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04.27.18

Sam Gyimah Did What Was Expected Since 2016, But Unified Patent Court (UPC) is Still Completely Stuck in Most Important Country and Is Not Compatible With Brexit

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 3:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Brexit too is a problem, not just some piece of paper which the government has said for 1.5 years that it would sigh

German and English UPC

Summary: While deliberately ignoring Brexit, which legal professionals have said for nearly 2 years makes the UPC untenable, Team UPC pretends there’s a rosy future for a system that’s stuck in the middle of nowhere because it is neither constitutional nor desirable

We have, by now, seen some responses to last night's response/rebuttal to the Unified Patent Court (UPC) news, noting that British participation would not be compatible with Brexit and there are other very major barriers, including serious EPO abuses. To suggest that the UPC would happen is wishful thinking or lobbying. We mean false prophecy lobbying style.

Team UPC is not happy with what I wrote about the UPC last night. I’ve evidently struck a nerve. Someone who blocked me is now heckling me. Notice the lack of substance in these people’s responses. Darren Smyth (IP Kat UPC booster) claims that I said something that I never even said! First of all, I did not say they would not ratify but that it would make no sense at all even if they did (as they had said they would). Secondly, I said there would be many practical barriers. None of these have changed.

Ratification is “work in progress” or “still in the process” actually; as the relevant individual put it: “And here are the files we lodged today with @EUCouncil – the UK ratifying the agreement on the Unified Patent Court…”

“To suggest that the UPC would happen is wishful thinking or lobbying.”As expected, people who are an inherent part of law firms and/or Team UPC are boosting it — all this while avoiding even the mere mention of Brexit and other issues. Those have not been addressed at all! This was mentioned by Francisco Moreno‏, who wrote in Spanish something which roughly means: “And Boris took his pen, ratified the unitary patent, and his instrument was deposited in Brussels. Now it all depends on the judges of Karlsruhe.”

Found via this tweet was the official page (not some junk “tweets”). “Our ratification brings the international court one step closer to reality,” it says. They wish. “The unique nature of the proposed court means that the UK’s future relationship with the Unified Patent Court will be subject to negotiation with European partners as we leave the EU,” they added. Well, if they leave the EU, then they cannot participate in a UPC-type system.

Team UPC links to CIPA. To quote: “Note that they are sticking to the line that the UPCA is “international treaty” but acknowledge UK’s future relationship “will be subject to negotiation”. Suitably non-committal – no strong hint in either direction!”

“As expected, people who are an inherent part of law firms and/or Team UPC are boosting it — all this while avoiding even the mere mention of Brexit and other issues.”So it’s hardly final at all. Just like we said all along. CIPA’s tweet said: “Ratification…demonstrates that internationally, as well as at home, the UK is committed to strong intellectual property protections” – IP Minister Sam Gyimah announcing UK ratification of the UPC #UnifiedPatentCourt #upc pic.twitter.com/7HdTzLrDqc – At Houses of Parliament”

Dr. Glyn Moody joked at this when he wrote: “it also means a European court will tell UK companies what to do, and they must obey – that “taking back control” thing that #brexiters so love…”

Surprisingly, IAM, which had done a lot to promote the UPC for Battistelli, also acted quite cynical when it wrote: “The UK’s Brexit-backing press did try to make the UPC an issue, but it turns out that patents are just too obscure for even the most committed Europhobes!! [] UPC scenario – a court in Germany deciding in favour of a French patent holder against a British defendant and issuing an injunction preventing the British company selling or distributing its product in the UK. How is that taking back control?”

That’s why it can’t quite happen.

Over in Germany, JUVE’s main person wrote:

UK ratifies UPC Agreement. What does it mean for the UPC implementation and some more details about the German constitutional claim. Our report https://juve.de/?p=338164

The cited article is in German.

“…Team UPC wants the patent system to be administered by somewhere that blatantly disregards the rule of law, Eponia (the EPO).”Managing IP, which was instrumental in UPC lobbying (it even set up lobbying events for the EPO), wrote: “The big uncertainty now is a German constitutional complaint against the UPC…”

Brexit also, as it can force undoing everything, like people have said since 2016 when Lucy predicted the move (eventually if not inevitably taken by Sam Gyimah).

“…don’t expect to see much dissent in comments on such articles/posts; they ‘sanitise’ these to silence their perceived ‘opposition’, even if it’s just legal professionals pointing out factual errors.”As IP Watch put it some hours ago: “The system is administered by the European Patent Office, and the UK’s ratification leaves Germany outstanding.”

Well, Team UPC wants the patent system to be administered by somewhere that blatantly disregards the rule of law, Eponia (the EPO). And a tyrant like Battistelli; to them he’s a ‘good’ tyrant because he supports their maximalist agenda; lawyers don’t quite like laws, they just love money and if they can twist or break the law in order to make money, then so be it! That’s the ‘Battistelli way’…

Mind this new comment in IP Kat. A very frequent poster wrote:

If you want Bristows “take” on this, go to the Kluwer patent blog, to read the piece contributed by Alan Johnson. There’s a comments thread there too. Sorry for the absence of a Link. My IT skills don’t run to it, on the device I’m using now.

Alan Johnson wrote yet another post about it (maybe fourth), their second in just over a day in their blog in addition to at least two in Kluwer. In one blog there’s no ability to comment, in the latter they’re heavily censored. Earlier this year Team UPC basically decided to start deleting comments more aggressively; it had already censored comments for years, but months ago it took it up a notch and also openly admitted such censorship (previously Bristows staff attempted to deny it, i.e. it lied). Anyway, don’t expect to see much dissent in comments on such articles/posts; they ‘sanitise’ these to silence their perceived ‘opposition’, even if it’s just legal professionals pointing out factual errors.

Like a Cancer, EPO-Bribed Media Continues to Produce Puff Pieces for Benoît Battistelli

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Metastasis” is what our reader called it today

Saint-Germain-en-Laye event

Summary: The EPO’s management corrupts not only the Office but also Europe, European media and even other continents; it has become a reckless and dangerous entity that spreads like a cancer because Battistelli was given carte blanche

Having covered Benoît Battistelli’s scandals for nearly 4 years, nothing surprises us anymore. We already wrote many articles about gross misuse of EPO budget, e.g. to hire lawyers with whom to bully bloggers, media, dissenting staff and sometimes bribe the media for puff pieces and censorship. This sort of obscene behaviour does not seem to bother patent maximalists and Team UPC.

“Another puff piece [was] discovered today in one of the French partners of the EPO, les Échos,” a reader told us. “Really “cancer” Battistelli should refrain from drinking before giving an interview: this interview doesn’t even give you a “perception” of making sense.”

“We already wrote many articles about gross misuse of EPO budget, e.g. to hire lawyers with whom to bully bloggers, media, dissenting staff and sometimes bribe the media for puff pieces and censorship.”The article is in French and it won’t say a thing about the latest French scandal. It’s like arrest of a former President (who is close to Battistelli) is not something the media has learned from. As long as the money comes rolling in the publishers will just play along. Money corrupts media.

The truth of the matter is that several of our readers nowadays compare Battistelli to “cancer” or a “tumour” (or the “cancer within” the EPO, which used to be reasonably healthy). The “cancer” theme appears to have grown popular inside the EPO. It’s how some people refer to Battistelli.

“The truth of the matter is that several of our readers nowadays compare Battistelli to “cancer” or a “tumour” (or the “cancer within” the EPO, which used to be reasonably healthy).”Speaking of Battistelli and cancer, this new press release (or puff piece) speaks of “cancer treatment” — patents on which we mentioned in relation to the EPO before, e.g. in [1, 2].

Battistelli is lowering patent quality and making it harder for people to combat cancer. From the piece:

The European Union patent and trademark office (EPO) has approved the EU patent application no. 08717866.1 (anti-androgen peptides and uses thereof in cancer therapy), which covered the firm’s therapeutic compound.

ValiRx said the VAL201 EU is also having patent grants in the US, Japan, Australia and the UK.

ValiRx CEO Satu Vainikka said: “I am very pleased that VAL201 has received its European Union patent grant, hot on the heels of our receipt of a US patent grant.

Remember that the EPO not only granted patents to frauds disguised as ‘cures’; it even made them European Inventor Award finalists!

Elizabeth Holmes associating with the European Inventor Award (it’s a literal fraud) is something that somebody recalled just less than a day ago in this comment:

Or Elizabeth Holmes:

https://web.archive.org/web/20150428054613/http://www.epo.org/learning-events/european-inventor/finalists/2015/holmes.html

recently charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission and subject to criminal investigation for making false claims about the”revolutionary blood tests” she “invented”.

Last but not least, watch today’s European Inventor Award tweets from the EPO. One finalist is framed as “against cancer”, so let’s hope this one isn’t a fraud like Holmes. There were other tweets [1, 2] and retweets earlier today; it was mostly about the European Inventor Award. There’s an expensive, ongoing PR campaign about it. How much does it cost? We don’t know. The EPO won’t tell. But we know who’s paying: EPO coffers. A lot of EPO money is nowadays flowing towards Saint-Germain-en-Laye (Battistelli’s other and future employer).

Links 27/4/2018: Cutelyst 2.2.0, OpenSUSE Tumbleweed Updates, Fedora 28 Coming Soon and New *Ubuntu Releases

Posted in News Roundup at 4:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Best Linux server distro of 2018

      As a free and open source operating system, Linux is the ideal candidate for setting up your own server. The community of developers behind each Linux distribution (distro) regularly review the source code of their chosen OS to make sure it’s free of bugs.

      When it comes to servers, the emphasis should obviously be on stability. While upgrades are a good thing on the face of it, they have the potential to interfere with the smooth running of your server.

      We’ve highlighted some of our favourite Linux server distros in this article, including operating systems that offer long term support, stability, and ideally a fast setup process.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.16.5
    • Linux 4.14.37
    • Linux Foundation

      • 41 Organizations Join The Linux Foundation to Support Open Source Communities With Infrastructure and Resources

        The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announced the addition of 28 Silver members and 13 Associate members. Linux Foundation members help support development of the shared technology resources, while accelerating their own innovation through open source leadership and participation. Linux Foundation member contributions help provide the infrastructure and resources that enable the world’s largest open collaboration communities.

      • Cloud Foundry for Developers: Architecture

        Back in the olden days, provisioning and managing IT stacks was complex, time-consuming, and error-prone. Getting the resources to do your job could take weeks or months.

        Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) was the first major step in automating IT stacks, and introduced the self-service provisioning and configuration model. VMware and Amazon were among the largest early developers and service providers.

        Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) adds the layer to IaaS that provides application development and management.

        Cloud Foundry is for building Platform as a Service (PaaS) projects, which bundle servers, networks, storage, operating systems, middleware, databases, and development tools into scalable, centrally-managed hardware and software stacks. That is a lot of work to do manually, so it takes a lot of software to automate it.

      • Jonathan Corbet on Linux Kernel Contributions, Community, and Core Needs

        At the recent Embedded Linux Conference + OpenIoT Summit, I sat down with Jonathan Corbet, the founder and editor-in-chief of LWN to discuss a wide range of topics, including the annual Linux kernel report.

        The annual Linux Kernel Development Report, released by The Linux Foundation is the evolution of work Corbet and Greg Kroah-Hartman had been doing independently for years. The goal of the report is to document various facets of kernel development, such as who is doing the work, what is the pace of the work, and which companies are supporting the work.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Mesa 18.0.2 Expected This Weekend, Offers Up RADV/RadeonSI Fixes + More

        Juan Suarez Romero who is maintaining the Mesa 18.0 stable series today announced the 18.0.2 release candidate as what will be the second point release.

        Mesa 18.0.2 has a number of Vega/GFX9 fixes to the RADV/NIR code and RadeonSI, fixes to the Meson build system support, various Gallium3D driver fixes, a few fixes to the Intel driver code, and other smaller work.

      • GPUOpen On Reducing Vulkan Overhead With Volk, Possible 1~5% Savings

        A guest post on AMD’s GPUOpen blog outlines the overhead issues with using the Vulkan loader library and possible performance advantages to using vkGetDeviceProcAddr or more easily via a little heard of project called Volk.

        While the generic Vulkan loader library is great for allowing multiple Vulkan ICD drivers to happily co-exist on the same system without interference and allowing for features like Vulkan layers, it does add a bit of overhead whenever making any Vulkan API calls that need to go through it and in turn passed onto the drivers. Since the Vulkan debut we’ve seen differing opinions about whether its performance negligible or not from driver developers to Vulkan game/application developers with some app/game developers trying to avoid the loader/dispatch code and use the Vulkan driver calls directly.

    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • 10 Great LXDE Themes

      When it comes to Linux desktop environment aesthetics, the LXDE desktop environment is probably the weakest. The default skin it comes with, to be frank, is kind of dated and bland. Not to worry! Since this desktop environment is on Linux, you can tear it apart and make it look however you’d like!

      So why not make a list dedicated to great themes you can install right now into your LXDE session? I should mention, since this is LXDE, you’ll be able to use both XFCE4 themes as well as GTK2+ themes. (And the panel even has support for images if you want.)

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE at FOSS-North

        Over the weekend, while some KDE people were in Toulouse improving Akonadi, and other KDE people were in Berlin improving Plasma, I was in Goteborg at FOSS-North showing off some KDE things.

        Anyone who saw our FOSDEM booth knows the setup. We still had the same blue table (thanks, Sune) and selection of low-power ARM blinkenlights, the Pine64 and a Pinebook. I still think that “hey, Plasma runs fine on an overpowered x86 laptop” is not particularly interesting, but that “the past six months have seen serious work on reducing Plasma’s resource usage aimed specifically at this kind of device” is. Different from FOSDEM is that I could now run one of the just-released Netrunner images for the Pinebook.

      • Cutelyst 2.2.0 is out

        Thanks to the release of Virtlyst – a web manager for virtual machines, several bugs were found and fixed in Cutelyst, the most important one in this release is the WebSockets implementation that broke due the addition of HTTP/2 to cutelyst-wsgi2.

        Fixing this was quite interesting as when I fixed the issue the first time, it started to make deleteLater() calls on null objects which didn’t crash but since Qt warn’s you about that it was hurting performance. Then I fixed the deleteLater() calls and WebSockets broke again 🙂 a little of gdb foo and I found out that when I asked for the websocket to close Qt was emitting disconnected as a result of that call, and that signal was deleting the object we rely when we called close, which crashed the app.

      • Plasma Vault: The new backend for CryFS

        As you might have seen before, there were some issues with CryFS for which I had to switch Vault to use EncFS by default for Plasma 5.12 since it is a long-term support release.

        Now that 5.12 is behind us, I’ve had the time to revamp the CryFS backend to use the latest features that Sebastian implemented in cryfs 0.9.9.

  • Distributions

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Tumbleweed Gets New Mesa, KDE Frameworks, GNOME Packages

        A total of four openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots were released this week that brought new updates for the Linux Kernel, Mesa and a major version update of libglvnd.

        RADV received several fixes in snapshot 20180424 with the update to Mesa 18.0.1. Mesa core also had some patches to fix issues around overriding the OpenGL/ES supported version through environment variables, and a patch to fix an issue with texture samples found in “The Witness” through Wine. An updated description for the SSLProtocol option was made available with the apache2 2.4.33 package and apparmor 2.13 delivered a change of the (writeable) cache directory to /var/cache/apparmor/ with the new btrfs layout. The reason for using /var/lib/apparmor/cache/, which was “it’s part of the / subvolume”, is gone, and /var/cache makes more sense for the cache, according to the changelog. The cleanup process and behavior are a lot better with the update of ccache 3.4.2. Backup tool deja-dup 38.0 was a major update and exclude snap cache directories by default. GTK has a new ‘Widgetbowl‘ demo and the wayland backend now supports the stable xdg-shell protocol in gtk3 3.22.30. Linux Kernel 4.16.3 arrived in the snapshot and the GL Vendor-Neutral Dispatch library, libglvnd, was bumped to major version 1.0.0 thanks to EGL and GLX interfaces being defined and stable. The Tumbleweed rating tool is currently treading the snapshot as stable with an 88 rating.

      • Mesa 18.0.1, GLVND 1.0 & KF5 5.45 / GNOME 3.28.1 Land In OpenSUSE Tumbleweed

        While openSUSE Leap 15 is coming next month that hasn’t slowed down openSUSE developers from continuing to update the rolling-release openSUSE Tumbleweed platform.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Announces Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), Here Is What’s New

            Canonical officially announced today its Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system for computers, IoT, and cloud environments.

            More than six months in the works, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is dubbed “Bionic Beaver” and it’s Canonical’s seventh LTS (Long Term Support) release. It will be supported with security and software updates for five years, until April 2023, during which it will receive no less than five maintenance updates, each one bringing updated kernel and graphics stacks from newer Ubuntu releases.

          • What’s New in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS “Bionic Beaver”, Available Now

            Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is a huge change from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. This is the first long-term support (LTS) release after the massive changes of Ubuntu 17.10, which saw the end of the Unity desktop, Ubuntu Phone, and Ubuntu’s convergence plans.

            If you were already using Ubuntu 17.10, you won’t notice any big changes. Ubuntu 18.04 focuses on polishing the changes made in Ubuntu 17.10. However, while Ubuntu 17.10 used the Wayland display server by default, Ubuntu 18.04 switches back to the tried-and-true Xorg display server.

          • Official Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Release, Gmail Redesign, New Cinnamon 3.8 Desktop and More

            Ubuntu 18.04 “Bionic Beaver” LTS is scheduled to be released officially today. This release features major changes, including kernel version updated to 4.15, GNOME instead of Unity, Python 2 no longer installed by default and much more. According to the release announcement “Ubuntu Server 18.04 LTS includes the Queens release of OpenStack including the clustering enabled LXD 3.0, new network configuration via netplan.io, and a next-generation fast server installer. See the Release Notes for download links.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS arrives with Gnome desktop, Kuberflow and Nvidia GPU acceleration

            CANONICAL HAS LAUNCHED the latest version of Ubuntu’s Long Term Support edition – 18.04 LTS – and it contains a number of new offerings both for Desktop and Server use.

            LTS represents a version of Ubuntu that offers a full five-year support. There will be many versions of the operating system in the coming months, but each, though stable, is only supported for nine months, giving the option to either keep updating or go to the LTS stream.

            One of the big draws will be improved AI support – most notably, integration of Kuberflow – the Tensorflow for Kubernetes, Google’s cloud containerisation platform. Kubernetes is of course supported under the CDK moniker (Canonical Deployment of Kubernetes).

          • Ubuntu’s Latest “Bionic Beaver” OS Impresses with Range of New Features

            Canonical (the company behind Ubuntu) today released the latest version of its popular operating system, code-named ‘Bionic Beaver’; big news for both organisations and users looking to be on the cutting edge of security, multi-cloud, containers and AI.

            Computer Business Review took a look. So, what’s new?

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS: What’s New? [Video]

            The stable Ubuntu 18.04 LTS release arrives later today which make now a great time to swat up on the changes the ‘Bionic Beaver’ brings with it.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver is here

            Canonical is releasing Ubuntu 18.04 LTS today. Code-named “Bionic Beaver,” the latest version of the popular GNU/Linux distribution includes a number of updates including a newer Linux kernel, mitigations to help protect users from Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities, and a number of tweaks for the user interface and core apps.

          • Why Canonical Hasn’t Released Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Yet?

            Today is 26th April: the Ubuntu 18.04 release day. As it’s an LTS release, this day has a lot of importance for a Linux enthusiast who loves Ubuntu — the most popular open source operating system around.

            The official and final release images of Ubuntu should be released anytime soon, but that hasn’t happened yet. The official Release Notes page still says: “Ubuntu 18.04 LTS HAS NOT BEEN RELEASED YET and is not recommended for use on production systems or on your primary computers yet.”

          • New Ubuntu Rethinks Desktop Ecosystem

            The development team used Ubuntu version 17.10 as its proving ground for transitioning from Unity 7 to the GNOME shell. Primarily, that was for its long-term support.

            That transition proved that users would have a seamless upgrade path, Cooke said. The five-year support also set the groundwork for developers to build for a common platform, as the same Ubuntu version runs in the cloud and on all devices.

            “This is the main reason we continue to see uptake on Ubuntu from developers,” he remarked. Ubuntu offers “reliability and a proven background of uptake and security, and other critical packages.”

          • Top Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver To Make It Your Own

            The Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) release is just around the corner, so we’ve prepared a list of top things to do after installing it.

            Whether you’re new to Ubuntu or a long-time user, there are things you may forget to do after installing a new Ubuntu version. This list tries to cover all users, to help get most things set up so you can enjoy your new Ubuntu 18.04 LTS desktop and customize it to accommodate your needs.

          • What To Do After Installing Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver

            This is the traditional article to give you suggestions what to do after installing Ubuntu 18.04 LTS “Bionic Beaver”. I divide the discussions in two parts, with and without internet. You will start with familiarizing yourself to the new desktop in Ubuntu and finally find your favorite applications using Ubuntu Software. I hope this quick guide helps you a lot. Enjoy 18.04!

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Released, This is What’s New

            The Ubuntu 18.04 release is ready to download. We review the new Ubuntu 18.04 features, share download links and upgrade instructions, and more in this in-depth article.

          • Critical Live Boot Bug Fixed and Ubuntu 18.04 is Finally Released

            A critical bug in live boot session delayed Ubuntu 18.04 LTS release for several hours. The bug has been fixed and the ISO are available to download.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS “Bionic Beaver” Official Images Now Available
          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) Is Now Available to Download
          • Ubuntu Server 18.04 LTS Released with Revamped Installer, Chrony, and Netplan
          • ​Ubuntu 18.04 LTS: The Linux for AI, clouds, and containers

            In a conference call interview, Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical’s CEO and Ubuntu’s founder, said, “Most public cloud instances — Azure, AWS, Oracle, and so on — are Ubuntu. To better support Ubuntu, 18.04 features improvements in network and storage and improved boot time optimization so that Ubuntu instances can ramp up faster with demand. In addition, Canonical has been working with NVIDIA to improve its public cloud General Purpose GPU (GPGPU) support.”

            Shuttleworth added: “Multi-cloud operations are the new normal. Boot-time and performance-optimised images of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS on every major public cloud make it the fastest and most efficient OS for cloud computing, especially for storage and compute intensive tasks like machine learning.”

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) released

            The Ubuntu team is very pleased to announce our seventh long-term support
            release, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS for Desktop, Server, Cloud, and Core.

            Codenamed “Bionic Beaver”, 18.04 LTS continues Ubuntu’s proud tradition
            of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a
            high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. The team has been hard at
            work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs.

            The Ubuntu kernel has been updated to the 4.15 based Linux kernel,
            with additional support for Linux security module stacking, signing
            of POWER host and NV kernels, and improved support for IBM and Intel
            hardware enablement from Linux 4.16.

            Ubuntu Desktop 18.04 LTS brings a fresh look with the GNOME desktop
            environment. GNOME Shell on Ubuntu is designed to be easy to use for
            people upgrading from 16.04 LTS and presents a familiar user interface.
            New features for users upgrading from 16.04 LTS include assistance with
            logging in to public Wifi hotspots and the Night Light feature to
            reduce eye strain in the evenings.

            18.04 LTS also brings the new minimal installation option which provides
            a full desktop with only the essential packages installed, and a tool to
            easily enable Canonical LivePatch to apply critical kernel security fixes
            without rebooting.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver LTS Release Gets a New Linux Desktop
          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) released

            The Ubuntu team is very pleased to announce our seventh long-term support release, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS for Desktop, Server, Cloud, and Core.

            Codenamed “Bionic Beaver”, 18.04 LTS continues Ubuntu’s proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. The team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs.

          • OpenStack Queens for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

            With today’s release of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (the Bionic Beaver) the Ubuntu OpenStack team at Canonical is pleased to announce the general availability of OpenStack Queens on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. This release of Ubuntu is a Long Term Support release that will be supported for 5 years.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS optimised for security, multi-cloud, containers & AI

            Ubuntu 18.04 LTS – the newest version of the most widely used Linux for workstations, cloud and IoT, is now available.

            “Multi-cloud operations are the new normal” said Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical and founder of Ubuntu. “Boot-time and performance-optimised images of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS on every major public cloud make it the fastest and most efficient OS for cloud computing, especially for storage and compute-intensive tasks like machine learning.”

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Finally Released: Upgrade/Download To Get New Features
          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Purism’s Librem 5 smartphone will run Ubuntu Touch, as well as PureOS

      Purism has partnered up with UBports to offer Ubuntu Touch as a supported operating system on its Librem 5 smartphone. The crowd-sourced, open-source smartphone runs Purism’s PureOS, by default. Purism is also working with GNOME for a version of PureOS with the KDE Plasma Mobile environment, giving users a choice between three OSes.

    • Raspberry Pi alternatives: 10 single-board computers for novice coders

      Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ is the dinky single-board computer grabbing headlines around the world, and for good reason. Initially launched as a tool to train up amateur coders, it has since gone on to sell more than 19 million units worldwide.

      [...]

      If you’re weighing up your options, read on for the best Raspberry Pi 3 B+ alternatives.

    • Tegra X1 Exploit Opens Up Nintendo Switch, Other Devices

      NVIDIA’s powerful Tegra X1 chip sits at the heart of the Nintendo Switch, along with the Google Pixel C and the NVIDIA SHIELD TV, and a new exploit called Fusée Gelée has opened the Switch up for developers and has far-reaching implications for the two Android-running Tegra X1 devices. Fusée Gelée was originally found by engineer Katherine Temkin and hacking group ReSwitched, the exploit runs at the boot level, and seemingly cannot be patched on current Nintendo Switch units. It allows for full modification of the Switch’s code, up to and including running a full GNU/Linux distribution, and will likely mean similar developments for the SHIELD TV and the Pixel C.

    • Linux-friendly Coffee Lake module supports up to 64GB DDR4

      Kontron’s “COMe-bCL6” COM Express Basic Type 6 module features Intel’s 8th Gen Core and Xeon CPUs with 4x SATA III, 4x USB 3.1, 8x PCIe, and options including a 1TB NVMe SSD, -40 to 85°C, and up to 64GB DDR4.

      Kontron has unveiled its first product based on Intel’s 8th Gen “Coffee Lake” processors. The COMe-bCL6 joins other Coffee Lake based COM Express Basic Type 6 modules including the Congatec Conga-TS370 and Seco COMe-C08-BT6, which were announced early this month when Intel rolled out 18 Coffee Lake H-, M-, U- and T-series Intel Core and Xeon chips, as well as the more recent Data Modul EDM-COMB-CF6 and MSC Technologies MSC C6B-CFLH.

    • Android

      • How to Install LineageOS on Android

        I’ve you’ve been considering giving your phone new life with a custom ROM, LineageOS is one of the most popular ones available today. Here’s everything you need to know about flashing this ROM onto your phone.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Using Open Source to Drive Automation

    While the IT side of telecom organizations has a long history of using open source technology, the networking side has traditionally relied more on commercial solutions that adhere to industry standards. And for good reasons.

    Although industry standards development organizations have a bad rep for death by PowerPoint and interminable meetings, they have delivered robust, global standards that meet the stringent quality requirements of the communications industry and enable a degree of interoperability that avoids vendor lock-in while still promoting innovation.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Localization Workshop in Kolkata (November 2017)

        Last November, Jeff, Peiying and I (flod) headed to Kolkata for the last of our planned localization workshops. The group of languages represented at the event included Bengali (both Bangladesh and India), Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Tamil and Telugu. If you’re surprised by the number of languages, consider that India alone has 22 languages listed in the Indian Constitution, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg, with a much larger variety of languages spoken, and sometime officially recognized at the State level.

      • Making a Web Thing on the ESP8266

        Today I’m going to walk you through creating a simple Web Thing using an inexpensive off-the-shelf ESP8266 board.

        The power of web things comes from their ability to connect the digital world of web pages with the physical world of things. We recently released the Things Framework, a collection of software intended to make it easy to create new web things. The relevant library for this example is the webthing-esp8266 library, which makes easy it to connect Arduino-programmed ESP8266 boards with the Web of Things. We hope that this lowers the barrier to creating compelling experiences with our gateway and the Web Thing API.

      • Introducing Hubs: A new way to get together

        Today, we’re excited to share a preview release of Hubs by Mozilla, a new way to get together online within Mixed Reality, right in your browser. Hubs is the first experiment we’re releasing as part of our Social Mixed Reality efforts, and we think it showcases the potential for the web to become the best, most accessible platform to bring people together around the world in this new medium.

      • Enabling Social Experiences Using Mixed Reality and the Open Web

        Today, Mozilla is sharing an early preview of an experiment we are calling “Hubs by Mozilla”. Hubs is an immersive social experience that is delivered through the browser. You simply click on a web link to begin interacting with others inside virtual reality.

      • How does dynamic dispatch work in WebAssembly?

        WebAssembly is a stack-based virtual machine and instruction set, designed such that implementations can be fast and safe. It is a portable target for the compilation of languages like C, C++, and Rust.

        [...]

        But C, C++, and Rust all have some capability for dynamic dispatch: function pointers, virtual methods, and trait objects. On native targets like x86, all these forms compile down into a jump to a dynamic address. What do these forms compile down into when targeting WebAssembly?

      • BlinkOn 9: Working on the Web Platform from a cooperative

        Last week, I attended BlinkOn 9. I was very happy to spend some time with my colleagues working on Chromium, including a new developer who will join my team next week (to be announced soon!).

        This edition had the usual format with presentations, brainstorming, lightning talks and informal chats with Chromium developers. I attended several interesting presentations on web platform standardization, implementation and testing. It was also great to talk to Googlers in order to coordinate on some of Igalia’s projects such as the collaboration with AMP or MathML in Chromium.

    • happy bmo push day!

      New Features: Comments are remembered if you cancel an edit or navigate away from the bug page, and private comments are more obviously private.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Towards Secure System Graphics: Arcan and OpenBSD

      Let me preface this by saying that this is a (very) long and medium-rare technical article about the security considerations and minutiae of porting (most of) the Arcan ecosystem to work under OpenBSD. The main point of this article is not so much flirting with the OpenBSD crowd or adding further noise to software engineering topics, but to go through the special considerations that had to be taken, as notes to anyone else that decides to go down this overgrown and lonesome trail, or are curious about some less than obvious differences between how these things “work” on Linux vs. other parts of the world.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • “The printer story” redux: a testimonial about the injustice of proprietary firmware

      I’ve always supported free software, but never felt the concrete importance of it until proprietary firmware threatened to cause a big problem, in terms of money, time, and environmental impact, for the company where I work. It’s a mid-sized company, employing about one thousand people. It’s highly production-oriented, and we need to print about two or three thousand paper sheets per week only for the production plans, on a special kind of paper. This number doesn’t include any reprints or further needs, so the total printed pages can be even higher.

      We used to print everything with an old printer, which worked fine, but it didn’t have an integrated stapler, and required a lot of human time to staple all the sheets as needed. After a production increase and the consequent increase in printing of orders, we asked for a new printer with an integrated stapler.

      After some weeks of testing and a lot of work to try and make the printer handle our production orders, we faced a big problem: the printer couldn’t do what we needed. If we tried to print on the special paper, the printer printed perfectly but automatically disabled the stapler, because it’s developed to not work with a thicker sheet of paper. We would need a more complex (and expensive) stapling system. If we modified the paper settings to “normal paper,” the stapler would work fine, but the printing came out faded.

    • Guix welcomes Outreachy, GSoC, and Guix-HPC interns

      We are thrilled to announce that five people will join Guix as interns over the next few months! As part of Google’s Summer of Code (GSoC), under the umbrella of the GNU Project,

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • RISC-V SiFive Freedom Unleahsed 540 SoC / HiFive Unleashed Board Added To Coreboot

        Landing today within the Coreboot Git tree is support for the RISC-V based SiFive Freedom Unleashed 540 System-on-a-Chip and SiFive’s Unleashed mainboard making use of this SoC built around the royalty-free and open processor ISA.

        The SiFive Freedom Unleashed 540 is considered to be the first RISC-V SoC capable of running Linux and with just over 400 lines of new code added to the existing RISC-V code in Coreboot, that SoC should now have its initial support in place. This SoC runs in a 4+1 multi-core configuration at speeds up to 1.5GHz with four cores being the RV64GC application cores and the fifth being the RV64IMAC management core. There is a 2MB L2 cache, support for 64-bit DDR4 with ECC, and Gigabit Ethernet backed by this SoC manufactured on a 28nm processor.

  • Programming/Development

    • A Good Front End for R

      R is the de facto statistical package in the Open Source world. It’s also quickly becoming the default data-analysis tool in many scientific disciplines.

      R’s core design includes a central processing engine that runs your code, with a very simple interface to the outside world. This basic interface means it’s been easy to build graphical interfaces that wrap the core portion of R, so lots of options exist that you can use as a GUI.

      In this article, I look at one of the available GUIs: RStudio. RStudio is a commercial program, with a free community version, available for Linux, Mac OSX and Windows, so your data analysis work should port easily regardless of environment.

      For Linux, you can install the main RStudio package from the download page. From there, you can download RPM files for Red Hat-based distributions or DEB files for Debian-based distributions, then use either rpm or dpkg to do the installation.

Leftovers

  • Where does blockchain fit best?

    What are the specific cases where blockchain is likely to be useful? This was the most interesting part of the blockchain discussion at the MIT Enterprise Forum’s recent Connected Things event. After all, IT and business leaders want to know where blockchain will make a difference – and where it won’t.

    A session on this question, moderated by Forrester VP and principal analyst Frank Gillett, was billed as a Point/Counterpoint; in practice, Thomas Hardjono, CTO of MIT Connection Science and Andrew Stahl, SVP Business Innovation for SAP were both too level-headed about the topic to either be completely dismissive or breathlessly supportive.

  • 10 Best Free YouTube Alternative Sites For Watching Videos In 2018
  • Science

    • Why I’ve lost faith in p values

      Many researchers are now arguing that we should, more generally, move away from using statistics to make all-or-none decisions and instead use them for “estimation”. In other words, instead of asking whether an effect is null or not, we should ask how big the effect is likely to be given the data. However, at the end of the day, editors need to make an all-or-none decision about whether to publish a paper, and if we do not have an agreed-upon standard of evidence, it would be very easy for people’s theoretical biases to impact decisions about whether a paper should be published (even more than they already do). But I’m starting to warm up to the idea that we should focus more on estimation than on all-or-none decisions about the null hypothesis.

    • Genome Structure of American Cockroach

      Perhaps somewhat ironically, a group of Chinese researchers* recently published a report on the genome of the American cockroach (Periplaneta americana), entitled “The genomic and functional landscapes of developmental plasticity in the American cockroach” in Nature Communications. These researchers,** applying a variety of modern genomic analysis techniques, elucidated aspects of the animal’s genomic DNA having implications for its range, behavior, and ecology.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Medicines For Europe Conference Tackles Top Legal Issues For Generic Drug Makers

      Biosimilars, supplementary protection certificates and European Patent Office patent quality are among the priority issues for the generic drug manufacturing sector, speakers said Wednesday at a Medicines for Europe conference.

    • The $3 Million Research Breakdown

      In December, the university quietly paid a severe penalty for Pavuluri’s misconduct and its own lax oversight, after the National Institute of Mental Health demanded weeks earlier that the public institution — which has struggled with declining state funding — repay all $3.1 million it had received for Pavuluri’s study.

    • Alfie Evans and the State

      This case is overreach by the state. It is not a case of the parents demanding perpetual NHS support, it is a case of the parents wishing, at no cost to the state, to leave the country with their severely ill son. As the state’s view is that their son will very shortly die anyway, and it is unlikely it will occasion Alfie any significant discomfort he can feel, I can see no reason that the state should override the wishes of the parents to pursue their hope, however remote, that some span of life of some quality might yet be available to their son.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • EU cyber cops shut down ‘world’s biggest’ DDoS-for-hire service

      The website’s servers were seized at 11.30am in the Netherlands, the US and Germany, Europol said, effectively shutting down the service that had 136,000 registered users and enabled individuals with little or no technical knowledge to launch crippling cyber-attacks across the world for just $14.99.

    • ZTE router flaw put 400,000 Hyperoptic customers at hacking [sic] risk

      But security firm Context IS discovered that the devices contained “the combination of a hardcoded root account and a DNS rebinding vulnerability”, which could have allowed an “internet-based attacker to compromise all customer routers of UK ISP Hyperoptic via a malicious webpage”.

    • Researchers Spent 10 Years Creating This “Master Key” To Unlock Millions Of Hotel Rooms

      A team of security researchers at F-secure have created a device running custom software that can create a master key “out of thin air.” They’ve exploited vulnerabilities in the door lock software Vision by VingCard, developed by the Swedish company Assa Abloy. Their electronic door locking system is used in millions of hotel rooms across the globe.

    • F-Secure Researchers: Master Keys to Hotels Can be Created ‘Out of Thin Air’

      F-Secure researchers have found that global hotel chains and hotels worldwide are using an electronic lock system that could be exploited by an attacker to gain access to any room in the facility. The design flaws discovered in the lock system’s software, which is known as Vision by VingCard and used to secure millions of hotel rooms worldwide, have prompted the world’s largest lock manufacturer, Assa Abloy, to issue software updates with security fixes to mitigate the issue.

    • Hackers built a ‘master key’ for millions of hotel rooms

      Security researchers have built a master key that exploits a design flaw in a popular and widely used hotel electronic lock system, allowing unfettered access to every room in the building.

      The electronic lock system, known as Vision by VingCard and built by Swedish lock manufacturer Assa Abloy, is used in more than 42,000 properties in 166 countries, amounting to millions of hotel rooms — as well as garages and storage units.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • South and North Korea Prepare to Discuss an End to the Korean War

      On Friday, the leaders of North and South Korea, Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in, will meet at the truce village of Panmunjom for a historic summit that many Koreans believe could end the war and state of belligerence that has plagued both sides of the Korean Peninsula since the late 1940s.

      Kim’s symbolic crossing of the border into the South could also pave the way for another precedent-shattering event: the planned summit in early June between Kim Jong-un and President Trump. If all goes well in the consecutive summits, the talks could end the threat of war—nuclear war—between North Korea and the United States and usher in a new era of peace in Northeast Asia.

      To Korea hands who have seen tensions rise and fall over the years, the upcoming summits are a remarkable sign of progress toward ending a North Korean nuclear and missile program that started in the late 1980s to create a deterrent against the United States and succeeded in 2017 beyond anyone’s dreams in Pyongyang or Washington.

    • Ecuador Signs Security Deal with US, Military Presence Expected

      The agreement, signed by Ecuadorean Interior Minister Cesar Navas and U.S. ambassador Todd Chapman, will support the creation of an Office for Investigating Transnational Criminals.

      On the same day Chapman told El Telegrafo the U.S. is waiting for an “official request” by the Ecuadorean government for the return of a U.S. military team in charge of cooperation in security that was expelled from the country in 2014.

      Former President Rafael Correa expelled the Office arguing it was “outrageous” to have foreign military presence in the country and accused them of infiltrating Ecuadorean institutions to conspire against his government.

    • Accusing Russia and Listening to History

      The prophet Cassandra’s curse was that when she told the future, no one listened. Many are cursed because they don’t listen to history either.

      The West has no shortage of charges it hurls against Russia, but most of them can be grouped into one of three categories: that Russia intervened in the American elections, that Russia is dragging the world into a new cold war, and that Russia is becoming increasingly aggressive and expansionist. Sometimes when charges are brought against you, the best witness you can call to your defense is history.

    • The Democratic Party’s War History and the AUMF of 2018

      The proposed Authority for the Use of Military Force of 2018 (AUMF) of 2018 would replace AUMF 2001 and repeal AUMF 2002 while it will codify an “uninterrupted authority to use all necessary and appropriate force in armed conflict” against the Taliban, al Qaeda, ISIS and as yet unidentified “designated associated forces” who might “pose a grave threat to the US” in whatever country they occupy.

      Since its adoption in 2001 within days of the 911 attack, the AUMF has served to justify every expansion of the US military’s role in the Middle East with every relevant Congressional oversight committee acting as little more than a syncopation of bobbing heads.

      The AUMF 2018 offers no restriction on military ops and no expiration or sunshine date while it abdicates all Congressional statutory war making authority as defined in the Constitution to the executive branch with no meaningful oversight or accountability.

    • The Time is Now for Universal Jurisdiction

      In hindsight, it is almost too extraordinary: the leader of a Western-friendly government responsible for the deaths of thousands, and the torture of tens of thousands, arrested and brought to account for his åcrimes before a court and a judge.

      But this is exactly what happened in 1998, when Judge Baltasar Garzon, a Spanish magistrate, issued an arrest warrant for the former dictator of Chile, Augusto Pinochet, while Pinochet was in the United Kingdom seeking medical treatment.

      What happened next was a series of hearings that became known as The Pinochet Case, and which ended with a stunning victory for human rights: Britain’s House of Lords deciding in 1999 that the arrest of Pinochet could proceed on the basis that his alleged international crimes violated human rights norms.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Finance

    • Drew Cloud Is a Well-Known Expert on Student Loans. One Problem: He’s Not Real.

      After The Chronicle spent more than a week trying to verify Cloud’s existence, the company that owns The Student Loan Report confirmed that Cloud was fake. “Drew Cloud is a pseudonym that a diverse group of authors at Student Loan Report, LLC use to share experiences and information related to the challenges college students face with funding their education,” wrote Nate Matherson, CEO of LendEDU.

    • Donald Trump and the Next Crash

      Warning: What you are about to read is not about Russia, the 2016 election, or the latest person to depart from the White House in a storm of tweets. It’s the Beltway story hiding in plain sight with trillions of dollars in play and an economy to commandeer.

      While we’ve been bombarded with a litany of scandals from the Oval Office and the Trump family, there’s a crucial institution in Washington that few in the media seem to be paying attention to, even as President Trump quietly makes it his own. More obscure than the chambers of the Supreme Court, it’s a place where he has already made substantial changes. I’m talking about the Federal Reserve.

      As the central bank of the United States, the “Fed” sets the financial tone for the global economy by manipulating interest rate levels. This impacts everyone, yet very few grasp the scope of its influence.

      During times of relative economic calm, the Fed is regularly forgotten. But what history shows us is that having leaders who are primed to neglect Wall Street’s misdoings often sets the scene for economic dangers to come. That’s why nominees to the Fed are so crucial.

    • Ford to stop selling every car in North America but the Mustang and Focus Active

      Ford today announced it will phase out most cars it sells in North America. According to its latest financial release, the auto giant “will transition to two vehicles” — the Mustang and an unannounced vehicle, the Focus Active, being the only traditional cars it sells in the region. Ford sees 90 percent of its North America portfolio in trucks, utilities and commercial vehicles. Citing a reduction in consumer demand and product profitability, Ford is in turn not investing in the next generation of sedans. The Taurus is no more.

      The press release also talks about a new type of vehicle, though it sounds like a crossover. This so-called white space vehicle will “combine the best attributes of cars and utilities, such as higher ride height, space and versatility.”

    • Ford At A Fork In The Road Goes The Wrong Way

      It could be that Ford is just giving up on the personal car and this is a polite wave at the exit. Perhaps trucks are their thing. This is a missed opportunity. Ford could make nifty EVs if they wanted. They just don’t want to do that. Time to sell shares in Ford. Prices have been drifting down since the EVs took off. Instead of joining the fight Ford is running away.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Bannon directed Cambridge Analytica to research discouraging voter turnout, whistleblower says

      Wylie told House Judiciary Democrats and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform during a private briefing that Bannon directed the British research firm to explore methods for “discouraging particular types of voters who are more prone to voting for Democratic or liberal candidates.”

    • Trump’s cell phone use is security “nightmare” waiting to happen, lawmakers say
    • For Some Democrats, Facebook Likes Are a Path to Hard-to-Find Supporters

      Democrat Hiral Tipirneni, who lost this week’s special election to fill a vacant House seat in Arizona, couldn’t rely on the national party to fund her campaign. She received nothing from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

      So she appealed to potential supporters far from Arizona, people who might not have even heard of her. About 40 percent of her campaign’s funds were raised from small donors. Such fundraising is an essential resource in districts previously hostile to Democrats for candidates like Tipirneni, who had sought to be the next example in a list of “blue-wave” victories.

      According to ads submitted by users of our Facebook Political Ad Collector tool, one of her campaign’s strategies was to advertise to people who “like” more well-known liberal politicians and groups, even those in places far from the suburban Phoenix district she was running to represent.

    • Legislators Are Trying to Hide a Dangerous Voucher Proposal Inside the Defense Spending Bill

      Congressional Republicans want to turn a federal education program into a voucher scheme.

      This week, Congress is set to begin consideration of the annual defense bill, also known as the National Defense Authorization Act. The NDAA sets spending priorities for the Department of Defense and is one of few pieces of legislation that Congress takes up every year. Legislators haven’t failed to pass an NDAA in 57 consecutive years.

      Its “must-pass” status makes the NDAA an attractive vehicle for members to try to attach proposals they personally favor, but that may not get consideration as a stand-alone bill. Such is the case this year for a proposal to turn Impact Aid, a long-standing federal education program, into a voucher scheme.

      The Impact Aid program has existed since 1950 and provides funds to school districts that lose local tax revenue due to the presence of tax-exempt federal land, like military installations, Native American reservations, or national parks. It also funds school districts that have higher expenses because they enroll federally connected students, like those who reside on Indian lands, military bases, and other federal properties.

      But the Education Savings Accounts for Military Families Act of 2018 (H.R. 5199), introduced last month by Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), would undercut that support by taking Impact Aid funds and turning them into a voucher. As a consequence, communities with an already low level of local tax revenue would face reduced funding for school districts at which the vast majority of the nation’s school-age military children are enrolled. While this legislation purports to help military families, it would actually damage the schools educating military children while excluding many military children from eligibility.

    • Axon’s Ethics Board Must Keep the Company in Check

      EFF, together with 41 national, state, and local civil rights and civil liberties groups, sent a letter today urging the ethics board of police technology and weapons developer Axon to hold the company accountable to the communities its products impact—and to itself.

      Axon, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, is responsible for making and selling some of the most used police products in the United States, including tasers and body-worn cameras. Over the years, the company has taken significant heat for how those tools have been used in police interactions with the public, especially given law enforcement’s documented history of racial discrimination. Axon is now considering developing and incorporating into existing products new technologies like face recognition and artificial intelligence. It set up an “AI Ethics Board” made up of outside advisors and says it wants to confront the privacy and civil liberties issues associated with police use of these invasive technologies.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Oakland Should Ensure Community Control of Surveillance Technology

      The Northern California cities of Berkeley and Davis began the year with successful community efforts to demand transparency and oversight in their community’s acquisition of surveillance technology. With tax season just days behind us, U.S. communities continue to focus on gaining control and transparency over whether their hard-earned tax dollars are used to acquire surveillance technologies that threaten our fundamental privacy, disparately burden people of color, and threaten immigrant communities.

      Community organizers in the East Bay—having already successfully defeated plans to have the Port of Oakland’s Domain Awareness Center expand into a city-wide surveillance apparatus—are well-poised to make Oakland the next U.S. city to adopt a law that would ensure substantial community controls over law enforcement acquisition and use of surveillance technology.

      The power to decide whether these tools are acquired, and how they are used, should not stand unilaterally with agency executives. Instead, elected City Council members should be empowered with the authority to decide whether to approve or reject surveillance technology. Most importantly, all residents must be provided an opportunity to comment on proposed surveillance technologies, and the policies guiding their use, before representatives decide whether to adopt them.

      Oakland’s Surveillance and Community Safety Ordinance enshrines these rights by requiring that city agencies submit use policies to the City Council for approval before acquiring surveillance technology, and that the City Council provide notice and an opportunity for public comment before approving these requests. To assure compliance, and that any approved equipment does indeed serve its stated purpose, the law would additionally require annual use reports including any violations of the existing policy.

    • NSA’s IoT security algorithms rejected over surveillance fears

      The US National Security Agency (NSA) has had two of its new encryption algorithms for the Internet of Things (IoT) rejected by an international standards body, because of suspicions that they contained a backdoor that would allow US spies to break into them.

      The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) rejected the algorithms, dubbed ‘Simon’ and ‘Speck’, with The Register reporting allegations of threatening behaviour by US security officials.

      While the ISO’s meetings are held behind closed doors, WikiTribune reported that the rejection was based on the fact that US officials refused to provide the standard level of technical details.

    • ‘Black cloud’ of the NSA ‘looms over’ international encryption

      The NSA has a track record (Atlas Obscura) of trying to install vulnerabilities, or backdoors, into security tools, including forms of encryption. This dispute over the Simon and Speck algorithms – which would have been included in household objects such as smart speakers, fridges, lighting and heating systems – showed the agency still lacks the trust of many countries, including U.S. allies.

    • This ‘Skill’ Can Trick Amazon Alexa Into Eavesdropping For Hackers

      A team of security researchers at Checkmarx have created a “skill” that can turn Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa into an eavesdropping device. It abuses the built-in request capabilities of the device to record your conversation indefinitely and send the transcripts to any third party website or Amazon.

    • Software Legend Ray Ozzie Thinks He Can Safely Backdoor Encryption Safely; He’s Very Wrong

      There have been ongoing debates for a while now about the stupidity of backdooring encryption, with plenty of experts explaining why there’s no feasible way to do it without causing all sorts of serious consequences (some more unintended than others). Without getting too deep into the weeds, the basic issue is that cryptography is freaking difficult and if something goes wrong, you’re in a lot of trouble very fast. And it’s very, very easy for something to go wrong. Adding in a backdoor to encryption is, effectively, making something go wrong… on purpose. In doing so, however, you’re introducing a whole host of other opportunities for many, many things to go wrong, blowing up the whole scheme and putting everyone’s information at risk. So, if you’re going to show up with a “plan” to backdoor encryption, you better have a pretty convincing argument for how you avoid that issue (because the reality is you can’t).

      For at least a year (probably more) the one name that has kept coming up over and over as one of the few techies who insists that the common wisdom on backdooring encryption is wrong… is Ray Ozzie. Everyone notes that he’s Microsoft’s former Chief Software Architect and CTO, but some of us remember him from way before that when he created Lotus Notes and Groove Networks (which was supposed to be the nirvana of collaboration software). In recent months his name has popped up here and there, often by FBI/DOJ folks seeking to backdoor encryption, as having some possible ways forward.

    • WhatsApp raises minimum age to 16 in Europe ahead of GDPR

      The Facebook-owned messaging service will demand users confirm they are old enough to use app after raising age limit from 13. The Facebook-owned messaging service that has more than 1.5 billion users will ask people in the 28 EU states to confirm they are 16 or older as part of a prompt to accept a new terms of service and an updated privacy policy in the next few weeks.

    • Reps say ‘we have yet to receive any responses’ to questions from Zuckerberg testimony

      Today, the committee sent a new list of questions to Facebook in an effort to nail down information that was not available during the hearings. There are 113 separate questions on the list, many of which include multiple sub-questions, largely dealing with information collected and held by Facebook that is not explicitly shared by users. That information, which includes both shadow profiles and broader ad-tracking, was largely skimmed over during Zuckerberg’s testimony.

    • Facebook posts record revenues for first quarter despite privacy scandal

      The company made $11.97bn in revenue in the first three months of the year, up 49% from the previous year, beating Wall Street estimates of $11.41bn.

    • Why Facebook’s Troubles Haven’t Dented Its Profits

      You’d never know that Facebook has been in the center of a global maelstrom by looking at its financial results or listening to its executives. On Wednesday, Facebook reported quarterly revenue of $11.97 billion, earnings per share of $1.69, 2.2 billion monthly active users, and 1.45 billion daily active users, both up 13 percent from the same quarter last year.

    • Facebook’s Targeted Ads Are More Complex Than It Lets On

      Four times in his blog post, Goldman stresses that Facebook’s targeting mechanisms allow users to see relevant ads. But nowhere does he define what “relevant” means in this context

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • It’s Time to End New Hampshire’s Death Penalty

      New Hampshire is the only state in New England that still has the death penalty. That has to change. This archaic practice defies New Hampshire values and defies justice. The state has come close to repealing capital punishment in the past only to fall short.

      There is now a renewed push to end this barbaric punishment in the current legislative session. A bill in the State Senate (SB593), which would replace capital punishment with life in prison without parole for convictions after January 2019, has broad support. It was approved by a 14-to-10 vote in the state Senate in March, and sailed through the New Hampshire House with a vote today of 223 to 116.

    • Cops Follow Up Officer-Involved Shooting By Heading To Funeral Home To Apply Dead Man’s Fingers To His Locked Phone

      It’s completely unclear as to how information on the dead man’s phone would have aided an investigation into his being shot and killed by officers. The attachment of a vague “drug inquiry” doesn’t do much to salvage the search and seizure.

      But the Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply to dead people or their belongings. And the only reason the officers have to deal with this backlash is because their timing worked out badly. They retrieved the phone but the body had already been released to the funeral home. The seizure/search they would have performed at the morgue unfortunately now had to take place in public.

      Since the Fourth Amendment isn’t implicated, no warrant was needed, meaning no judge looked over an affidavit and decided unlocking a dead man’s phone would somehow aid in an investigation into his death at the hands of the same law enforcement agency now attempting to crack open his phone.

      This leads to another problematic aspect of the search: dead men can’t be criminally charged. So what’s the point in digging for more dirt on the dead man? Even if there’s a “drug inquiry” underway, it seems the more honorable approach would be to at least ask the family’s permission, if not avoid it entirely by focusing on other, less-dead suspects.

      But honorable is the enemy of efficiency. And whatever the law doesn’t explicitly forbid will be deployed by law enforcement, no matter how much it negatively affects its relationship with the community it serves.

    • A Killing at Donkey Creek

      The submissions from Native Americans have come into ProPublica’s Documenting Hate database with regularity: In Reno, Nevada, a truck was driven into a group of Native people protesting Columbus Day, injuring one; a Navajo woman in Flagstaff, Arizona, reported being told, “Go back to where you came from” by a driver who pulled up to her at a bus stop. A Sioux woman in Winterset, Iowa, reported that she was called a “prairie nigger” on Facebook.

    • Gov’t To Court: Driving A Car In Iowa With A Valid Iowa Temporary Tag Is A Traffic Violation

      We have a new item to add to the list of things law enforcement finds suspicious. And not just “hmm, that’s strange,” but rather, “hmm, let’s stop this vehicle and search everyone and everything in it.” To date, a long list has been compiled of activities law enforcement finds inherently suspicious, many of which are contradictory or encompass the routine daily activities of millions of non-criminal US citizens.

      People have been declared “suspicious” for being too calm or too nervous. For making eye contact and not making eye contact. Talking too much is suspicious. The same goes for not talking enough. Driving roads that connect major cities is suspicious because all major cities contain both buyers and sellers of drugs. Cops have argued that activities they’ve witnessed daily without affecting an arrest is suddenly suspicious when a traffic stop/fishing expedition results in a drug bust.

      [...]

      The government appealed, arguing that Del Valle’s inability to read every piece of information contained on the temporary tag in the window gave her probable cause to stop the vehicle. The court disagrees. Temporary tags are required to contain certain information, but nothing in the law says all that info needs to be immediately visible to officers following vehicles in all weather at all times of the day.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Marsha Blackburn Wants ISPs To Sell ‘Fast Lanes’ Like ‘TSA Pre-Check’

      You’d be hard pressed to find a bigger telecom sector crony than Tennessee Representative Marsha Blackburn. From her attacks on net neutrality and consumer privacy, to her support of SOPA and AT&T-written protectionist state laws hampering competition, it’s effectively impossible to find a subject where Blackburn didn’t take the side of regional broadband monopolies over consumers. It’s a major reason that as Blackburn tries to jump from the House to the Senate (to nab Bob Corker’s seat) she’s found herself notably behind in the polls in a state Trump won by 26 points.

      Last week, Blackburn took time out of her busy schedule to participate in a show pony Senate hearing pushed by entrenched telecom operators. Its purpose: to try and sell the public and lawmakers on the idea that killing net neutrality and allowing things like “paid prioritization” (letting one company buy a network advantage over another) will actually somehow be a good thing.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The Iceberg is back: ZTE patents a dual-notch handset

      The ZTE Iceberg concept that surfaced on the iF World Design Guide might have seemed nothing more but another over-the-top design, but now a patent showing a similar device has been spotted online. Now, it only remains to see if ZTE can still launch a dual-notch phone, since the Chinese company has been sailing some rough waters lately.

    • BLOG: Shored by an explosive growth in filings, Huawei wields the strongest portfolio in China: exclusive data analysis

      Huawei falls below the global average in terms of the quality of its patents, but it beats all of its domestic rivals when it comes to portfolio strength, new research commissioned by IAM reveals. A look at the data shows that the Chinese mobile company has gradually expanded its international focus with a flurry of filings from 2013 onwards. Working with leading IP data and analytics firms, we have analysed the Chinese mobile company’s patent position, taking a look at how its portfolio has grown and the most important patent-related stories over the last five years.

    • Adopting An Open Innovation Perspective For Patent Policy For The Internet Of Things

      The Internet of Things is a prototypical technology space, where small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), universities and their spin-outs as well as big corporations alike could constitute a fruitful innovation ecosystem. All these players could thrive in the spirit of Open Innovation, so to collectively re-invent the future of the internet and patents could take the role of promoting tech transfer, knowledge exchange and spur secondary markets for intellectual property.

    • Trademarks

      • WIPO Members Energised On Protection of Country Names, GIs, New Technological Designs

        The World Intellectual Property Organization committee on trademarks concluded early today with plans for further work and a full week session for the next meeting. Member states are called into action to provide inputs so that the WIPO secretariat can come up with questionnaires on the protection of new technological designs, such as icons, and on the protection of geographical indications. Another issue for which member states are asked to contribute inputs in how to protect country and geographical names.

    • Copyrights

      • The Real Reason Social Media Makes Hollywood So Nervous

        There’s an episode of the Netflix show Black Mirror called “Nosedive,” about a world where everyone can rate their interactions with everyone else on a scale of 1–5, and each person’s average rating determines their socioeconomic status. The moral of the episode (because most episodes of Black Mirror have a techno-moral at the end) was a warning against the dangers of mob mentality and groupthink on social media. It’s easy to see where they got the idea: you only need to look at the story of Justine Sacco, whose life was turned upside down over an offensive joke she wrote on Twitter, or Zoe Quinn, who’s life was torn apart over lies spread by a vengeful ex, to see that internet hatred and rumor-mongering is dangerous, and we haven’t figured out how to deal with it yet. It’s scary, but TV is obsessed with it.

        When “Nosedive” was first released, it was criticized for being similar to an episode of the NBC show Community called “App Development and Condiments,” where Greendale college is used to test a social media app, called MeowMeowBeenz, that allows students to rate each other on a scale of one to five. The campus devolves into a stratified community, with “Fives” and “Fours” ruling over everyone else. As in “Nosedive,” the moral was a warning against social media groupthink. This exact point was also made in an episode of The Orville (“Majority Rule”) that takes place on a planet run by upvotes and downvotes.

      • Swedish Pirate Party Declares War On Copyright Trolls

        We’ve discussed the various “Pirate Parties” that have sprung up around European political systems over the past few years. While the name taken by these political movements is probably unfortunate, having political interests centered around the many, many problems within copyright law and enforcement is undoubtedly good and necessary. Sadly, those parties have too often been ineffectual, often ties co-opted by standing political powers in a way that dilutes their purposes. In Sweden in particular, the past few years have seen all the worst kinds of copyright problems sprout up as though somebody had sprinkled fertilizer over the land. As this was happening, Sweden’s Pirate Party had remained comparatively silent, particularly on the matter of what can only be described as a copyright troll invasion.

      • Defenders of Copyright Troll Victims Urge Congress to Reject the “Small Claims” Bill

        A dedicated group of attorneys and technologists from around the U.S. defend Internet users against abuse by copyright trolls. Today, they wrote to the House Judiciary Committee with a warning about the CASE Act, a bill that would create a powerful new “small claims” tribunal at the U.S. Copyright Office in Washington D.C. The CASE Act would give copyright trolls a faster, cheaper way of coercing Internet users to fork over cash “settlements,” bypassing the safeguards against abuse that federal judges have labored to create.

        Copyright trolls are companies that turn threats of copyright litigation into profit by accusing Internet users of infringement—typically of pornographic films or independent films that flopped at the box office. Wielding boilerplate legal papers, dubious investigators, and the threat of massive, unpredictable copyright damages, these companies try to coerce Internet users into paying “settlements” of several thousand dollars to avoid litigation. Because their business is built around litigation threats, not the creative work itself, copyright trolls aren’t very careful about making sure the people they accuse actually infringed a copyright. In fact, since profitable copyright trolling depends on targeting thousands of Internet users, trolls have an incentive not to investigate their claims carefully before filing suit.

        Trolling is a massive problem. Between 2014 and 2016, copyright troll lawsuits constituted just under 50% of all copyright cases on the federal dockets. Overall, since 2010, researchers have estimated the number of Internet users targeted at over 170,000 – and that’s probably a low estimate.

      • VK: A ‘Notorious Pirate Site’ Praised by The Music Industry

        Earlier this year, the US Government included Russian social networking giant vKontakte in its list of notorious pirate sites. Branded as a ‘hub’ for infringing activity, the site was mentioned alongside The Pirate Bay, Fmovies, and Openload. While this critique isn’t new, it’s intriguing to see that, this week, several major music labels are praising the same site for helping the music industry to grow.

      • Music bill backed by streaming services advances in the House
      • Art Theft by Old Navy

        They are being totally unapologetic, and have said that it would be a “bad business decision” for me to expect to be reasonably compensated for the use of my art. Instead of compensating me, they have chosen to pay a large law firm to fight me, and have even asked the judge to order me to pay THEIR legal fees.

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