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06.01.18

Links 1/6/2018: CERN, World and Atari With GNU/Linux, Mesa 18.0.5 RC, Weblate 3.0, Linux Mint 19 Beta Soon, Sailfish 2.2

Posted in News Roundup at 11:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • OS Stats Revisited

    I’ve been concentrating on other things but I thought to revisit OS market shares today. Checking Statcounter, we find 44% of their hits on web-pages are attributable to */Linux operating systems.

  • New Technologies Won’t Reduce Scarcity, but Here’s Something That Might

    Furthermore, in the realm of software, see the case of GNU/Linux on which the top 500 supercomputers and the majority of websites run, or the example of the Apache Web Server, the leading software in the web-server market. Wikipedia, Apache and GNU/Linux demonstrate how non-coercive cooperation around globally-shared resources (i.e. a commons) can produce artifacts as innovative, if not more, as those produced by industrial capitalism.

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • How open source supports CERN’s Large Hadron Collider

      The 27-kilometre-long Large Hadron Collider (LHC) buried beneath the France-Switzerland border near Geneva is best known for helping to prove the existence of the Higgs’ Boson particle – otherwise known as the God particle – crucial to the Standard Model of particle physics.

      The LHC, which uses superconducting magnets to steer beams through its long pipes at just below the speed of light, is supported by open source IT systems at CERN to crunch through about 60 petabytes of data a year. These are built with Openstack, a free and open source software platform for building clouds.

      The Openstack cloud first went into production at CERN in July 2013, marking the 13,000-physicist-strong laboratory as an early adopter. Today it has scaled to roughly 300,000 cores – and it’s this kind of high-powered, scalable, open source cloud computing that got the attention of many private enterprises, now contributing to the code.

    • Why You Should Do It Yourself

      It wasn’t very long ago that we lived in a society where it was a given that average people would do things themselves. There was a built-in assumption that you would perform basic repairs on household items, do general maintenance and repairs on your car, mow your lawn, cook your food and patch your clothes. The items around you reflected this assumption with visible and easy-to-access screws, spare buttons sewn on the bottom of shirts and user-replaceable parts.

      Through the years though, culture has changed toward one more focused on convenience. The microeconomic idea of “opportunity cost” (an idea that you can assign value to each course of action and weigh it against alternative actions you didn’t take) has resulted in many people who earn a reasonable wage concluding that they should do almost nothing themselves.

      The typical thinking goes like this: if my hourly wage is higher than the hourly cost of a landscaping service, even though that landscaping service costs me money, it’s still cheaper than if I mowed my own lawn, because I could somehow be earning my hourly wage doing something else. This same calculation ends up justifying oil-change and landscaping services, microwave TV dinners and replacing items when they break instead of repairing them yourself. The result has been a switch to a service-oriented economy, with the advent of cheaper, more disposable items that hide their screws and vehicles that are all but hermetically sealed under the hood.

      [...]

      When referring to proprietary software, Linux users used to say “You wouldn’t buy a car with the hood welded shut!” With Linux, you can poke under the hood and see exactly how the system is running. The metaphorical screws are exposed, and you can take the software apart and repair it yourself if you are so inclined. Yet to be honest, so many people these days would buy a car with the hood welded shut. They also are fine with buying computers and software that are metaphorically welded shut all justified by convenience and opportunity cost.

    • Meet Aptomi: An application delivery engine for Kubernetes

      Kubernetes may rule the data center but if you have hundreds and thousands of containers running on it, it can be difficult to understand which applications they belong to, who owns them, why they were created, what’s no longer in use and the impact of changes.

      Enter Aptomi, an open-source project that simplifies roll out and operation of container-based applications on Kubernetes. It introduces a service-centric abstraction, allowing dev teams to compose applications from multiple components connected together. These components can be packaged via Helm, k8s YAMLs, ksonnet, or defined in any other Kubernetes-friendly way.

    • Kubernetes Gets Containerd Runtime Option

      Containerd integration is now generally available as a runtime option for the open source Kubernetes container orchestration system.

      While Docker is the dominant player among container runtimes, some experts in the field believe other options such as containerd can sometimes be the better choice.

      With that in mind, engineers from Google, Docker, IBM, ZTE and ZJU have developed a way to use containerd instead of Docker. While it may seem strange that Docker Inc. is involved what appears to be a competing project, the company actually initiated the containerd project before donating it to the community, and the Docker engine is based on it.

    • Securing the container image supply chain
    • Updates in container isolation
  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • 2018 Top Embedded Innovator – Dan Cauchy, Automotive Grade Linux

      Open source is a great way to get young people and students involved in technology. Most open source projects are very welcoming of contributions from developers at large. In fact, for many projects, the primary contributions come from individual contributors not associated with employment or any given company. This is common in the open source world.

      At AGL, we are working closely with the automotive manufacturers to create a thriving ecosystem of young developers.

    • Linux Foundation

      • The Linux Foundation Announces Free Introduction to Open Source Networking Technologies Course

        The 2017 Open Source Jobs Report from The Linux Foundation and Dice found nearly half of hiring managers are looking to hire individuals with networking expertise, and 55 percent report that formal training or certification is a priority when choosing new hires. On top of that, the way networks are built and deployed is evolving, with open source networking projects being responsible for much of this transformation.

      • LF Networking Continues Momentum as Additional Global Carriers Align Around Open Source Networking

        The LF Networking Fund (LFN), which facilitates collaboration and operational excellence across open networking projects, today announced membership growth among leading telecom service providers, with the addition of Sprint as the newest Silver member. An uptick in membership among global service providers since LFN’s formation earlier this year, which also includes KT, KDDI, SK Telecom, Swisscom, and Telecom Italia, signals strong and continued support from many of the world’s top carriers.

      • Sprint, SK Telecom, Swisscom board LFN open source bandwagon, T-Mobile still MIA

        The LF Networking Fund (LFN), which facilitates open source projects, announced Wednesday that Sprint has joined as a “silver” member.

        Other new members that have signed on to LFN’s roster of service providers include KT, KDDI, SK Telecom, Swisscom and Telecom Italia. With the newest members, LFN now has more than 100 service provider and technology company members from around the globe.

      • The Linux Foundation Announces the Acumos AI Challenge for Developers

        The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced the Acumos AI Challenge, sponsored by AT&T and Tech Mahindra. The Acumos AI Challenge is an open source developer competition seeking innovative, ground-breaking artificial intelligence (AI) solutions from students, developers, and data scientists. The Acumos AI Challenge will foster development of AI models for the Acumos AI Project, an AI project of The Linux Foundation and supported by The Linux Foundation’s LF Deep Learning Foundation.

      • Compete in the ACUMOS AI Challenge for a Chance to Win $50,000

        Artificial Intelligence (AI) has quickly evolved over the past few years and is changing the way we interact with the world around us. From digital assistants, to AI apps interpreting MRIs and operating self-driving cars, there has been significant momentum and interest in the potential for machine learning technologies applied to AI.

    • Graphics Stack

      • A Reusable DRM Module To Be Worked On For “Underserved” Graphics Hardware

        While Kevin Brace of the OpenChrome project as the lead and only developer left working on this open-source VIA driver stack has restarted the discussion towards mainlining the OpenChrome DRM/KMS driver, he has decided to take a break from that for a few weeks and to focus on developing a “reusable DRM module” to help other vintage/obscure graphics hardware.

      • Mesa 18.0.5 release candidate

        The candidate for the Mesa 18.0.5 is now available. Currently we have:
        – 21 queued
        – 0 nominated (outstanding)
        – and 5 rejected patches

      • Mesa 18.0.5 Is The Last Planned Release In The Series

        Mesa 18.0.5 is the last planned point release for the Mesa 18.0 series that debuted at the end of March as the Q1’2018 release for Mesa3D.

        With Mesa 18.1 having been released earlier this month and on schedule, the Mesa 18.0 lifespan is relatively short with Mesa 18.1.1 now due for release in the days ahead. As such, the Mesa 18.0.5 release due out by the end of the week is their last planned maintenance release for this previous quarter’s branch.

      • AMDGPU On Linux 4.18 To Offer Greater Vega Power Savings, DisplayPort 1.4 Fixes

        There are more AMDGPU improvements just sent in to DRM-Next for landing in the Linux 4.18 kernel.

        On top of the already queued Vega 20 GPU support, VCN clock/power gating support, Raden Ridge GFXOFF support to turn off the graphics engine when not needed, Vega M GPU support for the Intel Kabylake G hardware, scan-out buffer handling improvements, SR-IOV fixes, and power-related improvements to Vega 10, yet another batch of changes were submitted on Thursday for this next kernel cycle.

    • Benchmarks

      • 15-Way Linux Distribution / Operating System Comparison, Including Windows 10 & WSL

        As part of the large Linux performance tests we have begun and continuing through June with Phoronix celebrating its 14th birthday next week along with the 10th anniversary of the Phoronix Test Suite 1.0 release, for your viewing pleasure today is a 15-way Linux distribution / operating system comparison testing not only the leading and latest Linux distributions but also Windows 10 April 2018 Update and Linux on Windows WSL.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Funding Krita: 2017

        We decided at the last sprint to publish a yearly report on Krita’s income and outlay. We did that in 2015 and 2016. 2017 has been over some time now, so let’s discuss last year’s finances a bit. Last year was weird, of course, and that’s clearly visible from the results: we ended the year € 9.211,84 poorer than we started.

        Because of the troubles, we had to split sales and commercial work off from the Krita Foundation. We did have a “company” ready — Boudewijn Rempt Software, which was created when our maintainer was trying to fund his work on Krita through doing totally unrelated freelance jobs, after KO GmbH went bust. That company is now handling sales of art books, dvd’s and so on, as well as doing commercial support for Krita. So the “Sales” number is only for the first quarter of 2017.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • NetworkManager 1.11.4 Brings More Linux Networking Improvements

        NetworkManager 1.11.4 is out today as the newest development release for this widely-used Linux network management user-space utility.

      • GNOME 3 Might Be Too Resource Hungry To Ever Run Nicely On The Raspberry Pi

        If you try running the GNOME Shell today on the Raspberry Pi, it’s a frustratingly slow experience. While some work is being done in addressing GNOME’s GPU, CPU, and memory consumption, it might not ever be in a state to run smoothly on Raspberry Pi hardware.

        Earlier this month was the GNOME 2018 Performance Hackfest and one of those in attendance was Broadcom’s Eric Anholt who maintains the VC4 and V3D graphics driver stacks. The former is most notable for being the fully open-source graphics driver solution for the VideoCore hardware found on Raspberry Pi single board computers up to this point.

  • Distributions

    • Desktop Consolidation Gives SparkyLinux a Clearer Focus

      You can run SparkyLinux from a thumb drive. You also can supercharge its performance by loading it into your computer’s RAM.

      However, the OS is not really as useful if you use it only for a portable computing platform. It performs best when installed on the hard drive. SparkyLinux does not use a frugal installation and special antics to provide persistent memory.

      SparkyLinux is a very functional Linux OS. It is a solid choice for use as an all-purpose home edition with all the tools, codecs, plugins and drivers preinstalled.

    • Linux Lite 4.0 “Diamond” Launches Officially Based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

      Dubbed “Diamond” and powered by the Linux 4.15 kernel series from the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system, Linux Lite 4.0 series launches officially today as the first release to drop support for 32-bit installations, bringing numerous updated components, new features and major design changes that include new system theme (Adapta) and icon sets (Papirus).

      “Faenza icons were dropped as it had not been maintained in some time (albeit there is a fork) and the same for the Arc theme, development seems to have stalled there,” said Jerry Bezencon in the release announcement. “Most of our approach to theming in Series 4.x follows the popular Flat design focus. We also now use the Openzone mouse theme.”

    • New Releases

    • Arch Family

      • BlackArch Linux Ethical Hacking ISOs Refreshed with More Than 60 New Tools

        BlackArch Linux 2018.06.01 is now available to download and ships with a lot of goodies, as well as all the latest security and software updates that have been released through the official repositories in the past several months. The refreshed install media comes as classic ISOs and OVA images for virtual machine deployments.

        Packed with more than 60 new hacking tools, BlackArch Linux 2018.06.01 is powered by the Linux 4.16.12 kernel and uses the latest BlackArch Installer 0.7, a release that adds numerous improvements and fixes major bugs. Also added are configuration files for the i3 window manager and a new clean-up script for pacman.

    • Red Hat Family

      • CentOS Linux 7 Receives Important Kernel Security Update That Patches Six Flaws

        Being based on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 operating system series, CentOS Linux 7 follows a rolling release model where the user installs once and receives regular updates forever. There’s no need to reinstall your healthy CentOS Linux installation when a new release is out, but you should keep it up-to-date at all times.

        A new kernel security update was released upstream by Red Hat for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 operating system series, which addresses a total of six security vulnerabilities discovered and reported by various security researchers. The kernel security update is now also available for CentOS Linux 7 users.

      • Red Hat Summit: Building production-ready containers

        Bringing excitement to the last session on the last day of the show, Scott McCarty and Ben Breard wrapped up this year’s Red Hat Summit with a discussion of best practices for production-ready containers.

      • Welcoming Larry Stack to Red Hat

        We are excited to announce that Larry Stack has joined Red Hat as senior vice president, Global Accounts and Target Industries. Larry has had a multi-faceted and very accomplished career and is well versed in leading industry and global account focused organizations. His most recent role was as chief sales officer for DXC Technology, the combination of CSC and HP Services. Prior to DXC, Larry served as senior vice president and chief sales officer for Enterprise Services at HPE.

      • Maxta Announces Support for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform and Red Hat Virtualization
      • Maxta Announces Support for Comprehensive Private Cloud Infrastructure Based on Red Hat Virtualization and Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform

        Maxta Inc., the only hyperconvergence software provider that supports multiple hypervisors, today announced support for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, providing a comprehensive private cloud infrastructure along with support for Red Hat Virtualization. Building on Maxta’s VMware Escape Pod announcement last September, the enhanced offering empowers customers to more easily migrate from VMware vSphere to Red Hat Virtualization, and then support containers on the same platform using Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform. Maxta enables customers to deploy private cloud solutions using industry leading infrastructure software with unmatched performance.

      • ​Red Hat’s only business plan is to keep changing plans

        At the recently concluded Red Hat Summit, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst said old-fashioned business planning is dead. It’s being replaced trying multiple ideas at once, dumping those that don’t work, and doing all this as quickly as possible.

        Before your eyes glaze over, keep in mind Red Hat has had 64 straight quarters of revenue growth. The company, while best known for its Linux operating system, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), has transformed itself into a cloud power with Red Hat OpenShift. And, it’s well on its way to becoming the first billion-dollar-a-quarter open-source company. Red Hat knows business.

        [...]

        Whitehurst cited big data as one instance where old-style planning could have hurt your company. “For example, there were hundreds of big data programs They’ve been winnowed down to two or three winners.” But, at the start, had you bet the farm on one and it turned out not to be a winner, you’d have wasted your time and energy

        The prime problem is, “When you plan, you need to make assumptions. We can’t do that now. You’re trying to plan for a world that probably won’t exist.”

        So, in our “uncertain, volatile world, where you can be blindsided by orthogonal competitors coming in, you have to recognize that you can’t always plan or know what the future is,” said Whitehurst.

        Instead, you configure your company for “change without necessarily knowing what the change will be. You must empower your staff with the knowledge and tools to make the right business decisions. This is done with “a greater level of engagement by people across the organization, to ultimately be able to react at a faster speed to changes that happen.”

      • DoD Taps Carahsoft for Potential $125M Red Hat Software, Services BPA

        Carahsoft Technology has received a potential five-year, $125 million blanket purchase agreement to provide Red Hat’s (NYSE: RHT) software and services to the Defense Department and related agencies.

        The BPA will run through April 1, 2023, and includes training and maintenance support services for DoD, the U.S. Coast Guard and intelligence agencies, Carahsoft said Wednesday.

      • Carahsoft books $125M Red Hat distribution pact

        Carahsoft has received a new five-year blanket purchase agreement with a $125 million ceiling to distribute Red Hat software and IT services for defense and intelligence agencies along with the Coast Guard.

      • Red Hat: Women want to code together, not alone over the internet

        Chief people officer DeLissa Alexander shares her plans to create a diverse open source community

        As a player in the highly innovative open source space, Red Hat is enjoying a market boom that shows little sign of dissipating. Given its enviable position, and the manner in which the company has outmatched its rivals over the past year, it’s no surprise that when Red Hat talks, people listen.

        It’s great to see then that the company hasn’t shied away from throwing its weight around when it comes to diversity, and getting more women and minorities interested in not just technology, but open source.

      • Ascend Money deploys Red Hat to speed up e-payments across SE Asia

        Ascend Money, a fintech company based out of Thailand, has selected Red Hat technologies to help enable and accelerate electronic payments across the region.

        Ascend Money’s TrueMoney payment platform serves more than 30 million people through its e-wallet app and 50,000 agent networks. TrueMoney supports bill payments, mobile top-ups, money transfers, and online and offline payments.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Second GSoC Report

        A lot has happened since the last report. The main change in nacho was probably the move to integrate django-ldapdb. This abstracts a lot of operations one would have to do on the directory using bare ldap and it also provides the possibility of having the LDAP objects in the Django admin interface, as those are addressed as Django models. By using django-ldapdb i was able to remove around 90% of the self written ldap logic. The only functionality that still remains where i have to directly use the ldap library are the password operations. It would be possible to implement these features with django-ldapdb, but then i would have to integrate password hashing functionality into nacho and above all i would have to adjust the hashing function for every ldap server with a different hashing algorithm setting. This way the ldap server does the hashing and i won’t have to set the algorighm in two places.

      • Paul Wise: FLOSS Activities May 2018
      • Chris Lamb: Free software activities in May 2018
      • Derivatives

        • A Penguin tries out Secure-K OS, part I

          As the name suggests (Secure Key), Secure-K OS is a live operating system, based on Debian 9 Stretch, meant to be run from any USB key and “developed with security in mind”, according to its developers, Mon-K Data Protection.

          A couple of “hardware versions” of the operating system are being sold on the project website, which means that one can buy Secure-K OS already deployed into a hardware-encrypted USB key with a pin-pad. It feels geeky.

          Because I cannot download that piece of hardware via my network (I guess you cannot as well), what I have actually downloaded is the system image file of Secure-K OS Lite, then written into a USB stick of mine.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 19 Beta Will Arrive on June 4, Final Release Expected at End of June

              The developer published the monthly news of the project for May 2018, announcing that Linux Mint 19 will enter beta stages on Monday, June 4, 2018, when users will be able to download the Linux Mint 19 Beta ISO images with Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce desktop environments and participate in the beta testing program. The final release of Linux Mint 19 “Tara” is expected at the end of June.

              “All 3 editions of Linux Mint 19 (Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce) are currently in QA. The various bugs which were found were fixed and we’re expecting them to pass QA tomorrow. We’re planning the BETA release for Monday the 4th,” wrote Clement Lefebvre in the monthly newsletter. “The BETA phase for Mint 19 will be longer than usual, with a stable release planned for the end of June.”

            • Linux Mint 19 Beta Is Coming Next Week

              Distro hoppers will be pleased to hear that a Linux Mint 19 beta download will be available at the start of next week.

              Sharing the news on the official Linux Mint blog, Linux Mint project lead Clement Lefebvre says that Linux Mint 19 “Tara” builds are undergoing ‘quality analysis’ and last minute bug fixing.

              Once this code cleanup is completed — expected shortly — Linux Mint 19 beta downloads will go live on Monday, June 4th.

            • Monthly News – May 2018

              Many thanks to all of you, for your patience with the upcoming releases and for your help and donations to this project.

              All 3 editions of Linux Mint 19 (Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce) are currently in QA. The various bugs which were found were fixed and we’re expecting them to pass QA tomorrow. We’re planning the BETA release for Monday the 4th.

              We hope you’ll enjoy testing these BETAs and we look forward to receiving your feedback.

              The BETA phase for Mint 19 will be longer than usual, with a stable release planned for the end of June. A lot of code was ported to python3, gksu was removed and replaced with pkexec, MATE now supports HiDPI automatically, we’re using a brand new package base, the theme engine in GTK 3.22 is very different than in GTK 3.18 and might cause a few issues in Mint-X, and we’ve switched to Mint-Y and its new set of icons so we’re expecting many little bugs and paper cuts.

            • Linux Mint 19 beta builds scheduled for Monday, June 4th

              Clem Lefebvre, head of the Linux Mint project has announced that all three editions of Linux Mint 19 “Tara” – Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce – are undergoing quality analysis and that the bugs which were found have been fixed, with them expected to pass the QA phase tomorrow. With glaring bugs out of the way, enthusiasts will get to inspect beta builds from Monday, June 4th, to find any lingering issues.

              Lefebvre also announced that there will be a longer beta phase with this cycle due to a number of big changes. Unlike point releases, this release is based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, the first release to have done so, whereas point releases in the 19.x series will retain the 18.04 LTS base. As such, the beta phase will extend throughout most of June with a stable release planned for the end of the month.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • AMD K8 Support Stripped Out Of Coreboot

    Support for AMD K8 “Hammer” processors including the original Athlon 64 processors and original AMD64 Opterons has been dropped from Coreboot.

  • Ontario Institute for Cancer Research uses open source clouds to aid cancer research

    Canadian cancer researchers claim that by combining open source software with commodity hardware, they can give academics in the field access to public cloud-like resource at 60% less cost than Amazon can offer, and help to accelerate the pace of scientific breakthroughs.

    [...]

    The resource, launched in 2014, runs exclusively on open source, with OpenStack, Ceph, Ansible and Linux being among the many technologies used to run it, in combination with high-density commodity server hardware.

    It comprises 2,600 cores, 18TB of RAM, 7.3PB of storage (managed by Ceph), and 670TB of protected cancer genome data, which is accessed by cancer research teams across several continents for analytics purposes.

    Speaking to Computer Weekly at the recent OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, George Mihaiescu, senior cloud architect at OICR, said the Collaboratory was created, in part, to open up access to the data that researchers need to advance the medical community’s understanding of cancer.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Applying Open Practices — Sage Bionetworks

        Founded as a spin-out from Merck in 2009, Sage Bionetworks is a non-profit research organization that seeks to develop predictors of disease and accelerate health research by applying a large and impactful set of open practises. These allow for a global research community to share knowledge, interpret large-scale data, crowdsource hypothesis-tests and foster innovation through community challenges.

      • Welcome Shruti to the Test Pilot team!

        A few weeks ago, Shruti Singh joined the Test Pilot team for the summer as an Outreachy intern. Read on to learn more about her and what she’ll be working on.

      • The importance of reviewing suggestions

        While at Mozilla we want to ensure consistent and high-quality translations, we also want to make sure that contributing is a rewarding and pleasant experience for everyone. Translating in a timely manner is important, however there are other essential things to take into consideration. For example, leaving non-urgent projects with missing strings so that new localizers can get involved is one of them. Reviewing pending suggestions regularly is another – and the main topic of this post.

      • A Vision for Engineering Workflow at Mozilla (Part One)

        The OED’s second definition of “vision” is “the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom.” Thus I felt more than a little trepidation when I was tasked with creating a vision for my team. What should this look like? How do I scope it? What should it cover? The Internet was of surprisingly little help; it seems that either no one thinks about tooling and engineering processes at this level, or (perhaps more likely) they keep it a secret when they do. The best article I found was from Microsoft Research in which they studied how tools are adopted at Microsoft, and their conclusion was essentially that they had no overarching strategy.

        Around six months later, I presented a Vision for Engineering Workflow at our fortnightly managers’ meeting. But first, some context: a bit about Mozilla’s Engineering Workflow team, and about the challenges we face.

      • Improving DNS Privacy in Firefox

        Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the oldest parts of internet architecture, and remains one that has largely been untouched by efforts to make the web safer and more private. On the Firefox network and security teams, we’re working to change that by encrypting DNS queries and by testing a service that keeps DNS providers from collecting and sharing your browsing history.

        For more than 30 years, DNS has served as a key mechanism for accessing sites and services on the web. Browsers (including Firefox) use DNS to access a distributed database that turns URLs into TCP/IP addressing information. Firefox cannot do much without the service. DNS hails from the days of a kinder, more gentle Internet where it was normal to make this kind of query using unencrypted protocols and send them to any nearby server who claimed to be able to answer it.

      • A cartoon intro to DNS over HTTPS

        Threats to users’ privacy and security are growing. At Mozilla, we closely track these threats. We believe we have a duty to do everything we can to protect Firefox users and their data.

        We’re taking on the companies and organizations that want to secretly collect and sell user data. This is why we added tracking protection and created the Facebook container extension. And you’ll be seeing us do more things to protect our users over the coming months.

      • Working for Good: Accel Lifestyle

        The web should be open to everyone, a place for unbridled innovation, education, and creative expression. That’s why Firefox fights for Net Neutrality, promotes online privacy rights, and supports open-source tech around the globe. We strive to make the online community a better place. We also know people everywhere work tirelessly to improve their own communities. In this series, we’re profiling businesses that work to make the world better—and use Firefox to support a healthy, open, and safe internet.

      • Distributed Teams: On the non-Universality of “Not it!”

        I’ve surprisingly not written a lot over here about working on a distributed team in a distributed organization. Mozilla is about 60% people who work in MoLos (office workers) and 40% people who don’t (remotees). My team is 50/50: I’m remote near Toronto, one works from his home in Italy, and the other two sit in the Berlin office most days.

  • Databases

    • Don’t read this, Oracle… It’s the rise of the open-source data strategies [Ed: Sales pitch from Mac Asay disguised as report/analysis]

      The former is often the preferred choice for a developer that wants to stick with a relational database but wants to remove the cost or complexity of Oracle. MariaDB is also increasingly an option for this crowd. MySQL, somewhat out of favor since its acquisition by Oracle, has been declining in popularity over the last several years.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 6 review: The open-source favorite gets an update

      The free and open source suite LibreOffice is loved by many for its excellent compatibility with Microsoft Office formats including the newer DOCX, PPT, and PPTX files. LibreOffice 6, its first major update in a couple years, continues that tradition but redesigns the UI and adds productivity improvements to its “big three” programs—Writer, Calc, and Impress.

  • CMS

    • Jorge Ferrer on open source, community vs enterprise and UX

      Vice President of Engineering at Liferay, Jorge Ferrer, talks to Enterprise Times about managing open source relationships and UX.

      Many companies are looking at the benefits of open source but struggle to know how best to approach it. At many conferences, the message seems to be that open source is free. But that’s not the case. Access to the code might be free but there are challenges in taking that software into the enterprise.

      For example, does the enterprise allow developers to grab any code they want from repositories and incorporate it into enterprise software? If so, how secure is it? Should they choose a curated open source solution and take that on board? There are also skills questions to be dealt with. Do we know the language? Do we have enough skills to integrate this into our existing code base? Will we have to recruit or retrain our existing developers and at what cost?

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GCC 8.1 Now Can Be Used On OpenSolaris-Derived OpenIndiana

      The GCC 8.1 stable compiler release that debuted a few weeks ago is now available on OpenIndiana, the Illumos-based OpenSolaris-derived operating system.

      Initial tests were a success and now GCC 8.1 has rolled out into the main repository of OpenIndiana, but isn’t yet the default system code compiler. The new compiler can be obtained via the gcc-8 developer package.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Motor-Driver Board Maximizes Open-Source 3D-Printer Performance

        STMicroelectronics’ EVALSP820-XS motor-driver board brings industrial-control expertise to the RepRap Arduino Mega Pololu Shield (RAMPS) open-source 3D-printer platform, enabling 3D printer makers to unleash the full potential of their machines for faster printing and smoother surface finish. The RAMPS modular platform is making Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) 3D printing accessible to makers, small businesses, and home users, for fast prototyping, making replacement parts, or education. The Arduino Mega 2560, or Arduino DUE, baseboard provides basic control, ready for users to plug-in their own choice of motor driver, extruder controller, and any other desired functions using Mega-compatible expansion shields.

      • High-resolution motor-driver board targets open-source 3D-printer

        The RAMPS modular platform is making Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) 3D printing accessible to makers, small businesses, and home users, for fast prototyping, making replacement parts, or education. The Arduino Mega 2560, or Arduino DUE, baseboard provides basic control, ready for users to plug-in their own choice of motor driver, extruder controller, and any other desired functions using Mega-compatible expansion shields. As a plug-and-play expansion board, ST’s EVALSP820-XS can drive RAMPS printers at an unprecedented speed for greatly increased throughput ensuring superior smoothness with microstepping resolution from ½-step to 1/256-step per microstep. Key to this giant leap in 3D-printing performance is ST’s STSPIN820 stepper-driver IC which embeds high-speed motor-control input circuitry and algorithms developed for industrial applications. The 4x4mm QFN package also integrates a 1.5Arms output stage.

Leftovers

  • “WhatsApp Has Competition”: Ramdev’s Patanjali Launches Messaging App
  • These teenagers are successful entrepreneurs too!
  • 5 tips to survive booth duty

    If you’re representing your company in a conference exhibition hall, make sure to heed this advice.

  • Science

    • Elitist Islands Must Not Return

      All that seems to be undergoing a big change. In the last few years, there is a slip in the students getting admitted to IITs, despite a rise in the number of the institutes. This year, there was a big surprise when 65,000 candidates of the 2.3 lakh who cleared JEE-Mains did not apply for JEE-Advance. It points towards a big shift. What’s more, eminent entrepreneurs, including IITian N.R. Narayana Murthy, have of late been raising a serious question before the nation by noting that 80 per cent of those passing from the IITs are not of the desired standard.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Why EPA’s drop in pollution cases is so scary

      EPA initiated 20 percent fewer civil cases and 30 percent fewer criminal enforcement cases during fiscal 2017. The number of defendants charged, and inspections conducted have all hit the lowest point in a decade. That is not accidental. Pruitt seems to be putting up roadblocks to investigations. Under Trump, enforcers must navigate through a gauntlet of obstacles to bring an enforcement action across the finish line.

    • What if School Lunch Programs Promoted Public Health, Good Jobs, and the Environment?

      Eleven billion dollars. That’s the total tally of the national school-food program in the United States and just a small fraction of what public institutions in this country spend every year in taxpayer dollars on food—including food for county jails, hospitals, city parks, and more. Public food procurement is clearly big business. But we also believe it can also be a force for good. On May 16, Cook County—home to Chicago and one of the largest counties in the country—joined a growing movement of public institutions when it adopted a procurement program that does just that: promotes public health, community well-being, social justice, and environmental protection.

    • FGM clinic opens in Cardiff to help victims
    • Maine Democrats Refuse to Pass Law Forbidding ‘Barbaric Practice’ on Little Girls
    • Meet the Woman Saving Thousands of Girls From Female Genital Mutilation

      Today, she runs an advocacy program that travels from village to village to convince elders and community leaders to allow other young girls to forgo the cut and go to school. In a tribal society dominated by patriarchal traditions, this is a difficult task. But over the years, Nice has honed her communication skills and found creative ways to broach the topic. And her efforts are paying off.

    • Grand Bassa Communities Accuse Equatorial Oil Palm of Polluting Water Source

      Aggrieved residents of Kpogbah Statutory District in Grand Bassa County are claiming that the Equatorial Palm Oil (EPO) has been polluting their major drinking water source.

      The residents, who are mostly members of villages within the proximity of the palm plantation, told FrontPage Africa that their lives are at risk since the company opened its oil palm milling factory.

      Equatorial Palm Oil is an oil palm concession company operating in Grand Bassa, Rivercess and Sinoe Counties. It owns over 169,000 hectares, including 1,000 hectares of plantation land it acquired in 2010 from the government.

    • Brazilian Amazon oil palm deforestation under control, for now

      Researchers fear that major deforestation due to an oil palm production boom could occur in the near future if transportation infrastructure is markedly improved, and if Brazil’s economy, political and institutional stability increases. The study didn’t address escalating conflicts between Amazon oil palm plantations and traditional communities.

    • Deforestation threatens cocoa, oil palm production

      Forestation experts and advocates have said Ghana’s hopes of increasing cocoa and oil palm production are under severe threat with the increase in deforestation.

      Government has for the past two decades set an annual target of 1million tonnes of cocoa production. Even with the consistent degradation of forest cover to plant more cocoa trees, all but the 2010/11 season have failed to meet the target – with the 2015/2016 season seeing a return of 778,044 tonnes.

    • Resistance and Consistent: Access to Medicines and Patent Law Reform in India and China

      The paper starts with reviewing the debates on patent in access to medicines in the context of globalization of TRIPS regime. It then looks at the issue of resistance related to patent theories, mechanism and the linkage with social movement during law reform processes. Accordingly, the 2005 revision of Patent Act in India and the 2008 revision of Patent Law in China are chosen as the backdrops for comparison. The choice of patentability doctrine and the exceptional clauses to promote research use would be the major aspects of comparison, both having been influenced by civil society actions at different degrees in both countries. The paper intends to draw the conclusions that while strong technocratic influences remain, both countries’ law makers have started walking out of the closed discourse of patent law reform via interacting with societal concerns in the context of improving access to medicines.

  • Security

    • The Bleak State of Federal Government Cybersecurity

      It’s a truism by now that the federal government struggles with cybersecurity, but a recent report by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget reinforces the dire need for change across dozens of agencies. Of the 96 federal agencies it assessed, it deemed 74 percent either “At Risk” or “High Risk,” meaning that they need crucial and immediate improvements.

    • Judge dismisses Kaspersky’s lawsuits challenging government ban

      Kollar-Kotelly, however, disagreed with this argument, noting that none of their “alleged harms would be redressed” even if they received a favorable ruling in the case because Congress has already instituted its own government-wide ban on use of Kaspersky products, which President Trump signed in December.

    • Kaspersky Lab To Appeal Court Decision To Dismiss US Ban

      US judges dismiss two lawsuits from Russian firm to overturn American ban on its security products

      Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab has suffered yet another setback in its attempt to convince the world that it is not a stooge for the Russian intelligence services.

      A US federal judge on Wednesday dismissed two lawsuits by Kaspersky Lab, which sought to overturn bans on its security products for the US government.

      It comes after the US Department for Homeland Security last year banned the use Kaspersky products from use by federal government agencies.

    • DHS, Commerce release cyber report on combating botnets

      The latest report largely resembles the draft report issued by the two federal agencies in January, which gave experts from the cybersecurity industry as well as other stakeholders the opportunity weigh in on their findings before releasing the final report.

    • Sonic attacks can bork hard disks and crash Windows and Linux [Ed: Bring up theoretic threats and making it sound like pertaining to the OS]

      Sonic and ultrasonic sounds can disrupt the read and write processes of magnetic hard disk drives, while laptops running Windows or Linux OSes, in some cases at least, required a reboot to work properly after a sonic bombardment.

      Audible sonic sounds do this by causing the head stack in a hard disk drive’s assembly to vibrate outside of its normal operating parameters which temporarily stop it from writing data. While ultrasonic sounds create false positives in the disk drive’s shock sensor and causes the drive to stop using its head, thereby causing it to stop working and disrupt an OSes normal operation.

    • Why Are We So Bad At Cybersecurity? It’s Mostly Neglect [Ed: Well, no, not really. Many still use proprietary software with back doors, hence WannaCry etc.]
    • Security updates for Thursday
    • SS7 routing-protocol breach of US cellular carrier exposed customer data

      Short for Signalling System No. 7, SS7 is the routing protocol that allows cell phone users to connect seamlessly from network to network as they travel throughout the world. With little built-in security and no way for carriers to verify one another, SS7 has always posed a potential hole that people with access could exploit to track the real-time location of individual users. In recent years, the threat has expanded almost exponentially, in part because the number of companies with access to SS7 has grown from a handful to thousands. Another key reason: hackers can now abuse the routing protocol not just to geolocate people but, in many cases, to intercept text messages and voice calls.

    • Another Report Highlights How Wireless SS7 Flaw Is Putting Everyone’s Privacy At Risk

      Last year, hackers and security researchers highlighted long-standing vulnerabilities in Signaling System 7 (SS7, or Common Channel Signalling System 7 in the US), a series of protocols first built in 1975 to help connect phone carriers around the world. While the problem isn’t new, a 2016 60 minutes report brought wider attention to the fact that the flaw can allow a hacker to track user location, dodge encryption, and even record private conversations. All while the intrusion looks like like ordinary carrier to carrier chatter among a sea of other, “privileged peering relationships.”

      Telecom lobbyists have routinely tried to downplay the flaw after carriers have failed to do enough to stop hackers from exploiting it. In Canada for example, the CBC recently noted how Bell and Rogers weren’t even willing to talk about the flaw after the news outlet published an investigation showing how, using only the number of his mobile phone, it was possible to intercept the calls and movements of Quebec NDP MP Matthew Dubé.

    • Firefox And Chrome Bug Leaked Facebook Profile Details For Almost A Year; Now Fixed

      A side-channel vulnerability existed in the implement of the CSS3 feature called “mix-blend-mode.” It allowed an attacker to de-anonymize a Facebook user running Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox by making them visit a specially crafted website.

      The flaw, now fixed, was discovered last year by the researcher duo Dario Weißer and Ruslan Habalov, and separately by another researcher named Max May.

    • Side-channel attacking browsers through CSS3 features

      With the staggering amount of features that were introduced through HTML5 and CSS3 the attack surface of browsers grew accordingly. Consequently, it is no surprise that interactions between such features can cause unexpected behavior impacting the security of their users. In this article, we describe such a practical attack and the research behind it.

    • Effects of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) On Cyber Security [Ed: 'sponsored' article]
    • French Security Expert Exposes “Kimbho”: “I Can Access The Messages of All Users”
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Spooks Spooking Themselves

      With the news that a Cambridge academic-cum-spy named Stefan Halper infiltrated the Trump campaign, the role of the intelligence agencies in shaping the great Russiagate saga is at last coming into focus.

      It’s looking more and more massive. The intelligence agencies initiated reports that Donald Trump was colluding with Russia, they nurtured them and helped them grow, and then they spread the word to the press and key government officials. Reportedly, they even tried to use these reports to force Trump to step down prior to his inauguration. Although the corporate press accuses Trump of conspiring with Russia to stop Hillary Clinton, the reverse now seems to be the case: the Obama administration intelligence agencies worked with Clinton to block “Siberian candidate” Trump.

    • Borno not under Boko Haram occupation – Governor Shettima
    • ‘She refused to convert to Islam,’ 85 days on, kidnapped schoolgirl Leah Sharibu remains in captivity

      Leah was one of the 110 schoolgirls kidnapped by members of the terrorist group Boko Haram in February from their school in Dapchi, in northeast Nigeria.

    • Grieving dad: US drone killed my son in Yemen, and Trump has yet to offer apology
    • Narco-Corruption, ISIS 3.0, and the Terror Drone Attack That Never Happened

      For almost 20 years, U.S. drone warfare was largely one-sided. Unlike Afghans and Yemenis, Iraqis and Somalis, Americans never had to worry about lethal robots hovering overhead and raining down missiles. Until, that is, one appeared in the skies above Florida.

    • WaPo Editors: We Have to Help Destroy Yemen to Save It

      Over the past year, the Washington Post editorial board has routinely ignored the US’s involvement in the siege of Yemen—a bombing and starvation campaign that has killed over 15,000 civilians and left roughly a million with cholera. As FAIR noted last November (11/20/17), the Washington Post ran a major editorial (11/8/17) and an explainer (11/19/17) detailing the carnage in Yemen without once mentioning the US’s role in the conflict—instead pinning it on the seemingly rogue Saudis and the dastardly Iranians.

      This was in addition to an op-ed that summer by editorial page editor Jackson Diehl (6/26/17), which not only ignored the US’s support of Saudi bombing but actually spun the US as the savior of Yemenis, holding up Saudi Arabia’s biggest backer in the Senate, Lindsey Graham, as a champion of human rights.

      In recent months, however, the Post has charted a new course: vaguely acknowledging Washington’s role in the bloody siege, but insisting that the US should remain involved in the bombing of Yemen for the sake of humanitarianism.

    • Congresswoman Says School Shootings Are Caused By Porn, Mental Illness, Single Parents… But Mostly Porn

      In the wake of any mass or school shooting that occurs in America, which pretty much means most of the time that exists, everyone immediately runs to their preferred corners to blame their preferred target for the latest tragedy. I’ve pointed this out as often as I can, but the truth is that both gun violence and the incidence of mass shootings in America is a terribly complicated subject that deserves all the nuance and sober-thinking it could possibly be afforded. But, since this is America we’re talking about, we tend to do the exact opposite and instead pick a single target and heap as much blame as we can on it. It’s guns that’s the problems. Or it’s violent movies. Or video games. Those are the typical targets, and they have been for some time. Meanwhile, the shootings continue, nothing is done, and on it goes.

      House Rep. Diane Black of Tennessee knows why this is. We’ve had the wrong target all along. The real cause of school shootings is porn.

      [...]

      These feel like they’re on more solid ground than blaming porn, but only in relative comparison to the former. It’s still the same old problem of picking out a few scapegoats and pretending they explain America’s mass shooting problem, rather than having an honest and nuanced view of all the contributing factors. Were we Americans to actually employ this logical mindset, we could then proceed with a real discussion of what we want to do about all the factors that play into school shootings.

    • The West & Gulf Couldn’t Sway These Lebanese Elections

      The recent Lebanese parliamentary election generated a lot of publicity in Western media. To be sure, free elections are rare in the Middle East, and Western media get excited over the prospects of success for what they dub as “pro-Western” candidates or coalitions anywhere. Also because foes of Israel and the U.S. were in the running, Western media become automatically invested in the outcome. This time, Western media decided that Hizbullah won “a majority of seats” in the election—as the headline of The Financial Times had it. The results were certainly a blow to Western and Gulf regimes who invest—politically and financially–heavily in Lebanese elections.

      [...]

      In the U.S., there is still a clear agenda to suppress wide political participation. The U.S. is one of the few countries in the world which holds the vote on a working day—and in the winter where much of the East coast is buried under rain and snow. Furthermore, the U.S. requires voter registration, when most democracies don’t. The low voter turnout in the U.S. is by design, and not by default. If the U.S. were to adopt a proportional representation system—which both parties won’t allow because they enjoy holding the exclusive monopoly over political representation—voter turnout would increase. Most world democracies have—at least partially or at some level—adopted proportional representation.

      The leftist coalition during the Lebanese civil war years, the Lebanese National Movement, proposed political reforms in 1975. They included—among other things—the adoption of proportional representation at the national level, with Lebanon designated as one electoral district. The political class rejected that because they preferred the single-member district (at a small local level) since it facilitates the utilization of cash in swaying voters. Also, Lebanese national proportional representation wouldn’t fit well with regional sectarian leaderships.

    • Fear Still Grips Dapchi Girls’ School in Nigeria

      “They snapped our photos and told us not to return to school, but I came back because I want to learn,” said a 17-year-old student who asked for VOA to only use her first name, Maryam.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Break the silence on the danger facing Julian Assange

      The International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) and the World Socialist Web Site are at the forefront of a global fight against concerted efforts by governments to eviscerate democratic rights, impose censorship on the Internet and prepare dictatorial forms of rule.

      The ruling elite is seeking to silence dissent out of fear that a growing movement of the working class against social inequality will erupt into a direct struggle against the capitalist system itself.

      In stark contrast to our stance, a host of organisations and individuals are assisting the drive to overturn democratic rights. One sharp indicator is their silence over the grave danger that faces WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange.

      The Australian-born journalist faces the imminent threat of being deprived of the political asylum he was granted inside Ecuador’s London embassy in 2012. He would be taken into custody by British authorities, then handed over to the US government. However, there has been not a word of public opposition by numerous figures who previously spoke out in his defence.

      This situation cannot be explained by lack of popular support for Assange. WikiLeaks’ ongoing publication of secret documents, which expose war crimes and government and corporate intrigues, is viewed with

    • Ecuador’s president says Julian Assange can stay in embassy ‘with conditions’

      Lenín Moreno, the president of Ecuador, has said Julian Assange’s asylum status in the country’s London embassy is not under threat – provided he complies with the conditions of his stay and avoids voicing his political opinions on Twitter.

      However, in an interview with Deutsche Welle on Wednesday, Moreno said his government would “take a decision” if Assange didn’t comply with the restrictions.

      “Let’s not forget the conditions of his asylum prevent him from speaking about politics or intervening in the politics of other countries. That’s why we cut his communication,” he said. Ecuador suspended Assange’s communication’s system in March.

    • Moreno: Assange Can Remain At Embassy, So Long As He Doesn’t Practice Journalism

      In 1999 I took a backpack and my life savings to South America, intending to spend six months traversing as much of the continent as I could possibly fit in. I landed in Ecuador and my plans changed almost immediately. I fell in love with the country and its people and ended up spending over half my time there.

      I arrived a few days after the banks had collapsed in a grim neoliberal foreshadowing as to what was going to happen in the States a decade later. Bank accounts were frozen as the government put salvaging the banks above feeding the people. There was anger and rioting, tear gas and rubber bullets, and a brass band. Always, there was a brass band. Sometimes shirtless, often shoeless, with a few dinged-up instruments creating a wild cacophony of joy to riot to. A tiny country with the equator running through three distinct topographies — the coast, the alps and the jungle — its claim to being “el mitad del mundo” rings true. It feels like you are living in the heart of the world. It is life, concentrated. And its people seem more real and more alive than any I have encountered in my many travels.

      Which is why I was not surprised when this plucky nation knowingly took on the wrath of the western empire in granting Julian Assange political asylum in 2012. While my own sycophantic country Australia pathetically ignored the plight of its own citizen, Ecuador defiantly strode forward, locked eyes with the US-centralized power establishment, and did what no one else was willing to.

      Granting political asylum to a journalist who is being persecuted for speaking truth to power was the right thing to do, and for a few fine years Ecuador showed the world its soul with this brave act. You can understand my dismay, then, to see President Lenín Moreno flushing it all down the toilet by now telling that same journalist that he will no longer receive political asylum if he ever again speaks truth to power.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • NASA Satellites Reveal Freshwater Decline In India

      Scientists led by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in the US used data on human activities to map locations where freshwater is changing around the globe and why.

    • No water for us, don’t come here: Shimla residents to tourists

      The population of Shimla Municipal Corporation area is about 1.72 lakh but it swells by between 90,000 and one lakh during the peak tourist season in summer. The requirement of water increases to 45 million litres a day. “The government should issue an advisory to tourists asking them not to come to Shimla till the situation improves as it would cause further inconvenience to water-starved residents,” 78-year old Bharaiv Dutt wrote in his post. The social media messages have alarmed hoteliers. But some of them are so fed up with complaints from the customers that they have offered full refund of the advance payment if they choose to cancel.

    • Shimla runs out of water; residents, tourists sweat

      Shimla is witnessing a major water crisis during peak tourist season with taps running dry for the eighth day in most parts of the city, forcing people to buy water at exorbitant prices and smaller hotels to cancel bookings even as drinking water supply in the Queen of Hills fell to less than 50% of requirements, courtesy a dry winter.

    • “Revolutionary” biofuel developed under wraps at Finnish, Swedish universities

      An oil refining facility can cost around 1.5 billion euros to construct, while a setup to produce the biomass fuel can be done in shipping container-sized structures for significantly less money. And, he says, the facilities can be put virtually anywhere.

      Mikkola says that taxi or trucking firms could get their own containers and produce their own fuel locally. The containers are small enough to be placed behind a petrol station or by a community centre, for example.

    • A recipe for war: Soon, 40 percent of people will live in water-stressed regions

      This shouldn’t come as such a surprise — freshwater is essential to all ecological and societal activities, indispensable to economic and political gains. It is also growing scarcer every year thanks to climate change and our mismanaged response. By mid-century, 40 percent of the world’s population will live in water-stressed regions and competition for resources will intensify accordingly.

    • China Considers Ending Birth Limits as Soon as This Year
    • ‘Living fossil’ giant salamander heading for extinction

      The giant salamander, which lives in freshwater rivers, was once common across China. Eating the creature was historically seen as taboo, but, in a reversal of fortunes, the giant salamander is now regarded as a delicacy, despite its status as an endangered species.

    • Keeping fossil fuels in the ground is the only way to save polar bears ravaged by climate change

      As the sea ice retreats, polar bears need to swim longer distances. They are spending less time on the sea ice, where they can hunt the seals they need to survive. Individual bears are starving and drowning, and fewer cubs are surviving.

      If sea ice loss continues unabated, scientists estimate that polar bears will be drastically reduced across their range by mid-century. Then they’ll disappear

    • At 46°C, Karachi endures hottest day of year
    • Earth just had its 400th straight warmer-than-average month thanks to global warming

      Another milestone was reached in April, also related to the number “400″: Carbon dioxide — the gas scientists say is most responsible for global warming — reached its highest level in recorded history at 410 parts per million.

      This amount is highest in at least the past 800,000 years, according to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography.

    • How a Pyramid Scheme Doomed the World’s Largest Amphibians

      Bizarrely, only 3 percent of the animals raised by the farms are eventually sold to restaurants. The rest are sold to more start-up farms. This absurd amphibian Ponzi scheme so inflated the worth of the salamanders that a small, 2-kilogram individual could sell for around $1,500. As a result, people began supplementing the farmed stock by illegally collecting the animals from the wild. “The high prices created a sort of salamander rush,” says Jing Che from the Kunming Institute of Zoology, who was involved in the recent study.

    • Intellectual Property and Clean Energy: The Paris Agreement and Climate Justice

      In 2015, the United Nations Climate Change Conference was held in Paris to reach the achievement of a fair, binding and ambitious agreement on climate change. One of the outstanding topics under discussion is intellectual property and climate change. Patent Law plays a critical role in providing incentives for renewable energy, and access to critical inventions for the greater public good. Plant breeders’ rights impact on intellectual property and food security. Access to genetic resources raises questions about biodiversity and climate change. Trade mark law is significant in terms of green trade marks, eco labels, and greenwashing. Copyright law plays a key part in respect of access to environmental information. The topic of intellectual property and climate change has significant implications for innovation, technology transfer, agriculture, biodiversity, and public health. This collection will consider the future of climate innovation after the Paris Agreement.

    • How cruise ships bring agonising death to last Greek whales

      “The solution would be to move ships a little bit offshore into deeper waters less favoured by whales,” he said from the Scottish island of Coll, where he was observing minke whales and dolphins last week. A marine mammal expert with the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Leaper has spent more than 20 years studying ship strikes and says that in Greek seas they account for more than 60% of whale deaths although most, he adds, go unreported and unrecorded.

  • Finance

    • Life and death on a superyacht: ‘If something goes wrong, they can just raise the anchor and leave’

      “They will often be working very long hours, right around the clock, looking after guests,” says the fair-skinned, red-haired McGowan, sheltering from the sun in Monaco’s famous La Rascasse bar, which a crew recruitment company has hired out for the week. “These are tragic situations where young people have lost their lives, and there are hundreds of other injuries and complaints that aren’t reported.” He says staff have had their passports confiscated and wages withheld; they talk of being sent home for the slightest uniform infraction.

    • Authoritarianism and the slow death of Indian Railways

      Before we get to the present condition, a bit of historical reminiscing is important. Now the Indian Railways has been like the son which was never wanted since it’s birth. The British made lot of investment when they were ruling for their own benefit, most of which is still standing today details the kind of materials that were used. Independence and Partition were two gifts which the English gave us when they left which lead to millions of souls killed on either side. I wouldn’t go much into it as Khushwant Singh’s ‘Train to Pakistan‘ . It is probably one of the most hard books I have read as there are just too many threads to grasp and one is just unable to grasp the horror that Partition wrought to the Indian subcontinent.

      [...]

      The present situation is that Indian Railways is in dire straits. While Indian Railways had an operating ratio of 94.9 percent

    • People don’t want railways to be political totems. They just want them to work
    • San Francisco to Uber, Lyft: If your drivers aren’t employees, prove it

      “We are not going to turn a blind eye if companies in San Francisco deny workers their pay and benefits,” he said in a statement issued Tuesday. “We are not going to tolerate any company shirking its responsibility to pay for benefits and shifting that burden onto taxpayers when drivers without health insurance turn to the emergency room. If your company is valued at $62 billion, you can afford to give your workers health care.”

    • What are the factors driving up the price of crude oil?
    • Tariffs On Canadian Base Metals, Again…

      Further, Trump is forcing Canada and Mexico to ship base metals to China and strengthening ties commercially. Can we say “self-imposed sanctions” boys and girls? That’s what Trump is doing, beating up USA to promote his ego, or whatever… He’s a traitor undermining all that is good in USA: rule of law, opportunity in markets, and security. Poof! They are all gone if this bozo is left to run the country much longer. Impeach the bastard!

    • Trump hits allies with metal tariffs; Mexico and EU vow to retaliate

      The trade penalties, 25% on imported steel and 10% on imported aluminum, take effect at midnight, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told reporters Thursday.

      Mexico and the EU immediately announced plans to retaliate with their own tariffs against American products.

      Trump announced worldwide steel and aluminum tariffs in March but granted exemptions to some major trading partners.

    • NYT’s ‘Economic Logic’ Ignores Italy’s Economic Reality

      It’s not at all clear that “economic logic” would dictate that Italy is better off in the euro than outside it. Italy’s economy has stagnated as a result of having little control over its fiscal, monetary or exchange rate policy. It has consistently performed far worse than “experts” had projected. For example, in 2010 the IMF had projected that its per capita income would be 3.0 percent higher by 2015 (the last year of the projection) than it was in 2010.

      Instead, its per capita income was more than 4.0 percent lower in 2015 than in 2010. This difference of 7 percentage points would be equivalent to $4,200 per person in the United States. Italy has still not recovered to its pre-crisis level of income.

      The article also asserts that Italy would have trouble paying its euro-denominated debt if it were to leave the euro. While this is true, it is also likely that creditors would accept a partial write-down of the debt. If they are in a situation where they know that they can not recover the full value of their debt, it makes sense to accept a partial payment that the country would be able to make.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Iraq: anti-US cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s bloc confirmed as election winners
    • How a Former US Spy Chief Became Trump’s Fiercest Critic

      The truth, Clapper argues time and again, is critical. “I don’t believe our democracy can long function on lies,” he writes. “I believe we have to continue speaking truth to power, even—or especially—if the person in power doesn’t want to hear the truth we have to tell him.”

    • The Mills of God Grind Slowly. Particularly in Spain.

      That’s Luis Barcenas, former Treasurer of the ruling Francoist successor Popular Party in Spain and long time confidante of Prime Minister Rajoy, happily now in prison for his part in a corruption scandal in which, over twenty years, hundreds of millions of euros in kickbacks from taxpayer-funded projects were channelled into the Popular Party coffers, and then doled out in secret payments to party leaders. Rajoy himself had to give evidence in court and the judgement made plain he was not believed.

      This is the obvious cause of the no confidence motion that may lead to the Popular Party being removed from power tomorrow. The power of the brown envelope may yet save Rajoy, and the constitutional role of a monarchy which is itself financially corrupt will also come into play.

      It says everything about the state of Spanish politics, that in responding in Parliament to the charge of corruption in the no-confidence debate today, Rajoy should turn to the leader of the opposition and declaim “And who do you think you are, Mother Theresa? Your hands are not so clean”. It says even more about Spain that this has not caused shock and “you are corrupt too” is not seen as a wildly inappropriate defence. It is true that the Socialist Party has no shortage of its own skeletons.

      What may bring down Rajoy is the fact that the Basque parties, whose support Rajoy had bought with subsidies even more obvious than those lavished by May on the DUP, cannot be seen to prop up Rajoy after his enthusiastic policy of clubbing Catalan grandmothers over the head and imprisoning Catalan leaders. Only the neo-con fake opposition Ciudadanos, originally sponsored and financed by the German BND security service to head off Podemos’ perceived threat to the Euro, is doing its utmost to maintain Merkel’s close ally in power.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Algerian blogger gets 10-year sentence for interviewing Israeli official

      Touati was arrested in January 2017 for conducting an online video interview with an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman and for calling on Algerians to protest a new financial law on Facebook.

    • Papua New Guinea will block Facebook for a month to see what happens

      The move is in response to the recent negative press about the social network and is designed to give leaders time to weed out profiles and better understand the effect that Zuck’s baby is having on the country.

    • Ecclesial censorship

      On the one hand, when one becomes a member of a religious order, I guess it’s like joining the army. Indeed as of their very title, dominican friars feature as the Lord’s guard dogs. Given the overall logic of how a religious system is organized, can a guard dog acting on his own, contest the strategy of the regiment’s generals? or give them unsolicited advice in public? This has special relevance given too that the “guard dog” in question chose to be in that situation – not like “real” dogs, who have been born or sold into a “military” way of life.

    • PM says no room for censorship in today’s world

      Asking the media to impose a “self-regulating mechanism”, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said the PML-N government has made every effort to ensure freedom of expression and independence of media as the age of censorship is over.

      [...]

      He said the PML-N government discontinued the practice of allocating a secret fund to the Intelligence Bureau (IB) for curbing media freedom. He said the government had to depend on advertisements to highlight its performance though it never had a positive impact on the people. He asked the media to objectively report on government achievements and refrain from highlighting negative news.

    • Facebook, Google and Twitter Must Censor the Web, Demand Investors

      For the past 20 years, The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has protected U.S.-based firms from the consequence of their users’ actions. (The EU has a similar directive.) As a result, social media firms can’t be sued or prosecuted, regardless of what their users upload and post.

      However, a recently-passed law just changed all of that. It’s called the “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act” (aka FOSTA) and it makes website operators liable for any user-generated content that “promotes or facilitates prostitution.”

      In other words, Internet providers can now be arrested for user-created content that might result or seems to result in illegal behaviors. Or legal behaviors, if you live in most parts of Nevada.

    • A Constitutional Conundrum That’s Not Going Away—Unequal Access to Social Media Posts

      Among the many privacy challenges posed by social media, one has flown largely under the radar: balancing defendants’ due process rights to access exculpatory information against the crucial privacy protections of the Stored Communications Act (SCA). Here’s the problem: prosecutors have broad powers to demand access to stored communications as necessary to pursue their case, but defendants do not. That means the scales are tipped in favor of prosecutors, which seem unfair. But a more balanced approach would likely require eroding privacy protections – protections that are more necessary than ever.

      The issue was squarely raised last week in Facebook v. Superior Court (Hunter). Defendants sought communications from Facebook and Instagram that could be highly relevant to their guilt or innocence. However, in a narrow ruling, the California Supreme Court largely sidestepped the question, holding that social media providers must turn over public communications when served with a lawful state subpoena, but are forbidden under the SCA from producing the content of private electronic communications to defendants. The court then punted the case back down to the trial court to determine whether the specific posts sought by the defense were “public” or “private.”

      The SCA was enacted to implement important privacy protections by prohibiting communications providers from sharing the contents of communications with both public and private actors, with limited exceptions. In particular, when the government wants access to user communications, the SCA requires it to use legal process ranging from a subpoena to a search warrant, depending on the scenario. After a series of hard-fought legal battles, the rule is clear: the Fourth Amendment requires the government to get a judicially authorized search warrant to access the contents of communications in all cases. Given the range of extraordinarily sensitive communications users entrust to third-party providers, this rule is vitally important to protect users from government fishing expeditions.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • German Court Rules on ICANN Request to Preserve WHOIS Data

      The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) today announced that a German regional court (LG Bonn) has issued a decision on the injunction proceedings ICANN initiated against EPAG, a Germany-based, ICANN-accredited registrar that is part of the Tucows Group. The Court has determined that it would not issue an injunction against EPAG.

      Last Friday, ICANN filed the matter with the German regional court which ruled today, seeking assistance in interpreting the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in order to protect the data collected in WHOIS.

    • ICANN’s Pre-emptive Attack On The GDPR Thrown Out By Court In Germany

      The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has only just started to be enforced, but it is already creating some seriously big waves in the online world, as Techdirt has reported. Most of those are playing out in obvious ways, such as Max Schrems’s formal GDPR complaints against Google and Facebook over “forced consent” (pdf). That hardly came as a shock — he’s been flagging up the move on Twitter for some time. But there’s another saga underway that may have escaped people’s notice. It involves ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), which runs the Internet’s namespace. Back in 2015, Mike memorably described the organization as “a total freaking mess”, in an article about ICANN’s “war against basic privacy”. Given that history, it’s perhaps no surprise that ICANN is having trouble coming to terms with the GDPR. The bone of contention is the information that is collected by the world’s registrars for the Whois system, run by ICANN. EPAG, a Tucows-owned registrar based in Bonn, Germany, is concerned that this personal data might fall foul of the GDPR, and thus expose it to massive fines.

    • Summer of Code: Polishing the API

      Another thing that bothers me about PGPainless is the fact, that I have to know, how an OpenPGP message is constructed in order to process it. I have to know, that a message is encrypted and signed to then decrypt and verify it.
      XEP-0373 does not specify some kind of marker that says “the following message is encrypted and signed” which is a design decision which was made in order to counter certain types of attacks. So I have to modify PGPainless to provide a method that can process arbitrary OpenPGP messages and which tells me afterwards, whether the messages was signed and so on.

      Compared to last years project I spent way more time on documenting my code this time. Nearly every public method has a beautiful green block of javadoc above its signature documenting what it does and how it should be used.
      What I could do better though are tests. Last year my focus was on creating good JUnit and integration tests, while this time I only have the bare minimum of tests. I’ll try to go through my API together with Florian next week to find rough edges and afterwards create some more tests.

    • A Brand Advertising Restoration Project

      The GDPR is breaking advertising apart.

      Never mind the specifics of the regulation. Just look at the effects. Among those, two are obvious and everywhere: 1) opt-back-in emails and 2) “consent walls” in front of websites. Both of those misdirect attention away from how an entire branch of advertising ignored a simple moral principle that has long applied in the offline world: tracking people without their knowledge, approval or a court order is just flat-out wrong.

    • Facebook, Instagram Lack Transparency on Government-Ordered Content Removal Amid Unprecedented Demands to Censor User Speech, EFF’s Annual Who Has Your Back Report Shows

      Apple App Store, Google Play Store, YouTube Among the Best at Informing Users About the Number of, and Reasons for, Content Takedowns

      San Francisco, California — Facing increased demands from governments to remove user content, purportedly in the name of combating hate speech and extremism, a handful of social media and app store platforms—including the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, and YouTube—have emerged as leaders in transparency, publicly disclosing how often and why they comply with takedown requests, and notifying users when their posts are targeted for removal, an Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) report found.

      Others major platforms, notably Facebook and Instagram, have failed to adopt truly meaningful notice practices and policies that inform users of crucial details, like which governments have come knocking and why, EFF said in its Who Has Your Back: Censorship Edition report, released today.

      Prior Who Has Your Back reports, which EFF has published annually since 2011, have focused on government demands for user data. But this year, EFF focuses squarely on how major technology companies are responding to government-requested censorship.

    • Trial begins for ex-CIA man accused of espionage for China
    • Trial begins for ex-CIA man accused of spying for China
    • Trial begins for former CIA officer accused of spying for China
    • California debuts ‘digital’ license plates. Here’s what they’ll cost you.

      The new plates use the same computer technology as Kindle eBook readers, along with a wireless communication system.

      They come with their own computer chips and battery.

    • Digital license plates finally hit the road in California

      Motorists who choose to buy the digital plates can register their vehicles electronically and eliminate the need to physically stick tags on their license plates each year, which could save the state money. The digital plates come with their own computer chips, batteries, and wireless communication systems. They also may be able to display personal messages — if the DMV decides to allow that.

    • India, EU and the privacy challenge

      The free flow of data across borders underpins today’s globalised economy. Such flows are growing exponentially and are estimated to have raised world GDP by about 10 per cent over the past decade. India is a major beneficiary. Data flows drive the country’s most dynamic exports of digitally-delivered data processing and other business services.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Police set dog on a driver who politely refuses to answer questions
    • Stabbed at a neo-Nazi rally, called a criminal: how police targeted a black activist

      O’Bannon, who has large scars on his stomach from the knife wound and the surgery, said his concerns that police were still targeting him would not prevent him from telling his story.

    • Justice Minister: “No room in Finland for Sharia law”

      Minister of Justice Antti Häkkänen said on Tuesday that religion or culture cannot be used to justify the violation of the rights of women or girls through forced marriages or genital mutilation, for instance. Speaking in Helsinki, he said diversity does not mean that parallel communities that do not ensure all basic rights should be allowed to develop in the country.

    • Blood Will Tell: Part II

      Last fall, more than three decades after Joe’s conviction, I found myself surrounded by human blood. I had signed up for a class in bloodstain-pattern analysis in the hope of gaining a better grasp of both bloodstain interpretation and the training police officers receive in the discipline. At each of Joe’s trials, prosecutors used the testimony of Robert Thorman, a bloodstain-pattern analyst, to lend scientific authority to an ambiguous case, and I wanted to more fully understand the basis of his expertise.

    • How an Unproven Forensic Science Spread Through the Criminal Justice System

      The modern era of bloodstain-pattern analysis began when a small group of scientists and forensic investigators started testifying in cases, as experts in a new technique. Some of them went on to train hundreds of police officers, investigators and crime-lab technicians — many of whom began to testify as well. When defendants appealed the legitimacy of the experts’ testimony, the cases made their way to state appeals courts. Once one court ruled such testimony admissible, other states’ courts followed suit, often citing their predecessors’ decisions. When discussing the reliability or accuracy of the technique, judges typically relied on their own — or the testifying expert’s own — assessment. Rarely, if ever, have courts required objective proof of bloodstain-pattern analysis’ accuracy.

    • After pointlessly groping countless Americans, the TSA is keeping a secret watchlist of those who fight back
    • Watch List Shields T.S.A. Screeners From Threatening, and Unruly, Travelers

      A five-page directive obtained by The New York Times said actions that pose physical danger to security screeners — or other contact that the agency described as “offensive and without legal justification” — could land travelers on the watch list, which was created in February and is also known as a “95 list.”

    • The TSA has a secret enemies list of people who’ve complained about screeners

      We all know that the TSA maintains a secret watchlist of suspected terrorists who are somehow suspicious enough that they can be denied the right to fly or be subjected to humiliating screenings (but not suspicious enough to charge with any crime), but it turns out that that TSA has another watchlist of problem fliers — people who’ve complained about TSA screeners, as well as people who are accused of having “assaulted” screeners (the definition of “assault” includes women who’ve removed screeners’ hands from their breasts).

    • ‘A Border Control Official Sexually Abused Me’
    • Two persons killed for ‘honour’ in Pano Akil

      Amjad was axed to death while Firdous was suffocated until she died, according to the initial investigation report.

    • About That Hate Crime at a Western Illinois Cemetery

      Last February, I took an Amtrak train from New York City to Philadelphia, where vandals had knocked over hundreds of headstones at a Jewish cemetery on Philadelphia’s Northeast side. I wanted to be there, and yet I also didn’t want to be there. The vandalism at Mount Carmel Cemetery was only the most recent example in a nationwide spate of threats and acts of violence over several weeks against Jewish communities. A Jewish cemetery in Missouri was similarly vandalized six days before I arrived at Mount Carmel, and there’d been more than 100 threats to Jewish community centers across the country since the beginning of 2016.

      I don’t know if anyone was ever arrested for the vandalism at Mount Carmel. So when I read that 200 headstones and monuments were found spray-painted with swastikas in a western Illinois cemetery over Memorial Day weekend, I wondered if anyone would be held accountable for that crime, either.

      But a suspect — a 34-year-old Glen Carbon, Illinois, man living with his parents not far from Sunset Hill Cemetery — was arrested within 24 hours. According to the Belleville News-Democrat, the man, who also was accused of vandalizing other nearby properties, was charged with three counts of institutional vandalism, one count of violating the Cemetery Protection Act, 14 counts of criminal damage to property and four counts of hate crime.

    • Pakistani Christian embroiled in ‘worst’ blasphemy case appears before court without defense lawyer

      Abdul Haq used the SIM to send derogatory messages using Facebook. After sometime, Abdul Haq plotted to get rid of Nadeem and conspired against him. Police hooked Nadeem and burnt his house in Lahore, charging him of committing blasphemy. At the same time, police hunted for his brother and family in order to arrest them too. Nadeem’s family went hiding in order to save their lives.

    • Manchester Arena attack: Bomb ‘injured more than 800′

      ACC Jackson said it was “really difficult” to give an update on the progress of the extradition of Abedi’s brother Hashem Abedi who is currently in custody in Libya.

    • Islamophobic? Coffee shop refuses to serve man who confronted Muslim woman in niqab

      Another coffee shop confrontation caught on smartphone video is causing a stir on social media — only this time it involves a man angered by a woman who identifies herself as a Muslim.

      A barista at a coffee shop in Riverside, Calif., refused to serve a man after he appears to insult the woman, who was wearing a black niqab, a headscarf that covers most of the face except her eyes.

    • Human rights of two al-Qaeda suspects tortured by the CIA were ‘violated’ by Lithuania and Romania for allowing the ‘black sites’ in their countries, European court rules
    • Lithuania and Romania Complicit in C.I.A. Renditions, European Court Says
    • Lithuania and Romania complicit in CIA torture – European court

      European judges have ruled that Lithuania and Romania violated the rights of two al-Qaeda terror suspects by allowing the CIA to torture them.

      The US captured Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri after the September 2001 attacks in the US and they are now at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

      The CIA operated secret prisons, including in Lithuania and Romania.

      The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said both countries had violated the European prohibition of torture.

    • Romania and Lithuania knowingly hosted secret CIA jails, European court rules

      Lithuania and Romania hosted secret CIA prisons a decade ago and their authorities were aware that detainees were held there illegally, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on Thursday.

      [...]

      “Lithuania had also permitted him to be moved to another CIA detention site in Afghanistan, exposing him to further ill-treatment,” it said.

      The court said Romania had similarly violated the Convention in the case of a Saudi national, Abd Al Rahim Husseyn Muhammad Al Nashiri, who is facing the death penalty in the United States in charges over his alleged role in terrorist attacks.

      It said Lithuania and Romania should launch full investigations into their roles in the rendition program and punish any officials responsible.

    • European Nations Allowed U.S. Torture of Terror Suspects, Court Rules
    • European court: Romania, Lithuania hosted CIA secret jails

      The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that Romania and Lithuania allowed the detention and abuse of a Saudi and a Palestinian at secret U.S. prisons.

      The Strasbourg, France-based court said Thursday that Abd al-Rahim Al Nashiri, a Saudi national later sent to Guantanamo Bay, was detained and abused in Romania between Sept. 2003 and Oct. 2005, and urged Romania to investigate and punish perpetrators.

      The court concluded that Al-Nashiri was blindfolded, hooded, shackled, kept in solitary confinement, and subjected to loud noise and bright light during his detention at the CIA prison in Romania.

    • ‘Complicit’: EU Rights Court Condemns Lithuania, Romania Over Secret CIA Prisons

      In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the CIA launched a program, when suspected al-Qaeda detainees were taken to several “black sites” around the world to escape US limits on interrogations.

      The European Court of Human Rights concluded that Lithuania and Romania were responsible for violations of rights of terrorism suspects due to their complicity in US Central Intelligence Agency “secret rendition,” the Council of Europe said Thursday.

      The decision was made after two suspects who a currently being held at the US prison in Guantanamo lodged the case in 2011 and 2012, claiming that they were illegally held at the so called “black sites” controlled by the CIA from 2004 to 2006.

    • Supreme Court Says 4th Amendment — Not The Automobile Exception — Covers Vehicles Parked In Driveways

      Depending on your view, the Supreme Court has either restored a bit of the Fourth Amendment with its recent decision, or simply reiterated its protections. Either way, the decision [PDF] in Collins v. Virginia does halt the expansion of the “automobile exception.” The State of Virginia was hoping to see this extended all the way up people’s driveways, but that runs contrary to the exception itself, which only grants law enforcement plenty of warrant-free searches if the vehicle is on a public road.

      There’s a difference between houses and vehicles in Fourth Amendment caselaw, but this case combines them both. Decisions at multiple lower levels all found for the state. The Supreme Court disagrees. The automobile exception is predicated on a few traits specific to vehicles on public roads.

    • Six More J20 Protest Prosecutions Dismissed As Gov’t Admits To Hiding Exculpatory Evidence From Defendants

      The government has dismissed more defendants from the J20 protest prosecution. A mass prosecution that ensnared journalists and activists — along with those who may have actually participated in damaging property — has gradually disintegrated as the government has undermined its own efforts again and again. (To say nothing of the multiple times the government tried to undermine the prosecution, starting with the mass First Amendment incursions of arresting journalists, before heading on to broadsides of the Fourth thru Sixth Amendments.)

      The government isn’t done blasting holes in its feet just yet. Alan Pyke, reporting for ThinkProgress, says the prosecutorial fiasco the government is trying to abandon contained a host of Constitutional violations.

    • Prosecutors hid mountains of evidence in trial of Trump inauguration protesters

      A dramatic failure to honor the basic principles of criminal law could put a sudden end to the long-suffering First Amendment case.

    • Want to See How Biased Broken Windows Policing Is? Spend a Day in Court

      While the inner machinations of the city’s justice system are opaque, the numbers in court don’t lie: A new analysis of court proceedings across the city reveals stark patterns of structural bias that have historically defined the city’s police-civilian power structure. The field research of the Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP) shows how on any given day a typical city courtroom may see dozens of arrestees, jail virtually none of them, and churn people needlessly through a dysfunctional legal bureaucracy.

    • Nik Omar barred from leading mosque prayers

      Nik Omar had earned the wrath of his fa­mily for contesting the Chempaka state seat against PAS, which he eventually lost.

    • Women’s arrests cast doubt on Saudi Crown Prince’s reforms

      At least 11 women’s rights activists have been arrested in recent weeks, according to rights groups, and are believed to be faced with counterterror charges punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

    • Saudi Arabia: women’s rights activists arrested before lifting of driving ban

      While the reasons behind the arrests are not clear, activists told HRW that in September 2017, “the royal court had called the country’s prominent activists … and warned them not to speak to the media”.

    • Saudi Arabia: Women’s Rights Advocates Arrested

      Saudi authorities since May 15, 2018, detained a total of seven prominent women’s rights defenders, Human Rights Watch said today. The activists have long advocated ending the ban on women driving and abolishing the discriminatory male guardianship system. Among those arrested are Eman al-Nafjan and Lujain al-Hathloul, along with two male activists, but authorities have not revealed the reason behind the arrests.

    • Saudi Arabia Said To Detain Women’s Rights Advocates Who Challenged Driving Ban

      The detentions appeared to be part of a broader crackdown by the Saudi leadership, led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aimed at silencing any political activism, even as the crown prince carries out some social changes. A spokesman for the government did not immediately comment on the detentions, which were first publicized by Saudi opposition social media accounts.

    • ‘Kicked him in the b***s’ Scottish woman fought off two men using karate after they grabbed her on way home from nightclub

      After a three-day trial, a jury found both men guilty of assault with an allegation that they intended to rape the woman deleted from the charge.

    • CBP Fails to Discredit Our Report on Abuse of Immigrant Kids

      Last week, the ACLU’s Border Litigation Project and University of Chicago Law’s International Human Rights Clinic published a report detailing child abuse by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The report, based on a portion of the more than 30,000 pages of government records we obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, identifies numerous cases of serious alleged misconduct by CBP officials between 2009 and 2014, focusing on the agency’s verbal, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse of migrant children.

      CBP responded by calling our report “unfounded.” Here, we address the false statements CBP made in its response.

    • We have to stop saying ‘Asian grooming gangs’

      Joking aside, the complainants were right. The media’s use of ‘Asian’ to describe grooming gangs not only masks the ethno-religious identity of the perpetrators – it also throws Sikhs, Hindus, Pakistani-Christians and every other Asian under the bus. Gangs of Indian, Japanese and Korean men are not rampaging across Britain’s towns and cities, sexually abusing underage white girls. The men doing so are predominantly of Pakistani-Muslim heritage.

    • To Know Muhammad Is to Know Islam
    • Meerut: Mayor seeks to cancel cultural programmes, says will disturb Muslims during Ramzan

      Meerut’s BJP councillors objected to the mayor’s suggestion and vowed not to allow anyone cancel the programmes. “The (mayor)’s letter is nothing but a conspiracy to drive a wedge between the two communities. Cultural programmes during the fair have been organised for ages. None of our Muslim brothers have objected so far. Why now?” asked BJP councillor Pawan Jindal. He said payments to the artists expected to perform at the fair have been made. “It is neither justified nor viable to cancel the programmes.”

    • Delaware Becomes First State to Ban Child Marriage – PBS
    • Delaware Becomes First State to Ban Child Marriage
    • Proposal to ban child marriages in Norway – The Norway Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    • ‘Touching’: Norway Mulls Giving Away ‘Extra’ Christian Holidays to Muslims

      Norway’s Islamic community has been growing exponentially since the 1960s. At present, Muslims are estimated to constitute 5.7 percent of Norway’s population of 5.2 million.

    • Sudanese woman flogged for marrying without father’s consent

      Ms Ahmed said the court found her client guilty of marrying without her father’s consent as required under the Muslim country’s law.

    • Iranian women threw off the hijab – what happened next?

      It is five years since Iranian Masih Alinejad started a movement – since joined by thousands of women – protesting against the compulsory wearing of the hijab, or headscarf, in her country. It spread on social media and led to unprecedented demonstrations in the streets – but is it any closer to achieving its goal?

      [...]

      Death threats are a daily occurrence for Masih.

    • 16 Guards Are Needed to Protect a German Imam Who Fights for Gender Equality

      I was struck by how much Ateş has in common with Ayaan Hirsi Ali (despite the latter having become an atheist). Both fled patriarchal oppression and arranged marriages. Both settled in the West. Both pulled themselves up by the bootstraps, integrated with keenness, fell in love with enlightenment ideals, thrived academically, and became celebrated for their tireless advocacy on behalf of women (Ateş was named Germany’s Woman of the Year in 2005).

      Moreover, both rail eloquently against the insane iniquities that girls and women suffer under Islam even in the West. And both like to point out the dangers posed by the rise of political Islam in Europe; warn against unfettered multiculturalism and unrestricted immigration; and condemn the bigotry of low expectations displayed especially by the regressive Left, whose tolerance of intolerance helps keep Muslimas under the thumb of medieval-minded Islamic men.

    • Imam at Sneinton mosque ‘sexually touched boy who looked up to him’, court hears
    • Turkey: Erdogan’s Islamist “Family Engineering”

      In a speech in 2017, Erdoğan — reflecting his Islamist worldview which often comes with a seeming desire to Islamize Christian Europe — called on Turkish families living in Europe to have five children.

    • Sweden sends “If War Comes” booklet to all of its 4.8 million households
    • Sweden distributes ‘be prepared for war’ leaflet to all 4.8m homes

      The leaflet advises people to think about how to cope if there was no heating, food became difficult to buy, prepare and store, there was no water in the taps or toilet, and cash machines, mobile phones and the internet stopped working.

      It advises checking the source of all information, warning that “states and organisations are already trying to influence our values and how we act … and reduce reduce our resilience and willingness to defend ourselves”.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC Claims Perfectly-Timed Regulatory Handout To Sinclair Is Just Quirky Happenstance

      The FCC remains under heavy fire for its mindless assault on popular net neutrality protections. But the agency has also been facing widespread, bipartisan criticism for the FCC’s decision to gut decades-old media consolidation rules — specifically to help Sinclair Broadcast Group cement its $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune.

      Like net neutrality, media consolidation rules traditionally enjoy bipartisan support because they protect local opinion diversity and speech, preventing one company from dominating smaller competitors.

    • Trump hits campaign trail to endorse key foe of net neutrality rules

      Rep. Blackburn (R-Tenn.) is one of the most outspoken opponents of strict net neutrality rules in the House of Representatives and chairs a key subcommittee that oversees telecommunications. She is seeking the Republican nomination for one of Tennessee’s Senate seats.

    • California Senate defies AT&T, votes for strict net neutrality rules

      The California bill would replicate the US-wide bans on blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization that were implemented by the FCC in 2015, and it would go beyond the FCC rules with a ban on paid data-cap exemptions. California is one of several states trying to impose state-level net neutrality rules because the FCC’s Republican leadership decided to eliminate the federal rules effective June 11.

    • California Senate votes to restore net neutrality

      The bill, S.B. 822, authored by Sen. Scott Wiener (D–San Francisco), was introduced in March and passed through three committees, all along party-lines. The bill was approved 23–12 and will now head to the state Assembly.

    • When Leaders Who Don’t Understand The Web Try To Control It

      But to do one good [sic] thing, our tech-illiterate leaders did two terrible things that will have disastrous long-term consequences. They tried to regulate a system they didn’t understand, and refused to listen to the people who did. This, I’m pretty sure, is not the last time it will happen.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Germany : Akteneinsicht XXIII, Federal Court of Justice of Germany, X ZR 110/17, 14 February 2018

      The FCJ held that:

      a) An objection by one party can lead to the petitioner being required to demonstrate a legitimate interest in the inspection of the files of a patent nullity procedure, but only if the opposing party demonstrates an interest of its own which may stand in the way of the inspection.

      b) The interest of a private expert in the fact that his name and the circumstance that he has become active on behalf of a particular party do not become known must, as a rule, stand back behind the right to inspection of files provided for in Sec. 99 (3) and Sec. 31 Patent Law for everyone.

    • New South African IP Policy Text Now Available

      The new policy addresses numerous core issues such as patentability criteria, parallel importation, disclosure requirements, exceptions, and research.

    • ZTE can’t buy chips from America – but can still get sued for patent infringement in the US

      Chinese phone maker ZTE will have to face a patent infringement lawsuit in the US, despite its handsets being effectively barred from sale in America.

      On Wednesday a Northern Texas US District Court judge tossed the Chinese company’s motion to dismiss a patent infringement case filed by a Texas-based mobile software developer.

      Seven Networks has alleged that ZTE’s firmware borrows from seven patents it holds regarding data transfers, battery management, and notifications.

    • ZTE’s IP and compliance records deserve a fair look as US administration weighs deal

      David Kline has written an article at TechCrunch criticising the deal that appears to be taking shape between the US and Chinese governments that would allow ZTE to stay in business. The thrust of Kline’s argument is that ZTE is such a uniquely bad corporate citizen in the realm of IP that the Trump Administration should not cut any deal with the company without securing some kind of IP-related concessions. It’s an argument that is worth looking at closely.

    • European Commission’s SPC waiver proposal is “seriously defective”

      The proposal to introduce an export manufacturing waiver for Supplementary Protections Certificates could cause more problems than it solves

      The EU Commission is proposing to introduce an export manufacturing waiver for Supplementary Protections Certificates (SPCs), it was announced in a press release this week.

    • YouTube Video Qualifies as Printed Publication

      The court denied plaintiff’s motion in limine to exclude a YouTube video as a prior art reference on the ground that it was not sufficiently accessible.

    • Printed Matter Doctrine Case Could Offer New Patent Attack [Ed: When patent maximalists like these say "patent attack" they basically portray the attacker/monopoly, the patent, as the poor victim. This is gross narratives reversal.]

      A recent Federal Circuit decision applying the rarely-invoked printed matter doctrine to invalidate a respiratory drug patent could give litigants another way to challenge patents and get in patent-eligibility arguments that otherwise can’t be made in inter partes reviews, attorneys say.

    • CCIA Releases White Paper On Standard Essential Patents

      Yesterday, the Computer & Communications Industry Association, joined by five other trade associations representing industries ranging from retail to automotive to smartphone apps, released a white paper describing how certain views on antitrust policy as it relates to standard essential patents (SEPs) are contrary to both established legal precedent and to economic policy. The white paper expands on points made by a group of 58 companies, academics, and trade associations in a January letter; a recent letter signed by 77 professors of law and economics and former government officials reiterates many of the same points.

    • Future of IP and the Commons: Friends or Foes

      There are challenges to provide Internet’s availability to all people, its self-replication made faster due to its openness, and the struggle of America to control the internet. The open source movement had exposed a zone of conflict, as the open architecture of the internet was conducive for promotion of innovation, while the excessive copyright protection often favoured by IP activists inhibited consumer freedoms. There is a necessity for examining the legitimacy of the moral underpinnings of IP rights. Whether IP rights were natural and grounded in the deontological tradition, Locke’s ideas should be preferred over utilitarianism to argue for more rights for an open-source model. There should be a system of limited IP to justify the reward for innovation. Strong but sensible entitlements would be needed to moderate free riders. At the same time there are certain problems caused by certain innovation commons. The cookie, for example, was convenient for websites but eroded private rights. Firewall levels, such as those in Blackberry, provided security and protection but also jeopardized crime detection.

    • Rush to protect lucrative antibody patents kicks into gear

      US universities and biotechnology companies are scrambling to protect some of their most valuable assets: patents on antibodies. These immune-system molecules form the basis of drugs that rake in about US$100 billion per year. But securing intellectual-property rights to antibodies has become much more difficult, under guidelines released in February by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

      [...]

      Antibodies are proteins made by the immune system that bind to a specific target, such as a protein produced by a microbe, to interfere with its ability to promote disease. This has made them powerful drugs against some illnesses.

      Therapeutic antibodies are structurally complex, and many changes to their amino-acid sequences will not affect their function. So a patent based solely on an antibody’s sequence might be vulnerable to competition, says Barbara Rigby, a patent attorney at Dehns in Brighton, UK. A competitor could tweak the sequence to create a new antibody that performed the same function.

      In addition, for many years researchers lacked the technology to characterize an antibody fully. Given these challenges, the USPTO routinely granted broad patents that covered the suite of antibodies that attached to a particular target, rather than a specific antibody developed by an inventor.

    • Would the proposed “manufacturing waiver” really pass the TRIPS test?

      As most readers will know, yesterday the European Commission published a proposal to amend Regulation 469/2009 concerning the supplementary protection certificate for medicinal products (the “SPC Regulation”) aimed at introducing a so-called “manufacturing exemption for export purposes” (in short, a “manufacturing waiver”). The rationale behind it is that the introduction of this new exemption to the rights conferred by supplementary protection certificates (“SPCs”) would allegedly boost the European generics and biosimilars industry. It would bring all sorts of benefits to Europe. Thousands of jobs would be created. Europe would become the pharmaceutical industry’s paradise. There are even rumours that Real Madrid would no longer win the Champion’s League (by the way, congratulations to Real Madrid supporters). No such comparable benefits can be traced back in history since the time when Noah devised his famous Ark.

      The question is whether the new exemption would pass WTO’s scrutiny and, in particular, whether it would be compatible with TRIPS.

    • Copyrights

      • FCC Wants Ebay, Amazon To Crack Down On Kodi-Based Pirate TV Boxes

        For years now, tinkerers everywhere have built custom-made PCs that use the open-source Kodi platform. Highly flexible and customizable, this hardware can often work notably better than the locked-down TV hardware (especially traditional cable boxes) that are the norm. But the hardware can also be used to streamline access to copyright content. And in more recent years, outfits like Dragonbox or SetTV have taken things further by selling users tailor-made hardware that provides easy access to live copyrighted content.

        Not too surprisingly, video producers and broadcasters haven’t much liked this. And in recent months, Amazon and Netflix have joined forces with Hollywood to try and sue many of these operations out of existence. Last week they got a little help from FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly, who fired off a letter to both Amazon and Ebay demanding they do more to combat the listing of these devices on their respective websites.

      • Civil Society Issues Call For Action On Draft WIPO Copyright Exceptions

        This week the World Intellectual Property Organization copyright committee is looking at exceptions and limitations to copyright. A range of stakeholders with opposing views delivered long statements explaining their positions. Some proponents of mandatory international limitations and exceptions for certain actors cited the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals inscribing equitable quality education as a right. Others, like publishers’ associations, said the current international system provides ample possibilities to devise national exceptions and limitations.

        [...]

        The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions underlined the role of WIPO with regards to limitations and exceptions to copyright. Technology and user expectations have changed, the representative said, globalization has accelerated “and the uniqueness and importance of WIPO’s role has grown.” Progress on limitations and exceptions or libraries, archives, and museum should not be controversial, they said.

      • PUBG Corp. Sues Epic Games In S. Korea Over Gameplay Similarities That Probably Aren’t Copyrightable

        The last time we checked in with PUBG Corp., the company behind the popular PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds video game, creator Brendan Greene was remarking on how video games are afforded no intellectual property rights at all, despite that absolutely not being the case. This confused take on a key aspect of his industry came on the heels of the developer of PUBG suggesting that it was considering suing Epic Games, the makers of Fortnite, for copyright infringement because Epic had updated its own game with a “battle royale” mode. Like PUBG, this mode pits 100 people against each other in a last-man-standing battle format. It was at that time that we tried to remind PUBG Corp. that the idea/expression dichotomy in copyright law is a thing. While specific expression gets copyright, general concepts, such as generic game-modes and genres, do not. A battle royale game format is no more deserving of copyright than the first-person shooter genre.

      • Draft Broadcast Treaty Takes Restrictive Approach To Limitations And Exceptions

        At this week’s meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, there was renewed attention to the limitations and exceptions provisions of a proposed treaty for broadcast organizations. Unfortunately, the result of that attention was to make the current draft more restrictive for the adoption of exceptions than prior drafts, and more restrictive than are present copyright treaties or the than the Rome Convention the broadcast treaty seeks to update.

      • Broadcasting Treaty Moving At WIPO, Copyright Exceptions For Libraries Not

        Positive momentum seems to have been found on a potential global treaty to protect broadcasting organisations as delegates moved towards convergence on some language this week at the World Intellectual Property Organization. Meanwhile, copyright exceptions for actors like libraries and research institutions is meeting the same strong opposition from some, and informal consultations and studies are being set out by the committee chair over the next 18 months, over concerns of delay.

      • EU Parliament Members Play Hardball On Terrible Copyright Policies, Article Highlighting Sketchy Tactics Magically Disappears

        Last week we wrote about how the new proposal for the EU Copyright Directive has some really destructive ideas in it, and is very close to becoming official. Last week (on GDPR day) the various EU member states basically gave the proposal their blessing, and the only thing left is that the Legal Affairs Committee in the EU Parliament who will vote on June 20th (or possibly the 21st). Many, many experts have raised serious concerns about elements of the proposal — including the link tax and the mandatory filters for content, both of which will create tremendous problems for innovation and speech online. We’ll have even more on this next week, but for now, it’s worth looking at just how messed up the lobbying process has gone as supporters of the bill (including big publishers and legacy copyright industries) want to get it across the finish line, apparently not caring very much how they do so.

      • Recording Industry Hypocrisy On Full Display In Continuing To Push The CLASSICS Act That Expands Copyright

        In the past few months we’ve written a few times about the problems with “The CLASSICS Act”, which is part of an otherwise mostly unobjectionable copyright modernization bill. You can look back at the previous posts, which get deep into the weeds on the problems of the bill, but the short version is that in an attempt to change how pre-1972 sound recordings are treated (specifically, to get streaming companies to pay a brand new “performance right” license on those works), the CLASSICS Act creates this new right, but leaves out all of the supposedly balancing factors of federal copyright law — including the time limit before these works should go into the public domain.

        Hilariously, for merely pointing out why it seems silly to give the record labels (and, yes, it’s mostly the record labels) a brand new right, taking it away from the public, and doing so in a manner that does nothing for the public other than remove a right that it already had (oh, and which does nothing to incentivize the creation of new music), Billboard’s famed tech hating columnist Rob Levine has posted a silly screed, claiming that anyone challenging the CLASSICS Act must be an “anti-copyright” activist.

        Levine has done this for a decade or so. If you dare to push back on extreme copyright maximalism, and point out that maybe it doesn’t make sense, he will tar you as being against musicians or against copyright entirely. But that’s silly. The problems of the CLASSICS Act are pretty clear. It is creating a brand new right for copyright holder (i.e., record labels) and in doing so, is taking that right away from the public. Even worse, it’s doing so in a manner that doesn’t bring with that new right any of the necessary and Constitutionally required protections for the public’s own rights — including the right for the work to move into the public domain in a reasonable amount of time.

      • EFF Presents Cory Doctorow’s Science Fiction Story About Our Jailbreaking Petition to the Copyright Office

        Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA 1201) makes it illegal to get around any sort of lock that controls access to copyrighted material. Getting exemptions to that prohibitions is a long, complicated process that often results in long, complicated exemptions that are difficult to use. As part of our ongoing to effort to fight this law, we’re presenting a series of science fiction stories to illustrate the bad effects DMCA 1201 could have.

        It’s been 20 years since Congress adopted Section 1201 of the DMCA, one of the ugliest mistakes in the crowded field of bad ideas about computer regulation. Thanks to Section 1201 if a computer has a lock to control access to a copyrighted work, then getting around that lock, for any reason is illegal. In practice, this has meant that a manufacturer can make the legitimate, customary things you do with your own property, in your own home or workplace, illegal just by designing the products to include those digital locks.

      • Swedish Copyright Trolls Have Brought Exactly Zero Of Their ‘Cases’ To Trial, Exposing Their Shitty Business Model

        You may recall that the Swedish Pirate Party recently declared war on copyright trolls operating within Sweden. The party’s newfound efforts, which had remained far too dormant for far too long, come on the heels of an explosion in so-called “settlement letters” being sent out to Swedish citizens. Those letters, as is typical elsewhere, are armed merely with an IP address and a claim of infringing behavior. Despite this, Danish law firm Njord Law has been able to collect millions of dollars in “settlments” after sending out notices to tens of thousands of account holders of IP addresses alleged to have engaged in copyright infringement. Njord Law was able to get this data from Swedish ISPs by spending a great deal of time in court, claiming that it needed this customer information in order to get justice for the copyright holders it represents.

        [...]

        Why the political representatives of the citizens of Sweden would choose not to outlaw these sorts of tactics is an open question. Surely a political party called The Pirate Party cannot be the only group opposed to the legal blackmailing of the Swedish public.

      • Hollywood Pushes to Expand Swedish Pirate Bay Blockade

        Several major Hollywood studios including Disney, Universal Studios and Warner Bros, have teamed up with Swedish movie outfits to expand the local Pirate Bay blockade. The film companies want Telia, Sweden’s largest ISP, to block The Pirate Bay, Dreamfilm, Nyafilmer, and Fmovies, as soon as possible.

Patenting Bar Raised by US Courts, But the Patent Microcosm (Now Infesting ‘Bloomberg Law’ and Other Media) Fights Back With Deception

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 2:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bloomberg Law hires people with a solid journalistic background to become reporters, but they’re speaking to the wrong people (patent maximalists and the likes of IAM, not engineers who practice the underlying concepts)

Malathi Nayak on Coons

Summary: Misleading language and bad advice dispensed by the legal ‘industry’ demonstrates strong resistance to the principles of patent quality (limiting patent monopolies to what actually justifies such monopolies)

“Blockchain this, blockchain that…”

We live in an age of hype and marketing. Not to mention law firms that keep ‘name-dropping’ novelty-sounding things they have no technical grasp of.

“OIN seems to believe that the solution is to hoard yet more such patents, but in reality the goal should be to void them all.”Many of today’s patents disguise themselves as “blockchain”, but actually they’re software patents that should be seen as patent-ineligible. OIN seems to believe that the solution is to hoard yet more such patents, but in reality the goal should be to void them all. It might be enough to petition PTAB a few times to informally invalidate — by extension — many similar patents (in the same domain).

Malathi Nayak, writing for Bloomberg Law (Wall Street media’s coverage of legal matters is very often tilted in favour of lawyers’ interests), has just perpetuated this hype (“Blockchain Patent Race Is on, but Hurdles Await”). To quote:

A wide array of corporations, including Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Bank of America, are lining up to enter a potentially lucrative club: one that allows them to own patents on blockchain technology.

But getting past the patent office’s velvet rope won’t be easy.

Blockchain inventions — from digital currencies to super-fast, secure trading systems — often cover software and financial service-related technologies. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has a track record of leaving applicants out in the cold if they seek patents for presenting other types of software or financial services inventions that are too abstract or obvious.

All these US (granted by the USPTO) patents are likely bogus because they’re software patents (it’s a bubble with hype on its side). But Bloomberg Law then persisted; it went further and continued to spread this kind of “propaganda” (throughout this week). There’s no such thing as “Blockchain Patent Attorney,” but here they are with “It’s Not Easy Being a Blockchain Patent Attorney” (retitled since). It’s pure hype intended to market software patents which are almost literally worthless. To quote:

Blockchain tech might be poised to revolutionize how companies like Bank of America operate and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin trade. But inventors trying to patent their ideas in the field—and stake their claim on future profits—are facing hurdles at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).

“Though there’s been a surge of these patent applications, winning or scoring these patents on these technologies won’t be easy,” Bloomberg Law reporter Malathi Nayak said in a recent podcast episode of Code & Conduit.

Bloomberg Law data shows a wave of new applications have hit the patent office in recent months, but only a fraction have won patents.

This is basically more from the same person, Nayak.

“One can count about half a dozen synonyms for software patents above (they also explicitly say “software patents”).”We need to call out such misuse of hype and sometimes buzzwords (like “AI”). Examiners are being fooled by these. Watch this new buzzwords galore about an upcoming event: “Topics will include internet and mobile litigation, international IP, privacy and data security, Cloud/SaaS, patent litigation, blockchain and cryptocurrency, software patents, digital marketing, the Internet of Things, connected privacy, and the practice of IP law.”

This is typical. One can count about half a dozen synonyms for software patents above (they also explicitly say “software patents”). Suzanne Monyak has just published this ‘article’ (more like an ad) which says “Hsiao came to the firm from Brown Rudnick’s Boston office, where he worked in intellectual property litigation related to high-tech medical and software inventions as a patent associate.”

When they say “software inventions” they mean software patents, i.e. something which is being phased out.

“…patent quality is being improved, the bar is being raised by the courts (more so than by the granting authority, USPTO).”As we’ll show and discuss this coming weekend, software patents are as weak as they can be in the US. It’s getting worse for them over time. That’s because patent quality is being improved, the bar is being raised by the courts (more so than by the granting authority, USPTO).

When the patent microcosm speaks of “strong patents” (or "STRONGER" at a legislative level) they mean the exact opposite. Andrew J. Maas and David Winwood say they want more low-quality (rubbish) patents — that’s what they mean by “stronger patents”. Mind the image of the very top (from Nayak), including the brands/bodies named and the word “Stronger”. These are patent extremists’ circles, IAM included.

Three Years After Openwashing Its Patents Panasonic Gives These Patents to Patent Trolls

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat at 1:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A reminder of how worthless and futile patent pledges can be in practice

Panasonic

Summary: Panasonic has begun feeding large patent trolls and a Microsoft-connected law firm frames the victims of Microsoft’s patent trolls as the principal threat, not the trolls themselves

REMEMBER Novell’s promises regarding patents? Well, Microsoft has those patents now (they’re under CPTN). What about Red Hat, which claims to have established a patent “standstill” with Microsoft?

“Basically, all those patent pledges or promises are worthless; they’re a way of keeping one’s cake while eating it in the back room.”Well, Red Hat is still pursuing actual software patents at the USPTO. What does that tell us about Red Hat? Truth be told, the only way to ensure these patents don’t pose a danger is to altogether eliminate them, not make some pledges (mere words on paper that can be thrown away in case of a takeover, even if not especially a hostile takeover). Basically, all those patent pledges or promises are worthless; they’re a way of keeping one’s cake while eating it in the back room. They reserve the right to pass such patents around.

Not too long ago Panasonic was openwashing its patents. We were highly sceptical of Panasonic at the time and very critical of all the media which repeated the claims from Panasonic. It turns out that we were right because Panasonic finally gives a lot of these to patent trolls. Re-armament by Canada’s truly massive patent troll WiLAN has just been reported in this press release; the patents are handed over to a subsidiary (proxy) of the troll:

Wi-LAN Inc. (“WiLAN”), a Quarterhill Inc.(“Quarterhill”) company (TSX: QTRH) (NASDAQ: QTRH), today announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Security Video Camera Systems, Inc., has acquired a portfolio of patents from Panasonic Corporation (“Panasonic”). The portfolio contains 34 patent families comprising 96 patents worldwide. The acquisition was made under WiLAN’s partnership program which features the sharing of revenues generated from a licensing program.

We wrote about Wi-LAN last month; Canada needs to get these thugs under control.

Meanwhile, as per this Microsoft-connected firm (Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. is the firm of Microsoft’s former patent chief), “Cloud Cybersecurity Solutions Under Siege From Patents, Again: Cybersecurity Companies Protect Customers From Malicious Attacks, But Can They Protect Themselves?”

Jonathan Barnard writes (at the very end):

Regardless of the outcome in this case, the question still remains–while companies like Symantec and Trend Micro continue to protect their customers from malicious cloud-based cyber-attacks, can they protect themselves from the continued onslaught of competitor-based lawsuits? Trend Micro may have an “easier” time protecting its cybersecurity solutions and IP as it’s currently only facing patent infringement litigation on one front from CUPP. The task may prove more difficult for cybersecurity giant Symantec however, since in addition to playing defense in a patent infringement lawsuit against Finjan, it’s also playing offense by enforcing several of its own web security, threat prevention, and antivirus patents against other cybersecurity competitors like Zscaler.

Funny how this Microsoft-connected firm neglects to mention the Microsoft-funded patent troll Finjan (in the same space, security) until the very end. They make some of the victims of this troll (i.e. companies that actually make something) seem like the biggest risk. Isn’t that an odd reversal? A self-serving one for sure…

In Gross Violation of German Law, as Per EPO Tradition, Fronleichnam ‘Stolen’ by Benoît Battistelli

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lawlessness (as we last noted yesterday) is de facto rule for EPO and UPC

Fronleichnam

Summary: The violations of labour rights at the EPO continue unabated; the culmination of such flagrant disregard for the law can be seen in the Unified Patent Court (UPC), which attracted a rare constitutional complaint

THE systematic ‘robbery’ of public holidays by the EPO‘s management (which takes holidays whenever Saint-Germain-en-Laye calls) was noted here before. Each year the EPO takes away yet more public holidays (lots taken away last year), which workers in Germany are entitled to. They cannot really sue because the EPO is immune; it’s above the law (in effect).

Märpel has just taken note of Fronleichnam: “Märpel wishes a pleasant holiday to all residents of Bavaria. The weather is superb, enjoy your day!”

“EPO staff were on duty as the Sun King cancelled Fronleichnam from the EPO public holidays, probably as a reward for a production increase of 40% last year.”
      –Anonymous
There’s a veiled sense of humour (tongue in cheek) in there. A reader explains it as follows, in relation to Fronleichnam in particular: “Please note that there was a very pleasant summer weather today in Munich and most of the people were enjoying it. But not all. EPO staff were on duty as the Sun King cancelled Fronleichnam from the EPO public holidays, probably as a reward for a production increase of 40% last year. Having this in mind do you know what we wish you Monsieur Battistelli?”

Sadly, as long as the EPO is above the law it will get away with it. We’ve seen this all across the spectrum, including the UPC. The Unitary Patent lobbying has, all along, involved: 1) political corruption; 2) breaking laws and 3) violation of constitutions. These people just make up rules as they go along, totally immune from prosecution. This is why we’ve spent nearly a whole decade opposing the UPC. If they break laws just to ratify the UPCA imagine what sense of “justice” there will be in the UPC itself; the constitutional complaint in Germany has already taken note of the rogue appointment of judges (rogue process which may also favour plaintiffs-friendly and overzealous rulings).

Speaking of this whole UPC mess, Robert Burrows from Bristows has just brought up Bulgaria again. The country has nearly a thousand times less patents (European Patents) than Western Europe, but somehow Bristows keeps looking for an illusion of UPC progress. There’s nothing for his colleague Brian Cordery to say about UPC in their UPC propaganda blog, so yesterday he wrote about matters such as FRAND instead. FRAND/SEP was also the subject of this new CCIA paper, which was published yesterday.

“Just recall what they got away with in Germany; one might expect this in the former Soviet Union, but such political corruption now thrives in Germany; no wonder the constitutional complaint was successfully admitted and accepted by FCC (in the face of fierce lobbying by Team UPC).”It’s worth noting that in response to the UPC puff piece from IP Kat (“Report on IPO’s 2018 European Practice Committee Conference”), which it still promotes in Twitter, a UPC proponent (part of Team UPC) wrote: “Not quite: „The relatively easier approach will be taken by Administrative Committee to change the UPC [...], although the new diplomatic conference might be necessary if one country does not want it.“ Not „might be“, but „will be“ necessary, cf Art 87(3) 2nd sentence UPCA.”

These people don’t care about the law. The UPC is the grossest violation of laws as well as constitutions that I have ever encountered in Europe. Just recall what they got away with in Germany; one might expect this in the former Soviet Union, but such political corruption now thrives in Germany; no wonder the constitutional complaint was successfully admitted and accepted by FCC (in the face of fierce lobbying by Team UPC).

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