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03.20.18

Links 20/3/2018: GStreamer 1.14.0, Freespire 3.0, Endless OS 3.3.13

Posted in News Roundup at 12:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Purchased a PlayStation 3 Between 2006 and 2010? You May Be Entitled to $65

      PS3 owners first qualified to receive compensation from Sony following the settlement of a lawsuit in 2016. That case dealt with the “OtherOS” feature that came with the console when it debuted. With OtherOS, Sony promised a new PlayStation that would operate like a computer, allowing users to partition their hard drive and install third-party operating systems like the open-source Linux software.

  • Server

    • Inspur Unveils Open Source Software Adapted Server at OpenPOWER Summit 2018

      Inspur, a member of the OpenPOWER Foundation, showcased its FP5280G2 server based on OpenPOWER9 that has completed the adaptation of mainstream open source software for cloud computing, big data and AI. It was the first time that this product was introduced in North America. As the initiator of the OpenPOWER Foundation, IBM disclosed more details of POWER9 processors: designed for emerging applications such as AI, cloud computing, and big data, and has 50% to 200% performance improvement compared to POWER8.

    • Updated Oracle Linux 7 update 4 ARM64/aarch64 with uek5 4.14.26-2

      We refreshed the installation media for OL7/ARM64 with the latest uek5 preview build based on upstream stable 4.14.26 and added perf and tuned.

      You can download it from the OTN OL ARM webpage. Ignore the 4.14-14 in the text, that will get updated. We’re also working on updating the Raspberry Pi 3 image to match the same version. Hopefully using grub2 there as well to make it easier to have a single image repo.

    • Oracle Linux 7 For ARM64 Updated, Using Linux 4.14 Kernel

      Oracle has made available updated installation media for Oracle Linux 7 for ARM64.

      With Oracle’s Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel 5 they are using the Linux 4.14 LTS base and that includes for this 64-bit ARM support too. Oracle has made available Oracle Linux 7 for 64-bit ARM with an “Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel 5″ based on the upstream Linux 4.14.26 kernel.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Gets Ported To China’s 32-bit “C-SKY” CPU Architecture

      While the Linux kernel maintainers are currently working on dropping support for some old CPU architectures, a new CPU architecture is looking to receive the mainline treatment.

      Hangzhou C-SKY Microsystems is a Chinese producer of CPU IP licenses and a SoC platform. The company has developed their own 32-bit embedded CPU cores for use within cameras, set-top boxes, digital video recorders, printers, and other appliances / industrial devices. C-SKY is a member of the RISC-V Foundation but their current offerings do not appear based on this ISA.

    • Which Linux Distribution Does Linus Torvalds Use in 2018?

      We know a sizeable amount of his views on Linux distros, thanks to an interview he took long ago in 2007, but who knows – could he have changed his mind?

      In a 2007 interview, Linus professed that he didn’t use Debian because he found it hard to install, a statement I find interesting because he’s the guy who wrote GIT in C.

      Anyway, he buttressed his reason for not using Debian in a later interview from 2014, when he explained that because he is responsible for maintaining his computer and all the computers used by his household, he likes to use an OS with virtually no installation hassle.

      [...]

      As far as I know, he uses Fedora on most of his computers because of its fairly good support for PowerPC. He mentioned that he used OpenSuse at one point in time and complimented Ubuntu for making Debian accessible to the mass. So most of the flak on the internet about Linus disliking Ubuntu isn’t factual.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Linux Foundation announces open source reference hypervisor project designed for IoT device development

        The Linux Foundation today announced a new embedded reference hypervisor project called ACRN (pronounced “acorn”). With engineering and code contributions from Intel Corporation, the hypervisor was built with real-time and safety-criticality in mind, and optimized to streamline embedded development. This project will provide a framework for industry leaders to build an open source embedded hypervisor specifically for the Internet of Things (IoT).

      • Linux Foundation Announces OpenBMC Project To Create Open-Source BMC Firmware

        Last week Intel announced their open-source sound firmware project while the latest project in the open-source realm comes via the Linux Foundation with the launch of OpenBMC.

        The Linux Foundation is backing the OpenBMC project community with a goal of creating an open-source baseboard management controller (BMC) firmware stack that can be used across motherboards and computing environments.

      • Linux Foundation, Intel launch open source IoT hypervisor

        The Linux Foundation has unveiled plans for a new open source project to provide streamlined embedded hypervisors for IoT devices.

        Called Acrn, the project has been assisted by Intel, which contributed code and engineering. The main thrust of the project is to create small, flexible virtual machines.

        ACRN comprises two main components: the hypervisor and its device model, complete with I/O mediators. The Linux-based hypervisor can run many ‘guest’ operating systems at the same time.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Reverse-Engineering of ARM Mali “Midgard” Now Has A Working NIR Shader Compiler

        Earlier this year work on the “Chai” open-source Mali T700 GPU driver resumed with an aim to get a working Mesa driver for this “Midgard” graphics architecture. There’s still a long battle ahead, but their NIR shader compiler is beginning to work.

        Alyssa Rosenzweig remains the main developer working on this Chai driver effort but with using some remnants done by Luc and Connor during the Lima driver days. Her focus lately has been on assembler and shader support for this reverse-engineered driver for ARM Mali graphics.

      • Wayland 1.15 Beta Released With Weston 4.0 Beta

        The beta releases are available today of Wayland 1.15 and the Weston 4.0 reference compositor.

        Wayland 1.15 is another relatively modest cycle. Wayland 1.15 pulls in libwayland-egl where as before that library was part of Mesa, making some semantics of Wayland more clear in the documentation, improvements to wayland-scanner, and some minor API additions.

      • Mesa 17.3.7 RC2 Issued With Even More Patches

        Last week the release candidate of Mesa 17.3.7 was issued with more than 50 patches queued. That count grew more over the weekend resulting in an additional release candidate.

        Mesa point releases tend to get just one RC and a few days of testing before going gold, but on top of the 50 patches last week another handful of patches were since proposed and queued up for this increasingly large point release. The very latest patches include a RADV Vulkan driver fix by Feral Interactive, and several other RADV and Intel Vulkan fixes.

      • Nouveau NIR Support Appears Almost Baked, NV50 Support Added

        Karol Herbst at Red Hat started off this week by publishing his latest patches around Nouveau NIR support as part of the company’s effort for getting SPIR-V/compute support up and running on this open-source NVIDIA driver.

        Red Hat’s grand vision around open-source GPGPU compute still isn’t entirely clear especially with Nouveau re-clocking not being suitable for delivering high performance at this point, but it must be grand given the number of developers they have working on improving the Linux GPU compute stack at the moment.

      • xf86-input-libinput 0.27.0 Released

        Aside from a few touchpad issues and other minor random issues with select hardware, libinput these days is mostly in great shape for being a generic input handling library that is working out well for both X.Org and Wayland users.

    • Benchmarks

      • Radeon GPUs Are Increasingly Competing With NVIDIA GPUs On Latest RadeonSI/RADV Drivers

        As it’s been a few weeks since last delivering a modest Linux GPU comparison and given the continuously evolving state of the Linux kernel Git tree as well as the Mesa project that houses the RadeonSI OpenGL and RADV Vulkan drivers, here are our latest benchmarks showing the current state of the AMD Radeon open-source Linux graphics driver performance relative to NVIDIA’s long-standing and high-performance but proprietary driver using several different graphics cards.

      • Fresh Benchmarks Of CentOS 7 On Xeon & EPYC With/Without KPTI/Retpolines

        While every few weeks or so we have ended up running benchmarks of the latest Linux Git kernel to see the evolving performance impact of KPTI (Kernel Page Table Isolation) and Retpolines for Meltdown and Spectre V2 mitigation, respectively, a request came in last week from a premium supporter to see some new comparison test runs on CentOS 7 with its older 3.10-evolved kernel.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Applications 18.04 branches created

        Make sure you commit anything you want to end up in the KDE Applications 18.04 release to them :)

      • KDE Connect – State of the union

        We haven’t blogged about KDE Connect in a long time, but that doesn’t mean that we’ve been lazy. Some new people have joined the project and together we have implemented some exciting features. Our last post was about version 1.0, but recently we released version 1.8 of the Android app and 1.2.1 of the desktop component some time ago, which we did not blog about yet. Until now!

      • KMyMoney 5.0.1 released

        The KMyMoney development team is proud to present the first maintenance version 5.0.1 of its open source Personal Finance Manager. Although several members of the development team had been using the new version 5.0.0 in production for some time, a number of bugs and regressions slipped through testing, mainly in areas and features not used by them.

      • Qt Quick without a GPU: i.MX6 ULL

        With the introduction of the Qt Quick software renderer it became possible to use Qt Quick on devices without a GPU. We investigated how viable this option is on a lower end device, particularly the NXP i.MX6 ULL. It turns out that with some (partially not yet integrated) patches developed by KDAB and The Qt Company, the performance is very competitive. Even smooth video playback (with at least half-size VGA resolution) can be done by using the PXP engine on the i.MX6 ULL.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GitLab + Flatpak – GNOME’s full flow

        In this post I will explain how GitLab, CI, Flatpak and GNOME apps come together into a (imho) dream-come-true full flow for GNOME, a proposal to be implemented by all GNOME apps.

      • GNOME 3.28 released & coming to Fedora 28

        Last week, The GNOME project announced the release of GNOME 3.28. This major release of the GNOME desktop is the default desktop environment in the upcoming release of Fedora 28 Workstation. 3.28 includes a wide range of enhancements, including updates to Files (nautilus), Contacts, Calendar, Clocks and the on-screen keyboard. Additionally, the new application Usage is added to “make it easy to diagnose and resolve performance and capacity issues”

      • Shotwell Photo Manager Just Got a Big Performance Boost

        A new version of the Shotwell photo manager and editor is available to download. Shotwell 0.28 “Braunschweig” arrives half a year later than originally planned but hasn’t shirked on improvements or bug fixes during the wait. In all some 60 bugs have been closed since the Shotwell 0.27 release last year…

      • GStreamer Rust bindings 0.11 / plugin writing infrastructure 0.2 release

        Following the GStreamer 1.14 release and the new round of gtk-rs releases, there are also new releases for the GStreamer Rust bindings (0.11) and the plugin writing infrastructure (0.2).

      • GStreamer 1.14.0 Released With WebRTC Support, AV1 Video & Better Rust Bindings

        GStreamer 1.14.0 is now available as the first big feature release of 2018 for this widely-used, open-source multimedia framework.

        GStreamer 1.14 packs in many new features including experimental AV1 video codec support for that royalty-free specification, IPC pipeline improvements, RTSP 2.0 client/server support (Real Time Streaming Protocol 2.0), LAME/mpg123/twolame being promoted to the “good” plugin repository now that the related patents have expired for MP3, improved OpenGL integration, initial WebRTC support for real-time communication, and many other improvements.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Manjaro 17.1.6 Hakoila Plasma – A rollercoaster of Tux

        Wow, there could not be a more bi-polar distro than Manjaro Hakoila. On one hand, it’s the state-of-art, bleeding-edge tech demonstrator with some rather brilliant and unique features, belying its Archy roots. On the other, it’s rife with bugs and problems that are typical of small distros and badly integrated products. The network and smartphone side of things are particularly bad. You cannot excuse pale fonts or the menu error either, and then, if you’ve actually read a review, there were a dozen different issues through my test session.

        That said, Manjaro 17.1.6 is pretty, inviting, elegant, largely robust and stable, fast enough on ancient hardware, it gives you Nvidia support out of the box, it gives you media goodies, it gives you the Microsoft Office access right there on your desktop, and it’s got charm and character that goes beyond the bland copypasta you get elsewhere in the Linux world.

        And then, I got meself thinking. I tried a few small but reasonably brilliant distros recently – Manjaro, MX Linux, Antergos. They all have unique, powerful features, all covering different angles. Imagine if they combined their efforts – MX Linux live session data import and its tools, Antergos software wizard, Manjaro office stuff. What a killer distro we could have then! But that’s an article for a different time.

        Back to Manjaro – I am actually liking this particular edition quite a lot. It’s far from perfect, but then, with some hard work and attention to details, this could be an excellent choice for a desktop system. Perhaps more than any other distro did in recent times. Of course, there’s still a huge amount of effort needed to make this a fully integrated, offline-online Windows competitor, but it’s making steady progress, and I like that. A sure sign of greatness to come. Grade wise, about 7.5/10, just watch out for the buggy parts. And I will extend the testing onto my UEFI-powered Lenovo G50 laptop.

    • New Releases

      • Freespire 3.0.8 Released

        Today we are pleased to announce the release of Freespire 3.0.8, the open source equivalent to Linspire OS, freely available to download and redistribute. Freespire OS 3.0.8 includes several bug fixes, application updates and usability changes requested by our users.

        One important change : KDE fans have requested it and now we have released an ISO featuring the KDE Plasma 5 desktop

        Freespire OS 3.0.8 contains all previous bug fixes and system updates along with the following changes.

      • Endless OS Version 3.3.13

        Improved Chromium behaviour with low memory. The Chromium browser now frees up the memory used by other tabs much more effectively when you’re running very low on memory. This means you have to wait a little longer after you switch to one of these tabs, but keeps the system running more smoothly and helps to prevent crashes.

    • Arch Family

      • What’s New in ArchLabs 2018.03

        ArchLabs 2018.03 is the latest release of Linux distribution based on Arch Linux featuring the Openbox window manager as the primary desktop interface. The project’s latest release ArchLabs 2018.03 brings a few fixes and improvements and improve the user.

        Powered by Linux kernel 4.15 series and based-on latest version of Arch Linux. LUKS and encryption is now working, for those security concious users out there you should be all go on the encryption side. There have been a few installer updates, base-devel is included at install time. Also the mirrorlist is optimised at the same time.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • [Older] openSUSE.Asia Summit 2018: Call for Host

        The openSUSE.Asia organization committee is accepting proposals to host the openSUSE.Asia Summit during the second half of 2018. The openSUSE.Asia Summit is the largest annual openSUSE conference in Asia, attended by contributors and enthusiasts from all over Asia.

      • TidalScale Software-Defined Servers Now Support SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

        TidalScale, the leader in Software-Defined Servers, announced today that working in partnership with SUSE, the world’s first provider of Enterprise Linux, TidalScale has achieved SUSE Ready certification to ensure full compatibility with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. TidalScale’s breakthrough scaling platform allows multiple industry standard servers to be combined into a single Software-Defined Server running a single instance of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • RcppSMC 0.2.1: A few new tricks

        A new release, now at 0.2.1, of the RcppSMC package arrived on CRAN earlier this afternoon (and once again as a very quick pretest-publish within minutes of submission).

      • sbuild-debian-developer-setup(1) (2018-03-19)

        I have heard a number of times that sbuild is too hard to get started with, and hence people don’t use it.

        To reduce hurdles from using/contributing to Debian, I wanted to make sbuild easier to set up.

        sbuild ≥ 0.74.0 provides a Debian package called sbuild-debian-developer-setup. Once installed, run the sbuild-debian-developer-setup(1) command to create a chroot suitable for building packages for Debian unstable.

      • control-archive 1.8.0

        This is the software that maintains the archive of control messages and the newsgroups and active files on ftp.isc.org. I update things in place, but it’s been a while since I made a formal release, and one seemed overdue (particularly since it needed some compatibility tweaks for GnuPG v1).

      • The problem with the Code of Conduct
      • Some problems with Code of Conducts
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Officially Announces Mozilla’s Firefox as a Snap App for Ubuntu Linux

            The Firefox Snap package appears to be maintained by Mozilla, which allows Linux users to test drive the latest features of their Quantum browser on multiple GNU/Linux distributions that support Canonical’s Snappy universal binary format.

            Developed by Canonical, the Snap universal application packaging format for Linux lets Linux users enjoy the most recent release of a software product as soon as it’s released upstream. It’s secure by design and works natively on multiple popular Linux OSes.

          • Mozilla Firefox Quantum available as Snap for Linux

            If you use Linux on the desktop, there is no shortage of great web browsers from which to choose. For instance, popular options like Firefox, Chrome, and Opera are all available. Thankfully, Microsoft Edge is nowhere to be found!

          • Firefox Quantum snap now available on Linux-based devices

            Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, today announced that Mozilla has launched a Firefox snap bringing their latest Quantum browser to multiple Linux distributions, including Ubuntu. Developed by Canonical, snaps are a universal application packaging format for Linux, allowing them to work natively on hundreds of different platforms and multiple distributions.

          • uNav 0.75: A libre GPS navigator for your libre pocket device!

            A new release for your Ubuntu Phone powered by UBports!

          • Ubuntu 18.10 Looking At LZ4-Compressed Initramfs Image By Default

            With Ubuntu 18.10 being the release after an LTS cycle, it’s shaping up to be another big feature period. They have already been discussing Zstd-compressed Debian packages for Ubuntu 18.10 while the latest proposal for this next cycle is on switching from Gzip to LZ4 for the default kernel initramfs image.

            Canonical’s Balint Reczey is going to be adding support for LZ4 compression to initramfs-tools, which should be done in time for the 18.04 release, but for the Ubuntu 18.10 release is where they are looking at making the LZ4-compressed image the default rather than Gzip.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 Will Boot Faster, Thanks to LZ4 Initramfs Compression

            Canonical’s Balint Reczey recently proposed the implementation of LZ4 compression to Ubuntu’s initramfs (initial ramdisk) instead of the older gzip compression used in previous releases of the wildly used operating system. LZ4 is a lossless data compression algorithm that offers extremely fast compression and decompression speed.

            During some initial tests on an old laptop, the developer reports that the initramfs extraction time decreased from approximately 1.2 seconds to about 0.24 seconds. The creation of the initramfs also received a speed boost of 2-3 seconds, decreasing from roughly 24 seconds to about 21 seconds, despite of slightly bigger initramfs files.

          • The Top 10 Advantages Ubuntu Has Over Windows

            Microsoft’s Windows OS currently owns 90% of the market share for desktop computers so the question of what advantages a Linux distro, specifically, Ubuntu, has over Windows might come as a surprise.

            But don’t be fooled, my friends – there are a number of features that make Ubuntu a better OS for your workstation than Windows is.

            Here is my list of the Top 10 Advantages Ubuntu has Over Windows.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • DigitalBits launches open-source blockchain-based marketplace for loyalty points

    Their value — or at least their versatility — could get a boost if The DigitalBits Project is successful. This community endeavor, soon to become a nonprofit foundation based out of the tiny European country of Lichtenstein, is today launching an open-source blockchain-based infrastructure that supports trading loyalty points or rewards or transferring them to other individuals.

  • Aventus Announces Development of Open-Source Protocol Foundation

    Aventus, the blockchain ticketing startup that raised 60,000 Ether via a crowdsale in 2017, has announced the next stage of development for its non-profit foundation. The Aventus Protocol Foundation will serve as an entity tasked with supporting open-source projects built using the Aventus protocol. This encourages the growth of the Aventus ticketing ecosystem while protecting the rights of holders of AVT, the native Aventus token.

  • An Overview of Cryptocurrency Consensus Algorithms

    One of the most important aspects of a decentralized cryptocurrency project is the consensus algorithm it employs. A consensus algorithm is crucial to the implementation of a digital currency because it prevents the double spending problem, a challenge that has historically limited the development of digital currencies until the recent development and adoption of the blockchain ledger method. Because cryptocurrencies are implemented as public, decentralized ledgers that are append-only, they must employ a consensus algorithm to verify that there “is one version of the truth” and that the network cannot be overwhelmed by bad actors.

  • WEBOS ENTERS NEXT PHASE AS GLOBAL PLATFORM UNDER LG’S STEWARDSHIP
  • LG Creates Open Source Branch Of webOS
  • LG Releases webOS Open Source Edition To Drive Platform Adoption
  • LG takes webOS open source
  • LG takes its webOS platform open source to step up Samsung rivalry
  • LG looks to broaden webOS more with ‘Open Source Edition’
  • LG open-sources webOS Making It A Global Platform
  • LG makes WebOS open source in effort to expand the operating system’s market presence
  • webOS Goes Open Source
  • LG announces webOS Open Source Edition to bring the platform to more devices
  • LG is taking webOS beyond TVs with ‘Open Source Edition’
  • LG releases webOS Open Source Edition
  • LG webOS Open Source Edition Made Available
  • LG wants to take webOS beyond TVs with ‘Open Source Edition’
  • LG is making its open source webOS operating system er, open source

    Those of you with long memories may recall that webOS is already open source, having originally been designed for tablet computers under the auspices of HP Inc (or Hewlett Packard as it was at the time). Even the unfinished overhaul at the time that LG took it underground is open source.

  • LG launches open source version of webOS

    LG Electronics is moving webOS beyond TVs with the release of webOS Open Source Edition. WebOS is a multitasking operating system that was designed for smart devices and smart TVs.

    Before coming to LG, webOS was launched as Palm OS in 2009. It was acquired by HP in 2010, and then licensed to LG in 2013. Since then, the company has been using the technology for its smart TVs and refrigerators.

    “WebOS has come a long way since then and is now a mature and stable platform ready to move beyond TVs to join the very exclusive group of operating systems that have been successfully commercialization at such a mass level. As we move from an app-based environment to a web-based one, we believe the true potential of webOS has yet to be seen,” said I.P. Park, chief technology officer at LG Electronics.

  • How 11 open source projects got their names

    “So, two open source developers walk into a bar…” Arduino derives its name from one of co-founder Massimo Banzi’s favorite bars in Ivrea, Italy, where the founders of this “hardware and software ecosystem” used to meet. The bar was named for Arduin of Ivrea, who was king of Italy a bit more than 1,000 years ago.

  • Feed the dog and close the door with an open source home automation system

    As voice assistants, smart bulbs, and other devices increasingly become household staples, more people than ever are bringing smart technology into their homes. But the bewildering assortment of products on the market can present challenges: Remembering which app to use and trying to link things together with automation can get complicated quickly. In this article, I’ll show you a few ways I used an open source home automation platform, Home Assistant, to bring all my devices together.

  • Can we build a social network that serves users rather than advertisers?

    Today, open source software is far-reaching and has played a key role driving innovation in our digital economy. The world is undergoing radical change at a rapid pace. People in all parts of the world need a purpose-built, neutral, and transparent online platform to meet the challenges of our time.

    And open principles might just be the way to get us there. What would happen if we married digital innovation with social innovation using open-focused thinking?

  • Digital asset management for an open movie project

    A DAMS will typically provide something like a search interface combined with automatically collected metadata and user-assisted tagging. So, instead of having to remember where you put the file you need, you can find it by remembering things about it, such as when you created it, what part of the project it connects to, what’s included in it, and so forth.

    A good DAMS for 3D assets generally will also support associations between assets, including dependencies. For example, a 3D model asset may incorporate linked 3D models, textures, or other components. A really good system can discover these automatically by examining the links inside the asset file.

  • LG Releases ‘Open Source Edition’ Of webOS Operating System
  • Private Internet Access VPN opens code-y kimono, starting with Chrome extension

    VPN tunneller Private Internet Access (PIA) has begun open sourcing its software.

    Over the next six months, the service promises that all its client-side software will make its way into the hands of the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) community, starting with PIA’s Chrome extension.

    The extension turns off mics, cameras, Adobe’s delightful Flash plug-in, and prevents IP discovery. It also blocks ads and tracking.

    Christel Dahlskjaer, director of outreach at PIA, warned that “our code may not be perfect, and we hope that the wider FOSS community will get involved.”

  • Open sourcing FOSSA’s build analysis in fossa-cli

    Today, FOSSA is open sourcing our dependency analysis infrastructure on GitHub. Now, everyone can participate and have access to the best tools to get dependency data out of any codebase, no matter how complex it is.

  • Events

    • syslog-ng at SCALE 2018

      It is the fourth year that syslog-ng has participated at Southern California Linux Expo or, as better known to many, SCALE ‒ the largest Linux event in the USA. In many ways, it is similar to FOSDEM in Europe, however, SCALE also focuses on users and administrators, not just developers. It was a pretty busy four days for me.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • What we learned about gender identity in Open Source

        To learn more, we launched a Diversity & Inclusion in Open Source survey earlier this year, which sought to better understand how people identify, including gender-identity.

        Our gender spectrum question, was purposely long — to experiment with the value people found in seeing their identity represented in a question. People from over 200 open projects participated. Amazingly, of 17 choices, each was uniquely selected, by a survey participant at least once.

      • Why we participate in support

        Users will not use Firefox if they don’t know how to use it, or if it is not working as expected. Support exists to retain users. If their experience of using Firefox is a bad, we’re here to make it good, so they continue to use Firefox.

      • WebRender newsletter #16
      • A good question, from Twitter

        Why do I pay attention to Internet advertising? Why not just block it and forget about it? By now, web ad revenue per user is so small that it only makes sense if you’re running a platform with billions of users, so sites are busy figuring out other ways to get paid anyway.

      • This Week In Servo 108

        We have been working on adding automated performance tests for the Alexa top pages, and thanks to contributions from the Servo community we are now regularly tracking the performance of the top 10 websites.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • LLVM-MCA Will Analyze Your Machine Code, Help Analyze Potential Performance Issues

      One of the tools merged to LLVM SVN/Git earlier this month for the LLVM 7.0 cycle is LLVM-MCA. The LLVM-MCA tool is a machine code analyzer that estimates how the given machine code would perform on a specific CPU and attempt to report possible bottlenecks.

      The LLVM-MCA analysis tool uses information already used within LLVM about a given CPU family’s scheduler model and other information to try to statically measure how the machine code would carry out on a particular CPU, even going as far as estimating the instructions per cycle and possible resource pressure.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Taking Data Further with Standards

        Imagine reading a book, written by many different authors, each working apart from the others, without guidelines, and published without edits. That book is a difficult read — it’s in 23 different languages, there’s no consistency in character names, and the story gets lost. As a reader, you have an uphill battle to get the information to tell you one cohesive story. Data is a lot like that, and that’s why data standards matter. By establishing common standards for the collection, storage, and control of data and information, data can go farther, be integrated with other data, and make “big data” research and development possible.

        For example, NOAA collects around 20 terabytes of data every day.Through the National Ocean Service, instruments are at work daily gathering physical data in the ocean, from current speed to the movement of schools of fish and much more. Hundreds of government agencies and programs generate this information to fulfill their missions and mandates, but without consistency from agency to agency, the benefits of that data are limited. In addition to federal agencies, there are hundreds more non-federal and academic researchers gathering data every day. Having open, available, comprehensive data standards that are widely implemented facilitates data sharing, and when data is shared, it maximizes the benefits of “big data”— integrated, multi-source data that yields a whole greater than its parts.

Leftovers

  • Snapchat’s UK ad revenue set to overtake Twitter’s next year

    Snapchat’s UK ad revenue growth is forecast to soar from just £21.9m in 2016 to £181.7m next year. Twitter UK will make about £171m in revenues, according to eMarketer, a market research company. The UK currently accounts for about 10% of Snapchat’s global ad revenues.

  • Apple Is Using a Secret Facility to Do Something It’s Never Done Before

    The technology giant is making a significant investment in the development of next-generation MicroLED screens, say the people, who requested anonymity to discuss internal planning. MicroLED screens use different light-emitting compounds than the current OLED displays and promise to make future gadgets slimmer, brighter and less power-hungry.

  • Hardware

    • The Last Barrier To Ultra-Miniaturized Electronics Is Broken, Thanks To A New Type Of Inductor

      In the race for ever-improving technology, there are two related technical capabilities that drive our world forward: speed and size. These are related, as the smaller a device is, the less distance the electrical signal driving your device has to travel. As we’ve been able to cut silicon thinner, print circuit elements smaller, and develop increasingly miniaturized transistors, gains in computing speed-and-power and decreases in device size have gone hand-in-hand. But at the same time these advances have comes in leaps and bounds, one fundamental circuit element — the inductor — has had its design remain exactly the same. Found in everything from televisions to laptops to smartphones to wireless chargers, radios, and transformers, it’s one of the most indispensable electronic components in existence.

  • Security

    • AMD And CTS Labs: A Story Of Failed Stock Manipulation

      We have attempted to contact Jessica Schaefer from Bevel PR, the listed PR firm on the vulnerability disclosure website, only to be greeted by a full voicemail inbox. We attempted to contact both Bevel PR and CTS Labs by email and inquire about the relationship between CTS and Viceroy, and provided them with ample time to respond. They did not respond to our inquiry.

      So, let’s look at Viceroy Research. According to MoneyWeb, Viceroy Research is headed by a 44-year-old British citizen and ex-social worker, John Fraser Perring, in conjunction with two 23-year-old Australian citizens, Gabriel Bernarde and Aidan Lau. I wonder which of these guys is so fast at typing. Viceroy Research was the group responsible for the uncovering of the Steinhoff accounting scandal, about which you can read more here.

      After successfully taking down Steinhoff, it tried to manufacture controversy around Capitec Bank, a fast-growing South African bank. This time it didn’t work out so well. The Capitec stock price dropped shortly and quickly recovered when the South African reserve bank made a statement that Capitec’s business is sound. Just a week ago Viceroy attempted to do the same thing with a German company called ProSieben, also with mixed success, and in alleged breach of German securities laws, according to BaFin (similar to the SEC).

      Now, it appears it is going after AMD, though it looks to be another unsuccessful attack.

      Investor Takeaway

      After the announcement of this news, AMD stock generally traded sideways with slight downward movement, not uncommon for AMD in general. Hopefully this article showed you that CTS’s report is largely nonsense and a fabrication with perhaps a small kernel of truth hidden somewhere in the middle. If the vulnerabilities are confirmed by AMD, they are likely to be easily fixed by software patches. If you are long AMD, stay long. If you are looking for an entry point, this might be a good opportunity to use this fake news to your advantage. AMD is a company with a bright future if it continues to execute well, and we see it hitting $20 per share by the end of 2018.

    • Endgame Launches Open-Source Initiative to Drive Adoption of MITRE ATT&CK™, the Best Model of Attacker Behavior

      Endgame, the leader in unified endpoint protection against targeted attacks, today announced it released a set of open-source tools that allow enterprises to test defenses against modern attacker behaviors. These tools, called red team automation (RTA), directly map to MITRE’s ATT&CK™ matrix, the most comprehensive framework for attacker techniques and tactics. Security teams that lack sufficient time and resources will now have the ability to measure protection capabilities beyond malware-based attacks.

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Security updates for Friday
    • Debian-Based antiX Linux OS Receives New Kernel Patches for Meltdown and Spectre

      The first point release of the Debian-based antiX 17 “Heather Heyer” operating system series arrived this past weekend with a new kernel patched against the Meltdown and Spectre security flaws, as well as the latest software versions.

      antiX 17.1 (Heather Heyer) is now available, powered by the Linux 4.9.87 LTS kernel patched against the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities unearthed in January 2018 and discovered to put billions of devices at risk of attacks. This protects new antiX installations against these type of attacks.

      Based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux 9.4 “Stretch” operating system, antiX 17.1 comes with up-to-date packages from its software repositories, including the LibreOffice 5.2.7 office suite and Mozilla Firefox 52.7.1 ESR web browser. Additionally, this release comes with eudev 3.5 and latest xf86-video-sisimedia-antix release.

    • Update on the Meltdown & Spectre vulnerabilities

      January saw the annoucement of a series of critical vulnerabilities called Spectre and Meltdown. The nature of these issues meant the solutions were complex and required fixing delicate code. The initial fix for Meltdown on x86 was KPTI, which was available almost immediately. Developing mitigations for Spectre was more complex. Other architectures had to look at their vulnerability status as well, and get mitigation in where it was needed. As a bit of time has passed, what is the exposure on Fedora now?

    • SELinux should and does BLOCK access to Docker socket
    • diff -u: Intel Design Flaw Fallout

      Linux patches for these issues are in a state of ongoing development. Security is always the first priority, at the expense of any other feature. Next would probably be the general speed of a running system for the average user. After that, the developers might begin piecing together any features that had been pulled as part of the initial security fix.

      But while this effort goes on, the kernel developers seem fairly angry at Intel, especially when they feel that Intel is not doing enough to fix the problems in future processors.

      In response to one set of patches, for example, Linus Torvalds burst out with, “All of this is pure garbage. Is Intel really planning on making this shit architectural? Has anybody talked to them and told them they are f*cking insane?” He went on, “the IBRS garbage implies that Intel is _not_ planning on doing the right thing for the indirect branch speculation. Honestly, that’s completely unacceptable.”

    • Hackers Can Abuse Plugins for Popular Unix Text Editors to Escalate Privileges

      Advanced Unix Text Editors offers extensibility by allowing users to install third-party plugins for ease of use and to enhance the Text Editors functionalities.

      Server administrators often run text editors with elevated privileges “sudo gedit” to edit root-owned configuration files. If the text editor contains vulnerable third-party plugin it enlarges attack surface.

    • House approves legislation to authorize Homeland Security cyber teams

      House lawmakers on Monday passed legislation that would codify into law the Department of Homeland Security’s cyber incident response teams that help protect federal networks and critical infrastructure from cyberattacks.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • It isn’t Russia that destroyed British sovereignty
    • Why We Need to Remember the Iraq War—As Well as the Global Resistance to It

      Fifteen years ago, on February 15, 2003, the world said “No to War”: Some 10 million to 15 million people, in hundreds of cities and dozens of countries all over the world, embraced the same slogan, made the same demand, in scores of different languages. A war against Iraq was looming, with Washington and London standing virtually alone in their false claims that Baghdad had amassed stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.

    • D’un Type Développé par des Menteurs

      While Boris Johnson may spout off the cuff lies while giving TV interviews, when it comes to any formal document or statement – in parliament, the Security Council, NATO and now the EU – the British government always reverts to this precise formulation “of a type developed by Russia” which attempts to disguise the fact that they have no evidence the material is made in Russia. Many laboratories can produce “novichoks”.

    • As Video Games Are In Presidential Crosshairs, New Study Again Shows They Don’t Effect Behavior

      Violent video games have once again found themselves in the role of scapegoat after a recent spate of gun violence in America. After the Florida school shooting, and in the extended wake of the massacre in Las Vegas, several government representatives at various levels have leveled their ire at violent games, including Trump, who commissioned an insane sit-down to act as moderator between game company executives and those that blame them for all the world’s ills. Amid this deluge of distraction, it would be easy to forget that study after study after study have detailed how bunk the notion is that you can tie real-world violence and violent games is. Not to mention, of course, that there has never been more people playing more violent video games in the history of the world than at this moment right now, and at the same time research shows a declining trend for deviant behavior in teens rather than any sort of upswing.

    • On Being a Dissenting Voice in 2018

      Now it is true that, when I was sacked as Ambassador by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for blowing the whistle on extraordinary rendition and the Blair government’s misuse of intelligence from torture, I went into a terrible depression and voluntarily spent ten days or so in St Thomas Hospital (not a mental illness facility) for treatment. I have never tried to keep this secret, indeed it is a major part of my memoir “Murder in Samarkand”. It is also true, as I have always acknowledged, that I have had other less serious depressive episodes treated at home and been diagnosed as bipolar since I was 20.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Advocating for Change: How Lucy Parsons Labs Defends Transparency in Chicago

      Here at the Electronic Frontier Alliance, we’re lucky to have incredible member organizations engaging in advocacy on our issues across the U.S. One of those groups in Chicago, Lucy Parsons Labs (LPL), has done incredible work taking on a range of civil liberties issues. They’re a dedicated group of advocates volunteering to make their world (and the Windy City) a better, more equitable place.

      We sat down with one of the founders of LPL, Freddy Martinez, to gain a better understanding of the Lab and how they use their collective powers for good.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • New NOAA Report Looks at National Coastal Flood Vulnerability

      A report, spearheaded by sea level experts from NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, looked at existing flood thresholds established by the National Weather Service and found patterns in the thresholds based upon tide range. They were then able to apply that pattern nationwide and find a statistical and consistent way to measure and monitor minor high tide flooding, as well as moderate and major flooding in locations where no threshold exists.

      The report finds that, on average, U.S. coastal infrastructure is vulnerable to minor, moderate, and major flooding at heights of about 0.5, 0.8, and 1.2 meters above the average daily highest tide (Mean Higher High Water). Trends in annual high tide flood frequencies are increasing or accelerating at two-thirds of the roughly 100 locations examined.

    • Climate Legal Paradox: Judges Issue Dueling Rulings for Cities Suing Fossil Fuel Companies

      Five cities and counties in California that are suing fossil fuel companies for damages triggered by climate change are now at the center of a legal paradox created by conflicting decisions from two federal court judges reviewing nearly identical claims.

      The judicial collision course was set Friday when a federal judge in San Francisco ruled that climate change lawsuits by two counties and one city were best adjudicated in California state courts. The ruling came less than a month after another federal court judge ruled that a similar climate case, brought by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, should be tried in federal court.

      The contradictory rulings by the judges—both Democratic appointees who serve in the same San Francisco courthouse just two floors apart—were handed down in lawsuits targeting oil and gas companies, including Exxon, Chevron, BP, ConocoPhilips and Shell, for damages associated with climate change.

  • Finance

    • Weinstein Co. has filed for bankruptcy and will pursue a sale

      Harvey Weinstein’s embattled movie studio — once a premier maker of award-winning films — has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy more than five months after sexual misconduct allegations against its co-founder sent the company spiraling out of control, the company’s board said late Monday night.

      The filing, submitted in Delaware, is the culmination of a long struggle to spare the formerly highflying studio from bankruptcy court. The move to seek protection from creditors owed hundreds of millions of dollars comes after the company tried and failed to sell assets to a group of investors led by billionaire Ron Burkle and former Obama administration official Maria Contreras-Sweet.

    • For WaPo, It’s Never a Bad Time to Slash Programs for Elderly

      It’s hard not to have a certain attachment to the Washington Post‘s longstanding crusade against Social Security and Medicare. After all, it has been pushing for cuts to these programs at least since I came to town in 1992. They did in the high-deficit years of the early 1990s, the boom times of the late 1990s, the housing bubble years of the 2000s and through the Great Recession. The Post calling for cuts to these programs is pretty much as predictable as the sun coming up. So this morning’s call for “reform” (3/19/18) is a bit like the morning coffee, although somewhat less pleasant.

      At the most basic level, you sort of have to love the Post criticizing politicians for not wanting to go on record for cuts to these programs, even when the editorial writers, who don’t have to run for office, are scared to say what they actually want, and instead use the euphemism “reform” when they mean cuts. But the substance is also a bit hard to take.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump Attacks Mueller for First Time by Name

      President Trump attacked special counsel Robert Mueller for the first time by name on Twitter over the weekend. On Saturday, he wrote, “The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime.” On Sunday, he wrote, “Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans? Another Dem recently added…does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!” Mueller is a longtime Republican and a former FBI director who was appointed by Republican President George W. Bush.

    • Revealed: Trump’s election consultants filmed saying they use bribes and sex workers to entrap politicians

      Mr Turnbull described how, having obtained damaging material on opponents, Cambridge Analytica can discreetly push it onto social media and the internet.

      He said: “… we just put information into the bloodstream of the [I]nternet, and then, and then watch it grow, give it a little push every now and again… like a remote control. It has to happen without anyone thinking, ‘that’s propaganda’, because the moment you think ‘that’s propaganda’, the next question is, ‘who’s put that out?’.”

      Mr Nix also said: “…Many of our clients don’t want to be seen to be working with a foreign company… so often we set up, if we are working then we can set up fake IDs and websites, we can be students doing research projects attached to a university, we can be tourists, there’s so many options we can look at. I have lots of experience in this.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Cybercrime bill repressive, designed to steer self-censorship among citizens

      The Cybercrime and Cyber-security Bill which seeks to regulate internet conduct in Zimbabwe is very repressive and is being crafted with authoritarian intentions to instil self-censorship among citizens, a study has revealed.

      According to a study done by Zimbabwe Democracy Institute and Media Centre, “the political context of the Cybercrime and Cyber-Security Bill dictates that, in crafting this Bill, the government was driven more by its fear of the citizen power and its desire to protect itself from citizen and civic pressure unveiled by unsuppressed internet freedom than amplifying citizens’ security when exercising their freedoms online.”

      The study found that the bill is repressive because it came about after government the internet has liberated the masses in terms of freedom of expression.

    • SESTA’s Sponsors Falsely Claim That Fixing SESTA’s Worst Problem Harms Hollywood

      Here’s the problem with that. Almost everything stated above is 100% factually wrong. And not just a little bit wrong. It’s so wrong that it raises serious questions about whether Blumenthal understands some fairly fundamental issues in the bill he’s backing. Professor Eric Goldman has a pretty concise explanation of everything that’s wrong with the statement, noting that it — somewhat incredibly — shows that SESTA’s main sponsors don’t even understand the very basic aspects of CDA 230, as they insist on changing the law.

    • Hollywood’s Behind-The-Scenes Support For SESTA Is All About Filtering The Internet

      There’s a lot more in Mullin’s post, but it actually goes much beyond that. Every rock you lift up in looking at where SESTA’s support has come from, you magically find Hollywood people scurrying quietly around. We’ve already noted that much of the initial support for SESTA came from a group whose then board chair was a top lobbyist for News Corp.. And, as we reported last month, after a whole bunch of people we spoke to suggested that much of the support for SESTA was being driven by former top News Corp. lobbyist, Rick Lane, we noticed that a group of people who went around Capitol Hill telling Congress to support SESTA publicly thanked their “partner” Rick Lane for showing them around.

      In other words, it’s not just Hollywood seeing a bill that gets them what it wants and suddenly speaking up in favor of it… this is Hollywood helping to make this bill happen in the first place as part of its ongoing effort to remake the internet away from being a communications medium for everyone, and into a broadcast/gatekeeper dominated medium where it gets to act as the gatekeeper.

      And if you think that Hollywood big shots are above pumping up a bogus moral panic to get their way, you haven’t been paying attention. Remember, for years Hollywood has also pushed the idea that the internet requires filters and censorship for basically any possible reason. Back during the SOPA days, it focused on “counterfeit pharmaceuticals.” Again, not an issue that Hollywood is actually concerned with, but if it helped force filters and stopped user-generated content online, Hollywood was quick to embrace it.

    • A lesson in censorship

      The headline should have read “Citrus County students denied their voice — school officials quell free speech.”

      It is unacceptable that Citrus County school officials prohibited, and even penalized, those students trying to exercise their rights to peacefully assemble and voice their opinions about a situation that directly impacts their daily lives: Guns and schools.

    • Egyptian director cancels play over state censorship

      Egypt’s state censors prohibited the performance of a play just hours before its Sunday premiere in Cairo, the latest episode in authorities’ unrelenting crackdown on free speech. Director Ahmed El Attar cancelled the Sunday and Monday showings of Before The Revolution, a two-actor piece that depicts feelings of oppression and stagnation in Egypt before its 2011 popular uprising, saying that to remove five scenes as required by the censors heavily distorted the piece.

      The play, which had been set to show in a 100-seat theater for six nights, is part of the Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival, the biggest arts event in Cairo’s city center, supported mostly by foreign cultural institutes and embassies as well as UNESCO.

      “The director and playwright El Attar saw that removing five scenes has a negative and strong impact on the dramatic construction and the work of art, draining its artistic and literary content,” the organizers said.

    • Ceremony canceled after Israeli mayor refuses to censor speech
    • Poles fail to censor Israeli speaker, cancel Holocaust memorial ceremony
    • Israeli mayor refuses to deliver remarks in Poland censored under new Holocaust law
    • Poland censors Israeli mayor who sought to cite Polish Holocaust crimes at event
    • Israeli Mayor Cancels Speech In Poland After Being Censored Under Holocaust Law
    • Holocaust memorial ceremony canceled after Poland censors Israeli speech
    • Holocaust Ceremony in Poland Cancelled After Israeli Mayor Refuses Censorship
    • Sentenced to Prison For His Political Views, Sadegh Zibakalam Decries Censorship in Iran
    • Social Media = Social Right? Professor Talks Censorship, Election Influence

      The whistleblower at the center of the ‘Cambridge Analytica’ scandal has had his account suspended by Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. We spoke to mc schraefel, Professor of Computer Science and Human Performance at the University of Southampton about the scandal.

    • Facebook and Sri Lankan government collaborate on social media censorship

      While Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena last Thursday officially removed its bans placed on Facebook on March 7, his government is working closely with the giant corporation to restrict access to the social media platform.

      In a tweet message Sirisena noted that his secretary, Austin Fernando, discussed “with officials of Facebook, who have agreed that its platform will not be used for spreading hate speech and inciting violence [in Sri Lanka].”

      The government imposed the ban on Facebook, and other social media outlets, including Viber and WhatsApp, as part of its national state of emergency on March 6. The draconian measure was in response to anti-Muslim violence unleashed by Sinhala-Buddhist extremist groups in some areas of central Kandy district.

    • Censorship is patronizing. Always has been, always will be: Neil Macdonald

      In the early ’90s, long before the very nature of the internet had mooted the question, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre was pushing the Canadian government to regulate Holocaust denial online.

      Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Centre’s public voice in Los Angeles, laid out a compelling case, at least on the face of it:

      Holocaust denial is meant to encourage hatred of Jews. Canada had already made hate speech a crime. Ernst Zundel, perhaps the world’s best known Holocaust denier at the time, had in fact been charged in Canada with hate speech for publishing a tract titled “Did Six Million Really Die?”

      Why then, asked Cooper, should Holocaust deniers be allowed to preach into Canada via the internet? Holocaust denial, he argued, works. It constitutes a clear threat to Jews.

      [...]

      This is ridiculous; Richard Spencer, like those who preach humans coexisted with dinosaurs, talks utter drivel. If he belongs in a marketplace, it’s the one that caters to cretins, not students pursuing higher education.

      The antifa response to the free-speechers was just as woolly.

      One woman wrote in demanding to know why the “cognitive safety of white males” trumps the emotional distress that Spencer’s very presence causes people of colour. As though the U.S. Constitution guarantees, along with freedom of expression, the right not to be offended.

      There was the old words-are-weapons logic, leavened with rhetoric about patriarchal hegemony.

    • Overdubbing movies for TV is the only funny type of censorship

      When you have the family in your living room, sometimes you can’t just pop-in a Scorsese movie. I’ve found that most times, movie violence (like Kung-Fu) might be OK in a mixed crowd, but lots of swear words usually won’t (I can’t watch Tarantino with Grandma). I don’t particularly know why it’s language almost universally, but everyone’s got their preferences and a right to not be put on edge by my movie choices.

      When a film gets edited to be broadcast on TV, often times the coarse language is the first to go in an edit, as an overdubbing. Although I dislike censorship in all forms, the practice has led to something I’ve come to find humorous when watching a watered down “R” rated film with my family on TV; the only funny kind of censorship I’ve ever encountered.

      [...]

      Ultimately, these changes are probably a happy medium for people wanting to still watch “Robocop” while their kids are in the room, but after watching watered-down versions of films like “Bad Boys II,” I think these misfit cuts of favorite films should have their own awards category. After all, watching (Marky) Mark Wahlberg turn all of his fierce, angry expletives into monotone, phoned in adjectives changes the entire tone of his scenes in the best picture winning “The Departed,” and it really becomes a work of art of a different kind. The next time you see a movie edited for TV, you might try to see if it has any noticeable changes. You might have a laugh.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Cops Wanting To Track Movements Of Hundreds Of People Are Turning To Google For Location Records

      Cellphones — and any other devices using Google products that serve up location info — are steady generators of third party records. Conceivably, this puts a wealth of location info only a subpoena’s-length away from the government. It appears Google is pushing back, but that tactic isn’t going to work in every case. The Raleigh PD may have been willing to oblige Google to avoid a fight in court (and the risk of handing over information about how often it approaches third parties for records and what it demands from them), but not every PD making use of Google’s location info stash is going to back down this easily.

      Other warrants obtained by WRAL show local law enforcement has collected phone info and location data on thousands of people while investigating such crimes as arson and sexual battery. Despite having no evidence showing the perpetrators of these crimes even had a cellphone in their possession at the time the incidents occurred, agencies approached Google with judge-approved warrants to collect data on people living in nearby apartment units or visiting local businesses near the crime scene.

    • Matt Hancock has no right to complain about the internet being a “Wild West”

      In recent years, many have warned about the dangers of Facebook knowing so much about everyone’s beliefs, preferences, and attitudes. Clearly Cambridge Analytica, the advertising firm accused of harvesting 50 million Facebook users’ data without their consent, thought they were a match made in – let’s say – purgatory. But let us focus on a particular claim made today by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, Matt Hancock: that the companies are operating in an internet “Wild West” in which the UK government is straining to impose law and order.

    • The Future The FBI Wants: Secure Phones For Criminals, Broken Encryption For Everyone Else

      The old truism is in play again with the FBI’s renewed CryptoWar: if X is outlawed, only criminals will have X. In this case, it’s secure encryption. The FBI may not be trying to get encryption banned, but it does want it weakened. No backdoors, claims FBI director Chris Wray, just holes for the government to use at its pleasure. So, if the FBI gets it way, the only truly secure encryption will be in the hands of criminals… exactly the sort of people the FBI claims it needs weakened encryption to catch.

    • Can a GSoC project beat Cambridge Analytica at their own game?

      A few weeks ago, I proposed a GSoC project on the topic of Firefox and Thunderbird plugins for Free Software Habits.

      At first glance, this topic may seem innocent and mundane. After all, we all know what habits are, don’t we? There are already plugins that help people avoid visiting Facebook too many times in one day, what difference will another one make?

      Yet the success of companies like Facebook and those that prey on their users, like Cambridge Analytica (who are facing the prospect of a search warrant today), is down to habits: in other words, the things that users do over and over again without consciously thinking about it. That is exactly why this plugin is relevant.

    • How Personal Data of 50 Million Facebook Users Was Turned Into A Political Tool?
    • Crowdfunded OpenSCHUFA Project Wants To Reverse-Engineer Germany’s Main Credit-Scoring Algorithm

      We’ve just written about calls for a key legal communications system to be open-sourced as a way of re-building confidence in a project that has been plagued by problems. In many ways, it’s surprising that these moves aren’t more common. Without transparency, there can be little trust that a system is working as claimed. In the past this was just about software, but today there’s another aspect to the problem. As well as the code itself, there are the increasingly-complex algorithms, which the software implements. There is a growing realization that algorithms are ruling important parts of our lives without any public knowledge of how they work or make decisions about us. In Germany, for example, one of the most important algorithms determines a person’s SCHUFA credit rating: the name comes from an abbreviation of its German “Schutzorganisation für Allgemeine Kreditsicherung”, which means “Protection Agency for General Credit Security”.

    • Both Facebook And Cambridge Analytica Threatened To Sue Journalists Over Stories On CA’s Use Of Facebook Data

      I’m going to assume that you weren’t living in an internet-proof cave this weekend, and caught at least some of the stories about Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. The news first kicked off with the announcement of a data protection lawsuit filed against Cambridge Analytica in the UK on Friday evening (we’ll likely have more on that lawsuit soon), followed quickly by an attempt by Facebook to get out ahead of the coming tidal wave by announcing that it was suspending Cambridge Analytica and some associated parties from its platforms, claiming terms of service violations. This was quickly followed on Saturday with two explosive stories. The first, from Carole Cadwalladr at The Guardian, revealing a “whistleblower” from the very early days of Cambridge Analytica (who more or less set up how it works with data profiles) named Christopher Wylie. This was quickly followed up by another story at the NY Times, which was a bit more newsy, providing more details on how Cambridge Analytica got data on about 50 million people out of Facebook.

      Admittedly — much of this isn’t actually new. The Intercept had reported something similar a year ago, though it only said it was 30 million Facebook users, rather than 50 million. And that story built on the work of a 2015 (yes, 2015) story in the Guardian discussing how Cambridge Analytica was using data from “tens of millions” of Facebook users “harvested without permission” in support of Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign.

    • Is Facebook NASDAQ:FB an NSA Agent?

      Edward Snowden tweeted Saturday that Facebook is a “surveillance company” that sells its users’ personal details, weighing in on a scandal involving a private firm that harvested data from the social media giant.

      “Businesses that make money by collecting and selling detailed records of private lives were once plainly described as ‘surveillance companies,’” wrote the former National Security Agency contractor. “Their rebranding as ‘social media’ is the most successful deception since the Department of War became the Department of Defense.”

    • Snowden: Facebook Is a ‘Surveillance Company’ That Exploits User Data

      Facebook’s data policies are exploitative and resemble the work of a “surveillance company,” according to exiled National Security Agency (NSA) leaker Edward Snowden who spoke out in response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

      Snowden criticized the social media network in a series of tweets on Saturday after revelations that Cambridge Analytica had harvested data from 50 million Facebook users back in 2014. Cambridge Analytica has been contracted to work on high-profile projects, including the 2016 election campaign of Donald Trump.

    • Facebook suspends account of Cambridge Analytica whistleblower

      Chris Wylie, the whistleblower who has alleged the knowingly improper use of Facebook data by Cambridge Analytica, says The Social Network™ has suspended his account.

    • New biometric system to boost accuracy of border identity checking

      A new enterprise biometric identification service to be deployed by Australia’s Department of Home Affairs in July will vastly improve Australia’s biometric storage and processing capability, consolidating biometrics collected through visa and detention programs, according to the Federal Government.

    • UK warrant sought to raid controversial data firm’s servers

      Britain’s information commissioner Elizabeth Denham will seek a warrant to examine the databases and servers used by data analytics company Cambridge Analytica, the firm that is alleged to have used data of more than 50 million Facebook subscribers for targeting voters in the US presidential election.

    • Europe’s New Privacy Law Will Change the Web, and More

      On May 25, however, the power balance will shift towards consumers, thanks to a European privacy law that restricts how personal data is collected and handled. The rule, called General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR, focuses on ensuring that users know, understand, and consent to the data collected about them. Under GDPR, pages of fine print won’t suffice. Neither will forcing users to click yes in order to sign up.

      Instead, companies must be clear and concise about their collection and use of personal data like full name, home address, location data, IP address, or the identifier that tracks web and app use on smartphones. Companies have to spell out why the data is being collected and whether it will be used to create profiles of people’s actions and habits. Moreover, consumers will gain the right to access data companies store about them, the right to correct inaccurate information, and the right to limit the use of decisions made by algorithms, among others.

    • This Call May Be Monitored for Tone and Emotion
    • Cambridge Analytica CEO filmed talking about using bribes, sex workers in political work

      Channel 4 reports that over a four-month undercover investigation, it discovered that Cambridge Analytica has secretly worked to influence more than 200 elections all over the world, sometimes using sub-contractors or a web of secretive front companies.

    • Cambridge Analytica: Five things to watch
    • Facebook will hold an emergency meeting to let employees ask questions about Cambridge Analytica

      Facebook has scheduled an open meeting for all employees Tuesday to let them ask questions about the unfolding Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal.

    • Breach leaves Facebook users wondering: how safe is my data?

      In what appeared to be a damage limitation exercise, the social network preempted the stories that appeared in the Observer and the New York Times over the weekend by banning the political strategy company from its platform while it investigated the claims.

    • Why We’re Not Calling the Cambridge Analytica Story a ‘Data Breach’

      Facebook insists that Cambridge Analytica didn’t get information on 50 million Americans because of a ‘data breach.’ It’s right. What really happened is much worse.

      [...]

      And while the process that Kogan exploited is no longer allowed, Facebook still collects—and then sells—massive amounts of data on its users.

    • Facebook Executive Planning to Leave Company Amid Disinformation Backlash

      Mr. Stamos, who plans to leave Facebook by August, had advocated more disclosure around Russian interference of the platform and some restructuring to better address the issues, but was met with resistance by colleagues, said the current and former employees. In December, Mr. Stamos’s day-to-day responsibilities were reassigned to others, they said.

      Mr. Stamos said he would leave Facebook but was persuaded to stay through August to oversee the transition of his responsibilities and because executives thought his departure would look bad, the people said. He has been overseeing the transfer of his security team to Facebook’s product and infrastructure divisions. His group, which once had 120 people, now has three, the current and former employees said.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Trump Administration’s Multi-Pronged Assault on Immigrants’ Rights

      Right now, President Trump and Congress seek to pass a federal budget that would put the deportation machinery into even higher gear. The administration’s budget request asks taxpayers for $21.5 billion for its immigration and border enforcement agenda, an amount greater than the budgets of all other law enforcement agencies combined. This would mean more agents for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and border patrol agents, more detention beds in private immigration prisons, and the further militarization of border communities. In light of what we are witnessing across America, we should be ending, not enabling, the Trump deportation agenda.

    • Kobach Exposed at Trial

      Kobach utterly failed to present convincing evidence for his claim of rampant voter fraud.

      The federal trial over a law that disenfranchised tens of thousands of voters in Kansas is expected to end tomorrow. For the past two weeks, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has attempted to defend not just his signature legislation, which requires people to show documentary proof of citizenship such as a birth certificate or passport when registering to vote, but to support his claim of rampant voter fraud.

    • Copspeak: When Black Children Suddenly Become ‘Juveniles’

      As FAIR has noted many times before (7/10/16, 1/30/18), one of the primary goals of “Copspeak”—broadly defined as the media internalizing police verbiage to sound Cool and Official—is to dehumanize those officers have detained, harassed or killed.

      One popular iteration of Copspeak is when reporters refer to children or teenagers as “juveniles.” This works to criminalize and dehumanize a distinction—being a child—we would otherwise view in a sympathetic light, by using the dry, scientistic language of an anthropological study. “Police shoot fleeing juvenile” impacts us far less than “police shoot fleeing child” or “police shoot fleeing teenager,” which is why it’s the preferred term of the police, and thus police-aligned local reporters doing their best Copspeak impression.

      Here are a few recent examples, children are referred to as “juveniles” before they’ve been indicted much less found guilty of any crimes…

    • Black Mirror’s Scary “Social Credit Score” Is Becoming A Reality In China

      We have been hearing about a similar system being developed by China, with its first limited run starting in May 2018. If the big data-fueled system becomes full-fledged, the social credit of Chinese citizens would be a significant factor when they would want to avail services and benefits. According to the reports, the initial implementation would impose a ban on train and air travel. And this banning period could go up to a year.

    • Self-driving Uber Car Hits And Kills A Woman Crossing The Street

      On Sunday evening, a self-driving Uber car hit and killed a woman pedestrian who was crossing a road. The incident took place in Tempe, Arizona, which has become a hub for testing self-driving technology.

    • Pedestrian Deaths By Car In Phoenix Area Last Week: 11. But One Was By A Self-Driving Uber

      Despite worries about the reliability and safety of self-driving vehicles, the millions of test miles driven so far have repeatedly shown self-driving cars to be significantly more safe than their human-piloted counterparts. Yet whenever accidents (or near accidents) occur, they tend to be blown completely out of proportion by those terrified of (or financially disrupted by) an automated future.

    • Uber self-driving car kills Arizona woman, realizing worst fears of the new tech

      In a tweet, National Transportation Safety Board officials said they were sending a team to Arizona to investigate the accident.

    • Uber Self-Driving Car Kills Arizona Woman, the First Pedestrian Death By Autonomous Car

      Unlike other testing grounds, such as California, Arizona does not require autonomous car companies to submit disengagement reports, or instances of a vehicle’s operator taking control of the car.

    • Self-Driving Uber Car Kills Arizona Pedestrian

      The Uber vehicle was in autonomous mode with a human safety driver at the wheel when it struck the woman, who was crossing the street outside of a crosswalk, the Tempe police said in a statement. The episode happened on Sunday around 10 p.m. The woman was not publicly identified.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The Cable Industry Is Quietly Securing A Massive Monopoly Over American Broadband

      Cable providers like Comcast and Charter continue to quietly secure a growing monopoly over American broadband. A new report by Leichtman Research notes that the nation’s biggest cable companies added a whopping 83% of all net broadband subscribers last quarter. All told, the nation’s top cable companies (predominately Charter Spectrum and Comcast) added 2.7 million broadband subscribers in 2017, while the nation’s telcos (AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, Frontier) saw a net loss of 625,000 subscribers last year, slightly worse than the 600,000 subscriber net loss they witness in 2016.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Evidence on Polarization in IP

      The abstract doesn’t do justice to the results – the paper is worth a read, with some interesting graphs as well. One of the more interesting findings is that political party has almost no correlation with views on copyright, but relatively strong correlation with views on patenting. This latter result makes me an odd duck, as I lean more (way, in some cases) liberal but have also leaned more pro-patent than many of my colleagues. I think there are reasons for that, but we don’t need to debate them here.

    • Drug-Patent Abuse and the High Cost of Healthcare: Case of the Double-Half Dose-Time Injection

      Fortunately, in May and July 2017, three different panels of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) (with five different Administrative Patent Judges between them), saw through this charade. Armed with the benefit of evidence from experts on both sides of the issue through trial, they agreed with the petitioners that the prior art already knew how to correlate IV dosing regimens to the more convenient arm-shot method, routinely; that a 20 mg dose per week was “nearly equally efficacious when given weekly via arm-injection (subcutaneously); and that the half-life for Humira is between 11.6 and 13.7 days; or at least that it would have been on any skilled doctor’s very-short list of obvious things to try a double-dose, half-as-often regimen, with a reasonable expectation that it would succeed at treating arthritis. The patent was held to be invalid as obvious over the prior art.

    • Texas jury awards $706m in trade secret and breach of contract case

      HouseCanary has been awarded $235.4 million in damages for misappropriation of the trade secrets and fraud claims, and an additional $471.4 million in punitive damages, in a case involving real estate analytics

    • Trademarks

      • Will trade mark law stop Marine Le Pen’s new campaign?

        Last week, Marine Le Pen, leader of the political party National Front (‘Front National’), announced the re-branding of her party, following a defeat in the latest presidential elections in France. A new name, a new team, and a new programme, are all on the cards. The National Front is now to be called ‘Rassemblement national’ (read: National Rally). The objective is to ‘soften’ the image of the National Front, and thereby to distance the party from its tumultuous past (hereand here).

        Ironically, perhaps, this is not the first time that the name ‘National Rally’ has featured as the name of a national party. Indeed, it had already been used by a collaborationist party known as ‘National Popular Rally’ (‘Rassemblement National Populaire’), founded in 1941 by Marcel Déatduring the period of Vichy France (through 1945) (here).

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Streaming Giant 123Movies Announces Shutdown

        Popular pirate streaming site 123movies, also known as 123movieshub and GoMovies, has announced its shutdown. According to a message posted on the site, it will close its doors at the end of the week. At the same time, the operators are now urging their users to respect filmmakers by paying for movies and TV-shows.

      • How The Pirate Bay Helped Spotify Become a Success

        Without The Pirate Bay, Spotify may have never turned into the success it is today. Ten years ago record labels were so desperate to find an answer to the ever-growing piracy problem that they agreed to take a gamble. Now, more than a decade later, Spotify has turned into a billion-dollar company, with pirate roots.

      • Swedish Supreme Court says that painting based on photograph is new and independent creation and hence … non-infringing

        Exhausted after several days of intense work, I (finally) afforded the luxury of watching some TV. Zapping my way through the channels, I stumbled upon something called “Domstolen” (ENG: “The Court”), a reality TV-show in the form of a reportage, based on somewhat recent court cases and judicial developments in Sweden. Just as I was about to zap away to the next channel there appeared a case concerning copyright infringement.

        The case reported is colloquially known as Swedish scapegoats – a case from 2017 that made all the way up to the Swedish Supreme Court, and concerned a copyright dispute between the author of a close-up photograph and the author of a painting that was based on that photograph.

BIO, MDMA and PhRMA Are Pushing the PTAB-Hostile STRONGER Patents Act While IAM and Patently-O Continue to Bash PTAB

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 8:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The only “death squad” (their term) is the patent extremists trying to ‘shoot down’ PTAB and its judges

Death squad

Summary: The patent microcosm, which compares the Board to the above (crude analogy from Judge Rader and other patent extremists), is still trying to kill inter partes reviews (IPRs), in effect overlooking its own hypocrisy on the matter (they don’t want patent justice, they just want to metaphorically ‘shoot down’ the judges)

THE USPTO is improving things with inter partes reviews (IPRs), so it’s rather hard to imagine that anyone other than patent maximalists would wish to interfere.

We were a little stunned to see the STRONGER Patents Act mentioned again yesterday. We have hardly heard anything about it for nearly a year. What the CCIA’s Josh Landau is saying here, along with that corny zombie silhouette, is that “Like A Horror Movie Villain, The STRONGER Patents Act Returns,” but as far as we can see/tell, it is still pretty much dead and not mentioned anywhere except Koch-funded think tanks (they mention it on occasions, usually in tweets). Landau wrote:

Since the STRONGER Patents Act was introduced last year, it’s basically been a dead topic. Maybe that’s because the bill would gut the extremely successful inter partes review procedure and overturn more than a decade of Supreme Court precedent, crippling the ability of small and medium enterprises to develop products without fear. It would even make it legally beneficial to develop products anywhere other than the United States – a sort of R&D inversion scheme, enshrined in statute.

So, given that the STRONGER Patents Act will harm innovators and drive R&D overseas, why are Reps. Stivers (R-OH) and Foster (D-IL) planning to bring the STRONGER Patents Act back and introduce it in the House on Tuesday?

[...]

Who Greenlighted This Sequel, Anyway?

So who’s supporting this bill, despite the harm to American innovation?

PhRMA, the pharmaceutical industry lobby. BIO, the biotech version of PhRMA. MDMA, the medical device version of PhRMA. I can’t imagine why they want to make it harder to invalidate the patents they use to keep generic companies off the market.

The Qualcomm-funded Innovation Alliance? InterDigital? Companies that make their money by licensing patents under threat of litigation? I’m sure Qualcomm and InterDigital would be unhappy if they could bar sales of iPhones entirely based on a patent related to a small part of a component that costs $20.

And there’s one other party lurking in the background—litigation finance. Third-party financial companies that underwrite patent litigation on spec, hoping to share in any damages awarded. Stivers and Foster aren’t on the Judiciary Committee, the House committee with jurisdiction over patent issues. They’re on House Financial Services.

And litigation finance companies making money by betting on patent litigation would like to make their business a less risky bet by making it harder to challenge patents and easier to extract royalties that exceed the value of the patent using the threat of injunctions.

A bill that will keep drug prices high by sending research overseas and increase everyone’s prices to reward financial speculators?

That’s a real-life horror story.

At least we know who’s behind it.

Landau is now being cited by Joff Wild (IAM). This new guest post cites CCIA/Patent Progress and starts by saying that “one thing everyone can agree on, surely, is that IPRs have saved companies billions of dollars…”

As Landau points out (above), he “can’t imagine why they want to make it harder to invalidate the patents they use to keep generic companies off the market.”

If justice is what one cares for, PTAB is great. It makes access to justice better.

“Well, maybe not.”

So says IAM’s guest post. It suits IAM’s PTAB-hostile narrative.

“IP Edge managing director Gautham Bodepudi,” Wild continues, “has been doing some calculaitons and, he claims, while some parties do indeed make big savings, overall the results are not particularly impressive. This is Gau’s view, not necessarily ours, so we’d be very keen to hear from anyone who thinks he may have missed something. Anyway, here is what he has to say.”

It’s hardly surprising that a patent trolls’ lobby (IAM) would relay things like that. It also uses the “death squad” canard, in essence equating/comparing a court to a firing line and judges to people who execute. It’s also unsurprising that Patently-O, as of yesterday, cherry-picked a PTAB case because it’s one of those rare cases where CAFC does not fully agree with PTAB. In short, Dell uses an IPR to tackle dubious patents that the USPTO probably oughtn’t have granted. This is what happened next:

In its original decision, the PTAB cancelled claim 3 of Acceleron’s U.S. Patent No. 6,948,021 (inter alia). That holding was based upon an argument first presented by Dell at Oral Arguments (over Acceleron’s procedural objections). The Federal Circuit in 2016 vacated that first PTAB decision — “the Board denied Acceleron its procedural rights by relying in its decision on a factual assertion introduced into the proceeding only at oral argument, after Acceleron could meaningfully respond.”

[...]

On appeal again, the Federal Circuit has now affirmed the validity finding — holding that the Board properly ignored Dell’s argument – even though the result is that we confirm the validity of a patent claim that is thought to be invalid. The problem for Dell is that the procedural rules are clear – “No new evidence or arguments may be presented at the Oral Arguments.” (Office Patent Trial Practice Guide, 77 Fed. Reg. 48,756 (Aug. 14, 2012)).

The primary holding here is that the PTAB was not required to allow for any re-briefing of the arguments and evidence.

This is that same old propaganda pattern from Crouch. He likes to pretend that PTAB is some very unfair, biased court. He only covers cases that support such a narrative while discarding the rest. He has done so over a hundred times in the past year alone, probably in an effort to sway the opinion of Justices who are about to conclude Oil States.

35 U.S.C. § 101 is Still Effectively Tackling Software Patents in the US, But Patent Law Firms Lie/Distort to ‘Sell’ These Anyway

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 7:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The arts of being a “good” lawyer

Lying by omission
Reference: Lying by omission

Summary: The assertion that software patents are still worth pursuing in 2018 is based on carefully-constructed spin which mis-frames several court decisions and underplays/downplays/ignores pretty much everything that does not suit the narrative

YESTERDAY morning we wrote about how spin had evolved to convince people to pursue software patents (which even the USPTO — let alone courts — makes harder to attain/obtain).

Facts and marketing blend like water and sand. So it’s hardly surprising that little substance exists in these falsehoods-ridden infomercials.

We habitually cover cases that the patent microcosm prefers not to mention (or never to elaborate on). Such cases aren’t good for ‘business’ (patenting and litigation) as they can discourage ‘sales’ of ‘services’. The other day we took note/stock of several such cases.

Yesterday, Immersion Corp. v Fitbit, Inc. was brought up by a site of the patent microcosm, alluding to this latest outcome in a case initiated by Immersion, a notorious patent aggressor if not troll [1, 2] (it’s not exactly a troll, but it has no concrete products, just licensing).

Judge Koh is once again emerging as a somewhat technical judge who is hard to fool. Seeing what kind of patents Immersion is ‘sporting’, she sided with the defendant, Fitbit, whereupon the maximalists said that “it appears as though the lack of detailed physical components and detailed algorithms is what doomed the ’301 patent.”

Goodbye abstract patents.

Here’s more from that post:

Last week, Judge Koh of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California deemed claims relating to transmission of haptic messages to be directed to an abstract idea and therefore invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

The Plaintiff, Immersion Corp., alleged that Fitbit’s wearable health and fitness devices infringe three of Immersion’s patents, each of which involve “haptic” feedback technology — namely, technology that provides forces, vibrations, or other motion feedback that recreates a sense of touch for a user. Fitbit filed a motion to dismiss contending that the asserted claims of each patent are patent ineligible under § 101. The District Court denied Fitbit’s motion on two of the three patents, but granted the motion with respect to U.S. Patent No. 8,638,301 (the ’301 patent).

[...]

The District Court then addressed the patent ineligibility of the ’301 patent, whose claimed invention involves a mobile device transmitting a “haptic message” to another mobile device. The patent describes haptic messages as a useful form of non-linguistic communication that tie physical effects to a message, contrasting with more conventional messaging systems that may provide less or no contextual information associated with received and sent messages. For example, the patent describes a scenario in which one user appends a haptic signal simulating a heartbeat to a message, sends the message to the other user along with the haptic signal, which causes the other user’s phone to vibrate in a manner that simulates the heartbeat pattern.

[...]

Given the state of the asserted claims — especially that of claim 27, compared with the other two patents — the District Court’s finding here is relatively unsurprising. Again, it appears as though the lack of detailed physical components and detailed algorithms is what doomed the ’301 patent.

This is a classic example of abstract things that do not merit a patent.

The maximalists have since then turned to other cases, such as this one in which “Zmodo moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim under 35 U.S.C. § 101.”

§ 101 is a recurring theme, but the patent microcosm only really cares when a § 101 challenge is denied (even if it was unsuitably invoked, in cases where the claims are not abstract).

We saw two new examples of that yesterday. Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP came up with that familiar spin pattern that’s intended to help them sell worthless services:

Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank in 2014, there has been an increasing trend in district courts granting pretrial dispositive motions to effect early dismissal of patent infringement cases under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Last month, however, the Federal Circuit issued two patent-friendly decisions that preclude such early dismissal when there are factual disputes that underlie the ultimate legal conclusion of patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

We already wrote about a dozen rebuttals to that; but it doesn’t matter, the patent microcosm knows that prospective clients won’t fact-check and might even get the false impression that something substantial has happened and changed. Knobbe Martens was next to exploit these widely-distorted (by the patent microcosm) decisions in order to help itself sell worthless services. It wrote this yesterday:

In two recent cases, the Federal Circuit addressed the role of factual questions in resolving patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The first case was Berkheimer v. HP Inc. and the second was Aatrix Software v. Green Shades Software.[1] These cases possibly undercut the holdings of previous cases in which the Federal Circuit routinely affirmed judgments invalidating patent claims under § 101 in the early stages of litigation, when factual questions are typically unresolved.[2]

They keep mentioning Aatrix and Berkheimer (which we read), but we doubt they even understand these. They just live in a little echo chamber where name-dropping Aatrix and Berkheimer is like showering pixie dust.

Yesterday Watchtroll wrote: “While the value of patents has been under attack (e.g., with the Supreme Court Alice and Mayo decisions limiting what can be patented and the establishment of IPRs), trade secrets have become a bigger risk with the current rapid changing of jobs by engineers and programmers.”

Those patents are not “under attack”, they should never have been granted in the first place and courts belatedly rectify their ways, especially after Judge Rader left the Federal Circuit (he was pretty much forced to leave after he had been caught doing corrupt things).

Battistelli’s EPO Became Extremely Reliant on China for Distraction and on Endless Supply of Applications (Supply Which Doesn’t Exist)

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 7:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Applications are quickly running out in spite of ‘discounts’ (which reduced revenue and failed to spur much ‘demand’)

EPO applications
Not much ‘growth’ in Europe (as in European Patent Office)

EPO granting machine
China is ranked 38th for patent applications per capita (at the EPO) and accounts only for 5% of applications

Summary: Discussion about the EPO granting machine (or patent-printing machine) and figures the way EPO management would rather the public won’t ever see them; the concept that China means redemption for this patent system is as laughable as always

IF the EPO was a goose that lays golden eggs, those eggs would be the backlog. Pending applications don’t last forever and Battistelli now slaughters the goose, making redundancies quite imminent; Office rumour is, the Office will lay off about quarter of staff (the numbers/estimates heard vary).

“…Office rumour is, the Office will lay off about quarter of staff (the numbers/estimates heard vary).”We don’t wish to depress staff, but realistic expectations prevent disappointment. Earlier this month (and even this week in Twitter) the EPO was spreading false or misleading information which it called results. We responded in the following 4 posts (and limited that to 4 although we could go on and on):

It’s no secret that the EPO typically isolates graphs and figures that help mislead the media (so-called ‘journalists’ who simply repeat EPO PR staff/external agencies); last year, for instance, the EPO isolatd the European nations where there were positive rather than negative figures. We wrote about this many times a year ago, e.g. in the following reactionary posts:

We don’t wish to write as many rebuttals as we wrote last year because much of the deception is identical or at least similar. China, with a relatively small contribution to EPO totals, is still being emphasised everywhere. It’s not hard to see why; the biggest ‘growth’ comes from there (relative growth, not absolute).

“China, with a relatively small contribution to EPO totals, is still being emphasised everywhere. It’s not hard to see why; the biggest ‘growth’ comes from there (relative growth, not absolute).”Yesterday the EPO wrote: “Applications from France up again (+0.5%) in 2017 after a drop in the previous year…”

Pretty pathetic considering the fact that Battistelli gave them a discount. Had he not done that, it would be negative again. Notice how they send a shoutout there to INPI, where a lot of Team Battistelli came from.

What are we seeing at the EPO that actually gives room for hope? Almost nothing. Appeals are being made more expensive in order to discourage repeals/rejections of patents. Especially when it comes to oppositions, not rejections being appealed. Figures pertaining to rejections don’t take fee alterations into account (so year-to-year comparisons are inadequate). The same goes for the number of applications (the prices were lowered to artificially increase ‘growth’, just not in terms of revenue).

“Appeals are being made more expensive in order to discourage repeals/rejections of patents.”Don’t expect any law firms to speak about it. They profit from this turbulence and the increase in so-called ‘production’ typically means more business for them. They also longed for the UPC, knowing that a growing number of lawsuits would help their bottom line (at the expense or everyone else).

Laura Carney and Thomas Zvesper from Marks & Clerk now speak about the Boards, but they will never ever mention the EPO scandals as that might ‘upset’ their monetary supply chain. Yesterday they wrote this self-promotional piece (infomercial as we called it yesterday) about an old case:

In the present decision, the Board had to consider the validity of the priority claim of patent EP1773302. In particular, the Board had to consider whether the granted patent’s priority claim was invalid in view of an earlier document which was the “first application” from which priority should have been claimed. The patent and the application from which priority was claimed were directed to a tablet having, amongst other features, a gelatinous first and second coating, a gap being provided between the two gelatinous coatings of from 3 to 33% of the length of the tablet. However, the patentee had filed an earlier application (US 2005/0152970, D22) which was identical to the granted patent, except that the disclosed gap was 5 to 33%.

“Perhaps Europe could take a lesson from south Asia.”Like we said some weeks ago as well as last month, with an upcoming appeal regarding CRISPR patents we worry that the Boards won’t be able to rule impartially. They themselves complain about it on occasions. Yesterday, as usual, patent maximalists from Managing IP were celebrating CRISPR patents, neglecting to note that these are bunk and usually void in the US (and more recently in Europe as well). “Filing trends include a 194% increase globally between 2013 and 2015,” it said, but filings and grants aren’t the same, never mind actual court rulings (of which they are few that can assess/determine patent eligibility in light of Myriad, Mayo, the EPC and so on).

Perhaps Europe could take a lesson from south Asia. India, for example, successfully resisted the patent maximalists and antagonised many software and pharmaceutical patents. It usually explains (correctly in our view) that when it comes to patents the interest of the people (not very rich people and corporations) should come first.

“As many people expected (Glyn Moody for instance), China now uses US courts to hit American companies over the head, essentially taking the patent aggression abroad, too. Makes one wonder what Chinese firms can do with all these European Patents, with or without a horrific system like UPC in place.”IAM just won’t leave India alone. Jacob Schindler wrote many articles last year in which he shamed India. Coming from the patent trolls’ lobby (IAM), this is more or less expected, albeit it seems like they softened their tone after that. Instead of bashing India like it was some kind of ‘pirate’, IAM now calls India’s policy something “controversial among multinational patent owners.” They kept bullying India, yet the language changed somewhat. Yesterday IAM said: “Litigation developments in Delhi over the last few months have put a spotlight on a somewhat unique feature of India’s patent system: Form 27, which requires patentees to disclose how they commercially exploit their granted rights. Now, it appears that the Patent Office will consider making changes to the form, which has long been controversial among multinational patent owners. Each year, patentees must submit a disclosure to the Indian Patent Office stating whether each patent they own is being “worked” on a commercial scale in India.”

So they realise that a massive pile of fictional patents on fictional things isn’t dedirable. Unlike China?

China officially opened the floodgates to software patents about a year ago (April) and since then we have seen a lot of patent aggression in China. It’s chaotic. “Meanwhile,” IAM noted yesterday, “Chinese tech giant ZTE disposed of seven US assets [patents] in a deal which was executed on 22nd January and recorded on 15th March.”

These are going to patent trolls, which IAM euphemises as “NPE”, as usual. Here’s what remains outside the new paywall:

ZTE and Panasonic have both transferred small packages of patents to a relatively new US NPE called Global Innovation Aggregators, a Delaware registered entity with offices in Pasadena, California. According to the assignment records Panasonic handed over 11 US grants in two separate deals that were recorded on the USPTO’s site earlier this month and executed in late February. Meanwhile Chinese tech giant ZTE disposed of seven US assets in a deal which was executed on 22nd January and recorded on 15th March. For Panasonic it is the latest in a long line of patent divestments which most recently included the transfer…

ZTE is Chinese. As many people expected (Glyn Moody for instance), China now uses US courts to hit American companies over the head, essentially taking the patent aggression abroad, too. Makes one wonder what Chinese firms can do with all these European Patents, with or without a horrific system like UPC in place.

The US International Trade Commission (USITC) Against Comcast, Courtesy of the Intellectual Ventures-Connected Rovi

Posted in America, Patents at 5:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Administrative Law Judge Photos
Reference: Administrative Law Judge Photos

Summary: The USITC/ITC, which mostly serves to impose embargoes (sometimes in shocking defiance of PTAB decisions), is being invoked by a firm connected to the world’s largest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures

WE occasionally mention the ITC in relation to sanctions. The ITC mostly services technology giants in the US, protecting these from foreign competition. A decade ago, for instance, Microsoft used the ITC to embargo imports of rival mice, using nothing but patent allegations rather than claims of counterfeiting (which would be more severe).

Yesterday the Docket Navigator picked a case in which the ITC had gotten involved.

“What we find most interesting in all this is that here, for a change, a large company from the US is being targeted and the instigator is connected to a very notorious patent troll.”“The ALJ [Administrative Law Judge],” it said, “denied respondents’ motion to certify for judicial enforcement its prior art subpoena to two nonparties whom complainants sued for infringement of the same patents in district court because the documents sought were protected attorney work product.”

Days prior to this we found this report about Rovi Corporation, which is connected to the world’s largest patent troll and is suing a lot [1, 2, 3], using the ITC against Comcast. “The US International Trade Commission (USITC) has instituted a section 337 investigation into Comcast over the alleged infringement of Rovi Corporation’s patents,” the report said.

What we find most interesting in all this is that here, for a change, a large company from the US is being targeted and the instigator is connected to a very notorious patent troll. A new form of sanction/extortion?

Tinder/Match Group Uses Software Patents to Sue a Rival, Obviously Choosing to Sue in Texas

Posted in Courtroom, Patents at 5:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Map of Texas

Summary: Software patents are being used for leverage, but only those which were likely granted before Alice and only in courts at districts somewhere around Texas

THE remnant of software patents granted by the USPTO is a massive liability. A lot of lawsuits rely on such patents, which are likely toothless and thus worthless after Alice.

A few days ago it turned out that Tinder had become a patent bully. It’s suing over alleged infringement of software patents (which are likely bunk and void). Maybe it was hoping that the rival will just settle/fold/sell, or even remove features (modifying the platform); eventually came a lawsuit in an expectedly biased court:

Match Group, the online dating company that owns services like Tinder and Match.com, wants to buy Bumble, another popular dating app that lets women make the first move.

But Match may be trying to push the deal along in an unconventional way: A new patent infringement lawsuit filed late Friday in U.S. District court in Waco, Texas.

Match Group is suing Bumble, which was founded by one of Tinder’s co-founders, for infringing on two of its patents, including a design patent for Tinder’s now-famous swipe-to-connect feature, according to the suit.

Assuming that the lawsuit cannot be relocated (venue change), there’s a chance they might get away with it.

“Examiners ought to stop allowing monopolies on algorithms and applicants oughtn’t bother patenting software (because courts don’t really care for these).”In the meantime, Judge Gilstrap is said to have supported a defendant in a patent case in the Eastern District of Texas (EDTX). That’s rare! So rare in fact that Docket Navigator gave it a special mention yesterday. The case is Adjustacam LLC v Amazon.com, Inc., et al and the summary is as follows: “The court awarded defendant its attorney fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 and rejected plaintiff’s argument that defendant was not entitled to attorney fees prior to claim construction.”

That does not mean that the defendant is safe though; the best way to assure one’s safety is to exit EDTX or appeal to the CAFC (which is even more expensive).

A lot of these issues boil down to the granting of software patents, which patent trolls love and judges like Gilstrap uphold in spite of Alice. Yesterday we saw this new outline of recent patents in New Hampshire. Some of them sound like classic algorithms, e.g. “data gathering devices on behalf of a calling secure software application.”

Examiners ought to stop allowing monopolies on algorithms and applicants oughtn’t bother patenting software (because courts don’t really care for these). Such patents are only useful when you can bully small companies outside courts. As long as examiners continue to grant these…

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