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07.31.18

SUEPO Seems to be Disappointed by António Campinos as His First Month in Office Comes to an End

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Calendar

Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) continues its ride into a wall; Campinos shows no interest whatsoever in changing course and he’s not even meeting staff representatives (breaking a promise he made months ago)

WE DID not expect the change of a single person to undo the EPO scandals, especially as that person was chosen by Battistelli. Well, António Campinos turns out to be just another Battistelli. As expected, he does absolutely nothing differently from Battistelli; he’s just a lot quieter, that’s all. He keeps a lower profile and visibility.

Hours ago we saw further evidence of what we wrote about last night. There’s not much hope among staff. Not even the staff union and those close to it. To quote:

New European Patent Office (EPO) president, António Campinos, was “very impressed” with production increases over the last few years, according to an email sent to all line managers at the office.

Despite mounting dissent from the Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) and ”great concern” from four German law firms over the work targets, Campinos said that each of the three Directorates-General are “progressing with ambitious production targets this year”.

He said that the office’s Early Certainty Initiative has “helped achieve further reductions in our stock” and that this is “acknowledged throughout the patent community, earning the EPO and its staff great respect”.

Campinos became president of the EPO on 1 July, taking over from controversial past-president Benoît Battistelli.

[...]

However, a source close to SUEPO said that while Campinos was picked “for his good social record” in his previous job at the EU Intellectual Property Office, and that SUEPO expected him to “meet first thing with elected staff representatives soon after his arrival”, it had taken him “17 days since he chose to act as his predecessor did, namely, ‘meeting the staff directly’ (read circumventing the statutory staff reps) instead of meeting with those selected by their peers to defend their rights”.

The source also mentioned that Campinos had yet to meet with SUEPO, the largest union representing half of the entire EPO workforce.

The source said: “This after the EPO suffered until recently several (never officially investigated) suicides of staff members, hundreds of depressions, burnouts, resignations, numerous abusive disciplinary sanctions targeting staff and their representatives—even SUEPO officials (one is still dismissed his case pending at ATILO in Geneva).”

The source added: “It is a very negative signal that Mr Campinos chose to send, and maintaining the top managers responsible for the social mess at their positions is not sending a positive signal to staff that things will change.”

SUEPO has not been saying anything for quite some time. The EPO must be enjoying this silence as work runs out (gradually) and recruitment has halted while many leave. Remember what Campinos did months before he left EUIPO; he destroyed a lot of jobs. With a smile? Maybe. That’s just his style. What a gentleman! Unlike Battistelli…

He then gagged his critics. “Like a boss…”

Much of the above reaffirms our belief, based upon underlying evidence, that Campinos would not change a thing when it comes to patent quality. In fact, he further accelerates examination while human ‘resources’ decline. So he is, in some sense, worse than Battistelli.

Hours ago this new press release was published; it’s entitled “European Patent Office to Grant ToolGen, Inc. a patent on CRISPR-Cas9 system for genome editing” and it shows that after the EPO’s Oppositions folks said no to CRISPR patents (monopolies on life itself) the persistence from Korea may be paying off. Is the Campinos-led Office changing this? This happened only days ago:

ToolGen, Inc. (KONEX 199800) announced today that on July 26, 2018 the European Patent Office (EPO) issued a Decision to Grant to ToolGen a European patent covering a CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing system adapted for mammalian cells.

CRISPR-Cas9 is a cutting-edge tool for genome editing in human cells, animals, and plants, widely used in biomedical research and biotechnology. CRISPR technology enables targeted genetic modifications in cells and whole organisms, which can lead to development of novel therapies and value-added crops and livestock.

It’s just a race to the bottom of patent quality. Campinos is fine with it. Team UPC is also fine with it. Earlier today Robert Burrows of Bristows, recognising that they have been silent on Unitary Patent for nearly a month (no progress), returned to his blurbs about Bulgaria which is irrelevant to the UPC (barely any EPs).

There are even worse things to be said about Campinos (than his disregard for patent quality). He continues to defy court orders. It has been over a month now. There is still no transparency either; if anything, Campinos has been even more secretive than Battistelli, which is a negative, not a positive (harder to hold the management accountable).

One reader of ours heard that the EPO is now publishing disciplinary decisions, but nobody is able to verify this. Is there anything at all that Campinos does better than Battistelli?

07.30.18

Links 30/7/2018: Linux Kernel 4.18 Plans, Linux Foundation Growth

Posted in News Roundup at 6:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Ditching Windows: Here’s How Ubuntu Updates Your PC And Why It’s Better
    • GPD Pocket 2 Crowdfunding Campaign Goes Live

      Nevertheless, a passionate Linux community has built up around the original GPD Pocket (which now works much better with Linux distros like Ubuntu thanks to improved hardware support in the latest Linux kernel) — and that community support will no doubt ensure the new model is kitted out with a capable community-based Linux distro too.

    • Build your own Chrome/Linux operating system with Chromium OS and Crostini

      Google is slowly starting to add support for running Linux applications on Chromebooks. But as I discovered when I tested Linux apps on the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 recently, it’s still a work in progress. The feature also isn’t available for all Chrome OS computers yet.

      That could change in the not-too-distant future. Right now you need to be running Chrome OS in the developer channel in order to enable Linux app support. There are signs that Linux app support could hit the Chrome OS beta channel this week, and it could graduate to the stable channel by the time Chrome OS 69 is released later this year.

    • Germans swing another putsch against Linux [Ed: This isn't a technical decision. It cannot be technical. I reckon some politicians/suits had too many dinners with Microsoft and maybe bribes too (like the Munich saga)]

      As initially reported by Heise, the state’s tax authority has 13,000 workstations running OpenSuse — which it adopted in 2006 in a well-received migration from Solaris — that it now wants to migrate to a “current version” of Windows, presumably Windows 10.

    • With DaaS Windows coming, say goodbye to your PC as you know it

      Now Microsoft, which helped lead that revolution, is trying to return us to that old, centralized control model.

      Forget that noise. If Microsoft continues on this course, soon your only real choices if you really want a “desktop” operating system will be Linux and macOS. Oh, you’ll still have “Windows.” But Windows as your “personal” desktop? It will be history.

    • Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition Now Ships With Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

      The sales figures for laptops would have you believe there’s only really two operating systems available: laptops running Windows 10 and Apple’s MacBook range running macOS. But there’s a third option in the form of Linux, and one of the most well-known computer companies ships a premium laptop running a version of it.

      That company is Dell, and the XPS 13 Developer Edition laptop just got updated and certified to ship with the latest (extended support and stability) version of Ubuntu. Before now, the XPS 13 Developer Edition shipped with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, but Dell worked with Canonical to certify Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) on the XPS 13, meaning there will be no driver problems from first boot, it will just work, which is great news for anyone using this laptop as an excuse to try

    • The Dell XPS 13 9370 now available with Ubuntu Linux 18.04 onboard

      The Intel Core i7-8550U-powered Dell XPS 13 9370 ultrabook is now available with Ubuntu Linux 18.04 onboard. The first XPS 13 Developer Edition arrived more than five years ago and back then it had Ubuntu 12.04 installed. The new XPS 13 Developer Edition is only available in the US for now, but Europe and Canada will follow soon.

    • Dell’s XPS 13 Developer Edition with Ubuntu 18.04 Preinstalled Now Available, GCC Conversion to Git Update, Lubuntu Shifts Focus, OpenMW Team Releases Version 0.44.0 and Serverless Inc Announces New Framework and Gateway

      Dell’s XPS 13 Developer Edition laptop with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS preinstalled is now available. According to Canonical’s blog post, this launch marks the “the first availability of Ubuntu’s latest LTS on a major OEM’s hardware since its release in April. Canonical and Dell have worked together to certify Ubuntu 18.04 LTS on the XPS 13 to ensure a seamless experience from first use.” You can purchase one in the US via Dell.com, and they will be available in Europe in early August.

    • Dell’s XPS 13 Developer Edition now ships with Ubuntu Linux 18.04 LTS

      LINUX FANS CAN WE GET A ‘HUZZAH’? because Dell has finally pulled up its trousers and released a Developer Edition of the 2018 XPS 13.

      The 9379 model, in case you’re asking, will arrive running Ubuntu Linux 18.04 LTS, the latest version of the non-Windows 10 operating system. For developers and people who worship at the church of Torvalds, that should be a boon as previous Developer Editions of the XPS 13 have come with the outdated Ubuntu 16.04.

      And if you can’t shell out for a Developer Edition XPS 13 this time around, which will set you back something in the area of £1,300 for a decently-specced model, Dell has plans to keep knocking out XPS machines with Ubuntu.

    • Linux apps will now run better on low-memory Chromebooks

      Earlier this year, Linux apps on Chrome launched on the Pixelbook, a speedy Chromebook with 8GB RAM. Since then, dozens of devices have received support from low-end to high-end, and even ARM Chromebooks too. A recent Chromium commit introduces better resource management for Linux apps on Chrome OS by dynamically managing RAM – great news for low-memory Chromebooks.

    • Microsoft boosts Office 2019 price by 10% [Ed: With proprietary software and so-called 'cloud' you're not in control of your finances, let alone your data, your PC etc.]

      Microsoft plans to raise the price of its perpetually-licensed Office suite by 10% in October.

  • Server

    • An Interview with Heptio, the Kubernetes Pioneers

      I recently spent some time chatting with Craig McLuckie, CEO of the leading Kubernetes solutions provider Heptio. Centered around both developers and system administrators, Heptio’s products and services simplify and scale the Kubernetes ecosystem.

  • Kernel Space

    • EROFS File-System Merged Ahead Of Linux 4.19 Kernel

      Adding to the list of great stuff for Linux 4.19 is the introduction of the EROFS file-system.

      EROFS is a new Linux file-system being developed at Huawei that is catering itself for possible use in Android devices. EROFS isn’t intended to replace EXT4/F2FS or so, but rather is a read-only file-system designed to be extendable with features like built-in compression and better than existing read-only file-system offerings.

    • Linux Kernel 4.18 Slated for Release on August 5 as Linus Torvalds Outs Last RC

      Linus Torvalds announced over the weekend the seventh and last Release Candidate (RC) milestone in the development cycle of the forthcoming Linux 4.18 kernel, and teased us with the final release for next week.

      Linux kernel 4.18 RC7 is now available for public testing, and Linus Torvalds reports that there’s nothing out of the ordinary in this build except for some minor bug fixes, signaling that this is the last Release Candidate in the upcoming Linux kernel series, which could debut at the end of this week, on August 5, 2018.

      “Nothing particularly odd happened this last week – we got the usual random set of various minor fixes all over. About two-thirds of it is drivers – networking, staging and USB stands out, but there’s a little bit of stuff all over (CLK, block, GPU, NVMe),” said Linus Torvalds. “So unless something odd happens, this should be the last RC for 4.18.”

    • Lazy TLB Improvements Heading To Linux 4.19

      The lazy TLB mode as a way to delay translation look-aside buffer updates will be improved upon with the upcoming Linux 4.19 kernel.

      The first change queued ahead of the Linux 4.19 kernel merge window is leaving the lazy TLB mode at page table free time. As explained by that commit, “speculative memory accesses while in lazy TLB mode can crash a system, when a CPU tries to dereference a speculative access using memory contents that used to be valid page table memory, but have since been reused for something else and point into la-la land. The latter problem can be prevented in two ways. The first is to always send a TLB shootdown IPI to CPUs in lazy TLB mode, while the second one is to only send the TLB shootdown at page table freeing time.”

    • Linux Foundation

      • The Linux Foundation welcomes 22 new members

        The Linux Foundation announced the addition of 17 Silver members and 5 Associate members. In addition to joining the Foundation, many of the new members joined Linux Foundation projects like Automotive Grade Linux, Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Hyperledger, JS Foundation, and LF Networking.

      • Twenty-Two Organizations From AI, Automotive, Blockchain, Cloud and More Join The Linux Foundation and Invest in Open Source Technology

        The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announced the addition of 17 Silver members and 5 Associate members. Linux Foundation members help support development of the shared technology resources, while accelerating their own innovation through open source leadership and participation. Linux Foundation member contributions help provide the infrastructure and resources that enable the world’s largest open collaboration communities.

        “We are thrilled to see so many organizations continue to reinforce their commitment to open source with investments in the community and a wide variety of important projects,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director, The Linux Foundation. “The variety of industries growing their participation in open source, from automotive companies to universities, is truly inspiring.”

      • Open Source Networking Jobs: A Hotbed of Innovation and Opportunities

        As global economies move ever closer to a digital future, companies and organizations in every industry vertical are grappling with how to further integrate and deploy technology throughout their business and operations. While Enterprise IT largely led the way, the advantages and lessons learned are now starting to be applied across the board. While the national unemployment rate stands at 4.1%, the overall unemployment rate for tech professionals hit 1.9% in April and the future for open source jobs looks particularly bright. I work in the open source networking space and the innovations and opportunities I’m witnessing are transforming the way the world communicates.

        Once a slower moving industry, the networking ecosystem of today — made up of network operators, vendors, systems integrators, and developers — is now embracing open source software and is shifting significantly towards virtualization and software defined networks running on commodity hardware. In fact, nearly 70% of global mobile subscribers are represented by network operator members of LF Networking, an initiative working to harmonize projects that makes up the open networking stack and adjacent technologies.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Freedreno’s MSM DRM Driver In Linux 4.19 Getting “DPU1″ Support For SDM845+ Support

        Freedreno lead developer Rob Clark at Red Hat has sent in his batch of feature updates to DRM-Next ahead of the imminent Linux 4.19 kernel development cycle kicking off.

        This MSM driver for providing Direct Rendering Manager / Kernel Mode-Setting for Qualcomm Snapdragon SoCs continues maturing and does continue seeing new code contributions from Qualcomm/CodeAurora, Google developers, etc.

      • XWayland Now Makes Sure DRI3 Gets Turned On For GLAMOR

        Landing last week in the X.Org Server Git code is a change to ensure DRI3 gets enabled when using GLAMOR acceleration for XWayland.

        On X.Org Server 1.20 there has been the possibility of blank outputs with texture-from-pixmap being broken when using XWayland. This has also been found at times to happen with the modesetting DDX too outside of XWayland.

      • Vulkan 1.1.82 Released With VK_NV_device_diagnostic_checkpoints

        Just weeks ahead of SIGGRAPH 2018, Vulkan 1.1.82 is now available as the latest specification update to this year’s Vulkan 1.1 graphics/compute API.

        As is customary for these Vulkan point releases, most of the changes in Vulkan 1.1.82 deal with minor documentation corrections/improvements and other small enhancements.

      • libinput now has ReadTheDocs-style documentation

        libinput’s documentation started out as doxygen of the developer API – they were the main target 4 years ago. Over time, more and more extra documentation was added and now most of it is aimed at users (for self-debugging and troubleshooting or just to explain concepts and features). Unfortunately, with doxygen this all ends up in the “Related Pages”. The developer API documentation itself became a less important part, by now all the major compositors have libinput support and it doesn’t change much. So while it needs to be there, most of the traffic goes to the user documentation (I think, it’s not like I’m running stats).

      • Libinput 1.12 Is Going To Be A Big Release For Bettering Linux Input

        While libinput 1.11 was released less than two months ago, the first release candidate of Libinput 1.12 is now available for what is going to be a big release.

        Lead libinput developer Peter Hutterer of Red Hat has issued the first release candidate of what he says is “probably going to be a longer RC cycle than usual” in preparing for big new changes.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Krita in the Windows Store: an update

        We’ve published Krita in the Windows store for quite some time now. Not quite a year, but we’ve updated our Store listing almost twenty times. By far the majority of users get Krita from this website: about 30,000 downloads a week. Store downloads are only about 125 a week. Still, the income generated makes it possible for the Krita maintainer to work on Krita full-time, which would not have been possible otherwise.

        That’s good, because combining a day job and working on Krita is a sure recipe for a burn-out. (Donations fund Dmitry’s work, but there aren’t enough donations to fund two people at the same time: we have about 2000 euros per month in donations.)

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Back from GUADEC 2018

        Been a while since GUADEC 2018 has ended but subsequent travels and tasks reduced the time to write up a quick summary of what happened during this year’s GNOME conference.

      • GUADEC Thoughts

        This month I had the amazing opportunity to attend GUADEC, the GNOME community conference in Europe! The GNOME Foundation generously sponsored this trip as part of my Google Summer of Code project and I can’t thank them enough!

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • IPFire Hardened Linux Firewall Distribution Gets Major Update, Here’s What’s New

        IPFire 2.21 Core Update 122 is now available to download as a drop-in replacement to the three-months-old IPFire 2.19 Core Update 120 and finally bump the version number from 2.19 to 2.21. However, this being a major update, it was split into two parts, so you’ll have first to install the IPFire 2.19 Core Update 121 to be able to run the IPFire 2.21 Core Update 122 release.

        “Please note, that we have split this update into two parts. First, you will need to install IPFire 2.19 – Core Update 121 and then, the second part will automatically be installed after. Please be patient and let the system complete the update. When everything is done, please reboot into the new kernel,” said Michael Tremer in today’s announcement.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia Roundup 2018 – Weeks 28-30, an Anniversary, RMLL and more

        Astonishing numbers of people in the northern hemisphere have been vacationing, harvesting, fighting fires – but there’s still a heap of work happening. Thanks, Mageians!

        Mageia 6.1 is getting closer all the time, and in the meantime, some of you might have noticed that the Mageia 5->6 update is now available through the systray icon – it’s been enabled once more. To have it work, you need to re-enable “check for new releases” in the Updates Frequency settings in Mageia Control Centre. You’ll also see a different version of the tray icon – instead of the blue circle with the down arrow, you’ll see the orange circle with a round arrow. This is to let you know that Mageia 5 is now officially out of date.

        Some info from the QA team: if you’re upgrading from KDE4 to Plasma, there could be some issues with older video cards. If you’re not sure, make certain before you update that you have another, non-KDE desktop environment installed – XFce is usually problem-free. Log in to that non-KDE environment before you begin the update.

        As with all larger updates, if you’re using a laptop, connect to AC power and make sure you have plenty of disk space available and a reliable internet connection.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Gnocchi 4.3.0 released

        This new release minor release of Gnocchi has been a bit longer than usual, but here it is!

      • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #170
      • DebConf 18 – Day 1

        This year’s DebConf happens to be the first in Asia, in Hsinchu, Taiwan. And also for me the first DebConf I ever participated. I arrived on Saturday night from Japan, and will try to report a bit about what is going on here.

        [...]

        After the coffee break I attended the Debian Science and Debian R BoF, where Andreas Tille reported about packaging activities in these areas. As a regular R user I brought up the same topic about middle-ware in the R session, because I often suffered from unpacked/outdated packages. Andreas presented his packaging scripts that allows creating/updating packages in the blink of an eye. Here of course thanks goes to large part to the CRAN, where there are extremely strict regulations what can be uploaded, which reflects easy packaging. CTAN (the TeX archive) unfortunately historically does not have such a strict set of rules, which makes packaging much more painful.

      • New Debian Developers and Maintainers (May and June 2018)

        The following contributors were added as Debian Maintainers in the last two months:

        Andre Bianchi
        Simon Quigley
        Andrius Merkys
        Tong Sun
        James Lu
        Raphaël Halimi
        Paul Seyfert
        Dustin Kirkland
        Yanhao Mo
        Paride Legovini

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • National Cyber Security Centre publish Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Security Guide

            Last week the NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) in the UK issued their latest publication which gives advice on how to configure Ubuntu 18.04 LTS in accordance with their security best practices.

            The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)is the UK government department responsible for providing guidance on Information Security to the UK public and private sectors as well as responding to online security incidents and securing networks.

            They have published many advisories on topics such as Multi Factor authentication for online services, security reviews of Google’s G Suite and Microsoft’s Office 365 as well as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy.

          • UK Government Publishes List of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Security Tips

            The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (part of GCHQ) has issued a new report full of advice on how to improve the security of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

            The NCSC is a (relatively new) section of the UK government responsible for issuing security advice to the public, businesses and private sector stakeholders on how to avoid computer security threats.

            It’s also responsible for co-ordinating a response to any major online security incidents or breaches.

          • Ubuntu Linux-based Lubuntu no longer focusing on old hardware after move to LXQt

            Ubuntu is a great Linux distribution, but understandably, the GNOME desktop environment isn’t for everyone. Thankfully, there are many flavors of the operating system with alternative DEs, such as Xubuntu with XFCe and Kubuntu with KDE. Ultimately, with so much choice, you should have no problem finding a version of Ubuntu that best meets your needs and wants.

            One popular Ubuntu flavor is Lubuntu. If you aren’t familiar, it uses the lightweight LXDE desktop environment which makes it a good choice for older hardware. In fact, one of the focuses of the Lubuntu developers is to support aging computers. When Lubunu 18.10 is released in October 2018, it will ditch LXDE for the newer LXQt. Despite it also being a desktop environment that is easy on resources, the Lubuntu developers are planning to drop their focus on old hardware after the transition.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu 18.04 — MATE and Budgie editions

              The Budgie desktop, at least in Ubuntu, is a curious thing. On one hand it appears to cater to relative novices to Linux with all the emphasis on install help in the beginning. On the other, there’s quite a reliance on keyboard shortcuts. Despite MATE upping its game with the various layout options in tweak tool, Budgie appears more modern, stylish and has kept the focus on on-line integration of the GNOME Shell. With the Raven side-panel on the right it reminds me of early mock-ups of GNOME 3 which featured a side panel with notifications, a calendar and all sorts of options.

              The Budgie edition appeared more solid for everyday use. I did not experience the crashes or weird behaviour of panel applets that had plagued the MATE desktop, probably induced by frequent layout changes. The Budgie edition also did not throw as many unexpected error messages at me and hibernate worked.

              Budgie also suffered from the delayed shutdown of systemd jobs but not as frequently as the MATE edition. It has been suggested this is due to the operating system not being able to find swap or a missing swap partition. I cannot confirm this. I completed both installations the same way as a custom setup and while the hibernate option was available in Budgie it was not in the installed MATE edition. Hibernate and resume from swap worked in Budgie but still stop job delays occurred here as well. This was mostly the case after running for longer periods of time under heavy load and when the laptop had been running hot, through multimedia use or with browser tabs like Google Drive or Google Docs open which alone topped 225MB use of RAM. Power and CPU usage were about equal for given tasks, but Budgie consumed far more memory from the start.

              As to the choice of desktop, you will know your preferences. Budgie seems more integrated and, with that, more stable at the moment and overall this edition made a better impression. It also presents a lot of options under the hood of which I could only scratch the surface for this review. I for my part am not going to keep any release of Bionic Beaver around for long although I like both desktops. It is just too buggy and running too hot to be used as a long-term stable operating system.

            • Linux Mint 19 “Tara” More Powerful And Stable

              Linux Mint is popular with many users as a Windows alternative because the distribution is so down to earth. The creators calmly present meaningful novelties of Linux Mint 19 “Tara”, which help in everyday life, such as a timeshift function and auto-updates.
              Ubuntu is probably the most popular Linux variant, but Linux Mint is also very popular among users. This is now in brand new version 19, codenamed “Tara”. Because often the question arises as to whether Linux Mint is better or Ubuntu, one has to say in advance that Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu and therefore there are many similarities. What sets Linux Mint apart: It’s an unobtrusive distribution that puts meaningful functions into the foreground for users.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Hortonworks Helps JIDO Implement Enterprise Data Mgmt Platform; Shaun Bierweiler Comments

    The Defense Department’s Joint Improvised Threat Defeat Organization has collaborated with Hortonworks to implement an enterprise information technology platform equipped with the Hadoop data management software and other open-source tools, Federal News Radio reported Friday.

    The report noted the use of such open-source tools has helped JIDO to focus more on the deployment of mission capabilities to warfighters than the infrastructure.

  • Summer of Code: Smack has OpenPGP Support!

    I am very proud to announce, that Smack got support for OpenPGP for XMPP!

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Marcia Knous: Farewell Gerv

        I worked with Gerv all the way back to his days as a Mozilla intern. He had a significant impact on the Mozilla Project in so many ways, and will be sorely missed. He was a community-centric Mozillian who was involved in licensing, governance, Bugzilla, and so many other areas.

      • New Features in Screenshots

        As part of our Screenshots release on July 26, 2018, we thought we’d update you on a few new features that we think you’ll find especially useful.

        We shipped a simple image editor a few months ago to enable users to annotate and crop their shots. Now we are expanding the editor with three more features: undo, redo, and text.

      • Free your mind and move your biggest files with the WeTransfer extension for Firefox

        When you’re in the zone, be it creative or analytical, anything you can do to stay there is an asset. It’s part of why we build and design Firefox to be powerful, efficient and easy to use. It’s also why extensions can be a magic powerup for keeping you in flow online. They help you get more done in the browser, saving your brain from taxing context switching.

      • Mozilla GFX: WebRender newsletter #21

        Hi there, WebRender’s newsletter is here, delayed again by some vacation time sprinkled with a fair amount of the traditional “I’m busy” excuse. It’s been a while so there is a lot below (without counting the items I probably missed in the overwhelming amount of stuff that went into WebRender and Gecko since the last newsletter.

        One of the highlights this time is something I have been focusing on for a while, building on the async scene building infrastructure to move blob image rasterization off of the render backend thread. Instead of lazily rasterizing blob images in the critical path we now eager rasterize a subset of the blobs asynchronously during scene building. This makes sure expensive blob rasterization never prevent us from producing 60 frames per second during scrolling.
        The other highlight is that we started gathering telemetry numbers on the nightly population that opted into WebRender, and these numbers are very positive, even in areas that we haven’t spent any time optimizing yet.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GCC’s Conversion To Git Is Still Turning Out To Be A Massive Headache

      Remember earlier this month when GCC’s long in the works conversion from SVN to Git was being held up by the lack of RAM on Eric S Raymond’s system? Well, it turns out that’s just part of the problem.

      While earlier this month he thought he solved the last technical bug that was blocking the repository conversion and just needed more DDR4 RAM so his software could handle the complete GCC conversion into Git, that wasn’t entirely the case. Recently he provided another update that began with, “That light at the end of the tunnel turned out to be an oncoming train.”

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Applications Open for Federal OER Grant

        The U.S. Department of Education’s first grant for open educational resources, totaling $5 million, will be awarded in late September to between one and three applicants, the department announced today in a call for proposals published in the Federal Register.

        In an effort to develop OER content that can be disseminated to the widest possible audience for the largest possible savings, the department plans to award grants to one, two or three consortia that each include at least three higher education institutions, subject matter and technology experts, and an advisory group of at least five employers or work-force representatives.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Linux Boots On “Shakti” — India’s First Ever RISC-V Based Silicon Processor

        RISC-V Workshop in Chennai, India, hosted by The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras), achieved a significant milestone by booting Linux on its first ever RISC-V based silicon chip processor named Shakti (Project Page). The team, which is sponsored by the Western Digital, aims to create a critical mass of CPU architects in India, according to the project lead (Via: Hacker News, Twitter). Open-Source, patent-free domestic CPU production is well on the cards, according to experts.

      • In Open Hardware, “Free as in Beer” Matters

        Richard M. Stallman, the founder of the Free Software Foundation, is famously fond of distinguishing between “free as in freedom” and “free as in beer.” Free software, he is pointing out, is a matter of philosophy and politics, not price, and the implication is that “free as in freedom” is by far the superior of the two. Yet as open hardware spreads, reduced costs — if not always no cost — is starting to seem just as important as licensing, both for manufacturers and for handling situations that normal business is unable to handle.

        To some degree, the same is true in software. Admittedly, though, it is less true than it used to be, because, in the last decade, online services such as Google Docs have diminished the attractiveness of gratis free software. For users who little about free licenses and often care less, proprietary services can seem just as convenient as local hardware or free services, all the more so because they carry a well-known brand name. However, cost remains a major factor in business, where freely available source code can reduce development costs and bring products more quickly to market.

        With open hardware, the business advantage sometimes remains. For instance, much of the development of autonomous cars is open source, a fact that is not widely advertised. More often, though, the situation is different from that of free software. Hardware has costs like manufacturing, shipping, and storage that software does not — at least, not to the same extent. In fact, for years, these costs were a major obstacle to the development of open hardware and seemed impossible to overcome. While a hobbyist can contribute to software development for the price of a computer and an Internet connection, the cost of contributing to hardware used to be beyond most people’s — and many small business’ — ability to pay.

  • Programming/Development

    • 7 Python libraries for more maintainable code

      It’s easy to let readability and coding standards fall by the wayside when a software project moves into “maintenance mode.” (It’s also easy to never establish those standards in the first place.) But maintaining consistent style and testing standards across a codebase is an important part of decreasing the maintenance burden, ensuring that future developers are able to quickly grok what’s happening in a new-to-them project and safeguarding the health of the app over time.

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Hardware

    • Excessive heat from late-2013 MacBook Pro under macOS 10.14 ‘Mojave’

      I initially ignored the problem and attributed it to either the higher ambient temperature caused by the heatwave sweeping across Northern Europe or some preview-release specific issue. However, as the forth beta release came and went I started to look into the issue in more detail.

      The processor temperature, measured with the Intel Power Gadget, when the computer was under no load and idling (processor utilization under 5 %) was stuck at around 70℃. The high base temperature makes the machine hot to the touch, and also causes thermal throttling of the processor when you actually want to get something done.

      I thought that the internals fans or air passages might be blocked by dust and debris. The machine would get hot mere minutes after boot, and it sounded like the fans operated normally. However, this model MacBook Pro has received a meager iFixit repairability score of 1 out of 10 and I didn’t even want to attempt to take it apart if I could avoid it.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • New York City Launches Initiative to Eliminate Racial Disparities in Maternal Death

      In response to alarming racial disparities, New York City announced a new initiative last week to reduce maternal deaths and complications among women of color. Under the new plan, the city will improve the data collection on maternal deaths and complications, fund implicit bias training for medical staff at private and public hospitals, and launch a public awareness campaign.

      Over the next three years, the city will spend $12.8 million on the initiative, with the goal of eliminating the black-white racial disparity in deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth and cutting the number of complications in half within five years.

      “We recognize these are ambitious goals, but they are not unrealistic,” said Dr. Herminia Palacio, New York City’s deputy mayor for health and human services. “It’s an explicit recognition of the urgency of this issue and puts the goal posts in front of us.”

      The city’s health department is targeting nearly two dozen public and private hospitals over four years, focusing on neighborhoods with the highest complication rates, including the South Bronx, North and Central Brooklyn, and East and Central Harlem. Hospital officials will study data from cases that led to bad outcomes, and staff will participate in drills aimed at helping them recognize and treat those complications.

      Health department officials approached SUNY Downstate Medical Center in May to serve as a pilot site for many of the new measures.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Monday
    • The MalwareTech Case Resets to Zero: A Dialogue Wherein the Government Repeats “YouTube” Over and Over

      Yesterday, the government responded to Marcus Hutchins (MalwareTech)’s renewed challenges, submitted two weeks ago, to the superseding indictment the government used to replace its previous crappy-ass indictment and thereby set the motions process almost back to zero. Here’s my abbreviated summary of what Hutchins argues in the renewed motions, with the government response.

    • Malware Attacks Exploit Open Source MDM Software to Compromise iPhones and Apps [Ed: How to make a problem with proprietary software (iOS) sound like it’s about FOSS]
    • Advanced Mobile Malware Campaign in India uses Malicious MDM [Ed: The original from Cisco did not even mention FOSS]
    • How a Bunch of Lava Lamps Protect Us From Hackers [sic]

      Here’s how it works. Every time you log in to any website, you’re assigned a unique identification number. It should be random, because if hackers [sic] can predict the number, they’ll impersonate you. Computers, relying as they do on human-coded patterns, can’t generate true randomness—but nobody can predict the goopy mesmeric swirlings of oil, water, and wax. Cloudflare films the lamps 24/7 and uses the ever-changing arrangement of pixels to help create a superpowered cryptographic key. “Anything that the camera captures gets incorporated into the randomness,” says Nick Sullivan, the company’s head of cryptography, and that includes visitors milling about and light streaming through the windows. (Any change in heat subtly affects the undulations of those glistening globules.)

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Vivienne Westwood designs T-shirt in support of Assange

      Vivienne Westwood has designed a new T-shirt in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

      The T-shirts display a slogan which reads “I fought the law”.

      Assange has been living inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London for more than six years, believing he will be extradited to the US if he leaves.

    • Activist Publishes 11,000 Private DMs Between Wikileaks and Its Supporters [Ed: What many people now call Wikileaks "DMs" are not actually DMs and aren't from staff of Wikileaks but some random people in a chat. But never let negative spin go to waste or facts get in the way. I've seen things like that done before. Assange stigma manufacturing in progress. Give me 11,000 of anything and I’d manage to nitpick it to find just about anything. They generalise to demonise Wikileaks and Assange.]

      Wikileaks is possibly the most opaque transparency organization. The group, founded by Julian Assange, sometimes hides its true motives, and has not published any information about its own finances in years, despite amassing tens of millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency.

      Now, an activist who has developed an adversarial relationship with the group has published over 11,000 Wikileaks Twitter direct messages.

    • WikiLeaks’ Twitter Chats Exposed as 11,000 Private Messages Posted Online [Ed: “Note that the logs appear to have been modified as can be seen by coversational holes (e.g search for ‘Norton’) but are useful in other ways,” Wikileaks has responded]
    • 11,000 Wikileaks Twitter DMs Have Just Been Published For Anyone To Read
    • Activist publishes 11,000 Wikileaks Twitter direct messages | TheHill
    • Assange’s fate is all but sealed

      Credible reports suggest that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is about to be thrown to the wolves. Ecuador, the country that has fought hard on his behalf for so long, is set to show him the door. As soon as he steps out he will be arrested by British police when extradition to the US will loom large. Dozens of protests were held around the world in June calling for his release and large demonstrations are planned in the event of his imminent eviction, though, sad to say, people power will not prevail against the big guns pointing in his direction.

      Lest we forget this Australian-born computer programmer turned investigative journalist has not been charged with any crime. He has been vilified merely for doing his job, exposing secrets, including war crimes, that powerful governments wanted kept hidden from public view, just as newspapers in democratic countries are committed to doing.

      [...]

      Since then this Australian-Ecuadorean dual-national has been a virtual prisoner living in a small office space without access to natural light or exercise, an existence that has been severely detrimental to his health and mental well being as confirmed by his lawyers who assert his health is being irreparably damaged.

      Despite various precedents when Swedish officials conducted such interviews abroad, in this instance, they refused to do so until November 2016. Sweden also refused to guarantee that he would not face extradition to the US but finally closed the book on its investigation last year when hopes were raised that the UK would allow Assange to walk, only to be dashed.

    • Lenin Moreno Sees ‘a Way out’ in Assange’s Case

      “Ideally, we would debate with Mr. Assange and his lawyer whether he would be willing to accept the conditions that the United Kingdom is submitting for the possibility of an exit,” he said during an interview with Spanish daily El Pais, during an official visit in Madrid.

      “If this happens, we believe there would be a sentence he would have to complete for having violated the principle of presenting himself formally before the British law. And once this would be done, he could right after this enjoy the right to be extradited to a country where he does not run any risk,” added Moreno.

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been living in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012. He was granted asylum by former president Correa to help Assange avoid extradition to the United States, where he could face the death penalty for espionage and treason.

    • Assange under increased threat

      Spec­u­la­tion has been rife over the last couple of weeks that Juli­an Assange may be handed over to the Brit­ish by a new and pusil­lan­im­ous Ecuadori­an gov­ern­ment, thereby breach­ing its pledge to grant Assange polit­ic­al asylum and the pro­tec­tion due to a cit­izen of Ecuador. Here’s my take…

    • Julian Assange looks for deal to end ‘diplomatic isolation’

      Julian Assange walked into the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on June 19, 2012 to claim political asylum. He has been there ever since — a total of 2,230 days — rarely seeing daylight. But multiple sources say his situation is now untenable and he may soon leave, whether he wants to or not.

      The question is: what will happen to Assange as and when he does walk out of his bolt-hole around the corner from Harrods?

    • Ecuador: Want guarantee for Assange’s safety

      British and Ecuadorian authorities have held discussions over the future of Julian Assange, the Ecuadorian president said on Friday, fueling speculation that the WikiLeaks founder may soon be stripped of the country’s diplomatic protection in London.

  • Finance

    • The current likelihood of various Brexit outcomes

      Nobody knows what will happen with Brexit.

      Nobody: no politician, no businessperson, no official, no pundit, no diplomat, no thinktanker, no citizen.

      Nothing is so certain as to constitute knowledge.

      One day, of course, when we know the outcome, there will be commentators who assert that what happened was inevitable all along. But, as of now, those commentators cannot predict what that outcome will be.

      All we have are best guesses – assessments of probabilities and possibilities.

    • Trump relents on EU car tariffs, as US-China fight derails Qualcomm deal

      In what the EU chief called a “major concession,” U.S. President Donald Trump agreed on Wednesday to refrain from imposing car tariffs while the two sides launch negotiations to cut other trade barriers, easing the threat of a transatlantic trade war.

      After a meeting at the White House, Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the talks would also seek to “resolve” U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum and Europe’s retaliatory duties – marking a step back from Trump’s signature import protections for American metals producers.

      The breakthrough came as the bitter trade dispute between the United States and China appeared to claim a major casualty, with China not approving U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc’s (QCOM.O) takeover of NXP Semiconductors (NXPI.O), likely shutting the door on the $44 billion deal.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Ubiquity of Evil

      I had served as First Secretary in the British Embassy in Poland, and bumped up startlingly against the history of the Holocaust in that time, including through involvement with organising the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. What had struck me most forcibly was the sheer scale of the Holocaust operation, the tens of thousands of people who had been complicit in administering it. I could never understand how that could happen – until I saw ordinary, decent people in the FCO facilitate extraordinary rendition and torture. Then I understood, for the first time, the banality of evil or, perhaps more precisely, the ubiquity of evil. Of course, I am not comparing the scale of what happened to the Holocaust – but evil can operate on different scales.

      I believe I see it again today. I do not believe that the majority of journalists in the BBC, who pump out a continual stream of “Corbyn is an anti-semite” propaganda, believe in their hearts that Corbyn is a racist at all. They are just doing their job, which is to help the BBC avert the prospect of a radical government in the UK threatening the massive wealth share of the global elite. They would argue that they are just reporting what others say; but it is of course the selection of what they report and how they report it which reflect their agenda.

    • ‘Mission Critical’: How the CIA and KGB pumped propaganda into India during the Cold War

      As the Cold War gained momentum, Jawaharlal Nehru’s socialist India was a CIA target as well. Recall that Nehru had remained silent when the Soviets invaded Hungary in October 1956 but had admonished the British, French and Israelis for their invasion of Egypt during the Suez crisis a week later. This was enough for the Americans to make India a country of interest in the Cold War and differentiate it from Pakistan. India’s participation in the Bandung Conference in 1955 that helped the birth of the Non-Aligned Movement was also viewed with extreme suspicion in Washington, DC and other Western European capitals.

      Jayaprakash Narayan, at that time honorary president of the Congress for Cultural Freedom’s India chapter and a staunch anti-communist, had condemned Nehru for his silence on Hungary. Eventually, the two broke off and JP became Nehru’s strident critic. Earlier, young JP, upset with the way the freedom movement was meandering in India in the 1920s, had gone to the US. He returned in 1929 after an eight-year stay during which he saw the dark side of capitalism. Minoo Masani, a freedom fighter and later a member of the rightist Swatantra Party, was another prominent Indian member of the Congress for Cultural Freedom.

    • Colorado billboard replaces letter in ‘GOP’ with communist symbols

      Grand Junction sits squarely in Trump country.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • How free expression is suppressed in Saudi Arabia

      Unlike other figures the Saudi authorities have targeted, such as the writer Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes for allegedly “insulting Islam”, Mr Khashoggi is hardly a dissident. Before he left, he was generally seen as close with the royal court, and even today describes the idea of regime change as “ridiculous”. Mr Khashoggi’s troubles began after he gave a speech to an American think-tank shortly after Donald Trump’s shocking presidential victory. He argued that Saudi Arabia should be “rightfully nervous about a Trump presidency” at a time when the kingdom was cosying up to the president-elect. Shortly thereafter, he was informed by Saudi officials that he could no longer write or tweet. After hearing stories of friends and colleagues prevented from leaving the country and even imprisoned, he decided to leave.

    • iOS Censorship Raises Concerns About Technological Censorship Of Taiwan Due To Chinese Pressure

      NEWS THAT A bug in Apple’s iOS caused phones to crash when they typed the word “Taiwan” raises that Taiwan should become more aware of technological threats from China going forward, as well as from western tech companies that self-censor to please China. In particular, the bug was caused by Apple removing the ROC flag emoji for phones whose Apple IDs were set to China, leading the ROC flag emoji to instead appear as an empty character.

      As should be obvious, Apple would go to such steps to placate China, for fear that the Chinese government would take offense to the ROC flag emoji if it were available to Chinese users. This would, after all, suggest that Apple considers Taiwan a country, which China certainly does not.

    • In the Age of Censorship, What Do We Owe the Beat Generation?

      The journey for the Beat Generation from an underground literary movement into the mainstream reflects the power of a few individuals with similar ideals to trigger lasting change. The genesis of the group began as an alliance of a group of American writers and poets, in Columbia University in New York City, back in the 1940s. The basis of the movement was dissatisfaction with the social conventions of the time. And now, as the movement nears its diamond jubilee, let’s look back at some of the landmarks that led to the present-day adoption of the Beat ideals into contemporary culture.

      The 1950s led to the coining of the term “Beat Generation” by American writer Jack Kerouac. Emerging from the conversation about the nature of generations, i.e. the “golden generation” etc., Kerouac referred to his generation as the beat generation, a way to signal the circumstances that the generation, or more specifically the writers, found themselves in. They loathed that they were expected to express themselves within the confines of society, citing the loss of freedom in literary discourse and expression.

    • P2P Network to Stop Private Data Breaches and Censorship Via New Protocol, DApp Platform

      A major cryptocurrency exchange says the world is on the brink of a data crisis, and is launching a digital cooperative designed to give users total control over their personal information.

      CoinBene has announced it is listing the Internet of People (IoP) — a digital cooperative community which aims to allow users to build “a new generation of DApps” with full control of personal information, eliminating censorship and obstruction by governments and large companies.

      IoP says its protocols and “people first” principle are essential in a world where data breaches occur daily, with large corporations harvesting far more information than they need. As well as attacking the state of the internet — and arguing the online world has failed to stay true to the web’s original goal of connecting people — IoP says that cryptocurrencies have so far worsened this particular problem instead of resolving it, with ICO funding models “trumping the values which crypto was built on.”

    • Devin Nunes looking for ‘legal remedies’ against Twitter censorship
    • Twitter’s censorship problem looks like it’s here to stay. Why Conservatives should brace themselves.
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • At least two malls are using facial recognition technology to track shoppers’ ages and genders without telling

      A visitor to Chinook Centre in south Calgary spotted a browser window that had seemingly accidentally been left open on one of the mall’s directories, exposing facial-recognition software that was running in the background of the digital map. They took a photo and posted it to the social networking site Reddit on Tuesday.

      The mall’s parent company, Cadillac Fairview, said the software, which they began using in June, counts people who use the directory and predicts their approximate age and gender, but does not record or store any photos or video from the directory cameras.

    • Trump Team Knocks Google, Facebook’s Door Over Internet Privacy Laws

      The lack of any federal law to analyze how companies like Facebook and Google collect data and monetize it has started itching America. According to a report by The Washington Post, Trump administration is holding talks with leading Silicon Valley companies including Google and Facebook to establish a set of laws to prevent data leaks and to safeguard web users.

    • Try Blocking Amazon’s Cloud And Feel Instant Regret [Ed: Far too much of the world's Web traffic now goes through the CIA's leading tech partner; the 'cloud' propaganda campaigns contributed to this. Digital imperialism.]

      Amazon’s cloud computing service AWS (Amazon Web Services) is used by leading websites and services including Netflix, Airbnb, Slack, Expedia, and more. So, other than our tons of purchases, AWS is also a major contributor in making Jeff Bezos the richest person in the world.

    • Kentucky City Uses the Terrorism Excuse to Keep the Details of Its Surveillance Equipment Secret

      The public has a right to know how Lexington, Kentucky, is using tax dollars to surveil public spaces.

      The Kentucky attorney general and a state judge have already told the Lexington’s police department to release documents about its 29 surveillance cameras. But instead of simply adhering to the good-government practices of transparency and public oversight, the city is pressing ahead with absurd arguments in an effort to hide basic information.

      It started last summer when a local resident noticed that new surveillance cameras had been installed in a public park without prior notice. With the help of the ACLU of Kentucky, privacy activist Michael Maharrey filed an Open Records Act request with the Lexington Police Department to learn several things, including the types of surveillance technologies the department owns and operates, the camera models deployed, operator’s manuals, and department policies on data storage and sharing.

    • Report: NSA to Transfer ‘Sharkseer’ Cybersecurity Program to DISA

      The National Security Agency will hand over to the Defense Information Systems Agency a cybersecurity program that helps protect Defense Department networks against malware and zero-day threats, Fifth Domain reported Saturday.

      Natalie Pittore, an NSA spokeswoman, told Fifth Domain that the Sharkseer program “better aligns” with DISA’s mission.

      A defense budget deal reached by congressional appropriators July 23 contains the transition effort.

    • Data Protection Bill Series: Quick overview of India’s draft data protection law

      The first part of this series provides a quick overview of the important features of the Personal Data Protection Bill (the Bill). This will be followed by a detailed analysis of the various chapters in the Bill.

    • Maggie Haberman: Why I Needed to Pull Back From Twitter

      After nearly nine years and 187,000 tweets, I have used Twitter enough to know that it no longer works well for me. I will re-engage eventually, but in a different way.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • When hackers target a conference code of conduct
    • No Hope For Fascists

      I waited to publish this until I was out of the US, and doing so has the added advantage of it not surfacing until the frenzy has died down a bit. I’m writing this to explain why we did what we did, how we did it, and how we all (you included) might be able to act in such a way again.
      I am the hat-stealer from HOPE XII. If you don’t have context, you may want to read the Unicorn Riot article or Motherboard article first (the Parallax article as of 2018-07-24 seems to misrepresent the events and their ordering).

    • Cops Lose Qualified Immunity After Arresting Man For A Snarky Facebook Comment

      Three cops have just had their qualified immunity stripped by an appeals court for turning an innocuous, snarky Facebook comment into an arrest. It wasn’t all the officers’ fault. A “helpful” citizen playing internet telephone forwarded the comment to someone who happened to be married to a police officer and everything went from bad to worse to unconstitutional from there.

      [...]

      Medlin then forwarded the screenshot to two other cops and they all decided to find Ross and arrest him when they started their next shift. This was handled as badly as possible by all three officers. Ross was approached at work by a plainclothes officer presenting himself as a customer. When he stepped out from behind the counter to speak to this person, he was arrested.

    • The investigation of the Century: CIA’s secret Detention Site Black in Romania where al-Qaeda terrorists were tortured. Ex-PMs and Presidents called in for questioning

      Former PM Adrian Nastase attended a hearing at the General Prosecutor’s Office, one month ago, as part of an ongoing investigation regarding CIA’s detention sites in Romania, according to legal sources quoted by Agerpres newswire.

      Nastase reportedly told prosecutors that he didn’t know anything about the existence of such detention facilities in Romania.

      In the same case, prosecutors have also heard ex-presidents Ion Iliescu and Traian Basescu. Ioan Talpes, ex-presidential counselor, former senator and former head of Romania’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE), was also asked about these sites.

      At the end of May, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) concluded that the CIA operated a secret detention center in Romania between September 2003 and November 2005. The court ordered the Romanian state to pay EUR 100,000 to Guantanamo detainee Abd Al Rahim Husseyn Muhammad Al Nashiri. Al Nashiri was detained in Romania at the ‘Detention Site Black’ for 18 months, between April 2004 to at the latest November 2005.

    • Federal Judge Rules That Albuquerque’s Asset Forfeiture Created an Unconstitutional Profit Incentive

      A federal judge has ruled that Albuquerque’s civil asset forfeiture program violated residents’ due process rights by forcing them to prove their innocence to retrieve their cars. Under civil forfeiture laws, police can seize property suspected of being connected to criminal activity, even if the owner isn’t charged with a crime.

      The city of Albuquerque “has an unconstitutional institutional incentive to prosecute forfeiture cases, because, in practice, the forfeiture program sets its own budget and can spend, without meaningful oversight, all of the excess funds it raises from previous years,” U.S. District Judge James O. Browning wrote in an order filed Saturday. “Thus, there is a ‘realistic possibility’ that forfeiture officials’ judgment ‘will be distorted by the prospect of institutional gain’—the more revenues they raise, the more revenues they can spend.”

    • Motherhood in the Age of Fear

      delete

      Women are being harassed and even arrested for making perfectly rational parenting decisions.

    • How Three-Stooges Dumb Is Our New Aviation “Security” Measure?

      This is stuff is just laughably bad — like a multiple choice test for slow-witted behavioral profilers looking to ferret out people doing normal human things in airports and on planes.

    • To Reunify Families, DNA Testing Should Be the Last Resort

      Last week, the Trump administration failed to satisfy a court order to reunify thousands of parents and children who were inhumanely separated at the U.S. border. In addition to the terrible and lasting trauma that the separations have already inflicted, the family reunification process has raised the specter of an additional set of civil liberties concerns: mass DNA collection and testing.

      The government created chaos by taking children from their parents without thinking about how those families would later be reunified. The lack of recordkeeping and tracking has made it difficult to pair children with their parents. Our priority right now is to make sure these families are reunified as quickly as possible. But this goal can be achieved while respecting the civil liberties of these families.

      Mandatory DNA testing by the government raises significant issues of privacy and bodily intrusion, which is why the ACLU has argued that its use in the family reunification process should only be as a last resort and with stringent safeguards attached.

    • Feds want reimbursement for Gwinnett sheriff’s $70K muscle car

      The U.S. Department of Justice is demanding reimbursement for the nearly $70,000 that Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway spent on the high-powered sports car he drives to and from work.

      In a recent letter to Conway, the DOJ characterized the sheriff’s purchase of a Dodge Charger Hellcat — a 707-horsepower muscle car that some have called the fastest sedan ever built — as “extravagant.”

      The federal government previously approved the purchase, which used asset forfeiture funds, but are now questioning if the Hellcat is being used for its stated purpose.

    • DOJ Tells Sheriff To Give It Back The $70,000 In Forfeiture Funds He Spent To Buy Himself A New Sports Car

      You have to screw up pretty badly to step on the DOJ’s toes hard enough for it to notice when it comes to asset forfeiture. After the briefest of reforms under Eric Holder, new AG Jeff Sessions reactivated the federal forfeiture escape hatch, allowing law enforcement agencies to skirt local reform efforts by having their seizures “adopted” by the feds.

      According to proponents of forfeiture, it’s a valuable tool that cripples drug cartels. That far more seizures take place than convictions or even arrests is glossed over by fans of forfeiture who honestly (or more likely, dishonestly) believe taking money from motorists during pretextual stops somehow has an effect on the international drug trade.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Cord Cutting Accelerates Faster Than Expected, As Cable Still Refuses To Compete On Price

      As we just got done noting, roughly 5.4 million Americans are expected to cut the TV cord this year, thanks largely to the rise in cheaper, more flexible streaming TV alternatives. And while some traditional cable TV providers have responded to this challenge by competing on price and offering their own cheaper streaming alternatives (AT&T’s DirecTV Now, Dish’s Sling TV), most of the cable and broadcast sector continues to double down on the very things causing this shift in the first place. Like a refusal to invest in customer service, an obsession with mindless merger mania, and seemingly endless price hikes.

      Companies like Comcast have tried to stall this natural evolution by striking marketing partnerships with Netflix and including Netflix in their set top boxes, in the apparent hopes that users won’t get rid of traditional cable if they’re already getting Netflix as part of their monthly cable, broadband, and phone bundle.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • #IPSC18 Preview: Patents & Innovation

      The 18th Annual IP Scholars Conference is next week (Aug. 9-10) at Berkeley Law, and it includes over 140 academic talks given in six parallel tracks. It’s not a great format for deep substantive engagement, but it’s my favorite conference for getting an overview of what the IP academic community is working on. Of course, you can only see one-sixth of the projects, so if you want a taste of everything: I just read all the abstracts for this year’s conference and wrote one sentence on each of them.

    • CJEU clarifies meaning ‘basic patent’ in SPC dispute

      The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has clarified when a product is ‘protected by a basic patent’ within the meaning of article 3(a) of the SPC Regulation.

    • Intellectual property post Brexit: the UK’s proposals

      The White Paper recognises that intellectual property is one particular area where the UK and EU economies are closely linked. For this reason, it will explore options to ensure close cooperation after exit, including participation in the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and unitary patent system. The UK will work with other contracting states to ensure that the UPC Agreement can continue on a firm legal basis.

    • Copyrights

      • Fair-Use Champion Stephanie Lenz, European Digital Rights Leader Joe McNamee, and Groundbreaking Content-Moderation Researcher Sarah T. Roberts Win EFF’s Pioneer Awards

        The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is honored to announce the winners of its 2018 Pioneer Awards: fair use champion Stephanie Lenz, European digital rights leader Joe McNamee, and groundbreaking content moderation researcher Sarah T. Roberts. The ceremony will be held September 27th in San Francisco.

        This year’s Pioneer Awards will be dedicated to Internet visionary and EFF co-founder John Perry Barlow, who died earlier this year. EFF has renamed the statuette awarded to winners the “Barlow” in recognition of the indelible mark he left on digital rights. The keynote speaker for this year’s ceremony will be one of Barlow’s many friends, Daniel Ellsberg. Ellsberg co-founded the Freedom of the Press Foundation with Barlow, and is known for his years of work advocating for government transparency, including his release of the Pentagon Papers. Tickets for the Pioneer Awards are $65 for current EFF members, or $75 for non-members.

      • On the Joys and Perils of YouTube

        For want of a social aspect to my technology addiction, of late I have been recording video content and placing it on YouTube. It has been an interesting endeavor, because it involves skills that I heretofore have never trained. How does one look good on camera? What does one do with one’s hands? What it the efficient way to record and edit video. What is the right way to do lighting and audio? It has been fun so far, largely because the videos I’ve recorded still look so amateurish. That I will be able to learn and progress at something new enchants me.

        YouTube is an amazing platform, and the result of untold man-years of effort. The voice recognition involved in the automatic closed captioning is impressive.

        But as any graybeard GNU-ster will attest, placing you content solely in the hands of a faceless evil corporation like Google is unwise, since I am not their customer. Their advertisers are their customers, and their users are just free content creators and a source of training data for their AI. So, in parallel, I’ve been revisiting the idea of resurrecting my website.

      • Sony Finds Itself In Court After Bullying Film Studio Over Supposed ‘Slender Man’ Copyright Infringement

        The last time we discussed Slender Man on this site, it was when two young girls stabbed their friend and blamed it on this internet ghost story, leading to the site Creepypasta feeling it needed to remind everyone that fiction is fiction and not the writings of a Satanic cult. Only briefly discussed in those writings was the origin of the Slender Man meme, which started as a Lovecraftian ghost story on the Something Awful forums by Eric Knudsen, who produced two photoshopped images of people being stalked by a faceless slender creep-bomb and added some fake quotations to make something of a story out of them. From those two photos and brief captions, the internet essentially took over, building entire stories and lore around Slender Man to the point where the whole thing is a wildly popular internet meme and ghost story staple.

        So of course Sony Pictures bought the rights to the story from Knudsen and will now presumably ruin it all in a major motion picture. And that would be only mildly irritating, except Sony is also trying to bully a smaller studio, Phame Factory, out of producing its own horror movie, claiming it now has the copyright and trademark rights for Slender Man. This has resulted in Phame Factory suing Sony to get a court to declare its work not infringing.

      • Prince’s label claims video of fans singing “Purple Rain” is copyright infringement

        Mere hours after the passing of Prince, thousands of fans gathered in downtown Minneapolis to pay homage to the funk icon with a massive “Purple Rain” singalong. As with any event of this magnitude, video footage and photos were immediately shared far and wide via social media by those in attendance celebrating Prince’s life and mourning his death.

        Despite these harmless intentions, Universal Music, which owns rights to “Purple Rain”, has taken action against one of these videos, filmed by Star Tribune reporter Aaron Lavinsky. According to Universal, the footage violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA).

      • Universal Right Back At It Issuing A DMCA For A Reporter’s Video Of Prince Fans Singing ‘Purple Rain’

        In the Lenz v. Universal case, otherwise known as the Dancing Baby DMCA case, it can hardly be argued otherwise than the whole saga was wildly irritating and painfully lengthy. Years of fighting over a person’s child dancing to seconds’ worth of Prince music on video resulting in years of litigation would be bad enough. As Cathy Gellis noted in our last post on the case, the fact that the whole thing ended in a settlement before a court could answer whether or not Universal Music should be punished for issuing a DMCA without even considering whether it would be Fair Use or not only supercharged the frustration levels of everyone who realized how stupid this whole thing was. Cathy’s point in that post was in part that it was awful that the public couldn’t even get the payoff of precedent for Fair Use considerations in this whole stupid thing.

        Which brings us to the present, mere weeks later, when Universal Music is right fucking back at it, having DMCA’d a journalist’s video of Prince fans in public singing Purple Rain shortly after he died.

      • The Real World Impact of the Copyright Registration Prerequisite

        Just before the summer recess, the Supreme Court snuck in a certiorari grant that I don’t think has received much attention in proportion to its importance–Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com LLC. The issue is seemingly simple: before filing a lawsuit, a copyright owner must register the copyright. But what does it mean to register the copyright? Simply file the application, or actually receive the registration certificate.

        I’d say this question is one of the most practically important IP questions the Court has faced in the last decade. When I was in active practice, I would estimate that a quarter to a third of our clients did not have a registration at the time they wanted to sue, and we relied on the Ninth Circuit’s permissive “application is enough” rule to get a case filed (and sometimes seek injunctive relief). The alternative was to file and wait, sometimes months or even more than a year, to get a registration. (I’ve read that pendency is now about six to eight months). Alternatively, one can pay $800 for an expedited registration within 10 days.

        Why might someone not file a registration well in advance of suing? First, because they don’t have to. The post-Berne Convention adoption amendments from 1989 allow copyright to vest from the time of fixation. Indeed, in order to maintain compliance with Berne, the pre-filing registration requirement only applies to U.S. Works. Foreign works may sue at will–more on this later.

        More practically, there are plenty of reasons why one might not file. In an era of mass digital photography, it would be ridiculously expensive to register every work in case one was infringed; it is far more efficient to see if anyone infringes, and then register that work. In software, new versions are created all the time–almost literally so in software as a service platforms. It would be impossible to file a new derivative work registration for every single released version, especially for open source (though I bet Microsoft does it).

      • Google Categorically Refuses to Remove The Pirate Bay’s Homepage

        It’s hard to spot consistent trends in the mass influx of DMCA takedown notices Google receives. One thing is pretty clear though, the search engine consistently refuses to remove The Pirate Bay’s homepage from its index. This, despite dozens of attempts from a wide variety of copyright holders over the years.

What EPO Staff is ‘Hopeful’ After a Month of António Campinos Doing Absolutely Nothing to Reverse Battistelli’s Ruinous Policies?

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Not even obeying court orders

No comments for EPO

Summary: The “No comments” President (who gags his critics) has changed just about nothing at the EPO; so who is actually chanting along the lines of “Hope” and “Change”?

A FEW hours ago Dugie Standeford wrote (behind paywall unfortunately) that “New EPO Chief Outlines Priorities With Global Focus; Staff Wary But Hopeful” (almost contradictory).

What EPO staff is “hopeful”? I wish to know. I’ve personally heard of nobody who is hopeful. Nobody. Maybe some delegates at the Administrative Council are hopeful; maybe he too will give them a lump of money (the way Battistelli did). António Campinos is just cementing Battistelli policies and he has thus far given us no reason for hope. Outside the paywall Standeford wrote:

Antonio Campinos, whose term as president of the European Patent Office began on 1 July, has said he wants to focus on the effectiveness of the organisation, greater global cooperation and “staff engagement.”

The term “effectiveness” is similar to what Battistelli said and the “staff engagement” we’ve seen so far excluded the unions and people whose cases really matter.

In terms of practical changes, there have been none. Patents continue to be granted far too rapidly and quality does not seem to matter. Senior examiners are leaving. Some hours ago we saw more of that “everything is OK” type of spiel. Citing some numbers to which we wrote a rebuttal weeks ago, Joff Wild’s Battistelli-leaning propaganda outlet IAM has just published “Steep rise in the number of oppositions at the EPO matches a surge in grants,” citing “UK patent attorney firm Haseltine Lake,” which has been tracking these numbers for quite some time and graphing them, writing about them etc.

EPO stakeholders or European companies cannot catch up with the soaring number of patent grants, so they cannot quite file oppositions fast enough. That’s a simple explanation for these numbers, but IAM’s agenda is to insinuate high quality of examination (even if major law firms and patent examiners claim otherwise). Patent maximalism means granting bogus patents so fast — much like a DDoS attack — that nobody is able to assess and resist it. From IAM’s introductory paragraph:

The number of oppositions proceedings at the European Patent Office is on the rise – with numbers for 2017 exceeding anything that has previously been seen. But while some may point to this indicating a decline in the quality of grants at the office, the actual explanation looks to be a lot more prosaic: the EPO is granting more patents than ever before, and the number of oppositions is rising in line with this.

But that in its own right isn’t a yardstick of anything such as quality; in the case of the USPTO, for example, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is limited in its capacity and to measure something like patent quality in terms of the number of IPRs would be ludicrous.

Anyway, nothing has changed at the EPO. The President is just quieter.

Links 30/7/2018: Linux 4.18 RC7, OpenMW 0.44.0, freedesktop.org GitLab

Posted in News Roundup at 4:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • A single-user, lightweight OS for your next home project

    What on earth is RISC OS? Well, it’s not a new kind of Linux. And it’s not someone’s take on Windows. In fact, released in 1987, it’s older than either of these. But you wouldn’t necessarily realize it by looking at it.

    The point-and-click graphic user interface features a pinboard and an icon bar across the bottom for your active applications. So, it looks eerily like Windows 95, eight years before it happened.

    This OS was originally written for the Acorn Archimedes. The Acorn RISC Machines CPU in this computer was completely new hardware that needed completely new software to run on it. This was the original operating system for the ARM chip, long before anyone had thought of Android or Armbian.

  • GSoC 2018 – booting from BTRFS works!

    Freeloader is now able to read files and follow symlinks from btrfs partition. One major issue is left here – case sensitivity. BTRFS is case-sensitive file system, so paths like /ReactOS/System32, /reactos/system32, /ReactOS/system32 are different here. But in Windows world most software is written assuming that case does not matter during path lookup. This thing is solved in WinBtrfs driver, but for Freeloader it can be a bit tricky. Right now I’ve implemented a hack for this, we will handle this later.

  • ReactOS Is Now Able To Boot From Btrfs

    The ReactOS “open-source Windows” operating system is now able to boot from a Btrfs file-system.

    Being worked on as part of this year’s Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is Btrfs file-system support for ReactOS. The student developer Victor Perevertkin has been working on Btrfs support within the ReactOS boot-loader as well as other fixes needed to allow for ReactOS to be installed on and boot from a Btrfs file-system.

  • Holochain (HOT) Review – An Open-Source Framework Alternative to the Blockchain

    Holochain is an open-source framework for building decentralized, peer-to-peer applications that is an alternative to the blockchain. Its long-term goal is to create an uncloseable carrier for doing interaction that is completely peer-to-peer. In other words, a decentralized system for agency, autonomy and security. Holochain believes that this is not available today and that blockchain technology does not meet this need.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • In Memoriam: Gervase Markham

        I met Gerv in the early 2000s, after he’d already been diagnosed. He has always been very public about his illness. He was frank with all who knew him that his life expectancy was sadly well below average due to that illness. So, this outcome isn’t a surprise nor a shock, but it is nevertheless sad and unfortunate for all who knew him.

        I really liked Gerv. I found him insightful and thoughtful. His insatiable curiosity for my primary field — FLOSS licensing — was a source of enjoyment for me in our many conversations on the subject. Gerv was always Socratic in his approach: he asked questions, rather than make statements, even when it was pretty obvious he had an answer of his own; he liked to spark debate and seek conversation. He thoughtfully considered the opinions of others and I many times saw his positions change based on new information. I considered him open-minded and an important contributor to FLOSS licensing thought.

        I bring up Gerv’s open-mindedness because I know that many people didn’t find him so, but, frankly, I think those folks were mistaken. It is well documented publicly that Gerv held what most would consider particularly “conservative values”. And, I’ll continue with more frankness: I found a few of Gerv’s views offensive and morally wrong. But Gerv was also someone who could respectfully communicate his views. I never felt the need to avoid speaking with him or otherwise distance myself. Even if a particular position offended me, it was nevertheless clear to me that Gerv had come to his conclusions by starting from his (a priori) care and concern for all of humanity. Also, I could simply say to Gerv: “I really disagree with that so much”, and if it became clear our views were just too far apart to productively discuss the matter further, he’d happily and collaboratively find another subject for us to discuss. Gerv was a reasonable man. He could set aside fundamental disagreements and find common ground to talk with, collaborate with, and befriend those who disagreed with him. That level of kindness and openness is rarely seen in our current times.

      • Gerv

        I never spent very much time with him, but I really appreciated getting together at Mozilla events with Gerv and a small group of other Mozilla Christians to pray every morning. That tradition continues, and long may it do so!

      • TenFourFox FPR9b1 available

        Before we begin: if you haven’t seen it, check out the newly updated and refurbished TenFourFox FAQ, and consider this sobering thought on the state of web monitoring advertising.

        Also, for those of you who may be unaware, long-time Mozillian Gervase Markham passed away, surrounded by his family. He was ever a professional to the end. I didn’t know him as well as some, but I’ll always remember him, not least of which for his unwavering faith in the face of adversity and leaving us far too soon. Go with God.

        TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 9 beta 1 is now available (downloads, hashes, release notes). There are several new features and many bug fixes in this version. FPR9 is also the first TenFourFox release to pull from the new extended support release, Firefox 60ESR, and we have updated the extended validation certificate roots and our certs’n’pins import script to pull from that source instead of the shortly-to-be-decommissioned 52ESR. All relevant security and stability patches on 60ESR so far have also been backported.

        On the bug fix side, there is a crash fix for media tracks from Raphael, updates to the ATSUI font blacklist (mostly for certain Japanese fonts) that can now block incompatible fonts through the CSS Font Loading API as well, updated timezone data for the ICU internationalization library, ICU security fixes, fixes for button sensing in events which should get around some weird glitchy things where the mouse buttons get ignored, and a dumb old bug with WiFi scanning. I also added a layout fix for button subelements that keep getting split apart, fixing problems on sites like Twitch and GoDaddy.

  • Funding

  • Open Hardware/Modding

    • 7 Best Arduino Projects To Do In Summer

      The free time of summer vacations or continuous hours is for many an ideal time to start more complex or long projects associated with some of their passions. If Arduino is among your interests and you want to reinforce your maker spirit, we propose 7 arduino projects to do in summer.

  • Programming/Development

    • Introducing freedesktop.org GitLab

      This is quite a long post. The executive summary is that freedesktop.org now hosts an instance of GitLab, which is generally available and now our preferred platform for hosting going forward. We think it offers a vastly better service, and we needed to do it in order to offer the projects we host the modern workflows they have been asking for.

      In parallel, we’re working on making our governance, including policies, processes and decision making, much more transparent.

    • GitLab Is A Vast Improvement To FreeDesktop.org’s Infrastructure

      Taking place the past few months has been migrating the FreeDesktop.org infrastructure to GitLab and the developers/administrators involved are quite happy with this big improvement to better their code hosting, issue tracking, etc.

      The FreeDesktop.org GitLab deployment is happening on Google Compute Engine to also replace aging FreeDesktop.org hardware in the process. Among the FreeDesktop.org projects moving over to GitLab has been Mesa, X.Org, and other sub-projects. This also follows a larger trend among other free software projects centering on GitLab for their infrastructure needs with the previous most notable project having been GNOME.

    • C++17 Filesystem Support Lands In LLVM’s Libc++ Library

      This week support for the official C++17 “filesystem” feature landed within LLVM’s libc++ standard library.

      C++17 adds file-system abstractions based upon the Boost library’s filesystem support. This functionality makes it easier for C++ programs to perform file/directory operations across platforms in a standard manner. The file-system technical specification continues to be available here for all of the details.

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Q&A: Yemen’s Humanitarian Catastrophe Demands Action

      Death surrounds us. I don’t know anyone who has not been touched by this conflict.

      The Yemeni people face almost unprecedented human suffering. One in three Yemenis is on the brink of famine. We faced the worst cholera outbreak in modern history. Yemen now is, according to UN experts, the worst humanitarian disaster in the world. It is a human-made disaster, created by warring parties who have committed violation after violation.

      And it is all so senseless, so preventable. We live in a land torn to shreds by a war largely fueled by outside forces.

      Currently, the port city of Hodeidah is under assault by the Saudi-led coalition, which backs the government. We are very concerned, not just for the city’s 600,000 residents, but also because about 75 percent of Yemen’s aid—and almost all of its commercial food shipments—go through the port.

    • America Must Update Its Lethal Drone Policy—Here’s How

      When a U.S. drone strike killed five members of the Manthari family in Yemen in late March 2018, the U.S. Defense Department reported that terrorists affiliated with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula were killed and that civilians were not present at the attack. The Manthari family shares a different story. According to relatives, tribal leaders, and human rights groups, the men killed were innocent civilians, and family members are now demanding compensation and that the U.S. government clear the names of those killed.

      In the first year of the Trump administration, the plight of the Mantharis is not unusual. In 2015, then-candidate Trump said he would target terrorists and their families, and three years later he appears to be living up to that promise. Innocent civilians are experiencing the effects of President Trump’s approach, witnessing an increase in drone strikes and living with the consequences of potential mistakes. Verifying the legitimacy of such strikes is increasingly difficult, as the Trump administration moves away from policies and practices intended to bring greater transparency and accountability to the U.S. drone program.

    • U.S. Confirms It Provides Armed Drones to Niger

      The United States started arming drones in the West African nation of Niger earlier this year, according to the U.S. Africa Command.

      “In coordination with the Government of Niger, U.S. Africa Command has armed intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft already in Niger to improve our combined ability to respond to threats and other security issues in the region. Armed ISR aircraft began flying in early 2018,” Samantha Reho, spokeswoman for U.S. Africa Command, told The Associated Press.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Opinion: Attempted Censorship Of Christine Assange Reveals How Powerful Her Voice Is

      It’s not enough for the establishment to silence and isolate Julian Assange: they are so terrified of the truth, that they also blatantly attempt to silence his mother, Christine Assange. The unelected power structure’s terror in the face of courage exposes their essential nature, and at the same time indicates the power that they ascribe to Christine Assange’s voice.

      Christine was scheduled to speak on the Unity4J ‘State of the Movement‘ address, which was held yesterday by journalist Suzie Dawson, veteran CIA analyst and Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) co-founder Ray McGovern, filmmaker Vivian Kubrick, and myself. The entire event is available via Youtube. Those who have not yet joined the Unity4J Discord server and would like to do so can sign up at: Unity4J.com/Discord

      Despite strenuous efforts made by Christine and our technical support team for over an hour, we were unable to connect with Christine or bring her onto the panel. She then attempted to send a message to Suzie Dawson, which was intended to be read to the audience of the live event. However, that message too was delayed until the moment the stream ended.

      In light of the apparent attempt to silence Christine’s voice, Dawson and I decided to re-start the stream immediately, in order to read the message from Christine that had finally come through. The second stream of the evening which resulted is available in full via Youtube.

    • Ecuador works with Britain to evict Julian Assange

      Ecuador is working with Britain to end Julian Assange’s six-year stay in its embassy in London, its president has said.

      President Moreno said the ideal way out for Mr Assange would be for him to accept a penalty for breaching his UK bail conditions. “It is not the exercise of human rights compliance that a person remains so long as an asylum seeker,” he told El País on a visit to Spain.

    • Ecuador embassy set to give Assange the boot
    • London Newspaper: Assange Could Face Imminent Expulsion
    • Correa: ‘Assange’s Days in Ecuadorean Embassy Are Numbered’

      Former Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said president Lenin Moreno ” has an agreement with the United States on what will happen to Assange.”

      Ecuador’s former president Rafael Correa said in an interview with RT Saturday that Julian Assange’s days in the Ecuadorean embassy in London are numbered, a claim which contradicts the statements made by Lenin Moreno Friday.

    • WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange could face ‘imminent’ embassy expulsion
    • Assange faces expulsion from Ecuador Embassy hideout

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is likely to be expelled from his hideout at the Ecuador Embassy here, where he had sought asylum six years ago, after Ecuador President Lenin Moreno said that the Australian should go, according to a media report.

      Assange, 47, has been living in Ecuador Embassy in Knightsbridge in central London since 2012 when he was granted political asylum.

      “I expect (Assange) to lose his asylum status imminently. This means he will be expelled from the embassy. When this will happen is impossible to say,” a source related to the case was quoted as saying by “The Times” newspaper.

      [...]

      An assistant of Assange, an Australian national – who fears being extradited to the US where he is wanted for leaking secretive documents via Wikileaks, has criticised the Ecuador President for ending the asylum status.

      The crisis had prompted contingency plans for him to leave in “hours, days or weeks”, one of Assange’s team member was quoted as saying in the report.

    • Assange must leave embassy ‘eventually’: Ecuadorian President
    • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange faces expulsion from Ecuador embassy in UK: Report

      Assange had been granted asylum six years ago on the grounds that he feared extradition to America, where he faced a possible death sentence or torture.Moreno indicated that negotiations with Britain might have resulted in a guarantee that he would not face the death penalty if he were extradited. “What we want is for his life not to be in danger,” he said. This could clear the way for possible extradition of Assange to the US, once the threat of the death penalty is lifted.

      Meanwhile, Assange’s medical condition has been aggravated in the ongoing heatwave in the UK. ” He’s under a huge amount of pressure. If they do remove his protection, we will go to the courts to protect him,” Assange’s lawyer in London said.

    • Assange lawyers brace for Ecuadorian embassy evicting WikiLeaks publisher at any moment

      Julian Assange’s legal team is preparing to defend the WikiLeaks publisher against a possible U.S. extradition request in anticipation of Ecuador ejecting him from its London embassy at any moment.

      Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno confirmed Friday that his government is working with British officials toward brokering Mr. Assange’s exit from the embassy, potentially putting the Australian-born activist on the path to face criminal charges abroad related to his role running WikiLeaks.

      “If they do remove his protection, we will go to the courts to protect him,” said Jennifer Robinson, an attorney for Mr. Assange, The Times of London reported Saturday.

      “We are preparing to defend him in the British courts and will fight extradition to the U.S,” Mr. Robinson told the newspaper. “We don’t have any indication of timeframe. This is a very serious situation, one that we are very concerned about. It’s a matter for Ecuador, the U.K., the U.S. and Australia.”

    • Britain and Ecuador discuss Wikileaks founder’s fate

      Government officials in both countries are pondering the eviction of Assange, who gained notoriety for publishing thousands of U.S.-classified documents on the website, WikiLeaks, from Ecuador’s London embassy, where he has been in asylum since 2012 and gained citizenship late last year.

      Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno told the BBC Friday that he was never “in favor” of Assange’s activities, and that both countries were holding talks.

      The British government has become more concerned about his welfare as Ecuador cut off his internet connection in March over concerns about his use of social media interfering with diplomatic relations and cut back extra security in May after spending $5 million on protection costs.

    • Julian Assange faces expulsion from Ecuadoran Embassy

      Why it matters: Assange is wanted by London police for breaching bail, per the Times, and his arrest is wanted by the U.S. A source with detailed knowledge of the situation told the Times: “I expect [Assange] to lose his asylum status imminently. … When this will happen is impossible to say.” Ecuador’s President Moreno said this week that no one should be in asylum “for too long.”

    • Report: Julian Assange’s Thin Ice at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London Could Be About to Break

      Later, Moreno confirmed that Assange could stay if he became less of a headache, though it seems that the situation has continued to deteriorate. Reports have indicated the Ecuadorean government has spent millions on Assange’s security, including monitoring his guests.

    • Report: Julian Assange’s Thin Ice At The Ecuadorean Embassy In London Could Be About To Break [Ed: Australian version]
    • Julian Assange looks for deal to end ‘diplomatic isolation’
    • Ecuador’s President Says Wants to Find Solution to Assange Case Without Trouble

      Moreno said on Friday Assange would ultimately have to leave the embassy where he has lived since June 2012. Ecuador’s National Communications Ministry (SECOM) later denied that the Ecuadorian president told Assange to leave the embassy, and stressed that the issue should be resolved through the negotiations between Ecuador and the United Kingdom.

    • Is a deal for Julian Assange in the works?

      CNN is focusing on the question of U.S. extradition and leaning on unconfirmed rumors that there is a sealed indictment awaiting Assange if we can get our hands on him. But it’s not for the Russia investigation. This one dates back to the release of hundreds of thousands of classified documents stolen by Chelsea (then Bradley) Manning.

      Ecuador’s concerns over Assange’s health, having been negatively affected by all that time “in confinement,” seem strange to say the least. If they were so worried about his medical condition they should have kicked him out years ago. And just for the record, he hasn’t been “in confinement.” He could have walked out of that embassy any time he wanted to, starting on June 19, 2012.

      [...]

      Of course, the other complicating factor that I brought up last week is still in play. Does Donald Trump really want Julian Assange parachuting into the middle of the current investigations and debates? To paraphrase an old movie quote, a guy with a mouth like that could cause a lotta problems in this town. If our Justice Department doesn’t act and the Brits cut him loose on the unlawful flight charges with time served, he could conceivably just get on a plane. And if he makes it to Ecuador nobody will be able to touch him.

    • Who is Julian Assange, will the WikiLeaks founder leave the Ecuador embassy and did he date Pamela Anderson?

      Speculation about Assange’s future has grown after the Sunday Times reported senior officials from Ecuador and Britain were talking about how to remove him from the embassy.

      Ecuador’s president Lenin Moreno said on July 27 that nobody should remain under asylum “for too long”.

      Speaking at an event in Madrid, he added: “I have never been in favour of Mr Assange’s activity.”

      Mr Moreno insisted any eviction of Assange from the embassy had to be carried out correctly and through dialogue, but he displayed no sympathy for Assange’s political agenda as a leaker of confidential documents.

    • Brazil Lula backs Wikileaks founder
    • Julian Assange faces ‘imminent expulsion’ from embassy

      “The recent indictments issued by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller imply that Assange and WikiLeaks were a conduit for Russian intelligence in distributing hacked Democratic Party emails in 2016,” the media outlet said. “Whether a sealed indictment awaits Assange in relation to the Russian hacking investigation is unknown. But according to US officials, charges have been drawn up relating to previous WikiLeaks disclosures of classified US documents.”

    • Julian Assange faces ‘imminent expulsion’ from embassy

      His lawyer Jennifer Robinson reportedly told The Times, that she was concerned for Assange’s health.

      “We are preparing to defend him in the British courts and will fight extradition to the US,” she said. “We don’t have any indication of time frame.

      “This is a very serious situation, one that we are very concerned about. It’s a matter for Ecuador, the UK, the US and Australia.”

    • Julian Assange reportedly about to be kicked out of Ecuadorian embassy

      President Donald Trump has proclaimed that he loves WikiLeaks. But when Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, was the CIA director, he said, “We can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us.” Pompeo also has called Assange a “fraud” and a “coward.”

    • Assange Faces Expulsion From Ecuador Embassy Hideout in UK: Report

      This could clear the way for possible extradition of Assange to the US, once the threat of the death penalty is lifted.

      Jeff Sessions, the US attorney-general, has made clear that the Donald Trump administration is seeking his arrest.

      Meanwhile, Assange’s medical condition has been aggravated in the ongoing heatwave in the UK amid growing reports of an increasingly uncomfortable relationship between embassy staff and the man they call “the guest”.

    • The Women of WikiLeaks: Speaking Truth to Power

      At the center of any WikiLeaks discussion lies Julian Assange, the platform’s founder who has been embroiled in scandals and accusations of misogyny, amongst all else. Lesser known is the story of the women involved in the WikiLeaks phenomenon, as whistleblowing is an area of activity that, as Renata Avila, Sarah Harrison and Angela Richter write in Women, Whistleblowing, WikiLeaks: A Conversation, is “widely perceived as heavily male dominated.”

      This is because the mainstream media heavily focuses on key male players — not just Assange, but also journalist Glen Greenwald, whose work on the NSA surveillance disclosures by whistleblower Edward Snowden has brought them both into the international spotlight. Even Chelsea Manning, despite being a transgender woman, is often referred to as a “he.”

      This is one of the notions brought up in the foreword of a book based on a conversation sparked between the women involved with WikiLeaks. Harrison, an acclaimed journalist; Richter, a Croatian-German theater director; and Avila, a celebrated Guatemalan human rights lawyer, are all women who have had prominent roles working within WikiLeaks. For instance, Harrison was at the heart of the Snowden revelations and accompanied him in his escape from Hong Kong to Moscow. Yet, as Richter points out in the foreword, instead of describing Harrison as a “brave, independent journalist,” she was often referred to in the media as “an ‘assistant’ or ‘friend’ of Assange.”

    • Julian Assange cannot stay in embassy forever, Ecuador’s President says

      Mr Moreno also confirmed he had been in contact with the British Government about ending Mr Assange’s stay at the embassy, where he has been since seeking asylum there in 2012.

      “We are constantly talking with the British Government, with the ambassador, who is their representative in Ecuador,” he said.

      “The only person I’ve never talked to is Mr Assange.”

      Mr Assange sought asylum in the embassy to avoid being extradited to Sweden to answer questions over an alleged sex crime.

      He denied the allegations and the charges were later dropped, but he is still subject to arrest in Britain for skipping bail and also fears a possible US extradition request based on his leaking of classified US State Department documents.

    • Ecuador denies Assange ordered out

      Ecuador says it has not ordered Wikileaks founder Julian Assange out of its embassy in London.

    • Ecuador, Britain in talks over Assange fate: Ecuadorian president
    • Ecuador, Britain in talks over Assange fate

      Moreno, who visited Spain and Britain last week, said the “ideal” solution would involve Assange accepting a “penalty” for having breached British bail conditions and then be “extradited to a country where he does not face any danger.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Sorry, Bernie, We Need Radical Change

      One of the more darkly amusing narratives in current establishment Democratic Party positioning for the 2018 mid-term elections and the 2020 presidential contest is the claim that the Bernie Sanders tendency represents a radical “socialist” threat that will tip the races to the Republicans and Trump.

      Never mind that the progressive and mildly social-democratic policies Sanders and his cadre of Democrats back – Medicare for All, progressive taxation, free college tuition, a significant increase n the federal minimum wage, the re-legalization of union organizing – have longstanding majority support from the U.S. populace.

      Never mind that it precisely the centrist neoliberal nothingness of the dollar-drenched dumpster- fire that is the current corporate Democratic Party (aptly described by Sheldon Wolin as “the Inauthentic Opposition” in early 2008) that has delivered state and federal government over to the widely hated, radically regressive and arch-reactionary (racist, sexist, white-nationalist, and eco-fascist) Republicans.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Malaysia will be having hate speech laws soon? How do they even work??

      But is this even legal in the first place? Actually, we found out that Malaysia does not really have a specific law to regulate hate speech (any form of speech that attacks a person or a group on the basis of attributes) especially against race and religious groups. That may be why we still see Malaysians uttering racial slurs everywhere and not get caught! The closest law to regulating hate speech would probably be the Sedition Act 1948, which states that promoting the feeling of ill-will and hostility between different races is considered seditious.

      However, a Minister in the PM’s Department recently proposed three new bills to protect racial and religious harmony in Malaysia: the Anti-Discrimination Act, National Harmony and Reconciliation Commission Act and the Religious and Racial Hatred Act.

    • You Can’t Fight Hate With Censorship, Says Former ACLU President

      Just recently, a federal court in Oregon prevented a public high school from banning an anti-immigration T-shirt from its campus, notwithstanding the shirt’s capacity to be viewed as offensive, even hateful. According to Nadine Strossen’s latest volume, Hate: Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship, this is an outcome to be celebrated—not merely because it comports with the Constitution, but because so-called “hate speech” bans are unconstitutional and ultimately counterproductive.

      Hate is a slim volume, consisting of nine chapters where Strossen, a former president of the American Civil Liberties Union, makes her case. The book presents itself as an accessible legal brief aimed at the social justice left, which appears to be forsaking its 1970s-era robust view of free speech, as well as First Amendment practitioners looking for a distillation of the state of play.

    • Did Google stop domain fronting as a censorship move?

      Google, which has been long known for defending freedom of internet, recently removed access to a feature that was widely used to bypass censorship; domain fronting.

      Activists claim Google is siding with censorship, while Google claims it was a regular update. But what is the bigger picture? Should Google ignore the moral effects of its actions?

      [...]

      For instance, if you’re in the US and try to access a website hosted in the UK, normally the transfer must cross the Atlantic every time, which makes it very slow. With a CDN, another server in the US will keep a copy of the UK website. Thus, you bypass the slow process and interact instead directly with a local server, which is much faster.

      Of course, for this to work, the URL of the target website must translate to the CDN server’s address instead of its own IP. That means you and the users accessing the site are still calling the same URL but under the hood, the content is coming from a different location.

    • Discord punishes popular server for offensive images, sparking debate on censorship

      A popular Final Fantasy Discord server lost its partner status this week, after allegedly breaching the relatively new policy regarding not safe for work (NSFW) content. Although admins rectified the situation in record time, Discord has refused to reinstate its title, prompting concerns over double standards and inconsistency within the rules leading to censorship.

      The situation arose when a member of a Final Fantasy XIV-centred Discord posted a single ‘lolicon’ image into a NSFW channel. Lolicon is a subgenre of manga/anime that depicts young, presumably underage girls in lewd situations, explicitly banned by the platform for depicting “minors or underage individuals engaged in violent, sexually suggestive, pornographic, shameful, or otherwise inappropriate situations.” Discord suspended the server’s partnered status as a result of the breach, giving admins 48 hours to remove the channel or risk deletion of the entire server.

    • Fake News and Censorship (British Edition)

      To return yet again to the topic of how abusing the idea of ‘fake news’ could represent an ideal opportunity for censors on the make, here’s the BBC discussing a report by the British Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee (that such a committee even exists is, incidentally, yet more depressing evidence of the reach of the modern state). The Committee’s report was prompted by Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, but, however bad that mess may have been, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the cure may be worse than the disease.

      [...]

      It looks a lot as if these MPs, like authoritarians from Moscow to Malaysia, have been inspired by the strikingly illiberal precedent set by Angela Merkel’s social media law. In particular, and as I mentioned in a recent NRODT piece, part of the idea behind sticking social media companies with legal liability is to scare them into going even further in muzzling free speech than the strict letter of the law requires.

    • Column: China Takes Its Political Censorship Global

      The United States lost an important early skirmish last week over whether American companies must comply with the Chinese government’s political demands.

      But the greater conflict is just beginning, which means the Trump administration must now prepare to help U.S. corporations fight Chinese coercion in future rounds.

      After months of behind-the-scenes discussion, the three major U.S. air carriers — United, American and Delta — all partially caved to Beijing’s order that they change their websites to portray Taiwan as part of the People’s Republic of China. After the government of Xi Jinping threatened severe punishment, the White House called the demands “Orwellian nonsense.”

    • Withstanding Censorship, US Embassy Provides an Enclave for Free Speech on Chinese Social Media

      A vaccine scandal that broke out in China late this month, has led to a nationwide uproar followed by extensive efforts by the authorities to censor public opinion online—particularly on Twitter-like social media sites such as Weibo or WeChat.

      While the regime’s internet police regularly delete content the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) deems political or socially sensitive, Chinese netizens have exploited something of a diplomatic loophole.

      The Chinese authorities seem loathe to censor posts on the official Weibo page of the U.S. Embassy in China, making it a safe haven for Chinese users to discuss topics that would be redacted elsewhere.

    • Facebook Rejects Rubens in Fight Over Artistic Nudity

      For four centuries, the opulent, exuberant nudes of Peter Paul Rubens have been known to shock and delight in sometimes equal measure. And now, even in 2018, his Baroque paintings are still jolting the internet.

      Belgian museums are uniting in protest against Facebook since they cannot promote Flemish Masters including Rubens at will for fear of falling foul of the social media site’s adult content rules and automatic censorship.

      “The bare breasts and buttocks painted by our artist are considered by you to be inappropriate. We have noticed that Facebook consistently rejects works of art by our beloved Peter Paul Rubens,” over a dozen top Belgian art officials wrote to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

    • It’s Rubens vs. Facebook in fight over artistic nudity
    • It’s Rubens vs. Facebook in fight over artistic nudity

      For four centuries, the opulent, exuberant nudes of Peter Paul Rubens have been known to shock and delight in sometimes equal measure. And now, even in 2018, his Baroque paintings are still jolting the internet.

      Belgian museums are uniting in protest against Facebook since they cannot promote Flemish Masters including Rubens at will for fear of falling foul of the social media site’s adult content rules and automatic censorship.

      “The bare breasts and buttocks painted by our artist are considered by you to be inappropriate. We have noticed that Facebook consistently rejects works of art by our beloved Peter Paul Rubens,” over a dozen top Belgian art officials wrote to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

      The Visit Flanders tourist board even produced a mock news video where security officials prevent visitors from seeing nudity in the Rubens House museum. In it, one even spreads his arms in front of the “Adam & Eve” painting, where the biblical figures are covered only by the proverbial fig leaf. Instead they divert them to other paintings where everyone is properly dressed.

    • Belgian museums protest Facebook’s censorship of posts featuring iconic Baroque paintings

      Visitors look at the painting “Adam and Eve” by Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens in the Rubenshouse in Antwerp, Belgium. Belgian museums are uniting in protest against Facebook since they cannot promote Flemish masters like Rubens at will for falling foul of the social media site’s adult content rules. Facebook says it has more restrictive rules when it comes to advertising which “must not contain adult content. This includes nudity, depictions of people in explicit or suggestive positions, or activities that are overly suggestive or sexually provocative.”

    • Rubens paintings too saucy for Facebook
    • Tourist Board Accuses Facebook of “Cultural Censorship” After It Labels Famous Painting Indecent

      Facebook’s draconian regulations regarding the banning of all forms of nudity on images posted to the platform have long been the subject of criticism. It wasn’t until recently that the site stopped its policy of banning images of women breastfeeding–apparently an activity crucial to the continuation of the human race is offensive to some viewers.

      Cries to #FreeTheNipple have been heard across the Internet for years, and while Facebook has responded gradually, the rules still remain relatively unchanged.

    • Facebook slammed for censoring nude art as adult content

      Facebook has been slammed for censoring 400-year-old art work containing nudity.

      Tourism officials in Belgium noticed the platform’s censorship at work after posts including certain paintings by Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens had been blocked on Facebook.

      In response the Visit Flanders tourist board staged a mock raid on an art gallery preventing visitors from seeing nudity in the Rubens House museum.

    • Facebook’s censorship agenda coinciding with huge earnings tank

      Facebook is taking a beating in the stock market, and it’s not a pretty picture. I don’t like to see things like this happening, given the kind of trouble it can bring to other areas of the market.

      [...]

      Seriously, do you feel as enthusiastic about Facebook as you did before all the censorship stories rolled out? The declaration of Diamond and Silk as “dangerous to the community” by Facebook’s censors at its YouTube subsidiary? Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s mixed-reviews congressional appearance? Did you want to use Facebook after learning that the company is composed solely of leftist hipsters who have it in for the right? Those were the news items as this profit report was being accumulated.

    • Facebook stock tanking over censorship: Diamond and Silk
    • On Fox, Diamond and Silk say their debunked claims of censorship are “the new Jim Crow”
    • Diamond & Silk say they’re living under ‘the new Jim Crow’ because of fake claims of censorship
    • Diamond and Silk Attack Twitter for Censoring Conservatives: ‘Stop Trying To Be the Arbitrator of Truth’
    • Facebook Crashes Amid Shadow Banning And Censorship Controversy
    • Twitter’s Censorship Problem Looks Like It’s Here To Stay
    • Devin Nunes looking at ‘legal remedies’ to take against Twitter for ‘shadow banning’
    • The Medical Board has become the censorship board
    • HC seeks response to plea against subtitle censorship
    • Bombay HC directs censor board on certificates for subtitles
    • Bombay High Court questions CBFC: Why new rules have been introduced to certify subtitles separately

      The Bombay High Court on Friday issued a notice to the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC) asking it to clarify why it had introduced “new rules,” mandating film producers to seek re-certification of their films, after completing their subtitling. A division bench of Justices RM Borde and VM Deshpande issued notice to the CBFC directing it to file an affidavit in response to a petition filed by the Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association (IMPPA).

      According to the plea filed by the IMPPA through advocate Ashok Saraogi, the CBFC introduced new set of rules in April this year, which are “arbitrary.” The petition states, “We received a notice from the CBFC on April 27, directing us (producers) to obtain a separate censorship certificate for the film’s subtitles. As per the notice, the producers have to first obtain a certificate for the movie and thereafter when subtitling is done by any producer in a different language, they are also required to obtain fresh censorship from the CBFC.”

    • ‘My Hero Academia’ Fans Are Divided Over its Latest Censorship

      My Hero Academia is speeding its way through the Provisional Hero License Exam, and fans were quickly introduced to Shiketsu’s Camie, who bared it all in her attack on Midoriya.

      Fans of the manga expected this development, but they didn’t expect to see the anime’s interpretation of Camie’s nudeness as the series chose to hide her more than Horikoshi did in the manga originally.

    • Not Content with Constant Anti-Scottish Output, the BBC is Extending its Reach to Anti-Scottish Censorship.

      The BBC’s success in taking down Wings Over Scotland’s YouTube channel – and Youtube’s complacent compliance with the BBC instruction – has a very dodgy foundation in law. Excerpts of copyright material may be published for purposes of “criticism, review or quotation” provided the source is acknowledged. As Wings would only use BBC material for review and criticism – they are hardly repeating it as great news reporting – the BBC’s copyright infringement claim is at best very dubious.

      More to the point, this despicable infringement on freedom of speech is appalling behaviour for a state broadcaster. Removal of criticism is the BBC’s only purpose here. The BBC is not protecting a state asset – the old news clips in question have zero commercial value; Wings was not republishing episodes of Dr Who.

      Not content with constant anti-Scottish output, the BBC is extending its reach to anti-Scottish censorship.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Report: NSA Still Plagued by Cyber Security Vulnerabilities

      Security problems are still plaguing the National Security Agency years after whistle blower Edward Snowden leaked classified information.

      The agency’s inspector general released a report that analyzed the NSA from October 2017 to March 2018 and showed the NSA still has substantial cyber vulnerabilities last week.

      The report reveals the agency’s “two-person access control” has not been implemented properly and every single “authority to operate” had paperwork missing.

    • NSA Watchdog Breaks Precedent By Releasing Semi-Annual Report

      For the first time in the history of the secret agency that was rocked by the 2013 Edward Snowden scandal, the National Security Agency’s inspector general has declassified a version of its semi-annual report.

      Robert Storch, after six months on the job, said the goal was “to be as transparent as possible about how the NSA OIG conducts rigorous independent oversight that detects and deters waste, fraud, abuse, and misconduct within the agency, and how we promote the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of agency operations pursuant to the IG Act.” Future such releases are also planned.

      The report summarizing the watchdog’s audits and investigations from Oct. 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018, also included fresh language encouraging agency whistleblowers, a move cheered by activists at outside whistleblower groups.

    • NSA has yet to fix security holes that helped Snowden leaks
    • NSA Watchdog: Surveillance Giant Still Isn’t Securing Its Networks

      Despite suffering multiple devastating security breaches and data exfiltrations over the past five years, the National Security Agency still isn’t taking sufficient measures to secure its digital troves of highly valuable information, according to a rare public report from the NSA’s inspector general. The report, released Wednesday, said investigators found “many instances of non-compliance” with internal rules to protect “computer networks, systems and data.” Those include “inaccurate or incomplete” security plans, unimplemented plans for multi-person access controls over “data centers and equipment rooms” and “removable media” like thumb drives “not [being] scanned for viruses.” In under a decade, a surveillance agency once thought nigh impregnable has experienced at least four catastrophic data breaches, including from whistleblower Edward Snowden; the Shadow Brokers disclosure of NSA digital weapons; a breach attributed to Kaspersky Lab software; and a former cybersecurity contractor who this year pleaded guilty to taking home thousands of agency documents. “Most operators knew how they could get anything they wanted out of the classified nets and onto the internet if they wanted to, even without the USB drives,” a former NSA employee told The Daily Beast last October, the beginning of the six-month period covered in the inspector general report.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • CIA help for T&T [Trinidad & Tobago] with coup
    • WHAT CIA LINK?
    • TT centre of ‘war’

      Former NAR minister: US, Venezuela, Libya links to 1990 attempted coup

      [...]

      A former minister who served in the ANR Robinson cabinet during 1986 to 1991 revealed on Friday that four operatives of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and a troop of American soldiers were heavily involved during the Jamaat al Muslimeen attempted coup in July 1990 in moves to suppress the uprising.

      And he also said neighbouring Venezuela was readying itself to invade TT if this country could not quell the disturbance not merely to assist but to stave off a threat by Libya to its own sovereignty.

      Historian Brinsley Samaroo, who was minister of agriculture at the time, made the disclosures in a special television programme on CCN TV6 to mark the 28th anniversary of the event on Friday evening.

      Samaroo, who was a panellist, said that the Venezuelan president Carlos Andres Perez suspected that what was happening was an attempt by Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi to take control of Trinidad through the Muslimeen and use here as a base for the invasion of Venezuela.

    • ‘CIA letter’ author to lodge report, hold presser to explain ‘real situation’

      Former Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO) director-general Hasanah Abdul Hamid will file a police report on the allegation that she penned a letter to the CIA ahead of the May 9 general election.

      She said her lawyers had advised her to lodge the report.

      However, there were no details as to where and when the report would be lodged in a Star Online report which quoted her press statement.

      Hasanah also said she would hold a press conference on the matter.

      “I will also hold a press conference to explain the real situation,” she said. Once again, there were no details as to when this would be done.

    • EX-MEIO DG to lodge police report over letter to CIA

      Former Malaysian External Intelligence Organisatiom (MEIO) director-general Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid will be lodging a police report over claims that she had sent a letter to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

      In a statement released through her lawyer Datuk Shaharudin Ali today, Hasanah said she was advised by her lawyer to make a police report.

      She said she will also hold a press conference to explain the real situation.

    • Former intelligence unit DG to lodge police report over CIA letter

      The former director-general of the Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO) will lodge a police report over a letter sent to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) before the 14th general election.

      Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid who is at the centre of a controversy over the leaked letter to the CIA has broken her silence over the matter.

      In a statement issued through her lawyer, Hasanah said she had been advised to lodge a police report over the matter.

      She also said that she would issue a statement on the matter soon.

    • Former Malaysian intelligence unit chief to make police report over claims she sent letter to CIA on Najib

      Former director-general of the Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid will make a police report over news articles that claimed she had sent a letter to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

      In a statement yesterday, Datuk Hasanah said she was advised by her lawyers to lodge a report over the matter.

      “I will also hold a press conference to explain the real situation,” she said through her lawyer Datuk Shaharudin Ali on Friday (July 27).

    • Najib ‘not aware’ of letter to CIA

      Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has denied knowledge of a letter written to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) seeking the US’ support for his administration in the 14th general election (GE14).

      However, he added it is bad precedent to leak information considered to be a government secret.

    • Ex-DG to file police complaint over leaked letter to CIA
    • PolitiFact Florida Dissects Claim About Putnam and Algae; And Was CIA Director Really A Communist?

      Moving from green to red, Congressman Ron DeSantis, who’s running against Putnam for the Republican nod, reached back into the Cold War for this comment he made to Fox News:

      “John Brennan was a disaster as CIA director,” DeSantis said on Fox News on July 16. “He was a disaster as the counterterrorism official. He was a member of the Communist Party during the Cold War. So this is not exactly the guy I would listen to about Russia.”

    • UN Urges Full-Fledged Probe Into Allegations of Secret CIA Prison in Lithuania

      In 2016, Lithuania told the European Court of Human Rights that the country wasn’t harboring a secret US Central Intelligence Agency prison where terrorist suspects were allegedly detained.

      The United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) has urged Lithuanian authorities to fully investigate allegations that a secret CIA prison operated in the Baltic state.

    • Migrant children sexually exploited to ‘pay’ for Italy-France crossing, says charity

      Migrant children are being sexually exploited to pay for their safe passage into France from the Italian border, according to a report from Save the Children Italy. The minors, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, are being forced to perform sex acts if they cannot afford the €50-€150 asked by drivers in exchange for a lift across the border.

      The children are also being offered food or shelter in return for being abused. The charity says it has evidence of many cases, particularly since the beginning of this year.

      “These are very young, and particularly at-risk girls, who are among the invisible flow of unaccompanied migrant minors in transit at the northern Italian border who, in an attempt to reunite with their relatives or acquaintances in other European countries, are deprived of the opportunity to travel safely and legally,” Raffaela Milano, the director of Italy-Europe programmes at Save the Children, said in the report.

    • Qatar alleged to have used ex-CIA to sabotage Australia’s Fifa World Cup bid
    • Former CIA agents nobbled Australia’s World Cup bid, says UK’s Sunday Times
    • Qatar alleged to have used ex-CIA to sabotage Australia’s World Cup bid
    • Qatar World Cup 2022 team ‘ran black ops campaign against rival bids using ex-CIA officers and PR firm’

      Qatar controversially won the right to host the tournament in 2010 after a surprise victory over the United States and Australia.

      The alleged aim of the ‘dirty tricks’ campaign was to suggest the World Cup would not be supported domestically in those countries.

      It is against Fifa rules for countries to make any statements or campaigns about rival bids.

    • Qatar accused of sabotage campaign with ex-CIA agents to secure World Cup hosting rights

      The World Cup 2022 hosts Qatar engaged in a secret smear campaign involving former CIA agents to undermine the bids of competing nations Australia and the United States, according to The Sunday Times.

      The British newspaper says that it has obtained documents which show that Qatar, the first Arab country to ever host the World Cup, secured the services of a US-based PR firm, as well as the former agents, with the aim of provoking a negative public reaction to the rival bids.

    • Qatar Accused of Using Ex-CIA Agents to Sabotage Rivals For 2022 World Cup Bid

      The Qatar World Cup bid team has been accused of using a PR agency and former CIA agents in a secret “black-ops” campaign aiming to sabotage their rivals competing for the 2022 World Cup tournament, thus breaking FIFA (the international football organization) rules. This was reported by The Sunday Times, after receiving documents from a whistleblower, who supposedly was part of the bid team.

    • Exclusive: Qatar sabotaged 2022 World Cup rivals with ‘black ops’

      The controversial Qatar World Cup bid team broke Fifa’s rules by running a secret “black operations” campaign to sabotage rivals competing to host the tournament, according to documents leaked to The Sunday Times.

      Emails from a whistleblower show how the bid paid a public relations firm and former CIA agents to pump out fake propaganda about its main rivals, the United States and Australia, during its successful campaign to host the next World Cup.

    • Qatar World Cup 2022 bid team accused of secret ‘black-ops’ campaign to sabotage rivals
    • Did Qatar use ‘black ops’ to win World Cup bid?
    • Qatar’s World Cup bid used ‘black operations’: Report
    • Qatar reject claims they used former CIA operatives to sabotage rival bidders for the 2022 World Cup

      The Qatar 2022 World Cup bid team broke FIFA rules by running a secret campaign to sabotage their rivals for the tournament, The Sunday Times has claimed.

      The newspaper says it has been passed documents by a whistleblower who worked with the Qatar bid.

      It says the bid team used a PR agency and former CIA operatives to disseminate fake propaganda about its main competitors, the United States and Australia.

    • Among them ex-CIA agents, these are the people Qatar used to cheat its way to WC 2022

      The lid is off the well-planned ‘black operations’ by Qatar to sabotage the rival bids from the US and Australia for the FIFA 2022 World Cup which Doha was awarded during the FIFA Executive Committee meeting in Zürich on December 2, 2010.

      The Sunday Times report compiled through leaked emails given to the newspaper by a whistleblower reveals that the sabotage operation was carried out by the New York-based PR firm Brown Lloyd James, now known as BLJ Worldwide. The modus operandi was by using middlemen to approach journalists, academics, bloggers and others to create negative reports on the bids by rival countries.

    • Isis Beatle’s mother launches legal action against British government over death penalty

      The government is facing a legal challenge over its refusal to ensure two Isis militants are not executed when they are sent to the US for prosecution.

      The Home Office has been forced to suspend a “mutual legal assistance” (MLA) agreement it struck with American authorities last month over Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh.

      Elsheikh’s mother is attempting to launch a judicial review of Sajid Javid’s unprecedented decision not to seek assurances that the death penalty would not be used, when he handed over British intelligence.

    • Harvesting hope: the permaculture movement in India

      On the first of June 2018, thousands of Indian farmers started a 10-day protest demanding farm loan waivers and higher prices for their products. This large-scale protest followed a long march by 40,000 farmers to Mumbai in March. India’s farming sector – which employs most of the country’s labour force – has been in crisis for decades. A significant indicator has been the dramatic increase of farmers suicides which first entered the headlines in the 1990s. According to a government report which was released in 2017, since 2013 over 12,000 suicides have been reported every year.

      At root, the agrarian crisis in India has a number of causes. While climate change and its consequent effects on Indian agriculture has played a role, activists and opponents of the government’s agricultural policies see the Green Revolution which started in the 1970s and the transformation of Indian agriculture into large scale corporate industrial agriculture as the main reason behind India’s agricultural crisis. Prominent environmental and alter-globalisation activist Vandana Shiva, for example, has referred to farmer suicides as a genocide, and has accused the WTO and the government’s agricultural policies of destroying small-scale farmers. Among a number of movements, civil society organisations and campaigns addressing the agrarian crisis and the effects of industrial agriculture in India, the permaculture movement is fast gaining ground among subsistence farmers and proponents of alternative agriculture. If expanded, they think it would be able to counter many of the discontents of Indian farmers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Intellectual property, not intellectual monopoly

      “The copyright and patent laws we have today look more like intellectual monopoly than intellectual property,” wrote Brink Lindsey and Steven Teles in their recent book about the U.S. economy. Concerns about overprotection of intellectual property acting as a barrier to innovation and its diffusion are not new. But they have gained greater salience now that knowledge has emerged as a dominant driver of economic activity and competitive advantage.

      [...]

      Digital technologies have enabled the emergence of an “intangible economy,” based on soft assets like algorithms and lines of code, rather than physical assets like buildings and machinery. In this environment, intellectual-property rules can now make or break business models and reshape societies, as they determine how economic gains are shared.

      Yet the main features of today’s IP regime were established for a very different economy. Patent rules, for example, reflect the long-held assumption that strong protection provides an essential incentive for businesses to pursue innovation. In fact, recent studies by Petra Moser and Heidi Williams, among others, find little evidence that patents boost innovation. On the contrary, because they lock in incumbents’ advantages and drive up the costs of new technology, such protections are associated with less new or follow-on innovation, weaker diffusion, and increased market concentration. This has contributed to growing monopoly power, slowing productivity growth, and rising inequality in many economies over the past couple of decades.

      Patents also invite considerable lobbying and rent-seeking. A majority of patents are used not to produce commercial value, but to create defensive legal thickets that can keep potential competitors at bay. As the system expands, patent trolling and litigation soar. Lawsuits by patent trolls comprise more than three-fifths of all lawsuits for IP infringement in the U.S., and cost the economy an estimated $500 billion in 1990-2010.

07.29.18

The Golden Cage of the EPO is No Longer Golden and It Increasingly Looks Like It’s Shutting Down, However Gradually

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recent: Reader’s Post: How the EPO Silently Halves Salaries of Senior EPO Staff (or Gets Rid of Them)

Jailed monkey
Reference: The Golden Cage

Summary: As the EPO runs out of work questions remain about what will happen to working conditions (if any workers are left who are satisfied at all)

THE OUTSOURCER in chief António Campinos starts his fifth week on the job tomorrow. We are still hearing rumours and speculations about layoffs. In the meantime senior staff is being driven out and/or forced to take cuts. This would be unthinkable somewhere like the USPTO, let alone anywhere in Europe, but the EPO is above the law.

“We’re not sure that the EPO is even recruiting anymore.”The occasional commentary by Märpel, which/who typically writes in the weekends (we’re guessing it’s an EPO insider), now tackles glassdoor.com reviews (recall our article “Job Applicants at the EPO Disappointed, Reference Made in Interview to Slavery”). “Therefore,” Märpel wrote a few hours ago, “as could be expected, the EPO experiences great difficulties in finding candidates when recruiting.”

We’re not sure that the EPO is even recruiting anymore. It’s mostly pretending to. We have heard it from several directions/sources and we have not seen the EPO openly advertising jobs for a number of months. That’s not the usual thing. In Märpel’s words:

In a comment posted on the last article, “Seeking job” noted that the reviews about the EPO on glassdoor.com criticised that the EPO did not respect the rule of law. Glassdoor is only the tip of the iceberg. Märpel asked around. University graduates are organised in trade associations and these are not publicly accessible on the Internet. But they help spread the word.

It normally works as follows:
-trade associations keep lists of their members
-if you are a member and seek a job at the EPO, you look on the list for somebody already working at the EPO and contact them
-that person tells you his or her opinion of the place.

Dear readers who know what goes on recruitment-wise, please get in touch with us securely; we need to know what Campinos plans to do when impending patents/applications backlog runs out. It won’t be long before that happens. What will happen then?

Rebellion Against Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Inter Partes Reviews (IPRs) Comes From Patent Extremists, Demonstrating PTAB’s Success

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 2:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This past week’s PTAB roundup

Police at protest

Summary: Considering where the backlash against PTAB keeps coming from, PTAB should be overwhelmingly pleased and rest assured that scientists and technologists are on its side

THE BIG QUESTIONS regarding abstract/software patents were all answered a very long time ago (over 4 years) by SCOTUS. Well, software patents are in general not suitable for enforcement; those that had been granted could barely be enforced successfully after Alice. Few even bother trying anymore. It’s too risky and far too expensive in case of failure. It’s a dangerous gamble.

“…software patents are in general not suitable for enforcement; those that had been granted could barely be enforced successfully after Alice.”Banner & Witcoff’s Charles W. Shifley, i.e. the patent microcosm, has this interesting new article. USPTO officials, who didn’t care about patent quality, belatedly realise that the image of patents is nowadays being eroded and has become negative, so they try to create a “new narrative” rather than improve patent quality. To quote Shifley:

These days, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has a new Director, and reflecting only on the recent “bad,” he calls for a “new narrative” about patents, one that emphasizes their benefit to society. 1 Is a new “new narrative” possible, at this time, and for the foreseeable future? One in which patents are good?

[...]

So back to the introduction. With a whipsawing through bad-to-good and good-tobad again, and with a new PTO Director calling for a “new narrative” about patents, is a new “new narrative” possible? Can there be a new “morning in America” for patents?

Of course, only time will tell. But consider what caused the earlier change from bad-to-good. First, bad led to the adoption of new law, the law that created the Federal Circuit, and the law it created of due care for patent rights. Fast-forward, in the period since the rise of patent enforcement entities, there has certainly been new law. The prime example is the America Invents Act (AIA), with its creation of inter partes reviews (IPRs), and similar postgrant proceedings, to reconsider issued patents. The AIA and IPRs passed a major test in recent months, surviving a constitutional challenge in the Oil States case.

If they worry so much about perception/image of patents being tarnished, then they need to ask themselves what critics are really saying; they usually don’t oppose patents as a concept but bemoan just how far patents have gone. Patent maximalism is the problem; there’s an analogous issue surrounding copyright law (many aspects of it, e.g. term lengths, Fair Use).

“Patent maximalism is the problem; there’s an analogous issue surrounding copyright law (many aspects of it, e.g. term lengths, Fair Use).”The America Invents Act (AIA) has actually been part of the solution; most critics of the old status quo are generally supportive of AIA and pertinent items like PTAB, IPRs etc. It’s not hard to see who opposes these; it’s almost always the patent maximalists; here’s one of them stating that: “So far in July, the PTAB has issued 20 decisions involving claim rejections based on 101/Alice ineligibility. Only 1 decision reversed the examiner.”

He also said that “[t]he PTAB quietly hit a milestone in June in reversing Alice Section 101 rejections,” linking to the latest from a PTAB bashing site called Anticipat (been quiet for a very long time).

They’re just ‘pulling a Berkheimer‘ again:

As we have pointed out in a previous post, for more than a year, reversal rates for abstract idea (Alice) rejections have been extremely low. We are finally seeing an uptick of reversals likely due to Berkheimer and other Federal Circuit case law and recent guidance by the USPTO. As we’ve previously predicted, this reversal rate should continue (and may even go up). But until leadership at the USPTO clarifies its policies, it remains to be seen by how much.

As we’ve previously reported, from August 2016 to April 2017, the PTAB had months where it reversed abstract ideas in the 20 and 30 percentage range. That is, if a month had 100 abstract idea decisions, the Board would reverse the examiner on 20 or 30 of those cases. But May 2017 saw a dismal change in appellant fortunes: the reversal rate for abstract idea rejections tanked. For this period of over a year ago, many months saw only single digit reversal rates. Indeed, no month during this time exceeded a 15% reversal rate. The period was bad for Alice appellants.

We responded to this last weekend in a couple of posts. Basically, Berkheimer has had no considerable impact, but patent maximalists are trying to entice customers by alleging that it has. It is no magic wand and no effective tricks have been pulled out of a hat. It’s almost pure fiction, but these people believe that if they keep saying Berkheimer people will nod (without even knowing the case). We call it ‘pulling a Berkheimer‘; sometimes the lawyers call it “Berkheimer Effect’ (capitalised even), similar to “Alicestorm” and other catchphrases they make up.

“We call it ‘pulling a Berkheimer‘; sometimes the lawyers call it “Berkheimer Effect’ (capitalised even), similar to “Alicestorm” and other catchphrases they make up.”Anyway, previous tricks for bypassing Section 101 have fallen on deaf ears in the courts. Some have even attempted to avoid the courts altogether, asserting that they’re basically immune from the law. PTAB didn’t fall for that trick and neither did judges above PTAB. Native American status does not imply corporations can piggyback that status and it's unlikely that SCOTUS would see it differently if it even bothers dealing with an appeal (which is also unlikely because the Federal Circuit was pretty firm and unambiguous). Here’s one more article we’ve missed, a report from Cyrus Farivar which a reader forwarded to us a few days ago. Let it sink in:

In a unanimous decision, an appellate court has resoundingly rejected the legal claim that sovereign immunity, as argued by a Native American tribe, can act as a shield for a patent review process.
On July 20, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found in a 3-0 decision that the inter partes review (IPR) process is closer to an “agency enforcement action”—like a complaint brought by the Federal Trade Commission or the Federal Communications Commission—than a regular lawsuit.

IPR is a process that allows anyone to challenge a patent’s validity at the United States Patent and Trademark Office—it was used famously in 2017 to reject the “podcasting patent.”

“This win is a victory in our ongoing efforts to stop patent abuses by brand companies and to help drive access to more affordable medicine,” Mylan CEO Heather Bresch said in a statement on July 20.

A Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes review (IPR) would be good for the customers too; lower prices, better access to medicine etc.

“An Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes review (IPR) would be good for the customers too; lower prices, better access to medicine etc.”Well done, PTAB.

“The PTAB recently clarified eligibility for a covered business method review (CBM),” wrote Jones Day’s Matthew W. Johnson a few days ago, shedding some light on business methods (although CBM is part of AIA and isn’t quite the same thing), which are intrinsically similar to software patents. To quote:

See Xerox Corp. v. Bytemark, Inc., No. CBM2018-00011 (P.T.A.B. July 12, 2018) (Paper 12). To establish standing for CBM review, a petitioner must show that the patent in question is a CBM patent. 37 C.F.R. § 42.304. CBM patents “claim[] a method or corresponding apparatus for performing data processing or other operations used in the practice, administration, or management of a financial product or service . . . .” Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA), Pub. L. No. 112-29, § 18(d)(1), 125 Stat. 284, 329-31 (2011).

In Xerox Corp., the Petitioners requested CBM review of U.S. Patent No. 8,494,967 (’967 patent), which claims a system that allows human ticket-takers to verify already-purchased electronic tickets without having to use a barcode scanner. See No. CBM2018-00011, Paper 12 at 2, 4. Petitioners argued that the ’967 patent is a CBM patent because (1) the utilization and validation of a purchased ticket constitutes a “financial product or service,” and (2) the claimed activities “associated with” the purchased ticket are financial activities. Id. at 9. The Patent Owner responded that the ’967 patent is not a CBM patent because its claims only cover “post-sale” activity. Id.

These are almost definitely abstract patents; The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) enables PTAB to squash these. PTAB is awesome and it typically gets things right. More software patents have just been squashed, as reported just before the weekend by Law 360. Here are the details (it’s about CBM):

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board on Wednesday invalidated two patents covering digital management systems that were challenged by Dish Network, saying the claims in both patents were directed to the abstract idea of delivering certain data to users.

The PTAB ruled in separate America Invents Act covered business method reviews that Customedia Technologies LLC’s patents were invalid under the U.S. Supreme Court’s Alice ruling, concluding that U.S. Patent Numbers 7,840,437 and 9,053,494 B2 were directed to nothing more than the abstract ideas of delivering “rented…

Dish Network (stylised as “DISH Network” or shorthanded “DISH”) is actually making stuff; Alice came to its rescue. Customedia Technologies, the plaintiff, is nothing but a pile of patents and lawsuits, based on our quick research. This means that PTAB helps technology here; that’s more of the usual.

“Customedia Technologies, the plaintiff, is nothing but a pile of patents and lawsuits, based on our quick research.”Patent lawyers and attorneys aren’t happy about any of this. That’s expected. To them, PTAB is “death squads” (their analogies really go that far). This whole “death” narrative is being perpetuated every day, giving people the impression that PTAB is “killing”. Here’s a new example: “US Pat 9053494, System for data management and on-demand rental and purchase of digital data products; Killed w/Alice in CBM…”

Killed? Invalidated, not “killed”. But whatever…

Writing about Ex parte Galloway, Donald Zuhn (Patent Docs) wrote:

In a decision issued in May, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reversed the final rejection of claims 35-48 in U.S. Application No. 13/512,585. The claims at issue had been rejected by the Examiner under 35 U.S.C. § 103(a) as being unpatentable over U.S. Patent No. 7,056,690 (“Laskey”) in view of Pajor et al., International Society for Analytical, Cytometry Part A. (2008) (“Pajor”), and Stoeber et al., J. Nat. Cancer Inst. 94(14): 1071-79 (2002) (“Stoeber”), and under 35 U.S.C. § 101 as being directed to a judicial exception without significantly more.

[...]

The Board concluded that the Examiner failed to provide evidence to support a prima facie case of patent ineligible subject matter, citing Berkheimer v. HP Inc., 881 F.3d 1360, 1369 (Fed. Cir. 2018), for the proposition that “[w]hether something is well-understood, routine, and conventional to a skilled artisan at the time of the patent is a factual determination.” In particular, the Board noted that “the Examiner did not establish with factual evidence, that the cell counting step, as claimed, is conventional or known in the art.” The Board therefore reversed the Examiner’s rejection of the claims at issue under § 101.

Just ‘pulling a Berkheimer‘ again; this concerns § 101, which is often utilised when software patents are asserted outside or inside the court (threats of litigation, a lawsuit at the district courts, or an expensive appeal to the Federal Circuit).

“This whole “death” narrative is being perpetuated every day, giving people the impression that PTAB is “killing”.”The Patent Docs contributor Michael Borella then weighed in on Ex Parte Jung, which is being labeled informative (like precedence more or less) by the USPTO. It’s about a patent describing a “scene to be played back from the media server in response to the request,” i.e. another nonsensical abstract patent. To quote:

In it, the PTAB clarifies how a certain commonly-used claiming technique could be construed as either in the conjunctive or disjunctive depending on the disclosure of the specification. While this interpretation is not new and dates back to a 2004 Federal Circuit opinion, many practitioners still use similar language in claims with the intent for these claims to be interpreted in the disjunctive only. Therefore, it is worth revisiting this case.

[...]

…specification resulted in a conclusion that while both a conjunctive and disjunctive interpretation was supported therein, there was no “clear definition or disavowal which would compel a disjunctive construction.”

Regarding the second instance of “at least one” in the claim, the PTAB found support for a disjunctive interpretation. But, it stated that “neither the claims nor the remainder of the Specification ever suggest that a connection branch and a contents connection list must be mutually exclusive . . . [t]hus, nothing compels interpreting ‘and’ to mean ‘or’ contrary to its ordinary meaning.”

Therefore, both instances of “at least one” were properly construed as conjunctive. As a result, the PTAB reversed the Examiner’s obviousness rejections, as the PTAB’s claim construction was sufficiently narrower than that of the Examiner to avoid reading on the cited references. The irony here, however, is that the narrower construction of “at least one of a connection branch and a contents connection list” was not adequately supported by the specification. Consequently, the claims were rejected under 35 U.S.C. § 112, first paragraph for lack of written description.

The practice tip here is that a claim term in the form of “at least one of A and B” will be interpreted in the conjunctive unless the Applicant clearly requires a disjunctive interpretation. Nonetheless, numerous practitioners are unaware of SuperGuide and still expect such a term to mean “A or B.” A safe bet for those who wish to claim in the conjunctive or disjunctive is to use “A and B” or “A or B”, respectively. With appropriate support in the specification, of course.

This “obviousness” case serves to show that PTAB is pretty strict — something which Patent Docs (and the likes of it) can barely tolerate, nor can patent extremists like Mr. Gross, who is again ranting about Section 101:

#patent stakeholders: PTAB message is clear – if there is any way you can posit your claims as relating to GUI improvement, your chances of beating bogus 101 test are vastly improved: https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2017003187-06-25-2018-1 …

Managing IP‘s Michael Loney is now acting as his (Mr. Gross) megaphone in their fight against patent quality. They are nitpicking decisions and quotes (even from dissent) to suit their warped agenda.

Mr. Loney seems to really like perpetuating these talking points of patent maximalists; RPX being one of their latest. As Mr. Gross put it the other day:

As expected, Unified Patents is panicking about repercussions of Internet Time v. RPX case by CAFC to their patent blackmail IPR threat model!, their FAQs are modified to try and paper their way into safe harbor; before and after website versions attached to show dramatic changes pic.twitter.com/huOlngXDym

“14 of the 22 patent suits filed Monday were filed by patent trolls,” said this tweet last week, “according to RPX Corp. That’s 64%.”

“They are nitpicking decisions and quotes (even from dissent) to suit their warped agenda.”RPX is dying a slow death; it profits from an abundance of patent trolls and as PTAB halts much of their activity the necessity for RPX membership isn’t quite there anymore.

In a perfect world, patent trolls would simply go extinct. In order for that to happen patent quality would need to be improved and scrutiny of patents made cheaper (more accessible). This is why PTAB is so important. This is why it has passionate enemies among patent maximalists. They rely on low-quality patents/examination — a prerequisite to explosion in grants and litigation those grants can entail.

Section 101/Alice Patent Ineligibility Would Include Artificial Intelligence and Blockchains

Posted in America, Patents at 10:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

So why do many firms still pursue patents in AI and blockchain ‘clothing’?

Tube
Formula for success at the patent offices (sometimes), but not at patent courts

Summary: In an effort to make algorithms sound more advanced or more scientific applicants now ride the hype waves (fashionable trends), hoping that examiners would grant out of ignorance (of the said buzzwords/hype)

THE patenting of software was always our first and foremost concern, predating by 8 years our in-depth EPO coverage, which also concerns software patents in Europe.

In the United States we’ve been seeing a retreat to buzzwords and hype; applicants try to disguise the fact that the patents they pursue simply cover some algorithms. Buzzwords and hype are increasingly being used to pursue software patents that are totally bunk. Such patents would be invalidated in courts (if that ever reached them).

“In the United States we’ve been seeing a retreat to buzzword and hype; applicants try to disguise the fact that the patents they pursue simply cover some algorithms.”Bereskin & Parr LLP’s Isi Caulder and Paul Blizzard have just published this article at Lexology; it speaks of “Expanding Use of AI and ML software at Intellectual Property Offices (IPOs),” by which they mean automation of examination and search using clever algorithms, not necessarily patenting of these underlying algorithms.

To quote:

On February 8th, 2018 the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) released a summary[1] of the replies given by national and regional IPOs about the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) software in the administration at the IPO, and the results are a very interesting perspective on the adoption of various legal tech initiatives in government and administrative environments.

[...]

The report pointed to numerous different use cases for AI in the administration of IP, including automatic patent classification, automatic recommendation of classes for goods and services in Trademark applications, prior art searching and analytics, Trademark image searching, Trademark examination as a whole, helpdesk services for Applicants, general administrative tasks for IP management, machine translation of foreign language documents, and data analysis for economic research.

WIPO, incidentally, also promotes patents on so-called ‘AI’, not just use of it for patent processes. The EPO has been doing a lot of that lately.

Strafford now promotes software patents under the umbrella of “Machine Learning”; those are software patents and mathematics, statistics. Those would not be valid under § 101, but they frame it as a sort of open question: “How can patent counsel meet the requirements under §101 and §112 in machine learning patent applications?”

“Aside from the “AI” hype there’s also “blockchain” and patents that claim to be on or pertaining to blockchains.”Well, Strafford is just interested in litigation (see this other webinar it has just advertised; it’s about PPH).

Aside from the “AI” hype there’s also “blockchain” and patents that claim to be on or pertaining to blockchains. These are worthless patents. They would never withstand scrutiny of higher courts. It’s part of a patent gold rush in the US and elsewhere. Days ago there was this article about it which said:

While the landscape for blockchain is still in its infancy, its potential has led the world’s leading accounting firms to explore ways to implement the emerging technology in their work. The latest is Ernst & Young LLP which has acquired certain technology assets and patents to boost its services for crypto assets.

Accounting services firm has purchased the Andy Crypto-Asset Accounting and Tax (CAAT) tool from the US-based startup Elevated Consciousness, Inc. The solution connects with multiple cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets, allowing for better visibility into cryptocurrency transactions.

Those are just software patents. We couldn’t help noticing this new tweet, which correctly points out: “What kind of protection today are #blockchain patent owners expecting? Even with long claims (which diminishes value) the courts can quickly invalidate under #Alice for abstraction. Is long term bet that eligibility laws will open up?”

“If quality control isn’t taken seriously, people will gradually learn that there’s no point bothering with the system.”Where we are at the moment isn’t too encouraging; patent offices grant software patents under the guise of supporting “AI” and other vague concepts; what will happen when many of these patents get invalidated, ruining confidence in the remainder and devaluing the system? If quality control isn’t taken seriously, people will gradually learn that there’s no point bothering with the system.

Watchtroll Demonstrates Disdain and Scorn for Science and Technology; IBM is Happy to Cooperate

Posted in IBM, Patents at 7:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Watchtroll

Summary: The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) tackles many low-quality patents and patent litigation has therefore gone down sharply; Watchtroll has resorted to derision of the system, reinforcing the widely-held belief that patent maximalists aren’t interested in science and technology but in trolling/litigation

THE patent extremists seem to be getting more extreme over time. Watchtroll is a good example of it because it nowadays attacks judges, puts “Shit” in its headlines and miraculously enough IBM the patent bully is still happy enough to associate with Watchtroll. That says a lot about IBM and how desperate it has become; it’s trying to warp itself into more of a “patent licensing” giant.

We don’t want to spend too much time talking about Watchtroll (like news channels that spend a lot of their time merely responding to or debunking Fox ‘News’), but for many patent extremists it is the ‘go-to’ site, so we cannot just altogether ignore it, either. We’ll just rebut ‘in bulk’.

“We don’t want to spend too much time talking about Watchtroll (like news channels that spend a lot of their time merely responding to or debunking Fox ‘News’)…”“Aveed®” (with the trademark included) was mentioned by Watchtroll two days ago in this article about the Federal Circuit (CAFC) and yesterday they returned to their obsession over China, even if that has nothing to do with patents. It’s just part of an alarmist strategy for altering laws, under the guise of “emergency”. We wrote many articles about this strategy before. Also yesterday we saw David Wanetick publishing a sob story in Watchtroll. “Inventors face disrespect, derision and hostility at every turn,” Watchtroll now says, conflating patents (of people who troll) with invention.

Alluding to the trade secrets litigation trend, Watchtrol’s Steve Brachmann mentioned it in passing and Jeremy Sherman together with Priyan Meewella then (on the same day) asserted that software disputes are over licensing rather than patenting. “Software licensing disputes are on the increase,” they said, “a trend that is being driven to a large degree by customers implementing new technologies without examining how this affects pre-existing agreements.”

Watchtroll did the usual moaning about patent obviousness and PTAB/CAFC bashing, knowing that PTAB isn’t going away and issuing yet more court-bashing (anti-CAFC) pieces would be counterproductive.

Ultimately, it’s sites like Watchtroll that attack the patent system (especially the court, i.e. justice), whereas we are the ones trying to maintain or restore its integrity, as per its original goals/purpose. We often wonder if Watchtroll realises how much damage it actively does to its supposed cause by reinforcing a ruinous stigma.

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