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Links 7/3/2018: KaOS 2018.03, Chrome 65, Microsoft ‘Jails’ Debian

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

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Exploring free and open web fonts

    There is no question that the face of the web has been transformed in recent years by open source fonts. Prior to 2010, the only typefaces you were likely to see in a web browser were the generic “web safe” core fonts from Microsoft. But that year saw the start of several revolutions: the introduction of the Web Open Font Format (WOFF), which offered an open standard for efficiently delivering font files over HTTP, and the launch of web-font services like Google Fonts and the Open Font Library—both of which offered web publishers access to a large collection of fonts, for free, available under open licenses.

    It is hard to overstate the positive impact of these events on web typography. But it can be all too easy to equate the successes of open web fonts with open source typography as a whole and conclude that the challenges are behind us, the puzzles solved. That is not the case, so if you care about type, the good news is there are a lot of opportunities to get involved in improvement.

  • Divisive Politics are destroying Open Source

    Divisive Politics are destroying Open Source. Many Open and Free Software projects have been ripped apart, just in the last year, by politics that seem to serve no purpose other than to divide us as people. I take a look at three recent, and noteworthy, examples: FreeBSD, Node.js (part of the Linux Foundation), and Mozilla. Three organizations that have a massive impact on our lives (even if we don’t know it) — that have had divisive politics cause significant turmoil and damage to not only themselves… but the entire Open Source and technology world.

  • 3 open source tools for scientific publishing

    One industry that lags behind others in the adoption of digital or open source tools is the competitive and lucrative world of scientific publishing. Worth over £19B ($26B) annually, according to figures published by Stephen Buranyi in The Guardian last year, the system for selecting, publishing, and sharing even the most important scientific research today still bears many of the constraints of print media. New digital-era technologies present a huge opportunity to accelerate discovery, make science collaborative instead of competitive, and redirect investments from infrastructure development into research that benefits society.

  • OrbTV: Telefónica’s Lopez on Open Source for Network Automation & Virtualization

    Patrick Lopez, VP of Networks Innovation at Telefónica, talks about how vendors and operators can utilize open source to take more control over the design and programming of networks. In addition, Lopez examines Telefónica’s approach to edge computing, and use cases for the technology such as in IoT and robotics.

  • Check out the now open-source code powering UI layout in Heaven’s Vault

    The dev shared the code powering SLayout on GitHub for fellow developers to download and play with. All in all, Inkle Studios says that SLayout can be used in Unity to provide an easier way to handle layout properties and animation for text and UI elements.

  • Crowdsourcing FOSS Project Success: Clearly defined project data, a smooth path to widespread adoption.

    Today the Open Source Initiative® (OSI) announced its Incubator Project, ClearlyDefined, a crowdsourced project aimed at boosting the success of FOSS projects by clearly defining their status. Absences or ambiguities around licensing or known security vulnerabilities can erode confidence and limit project success. Project teams often are not aware of these concerns or do not know how to address them. ClearlyDefined identifies the gaps and works with project teams to fill them.

    “This is an important project to amplify the success of FOSS projects through wider adoption and confidence. It aligns closely with OSI’s mission to educate and advocate for open source,” said Simon Phipps, President of the board of directors of the OSI, curator of the world’s open source licenses.

  • Web Browsers

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Conference Recap: APRICOT 2018

      APRICOT is the largest annual internet community conference in the Asia-Pacific region. Nearly one thousand attendees show up for two weeks of workshops, tutorials and presentations. While the primary focus of the conference is on networking, the conference also attracts a sizable number of systems people. I also attended some of the APTLD conference which overlapped for a couple of days during the APRICOT workshop week. This was the first time I attended APRICOT.

    • BSDCan 2018 – selected talks
  • Licensing/Legal

    • GitHub makes open-source project licensing easier with an open-source program

      Open-source licensing can get … complicated. These days, many programs are 20 percent original code on top of 80 percent previously open-sourced code. To help address the resulting licensing complications, GitHub has open sourced Licensed, an internal tool they’ve used to automate some of GitHub’s open-source projects licensing process.

      That’s pretty impressive considering only a few years ago, GitHub’s laissez-faire attitude to licensing had led to 77 percent of all GitHub programs having no licenses at all. If that doesn’t sound important to you, then you’re a developer who’s never tried to commercialize their program.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Making climate models open source makes them even more useful

      Designing climate experiments is all but impossible in the real world. We can’t, for instance, study the effects of clouds by taking away all the clouds for a set period of time and seeing what happens.

      Instead, we have to design our experiments virtually, by developing computer models. Now, a new open-source set of climate models has allowed this research to become more collaborative, efficient and reliable.

  • Programming/Development

    • The top 10 programming languages and skills you need to work in open source

      On Tuesday, job search site Indeed announced that it has joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), an open source software foundation dedicated to making cloud-native computing universal and sustainable.

      The CNCF is part of the The Linux Foundation, and is a vendor-neutral home for fast-growing projects. Indeed relies on open source technologies such as Python, Apache, Mesos, and OpenTracing to build and deliver its products, according to a blog post making the announcement.

    • Software for a service like archive.org

      Can anyone recommend software for running a web service similar to archive.org?

      We are looking for something similar to manage digital assets within the Computing History Special Interest Group.

    • Only code at work? That doesn’t make you a worse programmer

      At the end of the day you’re done with work, you go home—and you don’t spend any of your free time coding. And that’s fine, you have other things going on in your life. But your coworker does spend another 20 hours a week coding, and all that practice means they’ll end up better programmers than you, and so they’ll get promoted faster, and they’ll get paid more. And that’s not fine.

      It’s also not true.

    • A few things I’ve learned about computer networking

      But I thought it could maybe be useful to list a bunch of concrete skills and concepts I’ve learned along the way. Like anything else, “computer networking” involves a large number of different concepts and skills and tools and I’ve learned them all one at a time. I picked most of these things up over the last 4 years.


  • The Great AMP Debate: The Ethics of Google’s Mobile Traffic Boost

    A lot of websites are seeing mobile traffic growth from using Google’s open-source AMP protocol, but critics are raising some big ethical questions. Are those concerns enough to dissuade organizations from using AMP?

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Pharma, Nonprofits Collaborate On Affordable Hepatitis C Treatment In Latin America

      The Drugs for Neglected Disease initiative (DNDi), a nonprofit research and development organisation, today announced a collaboration with pharmaceutical companies and other nonprofits to manufacture and supply a “new, more affordable” hepatitis C treatment in Latin America. Hepatitis C medicines have been renowned for their high prices worldwide.

      From the press release: “A new collaboration between pharmaceutical companies and non-profit organizations will manufacture and supply a new, more affordable, hepatitis C treatment regimen in Latin America. An estimated 3.5 million people live with this viral disease in Latin America including around 325,000 in Argentina, with high treatment prices one of the many barriers to access for life-saving care.”

    • HP releases new germicide-resistant computers for hospitals

      The laptop lets you disable the keyboard and touchscreen while cleaning, so that nothing is accidentally inputted. All three products are built to withstand deterioration from being cleaned with germicidal wipes, which may help reduce the spread of health care-related infections.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Researchers detail new 4G LTE vulnerabilities allowing spoofing, tracking, and spamming

      4G LTE isn’t nearly as secure or private as you think it is. Mobile privacy and security are both at risk. Researchers from Purdue University and the University of Iowa have released a new research paper detailing ten attacks on 4G LTE networks. Some attacks allow fake emergency alerts to be sent to a phone, others allow for the spoofing or tracking of the target’s location. The attacks could be carried out with less than $4,000 of equipment and open source 4G LTE software.

    • Oracle Brings KPTI Meltdown Mitigation To Linux 4.1

      If for some reason you are still riding the Linux 4.1 kernel series, you really should think about upgrading to at least a newer LTS series in the near future. But if you still plan on riding it for a while longer, at least it’s getting page table isolation support for Meltdown mitigation.

      An Oracle kernel developer has posted patches bringing kernel page table isolation (KPTI, formerly known as KAISER) to the Linux 4.1 stable kernel series.

    • OpenIndiana Now Has KPTI Support Up For Testing To Mitigate Meltdown

      The Solaris-derived OpenIndiana operating system now has KPTI (Kernel Page Table Isolation) support for testing to mitigate the Intel Meltdown CPU vulnerability.

      Thanks in large part to the work done by Joyent on KPTI support for SmartOS/OmniOSce, the Illumos kernel used by OpenIndiana now has a KPTI implementation for testing. They have spun up some live install images for testing as well as an IPS repository containing a KPTI-enabled kernel build. With this KPTI work is also PCID (Process Context Identifier) support too.

    • A long two months

      I had a quiet New Year’s Eve and Day for the beginning of 2018. We had originally planned a trip away with my parents and some friends from southern California, but they all fell through — my father was diagnosed with cancer late in 2017 and their trip to visit us in the U.S. was cancelled, and our friends work in medicine and wound up being on call. One of Lou’s other friends came to visit us, instead: she was on a mission to experience midnight twice on January 1st by flying from Hong Kong to San Francisco. That might sound like an excuse to party hard, but instead we sat around an Ikea table playing board games, drinking wine and eating gingerbread. It was very pleasant.


      To mitigate Meltdown (and partially one of the Spectre variants), you have to make sure that speculative execution cannot reach any sensitive data from a user context.

    • Hackers Set New DDoS World Record: 1.7 Tbps

      Not even a week has passed since the code sharing platform GitHub suffered the world’s biggest DDoS attack recorded at 1.35Tbps. Just four days later, the world record of the biggest DDoS has been broken in an attempt to take down the systems of an unknown entity identified as a “US-based service provider”.

    • DDoS Record Broken Again as Memcached Attack Hits 1.7 Tbps

      The size of massive distributed denial-of-service attacks continues to grow, hitting yet another new high on March 5, with a report of a 1.7-Tbps attack.

      The attack was reported by Netscout Arbor and came just four short days after the March 1 report of the then largest DDoS attack at 1.35 Tbps against GitHub. Both of the record breaking DDoS attacks were enabled via improperly configured memcached servers that reflected attack traffic, amplifying the total volume.

    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #149
    • Hacking operation uses malicious Word documents to target aid organisations

      A newly uncovered ‘nation-state level’ cyber espionage operation has targeted humanitarian aid organisations around the globe via the use of backdoors hidden within malicious Word documents.

      Dubbed Operation Honeybee based on the name of lure documents used during the attacks, the campaign has been discovered by security researchers at security company McAfee Labs after a new variant of the Syscon backdoor malware was spotted being distributed via phishing emails.

    • Making security sustainable

      Perhaps the biggest challenge will be durability. At present we have a hard time patching a phone that’s three years old. Yet the average age of a UK car at scrappage is about 14 years, and rising all the time; cars used to last 100,000 miles in the 1980s but now keep going for nearer 200,000. As the embedded carbon cost of a car is about equal to that of the fuel it will burn over its lifetime, we just can’t afford to scrap cars after five years, as do we laptops.

    • US senator grills CEO over the myth of the hacker-proof voting machine

      Zetter unearthed a 2006 contract with the state of Michigan and a report from Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County that same year that both showed ES&S employees using a remote-access application called pcAnywhere to remotely administer equipment it sold.

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Finance

    • EU plans to tax big tech multinationals on local revenue

      French economy minister Bruno Le Maire says the EU has plans to tax big multinational technology companies — like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon — between 2% and 6% of their revenue, with the figure being closer to the lower end.

    • Congress wants to gut Dodd-Frank banking regulations, a decade after a global meltdown

      A procedural vote to scale back banking regulations is set for this Tuesday in the Senate, only 10 years after the Great Recession — caused by some of the regulations that Dodd-Frank hoped to address. The Senate plan is staunchly supported by the Trump administration — and all signs point towards it becoming law.

      The issue exposes both the rifts within the Democratic Party and the extent to which the Trump administration is unashamed, as President Donald Trump’s entire campaign was built on the premise that he was an outsider who would drain the swamp.

    • Oregon Winds Up Giving Comcast A Huge Tax Break For Doing Nothing Differently

      A well-intentioned effort in Oregon to drive more competition to the broadband market has instead netted Comcast a $15 million annual tax break for effectively doing nothing differently.

      Back in 2014 the Oregon State Supreme Court issued a hugely-controversial ruling that allowed companies to be taxed based on “intangible” assets such as the value of their brands. Lobbied by Google, the state in 2015 signed a new law rolling back those assessments to try and incentivize competitors looking to deploy faster broadband networks.

    • When Prosecutors and Debt Collection Companies Become Business Partners

      Prosecutors are letting debt collectors hijack the justice system at the expense of people who cannot afford to pay bills.

      When Roz, a mother raising three children with special needs on a razor-thin budget in Washington, wrote a check for $41.19 to Goodwill to buy secondhand clothing for her children, she had no idea it would lead to threats of criminal prosecution and jail. But that’s exactly what happened when the check bounced, and her inability to pay a bill led to her being sucked into the criminal justice system.

      That the check bounced because of a banking mix-up didn’t matter. Roz received a letter in the mail that looked like it had been sent by her local prosecutor. The letter stated she had been accused of the crime of issuing a worthless check and she had to pay the amount of the check plus $185 in fees within 10 days “to avoid the possibility of criminal charges being filed.”

      The threats for failure of nonpayment did not end there.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • America’s Democracy Hypocrisy

      In late February, Venezuela’s government began accepting presidential candidate registrations and announced a snap legislative election for April.

    • No one will date right-wingers in DC and I am so here for it
    • Social Media and the Rise of the ‘Consistent Liberal’

      The Pew Research Center (3/1/18) recently released a survey on political attitudes by generation. “America is politically sorted by generations in a way it never has before,” was the takeaway of New York‘s Jonathan Chait (3/1/18).

      Well, sort of. The generational divide is a striking feature of US politics, but it’s not exactly breaking news. While as recently as the 2000 election, young people were the least likely age group to vote for the Democrat, and old folks the most, since 2008 the generations have voted the stereotype of left-leaning youth and conservative elders. That’s still happening, Pew finds.

    • Porn star Stormy Daniels files lawsuit against Trump, alleging ‘hush’ agreement invalid

      Stormy Daniels says the “hush” agreement she signed is invalid since President Trump didn’t sign it, according to a lawsuit.

    • Yet again, Kellyanne Conway violates Federal ethics rules
    • We’ve Updated ‘The Money Game,’ Our Illinois Governor’s Race Fundraising Widget

      We’ve updated “The Money Game,” our Illinois governor’s race fundraising widget, with improvements to the design and data, as well as the addition of automated cards to share on social media.

      The data changes are the most significant update. We’re now tracking campaign contributions across a four-year window, compared to two years in the previous version. That’s because many candidates stockpile and transfer money among multiple campaign funds over several campaign seasons.

    • Trump’s Company Removes Presidential Seal From Golf Course

      The Trump Organization says it has removed golf markers bearing the presidential seal from one of its golf courses.

      As ProPublica and WNYC reported yesterday, President Trump’s company recently ordered dozens of presidential seals to be used as golf tee markers. It is illegal to use the presidential seal for commercial purposes.

      In a statement Tuesday morning, a spokesman for the company said, “The plaques were presented to the club by a small group of members, who are incredible fans of the President, in honor of Presidents day [sic] weekend. They were temporary and have since been removed.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • PornHub owner shows off AgeID gatekeeping system for the UK

      PornHub’s owner Mindgeek this weekend revealed its UK plans for AgeID, an encrypted tool for users to unsurprisingly verify their age when accessing one of the largest porn sites in the world.


      AgeID has already been in operation since 2015 on porn sites in Germany. And while things seem to be hammering away nicely, there’re a few raised eyebrows over handing verification control over to Mindgeek and its family porn sites, which include YouPorn, Brazzers and RedTube.

    • Erdogan’s Next Target as He Restricts Turkey’s Democracy: The Internet

      Having already brought Turkey’s mainstream media to heel, and made considerable headway in rolling back Turkish democracy, the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has set its sights on a seemingly innocuous target: a satellite television preacher named Adnan Oktar.


      “It is just about control,” said Kerem Altiparmak, a human rights and media lawyer. “Considering what has been happening in Turkey, I have no doubt this is a hegemonic power, controlling newspapers, TV and the judiciary, that is now out to control the [I]nternet sector.”

    • Chinese Censorship Makes a Move Into Tech Realm

      Hi folks, it’s Shelly Banjo. Banned books and blocked websites are the norm in China. Now, as the tech industry and political leadership forge closer ties, there’s a growing sense here that we’re about to see a whole different level of censorship.

      This isn’t about the looming VPN ban, or President Xi Jinping’s bid to abolish term limits and cement his power. It’s about a deeper level of control and restrictions, encroaching into pop culture, entertainment and other seemingly apolitical content.

    • Lawsuit claims censorship as ASU caught up in Israel boycott controversy

      Claiming censorship, attorneys are claiming that Arizona State University is illegally blocking a Muslim academician from speaking on campus because of his political beliefs.

      The lawsuit filed in federal court here says the university won’t allow Hatem Bazian to speak on campus about the “boycott, divest, sanction” movement aimed at pressuring Israel to change its policies, particularly in regard to Jewish settlements on the West Bank. That’s because Bazian won’t sign an agreement certifying that he will not engage on a boycott of Israel.

    • Offline/Online Project Highlights How the Oppression Marginalized Communities Face in the Real World Follows Them Online

      People in marginalized communities who are targets of persecution and violence—from the Rohingya in Burma to Native Americans in South Dakota—are using social media to tell their stories, but finding that their voices are being silenced online.

      This is the tragic and unjust consequence of content moderation policies of companies like Facebook, which is deciding on a daily basis what can be and can’t be said and shown online. Platform censorship has ratcheted up in these times of political strife, ostensibly to combat hate speech and online harassment. Takedowns and closures of neo-Nazi and white supremacist sites have been a matter of intense debate. Less visible is the effect content moderation is having on vulnerable communities.

    • TEDxBrussels organizer drags presenter off stage during anti-censorship talk

      Get ready for your head to explode.

      In the middle of TEDxBrussels talk on March 5 that focused on censorship, a male event organizer walked onto the stage and physically dragged the female presenter off. And the kicker? The theme of the entire TEDx event was Brave New World — as in, yes, the Aldous Huxley book about a dystopian future wherein an all-powerful state controls the lives of its citizens.

      And it only gets worse from there.

    • Angry Pick-Up Artist Says He Won’t Issue Bogus YouTube Claim On Critic’s Video; Issues Bogus Claim On Critic’s Video

      Another case of YouTube’s copyright notification system being abused has filtered down through social media. A YouTuber whose channel specializes in game reviews was targeted by the developer of the game after some back-and-forth on the internet over his negative review.

      Chris Hodgkinson reviewed a game called Super Seducer, which supposedly teaches dudes how to pick up women through the magical art of full-motion video. Call it “edutainment.” (If you must…) The developer, Richard La Ruina, didn’t care for his game being featured on a video series entitled “This is the Worst Game Ever.” Nor did he care for Hodgkinson’s suggestion the game offered nothing to men in the way of usable pick-up artistry.

    • “Fake news” : bringing the European debate to the source of the problem

      The European Commission recently launched a consultation on “fake news and online disinformation” to which La Quadrature has responded. The current debate about these phenomena seems to be dominated by a prevailing confusion and risks to lead to measures restricting freedom of expression and the right to information. Nonetheless, the big platforms’ system of commercial surveillance needs to be addressed seriously, as it disrupts public debate by treating our attention as a commodity.

      A spectre is haunting American and European political leaders, the spectre of “fake news”. Early in January, Emmanuel Macron announced future legilsation in order to prevent the spread of ” false information “, especially during election period. The draft bill is supposed to be discussed in French National Assembly1 end of March.

      The European Commission’s consultation was closed on 23 February, and the results should lead up to a decision whether European legislation on this topic is needed or not. In parallel, the Commission appointed an expert group charged with submitting a report in March. Both measures exclusively target online content which is “lawful but false’, without defining “false”.

    • We are probably going back to Emergency era: Shyam Benegal

      Mumbai, Mar 6 Veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal today said the kind of censorship and mood the country has with regards to cinema is reminiscent of the Emergency era.

      The veteran director was speaking at a panel discussion here at FICCI Frames, which was moderated by senior journalist Bhupendra Chaubey.

    • Shyam Benegal on censorship: We are probably going back to Emergency era
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Mike Godwin’s First Essay On Encryption And The Constitution

      Mike Godwin (you know who he is) was recently going through some of his earlier writings, and came across an essay (really an outline) he had written to the Cypherpunks email list 25 years ago, in April of 1993 concerning the Clipper Chip and early battles on encryption and civil liberties. If you don’t recall, the Clipper Chip was an early attempt by the Clinton administration to establish a form of backdoored encryption, using a key escrow system. What became quite clear in reading through this 25-year-old email is just how little has changed in the past 25 years. As we are in the midst of a new crypto war, Godwin has suggested republishing this essay from so long ago to take a look back at what was said back then and compare it to today.

    • Geek Squad’s Relationship with FBI Is Cozier Than We Thought

      After the prosecution of a California doctor revealed the FBI’s ties to a Best Buy Geek Squad computer repair facility in Kentucky, new documents released to EFF show that the relationship goes back years. The records also confirm that the FBI has paid Geek Squad employees as informants.

      EFF filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit last year to learn more about how the FBI uses Geek Squad employees to flag illegal material when people pay Best Buy to repair their computers. The relationship potentially circumvents computer owners’ Fourth Amendment rights.

      The documents released to EFF show that Best Buy officials have enjoyed a particularly close relationship with the agency for at least 10 years. For example, an FBI memo from September 2008 details how Best Buy hosted a meeting of the agency’s “Cyber Working Group” at the company’s Kentucky repair facility.

      The memo and a related email show that Geek Squad employees also gave FBI officials a tour of the facility before their meeting and makes clear that the law enforcement agency’s Louisville Division “has maintained close liaison with the Geek Squad’s management in an effort to glean case initiations and to support the division’s Computer Intrusion and Cyber Crime programs.”

    • Ex-GCHQ chief calls for brokers to help map cyber risk

      Insurance brokers must play a more direct role in helping financial institutions and energy companies map and quantify cyber risk, a former director of the UK security agency GCHQ has said.

      Speaking at a Marsh Energy Insurance Conference in Dubai, Iain Lobban said insurance brokers should attend cyber breach planning exercises held by insureds, along with representatives from intelligence agencies.

    • How GCHQ and British ISPs have been sharing your data for years and only a VPN can help

      It might like a contradiction in terms, but this week has seen a fascinating session of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT). That’s because, after one witness from GCHQ had repeatedly given misleading evidence to the tribunal, Privacy International, who are challenging GCHQ’s bulk collection powers, were given permission to cross-examine him for the very first time.

    • Senate panel approves Trump’s NSA nominee

      The Senate Armed Services Committee unanimously approved President Trump’s choice to lead the National Security Agency on Tuesday morning.

      The committee held a brief voice vote on the nomination of Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone, before holding a hearing on worldwide threats to the United States featuring testimony from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and from Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

    • Should I Use Free VPN Services? Is It Safe To Use?

      VPNs are widely used to overcome geographical obstruction, to access a remote network securely, and other different purposes. They are extensively used by organizations to share resources across various office locations. In recent times, VPNs have gained widespread usage in bypassing country restrictions to access blocked services.

    • The Latest: Runoff to Replace Texas Congressman Hensarling

      A Republican activist subsequently revealed suggestive Facebook messages that the then-married congressmen sent her in 2012.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • In Reality Winner’s Case, Defense Seizes Upon FBI Testimony To Bolster Motion To Suppress Statements

      Winner is an NSA contractor accused of mailing a classified document on alleged Russian hacking [sic] of voter registration systems to The Intercept. She was charged with violating the Espionage Act and is currently in detention awaiting trial.

    • Free sex offer on social media lands 19-year-old bikini-clad blogger in jail for two weeks

      Eventually having had enough of people wandering the halls and calling the front desk, the Hilton called the police to complain. They arrived at around 10pm to find the 6316 room empty. It was later discovered that Yeye had left the hotel and checked into another at the Sanya Phoenix International Airport.

      She was arrested on Friday (2 March) and charged with prostitution and disruption (of the Hilton Hotel). All her social media accounts have been suspended.

    • Skripal is no Litvinenko

      There is a major difference between Alexander Litvinenko and Sergei Skripal, which is not being reflected in the media. Litvinenko was a good man who attempted to expose abuses of power within Russia, in defence of the rights of Russians. Skripal is a traitor who sold the identities of Russian agents abroad to the UK, in exchange for hard cash. This may very well have caused the deaths of some of those Russian agents operating in conflict zones. If this is indeed a poisoning, there are a great many people who may want Mr Skripal dead – nor in this murky world should we overlook the fact that he must have known interesting things about his MI6 handlers. “Litvinenko II” is rather too pat and obvious, and could be a false flag set-up.

    • Atomwaffen, Extremist Group Whose Members Have Been Charged in Five Murders, Loses Some of Its Platforms

      At least four technology companies have taken steps to bar Atomwaffen Division, a violent neo-Nazi organization, from using their online services and platforms to spread its message or fund its operations.

      The action comes after ProPublica reports detailing the organization’s terrorist ambitions and revealing that the California man charged with murdering Blaze Bernstein, a 19-year-old college student found buried in an Orange County park earlier this year, was an Atomwaffen member.

      Activists and journalists with other media outlets have criticized the tech firms — among them chat services, web merchants, social media channels and gaming platforms — for enabling the outfit, which has members in 23 states and Canada, records show.

    • This Is What Immigration Enforcement Looks Like Under President Trump

      In two consecutive SWAT-style raids, ICE and the U.S. Marshals’ agents raid a family’s home without a warrant.

      Around noon, on April 10, 2017, Alicia Amaya Carmona glanced through her partially closed blinds at the Wing Pointe apartment complex in Heber City, Utah. What the 48-year-old grandmother saw terrified her.

      A group of men in blue and green vests, carrying assault weapons and pistols, were running through the parking lot towards the apartment she shared with her son and her daughter-in-law. She grabbed her grandchildren who were awake and ran to the master bedroom where her other grandchildren were napping. Loud knocking ripped through the apartment. Suddenly the men burst into the apartment. “Come out with your hands up!” one shouted.

      Frightened, Carmona came out of the master bedroom into the living room with her hands up. Her four grandchildren, all U.S. citizens, stood behind her, screaming and crying out of fear. The men pointed their assault weapons and pistols at Carmona and the children. First, Carmona was ordered out of the apartment and told she could not touch nor speak to her grandchildren. The children, all barefoot, were then ordered out of the apartment, too. The temperature was in the 40s.

      The heavily armed men, members of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Marshals, finally let Carmona know why they were there. They were after Carmona’s husband, Abel Ramirez Sr., who had been indicted for illegal reentry six years before. Illegal reentry is not a violent crime, yet the family saw this group of federal officers armed for war burst into the apartment without a warrant.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Namecheap Relaunches Move Your Domain Day to Support Internet Freedom

      The original Move Your Domain Day came into being in 2011 when popular domain name registrar GoDaddy spoke out in support of the hugely unpopular Internet blacklist bills SOPA and PIPA. The ensuing backlash from Internet users led to a call for customers to leave GoDaddy in favor of companies better-aligned with their online freedom goals. As a result, the first Move Your Domain Day raised over $64,000 for EFF’s work on this and other issues. The response reflected the overwhelming public sentiment that eventually toppled SOPA/PIPA and proved Internet users are powerful when they work together.

    • Six tech companies filing net neutrality lawsuit

      Six technology companies, including Kickstarter, Foursquare and Etsy, have launched a lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in an effort to preserve net neutrality rules.

      The companies, which also include Shutterstock, Expa and Automattic, on Monday filed their petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

    • Washington State Enacts Net Neutrality Law, in Clash with FCC

      Washington state Governor Jay Inslee Monday signed the nation’s first state law intended to protect net neutrality, setting up a potential legal battle with the Federal Communications Commission.

      The law bans broadband providers offering service in the state from blocking or throttling legal content, or from offering fast-lane access to companies willing to pay extra. The law doesn’t stop providers from imposing data limits, and doesn’t address the practice of allowing certain content to bypass data limits, known as “zero rating.”

    • Washington Becomes the First State to Approve Its Own Net Neutrality Rules

      Washington became the first state Monday to set up its own net-neutrality requirements after U.S. regulators repealed Obama-era rules that banned internet providers from blocking content or interfering with online traffic.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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  1. Links 18/3/2018: Wine 3.4, Wine-Staging 3.4, KDE Connect 1.8 for Android

    Links for the day

  2. TXED Courts Are Causing Businesses to Leave the District, Notably For Fear That Having Any Operations Based There is a Legal Liability

    A discussion about the infamous abundance of patent cases in the Eastern District of Texas (TXED/EDTX) and what this will mean for businesses that have branches or any form of operations there (making them subjected to lawsuits in that district even after TC Heartland)

  3. PTAB Hatred is So Intense Among the Patent 'Industry' That Even Scammers Are Hailed as Champions If They Target PTAB

    The patent microcosm is so eager to stop the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that it's supporting sham deals (or "scams") and exploits/distorts the voice of the new USPTO Director to come up with PTAB-hostile catchphrases

  4. The Patent 'Industry' is Increasingly Mocking CAFC and Its Judges Because It Doesn't Like the Decisions

    Judgmental patent maximalists are still respecting high courts only when it suits them; whenever the outcome is not desirable they're willing to attack the legitimacy of the courts and the competence of judges, even resorting to racist ad hominem attacks if necessary

  5. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Carries on Enforcing § 101, Invalidating Software Patents and Upsetting the Patent 'Industry' in the Process

    A quick report on where PTAB stands at the moment, some time ahead of the Oil States decision (soon to come from the US Supreme Court)

  6. Luxembourg Can Become a Hub of Patent Trolls If the EPO Carries on With Its 'Reforms', Even Without the UPC

    With or without the Unified Patent Court (UPC), which is the wet dream of patent trolls and their legal representatives, the EPO's terrible policies have landed a lot of low-quality patents on the hands of patent trolls (many of which operate through city-states that exist for tax evasion -- a fiscal environment ripe for shells)

  7. The Patent 'Printing Machine' of the EPO Will Spawn Many Lawsuits and Extortions (Threats of Lawsuits), in Effect Taxing Europe

    The money-obsessed, money-printing patent office, where the assembly line mentality has been adopted and patent-printing management is in charge, is devaluing or diluting the pool of European Patents, more so with restrictions (monetary barriers) to challenging bad patents

  8. Links 17/3/2018: Varnish 6, Wine 3.4

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  9. Deleted EPO Tweets and Promotion of Software Patents Amid Complaints About Abuse and Demise of Patent Quality

    Another ordinary day at the EPO with repressions of workforce, promotion of patents that aren't even allowed, and Team UPC failing to get its act together

  10. Guest Post: Suspected “Whitewashing” Operations by Željko Topić in Croatia

    Articles about EPO Vice-President Željko Topić are disappearing and sources indicate that it’s a result of yet more SLAPP from him

  11. Monumental Effort to Highlight Decline in Quality of European Patents (a Quarter of Examiners Sign Petition in Spite of Fear), Yet Barely Any Press Coverage

    he media in Europe continues to be largely apathetic towards the EPO crisis, instead relaying a bunch of press releases and doctored figures from the EPO; only blogs that closely follow EPO scandals bothered mentioning the new petition

  12. Careful Not to Conflate UPC Critics With AfD or Anti-EU Elements

    The tyrannical Unified Patent Court (UPC) is being spun as something that only fascists would oppose after the right-wing, anti-EU politicians in Germany express strong opposition to it

  13. Links 15/3/2018: Qt Creator 4.6 RC, Microsoft Openwashing

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  14. PTAB Continues to Increase Capacity Ahead of Oil States; Patent Maximalists Utterly Upset

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) sees the number of filings up to an almost all-time high and efforts to undermine PTAB are failing pretty badly -- a trend which will be further cemented quite soon when the US Supreme Court (quite likely) backs the processes of PTAB

  15. Patent Maximalists Are Still Trying to Create a Patent Bubble in India

    Litigation maximalists and patent zealots continue to taunt India, looking for an opportunity to sue over just about anything including abstract ideas because that's what they derive income from

  16. EPO Staff Has Just Warned the National Delegates That EPO's Decline (in Terms of Patent Quality and Staff Welfare) Would Be Beneficial to Patent Trolls

    The staff of the EPO increasingly recognises the grave dangers of low-quality patents -- an issue we've written about (also in relation to the EPO) for many years

  17. The EPO is a Mess Under Battistelli and Stakeholders Including Law Firms Will Suffer, Not Just EP Holders

    As one last 'gift' from Battistelli, appeals are becoming a lot more expensive -- the very opposite of what he does to applications, in effect ensuring a sharp increase in wrongly-granted patents

  18. The EPO Under Battistelli Has Become Like China Under Xi and CPC

    The EPO is trying very hard to silence not only the union but also staff representatives; it's evidently worried that the lies told by Team Battistelli will be refuted and morale be affected by reality

  19. Links 14/3/2018: IPFire 2.19 – Core Update 119, Tails 3.6

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  20. Links 13/3/2018: Qt Creator 4.5.2, Tails 3.6, Firefox 59

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  21. Willy Minnoye (EPO) Threatened Staff With Disabilities Said to Have Been Caused by the EPO Work Pressures

    Willy Minnoye, or Battistelli's 'deputy' at the EPO until last year, turns out to have misused powers (and immunity) to essentially bully vulnerable staff

  22. IAM and IBM Want Lots of Patent Litigation in India

    Having 'championed' lobbying for litigation Armageddon in China (where IBM's practicing business units have gone), patent maximalists set their eyes on India

  23. The Patent Trolls' Lobby (IAM) Already Pressures Andrei Iancu, Inciting a USPTO Director Against PTAB

    Suspicions that Iancu might destroy the integrity of the Office for the sake of the litigation ‘industry’ may be further reaffirmed by the approach towards patent maximalists from IAM, who also participated in the shaming of his predecessor, Michelle Lee, and promoted a disgraced judge (and friend of patent trolls) for her then-vacant role

  24. Patent Trolls in the United States Increasingly Target Small Businesses Which Cannot Challenge Their Likely-Invalid Software Patents

    South by Southwest (SXSW Conference/Festivals in Austin, Texas) has a presentation about patent trolls, whose general message may be reaffirmed by recent legal actions in Texas and outside Texas

  25. EPO Staff Union Organises Protest to Complain About Inability “of the Office to Recruit the Highly Qualified Staff it Needs.”

    Having already targeted union leaders and staff representatives, the EPO may soon be going after those whom they passionately represented and the staff union (SUEPO) wants the Administrative Council to be aware

  26. Battistelli Likes to Describe His Critics as 'Nazis', Team UPC Will Attempt the Same Thing Against UPC Critics

    Demonising one's opposition or framing it as "fascist" is a classic trick; to what degree will Team UPC exploit such tactics?

  27. Session in Bavaria to Discuss the Abuses of the European Patent Office Later Today

    The EPO shambles in Munich have gotten the attention of more Bavarian politicians, more so in light of the Constitutional complaint against the UPC (now dealt with by the German FCC, which saw merit in the complaint)

  28. Links 12/3/2018: Linux 4.16 RC5, KEXI 3.1, Karton 1.0, Netrunner 18.03, Debian 9.4

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  29. EPO Patent 'Growth' Not Achieved But Demanded/Mandated by Battistelli, by Lowering Quality of Patents/Services

    Targets at the EPO are not actually reached but are being imposed by overzealous management which dries up all the work in a hurry in order to make examiners redundant and many European Patents worthless

  30. Doubt Over Independence of Judges at the EPO Clouds Reason in Deciding Regarding Patents on Life

    With the growing prospect of a Board of Appeal (BoA) having to decide on patentability of CRISPR 'innovation' (more like explanation/discovery), questions linger or persist about judges' ability to rule as they see fit rather than what some lunatic wants


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