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03.18.18

China Has Become Very Aggressive With Patents

Posted in Antitrust, Asia, Patents, Samsung at 11:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Communist Party of China (CPC) has a protectionist plan and a shared agenda (not just tactics) with Battistelli, who significantly lowered patent quality for the sake of raw quantity

Pooh the Bear and EPOSummary: China now targets other Asian countries/firms — more so than Western firms — with patent lawsuits; we expect this to get worse in years to come

KOREAN giant Samsung, which employs an extraordinary number of people, has traditionally been one of the top patenters (if not the top patenter, e.g. in 2012) at the EPO and USPTO, not just KIPO. Sure, it fell behind LG (the ‘other’ South Korean giant) this past year at the EPO, for whatever reason (we don’t want to speculate).

“China’s patent aggression is a growing problem and it’s like nothing we ever saw in Japan and Korea (traditionally of the patent ideology of live and let live).”Samsung, at least traditionally, is not patent-aggressive. In other words, it rarely sues anyone except if sued first. The same is said about Korean culture in general. Some time ago China began assaulting LG with patents — to the point where LG withdrew/pulled a lot of its business out of China. Samsung too came under many attacks in China and then it retaliated, even in the US. The latest in this retaliation? Florian Müller reports on the injunction against Huawei (highly CPC-connected firm):

A few days ago, Law360.com reported that United States District Judge William H. Orrick (Northern District of California) expressed an inclination at a Wednesday hearing to grant Samsung’s motion seeking to bar Huawei from enforcing a couple of Chinese patent injunctions before the U.S. court has determined whether it is, in light of its FRAND obligations, entitled to injunctive relief.

You won’t be surprised if you’ve been following the case here. Two weeks ago I published a post here with a headline that contained the following prognosis: “antisuit injunction looms large”

Even though I’m just a little blogger, it’s a bit daring to offer such a prediction based on the briefing record, especially since antisuit (here, actually just anti-enforcement) injunctions don’t come down every day. But for the reasons explained in my previous posts, above all Ninth Circuit case law, Huawei won’t be able to complain.

China’s patent aggression is a growing problem and it’s like nothing we ever saw in Japan and Korea (traditionally of the patent ideology of live and let live). A few days ago Managing IP wrote:

Big changes to the intellectual property office, including combining the enforcement functions of trade marks and patents, are expected to strengthen IP enforcement in China

Managing IP speaks of “administrative overlap” at SIPO. The main issue with SIPO, however, is not “administrative overlap” but really low patent quality which already causes patent trolls to soar there and few large Chinese firms (which can afford to fight trolls in court) to merely consolidate power.

“…expect Xi and CPC to try to leverage their ‘soft power’ abroad with patents.”China isn’t what patent maximalists claim it to be (we wrote many rebuttals to that effect recently) and the number of granted patents says little about innovation. Chinese patents at European and American patent offices are basically the ‘best of Mandarin’ (SIPO patents translated, sometimes with help from foreign workers). Those are the patents that are probably actually worth something.

Either way, expect Xi and CPC to try to leverage their ‘soft power’ abroad with patents. They know that trade sanctions are imminent (if not already in tact, e.g. tariffs), so it’s a form of deterrent or counterattack.

UPC/Battistelli Booster IAM Blames Brexit Rather Than EPO Abuses

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 10:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IAM spoon-feeds Battistelli annually

Battistelli and IAM

Summary: While the EPO is collapsing due to mismanagement the boosters of Team Battistelli would rather deflect and speak about Brexit, which is itself partly motivated by such mismanagement

THE EPO is in trouble. Ignore the spin which is known as “Annual Report” and does not take into account depletion of work (layoffs will come soon, quite inevitably, for the first time ever). EPO recruitment of Brits had gone down by 80% and the UPC isn’t coming (for about half a dozen very important reasons, not just Brexit); the German press too now joins the British press (3 articles so far) in talking about the petition regarding patent quality (new article by Stefan Krempl, who is familiar with EPO affairs).

Thorsten Bausch has just published the last part of his series called “The EPO’s Vision,” in which he says: “…we need to talk about (a) the intended task or purpose and (b) the extent to which time or effort is well used, when a patent is searched and examined by the European Patent Office” (EPO).

“Amid all this, the patent trolls’ lobby (IAM) bemoans the UK’s lack of participation in the EPO, having been paid by the EPO’s PR agency to promote the UPC.”As we said over the weekend, the European Patent Office ceased being a patent office; it’s more like a patent-printing machine now, unregulated and reckless beyond belief. Staff is suffering while management (executives) floods its own bank accounts. It’s utterly despicable and it doesn't look like European authorities intend to do anything.

Amid all this, the patent trolls’ lobby (IAM) bemoans the UK’s lack of participation in the EPO, having been paid by the EPO’s PR agency to promote the UPC. The editor of IAM wrote yesterday: “If you do incline to this view, patent data backs you up. Take, for example, the European Patent Office’s recently released annual report for 2017. This showed that UK-based entities accounted for just 3% of applications the office received last year. That put the UK in seventeenth position in terms of patent applications per million of population.”

“…EPO scandals contribute to anti-EU sentiments — whether justifiably or not — and those who care about the Union should do a lot more to tackle EPO abuses.”Further down he says “we all know that patents do not equate to innovation.” (but IAM does often say so, equating patents to innovation)

Either way, the point of this IAM post was to express that same old dissatisfaction over Brexit (to be clear, I am strongly against Brexit too) and having watched this closely over the past couple of years, it seems clear that their motivations aren’t quite the same as everybody’s. In fact, the clear absence of coverage about EPO scandals says a lot. Had IAM been objective (which it clearly isn’t; check its lists of sponsors), it would realise that EPO scandals contribute to anti-EU sentiments — whether justifiably or not — and those who care about the Union should do a lot more to tackle EPO abuses.

European Commission Again Urged to Tackle Abuses at the European Patent Office (EPO)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rina Ronja KariSummary: Rina Ronja Kari (left) is the latest MEP attempting to compel the Commission to actually do something about the EPO other than turning a blind eye

IT IS not often that European politicians decide to bring up EPO abuses. It happens only a few times a year. But a politician from Copenhagen (same as Kongstad), a young politician (since age 29) called Rina Ronja Kari (who is “a member of the People’s Movement against the EU,” according to Wikipedia) has brought up the latest USF letter in the following question:

Parliamentary questions
5 March 2018
P-001379-18
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Rule 130
Rina Ronja Kari (GUE/NGL)

Subject: Working conditions at the European Patent Office

Working conditions at the European Patent Office (EPO) have been the subject of persistent criticism for years now. The trade union federation USF recently sent a letter to all 38 of the EPO’s delegations. In the letter, the USF’s chair, Dr Bernd Loescher, describes the situation at the EPO as ‘extreme’(1).

1. What are the Commission’s views on the criticism that has been raised about working conditions at the EPO?

2. How is the Commission planning to follow up on the criticism about working conditions at the EPO?
______
(1) http://www.unionsyndicale.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/scan_loescbe_2018-02-28-16-33-21.pdf

SUEPO added: “Visit Mrs Rina Ronja Kari’s official website at the European Parliament here (to view the Q & A scroll down to Parliamentary Questions).”

The European Parliament and Commission have repeatedly failed to do anything substantial regarding the EPO. We thus expect this latest endeavour to fall on deaf ears, even amid imminent trouble.

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

Posted in News Roundup at 6:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Surprise! Microsoft Found A New Way To Force Edge Browser On You

      On Friday, Microsoft released the new Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17263 for Skip Ahead users. As you might be knowing, the changes and improvements pushed as a part of the build will be included in the semi-annual Windows 10 feature update (codenamed Redstone 5) releasing in the second half of 2018.

    • Lawsuit claims sexual harassment rife in Microsoft’s ‘boys’ club atmosphere’

      Between 2010 and 2016, women in technical jobs at the company lodged 108 complaints of sexual harassment, 119 complaints of gender discrimination, eight complaints of retaliation and three complaints of pregnancy discrimination.

    • Don’t want Microsoft forcing Edge on you? Switch from Windows 10 to Linux with Zorin OS 12.3!

      I am sick and tired of technology companies like Microsoft thinking they can impose their will on consumers. Just today, the company made a startling announcement — it will now force links from the Windows Mail app to open in its own Edge web browser. In other words, whether you like it or not, even if Edge isn’t your default browser, it will still be used for opening links from emails. This is unacceptable, and when combined with all of the other Windows 10 calamities, users should consider switching operating systems immediately.

      Since macOS requires you to buy an entirely new computer from Apple, a Linux-based operating system is probably your best bet. By using Linux, you can finally reclaim your computer as your own — not Microsoft’s. Today, version 12.3 of Zorin OS is released, and it is the perfect OS to replace Windows 10. Hell, it can even run Windows programs (including Microsoft Office) with the help of the pre-installed and pre-configured Wine 3.

    • Zorin OS 12.3 Linux Distro Released: Download The Perfect Windows Replacement

      While listing out the best distros for a Linux beginner, the ease of use and installation are the most critical factors. Such qualities make distros like Linux Mint, Ubuntu, and Zorin OS the most recommended options. In case you’re also concerned about your privacy and security, a shift to the world of Linux becomes a more obvious option.

      Calling itself a replacement for Windows and macOS, Zorin OS has been established as a beginner-friendly option that offers a smooth ride while making the transition. The latest Zorin OS 12.3 release works to strengthen the basics of the operating system and polishes the whole experience.

    • Ramblings about long ago and far away

      I had originally run MCC (Manchester Computer Center Interim Linux) in college but when I moved it was easier to find a box of floppies with SLS so I had installed that on the 486. I would then download software source code from the internet and rebuild it for my own use using all the extra flags I could find in GCC to make my 20Mhz system seem faster. I instead learned that most of the options didn’t do anything on i386 Linux at the time and most of my reports about it were probably met by eye-rolls with the people at Cygnus. My supposed goal was to try and set up a MUD so I could code up a text based virtual reality. Or to get a war game called Conquer working on Linux. Or maybe get xTrek working on my system. [I think I mostly was trying to become a game developer by just building stuff versus actually coding stuff. I cave-man debugged a lot of things using stuff I had learned in FORTRAN but it wasn't actually making new things.]

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • lkml: remove eight obsolete architectures

      In the end, it seems that while the eight architectures are extremely
      different, they all suffered the same fate: There was one company in
      charge of an SoC line, a CPU microarchitecture and a software ecosystem,
      which was more costly than licensing newer off-the-shelf CPU cores from
      a third party (typically ARM, MIPS, or RISC-V). It seems that all the
      SoC product lines are still around, but have not used the custom CPU
      architectures for several years at this point.

    • Linux 4.17 Spring Cleaning To Drop Some Old CPU Architectures

      Longtime Linux kernel developer Arnd Bergmann is working to drop a number of old and obsolete CPU architectures from the next kernel cycle, Linux 4.17.

      The obsolete CPU architectures set to be removed include Blackfin, CRIS, FR-V, M32R, MN10300, META (Metag), and TILE. Managing to escape its death sentence is the Unicore32 architecture with its port maintainer claiming it’s still actively being used and maintained.

    • [Older] Linus Torvalds Interview by Kristaps

      Interviewer: we all know who Linus is, but not many people know he’s also a proficient diver. Why don’t we start at the beginning: where you first started diving, and when you started to take diving seriously.

      Actually, it was related to open source, in some way. [...]

    • Linux Foundation

      • NATS Messaging Project Joins Cloud Native Computing Foundation

        The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) voted on March 14 to accept the NATS messaging project as its newest hosted effort.

        The NATS project is an open-source distributed messaging technology that got its start seven years ago and has already been deployed by multiple organizations including Ericsson, Comcast, Samsung and General Electric (GE).

        “NATS has room to grow as cloud native adds more use cases and grows adoption, driven by Kubernetes and containers,” Alexis Richardson, Chair of the Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) at the CNCF told eWEEK. “CNCF provides a way to scale community and education so that adopters can engage faster and at all levels.”

    • Graphics Stack

      • Six Candidates Are Vying For This Year’s X.Org Foundation Board

        There are six candidates running for this year’s X.Org Foundation Board of Directors with four seats being open this election.

        Those six candidates for this year’s X.Org elections include Eric Anholt (Broadcom), Robert Foss (Collabora), Bryce Harrington (Samsung), Keith Packard (HP), Laurent Pinchart (Ideas on Board), and Harry Wentland (AMD).

      • Vulkan 1.1.71 Released As The First Update To Vulkan 1.1

        The first point release to the Vulkan 1.1 release from earlier this month is now available. Vulkan 1.1 promoted a lot of functionality to core while also officially adding sub-groups and protected content support. This Vulkan 1.1.71 point release adds a new extension and fixes.

        This first point release to Vulkan 1.1 is officially version 1.1.71. This is because when Vulkan 1.1 was created, Khronos decided not to reset the patch number… Vulkan 1.1 was technically 1.1.70 and not 1.1.0. So now with this first update it’s bumped to Vulkan 1.1.71.

      • AMDVLK Vulkan Driver Updated With Improvements For Sub-Groups & Multi-View

        The AMD developers working on their official cross-platform “AMDVLK” Vulkan driver have updated their open-source code-base for Linux users.

        On Friday the AMD developers pushed to the open-source repository their latest work, their first update since introducing Vulkan 1.1 support back on launch day earlier this month.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Ebony and Ivory, icons together in perfect harmony

      Writing about taste, style and colors is like unraveling chaos. There’s no end to it, and everyone has their own particular taste. Flat and shiny icons seem to be quite popular nowadays, but I’m actually looking for something calmer, less conspicuous, and perhaps less eye-wearing. You want to see things when you need to focus. The rest of the time, the desktop elements should be a neutral background. Nothing speaks neutral like gray.

      Over the years, I’ve tested and tried a lot of available art packages. I won’t backlink to all of them, please peruse the software section at your own delight and peril. I’ve never quite found what I needed, until recently. ACYLS and Ghost Flat are good candidates but Numix White seems to offer the best overall results, except this set might be hard to come by, and we’re cheating color wise. Well, if you have any ideas or suggestions, send them over. And enjoy the full spectrum of your desktop.

    • Best 50 HD Wallpapers for Ubuntu

      Wallpapers are useful in many ways depending on the visual it contains for example if there is a motivational quote on it, it helps to motivate you. The images are the best type of wallpaper because they have an impact on the mind of a human being. So if you are a working professional and have to work continuously on a computer then your desktop cab be a source of inspiration and happiness.

      So today we are going to share 50 best HD Wallpapers for your Ubuntu which will keep your desktop fresh.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Kdenlive Café #27 and #28 – You can’t miss it

        Timeline refactoring, new Pro features, packages for fast and easy install, Windows version and a bunch of other activities are happening in the Kdenlive world NOW!

      • Kubuntu 17.10 Guide for Newbie Part 9

        This is the 9th article, the final part of the series. This ninth article gives you more documentations to help yourself in using Kubuntu 17.10. The resources are online links to certain manuals and ebooks specialized for Kubuntu basics, command lines usage, software installation instructions, how to operate LibreOffice and KDE Plasma.

      • KDE’s Elisa Music Player Preparing For Its v0.1 Released

        We have been tracking the development of Elisa, one of several KDE music players, since development started about one year ago. Following the recent alpha releases, the KDE Elisa 0.1 stable release is on the way.

        Elisa developers are preparing the Elisa v0.1 release and they plan to have it out around the middle of April.

      • KDE Connect Keeps Getting Better For Interacting With Your Desktop From Android

        KDE Connect is the exciting project that allows you to leverage your KDE desktop from Android tablets/smartphones for features like sending/receiving SMS messages from your desktop, toggling music, sharing files, and much more. KDE Connect does continue getting even better.

      • First blog & KDE Connect media control improvements

        I’ve started working on KDE Connect last November. My first big features were released yesterday in KDE Connect 1.8 for Android, so cause for celebration and a blog post!

        My first big feature is media notifications. KDE Connect has, since it’s inception, allowed you to remotely control your music and video’s. Now you can also do this with a notification, like all Android music apps do! So next time a bad song comes up, you don’t need to switch to the KDE Connect app. Just click next on the notification without closing you current app. And just in case you don’t like notifications popping up, there’s an option to disable it.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Ubuntu Tried Adding Synaptics Support Back To GNOME’s Mutter

        GNOME developers previously dropped support for Synaptics and other input drivers from Mutter in favor of the universal libinput stack that is also Wayland-friendly. Canonical developers tried to get Synaptics support on X11 added back into Mutter but it looks clear now that was rejected.

        Canonical’s Will Cooke reported in this week’s Ubuntu happenings that they were trying to add upstream support for Synaptics to Mutter, complementing the libinput support. While it’s great Canonical trying to contribute upstream to GNOME, Synaptics support was previously dropped as being a maintenance burden and with libinput support getting into rather good shape.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Long live Release Engineering

          y involvement in Fedora goes back to late 2003 early 2004 somewhere as a packager for fedora.us. I started by getting a few packages in to scratch some of my itches and I saw it as a way to give back to the greater open source community. Around FC3 somewhere I stepped up to help in infrastructure to rebuild the builders in plague, the build system we used before koji and that we used for EPEL(Something that I helped form) for awhile until we got external repo support in koji.

          I was involved in the implementation of koji in Fedora, I joined OLPC as a build and release engineer, where I oversaw a move of the OS they shipped from FC6 to F8, and laid a foundation for the move to F9. I left OLPC when Red Hat opensourced RHN Satellite as “spacewalk project” I joined Red Hat as the release engineer for both, after a brief period there was some reorganisation in engineering that resulted in me handing off the release engineering tasks to someone closer the the engineers working on the code. As a result I worked on Fedora full time helping Jesse Keating. When he decided to work on the internal migration from CVS to git I took over as the lead.

          [...]

          Recently I have accepted a Job offer to become the manager of a different team inside of Red Hat.

    • Debian Family

      • OSCAL’18, call for speakers, radio hams, hackers & sponsors reminder

        The OSCAL organizers have given a reminder about their call for papers, booths and sponsors (ask questions here). The deadline is imminent but you may not be too late.

        OSCAL is the Open Source Conference of Albania. OSCAL attracts visitors from far beyond Albania (OpenStreetmap), as the biggest Free Software conference in the Balkans, people come from many neighboring countries including Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia, Greece and Italy. OSCAL has a unique character unlike any other event I’ve visited in Europe and many international guests keep returning every year.

      • RcppClassicExamples 0.1.2
      • RDieHarder 0.1.4

        Per a CRAN email sent to 300+ maintainers, this package (just like many others) was asked to please register its S3 method. So we did, and also overhauled a few other packagaging standards which changed since the last upload in 2014.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • If you hitch a ride with a scorpion…

    I haven’t seen a blog post or notice about this, but according to the Twitters, Coverity has stopped supporting online scanning for open source projects. Is anybody shocked by this? Anybody?

    [...]

    Not sure what the story is with Coverity, but it probably has something to do with 1) they haven’t been able to monetize the service the way they hoped, or 2) they’ve been able to monetize the service and don’t fancy spending the money anymore or 3) they’ve pivoted entirely and just aren’t doing the scanning thing. Not sure which, don’t really care — the end result is the same. Open source projects that have come to depend on this now have to scramble to replace the service.

    [...]

    I’m not going to go all RMS, but the only way to prevent this is to have open tools and services. And pay for them.

  • About Campus Party + 20 years of OSI

    This year was the 4th year that I attended Campus Party, and with butterflies, in my belly, I went over there to show Atelier and do two talks: One about Qt and one about Free Software.

    We are working on AtCore and Atelier since 2016, and on the couple weeks of January, we made the first release of AtCore. That triggered a lot of feelings. And with the good part of those feelings, I made some partnerships(To get a 3DPrinter and material) and went to Campus Party to show our work.

  • 2018 Affilaite and Individual Member Election Results

    The OSI would like to thank all of those who ran for the Board. Volunteering to serve the OSI and support the Open Source community is a tremendous commitment in time and energy–we truly appreciate their willingness to contribute to our continued success and participate in our ongoing work to promote and protect open source software, communities, and development as well as the ideals and ethos inherent to the open source movement.

    The winners of the 2018 Board of Directors elections are,

    VM Brasseur (elected by the Individual Membership)
    Chris Lamb (elected by the Affiliate Membership)
    Faidon Liambotis (elected by the Affiliate Membership)
    Josh Simmons (elected by the Individual Membership)

  • Web Browsers

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Google Opens Maps APIs and World Becomes Dev Playground

      Google this week announced that it will open its Maps APIs to video game developers, which could result in far more realistic settings in augmented reality games. With access to real-time map updates and rich location data, developers will have many choices of settings for their games.

      The APIs will provide devs with what Google has described as a “living model of the world” to use as a foundation for game worlds. Developers will have access to more than 100 million 3D buildings, roads, landmarks and parks from more than 200 countries around the globe.

  • Funding

    • Easily Fund Open Source Projects With These Platforms

      Financial support is one of the many ways to help Linux and Open Source community. This is why you see “Donate” option on the websites of most open source projects.

      While the big corporations have the necessary funding and resources, most open source projects are developed by individuals in their spare time. However, it does require one’s efforts, time and probably includes some overhead costs too. Monetary supports surely help drive the project development.

      If you would like to support open source projects financially, let me show you some platforms dedicated to open source and/or Linux.

  • BSD

    • HAMMER2 Gets Many Fixes On The Latest DragonFlyBSD Git

      The HAMMER2 file-system has been available with install-time support since DragonFlyBSD 5.0 while the latest Git code continues to revise this next-generation FS for DragonFly. Landing overnight in DragonFlyBSD were several HAMMER and HAMMER2 improvements.

    • [Older] Exploring permutations and a mystery with BSD and GNU split filenames

      In summary, gsplit’s default file naming behavior is to add a letter to the prefix and suffix of a filename whenever it reaches 26^r – 26 files (with r being the current length of the suffix), so you don’t need to worry about running out of filenames (just disk space, haha).

    • Turbocharging ZFS Data Recovery

      Besides being able to display the new debug information, zdb has another new feature that brings its capabilities on par with the kernel: the ability to set global libzpool variables.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Intel SGX Enclave Support Added To GCC

      The latest feature addition to the GCC compiler this week is support for Intel’s new “ENCLV”.

      ENCLV is a new intrinsic that is part of the Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX). The Enclave happens to be a trusted execution environment embedded into a process with isolated memory regions of code.data. Enclaves are protected areas of execution and the ENCLV instruction is needed to put application code into that special mode.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Developers dread Visual Basic 6, IBM Db2, SharePoint – survey

      Stack Overflow’s annual survey has revealed the tools and tech that developers love to hate: Visual Basic 6, IBM Db2 and SharePoint.

      According to the poll, which took in the views of more than 100,000 devs, Rust is the most loved programming language for the third year running. It is closely followed by Kotlin, which makes its debut in the survey.

      [...]

      At the other end of the spectrum is Visual Basic 6, which has been voted most dreaded programming language. Visual Basic 6 is also linked to lower pay, with Stack Overflow saying that devs using it are “paid less even given years of experience”.

Leftovers

  • Porsche and Bugatti turn to 3D printing for complex or rare parts

    The last time we looked at 3D printing in the automotive world, it was still a technique limited to startups like Divergent 3D or Local Motors. But in the last few months, there’s been growing evidence that the big OEMs are waking up to the advantages of additive manufacturing. In recent weeks, we’ve seen Bugatti reveal that it has been 3D printing brake calipers out of titanium, followed soon after by news that Porsche has been using the technique to recreate out-of-stock parts for its classic cars.

  • My Search for Freedom in the Swedish Countryside
  • An information apocalypse is coming. How can we protect ourselves?
  • Science

    • Scolding female scientists for embracing Instagram doesn’t solve the gender gap in STEM
    • The battle for digital supremacy
    • Meet the tech evangelist who now fears for our mental health

      As her children grew up, she started to be disturbed by her son’s apparent compulsion to play video games. “Technology takes parents out of control. I can’t compete with an amazing monster, that level of dopamine. He doesn’t want to eat with us, to be with us, because it’s not as exciting,“ she says. She bought a Circle, a device that allows you to manage the whole family’s internet access, controlling which devices are online at which times and what they can view. “My son hid it,” she says. She tried to turn the wifi off, but he stood guarding it, blocking her way. She still does not know where the Circle is. “In theory,” she says, “if you’ve got compliant children, this would be perfect.” Perhaps that is why her combination to the safe, with his devices and hers, is 12 digits long.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • U.S. Fires a Warning Shot at Silicon Valley With Theranos Case

      “The Theranos story is an important lesson for Silicon Valley,” Jina Choi, director of the agency’s San Francisco office, said in a statement. “Innovators who seek to revolutionize and disrupt an industry must tell investors the truth about what their technology can do today, not just what they hope it might do someday.”

    • The known unknowns of plastic pollution

      Unfortunately, of the 6.3bn tonnes of plastic waste produced since the 1950s only 9% has been recycled and another 12% incinerated. The rest has been dumped in landfills or the natural environment. Often, as with disposable coffee cups, drinks bottles, sweet wrappers and other packets that account for much of the plastic produced in Europe and America, this happens after a brief, one-off indulgence. If the stuff ends up in the sea, it can wash up on a distant beach or choke a seal. Exposed to salt water and ultraviolet light, it can fragment into “microplastics” small enoughto find their way into fish bellies. From there, it seems only a short journey to dinner plates.

    • Plastic and cigarette butts make up most of debris in waterways

      Across Sydney’s beaches, the most common type of rubbish recorded was cigarette butts, which accounted for 31 per cent of all rubbish collected, with 147,900 collected since 2010. Nationally, they accounted for 21 per cent of all debris.

      In second place was foam and plastic packaging, collectively making up more than a fifth of the debris.

      `

    • Is India’s Bangalore doomed to be the next Cape Town?

      A recent report has said the south Indian city of Bangalore could be doomed, like Cape Town in South Africa, to face the threat of running out of drinking water. But is this really the case? The BBC’s Imran Qureshi investigates.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • On Not Being Refuted

      Several million people have now read my articles on the lack of evidence of Russian government guilt for the Salisbury attack. That’s over 300,000 unique visitors on this little blog alone so far, and it has been repeated on hundreds of sites all over the internet. My own tweets on the subject have been retweeted over 12,500 times and received 8 million impressions. I know that journalists from every mainstream media outlet you can mention have seen the material, because of numerous tweets from them none of which address any of the facts, but instead call me a “Conspiracy nutter” or variants of that, some very rude.

      Yet what I wrote has not been refuted. It would be very easy to refute were it not true. The government would just have to say “Porton Down have stated that they have definitely identified the nerve agent as made in Russia”. They have not said that. Most extraordinarily, not one mainstream media “journalist” has asked a minister the question: “You keep using this phrase the nerve agent is “of a type developed by Russia”. Are you able to confirm it was actually made in Russia?” .

      There is no excuse for this. Literally hundreds of mainstream media “journalists” have slavishly reproduced the propaganda phrase “of a type developed by Russia” without a single one of them every querying this rather odd wording, or why it is the government always uses that precise wording again and again and again.

    • The Tip of the Iceberg: My Lai Fifty Years On

      Beginning just before 8 a.m. on March 16th, the three platoons of Charlie Company were airlifted to the fringes of the Vietnamese hamlets where they expected to encounter fierce enemy resistance. The hail of bullets from helicopter gunships that churned up the earth around them and aimed at suppressing potential enemy fire, created for many of these soldiers who had never experienced combat the impression that they’d been dropped in the midst of the “hot landing zone” Captain Medina had promised them. But as Army photographer Ron Haeberle, assigned to document the assault, would later testify, there was “no hostile fire.” The headquarters of the 48th and what remained of its fighters had taken refuge west into the mountains after being decimated during the Tet Offensive a month before. And the few VC who had been visiting their families around My Lai, hardly ignorant of American movements, had gotten out by dawn on the 16th.

    • 50 Years After My Lai Massacre in Vietnam, Revisiting the Slaughter the U.S. Military Tried to Hide

      Fifty years ago, on March 16, 1968, U.S. soldiers attacked the Vietnamese village of My Lai. Even though the soldiers met no resistance, they slaughtered more than 500 Vietnamese women, children and old men over the next four hours, in what became known as the My Lai massacre. After the massacre, the U.S. military attempted to cover up what happened. But in 1969 a young reporter named Seymour Hersh would reveal a 26-year-old soldier named William Calley was being investigated for killing 109 Vietnamese civilians. Today, memorials have been held in My Lai to mark the 50th anniversary of this horrific attack.

    • Hamburg Islamist knife attacker gets life in prison

      His aim was to kill as many German Christians as possible to avenge the suffering of Muslims worldwide, they said.

    • Nation of Islam leader Farrakhan delivers anti-Semitic speech

      The Nation of Islam is a designated hate group [...]

      [...]

      Rep. Keith Ellison faced scrutiny during his bid for Democratic National Committee chair over his past ties with the group, and a previous CNN review revealed the Minnesota Democrat had a decade-long involvement with NOI.

    • Pakistani court wants names, ages & family info of those who left Islam

      On Monday, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), ordered Pakistan’s Citizen Authority (NADRA) provide information on residents who reportedly changed their religion from Islam to Qadianism. Qadiani, or Ahmadi Muslims are believers of a minority Islamic sect considered heretical by other, mainstream, Muslims.

      [...]

      Along with providing their names, the court also directed the citizen authority to provide their ages, international travel history, and their parents’ names. In 1974 the Pakistani constitution was amended to declare Ahmadis “non-Muslims.

    • Islamic scholar with 109,000 Twitter followers calls for those who leave Islam to be killed

      Ex-Muslim Ridvan Aydemir, writes: “Assim Alhakeem is a Saudi scholar who is ‘trying to enlighten people about Islam.’ He is quite influential on Twitter, YouTube, TV and his website. On February 24, he tweeted that apostates should be killed by Islamic law.” When he was challenged about this, “he confirmed it with more horrible words. When I retweeted it, he blocked me.”

    • How maulanas in Bangladesh use fatwas to oppress women

      The state religion of Bangladesh was still Islam. Even though passing a fatwa was illegal as per the laws of the country, it was allowed within the tenets of Islam. Islam has certain punishments specified for certain crimes. If someone commits adultery, they are to be stoned and if one is accused of something that is not Islamic, then they are to be caned a hundred and one times. In my country, fundamentalism was on the rise and the winds were blowing in their favour. As usual, women were the first to fall victim to the fatwas issued by fatwaphilic maulanas in villages across the country.

    • My husband got Imam to sleep with me for rituals – Wife tells court

      A divorce seeking wife, Musilimotu Olashuyi, on Wednesday told the Igando Customary Court in Lagos that her husband employed an Islamic preacher to have sex with her for money-making ritual.

    • The great immigration deceit

      When facing the migrant crisis in 2015, Merkel would surely have been aware of this sentiment in her own country. If she had any idea, then Merkel should have known that mass migration was not a viable long-term solution to account for low German birth rates. By fixing the root issues that are causing native Germans to have fewer children, Merkel would have been infinitely more successful in plugging the nation’s long-term demographic shortfall. Programs such a generous maternity leave, while expensive to implement, would largely negate any apparent ‘necessity’ for mass immigration from the third-world; and would avoid the litany of costs and threats to social cohesion that present themselves as a result.

    • Merkel Finally Acknowledges German “No-Go” Zones, Vows To Eliminate

      Following approval from Germany’s conservatives to cooperate with the Social Democrats (SPD) on several political impasses, German Chancellor Angela Merkel sat down with Germany’s RTL Aktuell where she discussed a number of policy positions – including an acknowledgement of Germany’s growing “no-go” zones, and the need to do something about them.

    • ‘Bury them alive!’: White South Africans fear for their future as horrific farm attacks escalate

      “South Africans have got this undying ability to believe in the bigger picture, and I’m talking about many blacks. There are lots of wonderful people of all colours that believe all of this stuff is wrong.

      “The question I would ask, given the rhetoric, is there a future for farming in South Africa? It’s not just about, is there a future for white farmers. It’s three times more dangerous to be a farmer than it is to be a policeman. It’s sad — it’s not what we want.”

    • Militia members accused of targeting Somalis to stand trial

      Months before the 2016 general election, members of a Kansas militia group that prosecutors say came to be known as the “the Crusaders” met in an office to pick the targets of bombings that they hoped would inspire a wave of attacks on Muslims throughout the U.S.

      In a business in the southwestern city of Liberal that sold mobile homes, the four men took precautions to avoid getting caught, putting their cellphones in a separate room and locking the door to prevent anyone from walking in on them. Three of them didn’t know that the fourth was wearing a wire as part of a federal investigation that would thwart their alleged plot.

      Authorities say that on the day after Election Day, they hoped to detonate four car bombs outside of a mosque and an apartment complex that was home to Somali refugees who had settled in the meatpacking town of Garden City, which is about 60 miles (95 kilometers) south of Liberal along the Oklahoma border.

    • First Recorded Successful Novichok Synthesis was in 2016 – By Iran, in Cooperation with the OPCW

      While Iran acted absolutely responsibly in cooperating with the OPCW, there are a handful of rogue states operating outwith the rule of international law, like Israel and North Korea, which refuse to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention, join the OPCW or destroy their chemical weapons stocks. Russia has cooperated in the OPCW destruction of all its chemical weapons stocks, completed last year, which included regular OPCW inspection of all the sites alleged to have been in the original “novichok” programme. Why nobody is even looking at the rogue states outwith the OPCW is a genuine puzzle.

    • Have We Learned Anything From My Lai?

      On March 16, 1968, 504 women, children and old men were shot at point-blank range by American soldiers over the course of a few hours in Son My village—407 were killed in the “My Lai 4” hamlet and another 97 were slaughtered in the hamlet known on U.S. military maps as “My Khe 4,” about a mile from My Lai. The soldiers’ mission: to “search and destroy.”

      [...]

      Destruction of the civilian population from the air was routine, with non-combatants the intended targets of an unprecedented array of weaponry.

    • Vietnam Commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the My Lai Massacre

      The AP reports that, in one instance, a family was forced into a bomb shelter that U.S. soldiers then threw grenades into.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Adrian Lamo, computer hacker who turned in whistleblower, found dead

      Lamo was known in tech circles for his computer proficiency, which earned him a high degree of notoriety among hackers and security experts. He volunteered his security and website building skills to a number of services and companies in the mid-1990s and early 2000s before turning to mischief with his hacking of a New York Times database in 2002.

      The latter earned him a federal computer hacking conviction in 2003. He plead guilty and was sentenced to six months of probation, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay the newspaper company more than $60,000 in restitution. After his sentencing, Lamo served time in jail after refusing to allow the U.S. Marshals to collect his DNA — a standard practice for federal convicts, but one Lamo objected to on “religious grounds.”

    • Hacker who revealed Wikileaks source dead, Assange calls him ‘petty conman’

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on Friday described Lamo as a “petty conman and betrayer of basic human decency”.

    • Hacker Adrian Lamo who turned in Chelsea Manning for leaking classified government documents dies in unknown circumstances at the age of 37 as Wikileaks Julian Assange calls him ‘a conman’

      Kate Flavin, a spokeswoman for Sedgwick County’s regional forensic science center told Business Insider that an autopsy is being conducted and will determine the cause of death.

      Flavin also told the outlet that she was unsure when Lamo died or how his body was found.

      [...]

      Lamo was well aware of his infamy telling US News last January that turning Manning in was not his ‘most honorable moment’ but he had made peace with his decision.

      ‘So many people think they know why I did what I did or what I was thinking or why I made my choice. And almost without exception they’re wrong,’ he said. ‘There’s essentially a public avatar that’s Adrian Lamo that they’re looking at, and then there’s me. And I can’t be upset about what they think of something that isn’t me.’

    • Decision shines new light on public officials’ emails

      Municipalities and government agencies are working to develop retention and retrieval policies and guidelines for public officials and employees who use private devices.

    • Adrian Lamo dead age 37: Wikileaks’ Assange blasts hacker behind Chelsea Manning capture

      The cause of Lamo’s death has not yet been made public, but a Sedgwick County coroner in Kansas, where Lamo lived, confirmed the news last night.

    • US hacker, who led to WikiLeaks whistleblower Manning’s arrest, dies

      Earlier, in a 2011 interview to The Guardian, Lamo had expressed some regrets about a possible lengthy prison sentence for Manning. He said he thought of Manning “every day”, adding: “The decision was not one I decided to make, but was thrust upon me.”

      Interestingly, Lamo’s hacking skills had also landed him in law enforcement authorities’ net for breaking into computers at the New York Times, Yahoo and Microsoft.

      Not to much surprise, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had disapproved of Lamo. On Friday, responding to Lamo’s news of death he wrote on Twitter, “Lamo, a fake journalist, petty conman & betrayer of basic human decency, promised alleged source @xychelsea journalistic protection, friendship and support, then sold him to the FBI.”

    • FBI to quiz Pamela Anderson over her visits to Julian Assange at London Embassy

      She made her name as a Playboy pin-up but now former Baywatch TV star Pamela Anderson could be forced to bare all to the FBI who want to quiz her about her friendship with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

      According to US website Radar Online, the 50-year-old faces a grilling over her visits to Assange who has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012 after being accused in Sweden of rape and sexual assault by two women.

      Assange feared that if he went to Sweden to defend himself he would be extradited to America where he is wanted over Wikileaks’ releases of US military documents. Sweden dropped the sex charges last year.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • These provocative images show Russian [shills] sought to inflame debate over climate change, fracking and Dakota pipeline

      Russian [shills] used Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to inflame U.S. political debate over energy policy and climate change, a finding that underscores how the Russian campaign of social media manipulation went beyond the 2016 presidential election, congressional investigators reported Thursday.

      The new report from the House Science, Space and Technology Committee includes previously unreleased social media posts that Russians created on such contentious political issues as the Dakota Access pipeline, government efforts to curb global warming and hydraulic fracturing, a gas mining technique often called “fracking.”

    • Republican investigation links Russian [shills] to #NoDAPL movement

      A new report from the Republican majority staff on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology claims [shills] from Russia exploited the #NoDAPL movement in order to undermine America’s energy sector. The investigation uncovered posts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, showing an attempt at overseas influence.

      [...]

      The social media posts cited in the report originated from accounts with names like “Native Americans United” and “Blacktivist.” The latter name has already been associated with Russian [astroturfer] farms by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III, a former head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who has indicted a Russian government agency and 13 Russians for meddling in American politics.

    • ‘SOS’: the rainforest distress call carved into Sumatra’s oil palms

      “Save Our Souls is a message communicated to those at a distance, a reminder of the connectedness we share with nature,” he says of the acronym. “As more of the forests are lost, we lose a little bit of ourselves in the process.”

    • Halal butchers who chanted and danced as they tortured animals walk free from court

      Hussain and Hussein received suspended prison sentences yesterday at Leeds Magistrates’ Court after admitting causing unnecessary suffering to animals. Abattoir boss William Woodward was jailed for 20 weeks.

  • Finance

    • Finns falling below poverty line due to transport costs

      Heikki Liimatainen, the head of Transport Research Centre Verne at Tampere University of Technology, is certain that transport costs have dragged people below the poverty threshold also in Finland.

    • America’s richest 2% made more money in 2017 than the cost of the entire safety net

      U.S. wealth increased by $8.5 trillion in 2017, with the richest 2% getting about $1.15 trillion (details here), which is more than the total cost of Medicaid (federal AND state) and the complete safety net, both mandatory and discretionary, including the low-income programs that make up the social support package derisively referred to as ‘welfare.’

    • Are You Ready To Consider That Capitalism Is The Real Problem?

      It’s not only young voters who feel this way. A YouGov poll in 2015 found that 64% of Britons believe that capitalism is unfair, that it makes inequality worse. Even in the U.S., it’s as high as 55%. In Germany, a solid 77% are skeptical of capitalism. Meanwhile, a full three-quarters of people in major capitalist economies believe that big businesses are basically corrupt.

    • Big Telco hates “regulation,” but they love their billions in government handouts

      When it comes to killing Net Neutrality, Big Telco’s major talking point is that “government regulation” has no place in telcoms; but the reality is that the nation’s telecommunications providers are the recipients of regulatory gifts that run to $5B/year, and are expected to do very little in return for this corporate welfare.

    • This City Just Passed the First Bitcoin Mining Ban in the US

      Plattsburgh, New York has imposed an 18-month moratorium on Bitcoin mining to prevent miners from using all the city’s cheap electricity.

    • Spotify will go public on April 3

      The company will go public through an unorthodox direct listing, which doesn’t involve underwriters or require the company to sell any of its stock. Such a move is unusual for a company of Spotify’s size.

    • Adapt or die: How to cope when the bots take your job

      Reports that robots, automation and artificial intelligence are going to put millions of us out of work may sound troubling, but should we believe them? That largely depends on whether we’re technology optimists or pessimists. In our Future of Work series we look at how jobs might change in the future.

    • If You Ratify The CETA Trade Deal, You’ll Break The Law, Legal Expert Tells EU Member States

      It’s an interesting argument, which the European Commission will doubtless do its best to ignore in the hope that it can just steamroller CETA through the ratification process before the CJEU issues its ruling. However, if, as seems likely, CETA’s investment chapter is indeed ruled illegal by the top court, this will present a rather thorny problem for the EU. Given the other challenges it faces thanks to rising populism in many EU countries, the Commission could probably do without this kind of constitutional crisis that would undermine further people’s support for the European project. That might be a good reason for putting those ratifications on hold for a while.

    • How Toys R Us was doomed by a leveraged buyout and shortsighted strategy

      Toys R Us will go down as a cautionary tale in retail — an emblem of the dangers of leveraged buyouts and of strategic shortsightedness.

    • The Trump administration is a government of billionaires and their sycophants
  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Meet the ‘Outrage Fairy’ Protecting You on the Internet

      Though the 2017 [sic] election underlined America’s vulnerability to cyberattacks and data theft, protecting the privacy of individuals, which she says is the first thing authoritarian regimes try to strip from their citizens, has always been her mission.

    • Trump Attorney: Porn Star Broke Nondisclosure Pact, Could Owe $20M

      The filing by attorney Michael Cohen seeks to move actress Stormy Daniels’ lawsuit from a state-level court to federal court in Los Angeles. It accuses Daniels of violating the agreement more than 20 times.

    • Andrew McCabe, ex-FBI deputy and Trump target, fired days before retiring

      Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director and a frequent target of Donald Trump, has been fired less than two days before he was due to retire.

    • The corporate media ignores the rise of oligarchy. The rest of us shouldn’t
    • Malice As #News

      The theme: fake news. Which, of course, has a strong Indian edition. The realisation is growing that, in the bruising online battles these days over politics, policies and personalities, with trench warriors raining poison arrows at each other, fake news has become a key weapon of the online arsenal. On March 8, Science published a paper by MIT rese­archers that proves fake news travels faster on Twitter, though many suspect it is more pervasive and travels fast enough on Facebook too.

    • The Vulture On The Wire

      There’s no escaping it. Being on social media is like stepping out in Delhi’s toxic winter smog—even if you’re trying to find good cheer, a vile murk defines the ambient mood. Trolls are everywhere, like suspen­ded particulate matter. You could post a picture of a lunch or of an outing with friends. Share an article on the party in power or an innocuous paper showing that coffee isn’t good for digestion. If you are visible or vocal on ­social media, you are fair game for these gremlins, and a special menu of malice, rage and harassment is reserved for you.

    • Situationer: Pakistan’s social media conundrum as election looms

      In the light of growing crackdown against social media activists in the country, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal had announced plans to formulate a framework to monitor social media in order to prevent it from being used as a tool to malign national institutions and spread anarchy or extremism.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Ten months later: People of Turkey still denied access to Wikipedia

      It has been ten months since the block of Wikipedia in Turkey. For almost a year, the 80 million people of Turkey have been denied access to information on topics ranging from medicine, to history, to current events on Wikipedia. After ten months, and in the midst of the school term, the need to restore access to Wikipedia in Turkey becomes more urgent every day.

    • Vigil for imprisoned writers in Saudi Arabia

      For more than three years, English PEN has been holding regular vigils outside the Saudi Embassy in London in support of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi and his lawyer Waleed Abulkhair whom we believe to be detained in violation of their right to freedom of expression.

    • Pakistan’s blasphemy laws persecute the weakest of the weak

      Pakistan’s blasphemy laws date back to the military dictatorship of Gen. Muhammad Zia ul Haq. In 1980, making a derogatory remark against any Islamic personage was defined as a crime under Pakistan’s Penal Code Section 295, punishable by three years in prison. In 1982, another clause was added that prescribed life imprisonment for “willful desecration of the Quran” and, in 1986, a separate clause was added to punish blasphemy against Prophet Mohammed with “death, or imprisonment for life.”

      Bibi’s case illustrates how blasphemy laws are used to persecute the weakest of the weak among Pakistan’s religious minorities. As a poor Christian from a low caste, Bibi was among the most vulnerable and susceptible to discrimination. And the legal system — which, in theory, should be designed to protect the innocent — failed her in every way

    • Has Pakistan’s top judge failed Asia Bibi?

      Asia Bibi, a 52-year-old Catholic mother of five, was a fruit picker from Sheikhupura, a town in Punjab. Her sentence is based on the allegation that she insulted the Prophet Mohammad during an argument with Muslim farm workers over a glass of water.

      She has pleaded innocent and challenged her conviction in the highest court after the Lahore High Court chose not to overturn the earlier ruling.

      However, her appeal has been pending in the Supreme Court since November 2014.

    • European Parliament ambushed by doctored version of pending internet censorship rules that sneaks filtering into all online services

      hankfully, the filters had been largely erased from the negotiating drafts, thanks to vigorous debate and activism. But last week, German MEP Axel Voss, rapporteur for the Copyright Directive, introduced a new draft that brought the filters back, and imposed them on virtually every kind of online platform, vastly expanding their scope beyond the worst drafts of the earlier proposals.

      What’s worse, Voss apparently didn’t author this draft: according to the Word metadata in the document, it was authored by an unelected European Commission bureaucrat who has previously advocated for the filters.

    • Why we must have the right to call Allah gay

      In Britain in the 21st century you can be punished for mocking gods. You can be expelled from the kingdom, frozen out, if you dare to diss Allah. Perversely adopting medieval Islamic blasphemy laws, modern Britain has made it clear that it will tolerate no individual who says scurrilous or reviling things about the Islamic god or prophet. Witness the authorities’ refusal to grant entrance to the nation to the alt-right Christian YouTuber Lauren Southern. Her crime? She once distributed a leaflet in Luton with the words ‘Allah is gay, Allah is trans, Allah is lesbian…’, and according to the letter she received from the Home Office informing her of her ban from Britain, such behaviour poses a ‘threat to the fundamental interests of [British] society’.

    • Sadiq Khan wants tech firms to do more to tackle hate speech
    • Exclusive: Activist Lauri Love Speaks Out After Twitter Suspension

      The activism community was shocked recently by the news that Twitter had permanently suspended UK-based activist, Lauri Love. Love recently won a landmark case in a drawn-out legal battle against extradition to the United States. Following the suspension, human rights activists commenced calls for Love’s account to be reinstated immediately, to no avail at the time of writing.

      Last month, UK Judges ruled against the United States’ effort to extradite Love to the US, on the grounds that extraditing him would be: “Oppressive by reason of his physical and mental condition.” The finding is likely to have an ongoing effect, possibly setting legal precedent for future extradition cases.

      FairTrials.org wrote of the importance of the finding: “Love was facing criminal allegations in the United States despite never having visited the country, and he also had significant mental health issues that could deteriorate considerably if he were extradited… The High Court’s ruling on Lauri Love’s case yesterday provides welcome relief and hope to UK extradition lawyers and campaigners. ”

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Cambridge Analytica Took 50M Facebook Users’ Data—And Both Companies Owe Answers

      And yet, following Facebook’s announcement Friday night, sources close to Cambridge confirmed to WIRED that this data was still accessible as recently as last year. According to one source, a trove of Facebook users’ personal data was visible on Cambridge’s internal databases in 2017, despite SCL’s current denial and past promises to both Cambridge employees and Facebook that it had all been deleted in 2015. The data included Facebook IDs, and responses to personality surveys that had been administered by Kogan in 2015. Another source close to the company recalled seeing a database called “Kogan-import” in Cambridge’s system, which was only visible to a small number of staffers in data science, engineering, and IT. The source says the database was tightly controlled in terms of who could edit or delete it.

    • How Cambridge Analytica turned Facebook ‘likes’ into a lucrative political tool

      The algorithm used in the Facebook data breach trawled though personal data for information on sexual orientation, race, gender – and even intelligence and childhood trauma

    • Revealed: 50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach

      The data analytics firm that worked with Donald Trump’s election team and the winning Brexit campaign harvested millions of Facebook profiles of US voters, in one of the tech giant’s biggest ever data breaches, and used them to build a powerful software program to predict and influence choices at the ballot box.

      A whistleblower has revealed to the Observer how Cambridge Analytica – a company owned by the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, and headed at the time by Trump’s key adviser Steve Bannon – used personal information taken without authorisation in early 2014 to build a system that could profile individual US voters, in order to target them with personalised political advertisements.

      Christopher Wylie, who worked with a Cambridge University academic to obtain the data, told the Observer: “We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles. And built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons. That was the basis the entire company was built on.”

      Documents seen by the Observer, and confirmed by a Facebook statement, show that by late 2015 the company had found out that information had been harvested on an unprecedented scale. However, at the time it failed to alert users and took only limited steps to recover and secure the private information of more than 50 million individuals.

    • ‘They’ll squash you like a bug’: how Silicon Valley keeps a lid on leakers

      The interrogation was a technicality; they already knew he was guilty of leaking some innocuous information to the press. They had records of a screenshot he’d taken, links he had clicked or hovered over, and they strongly indicated they had accessed chats between him and the journalist, dating back to before he joined the company.

    • Judge eases feds’ case against NSA hoarder

      A federal judge handed prosecutors a significant win this week over a computer specialist accused of stealing a massive quantity of classified documents and data during two decades working at the National Security Agency and other agencies.

      U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis suggested last month that he might require prosecutors to prove that the contractor formerly assigned to an elite NSA hacking unit, Harold Martin, knew he had the 20 specific documents listed in a 20-count indictment accusing him of illegally retaining national security information at his Maryland home.

    • Selling you out: Mass public surveillance for corporate gain

      Private companies have built businesses around the concept of creating huge databases of aggregated data collected through mass public surveillance. This is a form of “surveillance capitalism” where the focus is on monetizing new forms of data extraction rather than creating goods. The money is made, in large part, through charging a fee to federal, state, and local law enforcement to have access to the data and analytical tools to analyze all the information collected by these companies.

    • Facebook brings ‘Lite’ version to U.S.
    • Facebook Lite is coming to Canada, Australia, the UK and US
    • Facebook Lite to launch in developed countries, including U.S
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • After the niqab: what life is like for French women who remove the veil

      Testimonies of those who’ve chosen to “leave the niqab behind” are rare. The number of women who have adopted it is extremely low, and the ones who then choose to renounce it must often sever their old relationships and adopt what is in many ways a new identity – they change their e-mail addresses, phone numbers and move on completely. For them the full-length veil has become something firmly in the past, representative of a transitional stage in their lives.

    • China will ban people with poor ‘social credit’ from planes and trains

      Starting in May, Chinese citizens who rank low on the country’s burgeoning “social credit” system will be in danger of being banned from buying plane or train tickets for up to a year, according to statements recently released by the country’s National Development and Reform Commission.

      With the social credit system, the Chinese government rates citizens based on things like criminal behavior and financial misdeeds, but also on what they buy, say, and do. Those with low “scores” have to deal with penalties and restrictions. China has been working towards rolling out a full version of the system by 2020, but some early versions of it are already in place.

    • Journalists say arrest of Ottawa reporter is abnormal, unacceptable

      The Crown has not yet decided if charges will proceed.

    • Uber accused of silencing women who claim sexual assault by drivers

      Court records in a California class-action lawsuit revealed that the ride-sharing firm has argued that female passengers who speak up about being raped in an Uber must individually settle their cases through arbitration, a private process that often results in confidentiality agreements.

    • “Clock boy” family loses racism lawsuit against city, school, and police

      Police and school defeat lawsuit over boy who was accused of building hoax bomb.

    • Facebook suspends Trump-linked firm Cambridge Analytica

      Facebook Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Paul Grewal wrote in a post Friday night that the decision was made after reports that the firm did not fully delete data given to them by a University of Cambridge professor in violation of Facebook policies.

    • Facebook suspended Donald Trump’s data operations team for misusing people’s personal information

      Facebook said late Friday that it had suspended Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), along with its political data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, for violating its policies around data collection and retention. The companies, which ran data operations for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign, are widely credited with helping Trump more effectively target voters on Facebook than his rival, Hillary Clinton. While the exact nature of their role remains somewhat mysterious, Facebook’s disclosure suggests that the company improperly obtained user data that could have given it an unfair advantage in reaching voters.

      Facebook said it cannot determine whether or how the data in question could have been used in conjunction with election ad campaigns. Cambridge Analytica did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    • Perspective | I went to prison for disclosing the CIA’s torture. Gina Haspel helped cover it up.
    • Richard Spencer says that antifa sucked all the fun out of college appearances, calls it quits

      Elements of the left say that antifa tactics — direct, physical confrontations with fascists and racists — are a “gift to the alt-right,” letting them play victim and validating their paranoid fantasies about the persecution of white dudes — but punched Nazi Richard Spencer says that antifa tactics have worked as intended, making it impossible for him to continue his on-campus recruitment tour for his forthcoming race-war.

      Spencer’s admission of antifa’s victory was part of a long, dull Youtube video he posted last Sunday, in which he announced the premature end of his “college tour,” because “When they become violent clashes and pitched battles, they aren’t fun,” adding, “Antifa is winning to the extent that they’re willing to go further than anyone else, in the sense that they will do things in terms of just violence, intimidating, and general nastiness.”

    • Enough of the shameful kowtowing to the Saudis

      Remember Raif Badawi? He is the blogger who was sentenced in 2012 to 10 years in jail, and 1,000 lashes, for daring to advocate respect for human rights, secularism and democracy in his native Saudi Arabia. When he received a first batch of 50 lashes in a public square in Jeddah in 2015 it nearly killed him. An international outcry ensued. Since then, Badawi has not been flogged again. But he remains in jail.

    • Indonesian Christians whipped over sharia-banned child’s play

      Two Indonesian Christians were publicly flogged in conservative Aceh province Feb. 27 for playing a children’s entertainment game seen as violating Islamic law, as hundreds of onlookers ridiculed them and took pictures.

    • Why Indonesia’s Christian Diaspora Fears Going Home

      The three men’s immigration claims have shone a light on the worsening religious intolerance endured by religious minorities in Muslim-majority Indonesia. Indonesia has long been seen as a religiously moderate country and has an official national motto of ‘unity in diversity’. But over the past two decades a combination of discriminatory laws and growing intolerance from some Sunni Muslims has resulted in harassment, intimidation and violence against religious minorities. Successive Indonesian governments have failed to confront this intolerance, which has only emboldened those who victimise religious minorities.

    • El Salvador’s Gangs Are Targeting Young Girls

      While a majority of El Salvador’s homicide victims are young men from poor urban areas, the gangs’ practice of explicitly targeting girls for sexual violence or coerced relationships is well known. Since 2000, the homicide rate for young women in El Salvador has also increased sharply, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization. To refuse the gangs’ demands can mean death for girls and their families.

    • Oklahoma To Experiment With Nitrogen Gas In Executions

      Oklahoma will execute prisoners using an experimental method never before attempted anywhere in the world: nitrogen hypoxia.

      Mike Hunter, the state’s attorney general, and Joe M. Allbaugh, the director of the department of corrections, announced Oklahoma will asphyxiate prisoners by locking them in a chamber that will fill with a physiologically inert gas, such as nitrogen. Such gases are not toxic but instead deplete blood oxygen levels.

      The method has never been tested, but those who support the method contend it is “more humane” than lethal injection. They point to support among advocates of voluntary euthanasia and its use in some food production processes to kill animals.

      Death penalty abolitionists, on the other hand, believe capital punishment can never be humane or just, regardless of the method. They maintain the death penalty is disproportionately used against black and poor people. It does not deter crime. People who are innocent or too mentally ill to understand their punishment are often put to death.

    • Power and the divine: self-repression in Egypt

      Focusing on the afterlife, the rewards of heaven for the just and hell for the unjust, keeps the masses in check and accepting of their social reality. This needs to change.

    • ‘Queen bee syndrome’ at workplace getting worse: study

      “Queen bee syndrome” – the phenomenon of women discriminating against other female coworkers as they rise in seniority – may be getting worse, a study has found.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Entire broadband industry will help FCC defend net neutrality repeal

      Yesterday, three trade groups that collectively represent every major home Internet and mobile broadband provider in the US filed motions to intervene in the case on behalf of the FCC. The motions for leave to intervene were filed by NCTA–The Internet & Television Association, CTIA–The Wireless Association, and USTelecom–The Broadband Association. (Yes, those are the organizations’ correct names.)

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • MPAA Brands 123Movies as the World’s Most Popular Illegal Site

        The MPAA is visiting Vietnam to discuss with local authorities how they can properly deal with movie piracy sites. One target that was singled out is 123movies, a streaming site that is said to be operated from Vietnam. According to the movie industry group, it is “the most popular illegal site in the world.”

      • ‘Dutch Pirate Bay Blocking Case Should Get a Do-Over’

        In the legal battle over the legality of the Dutch Pirate Bay blockade, Advocate General Van Peursem has advised the Supreme Court to throw out the previous order and do the case all over again. Citing recent EU jurisprudence, the Attorney General suggests that the previous freedom of entrepreneurship and information defenses are less likely to survive a do-over.

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

Posted in America, Apple, Patents at 1:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Courts of Texas
Reference: Courts of Texas

Summary: 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)

THE Eastern District of Texas (TXED/EDTX) has been getting a bad name. It’s now nationally recognised (if not internationally renowned/notorious) for fostering patent trolls. They typically use software patents granted by the USPTO and they enjoy courts whose attitude is plaintiff-friendly and tolerant/accepting of software patents in spite of Alice. After TC Heartland, however, it became a lot harder to drag companies into these courts.

“Ironically, for Eastern Texas at least, this whole gamble on the ‘litigation’ industry may, from now on, actively discourage companies from coming and encourage those which have an office there to leave that district.”The other day Watchtroll recalled a “complaint filed by SimpleAir in the Eastern District of Texas. The Federal Circuit reversed and remanded the lower court’s decision” (as usual).

It also recalled Portal Communications [1, 2], an EDTX case in which Apple is accused of patent infringement by a de facto troll (someone’s ‘monetisation’ shell). There’s also this new update on the case of an old patent troll called VirnetX. In VirnetX Inc. et al v Apple Inc. (Eastern Texas again) there was an attempt to deny Apple a right to defense:

The court denied plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment that the redesigned version of defendant’s adjudicated product infringed its network security patents because there were genuine disputes of material fact which precluded a finding of collateral estoppel.

It’s pretty clear that in spite of TC Heartland, which caused new filings in EDTX to collapse, there is still an issue. Apart from ongoing cases, there’s still the prospect of filing new lawsuits there provided the accused party has some operations there. Ironically, for Eastern Texas at least, this whole gamble on the ‘litigation’ industry may, from now on, actively discourage companies from coming and encourage those which have an office there to leave that district. We gave one example of that a week ago. Karma in action? Unemployment crisis looming?

PTAB Hatred is So Intense Among the Patent ‘Industry’ That Even Scammers Are Hailed as Champions If They Target PTAB

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 12:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Michael Shore

Summary: 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

THE patent reform in the United States is very real; it’s effective. The USPTO makes it a lot harder to pursue software patents (unless they’re disguised as something different — a subject we shall cover and tackle separately).

An anti-PTAB site of the patent microcosm currently tries to frame PTAB’s opposition as “[p]harmaceutical patent owners”, but in reality it’s just greedy law firms that oppose PTAB. It mentioned PTAB’s Chief Judge Ruschke the other day after he had once again responded to critics.

Likely in response to these concerns, Chief Judge Ruschke announced the results of an Orange Book-listed Patent Study during his “Chat with the Chief” on March 13, 2018. The meeting presentation slides can be found here. During the chat, the Chief Judge also revealed the results of an expanded panel study, which we will analyze in a future post. For the Orange Book study, the PTAB classified a petition as challenging an Orange Book-listed patent if, unsurprisingly, the patent was listed in the Orange Book when the petition was filed. The data provided was through the end of the fiscal year 2017, which ended on September 31, 2017. We will look at three of the questions asked by the Office in this study.

The author, Andrew Williams, concluded as follows: “In any event, this study by the Patent Office is certainly interesting. It does go a long way to allaying the fears of NDA holders. Nevertheless, considering that an IPR is a lose-or-draw proposition for any patent holder, and that Orange Book-listed patents are so valuable to NDA holders, this may come as little comfort to the community. Instead, anything that disrupts the balance struck by Hatch-Waxman is not going to be seen as favorable, no matter how the actual numbers have been borne out.”

The patent microcosm is attempting to guard an old (antiquated and collectively undesirable) status quo — one in which patent trolls thrived, software patents had legal ‘teeth’, and lawsuits were abundant. IAM, the patent trolls’ lobby, continues to amplify if not promote scammers and then appeals to SCOTUS for help. The author of this new piece is a patent extremist with a long history of promoting trolls and software patents.

“The USPTO is not a for-profit organisation. It exists to service those entitled to some protection in exchange for publication.”Unfortunately we have gotten used to it. All we have here is IAM, the patent trolls’ lobby, which attacks PTAB and attempts to influence/incite Justices against IPRs. IAM is toxic, but it enjoys free speech rights (even if that speech is funded by nefarious elements).

With the context being a recent IAM 'interview' (more like PTAB bashing, or an IAM piece using Andrei Iancu to smear PTAB), we at least know who orchestrates much of the propaganda. The CCIA responded the other day as follows:

Director Andrei Iancu has been making the rounds since his confirmation. In a recent interview, he suggested that “[t]here is, for sure, a perception problem in the IP community with the PTAB” and that “when you have a perception problem you have a real problem in the sense that if the IP community loses faith in what you do then it loses faith in the reliability of the system.”

Director Iancu is right. When you have a perception problem, that can create an actual problem. But instead of looking to the IP community, which has far more widely varying views than the interview gives credence to, I’d look at the Patent Office to see the real impacts.

[...]

The post-grant proceedings created by the AIA—post grant review, inter partes review, and covered business method—were designed to allow the Patent Office to correct its own errors when it issues a patent that never should have issued. Part of this process is allowing interested parties to locate prior art the examiner never located.

But part of the process is allowing parties to correct errors made by the examiner in the art they did find. Examiners miss things when they search, but they also miss things once they’ve found a reference. That’s exactly why 325(d) says that the PTAB “may take into account” if the prior art was previously at the office.

Not “must take into account” or “can’t institute”, but “may take into account.” The statute itself recognizes that sometimes examiners misunderstand or misapply art.

Well, the Patent Office (USPTO) would be wise to listen to actual companies rather than law firms. At the moment the impression we are getting is that the USPTO’s reputation is improving. If Iancu wants to be remembered positively, he’ll maintain the positive elements and reject those who pursue patents just for the sake of having more patents or making more money from the patent-granting process. The USPTO is not a for-profit organisation. It exists to service those entitled to some protection in exchange for publication.

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