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03.22.18

The Federation of International Civil Servants’ Association: Frenchman “Campinos is Known for Having Close Ties to Mr. Battistelli Who Strongly Supported His Candidacy.”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Campinos and Battistelli in 2011

Campinos and Battistelli in 2011

Summary: Readers find little or no room for optimism as Battistelli’s final day at the Office approaches; FICSA is not optimistic either and the general consensus is that Battistelli’s so-called ‘reforms’ will soon yield layoffs

MR. Campinos, a Frenchman, will become the EPO‘s President in little more than 3 months. This politically-connected former banker* got the job thanks to a lot of help from his old friend, whom he can speak French with (Campinos will be the third Frenchman in this position out of 4 in succession, Brimelow being the only exception). It’s also rumoured that Nicolas Sarkozy, who is making the news right now for his alleged crimes, put Battistelli in this position, so there’s a chain of lobbying here (for succession). These people are nothing like Alain Pompidou, who was a Frenchman that’s actually a scientist and sometimes reasonable with staff (except when portraying them as lazy).

“We expect Battistelli to still hang around the Office as a visitor.”The meeting of the Administrative Council of the EPO is ending right about now and we have heard virtually nothing about it, which probably means that nothing is changing (same old horrible mess). The Federation of International Civil Servants’ Association (FICSA) too has just noted that nothing is changing for the better, only for the worse. As SUEPO put it some hours ago:

FICSA, the Federation of International Civil Servants’ Association is a federated group of 29 staff associations/unions from organizations belonging to the United Nations common system. Eighteen staff associations/unions outside the common system have associate status. Fifteen staff associations/unions are consultative members and 22 Federations of United Nations Staff Associations (FUNSA) are observers.

The Federation of International Civil Servants’ Association (FICSA) mentions anew the worrisome situation at the European Patent Office.

Here’s the relevant part from the PDF:

European Patent Office (EPO)

56. Unfortunately, nothing changed at the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2017. It has been in the news for over four years now and FICSA has been following developments closely as there are still unresolved, worrisome issues, namely: continuous threats to union and staff representatives by the EPO President, Mr. Battistelli, and violation of workers’ rights. This is now coupled with setting unreachable production objectives which are endangering the health of EPO staff.

57. After having halved the time spent on Staff Representation activities over the past three years, the EPO has in 2017 further curtailed the resources of the Staff Committee. In its extra- ordinary session of 6 December 2017, the ILO Administrative Tribunal (ILOAT) delivered several important judgements, Nos. 3958 and 3960, in which it ordered the immediate reinstatement of a Judge of the Boards of Appeal to his former post, after he had been suspended for three years. The Tribunal further ordered the EPO to pay the Judge costs as well as damages for material and moral injury. No. 3972 concerns the case of a sick EPO staff whose sickness was deliberately ignored by the EPO prior to being dismissed after a disciplinary committee in absentia.

58. The judgements concerning the three dismissed SUEPO officials are likely to be issued by the ILOAT next June/July and end 2018/beginning 2019. Mr. Campinos (PT), current head of EU-IPO in Alicante, will become the next President of the EPO as from 1 July 2018 with the mandate to reinstate social dialogue. It is however too early to have a clear idea of his intentions. Mr. Campinos is known for having close ties to Mr. Battistelli who strongly supported his candidacy.

59. FICSA hopes that the years of chaos will soon be over with the arrival of a new President at EPO respecting the rule of law, the social partners and EPO staff.

Don’t develop any major hopes; readers have generally told us that they expect Battistelli-Campinos synergy, i.e. nothing substantial will change. We expect Battistelli to still hang around the Office as a visitor. Control freaks do not retire peacefully.
_____
* Campinos and his professional background was the subject of much coverage last year, e.g.:

Links 22/3/2018: Mesa 17.3.7, Mesa 18.0.0 RC5, RawTherapee 5.4, Krita 4

Posted in News Roundup at 1:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Developer survey shows Linux as more popular than Windows

      Every year since 2010, Stack Overflow conducts a developer survey where they ask the developer community about everything from their favorite technologies to their job preferences. The results of the eighth annual survey, held in January 2018, are out and not surprisingly, this year marks the largest number of respondents ever. Over 100,000 developers took the 30-minute survey revealing how they learn new technologies, which tools they use to get their work done, and what they look for while hunting some job.

  • Server

    • Docker Turns 5: A Look at How the Technology Popularized Containers [Ed: Slideshow by Sean Michael Kerner]
    • Enhanced

      LFTP is an alternative to the FTP command set, which supports many protocols and offers countless parameters.

      Although pretty much outdated, the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) still plays a significant role. For 20 years, LFTP has offered a greatly expanded command set for the command line that handles secure transmissions, without being excessively difficult to handle.

    • Google Skaffold Automates Kubernetes Orchestration

      Google is throwing an automation tool to developers looking to use Kubernetes to orchestrate enterprise applications. That assistance is coming from a command line tool dubbed Skaffold that can help continuous development for Kubernetes applications.

      Vic Iglesias, a solutions architect at Google, noted in a blog post that Skaffold allows developers to more closely mirror production methods within an enterprise. It does this by allowing developers to work on application source code in their local environment. That code can then be updated and ready for validation and testing in the developer’s local or remote Kubernetes clusters.

  • Kernel Space

    • Steam Controller Linux Kernel Driver Updated To Work Happily With The Steam Client

      Last month we reported on a kernel driver being worked on for Valve’s Steam Controller but it wasn’t coming from Valve developers but rather an independent member of the community. That hid-steam driver continues to be hacked on.

      To date Valve has just been supporting the Steam Controller on Linux via the Steam client with handling the controller’s behavior in user-space. There have also been some independent user-space programs to come about too for manipulating the Steam Controller, but this has been the first time a proper Linux kernel driver has been worked on for this popular gaming controller.

    • Time-based packet transmission

      Normally, when an application sends data over the network, it wants that data to be transmitted as quickly as possible; the kernel’s network stack tries to oblige. But there are applications that need their packets to be transmitted within specific time windows. This behavior can be approximated in user space now, but a better solution is in the works in the form of the time-based packet transmission patch set.

      There are a number of situations where outgoing data should not necessarily be transmitted immediately. One example would be any sort of isochronous data stream — an audio or video stream, maybe — where each packet of data is relevant at a specific point in time. For such streams, transmitting ahead of time and buffering at the receiving side generally works well enough. But realtime control applications can be less flexible. Commands for factory-floor or automotive systems, for example, should be transmitted within a narrow period of time. Realtime applications can wait until the window opens before queuing data for transmission, of course, but any sort of latency that creeps in (due to high network activity, for example) may then cause the data to be transmitted too late.

    • Designing ELF modules

      The bpfilter proposal posted in February included a new type of kernel module that would run as a user-space program; its purpose is to parse and translate iptables rules under the kernel’s control but in a contained, non-kernel setting. These “ELF modules” were reposted for review as a standalone patch set in early March. That review has happened; it is a good example of how community involvement can improve a special-purpose patch and turn it into a more generally useful feature.

      ELF modules look like ordinary kernel modules in a number of ways. They are built from source that is (probably) shipped with the kernel itself, they are compiled to a file ending in .ko, and they can be loaded into the kernel with modprobe. Rather than containing a real kernel module, though, that .ko file holds an ordinary ELF binary, as a user-space program would. When the module is “loaded”, a special process resembling a kernel thread is created to run that program in user mode. The program will then provide some sort of service to the kernel that is best not run within the kernel itself.

    • Linux Foundation

      • FD.io Brings Improvements to Kubernetes Networking with Sixth Release

        An open source project within The Linux Foundation – relentlessly focused on data speed and efficiency supporting the creation of high-performance, flexible, and scalable cloud native infrastructures, today announced the availability of its 18.01 software release. Focused on enhancements to improve Kubernetes Networking, Istio, and cloud native network functions virtualization (NFV), 18.01 is FD.io’s sixth software release.

      • Kubernetes: the “distributed” Linux of the cloud

        The CNCF Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) voted for Kubernetes to become CNCF’s first project to graduate as it has proven to be mature and resilient enough to manage containers at scale across any industry in companies of all sizes. The CNCF graduation criteria established by the TOC define what is a sustainable, production ready, mature open source project with open governance that you can bet your business on. Just because a project is open source, doesn’t mean that it is high quality and sustainable.

      • LF Networking, OCP collaborate on creating open source SDN, NFV software stacks
      • OCP and Linux Foundation Bring Hardware Together with Software

        Disaggregation of hardware and software has created interest in open source at both layers of networks. But in an acknowledgement that these layers still need to work together, yesterday, the Linux Foundation Networking (LFN) group and the Open Compute Project (OCP) announced they plan to collaborate to harmonize hardware and software.

    • Graphics Stack

      • mesa 17.3.7

        Mesa 17.3.7 is now available.

      • Mesa 17.3.7 Released With A Bunch Of Fixes

        While Mesa 18.0 should finally be out on Friday as the major quarterly update to the Mesa 3D drivers, Mesa 17.3.7 is out today and it’s a rather big update for being just another point release to last month’s 17.3 series.

        Last week marked the release candidate of Mesa 17.3.7 with 50+ changes and then on Monday came a second release candidate given all the extra patches.

      • mesa 18.0.0-rc5

        The fifth and final release candidate for Mesa 18.0.0 is now available.

      • Mesa 18.0-RC5 Released, Mesa 18.0 Should Finally Be Out On Friday

        Nearly one and a half months since Mesa 18.0-RC4 and nearly one month since last seeing any Git activity on the “18.0″ Mesa Git branch, it’s finally been updated today with the availability of Mesa 18.0-RC5.

        Mesa release manager Emil Velikov announced this long-awaited release candidate today. He says this is the fifth and final release candidate. Given the month plus since the last RC, there are many fixes/changes in this release: In fact, more than 80 changes in total for Mesa 18.0-RC5.

      • Improved VGA_Switcheroo Going Into Linux 4.17

        Google’s Sean Paul has sent in the final drm-misc-next pull request to DRM-Next of new feature material for the upcoming Linux 4.17 kernel cycle.

        Most notable with this final drm-misc-next update is the recent VGA_Switcheroo improvements by Lukas Wunner. This is the device link

      • AMD Posts Open-Source Driver Patches For Vega 12

        It’s been a while since last hearing anything about the rumored “Vega 12″ GPU but coming out this morning are a set of 42 patches providing support for this unreleased GPU within the mainline Linux kernel.

        Alex Deucher of AMD’s Linux driver team sent out the 42 patches this morning providing initial support for Vega 12 within the AMDGPU DRM kernel driver.

      • DXVK Now Has An On-Disk Shader Cache

        DXVK, the exciting project implementing the Direct3D 11 API over Vulkan for Wine gamers, now has an on-disk shader cache.

      • Freedreno’s MSM DRM Driver Continues Prepping For Adreno 600 Series Support

        Rob Clark has submitted the MSM DRM driver changes to DRM-Next for the Linux 4.17 kernel for benefiting Qualcomm SoC owners.

        Changes this cycle for the open-source MSM DRM driver include DSI updates, fixing some race conditions, DebugFS enhancements, MDP5 fixes, and refactoring/prep work for the Adreno 600 series support.

      • NVIDIA’s Jetson TK1 Is Being EOL’ed Next Month

        Easily one of our favorite ARM single-board computers ever, the Jetson TK1 from NVIDIA, will be facing retirement next month.

        A Phoronix reader has tipped us off that NVIDIA has sent out their EOL notice that shipments of the Jetson TK1 developer kits will be ending by the end of April. Following that, it will just live on until distributors run out of their inventory.

      • [Mesa-dev] 2018 Election voting OPEN

        The X.Org Foundation’s annual election is now open and will remain open until 23:59 UTC on 5 April 2018.

        Four of the eight director seats are open during this election, with the four nominees receiving the highest vote totals serving as directors for two year terms.

      • Mesa Gets Plumbed For Conservative Rasterization Support

        An independent contributor to Mesa has posted a set of patches for implementing NVIDIA’s OpenGL conservative rasterization extensions.

        Nearly one thousand lines of code is now available for getting GL_NV_conservative_raster and friends wired into core Mesa and Gallium3D while getting it working for the Nouveau NVC0 driver on Maxwell GPUs and newer. Besides GL_NV_conservative_raster is the NV_conservative_raster_dilate and NV_conservative_raster_pre_snap_triangles extensions too.

      • It’s Time For X.Org Members To Cast Their 2018 Ballots

        If you are a member of the X.Org Foundation, it’s important to get out to vote now.

        This year’s elections for the X.Org Foundation Board of Directors are now underway and the voting period is open until 5 April.

      • Wayfire Is A New Wayland Compositor That Supports Desktop Cube, Expo & Other Plugins

        Wayfire is a new independent Wayland compositor project built atop libweston. Wayfire supports compositor plug-ins to offer a desktop cube and more, so you can relive the old days when having a spinning desktop cube was all the rage in the early days of Compiz/Beryl.

    • Benchmarks

      • Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Linux With Radeon / GeForce GPUs On The Latest 2018 Drivers

        Given how fiercely the latest open-source AMD Linux driver code is running now up against NVIDIA’s long-standing flagship Linux GPU driver, you might be curious how well that driver stacks up against the Radeon Software driver on Windows? Well, you are in luck as here are some fresh benchmarks of the Radeon RX 580 and RX Vega 64 as well as the GeForce GTX 1060 and GTX 1080 Ti while being tested both under Microsoft Windows 10 Pro x64 and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS while using the latest AMD/NVIDIA drivers on each platform.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Krita 4.0.0 Released!

        Today we’re releasing Krita 4.0! A major release with major new features and improvements: improved vector tools, SVG support, a new text tool, Python scripting and much, much, much more!

      • Krita 4.0 Open-Source Digital Painting App Is One of the Biggest Releases Ever
      • Krita 4.0 Now Available For Open-Source Digital Painting

        Krita 4.0 is now available as the latest major release for this KDE-aligned, open-source digital painting program.

        Krita 4.0 has been working on performance improvements and many other improvements including the usage of SVG for vector tools, a new text tool, Python scripting support, new brushes, a colorize mask tool, and other enhancements. Over on dot.kde.org is a nice overview of the changes to be found in Krita 4.0.

      • 5 Things to Look Forward to in Krita 4.0

        That Krita has become one of the most popular applications for painting among digital artists is an understatement. The great thing is that, with every new version, Krita just gets better and better. The latest release is a perfect example of that. Check out what you can look forward to in the new 4.0 version:

      • Guest post: The Importance of QA

        Today we have a guest post from Buovjaga, our friendly local QA evangelist for LibreOffice, KDE, Inkscape, Firefox and Thunderbird. Without further ado, I’d like to present…

      • KDSoap 1.7.0 is released

        KDSoap is a tool for creating client applications for web services without the need for any further component such as a dedicated web server.

      • Qt Champions 2017

        It’s time to share who the Qt Champions for 2017 are!

        As always, all the nominees were incredible people. It is hard to decide who is most worthy of the Qt Champion title. I asked for help from our lifetime Qt Champion Samuel Gaist, and together we faced the tough decision.

      • Dan Bielefeld, Keynote Speaker Akademy 2018: Exposing Injustice Through the Use of Technology

        Dan will be delivering the opening keynote at this year’s Akademy and he kindly agreed to talk to us about activism, Free Software, and the sobering things he deals with every day.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Ubuntu’s Bionic Beaver brings GNOME 3.28, minimal installation, and faster booting (in theory)

        Bionic Beaver. That’s right. Canonical has chosen what might well be the greatest name for a desktop release in the history of technology. And, of course, with a name like Bionic Beaver, you’d expect great things to come from this borg-ian, nocturnal, semi-aquatic rodent. With a release date of April 21, 2018, there isn’t much time remaining to anticipate what’s to come.

        Good thing you don’t have to wait to find out what new and improved features are on their way. However, is the wait worth it? For the longest time, Ubuntu releases were rather boring, offering next to nothing in the way of improvements. It wasn’t until Canonical made the switch from Unity to GNOME that releases were, once again, interesting. Nomenclature aside, Bionic Beaver should not disappoint users. The developers have done a masterful job of creating a release that brings a bit of excitement along for the ride.

        Let’s take a look at what Bionic Beaver has in store.

      • Umm, GNOME Shell Has a Rather Big Memory Leak

        There’s a rather annoying memory leak in GNOME Shell, and it’s unlikely to be fixed in time for the release of Ubuntu 18.04 next month.

      • Big Memory Leak Bug Found In GNOME Shell; Might Remain Unpatched In Ubuntu 18.04

        For now, the users who couldn’t benefit from the patch can restart Gnome Shell after a couple of hours to free up memory. To do this, press Alt + F2. Then type r and press Enter.

      • Continues Integration in Librsvg, Part 1

        Rust makes it trivial to write any kind of tests for your project. But what good are they if you do not run them? In this blog series I am gonna explore the capabilities of Gitlab-CI and document how it is used in Librsvg.

      • Continues Integration in Librsvg, Part 2
      • Continues Integration in Librsvg, Part 3

        Generally 5min/job does not seem like a terribly long time to wait, but it can add up really quickly when you add couple of jobs to the pipeline. First let’s take a look where most of the time is spent. First of jobs currently are spawned in a clean environment, which means each time we want to build the Rust part of librsvg, we download the whole cargo registry and all of the cargo dependencies each time. That’s our first low hanging fruit! Apart from that another side-effect of the clean environment is that we build librsvg from scratch each time, meaning we don’t make use of the incremental compilation that modern compilers offer. So let’s get started.

      • [GNOME] Builder Nightly

        One of the great aspects of the Flatpak model, apart from separating apps from the OS, is that you can have multiple versions of the same app installed concurrently. You can rely on the stable release while trying things out in the development or nightly built version. This creates a need to easily identify the two versions apart when launching it with the shell.

      • SVG Rendering and GSVGtk

        For SVG rendering, we have few options: librsvg, as the most popular one,,and Lasem, maybe others. Both take an SVG file, parse it and render it over specified Cairo.Context.

      • GTask and Threaded Workers

        GTask is super handy, but it’s important you’re very careful with it when threading is involved.

      • gksu is dead. Long live PolicyKit

        Today, gksu was removed from Debian unstable. It was already removed 2 months ago from Debian Testing (which will eventually be released as Debian 10 “Buster”).

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Slax Linux Distribution Begins Planning For Its First 2018 Release

          Arriving last Christmas was a rejuvenated release of Slax, the long-running, lightweight Linux distribution with its development restarting last year and having shifted from being a Slackware derivative to Debian and moving from KDE to Fluxbox+Compton. Those involved are working on a new Slax release for 2018.

          Slax lead developer Tomas Matejicek has announced work is underway on the next version of this modern Slax OS with Debian+Fluxbox.

        • Work in progress on next version

          I’ve started working on next version of Slax. You can track the roadmap here, and you can suggest changes for the next version here.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Tiny Apollo Lake based mini-PCs run Ubuntu

            Logic Supply unveiled two 116 x 83 x 34mm mini-PCs built around a Celeron N3350: a CL200 with 3x USB ports and a CL210 that doubles memory to 2GB LPDDR4 and 32GB eMMC, and adds a second mini-DP and GbE port.

            Logic Supply announced its smallest mini-PCs to date with CL200 and CL210 models that measure just 116 x 83 x 34mm. The CL200 ships with Ubuntu 16.04 while the more advanced CL210 also offers Windows 10 IoT. Both of these “IoT Edge Device” mini-PCs tap Intel’s dual-core, 1.1GHz Celeron N3350 with 6W TDP from the Apollo Lake generation, and support digital media, data acquisition, automation, and network gateway applications.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Continues Prepping With The Linux 4.15 Kernel

            There were various calls by independent end-users voicing their two cents that Ubuntu 18.04 “Bionic Beaver” should ship with Linux 4.16 instead of Linux 4.15, but that isn’t going to happen.

            In several different places the past few weeks I’ve seen various remarks made of how “Ubuntu 18.04 should ship with Linux 4.16″ on the basis of either better Spectre/Meltdown support, Linux 4.16 will be out in time and neither 4.15 or 4.16 are even LTS releases, better hardware support, or users simply wanting all the goodies in Linux 4.16. But that’s simply foolish given Ubuntu 18.04 is being a Long Term Support release and how close the timing ends up being as is.

          • Kernel Team summary: March 21, 2018

            On the road to 18.04 we have a 4.15 based kernel in the Bionic repository.

          • Ubuntu Preps to Remove Qt 4 Support from the Archives, Target Ubuntu 19.04

            With Qt 5 being largely adopted by Qt application developers and other major projects, such as the KDE Plasma desktop environment, the Qt 4 technologies are becoming obsolete, so more and more GNU/Linux distributions plan its complete removal from the software repositories.

            Debian Project’s Qt/KDE teams are already preparing to remove Qt 4 support from the repositories of the upcoming Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system series mainly because it’s getting harder and harder to maintain it now that it is no longer supported upstream, and may cause lots of problems system-wide.

          • Which Linux Distribution to Use After Ubuntu?

            Ubuntu is one of the best Linux distributions for beginners. It’s an excellent platform for people new to Linux. It is easy to install, has tons of free resources available along with a massive list of applications available for it.

            I am not saying Ubuntu is strictly for new Linux users. I have been using Ubuntu as my primary operating system for more than eight years and I just love it.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Debian-driven DragonBoard expands to 96Boards Extended spec

      Arrow has launched its $199 DragonBoard 820c, an open-spec, Snapdragon 820E based 96Boards CE Extended SBC with an audio header and a second 60-pin connector in addition to the usual 40- and 60-pin headers.

      Arrow’s Qualcomm-backed DragonBoard 820c was teased over a year ago and then announced by Qualcomm last month in conjunction with the release of the Snapdragon 820E SoC. We briefly covered the SBC earlier this week as part of Linaro’s multi-board 96Boards.ai roll-out — Linaro said that it would soon qualify the 820c as compliant with its new AI-focused 96Boards.ai spec. There was no shopping link at the time, but now you can purchase this successor to the DragonBoard 410C for $199. The open-spec SBC runs Debian Linux, with planned support for OpenEmbedded.

    • Mysterious ‘Ataribox’ console finally gets a name and pre-order window

      Atari’s new entry into the console market now has an official name: The Atari VCS. The device was originally teased as the “Ataribox” last year during the E3 gaming convention: A new Linux-based system providing all your favorite Atari classics along with games from independent developers. Visually, it’s a throwback to the Atari 2600 console, only with a sleeker, modern look and updated hardware. Atari calls it a “gaming and entertainment platform.”

    • GDC 2018 | The Ataribox is real, and it’s more computer than gaming console

      Atari COO Michael Arzt told Tom’s Hardware that the machine will indeed run Linux (or, at least, a derivative of Linux) with its own Atari-themed UI. The device can be controlled through either a classically-styled joystick or a more modern gamepad. Users can also connect a keyboard and mouse through either USB or Bluetooth.

    • The Ataribox is here at GDC, but it’s also kind of not (hands-on)

      In fact, Atari execs told us there’s no longer a set price or a promised release date for the console — because many of its key pieces, like its AMD processor and customized Linux operating system, are still coming together.

    • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ Benchmarks

      Last week on Pi Day marked the release of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ with a slightly higher clocked Cortex-A53 processors, dual-band 802.11ac WiFi, faster Ethernet, and other minor enhancements over its predecessor. I’ve been spending the past few days putting the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ through its paces the past few days with an array of benchmarks while comparing the performance to other ARM SBCs as well as a few lower-end Intel x86 systems too. Here is all you need to know about the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ performance.

    • Porting L4Re and Fiasco.OC to the Ben NanoNote (Part 2)

      Having undertaken some initial investigations into running L4Re and Fiasco.OC on the MIPS Creator CI20, I envisaged attempting to get this software running on the Ben NanoNote, too. For a while, I put this off, feeling confident that when I finally got round to it, it would probably be a matter of just choosing the right compiler options and then merely fixing all the mistakes I had made in my own driver code. Little did I know that even the most trivial activities would prove more complicated than anticipated.

      As you may recall, I had noted that a potentially viable approach to porting the software would merely involve setting the appropriate compiler switches for “soft-float” code, thus avoiding the generation of floating point instructions that the JZ4720 – the SoC on the Ben NanoNote – would not be able to execute. A quick check of the GCC documentation indicated the availability of the -msoft-float switch. And since I have a working cross-compiler for MIPS as provided by Debian, there didn’t seem to be much more to it than that. Until I discovered that the compiler doesn’t seem to support soft-float output at all.

      I had hoped to avoid building my own cross-compiler, and apart from enthusiastic (and occasionally successful) attempts to build the Debian ones before they became more generally available, the last time I really had anything to do with this was when I first developed software for the Ben. As part of the general support for the device an OpenWrt distribution had been made available. Part of that was the recipe for building the cross-compiler and other tools, needed for building a kernel and all the software one would deploy on a device. I am sure that this would still be a good place to look for a solution, but I had heard things about Buildroot and so set off to investigate that instead.

    • Artila Releases New Linux-ready Cortex-A7 System on Module M-X6ULL

      Artila’s new SODIMM module based on NXP i.MX6ULL ARM Cortex A7 CPU core operating up to 800MHz speed with Linux OS. The new M-X6ULL is designed to meet the needs of many general embedded applications that require power efficient, high performance and cost optimized solution, as well as embedded systems that require high-end multimedia applications in a small form factor, this cost effective M-X6ULL is ultra-compact in size with the form factor of 68 x 43 mm. In addition, M-X6ULL has 200-pins connectors to allow extension of more I/Os for peripheral signals like two 10/100 Mbps Ethernet, LCD, CAN, UART, USB, SD and I2C.

    • Want to support eelo more? Become my Patron!

      Yes, I need to eat and pay my bills. And until eelo becomes a success, with a working business model, the only way for me to finance my living doing some consulting. I’ve reduced this activity at the max but this currently takes me one day per week, or a little more.

      eelo is gaining some momentum, it’s super-promising. Its potential is HUGE. And it’s the most exciting professionnal project I’ve started in my life.

    • A new strategic investor joins the Sailfish family

      Sailfish OS has come a long way, starting with the MeeGo times, then carried by Jolla ever since 2011. The journey has had its ups and downs, as these kind of things typically have, but we never gave up. I recommend to check out e.g. this recent article about the journey. The most important thing that has kept us going together with our community and partners all the time is simply that we have the ability to create and offer together an alternative mobile operating system for the world.

      Next chapter in this story is about to begin as we’re getting Rostelecom, a publicly listed company and the leading telecommunications company in Russia, to officially join our wide international group of Sailfish partners.

    • Tizen

    • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • U-Boot 2018.03 Released, Now Supports iSCSI For Network Booting

    As a win for ARM single board computers and other systems relying upon U-Boot as the bootloader, iSCSI support is now available.

  • New Security Features for Google Cloud Platform, U-Boot Now Includes iSCSI Support and More

    U-Boot 2018.03 has been released, and it now includes iSCSI support, which allows you to “share complete disks or partitions via the network”. See the Phoronix article and Xypron’s “iSCSI booting with U-Boot and iPXE” for more details.

  • Locking down Data with Open Source Code

    The single most noteworthy quality of Linux is that it is one of the few open source working frameworks, and among the most broadly created. Confining open source programming as secure justifiably befuddles individuals, however, a closer look discloses why that is valid. At the point when source code is distributed on the web, it could enable an aggressor to find shortcomings. In any case, by and by it enables numerous more eyewitnesses to distinguish and uncover bugs to the engineers for fixing. Since Linux is an entirely open source OS, for all intents and purposes each scrap of code running on your equipment is subjected to this crowdsourced examination.

  • Best open source network monitoring tools
  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Presses Pause on Facebook Advertising

        Mozilla is pressing pause on our Facebook advertising. Facebook knows a great deal about their two billion users — perhaps more intimate information than any other company does. They know everything we click and like on their site, and know who our closest friends and relationships are. Because of its scale, Facebook has become one of the most convenient platforms to reach an audience for all companies and developers, whether a multibillion corporation or a not-for-profit.

      • Results of the MDN “Duplicate Pages” SEO experiment

        Following in the footsteps of MDN’s “Thin Pages” SEO experiment done in the autumn of 2017, we completed a study to test the effectiveness and process behind making changes to correct cases in which pages are perceived as “duplicates” by search engines. In SEO parlance, “duplicate” is a fuzzy thing. It doesn’t mean the pages are identical—this is actually pretty rare on MDN in particular—but that the pages are similar enough that they are not easily differentiated by the search engine’s crawling technology.

      • Send, getting better

        Send continues to improve incrementally. Since our last post we’ve added a few requested features and fixed a bunch of bugs. You can now choose to allow multiple downloads and change the password on a file if you need to.

        Send is also more stable and should work more reliably across a wider set of browsers. We’ve brought back support for Microsoft Edge and some older versions of Safari.

  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL Begins Landing LLVM JIT Support For Faster Performance

      The widely-used PostgreSQL database software may soon become much faster thanks to a work-in-progress LLVM JIT back-end that has begun to land.

      A long-running project has been JIT-compiling SQL queries in PostgreSQL by making use of LLVM’s just-in-time compilation support, rather than passing SQL queries through Postgres’ interpreter. With the LLVM JIT’ed queries, more efficient code is generated by being able to make more use of run-time information and can especially help in increasing the performance of complex SQL queries.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Microsoft Promises Not to Sue Over GPLv2 Compliance Issues [Ed: Weird (almost white-washing) headline given that Microsoft has been caught in violation of the GPL many times before]
    • New partners join open source ship design platform
    • Management alone can’t drive open culture change

      It would seem that targeted learning around how a non-hierarchical governance model practically works in a global organisation is required. This, in and of itself, is a learning expedition that needs to be highly personal. We have to be retrained to fail forward and without fear. We have to learn to criticize constructively, even our bosses. We also have to rethink things like typical management activities, job security and career pathways. Above all, we have to feel safe inside our organizations and that requires trust.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Parallel 20180322 (‘Hawking’) released

      GNU Parallel 20180322 (‘Hawking’) has been released.

    • LibrePlanet 2018: Last update!

      Advance registration is now closed, but you can register on-site at LibrePlanet 2018, starting at 09:00 on the ground floor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Stata Center, 32 Vassar Street, Cambridge, MA. Admission is gratis for FSF Associate Members and students, and for all others costs $60 for one day or $90 for both days.

      If you are unable to attend, or know people who cannot attend LibrePlanet 2018 but want to participate, watch the livestream, which you can do using exclusively free software (an unfortunate rarity!)

      We want to alert you to a schedule change: unfortunately, keynote speaker Gabriella Coleman had to cancel her LibrePlanet talk. She will be sorely missed, but we are glad to announce that free software technologist, social scientist, and FSF board member Benjamin Mako Hill will fill in. Check out the full schedule here — to read full descriptions of each talk, click “Expand all” at the top of the page.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Cloud.gov Open-Source Platform Speeds Development, Requirements Process

      IT development in the federal government has earned its reputation for being a painfully slow process but Cloud.gov, the government’s cloud application platform, is helping to change that by standardizing the application lifecycle and helping to document it every step of the way.

      The need to document the entire stack of an IT solution in the federal government can run up to 1,000 pages, and that process requires in depth knowledge of thousands of pages of regulations, laws and risk management policies.

      Typically, federal agencies have compliance experts who must review this documentation and grant approval or request changes. This can take six to 14 months to get authority to operate (ATO), and then you still need to deploy the application.

    • Hortonworks’ Shaun Bierweiler: Open Source Software to Help Advance Federal IT Modernization

      Shaun Bierweiler, vice president of Hortonworks‘ (Nasdaq: HDP) U.S. public sector business, has said enterprise open source software will help build on federal agencies’ efforts to update their information technology infrastructure due to key benefits, ExecutiveBiz reported.

      He wrote in a GCN guest piece that open source software brings interoperability, more choices in technology and providers, cost savings as well as a collaborative community of technology contributors.

      “The vast and growing network of enterprise open source solutions can play a key role in modernizing government’s IT infrastructures to be fast, functional and future-oriented,” Bierweiler concluded.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Good Compliance Practices Are Good Engineering Practices

      Companies across all industries use, participate in, and contribute to open source projects, and open source compliance is an integral part of the use and development of any open source software. It’s particularly important to get compliance right when your company is considering a merger or acquisition. The key, according to Ibrahim Haddad, is knowing what’s in your code, right down to the exact versions of the open source components.

    • Do I Have to Use a Free/Open Source License?

      That, as we all probably already know, is not the case. The only licenses that can be called “open source” are those that are reviewed and approved as such by the Open Source Initiative (aka OSI). Its list of OSI-Approved licenses allows developers to choose and apply a license without having to hire a lawyer. It also means that companies no longer need to have their own lawyers review every single license in every piece of software they use. Can you imagine how expensive it would be if every company needed to do this? Aside from the legal costs, the duplication of effort alone would lead to millions of dollars in lost productivity. While the OSI’s other outreach and advocacy efforts are important, there’s no doubt that its license approval process is a service that provides an outsized amount of value for developers and companies alike.

  • Programming/Development

    • JDK 10: General Availability

      JDK 10, the first release produced under the six-month rapid-cadence release model [1][2], is now Generally Available. We’ve identified no P1 bugs since we promoted build 46 almost two weeks ago, so that is the official GA release, ready for production use.

    • Java JDK 10 Reaches General Availability With Experimental Java-Based JIT Compiler

      JDK 10 has reached general availability as the first Java release under Oracle’s new six-month release model.

      Mark Reinhold of Oracle has announced the availability now of JDK 10 with its official GA release now that no more high priority bugs are present.

    • Java 10 Released With New Features: Download Here

      Ever since its inception, Java has continued to rule the hearts of programmers as one of the most loved and used programming languages around. In 2017, Oracle and Java community decided to move to a new six-month cycle.

      The recently released JDK 10 is the first Oracle release in the new cycle. So, in a way, this implementation of Java Standard Edition (SE) 10 is the beginning of a new era. It follows Java 9, which arrived just six months ago.

    • JupyterLab: ready for users

      In the recent article about Jupyter and its notebooks, we mentioned that a new interface, called JupyterLab, existed in what its developers described as an “early preview” stage. About two weeks after that article appeared, Project Jupyter made a significant announcement: JupyterLab is “ready for users”. Users will find a more integrated environment for scientific computation that is also more easily extended. JupyterLab takes the Jupyter Notebook to a level of functionality that will propel it well into the next decade—and beyond.

      While JupyterLab is still in beta, it is stable and functional enough to be used in daily work, and steadily approaching a 1.0 release. From the point of view of developers working on extensions or other projects that use the JupyterLab API, however, the beta status serves as a caution that its developer interfaces are still in flux; they should plan for the possibility of breaking changes.

      JupyterLab arose in 2015 from the desire to incorporate the “classic” (as it is known now) Jupyter Notebook into something more like an integrated development environment running in the browser. In addition, the user was to have the ability to extend the environment by creating new components that could interact with each other and with the existing ones. The 2011 web technology that the Jupyter Notebook was built upon was not quite up to this task. Although existing JavaScript libraries, such as React, suggested a way forward, none of them had the power and flexibility, particularly in the area of interprocess communication, that was required. The JupyterLab team addressed this problem by developing a new JavaScript framework called PhosphorJS. JupyterLab and PhosphorJS are co-developed, with capabilities added to the JavaScript framework as they are needed for JupyterLab.

      [...]

      The Jupyter Notebook has already won over many scientists and educators because of the ease with which it allows one to explore, experiment, and share. JupyterLab makes the Notebook part of a more complete, powerful, and extensible environment for pursuing computational science and disseminating the results, leaving little doubt that this free-software project will win over an even larger portion of the scientific community. I’ve tried to give some idea of the power and convenience of the JupyterLab interface, but to really appreciate this technology, you need to try it out yourself. Fortunately, this is easy to do, as it’s simple to install and intuitive enough to get started without reading documentation—and it happens to be a great deal of fun.

    • Variable-length arrays and the max() mess

      Variable-length arrays (VLAs) have a non-constant size that is determined (and which can vary) at run time; they are supported by the ISO C99 standard. Use of VLAs in the kernel has long been discouraged but not prohibited, so there are naturally numerous VLA instances to be found. A recent push to remove VLAs from the kernel entirely has gained momentum, but it ran into an interesting snag on the way.

    • Discussing PEP 572

      As is often the case, the python-ideas mailing list hosted a discussion about a Python Enhancement Proposal (PEP) recently. In some sense, this particular PEP was created to try to gather together the pros and cons of a feature idea that regularly crops up: statement-local bindings for variable names. But the discussion of the PEP went in enough different directions that it led to calls for an entirely different type of medium in which to have those kinds of discussions.

    • This Week in Rust 226

      Always wanted to contribute to open-source projects but didn’t know where to start? Every week we highlight some tasks from the Rust community for you to pick and get started!

    • Python 3.7 now available in Fedora

      On February 28th 2018, the second beta of Python 3.7 was released. This new version contains lots of fixes and, notably, several new features available for everyone to test. The pre-release of Python 3.7 is available not only in Fedora Rawhide but also all other Fedora versions. Read more about it below.

    • Programming languages can be hard to grasp for non-English speakers. Step forward, Bato: A Ruby port for Filipinos

      A Filipino developer is hoping his handmade Ruby port will help bring coding skills to some of the Philippines’s poorest communities.

      Joel Bryan Juliano says he built Bato as a way for speakers of Tagalog – the most widely-spoken language in the nation – to be able to learn the basics of programming without also having to be fluent in English. Today’s coding languages tend to be built around English grammar, which is a problem for people without a grasp on English.

      A software engineer with Altus Digital Capital by day, Juliano told The Register he developed Bato as an educational tool for skilling up family members, and quickly saw how it could be used to show the basics of programming without language barriers.

Leftovers

  • Conundrum

    I want to do pathfinding through a Doom map. The ultimate goal is to be able to automatically determine the path the player needs to take to reach the exit — what switches to hit in what order, what keys to get, etc.

  • Science

    • Pre-publication Peer Review Subtracts Value

      Pre-publication peer review is intended to perform two functions; to prevent bad science being published (gatekeeping), and to improve the science that is published (enhancement). Over the years I’ve written quite often about how the system is no longer “fit for purpose”. Its time for another episode draw attention to two not-so recent contributions:

  • Health/Nutrition

    • New Process, Mandatory Disclosure Stir Reactions In WIPO Committee On Genetic Resources

      A proposed revision of articles that could become a World Intellectual Property Organization instrument protecting against the misappropriation of genetic resources met with strong resistance from some developing countries, asking that the committee revert to the previous version of the text. Their concern is what they see as new issues and concepts introduced this week, mainly by the United States. The committee chair decided to start a new process.

    • Chicago Says It Loud and Clear: Legalize It!

      In Cook County, the second-most-populous county in the United States, Chicago and suburban voters were asked: “Shall the State of Illinois legalize the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products for recreational use by adults 21 and older subject to state regulation, taxation and local ordinance?”

      The referendum was nonbinding, but the results from a county that has a bigger population than 27 American states, was resounding. With more people casting ballots on the marijuana referendum than the combined total that participated in the Democratic and Republican gubernatorial primaries, 63 percent said “yes” to legalization, while just 37 percent voted “no.”

    • Drug Costs Continue to Rise

      Increased drug costs have been a political and economic target for more than the past generation, being one of the motivations for the Hatch-Waxman Act in 1984. Drug costs were a big part of Ross Perot’s campaign in 1992, Hillary Clinton’s ill-fated healthcare plans when she was First Lady, and President George W. Bush’s changes to Medicare/Medicaid during his second term. Negotiating drug prices was also a lynchpin of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, and the high cost of biologic drugs created the political climate for the Biologic Price Competition and Innovation Act in 2011.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Julian Assange plans to discuss Cambridge Analytica with lawmakers

      WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange said Tuesday that he plans to speak with members of the British Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee about Cambridge Analytica, the embattled London-based data firm linked to President Trump’s 2016 campaign.

    • What WikiLeaks reveals about Cyril

      Shortly after Cyril Ramaphosa’s election as President of South Africa, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange tweeted: “172 documents from WikiLeaks’s archives referencing South Africa’s new president”.

      What these documents revealed was predictable: Ramaphosa is liked by business, Western governments and Israel, while it is widely accepted that he remains a socialist at heart.

  • Finance

    • Europe proposes strict new rules for tax-dodging tech firms

      This measure will affect companies with global annual revenues of above €750m and taxable EU revenue above €50m, and will ensure the likes of Apple, Facebook and Google pay “their fair share”, the EC said.

    • Dems offering bill aimed at curbing stock buybacks

      The bill would repeal a Securities and Exchange Commission rule that makes it easier for companies to do stock buybacks, and it would also end corporations’ ability to repurchase stocks on the open market. Companies would still be able to buy back shares through tender offers, which are subject to more disclosure requirements than open-market purchases, according to the release from Baldwin’s office.

    • Exclusive: Democrats plan crackdown on booming stock buybacks

      Buybacks, which boost stock prices by making shares scarcer, have exploded in 2018 thanks to the huge windfall created by President Trump’s new tax law. American companies like Pepsi (PEP) and Cisco (CSCO) have announced a total of $229 billion of buybacks so far this year, according to research firm TrimTabs. Companies are on track to buy back the largest number of shares in at least a decade.

    • Why I Don’t Sign Non-Competes

      [...] Over the course of the next fifteen years, I would be asked to sign non-competes several more times, always prior to employment. I’ve always refused, and until recently, I’ve never been denied a position because of that refusal.

      A non-compete is a type of contract issued by an employer, typically part of the standard work agreement, job offer or non-disclosure agreement, which states that the employee agrees not to start a business that competes with their current company or to work for their company’s competitors, for a set length of time (typically one year) after leaving or being terminated. If that sounds like an illegal contract, in the state of California, it is.

    • The EU’s digital tax bill would burden COUNTLESS tiny app developers around the globe

      I couldn’t google a single article or statement higlighting the two ways in which even small mobile app developers will be affected by the digital tax the European Commission proposed on Wednesday (see yesterday’s post and an October 2017 piece), so I’ll just explain the problem here.

    • Resisting the gig economy: the emergence of cooperative food delivery platforms

      In the UK seven million people from working households are in poverty, and real wages have seen a 10.4% drop in the last decade (more than anywhere else in Europe). At the same time the 1,000 wealthiest people in the country got richer by billions after Brexit.

      Platform companies are helping to widen the gap between rich and poor by paying poverty wages while producing bubbles with unjustifiably high asset prices and low productivity. Alisher Usmanov, the fifth richest man in Britain, initially made his money from mining steel and iron ore but has now grown his fortune by investing in companies such as Spotify and Airbnb. Deliveroo doesn’t own its restaurants or employ its riders, but is worth more than the UK’s second biggest food chain Wetherspoons.

      Deliveroo saw its losses increase by over 300% in 2017. But that didn’t stop its founder giving out £4.5 million in share bonuses to directors and treating himself to a generous 22.5% pay rise, all while Deliveroo’s riders are denied a minimum wage, sick leave and holiday pay. With profits from share ownership going to a small minority, coupled with stagnating wages, the wealth gap between labour and the owners of capital in the economy is ever diverging. It’s time to think not just about a fair share of income but also fair distribution of ownership, something cooperative food delivery platforms could be a leading example of.

    • Better Bitcoin Relay? Crypto VCs Back BloXroute Funding

      At least that’s according to the team at BloXroute Labs, which just brought its network for relaying information between blockchain nodes out of stealth with an impressive group of investors including AngelList co-founder Naval Ravikant, Metastable, 1confirmation and Flybridge Capital. Through these investors, the company raised $1.6 million in an equity round.

      But the new network is more ambitious than the capital suggests. Called BloXroute, the project aims to make relay networks censorship-resistant against any number of powers by blinding the system from knowing how nodes connect with each other. And that, they say, is an improvement on the current infrastructure, largely built over the years by volunteers.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Illinois: Fmr. Nazi Party Member Wins Republican Primary for Congressional Race

      In Illinois, a Holocaust denier and a former American Nazi Party member has won the Republican primary in the 3rd Congressional District Tuesday. Republican candidate Arthur Jones is not expected to win the general election this November, as he’s competing in a heavily Democratic district that includes parts of Chicago. His Democratic challenger for the district will be the anti-abortion incumbent Dan Lipinski, who narrowly beat out his progressive challenger Marie Newman. Lipinski also opposes the Affordable Care Act and refused to endorse President Obama in 2012. Before he won the congressional seat in 2004, his father, Bill Lipinski, held the seat for 11 terms.

    • American Public Troubled by ‘Deep State’

      “Public Troubled by Deep State” is the headline that the Monmouth University Polling Institute tags to its recent poll. Acknowledging that polling about the term “Deep State” is problematic because “few Americans (13%) are very familiar with the term ‘Deep State,’” the pollsters at Monmouth defined the term as follows for their interviewees: “The term Deep State refers to the possible existence of a group of unelected government and military officials who secretly manipulate or direct national policy.”

    • Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios’ Defeat Opens the Door to Reform

      The ouster of Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios in the Democratic primary Tuesday paves the way for reform at a government agency that has operated for decades with little oversight or transparency, even though it has significant influence over the pocketbooks of millions of people.

      It also upends — for now, at least — an arrangement that one insider referred to as a political ecosystem. There, faulty assessments led to a high volume of appeals that benefited a cottage industry of tax attorneys and appraisers. They, in turn, poured contributions into the campaign coffers of the assessor and members of the Cook County Board of Review, which handles property tax appeals.

      But like any entrenched bureaucracy, the forces at work in Cook County’s convoluted and opaque property tax system won’t easily give way to change. As the recent independent study from the nonprofit Civic Consulting Alliance, or CCA, stated: “Bringing the system into compliance with industry standards will require fundamental changes.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Congress OKs sex-trafficking bill that critics say will “censor the Internet”

      The bill changes Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which provides website operators with broad immunity for hosting third-party content. The bill declares that Section 230 “was never intended to provide legal protection to websites that unlawfully promote and facilitate prostitution and websites that facilitate traffickers in advertising the sale of unlawful sex acts with sex-trafficking victims.”

    • Senate passes controversial online sex trafficking bill

      The bill was approved overwhelmingly in a 97-2 vote. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) were the only votes against the bill.

      [...]

      Most [I]nternet giants have gone quiet in the fight over the controversial bill. Facebook endorsed SESTA as the company faces scrutiny on other fronts, in particular alleged Russian efforts to use their platform to conduct a disinformation campaign targeting U.S. voters during the 2016 election season.

    • When censorship wins, everybody loses

      When students walked out of Garnet Valley High School in Glen Mills last week, they demonstrated the value of free speech. But when sophomore Clayton Bromley refused to participate, his classmates made it clear that his own speech wasn’t valued at all.

      “They started yelling at me,” Bromley told Philadelphia Magazine. “They singled me out. They made me look like a bad person.”

      It’s easy to celebrate freedom of speech when it’s speech that you like, of course. But if we fail to protect speakers whose ideas we don’t share, free speech becomes a dead letter. And that leaves us all less informed, less aware, and less alive to the world around us.

    • ACLU files art censorship lawsuit against the city of New Orleans

      A citizen is facing potential jail time over a mural referencing Trump’s 2005 Access Hollywood tape

    • Goodbye, SAPPRFT (but not Chinese censorship)

      Last Tuesday, during the National People’s Congress, China announced that it was dismantling its top media regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT). According to the notice, the five-year-old institution would be succeeded by a television and radio administration that would be directly attached to the State Council, or Cabinet, giving the Communist Party further control of China’s media and entertainment.

      This week, a more detailed proposal stated that the sectors overseeing China’s film and press industries would not be part of the new radio and television administration. Instead, the bodies governing film, press, and publication would be folded directly into the publicity department of the Communist Party of China.

    • China tightens grip on media with regulator reshuffle

      China is consolidating film, news and publishing regulation under the powerful Communist Party publicity department, strengthening Beijing’s grip over content as the country looks to bolster its “soft power” domestically and overseas.

    • China Film Industry To Be Regulated By Communist Party Propaganda Department

      When China abolished the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television last week, state media said a proposed new body overseeing radio and TV management would fall directly under the State Council, i.e., more firmly under the thumb of the Communist Party. But a question mark was left over what was to become of film oversight. The situation is now gaining some clarity. A statement from China Film Group on Tuesday said film management will be assigned to the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party’s Central Committee.

    • Internet censorship bill looms large over Egypt

      Egyptian parliamentarians will soon review a draft anti-cybercrime law that could codify internet censorship practices into national law.

      While the Egyptian government is notorious for censoring websites and platforms on national security grounds, there are no laws in force that explicitly dictate what is and is not permissible in the realm of online censorship. But if the draft law is approved, that will soon change.

      Article 7 of the anti-cybercrime law would give investigative authorities the right to “order the censorship of websites” whenever “evidence arises that a website broadcasting from inside or outside the state has published any phrases, photos or films, or any promotional material or the like which constitute a crime, as set forth in this law, and poses a threat to national security or compromises national security or the national economy.” Orders issued under Article 7 would need to be approved by a judge within 72 hours of being filed.

    • Washington New Voices bill officially signed into law, becoming 14th state to protect rights of student journalists

      A room full of student journalists and supporters — many of whom have waited more than a decade for this moment — watched on as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed the state’s New Voices bill, Substitute Senate Bill 5064, into law on March 21.

    • Washington’s governor signs anti-censorship bill for student journalists into law
    • Cuban reggaeton rebels face censorship, prison

      A passion for Cuban underground music gave DJ Unic a career as a music producer and landed Henry Laso in prison. They both love reggaeton, a Puerto Rican fusion of electronic beats and African and Caribbean rhythms that has taken hold in nightclubs worldwide.

      The genre celebrates sensuality, as did Jamaican reggae from the late ’60s, and adopts the free rhythmic speech of hip-hop from the Bronx in the ’70s. The sensual grinding and the explicit lyrics that come with the beat offended Cuban officials, who control recording studios, radio and television.

      [...]

      After the Cuban Music Institute announced the genre ran against the country’s revolutionary culture and censored it in 2012, DJ Unic started his YouTube channel. On the Communist-ruled island of about 11.4 million, the music producer has about 14.7 million views on YouTube and some 38,000 subscribers. He puts the spotlight on other artists.

    • Senate Passes Bill on Sex-trafficking That May Result to Online Censorship
    • Congress OKs sex trafficking bill that critics say will “censor the Internet”
    • Senate passes sex-trafficking bill that may lead to online censorship
    • How Congress Censored the Internet
    • US Takes Step Closer to State Censorship With New Measures – Analysts

      The US government has taken another step toward state censorship and management of news with new measures introduced by lawmakers targeting foreign media outlets, analysts told Sputnik.

      In particular, congressmen want to have the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) engaged in preparing regular detailed reports on the work of the foreign media in the United States, and to compel the outlets to include a conspicuous statement in their broadcasts that the programming is produced on behalf of foreign principals.

    • As Expected Senate Overwhelmingly Passes Unconstitutional SESTA Bill, Putting Lives In Danger
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • How 802.11mc Wi-Fi Will Be Used to Track Your Location Indoors
    • Wonder How Much Facebook Knows About You? Here’s How to See
    • Russian Court Says Telegram Must Hand Over Encryption Keys To State Intelligence Service

      Clever. The keys are not restricted info. Everything accessible with the keys is. This isn’t completely unlike judicial assertions that passwords are not evidence, even if relinquishing them then gives the government access to plenty of evidence. In this case, the FSB is collecting the keys to everyone’s houses and promising not to open them up and take a look around whenever it feels the urge. The best way to protect users’ privacy is to not hold the keys. The second best way is to take your business elsewhere (but in reverse, I guess) when local governments claim the only way you can do business locally is by placing users’ communications directly in the government’s hands.

      If Telegram is forced to hand the keys over, it will be the last communications company in Russia to do so. All others have “registered” with the state communications agency, putting their users’ communications directly in the Russian government’s hands. If Telegram decides to pull out of the market, it will leave behind nearly 10 million users. Many of those will probably end up utilizing services the FSB has already tapped. Others may go overseas for uncompromised messaging services. But in the end, the FSB will get what it wants.

      As for Telegram, it’s facing a tough choice. With an initial coin offering in the works, it may not be willing to shed 10 million users and risk lowering its value. On the other hand, it may find standing up for 10 million users isn’t something that matters to investors. Unfortunately, pushing back against the FSB on behalf of its users still may result in the loss of several million users once the Russian high court reaches its expected decision several months down the road. It still has the option of moving its operations out of the reach of the Russian government while still offering its services to Russian citizens. This may be the choice it has to make if it wants its millions of Russian users to avoid being stuck with compromised accounts.

    • The Deep State Breaks Surface

      I confess I found it difficult to get worked up about the Cambridge Analytica affair. My reactions was “What awful people. But surely everybody realises that is what Facebook does?”. It seemed to me hardly news, on top of which the most likely outcome is that it will be used as yet another excuse to introduce government controls on the internet and clamp down on dissenting views like those on this website, where 85% of all traffic comes through Facebook or Twitter.

      But two nights ago my interest was piqued when, at the height of Cambridge Analytica’s domination of the news cycle, the BBC gave it considerably less airtime than the alcohol abuse problems of someone named Ant. The evening before, the BBC had on Newsnight given the CEO of Cambridge Analytica the most softball interview imaginable. If the BBC is obviously downplaying something, it is usually defending a deep British Establishment interest.

      It took me a minute to find out that Cambridge Analytica is owned by a British company, SCL Ltd, which in effect does exactly the same activities in the UK that Cambridge Analytica was undertaking in the US. I then looked up SCL on Bloomberg.

    • NSA Helped Track Down Bitcoin Users, Snowden Papers Allege
    • Snowden Releases NSA Documents Showing Bitcoin Was “#1 Priority”
    • The NSA Tried Tracking Bitcoin Users In 2013

      Paranoiacs in the Bitcoin community have long speculated that the US government may have cracked the virtual currency’s privacy model, that once made it popular with the online drug trade. For example, over the years various people have suggested or wondered (sometimes as a joke) if the NSA actually created Bitcoin in an effort to trap criminals.

      Unbelievably, these people were on to something. Sort of. According to a cache of documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden published by The Intercept on Monday, the NSA has actually been attempting to track Bitcoin users since 2013.

    • NSA has been tracking bitcoin users since 2013

      The National Security Agency has been spying on bitcoin users around the world beginning as early as March 2013, according to a story published by The Intercept.

    • Snowden Revealed a Secret Document Showing How NSA Tracked Bitcoin Users

      Edward Snowden, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee, has put National Security Agency (NSA) documentation at the disposal of online news organization The Intercept displaying a secret program that was set to spy on Bitcoin trading on the cryptocurrency market.

    • Tracking bitcoin was NSA’s ‘#1 priority’ reveals a secret document provided by Snowden
    • Snowden Papers Reveals Bitcoin Users Have Been Tracked By The NSA
    • Is this what your Facebook feed looks like?
    • Mark Zuckerberg Answers ‘Hard Questions’ On Cambridge Analytica Scandal
    • 6 Upcoming Changes In Facebook To Regain Your Trust — Are They Enough?
    • Indian IT Minister Warns Facebook Against Election Tampering; Zuckerberg Vows To Ensure Integrity

      Amidst the ongoing controversy over data breach which involves Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, Indian IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has declared that the government will take “strong actions” against Facebook if the need arises.

    • Zuckerberg: Maybe tech should face some regulations

      “Actually, I’m not sure we shouldn’t be regulated,” Zuckerberg said in an interview with CNN that represented some of his first public remarks since the Cambridge Analytica controversy plunged his company into crisis and led to calls for his testimony to Congress.

    • Zuckerberg breaks silence on Cambridge Analytica crisis
    • Zuckerberg to discuss Cambridge Analytica scandal in CNN interview

      The social media company plans to tighten restriction in developer’s access to data, improve its transparency concerning data collection and investigate apps with similar access to user data.

    • Zuckerberg addresses ‘data breach’ but offers no apology

      Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has issued a long statement in response to the recent claims about data exfiltration from the platform to research firm Cambridge Analytica, promising to “work through this and build a better service over the long term”.

    • Mark Zuckerberg Finally Speaks About Cambridge Analytica; It Won’t Be Enough
    • Mark Zuckerberg Talks to WIRED About Facebook’s Privacy Problem

      He then gave an interview to WIRED in which he discussed the recent crisis, the mistakes Facebook made, and different models for how the company could be regulated. He also discussed the possibility that another—Russian—shoe could drop. Here is a transcript of that conversation: [...]

    • Canadian whistleblower Christopher Wylie blocked from Facebook, Instagram

      The Canadian whistleblower who claimed that information of more than 50 million Facebook users was inappropriately used during the U.S. election has been blocked by the social media giant.

    • How ‘Regulating Facebook’ Could Make Everyone’s Concerns Worse, Not Better

      In my last post, I described why it was wrong to focus on claims of Facebook “selling” your data as the “problem” that came out over the weekend concerning Cambridge Analytica and the data it had on 50 million Facebook users. As we described in detail in that post, that’s not the problem at all. Instead, much of the problem has to do with Facebook’s utter failure to be transparent in a way that matters — specifically in a way that its users actually understand what’s happening (or what may happen) to their data. Facebook would likely respond that it has tried to make that information clear (or, alternatively, it may say that it can’t force users to understand what they don’t take the time to understand). But I don’t think that’s a good answer. As we’ve learned, there’s a lot more at stake here than I think even Facebook recognized, and providing much more real transparency (rather than superficial transparency) is what’s necessary.

    • Alphabet Launches ‘Outline’: Open Source Software To Run Self-Hosted VPN

      Alphabet-owned Jigsaw has launched Outline, an open source Virtual Private Network (VPN) that can be hosted on your own server for free of cost.

      [...]

      He launched an open-source VPN tool, AlgoVPN, back in the year 2016 and it seems that both of them are relatively similar.

    • AT&T Won Secret $3.3 Billion NSA Contract Despite More Expensive Bid

      AT&T was awarded one of the National Security Agency’s most coveted classified tech contracts despite a bid that was $750 million higher than the other competitor’s bid.

      According to redacted legal documents released March 20, the telecommunications giant bid $2.55 billion on a contract to “technically evolve” the NSA’s IT environment, significantly more than a $1.79 billion bid from DXC Technology. The subsequent bid protest resolved in AT&T’s favor in January.

      Called Regional Infrastructure Services I, the contract is the second of three massive tech contracts called Greenway that follow-up the agency’s classified Groundbreaker program. The infrastructure services contract is worth up to $3.3 billion over 10 years if all options are exercised, according to the protest documents.

    • Where’s Zuck? Facebook CEO silent as data harvesting scandal unfolds

      The chief executive of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has remained silent over the more than 48 hours since the Observer revealed the harvesting of 50 million users’ personal data, even as his company is buffeted by mounting calls for investigation and regulation, falling stock prices and a social media campaign to #DeleteFacebook.

    • Mark Zuckerberg is ‘working around the clock’ on the Cambridge Analytica controversy, Facebook says

      The company’s statement is notable for three reasons. One, it escalates the emotional tone of Facebook’s response — on Friday, it called Cambridge Analytica’s actions “unacceptable”; today they are an outrage. Two, the statement frames the story as a deception in which Facebook was not the bad actor but the victim. Three, it buys the company time amid growing demands to hear from Zuckerberg himself.

    • “Can We Trust Facebook?” Mark Zuckerberg’s Non-Answer Says It All

      CNN’s soft-ball-pitching, always-smiling, but-trying-ever-so-hard-to-seem-serious Laurie Segall sat across from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tonight as he broke his silence aboy just WTF happened with regard to the security of ‘our’ data, Cambridge Analytics’ data-mining, Russia, bad-actors, some more Russia, some more meddling, and, oh yeah, data breaches.

    • Cambridge Analytica Boasted of Disappearing Emails in Campaigns

      The executive also acknowledged his company used a self-destructing email server to communicate with clients in order to eliminate evidence of their contact.

    • Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, explained [Updated]

      Update: Cambridge Analytica has suspended CEO Alexander Nix. In addition to controversy over unauthorized access to private Facebook data, Nix is also facing a scandal over comments captured by hidden cameras. In those videos, Nix boasts about using dirty tricks—including staged bribery attempts and sending prostitutes to seduce political opponents—to win elections.

    • Watch Cambridge Analytica Executives Say They Masterminded Trump’s Election Win

      A second documentary from Channel 4 News reveals Cambridge Analytica sharing the tactics it used to allegedly win the presidential election for Donald Trump.

    • WhatsApp co-founder tells everyone to delete Facebook

      In 2014, Facebook bought WhatsApp for $16 billion, making its co-founders — Jan Koum and Brian Acton — very wealthy men. Koum continues to lead the company, but Acton quit earlier this year to start his own foundation. And he isn’t done merely with WhatsApp — in a post on Twitter today, Acton told his followers to delete Facebook.

    • WhatsApp Co-founder Tells Everyone To Delete Facebook: “It Is Time”

      The voices calling the people to delete Facebook are gaining traction. In a tweet on Tuesday, even WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton told everyone to delete their social networking account from their digital life. It’s worth noting that Acton sold his company for $19 billion to Facebook in 2014.

      For those who don’t know, this #deletefacebook movement is a result of a massive data breach scandal that involved a voter-profiling company Cambridge Analytica, which gathered the information of 50 million Facebook users inappropriately. In case you’re wondering, here’s how you can get rid of your Facebook account permanently.

    • Facebooks ability to sell your personal information is the real Cambridge Analytica scandal

      So, Cambridge Analytica is getting some well deserved criticism for (mis)using information it got from Facebook about 50 million people, mostly in the USA. What I find a bit surprising, is how little criticism Facebook is getting for handing the information over to Cambridge Analytica and others in the first place. And what about the people handing their private and personal information to Facebook? And last, but not least, what about the government offices who are handing information about the visitors of their web pages to Facebook? No-one who looked at the terms of use of Facebook should be surprised that information about peoples interests, political views, personal lifes and whereabouts would be sold by Facebook.

      What I find to be the real scandal is the fact that Facebook is selling your personal information, not that one of the buyers used it in a way Facebook did not approve when exposed. It is well known that Facebook is selling out their users privacy, but a scandal nevertheless. Of course the information provided to them by Facebook would be misused by one of the parties given access to personal information about the millions of Facebook users. Collected information will be misused sooner or later. The only way to avoid such misuse, is to not collect the information in the first place. If you do not want Facebook to hand out information about yourself for the use and misuse of its customers, do not give Facebook the information.

    • Facebook Has Many Sins To Atone For, But ‘Selling Data’ To Cambridge Analytica Is Not One Of Them

      Obviously, over the past few days there’s been plenty of talk about the big mess concerning Cambridge Analytica using data on 50 million Facebook users. And, with that talk has come all sorts of hot takes and ideas and demands — not all of which make sense. Indeed, it appears that there’s such a rush to condemn bad behavior that many are not taking the time to figure out exactly what bad behavior is worth condemning. And that’s a problem. Because if you don’t understand the actual bad behavior, then your “solutions” will be misplaced. Indeed, they could make problems worse. And… because I know that some are going to read this post as a defense of Facebook, let me be clear (as the title of this post notes): Facebook has many problems, and has done a lot of bad things (some of which we’ll discuss below). But if you mischaracterize those “bad” things, then your “solutions” will not actually solve them.

    • Facebook ‘Made Mistakes,’ says Mark Zuckerberg in first words on Cambridge Analytica crisis
    • Mark Zuckerberg Breaks Silence on Facebook User-Data Controversy

      What’s next: Facebook is facing an inquiry from the Federal Trade Commission, which is looking into whether the social-media company violated a 2011 agreement with the agency requiring user consent over disclosures of personal data.

      At this point, it’s unclear whether the uproar over Cambridge Analytica will lead to new legislation or government regulations (or any significant user exodus). Several Wall Street analysts believe Facebook will weather the storm, and they expect minimal long-term impact on the internet powerhouse’s overall ad business.

    • Woman sues Facebook, Cambridge Analytica for misuse of personal data
    • Want to Fix Facebook? That’ll Cost You About $75 a Year

      In a February SEC filing, which includes an obligatory meditation on every conceivable risk to future profits, Facebook warned that “unfavorable publicity regarding, for example, our privacy practices … [or] the actions of our developers whose products are integrated with our products” could imperil “the size, engagement, and loyalty of our user base.”

    • Meet the Psychologist at the Center of Facebook’s Data Scandal

      [...] Spectre boasted that his company — Philometrics — would revolutionize the way online surveys were done, making it easier for companies to design questionnaires that people would actually respond to on Facebook, Twitter or other sites. Crucially, he said, the surveys could predict the responses for large groups from a small number of respondents and micro-target ads better.

    • California privacy advocates ask Facebook to stop opposing their proposed ballot measure following Cambridge Analytica debacle

      In a letter to Zuckerberg, emailed to the social media company and posted on Zuckerberg’s Facebook page, Alastair Mactaggart, chairman of Californians for Consumer Privacy, says he was disappointed to learn Facebook has chosen not to support the privacy ballot campaign — and is pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into an attempt to sink privacy advocates’ efforts.

    • The Cambridge Analytica-Facebook Debacle: A Legal Primer

      Kogan’s access to the data (if not his later use) was known to Facebook and seemingly consistent with Facebook’s developer application programming interface (API) at the time. This is how Kogan was able to access 50 million user profiles through only a few hundred thousand quiz-takers. You take Kogan’s quiz, and a thousand of your closest friends are also scooped up.

    • Cambridge Analytica boasts of dirty tricks to swing elections

      In one exchange, the company chief executive, Alexander Nix, is recorded telling reporters: “It sounds a dreadful thing to say, but these are things that don’t necessarily need to be true as long as they’re believed.”

    • We were warned about Cambridge Analytica. Why didn’t we listen?

      “If Cambridge Analytica can sway elections and referenda with a relatively small subset of Facebook’s data, imagine what Facebook can and does do with the full set”

    • New Orleans ends its relationship with tech firm Palantir, Landrieu’s office says

      “There’s a potential risk for abuse, particularly with no independent verification of how these tools are used,” Ursula Price, deputy monitor in the Independent Police Monitor’s office, previously told NOLA.com

    • If You’re Pissed About Facebook’s Privacy Abuses, You Should Be Four Times As Angry At The Broadband Industry

      To be very clear, Facebook is well deserving of the mammoth backlash the company is experiencing in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica revelations. Especially since Facebook’s most substantive reaction to date has been to threaten lawsuits against news outlets for telling the truth. And, like most of these stories, it’s guaranteed that the core story is only destined to get worse as more and more is revealed about the way such casual handling of private consumer data is pretty much routine not only at Facebook, but everywhere.

      Despite the fact that consumer privacy apathy is now bone-grafted to the DNA of global corporate culture (usually only bubbling up after a scandal breaks), the outrage over Facebook’s lack of transparency has been monumental.

    • Zuckerberg Facing Heat After Multiple Investigations Into Facebook Data Breach

      Dark clouds are hovering over Facebook, and their stocks are falling. Now, various American and European federal bodies have started asking how a voter-profiling company managed to get hold of the data of 50 million users.

      Per a press release on Tuesday, the state of New York has followed the footsteps of Massachusetts that announced an investigation last weekend. As a part of a joint investigation, they have sent a demand letter to Facebook “to get to the bottom of what happened.”

    • Why have we given up our privacy to Facebook and other sites so willingly?

      Facebook is on the ropes. A week of revelations about Cambridge Analytica’s use of data gleaned from the social network has left the world demanding answers. The company can’t seem to decide: is it outraged that it was taken advantage of by an unscrupulous actor, or relieved that this is just normal use of tools that it made widely available for almost five years? Should Mark Zuckerberg come out front and centre leading the response, or should he hide in a cupboard until it all blows over?

      Faced with its first true crisis, the company is paralysed with fear. And that paralysis is, remarkably quickly, leading people to reassess their relationship with the site as a whole. The teens got there first, really. Facebook usage among younger people has been declining for years, in the face of competition from upstart rivals such as Snapchat, internal disruption from Facebook-owned Instagram, and a general sense that Facebook is full of old people and parents. But the backlash isn’t a generational thing any more. We’re all losing control of our data, both online and off, and we’re starting to kick back.

    • How to delete, disable, or limit your Facebook account

      There was a time when deleting your Facebook account was a pie-in-the-sky fantasy, but this week’s news might have you thinking twice. In a series of reports, we learned that an employee at Facebook erroneously handed a trove of data to a company called Cambridge Analytics, which in turn used that information to target voters and spread influence ahead of the 2016 election. So we totally understand if you’re having second thoughts about your account.

    • Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, explained [Updated]

      Trump operatives got private data from 50 million Facebook users.

    • WhatsApp co-founder joins call to #DeleteFacebook as fallout intensifies

      Momentum gathered behind the #DeleteFacebook campaign, with several media outlets publishing guides to permanently deleting your Facebook account. One surprising voice to emerge was that of Brian Acton, the co-founder of WhatsApp, which was bought by Facebook for $19bn in 2014.

    • Facebook Working With Comcast To Scuttle California Broadband Privacy Protections

      Last year you might recall that the GOP and Trump administration rushed to not only kill net neutrality at ISP lobbyist behest, but also some pretty basic but important consumer privacy rules. The protections, which would have taken effect in March of 2017, simply required that ISPs be transparent about what personal data is collected and sold, while mandating that ISPs provide consumers with the ability to opt of said collection. But because informed and empowered consumers damper ad revenues, ISPs moved quickly to have the rules scuttled with the help of cash-compromised lawmakers.

    • What Would Regulating Facebook Look Like?

      US politicians have called for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to appear in person before Congress. Some tech-focused legislation is currently wending its way through the Capitol’s corridors. And regulators in other countries have already clamped down on tech.

      In an interview with WIRED editor-in-chief Nicholas Thompson Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckberg seemed if not outright welcoming toward regulation, at least accepting of it. [...]

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Twitter’s chief information security officer is leaving the company

      News of Coates’ departure comes on the same day that Michael Zalewski, director of information security engineering at Google, announced his departure from that company after 11 years. (Zalewski was a high-ranking security executive at Google but not its chief security officer; that role belongs to Gerhard Eschelbeck, vice president of security engineering.) not And it comes two days after reports that Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief security officer, plans to leave the company in August. The departures come at a time when tech companies are under mounting pressure to prevent their platforms from being misused by foreign governments and other bad actors ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

    • Twitter not protecting women from abuse, says Amnesty

      A survey of 1,100 British women carried out for the report found that just 9% thought Twitter was doing enough to stop violence and abuse against women, while 78% did not feel it was a place where they could share their opinion without receiving such vitriol.

    • Uber’s Self-Driving Car Just Killed Somebody. Now What?

      The Tempe Police Department reports the Volvo XC90 SUV was in autonomous mode when the crash occurred, though the car had a human safety driver behind the wheel to monitor the technology and retake control in the case of an emergency or imminent crash. The woman, Elaine Herzberg, was transported to a local hospital, where she died from her injuries. The police department will complete its full report later today.

    • ProPublica’s Reporting Error Shows Why The Government Must Declassify Details Of Gina Haspel’s Role In CIA Torture

      Last week, we wrote a bit about Donald Trump’s nominee to head the CIA, Gina Haspel. That post highlighted a bunch of reporting about Haspel’s role in running a CIA blacksite in Thailand that was a key spot in the CIA’s torture program. Soon after we published it, ProPublica retracted and corrected an earlier piece — on which much of the reporting about Haspel’s connection to torture relied on. Apparently, ProPublica was wrong on the date at which Haspel started at the site, meaning that she took over soon after the most famous torture victim, Abu Zaubaydah, was no longer being tortured. Thus earlier claims that she oversaw his inhumane, brutal, and war crimes-violating torture were incorrect. To some, this error, has been used to toss out all of the concerns and complaints about Haspel, even though reporters now agree that she did oversee the torture of at least one other prisoner at a time when other CIA employees were seeking to transfer out of the site out of disgust for what the CIA was doing.

    • Reuniting a Mother and Child Torn Apart by ICE

      An ACLU lawsuit helped one family, but ICE’s practice of separating children from their parents continues.

      Last week I visited our client Ms. L, a Congolese mother whose 7-year-old daughter was taken away from her by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials shortly after she entered the United States last year.

      She was now at a shelter for formerly detained immigrants in Chicago, awaiting reunification with her daughter, whom she had not seen in over four months.

      Ms. L, whose name we are withholding to preserve her privacy, showed me several photographs of her beautiful little girl. In one, the little girl was sitting on a staircase next to a woman, both of them grinning into the camera. I asked who the woman was, and Ms. L looked at me with surprise.

    • The New CIA Director Nominee and the Massacre at My Lai

      On March 16, 2018, the same day I was with a delegation from Veterans for Peace at the 50th annual ceremonies commemorating the deaths of 504 civilians who were murdered by U.S. Army soldiers over a period of four hours on March 16, 1968, in the hamlet of My Lai, Viet Nam and surrounding villages, President Donald Trump nominated Gina Haspel to be the new CIA Director.

    • Cutting ‘Old Heads’ at IBM

      IBM declined requests for the numbers or age breakdown of its job cuts. ProPublica provided the company with a 10-page summary of its findings and the evidence on which they were based. IBM spokesman Edward Barbini said that to respond the company needed to see copies of all documents cited in the story, a request ProPublica could not fulfill without breaking faith with its sources. Instead, ProPublica provided IBM with detailed descriptions of the paperwork. Barbini declined to address the documents or answer specific questions about the firm’s policies and practices, and instead issued the following statement:

      “We are proud of our company and our employees’ ability to reinvent themselves era after era, while always complying with the law. Our ability to do this is why we are the only tech company that has not only survived but thrived for more than 100 years.”

      With nearly 400,000 people worldwide, and tens of thousands still in the U.S., IBM remains a corporate giant. How it handles the shift from its veteran baby-boom workforce to younger generations will likely influence what other employers do. And the way it treats its experienced workers will eventually affect younger IBM employees as they too age.

      Fifty years ago, Congress made it illegal with the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, or ADEA, to treat older workers differently than younger ones with only a few exceptions, such as jobs that require special physical qualifications. And for years, judges and policymakers treated the law as essentially on a par with prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation and other categories.

    • How the Crowd Led Us to Investigate IBM

      Ariana suggested that Peter write up a short essay on his own experiences of being laid off at 63 and searching for a job in the aftermath. We attached a short questionnaire to the bottom and headlined it: “Over 50 and looking for a job? We’d like to hear from you.”

      Dozens of people responded within the first couple of weeks. As we looked through this first round of questionnaires, we noticed a theme: a whole lot of information and technology workers told us they were struggling to stay employed. And those who had lost their jobs? They were having a really hard time finding new work.

      Of those IT workers, several mentioned IBM right off the bat. One woman wrote that she and her coworkers were working together to find new jobs in order to “ward off the dreaded old person layoff from IBM.”

    • Eroding Protection Under the Law

      Older Americans who face discrimination on the job can’t rely on the courts as much as earlier generations did.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • Dotcom’s Bid to Compel Obama to Give Evidence Rejected By High Court

        Kim Dotcom’s bid to compel Barack Obama to give evidence in his damages lawsuit against the New Zealand government has failed. Chief High Court Judge, Justice Geoffrey Venning described Dotcom’s application as premature but also noted that even if Obama had relevant information to offer, he would need time to prepare. Dotcom said that Obama’s time will come.

      • KeepVid Site No Longer Allows Users to ‘Keep’ Videos

        The popular video download service KeepVid no longer allows users to download videos. Instead, the site has transformed into an educational page warning people about copyright issues and urging visitors to use legal options, if available.

      • Dotcom Affidavit Calls For Obama to Give Evidence in Megaupload Case

        Former US president Barack Obama will jet into New Zealand later today with an extensive ban on media and publicity in place. One person who won’t be shying away is Kim Dotcom, who has seized the opportunity to file an affidavit with the High Court. Dotcom suggests that the political motivations behind the Megaupload case mean that Obama should give evidence while he’s in New Zealand.

      • Country singers ditch fear of being ‘Dixie Chicked’

        Indeed, getting “Dixie Chicked” has become a verb in the country music lexicon in the years since the multiplatinum-selling country trio by that name spoke out against President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq. Consequences were swift and lasting. Country music’s conservative fan base revolted. Radio stations stopped playing their songs and they were thrust into exile.

        The episode had a lasting effect on the industry.

      • EFF Helps SEACC Stand Up To Mining Company, Protects Fair Use Rights

        When a mining company sent a cease and desist letter aimed at a critical documentary, the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC) worked with the Electronic Frontier Foundation to help them respond. Hecla Mining Company claimed [PDF] that SEACC had infringed Hecla’s copyright by using short clips from a Hecla promotional video. We worked with SEACC to draft and send a letter [PDF] explaining that this was a classic fair use of Hecla’s material. In response, Hecla withdrew its demand. While this case resolved the right way, it shows that even elementary fair use sometimes requires the counsel of a lawyer.

        “Irreparable Harm” is a short film sponsored by SEACC. The movie is about Alaska’s Admiralty Island, a National Monument which has been inhabited by the Tlingit people for thousands of years. In addition to several hundred people living in the Tlingit village of Angoon, the huge island near Juneau is also home to an estimated 2,500 bald eagles, more than 1,000 bears, and one silver mine—Hecla’s Greens Creek Mine.

        The documentary explores the mine’s relationship with its Tlingit neighbors, highlighting pollution levels in traditional Tlingit food sources. SEACC says contamination has increased since Greens Creek, the only mine operating within a U.S. National Monument, began production in 1989.

      • Ninth Circuit says ‘Blurred Lines’ Infringed Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got To Give It Up’
      • Blurred Lines Verdict Affirmed – How Bad is It?
      • Appeals Court Says It’s Okay To Copyright An Entire Style Of Music

        Oh boy. We had hoped that the 9th Circuit might bring some sanity back to the music copyright world by overturning the awful “Blurred Lines” ruling that has already created a massive chilling effect among musicians… but no such luck. In a ruling released earlier this morning, the 9th Circuit largely affirmed the lower court ruling that said that Pharrell and Robin Thicke infringed on Marvin Gaye’s copyright by writing a song, “Blurred Lines,” that was clearly inspired by Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up.”

        No one has denied that the songs had similar “feels” but “feeling” is not copyrightable subject matter. The compositions of the two songs were clearly different, and the similarity in feel was, quite obviously, paying homage to the earlier work, rather than “copying” it. For what it’s worth, there appears to be at least some hesitation on the part of the majority ruling, recognizing that this ruling could create a huge mess in the music world, so it tries (and mostly fails) to insist that this ruling is on narrow grounds, specific to this case (and much of it on procedural reasons, which is a kind way of suggesting that the lawyers for Pharrell and Thicke fucked up royally). A

      • World’s Biggest Pirate Movie Site ‘123Movies’ Is Officially Shutting Down

        The popular movie streaming website 123Movies, which also operated as GoMovies has officially announced its plan to shut down.

        A message posted on the website reads that it will go offline after three days. The operators of the pirate site are now encouraging users to respect filmmakers by paying for movies and TV shows.

Japan is Becoming Firmer on Patents, Whereas China Goes in the Opposite Direction

Posted in Asia, Europe, Patents at 6:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

That is why Battistelli loves talking about China, which is still far behind Japan in terms of its relevance to the EPO

Japan and China at EPO

Summary: Japan has become less tolerant of patent aggressors and more conscious/concerned about patent quality, which is why the patent microcosm would rather hail China as a role model (even when China’s overall share of patents in Europe, for example, is about the same as tiny South Korea and a lot smaller than Japan’s)

TAKING a little break from the EPO and USPTO, let’s look eastwards again. IAM, with its new format and with more paywalls (now digests as well), wrote about JPO a little while ago. It’s about Japan’s patent office, which has been getting stricter lately (more restrictive in terms of patent scope and harsher towards trolls).

Jacob Schindler, who works for the patent trolls’ lobby (IAM), now rushes to pressure/lobby Japan and JPO over changes that are bad/risky for trolls and aggressors. It’s hard to say what’s behind the paywall, but it’s clear that Schindler just gives a platform to (or amplifies) what he calls “patent owners” (IAM calls aggressors and trolls “owners”, as if having monopolies is ownership to be protected by private ownership rights). He calls a smart proposal “controversial proposals” and then amplifies parasites. From the summary:

A new draft SEP document released by the JPO last week is not likely to upend licensing practices – but key stakeholders including Ericsson CIPO Gustav Brismark have welcomed key provisions in the new policy. The JPO said it would issue guidelines on SEP negotiation last September, and asked for industry input. The announcement came shortly after it shelved earlier plans to introduce a mandatory ADR system for resolving disputes over Japanese patents declared standard essential. The controversy generated by that idea, which was branded a form of compulsory licensing, ensured a great deal of focus on these subsequent guidelines.

We can imagine that IAM then quotes bullies/trolls such as Ericsson, but we cannot tell for sure. They’re hiding that from scrutiny.

Meanwhile, the Japan-based Asics found itself relieved in a lawsuit that was initiated/started a year ago by Adidas, which is notoriously aggressive with patents and trademarks. To quote:

Sports brand Adidas has dropped a patent infringement claim against Asics America, the US subsidiary of Japan-based Asics.

Adidas filed a stipulation for dismissal of the patent case, which involved fitness-tracking patents, on Wednesday, March 14 at the US District Court for the District of Delaware. The court dismissed the suit with prejudice the following day.

Adidas filed the original complaint in March 2017, claiming that Asics America had infringed ten fitness-tracking patents. It also brought the lawsuit against Asics-owned FitnessKeeper, the operator of fitness-tracking app Runkeeper, alleging that FitnessKeeper had used the patents in its My Asics mobile app.

Those are likely software patents, which are pretty worthless once an actual court looks into them. Japan ought to watch these developments and adopt laws accordingly. It’s not being well served by patent maximalism and it apparently recognises this, based on the initiative to tackle SEP.

It should be noted that at the EPO they like to speak about China. All the time China, China, China… Team Battistelli is overplaying the role of China* (which still lags behind tiny Japan in terms of applications).

Why is patent maximalists’ media still obsessing over China? Because SIPO is patent maximalism gone chronic? Here is what IP Watch wrote yesterday (helping the patent maximalists from WIPO) and what Managing IP published some hours ago, saying that “China is on course to overtake the US in three years as the largest source of applications filed under WIPO’s Patent Cooperation Treaty.”

So what? It says nothing about the actual quality of patents. WIPO counts SIPO patents as equal. WIPO staff cannot even read these.
_____
* “Registration deadline for the East Meets West conference has been extended to 5 April,” the EPO wrote yesterday. But Asian patents do not count for much at the EPO. Battistelli et al love to shout about “China!” while it only accounts for 5% of applications. Japan is at 13%.

Aggressive New Activities of Microsoft-Connected Patent Trolls: Finjan, Intellectual Ventures, and Dominion Harbor

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 5:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Trolls' harbour

Summary: The extensive group of Microsoft-connected patent trolls is still very much active; Microsoft funds them, arms them, and gives them instructions while offering people ‘protection’ from them (if and only if they choose Azure)

THE paid-for lie that “Microsoft loves Linux” is pretty pervasive. The Linux Foundation too helps promote/relay/disseminate this lie, more so (or more frequently) after Microsoft paid the Foundation half a million dollars with possibility/likelihood of annual renewal (provided the Foundation does what Microsoft wants). It should be noted that the Foundation pays roughly that same amount/sum of money to Linus Torvalds every year and his ‘boss’, Jim Zemlin, earns even more money than him (and he keeps repeating Microsoft’s lies, for his job is not technical; it’s just to keep this money coming). If Microsoft was to leave the Foundation, that would cost the Foundation more than Zemlin’s salary (north of $600,000 per annum). The Foundation is pretty tight when it comes to money as its expenses (as of 2015) account for about 90% of the money which comes in. This is all in the public domain.

“It’s a form of entryism or what’s better/epically known as “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” (EEE).”The Foundation will never mention Microsoft’s patent aggression and Microsoft is nowadays clever enough to not attack Linux directly but via patent trolls, from which Microsoft offers ‘protection’ (provided you pay Microsoft monthly ‘protection’ fees, in the form of Azure subscriptions, accompanied by Microsoft’s “Azure IP Advantage”, as we explained in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15]). As grotesque as that may be, that’s where we are today. It’s a form of entryism or what’s better/epically known as “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” (EEE).

The USPTO is not granting software patents as often as before (because of Alice); but those which it granted over the past couple of decades are still around and trolls rarely need to have these tested in a court of law. They engage in extortion rather than legal battles (settlement with the bully is often a lot cheaper than a legal challenge).

Techrights has spent the past 12 years tracking trolls that are connected to Microsoft; they’re connected in the sense that Microsoft funds them, arms them, and gives them instructions. We wrote about many hundreds of examples to that effect.

Techrights has spent the past 12 years tracking trolls that are connected to Microsoft; they’re connected in the sense that Microsoft funds them, arms them, and gives them instructions.”Trolls would find it hard if they actually had to assert patents in courts, first of all because of Alice and secondly because of TC Heartland. So a lot of their activity we never hear about; it’s done behind closed doors and secrecy is part of the deal. The press will never cover that (it cannot) and it’s estimated that approximately two-thirds of patent aggression never becomes public knowledge. At all. Citing TC Heartland LLC v Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, another patent case is forced to move out of a hostile court. “The court granted counterclaim defendants’ motion to dismiss for improper venue because defendants lacked a regular and established place of business in the district and ancillary venue did not apply,” the Docket Navigator wrote yesterday.

This may be good in cases where actual lawsuits get filed, but it’s of no solace to those who are victims of extortion. Microsoft still engages in extortion, but it’s rarely done directly; Microsoft relies on publicly-traded trolls like Finjan, which engages in patent extortion against almost every Microsoft rival in the security space. If they don’t pay, Finjan will then sue (using software patents). Microsoft is very much complicit in this extortion because for a very long time Microsoft has been a backer (over a decade).

“Trolls would find it hard if they actually had to assert patents in courts, first of all because of Alice and secondly because of TC Heartland.”The patent trolls’ lobby (IAM), which is also close to Microsoft (they still use Windows to run their site and regularly speak to Microsoft veterans), is cheering for this patent troll. IAM euphemistically calls it “NPE” and yesterday it wrote: “Finjan shares jumped yesterday on the news that the company had received the $65 million settlement payout from Symantec following the truce between the two businesses announced at the end of February. That sum, which is one of the largest received in settlement by an NPE in years, might increase in the coming years by a further $45 million. The settlement was announced after what can only be described as an epic litigation tussle between Finjan and Symantec business Blue Coat with two court cases, including a visit to the Federal Circuit, and a deluge of IPRs.”

Using this payment from Symantec Finjan will now go bullying yet more companies that compete against Microsoft. This troll is emboldened.

There are other Microsoft-connected patent trolls that are active. IAM has just written two articles about Dropbox [1, 2], noting that it takes patents from Microsoft’s largest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures. “Since 2012,” it says, “Dropbox has not only kick-started its own patent generation programme, USPTO records show, but has also been on something of a buying spree, featuring transfers from the likes of IBM, Sony and Intellectual Ventures.”

“Microsoft is very much complicit in this extortion because for a very long time Microsoft has been a backer (over a decade).”Finjan too got patents from IBM last year. As for Intellectual Ventures, it had passed literally thousands of patents to a patent troll called Dominion Harbor. Intellectual Ventures is known to have several thousands of satellites/proxies, as reported more than half a decade ago in corporate media. They even go 'hunting' for victims in China. Recently (just earlier this month) this troll received yet more patents from Intellectual Ventures, which had received additional financial support from Microsoft even a couple of years back (the connection there is still very strong and after some resignations it became even stronger).

Yesterday we saw David Pridham from Dominion Harbor (now run by this man-child, who is a chronic liar that not only defames me but has also defamed others) saying that “Google [...] publicly criticizes patents (especially software patents)” (no, it’s not against software patents in general).

“Using this payment from Symantec Finjan will now go bullying yet more companies that compete against Microsoft.”His hatred of firms such as Google is quite a giveaway; the same goes for other staff of this patent troll (whom we observe online).

According to this new press release [1, 2] from RPX, Dominion Harbor — known to be connected to Microsoft patent trolls like Intellectual Ventures — is suing again. Here are the details:

Monument Peak Ventures, LLC (MPV) has filed its first US lawsuits over patents acquired from Intellectual Ventures LLC (IV) as part of the former Kodak portfolio transferred to the Dominion Harbor Enterprises, LLC (DHE) affiliate in February 2017. The new complaints accuse Victor Hasselblad of infringing four of those patents and GoPro and SZ DJI Technology of infringing different sets of five, with two patents asserted across all three suits. The patents generally relate to various aspects of photography, with the post-processing software of GoPro (GoPro Studio Software), Hasselblad (Phocus) and SZ DJI (CineLight), as well as certain GoPro cameras and certain features of SZ DJI’s drone products, accused of infringement. In May 2017, MPV issued a press release announcing a licensing partnership with Swedish IP brokerage and consulting firm Parallel North IP AB as part of a “comprehensive global plan to commercialize” the Kodak portfolio.

So these are the patents that Dominion Harbor got from Intellectual Ventures.

“So these are the patents that Dominion Harbor got from Intellectual Ventures.”We don’t expect the Linux Foundation to ever (again) speak against software patents because many of the sponsors are in favour of them. We certainly don’t expect the Foundation to berate Microsoft for arming and funding the above patent trolls (there are more of them). But at the end of the day, should we really care about what this foundation says? It’s not a GNU/Linux advocacy group but a trade group which just happens to be the steward of Torvalds’ trademark.

Battistelli’s Ongoing Attacks on the Boards Are Helping Unitary Patent (UPC), Which in Turn Helps French Patent Trolls

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent trolls that are politically connected, too

French troll

Summary: Battistelli will likely be remembered not only as the man who attacked justice (and judges) but also rendered staff redundant, issued a lot of highly controversial patents, and by doing so helped the insurgence of patent trolls in Europe

THE European Patent Office’s (EPO) Boards of Appeal cannot do their job properly. Judges complained because their independence had been compromised. Moreover, reposted again yesterday was this self-promotional piece of Sanam Habib from Finnegan (Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP) on how the EPO makes appeals a lot more expensive whilst applications get cheaper. To quote the relevant part (about what happens in 10 days):

As of 1 April 2018, the EPO’s appeal fee will increase from €1,880 to €2,255 for larger companies. However, the current, lower fee amount will still apply if the appeal is filed by an individual, small or medium sized enterprise, university, public research organisation, or non-profit organisation.

This fee increase helps hide the decline in patent quality which examiners speak about. We mentioned this before.

“This fee increase helps hide the decline in patent quality which examiners speak about.”This is not the first such fee hike. It also happened a couple of years ago. Battistelli not only understaffed the Boards but also artificially demoted them and lowered ‘demand’ for their services.

Why does the media not cover this obvious assault on the Boards?

An IAM advert was posted yesterday for Carpmaels & Ransford LLP, discussing an old ruling of the Enlarged Board of Appeal. To quote:

In its recent G 1/16 decision, the European Patent Office (EPO) Enlarged Board of Appeal clarified how disclaimers should be examined. While undisclosed disclaimers must meet the four-step test set out in G 1/03, disclosed disclaimers must comply with the ‘gold standard’ of G 2/10. Despite this clarification, disclaimers still present significant risks in Europe and should be used cautiously.

How about an actual article about the assault on the Boards? No law firm wants to talk about it. IP Kat used to write a lot about this, but that controversy at the EPO doesn’t exist anymore; IP Kat just ignores it. There’s no controversy except when advertising EPO stuff, as it did yesterday (after steering of the blog had changed).

“Why does the media not cover this obvious assault on the Boards?”“Given the subject-matter and format of the exam,” it said, “it is perhaps not surprising that the pre-EQE has already been beset by controversy. In 2015, following successful appeal by a candidate to the disciplinary board of appeal (DBA), the EPO published an Addendum to the 2015 pre-EQE, in which it was decided to a award marks for either True or False for 2 statements in Question 15 and 17 respectively. After some initial uncertainty, the marks of candidates who did not file an appeal, but who would have passed in light of the changes, were upgraded (IPKat here and here).”

If this is what IP Kat deems to be most controversial right now, then IP Kat is no longer interested in the full picture. It was run jointly with CIPA until not so long ago (CIPA is close to Battistelli, whom it helps with UPC advocacy).

“How about an actual article about the assault on the Boards? No law firm wants to talk about it.”Speaking of the UPC, not so surprisingly we hardly hear about it anymore. The UPC may never be ready, not even after renames and other stuff (which can take many more years). People are resisting the UPC and Team UPC can’t hide the fact that it’s in shambles. Yesterday, for example, Benjamin Henrion said: “Whenever the Unitary [sic] Patent Court (UPC) will be ready, Europe will become a paradise for patent trolls and the likes of Nokia and Ericsson.”

Thankfully, the UPC won’t ever happen. It’s very unlikely. Henrion cited this new rant about the European Union’s strategy and added: “In my observation, the one-vote-per-member-state system is a typical characteristic of many corrupt organizations, including major international sports bodies or the European Patent Office…”

“Not too long ago InterDigital bought a lot of patents from Technicolor, which is French.”It’s like cross-national gerrymandering which helped Battistelli simply ‘buy’ votes from small countries (like bribes at the EPO’s own expense). And speaking of trolls, we previously showed that many patent trolls exist in France other than France Brevets, so there must be some motivation among Battistelli and his political party to push something like the UPC. No wonder France was so quick to ratify the UPCA. Look at who benefits in France [1, 2, 3].

In an IAM event, IAM has just quoted one of the patent trolls that Battistelli and the EPO (by extension) have been supporting. It said: “15 years ago licensors were very reluctant to sell, but today’s business environment makes purchasing a much more viable option: Malcolm T Meeks, patent director, France Brevets”

Not too long ago InterDigital bought a lot of patents from Technicolor, which is French.

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