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07.21.18

The EPO (European Patent Office) Under António Campinos is Just Another Battistelli EPO; Still UPC and Software Patents Lobbying

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

While staff representatives are hung out to dry, judges enjoy no real independence, corruption isn’t being tackled, and patent quality isn’t cared about

Campinos in the penthouse

Summary: Campinos has done pretty much nothing but a single blog post since taking Office; it makes one wonder what he’s doing all day and whether he ever intends to tackle all the abuses that compelled the Council to replace Battistelli

THE EPO scandals aren’t over. In fact, none has been addressed, not to mention resolved (the new President just ignores virtually all of these scandals). His first step as President was UPC promotion (on his second day on the job). A new article by Shrey Pathak and Sanam Habib (Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP) and another by George Tebbutt (Haseltine Lake LLP) shows that Team UPC hasn’t grown tired of lying. They’re both wrong about Brexit and what the government says about UPC; it's merely "exploring", which is a polite way of saying "we can't quite promise anything" (because it’s an untenable situation, legally speaking).

“For those who aren’t aware, the UPC is also — inter alia — a Trojan horse for software patents in Europe. They’re trying to cement what they already do illegally, namely the granting of software patents.”IAM, a UPC lobbyist on the payroll of the EPO’s PR firm, has just begun advertising this event for software patents. It’s a Trojan horse for software patents lobbying in the US — the same sort of thing Battistelli did with IAM on their tour of horror back in June. For those who aren’t aware, the UPC is also — inter alia — a Trojan horse for software patents in Europe. They’re trying to cement what they already do illegally, namely the granting of software patents.

The António Campinos-led EPO is still promoting software patents. The verified account of the EPO (European Patent Office but with “Org” in its username, creating an ambiguity) wrote: “Innovation using #artificialintelligence is eminently patentable at the EPO – find out how from EPO experts at this event in Chicago.”

The page even uses the term “CII”, which is just software patents, as noted by us in this recent post and also many others about software patents in Europe. We wrote about this in relation to IBM’s latest campaign of patent blackmail (this time Groupon is in the firing line). Groupon fires back, supported by new articles such as this one: (titled “Groupon accuses IBM of patent shake-down”)

A lawyer for discount e-commerce company Groupon this week told a court in Delaware that International Business Machines Corp has shaken down practically every large tech firm for patent fees.

IBM is suing Groupon for US$167 million, accusing it of infringing four basic internet technology patents, in a case that is being closely watched by the tech industry.

Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM has portrayed itself as an innovator whose licensing fee requests are reasonable in light of its research and development costs. But Groupon is defending itself by trying to portray IBM as using outdated patents to squeeze money out of other tech companies with threats of litigation.

Those are software patents and we hope that Groupon will have these sent to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) for invalidation. The inter partes reviews (IPRs) of IBM patents almost always result in invalidation. What would be the fate of similar European Patents if the appeal boards of the EPO actually enjoyed independence and sufficient capacity (staff for starters)?

Cisco v Arista Networks is a Stain on the Reputation of the US International Trade Commission (ITC) and It’s Beginning to Recognise This

Posted in Antitrust, Courtroom, Patents at 10:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Administrative Law Judge Photos
Reference: Administrative Law Judge Photos

Summary: Cisco is leveraging software patents which PTAB deemed to be invalid against a much smaller firm (revenue ~30 times smaller [1, 2]), demanding an embargo and bypassing the ordinary routes of justice by turning to the ITC

Sometimes companies want to bypass the ordinary courts (District Courts, Federal Circuit, SCOTUS) to just quickly issue an injunction, i.e. embargo, raids, prevention of import/sales and so on. It’s the kind of thing that the EPO is pursuing with its shameless UPC lobbying. The assumption that any patent granted by the USPTO is OK or should be presumed valid is a dangerous one and proper justice (due process, plus appeal/s, innocence until proof of guilt) isn’t assured anymore. It’s a leap towards extreme action. It’s not really patent justice but patent prejudice and maximalism. It’s like copyright takedowns (as per DMCA) where the accused gets censored without even a right/access to defense. Ripe for abuse? By design?

“It’s not really patent justice but patent prejudice and maximalism. It’s like copyright takedowns (as per DMCA) where the accused gets censored without even a right/access to defense.”Arista Networks uses inter partes reviews (IPRs) for the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to scrutinise the patents at hand; Arista Networks won the case/appeal, but the ITC then shockingly enough snubbed the ruling, having never previously ignored such rulings! There was a lot of commotion about this at the time (especially last year) and now we learn, courtesy of World Intellectual Property Review (WIPR), that the ITC will review the administrative law judge’s (ALJ) decision. To quote:

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) said yesterday it will review an administrative law judge’s (ALJ) determination regarding a patent infringement claim Cisco Systems brought against computer networking company Arista Networks.

The ITC said it will review the final remand enforcement initial determination (REID) that the ALJ issued in June, when it found that Arista did not violate a cease and desist order regarding one of the patents.

In January 2015, the ITC launched an investigation into Arista based on a complaint from Cisco.

Cisco alleged that Arista had violated section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 by importing certain network devices, related software and components that infringed six patents relating to software.

[...]

The ALJ’s investigation determined again that Arista did not violate the cease and desist order. Both parties filed petitions for review of the REID and filed responses to the other side’s petitions.

ITC staff must understand that the reputation of its judgments is on the line. It’s not only us who bring up these issues; sadly, however, the media is dominated by law firms (at least for this particular topic), so the voice of technologists is rarely heard. Many are unaware of the dispute or cannot follow the news, owing partly to legalese.

“Whose interest would be served by embargoes? Not the public’s, that’s for sure… Arista’s engineers have already been compelled to make their products intentionally worse.”Judges must take into account not the interests of law firms that profit from litigation/feuds but technologists who profit from actual innovation. Whose interest would be served by embargoes? Not the public’s, that’s for sure… Arista’s engineers have already been compelled to make their products intentionally worse. This is never a positive thing; in fact, Cisco’s legal actions have already put many companies like Arista at existential risk.

Openet Has Been Intimidated by Amdocs Using Another Patent Infringement Lawsuit

Posted in America, Patents at 9:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Openet

Summary: Amdocs is still engaging in legal intimidation and litigious bullying against its much smaller rivals/competitors; Openet is the latest reminder of it, having paid an undisclosed amount of money to end the dispute

IF PATENTS are still about innovation, as intended at the time of their inception, and if patents on software are not allowed, why is it that when used in bulk (the Microsoft way) monopolists get their way?

Amdocs, a company about 30 times the size of Openet (in terms of the number of employees), was mentioned here many times before, e.g. in [1, 2, 3]. It’s a rather aggressive firm, usually in the sense that it uses patents against its rivals. This de facto telephone surveillance* company has resorted to patent blackmail in recent years, emboldened by patents granted, awarded and sent from the USPTO. They’re an example of monopoly assertion by patents rather than technical merit. According to this new press release, Amdocs and Openet “have settled a patent infringement dispute in the United States Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. As part of the confidential settlement, Amdocs agreed to license certain patents to Openet.”

“Finjan too is listed in the US market even though it makes nothing at all (just patent lawsuits).”In other words (not legalese), Openet shelled out some ‘protection’ money to Amdocs (a secret amount of money so as to aid future cases, filed against litigation targets to come). Openet is one among many. Amdocs is starting to resemble the Israeli patent troll Finjan, which many moons (over a decade) ago actually had a product. Extortion with software patents has since then become the sole business model. Finjan too is listed in the US market even though it makes nothing at all (just patent lawsuits).

Openet is an Irish (Dublin-based) company, so the Irish Times covered this, as did telecom news sites. To quote:

An extremely short announcement from Amdocs said “Amdocs and Openet today announced that they have settled a patent infringement dispute in the United States Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. As part of the confidential settlement, Amdocs agreed to license certain patents to Openet.”

Back in 2010 youthful Light Reading hack Ray Le Maistre spoke to (then and still) Openet CEO Niall Norton in a bid to find out what Amdocs’ problem was. Norton, however, seemed to be as baffled as everyone else by this act of unilateral legal aggression and chose to conclude that it was merely a measure of how intimidated Amdocs was by the plucky Irish BSS upstart.

This is just legal intimidation. It’s commonly practiced by monopolies trying to assert or reassert their monopoly over a ‘turf’, just as Microsoft or IBM habitually do.
____
* As Wikipedia puts it, “Amdocs’ broad access to U.S. telephone transaction records has raised counterintelligence concerns in the U.S. government about the vulnerability of this information to exploitation by Israeli spies. “As early as 1999, the National Security Agency issued a warning that records of U.S. government telephone calls were ending up in foreign hands – Israel’s, in particullar.”

Federal Circuit Judges Moore, Dyk and Reyna Tell Allergan That It is Not Above the Law

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 8:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in the United States finally says what ought to have been pretty obvious all along

Australian House of Parliament
Australian House of Parliament, where similarly important decisions have been made lately (including de facto ban on software patents as per IP Australia’s policy)

Summary: Allergan and a Native American tribe have lost their ridiculous case; after swapping tens of millions of dollars in pursuit of immunity for patents they’ve lost again (in what’s likely their last resort/appeal); expect the patent microcosm to attempt to distract from it (like they did Oil States)

THE Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) aren’t just secured by Oil States; the new Director of the USPTO will need to coexist with PTAB, seeing that nothing but a case with his name on it (SAS and Iancu) favours PTAB cutbacks.

The latest boost for PTAB comes from a high patent (and beyond) court. It’s quite likely the final stop. The ‘scammers’ who threatened me with legal action (for speaking out against their bogus patents and dirty tricks) have just lost their case. IP Watch‘s Steven Seidenberg said this: “The strategy was breathtaking in its boldness. Just days before the USPTO was to hear a challenge to Allergan Inc.’s patents on a dry-eye drug, Restasis, the company transferred those patents to a Native American tribe; the tribe then sought to dismiss the USPTO proceedings by asserting sovereign immunity. Following this action, a number of other patentees made similar transfers to Native tribes, in order to protect their patents. More patentees were poised to do so, should this ploy prove effective. It, however, did not. On 20 July, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the tribe’s sovereign immunity did not protect its patents from USPTO review. The ruling thus kept intact a key component of America’s patent system.”

“It’s quite likely the final stop.”The remainder is behind a paywall.

“Allergan is not protected from PTAB review by the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s sovereign immunity, says the appeals court in a ruling that relies on the Supreme Court’s FMC opinion,” Michael Loney wrote.

Over at Patent Progress, Josh Landau (CCIA) wrote:

Today, in Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals, the Federal Circuit held that tribal sovereign immunity does not provide a right of immunity in inter partes reviews (IPR).

In an opinion by Judge Moore, writing for herself and Judges Dyk and Reyna, the Federal Circuit focused on the PTO Director’s ability to decide whether or not to proceed with an IPR, a decision which ensures that “if IPR proceeds on patents owned by a tribe, it is because a politically accountable, federal official has authorized the institution of that proceeding.” This aspect of IPR is sufficient to treat IPR as a proceeding “in which an agency chooses whether to institute a proceeding on information supplied by a private party,” exactly the type of proceeding which the Supreme Court has previously held would not be subject to state sovereign immunity, and by extension to tribal sovereign immunity. (CCIA joined an amicus brief suggesting the Federal Circuit deny tribal immunity on this ground, among others.)

Watchtroll mentioned “an opinion authored by Judge Moore,” choosing not to simply attack the judge, for a change. It’s Mayer whom the site (in)famously attacked, not Moore; “It is time for Judge Mayer to Step Down,” said the headline (there has been more of that since).

“Watchtroll is of course cherry-picking outcomes or cases that serve to distract from the majority of cases…”Moore was recently mentioned in relation to a decision about Alice, with words taken out of context to insinuate that Congress should look into it. We debunked these lies from the patent microcosm at the time. Vis-à-vis Judge Moore, yesterday Watchtroll mentioned her and and her superior Chief Judge Sharon Prost:

On Monday, July 16th, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in Blackbird Tech v. ELB Electronics, which vacated an earlier judgment of non-infringement of a patent asserted by Blackbird in the District of Delaware. The Federal Circuit panel of Chief Judge Sharon Prost and Circuit Judge Kimberly Moore determined that the district court had erred at construing the claim term “attachment surface” in finding non-infringement of the asserted claims. Circuit Judge Jimmie Reyna dissented in this case.

The patent-at-issue is U.S. Patent No. 7086747, titled Low-Voltage Apparatus for Satisfying After-Hours Lighting Requirements, Emergency Lighting Requirements, and Low Light Requirements. Issued in August 2006, it covers an energy-efficient lighting apparatus having a ballast cover, a plurality of ballast cover holes, a circuit board having a plurality of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) which protrude through the ballast cover holes, wherein the lighting apparatus is connected to a wall switch and the illumination of the LEDs is based upon the position of the wall switch. The resulting invention provides a lighting apparatus which meet after-hours or emergency lighting requirements more efficiently and conveniently for commercial building environments.

For those who don’t know (or forgot), Blackbird is a highly notorious patent troll [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. It calls itself “Blackbird Technologies”, but it makes no such thing. It’s a parasite and the CAFC’s staff ought to recognise this. Watchtroll is of course cherry-picking outcomes or cases that serve to distract from the majority of cases — ones in which SCOTUS decisions are being followed and patents squashed — not just the cases but the underlying patents (for invalidity rather than non-infringement).

Links 20/7/2018: MusicBrainz is Back, Microsoft Pushing .NET Through Canonical

Posted in News Roundup at 1:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • How Linux Makes Your Life Easier

    There is a popular myth that Linux is complicated and hard to use by a non-techie. While there are distros and advanced Linux functionality that do require tech skills, this doesn’t mean Linux is hard to use. On the contrary, there are lots of things in the philosophy and functionality of Linux that make a user’s life easier.

  • 32-Bit Vs. 64-Bit Operating System

    This has really been confusing to some people choosing between 32-bit and 64-bit systems. Head over to any operating system’s website, you will be given a choice to download either versions of the same operating system. So what is the difference? Why do we have two different versions of the same OS? Let us solve this mystery here, once and for all.

  • Desktop

    • You can now install Debian Linux apps directly from your Chromebook’s Files app

      Last month, XDA-Developers spotted a string of commits on the Chromium Gerrit which indicated of an upcoming support for easy installation of Linux apps on compatible Chrome OS devices. The commits suggested that Debian (.deb) files will be clickable from the Files app, which will then trigger the installation. Now a recent commit confirms that Google is indeed adding a file handler for Debian packages within the Chrome OS Files app.

    • A Forbes Writer Spent 2 Weeks Using Ubuntu, This is What He Thought…

      A classic love story — one Hollywood has yet to adapt in to major motion picture/musical starring Robert Downey Jr (I swear he’s in everything).

      The latest case in point? That comes courtesy of online magazine Forbes.com and its tech contributor Jason Evangelho.

      Jason shares his experience of using Ubuntu for a solid fortnight on a swanky Dell XPS 13 laptop. He says he was spurred into “ditching” Windows by yet another ill-timed and infuriating wait while the OS opted to install updates.

      “After two decades of relying on Windows I finally decided it was time for the nuclear option,” he writes.

  • Server

    • Google Partners With Zapata on Open-Source Quantum Computing Effort
    • Google launches quantum framework Cirq, plans Bristlecone cloud move

      Google today launched Cirq, an open source framework for running algorithms on the quantum computers that will be available in the near future.

      A common problem researchers face when designing quantum algorithms for today’s quantum computers – the 50 to 100 qubit Noisy Intermediate-Scale Quantum devices – is in working within the limitations and nuances of the hardware.

    • Google wants to make programming quantum computers easier
    • Google Adds Kubernetes to Rebranded Cloud Marketplace

      Google’s goal is to make containers accessible to everyone, especially the enterprise, according to Anil Dhawan, product manager for the Google Cloud Platform.

      When Google released Kubernetes as open source, one of the first challenges that the industry tackled was management, he said.

      Google’s hosted Kubernetes Engine takes care of cluster orchestration and management. A bigger challenge to getting apps running on a Kubernetes cluster can be a manual, time-consuming process. GCP Marketplace provides prepackaged apps and deploys them onto any cluster, Dhawan noted.

      Google makes the process safer by testing and vetting all Kubernetes apps listed on GCP Marketplace. That process includes vulnerability scanning and partner agreements for maintenance and support.

    • IBM attempts to graft virtual machine security onto container flexibility

      IBM researchers have developed a new flavor of software container in an effort to create code that’s more secure than Docker and similar shared kernel container systems.

      Docker and its ilk are considered less secure than VMs because the compromise of a shared kernel puts all associated containers at risk. With VMs, the kernel is separate from the host kernel, which reduces the risk of collateral damage.

    • Using Linux Containers to Manage Embedded Build Environments

      Linux container technology has been proposed by companies like Resin.io as a simpler and more secure way to deploy embedded devices. And, Daynix Computing has developed an open source framework called Rebuild that uses Linux containers in the build management process of embedded IoT development. At the 2017 Open Source Summit, Daynix “virtualization expert” Yan Vugenfirer gave a presentation on Rebuild called “How Linux Containers can Help to Manage Development Environments for IoT and Embedded Systems.”

      Vugenfirer started by reminding the audience of the frustrations of embedded development, especially when working with large, complex projects. “You’re dealing with different toolchains, SDKs, and compilers all with different dependencies,” he said. “It gets more complicated if you need to update packages, or change SDKs, or run a codebase over several devices. The code may compile on your machine, but there may be problems in the build server or in the CI (continuous integration) server.”

    • Building Containers with HPC Container Maker

      Containers package entire workflows, including software, libraries, and even data, into a single file. The container can then be run on any compatible hardware that can run the container type, regardless of the underlying operating system.

      Containers are finding increased utility in the worlds of scientific computing, deep learning, HPC, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, because they are reproducible, portable (mobility of compute), user friendly (admins don’t have to install everything), and simple, and they isolate resources, reduce complexity (reduction in dependencies), and make it easy to distribute the application and dependencies.

      Using containers, you have virtually everything you need in a single file, including a base operating system (OS), the application or workflow (multiple applications), and all of the dependencies. Sometimes the data is also included in the container, although it is not strictly necessary because you can mount filesystems with the data from the container.

    • 10 Key Attributes of Cloud-Native Applications

      Cloud-native platforms, like Kubernetes, expose a flat network that is overlaid on existing networking topologies and primitives of cloud providers. Similarly, the native storage layer is often abstracted to expose logical volumes that are integrated with containers. Operators can allocate storage quotas and network policies that are accessed by developers and resource administrators. The infrastructure abstraction not only addresses the need for portability across cloud environments, but also lets developers take advantage of emerging patterns to build and deploy applications. Orchestration managers become the deployment target, irrespective of the underlying infrastructure that may be based on physical servers or virtual machines, private clouds or public clouds.

      Kubernetes is an ideal platform for running contemporary workloads designed as cloud-native applications. It’s become the de facto operating system for the cloud, in much the same way Linux is the operating system for the underlying machines. As long as developers follow best practices of designing and developing software as a set of microservices that comprise cloud-native applications, DevOps teams will be able to package and deploy them in Kubernetes. Here are the 10 key attributes of cloud-native applications that developers should keep in mind when designing cloud-native applications.

    • Google Embraces New Kubernetes Application Standard

      Once an organization has a Kubernetes container orchestration cluster running, the next challenge is to get applications running.

      Google is now aiming to make it easier for organizations to deploy Kubernetes applications, through the Google Cloud Platform Marketplace. The new marketplace offerings bring commercial Kubernetes-enabled applications that can be run in the Google cloud, or anywhere else an organization wants.

      All a user needs to do is visit the GCP marketplace and click the Purchase Plan button to get started.

      “Once they agree to the terms, they’ll find instructions on how to deploy this application on the Kubernetes cluster of their choice, running in GCP or another cloud, or even on-prem,” Anil DhawanProduct Manager, Google Cloud Platform, told ServerWatch. “The applications report metering information to Google for billing purposes so end users can get one single bill for their application usage, regardless of where it is deployed.”

    • Challenges and Requirements for Container-Based Applications and Application Services

      Enterprises using container-based applications require a scalable, battle-tested, and robust services fabric to deploy business-critical workloads in production environments. Services such as traffic management (load balancing within a cluster and across clusters/regions), service discovery, monitoring/analytics, and security are a critical component of an application deployment framework. This blog post provides an overview of the challenges and requirements for such application services.

  • Kernel Space

    • Stable kernel 4.4.142

      I’m announcing the release of the 4.4.142 kernel.

      It’s not an “essencial” upgrade, but a number of build problems with
      perf are now resolved, and an x86 issue that some people might have hit
      is now handled properly. If those were problems for you, please
      upgrade.

      The updated 4.4.y git tree can be found at:
      git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-4.4.y
      and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

      http://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-st…

    • Samsung Galaxy S Support With The Linux 4.19 Kernel

      Just in case you have your hands still on the Samsung Galaxy S or Galaxy S 4G that were released back in 2010 as once high-end Android smartphones, they have DeviceTree support with the upcoming Linux 4.19 kernel cycle.

      The DeviceTree additions are currently staged ahead of the Linux 4.19 kernel for these S5Pv210 Aries based smartphones. With this code in place for Linux 4.19, the Galaxy S should at least see working mainline support for storage, PMIC, RTC, fuel gauge, keys, USB, and WiFi working in order.

    • Using the Best CPU Available on Asymmetric Systems

      This is the type of situation with a patch where it might look like a lack of opposition could let it sail into the kernel tree, but really, it just hasn’t been thoroughly examined by Linux bigwigs yet. Once the various contributors have gotten the patch as good as they can get it without deeper feedback, they’ll probably send it up the ladder for inclusion in the main source tree. At that point, the security folks will jump all over it, looking for ways that a malicious user might force processes all onto only one particular CPU (essentially mounting a denial-of-service attack) or some such thing. Even if the patch survives that scrutiny, one of the other big-time kernel people, or even Linus Torvalds, could reject the patch on the grounds that it should represent a solution for large-scale systems as well as small.

      Either way, something like Dietmar and Quentin’s patch will be desirable in the kernel, because it’s always good to take advantages of the full range of abilities of a system. And nowadays, a lot of devices are coming out with asymmetric CPUs and other quirks that never were part of earlier general-purpose systems. So, there’s definitely a lot to be gained in seeing this sort of patch go into the tree.

    • Fact check: Linux developer accused of pedophilia in fake blog posts

      Followers of some of Reddit’s Linux-devoted subreddits were recently greeted with an unusual and disturbing discovery: pro-pedophilia and anti-Semitic blog posts from the developer of Linux Exherbo, a Linux distribution with native cross-compiling package management.

      A website under the developer’s name featured a number of unsavory blog posts. Fortunately, the blog appears to be fake.

      The developer, Bryan Østergaard, normally posts updates to a LiveJournal page under the username kloeri, although the last update dates 2014. Earlier this week, someone shared to Reddit a different blog attributed to Østergaard with a handful of more recent blog posts explaining “why” he decided to create Exherbo.

      [...]

      It’s unclear why he was targeted, but it appears that somebody either has a very sick sense of humor or has some beef with Østergaard. As of the time of publishing, the site and its falsely attributed blog posts are still online.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Deutsche Telekom signs up as platinum member of Linux Foundation Networking

        Deutsche Telekom has doubled down on its commitment to using open source by signing up as a platinum member of Linux Foundation Networking.

        Earlier this year, the Linux Foundation put some of its open source communities, including the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP), under the Linux Foundation Networking (LFN) brand in order to foster cross-project collaboration. Mainly thanks to ONAP, the LNF projects currently enable close to 70% of all the world’s global mobile subscribers.

      • Deutsche Telekom Joins The Linux Foundation, Deepens Investment in Open Source Networking
      • The Linux Foundation brings Deutsche Telekom into the fold

        Deutsche Telekom is the latest big name to join the ranks of The Linux Foundation. The announcement comes just weeks after the Chinese tech giant Tencent, and Google joined the foundation. Linux Foundation Networking (LFN) projects now “enable nearly seventy percent of all global mobile subscribers.”

      • Deutsche Telekom joins Linux Foundation as platinum member

        Deutsche Telekom has joined The Linux Foundation Networking (LFN) as a Platinum member. Telekom will support LFN’s efforts to accelerate the development and adoption of open-source networking technologies and contribute to new network technologies enabling 5G services, said LFN. LFN said its projects now enable nearly 70 percent of all global mobile subscribers with the addition of Deutsche Telekom, and the company’s membership in LFN will drive the LFN initiative into new regions and promote the adoption of open standards and source.

      • Deutsche Telekom Goes Platinum at Linux Foundation

        Linux Foundation Networking (LFN) continues its membership growth with the addition of its newest Platinum member, Deutsche Telekom, one of the world’s leading integrated telecommunications companies. Deutsche Telekom joins LFN to support its efforts in accelerating the development and adoption of open source networking technologies. With the addition of Deutsche Telekom, LFN projects now enable nearly seventy percent of all global mobile subscribers.

        With its collaboration and extensive global footprint, Deutsche Telekom will help accelerate LFN globally, contributing to emerging network technologies critical to enabling 5G services. LFN supports the momentum of open source networking, integrating governance of participating projects in order to enhance operational excellence, simplify member engagement, and increase collaboration. Deutsche Telekom is also an active participant in the ONAP project and plans to contribute to the next platform release, Casablanca.

    • Graphics Stack

      • ROCm 1.8.2 Released For The Open-Source Radeon Linux Compute Stack

        While waiting for the big ROCm 1.9 update, another point release to the ROCm 1.8 series is available for this Radeon Open Compute stack.

        Earlier this month the AMD developers working on this Linux open-source OpenCL/compute stack pushed out the ROCm 1.8.2 beta while today it was elevated to the stable channel.

        Details on the ROCm 1.8.2 update are unfortunately light, but based upon user reports, it seems to be able to create a working environment on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS if paired with a newer kernel. But the official Ubuntu 18.04 LTS isn’t coming until ROCm 1.9.

      • Raven Ridge APUs Get Minor Performance Boost With Latest RADV Vulkan Driver

        The Raven Ridge Linux support continues to maturing. The latest on these Zen+Vega APUs using the open-source AMD Radeon Linux graphics driver stack should be slightly better performance when using the RADV Vulkan driver.

        RADV co-founder Bas Nieuwenhuizen landed a number of commits on Wednesday to further enhance this Mesa-based Radeon Vulkan driver. With this latest work, he’s now enabled binning and DFSM by default for Raven Ridge hardware. With this being enabled now for Raven, he’s found a minor performance in the range of 2~3% for some demos and games tested.

      • Freedreno Gallium3D Now Exposes Adreno A5xx Performance Counters

        It’s been a while since last having any news to report on Freedrenon, the open-source, community-driven Gallium3D driver for providing accelerated 3D support for Qualcomm Adreno graphics hardware. But ahead of the upcoming Mesa 18.2 feature freeze, Freedreno founder Rob Clark has been landing a number of improvements.

      • Sway 1.0 Alpha 4 Released With Real-Time Video Capture, Atomic Layout Updates

        Learn more about the Sway 1.0 Alpha 4 release via the GitHub release announcement.

      • Intel Squeezes Final Batch Of Linux 4.19 DRM Changes, Lands Icelake Display Compression

        Last week Intel sent in a “final” batch of i915 DRM driver feature updates to DRM-Next for the upcoming Linux 4.19 kernel cycle but it turns out there is one more batch of changes now focused on landing.

        Intel open-source graphics driver developer Rodrigo Vivi submitted their final pull request of new material for Linux 4.19.

      • 2018 Brings A New Linux X.Org Display Driver Update For The ATI RAGE 128

        Last month I wrote about a new attempt at improving the ATI RAGE 128 X.Org driver… Yes, for the for the Rage graphics cards from the late 90′s in the days of AGP and PCI where core/memory clock speeds were commonly in the double digits… If you are a hobbyist fond of these vintage graphics cards and are still running with these OpenGL 1.1~1.2 capable GPUs, there is a new X.Org driver update.

      • AMDGPU Gets More Features For Linux 4.19 Kernel

        On top of AMDGPU improvements/features already staged for Linux 4.19, the AMD folks on Thursday sent in their seemingly last set of feature updates to DRM-Next ahead of the Linux 4.19 kernel merge window.

        There is certainly a lot of new DRM material queuing for Linux 4.19: if you are behind on your Phoronix reading, there will be a DRM recap next week or so on Phoronix with the cutoff for new DRM-Next material hitting its end for the upcoming 4.19 window. Thursday’s Radeon/AMDGPU update just adds to this big list of changes.

      • AMDVLK Vulkan Driver Plumbs New Extensions, Lands A Number Of Fixes

        The AMD folks maintaining their official Vulkan driver code have done their common end-of-week code dump into the open-source AMDVLK Linux Vulkan driver repository across the PAL, XGL, LLVM, and SPVGEN code-bases.

      • NVIDIA 396.45 Linux Driver Fixes Vulkan Direct-To-Display & Multi-Threaded EGL Apps

        The NVIDIA Unix developers have released the 396.45 binary display driver today with just two listed bug-fixes.

        The NVIDIA 396.45 Linux driver has improved recovery for Vulkan direct-to-display applications (such as VR compositors or other use-cases where the Vulkan application is taking directly control of the display output) when the application hangs or crashes. This is good news in case of a problematic Linux VR experience that the display should be restored more gracefully.

      • NVIDIA pushed out two new Linux drivers recently with 396.45 and 390.77

        NVIDIA are pushing forward with improving their Linux driver in many areas, with two driver series seeing updated in the past week.

        The first is the 390.77 driver, part of their “long-lived branch release”.

    • Benchmarks

      • Fresh Docker Linux Benchmarks For Summer 2018

        The Docker testing was done from an Ubuntu 18.04 LTS x86_64 host running with the default Linux 4.15 kernel off the commonly-used Tyan 1U Xeon Scalable server with dual Xeon Gold 6138 processors. Docker was tested in its stock configuration on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and each Docker container tested consecutively. Each Docker container was benchmarked in a fully-automated and reproducible manner using the open-source Phoronix Test Suite.

      • A Fresh Look At The PGO Performance With GCC 8

        It’s been a while since we last ran some GCC PGO benchmarks, the Profile Guided Optimizations or feedback-directed optimization technique that makes use of profiling data at run-time to improve performance of re-compiled binaries. Here are some fresh benchmarks of GCC PGO impact on a Xeon Scalable server while using the newly-released GCC 8.2 release candidate.

        With it being a while since our last roundabout with GCC PGO benchmarking and also a reader recently inquiring about PTS PGO testing, I ran some new tests. For those not familiar with PGO, it basically involves first compiling the code with the relevant PGO/profiling flags, running the workload under test to generate the profiling data, and then re-compiling the software while feeding that profiling data into the compiler so it can make better optimization choices. This profile-guided feedback can be quite beneficial to the compiler for making wiser code generation choices based upon that run-time data. Firefox, Chrome, and other popular software packages have been relying upon PGO-optimized release binaries for a while to offer greater performance.

      • A 3.3x Performance Improvement For FLAC Audio Encoding On POWER 64-bit

        In last month’s round of IBM POWER9 benchmarking on the Talos II systems compared to various Intel/AMD x86_64 CPUs, one of the areas where POWER was struggling especially was with multimedia encoding performance. Fortunately, since those POWER9 Phoronix benchmarks this year, various developers have been working on optimizations.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Kdenlive 18.08 Beta – Film Noir

        Kdenlive is my video editor de jour since the dawn of civilization, or rather, as far back as my video editing attempts go. Pretty much all of the clips I uploaded to my Youtube channel were made using Kdenlive, with only some extra work in other programs. Kdenlive is powerful, flexible, useful, and now there’s a new beta that promises many good things and delights.

        The 18.08 version can be found under the label Refactoring Branch – sounds like an avantguard field of mathematics – and it is distributed as a self-contained AppImage, meaning you just need to make the file executable and then run it (single- or double-click). Which is exactly what I did. Follow me.

      • Kubuntu 18.04 Reviewed in Linux ( Pro ) Magazine

        Kubuntu Linux has been my preferred Linux distribution for more than 10 years. My attraction to the KDE desktop and associated application set, has drawn from Kubuntu user, to a tester, teacher, developer, community manager and councilor. I feel really privileged to be part of, what can only be described as, a remarkable example of the free software, and community development of an exceptional product.

        This latest release 18.04, effectively the April 2018 release, is a major milestone. It is the first LTS Long Term Support release of Kubuntu running the “Plasma 5” desktop.
        The improvements are so considerable, in both performance and modern user interface ( UI ) design, that I was really excited about wanting to tell the world about it.

      • Going to Akademy

        Happy to participate in a tradition I’ve admired from afar but never been able to do myself… until this year. My tickets are bought, my passport is issued, and I’m going to Akademy! Hope to see you all there!

      • System76′s New Manufacturing Facility, Ubuntu 17.10 Reaches End of Life, Google Cloud Platform Marketplace, Stranded Deep Now Available for Linux and Cutelyst New Release

        Cutelyst, a C++ web framework based on Qt, has a new release. The update includes several bug fixes and some build issues with buildroot. See Dantti’s Blog for all the details. Cutelyst is available on GitHub.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Shell & Mutter Updated Ahead Of GNOME 3.29.4

        GNOME 3.29.4 is coming out this week as the latest development release building up to GNOME 3.30 this September. GNOME Shell and Mutter have put out their latest releases for this development milestone.

        The Mutter 3.29.4 window/compositing manager has a crash fix as well as preserving paint volumes to optimize CPU use. That paint volume change for Mutter should be useful for further lowering the CPU usage but additional optimizations are on the way, particularly when Mutter is acting as a Wayland compositor.

      • Everybody’s Gone To The GUADEC

        It’s been ten days since I came back from GUADEC 2018, and I’ve finally caught up enough to find the time to write about it. As ever, it was a pleasure to see familiar faces from around the community, put some new faces to familiar names, and learn some entirely new names and faces!

      • GUADEC 2018 Videos: Help Wanted

        At this year’s GUADEC in Almería we had a team of volunteers recording the talks in the second room. This was organized very last minute as initially the University were going to do this, but thanks to various efforts (thanks in particular to Adrien Plazas and Bin Li) we managed to record nearly all the talks. There were some issues with sound on both the Friday and Saturday, which Britt Yazel has done his best to overcome using science, and we are now ready to edit and upload the 19 talks that took place in the 2nd room.

        To bring you the videos from last year we had a team of 5 volunteers from the local team who spent our whole weekend in the Codethink offices. (Although none of us had much prior video editing experience so the morning of the first day was largely spent trying out different video editors to see which had the features we needed and could run without crashing too often… and the afternoon was mostly figuring out how transitions worked in Kdenlive).

      • GUADEC 2018

        This year I attended my second GUADEC in beautiful Almería, Spain. As with the last one I had the opportunity to meet many new people from the extended GNOME community which is always great and I can’t recommend it enough for anybody involved in the project.

        [...]

        Flatpak continues to have a lot of healthy discussions at these events. @matthiasclasen made a post summarizing the BoF so check that out for the discussions of the soon landing 1.0 release.

        So lets start with the Freedesktop 18.07 (date based versioning now!) runtime which is in a much better place than 1.6 and will be solving lots of problems such as multi-arch support and just long term maintainability. I was really pleased to see all of the investment in BuildStream and the runtime from CodeThink which is really needed in the long term.

  • Distributions

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Bridges Barriers Between openSUSE and SLE

        The SUSE Linux Enterprise is a multimodal operating system that is designed to handle business-critical workloads with an efficient and secure IT infrastructure. The latest release is designed to make it easier for openSUSE Linux community or development subscription users to upgrade their systems to the SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 with full functionality through the openSUSE Leap Linux distribution.

        OpenSUSE Linux is an open source community project that is freely available for download and use. This version of the operating system is built atop the open source Linux kernel, and it consistently receives updates for its framework as well as the many tools and applications that the open source SUSE Linux community develops. OpenSUSE benefits all SUSE projects and releases by being the testing ground for many features that are later employed into commercial editions of the product. SUSE Linux Enterprise, for example, derives directly from openSUSE’s tested features. This operating system is a more stable and commercial server-oriented version of openSUSE that is often employed by businesses and corporations to manage their computer systems and data. SUSE Linux Enterprise products consist of the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), SUSE Linux Enterprise Real Time (modified SLES), SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (desktop client), and SUSE Linux Enterprise Thin Client (SLETC). Taking advantage of the fact that SLE derives from the testing and development of features in openSUSE, the latest release of the operating system, the SUSE Linux Enterprise 15, allows openSUSE community users of the operating system to upgrade to the more stable and concrete version from within their own OS. This does not however entail a new free download; the privilege is up for grabs for existing openSUSE users only.

      • SUSE launches new enterprise Linux to help the move to software-defined infrastructure

        Businesses are increasingly running a mix of traditional and software-defined architectures and the launch of SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 is aimed at bridging the gap between the two.

        It’s a modular operating system that helps make traditional IT infrastructure more efficient and provides an engaging platform for developers. It also aids in integrating cloud-based platforms into enterprise systems, merging containerized development with traditional development, and combining legacy applications with microservices.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, June 2018

        Like each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS.

      • PKCS#11 v2.20

        By way of experiment, I’ve just enabled the PKCS#11 v2.20 implementation in the eID packages for Linux, but for now only in the packages in the “continuous” repository. In the past, enabling this has caused issues; there have been a few cases where Firefox would deadlock when PKCS#11 v2.20 was enabled, rather than the (very old and outdated) v2.11 version that we support by default. We believe we have identified and fixed all outstanding issues that caused such deadlocks, but it’s difficult to be sure.

      • Plans for DebCamp and DebConf 18

        I recently became an active contributor to the Debian project, which has been consolidated throughout my GSoC project. In addition to the great learning with my mentors, Lucas Kanashiro and Raphäel Hertzog, the feedback from other community members has been very valuable to the progress we are making in the Distro Tracker. Tomorrow, thanks to Debian project sponsorship, I will take off for Hsinchu, Taiwan to attend DebCamp and DebConf18. It is my first DebConf and I’m looking forward to meeting new people from the Debian community, learn a lot and make useful contributions during the time I am there.

      • Building Debian packages in CI (ick)

        I develop a number of (fairly small) programs, as a hobby. Some of them I also maintain as packages in Debian. All of them I publish as Debian packages in my own APT repository. I want to make the process for making a release of any of my programs as easy and automated as possible, and that includes building Debian packages and uploading them to my personal APT repository, and to Debian itself.

      • My DebCamp/DebConf 18 plans

        Tomorrow I am going to another DebCamp and DebConf; this time at Hsinchu, Taiwan.

      • Things you can do with Debian: multimedia editing

        The Debian operating system serves many purposes and you can do amazing things with it. Apart of powering the servers behind big internet sites like Wikipedia and others, you can use Debian in your PC or laptop. I’ve been doing that for many years.

        One of the great things you can do is some multimedia editing. It turns out I love nature, outdoor sports and adventures, and I usually take videos and photos with my friends while doing such activities. And when I arrive home I love editing them for my other blog, or putting them together in a video.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • PSA: Support for Ubuntu 17.10 Ends Today

            Ubuntu 17.10 reaches end of life on July 19, 2018 — which if you haven’t checked your calendar recently, is today. If you have thus far managed to resist the temptation to upgrade to a newer release then alas: today is the day when you need to start thinking about it.

          • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E19 – Nineteen Minutes – Ubuntu Podcast

            It’s Season 11 Episode 19 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Ryan are connected and speaking to your brain.

          • Snaps Add Flexibility with Tracks

            Snap packages have a rich set of features beyond getting the latest shiny on your Linux distribution. Tracks enable developers to publish multiple supported releases of their application under the same name. With this enabled, a user can switch tracks at any time to install and use an alternate supported relase of software.

            Within each track are four standard channels named edge, beta, candidate and stable. The channels represent the risk-level users should expect from the snaps within. Edge snaps (typically built from the latest code committed) would be riskier to use than beta releases, which are more risky than stable releases.

            By default every application has one ‘latest’ track and the four named channels. Developers can optionally choose whether to supplement that with additional tracks. Further the developer can choose which channels to use within those tracks.

          • Canonical Needs Your Help to Test the Improved Ubuntu 18.04.1 Server Installer

            Canonical’s Dimitri John Ledkov put out a call for testing for the Ubuntu community to help them test drive the improved Ubuntu Server installer in the upcoming Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS point release.

            Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS, the first of a total of five scheduled point releases of the long-term supported Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system series is about to be released in approximately one week from the moment of writing, on July 26, 2018, with improved and up-to-date core components and apps.

          • Help Test the New Ubuntu Server Installer

            I only ask because Canonical’s server bods are currently looking for wily folks to help them test an improved version of the new Ubuntu Server installer.

          • PowerShell launches as a snap

            PowerShell Core from Microsoft is now available for Linux as a Snap. Built on the .NET Framework, PowerShell is an open source task-based command-line shell and scripting language with the goal of being the ubiquitous language for managing hybrid cloud assets. It is designed specifically for system administrators and power-users to rapidly automate the administration of multiple operating systems and the processes related to the applications that run on those operating systems.

          • PowerShell Core now available as a Snap package

            The goal of PowerShell Core is to be the ubiquitous language for managing your assets in the hybrid cloud. That’s why we’ve worked to make it available on many operating systems, architectures, and flavors of Linux, macOS, and Windows as possible.

          • Microsoft’s PowerShell Available on Ubuntu as a Snap, Here’s How to Install It

            Canonical and Microsoft announced today that PowerShell automation and configuration management system is now available as a Snap package for Ubuntu Linux and other Snap-enabled GNU/Linux distributions.

            Consisting of a cross-platform command-line shell and related scripting language, as well as a framework for dealing with cmdlets, Microsoft’s PowerShell works on Windows, macOS, and Linux platforms to allow power-users and system administrators to have better and automated control over the administration of several operating systems.

          • Microsoft’s PowerShell Now Available On Ubuntu In Snap Form

            Canonical and Microsoft have just announced that PowerShell Core is now available for Ubuntu users in Snap format.

            Back in the summer of 2016, Microsoft open-sourced PowerShell with plans to support Linux. PowerShell has been available on Linux for a while now without too much adoption while now it’s available in Snap form for making it easy to deploy on Ubuntu and other Snap-supported platforms.

          • Microsoft Brings PowerShell to the Ubuntu Snap Store

            Microsoft has brought PowerShell Core to the Snap Store as a Snap application. The move allows Linux users and admins on various distros to run the latest version of PowerShell securely and safely across desktop, laptop and IoT.

          • Microsoft PowerShell Core for Linux now available as a Snap
          • PowerShell Core is now available as a Snap package for many Linux distributions
          • Microsoft makes PowerShell Core snap package available for Linux
          • Microsoft’s PowerShell Core app comes to Ubuntu and Linux as a snap package
          • Microsoft’s Linux love-in continues as PowerShell Core comes to Ubuntu Snap Store
          • Flavours and Variants

            • [Linux Mint] Monthly News – July 2018

              A mistimed MESA update in Xenial temporarily broke Ubuntu and Linux Mint upgrades. We were able to block it on the 7th of July, and ask people to revert the upgrade with Timeshift. On the 9th, everything was resolved, and the upgrade path was fixed and re-opened.

              More recently, a grub update triggered an issue in one of our own packages. That issue could only be triggered by a new grub update and so it had gone undetected during QA and the BETA test. Although it was fixed in a matter of hours in the repositories, it still affects our installation ISO images and it breaks EFI installations when the live session is connected to the Internet. The release notes were updated to ask people to install offline. New 64-bit ISO images for Linux Mint 19 Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce were produced with the fixed package and they passed QA yesterday. These new ISOs will replace the current images in the days to come.

              Be careful with Kernel 4.15.0-24. A critical issue causes some computers to boot really slowly, or not to boot at all. Ubuntu is aware of it and working on a fix. We’ve also received negative feedback from the 4.15 kernel series in Mint 18.x (based on Ubuntu Xenial). Although Ubuntu decided to switch the HWE series towards it, the 4.15 series doesn’t appear to support some proprietary drivers yet (nvidia-3.04 and nvidia-340 among them).

              We’re also aware of regressions in the Bionic base affecting VPN, Samba, Wine (recently fixed). Ubuntu 18.04 is a brand new base and we’re sure it will settle, receive bug fixes and get more mature with time.

              Of course our attention is mostly focused on the problems and we quickly forget about all the improvements. We had a great Linux Mint 19 release, we also received a huge amount of positive feedback and we’ve seen many great changes when moving from 16.04 to 18.04.

            • Linux Mint Debian Edition 3 Is On The Way, Cinnamon 4.0 Working On Speed

              The Linux Mint team has shared a routine status update about the work they have been engaged in over the past month, including dealing with some nasty package updates and readying the beta of Linux Mint Debian Edition 3 (LMDE 3).

              This month they had to deal with some headaches causing issues stemming from Ubuntu stable release updates around Mesa and GRUB in particular. There’s also been a kernel problem to deal with, among other regressions. But for those that are fans of Linux Mint Debian Edition whereby the distribution uses a Debian based over Ubuntu LTS, the LMDE 3 release is on the way. The developers believe the LMDE 3 Beta should surface by the end of July. Additionally, they plan to ship LMDE 3 both with their own live installer as well as a Calamares-based installer option.

            • Free eBook from Packt – Linux Mint Essentials
            • Cinnamon 4.0 Desktop Environment Promises to Be Fast and Have No Screen Tearing

              The recently released Linux Mint 19 “Tara” operating system features the latest Cinnamon 3.8 desktop environment, which promised to enable faster launching of apps and be more snappier than previous releases. After users’ reactions, Linux Mint devs now decided to continue improving Cinnamon on this front for the next major release, Cinnamon 4.0, due for release this year.

              Among the “snappiness” improvements they’ll want to implement in the upcoming Cinnamon 4.0 desktop environment, Clement Lefebvre mentioned the removal of Vsync to eliminate a slight delay noticed when dragging a window with the mouse cursor, as well as to use “Force Composition Pipeline” in Nvidia Settings for Nvidia graphics cards to eliminate screen tearing.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Oasis Loss Modelling Framework Offered Open Source, Free of Charge

    Not-for-profit catastrophe modeling platform Oasis Loss Modelling Framework announced that all components of its catastrophe modeling software are now open source and downloadable from GitHub, free of charge.

  • Open source adoption key to fintech sufes: FINOS

    Is there a place for open source, and open source collaboration in particular, in the financial services industry, with its strict security, governance, regulatory and privacy requirements?

    According to the Fintech Open Source Foundation (FINOS), the answer is an emphatic “yes”.

    FINOS, an independent non-profit organisation, believes that as the financial services sector is going through a period of unprecedented technological transformation, organisations that embrace open source software development and common standards will be best positioned to capture the growth opportunities that this transformation presents.

  • The Open Source Initiative: Worth the Hype?

    The popular internet advertisement blocker Adblock Plus — originally built with open-source code — is partnering with the OSI.

    Along with funding, innovation is underway. Google is opening an AI research center in France, with all code and results open to the public, according to Tech Crunch. As noted by FossBytes, Facebook used open-source technology to develop a new unit of time known as a Flick, which is short for frame-tick and is exactly 1/705,600,000 of a second. It allows videos at certain hertz to represent single-frame durations as integer quantities rather than decimal places. Flick should make it easier for companies and content creators to keep their videos in sync regardless of their encoding frequency.

  • 5 questions to answer before building a community

    I’ve talked to a number of business leaders recently about building communities for their company or product. While everybody recognizes the benefits of having a vibrant and active community, many are unsure about what it means and how to build it. Not knowing these details can mean wasting time and money on things that will not give you the results you want.

    While interviewing for community management roles, I started asking for these details to determine whether company leaders understand why they want a community and what they want it to do for them.

  • Open source code worth $600m contributed to Apache

    Open source code valued at over $600 million was delivered by volunteer project contributors to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) in a single 12-month period.

    That’s according to the Apache Software Foundation’s (ASF) annual report for its 2018 fiscal year, which ended on 30 April. The report was released last week.

    ASF was established in 1999 and claims to be the world’s largest open source foundation with more than 300 freely available, enterprise-wide projects that serve as the backbone for some of the most visible and widely used applications in computing today.

  • A brief history of text-based games and open source

    The Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation (IFTF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and improvement of technologies enabling the digital art form we call interactive fiction. When a Community Moderator for Opensource.com suggested an article about IFTF, the technologies and services it supports, and how it all intersects with open source, I found it a novel angle to the decades-long story I’ve so often told. The history of IF is longer than—but quite enmeshed with—the modern FOSS movement. I hope you’ll enjoy my sharing it here.

  • Mitre to Use Open Source Tool for Cyber Evaluations on 8 Companies

    Mitre will deploy an open source tool to assess the cybersecurity capabilities of eight companies and subsequently release findings in October as part of an initiative by the nonprofit research organization, ExecutiveBiz reported Thursday.

    The Washington Business Journal reported Tuesday that Mitre will utilize its Adversarial Tactics, Techniques and Common Knowledge platform to help conduct evaluations on the cyber offerings of Carbon Black (Nasdaq: CBLK), CounterTack, CrowdStrike, Cylance, Endgame, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), RSA and SentinelOne.

  • News:-Apache’s Project Kafka has released stable latest version 1.1.1

    Apache Kafka is a distributed streaming platform to publish, store, subscribe, and process the records. Kafka is broadly used for real-time streaming of the data between systems or applications.

    There are various applications in which Kafka is used like samza and confluent for Real-time Financial Alerts. Big brand names like The NewYork Times, Pinterest, Zalando, Rabobank, LINE, trivago are few of them who are using Kafka.

  • Creating Open-Source Projects Companies Want to Sponsor
  • Events

    • Hackers on Planet Earth, Here We Come!

      Dating all the way back to 1994, HOPE is an excellent collection of people and ideas. I was lucky enough to attend two years ago (my first time) and had a fantastic time meeting Cory Doctorow after his rousing talk about DMCA 1201, I got to hear Richard Stallman discuss why all software must be free, the talent show was off the hook, and there were fun people to hang out with at every turn.

    • Huawei makes prominent showing at open source event

      For a company that is supposed to be down and out (of the U.S. telecom space), Huawei made a relatively prominent showing at OSCON 2018, where it sponsored a keynote Wednesday morning and made its presence known throughout the convention center’s halls and on the exhibit floor.

      Such a showing by Huawei is nothing new. The company has sponsored events and plastered banners at wireless industry events in the past. But the moves are notable given the wrath that Huawei has seen in the nation’s current political climate and heightened scrutiny concerns it continues to get in the telecom space.

    • IBM reflects on open source some 20 years into it

      Open source might be a relatively new trend in telecom, but it’s been around at least 20 years, and that’s something OSCON 2018 organizers want to make sure attendees here are aware.

      The open source convention known as OSCON hosts developers, IT managers, system administrators and just plain geeks who want to learn the latest in blockchain, Kubernetes or other technical arenas and hear inspiring stories about open source. The convention is back in Portland this week after having been held in Austin, Texas, the past two years.

      In telecom, operators want their vendors to deliver based on open source platforms. Various initiatives are under way, but not every vendor is rushing to the party. Through the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), for example, operators are developing reference designs so that everyone in the supply chain knows what solutions operators plan to procure and deploy.

    • Perspecta Participates in Open Source Summit as Conference Sponsor; Mac Curtis Comments

      Perspecta (NYSE: PRSP) served as a sponsor of the 7th Annual Open Source Summit organized by the Open Source Electronic Health Record Alliance to discuss the use of open source software in industry and government, ExecutiveBiz reported July 13.

  • Web Browsers

    • Vivaldi Browser Adds Privacy-Focused Search Engine Qwant as New Search Option

      Vivaldi Technologies informed Softpedia today that they’ve added a new search engine to the growing list of search options of their Chromium-based Vivaldi web browser.

      We’re talking about Qwant, a search engine designed from the ground up by a French-based company to respect users’ privacy when searching the World Wide Web for anything that interest them every single day. Qwant achieves its privacy goal by not storing any cookies, nor your search history.

    • Vivaldi’s New Qwant Privacy-Focused Search Engine, Microsoft Makes PowerShell Core a Snap, Red Hat Ansible Engine 2.6 Now Available, Apache Software Foundation’s Annual Report and More

      Vivaldi Technologies has added a new privacy-focused search engine called Qwant to its Vivaldi web browser. Qwant doesn’t store cookies or search history. Softpedia News quotes CEO and co-founder of Vivaldi Jon von Tetzchner: “We believe that the Internet can do better. We do not believe in tracking our users or in data profiling.” You need version 1.15 of Vivaldi in order to enable Qwant.

    • Chrome

      • Opera 55 Web Browser Enters Beta with Support for Installing Chrome Extensions

        The Chromium-based Opera web browser continues development with two upcoming versions, Opera 55 and Opera 56, and the former recently entered beta testing with a bunch of goodies.

        Based on Chromium 68.0.3440.42, Opera 55 beta introduces a revamped settings page that promises to help users better and easier configure their favorite web browser by splitting the settings into two categories, namely basic and advanced. Also, users will now be able to search for specific settings via the integrated search bar.

      • Google Chrome on Android will stop background tabs after 5 minutes to improve performance

        What once was dominated by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Google Chrome has done a great job at dominating the overall web browser market. Various reports project Chrome’s usage numbers between 50% to just over 62%, and this has actually been both a blessing and a curse. Google has been under the investigation from both Russia and Europe for their actions and their practices just may have to change in the near future. Still, even with the popularity of the Chrome browser, users have a number of complaints. Google engineers have been working on improving these lately and Chrome for Android will soon stop background tabs after 5 minutes of inactivity.

      • Google Chrome To Stop Background Tab Loading After 5 Mins Of Inactivity
    • Mozilla

      • Introducing the ASan Nightly Project

        Every day, countless Mozillians spend numerous hours testing Firefox to ensure that Firefox users get a stable and secure product. However, no product is bug free and, despite all of our testing efforts, browsers still crash sometimes. When we investigate our crash reports, some of them even look like lingering security issues (e.g. use-after-free or other memory corruptions) but the data we have in these reports is often not sufficient for them to be actionable on their own (i.e. they do not provide enough information for a developer to be able to find and fix the problem). This is particularly true for use-after-free problems and some other types of memory corruptions where the actual crash happens a lot later than the memory violation itself.

        In our automated integration and fuzz testing, we have been using AddressSanitizer (ASan), a compile-time instrumentation, very successfully for over 5 years. The information it provides about use-after-free is much more actionable than a simple crash stack: It not only tells you immediately when the violation happens, but also includes the location where the memory was free’d previously.

      • A Science Fair with $1.6 Million in Prizes

        Across the U.S., community technologists are using creative ideas — like solar-powered Wi-Fi and mesh networks — to connect the unconnected. This August, Mozilla is gathering those projects under one roof for a science fair — and awarding $1.6 million in prizes to the most promising ideas.

        The event is the final leg of the Wireless Innovation for a Networked Society (WINS) Challenges, a $2 million competition run by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Mozilla. Launched in 2017, the initiative awards prizes to the people and projects who are connecting unconnected Americans with scalable, secure, and resilient solutions.

      • The Arch: Using Rust & WebAssembly to animate 30k colored LED lights

        In June, Mozilla collaborated with an artist named Ian Brill to create an installation called the “Arch” at JSConf EU in Berlin. This interactive environment allowed people to experience the intersection of art and technology in a physical, pulsating, immersive way.

        Visitors could view the larger-than-life Arch and experience an ever-changing light show of 30,000 colored LEDs. To support the exhibit, Mozilla engineers built a platform that enabled anyone to use web technologies (with underlying implementation in Rust & WebAssembly) to control the Arch animations and makes the light display interactive. The result was fun and colorful — and it gave developers a chance to interact with unfamiliar new technologies.

      • Browser privacy improvements and anti-fraud

        The good news is that interesting competition among web browsers is back, not just because of ongoing performance improvements in Firefox, but also because of Apple Safari’s good work on protecting users from some kinds of cross-site tracking by default. Now the challenge for other browsers is to learn from the Safari work and build on it, to even more accurately implement the user’s preferences on sharing their personal information. According to research by Tini Sevak at YouGov, 36% of users are “more likely to engage with adverts that are tailored to them”, while 55% are “creeped out” by personalized ads. The browser has to get its data sharing settings right for the individual user, while minimizing the manual settings and decision fatigue that the user has to go through.

      • Announcing Rust 1.27.2

        The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.27.2. Rust is a systems programming language focused on safety, speed, and concurrency.

      • [Mozilla Addons Blog:] Thank you, contributors!

        As a large, complex, and heavily visited site, it can be challenge for our small team to make sure that extension users and developers have a good experience on addons.mozilla.org (AMO). Fortunately, we are not alone. Thanks to volunteer contributors who share their time, energy, and talent, we’re able to extend our ability to extend the web by fixing reported bugs, implementing routine updates, landing new features, and moderating content listed on AMO.

      • Reps Council at SF All Hands 2018

        The All Hands is a special time of the year where Mozilla employees along with core volunteers gather for a week of many meetings and brainstorming. The All Hands Wiki page has more information about the general setting. During the All Hands, the Reps Council participated in the Open Innovation meetings as well as had meetings about improve 2018 planning.

      • This Week in Mixed Reality: Issue 13

        This week we focused on fixing bugs and delivering a seamless experience across our three areas: browsers, social, and the content ecosystem.

      • Get rich with Firefox or *(int *)NULL = 0 trying: Automated bug-bounty hunter build touted

        Do you love Firefox, Linux, and the internet? Are you interested in earning money from the comfort of your own home? Are you OK with a special flavor of Firefox quietly gobbling up memory in a hunt for exploitable security bugs?

        If so, Mozilla has a deal for you.

        The open internet organization (and search licensing revenue addict) would like you to go about your usual browsing business with a special Firefox build designed to automatically report potential security flaws in the software back to the mothership.

        If you do so, and the reported error turns out to be a legit exploitable vulnerability that Firefox engineers can fix, you’ll be rewarded as if you’d submitted the errant code to Mozilla’s bug bounty program.

        That’s right, kids. Your aimless online procrastination could be your ticket to riches through the ASan Nightly Project.

      • Why an ops career

        It’s been a great “family reunion” of FOSS colleagues and peers in the OSCON hallway track this week. I had a conversation recently in which I was asked “Why did you choose ops as a career path?”, and this caused me to notice that I’ve never blogged about this rationale before.

        I work in roles revolving around software and engineering because they fall into a cultural sweet spot offering smart and interesting colleagues, opportunities for great work-life balance, and exemplary compensation. I also happen to have taken the opportunity to spend over a decade building my skills and reputation in this industry, which helps me keep the desirable roles and avoid the undesirable ones. Yet, many people in my field prefer software development over operations work.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • A guide: The incorporation of OpenStack and Open Source MANO for NFV deployments

      As we know, OpenStack is mainly known to be the largest pool of open source projects which collectively form the software platform for cloud computing infrastructure. This infrastructure is used widely in private cloud use cases by many enterprises. After an introduction of NFV by ETSI, OpenStack has emerged as a key infrastructure platform for NFV. In most of the NFV deployments, OpenStack is used at VIM (Virtual Infrastructure Manager) layer to give a standardised interface for managing, monitoring and assessing all resources within NFV infrastructure.

      Various OpenStack projects, such as Tacker, Neutron, Nova, Astara, Congress, Mistral, Senlin) are capable of managing virtualised infrastructure components of NFV environment. As an example, Tacker is utilised to build a generic VNF Manager (VNFM) and NFV Orchestrator (NFVO) which helps in deployment and operation of VNFs within NFV infrastructure. Additionally, integration of OpenStack projects introduces various features to NFV infrastructure. Features include performance features like huge pages, CPU pinning, NUMA topology and SR-IOV; service function chaining, network slicing, scalability, high availability, resiliency and multi-site enablement.

  • Databases

    • The changing role of DBAs in an “as-a-service” world

      Over the years at Percona, we have seen this shift as well. The types of issues we face daily have evolved along with the database environment (and the role of the DBA). Currently, more than 50% of the support tickets our customers open are related to application design issues, query performance, or database infrastructure design. Five years ago, help requests and support tickets around issues like these represented less than 20% of our overall caseload.

      This makes sense when you think about the maturity of open source databases such as MySQL, MongoDB, MariaDB, and PostgreSQL and the technological advances that impact the database. More stable databases, coupled with advances in either homegrown automation or cloud-based infrastructure, reduce the likelihood of general crashing bugs due to the core database software. Often, today’s causes of outages and issues are design decisions, bad code, or odd “edge cases” that weren’t considered in the initial planning.

      All of this means that the role of the DBA is moving away from simply “keeping it up and running” to a much more strategic position: The DBA is one of the experts that helps enterprises reach their strategic business goals.

  • Healthcare

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Facebook open-sources its ‘oomd’ tool for data center memory management

      Facebook Inc. is doling out yet another open-source software tool, this time aimed at data center operators that struggle with system outages from applications trying to consume more memory resources than are available to them.

      The software in question is called oomd, which Facebook describes as a “faster and more reliable” solution for the “out-of-memory situations” that sometimes occur after a configuration change or software update relating to its information technology infrastructure.

    • Open sourcing oomd, a new approach to handling OOMs

      As our global community has grown to more than 2.2 billion people, Facebook’s infrastructure has grown to span News Feed, Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, and a range of other products. These products and the systems powering them run on millions of servers spread across multiple geo-distributed data centers.

      As our infrastructure has scaled, we’ve found that an increasing fraction of our machines and networks span multiple generations. One side effect of this multigenerational production environment is that a new software release or configuration change might result in a system running healthily on one machine but experiencing an out-of-memory (OOM) issue on another. Facebook runs Linux as the host operating system on its machines. The traditional Linux OOM killer works fine in some cases, but in others it kicks in too late, resulting in the system entering a livelock for an indeterminate period.

      We have developed oomd, a faster, more reliable solution to common out-of-memory (OOM) situations, which works in userspace rather than kernelspace. We designed oomd with two key features: pre-OOM hooks and a custom plugin system. Pre-OOM hooks offer visibility into an OOM before the workload is threatened. The plugin system allows us to specify custom policies that can handle each workload running on a host.

    • Open sourcing oomd, a new approach to handling OOMs

      Over on the Facebook code site, Daniel Xu announces the release of oomd under the GPLv2. Oomd is a user-space “out of memory” killer that was mentioned in our recent article on the block I/O latency controller and it uses the pressure stall information covered in an even more recent article.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GCC 8.2 Release Candidate Arrives For Compiler Testing

      GCC 8.2 as the first point release to the stable GCC 8 compiler is tentatively set to debut next Thursday, 26 July, but available now for testing is the release candidate.

      Available today is 8.2.0-RC-20180719 as the release candidate to GCC 8.2.0.

    • FSFE Newsletter – July 2018

      On July 5, The European Parliament rejected the mandate to fast-track the controversial legislation intended to reform online copyright.

    • David’s Progress on The Free Software Directory, internship weeks 2-3

      I’m working on creating a list of free software extensions for Mozilla-based browsers on the Free Software Directory based on data from addons.mozilla.org. This is needed because the official extensions repository includes many proprietary extensions.

      I found out that it’s not possible to use the addons.mozilla.org API to list add-on collections, so I submitted a bug report for this. To my surprise they declined my suggestion, so I had to add a function to my program to parse it manually. Then I went on and wrote a detailed README file to describe the philosophy for the project to make it easy for anyone to contribute. I merged my source code to the Savannah GNU package called Free Software Directory, which also has scripts for importing data from Debian.

      I started a collection of IceCat add-ons and recommended IceCat (and Abrowser) to use it in Tools -> Add-ons (about:addons) -> Get Add-ons.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Amazon, Canonical, Intel Join Open Source Licence Coalition – Pledge Patience

      Open source heavyweights Amazon, Canonical, Intel and more this week joined a diverse new coalition dedicated to making open source licence enforcement fairer and clearer.

      The group was set up last year by major Linux users Facebook, Google, IBM and Red Hat. This week Red Hat announced that Amazon, Arm, Canonical, GitLab, Intel, NEC, Royal Philips, SAS, Toyota and VMware were among those committing to its terms.

      Coalition members agree to provide a fair “cure period” for licensees in breach of their open source software licenses, rather than taking immediate legal action or cancelling the licences without warning (which early open source licences permit).

      The companies also say that they want to “support approaches to license enforcement that foster greater collaboration in open source software development.”

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Printrbot has shut down

        Printrbot, a popular Kickstarter-backed 3D printer company, has shut down, leaving only a barebones website and little explanation.

      • Pioneering desktop 3D printer maker Printrbot closes it doors
      • Printrbot Closes Doors, Saddening 3D Printing Fans Everywhere

        In a competitive market, it’s hard for any company to stay ahead of the others, and it’s a sad fact that even some of the most popular and long-lived companies succumb to heavy weather. Printrbot, founded in 2011, had legions of fans who loved its printers’ affordability, ease of assembly and use, and open source freedom. Printrbot 3D printers were 3D printers for the people – only a few hundred dollars, they provided access to 3D printing technology for people who hadn’t been able to afford it before, and although they were simple, they were high quality. Best of all, you could make them your own, tinkering with them and creating new and unique machines, as so many users did. The company was ethical, direct and honest. Some open source 3D printer companies just download files and don’t share. Printrbot dutifully shared its source files and was a rare true open source company.

      • 3D Printing Community saddened by closure of Printrbot 3D printers

        Open source 3D printer manufacturer Printrbot has announced the close of its business, citing poor sales as the reason for the decision. A simple statement on the Printrbot website from founder Brook Drumm reads:

        “Printrbot is closed. Low sales led to hard decisions. We will be forever grateful to all the people we met and served over the years. Thank you all.”

        For the time being, Drumm will reportedly be “unreachable” for comments, and plans to share his views and plans for this “final chapter” in due course.

        The 3D Printing Community however has take to social media in mourning of the company, with figures including Joel Telling (YouTube’s 3D Printing Nerd), Thomas Sanladerer, and Dr. Adrian Bowyer himself weighing in on the close.

      • Printrbot Shuts Down After Seven Years of Creating Open Source 3D Printers

        Printrbot, the 3D printing manufacturer which was founded in 2011 with the launch of its original Printrbot printer on Kickstarter, has announced that it’s now sadly closing its doors.

  • Programming/Development

    • Python post-Guido

      There were two main areas that Van Rossum called out for governance: how PEPs are decided and how new core developers are added. The latter seems to already be based on a vote of the existing core developers. They are the only ones allowed to post to the core-committers mailing list, which is where Van Rossum posted his resignation, presumably to avoid wading through hundreds of messages—nearly all undoubtedly positive and grateful, though surely there would have been some trolls as well.

    • PHP version 5.6.37, 7.0.31, 7.1.20 and 7.2.8
    • An Introduction to Using Git

      If you’re a developer, then you know your way around development tools. You’ve spent years studying one or more programming languages and have perfected your skills. You can develop with GUI tools or from the command line. On your own, nothing can stop you. You code as if your mind and your fingers are one to create elegant, perfectly commented, source for an app you know will take the world by storm.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Open Source and Standard-Essential Patents: More Alike Than Not

      The unspoken question that this paper raises in my mind is whether it may be incorrect to speak of Open Source and standardization as separate activities at all. Instead, Open Source might correctly be viewed as a species of standardization activity, with particular license conditions and membership conditions. The success of Open Source activities—and other standards that implement royalty-free commitments, such as Bluetooth—shows that there’s a place in the continuum of standards policy for royalty-free licensing when participants wish that to be the case.

Leftovers

  • How to give IT project estimates—and when not to estimate at all

    Everyone wants to know how long a project will take. Here’s how to provide managers with a prediction that’s both accurate and imprecise, using cycle time and counting stories, along with advice on when to avoid estimation altogether.

    Celeste felt squeezed. Her manager, Barry, wanted an estimate for her team’s quarterly deliverables. Making the task more challenging, Celeste’s team wasn’t working on just one product; no, Barry wanted estimates for three different products. Each product was part of a different project.

    [...]

    Estimation is work, too. Many teams account for estimation in their regular flow of work. However, an accurate estimate for a quarter’s worth of work often requires more than the hour or two of estimation as the team proceeds.

    There are at least two problems with estimating a quarter’s worth of work: Too often, the requirements aren’t fully defined and, as with Celeste’s team, the estimation interrupts the team from its urgent project work.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • “An almond doesn’t lactate:” FDA to crack down on use of the word “milk”

      He went on to explain that the issue is that the agency hasn’t been enforcing its own policy or putting the squeeze on product makers—and that it’s time to get abreast of the labeling language.

    • Alaska Airlines Confirms Cabin Air Contamination

      As we reported yesterday, Alaska Airlines has been differing fume and cabin air contamination write-ups, along with other issues, on Virgin America Airbus aircraft and has been instructing the crew to operate the aircraft in question. Crews have been reporting these events for the last few months, some flight attendants and passengers have even been hospitalized due to cabin air contamination, and Alaska hasn’t acknowledged or attempted to resolve the issues until yesterday.

    • Immigrant Shelters Drug Traumatized Teenagers Without Consent

      Fleeing an abusive stepfather in El Salvador, Gabriela headed for Oakland, California, where her grandfather had promised to take her in. When the teenager reached the U.S. border in January 2017, she was brought to a federally funded shelter in Texas.

      Initially, staff described her as receptive and resilient. But as she was shuttled from one Texas shelter to another, she became increasingly depressed. Without consulting her grandfather, or her mother in El Salvador, shelter staff have prescribed numerous medications for her, including two psychotropic drugs whose labels warn of increased suicidal behavior in adolescents, according to court documents. Still languishing in a shelter after 18 months, the 17-year-old doesn’t want to take the medications, but she does anyway, because staff at one facility told her she wouldn’t be released until she is considered psychologically sound.

      Gabriela’s experience epitomizes a problem that the Trump administration’s practice of family separation exacerbated: the failure of government-funded facilities to seek informed consent before medicating immigrant teenagers. Around 12,000 undocumented minors are in custody of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement. The majority crossed the border unaccompanied, while more than 2,500 were separated from their parents while Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy was in effect from April to June.

    • Oppositions Filed Against Gilead Hepatitis C Patent Applications In India

      The Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+), which represents people with hepatitis C, filed the oppositions at the Indian Patent Office on 9 July, according to a release from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors Without Borders) Access Campaign.

      “The grounds for these two patent oppositions are based on provisions in the Indian Patents Act that prevent patent evergreening, which restricts the patentability of a host of secondary patents, i.e., new forms of known substances, new property or new use of known substances, use of known processes without showing any enhanced therapeutic efficacy, and admixtures without synergistic effect,” said the MSF release.

      The opposition filings (sofosbuvir/velpatasvir, velpatasvir) came shortly after Gilead, a US pharmaceutical corporation, submitted patent applications for medications that inhibit the growth of HCV and HIV, according to the opposition filings. In the opposition filings, it states that Gilead claimed to have eliminated some liver side effects that are common after taking HCV or HIV medication.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • First PGPainless Release!

      PGPainless 0.0.1-alpha1 is the first non-snapshot release and is available from maven central. It was an interesting experience to go through the process of creating a release and I’m looking forward to have many more releases in the future :)

      The current release contains a workaround for the bug I described in an earlier blog post. The issue was, that bouncycastle wouldn’t mark the public sub keys of a secret key ring as sub keys, which results in loss of keys if the user tries to create a public key ring from the exported public keys. My workaround fixes the issue by iterating through all sub keys of an existing key ring and converting the key packages of subkeys to subkey packages. The code is also available as a gist.

    • Security updates for Friday
    • Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) End of Life reached on July 19 2018
    • Hacked Passwords Being Used In Blackmail Attempt — Expect More Of This

      This was immediately obvious as a scam from a hacked database of passwords. Besides the fact that I haven’t used that particular password in ages (and even when I did, it was the password I used for “unimportant” sites), there are a whole bunch of other reasons why it was obvious that the email was fake and it would be literally impossible for the person to have whatever it was they claimed to have on me. I found it funny enough that I reached out to some other folks to see if this was getting around, and a few people told me they’d seen similar ones, noting that the final note about sending it to “9 friends” appeared to be an increase from the usual of “5″ that they had seen before.

      Indeed, Brian Krebs, who is always on top of these things, wrote a story about how a bunch of people got these emails last week. That one only asked for $1400, and also promised to send it to 5 friends. It has a few other slight differences to the one I received, but is pretty clearly sent by the same person/team of people with just a few modifications. Like the ones that Krebs reported on, mine appeared to come from an outlook.com email address. As Krebs notes, he expects that this particular scam is about to get a lot more popular, and will probably use a lot more recent set of passwords:

    • Hacker Summer Camp 2018: Cyberwar?

      I actually thought I was done with the pre-con portion of my Hacker Summer Camp blog post series, but it turns out that people wanted to know more about “the most dangerous network in the world”. Specifically, I got questions about how to protect yourself in this hostile environment, like whether people should bring a burner device, how to avoid getting hacked, what to do after the con, etc.

      [...]

      There’s never a guarantee of security, but with updated devices & good security hygiene, you can survive the DEF CON networks.

    • Amazon, Reddit And Others Fail To Warn Us About Dumb Passwords

      Believe it or not, there is still a large number of people who use passwords such as “password,” “password123”, “[dog’s name]1” and others along the same lines. And in the era of sophisticated hacking, these passwords are not exactly “safe.”

    • Decade of research shows little improvement in password guidance
    • Meltdown Protection For x86 32-bit Aligned For The Linux 4.19 Kernel

      Those still relying upon x86 32-bit Linux kernels for aging hardware and continuing to update to the latest software will find mitigation for the Meltdown CPU vulnerability with the upcoming Linux 4.19 kernel cycle. You’ll find this mitigation but at the cost of performance.

      While x86_64 Linux was mitigated back in January for Meltdown, it’s taken a while for x86 32-bit support for KPTI, Kernel Page Table Isolation. This is basically applying the same page table isolation approach seen on Linux x86_64 and ARM to now the 32-bit x86 kernel code. Obviously it hasn’t been a priority with many Linux distributions not even bothering with i686 install images in recent years.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • UK personnel ‘could face murder trials’ over drone strikes, MPs warn
    • Adam Holloway MP: Britain must lead the way to create a global legal framework on drones

      oday, we launch the report of the APPG on Drones inquiry, The UK’s Use of Armed Drones: Working with Partners. Following an independent process, our cross-party report shines a light on the risky ways that UK drone partnerships are being run, and makes recommendation to the Government to update Britain’s security policy for the new era of remote warfare.

      Over two years, we’ve heard from experts on how British support and intelligence may have assisted targeted killings by the US in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan: countries where the UK isn’t at war. As even the architects of the US drone programme have raised the alarm on President Trump’s drone programme, clarity on the UK’s role is now urgently needed.

      When Britain shares its bases, intelligence and personnel with drone partners who may, in future, act unlawfully – Britain risks acting unlawfully. We need to put the right safeguards are in place. Not to hinder the Government’s fight against terrorism, but – in the absence of clear legal basis and stated public policy – to prevent civilian harm and protect British military personnel from criminal prosecution.

    • 2 Palestinians injured as Israeli drone strikes launchers of arson balloons

      An Israeli army drone fired a missile at a group of Palestinian young men launching arson balloons from eastern Gaza City into Israel, injuring two of them, medical sources said.

      One of the two injured by the shrapnel of the missile was in serious condition, the sources said.

    • Meanwhile, About Those Other Issues at the Summit

      Stories that Trump would announce a cancellation of U.S. military exercises in Europe or even a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Europe had no basis in reality, and needless to say nothing like that happened. Nor did Donald Trump recognise Crimea as Russian or announce that he would lift sanctions on Russia.

    • Sam Husseini Locked Up for Committing Journalism in Public

      Journalist and FAIR associate Sam Husseini went to the Trump/Putin press conference in Helsinki with press credentials from The Nation and a couple of questions. Specifically, he wanted to ask both leaders why they aren’t living up to their commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and why they’re blocking the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Further, based on the idea that there may be no greater threat than a weapon that is unacknowledged, Husseini hoped to ask Trump if he would acknowledge the existence of Israel’s nuclear weapons.

      It wasn’t so quixotic: Reuters (7/12/18) had just reported Trump saying his “ultimate” hope for the summit’s outcome was “no more nuclear weapons anywhere in the world.” But, as listeners may have heard, Husseini, also an analyst at the Institute for Public Accuracy, didn’t get to ask those questions. Before the conference started, Finnish security took him out of the room, saying someone had told them he had a sign. He did have a small piece of paper, reading “Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty,” that he hoped might draw Trump’s or Putin’s attention, but he was prepared to be told this was against the rules and to hand it over. As he took it out, though, security officers leapt on him, knocked his glasses off, and dragged him out of the room, and ultimately to a detention facility, where they held him incommunicado until the middle of the night.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Ecuador, Britain in talks over Assange standoff, says diplomat

      Ecuador and Britain are “in the process of negotiating” a possible solution to their more than five-year standoff over WikiLeak’s founder Julian Assange, a top official said on Thursday.

      The anti-secrecy activist has been holed up at Ecuador’s embassy in London since 2012, unable to make use of the political asylum the South American country granted him due to Britain’s refusal to give him safe passage.

    • Pamela Anderson Actually Asked Alec Baldwin to Lobby Trump for a Pardon of Julian Assange
    • Ecuador, UK are in talks over Assange

      According to sources close to Wikileaks CEO, they know nothing about the negotiations. The US can exert pressure on the authorities of Ecuador, the sources added.

    • The power of polish, according to the CIA

      There comes a time in every person’s life – sometimes many times – when he or she or they wishes that some statement made or written had been a bit more clear. The human experience is complex, language can only do so much to convey its intricacies, and in some situations, what would and wouldn’t be considered unforgivable can be determined by just one word.

      What a world of difference the right one can make.

      The Central Intelligence Agency of the mid-1970s understood something of the value of thoughtful phrasing. In the wake of Watergate, the revelations of the “Family Jewels,” and the subsequent Church Committee investigation, the Agency had a lot riding on what it did and didn’t say. And as noted in a memo for Deputy Director of Central Intelligence E. Henry Knoche dated November 29, 1976, that efficiency of language should be reflected in their planning materials, like “DCI Perspectives,” issued regularly as mid-range guidance to the Intelligence Community.

    • Inside WikiLeaks: Working with the Publisher that Changed the World

      Silenced and cut off from the outside world, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been confined to the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the last six years with no access to sunlight, fresh air, or proper medical treatment. Furthermore, last March President Lenin Moreno’s Ecuadorian government cut his access to the internet, phone calls and even visitors and journalists. For a man who has already been confined to the embassy for so long, these restrictions are particularly harsh.

      I began working as one of WikiLeaks’ media partners in 2009, before Assange and WikiLeaks published such bombshells as the “Collateral Murder” video. Over the last nine years, I have partnered with WikiLeaks on behalf of my newspaper, the Italian daily La Repubblica to work on the Podesta emails and many of its other secret files, except for those that WikiLeaks released without media partners: the DNC emails, the Saudi Cables, Turkey’s ruling party emails, the Hacking Team documents, the Collateral Murder video and the Brennan emails.

      Like its work or not, WikiLeaks is an independent media organization that doesn’t have to rely on traditional media to publish its scoops. Indeed it was founded to bypass the legal qualms traditional media may have about publishing classified information.

      With its 5.5 million followers on Twitter, WikiLeaks has a huge social media presence that gives its work immediate impact. But WikiLeaks has published most of its revelations in collaboration with a number of media partners.

    • Ecuador to hand over Assange to UK ‘in coming weeks or days,’ own sources tell RT’s editor-in chief

      Simonyan’s message comes, as speculations Ecuador is in talks with the UK over the future of Assange are back again in British press. Earlier this week, the Times reported Britain is locked in top-tier discussions with the Ecuadorians in a bid to remove Assange from their London embassy.

      Sir Alan Duncan, the Foreign Office minister, is said to be spearheading the diplomatic effort. Sources close to Assange said he himself was not aware of the talks but believed that America was putting “significant pressure” on Ecuador, including threatening to block a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) if he continues to stay at the embassy.

      The Times report comes just weeks before a visit to the UK by the newly-elected Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno, who has labeled Assange a “hacker”, an “inherited problem” and a “stone in the shoe.”

      [...]

      Despite the Swedish investigation against him being closed in May last year, the Australian journalist was still unable to leave the embassy because of an outstanding British warrant for allegedly breaching bail conditions and no guarantees of him not being sent to the US.

      Over the years, the whistleblower has been supported by activists and human rights groups, who demanded he be freed. A UN panel also found that Assange’s stay in the embassy amounted to “arbitrary detention,” but it wasn’t enough to change his fate.

    • UK minister dares Julian Assange to leave Ecuadorean embassy

      JULIAN Assange is facing “serious charges” and can expect a “warm welcome” from British police if he walks out of the Ecuadorean embassy, according to UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

      The Wikileaks founder has been holed up in the embassy in London since 2012 in fear of possible charges being brought against him by US authorities.

      “He is free to walk out of the doors of the Ecuadorean embassy any time he wishes,” Mr Hunt said.

      “This is a country that respects rule of law, you are innocent until proven guilty.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Wroclaw’s Electric Carsharing Program Passes 30,000 Users

      A local news report in the Polish city where I’ve been living for nearly 10 years highlights that our relatively fresh electric carsharing program — Vozilla — has passed 30,000 users after approximately a year of service. Before moving to Florida a month ago, I was seeing the cars — mostly Nissan LEAFs — everywhere I went. I would say anytime I went out beyond our corner shops (and often there as well), I saw at least one of these fun-colored LEAFs.

    • Hosepipe ban: Where in UK is it being imposed and what will happen if you break it?

      From 5 August, millions of people living in the North West of England are going to be affected by hosepipe ban following what is believed to be the longest heatwave in the UK since 1976.

      The hosepipe ban, otherwise known as a ‘Temporary Use Ban (TUB)’ is being enforced by water company United Utilities.

      With many faced with the prospect of being disallowed from using hosepipes or sprinklers on their properties, people who fail to meet with the new regulations in the affected areas could be met with hefty fines.

  • Finance

    • Employees stage protests as Amazon Prime Day gets underway

      Workers at Amazon in Europe have walked out to protest against the company’s employment conditions ahead of the company’s Prime Day which began at midnight Australian time and runs for 36 hours.

    • Negotiating Brexit from the ground up

      Brexit is increasingly being treated as a national crisis on one level which challenges party lines and has even led to proposals of the formation of a Unity government. There is no doubt that it is complex with multiple moving parts and has cut to the heart of families and communities. However, it is crucial to realise that in order for it to be successful or for it not to “take us over a cliff edge” we the British public, will need to be prepared to undergo a change in culture.

      This will involve our becoming more sophisticated in our approach to negotiation and conflict resolution as individuals and communities. If we do this, we can start building workable solutions to Brexit and, potentially, build stronger, more cohesive communities that speak less of hate and more of tolerance.

    • Central Banks Consider Blockchain-Based Digital Currency At ITU Meeting

      The UN International Telecommunication Union’s Digit Fiat Currency (ITU-DFC) Focus Group is meeting in New York this week to consider the potential promise and pitfalls of central bank-issued digital currency.

    • What is distributed ledger technology?

      Since ancient times, we’ve relied on ledgers for recordkeeping in various domains, including contracts, payments, ownership of assets, identities, etc. Ledgers have come a long way and have been at the heart of trust in communities since humans first began writing on clay tablets and papyrus. The discipline evolved over centuries as paper was invented and new methods such as double-entry accounting were devised to leverage the use of ledgers in new and more calculated ways.

      The advent and propagation of computers in the 20th century added great speed and convenience to the process of creating, updating and managing ledgers. The internet later made it possible to create digital ledgers that could be accessed from anywhere across the world.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Undercover investigator: Facebook moderators were instructed not to remove racist far-right material
    • Undercover Facebook moderator was instructed not to remove fringe groups or hate speech

      The undercover journalist detailed his findings in a new documentary titled Inside Facebook: Secrets of the Social Network, that just aired on the UK’s Channel 4. The investigation outlines questionable practices on behalf of CPL Resources, a third-party content moderator firm based in Dublin, Ireland that Facebook has worked with since 2010.

    • From the Start, Trump Has Muddied a Clear Message: Putin Interfered

      Weeks before taking office, Donald J. Trump learned of highly sensitive intelligence about Russian election interference, but he has done all he can to suggest other explanations for the hacks.

    • The View From Somewhere: The Press Needs To Be Anti-Partisan, Not Bi-Partisan

      For somewhere close to a decade we’ve talked about journalism professor Jay Rosen’s important concept of “the view from nowhere.” This is the “professional” stance that many media operations (mainly big time newspapers) take in reporting the news, in which they stupidly refuse to actually take a stand on truth and instead tend to report the news in a “he said/she said” fashion, never bothering to tell you which one is actually true. Indeed, we’ve long argued that if journalists want to actually be relevant, they need to have a point of view, and that point of view should be about what is true, not granting “equal weight” to both sides of a story that doesn’t deserve it. Taking the side of truth and pointing out lies for what they are is not bias, it’s real journalism.

      If you want a recent example of the moronic “view from nowhere,” which is so frequently practiced by the NY Times, entitled Trump Now Says He Accepts U.S. Intelligence Reports on Russian Election Meddling. There’s nothing factually incorrect there, but it’s… complete bullshit in terms of what is actually happening. Yes, Trump says that, but an accurate report would explain why that’s almost certainly a false statement from Trump given everything else he said about the situation during his press conference with Putin.

    • Report Shows U.S. Citizens Helped Coordinate Online Disinformation Assault From Macedonia

      You’ll recall that even back in 2014 a lot was being made about Putin’s troll factories, or the oodles of hired underlings paid by the Russian leader to fill the internet with bile and disinformation twenty-four hours a day. Much of what we originally learned about these disinformation shops came from Russian whistleblowers like Lyudmila Savchuk. Savchuk spent two months employed by the operation and was so disgusted that she quit, launched an anti-propaganda social activist campaign, and successfully sued the Russian government for one Ruble in a bid to expose the effort.

      Over the last few years we learned that these online propaganda efforts were much larger and sophisticated that originally believed. Reports as early as 2015 had already highlighted how these also extended well beyond just routine shitposting and clever memes and into the real world; like the time Russia went so far as to open a museum in Manhattan to try and spin its “annexation” of Crimea.

      Many tried to downplay the impact and scope of these efforts in the following years, insisting that no real damage could come from a bunch of marginally-competent Russians with broken english shitposting on the internet (a narrative that doesn’t quite gel with the DOJ indictment or the whistleblower accounts that have emerged since, showing the efforts were notably more nuanced and sophisticated than initial 2014 and 2015 reporting suggested).

    • Haitian ‘Mobs’ and ‘Mayhem’—or an Uprising?

      Those were the catchphrases in much of the US media coverage of the sometimes violent response to the government’s plans to remove subsidies for gas, kerosene and diesel in order to qualify for a $300 million loan from the International Monetary Fund earlier this month. (Seven people were allegedly killed, dozens of businesses were ransacked in the capital and other cities and the prime minister was forced to resign.)

      If those descriptions hearken back to the “rioting and looting” in Ferguson (BBC, 11/25/14), and the “thugs” in a “frenzied rampage” (Independent, 4/28/18) in a Baltimore “engulfed in flames” (CNN, 4/28/18), audiences should not be surprised. When people of color take to the streets, corporate media often veer toward certain framing and vocabulary, as Brave New Films pointed out in an excellent compilation video a few years back.

      [...]

      Second, the rage was about much more than gas price hikes. Prices for local and foreign goods have risen by an average of almost 13 percent per year lately, according to the Haitian Institute of Statistics. As the local currency has lost value against the dollar—it’s dropped by 50 percent, just since the 2010 earthquake—the cost of everything has risen for those not earning dollars.

      Over half of Haiti’s food is imported, according to the World Food Program, meaning that staples like rice, beans, corn, chicken and vegetable oil have doubled in price since the earthquake. (A 2018 study from USAID noted that “Haitians experience food prices that are approximately 30–77 percent higher than in other countries” in the Latin American/Caribbean region.

    • Secret Service agent died on Trump trip abroad, body returning to US

      The body of a Secret Service agent who died in Scotland during President Donald Trump’s overseas trip was being returned to the United States on Wednesday.

      The agency says Special Agent Nole E. Remagen suffered a cerebrovascular accident on Monday during Trump’s trip to Belgium, the United Kingdom, Scotland and Finland.

      The 19-year veteran died in Scotland on Tuesday. He was surrounded by immediate family and Secret Service colleagues.

    • Action Alert: Tell NYT Not to Present Center-Right as ‘Left’

      The New York Times, despite its above-the-fray self-image, is one of most overtly ideological institutions on earth. Its primary editorial purpose—as laid out by its own opinion page editor earlier this year (James Bennett: “We are in favor of capitalism”—FAIR.org, 3/1/18)—is to defend the unimpeachable virtues of capitalism. As such, whoever the Times holds up as “the left”—in its sourcing and in its hiring practices (FAIR.org, 4/20/17)—has to first and foremost accept the primacy of the market and the broader virtue of a US-run global order that promotes this particular ideology.

      Even so, when Times reporter Jennifer Jett (7/17/18) wanted to recap reactions—“from the right and left”—to Donald Trump’s recent summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the choice of pundits she turned to to represent “the left” was exceedingly bizarre. Somehow Alina Polyakova, a conventional wisdom-echoing research director at the NATO-aligned and -funded think tank Atlantic Council, and Fred Kaplan, a champion of the Iraq War at Slate, were offered by Jett as “the left.”

      The third member of this three-person list was Atlantic staff writer James Fallows, the one person included whom you could argue was some species of leftist (though the Radical Middle Newsletter cites him as an example of a “great radical-centrist journalist”). While The Atlantic is generally a center-right publication, Fallows is at least a skeptic of US military power, but by no means a consistent anti-imperialist.

    • PM’s Dept wrote to CIA seeking US support before GE14, reports portal

      The Prime Minister’s Department wrote a letter to the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director Gina Haspel seeking the country’s backing for Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s administration days before the May 9 general election, reported Malaysiakini.

    • Najib didn’t know about CIA letter, says report

      The former prime minister told Malaysiakini he was ‘surprised’ and ‘did not know of its existence’ because not all letters had to go through him.

    • Kit Siang: Najib must explain to Parliament about CIA letter
    • Apartheid government feared ‘massive upheavals’ if Mandela died in prison: CIA

      The apartheid government had fears that South Africa would erupt in “unrest” if former president Nelson Mandela died in prison.

      This revelation was contained in a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) document titled “Nelson Mandela: What if Alive and Well and Free in South Africa”. It – and scores of others – were released by Washington-based group Property of the People on Tuesday to mark what would have been the struggle stalwart’s 100th birthday.

      “South African officials have been considering Mandela’s release primarily because they fear that the death in prison of the ageing leader (who is 68) would trigger massive upheavals and would intensify international criticism‚” the document read.

      It was prepared in September 1986‚ almost four years before Mandela’s release. At the time‚ he had already been incarcerated for 24 years. According to the document‚ it was prepared by the CIA’s “Office of Leadership Analysis for the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on South Africa”.

    • Mandela’s release a ‘public relations bonanza’ — say released CIA documents

      The apartheid government had fears that SA would erupt in “unrest” if former president Nelson Mandela died in prison.

      This revelation was contained in a US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) document titled, Nelson Mandela: What if Alive and Well and Free in SA. It — and scores of others — were released by Washington-based group Property of the People on Tuesday to mark what would have been the struggle stalwart’s 100th birthday.

      “South African officials have been considering Mandela’s release primarily because they fear that the death in prison of the aging leader (who is 68) would trigger massive upheavals and would intensify international criticism‚” the document read.

    • Email Hacking Was ‘Pearl Harbor,’ Helsinki Presidency’s ‘New Low’: Welcome to the United States of Amnesia

      The media maelstrom around the Helsinki meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin obscures at least one point of view: that it’s possible to believe that Russia intervened in the 2016 election on behalf of Trump without thinking that this is remotely comparable to Pearl Harbor, as Politico (7/16/18) declared, or “the worst attack on America since 9/11,” as a Washington Post headline (2/18/18) claimed earlier this year.

      Not saying it doesn’t make it less true that both Russia and the United States frequently interfere in other countries’ elections—the US somewhat more frequently, according to a database of electoral interventions maintained by a political scientist at Carnegie Mellon. That’s a lot of Pearl Harbors.

      In 1996, Time magazine published a cover story (7/15/96) headlined “Yanks to the Rescue: The Secret Story of How American Advisers Helped Yeltsin Win.” Russian President Boris Yeltsin, you may recall, embraced the idea pushed by Western advisors that what the Russian economy needed was “shock therapy,” a policy that resulted in the country losing about a third of its GDP. Yeltsin also created the model for the authoritarian post-Soviet Russia we have today, notably when he called out the military to shell the Russian parliament—just one of many examples that make clear that the difference between US and Russian electoral interference is not that “we” intervene on the side of democracy.

    • On Russian meddling, Trump listens to KGB over CIA

      President Trump promised to surround himself with the best advisers. Apparently that includes a former KGB intelligence officer named Vladimir Putin.

      Trump just made it clear that he takes the word of Putin over that of his own intelligence community. Asked at a press conference with Putin whether he would condemn Russian meddling in the general election, a censure that would require admitting that meddling occurred, the president deferred to the KGB over the CIA.

      “Dan Coats came to me and some others; they said they think it’s Russia,” Trump said in a particularly shameful moment at a joint press conference after the Helsinki summit. “I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

    • The NSA Director Warned Staff Against Getting Into A “Tit For Tat” Over Trump’s Angry Tweetstorm
    • Chuck Schumer’s Actions on the National Stage Get Little Scrutiny From His Local Press

      In the recent flare-up over “civility,” the leading Democrat in the Senate attacked Rep. Maxine Waters’ call for public confrontation with Trump administration officials as “not American.” Many activists in Brooklyn, Chuck Schumer’s home, were upset by the McCarthyite smear. Yet while the right-wing New York Post praised his stance towards Waters (6/26/18), New York’s senior senator faced little criticism in the local press for it.

      For such a powerful figure, Schumer gets relatively scant scrutiny from New York City’s press corps, long considered the toughest in the United States. Instead, the tabloids dutifully cover the Senate minority leader’s Sunday news conference warnings about the latest consumer “outrage,” whether it be hurricane-damaged used cars flooding the market or sunscreen pills that surprisingly don’t work.

      In the heyday of the tabloid wars of the late 20th century, many NYC politicians feared the wrath of influential columnists like Jimmy Breslin, Jack Newfield and Pete Hamill. But today’s leading columnists seem willing to give Schumer a free pass.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Facebook says it will begin removing misinformation that leads to violence

      Hours after CEO Mark Zuckerberg spurred history by defending the rights of Holocaust deniers to post on Facebook, the company said it had begun removing misinformation that contributes to violence.

    • Cambodian Government Latest To Stifle Press With ‘Fake News’ Legislation

      This is only the latest move in the Cambodian government’s regulation of internet speech. Earlier initiatives created blockades for anything deemed to be a threat to national security and “specialized units” composed of Ministry personnel surfed social media platforms looking for things to prosecute citizens for.

      This also follows a couple of incidents seen as contributing to the government’s consolidation of power. The sale of the Phnom Pehn Post to a Malaysian businessman whose PR firm does work for the Cambodian prime minister suggested the government wanted to be in the news production business. Another independent press outlet was hit with a large fine and a short deadline, forcing it to close up shop.

    • Cambodia curbs free speech in the name of “fake news”

      The government of Cambodia recently announced a new directive aimed at combating “fake news” that will reportedly, among other restrictions, require all websites to register with Cambodia’s Ministry of Information or face additional scrutiny. The announcement follows a meeting between the prime minister of Vietnam and the prime minister of Cambodia, and comes just ahead of Cambodia’s general election later this month.

      This directive is a continuation of recent developments in combating “fake news” in Cambodia. Earlier in the year, the government also claimed the authority to block media which they deem a threat to national defense and security and deployed “specialized units” to monitor social media posts.

      This is part of a larger trend seen in the world currently, especially in Asia and across the Middle East and North Africa. Many governments — including Malaysia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and India — are regulating or attempting to regulate “fake news” (or, in some cases, pursuing broader efforts targeting cybercrime or cybersecurity), while actually putting in restrictions to freedom of expression online.

    • Letter: Oregonians do not need censorship

      I read The Daily Astorian, The Oregonian and, once weekly, the New Yorker. I have been extremely proud of the Fourth Estate during this troubled political time we seem mired in. The truth seemed to abide … until now.

      On Friday, July 13, a quarter million Brits — men, women and children, carrying homemade signs — gathered in Trafalgar Square to protest President Donald Trump. It was absolutely the biggest and most significant news story of the day. It was of special interest to me, because my husband and I had joined a peace rally in Trafalgar Square in 1966, demonstrating against the Vietnam War. We were looking forward to reading this particular story in The Oregonian and seeing the wonderful photos.

      On Saturday, July 14, there was nothing in the paper about the demonstration. I called The Oregonian complaint line, and it wasn’t working. No story in the Sunday edition, either. I felt the news was kept from us.

    • If You’re A Journalist Hiring Lawyers To Intimidate Publishers Into Killing Stories About Your Misdeeds, You’re A Hypocrite

      Over the years we’ve obviously written tons of stories about the rich and powerful hiring shameless lawyers who try to browbeat and intimidate news organizations (both large and small) out of publishing embarrassing stories. That’s one of the many reasons why we support strong anti-SLAPP laws across the country, as an essential protection for a free press. Media companies and journalists tend to be some of the biggest supporters of free speech and anti-SLAPP laws as well for this exact reason. But what happens when rich and successful journalists are suddenly the subject of unflattering stories as well? Apparently, they throw out their principled support of free speech and hire a sketchy law firm that celebrates its history of “killing stories.”

    • Netanyahu nixes controversial ‘Facebook Law’ allowing censorship of social media

      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu surprised Israeli lawmakers on Wednesday when he blocked a vote on a bill that would grant the government far-reaching power to remove or block content from social media sites.

      The so-called Facebook Law would delete the content for reasons that include incitement to terrorism without criminal proceeding and without any admissible evidence. Along with Facebook, among the social media outlets that would be covered by the legislation are Twitter, WhatsApp, Telegram, YouTube and reddit.

    • Unwitting Israeli MKs almost pass law allowing sweeping internet censorship
    • Republicans accused Facebook, Google and Twitter of bias. Democrats called the hearing ‘dumb.’
    • Antitrust Murmurs Underscore Facebook Hearing On Political Censorship
    • House Republicans float online conspiracy theories in hearing about social media ‘censorship’
    • Facebook taking heat over its approach to Infowars; here’s what you need to know
    • Facebook ‘moderators’ sworn to secrecy over censorship orders
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • California Can Pioneer Local Community Oversight of Police Surveillance

      The particular tools built by Harris Corp. are cell-site simulators, sometimes described as a “Stingray” (after the trade name of an early version). They monitor cell phone networks by mimicking a cell tower and gaining transmissions from cell phones near it, thereby exposing the phones’ locations and unique identifiers (such as an IMSI number), and enabling capture of metadata and unencrypted voice and text content.

    • How to hear (and delete) every conversation your Google Home has recorded
    • Tor is for everyone

      Some months ago, Nos Oignons was contacted by a journalist who wanted to “explain to our audience how we go into the deep web (through Tor) and why they might be interested in going there, without talking about “dark” sites like ones selling weapons”. But after some exchanges, the topic seems hard to sell to the editors: “At this stage, we frankly don’t have enough arguments, to the point that I doubt the article will even be published”. To the best of our knowledge, the article has indeed never been released.

      In our view, this lack of “arguments” stems from a fundamental misunderstanding: using Tor or (.onion sites) is no different from using the web or Internet in general. If Internet is meant for everyone, so is Tor.

      On the Internet, we read the press. But the experience is different from reading the press on paper. Someone grabing the latest edition of a daily newspaper in a coffee shop does not inform the publishers that their audience went up. They don’t tell them that they are in a coffee shop, or the name of the place, or which pages they read, or how long they spent on each article…

      But if the same person goes on the website of the same newspaper, the publishers will at the very least learn which Internet connection has been used, which pages have been read and for how long. And this information will not only be available to the newspaper: their ad broker will learn as much, as will Google which provides the character fonts, Facebook with the “Like” button, Twitter with theirs, and these are just the most common examples.

    • Between You, Me, and Google: Problems With Gmail’s “Confidential Mode”

      With Gmail’s new design rolled out to more and more users, many have had a chance to try out its new “Confidential Mode.” While many of its features sound promising, what “Confidential Mode” provides isn’t confidentiality. At best, the new mode might create expectations that it fails to meet around security and privacy in Gmail. We fear that Confidential Mode will make it less likely for users to find and use other, more secure communication alternatives. And at worst, Confidential Mode will push users further into Google’s own walled garden while giving them what we believe are misleading assurances of privacy and security.

      With its new Confidential Mode, Google purports to allow you to restrict how the emails you send can be viewed and shared: the recipient of your Confidential Mode email will not be able to forward or print it. You can also set an “expiration date” at which time the email will be deleted from your recipient’s inbox, and even require a text message code as an added layer of security before the email can be viewed.

      Unfortunately, each of these “security” features comes with serious security problems for users.

    • Ireland’s lawmakers are debating whether consent can be inferred under the GDPR

      Ireland’s lawmakers are debating a new bill titled the Data Sharing and Governance Bill 2018 that seeks to “provide a generalised legal basis for the sharing of data between public bodies” and establish “base registries” that will facilitate said sharing of data.

      During a debate on 26th June 2018, Patrick O’Donovan, the Minister of State for Public Procurement, Open Government and eGovernment, seemingly determined public bodies can infer consent if an individual has previously sought a service from the state.

    • Irish Lawmakers Realizing The GDPR’s Consent Requirements Seem A Bit Onerous, Want To ‘Infer’ Consent

      Now, personally, I agree that this seems like a perfectly reasonable standard for inferring consent under most reasonable conditions. But the problem is that the GDPR generally does not view things that way. This is yet another example of where people who view privacy through a singular lens of “don’t do anything at all with my data,” often fail to realize how extreme that position is, and how it limits perfectly normal functions.

    • Thousands of US voters’ data exposed by robocall firm

      A Virginia-based political campaign and robocalling company, which claims it can “reach thousands of voters instantly,” left a huge batch of files containing hundreds of thousands of voter records on a public and exposed Amazon S3 bucket that anyone could access without a password.

      The bucket contained close to 2,600 files, including spreadsheets and audio recordings, for several US political campaigns.

      Kromtech Security’s Bob Diachenko, who discovered the exposed data and blogged his findings, shared prior to publication several screenshots of data, packed with voters’ full names, home addresses, and political affiliations.

    • Another Day, Another Pile Of Voter Data Left Laying Around On A Public Server

      Leaving private voter or customer data easily accessible on a public-facing server is the hot new fashion trend. You’ll recall that it’s a problem that has plagued the Defense Department, GOP data firm Deep Root Analytics (198 million voter records exposed), Verizon’s marketing partners (6 million users impacted), Time Warner Cable (4 million users impacted), and countless other companies or partners that failed to implement even basic security practices. And it’s a trend that shows no sign of slowing down despite repeated, similar stories (much of it thanks to analysis by security researcher Chris Vickery).

      This week yet another pile of private voter data was left publicly accessible for anybody to peruse. According to analysis by Kromtech Security’s Bob Dianchenko, a Virginia-based political consulting and robocalling company by the name of Robocent publicly exposed 2,600 files, including voter file spreadsheets (including voter phone numbers, names, addresses, political affiliations, gender, voting districts and more) and audio recordings for a number of political campaigns.

    • I’m living a cash-only life in a tap-and-go world

      With tap and go, my credit card was hitting the ceiling with increasingly regularity (no matter, my bank would always generously offer to extend my limit). The technology – and laziness (who can be bothered pulling out the correct change?) – made it even easier to mindlessly spend.

    • Former DTA head says My Health Record may end up a tech wreck

      The My Health Record system may well end up as one of the many Australian Government tech wrecks, the former head of the country’s Digital Transformation Agency, Paul Shetler, says, adding that if he were Australian he would probably opt out himself.

    • Big News: Big Internet Platforms Making It Easy To Move Your Data Somewhere Else [Ed: Pentagon-connected surveillance giants to let you duplicate your data among themselves ('move')]

      So, just last week we had a post by Kevin Bankston from the Open Technology Institute arguing for some basic steps towards much greater data portability on social media. The idea was that the internet platforms had to make it much easier to not just download your data (which most of them already do), but to make it useful elsewhere. Bankston’s specific proposal included setting clear technical standards and solving the graph portability project. In talking about standards, Bankston referenced Google’s data transfer project, but that project has taken a big step forward today announcing a plan to let users transfer data automatically between platforms.

      The “headline” that most folks are focusing on is that Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter are all involved in the project (along with a few smaller companies), meaning that it should lead to a situation where you could easily transfer data between them. As it stands right now, the various services let you download your data, but getting it into another platform is still a hassle, making the whole “download your data” thing not all that useful beyond “oh, look at everything this company has about me.” Making a system where you can easily transfer all that data to another platform without having to manage the transition yourself or being left with a bunch of useless data is a big step forward — and a huge step towards giving users much more significant control over their data.

    • Introducing Data Transfer Project: an open source platform promoting universal data portability

      In 2007, a small group of engineers in our Chicago office formed the Data Liberation Front, a team that believed consumers should have better tools to put their data where they want, when they want, and even move it to a different service. This idea, called “data portability,” gives people greater control of their information, and pushes us to develop great products because we know they can pack up and leave at any time.

    • Google/Microsoft/Twitter/Facebook Announce The Open-Source Data Transfer Project

      Google in cooperation with Microsoft, Twitter, and Facebook have announced the open-source Data Transfer Project to promote universal data portability.

      The multi-vendor Data Transfer Project initiative is to enable consumers to transfer data directly from one server to another, without the need for downloading/uploading of the content.

    • Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter partner for ambitious new data project [Ed: misusing terms like “open”, “free” and “choice”]
    • Working Together to Give People More Control of Their Data
    • Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter launch open-source initiative to free users’ data
    • Tech Heavyweights Create Open Source Project to Transfer Data
    • Open source project allows data transfer among Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • 10 Questions for Brett Kavanaugh

      With his selection of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat on the United States Supreme Court, President Donald Trump has the opportunity to alter the makeup of the Court for generations — and to place it far to the right of the American public. Justice Kennedy, himself a conservative appointed by President Ronald Reagan, proved to have an open mind in his more than 30 years on the bench and, as a result, kept the court within the mainstream of American society.

      [...]

      Even if Kavanaugh would not have voted the way Kennedy did on any of these cases, some of these precedents might survive on grounds of stare decisis, the principle requiring the court to adhere, generally, to its past decisions. But the key word here is “generally.” Courts can and do overrule precedent. The Supreme Court did just that this past term, for example, in overruling a 40-year-old decision allowing public sector unions to charge fees to cover the costs of services they are required to provide to all employees. So, while it’s unlikely that all of the cases in which Kennedy cast a decisive vote in a liberal direction will be overturned, any number of them could be. And the court can substantially weaken a right without formally overruling it, as indeed it already has done with the right to abortion established by Roe v. Wade.

      In light of that fact, and that Trump expressly vowed as a candidate to appoint justices who would overrule Roe v. Wade, it is incumbent upon the Senate to pose probing questions to Kavanaugh — and to require him to provide meaningful answers, not artful dodges. Nominees all too often avoid answering questions about their views by simply describing existing Supreme Court doctrine and then insisting they cannot say how they would vote on any particular matter that might come before them. But in speeches and writings while a judge, Kavanaugh has repeatedly expressed his own views on many matters that might come before him, including whether presidents should be subject to civil and criminal lawsuits. If he could express his views there, he should not be permitted to avoid expressing them on other topics in the Senate confirmation hearing.

      Here, then, are 10 questions I suggest the senators ask Kavanaugh. These questions avoid asking about any specific case and seek the nominee’s own views, not a description of Supreme Court law. Senators will have to be insistent about getting responses, however, if the hearings are to have any value.

    • ‘We Point to the Need to Decriminalize Migration’

      Images of weeping toddlers torn from their stunned mothers’ arms, of children in cages—or what some insist you call “chain link-fenced holding areas”—and of three-year-olds representing themselves in deportation or asylum proceedings: These have outraged and galvanized many Americans in protest of the Trump administration’s racist, cruel, anti-immigration and anti-immigrant policies.

      Outrage is justified, but if we intend to translate it to substantive change, we’re going to need to build out from this immediate, visible crisis, to connect it to all of the other factors and actors that make today’s headlines possible. So what now for those who recognize family separation of immigrants to the US as no outlier, but part of a broader social agenda that goes well beyond the US/Mexico border?

    • Federal Immigration Authorities Are Running Amok Across Maine and Its Coastline

      Because Maine falls within 100 miles of a land and sea border, CBP claims it can stop people at will.

      Customs and Border Protection is making news again for its aggressive immigration enforcement — this time, questioning Canadian fishing vessels in disputed international waters.

      According to a CBP spokesperson, the agency has questioned 21 Canadian vessels since October 2017, plus an unknown number of American vessels (mostly Maine fishermen) in the same area. Although CBP claims that these operations fall within its immigration enforcement authority, nobody should be surprised to learn that targeting these fishing boats has yielded no immigration arrests.

      This naturally provokes a question: So why is CBP invading people’s privacy and wasting its own time and resources, given the (unsurprising) absence of any immigration activity in this active fishing area? The unsatisfying answer is that we don’t know because CBP is a secretive and opaque agency that refuses to comply with federal disclosure laws even when asked. That’s why we have sued CBP to produce records about its immigration enforcement in Maine.

      What we do know is that CBP is the nation’s largest law enforcement agency, with money and resources to burn. So we should all be concerned when CBP claims virtually untrammeled authority to stop and question people within 100 miles of a land or sea border. This so-called 100-mile zone includes all of Maine, most of New England, and about two-thirds of the entire U. S. population. Within this zone, CBP claims it can stop any car, boat, plane, or train without a warrant, probable cause, or reasonable suspicion, the usual requirements under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    • Miami Cops Forced To Give $20,000 Back To Person They Stole It From After Screwing Up Their Supposed Drug Bust

      This story of the spectacularly swift rise and fall of a profitable drugs-and-guns bust comes to us via C.J. Ciarmella at Reason, who has his own particularly sumptuous line summing up the debacle.

      [...]

      The judge saw enough compelling evidence to block the illegal seizure. Another stripper testified on Batista’s behalf and the body cam footage apparently did the rest. In less than sixty days, this drug bust has gone from a local triumph (as seen exclusively on CBS Miami!) to the city being $3,000 poorer than it was prior to this officer deciding he could turn a traffic stop into headlines and a cash payout.

    • How Judge Came To Aid Of Prosecutors When A Billboard For NSA Whistleblower Reality Winner Went Up

      When a loosely knit group, the Whistleblower Support Network, put up a billboard in Augusta, Georgia, for NSA whistleblower Reality Winner, it did not take long for a federal judge hearing the case to scold defense attorneys.

      However, Winner’s defense had absolutely nothing to do with the billboard, which went up on June 6, before Winner accepted a plea agreement from the United States government. It was put up by activists, who did not coordinate at all with her attorneys.

      Chief Judge James Randal Hall’s reaction was another example of how the court has often been against Winner’s defense, including multiple decisions against bail. It also may have confirmed that the plea agreement was the least worst outcome for Winner when considering the risks of going to trial.

      Winner pled guilty to one count of violating the Espionage Act when she disclosed an NSA report that claimed Russian hackers targeted United States voter registration systems in the 2016 election. She will likely be sentenced to 63 months in federal prison in August or September.

    • Andrew Pulrang on Disability and the Election

      This week on CounterSpin: More than a quarter of the electorate—some 63 million eligible voters—either have a disability or have a household member with one, according to researchers at Rutgers University. Add to that the fact that the poverty rate for working-age people with disabilities is nearly two and a half times higher than that for people without disabilities, and then set that—as did Robyn Powell at Rewire—alongside the exorbitant costs of campaigning for public office: The average winning House candidate spent $1.3 million in 2016; for the Senate, that number’s $10.4 million. Now you’re getting close to an understanding of why people with disabilities are so “severely underrepresented in elected office,” which itself goes a way toward explaining why—in 2018—disabled people’s full inclusion in all aspects of social life is still largely framed as a matter of “accommodation” rather than rights.

    • Another Needless Death in the Absurd War on Marijuana

      Fifty-one-year-old Gregory Longenecker of Reading, Pennsylvania, should be alive today. Instead, he’s the latest casualty in the state’s war on weed because of a police pursuit gone horribly wrong.

      Around 10 a.m. on July 9, a Pennsylvania Game Commission employee, clearing brush with a bulldozer, spotted a suspicious car parked off the road within the state’s game lands in Berks County. Upon closer inspection, the employee discovered a small marijuana grow. The employee then contacted the local police who arrived on the scene as two men, David Light and Longenecker, emerged from the underbrush. Both took off on foot, according to police, and Light was quickly taken into custody.

      Longenecker, however, got away, but not for long.

      Around 11 a.m., state police and Game Commission personnel and resources, including the bulldozer and a state police helicopter, began their search for Longenecker. The helicopter spotted the 51-year-old in thick underbrush but lost him. The helicopter pilot quickly gave directions of Longenecker’s whereabouts to a state trooper and a Game Commission employee who were patrolling the area on the bulldozer.

      [...]

      After all, a very limited medical marijuana law is working in Pennsylvania for a small pool of qualified patients.

    • We Shouldn’t Take the Bait on ‘Catch and Release’

      On April 6, 2018, President Trump issued an official memorandum with the following subject line: Ending “Catch and Release” at the Border of the United States and Directing Other Enhancements to Immigration Enforcement.

      If the subject didn’t have the word immigration in the second clause, it might have seemed as if the president was talking about fish. “Catch and release” is a recreational sports fishing term referring to the conservation practice of catching a fish and returning it to the water.

      But people are not fish, and using a phrase, even one with the valence of a humane practice, serves to dehumanize the human beings being led away in handcuffs. The phrase actually describes allowing people who are seeking asylum to wait for their hearing in the community, rather than in custody. They are not freed, but tethered, always by law, often by more: Sometimes the asylum-seeker must wear an ankle monitor. Sometimes she must pay a bond. Sometimes the tether is administrative: checking in regularly with immigration officials.

      It’s a lot easier to just say “catch and release,” but it’s inaccurate because it obscures all of those important points.

    • Calls to Abolish ICE Get Cold Shoulder on Newspaper Opinion Pages

      “Abolish ICE,” once a rallying cry for a small number of leftists and activists, has become a national slogan of dissent against the Trump administration and policies that target Latino communities. Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in cities across the US to call for an end to family separation, detention and deportation.

      Despite this, corporate media decided to push the status quo—or at least a version of it without Trump as commander-in-chief. Of the 90 opinion pieces on the subject of ICE that were published in papers across the US from June 28 to July 18, 85 were explicitly against abolishing ICE, while only five were supportive.

      Five of the ten top newspapers by circulation, including the Washington Post (7/5/18), USA Today (7/3/18), Newsday (7/10/18), New York Post (7/4/18) and New York Daily News (7/6/18), published editorials that rushed to defend ICE and condemn a progressive stance. No Democrats have called for open borders, which would allow citizens and noncitizens alike to cross into or out of the US with few restrictions; at their most radical, they have called for rebuilding the US immigration system to be more humane. Even so, editorial boards urged Democrats to stick to a moderate work-within-the-system approach. ICE, which was created in 2003 in response to the September 11 attacks, was repeatedly hailed as a necessary agency that is unfortunately being manipulated by Trump for his own agenda.

    • Cop Costs Taxpayers $60,000 And One (1) Drug Bust After Lying About Almost Everything Related To The Traffic Stop

      No charges and a cash settlement. That’s the way things break when officers lie. And lie Bates did. Several times

      First, he trapped himself in a lie during cross examination. While seeking to obtain consent to search Grijalva’s car, Bates used his phone to contact a translator to help bridge the language gap. Pushed for details on this mysterious translator — one that had changed sexes during the course of his testimony — Bates finally settled on calling the translator “she.” Then he admitted it wasn’t a department translator, but rather someone named Lilia… who just happened to be Bates’ wife.

    • Wondering How Suburban Express Is Doing In Lawsuit Brought By Illinois Attorney General? Really Fucking Bad!

      Okay, fine, so the equation wasn’t all that succinct. Still, the answer to why Madigan sued is essentially because Surburban Express likely violated all kinds of laws in doing the above. Madigan’s suit alleged a dizzying array of violations of civil rights and consumer protection laws, as well as Illinois law on civil rights. Toeppen stands accused of harassment of customers for leaving the company negative reviews, arbitrary refusal of service based on not liking customers for a variety of reasons including racial reasons, and having internal and external communications, such as the advertisement that ridicules Asians and Jews, because every bigot entree basically just comes with a Jewish piece of parsley. In all, Madigan included 182 pages of exhibits backing up her accusations.

      So, how’s it going?

      Well, pretty fucking bad for Toeppen and Suburban Express, it turns out. Ken White lays out a summary of what’s occurred with the suit thus far.

    • Download the Gang Databases We Got From Illinois State Police, Cook County Sheriff’s Office and Chicago Police Department

      I’m Celeste LeCompte, and today I work on the business team at ProPublica in New York. But nearly 25 years ago, I was a tweenager living in Monticello, in central Illinois. My hometown had recently started offering curbside recycling pickup, and I wanted to know: Where did it end up?

      So, I called City Hall. And then I called the companies who the city told me had the contracts, and I called the companies those companies told me they worked with. Eventually, I lost the trail in the Carolinas. But more important than answering that question was the fact that I could even ask it. I — a 12-year-old, with no more reason than my curiosity! — could ask my local government officials a question, and they had to tell me how things worked in my community.

      It was one of my first experiences with public information requests — and it was an important, empowering experience for me. (My colleague Sandhya Kambhampati recently wrote a guide on how you can get answers to your questions from public agencies, too!)

      Over the years, I’ve learned that it’s not always so easy to get the data you want from public agencies. My ProPublica colleagues aren’t easily deterred when they want to get public records, especially when the data they want has important implications for child welfare, economic inequality or civil rights.

      [...]

      That’s why we work to make the data that we get from public agencies available. The ProPublica Data Store — where nearly all of the data can be downloaded for free — includes more than 75 data sets, including five from the ProPublica Illinois team, and we’ll be adding more in the weeks and months ahead.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • India Embraces Full Net Neutrality As The U.S. Runs The Opposite Direction

      While the United States walks away from the concept of net neutrality, India just passed some of the toughest net neutrality rules in the world. You’ll recall that net neutrality became a hot topic over in India when Facebook tried to roll out a walled-garden service known as “Free Basics.” Free Basics provided users free, “zero rated” (usage cap exempt) access to a limited selection of curated content and services chosen by Facebook, something Facebook claimed would immeasurably benefit the nation’s poor farmers.

      In reality, many pointed out that Facebook’s breathless concern for the poor really just masked the company’s attempt to corner the ad markets in developing nations. Content providers didn’t like Facebook being the one to dictate which services would or wouldn’t be included for obvious reasons. Others (like Mozilla) noted that if Facebook was truly interested in connecting developing nations with broadband, it could, you know, actually do that. Others still weren’t keen on another white, Western billionaire proclaiming that only he had the magical solution to the nation’s problems.

      Facebook’s response to these concerns wasn’t what you’d call impressive, with Zuckerberg insisting those opposed to his plans were simply hurting the poor. That behavior in turn only galvanized activist support for tougher net neutrality rules in the country, the foundations for which were laid last year. There too Facebook engaged in some shady behavior, at one point trying to trick Indian citizens into supporting its plans and opposing meaningful net neutrality protections.

    • Wireless Carriers Have A SIM Hijacking Problem They Don’t Want To Talk About

      Wireless carriers are coming under increasing fire for failing to protect their users from the practice of SIM hijacking. The practice involves posing as a wireless customer, then fooling a wireless carrier to port the victim’s cell phone number right out from underneath them, letting the attacker then pose as the customer to potentially devastating effect. Back in February, a man sued T-Mobile for failing to protect his account after a hacker pretending to be him, ported out his phone number, then managed to use his identity to steal thousands of dollars worth of cryptocoins.

      It didn’t take long for numerous customers to complain they were the victim of the same scam, and for T-Mobile to send out a warning to users encouring them to add a few layers of additional security to their account.

      But the problem appears to be even worse than originally believed. A new report takes a closer look at the problem, exploring how identity thieves use SIM hijacking to do everything from cleaning out bank accounts, to stealing valuable Instagram usernames and selling them for Bitcoin. The process isn’t particularly complicated, and more often than not involves the social engineering of a cellular carrier’s support employees. The entire process tap dances around protections like two-factor authentication, and highlights the peril of relying too heavily on a single cell phone number for identity verification in apps and other services.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The Trade Secret-Contract Interface

      Prior scholarship probed whether trade secret law is justified separate and apart from contract law. Contract law operates on the notion that parties who enter into an enforceable agreement with one another can sue a counter-party who breaches and obtain damages in an amount that approximates the benefit of the bargain. In contrast, the owner of a “trade secret”—information that is not generally known and has been the subject of reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy—can sue another who misappropriates the trade secret, regardless of whether they are in a contractual relationship. The trade secret owner can obtain an injunction to protect the sanctity of the secret, not just money damages.

      In his 1998 article, A New Look at Trade Secret Law: Doctrine in Search of Justification, Robert Bone argued that trade secret law lacks a theoretical justification distinct from other legal theories, in particular contract law. When trade secret law reaches beyond contractual liability, Bone wrote, trade secret law subsists in a “normative vacuum that continues to remain unfilled.” Within that vacuum, judges “view trade secret law as a relatively open-ended delegation of authority to police the morality of commercial relationships.” (Bone, 245).

      [...]

      To conclude, and as can clearly be seen from the length of this post, Varadarajan’s article is a tremendously enlightening read and a fantastic beginning. It does a lot of the leg work towards deepening understanding of an evolving area of law: the trade secret-contract interface.

    • China and South Korea will displace the West as the world’s innovation leaders by 2029 [Ed: IAM is again conflating patents with innovation, yielding pro-patent propaganda by bashing the West]

      Jointly produced by the Center for Advancing Innovation (CAI) and PatSnap, the Innovation Arms Race 2018 report analyses a number of innovation indicators – such as patent effectiveness, patent efficiency and patent grants per capita – to determine which countries are the current, and will be the future, global innovation leaders. Among several important revelations, it finds that the US, EU and UK are clearly trailing behind as countries from Asia outperform those in the West.

    • Despite Samsung settlement management of former BlackBerry patents changes hands

      Earlier this week a judge in the Eastern District of Texas officially dismissed the lawsuit between Samsung and Fundamental Innovation Systems International (FISI) after the pair settled their dispute. FISI had accused the tech giant of infringing 10 patents in a lawsuit filed early last year and the settlement leaves it with ongoing suits against just ZTE, Huawei and LG. FISI is the entity backed by the private equity fund Centerbridge Partners which acquired a portfolio of around 200 patents (including more than 50 US assets) from Blackberry in 2015 in a deal…

    • Trademarks

      • Texas A&M convinced the feds to stop a soap company from getting a ‘12th Man’ trademark

        If Texas A&M can play actual defense as well as it can play trademark defense, Jimbo Fisher’s record 10-year, $75 million contract might yet work out.

        Last week, Texas A&M won a trademark case against a soap business based in Washington state. The Washington Soap Company applied for a trademark on the term “12th Man Hands” for a “handmade loofah soap bar or puck,” which is more or less what it sounds like.

      • Texas A&M Wins Trademark Suit Against Soap Company In Washington State By Playing Six Degrees Of Trademark Licensing

        Readers here will likely be aware of the tortured history of Texas A&M’s “12th Man” trademark. If you’re not, the term describes the fans of the team and their tendency to make so much noise to effect on-field play during games. A&M, which holds a trademark for the term, has made a name for itself as a trademark bully, going around and threatening basically anyone that uses anything remotely like that term, even as it has in the past infringed on the IP of others. The school has been so successful in locking down this term for use in anything sports related that the Seattle Seahawks, the NFL team that also refers to its fans as its “12th Man”, pay a licensing fee to the school to do so.

        And now that licensing arrangement appears to be part of the reasoning A&M’s legal team used to sue a soap company based in Washington State for using the “12th Man” term as well. In the school’s filing, embedded below, it argues that because the soap company resides in the same state as the Seahawks, and because the company’s soap product “12th Man Hands” includes an image of a football on the packaging, this makes it an infringement on its trademark, despite soap and athletics not being in related marketplaces. The USPTO somehow actually bought this six-degrees-of-licensing-separation argument.

      • Does ‘Glen’ make you think of Scottish whisky? CJEU leaves answer to the local court

        As previously reported on this blog, the CJEU had to decide on a case of interest to Whisky- and IP-connoisseurs alike.

        The Scotch Whisky Association from Scotland (TSWA) took offence at the name of a Whisky that is produced by the Waldhorn distillery in Berglen, situated in the Buchenbach valley in Swabia (Baden-Württemberg, Germany). The Whisky in question is called ‘Glen Buchenbach’.

        TSWA claimed that use of the term ‘Glen’ infringes the registered geographical indication ‘Scotch Whisky’ and asserted a breach of Art. 16 (a) – (c) of the Regulation No 110/2008 on the definition, description, presentation, labelling and the protection of geographical indications of spirit drinks.

      • The vexing issue of partial trademark oppositions: the view from Singapore

        “Can the registration of a trade mark be opposed for only some of the goods or services within the same class? The issue of whether the Singapore Trade Marks Act (the “Act”) permits such partial opposition was recently considered by the Intellectual property Office of Singapore (“IPOS”) in Tencent Holdings Limited v Monster Energy Company 2018 [SGIPOS] 9. While not strictly required for the disposal of the opposition, the Registrar considered the parties’ submissions and opined that partial oppositions are not permitted under Sections 8(2) and 8(4) of the Act.

    • Copyrights

      • Appeals Court Tells Lower Court To Consider If Standards ‘Incorporated Into Law’ Are Fair Use; Could Have Done More

        Carl Malamud published the law on his PublicResource.org website. And for that he got sued. The problem was, in posting the Code of Federal Regulations he also included the various enforceable standards included as part of those Regulations. This displeased the organizations which had developed those standards (SDOs) and who claimed a copyright in them. So they sued Public Resource for infringement, and in a terrible decision last year Public Resource lost. Public Resource then appealed, and this week Malamud’s organization won a reversal of the district court decision.

        The decision by the D.C. Circuit in American Society for Testing and Materials v. PublicResource.org stands as a win for those who would choose to republish the law, even when their doing so may involve republishing standards created by non-governmental SDOs that were then incorporated by reference into controlling law. Although one can never presume to read the tea leaves at oral argument, it did seem as though the court was extremely uncomfortable with the idea that someone could be punished for having published the law. But the particular way the court addressed the copyright and trademark claims brought against Public Resource for it having done so is still worth further discussion. Disclosure: I helped file an amicus brief on behalf of members of Congress supporting Public Resource’s defense, and amicus briefs on behalf of law professors at the district court.

      • Arnold J extends Premier League’s live blocking order

        Last year the High Court of England and Wales (Arnold J) in FAPL v BT [2017] EWHC 480 Ch concluded that it had jurisdiction under section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act to order to block access to streaming services (rather than the more tradition case of websites) giving unauthorised access to protected content. In particular, unlawful streams services providing access to live Premier League football matches could be temporarily blocked by means of a so-called ‘live blocking order’ until the end of the 2016/17 season.

      • CC Certificates courses, OER, and multiple ways to get involved!

        On July 16, the first four Creative Commons Certificate courses began. Two cohorts of 25 librarians and two cohorts of 25 educators joined us from Bangladesh, Canada, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Romania, Sweden, and the US. Immediately apparent in this group is the diverse experience, impressive expertise, and personal interest participants bring to the courses. Participants have already begun working on assignments and volunteering openly licensed resources they’ve created. We are compiling a list of the participant-shared Open Educational Resources (OER) which we will share at the end of the courses.

      • New Zealand Court of Appeal rules on the extradition of Kim Dotcom (Megaupload)

        Most copyright practitioners in New Zealand, including this one, had interpreted ‘object’ in s.131 (and elsewhere) in line with the Oxford English Dictionary meaning – ‘a material thing that can be seen and touched’. However, the new meaning given to it by the Court of Appeal in their decision will now ‘digitise’ a number of provisions in the 1994 Act which employ the word ‘object’. By interpreting the text in this way, the Court of Appeal may have updated the law for the government which is currently reviewing the NZ Copyright Act, reducing the extent of the reform required.”

        Subsequent to the Court of Appeal issuing its judgment, Kim Dotcom’s legal team has announced that an appeal will be lodged with the Supreme Court.

      • HS: Bar Association reprimands lawyer who sent so-called copyright letters

        The Finnish Bar Association’s supervisory board issued the reprimand after determining that Hatanmaa and Hedman Partners violated sections of the copyright act by filing petitions with the court to compel internet service providers to disclose the personal details of [I]nternet users suspected of copyright infringements.

07.19.18

Some US Patents’ Quality is So Low That There’s a Garden Clearance/Fire Sale

Posted in America, Patents at 12:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Allied Security Trust (AST) is trying to offload many of them, the deadline being tomorrow

Australia and America

Summary: Rather than shoot worthless patents into orbit where they belong the Allied Security Trust (AST), collector of dubious patents [1, 2], will try to sell them to gullible opportunists and patent trolls (even if the said patents would likely perish in courts)

THE USPTO spent decades granting a lot of poor-quality patents (like those the EPO nowadays grants, due to Battistelli’s policies). Many of these patents will never be tested in courts (the vast majority will have expired without any court action), so it will be hard to tell just what proportion of these patents is bunk. There are no reliable estimates of that.

“Many of these patents will never be tested in courts (the vast majority will have expired without any court action), so it will be hard to tell just what proportion of these patents is bunk.”Many companies sell their patents in bulk, usually to patent trolls. Some get sold because the patents are about to expire, whereas others are sold due to a company’s bankruptcy. The term “fire sale” comes to mind. As Wikipedia defines it: “A fire sale is the sale of goods at extremely discounted prices, typically when the seller faces bankruptcy. The term originated in reference to the sale of goods at a heavy discount due to fire damage. A fire sale may or may not be a closeout, the final sale of goods to zero inventory. Fire sales are said to occur in the financial markets when bidders who value assets highly are prevented from bidding on them, depressing the average selling price below what it otherwise would be. This lowering of the price can cause even further issues because it may be inaccurately perceived as signaling negative information.”

“Many companies sell their patents in bulk, usually to patent trolls.”The abundance of US patents isn’t something to necessarily be celebrated; what really matters is how strict or lenient patent examination is; when it comes to patents, journalism or ‘articles’ these days are just a ‘shopping list’ of patents, e.g. this from RichmondBizSense: “Local patents for 7.18.18″ (yesterday)

Or this one from patent propaganda sites like “Dallas Innovates”/“Dallas Invents” series: “Dallas Invents: 97 Patents Granted for Week of July 10″ (this is the latest of many)

“Worthless patents are currently being sold by a parasitic entity, AST, using buzzwords like “Artificial Intelligence” and “Internet of Things” (typically software patents).”It’s nothing but a copy-paste job; they make no effort to assess or explain these patents.

Worthless patents are currently being sold by a parasitic entity, AST, using buzzwords like “Artificial Intelligence” and “Internet of Things” (typically software patents). Bring in the garbage trucks. They’ve just advertised these [1, 2] as follows:

Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning
Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality
Automotive / Transportation Services
Blockchain
Internet of Things / Connected Devices
Smart Home
Software / Web Services
Wireless

The deadline is tomorrow. How many patent trolls will pick up patents in there? How many can be voided by Section 101?

Watchtroll’s guest writer, Alex Poltorak, wrote on July 12th about US patent number 10 million, which is likely bunk/bogus as per Section 101. To quote:

Last month, the U.S. Patent Office issued patent number 10,000,000. This historic occasion calls for rethinking our patent system and the future of American innovation.

In the past, such an event would have been a cause for celebration, a testimony to our ingenuity. Back then, patents were valuable assets, protecting and incentivizing innovation. A valid patent gave its owner the right to stop infringers in their tracks. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case.

Yes, not because of “bad courts” but because of bad patents — patents that should never have been granted, right? That silly celebration of 10 million patents could also be seen in Sioux Falls Argus Leader two days ago, courtesy of “Jeffrey Proehl [who] is a registered patent attorney with Woods, Fuller, Shultz & Smith P.C. in Sioux Falls.” Obviously he’s just marketing himself. It’s not really journalism, it’s PR.

“How many patent trolls will pick up patents in there? How many can be voided by Section 101?”Thankfully, software patents and other abstract patents have lost their ‘teeth; it’s like they are zombies or just “dead” (the term used by patent maximalists) because the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) belatedly applies the law through inter partes reviews (IPRs). Here’s a new example of it, just published by Law 360:

PTAB Nixes 2 Customer Service Software Patents

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board has struck down two patents covering customer service software, finding that a California-based company’s patents are invalid as obvious.

In two final written decisions issued Monday, the PTAB ruled that tech company LivePerson Inc. had shown that 17 claims across two patents owned by rival [24]7.ai. Inc., formerly known as 24/7 Customer Inc., are both rendered obvious by a combination of earlier inventions.

Might this be a cautionary tale for those who still pursue software patents because the patent maximalists ‘pull a Berkheimer‘ or speak of the fictitious “Berkheimer Effect”? As we’ve shown here many times before, Berkheimer has not had a profound effect. Iancu the Trump appointee attempted to use it to weaken PTAB, but virtually nothing has changed. Denver Business Journal has just reported that he spoke in Denver, but other than that he has been keeping a really low profile lately. Ellie Mertens, a writer for the patent maximalists’ media, says that Berkheimer did have an effect, but her article is behind a paywall, so we’re unable to see what source or data she’s citing. The summary says:

New data reveals that findings of invalidity and the success of 101-based motions to dismiss have dropped since Berkheimer, the most important subject matter eligibility case of 2018

It’s only “the most important” in the eyes of patent maximalists who attempted to exploit it for their personal agenda (as did Iancu). Unless we actually see some hard data to support the above hypothesis, we’ll just continue to assume that Alice, together with TC Heartland and Oil States (also this year; far more important than Berkheimer), mean that software patents are bunk, courts that tolerate such patents are less accessible, and PTAB is free to invalidate them, based on the latter two decisions from SCOTUS, respectively. Berkheimer is just one among many Federal Circuit decisions.

When Amplifying the Message of ‘Global Innovation Index 2018′ IP Watch Sounds Like WIPO and IP Watchdog (Watchtroll)

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 11:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The only patent that is valid is one which this Court has not been able to get its hands on.”

Supreme Court Justice Jackson

Summary: In addition to senatorial efforts and misleading debates about patents, we now contend with something called “Global Innovation Index 2018,” whose purpose appears to be similar to the debunked Chamber of Commerce's rankings (quantifying everything in terms of patents)

THE networks of patent maximalism are more or less visible. There are particular institutions in place, particular publishers that boost their signal, and events that are organised by both. Think of blogs like Patently-O and sites like IAM, Managing IP etc.

“We understand that it’s important to report what’s happening, but unless things are put in context and suitably framed or explained, readers might not know who’s behind what claims and what the motivations are (typically financial).”One blog that always goes further than most is Watchtroll, where judge-bashing is routine and misinformation has become mundane. Just two days ago Watchtroll was conflating “Innovation and Patenting” yet again, alluding to the USPTO because it’s granting millions of utterly rubbish patents. IP Watch (not to be mistaken for IP Watchdog, a.k.a. Watchtroll) gives a voice to patent extremists who “lauded the rise of China as a model” when it comes to patent maximalism. This then expanded to EPO praise, also based on such unbridled patent maximalism.

Global Innovation Index 2018, mentioned here before in passing, gets cited in “Europe’s Innovation Renaissance, China’s ‘Astonishing’ Rise: Global Innovation Index 2018″; Why does IP Watch (claiming to be a watcher/critic of such stuff) prop up this WIPO-oriented tosh whose clear intention/purpose is to shame nations into more overzealous patent policies? Like IP Kat did just earlier this week (yesterday)

“USIJ is one among many front groups which smack of AstroTurfing; it claims to be for the very thing it is harming.”We understand that it’s important to report what’s happening, but unless things are put in context and suitably framed or explained, readers might not know who’s behind what claims and what the motivations are (typically financial). Watchtroll has also just promoted the misguided and dangerous bill from Thomas Massie [1, 2]. It’s an anti-PTAB move, i.e. an effort to lower US patent quality. Yesterday, Josh Landau (CCIA) responded more formally to similar attempts, having previously composed a long blog post on the subject after USIJ had lied. USIJ is one among many front groups which smack of AstroTurfing; it claims to be for the very thing it is harming. We shall keep an eye on upcoming coverage, knowing there will be a lot more deception in networks of patent maximalism.

Erosion of Patent Justice in Europe With Kangaroo Courts and Low-Quality European Patents

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

And they want to start the UPC?!

Animal Office

Fair trial

Summary: The problematic combination of plaintiff-friendly courts (favouring the accuser, just like in Eastern Texas) and low-quality patents that should never have been granted

AS WE noted here the other day, UK-IPO patent filings fell. Only patent maximalists would sob over this because it might simply mean that patent quality improved and besides, as Managing IP has just pointed out, trade marks registrations are soaring, highlighting a potential change in strategy. The latter aspect too was pointed out by us two days ago. To quote:

A report released by the Intellectual Property Office details trends in patent, trade mark and design filing between 1995 and 2017

Patent quality matters a lot. It matters most. Without it, embargoes might be unjustly imposed, e.g. by the ITC (UPCA makes provisions for equally if not more draconian measures). What ever happened to “innocent until/unless proven guilty”?

“Patent quality matters a lot.”Earlier this week we mentioned a lawsuit involving European Patent 1,139,562, which doesn’t sound particularly sophisticated. As WIPR has just put it, “Motorola announced yesterday, July 17, that the court determined that China-based Hytera is infringing Motorola’s European patent 1,139,562, which covers technology that improves the audio performance in two-way handheld radios and car radios.”

Hytera has called it “nuisance litigations” [1, 2] and “software” is being mentioned:

Radio manufacturer Hytera has filed a petition at the US International Trade Commission (ITC) requesting review of a ruling issued by the body on 3 July which upheld rival Motorola Solution’s complaint of patent infringement against the company.

In the complaint, Motorola alleged that Hytera is unlawfully importing and selling two-way radio equipment and systems, and related software and components that infringe four of Motorola Solutions’ patents.

Let this be a cautionary tale about hastily-granted European Patents and hastily-judging agencies like ITC, which months ago arrogantly disregarded the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) decision in an inter partes review (IPR) against Cisco.

“What ever happened to “innocent until/unless proven guilty”?”Do we want this kind of thing in Europe? Shooting first (with questionable patents), asking questions later? Raids, confiscations and embargoes before justice begins (or is concluded)? Kangaroo courts like Battistelli’s? Which call those who speak out against corruption “mafia”? Projection tactics?

Mafia caricature

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