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07.29.18

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

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

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

Jailed monkey
Reference: The Golden Cage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This past week’s PTAB roundup

Police at protest

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

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

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

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

[...]

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

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

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

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

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

They’re just ‘pulling a Berkheimer‘ again:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[...]

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

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

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

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

[...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To quote:

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

[...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watchtroll

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Call to Boycott IBM Over Its Serial, Systematic Acts of Patent Aggression Using Dubious Patents in Large Quantities

Posted in IBM, Patents at 7:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Eyes Wide Open

Summary: Geeks are protesting against IBM’s aggressive patent policy, which is merely an effort to remain relevant by taxing companies whose offerings were all along better

TECHRIGHTS recently wrote about IBM's patent aggression and its progression to Groupon, which is the latest among many litigation or shakedown targets. This is what has happened to IBM in recent years; it’s a managerial malfunction — the decision to become a bully again (after a decade-long recess).

“IBM is a patent troll,” Benjamin Henrion wrote. “Boycott IBM,” he added. “Those IBM patents are so broad that they cover anything done on the web,” he noted, naming “5,796,967; 7,072,849; 5,961,601; and 7,631,346 https://www.casemine.com/judgement/us/5b21f31dbc833b0a886c5b53 …”

Christopher Yasiejko wrote about the latest development just before the weekend: (via Slashdot, which often criticises pertinent IBM patents)

A U.S. jury awarded International Business Machines Corp. $82.5 million after finding that Groupon Inc. infringed four of its e-commerce patents.

Friday’s verdict is a boon to IBM’s intellectual-property licensing business, which last year brought in $1.19 billion for the company, holder of more than 45,000 patents. Groupon fell 7.8 percent to $4.84 in New York trading.

IBM sued Groupon for $167 million, accusing it of building its online coupon business on the back of the IBM e-commerce inventions without permission. Midway through their first full day of deliberations in Wilmington, Delaware, jurors sided with IBM, finding that Groupon infringed the patents intentionally. The ruling means the judge can increase the damages award.

Over the years we’ve often taken a pro-IBM stance, but that totally changed a few years back when IBM became the leading lobbyist for software patents, a proponent of patent shakedown, and contributor to Watchtroll, which we’ll talk about in our next post.

Links 29/7/2018: Mesa 18.1.5, DebConf18 Starts, Remembering Gerv Markham

Posted in News Roundup at 5:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Top 10 Reasons why to use Linux Servers

      Recently we can see that data centers around the world have been shifting to Linux based servers as they provide a lot of benefits when you compare Linux Server vs Windows Servers. Many companies including Google, Twitter, Facebook and Amazon are running their services from Linux based servers.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • 25 Years of Slackware, PowerShell Snap, REAPER on Linux, Linux Geek Bundle | This Week in Linux 33

      On this episode of This Week in Linux, we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Slackware, Humble Bundle is running a “Linux Geek Bundle”, Microsoft makes PowerShell Available as a Snap, and we get a sneak peak at System76 Manufacturing Facility. We got a lot of App News this week with a new release of Latte Dock 0.8, preview builds for the music production tool – REAPER and then we’ll check out some cool projects starting with Almond, an Open Virtual Assistantm, and hledger, a command line accounting software. Librem 5 Development Boards have been delayed, and Liberapay Is In Trouble. Then in Gaming News, we’ll check out a Guitar Hero clone and the upgrades to the Atari VCS. Finally rounding out the show, we talk about why Proprietary Software is awful for security. Reports have found that a Voting Machine Vendor installed remote access software, Airport data breach and Cisco’s troubles with backdoors. All that and much more!

  • Kernel Space

    • PowerTOP Still Worthwhile For Extending Linux Battery Life In 2018

      Long story short, yes, PowerTOP still makes a difference in 2018 and can often provide meaningful power-savings. While recent Linux kernel releases have done more to put the hardware in a sane power-savings state by default, it’s still not all out-of-the-box and there are cases where Linux might never force some power-savings functionality as the default due to the possibility of causing problems for quirky hardware not properly following specifications, etc. Even on recent laptops with recent Linux distributions are generally a fair number of tunables exposed by PowerTOP such as for enabling various chipset and disk drive power-savings features.

    • AMDKFD In Linux 4.19: Raven Ridge Support, GPU Reset Ability

      Coming in as a late pull request to DRM-Next for Linux 4.19 are the AMDKFD kernel driver changes that is the critical piece to the modern open-source AMD compute stack.

      The AMD Kernel Fusion Driver “AMDKFD” changes were sent in today by maintainer Oded Gabbay. The big changes for this AMDKFD feature update is initial support for Raven Ridge APUs by this kernel compute driver as well as integrating GPU reset support into the driver.

    • Allwinner VPU support in mainline Linux status update (week 30)

      This week’s progress in our VPU driver development effort was focused on two main tasks: submitting the sixth revision of the Cedrus VPU driver series to the mainline Linux kernel and starting the work on H265 decoding.

      The patch series for this new iteration of the driver was submitted on Wednesday and contains both functional and cosmetic changes. Most notably, we implemented support for video-specific quantization matrices in MPEG2, one of the final extension bits we were missing until then, but also cleaned up the register definitions for the driver. At this point, there are no undocumented registers or fields left, which makes the overall understanding of the hardware interactions much more straightforward. The driver was also moved to staging drivers, not because it was deemed of poor quality but rather because V4L2 maintainers want to keep the ability to change the controls that our driver is using even after it is merged.

    • Bootlin Starts Work On Allwinner H.265 Decoding

      Following the success of their work on open-source video decode for MPEG/H.264 following their crowd-funding campaign, Bootlin has now taken to working on H.265 video decode for the Sunxi-Cedrus open-source effort.

      Bootlin is still working to mainline their Cedrus driver for the Allwinner video hardware engine into the mainline kernel’s staging area. That initial driver for mainline is handling MPEG2 and supporting the Allwinner A10/A13/A20/A33/H3 SoCs. While that mainlining effort and patch revising effort continues, they have also begun focusing on H.265 video decode too.

    • Linux 4.17.11
    • Linux 4.14.59
    • Linux 4.9.116
    • Linux 4.4.145
    • Linux 3.18.117
    • Graphics Stack

      • mesa 18.1.5

        I present to you the mesa 18.1.5 release, available now. The 18.1.5 cycle has been rather busy, in fact, it’s the busiest cycle since 18.1.2! Radv has gotten the most work this cycle, with intel, nir, and the android build system coming up behind it.

      • Mesa 18.1.5 Released With Many RADV Fixes, Other Changes Throughout

        While Mesa 18.2 is on track for debuting as the next stable feature release by the end of August, for those sticking to the latest stable releases, that’s now Mesa 18.1.5.

        Mesa 18.1 series release manager Dylan Baker released Mesa 18.1.5 on Friday as the newest update. There are close to a dozen RADV Radeon Vulkan driver fixes in this update ranging from a memory leak with a GFX9 code-path to enabling in-memory/API-level caching even if the shader disk cache is disabled, binning fixes, and more.

      • Wayland 1.16 & Weston 5.0 Hit The Beta Milestone

        The beta releases of Wayland 1.16 and the Weston 5.0 reference compositor are now available for testing.

        Friday’s Wayland 1.15.92 release (1.16 beta) doesn’t change much at all besides some build system alterations, removing the deprecated wl_buffer definition, and in the protocol allowing to send a zero physical output size. There wasn’t a whole lot going on for the Wayland 1.16 development cycle.

      • RADV Vulkan Driver Introduces Support For ETC2 Compression

        Mesa’s RADV Vulkan driver now has support for ETC2 texture compression on select GPUs.

    • Benchmarks

      • NVIDIA OpenCL Benchmarks 6-Way With The 396.45 Linux Driver

        It’s been a while since last delivering any benchmarks focused on the NVIDIA OpenCL compute performance, but for those curious, here are some fresh GPGPU performance numbers using the latest NVIDIA Linux driver release while testing from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

        Tested for this brief NVIDIA OpenCL performance update were the GeForce GTX 1050, GTX 1050 Ti, GTX 1060, GTX 1070, GTX 1070 Ti, and GTX 1080 Ti.

        Tests were done from an Intel Core i7 8086K box running Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with the Linux 4.17 kernel. The NVIDIA binary driver remains officially at OpenCL 1.2 but with support for some OpenCL 2 capabilities.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.30 Will Bring a Better Flatpak Experience to the Nautilus File Manager

        As part of a new major release of the GNOME desktop environment, most of its core components and apps are getting new features and improvements, and Files a.k.a. Nautilus is one of the most important components of GNOME as it allows users to manage their files and folders of the operating system where GNOME is installed.

        With the upcoming GNOME 3.30 release, the Nautilus file manager is getting a bunch of new features and improvements that have recently been revealed as part of the beta version that landed this week in the project’s download servers for early adopters and public beta testers ahead of next week’s GNOME 3.30 Beta release.

      • The Developer Center Initiative – Call for Participants

        The Developer Center Initiative had a call after the GUADEC BoF. We had 13 participants which I think is a great start. We need the manpower too!

        I’m going to summarize our call meeting in a blog post soon, but first I want to introduce the people and their interests. Note: this list is so far only consisting of people who participated in the call. You can sign up below!

      • Alexandru Fazakas: GUADEC 2018

        This july I attended the Gnome Users and Developers European Conference taking place in Almería, Spain.

        Initially, I had no idea what to expect out of it. I have been told it’s a great event with people from all around the world and a lot of fun stuff going on. After booking both my flights and my lodging, first thing I did was sign up for the event. The registration process gave us the option of volunteering there. Having attended a few other events (read: music festivals, heh) as a volunteer and barely knowing anyone who would be at GUADEC (aside from my mentor and a couple of fellow GSoC students), I concluded this would be a good way to make new friends while helping around wherever needed. I am glad to say this was a great call and I enjoyed it a lot. Registration desk was mostly what I helped with, but at need, I also helped with introducing speakers (which also meant I introduced my mentor Carlos’ talk!), handing microphones at the Q&A part of the talks and a few other things. Volunteering felt great and (should I attend next year’s GUADEC) I’d love to get more involved in it, maybe even coordinate the volunteers or help coordinating them.

      • An overview of this summer’s community conferences

        This summer, we have been kept busy with a number of things. As you can see with the many blog poI prefer to be honest, not everybody has a good experience when going to the GUADEC conference, for me it was a really bad experience. I’ve stopped all my GNOME contributions since then (and I don’t think I will come back anytime soon).

        Let’s start at the beginning, to arrive to Almería, my plane departed at 6am, so I needed to wake up at 2:40am, and I slept maybe one hour. (I was a bit stressed, it was the first time that I took the plane alone, so I needed to figure out how it works etc, and I don’t really like to travel in general. I must also note that it’s not really good for me to not sleep enough, I have a fragile mental health). But I arrived to Almería and the Civitas dormitory smoothly (I had the chance to have a direct flight), the day before the conference started.

        First thing that didn’t go well, during the first afternoon, but I was not 100% sure. I had the impression that Christian Hergert, in a group discussion where I was present, was mocking me, thinking that I was not able to understand him (I had a discussion with him just before, where indeed I didn’t understand what he was saying, he needed to re-explain several times until I understood). English is not my native language, and I’ve always had difficulties to understand a native English speaker. I don’t have difficulties to read/write (at least for something related to computer science), but I have far less practice for oral skills (especially listening, I’m trying to improve myself by watching movies in English subtitled in English since some time). Of course it gets worse when I’m tired, like it was the case the first afternoon (I tried to do a nap, without success).sts from the Librem 5 phone development team (many more are scheduled to be published in the coming days and weeks), we have been heavily focused on preparing the software platform for the phone, as well as designing the hardware to be manufactured for the development kits and the components that will be used for the production phone.

        However, our work does not happen in isolation, hence why many of us attend FLOSS conferences as part of our collaborative development model. Whenever and wherever possible, we aim to supplement our attendance with sponsorship of those important Free Software events.

      • GNOME’s Nautilus 3.30 File Manager Delivering Some Pleasant Improvements

        Feature development on GNOME 3.30 is nearing the end ahead of the stable desktop environment update premiering in September. Nautilus developer Carlos Soriano has provided a look at some of the improvements coming to GNOME’s file manager for the 3.30 milestone.

      • GUADEC report

        I prefer to be honest, not everybody has a good experience when going to the GUADEC conference, for me it was a really bad experience. I’ve stopped all my GNOME contributions since then (and I don’t think I will come back anytime soon).

        Let’s start at the beginning, to arrive to Almería, my plane departed at 6am, so I needed to wake up at 2:40am, and I slept maybe one hour. (I was a bit stressed, it was the first time that I took the plane alone, so I needed to figure out how it works etc, and I don’t really like to travel in general. I must also note that it’s not really good for me to not sleep enough, I have a fragile mental health). But I arrived to Almería and the Civitas dormitory smoothly (I had the chance to have a direct flight), the day before the conference started.

        First thing that didn’t go well, during the first afternoon, but I was not 100% sure. I had the impression that Christian Hergert, in a group discussion where I was present, was mocking me, thinking that I was not able to understand him (I had a discussion with him just before, where indeed I didn’t understand what he was saying, he needed to re-explain several times until I understood). English is not my native language, and I’ve always had difficulties to understand a native English speaker. I don’t have difficulties to read/write (at least for something related to computer science), but I have far less practice for oral skills (especially listening, I’m trying to improve myself by watching movies in English subtitled in English since some time). Of course it gets worse when I’m tired, like it was the case the first afternoon (I tried to do a nap, without success).

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • System Updates, Functionality and Popularity

        As I have some free time, I decided to update all of the OSs on my laptop.

        I started with PCLinuxOS. The update was painless and everything is working perfectly. Well, I noticed that my KDE History is never refreshed and that the Favorite tab displays nothing. Aside from that, all is well.

        Then I went for Fedora. Nothing special to report there; all seems normal.

        After that, I updated Mageia. Again, no problem, either.

        OpenMandriva was next. This distro sometimes gives me problems if I try to update packages using Discover or the Control Center, so I ran urpmi –auto-update. OpenMandriva did not show any weird behavior and the process completed flawlessly.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • DebCamp report 2018

        Being only here for one full day of DebCamp this year, I had not planned to do very much anyway. But it’s still been of benefit: amongst other things, Enrico and I held the traditionally impromptu maybe-annual meeting of Debian Account Managers.

      • DebConf18 Kicks Off This Weekend As The First Official Debian Conference In Asia

        Taking place this week was DebCamp while officially starting this weekend is DebConf18, the first DebConf (Debian Conference) to be held in Asia.

        DebConf18 is running over the course of next week in Hsinchu, Taiwan. Sponsorship of the event is being led by HP Enterprise as the sole platinum sponsor while gold sponsors include Google, Infomaniak, Collabora, and Microsoft. Notably not a sponsor of DebConf18 is Valve while they had sponsored some past years of DebConf due in part to their SteamOS being derived from Debian GNU/Linux.

      • Hewlett Packard Enterprise Platinum Sponsor of DebConf18
      • My free software activities, July 2018

        This is my monthly Debian LTS report.

        Most of my hours this month were spent updating jessie to catchup with all the work we’ve done in Wheezy that were never forward-ported (DLA-1414-1, fixing CVE-2017-9462, CVE-2017-17458, CVE-2018-1000132, OVE-20180430-0001, OVE-20180430-0002, and OVE-20180430-0004). Unfortunately, work was impeded by how upstream now refuses to get CVE identifiers for new issues they discover in the process, which meant that I actually missed three more patches which were required to fix the subrepo vulnerability (CVE-2017-17458). In other issues, upstream at least attempted to try identifiers through the OVE system which is not as well integrated in our security tracker but does allow some cross-distro collaboration at least. The regression advisory was published as DLA-1414-2.

        Overall, the updates of the Mercurial package were quite difficult as the test suite would fail because order of one test would vary between builds (and not runs!) which was quite confusing. I originally tried fixing this by piping the output of the test suite through sort to get consistent output, but, after vetting the idea one of the upstream maintainers (durin42), I ended up sorting the dictionnary in the code directly.

      • Build tool semantic aware build systems

        Laura and Ben talked about the struggles they had using build systems like make or Nix in data science applications. A build system like nix is designed around the idea that builds are relatively cheap, and that any change in a dependency ought to trigger a rebuild, just to be sure that all build outputs are up-to-date. This is a perfectly valid assumption when building software, where build times are usually minutes, or maybe hours. But when some of the data processing takes days, then you really really want to avoid any unnecessary builds.

      • Sean Whitton: DebCamp18 report

        DebCamp for me extended an extra day to include the DebConf18 open day, but fortunately no further; today is the first day of DebConf18 proper, and I am happy to have DebCamp work sufficiently wrapped up that I can go to talks and discuss past and future work … rather than actually doing that work.

      • DebConf18 starts today in Hsinchu

        DebConf18, the 19th annual Debian Conference, is taking place in Hsinchu, Taiwan from July 29th to August 5th, 2018.

        Debian contributors from all over the world have come together at National Chiao Tung University, Microelectronics and Information Research Center (NCTU MIRC) during the preceding week for DebCamp (focused on individual work and team sprints for in-person collaboration developing Debian), and the Open Day on July 28th (with presentations and workshops of interest to a wide audience).

        Today the main conference starts with over 300 attendants and 118 activities scheduled, including 45- and 20-minute talks and team meetings, workshops, a job fair, talks from invited speakers, as well as a variety of other events.

      • Derivatives

        • TurnKey v15.0 Stable Release #1 – 47 ISOs including Core, LAMP and WordPress

          Stage 1 of the TurnKey GNU/Linux v15.0 stable release is finally available for public consumption! Stage 1 includes nearly half the library (47 appliances to be precise), albeit only in ISO format so far. We are busily preparing updated Hub builds, as well as Amazon MarketPlace builds which I hope to announce very soon too. All the other build types (i.e. VM/OVA, OpenStack, Proxmox/LXC, Xen & Docker) will follow soon after.

          The relevant v15.0 ISOs are all available for download via the “v15.0″ links on their respective appliance pages. Updated appliances for this stage include Core LAMP, WordPress, Joomla3, Drupal 7, Drupal 8, and more. v15.0 changes worthy of particular note include a new Debian base OS, inclusion of PHP7, MariaDB replaces MySQL, a new Webmin theme, Reproducible Packages and Website upgrades (work in progress), as well as many other tweaks, improvements and upgrades.

          Read on for details. Alternatively, jump straight to the list of upgraded appliances to jump straight in! :)

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 18.04 now available for pre-install on Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition

            If you’re in the market for a Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition notebook, you can now order it with Ubuntu 18.04 pre-installed. The option is currently only available in the U.S. but Europeans will be able to get it pre-installed in early August. It’s notable for Canonical, the firm that makes Ubuntu, because it signals the first availability of the new release on a major OEM’s hardware since the April launch.

          • Dell XPS 13 Now Shipping With Brand New Version Of Ubuntu Linux
          • Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition Now Available With Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

            With Dell’s seventh-generation XPS 13 Developer Edition laptop it has shipped with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS up until now, but beginning today in the US there is now the option for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

            Given that Ubuntu 18.04 has had time to further stabilize with various stable release updates, Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS was released this week, Dell has now validated this release for shipping on their latest Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition laptop.

          • Dell XPS13 Developer Edition ships with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS pre-installed

            Dell’s XPS 13 Developer Edition laptop is now available in the US on Dell.com with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) pre-installed, with European availability expected in early August. The launch signals the first availability of Ubuntu’s latest LTS on a major OEM’s hardware since its release in April. Canonical and Dell have worked together to certify Ubuntu 18.04 LTS on the XPS 13 to ensure a seamless experience from first use.

            The new Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition is available in the US with ten configurations featuring up to 1TB SSD, up to 16GB RAM and the latest 8th generation Intel Quad Core processors. The XPS 13 Developer Edition provides impressive power for a range of applications whether for use in enterprise, at home or by developers. All configurations feature the world’s first InfinityEdge 13.3” near borderless display housed in a sleek silver magnesium body, which is the smallest in its class. Display options are available in either Full HD or Ultra HD resolutions with the option of touch on the latter.

          • Kata Containers – now available in the Snap Store

            Kata Containers is now available as a Snap and to install from the Snap Store. Kata Containers is a lightweight, fast to boot, virtual machine (VM) designed to provide the speed of containers and the isolation of VMs. Inside the VMs, the processes run on kernel namespaces, whereas on the host the virtual machine utilises the hardware-enforced isolation provided by the CPU.

          • Ubuntu 18.04.1 Released: Download The First Bionic Beaver Point Release Here

            In case you were waiting for the first point release of Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver, it’s time to go ahead and grab that upgrade. In my own experience, many conservative Ubuntu Linux users tend to wait for the first point releases as they are more stable as compared to the initial ones.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Future Lubuntu Releases Won’t Focus on Old PCs, Will Offer a Modular Linux OS

              From the moment it was created eight years ago, Lubuntu was always known as the official Ubuntu flavor targeted at users of “old computers from 10 years ago,” mainly because it shipped with the very lightweight and less resource-hungry LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment) as default user interface a.k.a desktop environment and corresponding apps.

              It never was a bloated operating system and will never be, but since 32-bit computers are going away and are very hard to find these days, the development team decided that it’s time to shift the main target of Lubuntu from old PCs to modern, yet functional and modular GNU/Linux distribution that won’t stand in your way.

            • Lubuntu To No Longer Target Older Computers

              Lubuntu is no longer a low system requirements Linux distribution for older computers. A post on the Lubuntu website mentions that with the transition to LXQt, Lubuntu “is shifting from providing a distribution for old hardware to a functional yet modular distribution focused on getting out of the way and letting users use their computer”.

              Lubuntu continue to be a lightweight Ubuntu-based Linux distribution but there will no longer be any minimum system requirements, and older hardware will no longer be a primary focus.

            • [Lubuntu] Taking a new direction

              During the transition to LXQt, we have received mixed feedback about Lubuntu’s perceived direction going forward, so we decided it would be good to make a blog post explaining what’s been happening during the transition, and where our focus will be.

              Creating a Linux distribution which is specifically meant for older hardware is beginning to become a challenge. As time progresses, the definition of “older machines” has been changing. At one point, our rule of thumb was to support machines ten years old. If you look at computers that were released ten years ago, for example, a computer with the AMD Phenom X3 processor, you will note that computers, give or take, supported two gigabytes of RAM and two processor cores, and were also 64-bit at this time.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google moves AndroidX to the Android Open Source Project

    Google is attempting to provide more transparency to developers by moving AndroidX, which was previously called the Android Support Library, to the public Android Open Source Project (AOSP). This move means that primary feature development and bug fixes will be completed in the open and changes will be visible.

    AndroidX originally started off as a small set of libraries wtih the intent to provide backwards compatibility for new Android platform APIs, and as a result, its development was strictly tied to the platform. All work was done in internal Google branches and then pushed to the AOSP.

  • 10 reasons for entrepreneurs to love open-source software [iophk: "in reverse order"]

    Small- to medium-sized businesses have different obstacles than larger businesses. Sometimes that means that the same software is not as accessible. That’s where open-source software can offer a lot of benefits for a lot less money. We asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council about the advantages of using open-source software.

  • Amazon WorkSpaces Now Offers an Amazon Linux 2 Desktop

    With the new Amazon WorkSpaces, customers now use Amazon Linux 2 as a desktop besides Windows 7 and 10. The Amazon Linux 2 WorkSpaces are available in different forms including Amazon Machine Image.

    Last month, Amazon introduced Amazon Linux 2 WorkSpaces including the Amazon Linux WorkSpaces Desktop, Firefox, Evolution, Pidgin, and Libre Office. Moreover, the Amazon Linux WorkSpaces Desktop is based on MATE, which makes efficient use of CPU and memory.

  • Will e-reader companies ever provide an open source software option?

    Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo all run their own version of Linux and they lock you into their ecosystems. They sell you the e-reader hardware and try and generate long term revenue by pushing audiobooks and ebooks. Will e-reader software ever change or embrace an open source software model?

    [...]

    With the ability to run binaries on the Kindle and the bootloader being released by Amazon under the GPL, Marc had everything he needed to start porting Debian over to the system. He noticed that the epaper displays don’t work the same as normal computer monitors, and getting graphics working took a considerable amount of work and code. The kernel needs to have display-specific information known as a “waveform” which describes the display and how it performs. Unfortunately these waveforms are not well documented and Marc had to write his own software to manipulate the data. He then had to come up with patches for the window manager that would prevent the entire display from being constantly updated; the opposite of what you want on an electronic paper display.

  • Open-source software creates powerful, accurate simulations for movement research

    An open-source movement simulator that has already helped solve problems in medicine, paleontology, and animal locomotion has been expanded and improved, according to a new publication in the open-access journal PLOS Computational Biology. The software, called OpenSim, has been developed by a team at Stanford University, led by first authors Ajay Seth, Jennifer Hicks, and Thomas Uchida, with contributions from users around the world. The new paper reviews the software’s wide range of applications and describes the improvements that can increase its utility even further.

    [...]

    “The software is like a Swiss Army knife for the movement scientist,” said the lead authors. “It allows researchers with no special expertise in biomechanics to perform powerful and accurate simulations to test hypotheses, visualize solutions to problems, and communicate ideas. Because it incorporates decades of research about how humans and other animals move, and is constantly being augmented and enhanced by the community of users from so many different fields, OpenSim can accelerate discoveries in any field in which biological movement plays a role.”

  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Akka

    This week’s open-source project of the week wants to help developers build reactive, concurrent and distributed apps. Akka is a toolkit for message-driven Java and Scala apps.

    According to the team, with the container market expected to reach $2.7 billion by 2020, developers need a programming model for distributed computing. Distributed computing is the technology inside containers, that is managed by Kubernetes, the team explained.

    “We believe that writing correct concurrent & distributed, resilient and elastic applications is too hard. Most of the time it’s because we are using the wrong tools and the wrong level of abstraction.” the project’s GitHub page states. “Akka is here to change that.”

  • Google Cirq: a Python Open Source Library for Quantum Computing

    Cirq aims to make it easier to write, manipulate, and optimize quantum algorithms for noisy intermediate scale quantum (NISQ) computers. Cirq also enables the execution of those programs on a local simulator and is designed to support future quantum hardware and quantum cloud processors.

    Noisy intermediate scale quantum computers will be the first quantum computers that will become available in the near future and that have been announced by several companies, including Microsoft, Google, IBM, Intel, and others. Comprised of 50–100 qubits, NISQ computers aim to allows researchers to demonstrate quantum supremacy, although their usefulness will be limited by quantum gates noise and thus by the efficiency of error correction algorithms that will be designed.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • State of Mozilla Support: 2018 Mid-year Update – Part 3

        We are continuing our series of mid-year posts regarding the state and future of Mozilla Support. If you missed the previous posts, part one and part two are still online. This time we are going to talk a bit more about (Support) Localization and the plans for the second half of the year.

        Over the years, localizer activity on the Support site went up and down, influenced by Firefox popularity, new released on different platforms, and general localization needs across Mozilla. Peaking at over 200 people around three years ago, it is now oscillating at 40-50% of that number.

      • Benefits of Clone Offload on Version Control Hosting

        Back in 2015, I implemented a feature in Mercurial 3.6 that allows servers to advertise URLs of pre-generated bundle files. When a compatible client performs a hg clone against a repository leveraging this feature, it downloads and applies the bundle from a URL then goes back to the server and performs the equivalent of an hg pull to obtain the changes to the repository made after the bundle was generated.

        [...]

        Anyway, I thought I’d provide an update on just how valuable the clone bundles feature is to Mozilla. In doing so, I hope maintainers of other version control tools see the obvious benefits and consider adopting the feature sooner.

        In a typical week, hg.mozilla.org is currently serving ~135 TB of data. The overwhelming majority of this data is related to the Mercurial wire protocol (i.e. not HTML / JSON served from the web interface). Of that ~135 TB, ~5 TB is served from the CDN, ~126 TB is served from S3, and ~4 TB is served from the Mercurial servers themselves. In other words, we’re offloading ~97% of bytes served from the Mercurial servers to S3 and the CDN.

      • François Marier: Recovering from a botched hg histedit on a mercurial bookmark
      • K Lars Lohn: Things Gateway – Bonding Philips HUE Lights Together
      • What is Rust 2018?

        Now that some time has passed, we wanted to share more about what this actually means for Rust and Rust developers.

      • Indian telecom regulator recommends data protection norms for the internet

        The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India launched a new salvo this past week into the ongoing debate on the shape of the country’s first data protection law, with the release of their recommendations on data privacy in the telecom sector. While TRAI makes many recommendations that strengthen user rights, they also propose to extend the telecom regulatory framework to “all entities in the digital ecosystem”, a change that would result in significant harm for users and the internet ecosystem. TRAI argues that until India has a comprehensive data protection law, the licence conditions that apply to telecom companies must apply to “telecom service providers, devices, operating systems, browsers, applications etc”. We respectfully disagree with TRAIs claim that this framework is “fairly robust” in protecting user privacy. The license terms are not only an awkward fit in the context of non-telecom companies, but several conditions, like those relating to data localization, encryption, and law enforcement access, are themselves in need of urgent reform.

      • Mozilla weighs in on India’s draft data protection bill

        Yesterday, on July 27th, 2018, the Justice Srikrishna Committee of Experts, set up by the Government of India, made public its final report and the draft of India’s first comprehensive data protection law. We have long argued that the enactment of a baseline data protection law should be a national policy priority for India, and we’re pleased to see India take an important step forward towards enacting real privacy protections.

      • Mozilla Addons Blog: Collections and User Profiles have a new look

        As part of the larger redesign of addons.mozilla.org (AMO), the user profile and collections pages just got an overhaul. They now match the new style of the rest of the site, but there are also some functional changes you might be interested in.

      • Remembering Gerv Markham

        Gerv Markham, a friend and mentor to many in the Mozilla community, passed away last night surrounded by his family.

        Gerv worked at Mozilla for many years working in a variety of capacities including being a lead developer of Bugzilla and most recently working on special projects under the Mozilla Chairwoman.

        I had the pleasure of working with Gerv in the Thunderbird community and most recently on the MOSS Grants Committee as one of the inaugural members. Between these two areas, I often sought Gerv’s mentoring and advice, as he always had wisdom to share.

      • Daniel Glazman: Gerv, oh Gerv :-(
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Microsoft Moves Ahead With Renaming “GVFS” Project To “VFS For Git” [Ed: Embrace and extend, making git in some forms a Microsoft 'thing'. What Exchange did to E-mail Microsoft does to Git. See the comments there too.]
    • The Data Transfer Project and the Hammer

      Got that? There are actually two conversions each time data passes back or forth: first from the proprietary API of Company A into the Data Model for that type of information, and then from the Data Model to the proprietary API of Company B. With the standards approach, Company A simply sends its data to Company B directly without the need for conversion even once, because both companies create and store data using the same format.

      Stated another way, using adapters is a band aid approach that allows proprietary vendors to continue to use proprietary technology to silo your data, while providing just enough mobility to users to permit them to tolerate the continuation of life as we know it and compliance with evolving regulations, such as the GDPR.

      In short, using an open source hammer treats the user as a nail. Using open standards would turn the user into a hammer, empowering her to use whatever vendor she wishes, and putting the maximum incentive on all vendors to compete on services, features and performance to earn the user’s continued business.

      I think we can all agree that users would rather be the hammer. We’ve all been the nail for far too long, and all it’s given us is headaches.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Collaboration in open source license enforcement — a community movement is happening

      In approaching the topic of open source license enforcement, it is important to consider Lincoln’s advice. Collaboration during open source license enforcement is a key to successful compliance just as it is an important element to success in the software development process. In assessing license enforcement tactics, you need to ask whether they will foster greater collaboration in open source software development. If the ultimate result of excessive or abusive enforcement is that developers and enterprises are turned off from participating in upstream open source communities, the ecosystems will wither and we all suffer as a result.

      [...]

      For those who review and negotiate commercial contracts on a regular basis, the idea of a reasonable notice and opportunity to fix problems may seem obvious but this wasn’t always the case for the GPL. Version 2 of the GPL and LGPL do not contain express “cure” periods to fix problems before the licenses are terminated. In an earlier era, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) owned the copyrights for nearly all GPL-licensed code and was the only copyright holder regularly engaged in license enforcement. At that time, the idea of automatic termination in the hands of a benevolent license steward may have seemed appropriate to encourage and enforce license compliance. But, over time, there was an increasing volume of GPL and LGPL-licensed software that was distributed by a growing body of copyright holders (i.e., many potential license enforcers). A consensus began to form that automatic termination could result in potential unfairness and opportunities for abusive enforcement. When the FSF, with the guidance and assistance of the Software Freedom Law Center, ultimately released GPLv3 in 2007, one of its new features was the introduction of a cure period for license noncompliance and mechanisms for license reinstatement when compliance errors were promptly fixed.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • New research agreement opens up for universities and companies

      Many companies partner with universities on research to develop new products, improve their existing products, or simply increase their profits by leveraging university research and development (R&D) capabilities. Generally, these relationships use a proprietary standard research agreement (PSRA); for historical reasons, these agreements contain significant intellectual property (IP) monopoly language and restrictions on both the company and the university.

      These standard research agreements create a barrier to collaboration for companies using a libre model and the universities they wish to collaborate with, as both parties must invest significantly on attorneys’ fees to restructure the contracts. This is money that could be better spent to drive innovation in the labs. Worse, time spent on contract restructuring creates delays that hamstring cutting-edge research.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • The Cyberdeck: a homebrew, 3D printed cyberspace deck

        A small but vital genre of homebrew portable computers is the “cyberspace deck,” in which hackers create DIY, special-purpose computers inspired by the ICE-breaking console-cowboy decks of William Gibson’s Sprawl trilogy (Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive).

        Last year, I wrote about the Commute Deck, a portable wireless Unix terminal created by Kerry Scharfglass.

        Now, there’s Tinfoil_Haberdashery’s “Cyberdeck,” revealed in all its glory on /r/Cyberpunk, inspired by classic laptops like the COMPAQ Grid Compass 1011.

  • Programming/Development

    • Top Open Source Python Projects For Beginners

      “What are the best open source Python projects to contribute to?” This is one of the most frequent questions posed by beginners. As a learner, contributing to open source projects is the best way to understand the code, the test infrastructure and build environment and the framework. Working on a project is also a great way to test your application, find and fix bugs and update documentation. Now GitHub has a number of beginner-friendly Python projects, but it takes a bit of time to understand the Git workflow as well. For example, knowing features such as push, pull, merge master and rollback among others, could come in handy.

    • U-M receives more than $16.7M for advanced computing research

      In a $6.5 million project that could revolutionize and democratize designing hardware devices, researchers will work to create an open-source hardware compiler.

      [...]

      To fuel innovation among small teams and startups, and allow them to design and produce complex chips with ease, U-M researchers will participate in a national program that aims to build free, open-source electronic design automation tools.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Revolutionary change in CRISPR patent landscape poses tough questions for life sciences companies [Ed: IAM is, as usual, promoting patents on life again.]

      The CRISPR patent landscape could be unrecognisable in just a few years, according to one of the field’s IP thought leaders. Exponential growth in the grant of gene-editing patents combined with fast-moving scientific and commercial developments, he claims, could make the CRISPR IP environment extremely hard to read. Daniel Lim, of law firm Allen & Overy, has emerged in recent years as a leading authority on IP issues related to the revolutionary – and potentially highly lucrative – gene-editing technology.

    • Negotiations On UN Tuberculosis Declaration Still Open, Reports Say

      Negotiations for a United Nations declaration on ending tuberculosis had drawn to a close earlier this week, with the United States seeming to succeed on a hardline position to keep mention of intellectual property rights and affordability of medicines out of the text. But nongovernmental reports say the draft has not been accepted by all members and that negotiations will have to be reopened.

      [...]

      For almost two months, countries have been engaged in protracted and heated negotiations in New York on the draft declaration of the United Nations’

      High-level Meeting on TB, which will take place in September in New York.

      The near-final draft was submitted on 20 July to the President of the UN General Assembly and was under the ‘silence procedure’ until 24 July.

      Towards the end of negotiations on a resolution or declaration, the draft is declared to be ‘in silence procedure’ for a specified time. If no government puts forward an objection by the given deadline, the draft text is considered ‘agreed.’ When a country breaks the silence, the negotiations reopen.

      On 24 July, South Africa raised their concern on the draft declaration, breaking the ‘silence.’

      The current text of the draft declaration not only fails to incorporate public health safeguards that countries can exercise under the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property

  • Security

    • What Are Machine Learning Models Hiding?

      Federated learning, where models are crowd-sourced from hundreds or even millions of users, is an even juicier target. In a recent paper, we show that a single malicious participant in federated learning can completely replace the joint model with another one that has the same accuracy but also incorporates backdoor functionality. For example, it can intentionally misclassify images with certain features or suggest adversary-chosen words to complete certain sentences.

    • Concerns with Signal receipt notifications

      I’m paraphrasing as I lost copy of the original chat, but it was striking how he had absolutely no clue how I figured out he had just came home in front of his laptop. He was quite worried I hacked into his system to spy on his webcam or some other “hack”. As it turns out, I just made simple assertions based on data Signal provides to other peers when you send messages. Using those messages, I could establish when my friend opened his laptop and the Signal Desktop app got back online.

    • Thoughts on NetSpectre

      In this blog post, I’m going to walk through the NetSpectre vulnerability, what this means to our customers, and what Red Hat and other industry partners are doing to address it.

      Please note that based on Red Hat’s understanding, the observed measured maximum leakage rate from successfully exploiting this vulnerability is on the order of 15-60 bits (2-8 bytes) per hour on a local network, much lower over the internet and we do not yet have real-world examples of vulnerable code. Nonetheless, the risk posed by sophisticated attackers capable of deploying Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) like NetSpectre against sensitive installations is real. But it is important to remember that an attacker will require a very significant amount of time to actually pull off a real-world attack.

    • NetSpectre Attack Could Enable Remote CPU Exploitation

      Researchers from Graz University in Austria released new research on July 26 detailing how the Spectre CPU speculative execution vulnerability could be used over a remote network.

      In a 14-page report, the researchers dubbed their attack method NetSpectre, which can enable an attacker to read arbitrary memory over a network. Spectre is the name that researchers have given to a class of vulnerabilities that enable attackers to exploit the speculative execution feature in modern CPUs. Spectre and the related Meltdown CPU vulnerabilities were first publicly disclosed on Jan. 3.

    • NetSpectre: not much of a PowerPC threat either

      In the continuing death march of Spectre side-channel variants for stealing data, all of the known attacks thus far have relied upon code running locally on the computer (so don’t run sketchy programs, which have much better ways of pwning your Power Mac than slow and only occasionally successful data leaks). As you’ll recall, it is possible for Spectre to succeed on the G5 and 7450 G4e, but not on the G3 and 7400.

      The next generation is making Spectre go remote, and while long hypothesized it was never demonstrated until the newest, uh, “advance” called NetSpectre (PDF). The current iteration comes in two forms.

    • Shipping company’s networks in the Americas crippled by ransomware attack

      In a statement published Thursday, COSCO officials said the failures affected networks in the US, Canada, Panama, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Chile, and Uruguay. The statement said people who wanted to reach COSCO employees in those countries should use special email addresses, many of which were hosted by Yahoo and Gmail. Attempts to reach COSCO’s US-based website were unsuccessful. COSCO officials said main business operation systems were performing stably and that ports in California and the UK remained open.

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Assange extradition to US fine, if execution ruled out: Ecuador

      In an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Pais, Moreno said Ecuador was not helping Assange to exercise his rights by prolonging his stay in Ecuador’s London embassy, and therefore had to find a way to end the impasse.

    • Ecuador confirms it’s prepping to boot out Julian Assange

      Australian-born Assange sought refuge in the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questioning about allegations of sex crimes, which he has always denied. Those allegations have since been dropped, but Assange would be arrested by British police, should he leave the embassy, for breaching bail conditions.

      Mr Assange believes that would pave the way for extradition to the US for the publication of a huge cache of US diplomatic and military secrets on the WikiLeaks website.

      Mr Moreno made his comments in Madrid, where he had met King Felipe and Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez after a three-day visit to Britain.

      When asked if he had spoken to the British government about Assange on his recent visit, Mr Moreno said the two countries were in permanent contact about the matter.

      “The only person I have never spoken to is Mr Assange,” he said.

    • Julian Assange’s Asylum Is Likely Up; Will WikiLeaks Founder Face U.S. Criminal Charges?

      WikiLeaks founder and editor Julian Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012, fearing extradition to the United States. After WikiLeaks released classified material leaked by Chelsea Manning, Americans authorities began investigating Assange for possible violations of the Espionage Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and other crimes. In fact, CNN just reported in April that Justice Department officials were preparing charges to seek Assange’s arrest.

      Now, it looks like Ecuador will withdraw Assange’s asylum protection and hand him over to British authorities. So, does that mean that an extradition and U.S. criminal charges are next?

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

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

      The question is: what will happen to Assange as and when he does walk out of his bolt-hole around the corner from Harrods?
      The recent indictments issued by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller imply that Assange and WikiLeaks were a conduit for Russian intelligence in distributing hacked Democratic Party emails in 2016.

    • UK says Assange talks ongoing, but not discussed on Ecuador president’s visit

      Discussions over the future of Julian Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London for six years, are ongoing but the matter was not discussed during a recent visit by Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno, a British government spokesman said on Friday.

      Moreno was in London this week to attend a global disabilities summit.

    • Julian Assange’s team ‘making plans for imminent expulsion from Ecuadorian embassy’

      Julian Assange’s six-year self-imposed imprisonment inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London appears to be drawing to a close, with the countries in talks and the Wikileaks founder reportedly pondering his next move.

      Lenin Moreno, Ecuador’s president, has confirmed a July 15 report in London’s Sunday Times that Ecuador and Britain were in talks to try to end Mr Assange’s stay at the embassy where he has been holed up since successfully seeking asylum in 2012.

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

      “I have never been in favour of Mr Assange’s activity,” Mr Moreno said at an event in Madrid.

      “I have never agreed with the interventions in people’s private emails in order to obtain information, however valuable it may be, to bring out certain undesirable acts of governments or people, not in that way.

    • Assange’s Defenders Alarmed at Ecuador’s Wish to End His Stay in Embassy

      During his European trip, the country’s President Moreno confirmed that his government has been in contact with the British authorities and stated that the whistleblower should eventually leave the embassy, where he took refuge in 2012 fearing extradition to the US for leaking documents on the Iraq War.

      The legal team of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has remained in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for six years fearing extradition to the US, has told Sputnik that the representatives of the country’s government have refused to meet the whistleblower’s defenders.

      According to one of his lawyers, Carlos Poveda, they requested talks in London or Madrid, but were rebuffed as “the agenda did not allow such a meeting.”

      He voiced concern after the recent statements by Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno, who recently confirmed during his European tour that his country is having talks with the UK authorities on Assange. The defender points out that it had been officially stated that Assange’s case wouldn’t be discussed during Moreno’s trip to Europe.

    • Ecuador, UK discussing Assange’s asylum

      He’s been living in Ecuador’s London embassy since 2012.

    • Why Americans Need to Defend Julian Assange’s Freedom

      Over 50 years ago, in his letter from the Birmingham Jail, addressing a struggle of the civil right era, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.” His message is now more prevalent than ever in the current political climate surrounding WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.

      WikiLeaks stepped onto a global stage with release of a huge trove of classified documents revealing government secrecy. After the publication of war logs that exposed the atrocities committed by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, the reaction of the Pentagon quickly escalated into a war against the First Amendment. WikiLeaks was subjected to unlawful financial blockades and there has been an ongoing secret grand jury against the organization and its associates since 2010.

      These efforts to destroy WikiLeaks brought a long dreadful persecution of Assange. He has been detained for 8 years, first in prison, then under house arrest and now as a refugee living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. In 2012 he was granted political asylum against the threat of extradition to the U.S., relating to his publishing activities with WikiLeaks. The UK government, in violation of UN rulings that indicated the situation of Assange as arbitrary detention, kept him in confinement, depriving him of medical care and sunlight.

    • Ecuador’s Communications Ministry Denies Assange Told to Leave Embassy in London

      Ecuador’s National Communications Ministry (SECOM) denied in a statement on Friday that founder of the whistleblowing organization WikiLeaks Julian Assange had been ordered to leave the country’s embassy in the UK capital.

      Earlier in the day, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said Assange would ultimately have to leave the embassy where he has lived since June 2012. The UK Prime Minister’s Office spokesperson told Sputnik that the United Kingdom and Ecuador continued discussing the situation around Assange but said the issue had not been raised during Moreno’s latest visit to London.

    • Ecuador’s Prez talking to UK about Assange’s six-year London Embassy stay – reports

      It would appear that the president of Ecuador is not a fan of Julian Assange.

      Lenin Moreno, the head of the South American state since 2017, reportedly said today that he had spoken to the British government about the evidently unwanted Australian-born squatter, who has been hiding in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012.

      A British government spokesman told Sky News that Assange was not a topic of discussion during Moreno’s most recent visit to Blighty. At a recent event in Madrid, the Ecuadorean president was quoted as saying: “I have never been in favour of Mr Assange’s activity.” He also reportedly commented that he had never spoken to Assange directly.

      Assange, who used to run the American-state-secrets-blabbing WikiLeaks website, has been hiding inside the embassy since 2012 over fears that he might be kidnapped and sent to the US, where various governmental figures want to either imprison or execute him over his publication of stolen American diplomatic cables and other information.

      His asylum at the embassy in Knightsbridge, granted by Ecuador’s previous government, has cost the country somewhere in excess of $5m in security alone. Earlier this year embassy staff got fed up with the WikiLeaker’s increasingly hostile tweets and cut off his broadband connection, saying that his social media activities had “put our good relations with the United Kingdom and the rest of states in the European Union at risk”.

    • Julian Assange and the betrayal of Latin America’s “left”

      Lenín Moreno, the president of Ecuador, made it clear on Friday that his government is actively negotiating the handover of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the British authorities, whose police are waiting outside the Ecuadorian embassy to grab him the moment he sets foot on the London sidewalk.

      If he were to fall into the clutches of the British authorities, he would be subjected to lengthy imprisonment pending extradition to the US, where he could face life imprisonment or even the death penalty on espionage and conspiracy charges.

      Moreno, who is conducting a European tour seeking to ingratiate himself and his government with the major imperialist powers, went out of his way on Friday to vilify Assange.

      “I’ve never agreed with the activity Mr. Assange performs,” Moreno said. “I’ve never agreed with the intervention in people’s emails to obtain information despite how valuable it is to shed light on some undesirable acts by governments and people… There are correct and legal ways to it.”

      Previously, Moreno called Assange a “hacker,” an “inherited problem” and a “stone in our shoe.”

      [...]

      Meanwhile, other governments identified with the so-called “turn to the left” in Latin America have been thoroughly discredited. Chávez’s successor, Nicolás Maduro, has placed the full burden of Venezuela’s desperate economic crisis onto the backs of the working class, while assuring the wealth and privileges of the country’s oligarchs and military commanders, as well as the debt payments to the international banks.

      Nicaragua’s Sandinista President Daniel Ortega has unleashed a bloodbath to crush popular protests against austerity measures, resulting in over 400 deaths. And in Brazil, Lula, the former president of the Workers’ Party (PT), is in jail, while the PT has been thoroughly discredited by its own antidemocratic measures and attacks on workers’ rights, opening the path to the most right-wing government since the military dictatorship and to the openly fascistic candidate Jair Bolsonaro.

      The Latin American pseudo-left—dominated by petty-bourgeois nationalism and oriented to the national labor bureaucracies, the pursuit of parliamentary posts and adaptation to identity politics—has largely ignored the attacks on Assange, refusing to lift a finger in his defense and failing to inform Latin American workers of the decisive democratic and social interests that are bound up with his fate.

    • ‘Assange’s days in Ecuadorian Embassy in London are numbered’ – Correa to RT

      The days of Julian Assange’s residence in the Ecuadorian embassy in London are numbered, the country’s former president Rafael Correa, who was still at the helm when he offered the WikiLeaks founder asylum, has told RT.

      Correa’s remarks came amid speculation that his successor, Lenin Moreno, may soon kick Assange out, probably to be arrested by British authorities. According to Assange himself, this would lead to the unsealing of a secret US indictment against him and his extradition to America.

      Moreno this week said that, sooner or later, the whistleblower will have to leave the diplomatic mission. However, Ecuador wants to make sure that nothing “poses danger” to the whistleblower’s life, the president stressed.

    • President Moreno Confirms Ecuador, United Kingdom in Talks to End Assange’s Embassy Stay

      Moreno also said while strongly disagrees with Assange’s work he is interested in preserving his life and guarantees are being sort to make sure his life isn’t at risk.

    • Ecuador’s ‘purely political decision on Assange’ is likely result of ‘US pressure’

      Ecuador’s ‘purely political decision on Assange’ is likely result of ‘US pressure’ and his possible eviction could set a dangerous precedent, Patrick Henningsen, executive editor of 21st Century Wire.com told RT.

      Ecuador has confirmed that whistleblower Julian Assange will eventually have to leave the country’s embassy in London.

      The Ecuadorian leader Lenin Moreno, who is reportedly in discussions with British officials over a deal to hand the Australian over to police, said at an event in Madrid on Friday that Assange’s departure “should come about through dialogue”.

    • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange could learn if US extradition fears are justified

      Should he leave the embassy in the coming days, Julian Assange’s long-held belief that the US authorities are waiting to pounce will finally be put to the test.

      Since an extradition request from Sweden in 2010 — following allegations of sexual assault made by two women — he has claimed that the US intends to further extradite him.

    • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange faces embassy expulsion

      Julian Assange faces imminent expulsion after six years at the Ecuadorean embassy in central London, a source close to the case has told The Times.

      The latest sign that the Wikileaks founder’s self-imposed incarceration in a Knightsbridge backroom is grinding to an end came as President Moreno, of Ecuador, said the Australian should go.

      One of Mr Assange’s team yesterday said that the crisis had prompted contingency plans for him to leave in “hours, days or weeks”. The assistant criticised Mr Moreno, calling on him to have “more spine”.

    • US Suddenly Buys More Ecuadorian Oil: Is Trump Also Buying Assange’s Arrest?

      Speaking in Madrid on Friday, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno told an audience that WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange would need to leave Ecuador’s London embassy “eventually.” Moreno offered no time-table for Assange’s possible exit, which several sources just last week asserted could take place within “weeks” or even “days.” Assange has spent over six years in the embassy after being granted political asylum by Ecuador in 2012.

      However, Moreno asserted that Assange’s “departure [from the embassy] should come about through dialogue.” He went on to state that “for a person to stay confined like that for so long is tantamount to a human rights violation” and affirmed his commitment to reach a resolution to Assange’s situation that did not “pose a danger” to the journalist’s life.

      Moreno’s sincerity in his concern for Assange’s “human rights” is dubious at best, given that on March 27, Moreno cut off Assange’s access to the internet and all visitors — aside from his legal team. Former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa — who originally granted Assange’s request for asylum in 2012 — denounced the restriction on Assange’s visitors as “basically torture” and a “clear violation of his rights,” adding that “without communications to the outside world and visits from anyone, the [Ecuadorian] government is basically attacking Julian’s mental health.” The official reason for Assange’s isolation, given by the Moreno-led government at the time, was to prevent Assange from “interfering in the affairs of other sovereign states.”

    • As Ecuador Gets Ready to Hand Over Julian Assange, Don’t Let Lenin Moreno Off the Hook

      The only thing Lenin Moreno ‘s government has done well since coming into power in May of 2017 is knowing which cynical moves will be ignored or even praised by the western media and corrupt NGOs. Turning over Assange would be an addition to a long and growing list of Moreno’s outrageous acts and statements.

      Months after receiving Ecuadorian citizenship, Assange, who has been under arbitrary detention for several years according to a UN panel, was blocked by Moreno’s government from using the internet, receiving phone calls, and from receiving visitors (except for a few of his lawyers).

      Here is a scholarly analysis (in Spanish) by Oswaldo Ruiz-Chiriboga explaining how Moreno has trampled all over judicial independence and shredded Ecuador’s constitutional order.

      Ruiz-Chiriboga’s analysis focuses on the “Balda case” that has been used by Moreno to get an arrest order issued for former president Rafael Correa, but in explaining the numerous grave irregularities, in that case, Ruiz-Chiriboga also provides a broad and devastating analysis of Moreno’s destruction of the rule of law in Ecuador.

    • Ecuador’s president seeks Assange’s exit from London embassy

      Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno said Friday in Madrid that nobody should remain under asylum “for too long” and that any change in Assange’s status should be the result of negotiations with all sides.

    • Julian Assange faces expulsion from Ecuador Embassy hideout in UK: Report

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

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

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

      The Ecuador President had recently made a statement in Spain that nobody should remain in asylum “for too long”.

    • Wikileaks’ Julian Assange will be removed from the Ecuadorean Embassy ‘imminently’

      Julian Assange will be kicked out of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London — where he has lived in diplomatic isolation since 2012 — “imminently,” a source has told The Times of London. CNN reports that Downing Street is in “ongoing” discussions with Ecuador and the United States over his fate.

      [...]

      Assange took refuge in the Embassy after he was sought by prosecutors in Sweden in an investigation of rape and sexual assault. The Swedes dropped the case. But British authorities maintained an arrest order for him based on a breach of his bail agreement with UK police. Ecuador granted him asylum inside the Embassy, shielding him from extradition to the US or Sweden, and from arrest in the UK.

      Six years indoors have taken their toll. Assange’s health is said to be failing, lending some urgency to the search for a solution.

    • Julian Assange faces ‘imminent expulsion’ from Ecuadorean Embassy

      JULIAN Assange’s time in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London may be up.

      The Times of London reports sources as saying Assange may be forced out in “hours, days or weeks”.

      A source with detailed knowledge of the case said yesterday: “I expect (Assange) to lose his asylum status imminently. This means he will be expelled from the embassy. When this will happen is impossible to say.’’

    • Assange has to leave embassy ‘eventually’ – Ecuadorian president

      Speculation about Assange’s future has grown after the Sunday Times newspaper reported senior officials from Ecuador and Britain were now in discussion about how to remove him from the embassy after revocation of his asylum, and a source close to him told Reuters the situation was coming to a head.

    • Julian Assange’s embassy security in doubt after Ecuador leader’s remarks

      News of a suspected eviction follows reports that the case of Mr Assange would be handed over to British authorities after Ecuador cut off all connections with him in March after first giving him sanctuary and citizenship.

      The reason behind the sudden shift in relations between Mr Assange and Ecuador is unclear but human rights activist Peter Tatchell said that “pressure has been brought to bear, presumably by the United States”.

      He added: “The prospect of the president revoking those protections that go with citizenship and asylum, that’s a very very big deal, very big step to abrogate the right to protect an Ecuadorian citizen.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Back from holiday, Merkel shifts gear on diesel

      Germany must eventually follow other European countries in banning new diesel cars, Chancellor Angela Merkel said, conceding for the first time that diesel’s days are numbered in the wake of the emissions scandals.

      Her concession, in an interview with Super Illu magazine, followed mounting pressure over the summer on Germany’s auto makers who concealed from regulators the true emissions level of diesel vehicles.

      “I don’t want to name an exact year,” she said, but Britain and France’s plans to phase out internal combustion-driven cars by 2040 “were the right approach”.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump admin has no central strategy for election security, and no one’s in charge

      But current and former officials tell NBC News that 19 months into his presidency, there is no coherent Trump administration strategy to combat foreign election interference — and no single person or agency in charge.

      In the statement, the White House took issue with that, saying a strategy was put in motion when Trump took office. No such strategy has been made public — or even mentioned before.

    • Is the US Leaning Red or Blue? It All Depends on Your Map

      In reality, both sides are right, says Ken Field. A self-proclaimed “cartonerd,” Field is a product engineer at the mapping software company Esri and author of a guidebook for mapmakers called Cartography. The problem, he says, isn’t with people’s partisan interpretation of the map. The problem is believing that any single map can ever tell the whole story. “People see maps of any type, and particularly election maps, as the result, the outcome, but there are so many different types of maps available that can portray results in shades of the truth,” Field says. “It’s a question of the level of detail that people are interested in understanding.”

    • A withering verdict: MPs report on Zuckerberg, Russia and Cambridge Analytica

      The report offers a wide-ranging, informed and sustained critique that carries with it the full weight of parliament. The verdict is withering: Facebook failed. It “obfuscated”, refused to investigate how its platform was abused by the Russian government until forced by pressure from Senate committees and, in the most damning section, it aided and abetted the incitement of racial hatred in Burma, noting that even the company’s chief technical officer, Mike Schroepfer, called this “awful”.

    • Shock and Awe Celebrates Reporters Who Got It Right

      It’s now conventional for corporate media pundits and centrist politicians to acknowledge that their support for the US invasion of Iraq was misguided. Most excuse their pro-war record on the grounds that there was no available alternate narrative to the Bush administration’s claim that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. How could they have known any better?

      But as FAIR has long noted (Extra!, 3–4/03), this “we were all wrong” narrative doesn’t hold up. There were, in fact, a few corporate journalists who got it right when everyone else was getting it wrong.

      Shock and Awe, a new film directed by Rob Reiner—of This Is Spinal Tap (1984) and A Few Good Men (1992) fame—tells the story of two of these journalists. At the center of Reiner’s proper noun–heavy docudrama are Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel, two reporters for Knight Ridder, one of the largest newspaper publishers at the time. (It’s since been absorbed by McClatchy.)

    • Liberal Comfort Blankets

      Carole Cadwalladr has done excellent work on the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook data sales scandals, revealing dark doings that needed to be exposed. But the claim that advertising spending has a decisive effect on polling intentions is very dodgy indeed. In fact, looking at the examples of the Scottish Referendum and General Election, using the Cadwalladr induction method you would conclude that advertising spending is counter-productive.

      But Cadwalladr’s foolish tweet today is more than an attempt to enhance the importance of the research of Carole Cadwalladr. It is part of a continuing effort by the liberal elite to find simplistic reasons why their views were rejected by a major section of the general populace in two seismic political events – Brexit, and the election of Donald Trump. The elite are seeking to comfort themselves with the idea that happenings of very marginal significance – Cambridge Analytica’s audience research, or 13 Russians allegedly trying to hack unspecified info – were in fact massive factors that explain the electorate’s “deplorable” behaviour.

      For what it is worth – and perhaps it is not worth much, though it is worth more than Cadwalladr’s logical fallacy – my own view is that hatred of the political class, by a population which has come to realise it is exploited, was a major factor.

    • Chamisa lets ED rig vote but will stop ED win elections with ‘mountain moving legal team’

      In his desperation effort to win political office the MDC Alliance presidential candidate, Nelson Chamisa, has promised the people of Zimbabwe bullet trains travelling at 400 km/hour, running on NRZ’s dilapidated network. The fastest commercial train is the Shanghai Maglev with a top speed of 427 km/hour. He has also promised spaghetti junctions and airport galore at growth points to rival the 50 km Mugabe High Way to the tyrant’s Vimba rural home. I travelled down that High Way soon after it was completed and all the traffic I came across was a scot-cart!

      Once Chamisa had hit the grove, he was getting carried away. He was promising Zimbabwe would host the next Football World Cup and Olympic Games! It has taken years to bring him down to earth and focus.

    • What My Escape From Hitler’s Germany Taught Me About Trump’s America

      And what Trump’s America teaches us about Netanyahu’s Israel.

    • Did God Send Us Donald Trump?

      The Republican Party though has seemed to stand alone in their tendency to live in an ‘alternative facts’ universe. As bad as Democrats are, they know better ways to lie. But since the election of Donald Trump, the Democrats have become just as paranoid and dishonest as their friends across the aisle. The Republicans may see a communist behind every corner, but the Democrats see a Russian behind every corner. This makes sense because Russia, or at least the Soviet Union, was seen as communist the first time around. And the Democrats have always been scared of communism too. Now Russia isn’t communist, or even close, but what world power is? Poor Mr. Putin. He has tried so hard to be a ruthless capitalist, in fact he has succeeded at this goal, but it appears that America is too hotheaded to care.

      In the age of Barack Obama, those who deal with life superficially could forget the coming Armageddon. If one could get by his arrogance and kill lists, Mr. Obama seemed like a pretty cool guy. And when it came to Russia, a better diplomat. One has to wonder if the fear of Trump has become so irrational that we are scared of anything he does, and that by simply forcing him into the opposite, we will be better off. There also is surely a part of the American psyche that is just rooting for Mr. Trump to fail. And who wouldn’t want that? Anything that gets him out of office as soon as possible should be welcomed, no matter the undemocratic implications of Robert Mueller’s agenda. Trump failing while in office though? It is unclear who this helps besides the anti-Trump resistance who may be more interested in being morally superior than stopping Trump’s vicious agenda.

    • The DUP’s Facebook ads for Brexit targeted voters outside Northern Ireland

      New Facebook data released by the parliamentary inquiry into Fake News shows that online adverts from the Democratic Unionist Party during the Brexit referendum campaign were targeted overwhelmingly at England, Scotland and Wales, rather than at the DUP’s home territory of Northern Ireland, openDemocracy can reveal.

      The Facebook data also shows that the DUP adverts included an image saying a Leave vote would be “better for our borders”— a claim that has proven controversial in Northern Ireland, where many voters have expressed concern about what Brexit will mean for the borders with Ireland and with the rest of the UK. The other adverts said “better for jobs”, “better for family budgets” and “better for security”.

    • Millions of Black Voters Are Being Purged From Voter Rolls, Often Illegally: Report

      As the end of Barack Obama’s presidency grew closer, election officials began preparing for the next election. Instead of strengthening the security of voting machines and making voting more accessible to citizens, states did the exact opposite. But they didn’t just make it harder to vote. For hundreds of thousands of registered, eligible voters across the nation, they made it impossible.

      Voter Purges (pdf), a new report by the Brennan Center, highlights the systematic purging of voters from rolls by state and local officials around the country. These are not random, isolated cases. It is a methodical effort that disproportionately affects minority voters. Even worse, no one seems to care.

      In 1993, Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) which was an attempt to make registering to vote easier by offering driver license applicants the opportunity to register to vote. The law also prevented states from purging voters unless they met certain requirements.

    • Republicans Move to Impeach Rod Rosenstein

      In what progressive advocacy groups and House Democrats immediately decried as a “shameless political ploy” aimed at shielding President Donald Trump from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing Russia probe, Reps. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and nine other congressional Republicans late Wednesday filed articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

      “This resolution to impeach Rosenstein is a direct attack on the special counsel’s investigation — full stop,” Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) declared in a joint statement Wednesday night. “It is a panicked and dangerous attempt to undermine an ongoing criminal investigation in an effort to protect President Trump as the walls are closing in around him and his associates.”

      Scoffing at the House Republicans’ insistence that their effort to remove Rosenstein — who oversees the Mueller investigation — is a “principled attempt” to hold the Justice Department accountable, the Democrats note that the GOP has “refused to conduct oversight of any aspect of the Trump administration.”

      [...]

      Advocacy groups have made clear that attacks on Rosenstein should be viewed as direct attacks on Mueller’s investigation, which earlier this month produced indictments of a dozen Russian military officers for alleged hacking. If Trump ultimately decides to fire Rosenstein, says MoveOn.org’s Ben Wikler, “that absolutely triggers” nationwide protests.

      “We will be in a constitutional crisis if the president fires Rosenstein, the same as if he fires Bob Mueller,” Norm Eisen, chair of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), concluded in a recent statement.

      In the event of Rosenstein or Mueller’s firing, rapid-response demonstrations are expected to take place in over 800 cities across the United States.

    • The Untold Story of Otto Warmbier, American Hostage

      President Trump hailed him as a catalyst of the summit with Kim Jong-Un. But what happened to Warmbier—the American college student who was sent home brain-damaged from North Korea—is even more shocking than anyone knew.

      [...]

      But on that June morning, the Warmbiers were anticipating news of a secret State Department mission to free Otto. Upon learning that Otto was apparently unconscious, President Trump had directed an American team to fly into North Korea, and now progress of the mission was being monitored at the highest level of the government. No assurances had been made that the young man would actually be released, and so the officials were on tenterhooks as well. According to an official, at 8:35 A.M., Secretary of State Rex Tillerson telephoned the president to announce that Otto was airborne. The president reportedly signed off by saying, “Take care of Otto.” Then Rob Portman, the Ohio senator who helped oversee efforts to repatriate Otto, called to inform the Warmbiers that the air ambulance had just entered Japanese airspace: Otto would be home that night.

      [...]

      At the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, the family camped at Otto’s bedside while speculation blazed around the world about what had rendered him vegetative. But Otto would never recover to tell his side of the story. And despite exhaustive examinations by doctors, no definitive medical evidence explaining how his injury came to be would ever emerge.

      Instead, in the vacuum of fact, North Korea and the U.S. competed to provide a story. North Korea blamed Otto’s condition on a combination of botulism and an unexpected reaction to a sleeping pill, an explanation that many American doctors said was unlikely. A senior American official asserted that, according to intelligence reports, Otto had been repeatedly beaten. Fred and Cindy declared on TV that their son had been physically tortured, in order to spotlight the dictatorship’s evil. The president pushed this narrative. Meanwhile, the American military made preparations for a possible conflict. Otto became a symbol used to build “a case for war on emotional grounds,” the New York Times editorial board wrote.

      As the Trump administration and North Korea spun Otto’s story for their own ends, I spent six months reporting—from Washington, D.C., to Seoul—trying to figure out what had actually happened to him. What made an American college student go to Pyongyang? What kind of nightmare did he endure while in captivity? How did his brain damage occur? And how did his eventual death help push America closer toward war with North Korea and then, in a surprising reversal, help lead to Trump’s peace summit with Kim Jong-un? The story I uncovered was stranger and sadder than anyone had known. In fact, I discovered that the manner of Otto’s injury was not as black-and-white as people were encouraged to believe. But before he became a rallying cry in the administration’s campaign against North Korea, he was just a kid. His name was Otto Warmbier.

    • Trump Jr. falsely claims that GDP growth never passed 2 percent under Obama

      Donald Trump Jr. falsely claimed that quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) growth never passed 2 percent under former President Obama — even though it did 15 times.

    • Two men in Russian Army uniform guard Trump’s Hollywood Star after it was destroyed with a pickax

      Earlier this week, a man took to desecrating Donald Trump’s Hollywood Star with a pickax—he didn’t like the illegitimate president. James Clay was arrested and charged with a felony.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Why Gmail’s new “confidential mode” is not so great for privacy, and potentially awful for the open Web

      For example, although expired emails are no longer visible to the recipient, they remain in the Sent folder of the originator. This means traces still linger of correspondence, which may not be what people expect from an email that has expired. Similarly, copies of expired emails are retained by Google on its servers for some time, although the company won’t say for how long. As a result, the authorities could presumably demand copies provided they obtained suitable judicial authorization. Again, this may come as a nasty surprise to some people who believed their emails had disappeared completely, and their privacy was protected.

      Arguably even more problematic is the fact that it is relatively easy to circumvent the special features of confidential mode, such as preventing recipients from forwarding, copying, downloading or printing messages. All of those can be carried out taking advantage of the “analog hole” – the fact that an email has to be visible in order to be available to its recipient. This means that taking a screen shot, or even using a smartphone camera, are enough to preserve all the details of the email, albeit in a slightly inconvenient form. There are also more sophisticated ways of avoiding the constraints of the confidential mode. The researcher Andrew J. Simmons discovered that by ticking a few boxes in the Style Editor tab of the Firefox Web Console he could turn off Gmail’s new limits.

    • Telegram Launches ‘Passport’ To Share Your Real-Life IDs With Others

      The instant messaging service Telegram has made another useful addition to its feature set. Known as Telegram Passport, it’s designed to reduce the hassle of dealing with services that require your documents and government IDs like passport, driving license, bills, etc.

    • Living in a World Bereft of Privacy

      A few days ago I first received a menacing email from someone calling herself Susana Peritz. She told me “she” had hacked my email, planted malware on my computer, and had then filmed me getting my jollies while watching “interesting” porn online. Her email had caught my attention because it mentioned in the subject line a very old password, attached to a very old email address I had not used for over a decade. The malware must have been planted on a defunct computer.

      Putting aside the fact that I am far more concerned about GCHQ or the NSA hacking my computer (as should we all be), this did rather amuse me.

      Apparently, I must pay this “Susana” $1000 via Bitcoin or, shock, have my alleged pleasures shared with my acquaintances. And just last night I received another courteous request for cash from someone calling themselves Jillie Abdulrazak, but the price has now been inflated to $3000.

      Why am I not concerned? Well, I can safely say – hand on heart – that I have never watched online porn. But this got me thinking about how or why I could have been singled out for this mark of a blackmailer’s esteem, and that brings me on to some rather dark thoughts.

    • 23andMe Sold Access to Your DNA Library to Big Pharma, But You Can Opt Out

      But in case you needed another reason why voluntarily giving your DNA to companies is a bad idea, on Wednesday the genomic-ancestry company 23andMe announced it was forking over its DNA data to the world’s ninth-largest pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). The exclusive partnership gives GSK access to 23andMe’s database that includes the genomes of over 5 million people.

    • Amazon wrongly IDed 28 members of Congress, and they’re not happy about it

      Those two members of the House of Representatives were among the 28 that were falsely identified as being amidst a group of 25,000 mugshots.

    • Twitter stock drops 20.5% a day after Facebook suffers worst one-day drop in history

      Twitter also announced that its revenue is up 24 percent this year, and the company posted a record profit of $100 million. Turns out Kremlin bots and MAGA Nazis are profitable.

    • TSA is tracking regular travelers like terrorists in secret surveillance program

      The previously undisclosed program, called “Quiet Skies,” specifically targets travelers who “are not under investigation by any agency and are not in the Terrorist Screening Data Base,” according to a Transportation Security Administration bulletin in March.

      [...]

      Already under Quiet Skies, thousands of unsuspecting Americans have been subjected to targeted airport and inflight surveillance, carried out by small teams of armed, undercover air marshals, government documents show. The teams document whether passengers fidget, use a computer, have a “jump” in their Adam’s apple or a “cold penetrating stare,” among other behaviors, according to the records.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Tech firms fear regulation nightmare if MPs get their way

      Instead, the report will argue, companies should be liable for “both content that has been referred to them for takedown by their users, and other content that should have been easy for the tech companies to identify for themselves”.

    • Uber and Lyft are facing a major crackdown in New York City

      There’s a package of bills under consideration. One would freeze new for-hire vehicle licenses for 12 months while the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission studies “utilization, congestion, driver income, and neighborhood service. Another would create a new category and licensing framework for Lyft and Uber, in which the city could limit future permits by geography and potentially decline to renew a permit if a “need” for the service isn’t demonstrated.

    • New York Could Become First Major U.S. City to Cap Uber and Similar Vehicles

      The proposal supported by the City Council speaker, Corey Johnson, would halt the issuance of new for-hire vehicle licenses, except for vehicles that are wheelchair accessible, while the city conducts a yearlong study of the industry.

    • The Trump Administration’s Census Cover Up

      Documents obtained in our lawsuit prove anti-immigrant bias was behind a citizenship question.

      Last month, we challenged the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census — essentially a door-to-door federal inquiry of the citizenship status of every member of every household in the country. On Thursday, we received welcome news from a federal judge that the lawsuit can continue. The judge’s decision, in part, was based on an explosive set of documents we obtained from the government. These documents reveal that the Trump administration’s public explanation as to why it needs this information is a sham to conceal its discriminatory, anti-immigrant agenda, and they also prove that a prominent member of President Trump’s cabinet lied under sworn oath to Congress.

      Some background: Every 10 years, the federal government conducts a census to count all people in the United States. Everyone is counted without exception — adults and children, citizens and non-citizens alike. This total population count is used to allocate funding for various federal programs and to apportion representation in Congress, the Electoral College, and within state legislatures.

      Earlier this year, the Trump administration announced that it will include a citizenship question in the census questionnaire being sent to every household in America for the first time in 70 years. The White House persists, despite unanimous opposition from experts warning that such a question will intimidate immigrants and deter participation in the census in communities of color, costing these communities critical resources and political representation.

    • Chinese Law Enforcement Alchemists Turn Shit To Drug Bust Gold

      That’s exactly the sort of statement one would expect to be made in the wake of “do what now” responses from not just journalists and citizens, but also many of those on law enforcement drug task forces.

      That drugs can be found in bodily excretions is no surprise. There’s an entire corporate/medical industry reliant on that very fact. That you can track down drug manufacturers by grabbing anonymous… um… data by tapping the sewage backbone is a bit of stretch. It may have helped police get a general sense of where some sort of unadulterated drugs might be flowing from, but my guess is regular, non-shit-sifting policework was involved. Chinese law enforcement have plenty of more effective methods to deploy, especially considering they’re not “hindered” by concerns about civil liberties or reputational damage.

    • Why am I still in Guantánamo after 14 years?

      The world has forgotten me.

      Though I once had friends, now I have nobody. Though I once had a government, Pakistan has turned its back on me. Though I once was a human being, I have been reduced to a number (1461) and abandoned in a dark hole: the military prison at Guantánamo Bay.

      I am officially a prisoner of war, though the only battle I ever fought back home, as a taxi driver in Karachi, was the rush hour traffic. I was mistaken for an extremist, captured by Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s government and sold to the CIA for a bounty in 2002. I’ve now been detained at Guantánamo, without trial, for nearly 14 years.

      President Trump’s lawyers argued in court this month that I and other Guantánamo prisoners who have filed habeas corpus petitions could be held by the U.S. government for a hundred years, if that is how long the “conflict” lasts.

    • Daniel Stenberg: administrative purgatory

      Last year I was denied to go to the US when I was about to travel to San Francisco. Me and my employer’s legal team never got answers as to why this happened so I’ve personally tried to convince myself it was all because of some human screw-up. Because why would they suddenly block me? I’ve traveled to the US almost a dozen times over the years.

      The fact that there was no reason or explanation given makes any theory as likely as the next. Whatever we think or guess might have happened can be true. Or not. We will probably never know. And I’ve been told a lot of different theories.
      Denied again

      In early April 2018 I applied for ESTA again to go to San Francisco in mid June for another Mozilla All Hands conference and… got denied. The craziness continues. This also ruled out some of the theories from last year that it was just some human error by the airline or similar…

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Using the internet without the Amazon Cloud

      But that system doesn’t have to be invisible. Developer Dhruv Mehrotra has made a plug-in that will disconnect you from AWS entirely, using the system’s public IP list to block every connection to an Amazon server. Technically a MacOS port of an earlier tool for Linux, Mehrotra’s program lets you see what the internet would look if Amazon Web Services suddenly ceased to exist.

    • auDA directors to stay as motions fail on technicality

      Motions to remove three directors of auDA, the Australian domain administration, at a special general meeting held on Friday have been rejected by the membership, the organisation says.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Women’s participation creates high-value patents [Ed: Lately, patent extremists have been opportunistically embracing (misusing) feminism to advocate for expansion/growth in number of patents...bullying disguised as "ethics" and "equality"]
    • The Brexit White Paper, Intellectual Property And Food & Drink

      It can be costly to enforce patents in multiple jurisdictions, which is why the EU Member States (except for Spain and Poland) have signed an agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPC). The UPC is designed to provide a streamlined process for enforcing patents on a pan-EU basis through a single court that will eventually have exclusive competence in respect of European patents and the EU’s new unitary patent. The UPC Agreement was signed by 25 EU Member States (including the UK) on 19 February 2013, and remains open only for EU Member States to sign. The UK ratified it in April 2018. Only Germany’s ratification is now required to allow the UPC to come into force.

      The UK Government’s intention, according to the White Paper, is to “explore staying in the Court and unitary patent system” after Brexit. More detail will have to be produced on how the UK Government would propose to remain part of the (so far) exclusively-EU UPC. Nonetheless, it seems the political will is there (at least on the UK side) to ensure the UK stays part of what is hoped to be a much improved, less expensive and more streamlined EU-wide patent system.

    • Validity rulings imperil Chinese SEP campaign after a homegrown defensive aggregator enters the mix

      Guangzhou-based audio developer Digital Rise suffered another setback at China’s Patent Reexamination Board (PRB) last week, in what could be a fatal blow to its SEP assertion campaign against TV makers. It also came as a Chinese industry group got involved on the defensive side, signaling a new role for a long-dormant patent aggregator. Digital Rise has accused major Chinese and foreign television makers of infringing patents on “audio coding” and “audio coding and decoding systems” technology since last July. The plaintiff filed suits against Hisense, Samsung and Skyworth in different courts in China, and requested around 400 million RMB…

    • The dawn of a new era for IP in Argentina?

      Priority documents need to be filed within a 90-day period after filing, otherwise the priority will be lost. Previously, there was no deadline and the IP Office might ask for the documents even at the examination stage.

      The examination fee has to be paid within an 18-month deadline from the filing date, compared to the previous 36-month period. Power of attorney documents can be replaced by a sworn declaration by the Patent Attorney. It will only need to be filed if the IP Office requests it.

    • Trademarks

      • No Official Fee Will Be Payable On Automatic Conversion Of Registered EU Trade Marks And Designs

        The UKIPO subsequently confirmed this to be the case subject to the finalisation of a Withdrawal Agreement (between the UK and EU relating to the UK’s departure from the EU and the UK/EU’s future relationship). This announcement follows on from an existing draft agreement between the UK and the EU Commission, providing that EU trade marks and registered designs should continue to be protected automatically in the UK. In addition, subject to an overall deal on a transitional period going ahead, the UK will continue to be part of the EU trade mark and design system until the end of December 2020 (further details can be found here).

      • LNDR beats Nike in abbreviation battle

        IPEC has ruled that LNDR is not inherently descriptive as an abbreviation in a case that highlights the growing reliance on social media in trade mark litigation and the efficiency of the court

    • Copyrights

      • No, Pirate Sites Are Not the #1 Online Source For Malware

        This week UK non-profit Internet Matters published a new guide designed to protect children from the apparent perils of using pirate sites. Like several before it, the report claims that pirate sites are the most common source of malware infection on the Internet and that streaming pirated media puts devices at risk. TF called in security experts – they do not agree.

      • Stakeholders Submit Views On South Africa Copyright Amendment

        The call for public comments on the Copyright Amendment Bill by South Africa’s Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry attracted a wide range of interest and contributions from local and international IP stakeholders.

      • Kenyan Music Licensing Collections In Full Chaos As Unlicensed MCSK Society Issues Rival C&D For Royalty Collections

        We’ve written a couple of times about the full turmoil that is music licensing collections in Kenya. The Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) has operated there for some time, but recently had its license stripped by the government and courts due to what appears to be some very shady financial practices that mostly amount to — you guessed it — not properly paying artists for royalties collected. The government then went about setting up new Collective Management Organizations (CMOs) with the aim of these new CMOs being less corrupt than MCSK. The Music Publishers Association of Kenya (MPAKE) is one such alternative CMO.

        As we pointed out in previous posts, the MCSK has been remarkably non-compliant with the Kenyan government at pretty much every level, from refusing to open its books as requested, to not complying with requests to cease collecting royalties. That not only continues at present, but the MCSK has actually gone so far as to issue a cease and desist to MPAKE for royalty collections, despite the Kenyan government notifying the public that MCSK was not a licensed collector.

      • Record Labels Are Willing to Settle ‘Repeat Infringer’ Case with ISP

        The major record labels are willing to settle their ‘piracy’ lawsuit with Internet provider Grande Communications. The RIAA members made an offer two months ago but the ISP says it requires more time for a thorough response. If the sides fail to reach an agreement, the labels promise to continue their “vigorous prosecution.”

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