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04.24.18

Koch Brothers and Big Oil Could Not Buy the Decisions in Oil States, SAS

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 6:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: The Anti-PTAB (Patent Trial and Appeal Board) Lobby is Partly Funded by the Koch Brothers and the Right Wing

Inside How the Federalist Society & Koch Brothers Are Pushing for Trump to Reshape Federal Judiciary
Reference: Inside How the Federalist Society & Koch Brothers Are Pushing for Trump to Reshape Federal Judiciary

Summary: In Oil States Energy Services v Greene’s Energy Group, a case which Koch-funded think tanks meddled in (including those whose panel guests send me threatening legal letters), ends up with dissent from a Koch-connected Justice citing or quoting those very same Koch-funded think tanks

THE DECISION that can rattle low-quality patents at the USPTO (but not PTAB, which actually deals with such low-quality patents) was covered here a couple of hours after it had come out (i.e. as soon as I returned home from Town). It turns out, in retrospect, that many people just “tweeted” about it rather than decided to write something detailed, long, and sensible. Media as it used to be is no more; people are getting too lazy to write long articles.

“Media as it used to be is no more; people are getting too lazy to write long articles.”Among the very early reactions we have Professor Risch, who wrote: “Oil States is out: Inter Partes Review is valid, but patents are still property. Gorsuch and Roberts dissent. [] More surprising than Oil States, SAS is out and Gorsuch writes a straightforward (to the 5 who signed on) statutory interpretation: partial institution is not in the statute. The PTO must grant the full petition (or deny it) and decide all claims raised.”

Gorsuch was reusing talking points from Koch-funded ‘scholars’. They got mentioned by Koch-backed Justices. Surprise? They even gloated about it! “Sad and Happy Day,” one of them said, “Supreme Court holds that #patent rights are regulatory-style “public rights” in Oil States v. Greene’s Energy, but at least my scholarship on patents as private #property rights quoted & cited repeatedly in dissenting opinion.”

He means Gorsuch. This reaffirms the Koch (Big Oil) connection. Are Justices up for sale? Can decisions be bought? Well, not entirely, but perhaps some votes can be ‘arranged’ with the power of money and ‘politicians’ like Donald Trump (it was him who nominated Gorsuch).

Another pundit said: “It will be interesting to see what happens after today’s SCOTUS SAS decision on IPR. Will PTAB grant review in pretty much the same number of cases and just need more time (or more judges), or will they deny more petitions for review because of higher per-case workload?”

The goal of slowing down PTAB isn’t a novel one. The patent extremists will do anything they can to make that happen.

Thomas F. Cotter (scholar, albeit not a Koch-funded one) had this to say:

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Inter Partes Review
In what must be one of its most important patent opinions in recent years, the U.S. Supreme Court this morning upheld the constitutionality of inter partes reviews (IPRs)–the opposition-like procedures that Congress established in 2011 as part of the America Invents Act–in Oil States Energy Services, LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC. Opinion here. I’m not surprised by the ruling, but I am relieved; some of the questions posed during oral argument last November left me just a tad worried about the ultimate outcome (see post here). The breakdown of opinions does not fall along the typical ideological lines: Justice Thomas writes the majority opinion, joined by Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Alito, Sotomayor, and Kagan.

Another scholar, Jason Rantanen, wrote about this decision in Oil States Energy Services v Greene’s Energy Group along with SAS. On the former he wrote:

Oil States Energy Services v. Greene’s Energy Group: Inter partes review does not violate Article III or the 7th Amendment. Patents are public rights for purposes of this question. This holding is a self-proclaimed narrow one that “should not be misconstrued as suggesting that patents are not property for the purposes of the Due Process Clause or Takings Clause.” Thomas for the majority; Breyer with a concurring opinion (joined by Ginsburg and Sotomayor), Gorsuch dissenting (joined by Roberts).

The CCIA wrote about it much later. Under “Even If The PTAB Thinks A Claim Is Valid, It Has To Conduct An IPR Anyway” (and in conclusion) the CCIA said:

The second case, SAS v. Matal, focused on the statutory language authorizing IPR. The challenger argued that this required the PTAB to conduct an inter partes review and issue a final decision on every challenged claim if at least one claim appeared to be invalid; in contrast, the PTAB only conducted a review and issued a decision on the claims that they had determined met the invalidity threshold in the institution decision. Patent Progress covered this case when it was filed, and—unfortunately—correctly predicted the outcome.

[...]

The alternative, where the PTAB effectively eliminates substantive analysis in the institution decision (other than stating that a single claim had been shown likely invalid), is even worse. In this case there isn’t even the guidance as to which claims the PTAB believed invalid. Instead, every claim has to be argued over. The parties won’t know the scope of the dispute, meaning that they’re less likely to settle with one another. And district courts, unable to determine if the PTAB feels all claims are invalid or only one, will become less likely to stay cases.

Given the importance of this procedural change, the PTO must provide petitioners and patent owners with information as to what they should expect regarding the conduct of proceedings at the first opportunity. Subsidiary concerns like the standard of review can wait.

Last but not least, Dugie Standeford from IP Watch wrote behind a paywall. The introduction says:

United States Patent and Trademark Office inter partes reviews are legal and do not violate Article III of the Constitution or the 7th Amendment, the US Supreme Court said today. While the decision was expected, practitioners before the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board can now rest easy, as one patent lawyer put it.

We expect more spin and lots of worship/love for Gorsuch from patent maximalists in the coming days/weeks. The problem is, not many people will dare speak of the influence of money (like the front groups and think tanks involved). Best dissent oil money can buy?

The European Patent Office (EPO) Wastes a Lot of Money on External PR Agencies for Battistelli’s ‘Heist’

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Saint-Germain-en-Laye event

Summary: The EPO’s management is once again scattering/throwing EPO budget at PR agencies and media companies (publishers/broadcasters) to disseminate a bunch of puff pieces and virtually ignore the very obvious conflict of interest, which should be a scandal on par with that of FIFA (resulting in the arrest of its boss, Mr. Blatter)

THE staff of the EPO is really upset. We can see that. We hear about that. It’s like no matter how abusive the boss is, nothing ever happens to him. He’s above the law.

“The staff of the EPO is really upset.”“I was surprised to see that the administrator of the Theatre Alexandre Dumas (TAD) in St Germain en Laye is not anyone else than the mayor, Arnaud Péricard, himself,” told us one reader, “seconded by, you guess it, Benoît Battistelli . As such the TAD is a part of the administration in St Germain en Laye. Here a link with the TAD team (L’équipe du TAD | Théâtre Alexandre-Dumas de Saint-Germain-en-Laye) who are themselves getting involved in a scandal without being aware of it. With the inventor of the year show taking place in the town where Benoit Battistelli is deputy mayor, there is a MAJOR conflict of interest, and a MAJOR scandal in perspective for which M. Battistelli and the accomplices will be held accountable.”

Here is the list of the people involved/implicated:

TAD team

Arnaud Péricard
Maire-adjoint chargé de la Culture (deputy mayor in charge of culture)

Benoît Battistelli
Conseiller municipal délégué au Théâtre (town counsellor in charge of the Thatre)

Guillaume Estienne
Directeur général adjoint des Services (deputy general director for services)

Francine Chassepot
Directrice de la Vie culturelle (director in charge of cultural life)

Theatre team

Directrice déléguée (deputy director)
Sophie Bauer

Directeur artistique (artistic director)
Benoît Dissaux

Directeur technique (technical director)
Joël Haton

Gestionnaire administrative, accueil des équipes artistiques
(administrative management, reception of artistic teams)
Cathy Alexandre-Skrzypczak

Chargé de la billetterie et de l’accueil
(in charge of ticketing and welcome)
Jérémie Dufour

Régisseur des recettes
(proceeds management)
Mercedes Figuereo

Chargée de la communication et des relations publiques
(public relations and communication)
Johanna Julien

Régisseur général
(stage manager)
Emmanuel Monnet

Régisseur lumière
(lighting designer)
Franck Mérel

Régisseurs plateau
(stage technicians)
Christian Laurent
David Costerg

Régisseur son et vidéo
(sound and image technician)
Thomas Weyant

Agent de sécurité – Affichage
(security officer – display)
Rudy Vasseur

We are hoping to have contact details soon. A day ago we (re)published contact details for various key people in the administration (not just of the threatre). We urge readers to write to these people, preferably but not necessarily in French (most of them are fluent in English, too). It’s not a campaign of harassment but merely an act of accountability — a concept that Battistelli seems incapable of grasping.

“It’s like no matter how abusive the boss is, nothing ever happens to him. He’s above the law.”“The time has come! These are the European Inventor Award 2018 finalists,” the EPO wrote some hours ago. They neglect to mention the likely corruption which everyone at the EPO seems to have whispered about for months. How can he get away with it? As we put it a few weeks ago, what we have here is “One Last Battistelli Heist: Millions of Euros for Saint-Germain-en-Laye” (his town where he works).

Here’s today’s fluff from the EPO: (warning: epo.org link)

The Award winners will be announced on 7 June in Paris, Saint-Germain-en-Laye…

[...]

“The 2018 Award finalists demonstrate that Europe continues to be a world leader in innovation,” said EPO President Benoît Battistelli.

He makes it a world leader in corruption.

“It’s not a campaign of harassment but merely an act of accountability — a concept that Battistelli seems incapable of grasping.”“EPO corruption continues,” Benjamin Henrion wrote about it today, as “Saint-Germain-en-Laye is Batistelli’s commune.”

People are noticing this, but the media refuses to cover or even mention this in passing. The truth of the matter is, the EPO has been bribing the media for a long time (we are covering many examples) and EPO management has once again hired Echolot Public Relations (Barbara Geier) to spam British media about this event. Guess at whose expense…

“People are noticing this, but the media refuses to cover or even mention this in passing.”We can see it based on this press release from today. How many PR agencies is the EPO hiring? We’ve lost count. In the UK alone it has got contracts with at least 3 PR agencies. Some contracts are ‘weighed’ at over a million euros! Talk about money down the drain. EPO management misuses stakeholders’ money for puff pieces such as these in the Irish media [1, 2, 3]. Did they literally pay for these? Indirectly perhaps? Earlier today (and it’s only the start of this week!) the EPO played the media, then linked to (retweeted) the outcome, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9].

How many PR agencies in how many countries is the EPO hiring this time around? Maybe someone can leak to us documents that may shed light…

Our jaw was on the floor seeing how the EPO even retweeted extremists like Watchtroll and its "bucket of deplorables" several hours ago. Bad optics? No tact? Maybe they don’t understand what they just did…

“Are there any major publishers/broadcasters that Battistelli has not yet corrupted using EPO budget? Or threatened for ‘daring’ to speak of EPO abuses?”Looking at the underlying ‘article’ with all the Battistelli quotes embedded throughout, it looks like a puff piece for the EPO; maybe it was partially ghostwritten by a PR agency. Gene Quinn certainly lacks ethics, so writing this rubbish could/might as well be an EPO partnership. Remember that the EPO already passed money to IAM through one of its PR agencies.

Roger Highfield, judging for Battistelli’s very ‘special’ event (money passage), was retweeted by the EPO after he had posted this puff piece in the site of the Science Museum. It says this:

Roger Highfield, Director of External Affairs, Science Museum Group and judge of the European Inventor Award introduces this year’s finalists and explains how to vote for your favourite.

This isn’t the first time we see Roger Highfield pushing the EPO’s agenda and being retweeted by the EPO; as we showed last year, it’s no longer a secret that the EPO pays travel expenses (flights) for so-called ‘journalists’ who cover these events. This, in our view, is a sort of bribery. But such is the moral level of the EPO these days. We still wait to see which large publisher — if any — will mention the huge scandal in Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Are there any major publishers/broadcasters that Battistelli has not yet corrupted using EPO budget? Or threatened for ‘daring’ to speak of EPO abuses?

Today’s EPO is Not Compatible With the Law and It’s Grossly Incompatible With Truth and Justice

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 5:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fair trial

Summary: Today, once again, the EPO openly advocates software patents while media promotes loopholes (notably hype waves)

THE European Patent Office (EPO) has lost touch with the law, just like Team UPC and various factors that push towards a ‘unitary’ patent. The law does not seem to matter to these people, constitutions are ripped to shreds, lies are habitual, and votes are rigged.

“The term “computer-implemented inventions” or CII is just a euphemism for software patents. They try to disguise these as “AI”, “cloud”, “4IR”, “devices” and nowadays even “blockchain”.”Earlier today Gregory Bacon from Bristows wrote (first time they say anything in weeks) about “provisions [which] will [sic] prohibit ‘double-patenting’ i.e. protection of the same invention by an Italian national patent and a unitary patent; the possibility of such ‘double protection’ had been discussed but decided against (in contrast to the position in Germany, see Double protection and forum shopping under Germany’s draft UPC legislation).”

Well, it’s not like “Germany’s draft UPC legislation” will ever turn into anything. In fact, the UPC as a whole is gathering rust and there’s no progress, no news, nothing to report about it. The latest UPC spin is more of the same. There’s no news from Germany or from the UK. Hence it’s dead.

“It does not even obey its own rules, the national laws, international law, and the EPC.”Meanwhile, the EPO continues trampling all over the law. Software patents are in principle not allowed in Europe, but here comes the EPO again (only hours ago), writing: “How to obtain patents for computer-implemented inventions in biotechnology and healthcare at the EPO?”

The term “computer-implemented inventions” or CII is just a euphemism for software patents. They try to disguise these as “AI”, “cloud”, “4IR”, “devices” and nowadays even “blockchain”. In fact, earlier today a news site published this article titled “The patenteability of blockchain technology in Europe” (nowadays or now that companies/people disguise software patents as “blockchain” to bypass the rules). To quote:

Blockchain is a software-based technology. Computer programs appear in paragraph d) of art. 52, no. 2, of the European Patent Convention, 1973, as a subject which can not constitute an invention. However, in 2005 the European Patent Office (EPO) had already granted more than thirty thousand patents related to computer programs and currently computer-implemented inventions are the subject of approximately 35% of European patent applications.

The reason for this lies in the rule laid down in paragraph 3 of that Article, which provides that computer programs, as well as all matters referred to in paragraph 2, shall not be excluded from patentability unless ‘European patent application or European patent relates to such subject-matter or activities as such’.

The determination of the limits of the patentability of computer-implemented inventions in Europe is essentially the result of the decisions of the Technical Boards of Appeal (TBA) of the EPO and the interpretation thereof, of the relevant rules.

The EPO isn’t out of touch with the law only in the fraud and corruption sense (more on that later). It does not even obey its own rules, the national laws, international law, and the EPC. What kind of message is that supposed to send out?

Quick Mention: As Expected, the US Supreme Court Cements PTAB’s Role With Trump-Appointed Gorsuch Dissenting

Posted in America, Courtroom, Law, Patents at 12:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Scotusblog Live Blog
Live blog of opinions (the reference page for this case has not been updated yet)

Summary: Oil States has been decided and it’s very good news for the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB); even Conservatives-leaning Justices support PTAB

THE good news is here. It’s not surprising, but it’s still very good.

Dan Ravicher‏, a former lawyer of Free/libre software causes (who happens to be quite Conservatives-leading), wrote that “Oil States has been decided by Supreme Court, 7-2 IPRs are Constitutional. Dissent by Gorsuch and Roberts.”

The ruling is here. We have not checked it yet. There will be hundreds if not thousands of articles about it in the coming days. It will probably be mentioned for many years to come.

IAM retweeted Dan Ravicher and added: “Over to you, Director Iancu! Most were expecting 9-0, so 7-2 is a slight surprise. But it’s an overwhelming endordement [sic] of a status quo that only the USPTO director or Congress can now change.”

So hopes IAM. But it will be difficult to change in defiance of a 7-2 decision from the highest legal authority.

IAM’s patent extremist (Richard Lloyd), who tried to ‘appoint’/install at the top of the USPTO someone who calls PTAB “death squads”, wrote about an hour ago that the “Supreme Court issued its decision in the widely anticipated Oil States case earlier today ruling that inter partes review (IPR) is constitutional and does not violate the US Constitution’s Seventh Amendment. The nine justices split 7-2, with Justices Gorsuch writing a dissent in which he was joined by Chief Justice Roberts. In another IPR-focused case the Supreme Court also found that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) must consider the patentability of all claims challenged in a post-grant review following institution. In that case, SAS Institutes v Iancu, the justices were much more closely divided with the five more conservative…”

It’s almost a bipartisan view then. Gorsuch is the wolf many thought he would turn out to be. At least he made the Koch Brothers happy.

No word yet from Watchtroll and other messengers of patent trolls, just another ‘obligatory’ rant about PTAB today. Mr. Gross, who is writing for patent trolls, has unleashed another storm of rants about PTAB, e.g.:

Oracle patent inventors should have predicted that “determining if locations of devices is correct according to prior transactions” is just abstract idea according to PTAB because apparently we all didn’t know that it is a “fundamental economic practice” https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2016008640-04-16-2018-1 …

PTAB’s expansive reading of “organizing human activity” exception to 101 swallows/destroys “distance based advertising in a virtual world” filing by IBM bc human COULD replicate process in real world with 2 different pieces of paper of different sized font https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2016008387-04-16-2018-1 …

PTAB indiscriminate 101 strategy: if invention listed as abstract idea under PTO guidelines, then game over: guidelines become end-all be-all of patentability! And even if its not on list, they say list is not binding on them, they can put it there anyway! https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2016008387-04-16-2018-1 …

They can moan all they want, but PTAB is here to stay.

Links 24/4/2018: Preview of Crostini, Introducing Heptio Gimbal, OPNsense 18.1.6

Posted in News Roundup at 5:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source movement to disrupt NFV and SDN marketplace

    According to Technology Business Research’s 1Q18 NFV/SDN Telecom Market Landscape report, open-source groups will spur NFV and SDN adoption by establishing industry standards that foster interoperability among a broader range of solution providers.

  • Events

    • How to video conference without people hating you

      What about an integrated headset and microphone? This totally depends on the type. I tend to prefer the full sound of a real microphone but the boom mics on some of these headsets are quite good. If you have awesome heaphones already you can add a modmic to turn them into headsets. I find that even the most budget dedicated headsets sound better than earbud microphones.

    • Learn about the open source efforts of Code.gov at this event

      The U.S. government has a department looking to spread open source projects, and members will be in Baltimore this week.

      Code.gov is looking to promote reuse of open source code within the government to cut down on duplicating development work, and spread use of the code throughout the country. On April 26 event at Spark Baltimore, team members from Code.gov, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Presidential Innovation Fellowship are among those invited to be at a meetup to share more. Held from 12-3 p.m., the event will feature talks from the invited guests about what they’re working on and Federal Source Code Policy, as well as how it can apply locally, said organizing team member Melanie Shimano.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • First look at Google Chrome’s UI design refresh

        Users of Google Chrome Canary, the cutting edge version of Google’s web browser, have a chance to get a sneak peek of a user interface design refresh that Google may plan to launch in all versions of Chrome eventually.

        The feature is hidden behind a flag currently but that is a common practice by Google; the company uses flags to hide future features from the general population. While there is no guarantee that features will land in Chrome one day, it is often the case that Google uses experimental flags to prepare the wider release.

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Thunderbird: Thunderbird April News Update: GSoC, 60 Beta 4, New Thunderbird Council

        Due to lots of news coming out of the Thunderbird project, I’ve decided to combine three different blog posts I was working on into one news update that gives people an idea of what has been happening in the Thunderbird community this month.

      • New Mozilla Poll: Support for Net Neutrality Grows, Trust in ISPs Dips

        “Today marks the ostensible effective date for the FCC’s net neutrality repeal order, but it does not mark the end of net neutrality,” says Denelle Dixon, Mozilla COO. “And not just because some procedural steps remain before the official overturning of the rules — but because Mozilla and other supporters of net neutrality are fighting to protect it in the courts and in Congress.”

        Also today: Mozilla is publishing results from a nationwide poll that reveals where Americans stand on the issue. Our survey reinforces what grassroots action has already demonstrated: The repeal contradicts most Americans’ wishes. The nation wants strong net neutrality rules.

  • Heptio

    • Introducing Heptio Gimbal: Bridging cloud native and traditional infrastructure

      Today we are excited to announce Heptio Gimbal, an open source initiative to unify and manage internet traffic into hybrid cloud environments consisting of multiple Kubernetes clusters and traditional infrastructure technologies including OpenStack. Gimbal builds on established open source projects like Kubernetes, Heptio Contour, and Envoy to provide a robust multi-team load balancing solution that enables businesses to manage traffic across traditional and container-based infrastructure.

    • Heptio launches new open-source load-balancing project with Kubernetes in mind

      Heptio added a new load balancer to its stable of open-source projects Monday, targeting Kubernetes users who are managing multiple clusters of the container-orchestration tool alongside older infrastructure.

      Gimbal, developed in conjunction with Heptio customer Actapio, was designed to route network traffic within Kubernetes environments set up alongside OpenStack, said Craig McLuckie, co-founder and CEO of Heptio. It can replace expensive hardware load-balancers — which manage the flow of incoming internet traffic across multiple servers — and allow companies with outdated but stable infrastructure to take advantage of the scale that Kubernetes can allow.

    • Yahoo Japan US Subsidiary Actapio Takes Cloud Native Approach to Upgrade On-Premise Infrastructure to Manage High Scale Web Workloads through Heptio partnership
    • Heptio launches Gimbal to help enterprises load balance Kubernetes and OpenStack
    • Heptio Announces Gimbal, Netflix Open-Sources Titus, Linux 4.15 Reaches End of Life and More

      Heptio this morning announces Gimbal, “an open source initiative to unify and scale the flow of network traffic into hybrid environments consisting of multiple Kubernetes clusters and traditional infrastructure technologies including OpenStack”. The initiative is in collaboration with Actapio, a subsidiary of Yahoo Japan Corporation, and according to Craig McLuckie, founder and CEO of Heptio, “This collaboration demonstrates the full potential of cloud native technologies and open source as a way to not only manage applications, but address broader infrastructure considerations.”

    • Heptio Builds Bridge to Kubernetes

      Heptio, the startup launched in 2016 by the creators of the Kubernetes container orchestrator, is launching an open source initiative along with partner Actapio aimed at bridging cloud native and existing infrastructure by scaling network traffic into hybrid frameworks.

      The Seattle-based startup announced this week it is working with the U.S. subsidiary of Yahoo Japan Corp. to help unify network traffic consisting of multiple Kubernetes clusters and traditional infrastructure such as OpenStack private and public clouds.

    • Heptio launches an open-source load balancer for Kubernetes and OpenStack

      Heptio is one of the more interesting companies in the container ecosystem. In part, that’s due to the simple fact that it was founded by Craig McLuckie and Joe Beda, two of the three engineers behind the original Kubernetes project, but also because of the technology it’s developing and the large amount of funding it has raised to date.

    • With new open-source Gimbal project, Heptio aims to ease Kubernetes adoption

      Accel-backed infrastructure automation startup Heptio Inc. today released Gimbal, an open-source load balancer designed to remove a major obstacle standing in the way of enterprises looking to adopt Kubernetes.

      Kubernetes, which was developed by Heptio’s two co-founders during their time at Google Inc., which turned it into open-source software, is the go-tool system for managing software container deployments. Software containers can streamline application projects by enabling developers to easily move code across different infrastructure.

      More and more enterprises are looking to adopt the technology in a bid to speed up their development operations. However, setting up a large Kubernetes-powered environment alongside a company’s existing infrastructure can prove difficult in many cases.

    • Kubernetes Injected Into Yahoo Japan’s OpenStack Infrastructure

      Heptio launched an open source initiative to help manage the flow of traffic into hybrid cloud environments that include multiple Kubernetes clusters and traditional infrastructure technologies like OpenStack.

      Heptio worked with Yahoo Japan subsidiary Actapio on the Gimbal project. That initial work focused on infusing Kubernetes into Yahoo Japan’s infrastructure that already included an OpenStack architecture. This is becoming a common request by enterprises looking to merge legacy systems with container platforms.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Conference 2018 Takes Place in Tirana, Albania, for LibreOffice 6.1

      While working on the next major LibreOffice release, The Document Foundation is also prepping for this year’s LibreOffice Conference, which will take place this fall in Albania.

      The LibreOffice Conference is the perfect opportunity for new and existing LibreOffice developers, users, supporters, and translators, as well as members of the Open Source community to meet up, share their knowledge, and plan the new features of the next major LibreOffice release, in this case LibreOffice 6.1, due in mid August 2018.

      A call for papers was announced over the weekend as The Document Foundation wants you to submit proposals for topics and tracks, along with a short description of yourself for the upcoming LibreOffice Conference 2018 event, which should be filed no later than June 30, 2018. More details can be found here.

    • LibreOffice Conference Call for Paper

      The Document Foundation invites all members and contributors to submit talks, lectures and workshops for this year’s conference in Tirana (Albania). The event is scheduled for late September, from Wednesday 26 to Friday 28. Whether you are a seasoned presenter or have never spoken in public before, if you have something interesting to share about LibreOffice or the Document Liberation Project, we want to hear from you!

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • The Several Faces of Intel Compilers [Ed: It says that this so-called 'article' is "sponsored", so IDG is now running ads as 'articles'. Not even pretense about whether it's journalism or not.]
    • FoundationDB Goes Open Source [Ed: "FoundationDB gave Apple a foothold in the crowded NoSQL database sector," it says and this is what this openwashing is all about. It's helping Apple in spreading its proprietary frameworks and surveillance 'clouds'.]
    • Linux Everywhere (Premium) [Ed: “Linux Everywhere,” says longtime Microsoft propagandist, in service (IMHO) of the latest EEE strategy. Don’t forget who’s still in charge.]
  • Funding

    • Another Summer of Code with Smack

      I’m very happy to announce that once again I will participate in the Summer of Code. Last year I worked on OMEMO encrypted Jingle Filetransfer for the XMPP client library Smack. This year, I will once again contribute to the Smack project. A big thanks goes out to Daniel Gultsch and Conversations.im, who act as an umbrella organization.

  • BSD

    • OPNsense 18.1.6

      For more than 3 years now, OPNsense is driving innovation through modularising and hardening the code base, quick and reliable firmware upgrades, multi-language support, fast adoption of upstream software updates as well as clear and stable 2-Clause BSD licensing.

    • Ryzen Stability Issues Are Still Affecting Some FreeBSD Users

      While in recent months there have been some improvements to FreeBSD that have helped yield greater reliability in running AMD Ryzen processors on this BSD operating system, some users are still reporting hard to diagnose stability problems on FreeBSD.

      For some, FreeBSD on Ryzen is still leading to lock-ups, even while the system may be idle. Also making it hard to debug, for some they can trigger a lock-up within an hour of booting their system while for others they may be able to make it a week or two before hitting any stability problem.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • An introduction to the GNU Core Utilities

      These two collections of Linux utilities, the GNU Core Utilities and util-linux, together provide the basic utilities required to administer a Linux system. As I researched this article, I found several interesting utilities I never knew about. Many of these commands are seldom needed, but when you need them, they are indispensable.

      Between these two collections, there are over 200 Linux utilities. While Linux has many more commands, these are the ones needed to manage the basic functions of a typical Linux host.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • NOAA’s Mission Toward Open Data Sharing

        The goal of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is to put all of its data — data about weather, climate, ocean coasts, fisheries, and ecosystems – into the hands of the people who need it most. The trick is translating the hard data and making it useful to people who aren’t necessarily subject matter experts, said Edward Kearns, the NOAA’s first ever data officer, speaking at the recent Open Source Leadership Summit (OSLS).

        NOAA’s mission is similar to NASA’s in that it is science based, but “our mission is operations; to get the quality information to the American people that they need to run their businesses, to protect their lives and property, to manage their water resources, to manage their ocean resources,” said Kearns, during his talk titled “Realizing the Full Potential of NOAA’s Open Data.”

        He said that NOAA was doing Big Data long before the term was coined and that the agency has way too much of it – to the tune of 30 petabytes in its archives with another 200 petabytes of data in a working data store. Not surprisingly, NOAA officials have a hard time moving it around and managing it, Kearns said.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Is English Wikipedia’s ‘rise and decline’ typical?

        The figure comes from “The Rise and Decline of an Open Collaboration System,” a well-known 2013 paper that argued that Wikipedia’s transition from rapid growth to slow decline in 2007 was driven by an increase in quality control systems. Although many people have treated the paper’s finding as representative of broader patterns in online communities, Wikipedia is a very unusual community in many respects. Do other online communities follow Wikipedia’s pattern of rise and decline? Does increased use of quality control systems coincide with community decline elsewhere?

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Brains behind seL4 secure microkernel begin RISC-V chip port

        Last week, the first RISC-V port of its seL4 microkernel was released by the Data61 division of the Australian government’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

        seL4 is an open-source and highly secure version of the L4 microkernel that aims to be mathematically proven to be bug free, in that it works as expected as per its specifications. Meanwhile, RISC-V is an open-source instruction-set architecture, and is used as the blueprint for various open-source processor core designs – some of which are now shipping as real usable silicon, such as chips from SiFive and Greenwaves.

      • Dongwoon Anatech Licenses Codasip’s Bk3 RISC-V Processor for Motor Control ICs for Mobile Camera

        Codasip, the leading supplier of RISC-V® embedded processor IP, announced today that Dongwoon Anatech, a technology leader in analog and power ICs for mobile phones, has selected Codasip’s Bk3 processor and Studio design tool for its next generation family of motor control IC products.

        Dongwoon Anatech, fabless analog semiconductor specialist, offers a wide range of analog products, including auto-focus driver IC for smartphones, AMOLED DC-DC converter, display power driver IC, and haptic driver IC.

  • Programming/Development

    • ThreadStack: Yet Another C++ Project Trying To Make Multi-Threading Easier

      ThreadStack is yet another C++ project trying to make it easier dealing with multiple CPU threads.

      This latest open-source C++ threading project comes out of academia research. ThreadStack is self-described by its developer, Erkam Murat Bozkurt, as “an innovative software which produces a class library for C++ multi-thread programming and the outcome of the ThreadStack acts as an autonomous management system for the thread synchronization tasks. ThreadStack has a nice and useful graphical user interface and includes a short tutorial and code examples. ThreadStack offers a new way for multi-thread computing and it uses a meta program in order to produce an application specific thread synchronization library.” Erkam has been working the rounds trying to raise awareness for this research on the GCC and LLVM mailing lists.

    • Beta for Qt for WebAssembly Technology Preview

      WebAssembly is a bytecode format intended to be executed in a web browser. This allows an application to be deployed to a device with a compliant web browser without going through any explicit installation steps. The application will be running inside a secure sandbox in the web browser, making it appropriate for applications that do not need full access to the device capabilities, but benefits from a swift and uncomplicated installation process.

    • Qt for WebAssembly Tech Preview Reaches Beta

      As part of next month’s Qt 5.11 tool-kit update, a new technology preview module will be WebAssembly support for running Qt5 user-interfaces within your web-browser.

    • GitLab Web IDE Goes GA and Open-Source in GitLab 10.7

      GitLab Web IDE, aimed to simplify the workflow of accepting merge requests, is generally available in GitLab 10.7, along with other features aimed to improve C++ and Go code security and improve Kubernets integration.

      The GitLab Web IDE was initially released as a beta in GitLab 10.4 Ultimate with the goal of streamlining the workflow to contribute small fixes and to resolve merge requests without requiring the developer to stash their changes and switch to a new branch locally, then back. This could be of particular interest to developers who have a significant number of PRs to review, as well as to developers starting their journey with Git.

    • GitLab open sources its Web IDE

      GitLab has announced its Web IDE is now generally available and open sourced as part of the GitLab 10.7 release. The Web IDE was first introduced in GitLab Ultimate 10.4. It is designed to enable developers to change multiple files, preview Markdown, review changes and commit directly within a browser.

      “At GitLab, we want everyone to be able to contribute, whether you are working on your first commit and getting familiar with git, or an experienced developer reviewing a stack of changes. Setting up a local development environment, or needing to stash changes and switch branches locally, can add friction to the development process,” Joshua Lambert, senior product manager of monitoring and distribution at GitLab, wrote in a post.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Document Freedom Day Singapore 2018

      On the 28 March 2018, Fedora Ambassadors organized Document Freedom Day in Singapore. Document Freedom Day is a day which like-minded folks who care about libre document formats gather to discuss and raise awareness of libre document formats. Libre document formats help reduce restrictions and vendor lock-ins. They are also an important tool that enables our right to read freely.

Leftovers

  • 6 DevOps trends to watch in 2018

    Here at Loggly, we live and breathe logs and uncovering underlying data. It probably comes as no surprise that we’re passionate about the future of log analysis and metric monitoring. Communicating with key subject matter experts in the DevOps space plays an important role in helping us understand where the industry is headed.

  • Trouble in techno hippie paradise

    Another interesting point: while the number of people addicted to nicotine has been going down globally lately, the number of network addicts has outnumbered those by far now. And yet the long term effects of being online almost 24/365 have not yet been researched at all. The cigarette companies claimed that most doctors smoke. The IT industry claims it’s normal to be online. What’s your wakeup2smartphone time? Do you check email every day?

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Redesigning Maternal Care: OB-GYNs Are Urged to See New Mothers Sooner and More Often

      While an ACOG task force began rethinking its approach several years ago, the guidelines arrive at a moment of mounting concern about rising rates of pregnancy-related deaths and near-deaths in the U.S. As ProPublica and NPR have reported, more than 700 women die every year in this country from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth and more than 50,000 suffer life-threatening complications, among the worst records for maternal health in the industrialized world. The death rate for black mothers is three to four times that of white women.

      The days and weeks after childbirth can be a time of particular vulnerability for new moms, with physical and emotional risks that include pain and infection, hypertension and stroke, heart problems, blood clots, anxiety and depression. More than half of maternal deaths occur after the baby is born, according to a new CDC Foundation report.

      Yet for many women in the U.S., the ACOG committee opinion notes, the postpartum period is “devoid of formal or infor­mal maternal support.” This reflects a troubling tendency in the medical system — and throughout American society — to focus on the health and safety of the fetus or baby more than that of the mother. “The baby is the candy, the mom is the wrapper,” said Alison Stuebe, who teaches in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and heads the task force that drafted the guidelines. “And once the candy is out of the wrapper, the wrapper is cast aside.”

    • The Dilemma with Clinical Trials and the Patent Law [Ed: Getting patents on things that do not even work might lead to cheating in clinical trials just to justify the investment in these patents, putting lives at risk.]

      Suppose you are a (patent) attorney in a pharmaceutical company and want to advise your company how to best protect the results of a clinical trial designed to find out the best possible treatment regimen of a certain known and approved drug X. The researchers of your company have devised and been allowed to conduct a clinical study in humans, involving a number of pretty different treatment regimens. The trial will be lengthy and quite costly; its result is not really predictable. In the end, your company’s trial will (hopefully) provide mankind with valuable new information how to best administer drug X. Your company’s management tells you that they want and need and, in their opinion, deserve patent protection for the new treatment regimen.

      Now it’s your turn. You know that a compound for a new use can be patented in principle (Art. 54(4) and (5) EPC) and that a new use may consist, inter alia, of a new treatment regimen (established case law since T 1020/03, a decision back from the good old times when important decisions were still published in the OJ EPO). So far, so good. But now comes the BIG question: Should you file the patent application that your company expects you to file before your company starts the trial, possibly including all treatment regimens included in the trial, or only after your company has received and evaluated the results?

    • An autopsy of London’s huge fatberg finds it contains potentially deadly bacteria

      After a record-breaking specimen, measuring 250 meters (820 ft) long and weighing 130 tonnes (143 tons), was discovered near the South Bank in London, the utilities company Thames Water and Channel 4 teamed up to analyze what was in it and if it was a threat to the capital. After all, that disgusting mass—made up of everything from cooking oil to wipes, condoms, and diapers—is longer than Tower Bridge and weighs the same as two Airbus A318 aircrafts.
      Scientists on the TV program Fatberg Autopsy: Secrets of the Sewers, which airs today (April 24), analyzed 5 tonnes of the monstrous lump to see what was clogging the water system.

      They found that it was made up of the usual suspects of any fatberg—cooking oil comprised 90% of the mass. Their analysis also showed that street drugs, such as cocaine and MDMA, were present but were at much lower concentrations than prohibited gym supplements. But, most worryingly, the autopsy found that the supersized fatberg contains bacteria, including listeria and E. coli, some of which can be potentially deadly and resistant to antibiotics.

  • Security

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Assange Twitter account back tweeting as #ReconnectJulian campaign takes over

      Julian Assange’s Twitter account is active again, four weeks after Ecuador cut off his internet access. The account is being managed by a campaign calling for him to be reconnected.

      “Julian Assange has been gagged and isolated from visitors and communications after heightened pressure,” his account tweeted Monday. “This is on top of his six years without access to sunlight and arbitrary detention in violation of two UN rulings. Account now run by his campaign.”

    • From WikiLeaks to Whistleblowers: “Assault on Truth Telling”

      Defending Rights & Dissent recently published the statement “End Espionage Act Prosecutions of Whistleblowers” signed by a number of journalists, whistleblowers and activists: “We the undersigned organizations and individuals call for an end to the use of the constitutionally dubious Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers who give information to the media on matters of public concern.

      “It is entirely inappropriate to use a law supposedly aimed at actual spies and saboteurs, against individuals who act in good faith to bring government misconduct to the attention of the public. Yet, we have seen this statute used with greater frequency against whistleblowers.

    • Tom Perez Defends Lawsuit Against WikiLeaks and Trump Campaign

      Ben Dreyfuss, senior editor at Mother Jones, discusses DNC chair Tom Perez’s defense of a civil suit against the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, noting that it could be a tactic for the DNC to get funding. We also dig into what some lawyers are speculating could be a conflict of interest for Rudy Giuliani in the Mueller probe as he joins the president’s legal team.

  • Finance

    • People think Amazon has the most positive impact on society out of any major tech company

      After Facebook’s data scandal in March, many Americans are taking a more critical eye toward their technology overlords. But not all tech companies perceived equal. Amazon, for example, consistently enjoys the public’s good graces.

      Some 20 percent of Americans believe Amazon is having the most positive impact on society out of any other major tech company, according to a joint SurveyMonkey/Recode poll. Survey takers could choose between a number of other tech companies. 20 percent selected none of the above.

    • How China trapped Sri Lanka under a mountain of debt

      Sri Lanka’s economy is struggling under the weight of massive debts owed to China, with the rupee hitting an all-time low on Monday.

      The big picture: As the small South Asian country’s economy spirals downward, it’s freeing itself from debts by selling Chinese-funded infrastructure projects back to China, giving Beijing influence over strategic ports close to its rival India’s shores.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Lawsuit Against Russia, WikiLeaks, Trump ‘Chance for Dems to Raise Money’ – Prof

      The Democratic Party has initiated new legal proceedings, accusing the Trump campaign of conspiring with Russia and Wikileaks to undermine the US presidential elections in 2016. Sputnik discussed this with Anthony Moretti, Associate Professor in the Department of Communications at Robert Morris University.

    • DNC Sues Russia, Trump Campaign and Wikileaks
    • Trump, Roger Stone and Wikileaks adopt the same line: DNC lawsuit is more of an opportunity than a threat
    • MSNBC’S Creepy Comcast Commercial Is Sinclair Lite

      After the justified uproar over pro-Trump Sinclair Broadcast Group forcing its scores of affiliates to humiliate themselves by reading an on-air script condemning “misleading” news, one would think other media outlets would be a little more careful not to mimic such behavior. Nonetheless, MSNBC—which rightfully tore into Sinclair Broadcast (4/2/18) for having its news reporters read off a corporate script—did a toned-down version of the same thing last Friday on Morning Joe (4/20/18).

      [...]

      The section was presented as news, though branded with Comcast’s logo and intro music. Anchor Nicolle Wallace began by reading from a Comcast press release that described “Comcast Cares Day” as “the nation’s largest single-day corporate volunteer effort”: “It is believed to be the largest single-day corporate volunteer event,” she insisted. “Believed” by whom? Well, Comcast’s marketing department, which is evidently enough to assert it as fact.

      Virtually the same language was used by other Comcast properties, including NBC’s Today show (4/21/18, “the nation’s largest single-day corporate volunteer effort”) and Boston NBC 10 (4/21/18, “the nation’s largest single-day corporate volunteer effort”).

    • Oh Those Embarrassing Moments: Atlantic Council’s Ben Nimmo Outs ‘Russian Bot’ That Turns Out To Simply Be A UK Citizen Tired Of UK Government Warmongering

      For the past few months, Ben Nimmo, the head of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Labs has had his eye on one Twitter account in particular and he has relentlessly framed that account as being that of an influential “Russian bot” that is linked to the Kremlin. This post will reveal that the Atlantic Council’s Ben Nimmo has displayed utter incompetency and a shameful display of research (or lack thereof), considering his position as head of DFR Lab, and considering the large amount of money that the Atlantic Council receives and spends on supposedly ‘countering’ disinfo (to be read as acting as “Thought Police”) for the global elitist establishment.

      [...]

      Due to Ben Nimmo and The Atlantic Council’s allegations, on Friday April 20th, 2018 the owner of the account Ian56 decided to reveal himself to Sky News UK and revealed that not only is he NOT a Russian bot, but instead he is actually a concerned UK citizen who is upset with the war crimes of his own government and the murderous global elitists within it.

      [...]

      Tweets below reveal how anytime British politicians are criticized during elections or at other times, the old ‘Russian trolls’ trope is rolled out by Ben Nimmo and his Atlantic Council disinfo associates. The meme of labeling everyone who disagrees with UK, EU and US (western) government policies as a Russian troll grew old, tired and stale back in 2016, but apparently no one told Ben Nimmo or The Atlantic Council. The irony of calling everyone who disagrees with government actions a Russian troll is that doing such leads to the labeled person waking up to the fact that its all lies, an excuse to cover up for western governments nefarious doings, particularly when it comes to support for terrorist groups operating in Syria, which is now being more and more fully revealed. It must be considered that the use of this pathetic technique now and in the future constantly removes and/or negates the ability of western citizens to openly criticize their own governments for criminal acts. Thus, we can clearly see the modus operandi for such labeling of concerned citizens by certain parties affiliated with said corrupted governments. In a sense, it is a perpetual false flag being conducted against concerned western citizens who are against wars that enrich a select few global elitists and their proxies. Ironically, these citizens are actually being forced (through government taxation) to pay to be censored, propagandized and intentionally misled. The people that are conducting this perpetual false labeling and obfuscation of truth are not actually patriots. They are deceivers working against the best interests of the 99% of the general public held hostage to this insanity. Those that are being falsely labeled and silenced are the real patriots. Hence the actual reason for the You Tube/Google/Deep State censorship now. People are waking up to the lies and the Deep State is trying to keep that massive public wake up from happening. They are trying to put a lid on it and keep it beneath the surface of overall public perception.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Telegram Founder Calls for Repeat of Paper Plane Flashmob

      Pavel Durov, the founder and CEO of the messaging service Telegram, has called on supporters to fly paper planes from their windows next Sunday in opposition to Russia’s ban on the company.

      This past Sunday, Telegram users throughout the country responded to Durov’s initial call on social media for a coordinated paper plane action “in support of Internet freedom.” Russian regulators began blocking Telegram, which uses a white paper plane as its logo, after it refused to comply with a court order to grant security services access to its users’ encrypted messages.

    • Russia blocks Google services as Telegram row intensifies

      Some of Google’s services have stopped working in Russia, as the row over encrypted messaging app Telegram intensifies.

      Russian regulator Roskomnadzor (RKN) blocked the app from operating in Russia last week, claiming it had failed to heed a demand to hand over encryption keys to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) to access messages as part of a terrorist investigation.

    • Google gets caught up in Russian internet censorship battle

      US search giant accused of helping Telegram chat service evade Russian ban

      Gmail and Google Search have been partially blocked in Russia after the state’s communication watchdog accused the US search engine of helping people continuing to use the banned chat service Telegram in the country.

      Russia blocked certain Google IP addresses in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Krasnoyarsk and other cities yesterday after they were added to Roskomnadozor’s list of banned sites.

    • Bitcoin Censorship Resistance Explained

      One of the greatest features of a decentralized blockchain is censorship resistance. With the money in your bank account, a third party has control over where and when you can send it. With Bitcoin, you can send money to whatever address you like without fear of government interference. However, freedom is not the natural order of the world. The fight against oppression and censorship is a constant battle. While Bitcoin has an important history of circumventing censorship, we’ll look at the omnipresent threats against the cryptocurrency and its level of resistance.

    • Amazon limits reviews of James Comey’s book, raising censorship accusations
    • Censorship? Amazon limiting reviews of James Comey’s book

      But on Amazon, Comey’s book has just a little more than 700 reviews despite being No. 1 on the company’s nonfiction bestseller list last week. And it has an average 5-star rating, the highest rating possible.

      What gives?

      Amazon is letting only verified buyers of Comey’s book post online reviews, the company has confirmed.

      “When numerous reviews post in a short amount of time that are unrelated to the product, we suppress all non-Amazon Verified Purchase (AVP) reviews,” an Amazon spokeswoman told SiliconBeat Monday. “Reviews are meant to help customers by providing real feedback on a product from other customers who have tried it.”

    • Judge Agrees: Perfectly Fine For Google To Deny Ad Placement For ‘Honey Cures Cancer’ Claims

      Eric Goldman brings us the dismissal of a lawsuit against Google that’s… well, a bit on the unintentionally hilarious side. The lawsuit argues there’s a First Amendment right for Google Ad placement — one that circumvents Google’s policies against allowing questionable claims like “Honey Cures Cancer!” — and contains a request for $10 billion in damages.

      El Reg first reported on the lawsuit, filed by a former IBM senior engineer. Apparently tired of the rigorous science involved in his day job, Shajar Abid decided to branch out into speculative fiction.

    • YouTube under fire for censoring video exposing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones

      YouTube’s algorithm has long promoted videos attacking gun violence victims, allowing the rightwing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to build a massive audience. But when a not-for-profit recently exposed Jones’ most offensive viral content in a compilation on YouTube, the site was much less supportive – instead deleting the footage from the platform, accusing it of “harassment and bullying”.

      Media Matters, a leftwing watchdog, last week posted a series of clips of Jones spreading falsehoods about the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary school massacre, a newsworthy video of evidence after the victims’ families filed a defamation lawsuit against the Infowars host. But YouTube, for reasons it has yet to explain, removed the video three days after it was published, a move that once again benefitted Jones, who is now arguing that the defamation suit has defamed him.

    • NTT to block pirated manga sites, sparks censorship fears

      Telecommunications giant NTT group will block access to three “pirated manga websites” for customers of its companies, making it the first in the industry to comply with a government request to take the step.

      But NTT group’s announcement on April 23 has raised concerns among experts who fear the move could be tantamount to widening censorship by authorities.

      Until now, such requests by the government have been limited to websites containing child pornography, even though there is no legal basis for blocking access to them. The government has maintained that it has to resort to an “emergency measure” under the Criminal Law, given the extent of damage those websites cause and a lack of alternative ways to address the issue.

    • Facebook responds to censorship critics with transparency pledge

      Human moderators have just a few seconds to make a decision about whether a piece of reported content belongs on Facebook — and they don’t always get it right.

      Now, Facebook wants to make sure its moderators and the public are on the same page.

      On Tuesday, Facebook updated its community guidelines, publishing for the first time the rules on what moderators should be looking for when deciding to remove content from Facebook. The social network, which has 2.13 billion users and counting, also said it would launch an appeals option for people who feel their page or posts were unfairly removed.

    • Here’s What Facebook Won’t Let You Post

      If you eat someone, do not share it on Facebook. Cannibalism videos are banned.

      Same with still images of cannibalism victims, alive or dead. Unless the image is presented in a medical context with a warning that only those 18 and over can see it. But fetish content regarding cannibalism? Verboten for all ages. And not just on News Feed; it’s also a no-no on other Facebook properties like Instagram—and even Messenger.

      Today, Facebook is making public virtually the entire Community Standards playbook that moderators use to determine whether comments, messages, or images posted by its 2.2 billion users violate its policy. These moves are part of Facebook’s ongoing Trust-A-Palooza effort to be more open in the face of unprecedented criticism. In doing so, the company is laying bare just how much ugliness its global content moderators deal with every day, and just how hard it is to always get it right.

    • ‘You can’t paint over a movement’: Repeal mural removed from Temple Bar (again)

      A REPEAL THE Eighth mural in Dublin’s Temple Bar has been partially painted over after the centre who hosted it was told it may lose its charitable status because of it.

      Supporters of the artwork believe it will spark a conversation around the use of political art, as well as potentially encouraging those calling for a Yes vote to campaign more actively.

      The Project Arts Centre in Temple Bar had previously painted the artwork on the side of its building in 2016, but it was found to be in violation of planning laws and was removed.

    • Censorship claim over Eighth Amendment repeal mural

      The charity watchdog has been accused of stifling free speech after it threatened to cut a Dublin theatre’s funding unless it removed a pro-choice mural.

      The Project Arts Centre in Temple Bar yesterday painted over the words “Repeal the eighth” in an artwork by Maser, the street artist, after the Charities Regulator said it would be denied charitable status if it remained up.

    • The politics of cultural censorship in Lebanon

      A WOMAN sits at a table, a pen and a sheet of paper in front of her. Out of shot, a man’s voice begins to dictate instructions, which she notes down somewhat sulkily. “Replace ‘my tits’ with ‘my breasts’” he begins. “Remove ‘they could fondle and play with them.’” The injunctions become increasingly bizarre and hilarious. Demands to tone down or remove sexual language are soon joined by embargos on religions, political parties and historical events.

      [...]

      Officially, the bureau is entrusted with banning any work deemed to disrespect religion, disturb the public order, incite sectarianism, offend public sensitivities or insult the dignity of the head of state. They add their own bugbears to that list. Sexually graphic scenes, deemed “immoral”, often end up on the cutting-room floor, as do references to local political parties, explorations of the Lebanese civil war, or anything with a connection to Israel (a more logical boycott given that the two countries have officially been at war since 1948, with periodic outbreaks of fighting since then). As with most censorship, enforcement is inconsistent and unpredictable.

    • New York Times Reporter Defends Hillary Clinton Email Reporting: ‘WikiLeaks Was a Source’
    • New York Times Reporter Defends Hillary Clinton Email Reporting: ‘WikiLeaks Was a Source’

      New York Times reporter Nicholas Confessore is hitting back against his colleague Amy Chozick — now engaging in a very public reckoning with her role in reporting the Clinton emails released by WikiLeaks.

      Confessore, who co-bylined many of those stories with Chozick, said that he stood by the reporting and that, on margin, it was overwhelmingly newsworthy and beneficial to the American public.

    • Cryptocurrency firm Coinbase suspends WikiLeaks’ bitcoin account
    • Coinbase: WikiLeaks calls for boycott of world’s biggest bitcoin brokerage
    • Coinbase Crypto Exchange Shuts Out Wikileaks
    • WikiLeaks Claims Cryptocurrency Exchange Shut Down Its Bitcoin Account
    • Censorship row as Irish charity regulator orders removal of ‘political’ artwork
    • LGBT activists ask strangers for hugs in China protest at Weibo censorship
    • Madmind Studios will censor horror game Agony to appease ESRB
    • Professor Max Bohnenkamp Remarks on Censorship and Traumatic History in ‘To Live’

      Audience members meditated on the resonance between Trumpian social media trickery and the politics of representation in China’s history of cinematic censorship while munching on steaming scallion pancakes and other Chinese fare. The first screening of the Harvard-Radcliffe Chinese Students Association’s film festival was centered around “Censorship in Chinese Media,” which took place from April 10-12. The first film in the lineup, Zhang Yimou’s “To Live,” hasn’t been officially approved for public exhibition China since its release in 1994, but has earned international acclaim. Professor Max Bohnenkamp, a lecturer on East Asian Languages and Civilizations, provided introductory remarks on Zhang Yimou’s cinematic profile, the political and artistic climate in which “To Live” was produced, and the salience of censorship as a topic of discussion in an increasingly interconnected world.

      Bohnenkamp reflected upon Yimou’s narrative—one that is culturally immersive and overarchingly historical, as well as intensely personal, providing a lived experience of each of China’s tumultuous decades. The film is based on Yu Hua’s novel of the same name.

      “In ‘To Live,’ what stands out and what presumably made the film questionable from the point of view of the censors, is the way that Zhang’s film brings the deeply ironic and emotionally traumatic narrative of the human experience of history in China from the early 1940s to the 1990s that is found in Yu Hua’s fiction, to vivid realistic life on the screen,” Bohnenkamp said.

    • Google or CTIRU: who is fibbing about terror takedowns?

      Today, Google release their latest transparency report. It contains information about the number of government requests for terrorist or extremist content to be removed. For a number of years, the government has promoted the idea that terrorist content is in rampant circulation, and that the amount of material is so abundant that the UK police alone are taking down up to 100,000 pieces of content a year.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Breaking: NSA encryption plan for ‘internet of things’ rejected by international body

      An attempt by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) to set two types of encryption as global standards suffered a major setback on Tuesday, after online security experts from countries including U.S. allies voted against the plan, for use on the “internet of things.”

      [...]

      The ISO sets agreed standards for a wide range of products, services, and measurements in almost every industry including technology, manufacturing, food, agriculture, and health. The body has been looking into adopting recommended encryption technology to improve security in devices that make up the “internet of things.” These include household items such as smart speakers, fridges, lighting and heating systems, and wearable technology.

    • Will Immigration Authorities Use Our Taxes to Go After Immigrants?

      The law requires tax information be kept confidential, but we can’t just assume this administration is following that law.

      People across the country filed their tax returns last week, glitches and all. If historical patterns hold up, this year’s taxpayers will include millions of undocumented immigrants.

      Federal law protects the confidentiality of tax information, but recently concerns have been expressed that the tax-related information immigrants and their employers provide the government could be used by the Trump administration as yet another immigration enforcement tool, and some evidence indicates a significant dip in the number of individuals filing their taxes.

      This is why the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request last week demanding information about whether the Social Security Administration is complying with federal law and not sharing confidential tax information with immigration enforcement authorities.

    • The CIA Made A Card Game… And We’re Releasing It

      We write a lot about the CIA here on Techdirt — often covering just how secretive the organization is around responding to FOIA requests. After all, this is the same organization that invented the famous “Glomar Response” to a FOIA request: the now ubiquitous “we can neither confirm, nor deny.” And that one “invention” is used all the time. Indeed, if you have a few extra hours to spend, feel free to go through just our archives demonstrating CIA obstructionism over FOIA.

      But… the organization actually did recently respond to a set of interesting FOIA requests. Back in 2017, at SXSW, the CIA revealed its gaming efforts, and even let some attendees play them. That resulted in a few FOIA requests for the details of the game, including one by MuckRock’s Mitchell Kotler and another by entrepreneur Douglas Palmer. In response to the FOIA requests, the CIA released the details of some of the games (though, somewhat redacted, and in typical FOIA response gritty photo-copy style), including a card game called “Collection Deck.” My first reaction was… “Hey, that would be fun to play…” And then I had a second thought.

      There’s another super popular topic here on Techdirt: the public domain and how important it is to build on works in the public domain. Remember, under Section 105 of the US Copyright Act, works of the federal government of the United States are not subject to copyright and are in the public domain.

    • Lawmakers Ask FBI Why It Isn’t Getting Busy Cracking Its Stockpile Of Seized Smartphones

      Ever since the FBI began its “going dark” crusade, crucial questions have gone unanswered. Considering the budget and technical expertise the FBI has access to, why was it so necessary to get Apple to crack an iPhone’s encryption for the Bureau? Turns out it wasn’t. The FBI did have a solution, but the head of the division charged with cracking open the San Bernardino shooter’s phone didn’t want a technical solution. He wanted a courtroom solution.

      The report that outed the FBI’s general disinterest in using outside contractors to crack encrypted devices is now being used against the FBI. Ten (bipartisan) legislators have signed a letter demanding answers from the agency about its anti-encryption efforts. The “going dark” narrative continues to be pushed by director Christopher Wray, despite recent reports showing at least two vendors have tools that can crack any encrypted iPhones. The tools are also much cheaper than the ~$1 million the FBI spent to open the shooter’s phone, which raises questions about the agency’s fiscal responsibilities to taxpayers.

    • Privacy group sues FTC for records on Facebook’s privacy program

      The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) on Friday filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act to push for the unredacted release of biennial privacy assessments that Facebook agreed to submit under a 2011 consent agreement with the FTC.

    • Aadhaar in welfare is pain without gain

      There are no benefits from Aadhaar that cannot be achieved through other technologies. Beneficiaries of welfare should be ‘freed’ from its clutches first as they have suffered its tyranny the worst and longest

    • Google Tracks So Much Data It Fills 23,000 Pages In 15 Days — Enough For A 7’9″ Pile

      According to the math done by Daily Mail on Sunday, if the amount of data Google collects per user is printed on A4-sized pages and piled up, it would cross your height within a few days.

    • Worried Facebook has far too much data about you? Google has enough to make a 7ft 9in pile of paper every TWO WEEKS (which they then sell to the highest bidder!)
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • A Hostile Environment for Yulia Skripal

      An interesting facet of Theresa May’s “hostile environment” policy, aka institutionalised racism, is that Yulia Skripal will have to pay for her NHS emergency treatment because she was admitted to hospital. When the government announced its clampdown on use of the NHS by foreigners, including migrants and overseas students, it ended the provision of free emergency treatment for non-citizens in the UK, at the point of hospital admission – which in a real emergency is often required.

      I could see the argument for charging “aliens” for attending A & E with a broken thumb, but not charging them for a massive heart attack. But the Tories do it the other way round. It is worth noting that in Scotland the Scottish government, which controls the Scottish NHS, has not implemented this Tory policy.

      [...]

      Meanwhile in Salisbury we are going to have a great propaganda theatre of destruction, as places which people were allowed to frequent for weeks after the attack are demolished, to eradicate a strange liquid that is ten times more deadly than VX but at the same time ineffective, and is liquid but cannot be diluted, except its dilution was why it did not kill anybody, and which cannot be washed away, except if you got it on your clothes you are perfectly safe if you wash them, and which made hundreds of people sick except there were only three of them.

      All of those contradictory statements are from the official government narrative on Salisbury as delivered over the last couple of months through the state and corporate media. It is beyond me how they expect anyone to believe their utterly incoherent nonsense.

    • The Game

      The U.S. is supposed to be a safe haven for people fleeing persecution. But asylum-seekers face years of uncertainty when they arrive.

      [...]

      Yearslong wait lists, bewildering legal arguments, an extended stay in detention — you can experience it all in The Waiting Game, a newsgame that simulates the experience of trying to seek asylum in the United States. The game was created by ProPublica, Playmatics and WNYC. Based on the true stories of real asylum-seekers, this interactive portal allows users to follow in the footsteps of five people fleeing persecution and trying to take refuge in America.

      The process can be exhausting and feel arbitrary — and as you’ll find in the game, it involves a lot of waiting. Once asylum-seekers reach America, they must condense complex and often traumatic stories into short, digestible narratives they will tell again and again. Their lives often depend on their ability to convince a judge that they are in danger. Judicial decisions are so inconsistent across the country, success in complicated cases can come down to geography and luck — in New York City only 17 percent of asylum cases are denied in immigration court; in Atlanta, 94 percent are. Increasingly, many asylum-seekers are held in detention for months or even years while going through the system. The immigration detention system costs more than $2 billion per year to maintain.

      The Trump administration has tried to reframe the asylum system as a national security threat and a magnet for illegal immigration. Attorney General Jeff Sessions characterizes the American asylum process as “subject to rampant abuse” and “overloaded with fake claims.” He has aimed recent reforms at expediting asylum adjudications to speed up deportations and at making it more difficult for certain groups to qualify for protection, such as Central Americans who claim to fear gender-based violence or gang persecution.

    • Israelis Continue to Open Fire on Gaza Protestors: An Eyewitness Account

      According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), the Palestinian death toll since March 30, 2018 “has risen to 33, including 4 children and 1 photojournalist, and the number of those wounded has risen to 2,436, including 410 children, 66 women, 22 journalists and 9 paramedics.”

      There have been no Israeli casualties.

    • Condemned By Their Own Words

      This transcript of an Israeli General on an Israeli radio station (begins 6.52 in) defending the latest killing by Israeli army snipers of a 14 year old boy who posed no threat of any kind, is much more powerful if you just read it than any analysis I can give.

    • The Supreme Court’s First Great Trump Test: the Muslim Ban

      Ever since a “so-called judge” in Washington State issued a nationwide injunction against President Donald Trump’s ban on entry by foreign nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries, the courts have played a critical part in checking the president’s constitutional excesses. The Supreme Court, however, has yet to assess the travel ban. That will change this week, when the court hears arguments in a challenge to the third and latest version of the ban. (The ACLU, where I serve as National Legal Director, has been counsel in successful challenges to all three versions of the ban, including one now pending before the Supreme Court.) The case most directly implicates the rights of Muslims, here and abroad, singled out for disfavored treatment by a president who promised to do just that as a candidate. But because the administration has argued that the court must blindly defer to the president, the dispute equally concerns the very role of the court in the separation of powers.

    • Why Mississippi Officials Needed to Answer for Inhumane and Dangerous Prison Conditions

      This spring, we took the Mississippi Department of Corrections to court for the grave abuses and inhumane conditions they allowed at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility, a private prison in Meridian. No court decision will undo the harm done to the prisoners. But the court can require an end to the barbarity at the facility that we detailed in our fight for the constitutional rights of prisoners there.

      Over the course of a five-week trial, lawyers from the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, Covington & Burling LLP, and the Law Offices of Elizabeth Alexander presented evidence against the Mississippi Department of Corrections in support of seven separate constitutional violations: for failure to protect prisoners from harm; for excessive use of force by staff on prisoners; for unsafe and unsanitary environmental conditions ; for substandard nutrition; for use of solitary confinement; for inadequate medical care; and for substandard mental health care.

    • Western Media Shorthand on Venezuela Conveys and Conceals So Much

      A Reuters article (4/18/18) reports that the European Union “could impose further sanctions on Venezuela if it believes democracy is being undermined there.”

      The line nicely illustrates the kind of journalistic shorthand Western media have developed, over years of repetition, for conveying distortions and whitewashing gross imperial hypocrisy about Venezuela. A passing remark can convey and conceal so much.

    • ICE Separates 18-Month-Old From Mother for Months

      The Trump administration continues to deny a policy of family-separation.The pattern speaks for itself.

      At this very instant, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement is depriving an 18-month-old child of his mother, separating the two in immigration detention. Mirian, a 29-year-old mother from Honduras, is currently detained in T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor, Texas, while her toddler is kept in a facility in San Antonio, some 120 miles away.

      Their ordeal has already lasted two months.

      They are just one of hundreds of families who are subjected to ICE’s brutal tactic of forcibly separating immigrant parents and children and on whose behalf the ACLU has brought a national class-action lawsuit. On Friday, The New York Times reported new data, estimating that more than 700 children have been taken from their parents since October, including more than 100 children under the age of 4.

    • Is democracy in its death throes?

      One of the central themes of ANZAC commemorations is that Australians have long fought and died for freedom and democracy.

      Today, those appear to be lost causes. A few years ago the US academic Larry Diamond declared that a “democratic recession” had set in after about 2006. The long global expansion of democracy that began with the fall of the Soviet Union faltered. Worse, it then started to reverse.

    • The Curious Case of the Twice-Fired FBI Analyst

      On Feb. 22, 2018, when Said Barodi received the letter from the deputy director of the FBI, he expected bad news.

      A year earlier, Barodi had been fired as an analyst for the bureau, a job he’d treasured for nearly a decade. Barodi, a Muslim born in Morocco, had been accused of “unprofessional conduct” during an encounter with a federal agent at an airport overseas and of “lack of candor” with a customs agent at Dulles International Airport. Barodi had resisted the agent’s questions because he felt he’d been singled out for his race and religion.

      Barodi, however, had won a rare victory when he appealed his firing. The FBI’s Disciplinary Review Board had dismissed two of the three charges and reduced his punishment to a 20-day suspension. He’d been cleared to rejoin the bureau.

      But then Barodi waited months for the FBI to complete the basic security check he needed to go back to work. Amid the delays and the silence, fatalism took hold.

    • Rudd tries to quarantine Windrush scandal

      Amber Rudd’s statement to the Commons today was another tortured attempt to draw a line under the Windrush debacle. But the real Home Office tactic is now clear: they are trying to quarantine the damage, so that the misbehavior is viewed not as a matter of policy, but an aberration.

      The home secretary promised to waive the citizenship fees for Windrush generation applicants, along with the ‘life in the UK’ knowledge tests (a completely arbitrary and tragic-comic initiative for any migrant to go through, let alone someone who has been here for half a century), and any naturalisation fees. She’d also set up a Home Office ‘customer contact’ centre to give the department a “human face” and provide a channel for getting information about this type of failure more speedily.

      Her problem is that an early warning mechanism will not highlight problems if they are viewed as advantages. That is the issue with the Windrush cases. They were not accidents. They were aims. Ministers wanted this, and only pretended not to when they saw the extent of public opposition.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Net Neutrality Did Not Die Today

      When the FCC’s “Restoring Internet Freedom Order,” which repealed net neutrality protections the FCC had previously issued, was published on February 22nd, it was interpreted by many to mean it would go into effect on April 23. That’s not true, and we still don’t know when the previous net neutrality protections will end.

      On the Federal Register’s website—which is the official daily journal of the United States Federal Government and publishes all proposed and adopted rules, the so-called “Restoring Internet Freedom Order” has an “effective date” of April 23. But that only applies to a few cosmetic changes. The majority of the rules governing the Internet remain the same—the prohibitions on blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization—remain.

      Before the FCC’s end to those protections can take effect, the Office of Management and Budget has to approve the new order, which it hasn’t done. Once that happens, we’ll get another notice in the Federal Register. And that’s when we’ll know for sure when the ISPs will be able to legally start changing their actions.

    • It’s Spreading: Lindsey Graham Now Insisting ‘Fairness Doctrine’ Applies To The Internet

      Remember when Republicans were against the “Fairness Doctrine”? Apparently, that’s now out the window, so long as they can attack Facebook. As we noted recently, Senator Ted Cruz appears to be pushing for the strangest interpretation of Section 230 around (in direct conflict with (a) what the law says and (b) how the courts have interpreted it) saying that in order to make use of CDA 230′s immunity “good samaritan” clause, internet service providers need to be “neutral.” Again, that’s not what the law says. It’s also an impossible standard, and one that would lead to results that would piss off lots of people. The similarities to the FCC’s concept of the “Fairness Doctrine” are pretty clear, though such a rule on the internet would be an even bigger deal, since the Fairness Doctrine only applied to broadcast TV.

      [...]

      Separately, this is the same Lindsey Graham who just recently was demanding that social media sites do more to takedown content he didn’t like. Now, apparently, he’s up in arms over the fact that the sites took down content he did like. If Graham truly wants websites to “do everything possible to combat” terrorist groups using the internet, then attacking CDA 230 is the worst possible way to do that. CDA 230 gives websites the power to moderate and filter out such content without fear of facing legal liability. In other words, it’s an excellent tool for getting websites to takedown extremist content. To then turn around and insist that sites should lose CDA 230 protections because they also took down some content you like… raises all sorts of First Amendment issues. You’re basically saying websites should only remove the content I dislike, and if they remove content I like I’m going to put their existence at risk. Guess what happens then? Sites will stop moderating entirely, leaving up more of the “bad” content you dislike.

  • DRM

    • Apple Sued An Independent Norwegian Repair Shop In Bid To Monopolize Repair — And Lost

      A few years ago, annoyance at John Deere’s obnoxious tractor DRM birthed a grassroots tech movement. John Deere’s decision to implement a lockdown on “unauthorized repairs” turned countless ordinary citizens into technology policy activists, after DRM and the company’s EULA prohibited the lion-share of repair or modification of tractors customers thought they owned. These restrictions only worked to drive up costs for owners, who faced either paying significantly more money for “authorized” repair, or toying around with pirated firmware just to ensure the products they owned actually worked.

      The John Deere fiasco resulted in the push for a new “right to repair” law in Nebraska. This push then quickly spread to multiple other states, driven in part by consumer repair monopolization efforts by other companies including Apple, Sony and Microsoft. Lobbyists for these companies quickly got to work trying to claim that by allowing consumers to repair products they own (or take them to third-party repair shops), they were endangering public safety. Apple went so far as to argue that if Nebraska passed such a law, it would become a dangerous “mecca for hackers” and other rabble rousers.

      Apple’s efforts in particular to monopolize repair run deep. The company has worked alongside the Department of Homeland Security and ICE to seize counterfeit parts in the United States and raid shops of independent iPhone repair professionals. FOIA efforts to obtain details on just how deeply rooted Apple is in ICE’s “Operation Chain Reaction” have been rejected. The efforts to “combat counterfeit goods” often obscures what this is really about for Apple: protecting a lucrative repair monopoly and thwarting anybody that might dare repair Apple devices for less money.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Taiwanese start-up widens assertion drive in the wake of 2017 Apple settlement

      At last week’s IPBC Taiwan conference, managing IP costs emerged as a key theme of conversation – with some suggesting that financial pressure could lead to more monetisation activity. One firm that has recently opted to go down the monetisation path is a small company called CyWee, which began life within the government-funded Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI). CyWee is evidently an operating company with business across wireless streaming, motion processing and facial tracking. According to a District of Delaware patent infringement lawsuit it filed against Google last Monday, CyWee was formed by two ITRI researchers in 2007…

    • Qualcomm’s No Good, Very Bad Streak

      Qualcomm Inc. stepped into the escalating spat between the U.S. and China. It is now grappling with the fallout.

    • Harsh US government sanctions put huge pressure on ZTE’s IP function to contain damage

      One week after the US Department of Commerce announced tough penalties against ZTE in a long-running sanctions violation case, not much clarity has emerged about how exactly the seven year denial of US technology exports will impact the company. The unfolding crisis was certainly a live discussion topic at last Friday’s IPBC conference in the telecommunications firm’s home city of Shenzhen. One thing that’s certain is that the company is in damage-control mode. It is all hands on deck and that includes the IP function.

    • Trademarks

      • In ‘N Out Uses A Bullshit Pop-Up Every Five Years Strategy Just To Lock Up Its Australian Trademark

        When we recently discussed the rather odd story of the famous burger chain In ‘N Out suing an Australian burger joint over trademark concerns despite having no storefront presence in the country, there was one aspect of it glossed over in the source link and omitted by me that really deserves some fleshing out. You see, like here in America, Australian trademark law has a provision that you actually must be using the mark in question in order to retain it. More specifically, use must be established every five years in order to keep the trademark valid. Given that In ‘N Out operates no storefronts in Australia, readers rightly wondered how it was possible that the company even had a valid trademark to wield in its trademark battle.

    • Copyrights

      • We Interrupt The News Again With Hopefully The Last Update From The Monkey Selfie Case

        And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for: a decision from the Ninth Circuit in the Monkey Selfie case.

        Upshot: the case remains dismissed, and the defendants get to recover attorney fees for the appeal. There’s also relatively little to say on the copyright front. This case has turned almost entirely into litigation about standing and proven to be a significant wrench in the works for any future litigation anyone, but PETA in particular, might want to bring on behalf of animals.

      • BREAKING: 9th Circuit rules that Naruto has no standing under US Copyright Act

        If you thought that the infamous Monkey Selfie case was over, well, you were … wrong!

        A few weeks ago IP enthusiasts were in fact ‘thrilled’ to learn that – despite the out-of-court settlement agreement concluded in 2017 – the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit would rule anyway on the case brought by PETA (as next friend) against now economically struggling wildlife photographer David Slater over copyright ownership of a series of selfies taken by Celebs crested macaque Naruto.

Patent Maximalists Step Things Up With Director Andrei Iancu and It’s Time for Scientists to Fight Back

Posted in America, Microsoft, Patents at 12:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lab

Summary: Science and technology don’t seem to matter as much as the whims of the patent (litigation) ‘industry’, at least judging by recent actions taken by Andrei Iancu (following a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee)

THE patent trolls’ lobby, IAM, will soon have the USPTO Director (Iancu) as a keynote speaker. This is a bad sign. He’ll be speaking alongside corrupt Battistelli from the EPO. Are officials from major patent offices just ‘tools’ of the patent ‘industry’ rather than the real industry? It was a lot better when the USPTO was run by Michelle Lee and the EPO by Professor Alain Pompidou. People with background in science are essential in order for patent offices to serve science and technology, not law firms.

“Are officials from major patent offices just ‘tools’ of the patent ‘industry’ rather than the real industry?”

It’s no secret that patents can be a massive waste of money. Case of point: Snapchat. Even IAM has just admitted it in “Snapchat’s failed gamble on AR” and to quote key parts:

Snapchat has millions in R&D spend and maintenance costs tied up in a US patent focussed on augmented reality and another AR patent in Korea (both in the same family). But, as reported in The Motley Fool, the company has a troubled history with optics-focussed innovation. In 2017, “It wrote down $40 million in inventory-related charges… laid off hardware workers and shook up management,” after the initial glitter of its spectacles began to fade.

[...]

And of the companies on this list, only Microsoft, Samsung and LG have drastically accelerated patent filings in recent years—indicating a growing commercial commitment to AR technologies and IP. This makes them more interesting candidates.

Notice Microsoft’s role in there; Microsoft is a major feeder of patent trolls and it is blackmailing — both directly and indirectly — many of its competitors. As it turns out, based on this news from yesterday, Microsoft’s super-close partner (Citrix) now uses software patents to squash/destroy a smaller rival. From the first article we saw about it (this mentions Microsoft also):

Software giant Citrix has filed a lawsuit against small-time collaborative cloud platform Workspot over claims of patent infringement and false advertising.

The reason behind the lawsuit is down to what Citrix is calling “Workspot’s intentional inclusion in their VDI platform of proprietary features”, which are protected by at least four of its patents.

Citrix believes that these patented features are core to its XenApp and XenDesktop products and are therefore important differentiators for the company, which is why it’s so keen to protect them.

[...]

“Our foundational innovations in application virtualisation and remoting protocols date back to the early ‘90s, are still at the core of our XenApp and XenDesktop products and cloud services today, and were even licensed to Microsoft in the second-half of the ‘90s to form the basis of their remote desktop protocol.”

These two cloud products are said to be protected by more than 3,500 issued and pending patents, so it’s no wonder Citrix has some patents ready and waiting to be infringed.

Citrix took the time and effort to explain in its post that the lawsuit isn’t just about the money, asserting that it has always welcomed competition.

Qudus Olaniran‏, an attorney from Microsoft, has just said that the US “PTO chief’s opinion on patentability of algorithm bodes well for AI” (he cites Watchtroll, the patent trolls’ favourite). I told him that “AI” is just a buzzword for algorithms that do something more clever than, say, rendering a UI. So it’s about software patents, to which SCOTUS has said “no” already.

Looking a little deeper, Monday was actually full of such nonsense. One patents-centric news sites propped up the inane “AI” hype (again in relation to patents on algorithms). To quote:

The US must embrace the AI revolution, or its global lead in intellectual property will be lost in time, like tears in rain

Artificial intelligence (AI) sounds cool. When you look at the breadth of fiction attached to the technology, you might consider it the impossible—the fantasies of authors and writers around the globe. It is this air that gives it its identity and its mystique. But AI is very much here, and with that, comes a particularly unique set of problems.

This is all fluff, marketing, and spin. “Artificial intelligence (AI)” is nothing new, so to say things like “US must embrace the AI revolution” is to suggest the writer follows marketing rather than underlying knowledge. The EPO too appears to have embraced this term; in fact, later this week we’ll show how “AI” gets used as “sheep clothing” for software patent “wolves”.

“The hearing was full of nonsense from politicians who don’t know what “AI” is, either.”Much of this “AI” nonsense can be traced back to last week’s hearing with Iancu, the USPTO’s chief who comes from a law firm and isn’t quite so technical. The hearing was full of nonsense from politicians who don’t know what “AI” is, either. They probably just heard that term quite a lot in the mainstream media.

The High Tech Inventors Alliance (HTIA), which represents technology firms, issued a statement about it. John Thorne (HTIA’s chief) had this to say:

“HTIA supports Director Iancu’s efforts to enhance innovation through a strong, reliable, and predictable patent ecosystem. Certainly a system that supports innovation through ensuring patent quality is one that everyone can support, and the Inter Partes Review (IPR) process accomplishes just that.

“IPR has achieved Congress’s goal for the AIA of improving patent quality and restoring public confidence in the patent system, which had eroded due to bad quality patents that were harming innovation.

“Supreme Court decisions striking down abstract patents have benefited innovation. HTIA looks forward to working with Director Iancu and providing guidance in this critical area regarding the best way to increase the predictability of the patent granting process. However, legislation stripping the vitality of Section 101 is unnecessary and would be harmful to innovation by creating higher levels of uncertainty.”

The High Tech Inventors Alliance is comprised of eight technology companies: Adobe, Amazon, Cisco, Dell, Google, Intel, Oracle and Salesforce. These companies have over 447,000 employees in the United States, have invested $62.9 billion in research and development in the past year, and hold a total of over 115,000 U.S. patents.

“Supreme Court decisions striking down abstract patents have benefited innovation,” Thorne noted. He was right to say that.

“Will Iancu fall in line with these extremists? He might. This is why we worried about his nomination and appointment all along.”HTIA, Engine, CCIA, EFF and so on are sadly outnumbered. The patent law firms have a larger lobbying brigade. A few people like Thorne (maybe half a dozen people in total) are no match for AIPLA, which has just said: “The USPTO issued a request for comment concerning its subject matter eligibility guidance…”

We wrote about that last week.

Not only front groups like AIPLA are intervening; Foley & Lardner LLP (large law firm) has just published “USPTO Issues Patent Eligibility Examination Guidance Under Berkheimer” and it’s another example of 'pulling a Berkheimer' (they even came up with the buzz/sound bite "Berkheimer Effect"). To quote:

As announced in a Federal Register Notice dated April 20, 2018, the USPTO has issued a new memorandum to the Examining Corps providing supplemental patent eligibility examination guidance under Berkheimer, a Federal Circuit decision that addressed the evidentiary requirements for establishing that something is “well-understood, routine, or conventional.”

Watch what vocal patent extremists are saying. One of them has just said: “Gossip from the USPTO: One Examiner Speculated in a Phone Call today, “[Section] 101 is gone in about a month;” Another Examiner Commneted [sic], “I think the pendulum will swing 2/3 back.””

Sounds incredibly unlikely, but that’s just what patent extremists are claiming. They claim what they want. Another extremist responded with: “[Section] 101 will only go away once it becomes more work than [Sections] 102/103, and we are still a long ways off from that…. the new Berkheimer memo is just going to add another form paragraph to the rejection…”

All that really happens isn’t much; the USPTO just seeks comments about Section 101, that is all.

One can count on patent extremists to make it sound Earth-shattering and Dennis Crouch has in fact resumed his cheerleaders for patent maximalism. He wants Iancu to make software patents easier to pursue, so less than a day ago he published yet another post to say:

Director Iancu has made clear that the current state of patent eligibility jurisprudence is untenable. Examiners need clear guidance — something he and I both see as lacking in the Supreme Court jurisprudence. In addition to being ambiguous, we also share the perspective that the Alice/Mayo test unduly restricts the scope of eligible subject matter. The PTO’s action here involves several fronts: (1) issuing guidance that is as-clear-as-possible for examiners and applicants; (2) working with Congress to legislatively broaden eligibility scope; (3) using the PTO’s to push public sentiment toward supporting strong and broad patent rights (when an underlying invention truly exists).

On the first front, the USPTO has: (1) issued a new “Berkheimer memorandum” focusing on the Federal Circuit’s holding in Berkheimer that”[w]hether something is well-understood, routine, and conventional to a skilled artisan at the time of the patent is a factual determination;” and (2) issued a Request for Public Comment on USPTO “subject matter eligibility guidance, and particularly … guidance in the Berkheimer memorandum to the Patent Examining Corps.”

This “Berkheimer memorandum” isn’t much; moreover, it’s (Berkheimer) not from the Supreme Court. Here comes another patent extremist, this one from IAM (Richard Lloyd is their most extreme writer/lobbyist). He calls patent trolling “monetisation market” and joins the patent bullies in pressuring Iancu, urging him to become a patent zealot like they are. To quote:

Since Andrei Iancu took over as USPTO Director in February it has been hard to fault his engagement with the user community. As well as sitting down with IAM just a few weeks into his tenure (he is the cover star of our latest issue), he has been a regular on the conference circuit, outlining his vision for the agency and the US patent system in general, reassuring patent owners that he wants to strengthen the predictability of their rights and championing the power of patented inventions as a driver of the US economy.

Lloyd (IAM) already lobbied Iancu in person a month ago, inciting him against PTAB. IAM already tried to put in charge of the USPTO a widely-disgraced person who calls PTAB "death squads" (very offensive term).

Will Iancu fall in line with these extremists? He might. This is why we worried about his nomination and appointment all along.

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