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06.17.18

Links 17/6/2018: Linux 4.18 RC1 and Deepin 15.6 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 3:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Five Supercomputers That Aren’t Supercomputers

      A supercomputer, of course, isn’t really a “computer.” It’s not one giant processor sitting atop an even larger motherboard. Instead, it’s a network of thousands of computers tied together to form a single whole, dedicated to a singular set of tasks. They tend to be really fast, but according to the folks at the International Supercomputing Conference, speed is not a prerequisite for being a supercomputer.

      But speed does help them process tons of data quickly to help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. Summit, for example, is already booked for things such as cancer research; energy research, to model a fusion reactor and its magnetically confined plasma tohasten commercial development of fusion energy; and medical research using AI, centering around identifying patterns in the function and evolution of human proteins and cellular systems to increase understanding of Alzheimer’s, heart disease, or addiction, and to inform the drug discovery process.

    • Office 365 is suffering widespread borkage across Blighty

      Some users are complaining that O365 is “completely unusable” with others are reporting a noticeable slowdown, whinging that it’s taking 30 minutes to send and receive emails.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.17.2
    • Linux 4.16.16
    • Linux 4.14.50
    • Linux 4.9.109
    • Linux 4.4.138
    • Linux 4.18-rc1

      You may think it’s still Saturday for me, and that I should give you
      one more day of merge window to send in some last-minute pull
      requests, but I know better. I’m in Japan, and it’s Sunday here. Plus
      I hope to spend much of this Sunday on a boat (assuming the swells
      allow it), so I’m closing the merge window early morning rather than
      in the afternoon.

      So here we are – no more merge window, so please don’t even try to
      send me updates any more. Just fixes, please.

    • Linus Torvalds Kicks Off Development of Linux Kernel 4.18, First RC Is Out Now

      A day early than expected, Linus Torvalds kicked off the development cycle of the next kernel series, Linux 4.18, with the release of the first RC (Release Candidate) milestone.

      The Linux 4.18 kernel series promises to be more light than previous branches as it does away with even more of that old, unused code than Linux kernel 4.17 did, which removed support for eight hardware architectures. One of the things removed in this release is the Lustre parallel distributed file system, as well as a few hardware drivers.

      “We actually have managed to shrink things a bit more this release too,” said Linus Torvalds in the mailing list announcement. “The removal of Lustre may not be all that notable, because it does look like a lot of the development has been happening out of tree, which may be why it never really ended up working as well as people hoped in the staging tree.”

    • Linux 4.18-rc1 Kernel Released
    • AppArmor In Linux 4.18 Supports Audit Rule Filtering

      Sent out earlier this week were the AppArmor feature updates for the Linux 4.18 kernel merge window.

    • The Changes & New Features For Linux 4.18, Benchmarks Are Incoming

      With the early release of Linux 4.18-rc1, feature development on Linux 4.18 is over and it’s onto roughly eight weeks worth of testing and bug fixes. For those that are behind in their Phoronix reading with our extensive and original reporting on the Linux 4.18 merge window happenings, here is our recap of the big changes that made it into Linux 4.18. We are also in the process of firing off the start of our Linux 4.18 kernel benchmarks.

    • Features That Didn’t Make It For The Mainline Linux 4.18 Kernel

      There are many changes and new features for Linux 4.18 with the merge window having just closed on this next kernel version, but still there are some prominent features that have yet to work their way to the mainline tree.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • What’s New in openSUSE Leap 15 KDE Edition

        openSUSE Leap 15 has been released by OpenSUSE project. This released based on the upcoming SUSE Enterprise Linux 15 series that offers better stability and long-term support, also features updated components and technologies designed for power users.

        Major highlights of the openSUSE Leap 15 operating system include a new partitioner implemented in the installer, integration with the Kopano open-source groupware application suite, Firewalld as the default firewall management tool, a new classic “server” and “transactional server” system roles with read-only root filesystem and transactional updates, cloud optimizations, and a brand-new look that’s been closely aligned with SUSE Linux Enterprise.

      • [Falkon] Fifth week of coding phase, GSoC’18

        The week was totally involved in developing the GUI for QML Plugins.

        [...]

        Everything is fine upto this until I found that this didn’t worked. My Mentor (David Rosca) explained that this is because the QWindow is not grabing mouse and keyboard events – which means that the window is not activated – so I added QWindow::requestActivate and It works like a charm!

      • [Slackware] Ktown in June ’18 – Plasma 5.13 in the ‘testing’ repo

        It’s that time of the month again. KDE tarballs have all been refreshed, and so this presents the opportunity to release a new package set for the Plasma 5 Desktop Environment… but then I found out that the new Plasma 5.13 depends on a minimum Qt5 version number of 5.10. Currently I have Qt 5.9.5 in my repository, and this is a LTS release (Long Term Support). The next LTS release will be 5.12 and this will not be available before end of 2018. Also, the current Plasma 5.12 has Long Term Support and the new Plasma 5.13 has not.

      • It’s not a good bye

        As you might have heard I decided to step down from my maintainer positions in KDE, especially KWin. Unfortunately I had to read very weird things about it and so I think it’s time to write about what it means that I am no longer maintainer of KWin.

        First of all: I’m not leaving KDE. I’m still contributing in form of code, bug management and reviews. And I intend to continue to do this.

        Second of all: I did not step down as maintainer because of the VDG or the usability group. I understand that my mail read like this, but it’s not the case. That I would step down as maintainer was inevitable and I’m sure it didn’t come as a general surprise to my fellow Plasma and KWin hackers. Personally I decided to step down as maintainer once the Wayland port is finished years ago. In my opinion KWin reached that state about two years ago. I continued to be maintainer to prepare for a good hand over. I deliberately reduced my involvement and passed responsibility to others. This was a long process and worked great in my opinion. As an example I want to point out the new and awesome blur effect introduced in 5.13. My first comment on the phabricator code review was that I’m not going to review it, but leave it to others. I think the result is great and I’m very happy how this worked out.

      • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 23

        This has been a bit of a light week for KDE’s Usability and Productivity initiative, probably because everyone’s basking in the warm glow of a well-received release: KDE Plasma 5.13 came out on Tuesday and is getting great reviews!

      • Kraft Version 0.81 Released

        I am happy to announce the release of Kraft version 0.81. Kraft is a Qt based desktop application that helps you to handle documents like quotes and invoices in your small business.

        Version 0.81 is a bugfix release for the previous version 0.80, which was the first stable release based on Qt5 and KDE Frameworks5. Even though it came with way more new features than just the port, it’s first release has proven it’s stability in day-to-day business now for a few month.

      • Giving Konsole some love

        I started to hack in Konsole, and first I was afraid, I was petrified. You know, touching those hardcore apps that are the center of the KDE Software Collection.

        I started touching it mostly because some easy to fix bugs weren’t fixed, and as every cool user knows, this is free software. So I could pay for someone to fix my bugs, or I could download the source code and try to figure out what the hell was wrong with it. I choosed the second approach.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Gnome 3.28 review – Minimalism gone wrong

        Gnome 3.28 brings in a few interesting changes to the Gnome table – not too many, though, this version isn’t a radical revamp, more sort of a gradual progression of the basic idea behind the Gnome desktop environment. Not bad in that regard. Bad in every other regard.

        Unfortunately – and this is nothing personal, all I care for is to be happy and productive with my desktops, and Gnome 2 was my favorite thing for years and years – Gnome 3.28 is a sterile, counterproductive pseudo-touch concept that serves little purpose on the desktop. It requires significant tweaking and immense changes under the hood to make presentable and usable, and even then, it works hard against the user. Performance is really bad, a decade-old laptop with anything other than Gnome works better than a contemporary model with Gnome, and you feel the sluggishness with every little thing you do. It’s life-sapping. The more you multi-task the worse it gets.

        All in all, Gnome 3.28 has changed little from the original Gnome 3 a few years ago. It is still not suited for purpose, it has not evolved in any way, and in fact, there are fresh new functional regressions in the product. It’s getting more and more difficult to achieve simple things, and you’re fighting against the desktop. Not how it’s meant to be. Maybe Linux will make it big on the phone and tablet one day, and then Gnome could be a blast. But on traditional computing devices, it’s a flop. Not recommended, I’m afraid. Take care.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Lazy FPU Vulnerability Now Patched for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, CentOS 7 PCs

        Red Hat promised to release patches for the new speculative execution security vulnerability (CVE-2018-3665), which affects the “lazy restore” function for floating point state (FPU) in modern processors, leading to the leak of sensitive information, and the patches are now available for all Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 users. The company urges everyone using any of the systems listed below to update immediately.

        Affected systems include Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 7, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server – Extended Update Support 7.5, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Workstation 7, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop 7, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 for IBM System z, POWER, ARM64 systems, Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Scientific Computing 7, Red Hat Enterprise Linux EUS Compute Node 7.5, and Red Hat Virtualization Host 4.

      • Finance

    • Debian Family

      • Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” Artwork Proposals Call Welcomes Talented Artists

        If you’re a talended artist and you want the millions of Debian users to see your work, you are invited to submit your best artwork for the Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system, due for release in mid-2019. Submissions are opened until September 5, 2018, and need to meet some requirements.

        While not the most important crieria, artworks are usually picked based on how they look more “Debian.” Secondly, your artwork must integrate into the operating system without the need to patch any core software. And lastly, all submitted artworks must be clean and well designed to not annoy users.

      • Debian Artwork: Call for Proposals for Debian 10 (Buster)

        This is the official call for artwork proposals for the Buster cycle.

        For the most up to date details, please refer to the wiki.

        We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Juliette Taka Belin for doing the Softwaves theme for stretch.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Releases Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Kernel Security Update for Raspberry Pi 2

            Earlier this week, Canonical released an important kernel security update for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, as well as other supported Ubuntu releases like Ubuntu 17.10, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, to address various vulnerabilities affecting the kernel packages for 64-bit machines, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) systems, and cloud environments.

            Now, the same kernel patch that was made available for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS users on 64-bit, AWS, GCP, and cloud environments is now available for Raspberry Pi 2 devices too, fixing an issue (CVE-2018-1092) in Linux kernel’s EXT4 file system implementation discovered by Wen Xu, which could allow an attacker to crash the affected system by mounting a specially crafted EXT4 file system.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Deepin 15.6 Linux OS Launches with Improved HiDPI Support, Light and Dark Themes

              Coming more than six months after the previous release, Deepin 15.6 is here with a series of new desktop improvements to allow users to disable the display scaling function for HiDPI (High Dots Per Inch) screens, a revamped Deepin Manual to help newcomers accommodate better with the operating system, as well as yet another layer of desktop optimizations.

              “Its clean user interfaces and the convenient interactions reduce the browsing and searching time, allowing users to have more time to work and study. The new release – deepin 15.6, offers the dedicated interfaces and easy-to-understand logics to help users start quickly. No matter which operating system was used before, you can get started easily,” said the devs.

            • Deepin 15.6 Released, Features New App Menu, Dark Mode, & More

              A new version of the Deepin Linux distribution is available to download. Deepin 15.6 improves on last year’s Deepin 15.5 release in a number of ways, adds a new-look app launcher, and include a crop of core app updates.

            • Debian-based deepin Linux 15.6 now available

              deepin Linux is controversial because its developers are in China. You see, some people are suspicious of a Linux distribution that comes from that country. If you feel that way, that’s your business. But you know what? I am personally sick and tired of such xenophobia these days. Let’s not forget, many goods come from China — including personal computers and associated components. Not to mention, the OS is largely open source.

              Controversy aside, deepin is a great operating system for both Linux beginners and experts alike. Not only is it stable thanks to its Debian base, but it has a very polished and focused user experience. Today, version 15.6 becomes available, and it is loaded with improvements.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • GitHub as the Latest Example of Microsoft Entryism in Free/Libre Software

    THE recent GitHub takeover, which has not formally been approved just yet (although there are no foreseen barriers to it), is definitely bad news; it is a lot of things to Microsoft however. It is good news only to Microsoft and GitHub shareholders, who basically sold out many developers without rewarding/compensating them for this unwanted (to them) takeover.

  • Events

    • Linux Accra: A haven for open source software enthusiasts

      If you’re a community-minded software enthusiast with some free time on Saturday afternoons then, the Linux Accra Users Group (LAUG) is probably the most important institution you may be hearing about only now.

      Consisting of open source and Linux hobbyists, professionals, enthusiasts, developers, as well as newbies, LAUG members meet over their shared interest in Linux and other software—to undertake related projects as well as offer assistance and resources to individual members’ projects.

    • SouthEast LinuxFest 2018 Recap

      SouthEast LinuxFest (SELF) just wrapped up, and we had a great time getting to visit with our friends on the East Coast. We had a steady stream of people stop by our booth to tell us how much they enjoy using FreeNAS. We answered questions about what’s new in FreeNAS, iXsystems storage solutions, and Project Trident (a new Open Source project focusing on BSD desktop development). TrueOS and Lumina Desktop also sparked the interest of many SELF attendees. A demo system was on display to showcase the current state of the Open Source projects we support and to emphasize the differences between FreeBSD-based projects and standard Linux Distributions.

    • BSDCan 2018 Recap

      BSDCan is special for starting at connecting airports around the world and ending informally at cafes around ByWard Market in Ottawa. Celebrating its 15th year, BSDCan 2018 tied with BSDCan 2015 for the record number of attendees at 280. This made for a busy, but never crowded, event where the hallway track is always just as important as the sessions tracks. Choosing which concurrent sessions to miss and deciding where to eat are probably the two most difficult decisions that BSDCan attendees face.

    • Using Open Source Software in a SecDevOps Environment

      On 21 June 2018 the Open Source Software3 Institute is hosting a discussion that should be of high interest to enterprise technologists in the DC/Northern Virginia, Maryland area. From their invite:

      Come hear from our panelists about how the worlds of Open Source Software and the Secure Development / Operations (SecDevOps) intersect and strengthen one another. SecDevOps seeks to embed security in the development process as deeply as DevOps has done with operations, and Open Source Software is a major factor in Security, Development, and Operations.

      Tickets are free, but you need to register soon because seating is limited.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • TenFourFox FPR8b1 available

        TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 8 beta 1 is now available (downloads, release notes, hashes). There is much less in this release than I wanted because of a family member in the hospital and several technical roadblocks. Of note, I’ve officially abandoned CSS grid again after an extensive testing period due to the fact that we would need substantial work to get a functional implementation, and a partially functional implementation is worse than none at all (in the latter case, we simply gracefully degrade into block-level divs). I also was not able to finish the HTML input date picker implementation, though I’ve managed to still get a fair amount completed of it, and I’ll keep working on that for FPR9. The good news is, once the date picker is done, the time picker will use nearly exactly the same internal plumbing and can just be patterned off it in the same way. Unlike Firefox’s implementation, as I’ve previously mentioned our version uses native OS X controls instead of XUL, which also makes it faster. That said, it is a ghastly hack on the Cocoa widget side and required some tricky programming on 10.4 which will be the subject of a later blog post.

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 11.2-RC3 Released, Enables Eager FPU Context Switching For Latest CPU Bug

      The newest weekly release candidate of the upcoming FreeBSD 11.2 is now available for testing.

      Most notable about FreeBSD 11.2-RC3 is the enabling of eager FPU context switching for the FreeBSD i386/AMD64 builds. The eager FPU context switching is for the recently disclosed Lazy State Save/Restore speculative execution bug. Linux has been covered by default for the past two years while OpenBSD and DragonFlyBSD were recently mitigated while now FreeBSD 11.2 will be covered too.

    • More Mitigations for (potential) CPU Vulnerabilities
    • LDAP client added to -current
    • Nomadic Working with NomadBSD 1.0.1 – BSD on a stick

      Recently I found a bit of time to poke around in the world of Linux and BSD distributions and possibly even get back in to the reviewing business now and then. NomadBSD seemed like an interesting project to try for somebody partial to the Slackware and BSD way of doing things, but still searching for a BSD that is actually working as a day to day OS while being reasonably responsive, i.e. not bloated and running well on old hardware. That means trim and fast, without the desktop environment and a browser gobbling up all the resources.

      VirtualBSD was a fine piece but since its demise there hasn’t been anything similar to dip your toes into FreeBSD to my knowledge, let alone the other flavors. I reviewed it here seven years ago. How many? Yes, time flies. To say it right away in order not to waste anybody’s time, NomadBSD works, and it works beautifully. Well, with a small caveat in terms of connectivity, but we’ll come to that.

      As alluded to, “NomadBSD is a 64bit live system for USB flash drives, based on FreeBSD®. Together with automatic hardware detection and setup, it is configured to be used as a desktop system that works out of the box, but can also be used for data recovery” according to their website. It fits on a 4GiB USB flash drive and can be booted via BIOS and UEFI. Which is just as well as an old 4GiB Corsair Flash Voyager pen drive is all I had. Additional information on their Github account.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU dbm 1.15

      GDBM tries to detect inconsistencies in input database files as early as possible. When an inconcistency is detected, a helpful diagnostics is returned and the database is marked as needing recovery. From this moment on, any GDBM function trying to access the database will immediately return error code (instead of eventually segfaulting as previous versions did). In order to reconstruct the database and return it to healthy state, the gdbm_recover function should be used.

  • Programming/Development

    • Zapcc Caching C++ Compiler Open-Sourced

      Remember the Zapcc compiler that focused on lightning fast compiler times? It’s now been open-sourced.

      Zapcc is the LLVM/Clang-based C++ compiler that we have been covering since 2015 when it began promoting itself as a much faster C++ compiler than Clang itself. Zapcc employs aggressive caching and other techniques in an effort to significantly speed up compile times while being a drop-in replacement to GCC or Clang. Last year Zapcc reached the v1.0 milestone, but we haven’t heard much since until finding out this weekend that it’s been open-sourced.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • NASA’s Lunar Orbiter pics from 1967/8 were deliberately fuzzed and downsampled to hide US spying capabilities

      But it turns out that the Orbiters’ photos were actually super-high-rez, shot on 70mm film and robotically developed inside the orbiters, with the negs raster-scanned at 200 lines/mm and transmitted to ground stations using an undisclosed lossless analog image-compression technology. These were stored on tapes read by fridge-sized $300,000 Ampex FR-900 drives. These images were printed out at 40′ x 54′ so the Apollo astronauts could stroll over them and look for a landing spot.

      But these images were not revealed to the public because NASA feared that doing so would also reveal the US’s spy satellite capabilities. Instead, NASA deliberately downrezzed and fuzzed the images that the public got to see.

    • McMoon: How the Earliest Images of the Moon Were so Much Better than we Realised

      These spacecraft were Lunar Orbiter I to V, and they were sent by NASA during 1966 and 67. In the late 1960’s, after the Apollo era, the data that came back on analog tapes was placed in storage in Maryland. In the mid 1980’s they were transferred to JPL, under the care of Nancy Evans, co-founder of the NASA Planetary Data System (PDS). The tapes were moved around for many years, until Nancy found Dennis Wingo and Keith Cowing. They decided they needed to be digitised for future generations, and brought them to NASA Ames Research Centre. They set up shop in an abandoned McDonalds, offered to them as free space. They christened the place McMoon. The aim was to digitise these tapes before the technology used to read them disappeared, or the tapes destroyed.

    • Rise of the machines: has technology evolved beyond our control?

      Technology is starting to behave in intelligent and unpredictable ways that even its creators don’t understand. As machines increasingly shape global events, how can we regain control?

  • Hardware

    • Sony’s PS5 will reportedly launch in 2020 powered by an AMD Navi GPU

      While it was previously reported that the much-anticipated console will be using AMD’s Ryzen CPU tech, it looks like the chip maker will have some involvement in the PS5′s graphics chip, too.

    • Exclusive: The AMD Inside Story, Navi GPU Roadmap And The Cost Of Zen To Gamers

      The world’s first 7nm GPU demo that AMD showcased at Computex last week was always meant for the professional GPU market and not for gamers. This is the market that can afford a much higher cost for the same SKU and allows the company to make do with low yields. But Lisa Su also said that “7nm GPUs are coming to gamers”, so we should see 7nm Vega sometime next year right? As it turns out, that isn’t what she meant.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Blame opioids for a fifth of young adult deaths in the United States

      Opioids have quickly become a major cause of death among young Americans aged 25 to 34, with one in five deaths in 2016 tied to the drugs, researchers report online June 1 in JAMA Open Network.

    • Chief justice takes suo motu notice of water shortage across the country

      Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Monday took suo motu notice of water shortage and its lack of supply throughout the country.

    • Water crisis deepens in Thar as firm warns of shutting RO plants

      A private firm operating 513 Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants in Tharparkar on Monday warned of shutting them down by June 7 if its payments are not cleared, deepening the prevalent water crisis in the area.

    • Coke claims to give back as much water as it uses. An investigation shows it isn’t even close

      As the enormity of the task the company had set for itself sunk in, Coca-Cola and other working group members pressured Hoekstra to allow them to engage in an act of water accounting sleight of hand that would shave off nearly half of the Water Footprint for every half-liter of Coke, according to people at the meetings.

    • South West Water boss gets paid a lot more than the Prime Minister

      The GMB and Corporate Watch figures show that through a combination of salary, bonuses, pensions and other benefits that the average package for a privatised water company chief executive in 2017 was £1,254,000 – a figure six times higher than the pay and pension of the UK Prime Minister.

      And consumer water bills in England and Wales have increased by 40% above inflation since privatisation in 1989 according to a report by the National Audit Office.

    • Flint Teens Describe Growing Up Without Clean Water

      “Having contaminated water has affected me and my family in many ways,” Cierra says. “There is and will always be a trust issue about the water here in Flint. Even if they say that they fixed the water, you will never know if they are lying or not.”

    • Flint water crisis: Race ‘was factor’ in authorities’ slow and misleading response, says city’s black mayor

      The group concluded that a mix of “historical, structural and systemic racism combined with implicit bias” led to decisions, actions and consequences in Flint that would not have been allowed to happen in primarily white communities such as Ann Arbor or East Grand Rapids.

    • See where all of the Flint water crisis court cases stand a year after charges

      The attorneys said they still have to look through more information and evidence they received on May 18. They have received a total of 146 gigabytes of information related to the case since March.

    • City’s inaction is keeping GM off Flint water system, Snyder aide claims

      GM was an early indicator of problems with Flint’s water supply in 2014 when it switched over its engine plant to water supplied by Flint Township because of concerns that city water contained so much chloride it was causing corrosion in engine parts.

    • Doctor pens book on her role in revealing Flint water crisis

      Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha had hard evidence that thousands of people in Flint had been exposed to toxic lead in their drinking water. The pediatrician and public health expert figured city and state officials would share her shock and join her in alerting residents.

      They did not.

    • Suicide rates have shot up in almost every U.S. state

      Among suicide victims counted in 2015 in 27 states, 54 percent had no known mental health condition, researchers say in the June 8 report. For those who died, circumstances surrounding their suicide included relationship or job problems, the loss of a home, legal troubles and physical health issues. These factors played a role whether suicide victims had a diagnosed medical condition or not.

    • America’s rising suicide rate

      Research suggests that poor, white men may be particularly at risk

    • FGM Shouldn’t Have a Place in the U.S. — or Anywhere

      Only 26 states ban FGM, although it was made a federal crime in 1996. The United States is currently undergoing its first criminal trial related to FGM. In Detroit, doctors are accused of performing this brutal operation of female circumcision on six- and seven-year-old girls. The accused doctors are part of an India-based Muslim sect, Dawoodi Bohra.

    • Danish circumcision ban to go to parliament

      The petition, which cites the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, calls for a six-year prison sentence for those carrying out circumcisions on boys under the age of 18, unless there is a medical reason.

      The same penalty has existed since 2003 for the internationally condemned practice of excision, or female genital mutilation.

    • With deal to close this week, Bayer to retire Monsanto name

      Germany’s Bayer (BAYGn.DE) will wrap up the $63 billion takeover of Monsanto (MON.N) on Thursday and also retire the U.S. seeds maker’s 117 year-old name.

    • Drug access law Trump just signed will cripple FDA—senator is making sure of it

      As it stands, the right to try bill signed into law, which Johnson sponsored, will cut out the FDA’s role in approving and overseeing the use of experimental drugs in patients with life-threatening diseases. Such patients will be able to work directly with a doctor and a drug company to gain access—outside of a clinical trial—to an experimental therapy that has only made it through early clinical trials and not obtained FDA approval.

    • Theranos Founder Holmes Is Out as CEO of Scandal-Ridden Startup
    • The Theranos Indictments Expose the Soul of Silicon Valley

      The indictment, which comprises 11 counts, alleges that Theranos misled investors—one of whom sent Theranos nearly $100 million in a single wire transfer October 31, 2014—as well as doctors and patients with its promises of a blood test that delivered quick results with a single finger-prick, rather than the more demanding requirements of conventional methods.

    • Disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes indicted on criminal charges

      Further Reading
      SEC charges Theranos with “massive fraud,” CEO Holmes stripped of control
      In the new court filing—submitted Thursday, June 14 in federal court in San Jose, and unsealed on Friday—prosecutors allege that Holmes and Balwani engaged in a scheme to mislead investors about the state and capabilities of the company’s blood-testing technology and defrauded them out of more than $100 million. The prosecutors also allege that the pair defrauded doctors and patients by knowingly misleading them with false advertising and marketing that stated that their company could provide accurate and reliable health tests on just drops of blood from a finger-prick with their proprietary technology.

  • Security

    • Vendors, Disclosure, and a bit of WebUSB Madness

      Was there any specific bug to report before we gave the talk? No, because it was widely discussed in the security scene that WebUSB is a bad idea. We believe we have demonstrated that by showing how it breaks U2F. There was no single issue to report to Google or Yubico, but a public discussion to trigger so WebUSB is fixed.

      [...]

      I do not know what “private outreach” means and why Yubico lied about being unable to replicate our findings in a call on March 2nd, even though they had it apparently working internally.

    • Librarian Sues Equifax Over 2017 Data Breach, Wins $600

      “The small claims case was a lot more about raising awareness,” said West, a librarian at the Randolph Technical Career Center who specializes in technology training and frequently conducts talks on privacy and security.

      “I just wanted to change the conversation I was having with all my neighbors who were like, ‘Ugh, computers are hard, what can you do?’ to ‘Hey, here are some things you can do’,” she said. “A lot of people don’t feel they have agency around privacy and technology in general. This case was about having your own agency when companies don’t behave how they’re supposed to with our private information.”

    • On the matter of OpenBSD breaking embargos (KRACK)
    • The UK’s worst public sector IT disasters
    • Hackers May Have Already Defeated Apple’s USB Restricted Mode For iPhone

      Recently, the iPhone-maker announced a security feature to prevent unauthorized cracking of iPhones. When the device isn’t unlocked for an hour, the Lightning port can be used for nothing but charging. The feature is a part of the iOS 12 update, which is expected to launch later this month.

    • Cops Are Confident iPhone Hackers Have Found a Workaround to Apple’s New Security Feature

      Apple confirmed to The New York Times Wednesday it was going to introduce a new security feature, first reported by Motherboard. USB Restricted Mode, as the new feature is called, essentially turns the iPhone’s lightning cable port into a charge-only interface if someone hasn’t unlocked the device with its passcode within the last hour, meaning phone forensic tools shouldn’t be able to unlock phones.

      Naturally, this feature has sent waves throughout the mobile phone forensics and law enforcement communities, as accessing iPhones may now be substantially harder, with investigators having to rush a seized phone to an unlocking device as quickly as possible. That includes GrayKey, a relatively new and increasingly popular iPhone cracking tool. But forensics experts suggest that Grayshift, the company behind the tech, is not giving up yet.

    • How Secure Are Wi-Fi Security Cameras?
    • Trump-Kim Meeting Was a Magnet For Russian Cyberattacks
  • Defence/Aggression

    • The stark relationship between income inequality and crime

      A new survey by Gallup, a polling organisation, appears to go some way to verifying Becker’s theory. It asked 148,000 people in 142 countries about their perceptions of crime and how safe they feel across four measures: whether they trust the local police; whether they feel safe walking home alone; if they have had property or money stolen; and whether they have been assaulted over the past year. Testing the correlation between these questions and the amount of income inequality (as measured by the Gini coefficient) in any given country shows a strong and positive relationship (see chart above).

    • Pakistan violates ceasefire again, kills 2 BSF jawans

      This comes days after India and Pakistan mutually agreed to undertake sincere measures to improve the existing situation ensuring peace and avoidance of hardships to the civilians along the borders.

    • London Bridge attack hero feels ‘abandoned’

      Florin Morariu helped people hide in his bakery then confronted the three men when they launched their van and knife attack on 3 June last year.

    • Underwater bombs pose toxic risk in Gulf of Finland

      “Historical data shows that about 60,000 naval mines were dumped into the Gulf of Finland during the postwar decades, although no chemical weapons are reportedly present there,” says project leader Anu Lastumäki from Syke. “There are more mines in the Gulf than in almost any other sea area in the world.”

      The metallic shells housing more than 50,000 tonnes of chemicals such as TNT and mustard gas have corroded over the decades, and toxins are seeping out into the Baltic Sea each year.

    • Huge explosives recovered from suspected Jihadi house in Birbhum

      Police is quite perplexed with this recovery of huge amount of explosives.

    • Trump Says He Gave Kim Jong Un His Direct Number. Never Do That

      “I wouldn’t be surprised if everybody has malware on Trump’s smartphones,” says Dave Aitel, a former NSA researcher who now runs the penetration testing firm Immunity.

      Furthermore, a CNN report from late April indicated that Trump has recently increased his personal smartphone use, including for conversations with GOP lawmakers, partly in an effort to circumvent the White House switchboard altogether.

    • Suspected Islamists behead 10 in Mozambique

      Ten people including children were beheaded in a village in northern Mozambique in a weekend attack blamed on suspected Islamists, local sources said on Tuesday.

    • Half pupils flunk school in crime-hit Swedish districts
    • Hand Grenades and Gang Violence Rattle Sweden’s Middle Class

      Part of the reason is that Sweden’s gang violence, long contained within low-income suburbs, has begun to spill out. In large cities, hospitals report armed confrontations in emergency rooms, and school administrators say threats and weapons have become commonplace.

      [...]

      “Crime is increasing and increasing, and they aren’t doing anything about it,” Mr. Garrido said. “It’s denial. Swedes are very good people and they want to change the world. They want the rest of the world to be like Sweden. And the reality is that it’s completely different.”

    • Sweden: “It’s Fun to Build a Mosque”

      In December 2017, Lise Tamm, Head of the National Unit against International and Organized Crime, said, “Rinkeby is almost like a war zone. When the police work there, they work as the military defense would”.

    • Sweden’s violent reality is undoing a peaceful self-image

      Shootings in the country have become so common that they don’t make top headlines anymore, unless they are spectacular or lead to fatalities. News of attacks are quickly replaced with headlines about sports events and celebrities, as readers have become desensitized to the violence. A generation ago, bombings against the police and riots were extremely rare events. Today, reading about such incidents is considered part of daily life.

      [...]

      In response, the Swedish government has launched an international campaign for “the image of Sweden” playing down the rise in crime, both in its media strategy and through tax-funded PR campaigns.

    • A CIA agent, North Korea and Pak. bomb

      The project to unmask the Pakistani nuclear supply network in the U.S. began in 1986 when the CIA appointed Mr. Barlow as in charge of a project to find the people helping Pakistan’s nuclear weapons project in Kahuta. They began tracking any suspicious demand for dual-use material and technology from Pakistan. The CIA found a Canadian of Pakistani origin, Arshad Parvez, who frequently visited the steel makers in Pennsylvania. As surveillance on the visitor increased, the Department of Energy received a tip-off from Carpenter Technology, a steel-making company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The DoE reached out to Mr. Barlow with the information.

    • Sure, CIA called VHP and Bajrang Dal ‘militant’, but the agency is way worse

      The world came crashing down for far-right Hindutva outfits like the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) after news got out that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of America had categorised them as “militant religious organisations” in their “World Factbook”.

      For shame!

      And while this categorisation has added zero value to what a sizable chunk of the liberal population have already been saying for a long time, it did manage to annoy members of the organisations themselves. After all, what gives an American federal intelligence body the right to call a spade a spade? The VHP, which claims it’s a nationalist group that works for the betterment of the country, has called the CIA’s allegations “baseless” and “false”, and has gone so far as to threaten to launch an “international movement” against the CIA, should it refuse to reclassify the Hindu groups.

      [...]

      In a statement, the VHP’s Surendra Jain said: “The CIA is the one that propagated terrorism in the world. They are the ones who trained Osama Bin Laden and are responsible for destabilising governments.”

      It would seem as if the pot is indeed calling the (saffron?) kettle black. And while there is no denying that the kettle, here, is as black as it gets, let us take a look at the pot and ask the question in earnest: what gives an American federal intelligence body the right to call a spade a spade, especially when it has been the same spade for the most part of its terrible history?

    • Saudi-led coalition conducts air strikes on Yemen’s Hodeidah airport

      A Saudi-led coalition conducted air strikes on Yemen’s Hodeidah airport on Sunday to support forces trying to seize control from Iran-aligned Houthi fighters, who are facing their biggest challenge in the war, Saudi and Houthi-run media reported.

      Warplanes carried out five strikes on the port city of Hodeidah, a lifeline to millions of Yemenis, according to SABA, the official Houthi news agency. Saudi-owned broadcaster Al Arabiya also reported strikes on the airport.

      Ground troops, including United Arab Emiratis, Sudanese and Yemenis from various factions, surrounded the main airport compound on Saturday, said a source in the coalition-allied Yemeni military.

    • The future is African — and the United States is not prepared

      Washington’s policies toward the continent are becoming increasingly militarized. But that’s not the kind of help Africa needs.

    • Swedish man charged with complicity in 2015 Paris terror attacks

      Investigators also accuse Krayem of being part of the cell that carried out the 2016 Brussels bombings which left 32 people dead and like the Paris attacks were claimed by the Islamic State group.

    • Erdogan warns Austria imam crackdown will lead to holy war

      His comments came the day after the Austrian government announced it could expel up to 60 Turkish-funded imams and their families and would shut down seven mosques as part of a crackdown on “political Islam,” triggering fury in Ankara.

    • Atheist Poet and Publisher Shahzahan Bachchu Shot Dead in Bangladesh
  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Join the June 17 demonstration in Sydney and June 19 rallies to defend WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange

      The World Socialist Web Site urges its readers internationally to join the demonstrations and vigils being held over the coming days to defend WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange and demand his immediate release from involuntary confinement in Ecuador’s London embassy.

      The near eight-year persecution of WikiLeaks and Assange by the combined forces of the American state apparatus and its allies is one of the sharpest expressions of a global onslaught on freedom of speech, an independent and critical media, and all the democratic and social rights of the working class.

    • Sri Lankan artists speak out in defence of Julian Assange

      He has done a great service to mankind by exposing the conspiracies of the imperialist powers driven on a warpath. In particular, he has made us aware of the rapidly growing threat of nuclear war.

      His life is currently in great danger. We have learnt from the WSWS that Assange’s communication with the outside world has been shut down and he is under 24/7 surveillance inside the Ecuadorean embassy. This is a gross violation of his basic rights. Ecuadorean authorities have knelt down before US pressure. Australia, being an ally of the US, has not defended Assange.

      In Sri Lanka, we are facing censorship and attacks on freedom of speech. Even though the government was forced to pass a parliamentary act on the right to information, it refuses to reveal the names of financial fraudsters. The government continues to violate the rule of law.

      Despite these vicious attacks launched by governments, many others will come forward to expose these conspiracies in the future. The step taken by Assange is only the beginning.

    • UK workers demand release of Julian Assange, support international vigils

      The Socialist Equality Party has received support from workers in the UK in opposition to the British government’s effective detention of Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy on phoney breach of bail charges, and the demand for his immediate freedom and guaranteed safe passage to a country of his choosing.

      Their backing for the WikiLeaks founder is in stark contrast to the wall of silence imposed by the so-called media, the pseudo-left organisations and the Labour Party, including leader Jeremy Corbyn.

      In Bradford, the SEP organised a WSWS readers meeting to build support for Assange.

    • Writer Steven Brust on Assange: “I salute his personal courage and integrity”

      I send my fraternal greetings to those attending the Socialist Equality Party rally in Sydney to demand the Australian government stop the persecution of Julian Assange. The information Assange has worked to make public has been of immeasurable help in informing the world of the specifics of the crimes of the US government and its allies, and of the internal workings of its political machinery.

      This is a service to everyone committed to the fight for freedom and equality, and it is the only reason he is hounded and threatened and silenced. Indeed, one cannot help but wonder: what atrocities are being committed right now that we haven’t learned of because the unceasing harassment of this whistle-blower?

    • Film critic, cinema professor and journalist Joseph McBride: Julian Assange “should be freed”

      All journalists depend on inside sources and documents to help tell the truth about what really goes on behind the facade of governments. Often those documents are ones governments do not want revealed, but they are crucial for us to have to expose crimes and other social problems. The same goes for the information provided by inside sources. History, true history, is replete with examples of how such information has benefited the public good. Naturally governments tend to demonize people who provide the truth to the public.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Polar Ice Is Live-Blogging Human History

      Scientists reading layers of pollution can now tell what year Romans minted a lot of silver coins, what year a plague struck, and what year the Montreal Protocol cut CFCs.

    • Pope warns oil executives: Climate change may ‘destroy civilization’
    • Big Oil CEOs needed a climate change reality check. The pope delivered

      What’s really “worrying”, though, “is the continued search for new fossil fuel reserves, whereas the Paris agreement clearly urged keeping most fossil fuels underground”. And in that small sentence he calls the bluff on most of what passes for climate action among nations and among fossil fuel companies. Yes, Donald Trump notwithstanding, most countries have begun to take some steps to reduce demand for energy over time. Yes, oil companies have begun to grudgingly issue “climate risk reports” and divert minuscule percentages of their research budgets to renewables.

      But no one has been willing to face the fact that we have to leave more than 80% of known fossil fuel reserves underground if we have any chance of meeting the Paris targets. No company has been willing to commit to leaving the coal and oil and gas in the earth, and almost no nation has been willing to make them do so. Instead, the big fossil fuel countries continue to aid and abet the big fossil fuel companies in the push for more mining and drilling. In Australia, the Turnbull government backs a massive new coalmine; in Canada, the Trudeau government literally buys a pipeline to keep the tar sands expanding; in the US, the federal government might as well be a wholly owned subsidiary of the fossil fuel companies.

    • Decades needed to restore trees lost in fire: national park official

      When asked about the identities of those involved in the fire, Mr Khan from the national park said the main suspects were the timber mafia and hunters.

    • How the media ignored Puerto Rico, in one chart

      This week, we learned that Hurricane Maria may be the deadliest natural disaster on US soil in the past 100 years, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study found that most of the estimated 4,600 deaths were because of delayed medical care.

    • President Trump orders Energy Department to stop coal retirements [updated]

      This afternoon White House Secretary Sarah Sanders said that President Trump told Energy Secretary Rick Perry to “prepare immediate steps” to prevent coal plants from early closure.

    • Solar Has Overtaken Gas and Wind as Biggest Source of New U.S. Power

      The growth came even as tariffs on imported panels threatened to increase costs for developers. Giant fields of solar panels led the growth as community solar projects owned by homeowners and businesses took off. Total installations this year are expected to be 10.8 gigawatts, or about the same as last year, according to GTM. By 2023, annual installations should reach more than 14 gigawatts.

    • Trump’s environmental policies could lead to an extra 80,000 deaths per decade, say Harvard scientists

      In an essay published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, public health economist David Cutler and statistician Francesca Dominici argue that, even when using an “extremely conservative estimate,” Trump’s policies would cause respiratory problems for more than a million people over a decade, many of them children.

    • Yellowstone superintendent officially learned of dismissal through press release

      Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk found out he was officially being replaced by the Trump administration when he saw a press release announcing the news.

      A little later Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke tweeted photos of the man replacing him, Cameron Sholly, meeting with members of Congress.

    • Judge to EPA: you are legally required to turn over Pruitt’s documentary evidence for climate denial

      So the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed a Freedom of Information Act request asking the EPA to turn over documents Pruitt relied on to form this view, which is wildly out of step with the scientific consensus.

      Instead of complying, the EPA refused, so PEER sued. In court, the EPA argued that complying with the request would be unduly burdensome, consuming “countless hours researching and analyzing a vast trove of material on the effect of human activity on climate change” which is “a subjective assessment upon which reasonable minds can differ.”

    • Judge orders EPA to disclose any science backing up Pruitt’s climate claims

      On Tuesday, a US District Court Judge for the District of Columbia issued a memo (PDF) saying that the EPA must comply with PEER’s request by July 2, offering any EPA documents that helped Pruitt come to the conclusion that he shared on CNBC last year. If certain documents can not be provided, an explanation for their absence must be provided by July 11.

    • EPA close to finish line on rolling back auto emissions standards

      The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hit a major milestone today in its move to roll back auto emissions standards that would have had a major impact in lowering the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, the EPA’s move reportedly sets it up for conflict with California, the only state in the nation that has an exemption from the EPA’s greenhouse gas rules under the Clean Air Act.

    • E.P.A. Takes a Major Step to Roll Back Clean Car Rules

      Jahan Wilcox, a spokesman for the E.P.A., confirmed on Thursday that the agency had sent its proposed regulatory rollback to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review. Typically that is the final step before a proposed rule is published in the Federal Register. The rules are then open for public comment before taking effect, during which the terms could still be modified.

    • Whale that died off Thailand had eaten 80 plastic bags

      The bags, weighing about 8kg (17lbs), had made it impossible for the whale to eat food, a marine expert said.

    • Why Are So Many Dead Whales Washing Up in the Bay Area?

      But by proving that ships are killing whales—by slicing through rotten flesh and hunting for rib fragments and crawling atop massive bodies—Halaska and her team can help influence policy. Getting ships to slow down in certain areas, for instance. “Every case that we do just helps to further inform the public and inform policymakers what’s happening in the oceans,” Halaska says.

    • How to spot the secretive activities of rogue fishing boats

      Vessels may take too many fish ­– overfishing – which is causing our fisheries to collapse. Then there is the problem of illegal fishing, which can occur in protected areas, in other country’s waters or on the high seas. Many countries simply don’t have the capacity to enforce fishery management rules. As a result, illegal fishing has become a multi-billion-dollar industry, worth up to $23bn each year. Because of overfishing – both legal and illegal – one third of fisheries assessed in a study by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation were overfished and over half were fully fished. This threatens jobs and food security for millions of people, all around the world.

    • Ecological “law” turns out to just be the result of us fishing

      All the species in which older, bigger fish are found in deeper water have something else in common: we eat them. Could it be, some Canadian scientists wondered, that all the big fish are found in deeper water because we fished them out of shallower water? Apparently (and somewhat astonishingly) this possibility had never been evaluated. And the scientists found that not only could this be the case—it in fact was.

    • A Third of the World’s ‘Protected’ Areas Are Under Threat

      An international team of researchers parsed global satellite data to reveal that many legally designated “protected” natural areas are directly threatened by expanding habitat destruction, displacement and destruction of local biodiversity. Researchers found that, worldwide, “6 million square kilometers (32.8%) of protected land is under intense human pressure.” Western Europe and Southern Asia were particularly under threat; satellite imaging revealed that “[o]nly 42 percent of protected land was found to be free of measurable human pressure.” That means in many of the world’s most densely populated and fastest developing regions, the majority of supposedly protected lands are besieged by the march of human progress—through our farming increasingly depleted terrains, hunting their endangered wildlife, or extracting resources from the ground.

    • Puerto Rico’s power grid is in worse shape than it was before Hurricane Maria

      It’s the largest blackout in US history. It’s the second-largest power outage in the world on record. It has fueled a housing shortage, a suicide crisis, a spike in the murder rate, and likely more than 4,600 deaths. That a territory that’s home to more Americans than 21 states should suffer with so little for so long is a national disgrace. A hurricane is a force of nature, but a blackout is a human disaster, compounded by failures at every tier of government.

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • How Did the Supreme Court Give a Green Light to Massive Voter Suppression?

      Now Justice Gorsuch has answered. On Monday, the Court released its ruling in the case of Hustad v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, an essential test of the Court’s stance regarding voting rights. With the critical 2018 election just months away, the Court’s activist majority gave Republican secretaries of state a go-ahead to resume the antidemocratic practice of purging fully qualified voters from registration rolls.

    • Facebook Fabricates Trust Through Fake Intimacy

      They instill trust by getting 2.2 billion users to forget about the platform and make trusted “friends” (and, of course, “friendly” brands and organizations) the center of attention.

    • The court’s decision to let AT&T and Time Warner merge is ridiculously bad

      To spare you the pain of reading the 170-page opinion yourself, I went through and pulled out some highlights. You will note again and again that Judge Leon goes into incredible detail about the businesses of the past, like how the deal might affect cable TV negotiations, while naively glossing over the details of how media works in the present and future. (Buying Time Warner will allow AT&T to… put together clips of CNN to show on phones? Very innovative.) You will also note that the government put on what seems like a very, very weak case. Here’s my condensed summary:

    • AT&T Is Changing Time Warner’s Name to WarnerMedia

      The business, which includes HBO, Turner Broadcasting and the Warner Bros. studio, was christened with the moniker in an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg on Friday. As part of the changes, Turner Chief Executive Officer John Martin will be leaving the company — a widely expected move.

      AT&T took over Time Warner on Thursday after a drawn-out antitrust battle. The deal, originally announced in 2016, will let the telecom giant offer new packages of wireless data and entertainment content. AT&T executive John Stankey will now be running WarnerMedia, which has offices in New York and Los Angeles.

    • My Europe: Orbanism is sweeping across the continent

      Slovenia, with just 2 million inhabitants, is a small and little-known country. So when Europe’s leading media outlets announced that right-wing populist Janez Jansa had emerged as “the clear winner” in the country’s parliamentary elections, hardly anyone was surprised. But even with this election success, Jansa’s Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) still did not garner the levels of support it had back in 2011, when he won a second stint as prime minister.

    • AP: Trump campaign working with former Cambridge Analytica employees

      The AP reported on Friday that the campaign is working with at least four former staffers now affiliated with Data Propria, a new consulting firm led by Cambridge Analytica’s former head of product Matt Oczkowski.

    • Trump 2020 working with ex-Cambridge Analytica staffers

      A company run by former officials at Cambridge Analytica, the political consulting firm brought down by a scandal over how it obtained Facebook users’ private data, has quietly been working for President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election effort, The Associated Press has learned.

    • Ex-Cambridge Analytica Employees Are Reportedly Handling Trump’s 2020 Campaign

      Cambridge Analytica was taken down after it was heavily accused of manipulating the results of America’s 2016 Presidential Elections. The firm also faced massive criticism for stealing the data of 87 million Facebook users without the consent.

      It has been reported by The Associated Press that the alumni of Cambridge Analytica who have set up a new company named Data Propria, are working on Trump’s 2020 election campaign.

    • Oprah Winfrey, Apple Sign Multi-Year Content Partnership

      Winfrey recently extended her contract with Discovery through 2025. Sources tell Variety that Apple’s deal with Winfrey does not conflict with the Discovery agreement. Winfrey remains exclusive in an on-screen capacity to OWN with limited carve-outs, such as her role as a correspondent for CBS’ “60 Minutes” and her recent acting work for HBO.

    • Apple Partners With Oprah Winfrey for Original Content Push

      Apple will fund all the projects, which could include scripted TV series, unscripted programming and film, according to a person familiar with the matter. Winfrey will do some on-camera work and will retain ownership of all the programs, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing details of the pact.

    • Oprah Winfrey Inks Content Deal With Apple

      Sources say the pact includes everything from film, TV, applications, books and other content that could easily be distributed on Apple’s all-encompassing platform. (The deal does not include podcasts, as Winfrey has her own platform for that.) Sources note that Winfrey landed at Apple in a competitive situation with other tech giants, likely including Netflix and Amazon, all pursuing similar deals. Apple is said to have aggressively pursued Winfrey as part of a larger push to reach a broad audience.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Pak-Christians remember Asia Bibi on the 9th anniversary of her arrest

      Brave legislators, lawyers and judges have lost or risked their lives for speaking up for her or for opposing the archaic blasphemy law, the list of martyrs includes:

      Former Governor of Punjab Salman Taseer and former Minister for Minorities Shabbaz Bhatti both of whom were martyred for attempts to raise concerns over her incarceration and calling for a review of the infamous blasphemy laws. An early timeline of events leading up to Shabbaz Bhatti’s assassination can be read (here) .

    • The High Price of Stale Grievances

      Many black progressives use the myth of collective, intergenerational transfers of suffering to exempt themselves from the rules of civil discourse. Dyson, for instance, responded to Peterson’s criticism of the concept of ‘white privilege’ with the finger-wagging rebuke: “You’re a mean, mad white man!” Despite hurling this racialized insult, Dyson will likely face no consequences. The question naturally arises—what would have happened to Peterson if he had called Dyson a “mean, mad black man”? I think it’s fair to say that Peterson would have received something less pleasant than the round of applause with which Dyson was rewarded.

    • Vanity Von Glow: the left eats its own

      But this automatic association of free speech with the political right now seems to be ubiquitous, causing many on the left to abandon the principle altogether. One columnist for the Guardian goes so far as to argue that free speech is ‘not a value’ but ‘a loophole exploited with impunity by trolls, racists and ethnic-cleansing advocates’. To defend the right of unpleasant people to speak their minds is frequently, often wilfully, misinterpreted as a defence of the sentiments expressed.

    • Lebanese tourist referred to criminal trial for insulting Egypt on Facebook

      Mona el-Mazboh has been held since Thursday when she was arrested at Cairo airport at the end of her stay in Egypt after her outspoken video went viral on social media.

      In the video, Mazboh complains of being sexually harassed by taxi drivers and young men in the street, as well as poor restaurant service during the holy month of Ramadan and an incident in which money was stolen from her during a previous stay.

      [...]

      In a statement, the public prosecutor said Mazboh was charged with “deliberately spreading false rumors that are harmful to society and infringe upon religions.”

    • Censorship, Bans, and ETH Scams: Twitter Suspends Bitmain’s Official Account

      This week the Twitter handle @Bitmaintech was locked down because Twitter administrators claimed the account belongs to a 4-year-old. The Twitter handle’s owner and Bitmain’s head of marketing have complained to the social media company’s support team and Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey. The account lockdown marks the second high profile bitcoin-related account that’s been banned from Twitter in just a few months.

      [...]

      The account removal comes at an awkward time for the Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, who has been asked to address multiple issues tied to the social media platform. For instance, just recently the @Bitcoin account was banned and the topic was very controversial. The account with over 750,000 followers was initially suspended and then the account was restored with a much lower follower count than it had prior to the ban. Some people accused Dorsey of being biased and showing a conflict of interest towards supporters of the Lightning Network (LN) by allowing the banning of the @Bitcoin account. The reason for this speculation is due to Dorsey’s recent investment into the LN project.

    • Twitter Loses Round One of Anti-Censorship Suit Brought By Supremacist
    • White nationalist Jared Taylor can sue Twitter for banning him, judge rules

      Kahn was also sympathetic to Taylor’s claim that Twitter had misled the public by saying its platform was open to everyone, then allegedly banning people based on their political viewpoints. (In Taylor’s case, this would be the viewpoint that white people must maintain control over the United States, and that “when blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western Civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears.”) Twitter at one point described itself as the “free speech wing of the free speech party,” but last year it changed its rules to prohibit accounts affiliated with hate groups. The company declined to comment on Taylor’s suit.

    • Yandex and Google Put on Notice Over ‘Pirate’ Search Results

      Russia’s most powerful entertainment producers and distributors have written to Yandex, the country’s leading search provider, demanding the removal of ‘pirate’ sites from search results. The letter, signed by movie, music, and TV bosses, demands both detection and deletion of content. According to one of the signatories, Google will receive the same letter.

    • UK Govt Mulls Options to Make Anti-Piracy Enforcement Easier

      The Intellectual Property [sic] Office has published its latest corporate plans and strategies. In addition to improving services, the IPO wants to enhance the climate for rightsholders by making enforcement options, such as site blocking, both cheaper and easier. The IPO also wants to forge deals with Internet intermediaries while making piracy socially unacceptable to all.

    • French president Macron pushing for pre-election censorship of all news articles to combat “fake news”

      French president Macron, in an attempt to have the Power of Narrative stay with the offline-born old guard, is pushing a law that will reintroduce regular news censorship — even in old-style newspapers — in the period of time three months immediately before an election, in an effort to combat so-called “Fake News”. In this context, it’s important to remember that the most enthusiastic dealers of Fake News have always been governments themselves, usually assisted by loyal media.

      [...]

      Macron isn’t fighting against fake news with a censorship measure like this. He’s fighting for the power to monopolize fake news.

    • Action against Russian meddling cannot threaten our civil liberties

      The greatest threats to civil liberties often occur in the name of “national security.” History has shown that free political speech is almost always among the first rights to be curbed. In the ongoing debate surrounding appropriate remedies and responses to foreign election campaign interference, we must remain skeptical of any proposal that risks repeating this shameful history.

    • How China censors the net: by making sure there’s too much information

      One of the axioms of the early internet was an observation made by John Gilmore, a libertarian geek who was one of the founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “The internet,” said Gilmore, “interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” To lay people this was probably unintelligible, but it spoke eloquently to geeks, to whom it meant that the architecture of the network would make it impossible to censor it. A forbidden message would always find a route through to its destination.

      Gilmore’s adage became a key part of the techno-utopian creed in the 1980s and early 1990s. It suggested that neither the state nor the corporate world would be able to censor cyberspace. The unmistakable inference was that the internet posed an existential threat to authoritarian regimes, for whom control of information is an essential requirement for holding on to power.

      In the analogue world, censorship was relatively straightforward. It merely required state control of all the main communications media – print, radio and television – plus fear of draconian punishment for anyone daring to circumvent the resulting restrictions on information citizens were allowed to see. The 20th century provided numerous instances of how this worked – in fascist dictatorships, the Soviet empire and Mao’s China, for example – and how effective it could be in the pre-digital age.

    • British government extends censorship of online activity

      One year on from the June 2017 attack by Islamist terrorists at London Bridge, Conservative Home Secretary Sajid Javid used the anniversary to announce new authoritarian and anti-democratic “counter-terrorism” powers.

      The measures incorporate “the lessons learnt from the attacks in 2017 and our responses to them,” he said. One of the key lessons learnt, he said, was that the authorities could “do better” in sharing information more widely and locally.

      The WSWS has noted the intense collusion between British security services and Islamist terror groups. What is clear from the evidence that emerged in the aftermath of last year’s terror attacks is that the reason they were not prevented from their brutal assault was not due to “intelligence” failures.

    • Academics for Peace – Imprisonment, censorship continue

      In 2012, the Turkish government announced that it had participated in peace talks with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). This was followed by a mutual ceasefire in 2013. However, this peace process was subsequently called off and the Turkish government introduced curfews in several Kurdish towns, most notably in Sur, Silvan, Nusaybin, Cizre and Silopi.

      A group of academics formed the initiative called Academics for Peace in 2012 to monitor the peace process and to contribute to the search for a peaceful solution from an academic perspective.

      The curfews in Kurdish towns brought about extreme violations of civilian human rights. In response to these dreadful violations, on 11 January 2016 the Academics for Peace released a petition entitled ‘We will not be a party to this crime’. The primary purpose of this petition was to urge the different parties to find a peaceful solution. In particular it called on the Turkish government to end the curfews in Kurdish provinces.

    • Interior Department’s Screen of Meeting Abstracts Called Censorship

      USGS scientists need approval from a political appointee before they can present research at two big geological conferences.

    • Modern Journalism: Huffington Post Reporter Doxes Counter-Jihadi

      But her primary sin has nothing to do with her personal life, however lavishly O’Brien exposes it. The main reason why Luke O’Brien hates Amy Mek and wants you to hate her, too, is because she “tirelessly spewed far-right propaganda and, above all, Islamophobia.” He also says, predictably, that she is “racist.” As evidence, O’Brien points out that she has praised Milo, who is so “racist” that he is in a gay marriage with a black man; as for “Islamophobia,” of course O’Brien means that she opposes jihad mass murder and Sharia oppression of women, non-Muslims, and others — in O’Brien’s mind, as a doctrinaire Left-fascist, all those who oppose such things are “bigots.”

    • Tommy Robinson Drew Attention to ‘Grooming Gangs.’ Britain Has Persecuted Him.

      The controversy around him continued. In March, Robinson was suspended from Twitter, where he had almost half a million followers. The social-media site (which merrily allows terrorist groups like Lashkar e-Taiba to keep accounts) decided that Robinson should be suspended for tweeting out a statistic about Muslim rape gangs that itself originated from the Muslim-run Quilliam foundation. And it is on this matter that the latest episode in the Robinson drama started — and has now drawn worldwide attention.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • In nearly 500 pages of answers, Facebook stonewalls some senators’ questions

      Facebook did not answer Ars’ questions on Thursday evening as to why it did not always clearly answer the senators’ questions.

    • FBI recovers WhatsApp, Signal data stored on Michael Cohen’s BlackBerry

      In a letter to the presiding judge in the case against Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s long-time personal attorney, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York revealed today that it had obtained additional evidence for review—including a trove of messages and call logs from WhatsApp and Signal on one of two BlackBerry phones belonging to Cohen. The messages and call logs together constitute 731 pages of potential evidence. The FBI also recovered 16 pages of documents that had been shredded, but it has not yet been able to complete the extraction of data from the second phone.

    • Ross Ulbricht’s alleged confidant “Variety Jones” extradited to US

      Federal prosecutors allege that the 54-year-old Canadian was paid “at least hundreds of thousands of dollars” to work for Ulbricht. Over two years ago, Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison for owning and operating the notorious Silk Road website, an online marketplace for drugs or other illicit materials. The operation is now defunct.

    • Senators press Amazon for answers on improper Echo recording incident

      Two senators are demanding answers from Amazon following an incident where an Echo device reportedly recorded a couple’s conversation and sent it to an acquaintance.

    • Amazon Faces Senators’ Questions About Echo Privacy

      U.S. Senators Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, and Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, wrote Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos requesting information about the technical design and privacy features of Echo devices and the Alexa digital assistant platform. Flake is chairman of the Judiciary subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, and Coons is a member.

      “Recent reports have raised serious questions about how Amazon collects and stores voice data, and what steps are being taken to make sure this information is not shared without consumers’ consent,” Coons said in a statement. “People have the right to know how their data is being used and protected.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Half of women in science have experienced harassment, study finds

      More than half of female faculty members in the sciences have experienced harassment based on their gender, according to a study released Tuesday by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM).

      The report also finds between 20 to 50 percent of female students in science, engineering and medicine have experienced sexual harassment, with female medical students being the most likely to experience harassment by faculty or staff.

    • Amid rampant sexual harassment in science, academies aren’t ejecting abusers

      The report, released Tuesday, June 12, is two years in the making. In an opening statement broadcast at the report’s public release today in Washington, DC, Marcia McNutt, president of the National Academy of Sciences, called it a “landmark” study arriving at the “right moment” amid the international Me Too movement against sexual harassment and assault. Yet the academies own policies regarding harassers within its ranks may highlight the challenges ahead for effecting change.

    • TV’s Top Female Directors Reveal How They Broke Down Barriers

      Variety gathered several top helmers with a range of directing experiences: Pamela Adlon (“Better Things”), Jodie Foster (“Black Mirror”), Linka Glatter (“Homeland”), Mary Harron (“Alias Grace”), Helen Hunt (“Feud,” “Splitting Up Together”), Melina Matsoukas (“Insecure”) and Tracee Ellis Ross (“Black-ish”). What ensued was a frank, funny discussion about the challenges they’ve faced, the barriers that lie ahead and what they’ve learned along the way.

    • 9 girls with fake tournament pass rescued from traffickers

      The victims have been secured at a shelter run by the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (Naptip), says the BBC who noted that five others were saved after they were spotted with a one-way ticket.

    • 5 Things About Self-Defense Every Woman Should Know

      Last week, a woman in my self-defense class said that she’d been walking around like Edward Scissorkeys every day for over 40 years. I asked her to demonstrate. She held up her mighty key-claws. I snuck up on her and shouted “Boo!” so loudly that she was startled and dropped them. Then I scooped them up, stole her car, drove to her house, and hid under her bed until I could jump out in the night and return them. Or, you know, I could have.

      That’s the most obvious problem: You risk losing the very things you need to escape safely. A lot of cars need keys to, well, be cars, and when you’re using keys for melee tactics, there’s a great chance you’re going to drop them. If you’re walking home and those are your house keys, well, now you’ve locked yourself out of your own house.

    • How a Rape Trial in Spain Ignited a Feminist Movement

      Women are pushing to change the country’s narrow rape law, which requires proof that an assailant used “violence or intimidation” and often leads to a lesser sentence.

    • Spain now has the most female cabinet in Europe
    • Indian chess star says no to headscarf, pulls out of event in Iran

      “I do not wish to be forced to wear a headscarf or burqa. I find the Iranian law of compulsory headscarf to be in direct violation of my basic human rights, including my right to freedom of expression and right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. It seems that under the present circumstances, the only way for me to protect my rights is to not go to Iran,” the 29-year-old, who is India No. 5 and world No. 97 among women, posted on her Facebook account.

    • Go to hell: Philippines President tells UN human rights expert

      Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has told a UN human rights expert who said the country’s judicial independence was under threat to “go to hell”, warning against interference in domestic affairs.

    • Being sued

      And this is exactly what Lovdata did when they sued me and the founder of the rettspraksis.no project. On Thursday the 31st of May, the lawsuit was sent to the Oslo courts and in less than 24 hours the judge had issued a verdict (PDF, in Norwegian) which closed down our site.
      Classic discs

      This is quite shocking. First, I’m very surprised that Lovdata didn’t contact us to ask us where we had copied the court decisions from. In the lawsuit, they speculate that we have siphoned their servers by using automated «crawlers». And, since their surveillance systems for detecting siphoning were not triggered, our crawlers must have been running for a very long time, in breach of the database directive. The correct answer is that we copied the court decisions from the old discs I found in the National Library. We would have told them this immediately if they had simply asked.

      Second, I find it shocking that the judge ordered the take down of our website, rettspraksis.no, within 24 hours of the lawsuit being filed and WITHOUT HEARING ARGUMENTS FROM US. (Sorry for switching to CAPS, but this is really important.) We were ready and available to bring forth our arguments but were never given the chance. Furthermore, upon learning of the lawsuit, we, as a precaution, had voluntarily removed our site. If the judge had bothered to check he would have seen that what he was ordering was already done. There should be a much higher threshold for judges to close websites that just the request of some organization.

      Third, the two of us, the volunteers, were slapped with a $12,000 fee to cover the fees of Lovdata’s own lawyer, Jon Wessel-Aas. So, the judge actually ordered that we had to pay the lawyer from the opposite side, WITHOUT HAVING BEEN GIVEN A CHANCE TO ARGUE OUR CASE.

    • I’m an abortion provider — Trump administration’s gag rule is an attack on poor women

      The gag rule, which the Department of Health and Human Services is now collecting public comment on, is little more than an extension of the Hyde amendment. The Hyde amendment bars Medicaid coverage for low-income women seeking abortion care.

      Its author, Henry Hyde, said in 1977, “I certainly would like to prevent, if I could legally, anybody having an abortion, a rich woman, a middle-class woman, or a poor woman. Unfortunately, the only vehicle available is the…Medicaid bill.”

    • EXPOSED: 257 baby factories in Imo

      In its bid to eradicate the illegal orphanages, the Imo State Government uncovered 157 social homes which serve as baby factories across the state and recovered a number of children.

    • Over 160 children rescued from Lagos baby factory
    • New Jersey Assembly Shelves Vote on Banning Child Marriages

      The bill (A865/S2528) was scheduled for final legislative approval but was held over objections from the orthodox religious community and over concerns that the bill doesn’t make exceptions for young members of the military, said Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, a primary sponsor of the bill.

    • The multiculturalism umbrella: Made in Islam wool

      The West has been tolerant, but “tolerance in the face of evil is not tolerance, it is a crime.” It wasn’t long ago, we were defending ourselves at the Gates of Vienna from a Muslim invasion. Now, we welcome Muslims with open arms and generous welfare policies. Any push back to these open immigration practices is labeled Islamophobia, racism, bigotry, etc. But what cost do these changes bring?

    • Survey: More than half of young women in Finland have faced sexual harassment

      The survey, which was conducted in 2017, found that young women in particular reported that they had been the target of unwanted advances with sexual overtones. More than half of women under the age of 35 said that they had experienced such harassment over the past two years.

    • A Secular Muslim’s Guide To Drinking Alcohol During Ramadan

      When it comes to drinking during Ramadan, though, I’m lucky to be a Belgian citizen, not a Tunisian: Foreigners here are allowed to order alcoholic beverages at the few licensed restaurants and bars that stay open during the holy month, but Tunisians generally can’t. Merely looking Arab or possessing a Muslim-sounding name may lead a server to object.

    • Rajasthan Man Allegedly Kills Daughter To “Appease Allah”, Goes Off To Sleep

      Nawab Ali’s elder daughter Rizwana, 4, was found dead with her throat slit at their home on Friday morning, Superintendent of Police (Jodhpur Rural) Rajan Dushyant said.

    • Man Blinded by Father, Brothers for Falling in Love

      Abdul Baqi, 22, thought his family would help him get married. Instead, his father and four brothers accused him of violating Islamic values and removed his eyes to punish him.

      [...]

      The brother “went on to say that we are making a mistake by going to Afghanistan for jihad. ‘Actual Jihad is here in our house. The first jihad is here against this infidel.’ He was talking about me as I was bleeding from my wounds,” Baqi added.

    • In Iran, Christian converts face 10 year prison sentences

      Catholic churches within the country are closely monitored with surveillance cameras to ensure that Muslims do not enter, and religious schools are limited in what they can teach, an Iranian-born journalist, Sohrab Ahmari, explained to CNA.

    • Turkey Turns On Its Christians

      Under Erdoğan’s leadership, especially after the 2016 coup, Turkey’s religious minorities find themselves marginalized and isolated from the Sunni majority. Anti-Western and anti-EU rhetoric often morphs into rabid anti-Christian incitement with the clear message that the country’s Christian citizens are not true Turks, a message that the state-controlled media and government officials have either actively promoted or refused to denounce. Exacerbated by government policies such as the addition of jihad teaching to the school curriculum, these measures place Turkey’s non-Muslim minorities in an increasingly precarious situation.

    • Secret Christians in Saudi Arabia at greater risk during Ramadan

      If discovered, Christians risk excommunication, imprisonment and even honour killings.

    • Sonia Kruger to face tribunal over Muslims stance
    • Heads turn away when it comes to the Islamization of Europe

      This does not mean, though, that we should support all in this “populist” tide. Decent people should shun those who hate all Muslims, or really are neo-Nazis, or are thugs who may hide their contempt for the rule of law behind spurious claims of being martyred for the anti-Islamist cause.

      But the threat from such unsavory types is minimal compared to the scale of the threat from Islamization and the desperate battle now underway to defend the West. And the only reason such types are gaining traction at all is that, when it comes to the defense of Western civilization, just about the entire political establishment has given up.

    • French-Muslim website posts ‘hit list’ of famous Jews

      The Al Kanz staffer who wrote the reply added nine more names, including the Jewish philosophers Raphael Enthoven and Alain Finkielkraut; the French-Jewish historian Eric Zenmmour; the French-Jewish journalist Elisabeth Levy; and several other writers with critical views on Islam and radical Islam.

    • Border Angels Fight Trump’s Borderland Brutality

      America’s “National Pastime” used to be the heart of the matter for Enrique Morones. But in 1986, Morones turned his back on an impressive and lucrative career in Major League baseball, as the Vice President of Latino & International Marketing for the San Diego Padres, and became a “water carrier” on the desert. He soon founded the Border Angels, whose key purpose was the life and death delivery of water to those women and children and men who found themselves lost and stranded on the dessert, after fleeing their counties for a better safer life in El Norte.

      Morones, the first person to gain dual United States and Mexican Citizenship, has since joined forces with the United Farm Workers, Ethel Kennedy (the widow of Robert Kennedy) and others to give voice and a human face to the struggle of undocumented people, now under extraordinary attack by a bluntly and actively anti-immigrant Trump administration.

      In 2006, producers for the Flashpoints show traveled with Morones in a caravan that included thousands of activists, protesters and organizers across the entire country in the first “Marcha Migrante”, an action that inspired many spirited protests and demonstrations across the country, and in what came to be known as the “immigrant spring.”

      I caught up with Morones in San Diego just after a protest at an ICE detention center. just a few blocks from the US/Mexico border, between San Diego and Tijuana. The prison itself is relatively new, built in the last five or ten years. It is a private prison run by the Corrections Corporation of America, the largest prison company in the world. They warehouse over a thousand detainees in their San Diego facility.

    • Former CIA Chief Compares Trump’s Border Policies to Nazi Germany
    • Former CIA director compares Trump admin’s ‘zero tolerance’ border policy to Nazi Germany
    • Former CIA Head Compares Trump’s Border Separation Policy to Nazi Germany
    • Why Brits are turning against the police

      Yet the police are now widely disliked beyond those two demographics. These days, even conservatives and the respectable middle class don’t like the rozzers. A story beyond the hoo-ha over Lush and its anti-police ads might help to explain why.

    • Feds indict Florida police chief who framed a teen for burglaries so he could boast about perfect record

      Raimundo Atesiano was chief of the Biscayne Park Police Department in 2013, and he was proud to boast about his department’s 100% clearance rate for burglaries — but according to federal prosecutors who just indicted him, Atesiano conspired with two of his officers to frame a 16-year-old child for unsolved burglaries so that they could impress local officials.

    • Bodycam films moment when Emily Weinman was punched in head by New Jersey officer
    • Public university organizes Muslim religious celebration, claims it’s ‘cultural’

      Perry’s email correspondence with Zemore, also shared with The Fix, shows that he inquired about the university’s role in the event after business hours on Friday, asking how it can serve as organizer when the University of Michigan itself includes a disclaimer that “as a public institution [it] does not observe religious holidays.”

    • Migrants form “Mosque Route” in Balkans; Serbia also blamed

      Austrian media also point out to a number of videos in Arabic posted on the [I]nternet describing in detail the route through the region, towards the EU. Webinger pointed out that there is “a possibility of such a development of a situation that could lead to an increase in the refugee wave.”

    • The wind in my hair: one Iranian woman’s courageous struggle against being forced to wear the hijab

      The authorities are watching me, and my campaign, because they know how powerful it is that ordinary women are protesting. We’re like the suffragettes, we’re risking breaking the law for something we absolutely know is right.

    • The anti-woman violence feminists are afraid to confront

      We must depoliticize women’s rights. We don’t have to agree with each other’s political views but protecting individual human rights must be a given. In a world where half of American women are marginalized, we all lose.

    • West Papua Desk opens in Tāmaki Makaurau

      The West Papuan independence movement seeks liberation from Indonesian rule. Indonesia inherited the resource-rich region from Dutch colonists and has been criticised for its violent political repression of West Papua’s Melanesian inhabitants.

    • Green co-leader slams human rights ‘obscenity’ over West Papua

      Indonesia has just been elected to the UN Security Council for a two-year term.

      [...]

      She added that the people of West Papua were facing militarised oppression by the Indonesian government in order to seize their resources.

      “West Papuan culture and heritage is violently suppressed for access to their natural minerals,” she said.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Deference, Not Delegation! – WIPO PCT Negotiations

      For developing countries like India, which have a reasonably strong patent examination cadre, it may not make sense to opt for this outsourcing mechanism.

    • Copyrights

      • Who should control the 1500-year old monastery manuscript of the Garima Gospels?

        As reported (“Gospel truths”, The Economist, March 24, 2018), the issue involves illuminated Christian manuscripts of the Garima Gospels, estimated to be 1,500 years old and maintained at the Abba Garima monastery in an isolated part of northern Ethiopia. According to tradition, these manuscripts, written in the ancient South Semitic language of Ge’ez, were the work of a Byzantine prince, Abba (Father) Garima, who is said to have founded the monastery in the 5th or 6th century. They were apparently unknown until the 1940’s, when they were first disclosed to an English artist, Beatrice Playne. Subsequent efforts at restoration of the manuscripts, funded by a British heritage charity, took place a decade ago, but only a few scholars have been permitted to examine them in situ at the monastery in Ethiopia.

        [...]

        In modern terms, the clash between the “aura” of the manuscripts in the context of their intended use for a small population of believers versus display to potentially a large public population is the issue of agency (what the article calls “heritage’). Are the manuscripts a piece of tangible property (copyright not being an issue) belonging to the monastery or can some foreign body claim control over them by arguing that such body is acting as a steward on behalf of the broader “universal” interest? Does such a claim extend to the need of scholars for access to the manuscripts? And finally– should the IP community take a greater interest in issues of this kind (just as innovation is not strictly an IP issue, but is still of keen concern)?

      • Politicians, about to vote in favor of mandatory upload filtering in Europe, get channel deleted by YouTube’s upload filtering

        French politicians of the former Front National are furious: their entire YouTube channel was just taken down by automatic filters at YouTube for alleged copyright violations. Perhaps this will cause them to reconsider next week’s vote, which they have announced they will support: the bill that will make exactly this “arbitrary, political, and unilateral” upload filtering mandatory all across Europe.

      • What is Kodi? Is it illegal and what are the real dangers of using popular TV player?

        Despite this, Kodi itself is entirely legal and it is perfectly within the law to have Kodi on any of your devices.

        It works in the same way as having a torrent program on your PC, which again is legal to have on your computer.

        The problem comes when illegally uploaded content is distributed across the network.

        The open-source nature of Kodi allows for anyone to upload and watch anything they wish, with the responsibility on the individual user to choose what media they consume.

      • The UN’s top free speech expert just denounced the new EU copyright plan as a “potential violation of international human rights law”

        Kaye’s report points out the grave deficiencies with the plan: that it throws fair dealing (the right to reproduce copyrighted works for parody, commentary, criticism, etc) under the bus, because computers can’t tell whether you’re reproducing a work to comment on it or to just make it available; that it leaves users who get improperly censored out in the cold, with no judicial review of the machines’ orders to block their speech; and that it tilts the internet to favour the (mostly US-based) giant internet companies, while imposing an undue burden on EU competitors who are just getting started.

To Keep the Patent System Alive and Going Practitioners Will Have to Accept Compromises on Scope Being Narrowed

Posted in America, Patents at 12:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

They want to keep the pie and eat it as well

Big pie

Summary: 35 U.S.C. § 101 still squashes a lot of software patents, reducing confidence in US patents; the only way to correct this is to reduce patent filings and file fewer lawsuits, judging their merit in advance based on precedents from higher courts

THE USPTO has undergone quite a few changes in recent years, triggered initially by AIA and then SCOTUS downwards (‘trickling’ down to lower courts over time).

“The patent microcosm prefers to cherry-pick cases based on their outcome.”Among the main casualties? Software patents. The patent microcosm prefers to cherry-pick cases based on their outcome. The latest such example is Zeroclick v Apple, a Federal Circuit (CAFC) case from the very start of this month [PDF]. We wrote about it a couple of days later and Watchtroll did too (a relatively long time afterwards); it’s said to be about “(G)UI code” even though there’s no such thing (in programming there’s a callback function associated with pertinent GUI elements, but the GUI itself is just a layout, which could possibly be seen as copyrighted). Anyway, this isn’t a case about software patents or even § 101/Alice. Some say it is about § 112. Those same people (or a colleague, Charles Bieneman) speak of DDR Holdings, which is utterly desperate to salvage some abstract patents from § 101; the ‘famous’ case of DDR Holdings was mentioned a lot in 2016 (even here, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]), but it was rarely cited since. The word “Saves” (not “Survives” as patent maximalists typically put it) was used to describe the following move:

The Federal Circuit’s famous (or infamous) decision that one DDR Holdings’ patent was not invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101 was used to support a district court’s denial of a motion for judgment of § 101 for three other DDR Holdings’ patents. In DDR Holdings, LLC v. Priceline.com, LLC, No. 17-498 (D. Del. June 5, 2018), the court denied a motion for judgment on the pleadings, because the three present patents-in-suit share the same inventive concept” as U.S. 7,818,399, which the Federal Circuit held patent-eligible in its 2014 decision in DDR Holdings, LLC v. Priceline.com, LLC.

The previously-litigated ’399 patent is entitled “Methods of expanding commercial opportunities for internet websites through coordinated offsite marketing,” and claims, in a nutshell, one online merchant to presenting retail opportunities framed with branding of another online merchant.

If business methods or software patents are being authorised by the district court, it oughtn’t necessarily mean that CAFC will agree. In fact, it seems quite likely that an appeal would void these patents, judging by the deviation in views and interpretations (CAFC is a lot harsher or stricter than any of the district courts). Ideally, in order to improve certainty around patent eligibility, the district courts will need to become more like CAFC, which itself became more like SCOTUS. That’s just how application of law works. The precedents cascade downwards, not upwards.

“If business methods or software patents are being authorised by the district court, it oughtn’t necessarily mean that CAFC will agree.”Staying with that same law firm/site, which is actually not bad at all (pretty moderate), here they give a new example of 35 U.S.C. § 101 in action. It still puts an end to a lot of patents wrongly granted by the Office, especially software patents. Well, the ‘famous’ case of DDR Holdings was brought up to no avail:

Patent claims directed to monitoring Internet activity “to increase the objectivity of the search results returned responsive to a search for talented original content creators” were held invalid under the Alice/Mayo abstract idea test and 35 U.S.C. § 101. Accordingly, in Talent Broker Tech. LLC v. Musical.ly, Inc., CV 17-08532 SJO (MRWx) (C.D. Cal. May 22, 2018), the Court granted the defendant’s Rule 12 Motion to Dismiss, finding claims of US 8,510,154 and US 8,630,894 patent-ineligible.

This was the defendant’s second motion to dismiss, the first having been granted with the plaintiff given the significantly more than an old and fundamental idea. As before, on the present motion the court found “that the claims of the Patents-in-Suit are directed to the abstract idea of organizing, differentiating and retrieving information.” For example, claim 1 of the ’894 patent, said the court,

It was a software patent and now it’s gone. Bieneman’s colleague Daniel Hegner meanwhile covered a district court case regarding a major patent troll, Uniloc. This troll is losing yet another software/abstract patent, owing to 35 U.S.C. § 101. To quote Hegner:

N. District Court of California grants Apple’s 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings (following full briefing and oral argument) finding claims of U.S. Pat. No. 6,661,203 ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 based on broad functional claim language that does not recite how to achieve the claimed process beyond what is known in the admitted prior art. Uniloc USA, Inc. v. Apple, Inc., Civil No. C 18-00358 WHA (N.D. Cal. May 18, 2018).

Uniloc (Uniloc USA and Uniloc Luxembourg) sued Apple for infringement of its battery charging and discharging system.

There have been other examples lately, especially at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Sooner or later Uniloc might go out of ‘business’. It operates via rather dodgy proxies (like the one in Luxembourg, Europe) and its patents are being axed one by one, sometimes owing to the bounties-offering Unified Patents.

“For law firms, as well as for courts, predictability is very important. They otherwise look like fools or cheats to their clients.”Seeing that such patents mostly perish in the face of § 101 we have to wonder how long it will be before: 1) the USTPO will quit issuing such patents. 2) patent law firms will stop advising clients to pursue such patents (or clients themselves lose interest). 3) no more lawsuits of this kind will be filed, knowing the the outcome will be favourable to the defendant or neither side (both sides just having to pay legal bills, potentially with the plaintiff footing both sides’ bills).

The sooner (1)-(3) may happen, the more rational, sane and predictable the US patent system will become. For law firms, as well as for courts, predictability is very important. They otherwise look like fools or cheats to their clients.

The Affairs of the USPTO Have Turned Into Somewhat of a Battle Against the Courts, Which Are Simply Applying the Law to Invalidate US Patents

Posted in America, Patents at 10:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Poor assessment of patent applications can now be stopped or compensated for by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and, failing that, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC)

A death squad
A “death squad” is what patent maximalists nowadays call a court (where the only casualty is a piece of paper, or a low-quality patent which US law renders invalid)

Summary: The struggle between law, public interest, and the Cult of Patents (which only ever celebrates more patents and lawsuits) as observed in the midst of recent events in the United States

THE ideology of patent maximalism is a toxic one and it is infectious only within circles that sell, trade, and exploit patents for litigation, not innovation. It’s all about financial motivations and those motivated to spread patent maximalism typically profit from mass litigation. It’s their most expensive “product” or “service” as it can last several years (appeals, discovery, so-called ‘damages’ with a ‘cut’ for respective law firms).

“They don’t seem to care about facts, only mythology and beliefs.”Earlier this year we started habitually referring to “patent maximalism” (of the “patent microcosm”) as “Cult of Patents” because it has become almost like a religion to these people. They don’t seem to care about facts, only mythology and beliefs.

“A reader suggested this chart as we approach U.S. Patent No. 10,000,000,” Patently-O wrote on Friday. As we said before, it’s a pretty meaningless milestone from this Cult of Patents (the patent maximalists). Half a decade or so after Alice and nearly a decade after the Bilski case the Office just granted far too many patents far too fast. Look at the rate of expansion of grants; do people invent twice as many things today as they did about a decade ago? Or a hundred times more than a century ago? Or maybe it’s just patent maximalism taking over, dubbing just about anything an “invention” and justifying/ permitting a monopoly on it?

“Earlier this year we started habitually referring to “patent maximalism” (of the “patent microcosm”) as “Cult of Patents” because it has become almost like a religion to these people. They don’t seem to care about facts, only mythology and beliefs.”Juvan Bonni at Patently-O is now promoting Koch-funded patent lobbying from Adam Mossoff. These are patents-maximising boosters/nuts who promote billionaires’ agenda and defend patent trolls. Bonni is also promoting ISDS for patents. Look what Patently-O is being reduced to; it’s like another Watchtroll or IAM. The more their agenda gets curtailed, the more extreme they seem to become. They already call judges “death squads”, so what next? “Nazis”? They then ‘interview’ USPTO officials like Michelle Lee, later to sort of attack them (after they had met them); the following old meme comes to mind, only in reverse (reality first, then Internet):

Internet fight

To repair the reputation of USPTO-granted patents Mr. Iancu will need to ignore lobbyists like David Kappos and work towards granting less, based on solid eligibility criteria (such as § 101 and beyond, taking note of Federal Circuit cases/caselaw). As the CCIA’s patents person put it the other day:

Here’s another fun one from the Kappos/Sachs database: 14/118458. Rejected in the US under § 101. Except it’s rejected under § 101 because its an “e-cat” fusion claim, the modern equivalent of a perpetual motion machine. I think we can all agree that the PTO can reject those.

Timothy Au, who recently helped the EPO‘s tyrant Battistelli lie about patent "quality", now speaks about Delaware and East Texas. It’s just the latest TC Heartland spin basically. “Delaware is now the US’s number one patent litigation venue,” IAM said, “but there are several reasons why it is unlikely to become the Eastern District of Texas, mark 2.” That is what a “study claims,” according to IAM’s headline. The name of the firm/person behind this ‘study’ is blocked by a paywall unfortunately (likely intentional). To quote:

Research into the increase in patent suits in the District of Delaware following TC Heartland has found that the venue shift is likely to result in less litigation from patent assertion entities (PAEs), while also revealing that firms incorporated in Delaware have been impacted by the changes resulting from the Supreme Court’s landmark decision most positively. The TC Heartland ruling reinterpreted venue selection rules in the US and drastically reduced the choices a patent owner faces when deciding where to file an infringement lawsuit.

Not too long ago they boosted the likes of “4iP Council”, basically attempting to deny growth of patent trolls' activity in Europe. We’ve sadly entered this ugly phase where amid efforts to improve patent quality in the US, notably owing to PTAB, USPTO officials like Michelle Lee get defamed and ousted (we won’t attribute that to chauvinism, but with people like Watchtroll anything is possible). In Europe, those who speak out in favour of patent quality (or proper examination) are being painted “Nazis” by Battistelli and in the US it’s “death squads” (with Nazi Germany connotations).

“In Europe, those who speak out in favour of patent quality (or proper examination) are being painted “Nazis” by Battistelli and in the US it’s “death squads” (with Nazi Germany connotations).”Frankly, speaking for myself, I have lost count of the number of threatening letters I’ve received in recent years (either death wishes or threats to sue me), but this is the kind of climate we now have in the patent world (more like a patent Hell).

In light of SAS Inst., Inc. v Iancu, another SCOTUS case among many, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. et al v Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. is being revisited right now. “Institution of Claims Based on SAS Mandate May Not Simplify Issues for Trial Such That a Stay of Litigation is Warranted,” Docket Navigator wrote before the weekend. To quote:

Following the PTAB’s supplemental institution decision in light of SAS Inst., Inc. v. Iancu, ___ U.S. ___, 138 S. Ct. 1348, 1352–54 (2018) instituting inter partes review of all challenged claims of the patents-in-suit, the court granted defendants’ motion to stay because the potential for simplification of issues, the stage of the litigation, and lack of prejudice to plaintiff weighed in favor of a stay.

This is PTAB’s efficiency being challenged, in addition to PTAB members/staff being smeared if not defamed almost every single day. As we noted a couple of days ago, one US politician is currently trying to deny PTAB's involvement in the pharmaceutical sector (we suspect because large pharmaceutical companies ‘contributed’ to him). Earlier today the Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization (iBIO), basically a front group for such corporations (like BIO, an anti-PTAB group), advertised this upcming “discussion of how the Supreme Court’s recent to grant cert in Oil States and SAS decisions could impact PTAB invalidity proceedings in the bio/pharma space.”

“They attempt to undermine — not merely shape — the law.”Oil States actually reiforced PTAB’s role, quite strongly in fact. What they hope to do is undermine PTAB’s reach (bar “scams” such as Allergan’s), especially for their sector. They attempt to undermine — not merely shape — the law.

Here we are in the middle of 2018 and it almost looks like a ‘civil war’ in the US; the courts are applying the law, hinged on the US Constitution, but then come a bunch of patent profiteers bashing their own country in an effort to create a state of panic, rationalising profound changes to the law.

Patent Marketing Disguised as Patent ‘Advice’

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Patents at 9:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sheep and wolf

Summary: The meta-industry which profits from patents and lawsuits claims that it’s guiding us and pursuing innovation, but in reality its sole goal is enriching itself, even if that means holding science back

WE’D LIKE to take a moment aside from the usual EPO and USPTO focus. Something ought to be said which was said here many times before but merits extra emphasis.

“The problem is, such patent consultants or practitioners or whatever they call themselves are rarely independent and impartial observers.”When it comes to patent advisors, their motivation is usually to get more business or “returning customers”. This means that advice would likely gravitate towards lawsuits, even futile ones that cannot be won. The problem is, such patent consultants or practitioners or whatever they call themselves are rarely independent and impartial observers. They’re personally involved and they’re immersed in a particular industry that relies on certain activities — a subject we shall cover separately in our next post.

Patent attorneys and lawyers are typically in the ‘business’ of advising on how to manage the mess which they themselves create (or at least perpetuate); we say so with no intention of offending anyone in particular. It’s just putting the simple truth out there. Sure, there are some attorneys and lawyers who are honest and with great integrity (some of them send us information and material); some are willing to express the occasional dissent towards patent maximalism — at great risk of being framed “traitors” to their profession. But they’re the exception rather than the norm. They won’t be the ones to become abundantly wealthy.

“The latter — prior art — is very important as it helps document the history of science and credit/attribute the correct people for their contribution to the sciences.”To give a couple of examples from several hours ago, over at Patent Docs they now market or promote some upcoming ‘webinars’ (“Patent Portfolio Management” and “Post-Sale Restrictions”), as they typically do on a Sunday. The real (underlying) purpose of these is to spur more patent activity, e.g. applications, sales, lawsuits. It’s quite a departure from the original/intended goal of patents. Nowadays it’s not even inventors who write their patents; it’s typically law firms.

Another blog which is more moderate (in our experience it is neither dishonest nor extremist at all) speaks of general tips, e.g. Charles Bieneman on drafting of patents and prior art (relevant to 35 U.S.C. § 102). The latter — prior art — is very important as it helps document the history of science and credit/attribute the correct people for their contribution to the sciences. As Florian Müller noted when the EPO blocked Techrights (with tens of thousands of articles that sometimes potentially cover prior art), denying examiners access to information which may be relevant to prior art means that the EPO quit caring about facts and is nowadays in bed with the patenting and litigation ‘industry’. We’re quite certain some EPO insiders can relate to this sentiment. Well, two weeks from today their President will be António Campinos, who does not come from a law firm (unlike Mr. Iancu in the US) but has background in banking, i.e. money-making. Once upon a time EPO Presidents were scientists.

Microsoft is Still ‘Cybermobbing’ Its Competition Using Patent Trolls Such as Finjan

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Patents at 4:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

‘Protection’ offered only to those who pay Microsoft for “Azure IP Advantage” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20]

Cybermobbing

Summary: In the “cybersecurity” space, a sub-domain where many software patents have been granted by the US patent office, the patent extortion by Microsoft-connected trolls (and Microsoft’s ‘protection’ racket) seems to carry on; but Microsoft continues to insist that it has changed its ways

LAST NIGHT I wrote my personal thoughts on the GitHub takeover (having been approached by British media for comments on the subject). I remain rather concerned, bearing in mind that there are some people out there who might fall for the elaborate PR campaign and actually believe Microsoft-funded voices.

I’ve decided to modify the following meme for illustrative purposes:

Fear politics for Azure IP Advantage

“Entryism is not a new strategy (see Novell and Nokia for example) and only the PR strategy has evolved.”Microsoft has not really changed. Entryism is not a new strategy (see Novell and Nokia for example) and only the PR strategy has evolved. For those who bring up the patent aspects of it, here’s a reminder from the Microsoft-funded IAM (funded by Microsoft as recently as this month, yet again).

They speak of “cybersecurity” in this blog post and corresponding tweet, but don’t fall for buzzwords; they speak mostly about software here. To quote:

New research has revealed that IBM owns the largest portfolio of cybersecurity patents, with a little over 2,500 families. Big Blue is closely followed by Microsoft and Samsung; while Canon, Intel and Google also feature prominently among the largest players in the space, the full list of which contains many of the world’s leading patent owners. But perhaps the biggest story from the new analysis is the growth of Chinese companies in the cybersecurity sector. Companies from the clountry [sic] take nine places in the top 25.

IAM refers to China as a “clountry” rather than a country. I guess some Chinese people would find that offensive. Are they “clowns” to this patent trolls’ lobby? Surely a typographical mistake, but still potentially amusing. As for the content, IBM and Microsoft pass software patents and money to patent trolls like Finjan which bully their rivals in the security space and are paying IAM for support (Finjan pays IAM, gets paid by Microsoft and Microsoft too pays IAM to promote the likes of Finjan). Are there any Microsoft competitors left (in the security space) that haven’t yet been blackmailed and/or sued by Finjan? Microsoft would likely exempt from such litigation only those who pay Microsoft ‘rents’ for “Azure IP Advantage”. That’s the ‘new’ Microsoft, selling ‘protection’ money. It did the same thing with SUSE 11.5 years ago.

“When will the patent office fully catch up with caselaw and stop facilitating these extortion rackets of companies like IBM and Microsoft, which carry on actively promoting software patents (as recently as last week)?”In other news, the following new article from the financial media speaks of a “Mystery Stock Surge”. This has nothing to do with patents however. Nevertheless, it reveals something about software patents of Dropbox, which could be an attractive litigation target for patent trolls after the IPO. Or maybe a plan to sell such patents in the future, offloading these to trolls?

A study from the intellectual property [sic] analytics firm Relecura notes that Dropbox holds a range of key intellectual properties, including patents to share files through a link and other ways that files interact with cloud applications. Its number of patent applications and acquisitions spiked in 2017, with the Relecura describing Dropbox’s portfolio as “highly focused” on two categories: data processing and transmission.

A handful of recent patents granted this week to Dropbox deal with syncing data with content management systems, an area that could be particular interest to a range of companies looking to build out capabilities in data management or data sharing.

These are clearly software patents, so why would examiners at the USPTO grant them after Alice? Why were software patents granted to Finjan? When will the patent office fully catch up with caselaw and stop facilitating these extortion rackets of companies like IBM and Microsoft, which carry on actively promoting software patents (as recently as last week)?

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