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05.04.18

From Saint-Germain-en-Laye to Strasbourg, Even the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) Might Side With Nicolas Sárközy’s Thug at the EPO

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Law, Patents at 5:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

English [PDF] | French [PDF]

ECHR on EPO case

Summary: “The ECHR in practice denying staff of IO’s [International Organisation] fundamental rights,” SUEPO reports/recalls this week

A FEW days ago, on the very last day of April, the staff union of the EPO (also known as “SUEPO”) cited an old paper from Robin Silverstein. We’re guessing that it relates to the case against EPO management (‘mini’ Sárközy and his Vice-Presidents), to possibly be taken up by ECHR (we covered it several times last year). Yesterday SUEPO cited another old or undated document, this time the words of ECHR President Guido Raimondi, who is based in Strasbourg. We might soon cover another Battistelli scandal, this time in relation to Strasbourg itself. There’s also another Battistelli scandal in Saint-Germain-en-Laye (to be covered here next week).

All these French connections do matter and are certainty relevant to the EPO; there’s a reason why it took nearly a decade to hold Nicolas Sárközy accountable for pretty serious crimes. Sárközy is said to be the person who helped put Battistelli in charge of the EPO.

“We might soon cover another Battistelli scandal, this time in relation to Strasbourg itself. There’s also another Battistelli scandal in Saint-Germain-en-Laye (to be covered here next week).”Will ECHR hear and deal with EPO abuses? The “[p]osition of ECHR President Guido Raimondi on the case law of the European Court of Human Rights on international Civil Service law,” says SUEPO, includes phrases like the above, including: “In a neighbouring register, the Klausecker case did not lead to a much happier solution for the applicant. In this case, he had been disabled since the age of 18 as a result of an accident that caused him to lose one eye, one hand and part of the fingers of the other hand. Having graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering, he worked as a research assistant at a university. After applying to work at the European Patent Office in Munich and passing the examinations to become a patent examiner there, he was not admitted to the post in 2005 on the grounds that he was not physically fit. He lodged an appeal against this decision with the European Patent Office and then with the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation, which were rejected in 2005 and 2007 respectively in so far as candidates for a post are not entitled to lodge appeals of this type. Since the European Patent Organisation (EPO, of which the European Patent Office is a member) enjoys immunity from jurisdiction before the German civil and labour courts, the person concerned brought the case directly before the Constitutional Court, which, in 2006, ruled that his appeal was inadmissible and declared that it lacked jurisdiction to judge it. Subsequently, the European Patent Office proposed to the applicant to have the dispute decided by an arbitral tribunal, an option it refused in 2008 on the ground that this procedure would infringe essential procedural guarantees, in particular the right to a public hearing within a reasonable time. The applicant then brought the case before the Strasbourg Court on the basis of Article 6(1) of the ECHR.

“As regards the lack of access to German courts, the Court finds, first of all, that granting the EPO immunity from jurisdiction before the German courts was intended to ensure the proper functioning of that international organisation and thus pursued a “legitimate aim”. In determining whether limiting the applicant’s access to German courts was proportionate to that objective, the Court considers it decisive to determine “whether there was any other reasonable means of effectively protecting his rights under the Convention”. However, it considers that the applicant did have another means at his disposal, since he had been offered participation in arbitration proceedings. The Court notes in particular that, under the arbitration contract proposed by the EPO, the arbitrators would have decided the dispute on the basis of the rules which the ILO Administrative Tribunal would have applied had it been competent. In its view, the mere non-public nature of the hearing before the arbitral tribunal – where the parties could be represented by counsel – did not make the arbitration procedure a “poor substitute for proceedings before a national court”.

“Since the applicant had another reasonable way to protect his rights under the ECHR, the limitation of his access to the German courts was proportionate; this first part of the application is therefore rejected for manifest lack of foundation.

“All these French connections do matter and are certainty relevant to the EPO; there’s a reason why it took nearly a decade to hold Nicolas Sárközy accountable for pretty serious crimes.”“Turning then to the complaint concerning a lack of access to the procedures of the European Patent Office and the ILO Administrative Court and the shortcomings of those procedures, the Court notes that, in the light of its traditional case-law, Germany could be held liable in the present case only if the protection of fundamental rights offered by the EPO to the applicant had been “manifestlydeficient”. However, by offering Mr. Klausecker to participate in an arbitration procedure, the EPO had provided him with another reasonable means of having his complaint examined on the merits. Consequently, the Strasbourg Court considers that the protection of fundamental rights within the EPO has not “manifestly failed” in this case and therefore also declares inadmissible the second part of the application.”

There’s a lot more in there (10 pages in the translation of the original). Assuming SUEPO’s site is resilient (with Battistelli leaving the Office in less than 2 months), we haven’t chosen to make local copies. Battistelli is soon going to Strasbourg, which is where his next employer is based, not just ECHR. Incidentally, Strasbourg is also where Battistelli’s ‘bulldog’ (Željko Topić) faces legal ordeals. The case was filed in Strasbourg because Croatia’s courts are notoriously unresponsive and the system served to cover up Topić’s abuses (because they go all the way to the top, i.e. the national government). Can a ‘French’ court in Strasbourg be expected to deliver justice in a case which implicates so many powerful people in France, perhaps also a former President, a Parisian Mayor and so on?

Elizabeth Holmes Charged With “Massive Fraud” and Team Battistelli Rushes to Distance Itself From Her

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Patents at 4:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Elizabeth Holmes might be the only person who stains the European Inventor Award more than Battistelli does

Theranos and EPO
EPO was so proud of Theranos…

Summary: Theranos in the headlines again… as the EPO tries to distance itself from its previous association with Elizabeth Holmes

Theranos and the EPO‘s top-level management are a good pair; corruption and fraud are becoming such a banal thing to be merely covered up, not tackled. Those who blow the whistle or complain politely are being punished and information about scandals is not being published. Media plays a role in the so-called ‘conspiracy’ (of silence or of PR). In the case of the EPO, it actively served to legitimise this scam. Battistelli is in some ways like Elizabeth Holmes, only a lot older.

Below are some thoughts and links sent to us by a reader earlier today (days after this scandal had been recalled again, even in relation to the EPO):


Theranos in the headlines again …
as the EPO tries to distance itself from its previous association with Elizabeth Holmes

Theranos has been hitting the headlines again recently.

In March there was this:
Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes Charged With ‘Massive Fraud’ — Here Are The Highlights
http://digg.com/2018/theranos-lawsuit-elizabeth-holmes-highlights

And more recently:
Theranos Losses A Drop In The Bucket For DeVos, Murdoch, Waltons And Kraft
https://www.forbes.com/sites/petercohan/2018/05/04/theranos-losses-a-drop-in-the-bucket-for-devos-murdoch-waltons-and-kraft/#242b45d627b2

The original Wall Street Journal article is behind a paywall:
Theranos Cost Business and Government Leaders More Than $600 Million
https://www.wsj.com/articles/theranos-cost-business-and-government-leaders-more-than-600-million-1525392082

In the meantime it seems that the EPO has been busy trying to distance itself from its previous association with Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes who was a finalist in the European Inventor Award in 2015.

Back in April 2015 the EPO website contained this entry for Holmes (original webpage retrieved courtesy of the WayBack Machine):
https://web.archive.org/web/20150428054613/http://www.epo.org/learning-events/european-inventor/finalists/2015/holmes.html

The original webpage contained a reference to three European patents granted to Theranos which list Holmes as co-inventor:

EP2205968
https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/biblio?DB=worldwide.espacenet.com&II=0&ND=3&adjacent=true&locale=en_EP&FT=D&date=20100714&CC=EP&NR=2205968A1

EP2018188

https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/biblio?DB=worldwide.espacenet.com&II=0&ND=3&adjacent=true&locale=en_EP&FT=D&date=20090128&CC=EP&NR=2018188A2

EP1662987
https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/biblio?DB=worldwide.espacenet.com&II=0&ND=3&adjacent=true&locale=en_EP&FT=D&date=20060607&CC=EP&NR=1662987A2

There was also a link to a “puff piece” in one of the EPO’ leading German “media partners” the Hamburg-based Handelsblatt:

EUROPÄISCHER ERFINDERPREIS: Revolution mit einem Tropfen Blut
http://www.handelsblatt.com/technik/forschung-innovation/europaeischer-erfinderpreis-revolution-mit-einem-tropfen-blut/11768208.html

According to the archives of the WayBack Machine the webpage still appeared with its original content as recently as 14 March 2018:
https://web.archive.org/web/20180314210306/http://www.epo.org/learning-events/european-inventor/finalists/2015/holmes.html

In the meantime the entry for Holmes appears to have been “sanitized” by deleting the previous content including references to the granted European patents and the link to the Handlesblatt article and replacing it with the following “disclaimer”:

Important note: The nomination of Elizabeth Holmes for the European Inventor Award was put forward in 2014, and her selection as a finalist announced in April 2015. The nomination itself and material produced about Ms Holmes were based on the information available at that time. Serious concerns about the technology and its purported benefits have surfaced since then.
https://www.epo.org/learning-events/european-inventor/finalists/2015/holmes.html

The EPO’s original press release from 2015 mentioning Elizabeth Holmes can still be found online here:

The document is downloadable in Word format and in the file metadata the author is named as “Philipp Nisster”.

According to LinkedIn, Philipp Nister is the Head of Public Relations of the Echolot Group, a PR outfit based in Stuttgart:
https://de.linkedin.com/in/philipp-nisster-8b159693

https://echolot.de/


Echolot works for the EPO this year [1, 2] and we can recall it working for the EPO in the past, albeit more covertly. We wonder how big their contract is compared to FTI Consulting’s. If someone out there has access to the related document/s (contract etc.), please consider leaking these to us.

Links 4/5/2018: Kubernetes and GSoC in Headlines

Posted in News Roundup at 3:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Linux Apps Are Coming to Chromebooks and You Can Try Them Right Now, Here’s How

      Rumored to come to a Chromebook near you, support for Linux apps just entered beta testing in the latest Chrome OS Dev channel, as confirmed by Kevin Tofel of About Chromebooks. The feature appeared in the Settings and needed to be turned on if you want to use Linux tools, editors, and IDEs on your Chromebook.

      The first sign of Linux app support in Chrome OS appeared two months ago when a Reddit user discovered a Chromium Gerrit commit explaining a new device policy designed to allow containerized Linux apps to Chromebooks. Then, someone discovered a Terminal app, whichfailed to install, but suggested upcoming support for Linux apps.

    • Chrome OS Canary begins testing Linux app support ahead of Google I/O

      First uncovered by ChromeUnboxed a few months ago, the Chrome OS team seems to be working towards Linux app compatibility. Yesterday, the settings menu was found to be updated in Chrome OS Canary with a new option that confirms the exciting change.

      The option says “Run Linux tools, editors, and IDEs on your Chromebook,” and indicates targeting a market that has been so far mostly untapped on Chromebooks: developers.

      Humorously, the codename for this feature — Crostini — is basically a big fancy crouton. Google seems to be willing to admit that the OS truly needs the features that Crouton brings to the table, but without the instability that currently comes with it.

    • Linux app support going live on Chrome OS Dev channel

      The first evidence of Linux application support on Chrome OS appeared in February, and more details have continued to trickle out since. Earlier this month, a Terminal app began appearing on Chrome OS Dev, confirming that “your favorite native apps and command-line tools” would be supported. Google has also been working on its own GTK theme, so Linux apps feel right at home on Chrome OS.

    • Linux App Support is Coming to Chrome OS

      This is born out by the description of this feature which, as many Android/Chrome-related blogs are starting to discover, is now available in Beta form in the Chrome OS Dev channel. “Run Linux tools, editors, and IDEs on your Chromebook,” the description notes.

    • Chrome OS Linux Apps Support Spotted in Beta

      Just a week ahead of Google I/O 2018, the Chrome OS Canary channel has been updated to support a new exciting feature. A new settings option for Linux apps has appeared hinting that the native support for Linux apps on Chrome OS may be announced next week at the annual developers’ conference.

    • Chrome OS Developer Channel gets access to Linux apps ahead of Google I/O

      ChromeOS was rumoured to get Linux app support a while ago now, and while we saw hints of it coming fairly recently, it was always believed that this feature would launch at Google I/O 2018.

    • System76 have announced a new Oryx Pro laptop model and it’s a bit of a beast

      Linux hardware vendor System76 [Official Site] (and now a Linux distribution maker too) have just announced their new Oryx Pro laptop and it’s a beast.

    • How a university network assistant used Linux in the 90s

      In the mid-1990s, I was enrolled in computer science classes. My university’s computer science department provided a SunOS server—a multi-user, multitasking Unix system—for its students. We logged into it and wrote source code for the programming languages we were learning, such as C, C++, and ADA. In those days, well before social networks and instant messaging, we also used the system to communicate with each other, sending emails and using utilities such as write and talk. We were each also allowed to host a personal website. I enjoyed being able to complete my assignments and contact other users.

    • Librem 15 sale? Librem 13 sale? Why not both?

      Yesterday we’ve been pleasantly surprised to hear from Publisher of the legendary Linux Journal that we have been featured in their latest May issue focused on privacy. Shawn Powers, associate editor at Linux Journal, purchased a Librem 13 for his own use and decided to review it in depth. The result is a glowing review that warms our hearts after this particularly long winter (remember, our team is international, so most of us are not surfing the beaches of San Francisco). To break the ice, Shawn begins his review with this humorous fact: Purism’s laptops, with their modern and power-efficient chipsets and CPUs, are cool-enough to use on your lap, and so we can rightfully call them “laptops” instead of “notebooks”. Well, that’s a great way to start the barbecue season!

  • Server

    • How containers cut server costs at the Financial Times by 80 percent

      The Financial Times’ content platform team has reduced its AWS server costs by 80 percent while moving to a much more stable tech infrastructure by adopting containers, but the move wasn’t free of challenges.

      The FT was a reasonably early adopter of Docker as its container platform in mid-2015.

      Speaker at KubeCon in Copenhagen this week, Sarah Wells, technical director for operations and reliability at the FT said: “It [Docker] was pretty leading edge at the time, though we had to do lots of work to glue components together.”

    • DigitalOcean Kubernetes delivers scalable container deployment and orchestration to over one million developers
    • DigitalOcean Brings Kubernetes Orchestration to Its Cloud Platform

      Developer focused cloud company DigitalOcean is bringing Kubernetes to its platform and upping its CNCF membership from silver to gold.

    • DigitalOcean Adds Kubernetes Support to Developer Cloud
    • DigitalOcean simplifies container orchestration with new Kubernetes offering on its cloud
    • DigitalOcean is getting into container hosting
    • DigitalOcean dives into the container game with their container platform
    • DigitalOcean launches Kubernetes-based container service
    • Oracle’s new container engine for Kubernetes
    • DigitalOcean simplifies container deployment for developers with Kubernetes support

      Since early 2017, cloud hosting provider DigitalOcean has been expanding beyond the traditional cloud VPS “droplet” hosting that has rocketed the company to becoming the third largest host in terms of web-facing computers, according to NetCraft. As part of this expansion, DigitalOcean announced a preview of Kubernetes container support, according to a Wednesday blog post.

      Much in the same way that DigitalOcean simplified server deployment with VPS droplets, the company is taking a similar approach to Kubernetes container deployments.

    • Rancher Labs Compares Future to Building a Car Around Kubernetes

      Rancher Labs’ break from Docker as the basis for its orchestration platform is now officially complete as the company has pushed availability of its Kubernetes-based 2.0 platform to all. Rancher Labs CEO Sheng Liang said the general availability launch followed more than a year of development and more than six months of public trials.

      The company initially announced public plans to move away from Docker last September. At that time, Liang said the decision was based on customer demand.

    • Kubernetes distributions vs. the open source option

      The rise of Kubernetes stems from an overall IT movement toward hybrid cloud platforms and containers to deploy independent, packaged pieces of code. Modern IT practices aim for agility, supporting faster changes in business strategy than previous IT infrastructure designs. There is a strong corresponding need to manage how containers are packaged, implemented, monitored and managed. Full orchestration ensures high availability (HA), security, comprehensive performance monitoring, reporting and active feedback loops. Kubernetes brought orchestration without vendor lock-in to the container space and successfully went up against the biggest player — Docker — as well as many narrowly focused systems.

    • How the four components of a distributed tracing system work together

      Ten years ago, essentially the only people thinking hard about distributed tracing were academics and a handful of large internet companies. Today, it’s turned into table stakes for any organization adopting microservices. The rationale is well-established: microservices fail in surprising and often spectacular ways, and distributed tracing is the best way to describe and diagnose those failures.

      That said, if you set out to integrate distributed tracing into your own application, you’ll quickly realize that the term “Distributed Tracing” means different things to different people. Furthermore, the tracing ecosystem is crowded with partially-overlapping projects with similar charters. This article describes the four (potentially) independent components in distributed tracing, and how they fit together.

    • Kubernetes in Europe: The most significant news from Kubecon this week

      The Kubernetes train stops in Europe this week, as over 4,000 attendees attend keynote sessions and technical talks that continue through Friday on containers, container-orchestration, microservices, and even serverless computing at Kubecon and CloudNativeCon in Copenhagen.

    • Cisco embraces Kubernetes, pushing container software into mainstream

      Kubernetes, originally designed by Google, is an open-source-based system for developing and orchestrating containerized applications. Containers can be deployed across multiple server hosts and Kubernetes orchestration lets customers build application services that span multiple containers, schedule those containers across a cluster, scale those containers and manage the container health.

    • Google Kubeflow, machine learning for Kubernetes, begins to take shape

      Ever since Google created Kubernetes as an open source container orchestration tool, it has seen it blossom in ways it might never have imagined. As the project gains in popularity, we are seeing many adjunct programs develop. Today, Google announced the release of version 0.1 of the Kubeflow open source tool, which is designed to bring machine learning to Kubernetes containers.

    • Cloud-Native Technologies That Made an Impression at KubeCon EU 2018
    • Cisco’s Wide And Deep Embrace Of Kubernetes

      As enterprises continue to spread their workloads around – keeping some in their core datacenters while placing others in either private clouds or sprinkling them among disparate public clouds – the portability, visibility and management of those applications becomes an issue. There is no standardization among public cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform, among others, and applications that run well in an on-premises datacenter may hit some rough patches when they migrate to the cloud. Developers also are finding challenges when moving applications into production, either in the datacenter or cloud, also come with their share of challenges.

    • Google and New Relic announce new Kubernetes services

      We continue our summary of vendor announcements from the Kubernetes Conference + CloudFirst Conference Europe with a pair of press releases from Google and New Relic.

    • Google Tool Monitors Cloud-Hosted, On-Premises Kubernetes Clusters

      Organizations using the Kubernetes platform to build and deploy container applications now have a new option for monitoring the environment for performance-impacting bugs, bottlenecks and abnormal behavior.

      Google this week announced the beta release of Stackdriver Kubernetes Monitoring for aggregating logs event data and other metrics from Kubernetes environments. Developers and operations teams can use the data to understand—in near real time—how an application is performing in production and to quickly identify issues that might impact performance.

    • Where Kubernetes Is Headed and Why Boring Is Good

      At the Kubecon and CloudNativecon Europe 2018 day two keynotes on May 3, speakers discussed Kubernetes success stories and what’s coming next.

      Aparna Sinha, group product manager at Google, outlined the core areas of concern that are leading feature development in future Kubernetes releases. She noted the top three issues the Kubernetes community is working on are security, application enablement and providing a better experience for developers.

    • Star Wars Jedi Challenges Gets Lightsaber Versus Mode, Version 0.1 of Kubeflow Released, Arch Linux 2018.05.01 Snapshot Now Available and More

      Google today announced the release of version 0.1 of the open-source Kubeflow tool, which is “designed to bring machine learning to Kubernetes containers”. According to TechCrunch, “the idea behind the project is to enable data scientists to take advantage of running machine learning jobs on Kubernetes clusters. Kubeflow lets machine learning teams take existing jobs and simply attach them to a cluster without a lot of adapting.”

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.18 Set To Receive Scheduler Optimization For vCPUs

      The Linux kernel scheduler optimization work continues and it looks like for Linux 4.18 there will be at least another optimization to help out vCPUs in a virtualized environment.

      Rohit Jain of Oracle sent in a patch this week that is already queued as part of scheduler work for the next kernel series, Linux 4.18. The patch is sched/core: Don’t schedule threads on pre-empted vCPUs.

    • Some notes on recent random numbers

      By now people may have seen complaints of boot slowdown on newer kernels. I want to explain a little more about what’s going on and why Fedora seems to be particularly hard hit.

      The Linux kernel has a random number generator in drivers/char/random.c. This provides several interfaces for random numbers to the system. There are two main interfaces for random numbers: /dev/random and /dev/urandom. /dev/random is designed to be “secure”, meaning it is sufficiently random that it can be used for things like cryptography keys. /dev/urandom is “random” in the sense that most humans won’t detect a pattern but sufficient mathematical analysis might find a weakness.

    • Linux Weather Forecast

      This page is an attempt to track ongoing developments in the Linux development community that have a good chance of appearing in a mainline kernel and/or major distributions sometime in the near future. Your “chief meteorologist” is Jonathan Corbet, Executive Editor at LWN.net. If you have suggestions on improving the forecast (and particularly if you have a project or patchset that you think should be tracked), please add your comments below.

    • Linux Foundation

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA 396.18.07 Vulkan Driver Continues Addressing Fallout From The New SPIR-V Compiler

        While this week brought the NVIDIA 396.24 stable Linux driver, for those Vulkan developers/gamers there is a new beta release that is actually version 396.18.07 but contains their very latest Vulkan changes.

      • VC4 Gets Syncobj For Linux 4.18, V3D Driver Landing For Linux 4.18

        Maarten Lankhorst has sent in a pile of updates from the drm-misc-next tree today of new feature material to queue in DRM-Next in turn for Linux 4.18.

        Most notable with this pull is the new driver it includes: V3D. That’s the much talked about new Broadcom VideoCore driver previously known as VC5. The DRM driver is ready for mainline now for this modern VC5/VC6 Broadcom graphics hardware set to appear in more devices. The OpenGL/Gallium3D driver is coming along and there is also early work on OpenCL/Vulkan too.

      • The New Features Coming In Mesa 18.1: Intel Cache By Default, Many Vulkan Strides

        While Mesa 18.0 was just released a little over one month ago, Mesa 18.1 is already gearing up for release this month after going through two release candidates already. Here’s a look at the new features of this second quarter 2018 Mesa 3D update.

      • VC5 Gallium3D Going To V3D, Ready To Turn On By Default

        Following the renaming of the VC5 DRM driver to “V3D” and the new driver on its way to the mainline Linux 4.18 kernel, Eric Anholt is now renaming the user-space VC5 Gallium3D driver to V3D and is also ready to enable it by default.

      • Color Management Support Updated For The AMDGPU X.Org Driver

        A bit more than one month ago I wrote about AMD developers working on updated color management support for their AMDGPU X.Org driver. Today a significantly updated patch-set is available.

      • Radeon Software 18.20 Preview Offers Early Support For Ubuntu 18.04 LTS & RHEL 7.5

        Just days ago AMD rolled out the Radeon Software 18.10 Linux driver that brought support for Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS but hadn’t supported the newly-released Ubuntu 18.04 LTS “Bionic Beaver”, but that has now changed.

        AMD has now issued a public preview release driver for the Radeon Software 18.20 series. The notable changes — well, in fact, the only mentioned changes — for this early preview release in the 18.20 series is initial support for Ubuntu 18.04 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5.

    • Benchmarks

      • Radeon Software 18.10 vs. Mesa 18.2 RADV/RadeonSI Benchmarks

        Last week AMD released Radeon Software 18.10 as their latest official Linux driver release for what previously was referred to as “AMDGPU-PRO” while now also offers the “All-Open” driver option too. For our latest Linux GPU benchmarking is a look at how Radeon Software 18.10 with its closed-source OpenGL/Vulkan driver builds compare to that of the RadeonSI and RADV open-source drivers when testing from the Mesa 18.2-devel state.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KaOS Linux Celebrates Five Years of Activity with New, Totally Revamped Release

        The developers of the KaOS Linux open-source operating system released a new monthly snapshot, for the April 2018, which comes with a complete redesign to celebrate five years of activity.

        KaOS it’s five years old, and you might want to download the KaOS 2018.04 release as it comes with a brand new look and feel, including theme, icons, and login screen, an all-new welcome screen app called Croeso to make setting the system a breeze for newcomers, as well as the most recent KDE software and GNU/Linux technologies.

        “It is five years ago this month that KaOS started, a nice way to commemorate is with releasing 2018.04. This ISO has a complete redesign of the Midna theme for 2018. Some 2500 new icons in use, rewritten SDDM login theme and a KaOS community selected new wallpaper (created by Jomada),” reads the announcement.

      • Calamares and Google Summer of Code

        This year Calamares is participating in Google’s Summer of Code. While Calamares doesn’t live under the KDE umbrella — for political reasons, basically, to emplasize that it is a desktop-agnostic system installer — it has a great deal of KDE DNA inside. The maintainers (that’s Teo, then myself) have been KDE people, some of the technology is definitely KDE (KPMCore in particular). So we’re happy to be participating under the KDE umbrella in a mixed KPMCore / Calamares role.

      • Wireless setting for Plasma Mobile

        Month after my proposed design (but in truth i am working on this for longer time), i am finally finished basic functionality for wireless section of mobile settings. Basics of UI is also almost done, even it’s need some polishing and good criticism of designers.

      • Google Summer of Code 2018 – Introduction & Community Bonding

        I have been selected to participate in Google Summer of Code 2018, where I will collaborate in KDE Partition Manager and Calamares under KDE Community. My proposal involves finishing the LVM support and implementing RAID support in kpmcore, KDE Partition Manager and Calamares. For those who want to know more details about it, here is my proposal link.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • What did go well with the action bar proposal?

        In a previous blog post I asked feedback about adding an always visible action bar to Nautilus that integrated the floating bar info too.

        It was very useful, as most of you confirmed our suspicions that it was too heavy, so we researched for a better solution for the goals we had: Make actions more discoverable, have good touch support and better pointer accessibility (not being able to access actions in list view anyone?).

      • An overview of how Fractal works
      • Proposal accepted for GSoC 2018
      • Hello World

        ‘Pænt goddag’ (Danish greeting). My name is Niclas Moeslund Overby. You can find me on IRC as noverby and Matrix as @noverby:matrix.org. GNOME/Linux have been my daily driver for 7 years and I follow every blog from GNOME and Fedora planet, so I feel heavily invested in FOSS ecosystem. I know GNOME contributor Bastian Ilsø from my participation in Open Source Aalborg, where we had a weekly meet-up with workshops and talks all about Open Source.

      • GNOME.Asia Summit 2018 Call for Papers is now open

        GNOME.Asia Summit is the featured annual GNOME conference in Asia. It focuses primarily on the GNOME desktop, but also covers applications and the platform development tools. The summit brings together the GNOME community in Asia to provide a forum for users, developers, foundation leaders, governments and businesses to discuss the present technology and future developments.

      • FOSDEM 2018

        Last weekend I was in Brussels for FOSDEM, a super awesome conference about free and open source software. Since my first year, three years ago, a few things have changed. This year I went as a speaker and I brought with me a talk about my experience writing Teleport, my first GTK+ application. I really hope I could motivate somebody to start their own project. Also, in the past year my relationship to free software has changed, from just being a user and advocate to an active contributor (primarily to the GNOME Project).

      • Animating a ScrolledWindow

        The other day I worked on improving the auto-scroll in Fractal (a super cool GTK+ Matrix Client). While doing this I discovered some nice features in GTK+.

      • GSoC 2018: Introduction

        Fast-forward two years, I have a couple of small Rust projects and some contributions and continuing to enjoy the language. So, it should be of no surprise that when I learned about GSoC I started looking for Rust-related projects. I applied to both Xi (a novel text editor with a fully async architecture) and librsvg (a GNOME library for rendering SVG files) and got accepted into librsvg on a project to help with the ongoing effort to port it to Rust, specifically the SVG filter effects.

        [...]

        Next comes the most interesting part, experimenting with Rust abstractions over common filter actions, such as iterating over pixels in various ways, like one by one or using a square window. This has to be fast and ergonomic and support the different filter use cases.

      • YAMLing the flathub

        The most common way to build flatpak is using a tool called flatpak-builder. This is a tool that takes a higher level description of the sources that go into an application and generate the build commands to build it. This description is called a manifest, and is traditionally a JSON file.

        JSON is very common in the web world, and it is a well known format that have many implementations. However, it is not really great for humans to write.

  • Distributions

    • Q4OS – A Fast & Powerful Open-Source Windows-Like OS

      Q4OS is an open source Debian-based distro that boasts a UI similar to that of Windows XP and Windows 7 straight out of the box. It focuses on long-term stability, security, speed, and reliability.

      Q4OS was created not too long before Microsoft ended support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. After this period many Windows users who had not completely transitioned from XP were forced to use workstations that were vulnerable to security threats, app bugs, and general unreliability.

      The dev team tagged it “the right desktop for your business” and they have their commercial support feature to back it up – they are ready to provide client support by helping users with system modifications, UI customization, and core level API programming. The OS also does a good job of working with virtual cloud environments and that’s thanks to its low hardware requirements.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • The May 2018 Issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine

        The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the May 2018 issue. With the exception of a brief period in 2009, The PCLinuxOS Magazine has been published on a monthly basis since September, 2006. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community. The magazine is lead by Paul Arnote, Chief Editor, and Assistant Editor Meemaw. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is released under the Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 Unported license, and some rights are reserved. All articles may be freely reproduced via any and all means following first publication by The PCLinuxOS Magazine, provided that attribution to both The PCLinuxOS Magazine and the original author are maintained, and a link is provided to the originally published article.

        In the May 2018 issue:

        * Firefox Quantum: The Improvements Keep Coming
        * PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight: onkelho
        * Short Topix: The 411 On 1.1.1.1 DNS Service
        * ms_meme’s Nook: PCLOS Caravan
        * Tip Top Tips: pmiab (Poor Man’s Internet Ad Blocker) -
        Ad Blocking Without A Browser Extension
        * GIMP Tutorial: Sphere Variations
        * YouTuber – More Tips To Get There With PCLinuxOS
        * PCLinuxOS Recipe Corner
        * Repo Review – Day Planner
        * And much more inside!

        This month’s magazine cover image was designed by Meemaw.

        Download the PDF (6.0 MB)

        https://pclosmag.com/download.php?f=2018-05.pdf

        Download the EPUB Version (7.0 MB)

        https://pclosmag.com/download.php?f=201805epub.epub

        Download the MOBI Version (6.7 MB)

        https://pclosmag.com/download.php?f=201805mobi.mobi

        Visit the HTML Version

        https://pclosmag.com/html/enter.html

    • Gentoo Family

      • The ultimate guide to EAPI 7

        Back when EAPI 6 was approved and ready for deployment, I have written a blog post entitled the Ultimate Guide to EAPI 6. Now that EAPI 7 is ready, it is time to publish a similar guide to it.

        Of all EAPIs approved so far, EAPI 7 brings the largest number of changes. It follows the path established by EAPI 6. It focuses on integrating features that are either commonly used or that can not be properly implemented in eclasses, and removing those that are either deemed unnecessary or too complex to support. However, the circumstances of its creation are entirely different.

    • Arch Family

      • First Arch Linux ISO Snapshot Powered by Linux Kernel 4.16 Is Here

        The Arch Linux 2018.05.01 snapshot for May 2018 is here, and it’s the first to be powered by the Linux 4.16 kernel series, which brings mitigations for Meltdown and both variants of the Spectre vulnerabilities for ARM64 (AArch64) architectures, as well as Spectre mitigations for IBM System z (s390) architectures.

        Linux kernel 4.16 also updates numerous drivers for best-in-class hardware support, and adds various improvements to existing features, such as KVM (Kernel-based virtual machine) support for AMD Secure Encrypted Virtualization, Memory Protection Keys support for the POWER architecture, and others.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Hands on with Docker, openSUSE Leap 15

        This blog is part of a series of technical blogs leading up to the release of openSUSE Leap 15. All of the blogs provide a use case regarding openSUSE Leap and the packages available in the distribution. Happy reading.

        [...]

        Docker implements a high-level Application Programming Interface to provide lightweight containers that run processes in isolation.

        Because Docker containers are so lightweight, a single server or virtual machine can run several containers simultaneously.

    • Slackware Family

      • Absolute Linux Offers Old School Charm, Thanks to Slackware

        What this means is that, within the Linux landscape, you can find a distribution that perfectly fits your needs and your penchant. If you want something ultra-modern, you can install any distribution that features either GNOME or KDE Plasma. If you want something moderately modern, take a look at Elementary OS, or any distribution featuring the Budgie Desktop (or Mate or Cinnamon). But what if your desktop desires are rooted in something from the past? Say Windows XP? Believe it or not, there are plenty of distributions that cater to those who long for the days of yore, when the desktop metaphor trended toward the simple Microsoftian look and feel.

    • Red Hat Family

      • HPE partners with Red Hat to bring containers to production

        Having trouble bringing containers into production? Red Hat and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) have an answer. They’re optimizing Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform (RHOCP), Red Hat’s Kubernetes container orchestration platform, on HPE platforms, including HPE Synergy.

        Sure, it’s easy to deploy containerized applications in development and test environments, but it’s not so easy in enterprise-sized production environments. Enterprises often require container scalability, added security features, persistent storage, and manageability to deploy containers in production. To help speed up container application delivery, HPE and Red Hat are collaborating in what HPE calls the industry’s “first composable infrastructure”.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 18.10 Daily Build ISOs Are Now Available to Download

            Now that Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) was released, it’s time for the Ubuntu development team to concentrate their efforts on the next release of the Linux-based operating system.

            That’s right, we’re talking about Ubuntu 18.10, the next Ubuntu Linux release that’s expected to arrive later this fall. It will be a short-lived release supported for only 9 months, but it should come with some of the latest GNU/Linux technologies and Open Source software applications.

            Now that Canonical decided to move to GNOME by default, we expect Ubuntu 18.10 to ship with the upcoming GNOME 3.30 desktop, due for release on September 6, 2018. The first point release, GNOME 3.30.1, is scheduled for September 26, so Ubuntu 18.10 might ship with this version considering it’s launching sometime in October.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Review Roundup

            The Ubuntu 18.04 release arrived at the end of April and plenty of news coverage was there to greet it.

            Most major tech publications no longer carry reviews of Ubuntu, instead preferring to give readers with a punchy “overview”, with a blow-by-blow rundown of the key improvements or changes at hand.

            So this post is less of a “review roundup” and more of a “overview roundup”.

            The good news is that plenty of such posts appeared after the Bionic Beaver burrowed its way out on April 26, 2018.

            And in this article we recap the best of them!

          • Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic” Daily Builds Available: 7 Expected Features And Release Date

            In late April, Canonical released the final stable release of Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver. As it’s an LTS release, it’s of greater importance than other Ubuntu releases with nine-month support cycle. 18.04’s release also meant that the work on the next release has started.

          • Development Started for Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic CANIMAL. See What New Features it Will Have

            Ubuntu 18.10 codename, release date, new features and everything important associated with it compiled in one single article.

          • Ubuntu MATE & Budgie Drop 32-bit ISOs

            Both Ubuntu MATE and Ubuntu Budgie are dropping 32-bit installer images ahead of their next stable release.

            Neither Ubuntu flavour will release a 32-bit ISO image for their ‘18.10’ releases in October.

            They’re not alone in doing this; the regular version of Ubuntu dropped 32-bit ISO images in 2017.

          • Ubuntu MATE 18.10 Will Drop 32-Bit Support for New Installations
          • Ubuntu Budgie 18.10 Is Also Dropping Support for 32-Bit Installations

            After writing the article about the Ubuntu MATE team deciding to drop support for new 32-bit installations with the upcoming Ubuntu MATE 18.10 release, we discovered that Ubuntu Budgie team also requested that 32-bit ISOs to no longer be generated for the Ubuntu Budgie 18.10 release as they want to concentrate only on 64-bit support.

            “We have had a successful release of Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 LTS and we now are in full planning mode for 18.10. Similar to the decision made by Ubuntu themselves at 17.10, we have decided to concentrate all our efforts on producing a really good image based on the hardware almost all of you actually use now,” said project leader David Mohammed. “From 18.10 onwards we would like to concentrate on the 64-bit ISO only.”

          • Canonical to Send Notifications to Snap Developers for Ubuntu Security Updates

            If you’re a Snap app developer, you’ll be glad to know that Canonical will now send you alerts via email everytime new Ubuntu Security Notices (USNs) are published and contain details about security fixes for the staged packages in the Snap. This will work only if you use “stage-packages” in Snap’s snapcraft.yaml configuration file.

            “Once a day, the service examines snaps that have manifest.yaml files for their currently published channels/tracks and checks whether USNs have been issued for the versions of the staged packages in the snap. If any snap revisions are affected, the tool will generate a report to send via email,” said Canonical in a blog post.

          • LXD Clusters: A Primer

            Since its inception, LXD has been striving to offer a fresh and intuitive user experience for machine containers. LXD instances can be managed over the network through a REST API and a single command line tool. For large scale LXD deployments, OpenStack has been the standard approach: using Nova LXD, lightweight containers replace traditional hypervisors like KVM, enabling bare metal performance and very high workload density. Of course OpenStack itself offers a very wide spectrum of functionality, and it demands resources and expertise. So today, if you are looking for a simple and comprehensive way to manage LXD across multiple hosts, without adopting an Infrastructure as a Service platform, you are in for a treat.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google open sources gVisor, a sandboxed container runtime

    Thanks to Docker, containers are everywhere now. But, while containers have revolutionized how we develop, package, and deploy applications, we’ve not done a great job of securing them. That’s where Google has a new answer in locking down containers: gVisor.

  • ONF pushes optical vendors into open source with ODTN project

    Backed by its operator membership, the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is continuing its effort to herd traditional telco vendors into the world of open source.

    To wit: ONF announced its Optical Disaggregated Transport Network (ODTN) open source project on Wednesday, which is backed by China Mobile, Comcast, NTT, TIM and Telefónica.

    Like similar efforts by ONF, ODTN was designed to put operators in control of projects and to negate vendor lock-in by allowing service providers to select best-of-breed components instead of buying an entire system from a single vendor.

  • Google open source Asylo framework streamlines app development in trusted environments

    On Thursday, Google unveiled Asylo, a new open source framework aimed at protecting apps and data by running them in a confidential computing environment. According to a Google blog post, Asylo also encompasses an SDK, and is geared toward developing applications that run in trusted execution environments (TEEs).

    In the post, Google describes the work of TEEs as defending “against attacks targeting underlying layers of the stack, including the operating system, hypervisor, drivers, and firmware, by providing specialized execution environments known as ‘enclaves.’” It also noted that TEEs can help in mitigating risks around compromise from outside parties.

  • Google releases open source framework for building “enclaved” apps for cloud
  • Google open source Asylo framework streamlines app development in trusted environments
  • Google launches open-source framework Asylo
  • Google open-sources Asylo, a confidential computing framework for isolating cloud-based apps

    Google Inc. is touting a better way for enterprises to secure their cloud applications and corresponding data in what it calls a confidential computing environment.

    The company is pitching an open-source framework its just released called Asylo, which is designed to provide greater isolation for sensitive cloud workloads.

  • Will confidential computing incentivize companies to move more sensitive data to the cloud?

    The Asylo framework will verify code integrity in enclaves, provide isolation for sensitive workloads and offer communication encryption tools. The current version of Asylo offers the ability to develop applications in enclaves portable across software and hardware backends, and the next iteration will expand to allow developers to copy and run an entire application in the protected spaces.

  • Google gVisor serves up container security isolation

    There are other VM-like approaches for container security isolation, but Google’s Kubernetes cred could make its gVisor a multi-cloud standard for security-sensitive enterprise apps.

  • Liferay Portal 7.1 Alpha 1 Release

    I’m pleased to announce the immediate availability of: Liferay Portal 7.1 Alpha 1!

  • Liferay Community Edition Portal 7.1 on the Horizon, More Open Source News

    Liferay Community Edition Portal 7.1 Alpha 1 is now available, which means it’s entering phase two of its beta program focused on reporting and fixing bugs within the software.

    Liferay has called on the open source software community to participate in the beta program to find bugs and report them through its feedback forum.

  • NGINX Releases Open Source Web Server with Dynamic Configuration

    NGINX recently released version 1.0 of Unit, an open-source web and application server. The server supports remote and dynamic configuration and incurs no service interruptions for configuration changes. Unit 1.0 also supports multiple languages (Go, Perl, PHP, Python, and Ruby) running on the same instance, including multiple versions of the same language.

    NGINX Unit does not rely on a static configuration file, but is instead configured via a REST API using JSON. All configuration is stored directly in memory, allowing for changes to happen without restarting the running services. The router process is persistent and does not require a restart.

  • ONF brings open source to optical networking

    The operator-led Open Networking Foundation (ONF) has announced a new community initiative to bring the benefits of open networking to the optical domain. The Open Disaggregated Transport Network(ODTN) project looks to build new network architectures using disaggregated optical equipment, open and common standards, and open source software.

  • Aion’s Jin Tu on moving from enterprise blockchain to embracing open source
  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Winners of the Firefox Quantum Extensions Challenge to be announced May 8!

        The winners of the Firefox Quantum Extensions Challenge will be announced on Tuesday, May 8.

        Tune in to the live awards ceremony on Air Mozilla at 17:00 UTC (what time is that in my region?) to discover which extensions were named Best Dynamic Theme, Best Tab Manager / Tab Organizer, and Best Extension for Games & Entertainment.

      • Creating Web Things with Python, Node.js, and Java

        The Mozilla IoT team recently released the Things Framework, which allows you to build IoT devices that speak the Web Thing API. Last week, James built an ESP8266 web thing. This time, I’m going to show you how to build web things with Python, Node.js, or Java. These languages are definitely not optimal for small embedded devices; this tutorial is intended for higher-end devices that can run these languages with ease, or even your own desktop computer.

        To demonstrate, we’ll be turning the Music Player Daemon (MPD) into a web thing. The libraries we’ll be using here are webthing-python, webthing-node, and webthing-java.

      • libopenraw 0.1.3

        I just released libopenraw 0.1.3. It has been a year since the last release. It mostly add new cameras.

        I already have a branch for a new feature that will introduce Rust, for the next release.

      • CDN, BCD, and SVG: MDN Changelog for April 2018

        A changelog is “a log or record of all notable changes made to a project. [It] usually includes records of changes such as bug fixes, new features, etc.” Publishing a changelog is kind of a tradition in open source, and a long-time practice on the web. We thought readers of Hacks and folks who use and contribute to MDN Web Docs would be interested in learning more about the work of the MDN engineering team, and the impact they have in a given month. We’ll also introduce code contribution opportunities, interesting projects, and new ways to participate.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Rook Cloud Storage Project Backer Upbound Raises $9M for Multi-Cloud

      Upbound announced its new funding at the KubeCon and CloudNativeCon EU 2018 conference here, where the company has multiple talks on Rook. The Rook project formally joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) on Jan. 29 as a new cloud storage effort.

    • Turning a dictator’s pyramid into a ham radio station

      You can help turn the pyramid of Albania’s former communist dictator into a ham radio station for OSCAL 2018 on 19-20 May 2018. This will be a prominent demonstration of ham radio in the city center of Tirana, Albania.

      Under the rule of Enver Hoxha, Albanians were isolated from the outside world and used secret antennas to receive banned television transmissions from Italy. Now we have the opportunity to run a ham station and communicate with the whole world from the very pyramid where Hoxha intended to be buried after his death.

    • GoFundMe: errors and bait-and-switch

      While the funding goal hasn’t been reached yet, my other goal, learning a little bit about the workings of crowdfunding sites, has been helped along by this experience. Before trying to run something like this again I’ll look a little harder for a self-hosted solution that I can fully run through my blog.

      I’ve told GoFundMe to immediately refund all money collected through their site so donors can send money directly through the Paypal donate link on my blog. If you would like to see the ham radio station go ahead at OSCAL, please donate, I can’t take my own batteries with me by air.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Octave 4.4 Brings A GUI Variable Editor, Other Changes

      While the debut of GCC 8.1 was the GNU Project’s biggest software release of the week, GNU Octave 4.4 also crept out as the latest feature release.

      Octave, the high-level programming language for numerical computations akin to — and largely compatible with — MATLAB, is out with its newest stable feature release.

    • GCC 8 Gnu compiler arrives: Here’s what’s new

      The new Version 8.1 of the Gnu Compiler Collection (GCC) improves diagnostics and C++ support. GCC provides front ends and libraries for the Ada, C, C++, Fortran, and Google Go languages.

      Despite what the version number indicates, GCC 8.1 is actually the first production release in the new GCC line.

    • Facebook Open-Sources Its PyTorch AI Framework, Kitty Malware Targets Drupal, GCC 8.1 Released and More

      GCC 8.1 was released yesterday. This is a major release and contains “substantial new functionality not available in GCC 7.x or previous GCC releases”. See this page for a summary of the “huge number of improvements”, including improvements to inter-procedural, profile-driven and link-time optimizations.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Ritter librarians see value in low-cost open source textbooks

        With the inflation in textbook prices over the past few decades comes a reasonable need for more affordable learning. Open Educational Resources has created a solution to this inflation.

        OERs can be defined as open source textbooks or other educational materials, usually for lower level undergraduate classes, that are low cost or even free to use for educators and their students.

        The movement toward a more open source educational system is of high importance to the Ohio Dept. of Higher Ed. and they, along with OhioLINK, Ohio’s Library Consortium, have been very interested in making these resources more available to all educators.

  • Programming/Development

    • Eclipse Che’s Plans for 2018

      2018 has been a busy year already, and we’re not even halfway through. Eclipse Che 6 brought team and enterprise features including multi-user and multi-tenancy as well as a large number of other great capabilities (you can read all about it in our Che 6 release post).

    • Best Free Python Visualization Packages

      Python is a very popular general purpose programming language — with good reason. It’s object oriented, semantically structured, extremely versatile, and well supported. Programmers and data scientists favour Python because it’s easy to use and learn, offers a good set of built-in features, and is highly extensible. Python’s readability makes it an excellent first programming language.

      Data visualization is an important method of exploring data and sharing results with others. When it comes to this field, Python is rubbing shoulders with R as the language of choice. Unfortunately, Python’s visualization landscape is pretty difficult to fathom without some serious digging. In part, this is because there are so many good open source Python visualization libraries available. Some of the packages are suitable for any field, others excel at a specific task.

    • New Linux® Support from Measurement Computing

      Measurement Computing Corporation (MCC) today announced the release of Universal Library (UL) for Linux, a programming library for use with MCC DAQ devices. Due to the strength and growth of the Linux community, the need for open-source DAQ solutions has increased. Th

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Open Source and Standards Must Mesh for Blockchains to Succeed

      There’s a belief in some open source circles that standards can be consigned to the ash heap of history now that OSS development has become so central to information technology. While it’s true that today many use cases can be addressed with OSS where open standards would have been used in the past, that approach can’t solve all problems. Most obviously, while resolving interoperation issues through real-time collaboration among up and downstream projects may meet the need within the same stack, it doesn’t help that stack communicate with other software.

      Blockchain technology is an architecture where collaboration on software alone will often not suffice to meet the challenge at hand.

Leftovers

  • Tips for using Twitter to promote your open source projects

    The number one rule in open source marketing is: You have to participate in the community. But participate how? Where? And how often? Doing those things right is the key to successful engagement.

    Fortunately, Kim McMahon of IT marketing firm McMahon Consulting answers those questions and more in her Lightning Talk, “Promoting Your Open Source Project and Building Online Communities Using Social Media,” at the 16th annual Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE).

  • How to ensure high-quality talks for your conference

    Focusing on audience needs also helps to reduce personal bias or favoritism. When you’re thinking of the perspectives of others, it’s a lot harder to be influenced your own. Naturally, reviewers should rely on their own personal knowledge—such as whether the subject is popular right now or (if proposals are not being reviewed blind) whether the proposer is a missing stair—but they should also be careful not to put their own needs or those of their employer before those of the audience.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Civil Society Key In TRIPS Flexibility Implementation

      When the agreement on intellectual property was adopted by the World Trade Organization, a number of flexibilities were included in the text, mainly to give developing countries policy space to implement the agreement with development considerations. However, some countries through lack of awareness or economic pressure have not used those flexibilities fully, and found themselves facing difficulties addressing their public health needs, which some associate with this failure to use the flexibilities. Civil society has engaged in notable efforts to counter pressure and raise policymakers’ awareness for a wider access to medicines.

    • Brazil’s Federal Court Reviews Medicines Mailbox Patents

      This week the media reported that the Brazilian federal court removed the patent protection for eculizumab, sold under the brand name Soliris by Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. Eculizumab is used in the treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), a rare and life-threatening blood disease. The product was approved by the US FDA for this indication in 2016. Brazil’s health care system spent $184.2 million to treat 442 patients with Soliris, an average of over $416,000 per patient. The ruling of the federal court may affect more pharmaceutical mailbox patents. This blog explains why this is.

      When the World Trade Organization (WTO) was created, and the TRIPS Agreement went into force on 1 January 1995, Brazil did not grant patents for pharmaceuticals. Therefore Brazil could make use of a transitional flexibility in the TRIPS Agreement that allowed developing countries not yet granting medicines patents to delay the granting of patents until 1 January 2005. TRIPS (Article 70.8), however, did require countries that made use of this transition flexibility to provide a mailbox in which would-be patent holders could file their patent applications from 1 January 1995 onwards. Brazil had such a mailbox, which was maintained until May 1997 when Brazil’s new TRIPS-compliant patent law went into force and the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI), the Brazilian patent office, started to grant pharmaceutical patents. Brazilian patent law (Article 40) prescribes that the patent term shall be 20 years for inventions. The patent term was set to be 20 years from filing and not less than 10 years from the date of grant. This minimum 10-year protection is not required by TRIPS and was included to cover instances where the INPI would take more than 10 years to examine and grant a patent. The 10-year minimum did not extend to mailbox patents; however, INPI has been granting mailbox patents with a ten-year duration since 1997 even though this was not required. Hence, patent PI 9507594 claiming eculizumab granted on 10 August 2010 was due to expire 10 years later.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Introducing developer notifications for snap security updates

      For some time, we’ve wanted a mechanism to alert snap publishers to security updates which affect their snaps. All the pieces have come together and we are now sending alerts via email. Stated more precisely, publishers who use ‘stage-packages’ in their snapcraft.yaml will now be alerted when Ubuntu Security Notices (USNs) have been issued for their staged packages. An example report looks like this:

    • Twitter: No big deal, but everyone needs to change their password

      Twitter is ringing in World Password Day by notifying its users, all 330 million of them, that their login credentials were left unencrypted in an internal log file and should be changed.

      Chief technology officer Parag Agrawal broke the news on Wednesday that its internal team had found that, while passwords are usually stored scrambled by encryption, something had caused at least one log to record them in plaintext.

      [...]

      The timing of the disclosure is particularly bad for Twitter, as much of the internet is today observing World Password Day by raising awareness of good password management practices and safe storage.

      Certainly this was not the type of exposure Twitter was seeking, particularly as it tries to beef up its protection of user data in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data-harvesting scandal.

    • Twitter says bug led to passwords stored in plaintext

      Twitter has advised its 330+ million users to change their passwords, following the discovery of a bug that stored passwords in plaintext.

    • Twitter Wants 336 Million Users To Change Passwords, Bug Exposed Them In Plain Text

      The microblogging site Twitter is advising its 336 million users to change their account passwords immediately. The reason, a bug in their system exposed the passwords in plain text.

      According to a blog post, the bug (now fixed) existed in the hashing process that is used to secure account passwords by turning them into random numbers and characters.

    • How to Secure Your Twitter Account (Even if Your Password is Stolen)
    • Security updates for Friday
    • Using Docker and Windows Server Containers? There’s a patch for that

      Microsoft has emitted a patch to fix a critical vulnerability in a wrapper used to launch Windows Server Containers from Go.

      The issue (CVE-2018-8115) is a nasty one, allowing remote code execution when importing a container image due to a failure of the library to validate what was on the way in.

      Exploiting the issue could be a challenge, as Microsoft stated:

      “An attacker would place malicious code in a specially crafted container image which, if an authenticated administrator imported (pulled), could cause a container management service utilising the Host Compute Service Shim library to execute malicious code on the Windows host.”

    • What to do after a data breach: 5 steps to minimize risk
  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Latest Act in Israel’s Iran Nuclear Disinformation Campaign

      Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim in his theatrical 20-minute presentationof an Israeli physical seizure of Iran’s “atomic archive” in Tehran would certainly have been the “great intelligence achievement” he boasted if it had actually happened. But the claim does not hold up under careful scrutiny, and his assertion that Israel now possesses a vast documentary record of a covert Iranian nuclear weapons program is certainly fraudulent.

      Netanyahu’s tale of an Israeli intelligence raid right in Tehran that carted off 55,000 paper files and another 55,000 CDs from a “highly secret location” requires that we accept a proposition that is absurd on its face: that Iranian policymakers decided to store their most sensitive military secrets in a small tin-roofed hut with nothing to protect it from heat (thus almost certainly ensuring loss of data on CDs within a few years) and no sign of any security, based on the satellite image shown in the slide show. (As Steve Simon observedin The New York Timesthe door did not even appear to have a lock on it.)

    • How Did Benghazi Become a Ruin? NYT Ignores US Role—in Multiple Media

      New York Times Cairo bureau chief Declan Walsh went to Benghazi, Libya, which is in ruins, to find out how it got that way.

      “When I went to Benghazi, I was guided by one main question: How did the city come to this?” he declares in his multimedia presentation, which combines text, audio, video and large-format photography. One thing that’s not conveyed via any medium, though: Seven years ago, the United States and its allies used military force to overthrow Libya’s government. The country has been in almost continual civil war since then, which you would think would be crucial in explaining “how the city came to that.” But apparently you don’t think like a New York Times bureau chief.

      The thing is, when President Barack Obama—egged on by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—called for an attack on Libya, the justification they offered was that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi would otherwise destroy Benghazi. So the fact that military intervention actually turned out to lead to the destruction of Benghazi seems like something you might want to tell Times readers, or Times consumers of multimedia, anyway.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • One West Virginia County Tried to Break Its Dependence on the Energy Industry. It Was Overruled.

      Matt Wender’s vision for Fayette County begins with the New River Gorge. Whitewater rafters, hikers and mountain bikers congregate there every summer. Craft beer and artisan pizza are helping his home emerge as an outdoor tourism hub.

      Just upstream from the river, there’s another reality: A company called Danny Webb Construction Inc. pumps waste from natural gas drilling underground. Chloride, strontium, lithium and other markers of gas waste have been found in Wolf Creek, which flows into the river.

      In the southeast corner of the county, developers of a 300-mile gas pipeline hope to turn a wooded, 130-acre plot into the site of a gas compressor station, a facility local leaders say would be noisy and would change the inviting nature of the area.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Bots Aren’t the Enemy in the Information War—We Are

      But Americans, as of now, have nowhere else to turn. The habits of the library and the newsstand, to say nothing of pre-digital social life, are lost to us. Instead, we’re stalled in the data smog that hangs over social media and search engines.

    • The ‘Values,’ ‘Vision,’ and ‘Democracy’ of an Inauthentic Opposition

      Never underestimate the capacity of the United States’ Inauthentic Opposition Party, the corporate Democrats, for self-congratulatory delusion and the externalization of blame.

      Look, for example, at the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) recently filed 66-page lawsuit against Russia, WikiLeaks, and the 2016 Donald Trump campaign. The document accuses Russia of “mount[ing] a brazen attack on the American democracy,” “destabilize[ing] the U.S. political environment” on Trump’s (and Russia’s) behalf, and “interfering with our democracy….”

      “The [RussiaGate] conspiracy,” the DNC Complaint says, “undermined and distorted the DNC’s ability to communicate the [Democratic] party’s values and vision to the American electorate” and “sowed discord within the Democratic Party at a time when party unity was essential…”

    • CIA Put Propaganda in Miami Herald, JFK Documents Show
    • How Do You Speak Politely to Evil? Michelle Wolf’s Challenge to Corporate Journalists

      The cushioned world of denial within which some corporate journalists live, at this time of national crisis, was best reflected by Bloomberg senior White House reporter Margaret Talev’s telling CNN that she “regretted” that Michelle Wolf’s now-infamous remarks at the April 28 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner “are now defining four hours of what was a really wonderful, unifying night. And I don’t want the cause of unity to be undercut.”

      Think for a moment about that statement.

      A major national journalist believes that “a unifying night” is possible at a gala in which a free press mingles with members of a historically unprecedented American pre-fascist regime that demonizes and blackballs truthful reporters, tells flagrant lies with breathtaking and ferocious regularity, eagerly dooms human life on Earth by embracing fossil-fuel falsehoods for the sake of a few decades of profits, rationalizes murders by white supremacists as being equivalent to the nonviolent protests of anti-racists, fills this administration with outrageous liars and spouse abusers and defiantly corrupt industry cronies, defies the Constitutional Emoluments Clause’s prohibition of personal financial gain from the presidency and defiles the moral body of the presidency with Trump’s profane hatred and contempt toward women.

      Bloomberg’s Talev apparently believes that conscientious journalists can make peace with these obscenities for at least one nationally televised evening in the spirit of a long-standing Washington media tradition. So, it appears, do venerable NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell (who called for Wolf to apologize for her remarks) and The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker.

    • Whoops! Jared Kushner Made Even More Mistakes in His Federal Filings

      Jared Kushner’s ethics disclosure filing misstated the financials on two Brooklyn loans, the latest in a long series of errors and omissions on the form.

      A Kushner representative confirmed the errors, attributing them to data entry and accounting mistakes. The representative said the figures will be revised in the next annual filing, which is due soon.

      The form has been updated at least 40 times since Kushner first submitted it in March 2017. Each update can contain multiple revisions.

      The newly revealed errors center on a pair of loans that Kushner Companies made to projects at 215 Moore Street in Bushwick and 9 DeKalb Avenue in downtown Brooklyn.

    • Trump’s Appointees Pledged Not to Lobby After They Leave. Now They’re Lobbying.

      Lobbyists who joined the Trump administration and now want to return to their old trade have a problem: President Trump said they can’t.

      Days after taking office, President Donald Trump signed an executive order requiring every political appointee to sign a pledge as a condition of taking office. The appointees agreed not to lobby the agencies they had worked in for five years after they left government service. Nor would they lobby anyone in the White House or political appointees across federal agencies for the duration of the Trump administration.

      But never doubt the ingenuity of the Washington swamp class. At least eight former Trump officials have found ways around the so-called ethics pledge.

      Using staffing lists compiled for ProPublica’s Trump Town, the first exhaustive database of current political appointees, we found at least 184 people who have left the Trump administration. Of those, at least six former officials are now registered lobbyists and several others work at firms in roles that resemble lobbying in all but name.

    • The Ghosts of ‘New Democrats’ Are Haunting Us

      Twenty-five years ago, the so-called New Democrats were triumphant. Today, afundamental battle for democracy is in progress—a conflict over whether to reduce the number of superdelegates to the party’s national convention in 2020, or maybe even eliminate them entirely.

      That struggle is set to reach a threshold at a party committee meeting next week and then be decided by the full Democratic National Committee before the end of this summer.

      To understand the Democratic Party’s current internal battle lines and what’s at stake, it’s important to know how we got here.

      After a dozen years of awful Republican presidencies, Bill Clinton and running mate Al Gore proved to be just the ticket for the corporate wing of the Democratic Party. Clinton settled into the White House in early 1993 as the leader of pathbreaking New Democrats. Many media outlets hailed him as a visionary who had overcome left-leaning liberalism to set the party straight.

    • Don’t Count on Russiagate to Bring Trump Down

      In filing a lawsuit accusing Russia, the Trump campaign, and Wikileaks of a conspiracy to win the 2016 election, Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez says the party is standing up to Russian meddling in not just that contest, but in the next one as well. “[When] you’ve seen attempted interference in the past, they’re going to do it again,” Perez told NBC News. “I’m punching back for democracy.”

      The lawsuit is an outgrowth of the Democratic Party’s more than yearlong focus on Russiagate “above all else,” as a top Hillary Clinton aide once described it. This approach has definitively shaped both the resistance to Donald Trump and the media coverage of his presidency. Trump’s critics have clung to the hope that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will undo his presidency, leaving Democrats and pundits to focus less on White House policies than on its endless controversies and rotating cast of characters.

    • Freedom No More

      As I write, with over 75% of all yesterday’s English local election results in, Labour has a net gain of 55 councillors compared to the high water mark of the 2014 result in these wards, while the Tories have a net gain of one seat against a 2014 result which was regarded at the time as disastrous for them, and led the Daily Telegraph to editoralise “David Cameron Must Now Assuage the Voters’ Rage”.

      Yet both the BBC and Sky News, have all night and this morning, treated these results, in which the Labour Party has increased by 3% an already record number of councillors in this election cycle, as a disaster. What is more, they have used that false analysis to plug again and again the “anti-Semitism in the Labour Party” witch-hunt. It was of course the continuous exacerbation of this mostly false accusation by Blairite MP’s which – deliberately on their part – stopped the Labour Party doing still better. The Blairites are all over the airwaves plugging this meme again today.

    • How You Can Keep Track of the Money Political Committees Spend at Trump Properties

      Since the 2016 presidential election, political committees have spent at least $3.1 million at various properties owned by The Trump Organization, including hotels, restaurants, golf courses and the famed Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida. The vast majority of the spending — all but $731 of it — was done by committees connected to Republicans.

      The $3.1 million is on top of the $12.5 million spent during the 2016 campaign, which mostly paid for flights taken by the campaign on Trump’s private plane.

      In our FEC Itemizer database, we’ve started tracking details on which committees spend money at Trump-owned properties and how much they spend. The data comes from expenditure reports submitted to the Federal Election Commission by the committees. The data will be updated monthly, and more often when, closer to the election, multiple filing days occur in a month.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Amazon blocks domain fronting, threatens to shut down Signal’s account

      Ars requested a comment from Amazon, but we have not yet received a response. Meanwhile, Amazon and Google have had to contend with widespread blocking of their services in efforts to stop the use of domain-fronting proxies and other cloud-proxy services, especially in Russia—where Roskomnadzor, Russia’s federal communications authority, has ordered the blocking of the encrypted chat applications Zello and Telegram and, in the process, blocked portions of Amazon’s and Google’s networks.

    • Malaysian ‘Fake News’ Law Claims Its First Victim

      The Malaysian government got a jump on the rest of the world by being the first to actually enact a “fake news” law. The government had several hundred million good reasons to do so, most them residing in the prime minister’s bank account. Lawmakers cited concern for the public’s well-being, but critics noted the law was just an efficient way for the government to shut down reporting it doesn’t like.

      The nation’s Ministry of Truth (a.k.a., the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission) cited free speech champion Donald Trump as the inspiration for this new censorship tool.

      [...]

      There’s a difference between a police car and an ambulance, which may make the video technically correct. But that really shouldn’t matter. Even if his claims were false, there’s no way the government should have reacted with anything more than a statement denying Sulaiman’s claims. The new law allows the government to arrest and fine anyone who publishes anything the government disagrees with. Six months in jail and fines up to $128,000 are one hell of a chilling effect. All the government seemingly needs to do to make charges stick is deny allegations made by citizens — or in this case, a nonresident visitor who claims he did not know the government had recently outlawed ‘fake news.”

      Those concerned about the state of speech protections around the world will view this as severely troubling. Those who actually have the power and desire to further restrict criticism and unfavorable reporting will see nothing but upsides for enacting legislation targeting “fake news.”

    • German Politician Decries Censorship, Follows It Up By Suing Facebook To Have A Critical Comment Deleted

      Germany’s terrible speech laws continues to be tools for abuse and stupidity. A recently-enacted law holds service providers responsible for lingering “hate speech” to the tune of €50m per violation. Social media companies have shown a tendency to over-enforce, resulting in the preemptive removal of things even the badly-written law doesn’t consider criminally hateful.

      Whatever damage social media companies are doing in order to steer clear of massive fines, politicians are compounding by using the law to target opponents and critics. Courthouse News Service reports a German court has indulged a politician’s hypocritical outrage to demand the disappearance of a critical, but hyperbolic, comment posted to Facebook.

    • Uncensored Playlist uses music streaming services to sidestep media censorship

      Reporters Without Borders has gone public with an interesting project called Uncensored Playlist, which asks musicians to turn censored articles into pop songs.

      The idea was sparked after the organisation noted that streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music often remain freely available in countries where media censorship online is otherwise rife. This, they realised, presented an opportunity to circumvent these barriers to information.

      To launch the project, Uncensored Playlist worked with five journalists from China, Egypt, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Vietnam, who have all experienced censorship. Initially, the songs were released without any promotion, so as not to alert authorities. It proved successful, with the Vietnamese songs they created reaching the top ten in the country’s streaming charts.

    • Censorship is alive on Bowdoin’s campus

      The annual Delta Sigma/Delta Upsilon art competition took place on April 14 in Smith Union. While this event ostensibly served as a “way to continue the tradition of ‘non-formalized’ creativity that Delta Sigma/Delta Upsilon fostered during its time at Bowdoin,” the actions of the curators belied a more elitist vision of what works warranted inclusion.

      [...]

      The irony is clear. An art competition, whose goal was to promote “‘non-formalized’ creativity,” was the locus of censorship. We do not profess to represent traditional art—none of the collective’s members study visual media, nor do we feel entitled to display our art in any public space on campus. We merely wished to exhibit our works in an art show that was open to the entire campus, with no qualifiers as to quality or content of submissions. The non-inclusion, both metaphorically and physically, of our works speaks to a censorship we find especially troubling. A vital art scene requires freedom to explore all themes in all media. We won’t apologize for our vision; we won’t compromise on our self-expression.

    • Govts continue to suppress media through censorship – HRW

      Governments across the world continue to suppress media through censorship or even arrests of journalists on dubious grounds, a prominent human rights watchdog said on Thursday on occasion of the World Press Freedom Day.

      “Governments the world over want to control the media – without an inconveniently free press, officials find it easier to do what they want .

    • The Toughest Enemy of Press Freedom Is the One Within

      There are three ways for governments to exercise control over the media: by enacting and enforcing laws that make free speech impossible and that hold out the threat of prison for any violation of those laws; by fear and intimidation, harsh and subtle, over owners, editors and journalists, but without any legal basis; and, perhaps the most dangerous of them all, by seduction. Of course, killing journalists is the most extreme form of pressuring the media and sadly, India is no exception to that.

    • Journalists Everywhere Are Facing An Increasingly Hostile Environment

      Last week 13 journalists and staff working for Turkey’s Cumhuriyet newspaper were convicted of terrorism-related crimes and given sentences that ranged between two and a half and eight years. The defendants and their lawyers told the court, ‘journalism is not a crime’, but in Turkey, where there are more than 174 journalists and media workers in prison, it would appear that it is.

      Today is World Press Freedom Day, a day to both celebrate press freedom and defend the media from attacks. Increasingly, it would appear that we are doing more of the latter than the former. One of the trends that we at ARTICLE 19 have observed in our work around the world, is that most journalists, wherever they are reporting, are facing an increasingly hostile environment .

    • Press freedom slides as journalists face growing threats around the world
    • Can Pakistani Media Resist Complex Curbs on the Freedom of Press?
    • Russian Censor Gets Help From Amazon and Google
    • Amazon doesn’t like how Signal circumvents censorship
    • Google and Amazon’s move to block domain fronting will hurt activists under repressive regimes
    • Google and Amazon put an end to censorship-dodging domain fronting
    • Facing censorship, Nicaraguan journalists and citizens turn to social media

      What do you do when a government censors the media? You use social networks.

      This was how thousands of young Nicaraguans started the #SOSNicaragua movement as the country’s government censored independent outlets and violently suppressed protests. All in just seven days.

      As seen in the Arab Spring and the #19S mobilization in Mexico, Nicaraguans managed to organize and report through the only means that the state did not control: the internet. Social media was key for Nicaraguans to rise up and take to the streets demanding justice and for reporters to cover the protests.

    • Is Facebook too liberal? It pledges to investigate charges it’s biased against conservatives

      Conservative claims that Facebook’s liberal staff treats them unfairly have been simmering for years — and exploded in 2016 — but are gaining momentum as Facebook concedes it made missteps in moderating the vast amount of content that streams through its platform.

    • Conservatives organize against social media censorship and come out swinging

      Unsafe? Two black women who like President Trump? Yes, unsafe, all right, but only to Democratic electoral prospects.

    • Accusations of censorship at UN on World Press Freedom Day

      On World Press Freedom Day when the U.N. chief was touting the “invaluable” role of a free press, a U.N. panel discussion on international media freedom and fake news was suddenly postponed, sparking accusations of censorship.

      The postponement was raised at Thursday’s official U.N. event marking World Press Freedom Day, where Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a video message that the service of the media to the public “is invaluable.”

      Robert Mahoney, deputy executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists thanked organizers of the official event for shining a light on the work of journalists — but said unfortunately “as we battle censorship around the world … the panel was cancelled because one of the presenters was going to mention by name countries that jail journalists.”

    • Charges of Censorship as U.N. Press Freedom Day Event Is Called Off

      In his World Press Freedom Day message on Wednesday, the United Nations secretary general called a free news media “crucial to building transparent and democratic societies.” By the end of day, though, a United Nations group was itself facing accusations of censorship.

      The group, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, “postponed” a panel discussion marking World Press Freedom Day and acknowledged asking a participant to alter a video presentation that had singled out countries with heavy restrictions on the news media.

      The alliance, a political initiative of the United Nations, said in a statement that the event was put off because the scheduled time had conflicted with another World Press Freedom Day event.

    • UN Celebrates World Press Freedom Day By Suppressing Presentation Of Turkey Suppressing Press

      Hey, everyone, today is World Press Freedom Day, which is a day created by the UN to “celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom,” to “assess the state of press freedom throughout the world” and to “defend the media from attacks on their independence.” Sounds good, right? So how is the UN itself celebrating World Press Freedom Day? Why, by refusing to allow a presentation to be heard that calls out Turkey for its suppression of press freedom.

      For real.

      The News Literacy Project — which, as the name suggests, seeks to increase new literacy among students — was all set to do a presentation at the UN’s Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) for World Press Freedom Day. However, just before the event, the UNAOC told NLP that it was “indefinitely postponing” their presentation unless references to the suppression of press freedoms in Turkey were removed. Really.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Should we be concerned about Privacy with low-level Chinese smartphone firmwares?

      Since I’ve started eelo.io, at the end of 2017, I had many discussions about the privacy of Chinese smartphone firmwares. Many people told me: if it’s technically possible to put some anti-privacy features into the firmware, they do it.

      What would be the benefit of running eelo on such smartphones if their proprietary firmware drivers leak some personal data to corporates or to the Chinese government?

    • Privacy Is Still Personal

      We solved privacy in the natural world with clothing, shelter, manners and laws. So far in the digital world, we have invisibility cloaks and the GDPR. The fastest way to get the rest of what we need is to recognize that privacy isn’t a grace of platforms or governments.

      In the physical world, privacy isn’t controversial. In the digital world, it is.

      The difference is that we’ve had thousands of years to work out privacy in the physical world, and about 20 in the digital one. So it should help to cut ourselves a little slack while we come up with the tech, plus the manners and laws to go with it—in that order. (Even though the gun has been jumped in some cases.)

    • ICE Performs Warrantless Raid Of Private Farm; Draws Heat From State And Federal Officials

      A recent ICE raid of a New York farm made national headlines thanks to the agency’s apparent disregard for the Fourth Amendment, among other things. The show of force, coupled with the lack of Constitutional compliance, presented ICE as ruthless enforcers of the law. But there’s not much respect for the “rule of law” contained in these actions, no matter how the current administration — with its emphasis on expelling foreigners from the US — presents itself.

      [...]

      ICE can’t honestly say it doesn’t need warrants to perform these actions. Its own training manual (published by Unicorn Riot) stresses the need for warrants. Searches still require warrants, even if they’re looking for illegal activity. ICE can search businesses for illegal workers, but it still needs “Blackie’s” warrants (named after a 1981 case brought against the INS), which allow the government to search for people, rather than property. There is no known warrant exception to intrude on private land to search for illegal workers. ICE may feel the Alternatives to Detention program gives it the right to search homes occupied by members of the program (and it does), but when the home resides on property owned by a US citizen, the barrier to entry remains a search warrant. The immigrant arrested in this case had proper documentation to work and resided in a house owned by John Collins on the C

    • ‘NSA Dominates Surveillance, Sabotage’ in Cyberspace – German Newspaper

      Internet technology has increasingly become compromised and militarized. More and more hackers are active in cyberspace, and the scope of their activities poses a serious threat to global security, German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung wrote.

      “The Internet is an American invention; the NSA dominates surveillance and sabotage, just as Facebook, Google and Apple run the commercial side. After all, the work has been going on for years,” the newspaper noted.

      [...]

      “Because one could do something terrible to each other, one would renounce their use. In fact, such resources are used constantly, never with full force, but by more and more states,” the newspaper concluded.

      Earlier, US Senator John McCain called on the United States to take an offensive stance in the information war with Russia and expressed sharp criticism of Trump’s perception of Moscow as a potential ally.

    • Cops Forced A Company To Share A Customer’s Identity For The Golden State Killer Investigation

      Prior to getting their big break through a public database used by genealogy enthusiasts to find potential relatives, investigators hunting the Golden State Killer used a subpoena to force a DNA testing company to reveal the identity of one of its customers.

      That news will add to a growing debate over the balance between law enforcement and genetic privacy sparked by the dramatic arrest last week of Joseph James DeAngelo, believed to have committed 12 murders and at least 51 rapes in California.

    • Cops Aren’t Just Submitting DNA Samples To Genealogy Services; They’re Also Obtaining Customer Info

      Recently, a genealogy service provided law enforcement with the information they needed to locate a murder suspect they’d been hunting for over forty years. GEDMatch admitted it was the service investigators used to find a familial match to DNA samples it had taken from crime scenes. This revelation led people to question how private their DNA data was when shared with genealogy services. The answer is, of course, not very, what with the purpose of these services being the matching of DNA info from thousands or millions of unrelated individuals.

      Police created a fake account to submit the sample they had and received matches that allowed them to narrow down the list of suspects. This was combined with lots of other regular police work — combing public records and obituaries for living relatives near the locations the crimes occurred — to gradually hone in on Joseph James DeAngelo, who is believed to have murdered twelve people and committed at least 51 rapes.

      But there was more to this than the DNA search at GEDMatch. Investigators had also used a service called FamilyTreeDNA to look for possible matches. The public database maintained by the company apparently helped investigators narrow down the list of suspects. Peter Aldhous of Buzzfeed has more details.

    • Bring in the Nerds: EFF Introduces Actual Encryption Experts to U.S. Senate Staff

      Earlier today in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, EFF convened a closed-door briefing for Senate staff about the realities of device encryption. While policymakers hear frequently from the FBI and the Department of Justice about the dangers of encryption and the so-called Going Dark problem, they very rarely hear from actual engineers, cryptographers, and computer scientists. Indeed, the usual suspects testifying before Congress on encryption are nearly the antithesis of technical experts.

      The all-star lineup of panelists included Dr. Matt Blaze, professor of computer science at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Susan Landau, professor of cybersecurity and policy at Tufts University; Erik Neuenschwander, Apple’s manager of user privacy; and EFF’s tech policy director Dr. Jeremy Gillula.

    • Surveillance Oversight Across the Golden State

      Every Californian from Yreka to Chula Vista, from Pismo Beach to Truckee, deserves a say in what types of surveillance technology are deployed in their communities and the governing policies for their use. They deserve a public process in which officials who are accountable to voters make the ultimate call about whether or not to acquire spy technology. The public deserves periodic updates from law enforcement officials about the impact of these technologies on public safety and civil liberties.

      EFF has joined a statewide coalition to support S.B. 1186, a California bill introduced by Sen. Jerry Hill to enact baseline transparency measures for every police department, sheriff’s office, district attorney’s office, school district and state university public safety department, the California Highway Patrol, and California Department of Justice.

    • Virginia Supreme Court Says License Plate Readers Collect Personal Data; Suggests Use Violates State Law

      A resident of Virginia, with the ACLU’s help, has won at least a partial victory against the mass collection of license plate/location info by automatic license plate readers (ALPRs). The question of whether or not mass collections of this data violated state privacy law has been answered, which may mean significant changes to the way state law enforcement deploys them.

      Virginia’s history of ALPR use is questionable, to say the least. Some towns in the state obtained ALPRs by claiming a need to swiftly capture the worst of the worst criminals, but decided to put them to use locating people behind on their property taxes. In 2013, state police were discovered to be using ALPRs to troll parking lots at political rallies, giving law enforcement a convenient way to connect drivers to their political leanings. Many of these devices were deployed without public comment or oversight. And law enforcement agencies drew a blank when asked for documentation of the devices’ crime-fighting effectiveness.

      This passive collection violated the state’s “Government Data Collection and Dissemination Act,” which forbids collection of personal information without a “clearly established need” to do so. The law prevents codification of abusive practices by requiring agencies looking to harvest personal information to seek approval first, rather than ask for forgiveness later.

    • “Clear History”? Why not #DeleteFacebook instead

      On Tuesday, at the Facebook developers conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg once again asked the social media site’s users for their trust, when he announced a new privacy control for the site. Called “clear history,” Zuckerberg claims it will allow users to clear their browsing history on Facebook, apparently including activity like which Web sites one has visited.

      This is an empty gesture. Facebook is clearly attempting to placate an angry public and defend itself against scrutiny by the US government, but it is still putting the impetus to protect user privacy on users, rather than simply choosing not to collect information on Facebook users in the first place.

      It will surprise many people clicking this new button to learn that, while Facebook says you will be able to clear your history, the company will still have a copy of that activity — it just won’t be associated with your account.

      This is a symptom of a fundamental problem. When you interact with Facebook, you are giving up control over your computing to a server run by someone else — it’s Service as a Software Substitute. The parts of it that do run on your local system are nonfree JavaScript.

    • Summer of Code: Preparations

      During preparations for my GSoC project, I’m finding first traces left by developers who dealt with OpenPGP before. It seems that Florian was right when he noted, that there is a lack of usable higher level Java libraries as I found out when I stumbled across this piece of code. On the other hand I also found a project which thrives to simplify OpenPGP encryption as much as possible. bouncy-gpg – while apparently laying its focus on file encryption and GnuPG compatibility – looks like a promising candidate for Smacks OX module. Unfortunately its code contained some very recent Java features like stream semantics, but I managed to modify its source code to make it compatible down to Androids API level 9, the version Smack is currently targeting. My changes will eventually be upstreamed.

    • EU: data-harvesting tech firms are ‘sweatshops of connected world’

      “The most recent [Facebook] scandal has served to expose a broken and unbalanced ecosystem reliant on unscrupulous personal data collection and micro-targeting for whatever purposes promise to generate clicks and revenues.

      “The digital information ecosystem farms people for their attention, ideas and data in exchange for so called ‘free’ services. Unlike their analogue equivalents, these sweatshops of the connected world extract more than one’s labour, and while clocking into the online factory is effortless it is often impossible to clock off.”

    • Cambridge Analytica Shuts Down All Offices Amid Ongoing Facebook Crisis
    • Cambridge Analytica Shutting Down After the Facebook Privacy Scandal, Report Says

      Cambridge Analytica sought information on Facebook to build psychological profiles on a large portion of the U.S. electorate. The company was able to amass the database quickly with the help of an app that appeared to be a personality test. The app collected data on tens of millions of people and their Facebook friends.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • ‘Victims’ Rights’ Proposals Like Marsy’s Law Undermine Due Process

      A national campaign to amend state constitutions to protect “victims’ rights” would jeopardize our constitutional rights.

      Since 2008, a national campaign entitled “Marsy’s Law” has sought to enshrine in state constitutions a specific and lengthy set of victims’ rights. Funded by California billionaire Henry Nicholas, the campaign’s goal is to lock its formula into every state constitution and then to amend the U.S. Constitution to include similar victims’ rights. Though well intended, the Marsy’s Law formula is poorly drafted and is a threat to existing constitutional rights.

      Marsy’s Law has hit resistance in states in which legislatures must approve a constitutional amendment before it goes to the voters. The New Hampshire House of Representatives recently voted down Marsy’s Law by a vote of 284 to 51. The Idaho Legislature voted down similar legislation for the second time this year. However, Marsy’s Law will be on the ballot in a handful of states wherein only signatures are needed to put an issue before the voters in November. The potential impact of Marsy’s Law, both at the state and national level, warrants national attention and alarm.

      Marsy’s Law is premised on the notion that victims should have “equal rights” to defendants. This opening salvo is a seductive appeal to one’s sense of fairness. However, the notion that victims’ rights can be equated to the rights of the accused is a fallacy. It ignores the very different purposes these two sets of rights serve.

      The U.S. Constitution and all 50 state constitutions guarantee defendants’ rights because they are rights against the state, not because they are valued more by society than victims’ rights. Defendants’ rights only apply when the state is attempting to deprive the accused – not the victim – of life, liberty, or property. They serve as essential checks against government abuse, preventing the government from arresting and imprisoning anyone, for any reason, at any time.

    • FTC Calls Out Nintendo, Microsoft, And Sony For Their Illegal ‘Warranty Void If Removed’ Stickers

      Early last month, the FTC took a small step towards enforcing a decades-old law. The 1975 Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act forbade manufacturers from placing repair restrictions on electronic devices costing over $5. This means the little stickers claiming “warranty void if removed” are not just bullshit. They’re also illegal.

      Forty years of “void if removed” stickers being plastered on tons of consumer electronics means the law has done little to prevent manufacturers from placing repair restrictions on consumers. The language is so ubiquitous consumers assume tinkering with their purchased products will instantly void warranties. Many also believe taking their electronics to anyone but the manufacturer (or manufacturer-approved repair shops) for service will similarly remove warranty protections.

      The fact is that the burden rests on manufacturers to prove any tinkering or third-party repair voided the warranty’s coverage. Of course, given the number of restrictions and exceptions contained in electronic device fine print, chances are doing anything to anything is probably gives manufacturers the “evidence” they need to duck out of warranty obligations.

    • Russia: FIFA Should Urge Kremlin to Free Chechen Activist

      FIFA should call on the Kremlin to secure the unconditional release of a Chechen human rights defender before the start of the 2018 World Cup championship, Human Rights Watch said today. The tournament, which Russia is hosting, starts June 14. Grozny, Chechnya’s capital, is slated to be the home base for Egypt’s national team during the tournament, making Chechnya part of FIFA’s World Cup operations.

      The defender, Oyub Titiev, 60, is Grozny director for Memorial, Russia’s leading human rights group. Titiev has been in jail since his arrest on January 9 on bogus marijuana possession charges. The fabricated case against him seems to be part of an effort by Chechen authorities to shut Memorial out of the region. Memorial is the only rights group remaining on the ground in Chechnya, and its departure would leave victims of human rights abuses with no local recourse. If convicted, Titiev faces a maximum 10-year prison sentence. On May 3, Chechnya’s Supreme Court will review Titiev’s appeal against the extension of his pre-trial custody.

    • Senators Have a New Plan to Expand Indefinite Detention and Endless Global War

      Sens. Corker and Kaine have a deadly plan to cede Congress’s war-making powers to the presidency.

      Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse with this Congress, a bipartisan pair of senators have teamed up to write the single most dangerous piece of unconstitutional legislation of this Congress.

      Last week, Sens. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced S. Res. 59, which is a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). An AUMF is roughly the modern equivalent of a declaration of war, and the Corker-Kaine AUMF gives President Trump and lots of future presidents the authority to take the country to war against an endless list of groups and individuals in an endless list of countries.

      The result will be true global war without end.

      The two senators wanted to get a quick vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week and have the bill rocket through the Senate and House and onto the president’s desk. Fortunately for all of us, senators from both parties, from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) to Sen. Jeff Merkely (D-Ore.), forced a slowdown. But Corker and Kaine are working overtime to try to jam through their AUMF, which is a dumpster fire of bad ideas.

    • Working to Uncover How ICE Treats Pregnant Women in Detention

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  • Intellectual Monopolies

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Guest Article: Benoît Battistelli’s Election as Deputy Mayor Was Pre-announced in the Local Press

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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

Saint-Germain-en-Laye event

Summary: From the archives of the Municipal Council of Saint-Germain-en-Laye… EPO President Battistelli’s election as deputy mayor was pre-announced in the local press!

AS readers of Techrights will be aware, following the local election last year Monsieur Battistelli was subsequently elected as deputy mayor responsible for cultural affairs by the municipal council of Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

“Battistelli was subsequently elected as deputy mayor responsible for cultural affairs by the municipal council of Saint-Germain-en-Laye.”Battistelli’s election to the office of deputy mayor took place during a meeting of the council which was held on 19 October 2017. From the official record of the election [PDF] (file no. 17 G 02) it can be seen that Battistelli was elected with 31 votes in favour and 11 blank or invalid votes.

The minutes of the meeting of 19 October are to be found here. [PDF]

“…it can be seen that Battistelli was elected with 31 votes in favour and 11 blank or invalid votes.”A video recording of the meeting is also available on the website of the municipal council. Note: Click on the link “Elections du 6e Adjoint au Maire” to jump to the relevant section of the video (starting at around 27:37 min. and continuing until 43:36 min. or thereabouts).

For readers not familiar with the local politics of Saint-Germain-en-Laye a short digression may help to clarify the general context. The municipal council is currently controlled by the majority from the political group calling itself “Union pour Saint-Germain” which is basically a local branch of Sarkozy’s UMP party rebranded as “Les Républcains” in 2015.

“A video recording of the meeting is also available on the website of the municipal council.”From 1999 onwards the council was under the control of the mayor Emmanuel Lamy until his death in May 2017.

Lamy was succeeded by Arnaud Péricard, an attorney-at-law, who was elected as mayor in June 2017.

By a curious coincidence Arnaud Péricard is the son of Michel Péricard who held the office of mayor of Saint-Germain from 1977 until his death in 1999 when Lamy took over.

“The municipal council is currently controlled by the majority from the political group calling itself “Union pour Saint-Germain” which is basically a local branch of Sarkozy’s UMP party rebranded as “Les Républcains” in 2015.”Returning now to the council meeting of 19 October 2017, it can be seen from the minutes and video of the meeting that the election of the deputy mayor for cultural affairs was preceded by a rather tense debate during which members from the opposition benches complained that the result of the election had already been announced in advance in the local press.

These objections apparently refer publications such as the one which appeared in the local newspaper “Courrier des Yvelines” on 4 October and contained a sidebar with the title “Benoît Battistelli à la Culture”: “Benoît Battistelli retrouve son poste. Entre 2008 et 2014 il fut maire adjoint de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, chargé de la vie culturelle. Arnaud Pericard l’avait remplacé en 2014. Age de soixante-sept ans, cet ancien élève de l’ENA, diplômé de l’IEP de Paris [Institut d'Etudes Politiques], a assuré la direction générale de l’Institut national de la propriété industrielle (Inpi) (2004). Il avait ete reconduit de la présidence de l’Office européen des brevets (OEB) en 2014 avant de quitter brutalement l’OEB.”

“By a curious coincidence Arnaud Péricard is the son of Michel Péricard who held the office of mayor of Saint-Germain from 1977 until his death in 1999 when Lamy took over.”[Translation: “Benoît Battistelli returns to his post. Between 2008 and 2014 he was deputy mayor of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, in charge of cultural affairs. Arnaud Péricard replaced him in 2014. Sixty-seven years old, this former student of the ENA, graduate of the IEP in Paris, was the general director of the Institut national de la propriété industrielle (Inpi) (2004). He was re-elected as President of the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2014 before abruptly leaving the EPO.”]

CdY - 4-10-2017

Even if the local journalists got their facts wrong about Battistelli “abruptly leaving the EPO” the “prediction” about his return to the post of deputy mayor of in charge of cultural affairs turns out to have been remarkably prescient.

“Mr Rouxel conceded that the mayor had a majority on the municipal council but protested that this incident degraded it to a rubber-stamping body.”At the municipal council meeting on 19 October 2017 the first intervention came from Mr Didier Rouxel from the opposition group “Saint-Germain fait front” who expressed his astonishment at the fact that although that the council was due to vote that evening the result of the vote had already been revealed in the local press on 4 October. Mr Rouxel conceded that the mayor had a majority on the municipal council but protested that this incident degraded it to a rubber-stamping body.

cm-2017-10-19-ROUXEL
Didier Rouxel

Mr Rouxel’s intervention was followed by a similar objection from Mrs Anne Gommier of the opposition group “Agir pour Saint-Germain” who stated that she considered the pre-emptive publication of the election result to demonstrate a lack of respect for the council as a whole. She called the publication “a nice publicity insert with a resumé” and said in rather diplomatic terms that she considered it “a little too much”.

cm-2017-10-19-GOMMIER
Anne Gommier

The mayor Arnaud Péricard who is reputed to be a close associate of Battistelli seemed taken aback by these crtiical interventions and he reacted rather defensively. He stated that no one from the majority group “Union pour Saint-Germain” had made any statement to the press and that the publications complained about only contained speculation by journalists. Nevertheless he said that he deeply regretted the incident.

Arnaud Péricard
Arnaud Péricard

After having addressed the objections from Mr Rouxel and Mrs Gommier the mayor proceeded to nominate Battistelli as the candidate for the majority “Union pour Saint-Germain” group. As there were no other candidates Battistelli was elected on the first count with 31 votes in his favor and 11 blank or invalid votes.

cm-2017-10-19-BB
Benoît Battistelli

The mayor announced the result and expressed his pleasure at the election of Mr Battistelli and congratulated him on his success. The video shows a smug and self-satisfied Battistelli acknowledging the applause of the council in his typically supercilious manner.

cm-2017-10-19-PERICARD2
Arnaud Péricard

For readers whose French is rusty here is an English translation of the relevant passage from the minutes of the council meeting:

FILE No.: 17 G 02 – ELECTION OF THE 6th DEPUTY MAYORM

The Mayor notes that due to the previous election, the position of 6th Deputy Mayor is now vacant.

Here again, he proposes to apply the provisions of Article L.2122-10 of the Code Général des Collectivités Territoriales and to decide that the Municipal Council proceed to filling the vacant positions in the order on the agenda.

The first matter to be dealt with is the election of a new sixth Deputy Mayor to replace Mrs HABERT-DUPUIS.

He asked if there were any nominations and gave the floor to Mr ROUXEL.

Mr ROUXEL notes that he does not wish to apply for the position. He nevertheless expresses his astonishment to note that the Municipal Council is voting this evening, October 19, whereas that the result of this vote had already been revealed in the local press on 4 October. While he admits that the Mayor has a majority within the municipal council, this incident reduces it to a rubber-stamping body. He says he was rather shocked, and thinks he wasn’t the only person who felt this way, by seeing the result announced in the local press on October 4th.

The Mayor states that no one from the Union pour Saint-Germain group made any statement to the press. According to him, these are suppositions – or assertions – by journalists and not statements by elected representatives or representatives of the Union Group for Saint-Germain. He assures that for this matter no delegation order has been signed prior to the results of the vote, and that he really regrets this publication.

Mrs GOMMIER indicated that she intended to make the same intervention because she considered that this publication to show a lack of respect for the council as a whole. She says she doesn’t know where the information came from but recalls that it was a nice publicity insert with a resumé and that it was in her view a little too much.

The Mayor takes note of these observations.

For the election of the 6th Deputy Mayor, he wishes to nominate on behalf of the Union pour Saint-Germain Group: Mr Benoît BATTISTELLI.

In the absence of any other candidature, he asks Mr JOUSSE to return to the desk in order to formally proceed to this election.

After the individual ballot papers have been deposited in the ballot box provided for this purpose, the counting procedure is carried out.

The Mayor proclaims the results:
Number of ballot papers found in the ballot box: 42
Number of blank or invalid ballots: 11
Number of votes cast: 31
Number of votes in favour of Mr Benoît BATTISTELLI : 31

Mr Benoît BATTISTELLI having obtained the absolute majority of the votes is proclaimed 6th Deputy Mayor.

The Mayor announces his pleasure at the election of Mr BATTISTELLI who will be reunited with a delegation with which he is well acquainted since he occupied it previously, namely the delegation of Culture. He recalls that it was also the position he himself [i.e. the Mayor, Mr PERICARD] occupied. He expresses his satisfaction that the previous team will be reconstituted in a new format and congratulates Mr BATTISTELLI on his election.

The relevant page from the newspaper has been preserved by us [PDF] and meeting minutes in French [PDF] as well.

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