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04.18.18

Links 18/4/2018: New Fedora 27 ISOs, Nextcloud Wins German Government Contract

Posted in News Roundup at 4:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Launching Netrunner 18.03 for the Pinebook

      The team over at Netrunner have just announced the launch of Netrunner 18.03 Idolon for the Pinebook. This is the direct result of a year of collaboration between the Netrunner, Pine and KDE Communities in a effort to drive down memory consumption, fix glitches in the graphics stack and enabling accelerated video decode, all of which has resulted in a product that showcases the coming together of the amazing software from KDE and some brilliant hardware engineering from the folks over at Pine.

      It’s been quite a journey for my colleagues and I at Blue Systems in putting together this product. We have had to delve into areas where we originally did not have the expertise to fix bugs and constantly push the boundaries of our abilities. This was especially challenging in the ARM world since there are parts of the stack that were proprietary, meaning we cannot debug those parts, leading to many frustrating evenings having been spent on trying to reverse engineer buggy behaviour.

  • Server

    • Docker Enterprise Edition 2.0 Launches With Secured Kubernetes

      After months of development effort, Kubernetes is now fully supported in the stable release of the Docker Enterprise Edition.

      Docker Inc. officially announced Docker EE 2.0 on April 17, adding features that have been in development in the Docker Community Edition (CE) as well as enhanced enterprise grade capabilities. Docker first announced its intention to support Kubernetes in October 2017. With Docker EE 2.0, Docker is providing a secured configuration of Kubernetes for container orchestration.

      “Docker EE 2.0 brings the promise of choice,” Docker Chief Operating Officer Scott Johnston told eWEEK. “We have been investing heavily in security in the last few years, and you’ll see that in our Kubernetes integration as well.”

    • The Agony and the Ecstasy of Cloud Billing [Ed: There’s no such thing as "cloud". In this particular context it just means server space rental.]

      Back in the mists of antiquity when I started reading Linux Journal, figuring out what an infrastructure was going to cost was (although still obnoxious in some ways) straightforward. You’d sign leases with colocation providers, buy hardware that you’d depreciate on a schedule and strike a deal in blood with a bandwidth provider, and you were more or less set until something significant happened to your scale.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • 5 Things to understand before switching to Linux – For The Record

      1 – Linux isn’t Windows. There is no magical company to go to,things will behave differently. If you expect a parity experience, you’re going to be disappointed. Software types, source of software or installing a new driver.

      2 – Linux does what it’s told to. Something isn’t working? Odds are, it’s just not working as expected it means you need to adjust a configuration or rethink the tools used to interact with Linux. This includes hardware not appearing to work, audio and video.

      3 – Linux applications may work differently than legacy applications. MS Word vs LibreOffice, Photoshop vs GIMP, exe installers vs repositories.

      4 – Linux offers choice. Different distros, desktop environments and methods of application installation.

    • EzeeLinux Show 18.16 | Facebook, Time Out & Finding Configuration Files

      Guest appearance on “Time Out” with Kevin Gallagher: We talk a bit about Facebook’s latest controversy, talk about Kevin Gallagher’s “Time Out” show and take a look at where configuration files are stored on Linux systems.

  • Kernel Space

    • Detailing The Idle Loop Ordering Problem & The Power Improvement In Linux 4.17

      Of the many great features/changes for Linux 4.17, one of the most exciting to us is the idle power efficiency and performance-per-Watt improvements on some systems thanks to a rework to the kernel’s idle loop handling. Rafael Wysocki and Thomas Ilsche as two of the developers working on this big code change presented on their work today for this CPU idle loop ordering problem and its resolution.

    • Linux 4.17 development underway

      Linus Torvalds has started the development cycle of the Linux 4.17 kernel series, according to a report by Softpedia.

      The first Release Candidate build has been released, and comes two weeks after the launch of Linux 4.16.

      “Public testers can start downloading, compiling, and installing the upcoming Linux 4.17 kernel,” stated the report.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Linux Foundation seeks to harmonise open source and standards development

        A year ago The Linux Foundation created its ‘Harmonisation 1.0′ initiative, focusing on collaboration between projects and with standards bodies. It brought together a set of open source projects, which together form the basis of the modern telecoms systems. Open source creates three values for telcos: speed to services, vendor collaboration, and cost reductions. The LF is also creating a framework between open source and standards communities; for example, this year it announced an agreement with the TM Forum, focused on the APIs that work between the two communities.

      • Making the Most Out of Microservices with Service Mesh

        In this article, we talk with Andrew Jenkins, Lead Architect at Aspen Mesh, about moving from monolithic apps to microservices and cut through some of the hype around service mesh for managing microservice architectures. For more on service mesh, consider attending KubeCon + CloudNativeCon EU, May 2-4, 2018 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

      • Cloud Foundry for Developers: Definitions

        In the first article in our series on the Cloud Foundry for Developers training course, we explained what Cloud Foundry is and how it’s used. We continue our journey here with a look at some basic terms. Understanding the terminology is the key to not being in a constant state of bewilderment, so here are the most important terms and concepts to know for Cloud Foundry.

      • What’s the Value of CI/CD?
    • Graphics Stack

      • Broadcom VC5 DRM Driver Might Soon Be On Its Way To The Mainline Linux Kernel

        Eric Anholt believes he is getting quite close to the stage of merging the Broadcom VC5 DRM driver into the mainline Linux kernel tree.

        As part of the VC5 open-source driver stack for supporting the next-gen Broadcom VideoCore 5 graphics hardware, there’s been the VC5 Gallium3D driver that is already in mainline Mesa for OpenGL support and the VC5 DRM driver that has been outside of the kernel tree up until now. (There’s also been the also out-of-tree experimental work on VC5 Vulkan support via BCMV, etc.)

      • NVIDIA 396.18.02 Vulkan Linux Beta Brings Better Shader Performance

        Last week NVIDIA released their first 396 Linux driver beta that most notably introduces their new “NVVM” Vulkan SPIR-V compiler. Coming out today is a new Vulkan beta update with some continued enhancements.

      • AMDVLK Driver Updated With Latest XGL/PAL Fixes

        AMD kicked off the start of a new week by doing fresh code drops of the PAL and XGL code-bases used to form the AMDVLK open-source Radeon Vulkan Linux driver.

        On the XGL side this latest code drop of around one thousand lines of code reduces the number of malloc/free calls, support for INT64 atomic operations within LLPC (the LLVM Pipeline Compiler), other tweaks to LLPC, more barriers in the render pass clear, adding FMASK shadow table support, and other changes.

      • X.Org 2018 Elections Yield 54% Voter Turnout, Select Four New Board Members

        The 2018 X.Org Board of Directors elections are over with 49 of the 91 X.Org registered members having casted a ballot.

        The new X.Org Board of Directors members are Bryce Harrington (Samsung OSG, formerly Canonical), Eric Anholt (Broadcom, formerly Intel), Keith Packard (HPE / Valve, formerly Intel), and Harry Wentland (AMD).

    • Benchmarks

      • P-State/CPUFreq CPU Frequency Scaling Tests For Radeon/NVIDIA Gaming With Linux 4.16

        With last week’s release of Feral GameMode as a system tool to optimize Linux gaming performance, which at this point just toggles the CPU frequency scaling driver’s governor to the “performance” mode, reignited the CPU governor debate, here are some fresh Linux gaming benchmarks. Tests were done with both the CPUFreq and P-State scaling drivers on Linux 4.16 while testing the various governor options and using both AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards.

        This comparison shows how a GeForce GTX 1080 and Radeon RX Vega 64 perform under the different CPU frequency scaling driver/governor options on the Linux 4.16 stable kernel. Tests were done with an Intel Core i7 8700K running at stock speeds throughout the entire benchmarking process.

  • Applications

    • Tuptime – Tool to Display Uptime History of Linux System

      The primary task of the system administrators is monitoring and examine Linux system and how long its been promenade. This article demonstrates use of Tuptime tool that help’s System Administrators to analyse how long Linux machine is up and running.

      Tuptime tool counts accidental system restarts and not just only uptime of system. When tuptime is installed on system it registers first boot time after installation. Once the first boot time is registered from there onwards it checks for system tuptime and downtime and represents it in Percentage (%). Tuptime also registers current tuptime of system from last restart. Reports Largest Running system Time, Shortest Running System Time & Average of both.

    • dutree – A CLI Tool to Analyze Disk Usage in Coloured Output

      dutree is a free open-source, fast command-line tool for analyzing disk usage, written in Rust programming language. It is developed from durep (disk usage reporter) and tree (list directory content in tree-like format) command line tools. dutree therefore reports disk usage in a tree-like format.

    • gotop – A Tool to Monitor System Activity in Linux

      Every Linux administrator has it’s own preferences on how to monitor processes in terminal. And you probably know about tools like top and htop. These are tools for process monitoring in terminal without any visualization. And you probably know about gtop and vtop which are also process monitoring terminal tools, but with visualization. In this article, we are going to install and use another terminal based graphical activity monitor called gotop. Unlike the two mentioned above, gotop is written in Go.

    • Nginx 1.14 Web Server Released

      Nginx 1.14.0 is now available as the latest open-source stable release of this popular web server alternative to Apache.

    • A look at Mixxx in GNU/Linux

      Most people tend to think of DJ’s using Macbooks alongside their equipment when picturing a DJ who uses a laptop in today’s world, but little do most realize that GNU/Linux systems can hold their own as well.

      As a part-time dabbler in electronic music production (read: I mix tunes for my own amusement, and a couple uploaded here and there) I have a few programs that I bounce around from depending on the purpose I need, but generally speaking I don’t really muck around a lot with things, and I tend to prefer to just simply mix two songs together live and on the fly, record it, and win.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Retro-inspired racer Horizon Chase Turbo announced with Linux support

        Aquiris Game Studio, developer of FPS Ballistic Overkill has announced their retro-inspired racing game Horizon Chase Turbo [Official Site].

        It’s actually a revamp of an older title of their’s named Horizon Chase World Tour, only this time it’s not locked to mobile platforms and it will be getting a Linux version too! Honestly, it looks like a really fantastic attempt to bring out a classic-style racing game for a new generation of players.

      • RUINER officially released for Linux on Steam, coming to GOG soon

        RUINER, the absolutely brutal and damn fun action game is now out of beta and officially available on Steam, with a GOG release to follow. I have it confirmed from my GOG contacts it will land soonish, but if you doubt my own word, the developer said so on the Steam forum as well.

        I already wrote some thoughts up on the game here, so I won’t reiterate too much. As it stands, it’s an excellent action game full of character customisation with tons of perks you can activate and deactivate any time, brutal take-downs and plenty of blood.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Amarok – A Powerful Cross Platform Music Player

        Amarok is a cross-platform, free, and Open Source music player written in Qt (C++). It was first released on June 23, 2003, and even though it is part of the KDE project, Amarok is released as a software independent of the central KDE Software Compilation release cycle.

        It features a clean, responsive, and customizable User Interface along with Last.fm support, Jamendo service, Dynamic playlists, context view, PopUp dropper, bookmarking, file tracking, multi-language support, and smooth fade-out settings, among many other options.

      • CMake 3.11 in FreeBSD

        The latest release of CMake has landed in FreeBSD. Prior to release we had good contact with KitWare via the bug tracker so there were few surprises left in the actual release. There were still a few last-minute fixes left, in KDE applications no less.

      • KDE Connect: more album art & bluetooth coming soon

        Secondly, I’ve been working a bit on KDE Connect’s bluetooth support. The code was mostly working already, but the remaining stuff is (of course) the hardest part! Nevertheless, more and more parts start working, so I assume it’ll come your way in a couple of months. I’ll post an update when it’s ready for testing.

      • New in Qt 3D 5.11: Generalized Ray Casting

        The 5.11 release of Qt 3D is mostly about speed and stability but it also introduces a number of new features.

        One of them is generalized ray casting which can be used to find objects intersecting a 3d ray.

      • Qt 5.11 Bringing Generalized Ray Casting Support For 3D Module

        The Qt 3D ray-casting support is to be used for finding objects intersecting a 3D ray. This generalized ray-casting support is expected to be useful for applications making use of secondary controllers and VR environments among other possible use-cases where you would want to see what objects intersect with an arbitrary ray.

        For Qt developers wanting to learn more about this generalized ray-casting support coming to Qt 3D, the folks at the KDAB consulting firm have put out a lengthy blog post detailing this new feature for the upcoming Qt 5.11 release.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 11 “Bullseye” & Debian 12 “Bookworm” Are Coming After Debian 10 “Buster”

        While we’re waiting for the Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system series to be released, it looks like the Debian Release Team announced the codenames for the next two upcoming releases.

        Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” is already halfway through its development cycle, and the release team recently published an update to inform users and developers about the release dates of various upcoming milestones, such as Transition Freeze on 12 January 2019, Soft Freeze on 12 February 2019, and Full Freeze on 12 March 2019, as well as the approximate final release date.

      • TeX Live 2018 for Debian

        TeX Live 2018 has hit Debian/unstable today. The packages are based on what will be (most likely, baring any late desasters) on the TeX Live DVD which is going to press this week. This brings the newest and shiniest version of TeX Live to Debian. There have

      • alioth deprecation – next steps

        As you should be aware, alioth.debian.org will be decommissioned with the EOL of wheezy, which is at the end of May. The replacement for the main part of alioth, git, is alive and out of beta, you know it as salsa.debian.org. If you did not move your git repository yet, hurry up, time is running out.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Server development summary – 17 April 2018

            The purpose of this communication is to provide a status update and highlights for any interesting subjects from the Ubuntu Server Team.

          • MAAS 2.4.0 beta 2 released!

            I’m happy to announce that MAAS 2.4.0 beta 2 is now released and is available for Ubuntu Bionic.

          • LXD weekly status #43

            This week’s focus was on bugfixes with a good number of clustering related fixes and improvements as well as some tweaks and fixes to other recently added features.

            On the feature development front, the current focus is on improving the database tooling in LXD and adding a new backup feature to the API to implement container export/import.

          • The Enjoyable Ubuntu MATE 18.04 Beta 2

            It’s beautiful, it’s lovely, it’s amusing, it’s Ubuntu MATE 18.04 beta 2. It is an LTS version which will be supported for 3 years. It’s more just-work now with a set of different appearances for Windows users (“Redmond”), for Mac OS X users (“Cupertino”), for Unity 7 users (“Mutiny”), and of course for long time Ubuntu MATE users themselves (“Traditional”). It comes with special Welcome program to introduce Ubuntu MATE for any new user, it comes with same experience like previous versions but latest applications (LibreOffice 6.0, Firefox 59, MATE Desktop 1.20) and enhancements, it needs only mid-level specs. with around 640MiB of RAM, and those all made Ubuntu MATE beta 2 really enjoyable. This short review will help you expecting what you will get on Ubuntu MATE final release later on April 26. Enjoy!

          • Ubuntu 18.04 Beta – The good, the bad and mostly ugly

            In about two weeks, Canonical will release its next LTS, 18.04 Bionic Beaver. What makes it special is that it’s going to be running a Gnome 3 desktop instead of Unity, a sort of full-circle reversal of direction and strategy, and that means … uncertainty. With Trusty Tahr being the only production Linux system in my setup, I am quite intrigued and concerned, because I need to choose my next LTS carefully.

            So far, the prospect isn’t encouraging, given the more-than-lukewarm performance by Aardvark. There’s a lot of hope in the Plasma spin, given the stellar performance of the Plasma desktop recently, but that’s still a big unknown, especially since Kubuntu 17.10 was a regression compared to the most magnificent and awesome Zesty Zapus. Therefore, I decided to check this beta, to see what gives ahead of the official release. Normally, I don’t like testing unfinished products, but this be an extraordinary occasion. Let’s do it.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • You Can Now Create Your Own Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Live System with Pinguy Builder

              Pinguy Builder, the open-source and free graphical utility that lets the developers of the Ubuntu-based Pinguy OS distro build their operating system, has been recently updated with support for Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus), Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark), and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) support.

              Pinguy Builder is a fork of the well known Remastersys tool that’s no longer maintained. It contains all the scripts needed to create a live ISO image of any of the supported Ubuntu Linux releases in a few minutes and without too much hassle. Also, it can be used to backup your Ubuntu system.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Hardware

    • U.S. Moves to Block Sales by Chinese Telecom Equipment Makers

      The United States undercut China’s technology ambitions on Tuesday, advancing a new rule that would limit the ability of Chinese telecommunications companies to sell their products in this country.

      The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to move forward with a plan that would prevent federally subsidized telecommunications carriers from using suppliers deemed to pose a risk to American national security. The decision takes direct aim at Huawei, which makes telecommunications network equipment and smartphones, and its main Chinese rival, ZTE, sending a message that the government doesn’t trust them.

      A day earlier, the government barred ZTE from using components made in the United States, saying the company had failed to punish employees who violated American sanctions against North Korea and Iran.

    • Huawei, Failing to Crack U.S. Market, Signals a Change in Tactics

      In a grand hotel ballroom on Tuesday, Huawei executives laid out a soaring vision for the future. The Chinese electronics giant, already the world’s biggest supplier of the equipment that powers the wireless age, now wants to provide the digital backbone for artificial intelligence, the internet of things and other transformative technologies.

      But that future is increasingly looking as if it will not include the United States.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Carlos Correa Named Head Of Intergovernmental South Centre

      Prof. Carlos Correa of Argentina, an influential academic whose analyses of patents and medicines access have informed debates and challenged the status quo for decades, has been named the next executive director of the South Centre. He will take over for Martin Khor, who will be retiring after nine years at the helm. Separately, former South African President Thabo Mbeki was named chair of the Board.

    • Patents On Delivery Devices Can Extend Drug Patent Protection For Years, Study Finds

      The number of patents for drug delivery devices has shot up in recent years, and has had the effect of significantly extending the protection enjoyed by patented pharmaceuticals, delaying cheaper versions of the drugs and leading to higher prices, a recent paper found. And in a Q&A below, one of the authors raises an issue for policymakers.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • McAfee’s Upgraded Cloud Security Protects Containers [Ed: Looks like marketing/spam from ECT]
    • 55 Infosec Professionals Sign Letter Opposing Georgia’s Computer Crime Bill

      In a letter to Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, 55 cybersecurity professionals from around the country are calling for a veto for S.B. 315, a state bill that would give prosecutors new power to target independent security researchers.

      This isn’t just a matter of solidarity among those in the profession. Georgia represents our nation’s third largest information security sector. The signers have clients, partners, and offices in Georgia. They attend conferences in Georgia. They teach and study in Georgia or recruit students from Georgia. And they all agree that S.B. 315, which would create a new crime of “unauthorized access,” would do more harm than good.

    • Has a Russian intelligence agent hacked your wifi? [iophk: "AV is not relevant; there are two main ways to avoid malware" : *BSD and */Linux"]

      In short, a global, invisible, low-level conflict is taking place across the internet and it is possible that your router has been conscripted as a foot soldier. Maybe it is worth getting your firewall and antivirus checked out after all.

    • U.S. & U.K. Issue Joint Warning About Risks of Russian Cyberattacks
    • Demonstrating Tamper Detection with Heads

      We are excited about the future of Heads on Librem laptops and the extra level of protection it can give customers. As a result we’ve both been writing about it a lot publicly and working on it a lot privately. What I’ve realized when I’ve talked to people about Heads and given demos, is that many people have never seen a tamper-evident boot process before. All of the concepts around tamper-evident boot are pretty abstract and it can be difficult to fully grasp how it protects you if you’ve never seen it work.

      We have created a short demo that walks through a normal Heads boot process and demonstrates tamper detection. In the interest of keeping the demo short I only briefly described what was happening. In this post I will elaborate on what you are seeing in the video.

    • Stop Using Six Digit Numeric iPhone Passcodes Right Now
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Russian reporter Borodin dead after mystery fall

      In recent weeks, the journalist had written about Russian mercenaries known as the “Wagner Group” who were reportedly killed in Syria on 7 February in a confrontation with US forces.

    • The search for truth in the rubble of Douma – and one doctor’s doubts over the chemical attack

      This is the story of a town called Douma, a ravaged, stinking place of smashed apartment blocks – and of an underground clinic whose images of suffering allowed three of the Western world’s most powerful nations to bomb Syria last week. There’s even a friendly doctor in a green coat who, when I track him down in the very same clinic, cheerfully tells me that the “gas” videotape which horrified the world – despite all the doubters – is perfectly genuine.

      War stories, however, have a habit of growing darker. For the same 58-year old senior Syrian doctor then adds something profoundly uncomfortable: the patients, he says, were overcome not by gas but by oxygen starvation in the rubbish-filled tunnels and basements in which they lived, on a night of wind and heavy shelling that stirred up a dust storm.

    • CIA Director Pompeo met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over Easter weekend

      CIA Director Mike Pompeo made a top-secret visit to North Korea over Easter weekend as an envoy for President Trump to meet with that country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, according to two people with direct knowledge of the trip.

      The extraordinary meeting between one of Trump’s most trusted emissaries and the authoritarian head of a rogue state was part of an effort to lay the groundwork for direct talks between Trump and Kim about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, according to the two people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the highly classified nature of the talks.

    • Blowing up Lack of ‘Evidence’ in Syria Chemical Attack

      Just a few hours before the arrival in Syria of UN chemical weapons inspectors to investigate the use of chemicals in Duma, a Damascus suburb where last week 42 persons were reportedly killed, the attack against Syrian government chemical facilities by the U.S. and its British and French allies with neither U.N. nor Congressional authorization is a bit suspicious–to put it mildly.

      For the three Western nations to to bomb before the international inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) could check the bodies of those killed for chemicals, take soil samples, talk to survivors and compare the results with what is in the Syrian government chemical facilities is bewildering– unless the U.S., UK and France knew the UN inspectors were going to find NOTHING to substantiate their assessment. Without any evidence, but with merely a “high possibility”, the three countries were going to attack Syria anyway.

    • An Alternative Explanation to the Skripal Mystery

      For weeks, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson have insisted that there is “no alternative explanation” to Russian government responsibility for the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury last month.

      But in fact the British government is well aware that such an alternative explanation does exist. It is based on the well-documented fact that the “Novichok” nerve agent synthesized by Soviet scientist in the 1980s had been sold by the scientist–who led the development of the nerve agent– to individuals linked to Russian criminal organizations as long ago as 1994 and was used to kill a Russian banker in 1995.

      The connection between the Novichok nerve agent and a previous murder linked to the murky Russian criminal underworld would account for the facts of the Salisbury poisoning far better than the official line that it was a Russian government assassination attempt.

      The credibility of the May government’s attempt to blame it on Russian President Vladimir Putin has suffered because of Yulia Skripal’s relatively rapid recovery, the apparent improvement of Sergei Skripal’s condition and a medical specialist’s statement that the Skripals had exhibited no symptoms of nerve agent poisoning.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Watchdog Rules EPA Broke Law with $43,000 Soundproof Phone Booth

      The Government Accountability Office has ruled the Environmental Protection Agency broke the law by spending $43,000 to install a soundproof phone booth for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. It’s the latest ethics scandal to hit Pruitt, who is also facing scrutiny over revelations the EPA has spent $3 million on his security detail. The EPA first claimed the spending was justified due to death threats against Pruitt, but then admitted, in response to a FOIA request, that there are no records of death threats against Pruitt.

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • FBI Raiding NSA Employee’s Home Revealing Over 4 Million ‘Dick Pics’ Is Fake News

      The Federal Bureau of Investigation raiding a National Security Agency employee’s home revealing over 4 Million “dick pictures” is fake news. There is no truth to a report that a NSA employee’s home had been involved in a FBI raid with the government agency seizing over 4 million “dick pics” not belonging to him but rather other men on his computers. If the story sounds wild and crazy that is because it is just that as it is false.

    • The Company Michael Cohen Kept — “Trump, Inc.” Podcast

      Long before Donald Trump’s attorney paid Stormy Daniels or had his office raided by the FBI, a pattern was established: The associates of Michael Cohen have often been disciplined, disbarred, accused or convicted of crimes.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Covering up of half-naked warrior statue for Islamic conference in Italy criticised as cultural censorship

      The covering up of a marble statue of a muscular, half-naked Greek warrior for a conference on Islam in Italy has drawn accusations of overly-zealous cultural censorship.

      The reclining statue of Epaminondas, a fourth century BC general who fought for the liberation of the Greek city-state of Thebes, was draped in a red satin sheet to spare the sensibilities of Muslim delegates.

      Conservative politicians seized on the case, claiming it was an example of Italy going too far to accommodate the feelings of immigrant communities.

    • Telegram Founder Pledges Millions to Fight Russian ‘Political Censorship’

      Pavel Durov, the founder of the popular Telegram messaging service, has pledged millions of dollars to fund tools that would allow users to sidestep new Internet restrictions imposed by the Russian government.

      Russian Internet providers began to block access to Telegram on Monday following a court decision last week ruling to block the app over its refusal to provide the security services with keys to decrypt private conversations. The number of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses that have been blocked in Russia since the move has ballooned to 17 million by mid-Tuesday, from 2 million earlier in the day.

    • Theaters In Saudi Arabia To Show Movies – But Not Without Censorship

      Saudi Arabia is lifting the ban on movies shown in theaters — but moviegoers can likely expect censored versions.

      The showing of “Black Panther” breaks a 35-year prohibition of motion pictures in the country. And while “Black Panther” has already celebrated international success, the film may have fewer difficulties adapting to strict guidelines than other films, such as “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

      Last year, Saudi Arabia announced that movies shown there can’t contradict “Sharia Laws and moral values in the Kingdom.”

      And while the country has yet to issue a public list of what exactly the film restrictions will look like, we can gain clues from looking at patterns in the region.

    • Censorship Gaining Foothold In Pakistan

      Censorship appears to be increasingly gripping Pakistani media as journalists, watchdogs, and media organizations blame attempts by the country’s powerful military to silence critics and prevent the coverage of protests that criticize its policies and actions.

      This week, several leading newspapers either refused to publish articles on the Pashtuns’ protests or deleted stories they had already published. Organized under the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) or Pashtun Protection Movement, members of Pakistan’s second-largest ethnic group have rallied to demand security and rights.

      This month, Geo TV — Pakistan’s leading television news channel — was prevented from reaching audiences through cable networks. On April 16, a provincial court ordered a government regulator to ensure that “anti-judiciary” speeches of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz were prevented from being aired on television. The two have campaigned against the military’s attempted to micromanage politics in the country.

    • #Metoo in China: fledgling movement in universities fights censorship

      Peking University, China’s top academic institution, admitted this month that 20 years ago a professor had been involved in “inappropriate student-teacher relations” with a female student. Former classmates of that student, Gao Yan, a star pupil studying Chinese literature, say she was raped and that the assault pushed her to commit suicide less than a year later.

      The university said in a statement on 6 April that at the time they concluded the professor, Shen Yang, had “handled the situation very imprudently” and he was given an administrative warning and demerit in the summer of 1998, about four months after Gao’s suicide. Shen has denied the allegations by Gao’s classmates, calling them “total nonsense”.

      For one student, that wasn’t enough. Deng Yuhao, an undergraduate at Peking University studying maths, posted a statement on WeChat on 7 April calling for students and teachers to pressure the university to release more details of their investigation. His article was viewed or shared more than a million times.

    • How Government Pressure Has Turned Transparency Reports From Free Speech Celebrations To Censorship Celebrations

      For many years now, various internet companies have released Transparency Reports. The practice was started by Google years back (oddly, Google itself fails me in finding its original trasnparency report). Soon many other internet companies followed suit, and, while it took them a while, the telcos eventually joined in as well.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • From USENET to Facebook: The second time as farce

      I want to think about what we can learn from the forerunners of modern social networks—specifically about USENET, the proto-internet of the 1980s and 90s. (The same observations probably apply to BBSs, though I’m less familiar with them.) USENET was a decentralized and unmanaged system that allowed Unix users to exchange “posts” by sending them to hundreds of newsgroups. It started in the early 80s, peaked sometime around 1995, and arguably ended as tragedy (though it went out with a whimper, not a bang).

      As a no-holds-barred Wild West sort of social network, USENET was filled with everything we rightly complain about today. It was easy to troll and be abusive; all too many participants did it for fun. Most groups were eventually flooded by spam, long before spam became a problem for email. Much of that spam distributed pornography or pirated software (“warez”). You could certainly find newsgroups in which to express your inner neo-Nazi or white supremacist self. Fake news? We had that; we had malicious answers to technical questions that would get new users to trash their systems. And yes, there were bots; that technology isn’t as new as we’d like to think.

      But there was a big divide on USENET between moderated and unmoderated newsgroups. Posts to moderated newsgroups had to be approved by a human moderator before they were pushed to the rest of the network. Moderated groups were much less prone to abuse. They weren’t immune, certainly, but moderated groups remained virtual places where discussion was mostly civilized, and where you could get questions answered. Unmoderated newsgroups were always spam-filled and frequently abusive, and the alt.* newsgroups, which could be created by anyone, for any reason, matched anything we have now for bad behavior.

    • Congressmembers Raise Doubts About the “Going Dark” Problem

      In the wake of a damning report by the DOJ Office of Inspector General (OIG), Congress is asking questions about the FBI’s handling of the locked iPhone in the San Bernardino case and its repeated claims that widespread encryption is leading to a “Going Dark” problem. For years, DOJ and FBI officials have claimed that encryption is thwarting law enforcement and intelligence operations, pointing to large numbers of encrypted phones that the government allegedly cannot access as part of its investigations. In the San Bernardino case specifically, the FBI maintained that only Apple could assist with unlocking the shooter’s phone.

      But the OIG report revealed that the Bureau had other resources at its disposal, and on Friday members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray that included several questions to put the FBI’s talking points to the test. Not mincing words, committee members write that they have “concerns that the FBI has not been forthcoming about the extent of the ‘Going Dark’ problem.”

      In court filings, testimony to Congress, and in public comments by then-FBI Director James Comey and others, the agency claimed that it had no possible way of accessing the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone. But the letter, signed by 10 representatives from both parties, notes that the OIG report “undermines statements that the FBI made during the litigation and consistently since then, that only the device manufacturer could provide a solution.” The letter also echoes EFF’s concerns that the FBI saw the litigation as a test case: “Perhaps most disturbingly, statements made by the Chief of the Cryptographic and Electronic Analysis Unit appear to indicate that the FBI was more interested in forcing Apple to comply than getting into the device.”

    • Tell the Government to protect porn privacy

      Last Monday, the BBFC released a public consultation calling for people’s views on the guidance they plan to issue to age verification providers.

      Under the Digital Economy Act, websites will soon have to ensure that all UK users are above the age of 18 before allowing them to view pornographic content. As the age verification regulator, it is the BBFC’s job to dictate how these age verification systems should work.

      We have written in the past about the dangers of age verification – highlighting the lack of a focus by the Government on the potential privacy concerns. That was back in 2016, and this consultation paper proves that not much has changed since then. The Government have proved their lack of interest in user privacy by appointing the BBFC an especially narrow role that allows them only to issue guidance on how tools should work practically, and does not allow them to outline any requirements for tools to meet certain privacy standards.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Waiting While Black in Philadelphia Can Get You Arrested

      Late last week, two Black men in Philadelphia were doing what people do every day in this city — they waited in a coffee shop to meet an associate. While they were engaged in this mundane activity, they were removed from the Starbucks cafe at 18th and Spruce Streets in handcuffs by Philadelphia police officers.

      This is another example of the kind of daily indignities that African-Americans face every day in Philadelphia and around the country. We can’t even wait in a coffee shop for a friend without the possibility that someone will call the police. Two days after the news broke of the incident, I’m angrier now than I was when I first heard about it.

    • If Trump Is So Worried About Protecting Attorney-Client Privilege, He Should End The NSA’s Bulk Surveillance (And CPB Device Seizures)

      Attorney-client privilege is indeed a serious thing. It is inherently woven into the Sixth Amendment’s right to counsel. That right to counsel is a right to effective counsel. Effective counsel depends on candor by the client. That candor in turn depends on clients being confident that their communications seeking counsel will be confidential. If, however, a client has to fear the government obtaining those communications then their ability to speak openly with their lawyer will be chilled. But without that openness, their lawyers will not be able to effectively advocate for them. Thus the Sixth Amendment requires that attorney-client communications – those communications made in the furtherance of seeking legal counsel – be privileged from government (or other third party) view.

      The problem is, it doesn’t take a raid of a home or office to undermine the privilege. Bulk surveillance invades the sphere of privacy these lawyer-client communications depend on, and, worse, it does so indiscriminately. Whether it involves shunting a copy of all of AT&T’s internet traffic to the NSA, or warrantlessly obtaining everyone’s Verizon Wireless phone call records, while, sure, it catches records of plenty of communications made to non-lawyers (which itself is plenty troubling), it also inherently catches revealing information about communications made to and from lawyers and their clients. Meanwhile the seizures and searches of communications devices such as cell phones and laptops raises similar Constitutional problems. Doing so gives the government access to all records of all communications stored on these devices, including those privileged ones that should have been expressly kept from it.

    • Who Should Review Michael Cohen’s Files Under the Fourth Amendment?

      Lots of lawyers are arguing over who should review the documents seized from Trump’s lawyer. The decision will affect us all.

      Since the search last week of the office, home, hotel room, and safe deposit box of Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal attorney, lots of lawyers have been squaring off about an important legal issue that rarely gets banner-headline billing: How does the government, armed with a warrant for a criminal suspect’s digital files, go about sorting through those files in a way that ensures that constitutional and legal rights are not violated?

      The risks of wrongful privacy invasions are too great to leave to the prosecutors when the government seizes digital data. Such files should be reviewed in the first instance by a neutral party, or “special master,” appointed by and answerable to the court, to ensure that the prosecutors and investigators get the evidence they are authorized to look for. They should not be allowed to roam widely through digital files that may contain terrabytes of private information.

      Cohen has claimed that because he is an attorney — for Trump and others — some of the seized files may be entirely off-limits to the government because they are protected by the attorney–client privilege. President Trump’s lawyers have made similar arguments. Both have asked the court to allow their legal teams to have the first cut at the seized files in order to review them for privilege, and then to produce the remainder to the government or a special master. The government has countered that the court should allow a so-called “taint team,” made up of prosecutors who are not assigned to the case and who are technically walled off from those working on the case, to do the sorting. The court is now considering the parties’ arguments and is expected to rule quickly.

    • Pardons No Substitute for Reform in Myanmar

      The Myanmar government has ordered the release of three dozen political prisoners, a welcome step that still leaves scores in detention or on trial on politically motivated charges, according to local monitors. Real reform in Myanmar will require stripping away the architecture of repression and ending prosecutions of the government’s critics.

      Yesterday, newly elected President Win Myint followed the tradition of releasing prisoners on the first day of the Myanmar New Year by announcing the release of more than 8,500 prisoners, including 36 political prisoners. These releases are commonly referred to as “amnesties” but are, in reality, pardons, which do not absolve those released of their crimes or the legal consequences.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Ajit Pai’s ex-broadband advisor arrested on charge of forging fiber contracts

      Elizabeth Pierce is accused of “forg[ing] guaranteed revenue contracts to fraudulently induce investors to invest more than $250 million in a fiber optic cable network in Alaska,” according to a press release issued last week by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

    • Comcast To Sell Netflix Subscriptions In False Belief This Will Slow Cord Cutting

      As we’ve noted previously, Comcast has enjoyed a little more resilience to the cord cutting threat than satellite TV and telco TV providers–thanks to its growing monopoly over broadband. As DSL users frustrated by lagging telco upgrades switch to cable to get faster speeds, they’re often forced to sign up for cable and TV bundles they may not want (since standalone broadband is often priced prohibitively by intent). Of course that doesn’t mean these users or stick around (or that they even actively use the cable subscription they pay for), but it has helped Comcast all the same.

      There are some indications that advantage isn’t helping as much now that we’re seeing so many streaming services come to market. At least one Wall Street research firm predicts that Comcast’s cord cutting defections will double this year, though those totals still remain modest (400,000) compared to the company’s total number of pay TV (22.4 million) and broadband (25.5 million) subscribers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • What will become of Australia’s innovation patent system?

      Abolition of Australia’s innovation patent system is still possible but potential options to improve it are also not ruled out

      Following the Australia’s Productivity Commission’s inquiry into IP arrangements last year and the government’s consultation on innovation patents, IP Australia has decided to undertake further industry consultation targeted at better understanding the needs of innovative SMEs before deciding…

    • Supreme Court predicted to rule in favour of patent owners over damages abroad in case that could have major ramifications

      For many observers of US patent law the current Supreme Court term essentially boils down to one case. But as we wait for the ruling in Oil States on the constitutionality of inter partes review, the justices had another case to hear yesterday on the extraterritoriality of damages law. In Western Geco v Ion Geophysical Corp, the patent owner Western Geco, sued Ion in district court over components that Ion manufactured in the US but then shipped abroad for assembly.

    • Premaitha’s strike out gamble fails before Carr J in new Illumnia patent battle

      Interim decisions are always full of interesting tidbits. Nothing was more juicy than last month’s decision from Mr Justice Carr in Illumnia v Premaitha [2018] EWHC 615 (Pat) in which he dealt with two applications brought by the defendants for (i) strike out of Illumina’s claim on the basis of abuse of process, and (ii) summary judgment against Illumina on the basis of issue estoppel. Although shackled by time in reporting on the decision, the AmeriKat asked a new IP kitten, Constance Crawford (Bristows) to get her paws wet in her first Kat post.

    • Copyrights


      • Pirate Site-Blocking? Music Biz Wants App Blocking Too

        With thousands of websites blocked all around the world on copyright grounds, pirates are continuing to innovate. The rise of apps designed to provide free content represents a fairly recent development but one the entertainment industries are keen to stem. The CEO of Warner Music Russia now says his company has infringing apps firmly on the anti-piracy agenda.

        In some way, shape or form, Internet piracy has always been carried out through some kind of application. Whether that’s a peer-to-peer client utilizing BitTorrent or eD2K, or a Usenet or FTP tool taking things back to their roots, software has always played a crucial role.

      • The Music Industry Now Wants To Creep Past Site-Blocking Into App-Blocking

        With site-blocking now fully en vogue in much of the world as the preferred draconian solution to copyright infringement, one point we’ve made over and over again is that even this extreme measure has no hope of fully satisfying the entertainment industries. Once thought something of a nuclear option, the full censorship of websites will now serve as a mere stepping stone to the censorship of all kinds of other platforms that might sometimes be used for piracy. It was always going to be this way, from the very moment that world governments creaked open this door.

        And it appears it isn’t taking long for the entertainment industries to want to take that next step, either. As the debate about Kodi addons rages, and as governments begin to clamp down on the platform at the request of the entertainment industry, several industry players at an IP forum event in Russia have started announcing plans to push for app-blocking as the next step.

      • 19-Year-Old Canadian Facing Criminal Charges For Downloading Publicly-Accessible Documents

        A 19-year-old Canadian is being criminally-charged for accessing a website. The Nova Scotian government’s Freedom of Information portal (FOIPOP) served up documents it shouldn’t have and now prosecutors are thinking about adding charges on top of the ten-year sentence the teen could already be facing. (via Databreaches.net)

        Journalists first spotted the problem April 5th, when the FOI portal was taken offline. The Internal Services Minister, Patricia Arab, refused to provide details about the portal’s sudden unavailability. It wasn’t until the following week that the press was given more information and those affected notified.

      • ‘Scraping’ is Just Automated Access, and Everyone Does It

        For tech lawyers, one of the hottest questions this year is: can companies use the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)—an imprecise and outdated criminal anti-“hacking” statute intended to target computer break-ins—to block their competitors from accessing publicly available information on their websites? The answer to this question has wide-ranging implications for everyone: it could impact the public’s ability to meaningfully access publicly available information on the open web. This will impede investigative journalism and research. And in a world of algorithms and artificial intelligence, lack of access to data is a barrier to product innovation, and blocking access to data means blocking any chance for meaningful competition.

        The CFAA was enacted in 1986, when there were only about 2,000 computers connected to the Internet. The law makes it a crime to access a computer connected to the Internet “without authorization” but fails to explain what this means. It was passed with the aim of outlawing computer break-ins, but has since metastasized in some jurisdictions into a tool to enforce computer use policies, like terms of service, which no one reads.

        Efforts to use the CFAA to threaten competitors increased in 2016 following the Ninth Circuit’s poorly reasoned Facebook v. Power Ventures decision. The case involved a dispute between Facebook and a social media aggregator, which Facebook users had voluntarily signed up for. Facebook did not want its users engaging with this service, so it sent Power Ventures a cease and desist letter and tried to block Power Ventures’ IP address. The Ninth Circuit found that Power Ventures had violated the CFAA after continuing to provide its services after receipt of the cease and desist letter and having one of its IP address blocked.

      • Teen charged in Nova Scotia government breach says he had ‘no malicious intent’ [iophk: "technically the site actually did publish these documents; this is just harassment of the kid"]

        The teen has been charged with “unauthorized use of a computer,” which carries a possible 10-year prison sentence, for downloading approximately 7,000 freedom-of-information releases.

Guest Post: Responding to Your Recent Posting “The European Patent Office Will Never Hold Its Destroyers Accountable”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reader’s response to this post

EPO FIFA-approved graphic

Summary: In France, where Battistelli does not enjoy diplomatic immunity, he can be held accountable like his "padrone" recently was

It should be obvious to all and sundry by now that people who expect the EPO Administrative Council to hold Battistelli to account are barking up the wrong tree. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that it really is possible to get away with serious abuses as long as the perpetrator is protected by diplomatic immunity. In this case Battistelli enjoys diplomatic immunity as President of the EPO and he also seems to be protected by a supine Administrative Council which shows no interest in calling him to account.

“In this case Battistelli enjoys diplomatic immunity as President of the EPO and he also seems to be protected by a supine Administrative Council which shows no interest in calling him to account.”But what people who complain about Battistelli seem to forget is that he also wears other hats and operates in other contexts where he does not enjoy immunity. To be more precise: he is the deputy mayor in charge of culture in his home town of Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

He was appointed to this position in October 2017 after the last local elections when he succeeded Arnaud Péricard. Péricard’s was “promoted” to the position of mayor after the death of Emmanuel Lamy in May 2017. Until October 2017 Battistelli was the municipal councillor in charge of theatre. In this position he was mainly responsible for the municipal theatre which is known as the Théâtre Alexandre Dumas.

“Until October 2017 Battistelli was the municipal councillor in charge of theatre. In this position he was mainly responsible for the municipal theatre which is known as the Théâtre Alexandre Dumas.”The Théâtre Alexandre Dumas (TAD) is named after the famous French writer, some of whose most illustrious works, such as “The Three Musketeers”, were written in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. It is a municipal institution which is directly under the management of the municipal council. Both the deputy mayor for culture and the the town councillor in charge of theatre sit on its board of directors.

The TAD can also be rented as a location for events such as cocktails, seminars, congresses, projections and suchlike.

By an interesting coincidence the Théâtre Alexandre Dumas will serve as the venue for the European Inventor Award ceremony on 7 June 2018. (warning: epo.org link)

Paris theatre

The decision to host the event in Saint-Germain-en-Laye seems to be good news for the town and will undoubtedly result in an influx of funds to the local coffers. This means that it’s unlikely that anybody on the municipal council will ask too many questions or dare to upset the apple-cart.

Even before this latest twist the European Inventor Award has been shrouded in opacity because the European Patent Convention does contain any mandate for the EPO to sponsor such an extravanganza.

“Even before this latest twist the European Inventor Award has been shrouded in opacity because the European Patent Convention does contain any mandate for the EPO to sponsor such an extravanganza.”The event was initially established in 2006 under Alain Pompidou and the first ceremony was hosted in Brussels with the co-sponsorship of the European Commission.

In the beginning it seems to have been run as a joint venture between the EPO and the European Commission and for a number of years the venue chosen was in the state holding the presidency of the Council of the European Union.

From 2013 onwards this changed without any explanation being given and since then it has never been clear on what criteria the host state for the event is chosen.

But the choice of venue for 2018 takes the biscuit:

Not only is the event being held in France for the second time in the space of four years but it is taking place in the home town of the President of the EPO where he is an elected member of the local municipal council and deputy mayor!

“Not only is the event being held in France for the second time in the space of four years but it is taking place in the home town of the President of the EPO where he is an elected member of the local municipal council and deputy mayor!”Neither the Official Journal of the EPO (warning: epo.org link) nor the minutes of the municipal council of Saint-Germain-en-Laye appear to contain any records which would explain how the decisions to host the event in Saint-Germain-en-Laye and to use the Théâtre Alexandre Dumas for this purpose were taken or who was responsible for these decisions.

In other words no publicly accessible record can be found to clarify whether the selection of Saint-Germain-en-Laye as the host town was made by the EPO President acting on his own initiative or whether the Administrative Council had any involvement in the matter (even if this was only to rubber-stamp the President’s preference).
It’s also not clear what role Battistelli played in the selection of the TAD as the venue for the event but given that he is on its board of directors it would be reasonable to assume that he must have been involved in some capacity.

Even FIFA seems to be a paragon of transparency compared to this!

Battistelli job

Some observers who have looked into the affair have raised the question as to whether or not the choice of venue might involve a conflict of interest on the part of the individual who wears both the hat of the EPO President in Munich and the “chapeau” of the deputy mayor in charge of culture on the municipal council of Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

“Some observers who have looked into the affair have raised the question as to whether or not the choice of venue might involve a conflict of interest on the part of the individual who wears both the hat of the EPO President in Munich and the “chapeau” of the deputy mayor in charge of culture on the municipal council of Saint-Germain-en-Laye.”Recent developments in the case of Sarkozy have shown that France has extensive anti-corruption legislation which among other things penalises improper giving and receiving of benefits, “influence peddling” and misdirection of public funds.

Given the failure of the EPO Administrative Council to call Mr. Battistelli to account as EPO President it seems legitimate to pose the question as to whether the French public prosecutor might not be the appropriate authority to scrutinize his activities as deputy mayor in charge of culture in Saint-Germain-en-Laye where he is subject to French law and does not enjoy immunity.

Attachments: Extracts from the “Journal Saint-Germain-en-Laye” [1, 2] showing Battistelli’s activities on the town council.

The EPO in 2018: Partnering With Saudi Arabia and Cambodia (With Zero European Patents)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Fourth Industrial Revolution” is just code (or buzzword) for "software patents" — part of the race to the bottom (of patent quality)

EPO gazette

Summary: The EPO’s status in the world has declined to the point where former French colonies and countries with zero European Patents are hailed as “success stories” for Battistelli

THE reputation of the EPO — and by extension of European Patents (EPs) — is badly damaged. It won’t be able to compete with the USPTO. In fact, in IP5 it’s now generally seen as the most abusive; some would call it a “laughing stock”, especially when publicly represented by corrupt/abusive officials from France.

“It’s worth noting that the number of granted EPs from Saudi Arabia fell by a whopping 44.4% last year.”The EPO has totally lost touch with patent quality. It just habitually misuses the word “quality”.

Saudi patents are laughable. People I know who work there tell me so. But the EPO, which no longer values the quality of patents, has found itself company. Yesterday Saba & Co Intellectual Property wrote about the EPO MOU:

King Abdul Aziz City of Science and Technology, where the Saudi Patent Office resides, signed a memorandum of understanding with the European Patent Office. The MOU, which aims to strengthen the patent system and increase bilateral cooperation, foresees joint activities in the areas of patent procedures, search, examination and automation, as well as use and exchange of patent data and databases.

It’s worth noting that the number of granted EPs from Saudi Arabia fell by a whopping 44.4% last year.

Also yesterday there was this new article bragging about EPO validation in a former French colony with zero European Patents. To quote:

Cambodia is a developing country supported mainly by three pillars of economic development – agriculture, tourism and textiles. With an average growth of 7.6% from 1994 to 2015, Cambodia is the fastest growing ASEAN economy.

In line with Cambodia’s desire to modernise and increase its economic prosperity, there are developments taking place in the country’s intellectual property system, which indicate that the government is serious about fostering and promoting innovation and foreign investment.

We highlight below several avenues for securing patent rights in Cambodia.

[...]

A validation agreement between the European Patent Office (EPO) and the Cambodia Ministry of Industry and Handicraft (MIH) was signed on 23 January 2017, making Cambodia the first Asian country and the 4th non EPC Member State to recognize EPO granted patents. This validation agreement entered into force on 1 March 2018 and applicants are henceforth able to validate European patent applications and patents in Cambodia.

They fail to mention that Cambodian people/firms have zero EPs. So this whole thing is a ridiculous publicity stunt of Battistelli. Not too long ago Battistelli also got a validation agreement with Tunisia, which had zero European Patents last year. Remember that this too is a former French colony (French protectorate of Tunisia). Maybe Battistelli’s former “padrone” has connections there, too?

Look what a low level the EPO has stooped down to.

As we mentioned yesterday, the EPO grants patents in error and it’s costing a lot of money to actual companies, much to the delight of patent lawyers. This latest example of Boston Scientific is still showing up in the news. To quote:

Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX) said today that the European Patent Office revoked a patent owned by Edwards Lifesciences (NYSE:EW) in the latest round of their ongoing spat over transcatheter aortic valve replacements.

In March 2017 a German court issued a mixed decision in the international battle over transcatheter aortic valve replacement patents between the two companies, less than a week after a U.K. patent court handed down a similar decision. Yesterday Boston said it’s confident that the new EPO decision “will have a positive impact on both suits.”

Meanwhile the U.K. High Court is slated to hear the next phase in that case in mid-May, Boston said.

Had the EPO done its job properly in the first place, none of this would happen. Therein lies the problem with the decline in patent quality at the EPO. It’s externalising huge costs to outsiders and short-term EPO gains would eventually see the EPO’s foundations reduced to rubble. Patent lawyers too would not benefit from that in the long run.

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