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07.18.18

IAM is Pushing SEPs/FRAND Agenda for Patent Trolls and Monopolists That Fund IAM

Posted in Deception, Patents, RAND at 6:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sponsored by Microsoft-connected patent trolls such as Finjan, who also just ‘happen’ to be speakers at this upcoming event

Finjan speaker

Summary: The front group of patent trolls, IAM, sets up an echo chamber-type event, preceded by all the usual pro-FRAND propaganda

PATENTS are OK as long as they don’t obstruct access to a market. It should be possible to work around them one way or another, otherwise the USPTO becomes merely a monopoly protector or protectionism agency. If patents are about innovation, one must keep this in mind.

“Rokt’s software patent to take centre stage in high-stakes hearing,” said this new headline. “Motorola Solutions Wins Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against Hytera Mobilfunk GmbH Resulting in Injunction and Recall,” said another. In one case we see software patents and in the latter an embargo. Is the public well served by these? Probably not. How about this (almost) week-old report stating that a “federal appeals court on Thursday declined to reconsider a recent decision reinstating a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple Inc.”

The patent in question is very… questionable. So are many of IBM’s patents, which are simply software patents asserted in bulk (to make legal challenges a lot more expensive). We wrote about that yesterday and earlier today Richard Lloyd from the patent trolls’ lobby fired the headline “IBM’s infringement suit against Groupon shows it’s still a licensing heavyweight” (celebrating extortion). This malicious lobby, only about a month after corrupt Battistelli had given a keynote speech at its US think tank-type event, today announced that a lobbyist, Makan Delrahim, will keynote its extortion event (“patent licensing event”). To quote:

Makan Delrahim, the assistant attorney general for the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice, has been comfirmed as the keynote speaker at Patent Licensing 2018, IAM’s annual event focusing on the key issues affecting licensees and licensors, and their dealmaking strategies, in the US and beyond.

Suffice to say, the event will be an(other) echo chamber for SEPs/FRAND proponents, who also fund IAM and this event. Delrahim, being a lobbyist, probably won’t feel too uncomfortable in such a setting.

Going back to Richard Lloyd, who is fronting for patent trolls and patent lawyers, he has this update on standard-essential patents (SEPs). It’s about Ericsson, which not only acts like a patent troll but also created several dedicated patent trolls to serve as proxies. Lloyd wrote:

Ericsson has put together the CAFC brief for its appeal against the Central District of California federal court’s decision in its litigation with Chinese handset manufacturer TCL. This sets the scene for the next round of one of the most consequential disputes over standard essential patents (SEPs) that the mobile sector has seen in the US for many years. The document was filed more than six months after Judge James Selna largely sided with TCL over its claims that the Swedish telecoms giant’s licensing offers for its 2G, 3G and 4G patents were not FRAND.

“After almost a decade of litigation, Philips wins India’s first-ever SEP infringement decision,” Jacob Schindler (Lloyd’s colleague) wrote, having already repeatedly bashed India in an effort to make software patents legal there. This time it’s about Philips and its standard-essential patents:

After a number of very significant interim judgments in telecom licensing cases, the Delhi High Court has for the first time issued a SEP infringement verdict following a full trial. Philips was the beneficiary of the decision, in a case centered on the DVD Video and DVD ROM standards. But practitioners say the ruling leaves unaddressed questions on what constitutes FRAND conduct and abuse of dominant position in India. The lawsuit arose all the way back in 2009, when Philips sued two local companies – Manglam Technology and Bhagirathi Electronics – for making infringing DVD players.

Expect IAM to keep pushing this sort of toxic agenda, which merely acts as a “patent thicket” that obstructs competition and taxes the public.

IAM is not a news site. It is a front group disguised as a news site/publisher.

“Trade Secrets” Litigation Rising in the Wake of TC Heartland, Alice, Oil States and Other Patent-Minimising Decisions

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 6:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Justices have collectively made patent litigation less attractive a tactic

Drawing
Back to the drawing board

Summary: Litigation strategies are evolving in the wake of top-level decisions that rule out software patents, restrict venue shifting, and facilitate invalidation of patents even outside the courtroom

THE USPTO deals with two laws: patents and trademarks. Copyrights are managed by a separate office, suitably named the U.S. Copyright Office, and “Trade Secrets” (we put that in quotes and capitalised intentionally) are being dealt with by courts (this law was revised some years ago in Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA)). Those things aren’t the same; they’re inherently very different and calling them all “IP” is part of the propaganda peddled by law firms.

“Trade Secret/s” litigation is up whereas patent litigation is down very sharply because the latter is simply too risky to the plaintiff. "Trade Secret" 'damages' can, moreover, be much higher, vastly exceeding patent calculations. Here are some numbers from a new blog post:

The basics: Federal Trade Secret litigation is up about 30% following enactment of the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) in 2016. (1134 cases filed in 2017). The DTSA created a federal cause of action for trade secret litigation and resulting original jurisdiction in federal court for the federal claims. Prior to the DTSA, state-law trade secret claims found their way into federal court either via supplemental jurisdiction (typically linked to an a federal IP claim) or via diversity jurisdiction (parties from different states).

“The trade secrets dilemma” is IP Kat‘s latest title of a blog post — a post “drafted by Andrew McWhirter (Brodies Solicitors) concerning a recent Scottish trade secrets decision: Bilfinger v Edinburgh Tram Inquiry.”

“Trade Secret” is not just a US thing; different countries, however, implement or enforce that differently, using their own sets of laws, which can (and do) change over time.

Will we be seeing a departure from overzealous patent trolling in the coming years or decades? “Trade Secrets” aren’t the type of thing which can be passed to trolls.

Patent trolls are, as a matter of fact, dying in the US. Their patent litigation, more so after TC Heartland (at SCOTUS), is being shifted out of their comfort zone, typically Eastern Texas. Take note of this new example, wherein “Storage Units Do Not Satisfy Second Prong of Cray Test for Establishing “Regular and Established Place of Business”,” as per the summary. This is happening in New York:

Earlier this year, in CDX Diagnostic, Inc. v. United States Endoscopy Group, Inc., District Judge Nelson S. Roman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted a Motion to Dismiss for Improper Venue pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(3) filed by Defendants United States Endoscopy Group, Inc. (“Defendant”) and John Does 1-30. In its Motion, Defendant argued that the patent infringement action filed by Plaintiffs CDx Diagnostic, Inc.; Shared Medical Resources, LLC; and CDx Medical IP, Inc. against Defendants should be dismissed for improper venue. In particular, while Defendant conceded sales of allegedly infringing product into the Southern District of New York, it argued that Plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate that Defendant has a regular and established place of business within the Southern District of New York.

They keep coming up with ‘artistic’ (laughable is probably a more suitable term) ways to justify dragging the defendant to other states. It has gotten a lot harder after TC Heartland. If anything, TC Heartland has caused districts which are favourable/beneficial to patent trolls to lose actual, real business. Different rules apply to foreign companies.

The US should, in general, celebrate the demise of patent maximalism. It has done no good for the country, only for a bunch of parasites and bullies, notably trolls and their law firms. And what about public interest? Letting perfectly fine products, as per this new development in Tinnus Enterprises, LLC et al v Telebrands Corporation et al, go to waste because of patents? To quote Docket Navigator’s latest docket report:

The court granted plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction and denied a retailer defendant’s request to sell its remaining inventory of the accused product.

All this because of patents? Before the decision even had an appeal opportunity (e.g. to the Federal Circuit)? That’s very much like ITC imposing embargoes in defiance of Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) rulings, voiding the patents in question after an inter partes review (IPR). How does the public ever benefit from embargo, lack of choices and so on?

The EPO — Like the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and Unitary Patent System — is an Untenable Mess

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When a President associates with people like Željko Topić, whom many Croats want to see in prison (but EPO gives him immunity like some World Cop) just like his former boss, Prime Minister of Croatia Ivo Sanader

António Campinos and Željko Topić

Summary: The António Campinos-led EPO, nearly three weeks under his leadership, still fails to commit to justice (court rulings not obeyed), undo union-busting efforts and assure independence of judges; this, among other factors, is why the Office/Organisation and the UPC it wants to manage appear more or less doomed

“Be one of the thousands of learners who access our learning centre on a regular basis to learn about patents and much more,” the EPO wrote some hours ago, shortly after someone had said: “The EPO is not able to find the answers for their own Examinations? Good news.”

“The UPC isn’t getting off the ground any time soon; it probably won’t ever take off, even after they try to modify, rename and reframe it.”The Office is a mess. Nothing is really changing, just as many people expected (with only cautious optimism). António Campinos now approaches the end of his third week in Office and nothing has really improved. Never did we see the USPTO dealing with a mess remotely like this.

There’s an apt parallel here; recall the latest spin from Team UPC, bypassing/disguising the reality as explained just days earlier by the British government. Hogan Lovells, earlier today remarking rather belatedly on news from July 12th, said this:

On, 12 July 2018, the UK government published a White Paper addressing its plan for exiting the EU

[...]

The White Paper includes a short section on Intellectual Property and the UPC (Section 1.7.8). These paragraphs confirm that the UK intends to explore staying in the Unitary [sic] Patent Court and Unitary Patent system after the it leaves the EU.

If it leaves the EU. But an even greater issue for the UPC itself (not British participation) is the constitutional incompatibility and this relates to EPO corruption. Don’t let British elements of Team UPC perpetuate the two lies. The UPC isn’t getting off the ground any time soon; it probably won’t ever take off, even after they try to modify, rename and reframe it. No doubt they will carry on trying, even under/with Campinos, whose first action as President was UPC lobbying, as expected.

Links 18/7/2018: System76′s Manufacturing Facility, Microsoft-Led Lobby for Antitrust Against Android

Posted in News Roundup at 6:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source at 20

    Open source software has been around for a long time. But calling it open source only began in 1998. Here’s some history:

    Christine Peterson came up with the term “open source software” in 1997 and (as she reports at that link) a collection of like-minded geeks decided on February 3, 1998 to get behind it in a big way. Eric S. Raymond became the lead evangelist when he published Goodbye, “free software”; hello, “open source” on February 8th. Bruce Perens led creating the Open Source Initiative later that month. Here at Linux Journal, we were all over it from the start as well. (Here’s one example.)

  • Should we celebrate the anniversary of open source?

    Open source did not emerge from a void. It was consciously a marketing programme for the already-15-year-old idea of free software and arose in the context of both the GNU Project and the BSD community and their history (stretching back to the late 70s). We chose to reflect this in the agenda for our celebration track at OSCON.

    But that doesn’t mean its inception is irrelevant. The consensus to define open source at the VA Linux meeting and the subsequent formation of OSI and acceptance of the Open Source Definition changed the phrase from descriptive to a term of art accepted globally. It created a movement and a market and consequently spread software freedom far beyond anyone’s expectations. That has to be worth celebrating.

  • Events

    • Medellín WordPress User Group Celebrates Open Source CMS Platform’s 15th Anniversary

      Medellín is well known for its innovative technology scene, with many active software and information technology user groups. One of those is the user group centered around open source content management software WordPress. A year ago the user group hosted Colombia’s first Wordcamp function, supported by the global WordPress community, and the user group recently gathered to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the first WordPress open source software release that took place May 27, 2003.

      WordPress is an free, open source software platform that allows amateur and professional users to create websites without writing programming code. Over the years it has grown into a powerful platform robust enough to run enterprise websites in many cases. For example, Finance Colombia runs on WordPress software.

    • Training: Embedded Linux and Security training day – Reading

      Providing detailed hands-on training, it is targeted at embedded engineers looking for an introduction to key embedded Linux and Security topics.

  • Web Browsers

    • BATify extension brings Brave Payments to Firefox and Chrome

      A new browser extension lets users support their favorite websites, and YouTube and Twitch creators through donations of BAT cyrpto-tokens via Brave Payments.

      91 weeks ago, I argued that Brave Payments would be a better product as a browser extension than a whole web browser. Brave Software has since made no indications that they’re interested in making a browser extension, and have instead scrapped their current Muon based web browser product and begun making yet another web browser built on Chromium.

      Browser extension developer Michael Volz, however, have detangled the attention tracking and contribution system from the Brave browser in a new unofficial Brave Payments client called BATify.

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • The New Thunderbird Add-ons Site is Now Live

        As we announced last week, SeaMonkey and Thunderbird add-ons will now reside on https://addons.thunderbird.net. Add-ons for Firefox and Firefox for Android will remain on https://addons.mozilla.org (AMO). We wanted to let you know that the split is now done and the new site is live.

      • 360° Images on the Web, the Easy Way

        One of the most popular uses for VR today is 360° images and video. 360° images are easy to discover and share online, and you don’t need to learn any new interactions to explore the 360° experience.

        Building 360° views is not as easy as exploring them, especially if you want to make an experience where the viewer can navigate from scene to scene. Here is the solution I came up with using A-Frame, a web framework for building virtual reality experiences and Glitch, a creative community platform for building, remixing and hosting web apps and sites.

        I often teach students at my local public library. I have found the combination of A-Frame and Glitch to be ideal, especially for the younger learners. A-Frame lets you write markup that feels like HTML to produce 3D content. You don’t have to write any JS code if you don’t want to. And Glitch is wonderful because I can give my students a sample project that they then ‘remix’ to create their own version. Thinking about it, ‘remix’ is probably a better word for non-programmers than ‘fork’.

      • MOSS is Mozilla’s helping hand to the open-source ecosystem in India

        In a bid to support the fledging open-source ecosystem in India, Mozilla has started its Mozilla Open Source Support (MOSS) programme under which it will promote free software and open-source projects in India. Mozilla has set aside a total of around Rs 1.4 crore to fund India-based projects or programmes supporting open source in the current year. Jochai Ben-Avie, Senior Global Policy Manager of Mozilla Corporation, told ET that Mozilla was born out of the free software and open source movement. As a result, the programme started with the effort to give back to those communities, along with supporting other free software and open-source projects and helping advance those projects around the world. “India has always been a really important country for development, and also for Mozilla. As part of the opensource ecosystem, we have a lot of volunteer contributors around 30,000 of them out of which close to 10,000-20,000 are in India. So India is by far our largest community,” said Ben-Avie. He added that the firm wants to give back to the ecosystem and to the open-source movement in India through this programme.

      • How to help test the 2018 edition

        An edition brings together the features that have landed into a clear package, with fully updated documentation and tooling. By the end of the year we are planning to release the 2018 edition, our first since the Rust 1.0 release. You can currently opt-in to a preview of the 2018 edition to try it out and help test it.

        In fact, we really need help testing it out! Once you’ve turned it on and seen its wonderful new features, what then? Here we’ve got some specific things we’d like you to test.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Solaris 11.3 SRU 34 Brings GCC 7.3, Other Package Updates

      While Solaris 11.4 is still in the oven being baked at Oracle, the thirty-fourth stable release update of Solaris 11.3 is now available.

    • Oracle Solaris 11.3 SRU 34 released

      Full details of this SRU can be found in My Oracle Support Doc 2421850.1. For the list of Service Alerts affecting each Oracle Solaris 11.3 SRU, see Important Oracle Solaris 11.3 SRU Issues (Doc ID 2076753.1).

    • Oracle Solaris 11.4 Open Beta Refresh 2

      As we continue to work toward release of Oracle Solaris 11.4, we present to you our third release of Oracle Solaris 11.4 open beta.

    • Oracle Solaris 11.4 Public Beta Updated With KPTI For Addressing Meltdown

      In addition to sending down a new SRU for Solaris 11.3, the Oracle developers left maintaining Solaris have issued their second beta of the upcoming Solaris 11.4.

      Oracle Solaris 11.4 Open Beta Refresh 2 is an updated version of their public beta of Solaris 11.4 originally introduced in January. They say this is the last planned public beta with the general availability release now nearing availability.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Intel CET With Indirect Branch Tracking & Shadow Stack Land In Glibc

      Landing yesterday in Glibc for Intel’s Control-flow Enforcement Technology (CET) were the instructions for Indirect Branch Tracking (IBT) and Shadow Stack (SHSTK).

      These Intel CET bits for the GNU C Library amount to a fair amount of code being added. The commit message explains some of the CET steps taken. The Control-flow Enforcement Technology behavior can be changed for SHSTK/IBT at run-time through the “GLIBC_TUNABLES” environment variable.

    • No Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup on Friday July 20th

      No meeting will be taking place this week due to travel, but meetings will return to our regular schedule starting on Friday, July 27th.

    • Graphos GNUstep and Tablet interface

      I have acquired a Thinkpad X41 Tablet and worked quite a bit on it making it usable and then installing Linux and of course GNUstep on it. The original battery was dead and the compatible replacement I got is bigger, it works very well, but makes the device unbalanced.

      Anyway, my interest about it how usable GNUstep applications would be and especially Graphos, its (and my) drawing application.

      Using the interface in Tablet mode is different: the stylus is very precise and allows clicking by pointing the tip and a second button is also possible. However, contrary to the mouse use, the keyboard is folded so no keyboard modifiers are possible. Furthermore GNUstep has no on-screen keyboard so typing is not possible.

    • A Proposal To Allow Python Scripting Within The GCC Compiler, Replacing AWK

      A SUSE developer is seeking feedback and interest on the possibility of allowing a scripting language — most likely Python — to be used within the GCC compiler code-base. This would primarily be used for replacing existing AWK scripts.

      GCC developer Martin Liška at SUSE is seeking comments on the possibility of adding Python as an accepted language within the GCC code-base. This isn’t anything along the likes of replacing existing GCC C compiler code into a scripting language or anything to that effect, but is targeting at replacing current AWK scripts that are hard to maintain.

  • Licensing/Legal

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Amazing solar panel device that could change the world goes open source

      An innovative and simple solar panel efficiency device has just gone open source in order to get renewable energy to those who need it most.

      When you picture solar power, you might think of the enormous Ivanpah solar power plant in California (the largest in the world) or huge tracts of land in other sun-drenched parts of the globe.

      But not everyone has access to such enormous grids and particularly in remote villages in developing nations, there is only a need for a single or small group of solar panels that could maintain maximum efficiency to sustain a family or the village itself.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Meet the man in charge of Arduino

        I went to visit the Interaction Design Institute of Ivrea – a school that was started just six months before I went to visit them – and they asked me if I knew someone who could teach electronics to designers and to ask this question to my colleagues at the Politecnico.

        I went back and they said “No! Teaching electronics to designers? For us?” Those were guys working on highly sophisticated FGPAs, so they didn’t care about designers. I thought about Massimo – he had a real passion for electronics and he worked as a CTO for an internet provider at that point in time. I said, “Massimo, you could be the right person for this type of engagement – they’re designers, you love design, and you know electronics.” I introduced Massimo to the school and they hired him. That’s how the story started. When he was teaching at the Design Institute of Ivrea, they started the Arduino project as a way to standardise the electronics projects the students were doing. I introduced Massimo to the school and they invented Arduino, so I’m sort of the great-grandfather to some extent.

  • Programming/Development

    • Ballerina reinvents cloud-native programming

      Ballerina has been inspired by Java, Go, C, C++, Rust, Haskell, Kotlin, Dart, TypeScript, JavaScript, Swift, and other languages. It is an open source project, distributed under the Apache 2.0 license, and you can find its source code in the project’s GitHub repository.

    • pinp 0.0.6: Two new options

      A small feature release of our pinp package for snazzier one or two column vignettes get onto CRAN a little earlier.

      It offers two new options. Saghir Bashir addressed a longer-standing help needed! issue and contributed code to select papersize options via the YAML header. And I added support for the collapse option of knitr, also via YAML header selection.

      A screenshot of the package vignette can be seen below. Additional screenshots of are at the pinp page.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • OpenMP 5.0 Public Draft Released

      The public draft of the OpenMP 5.0 SMP programming standard is now available for review ahead of the specification’s expected stable release before the end of 2018.

      OpenMP 5.0 is expected to succeed the OpenMP 4.5 parallel programming standard in Q4’2018, but for ironing out any last minute issues and allowing more compiler developers to begin implementing the standard, the public draft is now available.

Leftovers

  • Tickets Make Operations Unnecessarily Miserable

    IT Operations has always been difficult. There is always too much work to do, not enough time to do it, and frequent interrupts. Moreover, there is the relentless pressure from executives who hold the view that everything takes too long, breaks too often, and costs too much.

    In search of improvement, we have repeatedly bet on new tools to improve our work. We’ve cycled through new platforms (e.g., Virtualization, Cloud, Docker, Kubernetes) and new automation (e.g., Puppet, Chef, Ansible). While each comes with its own merits, has the stress and overload on operations fundamentally changed?

    Enterprises have also spent the past two decades liberally applying Management frameworks like ITIL and COBIT. Would an average operations engineer say things have gotten better or worse?

    [...]

    Tickets on their own are relatively innocuous as they are just records. The issue is where you put those tickets. Tickets go into ticket queues, and then the problems start.

    In a previous post on silos, I discussed the cost of queues. Queues add delay, increase risks, add variability, add overhead, lower quality, and decrease motivation.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Ex-cyber officials demand to know security measures for 2020 Census

      In a letter Monday, coordinated by Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, the former officials asked Ron Jarmin, acting director of the Census Bureau, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to publicly explain the technical protocols and systems the bureau will use to ensure the security of data obtained electronically in the 2020 Census.

    • Developer faces prison after admitting admin software was really a RAT

      On Monday, Grubbs signed a plea agreement that admitted that from 2015 to 2017 he designed LuminosityLink and sold it for $40 apiece to more than 6,000 individuals, knowing that some of them were using it maliciously. While previously claiming the software was a legitimate tool for system administrators, Monday’s plea agreement admitted he knew some customers were using it to control computers without owners’ knowledge or permission.

    • 60% of Indian computers vulnerable [Ed: Fails to mention Microsoft Windows with its back doors]
    • Top Voting Machine Vendor Admits It Installed Remote-Access Software on Systems Sold to States

      The nation’s top voting machine maker has admitted in a letter to a federal lawmaker that the company installed remote-access software on election-management systems it sold over a period of six years, raising questions about the security of those systems and the integrity of elections that were conducted with them.

      In a letter sent to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) in April and obtained recently by Motherboard, Election Systems and Software acknowledged that it had “provided pcAnywhere remote connection software … to a small number of customers between 2000 and 2006,” which was installed on the election-management system ES&S sold them.

      The statement contradicts what the company told me and fact checkers for a story I wrote for the New York Times in February. At that time, a spokesperson said ES&S had never installed pcAnywhere on any election system it sold. “None of the employees, … including long-tenured employees, has any knowledge that our voting systems have ever been sold with remote-access software,” the spokesperson said.

    • PSA: Make Sure You Have a Backup for Two-Factor Authentication
    • An Introduction to Cybersecurity: The First Five Steps

      You read all these headlines about the latest data breaches, and you worry your organization could be next.

      After all, if TalkTalk, Target, and Equifax can’t keep their data safe, what chance do you have?

      Well, thankfully, most organizations aren’t quite as high profile as those household names, and probably don’t receive quite so much attention from cybercriminals. At the same time, though, no organization is so small or insignificant that it can afford to neglect to take sensible security measures.

      If you’re just starting to take cybersecurity seriously, here are five steps you can take to secure your organization more effectively than 99 percent of your competitors.

    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #168
    • 5 ways to find and fix open source vulnerabilities

      A recent discovery of surreptitious execution of cryptomining code by a sandboxed app, riding piggyback on the open source software (OSS) ecosystem, raises pertinent questions about the security of open source code and its dependencies. Programmers often use OSS as a jump-off for creating their software—and that includes malware authors.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Murderous mob — 9 states, 27 killings, one year: And a pattern to the lynchings

      The latest black spot in the spate of killings — the lynching of five in Maharashtra’s Dhule on July 1 — prompted the central government to write to WhatsApp, which responded that it has introduced a series of measures, including labels on forwarded messages.

      [...]

      In some cases, however, none of this worked. In Jharkhand, the victims were dragged out of a police jeep. And in Tripura, they sought refuge inside a police camp, which was stormed.

    • WhatsApp offers ‘easy tips’ to tackle fake news in India

      WhatsApp has said that the government and community groups need to work together to deal with fake news technology companies.

      The Facebook-owned application in the advertisement said this week it would roll out a new feature that would let users see which messages have been forwarded. “Double check the facts when you are not sure who wrote the original message,” it said.

    • Supreme Court gives govt 4 weeks to stop lynchings
    • Detente Bad, Cold War Good

      The entire “liberal” media and political establishment of the Western world reveals its militarist, authoritarian soul today with the screaming and hysterical attacks on the very prospect of detente with Russia. Peace apparently is a terrible thing; a renewed arms race, with quite literally trillions of dollars pumped into the military industrial complex and hundreds of thousands dying in proxy wars, is apparently the “liberal” stance.

      Political memories are short, but just 15 years after Iraq was destroyed and the chain reaction sent most of the Arab world back to the dark ages, it is now “treason” to question the word of the Western intelligence agencies, which deliberately and knowingly produced a fabric of lies on Iraqi WMD to justify that destruction.

      It would be more rational for it to be treason for leaders to blindly accept the word of the intelligence services.

    • UK personnel ‘could face murder trials’ over drone strikes, MPs warn

      The UK’s drone programme is putting civilian lives in danger and exposing personnel to the risk of being prosecuted for murder because the government has not established a “clear policy and sound legal basis” for use of unmanned weapons, a group of parliamentarians warned on Tuesday.

      The report by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones (APPG) said that the UK’s involvement in the US-led campaign against the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria and Iraq since 2014, had “raised some serious questions about the legality, efficacy and strategic coherence” of the UK drone programme.

      The UK had previously been regarded internationally as “a model of responsible and ethical use” of drones, but that record was at risk of being compromised, it said.

      “Since 2015, the UK appears to have been taking serious risks in its use of drones. Specific concerns have been raised about the government’s shift towards a policy of ‘targeted killing’ as well as the legality of UK assistance to partner operations – and particularly that with its closest ally, the US,” it said.

      “The APPG argues that there is a political and ethical imperative for the government to review and clarify its procedures for using drones and all the multi-national systems that back them up, lest ambiguities in the current position leave the UK dangerously exposed to legal challenges arising either from its own direct use of drones, or effective complicity in their use by others.”

    • UK drone personnel could be liable for war crimes

      A two-year probe by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on drones claims that British military personnel could be prosecuted for murder and complicit in alleged war crimes, a report launched today reveals.

      The inquiry – ‘The UK’s use of Armed Drones: Working with Partners’ – received 17 written evidence submissions and conducted six oral evidence sessions by experts in the field. Some 19 recommendations were put forward to “guarantee a solid foundation for UK drone policy and operations moving forward”.

      The inquiry called upon the British government to immediately publish its “targeted killing” policy, just as the United States and Israel have done previously, but more importantly to establish “an independent scrutiny mechanism responsible to Parliament in the event that any UK drone (armed or unarmed) is used in an operation where lethal force is employed,” the report said.

    • UK Possibly ‘Complicit’ in US War Crimes, Could Face Prosecution – Report

      This isn’t the first time the British government has been warned over its role in the US drone program, and there’s no indication the UK is looking to end its involvement.

      A damning report released to British media after two years of research by a parliamentary committee warns that the British military, including individual personnel, could be prosecuted for civilian deaths and alleged war crimes as a result of its involvement in the US’ drone program, The Independent reported on Tuesday.

    • UK military drone operators could be ‘liable for murder prosecution,’ report suggests

      UK military personnel engaging in US-led drone operations in Syria and Iraq are at risk of being “liable to prosecution for murder” due to the government not setting a “clear policy and sound legal basis,” a report warns.

      There is a growing concern that the UK was complicit in civilian deaths by supporting a US-led drone program that was committing unlawful acts – making British personnel open to prosecution, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) report said.

      “In its current form, assistance to partners is putting the UK and its personnel at risk of criminal liability. UK use of force or assistance to partners in drone strikes outside situations of armed conflict are not protected by combatant immunity, therefore making personnel liable to prosecution for murder.”

    • Climb Down From the Summit of Hostile Propaganda

      Throughout the day before the summit in Helsinki, the lead story on the New York Times home page stayed the same: “Just by Meeting With Trump, Putin Comes Out Ahead.” The Sunday headline was in harmony with the tone of U.S. news coverage overall. As for media commentary, the Washington Post was in the dominant groove as it editorialized that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is “an implacably hostile foreign adversary.”

      Contempt for diplomacy with Russia is now extreme. Mainline U.S. journalists and top Democrats often bait President Trump in zero-sum terms. No doubt Hillary Clinton thought she was sending out an applause line in her tweet Sunday night: “Question for President Trump as he meets Putin: Do you know which team you play for?”

      A bellicose stance toward Russia has become so routine and widespread that we might not give it a second thought — and that makes it all the more hazardous. After President George W. Bush declared “You’re either with us or against us,” many Americans gradually realized what was wrong with a Manichean view of the world. Such an outlook is even more dangerous today.

      Since early 2017, the U.S. mass media have laid it on thick with the rough political equivalent of a painting technique known as chiaroscuro — “the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition,” in the words of Wikipedia. The Russiagate frenzy is largely about punching up contrasts between the United States (angelic and victimized) and Russia (sinister and victimizer).

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The War Is On To Stop The Extradition Of Julian Assange

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may soon face eviction from the London embassy that has sheltered him for the last six years “any day now” according to reports there are ongoing discussions about the matter.

      Ecuador and Britain are in high-level discussions over Assange’s fate, the Sunday Times of London reported.

      Ministers and senior Foreign Office officials are in discussions over the fate of Assange’s asylum.

      The new Ecuadorean president Lenín Moreno – who has called Assange a “stone in the shoe” – has dismissed him as a problem he inherited from his predecessor.

      Assange has been arbitrarily detained according to the UN for nearly 6 years in the Ecuadorian embassy. Now Ecuador has expanded that arbitrary detainment to solitary confinement by forbidding Assange from any human contact including visitations, phone calls and barring his Internet usage — all without Assange ever being convicted of a crime besides publishing documents exposing corruption and shedding light on the truth.

    • Secret plot to ‘EVICT Julian Assange from Ecuadorian embassy’ after 6 YEARS inside

      The Wikileaks founder has been living in the South American country’s embassy building since 2012 after seeking asylum there over fears he would be extradited to the US on espionage charges.

      He originally went into hiding after an arrest warrant was issued so he could be sent to Sweden over sexual assault and rape allegations.

      But he has reportedly overstayed his welcome since former Ecuadorian president, Rafael Corra, granted him political asylum.

    • European analyst: “eviction” of Assange from the Embassy of Ecuador will strike a blow to the reputation of London and Quito

      The refusal of the authorities of Ecuador from further granting political asylum to the founder of the Internet portal WikiLeaks Julian Assange in the Embassy of the Latin American country in the British capital will strike a significant blow to the international reputation of London and Quito.

      The correspondent of ГолосUA said European political columnist Marie Pudemo.

      “As soon as Assange leaves the Ecuadorian Embassy he will be arrested, noted, in particular, it. – If it will give Sweden or the United States, that person faces a long prison sentence or the death penalty. Thus, officials from Britain and Ecuador may be involved in the actual death of the head of WikiLeaks.”

    • Judge Shrugs At 1st Amendment, Orders News Site To Take Down Info It Got From A Publicly-Available Court Filing [UPDATED]

      A federal judge has decided unconstitutional prior restraint is the best way to handle a clerical screwup. An injunction request, filed under seal, has been granted, resulting in the LA Times deleting information it obtained legally from a US federal court’s website.

      A plea agreement the government reached with Glendale police detective John S. Balian was accidentally made public on PACER, where it was scooped up by the LA Times. Information from that plea agreement appeared in its July 14th article on Balian.

    • British and Ecuadorian authorities in talks to evict Julian Assange from London embassy

      The London-based Times newspaper reported yesterday that the British and Ecuadorian governments have been holding secret discussions on plans to evict WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange from Ecuador’s London embassy, where he sought political asylum six years ago.

      The article said the talks are “an attempt to remove Assange” from the embassy and are being conducted at the highest levels of government, with British Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan personally involved.

      The report is the latest public indication of a conspiracy, involving the British, US and Ecuadorian governments, to terminate Assange’s political asylum, in violation of international law, and force him into UK custody. The major powers are determined to prosecute the WikiLeaks editor for his organisation’s role in exposing US-led war crimes and diplomatic intrigues around the world.

    • DHS Tells Records Requester It Can’t Find Documents It Posted To Its Own Website
    • Win for Public Right to Know: Court Vacates Injunction Against Publishing the Law

      Industry Groups Want to Control Access to Legal Rules and Regulations

      San Francisco – A federal appeals court today ruled that industry groups cannot control publication of binding laws and standards. This decision protects the work of Public.Resource.org (PRO), a nonprofit organization that works to improve access to government documents. PRO is represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the law firm of Fenwick & West, and attorney David Halperin.

      Six large industry groups that work on building and product safety, energy efficiency, and educational testing filed suit against PRO in 2013. These groups publish thousands of standards that are developed by industry and government employees. Some of those standards are incorporated into federal and state regulations, becoming binding law. As part of helping the public access the law, PRO posts those binding standards on its website. The industry groups, known as standards development organizations, accused PRO of copyright and trademark infringement for posting those standards online. In effect, they claimed the right to decide who can copy, share, and speak the law. The federal district court for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the standards organizations in 2017, and ordered PRO not to post the standards.

  • Finance

    • Uber faces new probe over alleged gender discrimination in hiring practices

      The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has opened a formal investigation into the hiring and employment practices of Uber.

    • It’s Official: The Brexit Campaign Cheated Its Way to Victory

      The official campaign that campaigned for people in Britain to vote to leave the European Union broke the law, according to the country’s election watchdog, which has now referred the matter to police.

      With Theresa May’s government teetering on the brink of collapse as the pro- and anti-EU factions within her party go to war, the announcement from the Electoral Commission that the campaign group fronted by Boris Johnson cheated is bringing Brexit tensions to boiling point, with some lawmakers urging a re-run of the vote.

      The group—known as Vote Leave—was chosen as the official campaign group for the June 2016 referendum. The Electoral Commission says it funneled money into a sister campaign to get around spending limits, meaning that it exceeded the £7 million ($9.2 million) maximum by £500,000 ($660,000)

    • Presidential pay cut: Mexican leader to slash salaries

      Mexico’s president-elect has honoured an election promise, by cutting his own salary and those of other politicians.

      Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador cruised to a landslide victory two weeks ago, vowing to take on corruption and the political elite.

      Mexico’s president-elect has honoured an election promise, by cutting his own salary and those of other politicians.

      Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador cruised to a landslide victory two weeks ago, vowing to take on corruption and the political elite.

      He has taken a pay cut of 60 percent.

    • Liberapay is in trouble

      Our payment processor (Mangopay) is throwing us out. Liberapay won’t shut down, but the service will be disrupted until we can fully migrate away from Mangopay.

      The first two sections of this blog post are about what you should do as a Liberapay user. Mangopay may cut us off as soon as July 26th, so don’t wait too long. The last section is about how Liberapay is going to change and improve in response to this crisis.

    • India raises trade deficit issue with China at WTO

      ndia has flagged concerns of its large trade deficit with China, visa restrictions for Indian professionals and the challenges faced in exporting IT services, meat, rice and medicines to Beijing at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

      Trade is skewed in favour of China at a trade surplus of $63 billion. Bilateral trade was $89.6 billion in 2017-18.

      “This large and growing deficit is difficult for India to sustain, and serious efforts need to be made to remedy the situation,” India said in its submission to WTO, commenting on China’s trade policy, which EThas seen.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Facebook is overly optimistic with respect to Cambridge Analytica data scope

      Facebook is too optimistic when it comes to Cambridge Analytica extends.

      Sorry for this post on a fairly old topic. I just did not get around to write this up.

      Several media outlets (e.g., Bloomberg) ran the story that Facebook privacy policy director Stephen Satterfield claimed that “European’s data” may not have been accessed by Cambridge Analytica in an EU hearing.

      This claim is nonsense. It is almost a lie – except that he used the weasel word “may”.

      For fairly trivial reasons, you can be sure that the data of at least some European’s data has been accessed. Largely because it’s pretty much impossible to perfectly separate U.S. and EU users. People move. People use Proxies. People use wrong locations. People forget to update their location. Location does not imply residency nor citizenship. People may have multiple nationalities. On Facebook, people may make up all of this, too.

      [...]

      So yes, I bet that at least one EU citizen was affected.

      Just because the data is too big (and too unreliable) to be able to rule this out.

      Apparently, neither the U.S. nor Germany (or the EU) even have reliable numbers on how many people have multiple nationalities. So do not trust Facebook (or Kogan’s) data to be better here…

    • Undermining Mobile Phone Users’ Privacy Won’t Make Us Safer

      Tragedies often bring political proposals that would do more harm than help—undermining our right to secure communications, for example, or our right to gather online. It is in these moments we face legislative gambits that are too often willing to trade our privacy for assumed security. It is in these moments that we should be careful about what could be taken from us.

      The Kelsey Smith Act (H.R. 5983) tries to correct a tragedy that occurred a decade ago by expanding government surveillance authorities. It is a mis-correction.

      The bill would force cell phone companies to disclose the location of a person’s device at the request of police who believe that person is in distress. On its face, that’s not unreasonable. But if the police make a mistake—or abuse their power—the bill offers almost no legal recourse for someone whose location privacy was wrongfully invaded.

      As the Supreme Court recently recognized in Carpenter, cell phone location information is incredibly sensitive data. It provides “an intimate window into a person’s life, revealing not only his particular movements, but through them his ‘familial, political, professional, religious, and sexual associations.’ These location records “hold for many Americans the ‘privacies of life.’”

      With this in mind, any legislative attempt to intrude on this private data must be done extremely carefully. The Kelsey Smith Act fails to do that.

    • Schools Can Now Get Facial Recognition Tech for Free. Should They?

      Glaser approached the administrators at his children’s school in Seattle, University Child Development School, which had just installed a gate and camera system, and asked if they might try using SAFR to monitor parents, teachers, and other visitors who come into the school. The school would ask adults, not kids, to register their faces with the SAFR system. After they registered, they’d be able to enter the school by smiling at a camera at the front gate. (Smiling tells the software that it’s looking at a live person and not, for instance, a photograph). If the system recognizes the person, the gates automatically unlock. If not, they can can enter the old-fashioned way by ringing the receptionist.

    • First day deluge for My Health Record opt-out

      The first day problems began as the opt-out window for the e-health record system began on Monday, with many individuals wasting no time attempting to withdraw their consent.

    • Wickr, Linux Australia, Twilio sign open letter against govt’s encryption crackdown ‘mistake’

      Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s favourite secure messaging app Wickr is among the 76 organisations and individuals that have signed an open letter today calling on his government to reject its plans to ‘undermine strong encryption’.

      Wickr, Twilio, ThoughtWorks, Linux Australia, Startpage.com and a slew of digital rights, civil liberties and privacy organisations signed the open letter to the Attorney-General Christian Porter and Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Angus Taylor. They are calling on government “not to pursue legislation that would undermine tools, policies, and technologies critical to protecting individual rights, safeguarding the economy, and providing security both in Australia and around the world”.

      The government is adding the finishing touches to proposed legislation that it says will boost the ability of law enforcement agencies to access communications sent via encrypted services.

    • What Walmart’s Patent for Audio Surveillance Could Mean for its Workers
    • Walmart patents audio surveillance technology to record customers and employees

      Walmart wants to listen to its workers and shoppers more. A lot more.

      America’s largest retailer has patented surveillance technology that could essentially spy on cashiers and customers by collecting audio data in stores. The proposal raises questions about how recordings of conversations would be used and whether the practice would even be legal in some Walmart stores.

      “This is a very bad idea,” Sam Lester, consumer privacy counsel of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, D.C., told CBS News. “If they do decide to implement this technology, the first thing we would want and expect is to know which privacy expectations are in place.”

      Walmart’s patent filing says the “sound sensors” would focus on minute details of the shopping and checkout experience, such as the beeps of item scanners and the rustling of bags, and they could also pick up conversations of workers and customers. It’s unclear so far how that chatter could be used.

    • Skype ‘Classic’ is being retired in favour of something inevitably worse

      Horrendously unreliable Microsoft messaging service Skype is getting an upgrade, and though there’s a lot to love, there’s more to hate.

      The previously useful app is letting go of the version known as ‘Skype Classic’ to almost no one but which worked okay on the whole, in place of a new ‘version 8.0′.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The CIA Had a Rule Against Meeting the KGB Alone. Trump Was Reckless to Ignore It With Putin.

      In 1983, the KGB contacted Carl Gebhardt, the CIA’s Moscow station chief, with a proposal. In order to avoid needless problems between the two spy services, the KGB wanted to open a secret communications channel with the CIA.

      The CIA readily agreed, and the pact led to a series of secret meetings between top CIA and KGB officials in Europe. Eventually nicknamed the “Gavrilov channel,” after a 19th century Russian poet, this carefully choreographed exchange of secret communications continued throughout the remainder of the Cold War.

      Some of the Gavrilov meetings took place in Helsinki, where Donald Trump met with Vladimir Putin on Monday. But one of the key differences between the Gavrilov channel and the Trump-Putin meeting was that the CIA always insisted on having at least two American officers present – no one from the CIA could meet the KGB alone. That guaranteed that no American could hand over secrets to the KGB without at least one other American knowing about it; it also insured that no American would come under unfair suspicion of being a KGB spy simply by meeting with the Russians alone.

      Trump, on the other hand, insisted on meeting Putin without any of his aides present. At a time when there is a federal investigation underway into whether his campaign colluded with the Russians to win the 2016 election, Trump’s decision to meet Putin alone was at best reckless. His many critics will take it as further evidence that he really is a KGB agent.

    • Ex-CIA chief John Brennan calls Trump ‘nothing short of treasonous’ after Putin press conference
    • Child Separation Coverage Focused on Beltway Debate, Not Immigrant Voices

      The Trump administration in April began enforcing a “zero-tolerance” immigration policy that has resulted in thousands of immigrant children being separated from their families. On June 18, ProPublica released an audio recording from inside a Border Patrol detention facility; children separated from parents and family members could be heard crying in the background, while a six-year-old girl from El Salvador begged for someone to let her call her aunt. The recording reminded the public of the undeniable reality that immigration policy has deep and lasting effects on actual people.

      However, as corporate media dove into this story, the voices of those impacted most by immigration policy were drowned out by soundbites from congressmembers and Trump administration officials. Concentrated coverage of the policy from six major broadcast and cable news networks began on June 14; the story reached a climax of sorts on June 20, when Trump signed an executive order ending the policy. FAIR looked at the sources used on these networks during this seven-day period, examining the immigration-related segments on a representative evening news show from each network,* to see who got to speak about this contentious issue.

    • Health Insurers Are Vacuuming Up Details About You — And It Could Raise Your Rates

      To an outsider, the fancy booths at last month’s health insurance industry gathering in San Diego aren’t very compelling. A handful of companies pitching “lifestyle” data and salespeople touting jargony phrases like “social determinants of health.”

      But dig deeper and the implications of what they’re selling might give many patients pause: A future in which everything you do — the things you buy, the food you eat, the time you spend watching TV — may help determine how much you pay for health insurance.

      With little public scrutiny, the health insurance industry has joined forces with data brokers to vacuum up personal details about hundreds of millions of Americans, including, odds are, many readers of this story. The companies are tracking your race, education level, TV habits, marital status, net worth. They’re collecting what you post on social media, whether you’re behind on your bills, what you order online. Then they feed this information into complicated computer algorithms that spit out predictions about how much your health care could cost them.

      Are you a woman who recently changed your name? You could be newly married and have a pricey pregnancy pending. Or maybe you’re stressed and anxious from a recent divorce. That, too, the computer models predict, may run up your medical bills.

    • Brett Kavanaugh Repeatedly Ruled in Favor of the Security State, Most Recently for the CIA — and Against Me

      On a Monday afternoon, on July 9, the D.C. Court of Appeals handed down a 2-1 decision against me and in favor of the CIA in a long-running Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. At 4:20 p.m., Judges Brett Kavanaugh and Gregory Katsas, a Trump appointee, filed a 14-page opinion with the clerk of the court in Washington. They ruled that the CIA had acted “reasonably” in responding to my request for certain ancient files related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Appended to their decision was a 17-page dissent from their colleague Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson who strongly objected to their decision.

      That evening, President Donald Trump announced to the world that Kavanaugh was his choice to fill the Supreme Court seat of retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. In his remarks at the White House event, Kavanaugh touted his “Female Relationship Resume” and declared, “My judicial philosophy is straightforward: A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law.”

    • Lawyer who filed complaints to UN against Lithuania over CIA black sites wants leaders indicted

      A human rights lawyer, who sent complaints to the UN against Lithuania for allowing the CIA to host secret prisons on its soil, is sure he will see the country’s leadership indicted. He talks exclusively to RT.

      In May of this year, Lithuania and Romania were found responsible for knowingly allowing the torture of prisoners at secret CIA facilities on their territories, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled.

      The ECHR decision referred to the cases of Saudi-born Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, both of whom are currently held at the US Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

      [...]

      Tomas assumes that the greatest obstacle to the development of human rights in Lithuania is that it denies “the binding nature” of the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

      The lawyer claims that there are secret tapes on which Lithuanian judges are heard talking to each other and complaining that the president of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė sent her advisor to talk to judges in order to convince them to take one or another decision. “That’s a public tape, it was made secretly. This is clear pressure,” he stressed.

    • The Implications of Guns for Our Liberty

      Gun rights advocates need to contend with the unintended consequences of expansive gun rights: a more intrusive government.

      In recent months, the nation has been debating gun control issues with renewed intensity. One of the principal arguments that firearms advocates advance against restrictions on guns is freedom: Americans ought to be free to own guns, and free to defend ourselves, and that broad ownership of guns by citizens is a check against the possibility of oppression by our own government.

      My colleague Louise Melling has laid out the ACLU’s views on guns here — that while gun regulations must be unbiased and subject to due process protections, the Constitution does permit limits on firearms sale and ownership. Overall, the ACLU does not generally engage in either side of the gun control issue. But we do care about freedom, and I have noticed a growing trend: the wide availability of guns and their misuse leading to restrictions on Americans’ freedom. Advocates for expansive gun rights who are serious in their concern over expanded government powers might consider how this is the case.

    • 4 Years After Eric Garner’s Death, We’re Still Waiting for Justice

      As the federal investigation into Garner’s killing drags on, New York City finally says it will take action.

      Four years ago today, Eric Garner was killed on Staten Island by police. The 43-year-old father died after he was put in a chokehold by New York Police Department Officer Daniel Pantaleo. His last words, “I can’t breathe” — repeated 11 times while half a dozen officers did nothing to intervene — helped fuel a movement for police accountability that continues today.

      Yesterday, the city announced that, after waiting more than three years for a federal investigation into Garner’s killing to conclude, it will move forward with its own inquiry into Garner’s death. In a letter to the Department of Justice, NYPD Deputy Commissioner Lawrence Byrne wrote that if the Justice Department does not publicly announce whether it will bring charges against Pantaleo by August 31, the city will serve Pantaleo with departmental charges and try him in an administrative trial in early 2019.

      The announcement on the eve of the anniversary of Garner’s death was almost certainly designed to help Mayor Bill de Blasio avoid criticism from Garner’s family and other advocates, who have been pushing the city to take action. This decision by the city, while welcome, does not excuse the administration for taking so long to do anything and also proves that the excuses for not taking action were flimsy at best.

      To fully understand why this delay has been so frustrating, we should look back at how we got here.

      A month after Garner’s death on Staten Island, then Richmond County District Attorney Daniel Donovan failed to secure an indictment against Pantaleo. Since then, Garner’s supporters’ hopes for accountability have hinged on an ongoing federal investigation launched in 2014 by the Justice Department. The investigation began under Attorney General Eric Holder, continued under Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and is now proceeding under the current head of the Justice Department, Jeff Sessions.

    • If You Value The Reputation Of Your Restaurant, Maybe You Should Stop Serving Cops

      Cops lie. This is a fact. As a business owner, it is in your best interest to oust known liars from your premises, if only for liability reasons. Sure, this will result in backlash from cop supporters, but so will the alternative.

      Cops have placed themselves on a plateau of humanity far above their fellow citizens. Any perceived slight becomes a reason to drape themselves in an appropriated American flag and decry the masses for failing to show them the respect they feel they have no duty to earn.

      There have been several reports of low-wage fast food employees saying and/or doing mean things to cops in their restaurants. Sometimes, these things have actually happened. What officers fail to understand is that most employees of restaurants have zero respect for a majority of their customers. Add a blue uniform and an air of sanctimoniousness, and cops can easily fly up the ranks of the disrespected.

      But cops don’t help their own case by lying about things that happened. And even if they’re not outright lies, they’re severe miscontruals of the actual events. In April of 2016, an officer claimed he was drugged by a Subway employee who supposedly spiked his soda as he went through the drive-thru. Drug tests of the drink and the cop cleared Subway and its employee of any wrongdoing. It also netted the accused teen — who was arrested and charged — a $50,000 payout from the city of Layton, Utah.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The FCC Mysteriously Retreats From Sinclair Cronyism, Potentially Dooming Controversial Merger

      If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve probably noticed that Sinclair Broadcast Group’s $3.9 billion merger with Tribune Media has been widely derided as terrible. The company, already under routine fire for content that’s more lobotomized pablum than news, hopes to seal a deal that would give it ownership of more than 230 local broadcast stations reaching more than 72% of the nation. Given Sinclair’s inflammatory and facts-optional reporting, that’s generally seen as a problem for a country where daily discourse is already a raging dumpster fire, and local reporters are already struggling to survive.

      For much of the last year the FCC has been going to comical lengths to pave the way for Sinclair’s deal. From attacking the law that prohibits any one broadcaster from dominating more than 39% of local broadcast audiences, to restoring obscure bits of discarded regulation (like the UHF discount) simply to let Sinclair bullshit its way under said limit, the FCC has been making it very clear it hoped to rubber stamp the deal. It was so clear, Ajit Pai found himself the subject of a nonpartisan corruption investigation by his own agency into whether he coordinated the effort with Sinclair.

    • Ajit Pai deals major setback to Sinclair/Tribune merger

      FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he won’t approve the Sinclair/Tribune acquisition as it’s currently structured, saying Sinclair’s plans for divested stations would violate the law. Pai is recommending that the merger be reviewed by an administrative law judge, a move that could ultimately kill the deal.

    • A bipartisan step for net neutrality

      Today, Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) took two important steps towards protecting net neutrality. First, he’s signing the discharge petition that could force a vote on the Congressional Review Act (CRA) that negates Chairman Pai’s disastrous rollback of net neutrality protections. But he’s going a step further, too: he announced a bill that would codify net neutrality in law. The bill is straightforward: it bans blocking, throttling, and prioritization with clear authorization for FCC rulemaking and enforcement. Both of these actions are important, all the more so because Rep. Coffman has recognized that protecting net neutrality isn’t a partisan issue. This is an issue that the vast majority of Americans agree on, which makes it all the more confusing that it has become a partisan issue in Washington.

    • First House Republican Backs Effort To Restore Net Neutrality

      While the best chance of reversing the FCC’s attack on net neutrality still likely rests with the courts, an uphill effort to restore the FCC’s 2015 rules via Congress appears to have taken a small step forward this week.

      The Congressional Review Act lets Congress reverse a regulatory action with a simply majority vote in the Senate and the House (which is how the GOP successfully killed FCC consumer broadband privacy protections last year). And while the Senate voted 52 to 47 back in May to reverse the FCC’s attack on net neutrality, companion efforts to set up a similar vote in the House have, as expected, had a hard time gaining traction thanks to ISP lobbying influence.

      But things progressed slightly this week on the news that Representative Mike Coffman of Colorado agreed to be the first House Republican to sign off on the effort to restore the rules.

    • Trading more than horses: Threats to privacy, net neutrality in international trade negotiations

      When we’re discussing the [I]nternet, it’s not surprising that legislation and policy can have an impact that extends far beyond one country’s borders. While many of us are aware of domestic threats to fair dealing, privacy, and net neutrality, including regulator proposals and proposed legislation, it’s also important to consider the role that international trade can play in influencing policy on a global scale.

  • DRM

    • Bosch’s War on Self Repair

      If you are looking for an ebike, while I don’t have any systems to recommend that are good in the freedom department, Shimano’s steps system at least provides you with some level of access.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Would Kavanaugh Change The Outcome Of SCOTUS Intellectual Property Cases?

      Now that we know the nominee to replace Justice Kennedy’s seat, it’s time to play the “How Will Kavanaugh Vote On Issues I Care About?” game. Most attention is (rightly) going to the big hot button issues like abortion, immigration, or whether a sitting president can be indicted. But since I write on intellectual property issues, let’s take a look at whether Kavanaugh will shift the Court in patent or copyright cases.

      Bloomberg has a summary of cases where Judge Kavanaugh has a record on intellectual property issues, mostly related to royalty rates set by the Copyright Royalty Board. Of course, Kavanaugh does not have a judicial record on patents, since those cases are heard by the Federal Circuit. As a result, there isn’t a lot substantively (though a concurring opinion he wrote on one case regarding the Copyright Royalty Board suggests that he may have some thoughts on Patent Trial and Appeal Board, as well) on pure patent and copyright issues to go on.

      While, of course, figuring out Kavanaugh’s record on particular issues is predictive of how he will vote on the same issues in the future, it’s not the only factor in the outcome of a SCOTUS case — there are eight other justices on the Court and on some issues, Kavanaugh’s vote might not make a difference, at least in the near term. Let’s take a look at the outcomes of some of the recent patent and copyright cases before SCOTUS.

    • Trademarks

      • Shipyard Brewing loses lawsuit over Shiphead beer

        A Missouri federal judge on Monday granted a request for summary judgment by Logboat Brewing Co., the maker of Shiphead, dismissing Shipyard’s claims that Shiphead violated the Portland brewer’s trademark with its name, the color scheme on the can and a “schooner logo” on the Shiphead can. A summary judgment is issued before a trial in cases where the judge determines the facts and law are clearly on the side of one of the parties in the suit.

        The judge, Nanette K. Laughrey, said there was no evidence to support Shipyard’s claims that consumers could be confused by the names and the image of the schooner. The vessel on the Shipyard logo is depicted in port, while in the Shiphead logo, it is in the hair of a painting of a woman serving beer.

      • Shipyard Brewing Loses Its Lawsuit Over Ships and The Word ‘Head’

        Roughly a year ago, Shipyard Brewing Co. launched its bid for title holder of the single dumbest trademark lawsuit in the beer industry. The lawsuit against Logboat Brewing came as a result of two concerns. First, both breweries have the word “ship” on some packaging and include images of ships on that packaging as well. Lost on Shipyard appeared to be Logboat’s use on its Shiphead brand was that of a woman with hair that somehow was a ship, whereas Shipyard merely had ships in water. That made the trade dress and trademarks fairly distinct. That may be the reason Shipyard coupled that concern with a second, namely that both breweries used the word “head” in their respective brands, with Shipyard having trademarks on brews such as “pumpkinhead” and “applehead.” The theory, I guess, was that these two factors that on their own were not valid trademark complaints combined to form one that was.

        This is where the narrator would jump in and say: “That theory was wrong.” The judge presiding over the dispute didn’t buy into Shipyard’s claims and completely rejected Shipyard’s claims in a very thorough ruling. Let’s start with the trade dress issue. Do you think these cans look similar?

      • Albania Introduces New Trademark Regulation

        A new trademark regulation entered into force in Albania on June 7, 2018, clarifying a range of issues raised by the changes to the Albanian Industrial Property Law in force as of March 24, 2017. Some of the most significant changes and clarifications concern the following:

    • Copyrights

      • 10 Best Sites To Watch Free TV Shows Online And Legally In 2018
      • Copyright As Censorship: FIFA’s Overaggressive Copyright Takedowns Target Fans Celebrating And Pussy Riot Protesting

        We talked about how silly this was in response (and pointed to dozens of articles we’ve written in the past about how copyright is used for censorship), but let’s add another one to the pile. As you know, the World Cup just ended this past weekend, and FIFA, which certainly has some history being over aggressive on the “intellectual property” side of things, apparently was working overtime getting videos taken down from various platforms.

        This resulted in lots of outraged fans especially over insane situations like when Kathryn Conn posted a 5 second video of her 7-year-old son celebrating a goal. She posted it to Twitter, where it was promptly taken down thanks to a highly questionable DMCA notice from FIFA. It is positively bizarre that anyone could possibly think that this video infringed on anyone’s copyright, or that it somehow should require “licensing” from FIFA to show your 7-year-old celebrating a goal.

      • Why Art Does Not Need Copyright

        This Article explores the escalating battles between visual art and copyright law in order to upend the most basic assumptions on which copyright protection for visual art is grounded. It is a foundational premise of intellectual property law that copyright is necessary for the “progress” of the arts. This Article demonstrates that this premise is flatly wrong when it comes to visual art. United States courts and scholars have come to understand copyright law almost universally in utilitarian terms; by this account, the reason we grant copyright to authors is to give them economic incentives to create culturally valuable works. But legal scholars have failed to recognize that their paradigm makes no sense when applied to visual art, one of the highest profile and most hotly contested fields in intellectual property law. This is because scholars have failed to take into account the single most important value for participants in the art market: the norm of authenticity, which renders copyright law superfluous. The fundamental assumption of copyright law—that the copy poses a threat to creativity—is simply not true for visual art. By juxtaposing copyright theory with the reality of the art market, this Article shows why copyright law does not—and cannot—incentivize the creation of visual art. In fact, copyright law, rather than being necessary for art’s flourishing, actually impedes it.

      • Progress Isn’t Linear: YouTube TV’s World Cup Flub Threatens Public’s Trust For Sports Streaming

        As we’ve pointed out any number of times over the past few years, cord-cutting is a very real thing and represents a threat to the cable television industry as it exists today. One of the last threads from which that industry largely hangs is professional sports broadcasts, with cable network providers having traditionally locked up pro and college sports broadcast rights in long-term exclusive deals. That has slowly begun to change, as the leagues of the world have finally gotten on board with streaming providers big and small, connected to the cable industry or not. If this is adopted en masse, it puts disruptive change for cable on the horizon.

        But progress isn’t linear and one of the threats to keeping this train on its tracks is the quality of the experience for users that dive into these sports streaming options. Especially early on in this kind of change, providers getting things right is extremely important, as reputations and public perception of the viability of sports streaming are more than somewhat on the line. And YouTube recently botched its broadcast of the World Cup match between England and Croatia.

      • Court Sanctions TVAddons Owner For Failing to Disclose Evidence

        A Texas District Court has sanctioned TVAddons operator Adam Lackman for failing to disclose evidence requested by Dish. Within five days, he must share how much money was earned through TVAddons.ag and Offshoregit.com. At the same time, the court reprimanded Lackman’s lawyer for an “egregious disruption” of the court proceedings.

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