 2) will start April 15.

    • Red Hat Family

      • OpenShift Commons Briefing: Kubernetes 1.10 Release Update with Cole Mickens and Stefan Schimanski (Red Hat)
      • Introducing Josh Wood: OpenShift and Kubernetes Developer Advocate

        Like so many people, Red Hat was the first Linux I saw and the first Linux I installed on my own hardware. Ever since then, as several friends donned red fedoras, Red Hat sounded like a great place to work, and in the meantime the company became the gold standard for succeeding because of open source values. In other words, the chance to join Red Hat represented one of my dream jobs. Still, I was passionate about my Kubernetes work at my previous employer, and I knew I’d miss the experience and many of my colleagues there. Fortunately, I didn’t have to miss them for long.

      • Announcing the OpenShift Container Platform 3.9 GA

        OpenShift Container Platform 3.9 is generally available today! As always, release notes, downloads, and other information are available on the Red Hat OpenShift customer portal. OCP 3.9 contains our usual nods to enhanced security and usability, including new central auditing capabilities, console time-outs, and improved service catalog workflows. CRI-O, an OCI-compliant implementation of the Kubernetes Container Runtime Interface, is also available in this release as a fully-supported option. For a full walkthrough of what’s new in OCP 3.9, check out the latest OpenShift Commons briefing.

      • Train the Next Wave of Innovators with Engineering Residency Programs

        Some of the biggest technology innovations over the past few years have led to monumental leaps forward in the art of collaboration, yet the fact remains that nothing can take the place of good, old-fashioned, in-person interactions. Indeed, it’s somewhat ironic that the very innovations that allow teams to bridge long distances between each other — the cloud, for instance, or mobile applications — were created by people sitting in a room talking and working through ideas.

      • Red Hat CEO: Open source software defines us

        Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat CEO, provides insight to its next generation of cloud technology and what makes the company unique from other competitors. Our approach is radically different, says Whitehurst.

      • Thank you for 25 years
      • Getting to know Wee Luen Chia Red Hat ASEAN’s new general manager

        Wee Luen joins us from Qlik, where he was the managing director for ASEAN. Prior to Qlik, Wee Luen was responsible for the Fusion Middleware portfolio in Singapore and Brunei at Oracle. He also has experience working in Singapore’s public sector, having spent the first years of his career on whole-of-government project conceptualization and implementations.

      • 25 things you should know about Red Hat

        Twenty-five years ago the world looked very different; a gallon of gas averaged $1.16 in the U.S.; the first Beanie Babies were introduced; Jurassic Park was the top-grossing movie in the world; Nelson Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; Buckingham Palace opened its doors to the public for the first time; and CERN released the source code for the world wide web. And a small businessman met a geek at a tech conference and Red Hat, Inc. was born.

      • Heading to Red Hat Summit? Here’s how you can learn more about OpenStack.

        From the time Red Hat Summit begins you can find hands-on labs, general sessions, panel discussions, demos in our partner pavillion (Hybrid Cloud section), and more throughout the week. You’ll also hear from Red Hat OpenStack Platform customers on their successes during some of the keynote presentations. Need an open, massively scalable storage solution for your cloud infrastructure? We’ll also have sessions dedicated to our Red Hat Ceph Storage product.

      • Red Hat celebrates Women’s History Month around the world

        March is Women’s History Month and Red Hat hosted events around the globe all month long in celebration. Diversity and inclusion are among our key values and we hope through events such as these we are able to make a positive contribution to the next generation of women leaders in the open source community and throughout the tech industry.

      • Red Hat executives recognized for excellence at the Women in IT Awards

        Red Hat has long been a champion of promoting diversity in technology and in open source and is a strong advocate of celebrating the accomplishments of women — both on our team and throughout the industry. That’s why we are excited to share that two Red Hatters were recently recognized for their outstanding contributions in the field of IT.

      • Red Hat reaches the quarter-century milestone

        Red Hat has now spent 25 years developing and supporting Linux and other related open-source projects. Originally started by Bob Young and Marc Ewing in a small residential room, it has now grown to have annual revenue of US$2.9 billion and 11,400 employees, making it the largest open-source based company in the world.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Policy call for participation

        We’re getting close to a new release of Policy. Just this week Adam Borowski stepped up to get a patch written for #881431 – thanks for getting things moving along!

      • Starting the Ayatana Indicators Transition in Debian

        This is to make people aware and inform about an ongoing effort to replace Indicators in Debian (most people know the concept from Ubuntu) by a more generically developed and actively maintained fork: Ayatana Indicators.

      • Curated Web-of-Trust keyrings for free software projects: A case study on Debian’s experience

        The Debian project has used a cryptographic keyring for most of its authentication for over twenty years. Recently, we have taken on the study of the social implications that can be learned from how it’s shaped, and its inner movements. Our aim is not just to document, but to understand what it means. We don’t want to keep it as an academic-only exercise. I want to share some of our insights in this session.

      • Derivatives

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Kaspersky Lab researchers puts KLara into open source domain

    Further technical and API details can be found on Securelist. The software is open-sourced under GNU General Public License v3.0 and available with no warranty from the developers.

    Kaspersky Lab’s GitHub account also includes another tool, created and shared by Kaspersky Lab researchers in 2017. Named BitScout, it was created by principal security researcher, Vitaly Kamluk, and can remotely collect vital forensic data such as malware samples without risk of contamination or loss. Further information on BitScout can be found here.

  • Kaspersky Lab puts KLara into open source domain
  • Kaspersky Lab researchers puts KLara into open source domain
  • Open source: What’s the channel opportunity?

    Paul Lipton, VP, industry standards and open source at CA Technologies, says open-source utilization and contribution has become “far more acceptable” as part of the overall planning and design of customer solutions.

    “When open source is properly managed as enterprise microservices at the API level – and properly secured and monitored – it can reduce costs and increase the business’ flexibility in building digital assets,” he tells Channelnomics.

    “This enables the organization to focus more software-development resources on the agile development of innovative enterprise services, enabling the business to differentiate from competitors and compete with maximum effectiveness.”

    ‘Agile’ and DevOps are an essential foundation for digital transformation, he notes. “Open source communities frequently embrace agile methodologies and innovation, making properly vetted open-source projects a good fit as part of the enterprise’s overall commitment to agile and DevOps.”

    Alex Pujols, senior systems engineering manager within Cisco’s Global Partner Organization, says nearly 80 percent of companies today are using open-source software in their environments, meaning there is “an unprecedented opportunity” for the channel around coupling open-source software with the vendor’s technology solutions.

  • CenturyLink to Open Source NFVi Orchestrator

    CenturyLink is preparing to contribute part of its NFVi orchestration process to the open source community, even though the operator isn’t yet ready to join ONAP, which is the largest orchestration open source project.

    Adam Dunstan, vice president of SDN/NFV Engineering for CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL), explained in a presentation here and in an interview that his team has taken a bit of service logic out of an Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) module and repackaged it as part of its NFV orchestration process, calling it Victor, and now intends to release that into open source. Once the legal details are sorted, the contribution will likely go into ONAP — which CenturyLink has contributed to before. (See ONAP Adds Verizon, Claims De Facto Title.)

    Because CenturyLink is charting its own path and develop its own tooling, however, the company likely won’t be plunking down the dollars required to formally join ONAP anytime soon, Dunstan says. (See CenturyLink Touting New MVP.)

  • Standardizing network freedom

    ActivityPub is a federated social network protocol used to connect together decentralized Web sites running software such as Mastodon, Kroeg, and soon, MediaGoblin. How does ActivityPub work? What is the future of the standard and related work? What are Decentralized Identifiers, Capabilities, the “Web Of Trust,” and why should you care? What are the lessons learned about standardization processes themselves, what roles and responsibilities should standards organizations play, and how can we make sure they have the right incentive structures?

  • Commercial open source is more than old stuff for free

    February saw open source turn 20 years old. Or the OSI definition at least. According to the OSI, the term was coined in Palo Alto by nanotechnologist Christine Peterson during a meeting on February 3, 1998, shortly after the announcement of the release of Netscape’s source code.

    In those 20 years, a lot has changed. Major technology shifts are now driven by open aource technologies: big data (Hadoop, Spark), AI (TensorFlow, Caffe), and containers (Docker, Kubernetes) are all open source projects. Massive companies including Google, Facebook, and even Lyft regularly release open source tools for the world to use. Microsoft—a company that once described Linux as a cancer—now embraces the concept. And commercial open source is not just a niche idea operated at the fringes of the technology landscape but a common and successful business model for companies to adopt.

  • Kaspersky KLara malware hunter now open source

    Kaspersky’s KLara tool has been made open source in an effort to help security professionals search related malware samples more easily and efficiently with distributed Yara rules.

  • Department of Justice Wants Kaspersky Lawsuits Dismissed
  • Warning: Fauxpersky malware poses as Kaspersky antivirus
  • MEF’s Pitt says open source isn’t free or easy [Ed: It is about freedom, not price, and if you find it hard maybe you hire the wrong kind of staff]

    At this year’s Open Networking Summit, the show floor was buzzing with discussions about the benefits of open source networking, but the MEF says service providers know open source comes with various costs.

    Dan Pitt, SVP of MEF, told FierceTelecom that despite the efforts made by various groups to drive open source, ultimately the service provider’s decision comes down to implementing solutions that fit their unique needs.

  • SD Times GitHub Project of the Week: Yoda.2

    Yoda.2 is a wise and powerful personal assistant tool that is accessible directly from the terminal. The open-source project was released last year by software developer Man Parvesh Singh Randhawa.

  • Ontology Announces Release of Open-Source Projects to Encourage Blockchain Technology Development

    Today, Ontology, a new generation public blockchain infrastructure project and a distributed trust collaboration platform, officially announced the release of its first open source projects on GitHub, and with it the beginning of the Ontology developer community. Developers across the world are invited to join the Ontology project and together invest in the development of public blockchain infrastructure.

  • Events

    • Joey Hess: three conferences one weekJoey Hess: three conferences one week

      First was a Neuroinformatics infrastructure interoperability workshop at McGill, my second trip to Montreal this year. Well outside my wheelhouse, but there’s a fair amount of interest in that community in git-annex/datalad. This was a roll with the acronyms, and try to draw parallels to things I know affair. Also excellent sushi and a bonus Secure Scuttlebutt meetup.

      Then LibrePlanet. A unique and super special conference, that utterly flew by this year. This is my sixth LibrePlanet and I enjoy it more each time. Highlights for me were Bassam’s photogrammetry workshop, Karen receiving the Free Software award, and Seth’s thought-provoking talk on “incompossibilities” especially as applied to social networks. And some epic dinner conversations in central square.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla’s radical open-source move helped rewrite rules of tech

        Twenty years ago, Netscape Communications was desperate. It was the darling of the first wave of internet companies for its ability to let you surf the web, but Microsoft had crushed its business prospects by giving away a web browser for free.

        So Netscape did something that was radical for the time: On March 31, 1998, it gave away the source code behind its Netscape Communicator browser, the once-secret programming instructions that developers used to build the software. The project, called Mozilla, amounted to surrendering the crown jewels.

      • Mozilla marks 20th anniversary with commitment to better human experiences online

        This coming Saturday — March 31 — is Mozilla’s 20th anniversary. We’ve accomplished a fair amount in the first 20 years. We aim to accomplish even more in the next 20 years. To do this, we’ve modernized nearly every aspect of Mozilla, from Firefox to the many ways we connect people and technology.

        We’re making our first major addition to the key principles that form the foundation for Mozilla’s work. These principles are set out in the Mozilla Manifesto, which was launched in 2007. The Mozilla Manifesto identifies ten principles that we work to build into Firefox and online life generally. The internet should be a global public resource, open and accessible to all. Individuals should have control of their experience. Safety is critical. Private commercial profit and social benefit should coexist in a healthy fashion. We use these principles regularly to describe Mozilla’s identity and inform our decision-making. You can see the Manifesto here.

      • You can edit, highlight and crop your screenshots!

        Two weeks ago, Screenshots started shipping with the ability to draw on and re-crop shots. Keep an eye out for the little edit icon on the top-right corner of your ‘My Shots’ page.

      • Hack on MDN: Building useful tools with browser compatibility data

        From Friday, March 16 to Sunday, March 18, 2018, thirty-four people met in Mozilla’s Paris office to work on improving MDN’s Browser Compat Data. The amazing results included 221 pull requests that improved the quality of our data and created, prototyped, and improved tools and dashboards.

      • Meet the Add-ons Manager

        Ever wanted to fancy up your Firefox experience but weren’t sure how to do it? Are you familiar with the Add-ons Manager in Firefox? If not, please allow us to introduce you. This Firefox feature can help you discover add-ons that will have you browsing like a power-user in no time.

      • Mozilla Releases Firefox Add-On That Prevents Facebook from Spying on You

        After the whole Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal, many companies took measures to protect their clients, including Mozilla, which released a free Firefox add-on to protect the privacy of its users.

        Your privacy is the most important thing in the world, especially when browsing the Internet, so you need to make sure the platforms and websites you visit can be trusted. All of us though Facebook could be trusted, but it proved otherwise, so now you can prevent it from tracking you on the Web if you’re using Firefox.

      • Mozilla’s profound open source momentum assisted rewrite rules of tech

        Mozilla’s profound open source momentum assisted rewrite rules of tech as twenty years ago Netscape Communications was despairing. It was the favorite of the first wave of internet companies for its capability to let you surf the web but Microsoft had squeezed business likelihood by conferring a web browser for free.

        So Netscape took a step that was radical for the time. On March 31, 1998 it conferred the source code following its Netscape communicator browser, the once undisclosed programming directives that developers utilized to construct the software. The project Mozilla constituted to submit the crown jewels.

      • Effective and rights-protective procedures for tackling illegal content – Mozilla files comment to the European Commission

        For many years we have sought to lead the way in developing an internet that promotes human dignity, civil discourse, individual expression and collaborative problem-solving. Unfortunately, illegal content online – from hate speech to terrorist content – undermines the overall health of the internet and stifles its empowering nature. In that context, developing policy frameworks and industry best practices for tackling illegal content in a rights-protective manner is one of our key policy objectives.

        The EU – like many other regulatory jurisdictions around the world – is currently considering new measures to ensure effective removal of illegal content from the internet. To that end, the European Commission recently published a policy roadmap on the issue, which included – amongst others – the suggestion that Internet platforms be obliged to implement automated mechanisms to both detect attempted uploads of illegal content and filter any such content on their services.

      • Bedrock: The SQLitening

        On its face www.mozilla.org doesn’t look like it’d be a complex application to write, maintain, or run. But when you throw over 100 million unique visitors per week at any site it can complicate things quickly. Add to that translations of the content into over 100 languages and you can start to get the idea of where it might get interesting. So we take every opportunity to simplify and reduce hosting complexity and cost we can get. This is the place from which the idea to switch to using SQLite for our database needs in production was born.

      • Firefox 60 Beta 6 Testday Results

        Last Friday, March 23rd we held a Testday event, for Firefox 60 Beta 6.

        Thank you all for helping us make Mozilla a better place!

        From India team: Surentharan R.A and Suren, Aditya Anand, Baranitharan, ILANKHATIR, Nivetha and Fahima Zulfath A.

      • A Healthy Internet Needs Trust & Diversity

        Today, Mozilla joined 115 companies in filing a friend of the court brief with the United States Supreme Court to demonstrate our continued opposition to the U.S. travel ban in State of Washington v. Trump.

        As we’ve said from the outset, this travel ban threatens the free flow of ideas and innovation across borders that is an essential part of our DNA as a technology company. It also puts in jeopardy our mission to protect and advance the internet as a global public resource that is open and accessible to all.

        In a similar filing with the lower circuit court, we outlined these objections along with broader concerns about the disturbing way in which the executive order at the heart of this case erodes trust in U.S. immigration law. We cannot afford to have such a dangerous precedent set that could damage the international cooperation required to develop and maintain the open internet.

      • Asa Dotzler: mozilla.org is 20 years old

        Netscape Communications made two important announcements on January 23rd, 1998:

        First, that the Netscape Communicator product would be available free of charge;

        Second, that the source code for Communicator would also be free.

        On March 31st, the first developer release of the source code to Communicator was made available.

        But what now? For the product to grow and mature and continue to be useful and innovative, the various changes made by disparate developers across the web must be collated, organized, and brought together as a cohesive whole.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Changes Begin Building Up For LibreOffice 6.1

      LibreOffice 6.0 was released at the end of January while already is a fair amount of new features over the past two months that have started up building for the next release of this open-source office suite, LibreOffice 6.1.

      LibreOffice 6.1 is expected to be released by mid-August while for that to happen an alpha release is slated for the end of April, a beta at the end of May, and the release candidates beginning in early July.

  • CMS

    • Best Content Management System

      Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you most certainly have heard of WordPress, one of the most popular blogging platforms around that also happens to be 100% open source. WordPress powers 27% of the web from personal to corporate to even government sites (Whitehouse.gov for one).

      In a 2008 interview, Linux Journal’s Katherine Druckman asked WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, “You frequently have reiterated your commitment to open-source ideals and GPL licensing. How has this commitment factored into the development of your company, Automattic? How do you use open-source technology to achieve your goals?”

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • A newcomer’s perspective on & patches for the free software movement

      The future of any philosophical movement is in its youth membership. The average age of a member of our movement, however, is at least the age of the movement itself. Thanks to “open”-washing, prospective members likely have a preconceived notion of software freedom that is less than optimal for the perpetuating the movement. How easy is it for a modern user to join us? How do so-called “millennials” and the like, who characteristically grew up with (mostly proprietary) software, perceive the imposition of ethical issues on their favorite practical tools — and what is the best way to introduce them? Are older members, or older ways of thinking, holding the movement back from spreading like wildfire? Are our methods too focused on developers and technophiles, and poor at converting mere mortals? In this discussion, we will not only ask ourselves these difficult questions, but also discuss concrete, actionable solutions.

    • 4 million open source security flaws identified [Ed: Anti-FOSS firm Snyk recently got more money with which to badmouth FOSS like this, counting repetition of bugs to make FOSS look bad]

      A recent Snyk’s survey also revealed that over 16% of developers don’t update dependencies and less than 50% use tools to alert themselves to known vulnerabilities.

      According to Derek Weeks, vice president at open source governance and DevSecOps automation company, Sonatype, this is set to change. Authorities around the world are starting to get tough on developers who fail to protect the public from data theft and misuse resulting from their less-than-stringent application of vulnerability fixes.

    • Despite risks, open source is now an unstoppable force in mobile networks
    • Microsoft’s Tool for Running Linux on Windows 10 is now Open Source
    • Linux ‘glued’ to Microsoft: Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)
    • Chime in: Which features could Microsoft ‘steal’ from Linux?
  • BSD

    • pfSense 2.4.3-RELEASE now available

      We are excited to announce the release of pfSense® software version 2.4.3, now available for new installations and upgrades!

      pfSense software version 2.4.3 brings security patches, several new features, support for new Netgate hardware models, and stability fixes for issues present in previous pfSense 2.4.x branch releases.

    • TrueOS STABLE 18.03 Release

      The TrueOS team is pleased to announce the availability of a new STABLE release of the TrueOS project (version 18.03). This is a special release due to the security issues impacting the computing world since the beginning of 2018. In particular, mitigating the “Meltdown” and “Spectre” system exploits make it necessary to update the entire package ecosystem for TrueOS. This release does not replace the scheduled June STABLE update, but provides the necessary and expected security updates for the STABLE release branch of TrueOS, even though this is part-way through our normal release cycle.

    • TrueOS 18.03 Released With Spectre/Meltdown Fixes, Package Updates
    • Dumping your USB

      One of the many new features of OpenBSD 6.3 is the possibility to dump USB traffic to userland via bpf(4). This can be done with tcpdump(8) by specifying a USB bus as interface:

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • It’s real! Free software has been changing Mexico

      The use of free software in the research and development of technology in the educational field is essential for a better society with more solid values. Mexico has initiated the development and use of free software, thanks to the creation of free software labs in higher education institutions. In this talk, we will discuss the creation of these labs, and the positive impact it has generated.

    • The dark side of free software communities

      When you think of free software, what things come to mind? Freedom, obviously, but what others? A shared community? An open culture? Within free software culture, there is a perception and expectation of openness and collaboration within the community: all are welcome to the table, and your contributions speak for you. When you get outside the community by enough, however, the answer changes. Contemptuous, confusing, elitist, and abrasive are words that some outsiders use to describe free software communities. Some go out of their way to avoid the communities we’ve worked so hard to build. Why?

    • Browsing the free software commons

      The ambition of the Software Heritage project is to collect, preserve, and share the entire body of free software that is published on the Internet in source code form, together with its development history.

      Since its public announcement in 2016, the project has assembled the largest collection of freely available software source code for about 4 billion unique source code files and 900 million commits, coming from more than 60 million projects.

      Initially focused on the collection and preservation goals — which were at the time urgent, due to the recurrent disappearances of development forges — Software Heritage has since rolled out several mechanisms to peruse its archive, making progress on the sharing goal.

      In this talk, we will review the status of the Software Heritage project, emphasizing how users and developers can, today, benefit from the availability of a great public library of source code.

    • Pathways for discovery of free software

      Software dependencies. Software citation. Scientific reproducibility. Preservation of legacy software. These phrases bring to mind times we need to communicate about free software. From people who write software to people who organize and provide documentation of software, to end users searching for software, we all need to unambiguously refer to software in its complexity.

      We are representing two different initiatives actively building the semantic web of free software by sourcing software metadata, and creating mappings and links to software artifacts. Morane is the metadata lead for Software Heritage, an initiative striving to become the Library of Alexandria for software by collecting all publicly available software in source code form, together with its development history. Kat is metadata lead for Wikidata for Digital Preservation, a collaboration between the Wikidata community and the digital preservation community. Together, we are working to ensure that our approaches to solve the software metadata challenge are interoperable.

  • Public Services/Government

    • What Could Open Government Learn from Us Open Technology folks?

      Despite open government’s best intentions to prioritise collaboration, government bodies consistently duplicate each other’s effort. Collaborating as effectively as open communities is much harder than you’d think.

      A number of us “open technologists” have drafted a paper describing the challenges government faces, along with our vision for how to address these. It is being presented as part of Australia’s updated Open Government National Action Plan.

    • Evolving government policies on the procurement and production of free software

      This presentation will review some of the policies that governments have adopted over the years regarding the production of free software. Historically, the free software community has focused on news items about larger users of free software, including a program in Munich. We now live in a world where everyone uses free software at least some of the time, and a large number of companies, even Microsoft, have even created policies on how they are participating. We are just starting to see governments considering their role in free software beyond consumers. In this talk, we will review some of the existing policies by both national and state governments that are embracing free licensing, and we will look at some recent proposed/enacted policies and laws. We will also briefly discuss the role that copyleft and permissive licenses can play in those policies, and what governments should consider when choosing a license.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • A usability study of the GPL

      We want software creators to use the GPL and its cousin licenses. We also know that people make mistakes in the process, or don’t even try because they’ve heard it’s “too complicated.” Just as we do when we develop software, we would do well to study these failures and use them as opportunities to improve the usability of the GPL. This talk aims to start that process by identifying some known problems and considering some possible solutions. (None of these solutions are a new version of the license!)

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • What NASA Has Been Doing About Open Science

      We have recently started a new Science category on It’s FOSS. We covered how open source approach is impacting Science in the last article. In this open science article, we discuss NASA‘s actively growing efforts that involve their dynamic role in boosting scientific research by encouraging open source practices.

      [...]

      Uniquely named “code.nasa.gov“, NASA now has precisely 365 scientific software available as open source via GitHub as of the time of this post. So if you are a developer who loves coding, you can study each one of them every day for a year’s time!

      Even if you are not a developer, you can still browse through the fantastic collection of open source packages enlisted on the portal!

      One of the interesting open source packages listed here is the source code of Apollo 11‘s guidance computer. The Apollo 11 spaceflight took the first two humans to the Moon, namely, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin ! If you want to know more about Edwin Aldrin, you might want to pay a visit here.

    • LG re-open sources WebOS, a look at the AI behind the Pixel 2′s camera, and more news
    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Could this $500 open-source printer be the RepRap of 3D bioprinters?

        Researchers from Adam Feinberg’s lab at Carnegie Mellon University have developed an open-source 3D bioprinter that can be built affordably using a modified desktop 3D printer. The large-volume extruder (LVE) component of the bioprinter can be 3D printed.

      • Carnegie Mellon University researchers publish designs for open-source 3D bioprinter

        Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed an open-source, low-cost 3D bioprinter. They have published a paper in HardwareX with the complete instructions for the installation of a syringe-based large volume extruder (LVE) on a desktop FDM 3D printer.

        The LVE allows users to print artificial human tissues at a high resolution and scale. It is designed to print a range of materials, including biopolymers, hydrogels, pastes and epoxies.

        Adam Feinberg, one of the authors of the paper and a Biomedical Engineering Associate Professor at Carnegie Mellon, said “The LVE 3D bioprinter allows us to print much larger tissue scaffolds, at the scale of an entire human heart, with high quality.”

  • Programming/Development

    • 6 differences between agile and traditional planning

      Traditional and agile planning methods both focus on developing strategies to lead teams to succeed in today’s competitive landscape; however, their approaches are quite distinct. If you’re transitioning from traditional to agile planning, it’s important to understand their substantially different mindsets and leadership styles.

  • Reviews

    • Product Review: GitStorage

      By profession, I’m a software developer. Aside from a preferred editor, what matters most to a developer is the use of a Source Code Manager (SCM). So, when a new product comes along featuring my favorite SCM, Git, I had no choice but to spend some time using it.

    • FOSS Project Spotlight: CloudMapper, an AWS Visualization Tool

      When working with AWS, it’s common to have a number of separate accounts run by different teams for different projects. Gaining an understanding of how those accounts are configured is best accomplished by visually displaying the resources of the account and how these resources can communicate. This complements a traditional asset inventory.

      Duo built CloudMapper to generate interactive network diagrams of AWS accounts and released it as open source on Github.

Leftovers

  • Some Easy Things We Could Do to Make All Autonomous Cars Safer

    More than a week after an Uber vehicle driving in autonomous mode killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona — the first pedestrian death by a self-driving car — we still don’t know what exactly went wrong. Video of the crash shows that the pedestrian, Elaine Herzberg, walked in front of a moving vehicle. But the vehicle didn’t appear to react, and there are many unanswered questions as to why it did not. Did the car’s Velodyne Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) or other sensors get enough signal to detect her? Did Uber’s decision to scale down to a single LIDAR sensor from the seven LIDAR sensors on earlier vehicle models, which created more LIDAR blindspots, play a role? Where the vehicle’s LIDAR sensors disabled? Did the fact that she was a pedestrian walking a bicycle confuse any of the car’s vision systems? Did the vehicle in fact slow down?

  • New Model Shows Towns on the Wrong Side of an Illinois Levee District Are Treading Water

    By building up their own flood protections, some communities have ensured they would be less affected by future floods, while their neighbors would fare worse.

  • Science

    • What Are Screens Doing to Our Eyes—And Our Ability to See?

      There are at least two recorded cases of something called smartphone blindness. The New England Journal of Medicine notes that both patients had been reading their phones in bed, on their sides, faces half-hidden, in the dark. “We hypothesized that the symptoms were due to differential bleaching of photo-­pigment, with the viewing eye becoming light-adapted.” Differential bleaching of the eyes! Fortunately, smartphone blindness of this kind is transient.

    • Floppy disk history: The evolution of personal computing

      We had floppy disks long before we had CDs, DVDs, or USB thumb drives. Here’s the evolution of the portable media that changed everything about personal computing.

      In the fall of 1977, I experimented with a newfangled PC: a Radio Shack TRS-80. For data storage, it used—I kid you not—a cassette tape player. Tape had a long history with computing; I had used the IBM 2420 9-track tape system on IBM 360/370 mainframes to load software and back up data. Magnetic tape was common for storage in pre-personal computing days, but it had two main annoyances: It held only tiny amounts of data, and it was slower than a slug on a cold spring morning. For those of us excited about technology, there had to be something better. And there was: the floppy disk.

    • The subjectification of a racial group

      In the philosophy department the other day we were discussing race-based sexual preferences. As well as considering the cases in which this is ethically problematic, we were trying to determine cases in which it might be okay.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • How Big Wireless Made Us Think That Cell Phones Are Safe: A Special Investigation

      Critics also attacked what they regarded as the slow pace of WTR research. The WTR was merely “a confidence game” designed to placate the public but stall real research, according to Louis Slesin, editor of the trade publication Microwave News. “By dangling a huge amount of money in front of the cash-starved [scientific] community,” Slesin argued, “Carlo guaranteed silent obedience. Anyone who dared complain risked being cut off from his millions.” Carlo denies the allegation.

    • We now have the first clear evidence cell phone radiation can cause cancer in rats

      This week, following three days of live-broadcast peer review sessions, experts concluded that a pair of federal studies show “clear evidence” that cell phone radiation caused heart cancer in male rats.
      This substantially changes the debate on whether cell phone use is a cancer risk. Up until this point, the federal government and cell phone manufacturers operated on the assumption that cell phones cannot by their very nature cause cancer, because they emit non-ionizing radiation. Whereas ionizing radiation—the kind associated with x-rays, CT scans, and nuclear power plants, among others—definitely causes cancer at high enough doses, non-ionizing radiation was believed to not emit enough energy to break chemical bonds. That meant it couldn’t damage DNA, and therefore couldn’t lead to mutations that cause cancer.
      But the pair of studies by the US National Toxicology Program found “clear evidence” that exposure to radiation caused heart tumors in male rats, and found “some evidence” that it caused tumors in the brains of male rats. (Both are positive results; the NTP uses the labels “clear evidence,” “some evidence,” “equivocal evidence” and “no evidence” when making conclusions.)

    • David Shulkin’s Firing at the VA Is Latest Step in Trump-Koch Push to Privatize Veterans’ Healthcare

      On Wednesday, President Trump fired Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin and said he’d replace him with White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson, a rear admiral in the Navy. Dr. Jackson has no experience running a large agency. The Department of Veterans Affairs is the federal government’s second-largest department, with 360,000 employees. Shulkin had been facing criticism for various ethics violations, including using taxpayer money to pay for his wife’s airfare during a trip to Europe last summer. But Shulkin says he’s actually being ousted because of his opposition to privatizing the VA, which runs 1,700 hospitals and clinics. The push to privatize the VA has been led by a group called Concerned Veterans for America, which is funded by the billionaire conservative Koch brothers. We speak to Suzanne Gordon, an award-winning healthcare journalist. Her forthcoming book is titled “Wounds of War: Veterans’ Healthcare in the Era of Privatization.”

    • David J. Shulkin: Privatizing the V.A. Will Hurt Veterans

      Some in the Trump administration saw me as an obstacle to privatization.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Security updates for Friday
    • CNCF Expands Cloud Security Capabilities With SPIFFE, OPA Projects

      The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) announced on March 29 that it is adding the Open Policy Agent (OPA) and the Secure Production Identity Framework for Everyone (SPIFFE) projects to its hosted projects roster.

      OPA and SPIFFE extend the security capabilities available to cloud and container workloads, helping to fill perceived gaps in existing security controls. CNCF is home to the Kubernetes container orchestration platform, as well as a growing list of open-source projects that help to facilitate and secure cloud native computing.

    • Here’s Why You Should Secure Your Etcd Deployment

      Etcd, a key-value store and a core component of Kubernetes clusters, is used to store highly sensitive configuration data but is also easily left unprotected, as a developer recently found.

      Puerto Rican software developer Giovanni Collazo was looking into etcd, first developed by CoreOS, and realized that before version 2.1, released in July 2015, it didn’t support any type of authentication. Even after it was added, this feature was kept off by default for backward compatibility reasons.

      A similar approach was taken by MongoDB developers in the past and resulted in thousands of insecure deployments on the internet that were abused by hackers. So, Collazo set out to see if etcd’s design decisions had a similar effect.

      A quick search on Shodan, a search engine for devices and services, revealed 2,284 etcd servers that were directly accessible from the internet through their RESTful APIs.

    • Firefox 57-59 & Noscript 10 usage guide – 2nd edition

      Noscript is maturing nicely. It is not the all-can-do tool that we had in Firefox before the 57th release, but it is adequate and suitable for most people, and it provides the necessary protection, and more importantly, the necessary quiet you want when browsing the net. Silent, static pages so you can focus on reading and not having your senses assailed any which Web 2.0 or Web 3.0 way. But I guess most people will focus on the security side of things.

      I am using the addon across multiple profiles and systems, and I have not observed any big breakages or bugs. Occasional tiny issues crop here and there, and then vanish a day later. The one that I do remember was a temporary issue with XSS for a brief while, but other than that, it seems to work in a very similar fashion to the old Noscript. Performance is also comparable. And then, there’s still more room for improvements and new stuff, which I’m sure will be coming. Hopefully, this was a pleasant read. Take care.

    • Georgia Passes Anti-Infosec Legislation

      Despite the full-throated objections of the cybersecurity community, the Georgia legislature has passed a bill that would open independent researchers who identify vulnerabilities in computer systems to prosecution and up to a year in jail.

      EFF calls upon Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal to veto S.B. 315 as soon as it lands on his desk.

      For months, advocates such as Electronic Frontiers Georgia, have descended on the state Capitol to oppose S.B. 315, which would create a new crime of “unauthorized access” to computer systems. While lawmakers did make a major concession by exempting terms of service violations under the measure—an exception we’ve been asking Congress for years to carve out of the federal Computer Fraud & Abuse Act (CFAA)—the bill stills fall short of ensuring that researchers aren’t targeted by overzealous prosecutors. This has too often been the case under CFAA.

    • Newly Found Malware Deliberately Avoids Government Networks [Ed: So-called 'Malware'. Basically just someone running a script to scan for machines with an open SSH port and truly shitty (if not still-default) password. It is not hard to understand why crackers typically try not to touch government IPs. Governments don't care about cracking (they do it themselves) unless the cracks affect government and immunity/impunity is available only for other "state actors" (crackers taxpayers pay for). Systemic hypocrisy.]
    • Your MyFitnessPal Account Was Almost Certainly Hacked, Change Your Password Now

      If you’re one of the millions of the 150 million MyFitnessPal users, bad news: hackers have your email address, your user name, and your hashed password.

    • MyFitnessPal data breach affects 150 million users, Including fitness wearables

      Digital data thefts are on the rise and sports apparel merchant Under Armour has become the latest victim of the crime. The Baltimore (USA) based company has disclosed that there was a massive data breach into its food and nutrition app and website, MyFitnessPal, system earlier this year. An unauthorized party gained access to the system and was able to acquire data of about 150 million users.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Left’s Embrace of Empire

      The history of the left in the United States is a history of betrayal.

    • US Might Start A Nuclear War… Because Iranians Wanted Access To Academic Papers Locked Behind A Paywall?

      That is, they “stole” things like “academic journals, theses, dissertations, and electronic books” — you know, the stuff that professors routinely publish as part of their work. The stuff that they desperately want as many people to read as possible, since that’s how ideas spread, and academic credit is assigned. So rather than some “massive cyber theft” on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, is this not actually a bunch of people making copies of academic materials they and others want to read? We already know that Iranians have a particular hunger for academic knowledge of exactly this kind. An article published in Science in 2016 analyzed who was downloading unauthorized copies of scientific papers from Sci-Hub.

    • [Old] The Rush to a New Cold War
    • The Bolton Appointment: How Scared Should We Be?

      Rarely has war fever in Washington been deeper and more broad-based. Everybody’s jumping on board – liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, human-rights advocates and neoconservatives. With the 2018 midterms fast approaching, it seems that the only choice voters will have is between a military conflict from column A and one from column B. Which will it be – the clash with Putin that liberals are talking themselves into? Or the showdown with Iran that Bolton has long advocated?

      It’s a choice between cyanide and arsenic. One moment, Trump is threatening “Little Rocket Man” Kim Jong Un with “fire and fury” while, in the next, the New York Times is demanding that he take off the gloves with regard to the Kremlin. The title of a Times editorial on Friday, March 15, said it all: “Finally, Trump Has Something Bad to Say About Russia.”

      It blasted the Orange-Haired One for being slow to impose sanctions in retaliation “for the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 election” – still unproven, by the way – and of holding off “for reasons that have never been made completely clear.” This last point was rich considering how often the Times denounces Trump as a “Siberian candidate” that Russia installed in the White House to do its bidding. The editorial slammed Putin as “an authoritarian leader” who “has paid little or no price for his aggressions” in Syria and the Crimea, and it predicted that the Russian president “won’t stop until he knows that the United States will stand up to him and work with its allies to impose stronger financial and diplomatic measures to rein him in.”

    • Breaking Down Trump’s Trans Military Ban

      After four separate courts blocked the Trump administration’s ban on transgender people serving in the military, the White House announced a new plan to carry out the ban on March 23. How is this possible? And what does this mean?

    • Questioning the Conventional Wisdom of Russian Spy’s Poisoning

      Ambassador Murray, who in the following interview raises compelling questions about who may be responsible for the attacks, other than the Russians, has been the butt of a full-scale cyber attack on his website over many days.

      Meanwhile, the usual suspects in the US and Western corporate press continue to fan the flames of a new cold war with Russia. Indeed, Russia will expel 60 US diplomats and has ordered the shuttering of the US consulate in St. Petersburg, according to an announcement by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Lavrov, who made the announcement in Moscow on Thursday, March 29, summoned US ambassador Jon Huntsman to the Russian Foreign Ministry to confirm the action.

      Dennis J. Bernstein and Randy Credico interviewed Ambassador Murray on March 26th, 2018.

    • ‘Iraqi Public Opinion Is Crystallizing Into Anger and Resistance’

      In April 2004, CNN brought on the editor-in-chief of Al Jazeera, one of a handful of networks then broadcasting from inside the Iraqi city of Fallujah, then under siege from US forces—and the site, we were hearing, of mounting civilian casualties.

    • U.S. Establishment: Nixing Arms Control

      One wag suggested to me that the Bolton appointment should not really come as a surprise, since it fits the recent Washington pattern — if White House chaos can be considered a pattern. For Kremlin leaders, though, White House zig-zags are no laughing matter. Let’s try to put ourselves in their shoes and imagine how the unfolding of recent events may have looked to them.

      On March 1 in his state-of-the-nation address, President Putin revealed several new strategic weapons systems that Russia developed after the Bush/Cheney/Bolton administration abrogated the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which had been the cornerstone of strategic stability for the previous 30 years. (John Bolton is included in that august company because, as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control, he was Vice President Dick Cheney’s enforcer to put the kibosh on the ABM Treaty.)

      You would not know it from the “mainstream media,” but in that same speech Putin offered to “sit down at the negotiating table” and “work together … to ensure global security” — taking into account the strategic parity Moscow claims.

      Referring to what he called “our duty to inform our partners” about Russia’s claimed ability to render ABM systems “useless,” Putin added: “When the time comes, foreign and defense ministry experts will have many opportunities to discuss all these matters with them, if of course our partners so desire.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Seth Rich’s Brother Files Lawsuit Alleging Baseless Claims On DNC Hack

      The murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich in the summer of 2016 remains unsolved, still under investigation by police in Washington, D.C. It is the inspiration for round after round of baseless speculation about the cause of his death, linking it to the leak of thousands of Democratic Party emails that year. And those theories are generating yet another lawsuit.

      This week, Aaron Rich, Seth Rich’s brother, sued Dallas financial adviser Ed Butowsky, a pivotal figure in early coverage of the case, along with a conservative conspiracy theorist and the The Washington Times. The suit alleges that the trio promoted groundless accusations about Aaron Rich’s involvement in the leaks of those emails to Wikileaks.

    • Ecuador: Journalists Hold Vigil for Safe Return of Kidnapped Colleagues

      The Ecuadorean government confirmed Tuesday that three local journalists were kidnapped while covering violence in the country’s border with Colombia.

      Journalists held a vigil in Ecuador’s capital Quito Tuesday night to demand the freeing of three colleagues who were kidnapped Monday in the town of Mataje, in the country’s northern border with Colombia, as local and international press organizations demanded their release.

    • Two journalists, driver kidnapped in Ecuador near Colombia border

      The Committee to Protect Journalists today called for the immediate release of three members of a reporting team from the daily El Comercio newspaper, who were kidnapped yesterday morning in northern Ecuador near the Colombian border.

      A reporter, a photojournalist, and their driver were kidnapped early yesterday morning while reporting in the San Lorenzo canton in the northern Esmeraldas province, which borders southern Colombia, according to news reports and Ecuadoran officials. In a press conference this morning, Ecuadoran Interior Minister César Navas said the government had been in contact with the kidnappers and believed the three El Comercio employees were unharmed and being held across the border in Colombia, but did not offer any other details, citing the ongoing investigation. El Comercio did not identify the crew by name.

      “We are concerned for the safety of the El Comercio journalists and their driver, and urge Ecuadoran and Colombian authorities to act swiftly to ensure their safe and immediate release,” said Natalie Southwick, CPJ’s Central and South America research associate. “Armed actors based in Colombia should recognize the civilian status of journalists, regardless of which side of the border they are on.”

    • From the AP to WikiLeaks, the changing DNA of journalism collaborations

      IN 1846, FIVE DAILY NEWSPAPERS in New York came together to create the Associated Press. At the time, their aim was to share the cost of covering the Mexican-American War. It has since become one of journalism’s longest-standing…

    • Assange’s internet blackout & Skripal case part of propaganda war that risks real one – John Pilger

      The Skripal saga and Ecuador’s move to cut Julian Assange’s internet is part of a wider crackdown on freedom of speech and states like Russia which have stood up to the West. It risks evolving into a real war, John Pilger told RT.

      “This is about a war on freedom of speech; this man is being denied the most basic right – freedom of speech. It’s part of a wider war. The wider war is against known enemies, and Russia is one of them, China is another,” investigative journalist and documentary filmmaker John Pilger said.

      Earlier this week, the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where Assange has been holed up since 2012, cut off all communications for the WikiLeaks founder, blocking his internet access and not allowing any visitors. A source close to WikiLeaks told RT that Ecuador cut Assange’s internet due to his tweet about the arrest of former Catalan leader Carlos Puigdemont in Germany.

    • Jammers stop Assange from using internet

      Electronic jammers have been placed inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London to prevent WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange having access to the internet or social media, sources say.
      The Ecuadorian government took the measure on Tuesday evening, stopping Assange from tweeting, using the internet or phone.

      He has also been refused any visitors to the embassy, where he has been living since June 2012, believing he will be extradited to the US for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks if he leaves.

      [...]

      The serving Ecuadorian ambassador to Washington DC Francisco Carrion tweeted on Thursday: “The decision of the government of Ecuador to prevent Assange from tweeting is correct.”

    • Ecuador stops Assange communicating from its London embassy

      Ecuador on Wednesday said it has stopped Julian Assange’s ability to communicate to the outside world from its London embassy, where the WikiLeaks founder has been holed up since 2012.

      The decision was taken because the Australian had broken a 2017 promise to not interfere in other country’s affairs while in the mission, an Ecuadorian government statement said.

    • Ecuador blocks Assange from web

      He recently spoke on social media about a diplomatic crisis between London and Moscow as well as about Catalonian separatism, despite warnings by Ecuador to avoid controversial political subjects.

    • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has his internet switched off

      As any modern parent knows, the best way to grab the attention of a petulant child is to turn off the internet.

    • Julian Assange loses Internet access

      Ecuador did not cite any examples of this alleged breach.

    • Ecuador’s patience with Assange has run out – and he has himself to blame

      Convincing yourself, and the world, that you’re a major political player on the global stage is a tough ask when you’re confined to a back bedroom. It’s an act that Julian Assange has been trying for years – and one which is increasingly starting to have consequences on the WikiLeaks founder.

    • Ecuador cuts Julian Assange’s internet access at London embassy

      Assange also questioned the decision by the UK and more than 20 other countries to expel 150 Russian diplomats they claim are spies.

    • Assange’s Internet Ban May Be Linked to Skripal Case Tweets – Wikileaks Adviser

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had the internet connection in his Ecuador Embassy residence cut off after getting in a Twitter debate with British officials about the timing of the expulsion of Russian diplomats over the Skripal case. Assange adviser and Australian barrister Greg Barns spoke to Sputnik about what makes this case so ludicrous.

    • Ecuadorean Embassy Cuts Off Julian Assange’s Internet Access

      The Ecuadorean government has cut off Julian Assange’s internet access in the Ecuadorean Embassy of London, accusing Assange of breaking an agreement not to issue statements that might interfere in the politics of other countries. The suspension of his internet came after Assange challenged Britain’s accusation that Russia was responsible for the poisoning of a Russian spy and his daughter earlier this month. In a statement, the Ecuadorean Embassy said Assange’s social media statements “put at risk the good relations Ecuador maintains with the United Kingdom, with the other states of the European Union, and with other nations.”

    • Ecuador cuts WikiLeaks founder Assange’s internet at embassy

      Assange frequently tweets more than a dozen times a day, sharing news stories and comments that often focus on global politics and digital security issues. In recent days, Assange had criticized Germany’s detention of former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont. He wrote that the European arrest warrant system “allows an abusive government to persecute its opponents across the whole of the EU.”

      He also chimed in a decision by the United States and more than a dozen European nations to kick out Russian diplomats on Monday following Moscow’s alleged poisoning of an ex-spy in Britain.

      “The manner of and timing of Russian diplomatic expulsions is poor diplomacy,” he wrote.

    • Sam Nunberg: Roger Stone was trying to ‘ingratiate himself to Trump’ with WikiLeaks claims

      Former Trump campaign adviser Sam Nunberg said the man he views as his mentor, President Trump confidant Roger Stone, was trying to ingratiate himself to the commander in chief when he fueled speculation that he had liaised with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election.

      “He’s always trying to ingratiate himself to Trump. I don’t care about Trump. It’s irrelevant to me if I have a relationship with him again. Roger does. They have a long relationship,” Nunberg told MSNBC Thursday.

    • Explosive: Two of Roger Stone’s closest associates say he’s lying

      Mueller is asking questions about Trump ally Roger Stone, who claimed he had connections to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange during the 2016 campaign. Ari Melber lists the unanswered questions surrounding Roger Stone and his role in the Trump-Russia collusion case. Former Trump campaign adviser Sam Nunberg and Roger Stone’s alleged intermediary to Julian Assange join Ari Melber on The Beat.

    • Ecuador Cuts Off Assange’s Ties to the Outside World

      These are two incredibly important points. Like previous Black PR campaigns and general anti-Assange propaganda, Ecuador’s decision has the potential to stir up the usual conspiracy theories and mass hysteria which in the past have included: Assange is dead, Assange is missing, or Assange was kidnapped by the CIA. Or aliens. Or both. Buying into this nonsense is not only counterproductive to Julian’s wellbeing and impending freedom (because it’s going to happen, dammit), those in power who fear WikiLeaks’ publications are hoping whistleblowers and leakers will think twice before sending documents to WikiLeaks. So please, keep this in mind during the ensuing days and weeks.

    • Ecuador urged to reverse ban on Assange using internet and having visitors

      The Ecuadorian president is being urged to reverse a ban on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange using the internet or receiving visitors.

      Among those signing a letter to Lenin Moreno are actress Pamela Anderson, musician Brian Eno, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and former Greek minister Yanis Varoufakis.

    • Chomsky, Others Demand Ecuador #ReconnectJulian, Respect Assange’s ‘Right to Freedom of Speech’

      Noam Chomsky, Slavoj Zizek, Brian Eno and other prominent figures demanded Assange be reconnected to the outside world.

      A group of intellectuals, social activists, and artists, have signed an open letter demanding the Ecuadoran government restore Julian Assange’s internet and phone access, allow him visits and respect his right to freedom of expression.

    • Silencing Julian Assange

      The Ecuadorian government released a statement on why they had Julian Assange’s embassy internet connection cut off. It said that Assange’s recent behaviour on social media had “put at risk the good relations [Ecuador] maintains with the United Kingdom, with the other states of the European Union, and with other nations.” Basically saying that Assange had broken an agreement not to interfere in the affairs of a foreign state.

      Kim Dotcom [a friend of Assange] instantly surmised that Ecuador had bowed to pressure from Spain in response to Julian’s ardent support for the Catalonian people to have the right to self-determination. Wikileaks confirmed via Twitter that this was the issue in question, narrowing it down to one factually correct Tweet Assange had sent, comparing the arrest of the Catalonian president with a historical arrest by the Gestapo, both at the behest of Spain. It further said that Ecuador had demanded “that he remove” the Tweet that I mentioned.

    • Censorship in contemporary comedy

      I have been at this for nearly a decade and a professional for some 5 years – though it’s a “for the love of the game” kind of occupation as the money sucks. I have staged over 1,000 shows encompassing more than 15,000 performances for others, always insisting on free speech rights for acts, and it has been a true thrill to see open mic acts I used to regularly observe finding their voices, now having moved on to newspaper columns, hosting TV shows, appearing on panel shows and enjoying big gigs like Live At The Apollo.

      Some might roll their eyes at the “open mic” status of my gigs, however it is these rooms that breed the next generations of professionals, comedy philosophers and pundits. Such nights don’t usually carry concerns from acts such as what agents might think, or whether a risqué joke might endanger their career. Comedy is rarely more free, raw and fresh than in an open mic room.

      Of course, there are a lot of still-born efforts at comedy: folk who just don’t have “it” and acts trying to find their voice, hone their skill and commitment. It’s a tough learning curve, but when it works then it’s pure gold.

      [...]

      In 2015 this comic herself felt she had been subjected to censorship at a London gig, and rightly made a furore of the issue. She stated at the time: “I find it very strange that anyone would feel they couldn’t enjoy a comedy show unless they agreed with 100 per cent of the political views of the person performing.” Is that the whiff of hypocrisy in the air? Aye, I reckon.

    • Ecuador urged to reverse Assange bans

      “If there is no freedom of speech for Julian Assange, there is no freedom of speech for any of us – regardless of the disparate opinions we hold.”

      A petition calling for the communications ban to be lifted has been signed by over 20,000 people.

    • Ecuador cuts Assange’s net connection over ‘interference’

      Ecuador has taken what it says is a step to prevent WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange from interfering in other countries’ affairs and cut off his Internet access.

  • Finance

    • Orwellian Debt Collection in China

      For example, for the past few years, the Supreme People’s Court has run a “judgment defaulter’s list” of individuals who have failed (been unable?) to satisfy judgments against them. More than 3 million names were on this list already by the end of 2015, and getting on this list means more than just public shaming; it’s also a “no-fly” list, preventing defaulters from buying airplane tickets, in addition to a “no-high-speed-train” and “no-hotel-stay” list, and also a “no-sending-your-kids-to-paid-schools” list. By mid-2016, about 5 million people had been preventing from buying these services in China as a result of being on the list. This initiative is just the start of a planned “Social Credit System,” [...]

    • Why Are New York Taxi Drivers Killing Themselves?

      “When you work 14, 15 hours and go home with $50, it’s not good. It’s not about competition. It’s about survival.”

    • Fear the Fiscal Future, WSJ Warns in New Version of Old Scare Story

      Greg Ip gave us another rendition of this old scare story in a Wall Street Journal column (3/28/18). The argument is that the interest paid on US government debt will soon impose an enormous burden on the federal government, choking off spending on important government programs.

      The key part of this story is that interest rates will jump at some point in the not-too-distant future. While this is in fact what the Congressional Budget Office predicts, it is also what it has been predicting ever since the Great Recession, and has consistently been shown wrong.

      The key question is, why would interest rates rise? There are two stories where we see this happening. One is that we start to see an uptick in the inflation rate. In that case, long-term rates would almost certainly rise, since investors would have the option of getting a better return just by holding physical commodities. Of course, the Fed would almost certainly raise interest rates in response to higher inflation, which would more directly cause interest rates to rise. One point about higher inflation that is worth noting, though, is that it reduces the real value of the debt.

    • Nokia confirms 353 job cuts in Finland

      Finnish telecom networks firm Nokia is to cut 353 jobs in Finland after completing mandatory consultations with labour unions.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump picks his doctor for veterans post

      Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, the White House doctor, is nominated to replace David Shulkin.

    • Activist Han Hui Hui ejected from Select Committee hearings

      The Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehoods’ final day of hearings on Thursday (29 March) was temporarily adjourned after political activist Han Hui Hui was physically removed from the chambers in Parliament.

      Han was seen holding up an image of the cover of the book “Authoritarian Rule of Law – Legislation, Discourse and Legitimacy in Singapore” in the room while Oxford-trained historian Thum Ping Tjin was delivering his testimony.

      The book was written by Jothie Rajah, the first wife of Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam. The minister, who is on the Select Committee, was in the chambers at the time.

    • European Parliament accused of political stitch-up over top posts

      A handful of senior appointments to the European Parliament’s secretariat will be made in the coming months through backroom political deals rather than a transparent recruitment process, according to trade unions and officials within the assembly.

      Six Parliament officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said that eight individuals are allegedly destined to be the successful candidates for the director-level positions within the Parliament’s civil service.

      They said that at least five individuals have been selected by the Parliament’s most powerful civil servant, Secretary-General Klaus Welle, either because he wants them for the job or as a result of deals among the assembly’s largest political groups.

    • Europe dumps 300,000 UK-owned .EU domains into the Brexit bin

      In an official statement Thursday, the European Commission announced it will cancel all 300,000 domains under the .eu top-level domain that have a UK registrant, following Britain’s eventual departure from the European Union.

      “As of the withdrawal date, undertakings and organizations that are established in the United Kingdom but not in the EU and natural persons who reside in the United Kingdom will no longer be eligible to register .eu domain names,” the document states, adding, “or if they are .eu registrants, to renew .eu domain names registered before the withdrawal date.”

      Going even further, the EC suggested that existing .eu domains might be cancelled the moment Brexit happens – expected to be 366 days from now – with no right of appeal.

    • American Voting Machines Are Old and Vulnerable, But Who Will Pay for New Ones?

      In her story on American election security, ProPublica’s Kate Rabinowitz revealed that many state and local election officials are suffering a funding crisis. Without the money needed to maintain and update electronic voting machines, officials are having to make do with equipment that was manufactured in 2008 or even earlier. By isolating machines from the internet and keeping them in secure locations, officials are able to reduce the threat of widespread hacking, but the machines are plagued with more mundane technical problems that states have been slow to address and could have major consequences for future elections.

    • Trump’s Labor Department Eviscerates Workplace Safety Panels

      Last October, Gregory Junemann received a brief email from an official at the U.S. Department of Labor effectively firing him and 15 others from a volunteer gig helping the government reduce hazards to workers.

      “Thank you again for your continuing service in providing exceptional guidance on improving the health and safety of our federal workforce,” the email said.

      Junemann, a labor union president, was a member of the Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health, first established by President Richard Nixon. It is one of five panels created by law to advise the labor secretary on how to improve health, safety and whistleblower protections in nearly every facet of the workforce.

    • John Bolton Skewed Intelligence, Say People Who Worked With Him

      Former colleagues say the next national security adviser — whose job is to marshal information and present it to the president fairly — resists input that doesn’t fit his biases and retaliates against people he disagrees with.

      [...]

      The analyst was summoned to Bolton’s office. “He got very red in the face, and shaking his finger at me, and explained to me that I was acting way beyond my position,” the analyst, Christian Westermann, recalled later during a Senate inquiry. Bolton then demanded that Westermann’s supervisor remove him permanently from the biological weapons portfolio, thundering that “he wasn’t going to be told what he could say by a mid-level munchkin.”

      Last week, President Donald Trump named Bolton to be his new national security adviser, a job that would arguably make him the government’s most important arbiter of competing views on foreign policy and a key judge of what intelligence information reaches the president on the most serious threats to national security.

      The nomination — which does not require Senate confirmation — has drawn attention mainly for Bolton’s combative bureaucratic style and the hawkish views he has espoused in three Republican administrations and as a Fox News analyst. Among other ideas, Bolton has advocated overthrowing the Islamic government of Iran, bombing that country’s nuclear facilities, and (just last month) taking preemptive military action against North Korea.

    • Inside a Secretive Lobbying Effort to Deregulate Federal Levees

      A levee in the Sny Island Levee Drainage District, in Illinois. The Sny district has pushed their levees several feet higher than what’s allowed under Army Corps rules. The change adds flood protection for residents behind the Sny, while increasing flood risk to neighboring communities. Officials from the district are part of a $230,000 lobbying effort to weaken the Army Corps’ ability to oversee levees. (Whitney Curtis for ProPublica)

      Nearly a year after record Midwestern floods killed at least five people and caused $1.7 billion in damage, a secretive lobbying effort funded by Illinois and Missouri drainage districts is underway to roll back flood regulations, documents show.

      The effort targets the authority of the Army Corps of Engineers, which oversees the nation’s federal levees — large hills that are typically built or strengthened by the Corps and are subject to its rules, but are managed by local drainage districts. Any time a district wants to permanently raise the height of a levee for more protection, it has to seek approval from the Corps, which considers whether a request would be “injurious to the public interest” before issuing a Section 408 permit.

    • How Overbuilt Levees Along the Upper Mississippi River Push Floods Onto Others
    • FBI questions Ted Malloch, Trump campaign figure and Farage ally

      A controversial London-based academic with close ties to Nigel Farage has been detained by the FBI upon arrival in the US and issued a subpoena to testify before Robert Mueller, the special counsel who is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

      Ted Malloch, an American touted last year as a possible candidate to serve as US ambassador to the EU, said he was interrogated by the FBI at Boston’s Logan airport on Wednesday following a flight from London and questioned about his involvement in the Trump campaign.

      In a statement sent to the Guardian, Malloch, who described himself as a policy wonk and defender of Trump, said the FBI also asked him about his relationship with Roger Stone, the Republican strategist, and whether he had ever visited the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has resided for nearly six years.

    • Trump ally detained, served with Mueller subpoena at Boston airport
    • Trump supporter Malloch says he will testify to Mueller grand jury
    • A ‘significant figure’ linked to Roger Stone has been compelled to testify in the Russia probe as Mueller homes in on the DNC hack
    • Federal investigators question Ted Malloch in special counsel probe
    • What’s a Non-Racist Way to Appeal to Working-Class Whites? NYT’s Edsall Can’t Think of Any

      It’s good for Edsall to acknowledge this—as FAIR (10/9/15) had to take him to task in 2015 for the tortured logic behind his assertion that “Democrats now depend as much on affluent voters as on low-income voters.”

      But now that Edsall has admitted that the Democrats are not actually “the favorites of the rich,” as his 2015 headline put it, what should the Democrats do about it? He tips his hand is his opening paragraphs, where he glosses “whites without college degrees” with the phrase “many of whom are culturally conservative,” and describes the “white college-educated Democratic electorate” as “a far more culturally liberal constituency.”

      It takes him a while to get to what he’s getting at. “These numbers have powerful ramifications for both Democrats and Republicans preparing for the 2018 and 2020 elections,” he notes about a fifth of the way into the lengthy piece, “strengthen[ing] the case made by Democratic strategists calling for a greater emphasis on policies appealing to working-class voters and a de-emphasis on so-called identity issues.”

    • Hands on Wisconsin: Stormy Daniels poses problem for parents

      The president’s relationship with adult film star Stormy Daniels is difficult to explain to younger children.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Microsoft aims to ban ‘offensive language’ in Skype, Office, Xbox and other services
    • Congressman’s Office Gets High School Student Suspended For Expressing His Displeasure With Congress

      The debate over gun control has reached new heights following the shooting at a high school in Florida. Every mass shooting prompts debate over the Second Amendment and access to guns, but this one, led by students whose classmates were killed, has more momentum than most.

      Youth is wasted on the young, people say, as they note the steady decline in voter participation in younger demographics. This seems to imply more students should be involved in social and political issues, but this particular participation has been met with lots of ridicule and anger. In other words, it’s been greeted with hypocrisy, which is pretty much what we expect in heated political debates.

      Nothing is more heated than the gun control debate. And everyone with an opinion is wrong. But it’s the youth that are the wrongest, and those bemoaning youthful antipathy aren’t responding very well to this sudden display of activism. Gun control-related walkouts have occurred in schools all over the nation, and students expressing their displeasure with their representatives are finding out firsthand how thin-skinned their representatives are.

    • Protesting High Schooler Suspended for Swearing in Call With Congressional Staffer Over Gun Control

      A high school student who was suspended for swearing in a conversation with a congressional staffer about gun control is asking for an apology from his school and his congressman.

      On Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada sent letters on behalf of 17-year-old Noah Christiansen to request Robert McQueen High School in Reno, Nevada, remove the record of his suspension and apologize to the student. The student’s punishment, they argued, amounted to an infringement on his First Amendment rights and could deter other students from reaching out to their representatives.

    • Court Tosses Dennis Prager’s Silly Lawsuit Against YouTube, Refuses His Request For Preliminary Injunction

      You will recall that conservative commentator Dennis Prager sued YouTube late last year because he didn’t like how the site administered its “restricted mode” relating to several of his Prager University videos. The whole lawsuit was a mess to begin with, resting on Prager’s claims that YouTube violated federal and state laws by silencing his speech as a conservative and falsely advertising YouTube as place for free and open speech. At the same time that YouTube asked the court to toss this canard, Prager sought a preliminary injunction to keep YouTube from operating its own site as it saw fit. In support of its petition to dismiss the suit, YouTube’s Alice Wu offered the court a declaration that more or less showed every single one of Prager’s claims, especially his central claim of censorship of conservatives, to be as wrong as it possibly could be.

      Now, mere weeks later, the court has agreed, penning a full-throated dismissal order that essentially takes Prager’s legal team to task for failing to make anything resembling a valid claim before the court. We’ll start with the court’s response to Prager’s First Amendment claims, which he makes by stating that YouTube is somehow a legally public forum, rather than a privately run website.

    • School Sells Out Students’ First Amendment Rights, Apologizes And Deletes Article Containing Controversial Images

      This line of thinking can never be reinforced too often by public officials: the First Amendment is great but only if your speech doesn’t offend someone powerful. (via Adam Steinbaugh)

      A California high school took matters into its own hands — not even waiting to see if powerful people were offended — and memory-holed both its physical and online student publication after a student wrote article about the relationship between art and activism made some parents take to Facebook to complain about “liberal propaganda.”

      The article contained images found via Google searches, including one depicting Trump with a Nazi symbol on his head and another with a cop in Klan hood pointing a gun at a black child meant to represent Travon Martin. The following image comes from the Facebook post that started the backlash against the school.

    • French Government Looking To Copy Germany’s Disastrous Anti-Hate Speech Legislation

      More well-intentioned lawmaking is resulting in terrible legislation proposals. France is looking to Germany for guidance for the first time in a long time, thanks to its Prime Minister’s desire to regulate “hate speech” on the internet. Edourd Philippe has apparently overlooked the disastrous roll out of Germany’s hate speech law, which has resulted in a steady stream of embarrassments since its inception.

    • Censorship by the back door?

      A frequent user of the Freedom of Information Act says he is concerned that a new look searchable database will allow ’censorship by the back door’.

      David Watts, who has submitted a number of FoI requests in relation to school performance and policing matters, says a number of responses that were previously published are no longer there.

      And he says the reply to his most recent request, about fixed penalty notices issued by the police, has yet to be published.

    • Torture Fears For Anti-censorship Campaigner Arrested For Subversion

      Authorities in the southern Chinese city of Zhuhai have formally arrested a prominent anti-censorship campaigner on subversion charges, after holding him for six months under residential surveillance, his lawyer said on Friday.

      Zhen Jianghua was taken away from his home in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, on the night of Sept. 1 on suspicion of “incitement to subvert state power.”

      Initially held under criminal detention in the Zhuhai No. 1 Detention Center, Zhen was later taken to an unknown location by state security police, to be held under “residential surveillance,” where he has been for the past five months.

    • Court Shows SESTA Is Not Needed: Says Backpage Can Lose Its CDA 230 Protections If It Helped Create Illegal Content

      So, in the lead up to Congress’ vote on FOSTA/SESTA, we pointed out that a court in Boston was likely on the verge of ruling that Backpage was not protected by CDA 230, because of actions the site had taken. Considering that the publicly stated rationale by nearly everyone supporting FOSTA/SESTA was that it was needed to get around Backpage’s CDA 230 protections, we wondered why Congress couldn’t wait to see how the court ruled. Yesterday, the Judge indeed ruled against a motion to dismiss in the case of one of the plaintiffs (there were three in the case), saying that enough evidence had been presented to get around CDA 230 for the time being. The key issue: whether or not Backpage directly changed the content, making it the content creator, rather than just the service provider.

    • Quixotic Approaches To Circumventing Censorship, Using Books And Music

      The topic of censorship crops up far too much here on Techdirt. Less common are stories about how to circumvent it. The two which follow are great examples of how human ingenuity is able to find unexpected ways to tackle this problem. The first story comes from Spain, and concerns a banned book.

    • How Feminists in China Are Using Emoji to Avoid Censorship

      Shortly after the close of this year’s International Women’s Day, China’s Twitter-like service Sina Weibo shut down Feminist Voices. With 180,000 followers, the group’s social media account was one of the most important advocacy channels for spreading information about women’s issues in China, but in an instant, it was gone. A few hours later, the private messaging app WeChat also shuttered an account for the group. The official reasons for the closures were vague, simply that the accounts had posted content that violated regulations, but the subtext was clear: the country’s highly-monitored media was trying to silence women’s advocates.

      It wasn’t the first time Feminist Voices had been censored. Last year, Weibo issued the group a one-month suspension for posting “inappropriate content”—a move that now appears to have been a warning shot. However, says Leta Hong Fincher, author of Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awakening in China, “this time the removal is more sinister as there is no indication that the account will be restored.” Days after it went dark, images appeared online of a group of masked women holding a symbolic funeral for the death of Feminist Voices. Yet the group’s founder Lu Pin (now based in the US) wrote on Twitter that she viewed the ritual not as a funeral, but as a “fantastic carnival,” signifying a rebirth, and she pledged to “reclaim the account by every legal avenue.”

    • Malaysian Government Pushes ‘Fake News’ Bill Aimed At Curb-Stomping Reporting About Its Corruption

      Back in 2016, the Malaysian government pushed for broad censorship of an already tightly-controlled internet. The basis for this push was the government’s inability to stop Malaysian media from reporting on government corruption. This reporting continued on platforms (and with news agencies) the government didn’t directly control. To shut this down, the government decided to strip immunity from media platforms, making them directly responsible for user content. This allowed the government to control the narrative by going after service providers, rather than those publishing inconvenient facts.

    • Malaysia’s anti-fake news law raises media censorship fears

      Is an anti-fake news law proposed in Malaysia really designed to protect the country’s citizens, or is it just a way for the government to clamp down on the media and stifle free speech?
      With elections around the corner and a years-long financial scandal plaguing Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, many within the country’s media, legal fraternity and civil society are worried about the government’s intent in introducing the bill.

    • Malaysia’s ploy to punish ‘fake news’ is really just censorship

      MALAYSIAN PRIME Minister Najib Razak is no stranger to muzzling free expression. His government has used existing laws to prosecute bloggers and journalists for satire and criticism of Mr. Najib, who has been embroiled in an epic corruption scandal. Now the Malaysian cabinet has gone a step further, proposing a law that would impose stiff fines and jail sentences on those who publish what it deems “fake news.” The proposed law is a warning of the danger when governments decide what is true and what is not.

    • SCREAM Feat. DAVE GROHL: ‘NMC17 (No More Censorship)’ Album To Be Reissued
    • Dave Grohl’s first band, Scream, to reissue 1988 album No More Censorship
    • Censorship through the Ages
    • ‘Wall Street Journal’ staffers claim editor buried story for political reasons
    • Wall Street Journal’s top editor accused of killing a story over “political views”
    • WSJ Employees Say Senior Editor Tried To Pull Story For Political Reasons
    • “This Is Censorship”: W.S.J. Editor Tamps Down on This “Income Inequality” Nonsense
    • Tensions rise with allegations of ‘censorship’ at the Wall Street Journal
    • Congress just legalized sex censorship: What to know
    • It Took All Of Three Hours To Code A Plugin That Makes News Comments More Civil

      For years now the narrative du jour in online news circles has been that the news comment section is an irredeemable menace. Outlet after outlet has informed us that they care so much about the integrity of public dialogue online that they’ve decided to ban website visitors from commenting on news articles entirely. Usually, these bans are accompanied by some sanctimonious claim that banning people from speaking on site was done because the outlet in question just really “valued conversation,” or because they’re just ultra-interested in building better relationships.

      In reality, the motivation isn’t quite so noble. Most websites just don’t want to spend the time and money it takes to cultivate a healthy online community, in large part because bean counters can’t monetize or measure the impact of quality discourse. Other outlets don’t like having such a visible area where users can point out errors in news coverage. Most really would prefer we return back to the era of “letters to the editor” where the medium gets to dictate whose voices are deemed important, and whose are not. In that way it’s often part power play, and part laziness.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Finnish capital planning rules for Airbnb market

      Last year, there were 10,000 hotel rooms and 2,300 Airbnb properties on offer in Helsinki, where municipal leaders plan to begin work on new regulations in the spring.

    • Airbnb Will Start Sharing Guest Data in China With Chinese Authorities
    • Airbnb to start sharing Chinese host information with government

      China introduced a strict new cybersecurity law last year that requires foreign and local tech firms to store Chinese data locally and offer technical support to authorities who wish to access it.

    • Airbnb to Share Information With Authorities on Guests in China

      The home-sharing company plans to share guest information, including passports and booking dates, directly with the government. This week, it sent an email to hosts declaring it may disclose their information at any time — those with concerns were given a link to deactivate their listing.

    • Facebook’s Ideological Imperialism

      It’s mostly forgotten now, but for a time, expanding the reach of social networks—making Facebook, Twitter, and others like it as large as possible—was an avowed foreign-policy goal of the United States. That is, at least, what the secretary of state said in the early days of this decade, in a speech at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

      “New technologies do not take sides in the struggle for freedom and progress, but the United States does,” Hillary Clinton said. “We stand for a single internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas. And we recognize that the world’s information infrastructure will become what we and others make of it.”

    • Facebook logged SMS texts and phone calls without explicitly notifying users

      Facebook began logging the text messages and phone calls of its users before it explicitly notified them of its practice, contradicting the company’s earlier claims that “uploading this information has always been opt-in only”.

      [...]

      Nowhere in the opt-in dialogue was it made clear that text histories would be uploaded to Facebook’s servers and stored indefinitely.

    • Report: MSU Spent Half A Million Dollars Monitoring Nassar Victims’ And Journalists’ Social Media Accounts

      A day after William Strampel, the former dean of the osteopathic medical school at Michigan State University and the ex-boss of disgraced sexual abuser Larry Nassar, was charged with criminal sexual conduct and willful neglect of duty, the Lansing State Journal reported that MSU spent in excess of $500,000 keeping tabs on the social media activities of Nassar’s victims and many of the journalists reporting on the case in January.

      MSU hired the New York-based public relations firm Weber Shandwick to do more 1,440 hours of work. “The firm billed for work done by 18 different employees, whose hourly rates ranged from $200 to $600 per hour. Five of those employees billed MSU for more than $50,000, including one who billed for $96,900 and another who billed for $120,893,” according to the article.

    • Michigan State University Reportedly Spent $500k To Monitor The Social Media Accounts Of Larry Nassar’s Accusers And Journalists

      One of the largest stories of the past year has been the Larry Nassar story. Nassar, the now disgraced atheltic trainer for multiple entities, including USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, has been accused by scores of women for sexual abuse and misconduct under the guise of his medical profession. Recently, Nassar’s boss at Michigan State, William Strimpel, who was the university’s dean of the osteopathic medical school, was himself charged with criminal sexual misconduct. Whatever is going on at Michigan State, it hasn’t been good for some time.

      One would imagine that in the wake of the allegations and, in the case of Nassar, conviction, the school would be getting its collective shit together. Instead, MSU has taken on the project of obfuscating what occurred under the school’s watch and, reportedly, paying half-a-million dollars to have an outside firm monitor the social media accounts of Nassar’s accusers and the journalists that have been and are covering the story.

    • Beyond Implementation: Policy Considerations for Secure Messengers

      One of EFF’s strengths is that we bring together technologists, lawyers, activists, and policy wonks. And we’ve been around long enough to know that while good technology is necessary for success, it is rarely sufficient. Good policy and people who will adhere to it are also crucial. People write and maintain code, people run the servers that messaging platforms depend on, and people interface with governments and respond to pressure from them.

      We could never get on board with a tool—even one that made solid technical choices—unless it were developed and had its infrastructure maintained by a trustworthy group with a history of responsible stewardship of the tool. Trusting the underlying technology isn’t enough; we have to be able to trust the people and organizations behind it. Even open source tools that function in a distributed manner, rather than using a central server, have to be backed up by trustworthy developers who address technical problems in a timely manner.
      Beyond Implementation: Policy Considerations for Secure Messengers

    • Appeals Court Has No Problem With Cops Using E911 Services To Perform Warrantless, Real-Time Tracking

      The Fifth Circuit Appeals Court says it’s fine if the government uses mandated emergency services to perform real-time GPS tracking. It doesn’t go so far as to affirm the constitutionality of the actions, but it achieves the same ends by voting down the appellant’s request for a rehearing.

      What we can glean about the issue at stake comes from the eight-page dissent [PDF] written by judges James L. Dennis and James E. Graves, two of the seven judges who voted for a rehearing. In this case, the government used the defendant’s cellphone provider to engage in real-time tracking. No warrant was obtained despite the government’s shoulder-surfing of incoming GPS location data.

    • Facebook Don’t Want You To Know How Their Algorithm Works

      Facebook don’t want you to know how their algorithm works. That will hardly be a shock to you or anyone else, but it is a serious problem. The algorithm is what Facebook uses to determine what you, or anyone else around the world, will see.

      What it chooses to promote or bury has become increasingly important to our democracy. But Facebook don’t want you to know how it works.

      Facebook Tracking Exposed (FTE) is a browser extension which intends to find out – it lets users compare their timeline posts against the potential chronological content, helping them to understand why some posts have been promoted, and other haven’t. It also allows comparative research, pooling data to help researchers try and reverse engineer the algorithm itself.

    • Judge ridicules suggestion ‘deep state’ made him dismiss NSA lawsuits

      A federal judge dismissed a long-stalled class-action lawsuit against the National Security Agency on Wednesday, writing that a suggestion he was influenced by the “deep state” was no substitute for “well-pleaded” legal arguments.

      U.S. District Judge Richard Leon wrote that conservative legal activist Larry Klayman had not offered a sufficient legal basis for keeping the case active against the NSA’s bulk collection of domestic call records.

      “Instead, Klayman accused this Court of being ‘coopted by the so called ‘Deep State’’ into ruling against him. Unfortunately for plaintiffs, such baseless accusations are no substitute for a well-pleaded complaint,” Leon wrote.

    • U.S. Naval Academy Wins Inaugural NSA Cyber Exercise

      The U.S. Naval Academy won the National Security Agency‘s recent Cyber Exercise, or NCX, an event where cadets contended with a variety of cyber operations challenges.

      Cadets from all five U.S. military service academies took part in the three-day exercise that challenged participants in the areas of adversary coordinates tracking, space mission kit protection and U.S. infrastructure defense, NSA said Wednesday.

    • Building A Secure Messenger

      Given different people’s and community’s security needs, it’s hard to arrive at a consensus of what a “secure” messenger must provide. In this post, we discuss various options for developers to consider when working towards the goal of improving a messenger’s security. A messenger that’s perfectly secure for every single person is unlikely to exist, but there are still steps that developers can take to work towards that goal.

      Messengers in the real world reflect a series of compromises by their creators. Technologists often think of those compromises in terms of what encryption algorithms or protocols are chosen. But the choices that undermine security in practice often lie far away from the encryption engine.

      [...]

      Pushing reliable security updates is of prime importance to security. But automatically accepting new versions of applications means that users might inadvertently download a backdoored update onto this device. Using reproducible builds and binary transparency, users can at least ensure that the same update gets pushed to every user, so that targeted attacks become infeasible. Then, there’s a better chance that the backdooring will get noticed.

      When a messenger allows group messaging, advanced security properties like future secrecy are lost. New protocols aim to fix these holes and give group messaging the security properties that users deserve.

      In the secure messaging community, there’s no consensus on what the best combination of features is, and there may never be. So while there will never be one perfectly secure messenger to rule them all, technical questions and conversations like the ones described above can move us towards better messengers providing more types of security.

    • How Europe’s new privacy rule is reshaping the internet

      The General Data Protection Regulation is a rule passed by the European Union in 2016, setting new rules for how companies manage and share personal data. In theory, the GDPR only applies to EU citizens’ data, but the global nature of the internet means that nearly every online service is affected, and the regulation has already resulted in significant changes for US users as companies scramble to adapt.

      [...]

      Most importantly, the GDPR gives companies a hard deadline: the new rules go into effect on May 25th, 2018 — so if you’re not following the rules by then, you’re in trouble. The result has been a mad dash to adapt current practices to the new rules and avoid one of those crushing fines.

    • As Facebook Struggles With Privacy, Adobe Announces It’s Helping Companies Track People Across Devices

      Some 60 companies including such leading brands as Subway, Sprint and the NFL are joining forces to help each other follow you around online.

      Adobe, a company better known for Photoshop and PDF files, says the new Device Co-op initiative it is organizing will help companies offer more personalized experiences and make ads less annoying by filtering out products and services you have already bought or will never buy. Under the initiative, Adobe can tell you’re the same person on a home PC, a work laptop, a phone and a tablet by analyzing past sign-ins with member companies.

    • Analog Equivalent Privacy Rights (20/21): Your analog boss couldn’t read your mail, ever

      Slack has just updated its Terms of Service to let your manager read your private conversations in private channels. Our analog parents would have been shocked and horrified at the very idea that their bosses would open packages and read personal messages that were addressed to them. For our digital children, it’s another shrugworthy part of everyday life.

    • Facebook is being sued for guzzling up Android text and call data
    • Three Facebook users sue over collection of call, text history

      Facebook, which is reeling from a scandal over its handling of personal data, on Sunday acknowledged that it had been logging some users’ call and text history but said it had done so only when users of the Android operating system had opted in.

    • Facebook increases lobbying presence on Capitol Hill before Zuckerberg testimony

      The company has listed 12 policy-related job openings based in Washington DC as it faces increased scrutiny over its privacy policies after it was reported that Cambridge Analytica had obtained data from up to 50 million Facebook users.

    • Power Needs to Be Restored to Internet Users

      There’s a lesson here. Software code is not law. It bends to fit local laws. So if we want to stop companies like Facebook from amassing huge profiles on us and selling them to advertisers, the solution is not to delete your account. It is to demand real action from government.

    • Mark Zuckerberg will testify to US Congress about Facebook’s data dealings, but the UK gets snubbed

      Facebook’s chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer or its chief product officer Chris Cox will make the trip to Blighty in Zuck’s stead, and will likely offer a little bit more insight around the storm in a teacup that’s brewing around data privacy.

    • China Is Using Facial Recognition Technology to Send Jaywalkers Fines Through Text Messages

      Now Intellifusion, the Chinese artificial intelligence company behind these devices, is taking them a step further by partnering with mobile carriers and social media platforms such as WeChat and Sina Weibo to send text messages directly to offenders as soon as they are caught jaywalking by the cameras.

    • Jaywalkers under surveillance in Shenzhen soon to be punished via text messages

      First-tier Chinese cities like Beijing and Shanghai have already employed AI and facial recognition technology to regulate traffic and identify driver’s who violate road rules, while Shenzhen traffic police began displaying photos of jaywalkers on large LED screens at major intersections starting in April 2017. In other law enforcement applications, police at the Zhengzhou East high speed rail station in Henan province have been equipped with smart glasses with facial recognition software that can identify wanted criminals, while Beijing police are using the world’s first surround-body camera with inbuilt facial recognition technology.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Uber settles with family of woman killed by self-driving car

      Terms of the settlement were not given. The law firm representing them said Herzberg’s daughter and husband, whose names were not disclosed, will have no further comment on the matter as they consider it resolved.

    • French politician arrested for tweet celebrating policeman’s death

      Police arrested Stéphane Poussier at his home in Dives-sur-Mer, northwest France, on Sunday after he sent two tweets welcoming the death of Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Beltrame.

      [...]

      He could face up to seven years in prison and a fine of 100,000 euros.

    • Minneapolis FBI agent charged with leaking info to news outlet

      The DOJ alleges that Terry Albury, a Minneapolis-based agent, shared a document on FBI informants with an unnamed reporter for a national media organization. In addition, Albury allegedly leaked a document “relating to threats posed by certain individuals from a particular Middle Eastern country.”

    • Justice Dept. charges Minnesota FBI agent for leaking secret document to news outlet

      Albury is accused of sharing a document on assessing confidential human sources — otherwise referred to as informants — and a document “relating to threats posed by certain individuals from a particular Middle Eastern country” with a reporter for a national media organization.

    • The workplace of the future

      Less familiar, but just as important, is how AI will transform the workplace. Using AI, managers can gain extraordinary control over their employees. Amazon has patented a wristband that tracks the hand movements of warehouse workers and uses vibrations to nudge them into being more efficient. Workday, a software firm, crunches around 60 factors to predict which employees will leave. Humanyze, a startup, sells smart ID badges that can track employees around the office and reveal how well [sic] they interact with colleagues.

    • Explosive Facebook Memo Leaks: Top Exec Defended Growth Even If People Get Killed

      Facebook Vice President Andrew “Boz” Bosworth is known for being blunt and direct at Facebook’s meetings. His Twitter description calls him “co-inventor of News Feed, Messenger, Groups, and more.” In early 2016, he circulated an internal memo that has been obtained and published by BuzzFeed News. The nature of the memo is explosive and it tries to justify all possible means used for Facebook growth.

      The memo is titled “The Ugly,” and it has remained inside the walls of Facebook prior to this leak. The memo states that the aim of Facebook is to connect people. Hence, all the work done in this process is justified. The existence of this memo becomes even more in the light of ongoing Facebook CA Scandal.

    • It’s Time To Think: How Many Whistleblowers Do We Really Need?

      How is your privacy self-intervention going on? Are you among the ones who support the idea of deleting your Facebook account but ended up on this article through Facebook? I don’t think that anybody really cares if a company is accused of putting user privacy at risk. Because if people did, such companies would have been wiped out of existence.

      Facebook’s latest CA fiasco has pushed the company to its limits. After losing tons of cash, all they are doing now is making big changes to their platform. The company has also said goodbye to their third-party data brokers which provided off-Facebook information about users for more optimized ad targeting.

    • Here are the internal Facebook posts of employees discussing today’s leaked memo

      “I’ve always thought our ‘open but punitive’ stance was particularly vulnerable to suicide bombers.”

      [...]

      The publication of a June 2016 memo describing the consequences of Facebook’s growth-at-all-costs triggered an emotional conversation at the company today. An internal post reacting to the memo found employees angry and heartbroken that their teammates were sharing internal company discussions with the media. Many called on the company to step up its war on leakers and hire employees with more “integrity.”

      On Thursday evening, BuzzFeed published a memo from Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, a vice president at Facebook who currently leads its hardware efforts. In the memo, Bosworth says that the company’s core function is to connect people, despite consequences that he repeatedly called “ugly.” “That’s why all the work we do in growth is justified. All the questionable contact importing practices,” he wrote. “All the subtle language that helps people stay searchable by friends. All of the work we do to bring more communication in. The work we will likely have to do in China some day. All of it.”

    • ‘Calling for Change Is Not a Crime’

      Listeners know the US government has a shameful history of surveilling and intimidating people engaged in First Amendment-protected acts of public protest or public criticism. Black activists have for decades been victims of campaigns to demonize, harass and discredit them and their movements.

      So when racial justice groups—using the Freedom of Information Act to find out how the FBI and Department of Homeland Security are monitoring protests around police violence and the Movement for Black Lives—turn up a document referred to as the “Race Paper,” which, on receipt, turns out to be completely redacted, with not even the official title visible, it makes for a handy emblem…but just an emblem of a problem that’s far deeper and more worrying.

    • Evidence of Violent Extremism of Little Interest When Killer Is White

      Remember that Muslim mass murderer who belonged to an Islamic home-madrassa called INTIFADA, where knife-wielding Shari’a survivalists studied the Qur’an, guns and dangerous chemicals? And how the liberal media fawningly portrayed him as a misunderstood and under-loved young man otherwise full of promise?

      You don’t, because that never happened. But have you heard about of the Christian Texas child-killer from an all-white sect who slaughtered the president of a homeowners’ association and a 17-year-old aspiring neurosurgeon, both on their own doorsteps and in front of their families? Both victims were African-Americans. This same murderer was a suicide bomber who blew himself up before police could arrest him and take him for a hamburger (as they did with Dylann Roof, the young white man who killed nine African-Americans at their church).

      Had killer Mark Anthony Conditt been a brown Muslim, it’s hard to imagine corporate media not at least speculating that hateful ideology was a motive, and using (or at least debating the use of) the term “terrorism” to describe his crimes. But because Conditt was a white, conservative, homophobic Christian, corporate media and police alike have been—ahem—generous in their eulogies. Austin Police Chief Brian Manley even helpfully explained that Conditt never used the word “terrorism” in his 25-minute final recording, which was “the outcry of a very challenged young man talking about challenges in his own life.”

    • Not Charging The White Officers Who Killed Alton Sterling Is A Travesty

      On March 27, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry announced that his office would not bring criminal charges against the two police officers who shot and killed Alton Sterling as he lay pinned by them to the ground in front of a convenience store in Baton Rouge.

      Attorney General Landry’s decision is two contradictory things: It is shocking, and it is unsurprising. The decision sends a clear message about policing in America today, and highlights the continuing crisis of accountability when it comes to unlawful use of excessive and deadly force by police.

    • Stephon Clark: Hundreds Attend Funeral for Sacramento Man Slain by Police

      In Sacramento, California, hundreds of mourners gathered Thursday for the funeral of Stephon Clark, an unarmed African-American man who was shot by police officers 20 times in his grandmother’s backyard. Among those eulogizing Clark was the Reverend Al Sharpton.

    • America’s Complicated Relationship with International Human Rights Norms

      American exceptionalism – the notion that the United States is unique among nations due to its traditions of democracy and liberty – has always been the foundation of the nation’s claim to moral leadership. As a country founded on ideals that are today are recognized the world over as fundamental principles of international norms, the U.S. utilizes its image as a human rights champion to rally nations to its cause and assert its hegemony around the world.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Telecom Lobbyists: We’ll Fight State Efforts To Protect Net Neutrality For A ‘United And Connected Future’

      Since the FCC rushed to give telecom monopolies a sloppy kiss with its net neutrality repeal late last year, more than half the states in the country are now pursuing their own net neutrality rules. Some states (most recently Washington and Oregon) have already passed legislation that effectively takes the FCC rules and encodes them on the State level (in some cases with a few improvements). Other states have signed executive orders that prohibit states from doing business with or subsidizing ISPs that engage in anti-competitive behavior.

      With the FCC’s repeal on shaky legal ground and states now passing even tougher net neutrality rules, ISP lobbyists have truly begun reaping what they’ve sown. And it’s becoming increasingly clear they’re both annoyed and nervous as the true scale of their poor judgement comes into view.

    • ACLU: To Protect Democracy, Cities Should Build Their Own ISPs

      After the Federal Communications Commission killed federal net neutrality protections last fall, local legislators across the country have stated their support for a free and open internet. But while sending letters to congress and the FCC opposing the changes is well and good, the ACLU argues in a new report published Thursday that creating municipally-owned ISPs is the best way to preserve net neutrality.

    • Cord Cutting in the US Has Nearly Tripled Since 2013

      Though cord cutters still only make up 11 percent of US households, the number of steaming-only households increased from just over 5 million in 2013 to 14.1 million in 2017 according to the report. Of these households, the majority have at least two different streaming services, with 32 percent having three or more services.

    • TV Ad Spending Is Down Because of Cord Cutting

      Cord cutting isn’t a fad. Millions of people really are changing their habits, and it’s having a profound impact.

    • NBA To Experiment With Cheap 4th Quarter Only Streaming Options

      As entertainment streaming has officially become “a thing”, one leading to massive change in the entertainment landscape, many eyes still turn towards the professional sports leagues. That’s because live professional sports is now one of the last big bulwarks against cord-cutting. With that in mind, it’s interesting to watch the major sports leagues experiment in streaming, a process that began roughly five years ago in earnest. While Major League Baseball has long led the way, the other leagues are catching up. The NBA in 2014 negotiated a new broadcast deal with Disney and TNT, one in which the league insisted that streaming options be significantly expanded. In fact, 14% or more NBA games are now nationally televised on those networks, with streaming options that do not require cable.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Regeneron v Kymab – Part I: Sufficiency

      The Regeneron patents particularly relate to a method for genetically modifying the antibody variable regions of a mouse cell by replacement of the mouse antibody variable genes with the equivalent human genes. The resulting mouse cells contain a human antibody light chain (VJ) or heavy chain (VDJ) variable region that undergoes natural homologous recombination during B-cell development. The method involves cloning a large (>20 kb) genomic fragment, containing one or more human V, J, (and optionally D) regions, into a targeting vector (LTVEC), introducing this vector into a mouse cell and screening for successful insertion of the human V, D and/or J, using a modification of allele (MOA) assay. The specification includes an example (Example 3) describing in situ replacement of the mouse variable region (VDJ/VJ) genes with their human counterparts.

      The VelocImmune mouse has proved exceedingly commercially valuable to Regeneron over the past few decades. Regeneron has brought a number of therapeutic antibodies to market using the platform and have many others currently undergoing clinical trial. In 2007, Regeneron agreed a six-year US$120 million non-exclusive licence with AstraZenca for use of the technology, under which Regeneron receives royalties on the sale of any products produced using the platform. Astellas Pharma, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in Japan, has also agreed a non-exclusive license for use of the VelocImmune technology until 2023.

    • Intel Releases Patent for New Cryptocurrency Mining Accelerator
    • Expect patent-heavy pharma acquisitions following Novartis’ $13 billion consumer healthcare divestment

      This week saw the headline-grabbing multi-billion dollar sell-off by Novartis of its consumer healthcare business. Reflecting the Swiss entity’s desire to focus resources on strengthening its position in higher-priority therapeutic spaces, the deal provides funds that are likely to be used for acquisitions of biotech companies with promising drug pipelines in Novartis’ “core” business areas. And, with many large pharmaceuticals innovators sharing Novartis’ strategy of increased specialisation, there may emerge a broader pattern of “non-core” divestments followed by patent-heavy transactions in the coming years. Novartis sold its 37% share in consumer health concern, JV, for $13 billion.

    • China’s biggest public research body holds public patent auction, showing it will focus relentlessly on monetisation

      Last week, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) held its first public patent auction, which saw a selection of 932 patents go under the gavel. The rights were listed online roughly two weeks prior to the 21st March sale. In the event, the most viewed 36 patents on the website were put up at the live auction in Shandong, of which 28 were sold for 5.03 million RMB ($794,600). The minimum starting bid for each patent was 100,000 RMB ($15,700). The patents cover a variety of fields, including new materials, intelligent manufacturing, advanced biomedical technology, new energy and ecological environmental technology.

    • Samsung owns the biggest US patent portfolio, new research reveals, beating IBM into second place

      Asian entities have seven of the 10 biggest active US patent portfolios, according to research exclusively compiled for IAM by IP data and analytics platform ktMINE. Korean company Samsung sits at the top of the tree, with 75,595 active assets as of 1st January 2018 – close to 30,000 more than IBM, which had 46,443. Rounding off the top five are Canon, Microsoft and Intel. Between them these five businesses owned over 225,000 active patents on the first day of this year.

      [...]

      To get the results, ktMINE technology aggregated each granted patent and application to its corresponding corporate tree in order to create the most up-to-date and complete portfolio. Each entity was designated by the location of its corporate headquarters for supplementary analysis.

    • Patent Portfolio Sale Completed in 10 Days on Ocean Tomo Bid-Ask™ Market

      Ocean Tomo and Sinofaith IP Group, co-creators of the Ocean Tomo Bid-Ask™ Market (OTBA), announced today the closing of Lot 64, entitled Document Processing System, to an undisclosed buyer. This lot is comprised of four issued U.S. patents, four non-provisional patent applications and software code.

    • Intel Wants to Patent a Bitcoin Mining Hardware ‘Accelerator’

      Tech giant Intel is seeking to patent a hardware “accelerator” for bitcoin mining chips, a newly-published filing reveals.

      The application for a “Bitcoin Mining Hardware Accelerator With Optimized Message Digest and Message Scheduler Datapath” was published on Thursday, though it was originally submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in September 2016. In the filing, Intel outlines a method by which it could augment the existing bitcoin mining process, consuming less electricity – thereby spending less money – in the process.

    • IoT Patent Applications Top 8,500 [Ed: They are basically tracking the use of buzzwords, so it's a self-fulfilling prophecy of 'growth']

      The number of patents related to the Internet of Thing is on an upward swing.

      There are more than 8,500 patent applications mentioning Internet of Things use cases so far, according to an analysis of U.S. patent applications conducted by VDC Research Group.

    • Innovation Leaders: Cisco, Samsung, Intel Lead In IoT Patent Filings

      Samsung was granted the most patents last year (133) while Intel came in second place (109) and Cisco in third (91). A majority of the IoT patents granted in 2017 were for communications and/or networking technologies.

    • Nokia’s booming licensing business is based on high-quality patents, with filings and acquisitions to help grow its portfolio, exclusive analysis for IAM reveals

      Approximately 35% of Qualcomm patents cite Nokia assets, research commissioned by IAM has uncovered. In a deep-dive into the Finnish company’s portfolio, published exclusively for subscribers yesterday, other information revealed by the team of leading IP and technology analysis platforms we asked to do the research included the fact that Nokia’s patents have consistently ranked in the top 10% of grants worldwide in terms of quality, and that Nokia has been on a filing, selling and licensing spree since 2012.

    • Copyrights

      • UK Urges Online Intermediaries to Tackle Piracy, Or Else

        In its newly released “Industrial Strategy” plan the UK government remains committed to protecting copyright holders. In addition to funding copyright education efforts, it will help to broker voluntary anti-piracy agreements between online services and copyright holders. If these efforts have produced no results by the end of the year, laws may be strengthened.

      • Roku Removes USTVnow Service Following “3rd Party” Copyright Complaint

        Popular media player Roku has surprised users by removing the entire USTVnow service from its platform. Speaking with TorrentFreak, a company spokesperson confirmed that the takedown was in response to an infringement complaint. However, the complaint didn’t come from USTVnow but a “third party” content owner.

      • China’s Tencent Proves You Can Make A Decent Profit From Online Publishing — If You Have A Platform With A Billion Users

        As the article explains, revenues came mostly from payments by readers of the company’s online offerings, which cater for a wide range of tastes — from comics to romance. In total, works are supplied by 6.9 million writers, most of whom are contracted to produce original material for the company. The scale of the operation is similarly large: last year around 11.1 million people paid to use China Literature’s services, up from 8.3 million in 2016.

        Although those are all impressive figures, it’s worth noting one of the key factors driving this business. Tencent is the company behind the WeChat messaging app. Last year, there were 963 million users, so it’s likely that more a billion people now use WeChat’s powerful and wide-ranging platform. That naturally makes selling China Literature’s services much easier.

      • RIAA Reports Music Industry Is Making All The Money Just As New Study Says Piracy Has Never Been More Widespread

        As much conversation as gets logged on the topic of copyright infringement, or piracy, you may not have noticed that there are not that many arguments against piracy. Certainly there’s a volume of voices, particularly those coming from the entertainment industry, but those voices are typically making only one of two claims. The first claim is that piracy is morally wrong. This claim typically devolves into something along the lines of “but piracy is theft”, and relies on the intuitive notion that downloading, say, a song hurts the creator of that song by depriving them of income. If there was no income deprivation, there would be no moral wrong. The second claim skips the first part of that equation and simply asserts that piracy harms the entertainment or content industries, depriving them of the income they need in order to create more content. You will notice that, ultimately, there is actually only one argument against piracy: its effect on the income of the content producers.

      • Copyright, exceptions and cultural institutions: Australia is listening!

        Whilst the 2016 Copyright Directive proposal might have lost some momentum since its introduction, the appetite for the modernisation of copyright law is still in the cards in other parts of the world – not the least Down Under.

      • Google Adds ‘Kodi’ to Autocomplete Piracy Filter

        Google has banned the term “Kodi” from the autocomplete feature of its search engine. This means that the popular software and related suggestions won’t appear unless users type out the full term. Google has previously taken similar measures against “pirate” related terms and confirms that Kodi is targeted because it’s “closely associated with copyright infringement.”

      • EU Content Rules to Improve Access & Reduce Piracy Start April 1

        Last May, Members of the European Parliament voted to grant EU citizens the right to enjoy legally purchased music and movie subscriptions when they travel to another EU country. It’s hoped the new system will dampen frustrations and reduce Internet piracy. The rules comes into force this Sunday and here’s how they’ll affect you.

      • To Axel Voss, the European Commission’s plan for a link tax is not extreme enough

        Voss suggests to make the law even harsher than the Commission had proposed, picking up ideas from the failed version of this law already in place in Spain:

        1. News sites should not be able to give out free licenses (an “inalienable right to remuneration”)
        2. Press agencies should also be granted this right – effectively giving them control over the spreading of facts
        3. Money publishers make from the law should be shared with journalists in some cases
        4. There should be an exception for individuals who share news content for “legitimate private and non-commercial uses”
        5. A newly added justification of the law is to supposedly fight fake news

        [...]

        He thus revealed this project for what it is: An abuse of copyright law to take a side in a big-business battle over who controls our attention online, with blatant disregard for the collateral damage caused to our fundamental rights, independent media and European startups.

03.29.18

Senator Jean-Yves Leconte Accuses EPO and/or ILO of Injustice, But Don’t Expect Media to Notice or Cover It

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jean-Yves Leconte

Summary: The Frenchman Jean-Yves Leconte, who represents French workers at the EPO in his capacity as a French politician, publicly tells other French politicians what is going on at the European Patent Office (EPO); blogs about patents remain uninterested and often apathetic

THE EPO is deteriorating not because Europe is deteriorating (it’s not) but due to mismanagement.

A few days ago SUEPO took note of a couple of pages in French [1, 2] (“Respect des principes de la charte sociale européenne“). We waited as we assumed that further commentary and maybe translations would soon turn up. That finally happened some hours ago. Jean-Yves Leconte is quoted in English and in German now. From the English translation produced by SUEPO:

Respecting the principles of the European social charter

Written question No. 03835 by Mr. Jean-Yves Leconte (French citizens outside France – SOCR)

Published in the Senate Journal of 15/03/2018 – page 1136

Mr. Jean-Yves Leconte draws the attention of the Prime Minister to the manner in which the representatives of France engaged in major European or international organizations understand the concept of respecting the principles of the European social charter, in its status as a universal source of social rights, and in such a way that the associations which represent staff members may be able to assert the rights of these staff members should they feel that they are being slighted within the institutions which employ them.

However, certain matters which have recently been judged by the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization, as the authority of last instance, have called to order the governing bodies of certain institutions which have divorced themselves from these universal principles, to such a point that the bodies of the Council of Europe have become concerned with the matter, and have recently issued a report, the recommendations of which cannot do other than implicate certain of our representatives within the institutions in question.

It is therefore a matter of urgency to determine how to motivate our representatives such that they will rapidly draw the lessons provided by these recommendations and from these issues of jurisprudence, with the representatives of other participant States, in ensuring the good governance of these institutions.

In anticipation of the response from the Prime Minister

It’s worth noting that earlier this week a comment took note of the same thing:

French Senator Leconte asks a question to FR Prime Minister with the EPO in mind

https://jeanyvesleconte.wordpress.com/2018/03/19/ma-question-sur-le-respect-des-principes-de-la-charte-sociale-europeenne/

Question on the website of FR Senate : http://www.senat.fr/basile/visio.do?id=qSEQ180303835&idtable=q338211|q331776|q330301|q330515|q330412|q340802|q340797|q340801|q340358|q340360&_s=11026G&rch=qa&de=19780101&au=20180327&dp=1+an&radio=deau&appr=text&aff=sep&tri=dd&off=0&afd=ppr&afd=ppl&afd=pjl&afd=cvn

There appears to be no press coverage about this. In fact, over the past few weeks there has been almost no press coverage about the EPO (except PR, repeating the claims made by the EPO after it had hired yet more PR agencies).

Last night we saw this disappointing article from IP Watch. It called the “Alliance for Intellectual Property” a “UK Industry Group,” pretty much like Team UPC habitually does. It’s not a UK industry group but a lobbying group of patent extremists like lawyers (who have no industry except the lawsuits ‘industry’).

The same kind of thing was soon/also repeated by IP Kat, which wrote a couple of things about Brexit yesterday [1, 2]. Our readers can guess whose side IP Kat is taking.

Bristows staff that writes at IP Kat mentioned the EPO BoA and also relayed this other trash which mentioned the EPO. Why do we call it trash? Just look at it. IP Kat has been reduced to self-promotional spam. Annsley Merelle Ward (Bristows) pins her puff piece for Rachel Mumby (Bristows), Dominic Adair (Bristows) and Alan Johnson (Bristows). It’s all Bristows, Bristows, Bristows, i.e. the usual:

The evening concluded with an acknowledgement of the fact that at least hindsight is not as inherent in the English system as it is at the EPO where hindsight is an inevitable part of identifying the closest prior art, and where the problem to be solved is formulated from that closest prior art.

Where has Merpel gone? Perhaps not compatible with Bristows agenda? Here’s a comment on that first ‘article’ from Bristows:

So that means in some circumstances it is OK to cover embodiments which could not have been made at the filing date, which is not too shocking. However I wonder whether this is the start of the end for use of ‘squeeze’ arguments in the UK, which the EPO seldom uses. Perhaps it is time now for us to align with the EPO in treating each test for validity and infringement independently and not worrying too much about the minor contradictions that emerge.

It’s not much better at IAM, where the European Union’s patent microcosm, NLO in this case, couldn’t care less about death/demise of the EPO as long as it profits in the process. Maybe they just hope that the EPO collapses to be replaced with UPC.

Patent Quality, Not Quantity, is What Really Matters

Posted in Asia, Europe, Patents at 10:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO adopts the Chinese model (patent trolls magnet), unlike somewhere like India

EPO patents criticised

Summary: The EPO’s policy of “grant fast/first, ask questions later” is a recipe for disaster not just for the EPO but for Europe in general

THE EPO crisis (this particular term, “crisis”, seems suitable) is a ticking time-bomb. Applications are running out and UPC is as dead as can be (it has barely even been mentioned this past month). Florian Müller is right when he says, as IP2Innovate quoted the other day: “Whenever the Unitary Patent Court (UPC) will be ready, Europe will become a paradise for patent trolls and the likes of Nokia and Ericsson…”

IP2Innovate has repeatedly warned about it and lobbyists of patent trolls attacked IP2Innovate over it. They also attacked people who 'dared' cite IP2Innovate. Such is the behaviour of aggressive trolls…

“Applications are running out and UPC is as dead as can be (it has barely even been mentioned this past month).”The problem we’re seeing is that the EPO basically ‘offloads’ examinations onto courts; it issues patents recklessly and in a rush, only for courts and lawyers to clean up the mess that lawyers themselves all along made. They want lots of litigation. That’s their bread and butter.

Found earlier this week via this tweet was a new article titled Liberaler Mittelstand fürchtet Patentflut & Qualitätsmangel. It was then mentioned also in a comment that said:

On patent quality at EPO

WIPR

https://www.worldipreview.com/news/wipr-survey-epo-patent-quality-is-endangered-claim-readers-15689

Landshuter Rundschau

http://la-rundschau.de/landshut/politik/33298-liberaler-mittelstand-fuerchtet-patentflut-qualitaetsmangel.html

EPO examiners generally know that they issue low-quality patents. They admit it, but they stress very strongly that this is the fault of the management. The examiners don’t want to do it, but they feel as though they must in order to keep their job.

The EPO is meanwhile bragging, yet again, about growth in the number of patents. Yesterday it wrote that “Italy filed over 4% more applications at the EPO in 2017 compared with the previous year.”

“It doesn’t look like these discounts had any fundamental effect in Europe, perhaps except income going down.”“But in order to get this message right (across to the readers),” I’ve told them that the discounts should be taken into account. You “gave a DISCOUNT on applications and ‘demand’ went DOWN,” I told them in response to this other tweet in which EPO said: “Belgium posted fewer patent applications in 2017 (-1.9%) after its strong increase in 2016 (+7%)…”

It doesn’t look like these discounts had any fundamental effect in Europe, perhaps except income going down. And that’s before work even runs out! It’s going to get a lot worse when staff is made redundant.

What does the EPO even strive for? Issuing as many patents as possible, e.g. by consciously lowering the quality of examination? Yesterday there was this press release which said:

Constant Pharmaceuticals, LLC, a privately held biopharmaceutical company focused on the treatment of stroke recovery, today announced that the European Patent Office (EPO) has notified the company that it will grant a patent covering the use of TXA127 in the treatment of stroke. TXA127 is a pharmaceutical grade formulation of the naturally occurring peptide Angiotensin (1-7), which Constant is developing for the treatment of stroke recovery.

A few days ago someone showed us that the EPO had just granted a patent on chewing gum. The above is naturally-occurring — something which typically disqualifies patents.

“A few days ago someone showed us that the EPO had just granted a patent on chewing gum.”But hey, who cares about patent quality anyway? Certainly not patent lawyers, who are typically patent maximalists as that equals/implies more income for lawyers.

Earlier today the Sottish Legal was posting this Marks & Clerk puff piece/ad in the form of an ‘article’. Marks & Clerk sucks up to EPO management by promoting patent maximalism. To quote:

The UK has enjoyed a consistent rise in energy-related European patents with the number of patents granted by the EPO in the energy sector having nearly doubled since 2008. The volume of patents applied for has also increased by nearly 40 per cent since 2008.

Newly released data from the European Patent Office (EPO) found that ‘electrical machinery, apparatus, and energy’ was the fourth most patented technical field in 2017, behind only medical technology, digital communication, and computer technology.

Is this like a competition? Which field gets the most monopolies?

Compare that to India, where software patents are not allowed and pharmaceutical giants don’t get their way, either. It’s actually a pretty good system which improves access to medicine and makes India a very powerful software-developing country.

“Is this like a competition? Which field gets the most monopolies?”Ananya Bhattacharya, writing this piece earlier this week, has called such a sound policy “least friendly”; it is a gross distortion of the reality because it might as well be called “most friendly” (towards the population, not a bunch of foreign multinational giants). To quote: “India is no country for filing patents. Riddled with problems, from lack of awareness to systemic flaws, the country is one of the least friendly when it comes to intellectual property (IP) rights. In 2016, just 45,000 patents (pdf) were filed in India—China registered over 1.1 million in the same year.”

So what? China is insanely irrational when it comes to patent grants, we suppose in anticipation of sanctions/trade war. They just want to have a wall of worthless patents.

China is actually proof that overgranting leads to trolling (there’s a massive increase there in terms of patent trolls) and only a tiny fraction of these patents ever makes it into patent offices outside China (only those of decent quality would get granted).

“The EPO has become a farce under Battistelli. He is leaving in almost exactly 3 months, but he will leave in charge an old friend, who is also French and also lacks background in science.”The EPO needs to take India, not China, as an example. But Battistelli never even bothers visiting India. Instead he keeps visiting former French colonies (maybe his friend Sarko got some funds from there too?), having just named Morocco and Tunisia alongside Cambodia in this new ‘blog’ post of his. (warning: epo.org link, already promoted by the EPO’s Twitter account).

Watch Benoît Battistelli as he brags about Cambodia with zero European Patents and French colonisation roots:

When Cambodia became a validation state at the beginning of this month, it was somewhat of a watershed moment in the EPO’s history. While we have already seen the European patent become valid in North Africa, through agreements with Morocco and Tunisia, Cambodia is the very first country in Asia to become a validation country. With four validations in the last few years (Morocco, Moldova, Tunisia and Cambodia), the advantages of the EPO’s validation system are becoming more and more known. European inventors can now easily and efficiently file a European patent application that will be recognised in Cambodia. That means it will have the same legal effect as a corresponding Cambodian patent and will be subject to Cambodian patent law.

The EPO has become a farce under Battistelli. He is leaving in almost exactly 3 months, but he will leave in charge an old friend, who is also French and also lacks background in science.

Links 29/3/2018: DomTerm 1.0, Qbs 1.11, Qt Creator 4.6, Qubes OS 4.0

Posted in News Roundup at 8:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Linux Gets An Open-Source VR Desktop, Built Off OpenHMD

      Remember Arcan, the open-source game engine powered display server? This project that has been going strong for several years now and began venturing into VR has now announced what we believe to be the first open-source VR Linux desktop environment.

    • Test Driving A 64-Thread POWER9 Workstation, Initial Performance Against A 96-Core ARM

      As of yesterday, Raptor Computing Systems has begun shipping the Talos II Workstation in volume. This POWER9 system is open down to the firmware and schematics while delivering quite a practical performance punch compared to today’s proprietary x86/ARM servers.

      The Talos II is the new POWER9 system that we’ve been looking forward to for months. and includes a motherboard with PCI Express 4.0 and single/dual POWER9 CPU configurations.

    • Going Dark(er) For A Little While

      My job keeps me pretty much tied up. I know I probably surprised some people with bugs showing up on Launchpad. I’m testing Bionic Beaver at home the hard way by using it day by day and watching things break as I try to use them. Sadly we are still using Windows For Warships at work since we are still not cleared to attempt to upgrade to Windows 10 safely. Our current enterprise network isn’t handling its current load safely as it is now.

  • Server

    • Honor Courage Commitment, Linux Academy Partner for Veteran IT Training

      Sosamon worked seven jobs in the eight years following his departure from the military. Every time he embarked on a new career path, he couldn’t help feeling like something was missing.

      Now, as executive director of Honor Courage Commitment, he’s helping discharged veterans adapt to life as a civilian and find jobs in the area.

    • A wee server for the home

      On the surface, this presentation is about setting up a small, inexpensive, low-power server for the home. However, it uses that objective as an excuse to delve deeper into some technical issues, as well as to reflect upon the effect of free software on the relationship between computers and humans. It will answer the obvious questions about such a server: the whats, whys, hows, etc. It will share experiences with hardware and software for services such as shared file systems, backups, printing, Jabber/XMPP, music, and more. But it will also sneak in some deeper technical excursions enabled by free software, such as the preferred way, and reasons, to write random data prior to setting up encrypted storage. It will also include some personal observations on the experiential differences between using free and non-free software, especially those relating to enjoyment and to learning and teaching, formal and informal.

    • Solomon Hykes, Docker’s founder, leaves day-to-day running of container company

      He wrote, “I’m announcing my departure from Docker, the company I helped create ten years ago and have been building ever since. A founder’s departure is usually seen as a dramatic event. Sadly, I must report that reality is far less exciting in this case. I’ve had many roles at Docker over the years, and today I have a new, final one – as an active board member, a major shareholder and, I expect, a high maintenance Docker user. But I will no longer be part of day-to-day operations.”

      This move comes almost a year after his co-founder, Ben Golub, stepped down as CEO. As for Hykes, he started moving away from Docker’s executive team in November 2017. He went from being CTO to vice chairman of the board of directors and chief architect.

      Besides being a leader, Hykes has been the controversial face of Docker. In 2016, for example, he started a tempest in the container world by tweeting: “OCI (Open Container Initiative) image format is a fake standard.” This open-source standard for container specification was supported by other container companies, such as CoreOS, and his own company.

    • Docker Founder Solomon Hykes Announces Exit from Docker Inc.

      In surprise move, Docker Inc. founder Solomon Hykes announced on March 28 that he is leaving the company he created.

      “After 10 years building Docker, now feels like the natural moment to move on,” Hykes wrote in an email to eWEEK. “That’s obviously not an easy decision, but I’m certain that it is the right one for everyone.”

      The company that Hykes is now leaving is a very different one than the one he created back in November 2007, which was originally known as dotCloud. In March 2013, Hykes introduced the world to the open-source Docker project, re-inventing containers and ushering in a new age of cloud native applications.

    • Public cloud security: Follow the Goldilocks principle

      Security pervades just about every aspect of IT these days: data breaches, IoT devices, AI, containers, development pipelines and more. Ask me what’s at the top of the list of just about any IT leader’s challenges, and I’ll do my best Amazing Kreskin impression: “Security!” – and I’ll almost certainly be right.

    • Just say no to root (in containers)

      OpenShift is Red Hat’s container platform, built on Kubernetes, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and OCI containers, and it has a great security feature: By default, no containers are allowed to run as root. An admin can override this, otherwise all user containers run without ever being root. This is particularly important in multi-tenant OpenShift Kubernetes clusters, where a single cluster may be serving multiple applications and multiple development teams. It is not always practical or even advisable for administrators to run separate clusters for each. Sadly one of the biggest complaints about OpenShift is that users can not easily run all of the community container images available at docker.io. This is because the vast majority of container images in the world today require root.

    • 12 Kubernetes distributions leading the container revolution

      Kubernetes has become the project to turn to if you need container orchestration at scale. The open source container orchestration system out of Google is well-regarded, well-supported, and evolving fast.

      Kubernetes is also sprawling, complex, and difficult to set up and configure. Not only that, but much of the heavy lifting is left to the end user. The best approach, therefore, isn’t to grab the bits and try to go it alone, but to seek out a complete container solution that includes Kubernetes as a supported, maintained component.

    • Kubernetes 1.10 Release Advances Storage and Improves Security

      The first major release of 2018 for the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration platform is now available, including a patch for a critical vulnerability that could have enabled an attacker to access the host filesystem.

    • Nexenta Achieves Certification for Red Hat OpenStack Platform Certification

      Nexenta Certification with Red Hat OpenStack Platform Helps to Enable Telcos and Enterprises to Fuel Expansion of Software Defined Hybrid and Multi Clouds

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation

      • OpenContrail is Now ‘Tungsten Fabric,’ Completes Move to The Linux Foundation
      • The Linux Foundation Hosts ‘DANOS’ Project, a Unified Network Operating System
      • Linux Foundation lays out welcome mat for AT&T network OS

        AT&T has let its in-house-developed network operating system escape into the open source world via the Linux Foundation, with a code release due in the second half of this year.

        The existence of what was internally called dNOS emerged last year as part of the company’s plan to replace 100,000 routers with white boxes.

      • Wind River joins open-source initiative to accelerate Telecom Edge Cloud deployments

        The Linux Foundation has announced an expansion to the Akraino Edge Stack open-source project, which hopes to further the journey towards the adoption of virtualised applications and services throughout telecom networks.

        According to the foundation, service providers consistently report that they view edge-focused use cases as opportunities to attract new types of customers, deploy innovative new services and achieve new sources of revenue. The idea is that this community will accelerate that vision.

      • AT&T Plans 60,000 dNOS-Powered White Boxes to Support 5G

        AT&T plans to install more than 60,000 open source, software-powered white boxes across its network over the next several years in support of its aggressive 5G plans. The carrier today stated those white box routers are part of a “radical realignment” of its network architecture and key to supporting 5G services.

        “White box represents a radical realignment of the traditional service provider model,” said Andre Fuetsch, CTO and president of AT&T Labs, in a statement. “We’re no longer constrained by the capabilities of proprietary silicon and feature roadmaps of traditional vendors. We’re writing open hardware specifications for these machines, and developing the open source software that powers these boxes.”

      • AT&T claims industry’s first open source AI marketplace

        Artificial intelligence is already part of our daily lives. Our navigation apps use it to find the fastest routes, our inboxes use it to filter spam and smartphones use it to respond to voice commands. But most AI applications don’t talk to one another yet, and AT&T sees that as an obstacle that could hold the technology back. In response, AT&T has created an open source AI marketplace called Acumos.

      • Linux Foundation Spawns Child Foundation for AI
      • The Sound Open Firmware project launches

        It is an increasingly poorly kept secret that, underneath the hood of the components that most of us view as “hardware”, there is a great deal of proprietary software. This code, written by anonymous developers, rarely sees the light of day; as a result, it tends to have all of the pathologies associated with software that nobody can either review or fix. The 2018 Embedded Linux Conference saw an announcement for a new project that, with luck, will change that situation, at least for one variety of hardware: audio devices.

      • ​Juniper’s OpenContrail SDN rebranded as Tungsten Fabric

        Sometimes, rebranding is a good thing. Juniper Networks’ OpenContrail was an excellent open-source software-defined network (SDN) program. But, it was perceived as being too much under Juniper’s thumb to draw many outside developers. Realizing this, Juniper spun OpenContrail out into a community-controlled project under the The Linux Foundation. That left the name, so Juniper and the community decided to rebrand it: Tungsten Fabric.

      • Greenstream Technology Accepted as Silver Member of The Linux Foundation and Hyperledger
      • Hyperledger Sawtooth: A Milestone for Blockchain Technology

        Blockchain technology — which encompasses smart contracts and distributed ledgers — can be used to record promises, trades, and transactions of many types. Countless organizations, ranging from IBM to Wells Fargo and the London Stock Exchange Group are partnering to drive the technology forward, and The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project is an open source collaborative effort aimed at advancing cross-industry blockchain technologies. Recently, the project announced the arrival of Hyperledger Sawtooth 1.0, a major milestone for the Hyperledger community, which represents the second blockchain framework that has reached production-ready status.

        In conjunction with the release, Brian Behlendorf, Executive Director, Hyperledger, and Dan Middleton, Intel’s Head of Technology, Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Program, hosted a webinar, titled “Hyperledger Sawtooth v1.0: Market Significance & Technical Overview.” The webinar is now available as a video replay (registration required).

      • Civil Infrastructure Platform Sets Out to Save Civilization

        “The Civil Infrastructure Platform is the most conservative of The Linux Foundation projects,” began Yoshitake Kobayashi at the recent Embedded Linux Conference in Portland. Yet, if any eyelids started fluttering shut in anticipation of an afternoon nap, they quickly opened when he added: “It may also be the most important to the future of civilization.”

        The Linux Foundation launched the Civil Infrastructure Platform (CIP) project in April 2016 to develop base layer, open source industrial-grade software for civil infrastructure projects, starting with a 10-year Super Long-Term Support (SLTS) Linux kernel built around the LTS kernel. CIP expects to add other similarly reusable software building blocks that meet the safety and reliability requirements of industrial and civil infrastructure. CIP supports electrical and power grids, water and sewage facilities, oil and gas plants, and rail, shipping and transportation systems, among other applications.

        “Our civilization’s infrastructure already runs on Linux,” said Kobayashi, a CIP contributor and Senior Manager of Open Source Technology at Toshiba’s Software Development and Engineering Center. “Our power plants run on Linux. If they stop working, it’s serious.”

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA 390.48 Linux Driver Released With GV100 & Tesla V100 Support

        NVIDIA today released the 390.48 graphics driver for Linux, FreeBSD, and Solaris systems.

        Most notable to the NVIDIA 390.48 driver is supporting the latest Volta-based workstation graphics cards of the new Quadro GV100 as well as the Tesla V100-SXM2-32GB / V100-PCIE-32GB / V100-DGXS-32GB.

      • AMD Vega 12 GPU Support Lands In Mesa 18.1-devel

        With support for the unreleased “Vega 12″ AMD GPU seeing its kernel-side support coming with Linux 4.17, AMD’s Marek Olšák has landed support for this scarcely detailed GPU now in their user-space OpenGL driver.

        The patch is quite small for adding the Vega 12 support to RadeonSI Gallium3D with the bulk of the enablement needed in the AMDGPU kernel driver. As tiny as the patch is, it’s currently not marked for back-porting into Mesa 18.0 stable series.

      • Talvos: A SPIR-V Interpreter & Vulkan Device Emulator For Debugging

        Another interesting Vulkan open-source project worthy of a shout-out is Talvos, a dynamic analysis framework and debugger for Vulkan and SPIR-V programs.

        Talvos consists of a SPIR-V interpreter and Vulkan device emulator in an effort to assist in debugging Vulkan programs without needing source-level modifications as well as in debugging the SPIR-V intermediate representation.

      • New P-State Patches Could Boost Intel Graphics Performance Under Some Conditions

        Francisco Jerez of Intel’s open-source Linux graphics driver team has posted not some new DRM driver patches today but rather CPUFreq/P-State driver patches that could really help Intel integrated graphics performance under some conditions and especially on the lower-power Intel platforms.

      • While Still Waiting For Broadcom VideoCore 5 To Surface, There Appears To Be VC6

        The VC5 open-source Linux graphics driver stack has been under heavy development now the past nearly year while not yet seeing any major ARM SBCs or other products making use of this Broadcom VideoCore V (VC5) 3D hardware, which now supports OpenCL and Vulkan. While many are holding out hopes for eventually seeing a next-gen Raspberry Pi with this beefed up VideoCore, it appears there is already a VC6 in the works too.

        We haven’t heard anything officially yet on VideoCore VI (VC6) but it does appear to be in the works and is along far enough where there is some driver activity happening.

      • The Big DRM Pull Request For Linux 4.17: 144,461 Insertions, 38,059 Deletions

        While the Linux 4.16.0 kernel hasn’t even been released yet, Direct Rendering Manager subsystem maintainer David Airlie has already sent in his big feature pull request for Linux 4.17 since he will be going on holidays the next few weeks.

        As we’ve been covering the past few weeks, there are many changes that accumulated in the DRM-Next tree for Linux 4.17 that makes it quite big with 144k lines of new code while seeing just 38k lines of code removed, or a net addition to the kernel of more than one hundred thousand lines of code this time around… But fortunately a good chunk of that is the auto-generated header files for AMD Vega 12 GPU support.

      • AMDVLK Updated With Wayland Support, Many Other Fixes & Improvements

        With it having been two weeks since AMD last updated their PAL/AMDVLK source tree, today’s update contains a fair amount of changes to this official open-source AMD Radeon Vulkan Linux driver.

        Most notable from this latest whopping of +10,184 lines of new code (and 8,990 deletions) is Wayland support! AMDVLK should now be able to work with Vulkan on native Wayland environments. AMDVLK needed a fair amount of additions for supporting surfaces on Wayland and its window management/integration differences.

      • RADV In Mesa 18.1 Git Receiving New Vulkan Extension Work

        In addition to receiving Vega 12 support in the past few hours, the RADV Vulkan driver living within Mesa has landed the latest extension work.

        Valve open-source Linux driver developer Samuel Pitoiset has merged VK_EXT_sampler_filter_minmax support. That extension was added back during Vulkan 1.0.53. I’m not aware of any Vulkan game/program currently requiring VK_EXT_sampler_filter_minmax so it will be interesting to see if it wiring it up was done simply for scratching another item off the list or will be a requirement for any forthcoming Linux games. This extension is just enabled for GCN 1.1 Sea Islands and newer with GCN 1.0 behavior said to be buggy.

      • X.Org Server 1.20 RC2 Released With DRI3 v1.2, Per-Window Flipping For XWayland

        Adam Jackson at Red Hat has announced the second release candidate to the long-in-development X.Org Server 1.20.

        Since the RC1 release at the end of February, X.Org Server 1.20 has continued to receive new feature work including DRI3 v1.2 support and hitting the code-base today was the per-window flipping in the Present extension with XWayland.

        Both are exciting features, particularly the latter. The DRI3 1.2 support is wired through but currently requires a debug option be set in the xorg.conf for activating the support with the xf86-video-modesetting DDX driver.

    • Benchmarks

      • Windows 10 vs. Windows WSL vs. Linux – Ubuntu / openSUSE / Debian / Clear Linux

        With Debian having been added to the Microsoft Store earlier this month for running Debian 9 on Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) plus in wanting to do some fresh updates prior to Microsoft shipping their Spring Creators Update, here are some fresh benchmarks of various Linux distributions and their raw performance, the current major Linux distributions available on WSL, and then also the native Windows 10 performance in the various supported tests.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Krita – Ars longa, vita brevis?

        My first encounter with Krita has been interesting so far. On one hand, without any tutorial and only my prior knowledge of GIMP, I was able to do about 80% of the stuff that I wanted, and that’s pretty good. Add to that some extra features that GIMP does not have, and you have yourself a reasonable IMP.

        But then, on the other hand, there were a lot of frustrations – and that’s even before I got a chance to sit down for a few hours and paint. Macros didn’t work as well as they should, GIMC is missing, and some of the effects and options are clunky. Maybe all of it comes down to habit, but I doubt it. I have a fairly good natural affinity toward software, and if it’s not intuitive, it means it’s not designed right. Krita has some decent features, but then it also has some (let’s call them GIMP-like) quirks that simply make no sense from the workflow perspective. The UI show work with you, not against you.

        All in all, Krita is better than what I’d expected. Things also become slightly more complicated when you take into account Karbon, which is another KDE application and part of the Calligra suite, but it also does vector graphics, and perhaps competes or complements Krita. The duality between GIMP and Krita is also intriguing, but also an indication of forking and wasted energy, because there’s 70% common base in both programs that could have been invested making dope effects, like, I don’t know, a comic strip speech bubble, rather than replicating what’s already there. In a way.

        Bottom line, I like Krita, and I will explore it some more, trying to master its interface and options, and perhaps even render some original art without shouting at the computer. For me, GIMP is a no-go in this regard, so this will be an interesting comparison experiment. Lastly, I’d like to see more effects, GIMC seamlessly integrated, and the macros must work. Well, there you go.

      • KDAB at Embedded World 2018

        Embedded World, the leading exhibition for the international embedded community, just had its 16th edition and is still growing, with more than 1000 exhibitors and over 32,000 visitors from 78 countries in 2018.

        Software was more central to the exhibition than ever before, so it’s no wonder this is KDAB’s 8th year in a row exhibiting.

      • Qbs 1.11 Released As The Qt Build Tool Successor To QMake

        In addition to the Qt Creator 4.6 IDE being released today, The Qt Company also released the Qbs 1.11 build system.

      • Qbs 1.11 released

        We are happy to announce version 1.11.0 of the Qbs build tool.

      • Qt Creator 4.6.0 released

        We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.6.0!

      • Qt Creator 4.6 Released With Upgraded C++ Support, Navigation Improvements

        The Qt Company has released Qt Creator 4.6, the latest version of their Qt/C++ focused integrated development environment.

        Qt Creator 4.6 upgrades the C++ support thanks to moving its Clang-based code model from Clang 3.9 to the newer Clang 5.0, which in turn provides more C++17 features and other enhancements. Qt Creator 4.6 also has integration of Clang-Tidy and Clazy warnings into the editor’s diagnostics messages, highlighting improvements, and other enhancements.

      • C++ Modernization Brochure

        New releases of the C++ language maintain incredibly strong backwards compatibility, making it easy to keep older C++ code working properly as standards march forward. C++11, C++14, and C++17 have transformed the C++ language in ways that make it as programmer-friendly as more recent languages but with many essential benefits that continue to make it the best choice for the most demanding software-engineering projects.

        Modernizing your C++ may be the best way to both improve your team’s efficiency as well as future-proof your software investment. KDAB has broad, deep experience delivering cost-effective, long-term, pragmatic solutions that modernize existing C++ codebases without losing functionality during the process.

      • Intro to Qt

        This paper outlines everything you need to take into account when considering Qt as a new framework, so you can decide for yourself if this cross-platform tool is the right choice.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • College student reflects on getting started in open source

    I just completed the first semester of my second year in college, and I’m reflecting on what I learned in my classes. One class, in particular, stood out to me: “Foundations of an Open Source World,” taught by Dr. Bryan Behrenshausen at Duke University. I enrolled in the class at the last minute because it seemed interesting and, if I’m being honest because it fit my schedule.

    On the first day, Dr. Behrenshausen asked if we students knew or had used any open source programs. Until that day I had hardly heard the term “open source” and certainly wasn’t cognizant of any products that fell into that category. As the semester went on, however, it dawned on me that the passion I have towards my career aspirations would not exist without open source.

  • Why this innovator thinks the car of the future rides on open source

    There are many open source companies that are profitable. We believe that open source is a fundamental approach to speed up everything. Linux Foundation changed the server industry, and they boosted infrastructure and services around the world like banking and financial systems. So based on this, the business model is pretty simple: We encourage companies to use our technology, but in the end, even if we provide all the documentation and sources, when you go to the market you need to have the hardware, not only the software, so the keyword for us is “aggregate.” In the automotive industry especially, quantities are something that you have to consider.

    We are the missing link between tier one suppliers and a very long tail of new players that are trying to combine more projects based on the same core technology, so everybody can have better pricing and easier sourcing of the parts.

  • Open source AV1 video codec released, coming soon to streaming video

    One of the things that makes it possible to stream 4K Ultra HD video over the internet is video compression: it takes a lot of bandwidth to stream a 4K video, but it takes a lot less to stream a H.265/HEVC file than it does to stream one encoded using MPEG-2.

    But now there’s a new codec in town that’s likely to replace HEVC.

    It’s called AV1, and it has a few things going for it. The new codec is open source, royalty-free, and it offers roughly 30 percent better compression than HEVC or VP9.

  • Open Source Codec AV1 Specification Available Now, Delivering Far More Efficient Compression Than HEVC & VP9

    Today, AOMedia announced the public release of the AV1 codec’s specification, the first step to introducing AV1 into commercial products.

  • AOMedia Announces Public Release Of AV1 Video Format

    Adobe, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, Netflix, NVIDIA, and others making up the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia) have today announced the public release of the AV1 royalty-free video format!

  • Netflix and YouTube streaming video is about to get a lot faster

    Tech’s biggest companies — including Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Cisco and Netflix — have finished the first version of video compression technology called AV1, and now they’re ready to use it to speed up your streaming video.

  • The Alliance for Open Media Kickstarts Video Innovation Era with “AV1″ Release

    Consumers’ video expectations are being shaped by the brilliant images promised by 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) video and beyond. However, the technical-based hurdles and data demands of higher quality video mean that the majority of users only have access to full HD or lower video technology. For nearly three years, the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia) has been working in lock-step with its members, the world’s best-known leaders in video, to develop a better quality internet video technology that benefits all consumers. Today, the Alliance is proud to announce the public release of the AOMedia Video Codec 1.0 (AV1) specification, which delivers cross-platform, 4K UHD or higher online video, royalty-free – all while lowering data usage.

  • Open Source Community Widely Adopts SRT Video Streaming Protocol with VLC, GStreamer and Wireshark Support

    The SRT Open Source Project, the fastest growing open source video streaming movement, announced wide adoption of the SRT open source video transport protocol and technology stack with VLC, GStreamer and Wireshark support, as well as a new Mozilla Public License.

  • Engineering Group and Open Source Initiative Partner for Enhanced Leadership in Open Source: Engineering Group continues its support of global open source software communities.

    Engineering Group, the global IT player and Italian leader in digital transformation, announced their continued sponsorship of the Open Source Initiative (OSI). The OSI is internationally recognized as the stewards of open source software, working to promote and protect open source projects, development and communities. For 20 years the organization has served as the reference point for individuals, non-profit organizations, international enterprises, and governments that recognize the critical role of open source in enabling flexibility, transparency, innovation, and added-value in technology-based products and services.

  • Open Source Alternative to Okta®

    Okta® is one of the top providers in the web application SSO (single sign-on) space. It’s a space that has been incredibly important over the last decade, and perhaps, one of the hottest categories in the IT management world. With this much activity, admins often want to know what all of their options with SSO providers are. The challenge for some organizations, though, is finding an open source alternative to Okta.

    Why would an IT organization be interested in an open source web-app SSO solution? Well, to answer that question, we need to take a step back and look at the identity and access management (IAM) space as a whole.

  • Red Hat Earnings Foretell Good Times for Open Source Businesses
  • Events

    • Two perspectives on the maintainer relationship

      Developers and maintainers of free-software projects are drawn from the same pool of people, and maintainers in one project are often developers in another, but there is still a certain amount of friction between the two groups. Maintainers depend on developers to contribute changes, but the two groups have a different set of incentives when it comes to reviewing and accepting those changes. Two talks at the 2018 Embedded Linux Conference shed some light on this relationship and how it can be made to work more smoothly.

    • What can you do with Kubernetes?

      Need to get up to speed with Kubernetes? This webinar will give you the primer to the Kubernetes platform that you need. You’ve probably heard that Kubernetes is great technology, but have you considered how you can use it in the enterprise? We’ll give a comprehensive overview, demos, and even ideas into how it can be used in your business!

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Makes It Easier for Chrome Users to Stream Local Video and Audio Files

        Chrome users who usually cast audio and video files to Chromecast or similar Cast devices will soon experience a much more straightforward and accessible streaming method.

        Chromium evangelist at Google François Beaufort has shared today details about the Chrome team working on an easier method for streaming local audio and video files to Cast devices, such as Chromecast, which is currently available for public testing in the Chrome OS Beta channel.

      • What Is The Difference Between Google Chrome And Chromium Browser?

        What is Chromium browser? It is an open-source web browser developed and maintained by The Chromium Project. The git rolling release web browser was first introduced in 2008, and its different parts are released under different free software licenses which include BSD License (for the portion written by Google) and MIT License, LGPL, etc. for other portions.

    • Mozilla

      • Survey Says, Firefox Loves Oddballs

        For the second year in a row, we did a bit of informal censusing last month to get to know our users in the best way possible: anonymously and collectively. Maybe you saw and took the survey, which we shared through email, our about:home page, and social media. There were some important questions and some not quite as important questions on it, but what was important was that it was totally voluntary and—like everything we do—about openness and transparency. Well, and having at least some fun on the internet.

      • ES modules: A cartoon deep-dive

        ES modules bring an official, standardized module system to JavaScript. It took a while to get here, though — nearly 10 years of standardization work.

      • Briefly Noted: An overview of the past, present and future of Firefox Notes

        Hi, I’m Ryan Feeley, Staff Designer for Firefox Accounts, Sync and Privacy. Last year we launched the Notes experiment to see if a basic notepad in our newly extensible sidebar could, with regular user feedback and iterative development, grow to become an indispensable Firefox feature. It’s exciting that months later I’m writing my draft of this blog post in Notes, while I copy/paste source material from various tabs to my right.

      • Andy McKay: Leaving Mozilla

        Today is my last day at Mozilla as a paid employee. Seven and a half years at Mozilla has been a heck of ride. I feel lucky and honoured to have had such an awesome opportunity.

        In terms projects I’ve gone from AMO, through the Firefox OS Marketplace, through Marketplace Payments, then back to AMO and WebExtensions. Those last couple of years, as we rebooted the add-ons ecosystem, was probably my proudest moment professionally.

      • We’re Hiring a Build Engineer

        We at the Thunderbird project are hiring a Build and Release Engineer. Interested in getting paid to work on Thunderbird? You’ll find information about the role ,as well as how to apply, below!

      • New Firefox Extension Builds a Wall Around Facebook

        Mozilla on Tuesday announced Facebook Container, a Firefox browser extension that is designed to segregate users’ activity on Facebook from their other Web activity, limiting Facebook’s ability to track them and gather personal data.

        Mozilla recently has engaged in an aggressive strategy to counter Facebook data management policies that many see as intrusive.

        The extension is the culmination of more than two years of research into developing a more private browsing experience, Mozilla said. However, the organization accelerated its development after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal came to light.

      • Limit personal data exposure with Firefox containers

        There was some noise recently about the massive amount of data gathered by Cambridge Analytica from Facebook users. While I don’t use Facebook myself, I do use Google and other services which are known to gather a massive amount of data, and I obviously know a lot of people using those services. I also saw some posts or tweet threads about the data collection those services do.

        Mozilla recently released a Firefox extension to help users confine Facebook data collection. This addon is actually based on the containers technology Mozilla develops since few years. It started as an experimental feature in Nightly, then as a test pilot experiment, and finally evolved into a fully featured extension called Multi-Account containers. A somehow restricted version of this is even included directly in Firefox but you don’t have the configuration window without the extension and you need to configure it manually with about:config.

      • Annoying Graphs: Did the Facebook Container Add-on Result in More New Firefox Profiles?

        Yesterday, Mozilla was in the news again for releasing a Firefox add-on called Facebook Container. The work of (amongst others) :groovecoder, :pdol, :pdehaan, :rfeeley, :tanvi, and :jkt, Facebook Container puts Facebook in a little box and doesn’t let it see what else you do on the web.

      • Firefox Launches Facebook Container Add-On that Makes Facebook Tracking Harder

        Mozilla launched a new Firefox add-on Facebook container that makes tracking harder by isolating your Facebook identity from the rest of web activities.

        Facebook network trackers embedded in various websites identify your hobbies, location and political persuasion based on the pages you visit.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice monthly recap: March 2018

      There’s so much going on in the LibreOffice project – in development, documentation, design, QA, translations and much more. So at the end of each month we’ll be posting summaries of recent activities and updates, to help you get an overview of what’s going on.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • LibrePlanet 2018 a smashing success — thanks to you!

      It’s always hard to know how to sum up LibrePlanet — the Free Software Foundation’s (FSF) annual conference is an inspiring, information-filled, and seemingly non-stop weekend celebrating everything about free software.

      Friday marked Day Zero of the conference — before the regular program started, the FSF was overrun with volunteers helping to pull together last-minute details for the conference. At 5pm, general conference attendees began showing up to pick up badges, socialize, meet each other, and generally have fun at the office. This was followed by a Welcome Dinner, kindly sponsored by IBM. The Welcome Dinner was for all women, genderqueer, and nonbinary people who were interested in meeting each other before the event, and to better encourage building diversity and inclusiveness in free software and the greater tech community. (Thanks, IBM!)

      Saturday and Sunday brought Day One and Day Two of the conference. With 24 sessions on Saturday and 30 on Sunday (including lightning talks), it was hard for many people to decide what to do. The long list of topics included automated cars, copyleft, education and academia, health and medicine, project updates, and various technical topics. There were workshops for children and adults, working sessions, and hours of conversations in the conference venue. The lively Exhibit Hall brought thirteen exhibitors, including communities, companies, non-profits, and even a library. At the end of each day was a raffle, with prizes donated by Aleph Objects, No Starch Press, Technoethical, JMP, and Aeronaut Brewing.

    • In business: Keeping free software sustainable
    • ibreCMC: The libre embedded GNU/Linux distro

      Embedded devices are all around us, and have become deeply “embedded” into our daily lives: from microcontrollers to “smart”-watches, routers, and televisions, they are all around us. Many of us don’t think twice about the root of control in these devices, or even the software that runs on them. In some cases, manufacturers lock users out from controlling these devices, and cause a security nightmare when they stop supporting them. This session will cover a wide range of topics including: what libreCMC is, the project’s goals / developments, and why free software is crucial in securing control and freedom in embedded devices.

    • Free Software as a catalyst for liberation, social justice, and social medicine

      In this non-technical session, I will talk about the philosophical aspects of GNU Health as a social project. I will discuss implementations in places around the world, including Argentina, Cameroon, and Laos, and the different actors involved, including governments, academia, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

      Finally, we will talk about the community, ethics, risks, challenges, and ways to keep these projects healthy and sustainable in the long term.

    • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup time: March 30th starting at 12:00 p.m. EDT/16:00 UTC
  • Public Services/Government

    • EU Project Delivers Open-Source Simulator for Cyber-Physical Systems

      A European funded project has released an open-source framework which seamlessly simulates, in an integrated way, both the networking and the processing parts of cyber-physical systems (CPS), as well as cloud and high-performance computing systems.

      Cyber-physical systems are supersets of embedded systems, integrating sensing, computation, control, and networking into physical objects and infrastructure. While IoT refers mainly to uniquely identifiable internet-connected devices and embedded systems, CPS refers to the combination of the multiple hardware devices and software (including computational) aspects of a system, together with its relationship with the physical world.

      The European project, a three-year program which began in February 2015 and received 2.88 million euros (about $3.5 million) in funding from the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 program, addresses the lack of simulation tools and models for full system design and analysis. This is mainly because most existing simulation tools for complex CPS only efficiently handle parts of a system while mainly focusing on performance.

    • The battle to free the code at the Department of Defense

      A battle is underway at the US Department of Defense (DoD) to improve the way DoD develops, secures, and deploys software. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is not common reading for most people, but buried within the DoD’s 2,000-page budget authorization is a provision to free source code. The lively history behind this provision is simultaneously frustrating and encouraging, with private industry giants, Congress, and other federal agencies jockeying around the effort to free the code at DoD. Come listen to this important, but perhaps lesser known, chapter of the free software narrative, and learn how a small group of impassioned digital service experts are defying all odds to continue the fight for free software adoption.

    • Free software in academia

      This panel will offer a well-rounded discussion on various ways to incorporate free software into university curricula and scholarly projects, as well as ways to promote further engagement between scholars and the free software community. The panel will explore how free software fits into both computer science programs, such as the Free and Open Source Software and Free Culture Minors at RIT, and into digital humanities projects. What are the barriers to free software in academia? How does terminology cloud the issue? How do we promote the ethics of “free as in freedom” when the draw to many academics is “free as in beer”? How do free software and free culture interact in digital humanities and humanitarian projects?

    • San Francisco’s free software voting system

      Elections in the US rely heavily on software. Whether we cast our votes using a computer, or on paper ballots that are then scanned, software interprets our votes, counts them, tabulates the results, and calls the winner. Almost all of this software is proprietary, and owned by a handful of large companies.

      A few jurisdictions have plans to move to free software, are funding its development, or are already using it. I’ll give an overview of free software projects for election-related software around the US, with a focus on San Francisco’s project, where I’m on the Technical Advisory Committee.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Getting started with Jupyter Notebooks

      Since the days of papyrus, publishers have struggled with formatting data in ways that engage readers. This is a particular issue in the areas of mathematics, science, and programming, where well-designed charts, illustrations, and equations can be key to helping people understand technical information.

      The Jupyter Notebook is addressing this problem by reimagining how we produce instructional texts. Jupyter (which I first learned about at All Things Open in October 2017) is an open source application that enables users to create interactive, shareable notebooks that contain live code, equations, visualizations, and text.

      Jupyter evolved from the IPython Project, which features an interactive shell and a browser-based notebook with support for code, text, and mathematical expressions. Jupyter offers support for over 40 programming languages, including Python, R, and Julia, and its code can be exported to HTML, LaTeX, PDF, images, and videos or as IPython notebooks to be shared with other users.

    • Trip Report: C++ Standards Meeting in Jacksonville, March 2018
    • Don’t make me code in your text box!

      Whenever I start a new data project, my first step is rooting out any false assumptions I have about the data.

      The key here is iterating quickly. My workflow looks like this: Code a little, plot the data, what do you see? Ah, outliers. Code a little, plot the data, what do you see? Shoot, why are there so many NULL’s in the dataset?

      This is a critical part of working with data so we have a ton of tools tuned for fast iteration loops. These are the tools in the “Building Intuition” stage of experimental analysis. Jupyter notebooks are a perfect example. Great way to explore a dataset quickly.

      Once I’m done exploring, I need to distill what I’ve learned so I can share it and reference it later. This is where I run into problems. Often, these fast-iteration tools are really hard to escape, and are a horrible way to store code. As a result, these tools end up getting used for things they’re not built to do. It’s hard to spot if you’re not looking out for it.

    • This Week In Rust: This Week in Rust 227

      Hello and welcome to another issue of This Week in Rust! Rust is a systems language pursuing the trifecta: safety, concurrency, and speed. This is a weekly summary of its progress and community. Want something mentioned? Tweet us at @ThisWeekInRust or send us a pull request. Want to get involved? We love contributions.

    • Announcing Rust 1.25

      The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.25.0. Rust is a systems programming language focused on safety, speed, and concurrency.

    • Rust 1.25 Released, Upgrades To LLVM 6.0

      Version 1.25.0 of the Rust programming language implementation is now available. Rust 1.25 comes in as being a bit more significant than some of the recent updates.

    • Python ChatOps libraries: Opsdroid and Errbot

      ChatOps is conversation-driven development. The idea is you can write code that is executed in response to something typed in a chat window. As a developer, you could use ChatOps to merge pull requests from Slack, automatically assign a support ticket to someone from a received Facebook message, or check the status of a deployment through IRC.

      In the Python world, the most widely used ChatOps libraries are Opsdroid and Errbot. In this month’s Python column, let’s chat about what it’s like to use them, what each does well, and how to get started with them.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Open Source Zeroes In on the Edge

      Open Networking Summit — The important role that open source will play in distributing compute power to the edge is coming into clearer focus here this week, with multiple initiatives and some significant contributions from major industry players.

      The Open Networking Foundation kicked things off with its announcement of a strategic shift that will put major operators in charge of developing reference designs for edge SDN platforms for network operators, with the intent of moving open source technologies forward faster on that front. The Linux Foundation Tuesday announced broader support for its Akraino Edge Stack open source community, including 13 new members and a major open source contribution from one of those Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC). (See ONF Operators Take Charge of Edge SDN and ONF Operators Take Charge of Edge SDN.)

Leftovers

  • Italian Court Rules The Wikimedia Foundation Is Just A Hosting Provider For Wikipedia’s Volunteer-Written Articles

    Many of us tend to take the amazing resource of Wikipedia for granted: it’s hard to imagine online life without it. But that doesn’t mean its position is assured. As well as continuing funding uncertainty, it is also subject to legal attacks that call into question its innovative way of letting anyone create and edit articles. For example, in 2012 a former Italian Minister of Defense sued the Wikimedia Foundation in Italy for hosting a Wikipedia article he alleged contained defamatory information. He had sent a letter demanding that the article in question should be removed, without even specifying the exact page or where the problem lay, and filed the suit when the page was not taken down.

  • Time to rethink your team’s approach to meetings

    In 2016, I wrote an article on running the perfect 30-minute meeting. And since then, I’ve continued to spread the word about the benefits of shorter meetings—and continued to run (most of) my meetings in 30 minutes or less.

  • Science

    • Media impartiality is a problem when ignorance is given the same weight as expertis

      “I’m joined now by Galileo Galilei, a follower of Copernicus who has used modern telescope technology to make astronomical observations that he believes prove heliocentrism beyond any reasonable doubt.

      “Also joining us is Nigello Lawsini, who has no scientific training whatsoever but has written a short book insisting furiously that the sun does in fact revolve around the Earth. Because he says so.

  • Hardware

  • Security

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Total Meltdown?

      Did you think Meltdown was bad? Unprivileged applications being able to read kernel memory at speeds possibly as high as megabytes per second was not a good thing.

      Meet the Windows 7 Meltdown patch from January. It stopped Meltdown but opened up a vulnerability way worse … It allowed any process to read the complete memory contents at gigabytes per second, oh – it was possible to write to arbitrary memory as well.

      No fancy exploits were needed. Windows 7 already did the hard work of mapping in the required memory into every running process. Exploitation was just a matter of read and write to already mapped in-process virtual memory. No fancy APIs or syscalls required – just standard read and write!

    • Epic Fail: Microsoft’s Windows 7 Meltdown Fix Made Your PC More Insecure

      The only thing that’s worse than not installing the latest security patch for your insecure computer is installing a fix that ends up opening new loopholes. This might sound like fiction, but it’s reality in case of Meltdown patches released for Windows 7.

    • Kaspersky Lab deserves better — even from the West

      Western governments see Kaspersky Lab as an extension of the Russian government but the company has a strong record of discovering attacks others can’t.

      Kaspersky is an award-winning cyber security company that works with businesses and people in dozens of countries. Yet the company’s reputation isn’t what it once was.

    • Through the looking glass: Security and the SRE

      Over the last few years, DevOps, chaos engineering, and site reliability engineering (SRE) have made foundational shifts in the engineering community worldwide. The discipline of security engineering has gradually made its way into DevOps with DevSecOps, rugged DevOps, and other name variants. Our purpose in this article, which focuses on applying chaos engineering and SRE to the field of cybersecurity, is to share the insights we’ve gathered in our journey and to challenge the community to think differently about how security systems are designed.

    • Your Internet Is Now Extra Secure With The Latest TLS 1.3 Encryption Protocol
    • Drupal core – Highly critical – Remote Code Execution – SA-CORE-2018-002
    • A serious Drupal security issue
    • Apple macOS Bug Reveals Passwords for APFS Encrypted Volumes in Plaintext

      A severe programming bug has been found in APFS file system for macOS High Sierra operating system that exposes passwords of encrypted external drives in plain text.

      Introduced two years ago, APFS (Apple File System) is an optimized file system for flash and SSD-based storage solutions running MacOS, iOS, tvOS or WatchOS, and promises strong encryption and better performance.

    • A “runtime guard” for the kernel

      While updating kernels frequently is generally considered a security best practice, there are many installations that are unable to do so for a variety of reasons. That means running with some number of known vulnerabilities (along with an unknown number of unknown vulnerabilities, of course), so some way to detect and stop exploits for those flaws may be desired. That is exactly what the Linux Kernel Runtime Guard (LKRG) is meant to do.

      LKRG comes out of the Openwall project that is perhaps best known for its security-enhanced Linux distribution. Alexander Peslyak, or “Solar Designer”, who is Openwall’s founder and leader is prominent in security circles as well. He announced LKRG at the end of January as “our most controversial project ever”. The 0.0 release that was announced was “quite sloppy”, Peslyak said in a LKRG 0.1 release announcement on February 9; principal developer Adam “pi3″ Zabrocki cleaned things up and added some new features based on ten days of feedback.

    • The strange story of the ARM Meltdown-fix backport

      Alex Shi’s posting of a patch series backporting a set of Meltdown fixes for the arm64 architecture to the 4.9 kernel might seem like a normal exercise in making important security fixes available on older kernels. But this case raised a couple of interesting questions about why this backport should be accepted into the long-term-support kernels — and a couple of equally interesting answers, one of which was rather better received than the other.

      The Meltdown vulnerability is most prominent in the x86 world, but it is not an Intel-only problem; some (but not all) 64-bit ARM processors suffer from it as well. The answer to Meltdown is the same in the ARM world as it is for x86 processors: kernel page-table isolation (KPTI), though the details of its implementation necessarily differ. The arm64 KPTI patches entered the mainline during the 4.16 merge window. ARM-based systems notoriously run older kernels, though, so it is natural to want to protect those kernels from these vulnerabilities as well.

      When Shi posted the 4.9 backport, stable-kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman responded with a pair of questions: why has a separate backport been done when the Android Common kernel tree already contains the Meltdown work, and what sort of testing has been done on this backport? In both cases, the answer illustrated some interesting aspects of how the ARM vendor ecosystem works.

    • After Meltdown and Spectre, Intel CPUs Are Now Vulnerable to BranchScope Attacks

      According to their paper, even if they are a bit more sophisticated, the BranchScope attacks can do the same damage as the Spectre and Meltdown flaws, in the way that an attacker can exploit the security vulnerability to retrieve sensitive data from the unpatched system, including passwords and encryption keys, by manipulating the shared directional branch predictor.

    • Cleaning up after Spectre and Meltdown: figuring out how badly they slowed down your servers

      That’s the easy part. The real problem is that the patch might slow your system down — particularly if you’re running applications that interact often with the kernel. So you’ll want to know just how much of a hit you’ve taken, and what upgrades you’ll need to get you back to where you should be.

    • GoScanSSH Malware Targets Linux Servers [Ed: No, it does not target Linux. It targets system administrators who use default or very weak passwords.]

      A recently discovered malware family written using the Golang (Go) programming language is targeting Linux servers and using a different binary for each attack, Talos warns.

      Dubbed GoScanSSH because it compromises SSH servers exposed to the Internet, the malware’s command and control (C&C) infrastructure leverages the Tor2Web proxy service to prevent tracking and takedowns.

      The malware operators, Talos believes, had a list of more than 7,000 username/password combinations they would use to authenticate to the servers, after which they would create a unique GoScanSSH binary to upload and execute on the server.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Decline and fall

      Fifteen years ago, Bush reduced Iraq to a pile of ash.

    • Trump’s cabinet of chaos

      Everything about the Trump presidency is systematically inconsistent. Its essence is impulsive, not planned. To see Machiavellian machinations in all this is to treat Trump as something he is not: malicious, rather than capricious, scheming, rather than whimsical.

    • US Army veteran who served two tours in Afghanistan has been deported to Mexico

      A US Army veteran who served two tours in Afghanistan has been deported to Mexico, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement said.
      The deportation follows an earlier decision by US authorities to deny Miguel Perez’s citizenship application because of a felony drug conviction, despite his service and the PTSD he says it caused.

    • Sergei Skripal — some of my interviews

      Ever since the story broke on 5th March about the strange case of the pois­on­ing the former MI6 agent and Rus­si­an mil­it­ary intel­li­gence officer, Sergei Skri­p­al, I have been asked to do inter­view after inter­view, com­ment­ing on this hideous case.

      Of course, as the case developed the points I made also evolved, but my gen­er­al theme has remained con­sist­ent: that, des­pite the imme­di­ate UK media hys­teria that “it must be the Rus­si­ans”, we needed to let the police and intel­li­gence agen­cies the space and time to get on and build up an evid­en­tial chain before the UK gov­ern­ment took action.

    • None of This Month’s Craziest Nuclear Stories Involved North Korea

      With the North Korea nuclear standoff still making headlines, other nuclear-related stories – including those involving Saudi Arabia, Israel and Syria – have largely gone unnoticed, Ted Snider explains.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Report: Investments in Extreme Fossil Fuels Skyrocketed in Trump’s 1st Year in Office

      A new report by the Rainforest Action Network has revealed that investments in “extreme” fossil fuels have skyrocketed to $115 billion globally amid President Trump’s first year in office. Investments in tar sands—one of the dirtiest fossil fuels—have more than doubled. The report details how many investors and banks began increasing their fossil fuel investments after President Trump promised to pull the United States out of the landmark Paris climate accord.

    • Trump administration prepares to roll back vehicle emissions and efficiency standards

      This week, the Trump administration is expected to officially announce that it will re-examine the vehicle emissions and efficiency goals that automakers agreed to in 2010, with an eye to weakening the standards.

      In public statements and advertising, automakers tout their commitments to expanding electrification, improving fuel efficiency and fighting climate change but, as previously reported in Charged and elsewhere, their actions behind the scenes have been radically different. Through their trade groups, automakers have been steadily lobbying the US government (as well as Chinese authorities) to water down emissions and fuel efficiency standards and other measures that have saved consumers millions in fuel costs, and driven the growth of the EV industry.

  • Finance

    • Britain leaves the EU in one year, and still faces a no-deal “hard Brexit”

      Britain’s prime minister Theresa May put the UK on a course to the point of no return a year ago, when she triggered Article 50 on March 29, formally notifying the European Union it was leaving. From that date, the UK had two years to sort out a divorce deal from the remaining 27 European members.

      However, with just one year to go until Britain goes it alone, nothing has been set in stone—other than the government turning the nation’s passports blue. In fact, a no-deal Brexit, also known as a “hard Brexit,” could be a distinct possibility.

    • Softbank to Build World’s Biggest Solar Park in Saudi Arabia

      Saudi Arabia and SoftBank Group Corp. signed a memorandum of understanding to build a $200 billion solar power development that’s exponentially larger than any other project.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • We need to destroy the election-rigging industry before it destroys us

      Disturbingly, both CA and SCL have high-level contracts with governments, giving them access to secret intelligence both in the US and the UK. SCL is on List X, which allows it to hold British secret intelligence at its facilities.

      It now appears that techniques they used in Ukraine and Eastern Europe to counteract Russian influence, and against Islamist terrorism in the Middle East, were then used to influence elections in the heart of Western democracy itself.

      Let’s be clear about what we’re facing. A mixture of free market dogmatism plus constraints imposed by the rule of law has led, over the past decades, to the creation of an alternative, private, secret state.

      When it was only focused on the enemies and rivals of the West, or hapless politicians in the global south, nobody minded. Now it is being used as a weapon to tear apart democracy in Britain and the US we care – and rightly so.

    • EC to probe allegations of political party apps harnessing user data

      The Election Commission of India will consider any allegations of harnessing user data through mobile apps of political parties and personalities, said the Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat on Tuesday.

    • Obama official: We could have stopped Russian [astroturfrs]

      On the heels of that achievement, in late 2014, Bruen pitched an idea to set up a command center at the US State Department that would similarly track and counter any Russian propaganda targeted at US allies, but officials at State, he said, failed to recognize the threat.

      Bruen said State Department officials, and in particular, Victoria Nuland, then the assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, did not recognize the danger and dismissed his ideas.

    • The Many Red Flags of Trump’s Partners in India — ‘Trump, Inc.’ Podcast

      President Donald Trump does not like the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. “It’s a horrible law,” Trump has said. The FCPA makes it a crime for U.S. companies to bribe foreign officials, or to partner with others who are clearly doing so.

      Trump has argued that the law puts U.S. firms at a disadvantage. “It’s things like this that cause us to not be able to lead the world,” Trump said on CNBC in 2012. “For this country to prosecute because something took place in India is outrageous.”

    • Nicolas Sarkozy: Crime and Punishment?

      Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy is under investigation for allegedly receiving millions of euros in illegal election campaign funding from Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi. This must be placed in the broader context of war crimes by Western heads of state, Gilbert Doctorow explains.

    • Trump’s Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin Is Out

      President Donald Trump’s Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin will be stepping down from his position, as the president looks to further reorganize his cabinet.

      Trump plans to nominate White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson to replace Shulkin, a holdover from the Obama administration. The post needs Senate confirmation, however, and will be temporarily held by Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Robert Wilkie.

    • Journalist Ari Berman: If Trump Is Allowed to Rig the Census, Then All of U.S. Democracy Is Rigged

      A new battle is brewing over the 2020 U.S. census. At least 12 states are moving to sue the Trump administration over plans to add a question about citizenship to the upcoming census. Voting rights activists fear the question will deter immigrants from participating in the census, leading to a vast undercount in states with large immigrant communities. This could impact everything from the redrawing of congressional maps to the allocation of federal funding. On Tuesday, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the decision to add a citizenship question was “necessary for the Department of Justice to protect voters.” At least five former directors of the Census Bureau, who served under Republican and Democratic presidents, have written a letter opposing the citizenship question.

    • Media Boosts Obvious Saudi Front Group as Neutral ‘Think Tank’

      The Arabia Foundation appeared in spring 2016, seemingly out of nowhere, as a Saudi-focused think tank with “ties to Riyadh,” but vaguely independent of the regime. Or at least independent enough so that media wouldn’t represent it as an extension of the kingdom. But the past few weeks have clearly shown it to be little more than a PR outlet for de facto Saudi ruler Mohammed bin Salman and his sprawling, opaque business interests.

      After multiple requests by FAIR for its donors, the Arabia Foundation refused to give any, other than its founder, Saudi investment banker Ali Shihabi. It insists it doesn’t take money from “the Saudi government,” but instead is backed by unnamed private Saudi citizens.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • GoDaddy Ordered to Suspend Four Music Piracy Domains

      GoDaddy, the world’s largest domain name registrar, has been ordered to disable four domains that facilitate access to four ‘pirate’ music sites. The order was handed down via the Peruvian Copyright Commission following a complaint from a member organization of IFPI.

    • Cloudflare Doesn’t Want Daily Stormer Evidence at Piracy Trial

      Cloudflare doesn’t want its termination of neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer to be used as evidence at the upcoming piracy liability trial against ALS Scan. The copyright holder used the issue to argue that Cloudflare can remove content from the internet, but the CDN provider fears that mentioning the site at trial may lead to “guilt by association.”

    • UK website age checks could create Facebook of porn, critics warn

      Draft rules for age verification on pornographic websites could put users’ privacy at risk and give the world’s biggest porn publisher a power similar to that of Facebook and Twitter, critics have said.

    • Microsoft to Ban ‘offensive language’ from Skype, Xbox, Office and Other Services

      Microsoft will ban ‘offensive language’ and ‘inappropriate content’ from Skype, Xbox, Office and other services on May 1, claiming it has the right to go through your private data to ‘investigate.’

    • Microsoft Bans “Offensive Language” from Skype

      This morning, I got the kind of e-mail that most of us ignore: “Update to our terms of service” from Microsoft. But I love waking up to read a good contract in the morning, so I had a look at the summary of changes to the “Microsoft Services Agreement,” which applies to things like Skype, Office 365, OneDrive, and a whole list of other services. The summary turned out to be a 27 bullet point document of mostly bland changes — except for point 5: [...]

    • No faking it: As poll nears, Malaysia proposes 10 yrs in jail, fine for fake news

      The Malaysian government on Monday proposed a law to combat “fake news” which could see offenders jailed for 10 years, sparking fears authorities aim to stifle criticism as elections loom.

    • A WWI early warning system and art censorship fed into the latest exhibitions at BALTIC

      You don’t find too many artists combining sound and ceramics, but Serena Korda is one of them, as you’ll find in her installation at the Baltic.

      It is called Missing Time and it marks the climax of the London-based artist’s two years in the North East on a Norma Lipman and Baltic fellowship at Newcastle University.

      Serena said the fellowship had been “an amazing luxury to have”. For one thing, it had enabled her to explore the region’s dark sky areas – another evident thrill.

      “This is work I’ve been developing since coming here and being inspired by the landscape and the people I’ve met,” she said as the installation opened.

    • Uzbek Journalists, Critics Still Face Censorship, ‘Selective Prosecution’

      Journalists and other critics of the government in Uzbekistan remain under pressure from legal restrictions, politically motivated prosecutions, and fear-induced self-censorship, Human Rights Watch (HRW) says in a new report.

      “Despite an improved landscape for open debate and critical reporting…these actions undermine President Shavkat Mirziyoev’s stated reform goals,” the New York-based rights group said in its report released on March 28.

      HRW said its 37-page report — titled You Can’t See Them, But They’re Always There: Censorship And Freedom Of The Media In Uzbekistan — examined the environment for journalists, media outlets, and the exercise of free speech since Mirziyoev became president in September 2016.

    • A Growing and ‘Pervasive’ Problem: Faith Leaders Fight Back Against Online Censorship

      Hers is just one example of a conservative voice silenced by Silicon Valley.

    • Amid censorship drive, Facebook CEO to testify before Congress

      Amid a relentless drive to censor the Internet, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly agreed to demands by leading Democrats to testify before Congress.

      Zuckerberg’s upcoming testimony is the result of an ongoing campaign, led by the New York Times and the Guardian, together with leading Congressional Democrats, to bring the company closer into alignment with the demands of the US intelligence agencies to carry out sweeping Internet censorship measures.

    • Campus censorship is real, and worrying

      The committee, made up of MPs and Lords, and chaired by Labour MP Harriet Harman, has just concluded its inquiry into free speech on university campuses. spiked was among the organisations called to give evidence before it, given our years of campaigning on this issue and our groundbreaking Free Speech University Rankings (FSUR), which published its fourth annual survey in February. (You can watch my remarks to the committee here.) The resulting report makes some keen insights about the threats to free speech today, which we welcome and are worth underlining.

    • How the free speech debate is affecting international students

      Should minorities be protected on university campuses, or should everyone have the right to say whatever their hearts desire? This is the ongoing debate taking place in US colleges as the First Amendment clashes with student consensus.

      It is an important topic for all students: whether universities should be places of safety and inclusiveness or places of open debate and uncensored discussion.

      But how international students are likely to be impacted by any decisions made on free speech is often left out of the discussion.

      The most obvious consideration is that international students will almost undoubtedly be a minority during their degree.

    • Judge Throws Out Lawsuit Against Google, Lets YouTube Censor Pro-Life Videos
    • NRA Statement on YouTube Censorship Announcement
    • YouTube wins key court victory in conservative censorship lawsuit

      YouTube this week won a lawsuit filed by a conservative talk show host who claimed his First Amendment rights were violated after the video sharing site put age restrictions on some of his videos.

    • Google Defeats PragerU’s Lawsuit Over ‘Censorship’
    • Judge Tosses PragerU Lawsuit Alleging Google And YouTube Are Conducting Conservative Censorship
    • We asked for Gitmo prison’s book policy in 2013. It arrived this week, censored

      The U.S. military took nearly five years to process a Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of the Guantánamo guidelines for censoring prison library material — and censored the guidelines when it processed the request.

      The paperwork the military released appeared to leave out three pages of the prison’s procedure for handling the Quran.

      The Miami Herald sought the Nov. 27, 2013 document in a Dec. 10, 2013 FOIA request. The U.S. Southern Command apparently released the document, with redactions, on March 21 but didn’t put it in the mail for five more days. It arrived at the Herald newsroom, which is next door to Southcom, on Tuesday.

    • UN Advisor Tells Italy To Drop Its Terrible ‘Fake News’ Law Before It Does Any Real Damage

      Italy is rolling out new laws to deal with “fake news.” The Italian government can’t define this term precisely, but apparently assumes it will know it when it sees it. And the rest of the country is encouraged to “see something, say something,” thanks to the government’s online portal which will allow brigaders and hecklers to cleanse the web of things they don’t like. Even if some of it stays up, those reported will possibly still have to spend some time interacting with government employees, which will mostly be a waste of everyone’s time.

      And that’s just the bureaucratic side of it. This portal will link to law enforcement so Italy’s uniformed cyberwarriors can go harass citizens over alleged fakery the government can’t even clearly define. There’s nothing like settling discussions about factual misconceptions with shows of force from government reps.

      Seeing as the problem will get a whole lot worse before it devolves into just another tool of government oppression, UN Special Rapporteur David Kaye has fired off a formal letter to the Italian government, asking it to nuke its plan to tackle fake news with armed officers and government mandates.

    • Once Again, Algorithms Can’t Tell The Difference Between ‘Bad Stuff’ And ‘Reporting About Bad Stuff’

      We’ve discussed many times just how silly it is to expect internet platforms to actually do a good job of moderating their own platforms. Can they do better? Yes, absolutely. Should they put more resources towards it? For the most part, yes. But there seems to be this weird belief among many — often people who don’t like or trust the platforms — that if only they “nerded harder” they could magically smarts their way to better content moderation algorithms. And, in many cases, they’re demanding such filters be put in place and threatening criminal liability for failing to magically block the “right” content.

      This is all silly, because so much of this stuff involves understanding nuance and context. And algorithms still suck at context. For many years, we’ve pointed to the example of YouTube shutting down an account of a human rights group documenting war crimes in Syria, as part of demands to pulldown “terrorist propaganda.” You see, “terrorist propaganda” and “documenting war crimes” can look awfully similar. Indeed, it may be exactly the same. So how can you teach a computer to recognize which one is which?

      There have been many similar examples over the years, and here’s another good one. The Atlantic is reporting that, for a period of time, YouTube removed a video that The Atlantic had posted of white nationalist Richard Spencer addressing a crowd with “Hail, Trump.” You remember the video. It made all the rounds. It doesn’t need to be seen again. But… it’s still troubling that YouTube removed it. YouTube removed it claiming that it was “borderline” hate speech.

    • Rhode Island Backs Away From Incomprehensibly Stupid Porn Filter Law

      For years now, a guy by the name of Chris Sevier has been waging a fairly facts-optional war on porn. Sevier first came to fame for trying to marry his computer to protest same sex marriage back in 2016. He also tried to sue Apple after blaming the Cuppertino giant for his own past porn addiction, and has gotten into trouble for allegedly stalking country star John Rich and a 17-year-old girl. Sevier has since been a cornerstone of an effort to pass truly awful porn filter legislation in more than 15 states under the disengenuous guise of combatting human trafficking.

      Dubbed the “Human Trafficking Prevention Act,” all of the incarnations of the law would force ISPs to filter pornography and other “patently offensive material.” The legislation would then force state residents interested in viewing porn to pony up a one-time $20 “digital access fee” to whitelist the internet’s naughty bits for each internet-connected device in the home. The proposal is patently absurd, technically impossible to implement, and yet somehow these bills continue to get further than they ever should across a huge swath of the boob-phobic country.

    • “Fake News” Offers Latin American Consolidated Powers An Opportunity to Censor Opponents

      Today’s headlines are dominated by the role of misinformation campaigns or “fake news” in undermining democracy in the West. From ongoing accusations of Russian meddling in Trump’s election to Russian efforts to sway the Brexit and French Presidential election votes, these countries are confronting “fake news” as an ongoing and urgent threat to democracy. Yet in Latin America, where misinformation campaigns have prevailed throughout the twentieth century, concerns over “fake news” are hardly new. Latin American media concentration, disinformation campaigns, and biased coverage have long undermined informed civic discourse.

    • The latest in Big Tech: Censorship

      When I worked at Google, I was proud to promote one of the company’s innovative products. It wasn’t the tech giant’s magical search engine. Nor was it its efficient Android mobile phone operating system or its crystal clear Hangout video calls. It was the Google Transparency Report.

      The report, the first of its kind, shone a sharp spotlight on government censorship. It recorded the number of demands for information about users or takedowns of content that Google received from governments around globe. The goal was to make authorities think twice before making such requests and to show how Google defends free speech.

      The more requests Google turned down, the more delighted I was. Given the report’s powerful message, many other internet and telephone companies soon began publishing their own transparency reports.

    • Turkey’s internet censorship is something more than censorship

      We in Turkey can no more think of the internet as a tool for free and unlimited access to information without thinking of censorship.

      We have reached a point where no one finds the blocking of new websites strange, in fact they are surprised when some have not yet been blocked.

      Censoring the internet is a game of cat-and-mouse, and the ease with which blocks can be circumvented makes many people happier to find ways to get around the problem than discuss it.

      However, censoring the internet does not work like censoring a book or news. The technical consequences create risks and dangers that go beyond accessing information. Since those risks are widely unknown and the problem is not sufficiently discussed, many debates on internet censorship end when people say “no problem, I’ll use a VPN and bypass the block”.

      One of the issues that are largely unknown are the changes in blocking technology. While websites were blocked by simple methods in the past, more advanced and multi-purpose technologies have been used since 2014 in order to make blocking more effective.

    • ‘We Cannot Get a Call from Amit Shah’: Media Group Caught in Self-Censorship Vice

      Has Vice global taken a conscious decision to pursue only politically ‘safe’ stories given that its plan for launching a TV channel in India has to pass the gauntlet of official licensing?

    • Self censorship is much bigger than VICE India

      Yesterday’s article in The Wire makes clear what many of us already know: “freedom of the press” has to be put in quotes in India. As a foreign media brand operating in India, this is something Business Insider India has to contend with daily. In other words, self censorship is not VICE’s problem; as Indians, it is our problem.

    • Kim Jong-Un speculation triggers action by China censors
    • China’s Social Media Users Call Kim Jong Un ‘Fatty on the Train’ and ‘Obese Patient’ to Bypass Censors
    • China banned all mention of Kim Jong Un while he was in Beijing — so people called him ‘fatty on the train’ instead
    • China censors ‘Fatty the Third’ Internet search as North Koreans visit
    • ‘Fatty on a train’: China’s internet users try to skirt North Korea censorship on Kim Jong Un visit
    • ‘The fatty on the train’: Kim Jong Un nicknames proliferate in China despite censors
    • Turkey’s internet censorship is not only censorship

      We in Turkey can no more think of the internet as a tool for free and unlimited access to information without thinking of censorship.

      We have reached a point where no one finds the blocking of new websites strange, in fact they are surprised when some have not yet been blocked.

      Censoring the internet is a game of cat-and-mouse, and the ease with which blocks can be circumvented makes many people happier to find ways to get around the problem than discuss it.

      However, censoring the internet does not work like censoring a book or news. The technical consequences create risks and dangers that go beyond accessing information. Since those risks are widely unknown and the problem is not sufficiently discussed, many debates on internet censorship end when people say “no problem, I’ll use a VPN and bypass the block”.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Alphabet’s Jigsaw Launches Outline: An Open Source and Simple To Use Proxy

      Alphabet Inc (parent company of Google) through its Jigsaw subsidiary recently took the wraps off of Outline which is a simple to setup proxy based on the popular Shadowsocks project. Aimed at journalists, small companies, and individuals, Outline is an open source project that comes in two parts: a proxy server and client applications that help configure the connection.

    • How Facebook Helps Shady Advertisers Pollute the Internet

      Granted anonymity, affiliates were happy to detail their tricks. They told me that Facebook had revolutionized scamming. The company built tools with its trove of user data that made it the go-to platform for big brands. Affiliates hijacked them. Facebook’s targeting algorithm is so powerful, they said, they don’t need to identify suckers themselves—Facebook does it automatically. And they boasted that Russia’s dezinformatsiya agents were using tactics their community had pioneered.

    • Delete your account – a guide to life after Facebook

      For many people, deleting their Facebook accounts sounds a lot like living a carbon-neutral life, recycling all your waste or going hardcore vegan: a nice idea, and probably the morally right thing to do, but way too much of a hassle to actually go through with.

      Facebook, after all, is how millions of people keep in touch with loved ones, plan weekends and evenings, and engage with like-minded communities. And that’s without touching on the company’s other services, Instagram and WhatsApp, which between them form a trifecta of seeming indispensability.

      But I’m here to tell you it can be done – I deleted my Facebook account in 2015, and haven’t looked back.

    • Cambridge Analytica Data From Facebook Still Not Deleted

      In spite of the claims made by Cambridge Analytica, the data harvested from Facebook users has not been deleted yet. In fact, a substantial portion of the stolen personal information is still being circulated within unknown sources.

      This startling revelation surfaced in a recent investigation conducted by London’s Channel 4, where they were able to see the dataset containing psychological profiles of about 136,000 Colorado residents.

    • Thinking About What You Need In A Secure Messenger

      All the features that determine the security of a messaging app can be confusing and hard to keep track of. Beyond the technical jargon, the most important question is: What do you need out of a messenger? Why are you looking for more security in your communications in the first place?

      The goal of this post is not to assess which messenger provides the best “security” features by certain technical standards, but to help you think about precisely the kind of security you need.

    • Facebook scraped call, text message data for years from Android phones

      This past week, a New Zealand man was looking through the data Facebook had collected from him in an archive he had pulled down from the social networking site. While scanning the information Facebook had stored about his contacts, Dylan McKay discovered something distressing: Facebook also had about two years’ worth of phone call metadata from his Android phone, including names, phone numbers, and the length of each call made or received.

    • FBI Officials Were Angry That An iPhone Hack Blocked Them From Getting Court To Force Apple To Break Encryption

      As you probably recall, last year the FBI tried to force a court to effectively create a backdoor for encrypted iPhones, using the high profile San Bernardino shootings as the wedge. It seemed quite obvious with how the whole thing played out that the FBI didn’t really need to get into Syed Farook’s work iPhone, but that it hoped leverage the high profile nature of the case and the “fear, uncertainty and doubt” around a “terrorist” attack to finally get a court to force Apple to do this. A new report reveals that the FBI was very much focused on using this case to force the issue to the point that top officials were angry that a vendor figured out another way into the iPhone, and stopped the court proceedings.

      Again: if the real goal (as stated publicly by the FBI at the time) was to find a way into this phone for important reasons, then you’d think the FBI would be excited when they found a way in, rather than pissed that a court wasn’t needed to force a backdoor. But that’s not what happened.

    • Zuck to Parliament: Drop dead
    • Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg’s snub labelled ‘absolutely astonishing’ by MPs
    • Zuckerberg’s refusal to testify before UK MPs ‘absolutely astonishing’

      Zuckerberg has been invited three times to speak to the committee, which is investigating the effects of fake news on UK democracy, but has always sent deputies to testify in his stead.

      MPs are likely to take a still dimmer view of his decision after he ultimately agreed to testify before Congress in the US. It was reported on Tuesday that the company is now considering strategy for his testimony.

    • Zuckerberg Expected to Appear Before House Committee

      Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Inc.’s chief executive officer, is expected to testify before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, according to a congressional official familiar with the plans.

    • African Users Opine to Facebook’s Data Scandal

      Many DW followers in Africa strongly disagree with the handling of private data by companies such as Cambridge Analytica. “Facebook must not sell our personal data without our permission. By doing that, the company violates its own privacy policies. It is not acceptable”, Congolese user Bienvenu Kalemie told DW’s French Service via WhatsApp.

    • What Are ‘Data Brokers,’ and Why Are They Scooping Up Information About You?

      Even when consumers are aware of both the existence of data brokers and the extent of data collected, it’s difficult to determine which data they can control. For example, some data brokers might allow users to remove raw data, but not the inferences derived from it, making it difficult for consumers to know how they have been categorized. Some data brokers store all data indefinitely, even if it is later amended. The industry is incredibly opaque, and data brokers have no real incentive to interact with the people whose data they are collecting, analyzing, and sharing.

    • AggregateIQ Created Cambridge Analytica’s Election Software, and Here’s the Proof

      Discovered by a security researcher last week, the files confirm that AggregateIQ, a British Columbia-based data firm, developed the technology Cambridge Analytica sold to clients for millions of dollars during the 2016 US presidential election. Hundreds if not thousands of pages of code, as well as detailed notes signed by AggregateIQ staff, wholly substantiate recent reports that Cambridge Analytica’s software platform was not its own creation.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Apple doesn’t give a shit about your kids

      By the time this post goes live, Apple’s education event will have been over for some time. The Internet will likely be full of lauding stories from tech outlets about how much Apple is re-investing in education. But I don’t feel it’s the case. I’ve been using Apple computers for close to 20 years and I’ve reported on the company’s products for a number of major outlets for close to a decade: Apple doesn’t care about educating kids. They care about maintaining Scrooge McDuck-levels of cash in their coffers – just like any other business. Don’t buy into the hype.

    • Journalist, who exposed police-mining mafia nexus, run over by dumper in MP

      A journalist working with a news channel, who reportedly exposed the nexus between police and the sand mining mafia in Chambal region, was run over by a dumper at Bhind in Madhya Pradesh on Monday morning.

      [...]

      Local journalists alleged it was a case of murder as Sharma had exposed the nexus between police and the mafia. They said he had been facing threat to his life for quite sometime now due to the exposes.

    • Model arrested for doing a nude photoshoot
    • Minneapolis FBI agent charged with leaking classified information to reporter
  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The Internet Archive is hosting a symposium on John Perry Barlow on April 7
    • Cable Companies Warn In Court That AT&T Time Warner Merger Will Be Absolutely Terrible For Competition And Consumers

      AT&T and the Department of Justice are ramping up their legal arguments in court as the DOJ tries to block the company’s $86 billion acquisition of Time Warner. While some question the DOJ’s real motives in the case (Trump ally Rupert Murdoch has been lobbying against the deal for competitive reasons for a year), consumer advocates agree that the deal will be horrible for consumers and competitors alike. AT&T already has a long, epic history of anti-consumer behavior, and critics charge the greater leverage will only let AT&T jack up licensing costs for competitors trying to compete with AT&T’s own streaming services.

      To glean support for its unpopular merger, AT&T offered a special deal to 1,000 of its competitors.

    • The FCC’s Evidence-Optional Blacklist Of Huawei Is About Protectionism, Not National Security

      Last week we noted that Best Buy was the latest to join a growing, evidence-optional blacklisting of Huawei based on ambiguous “national security” concerns. We also noted how despite a lot of hand-wringing on certain fronts for most of this decade, nobody has been able to provide evidence that Huawei actively spies on American consumers, the justification for similar blacklisting by AT&T and Verizon earlier this year (both bosom bodies with the NSA, it probably goes without saying). Few news outlets bother to mention an 18-month investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing by Huawei.

    • Two ships deployed as Australia-Singapore cable laying gets underway

      Laying of the Australia-Singapore subsea cable has commenced, with two ships laying two distinct sections from near Christmas Island to Fremantle, and the other in shallow water between Singapore and Christmas Island.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • How Nokia’s spate of sales and licensing deals have affected its patent position: exclusive data analysis

      Although Nokia has “one of the two most valuable portfolios relevant to wireless connectivity”, according to Microsoft, the Finnish communications company was still struggling with its mobile handsets business as recently as 2013. Today, it is one of the leading players in the patent monetisation space and has secured a string of big ticket licensing deals with all the world’s major handset manufacturers.

    • WIPO Director Briefs Ambassadors On Results, Outlook

      The director general of the UN World Intellectual Property Organization recently briefed ambassadors in Geneva on 2017 results and the outlook for the organisation and the IP field. Here’s a preliminary look at what they were told.

    • Australia’s second-tier innovation patent earns reprieve, but patent reform debate is just getting started

      It looks like the Australian Government has set aside plans to abolish the country’s second-tier patent right – at least for now. The proposal to ditch so-called innovation patents had generated significant pushback from IP practitioners. IP Australia’s apparent second thoughts appear to have created an opening for those who are opposed to this change to continue to make their case. This first piece of legislation in Australia’s current patent reform drive, the IP Laws Amendment Part 1 Bill, was tabled in Parliament yesterday.

    • Copyrights

      • Aussie Rightsholders Look To Feature Creep Site-Blocking To Search-Blocking, Because Of Course They Are

        When it comes to censorship in the name of copyright, we’ve made the point time and again that opening this door an inch will cause supporters of censorship to try to barge through and open it all the way. Inevitably, when a population tries to satiate the entertainment industry by giving them just a little censorship, that industry will ask for more and more and more.

        A good example of this can be seen right now in Australia. Like far too many countries, Australia began a site-blocking practice three or so years ago. Currently, the Department of Commnications is asking for feedback on the effectiveness of this practice as well as feedback on each step in the process itself. The way it works in Australia is that rightsholders have to get an initial injunction which then winds its way to a site being blocked as a “pirate site.” Well, for the largest entertainment industry groups in Australia, the feedback is essentially, “This is great, let’s censor even more!”

      • The Music Modernization Act is a Good Solution For Songwriters. Don’t Combine It With Bad Copyright Bills.

        For the first time in six years, Congress is considering serious changes to copyright law. As you might imagine, those changes are a mixed bag for the public. One bill, the Music Modernization Act, would create a new system for compensating songwriters and music publishers when their songs are played on digital services. It solves a problem recognized by nearly everyone in the music space. And while the bill has some problematic text that needs fixing, it’s a good effort.

        Unfortunately, the MMA has now been combined with a harmful bill, the “CLASSICS Act,” which would create a new form of pseudo-copyright for recordings from before 1972, adding on new royalties and penalties without giving anything back to the public. And other dangerous bills could get added as amendments: the “CASE Act” and the “Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act.”

      • International report – Copyright protection for graffiti and street artists

        Fashion retailer H&M recently ran a marketing campaign for its New Routine sportswear line using a video of a model doing a backflip off a handball court wall in Brooklyn, New York. The wall had a graffiti mural painted on it by graffiti artist Jason ‘Revok’ Williams.

      • Oracle’s win over Google in Android copyright case can see sea change in global software industry

        Google could owe Oracle billions of dollars for using the latter’s open-source Java programming code while developing its Android mobile platform, a U.S. appeals court said Tuesday, in a ruling that can significantly impact the software industry worldwide.

        The ruling is the latest development in an eight-year copyright feud between the two software giants.

      • Google faces $9 billion in damages after ripping off Java in Android

        A lawsuit seeking damages from Google over its willful appropriation of Java as the basis of its Android operating system has been slowly grinding through the courts for most of the last decade. It has finally concluded that Google’s taking of Java “was not fair” use, opening up Google to billions in damages.

      • A Google vs Oracle copyright ruling could well kill small scale open source projects

        A US JUDGE who clearly didn’t understand the full repercussions of what they were doing, has ruled that Google’s use of Java APIs in the original Android code did not constitute fair use, and that reparations are due.

        Some analysts believe that Google could be $8bn to $9bn poorer as a result of the ruling, the latest chapter in a long-running dispute.

        The story runs thus: Google used the Java code, formally owned by Sun Microsystems to create large swaths of the Android code.

        That’s fine because the code is open-source. However, the Java APIs, now owned by Oracle, are not, and Oracle has long since argued that it deserves a piece of the billions made by Google through the Android platform.

      • Oracle’s victory over Google in Java copyright case may rewrite the rules of software

        Oracle Corp.’s latest victory in its eight-year-old copyright infringement lawsuit against Google Inc. could fundamentally rewrite the rules of software development if today’s ruling withstands a possible appeal by the search giant.

        The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit earlier today said Google’s use of portions of Oracle’s Java development platform to create the Android operating system isn’t protected by the fair-use provision of copyright law. The ruling reverses a 2016 jury verdict that had found that Google’s actions were covered under the fair use provisions of the copyright code, which permit unlicensed use of copyrighted material in certain situations.

      • Oracle Wins Court Ruling Against Google in Multibillion-Dollar Copyright Case
      • The Federal Circuit’s Judicial Hypocrisy In Overturning Jury Concerning Java API Fair Use Question

        Yesterday we went through the details of the truly awful appeals court decision by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) concerning whether or not Google copying a few pieces of the Java API for Android was fair use. As we mentioned, there were a whole bunch of oddities both in the procedural history of the case, but especially in the CAFC’s decision here that has left a ton of legal experts scratching their heads. What becomes quite clear is that the CAFC panel decided long ago that Google infringed, and it’s not going to let the law or even consistency get in its way. As you’ll recall, the same three panel set of judges (Judges Kathleen O’Malley, Jay Plager, and Richard Taranto) made a terrible, nonsensical, technically ignorant ruling four years ago, saying that APIs are covered by copyright and then sent the case back to the lower court to hold a new trial on fair use.

        As we noted in yesterday’s post, what’s really incredible is that part of the reasoning in the CAFC opinion from four years ago is “this is an issue that a jury should hear to determine if it’s fair use.” And the ruling yesterday said “no reasonable jury could possibly find fair use” (after the jury here did find fair use). Which raises the question of why the fuck did the CAFC send the case back in the first place? To waste everyone’s time? To pad the wages of the very very expensive lawyers employed by Oracle and Google? To waste Judge Alsup’s time?

      • Oracle v. Google Again: The Unicorn of a Fair Use Jury Reversal

        It’s been about two years, so I guess it was about time to write about Oracle v. Google. The trigger this time: in a blockbuster opinion (and I never use that term), the Federal Circuit has overturned a jury verdict finding that Google’s use of 37 API headers was fair use and instead said that said reuse could not be fair use as a matter of law. I won’t describe the ruling in full detail – Jason Rantanen does a good job of it at Patently-O.

        Instead, I’ll discuss my thoughts on the opinion and some ramifications. Let’s start with this one: people who know me (and who read this blog) know that my knee jerk reaction is usually that the opinion is not nearly as far-reaching and worrisome as they think. So, it may surprise a few people when I say that this opinion may well be as worrisome and far-reaching as they think.

        And I say that without commenting on the merits; right or wrong, this opinion will have real repercussions. The upshot is: no more compatible compiler/interpreters/APIs. If you create an API language, then nobody else can make a competing one, because to do so would necessarily entail copying the same structure of the input commands and parameters in your specification. If you make a language, you own the language. That’s what Oracle argued for, and it won. No Quattro Pro interpreting old Lotus 1-2-3 macros, no competitive C compilers, no debugger emulators for operating systems, and potentially no competitive audio/visual playback software. This is, in short, a big deal.

      • Federal Circuit sends Oracle v. Google back for third trial

        The Federal Circuit has ruled for a second time in Oracle v. Google, the software copyright lawsuit over Google’s Android platform. The new decision reverses the district court yet again and sends the case back for a third trial to determine damages for Oracle. In the last trial, Oracle sought almost $9 billion in damages.

        The litigation has been dragging on for about eight years now, bouncing up and down through appeals and two whole jury trials. [...]

      • “Google’s use of the Java API packages was not fair,” appeals court rules

        On Tuesday, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in favor of Oracle, finding that Google may owe billions in damages. Nearly 7.5 years after the original lawsuit was filed, the case will now be sent back down to federal court in San Francisco to figure out how much Google should pay.

        “Google’s use of the Java API packages was not fair,” the court ruled Tuesday.

      • Federal Circuit revives Oracle v Google

        The Federal Circuit has overturned the jury verdict of fair use in Oracle v Google and remanded the case to a federal judge in the Ninth Circuit for a third trial to determine damages

      • Java-aaaargh! Google faces $9bn copyright bill after Oracle scores ‘fair use’ court appeal win

        The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington DC has revived Oracle’s bid to bill Google for billions over its use of copyrighted Java APIs in its Android mobile operating system.

        On Tuesday, the appeals court reversed a 2016 jury finding of fair use that deemed Google’s actions acceptable, and sent the case back to federal court in California to determine damages, which Oracle in 2016 said should amount to about $8.8bn.

        Figures cited in the court ruling suggest Google has generated $42bn in advertising from Android, which is made available to consumers for free, with contractual requirements for handset makers.

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