EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

08.19.18

From the Eastern District of Texas (US) to Australia Patent Quality Remains a Problem

Posted in America, Australia, Patents at 6:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patents of all colours of the rainbow

Appeal to swatches

Summary: Patents on anything from thoughts to nature/life (in the US and in Australia, respectively) demonstrate the wildly wide range (or spectrum) of patents nowadays granted irrespective of their impact on innovation

A FEW HOURS ago Eibhlin Vardy published this post (part of a series) celebrating patent maximalism at the USPTO, whose ten millionth patent may ironically enough be bunk.

“We might already be in the midst of such a decline, i.e. a restoration of patent quality.”What if patent grants started to decline in terms of number, e.g. each year that goes by (rather than the opposite)? We might already be in the midst of such a decline, i.e. a restoration of patent quality.

Well, a system which strives to grant as many patents as possible isn’t one that necessarily encourages innovation and in many cases it actually prioritises monopolisation at innovation’s expense for numbers’ sake; that would practically discourage innovation.

A few days ago we saw this news report about a patent on “[s]ystem and method for data management,” i.e. a software patent and hence bunk patent. The US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas is a national and international laughing stock because of stuff like this:

Papa John’s International and its subsidiary Star Papa have been sued over the US-based pizza franchise’s mobile app.

Oklahoma-based Fall Line Patents filed its patent infringement complaint yesterday, August 15, at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

Fall Line Patents is the owner of US patent number 9,454,748, called “System and method for data management”.

According to the complaint, the patent “teaches methods for managing and collecting data from a remote computing device” by gathering location-specific information on different hardware and software platforms on one device.

This is a relatively new patent, judging by its number. This ought to go to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) through an inter partes review (IPR); if needed, the Federal Circuit would likely affirm an invalidation; Papa John’s can afford this. Such is the high cost of sloppy patent grants pertaining to abstract ideas. Watch who got the patent; it’s an entity outside Texas (Oklahoma is far away) and it’s called “Fall Line Patents”. We wrote about it last year and a few months ago when Unified Patents implicitly called it a patent troll. Why are these patents still around? Moreover, why are such patents still being granted after Alice?

Are patents being granted for the sake of numbers or for the sake of innovation? Judging by this new press release [1, 2], the repository is nowadays treated like some kind of literature. “This new section provides easy access to historical patent and exclusivity data for FDA-approved drugs,” it says. They’re typically just evergreening their patents in order to ensure drug exclusivity persists (perpetuity). It’s neither beneficial to innovation nor is this healthy for patients.

Lately we have been writing a great deal about how patents get granted on software owing to a bunch of hype and/or buzzwords. Yet more bunk patents, for example, came from Walmart (it labels some “Blockchain”). Days ago, based on media reports [1, 2, 3], Walmart was shown to be riding the “VR” wave, exploiting buzz when a patent (or application) at hand has absolutely nothing to do with VR innovation/s but merely utilisation thereof from the software side. Here is what Matthew Boyle wrote about it:

The world’s biggest retailer wants to find out, according to filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The company has applied for two patents that detail a “virtual show room” and fulfillment system that would connect shoppers clad in VR headsets and sensor-packed gloves to a three-dimensional representation of a Walmart store. Customers could wander digital aisles from home and “grab” items, which would be immediately picked and shipped from a fully automated distribution center.

The supposed invention involves no improvement to the hardware; it’s ridiculous and it’s what we have come to expect.

Earlier today Patent Docs mentioned a “Webinar on Blockchain and IP,” once again invoking that hype about blockchains, which most lawyers are unable to even explain. “Blockchain”- and “Bitcoin”-washing have become popular because they can make everything sound novel and cutting-edge. It’s especially necessary in the US, unlike China for example. Anything goes in China, including software patents, because SIPO — to the chagrin of WIPO — doesn’t give a damn about patent quality. Shouldn’t the US care more? Coinbase is now attempting to get a US patent on a “new bitcoin payment system” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], relying perhaps on the examiners not understanding that it’s pure software and thus not patent-eligible. Can the lawyers find a way to manipulate/fool the examiner? That’s perfectly possible and they can retry until they get the ‘right’ examiner.

Days ago in Mondaq and in Lexology we saw this new article from Aird & Berlis LLP | Aird & McBurney LP’s Tony Sabeta. He starts with a Big Lie, insinuating that “blockchain applications are patent-eligible” even though they’re not. They're software patents. Bunk, waste of paper. They may eventually get granted, but no high court would tolerate these. The USPTO advertises and brags about these, which actually says a lot about the USPTO and its attitude. To quote Sabeta:

As a patent practitioner, one of the questions I often get asked is whether distributed ledger technology (DLT), such as blockchain, is patentable. I naturally respond in the affirmative (with some qualifiers of course), and inevitably there is a deluge of follow-up questions and statements such as: “That can’t be! Blockchain is just software, and isn’t it nearly impossible to get patents for software these days? or “This technology has been around for almost 10 years, there is nothing new to patent here,” and so forth.

It’s not even about novelty; it’s about it being an abstract concept and therefore patent-ineligible.

We live in crazy times, however, so to examiners who are rewarded for granting more patents rules will be convenient to bend. That’s how we ended up with so many patents on algorithms, life, and nature (even though the rules forbade all of them). Over at Watchtroll two days ago Ted Mathias, Stacie Ropka, and Rebecca Clegg published “The CRISPR Tug of War” — yet another one of those promotions of ‘life monopolies’ (or monopolies on life itself). That was around the same time Merck was awarded a CRISPR patent in Australia:

Merck has been awarded a patent for CRISPR nickases by the Australian Patent Office.

The application covers a foundational CRISPR strategy in which two CRISPR nickases are targeted to a common gene target and work together by nicking or cleaving opposite strands of chromosomal sequence to create a double-stranded break.

Merck said in a statement that these paired nickases will “improve CRISPR’s ability to fix diseased genes while not affecting healthy ones”.

In addition to allowing a patent application on paired nickases, the Australian Patent Office also announced the formal grant of Merck’s 2017 CRISPR integration patent, following withdrawal of four independent, anonymously filed oppositions.

Australia grants such ridiculous patents on life because of CSIRO and the influence of lawyers. There’s an ongoing fight over the matter at the EPO because the authorities say no to such patents whereas EPO management actively flouts the rules. As it always does…

Alice/35 U.S.C. § 101 and PTAB Are Here to Stay and Even Their Critics (Patent Maximalists) Have Come to Accept That

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 5:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Capitol building

Summary: Taking stock of the latest PTAB news and rants; the latter has become scarce because efforts to undermine PTAB have all failed

THE recent changes at the USPTO were relatively minor. Guidelines have barely changed, the chief judge of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is merely swapping seats, and the courts continue to rule pretty consistently on patent matters. There’s no real room for profound change and this, in a strange sort of way, is a good thing because Alice/35 U.S.C. § 101, frequently enforced by PTAB, renders a lot of software patents obsolete. The Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirms.

“There’s no real room for profound change and this, in a strange sort of way, is a good thing because Alice/35 U.S.C. § 101, frequently enforced by PTAB, renders a lot of software patents obsolete.”Over the past week we’ve been patiently watching new cases and new decisions. We’re also still watching events like this one about PTAB; a few months ago there were many anti-PTAB events, but Oil States more or less ended that. PTAB is here to stay and patent maximalists are slowly learning to accept that.

“SCOTUS is instead looking into matters such as damage calculations and litigation venue, along with PTAB itself (two decisions about it earlier this summer).”What about 35 U.S.C. § 101? It hasn’t really changed. There are talks about amending guidelines, but nothing substantial has changed and SCOTUS refuses to revisit the matter. SCOTUS is instead looking into matters such as damage calculations and litigation venue, along with PTAB itself (two decisions about it earlier this summer). 3 days ago San Antonio Business Journal wrote an update about the USAA case, wherein the underlying patent claims are currently being disputed. How typical. How depressing to patent maximalists this must be…

Steve Brachmann wrote about BSG Tech LLC v. BuySeasons, Inc. — a case that we mentioned some days ago because it deals with software patents and Section 101 at a high level. Watchtroll also seems rather befuddled and confused by the fact that CAFC doesn’t give a damn about the Berkheimer hype and still throws away/tosses out any such lousy software patents.

“On Wednesday, August 15th,” Brachmann wrote, “the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision in BSG Tech LLC v. BuySeasons, Inc. which upheld a decision by the district court to invalidate patent claims owned by BSG Tech as patent-ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The Federal Circuit panel of Circuit Judges Jimmie Reyna, Evan Wallach and Todd Hughes found that the district court correctly determined that patent claim asserted by BSG Tech were invalid as abstract ideas lacking any inventive step under the Alice/Mayo framework.”

Well, get used to it.

Knobbe Martens (a law firm, not a person) soon wrote about it as well. A bunch of lawyers said this:

Under step one of Alice, the Federal Circuit agreed with the district court that the asserted claims were directed to the abstract idea of considering historical usage information while inputting data. The Federal Circuit found that this was not a method “necessarily rooted in computer technology in order to overcome a problem specifically arising in the realm of” wide access databases. DDR Holdings, LLC v. Hotels.com, L.P., 773 F.3d 1245, 1257 (Fed. Cir. 2014). Further, the Federal Circuit found that the claims were not saved from abstraction merely because they require a specific database structure that is more specific than a generic computer. Also, the Federal Circuit stated that the claims did not recite any improvement to the way in which databases store or organize information.

CAFC on PTAB inter partes reviews (IPRs) has truly transformed the way examiners operate; they think twice before granting software patents and we increasing read reports about rejections. Here’s a new CAFC decision regarding IPRs:

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit yesterday ruled that an inter partes review (IPR) filing is still subject to a time limitation even if a previous patent infringement claim has been dismissed.

In doing so, the Federal Circuit sided with Click-to-Call Technologies (CTC) and overturned a previous decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).

According to section 315(b) of 35 USC, an IPR petition cannot be instituted if it is filed more than one year after the petitioner was served with a patent infringement complaint.

A blog post by Dennis Crouch also remarked on this:

In an unusual en banc footnote, the Federal Circuit has ruled that the litigation time-bar found in 35 U.S.C. § 315(b) applies even in cases where the plaintiff-patentee voluntarily dismisses the lawsuit without prejudice. Click-to-Call Tech., LP v. Ingenio, Inc. and Iancu (Fed. Cir. 2018).

“Court says the PTAB was wrong to decide that voluntary dismissal without prejudice of a civil action in which the complaint was served “does not trigger” the one-year time bar under Section 315(b),” Michael Loney wrote.

IPR proceedings will continue unabated and entities such as Unified Patents will file IPRs as they see fit.

Watchtroll posted a new example of it earlier today. “Plano, TX-based patent owner American Vehicular Sciences LLC recently filed a petition for rehearing en banc with the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The petition relates to its appeal of inter partes review (IPR) proceedings conducted at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which initiated as the result of a petition filed by Unified Patents,” Watchtroll said.

American Vehicular Sciences, as we noted back in June, is part of a Microsoft-connected patent troll. Will it be disarmed?

Certainly we shall see PTAB-bashing in the future, but the frequency of that has greatly diminished. Here’s Anticipat on Section 101 and PTAB:

As reported in today’s recap email, in Ex Parte GELFAND et al (Aug. 2, 2018), the Board reversed a lack of utility rejection. This continues a longstanding trend of the Board frequently reversing such rejections.

This is nonsense, there’s no such trend. Anticipat is a malicious propaganda site against Section 101 and PTAB, just like Bilski Blog and Watchtroll, IAM etc. There has barely been, at best, a minuscule if not negligible difference and that too can be explained differently.

There are still some PTAB-hostile events on the way; earlier today Patent Docs advertised webinars of the patent microcosm on “PTAB Proceedings on Bio/Pharma Patents”, the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) on “Post-Grant Proceedings” and the scavengers from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (malicious lobby group) lobbying lawmakers on patents:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) and the South Dade Chamber of Commerce and the Glen Ellyn, Lombard, Western DuPage, and Wheaton Chambers of Commerce will host two intellectual property and innovation business roundtables in Florida and Illinois

Being from the Chamber of Commerce, it’s obvious whose agenda that will advance.

Patent Docs also advertised more benign webinars such as this, but the site as a whole has been full of PTAB-bashing. Their bias is impossible to hide. Then again, their frustration too has become impossible to hide.

Patent Trolls Roundup: Conversant Wireless Licensing (Formerly Core Wireless) and Blackbird ‘Technologies’ Still Prey on Real Companies

Posted in America, Patents at 1:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Conversant is armed by Microsoft

Cute adorable rodent

Summary: A quick recap of recent decisions and motions, which serve to show that patent trolls can be beaten, avoided, and sometimes even ‘disarmed’

THE latest from familiar patent trolls may or may not suggest a slowdown. We generally don’t hear about them as much as we used to; litigation numbers have declined and some are exploring China for alternative ‘opportunities’ (to sue). The IAM sponsors, the Microsoft-armed trolls and this whole ‘industry’ of patent blackmail is unable to win many cases in the United States; USPTO-granted abstract patents or patents on essential/industry standards, i.e. things one must implement merely to be in compliance/compatibility with everyone else, have become harder to enforce. Courts are more restrictive and they have become more rational (in lieu with public interest).

“…any presence or involvement in places like Eastern Texas (e.g. a Google datacentre, or even a third party, as recently tested in court) would be a major legal liability.”The pro-trolls (who writes for their Web sites) Mr. Gross is attacking Lemley again (as usual), blaming Google (as they all do nowadays). “Its everywhere,” he wrote, “GOOG’s outside litigation attorney (Lemley) routinely files materials to Congress pretending to be an objective non-partisan “academic” representing the public interest; he signs off/uses his Professorship as a facade…”

This was said in response to this old tweet about the Google Transparency Project only a short time after Lemley wrote that the “Federal Circuit holds that failing to disclose a patent to a standards body may render that patent unenforceable.”

It actually links to this document (PDF embedded in page, regarding Core Wireless Licensing v Apple Inc.). It’s about Google’s rival, Apple, on the receiving end. What we have here is an important Federal Circuit ruling that may mean the demise of a Microsoft-connected troll. What we have not found yet is press coverage about it. It is not so new a case, but it’s still worth exploring the broader ramifications of it.

There is another interesting twist in a lower US court. The Docket Navigator looked at RegenLab USA LLC v. Estar Technologies Ltd. et al and said that the “court denied one defendant’s motion to dismiss for improper venue because defendant had a regular and established place of business through an employee’s home office in the forum.” This is why any presence or involvement in places like Eastern Texas (e.g. a Google datacentre, or even a third party, as recently tested in court) would be a major legal liability. It is a point we keep repeating and stressing, knowing that it’s not often recognised and said in the press. In post-TC Heartland (SCOTUS, 2017) patent litigation this may seem rather trivial/obvious.

Mike Masnick (TechDirt founder) wrote about Bitmovin’s defense from the patent troll Blackbird ‘Technologies’, known more recently (especially last year) for its actions against Internet companies. To quote:

A few years back, e-commerce company Newegg decided to take something of a scorched earth approach to all of the various patent trolls that came after it: it would never settle with a patent troll. While many trolls rely on the fact that it’s cheaper to settle than to fight in court (even if you win), Newegg did the longer term calculation, and recognized that even if it cost more to defeat trolls in court, by being very public with its stance in fighting it would likely scare off trolls from continuing to sue the company. It took a few years, but the strategy mostly worked. Trolls have mostly learned to steer clear of Newegg.

Last year, Cloudflare decided to up the ante a bit on such a strategy. After a patent troll went after it, Cloudflare didn’t just promise to fight back, it promised to effectively burn the patent troll into the ground. It set up a bounty looking for prior art on every patent held by that patent troll (Blackbird Technologies), and also filed ethics complaints against the lawyers who ran the company, arguing that they were pretending not to practice law when they clearly were. That strategy has resulted in an easy win over Blackbird in court while various Blackbird patents are being challenged.

It appears that approach is inspiring other companies as well. Streaming infrastructure company Bitmovin’s General Counsel Ken Carter (who, notably, used to work at Cloudflare) put up a blog post describing just how it dealt with a recent patent troll. After first pointing out that patents can be important, and noting that the company itself holds some patents, the post reminds everyone that it’s possible to abuse the patent system.

Christine Hall wrote: “The takeaway? Don’t settle with patent trolls. Hit ‘em with all ya got..”

Well, if one can afford it. The problem is that trolls (copyright or patent trolls) can pursue those whom they know cannot afford a day in court, extracting from them so-called ‘protection’ money instead; that’s why the ultimate solution would be complete invalidation of such poor, problematic patents.

Links 19/8/2018: Skrooge 2.15.0, Wine 3.14, End of Akademy 2018

Posted in News Roundup at 5:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Oracle puts GraphPipe into open source to standardize and deploy machine learning

    Oracle released a new tool, which is called GraphPipe, into open source in order to speed up real-world deployments of machine learning.

    GraphPipe, which Oracle has put into open source via GitHub, was designed to standardize and clarify machine learning models in order to scale out services and applications to customers.

  • Uber Open Sources Its Large Scale Metrics Platform M3

    Uber’s engineering team released its metrics platform M3, which it has been using internally for some years, as open source. The platform was built to replace its Graphite based system, and provides cluster management, aggregation, collection, storage management, a distributed time series database (TSDB) and a query engine with its own query language M3QL.

    [...]

    M3′s query engine provides a single global view of all metrics without cross region replication. Metrics are written to local regional M3DB instances and replication is local to a region. Queries go to both the regional local instances as well as to coordinators in remote regions where metrics are stored. The results are aggregated locally, and future work is planned wherein any query aggregation would happen at the remote coordinators.

  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Dev.to

    This week’s highlighted project comes courtesy of a community of developers who hope that their codebase will be used to foster communities like theirs, focused on education and collaboration among peers of any skill level. Dev.to’s codebase is open-source as of last week week and the community-building platform’s developers think that further community involvement in development will lead to great things.

    [...]

    Halpern made sure to clarify in the post that this release is not simply a library for creating the types of community-driven communication platforms that dev.to embodies, but the for-profit company’s entire codebase. “However, that is a perfectly valid use case in the future,” Halpern wrote in a post leading up to the release. “If you are interested in contributing such that we can eventually help people stand up their own version of this platform for their own business or society, we’ll definitely welcome that input.”

    The platform is a Ruby on Rails app with a Preact front-end. The company is hard at work on native apps for iOS and Android but say its technology choices are fluid.

  • Events

    • Testing & Fuzzing Microconference Accepted into 2018 Linux Plumbers Conference

      Testing, fuzzing, and other diagnostics have greatly increased the robustness of the Linux ecosystem, but embarrassing bugs still escape to end users. Furthermore, a million-year bug would happen several tens of times per day across Linux’s installed base (said to number more than 20 billion), so the best we can possibly do is hardly good enough.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Bitslicing with Karnaugh maps

        Bitslicing, in cryptography, is the technique of converting arbitrary functions into logic circuits, thereby enabling fast, constant-time implementations of cryptographic algorithms immune to cache and timing-related side channel attacks.

        My last post Bitslicing, An Introduction showed how to convert an S-box function into truth tables, then into a tree of multiplexers, and finally how to find the lowest possible gate count through manual optimization.

      • This Week in Mixed Reality: Issue 16

        On Monday Andrzej Mazur launched the 2018 edition of the JS13KGames competition. As the name suggests, you have to create a game using only thirteen kilobytes of Javascript (zipped) or less. Check out some of last year’s winners to see what is possible in 13k.

        This year Mozilla is sponsoring the new WebXR category, which lets you use A-Frame or Babylon.js without counting towards the 13k. See the full rules for details. Prizes this year includes the Oculus Go for the top three champions.

      • Share files easily with extensions

        When we want to share digital files, most people think of popular file hosting services like Box or Dropbox, or other common methods such as email and messaging apps. But did you know there are easier—and more privacy-focused—ways to do it with extensions? WeTransfer and Fire File Sender are two intriguing extension options.

        WeTransfer allows you to send files up to 2GB in size with a link that expires seven days from upload. It’s really simple to use—just click the toolbar icon and a small pop-up appears inviting you to upload files and copy links for sharing. WeTransfer uses the highest security standards and is compliant with EU privacy laws. Better still, recipients downloading files sent through WeTransfer won’t get bombarded with advertisements; rather, they’ll see beautiful wallpapers picked by the WeTransfer editorial team. If you’re interested in additional eye-pleasing backgrounds, check out WeTransfer Moment.

      • RLS 1.0 release candidate

        The current version of the Rust Language Server (RLS), 0.130.5, is the first 1.0 release candidate. It is available on nightly and beta channels, and from the 3rd September will be available with stable Rust.

        1.0 for the RLS is a somewhat arbitrary milestone. We think the RLS can handle most small and medium size projects (notable, it doesn’t work with Rust itself, but that is large and has a very complex build system), and we think it is release quality. However there are certainly limitations and many planned improvements.

        It would be really useful if you could help us test the release candidate! Please report any crashes, or projects where the RLS gives no information or any bugs where it gives incorrect information.

      • Mozilla brings back Stylish Add-on to Firefox after it was Banned Last Year

        The Stylish add-on, with which you can give websites their very own style, is back for Firefox. This improvement has been welcomed by many users. The history of this Add-on is quite complicated as it was supposedly twice removed and added back before it was removed again. Now it has been added back as reported by Vess (@VessOnSecurity).

        [...]

        The add-on Stylish has been brought back in the Mozilla’s add-on storehouse. What users should know: This expansion was criticized some time prior as a user data collector and has been prohibited and banned a year back from Mozilla’s Add-on store.

        Owing to its notoriety of collecting data of users’ website visits in a way which makes it convenient to reveal users’ identity to third parties, Google and Mozilla banned it last year. It is indeed surprising as to why Mozilla decided to bring it back to its browser after it was criticized for compromising users’ identity.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 6.1: A week in stats

      On August 8, we announced LibreOffice 6.1, a new version of the suite with many great features and updates created by our worldwide community. Let’s look at some stats from the last week!

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • How Changa Bell is taking an ‘open source’ approach to grow the Black Male Yoga Intiative
    • Microsoft open sources new framework for Windows driver development [Ed: openwashing Microsoft Windows by pretending that when you write proprietary drivers for a proprietary O/S that does DRM, spies on users etc. you actually do something "open"]
    • Microsoft to Open Source Its Network Replication Software [Ed: Microsoft is openwashing some more of its entirely proprietary 'offerings', a hallmark of a company of liars. Come to us! The traps are free, the cages will be "open".]
    • GitHub goes off the Rails as Microsoft closes in [Ed: Microsoft will take GitHub off the rail like it did Skype and LinkedIn (totally lost)]

      GitHub’s platform group is about 155 people at the moment and growing, said Lambert. And much of the group’s focus is on breaking GitHub apart.

      GitHub is about a third of the way through an architectural change that began last year. The company is moving away from Ruby on Rails toward a more heterogeneous, composable infrastructure. Ruby still has a place at GitHub – Lambert referred to the company as a Ruby shop, but he said there’s more Go, Java and even some Haskell being deployed for services. The goal, he explained, is to make GitHub’s internal capabilities accessible to integrators and partners.

      “Our monolith is starting to break up and we’re starting to abstract things into services,” said Lambert. “The platform we’ve chosen to put them on is Kubernetes.”

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Tesla open sources its security software, Hollywood goes open source, and more news
    • Open Access/Content

      • As Academic Publishers Fight And Subvert Open Access, Preprints Offer An Alternative Approach For Sharing Knowledge Widely

        That’s certainly true, but is easy to remedy. Academics who plan to publish a preprint could offer a copy of the paper to the group of trusted journalists under embargo — just as they would with traditional papers. One sentence describing why it would be worth reading is all that is required by way of introduction. To the extent that the system works for today’s published papers, it will also work for preprints. Some authors may publish without giving journalists time to check with other experts, but that’s also true for current papers. Similarly, some journalists may hanker after full press releases that spoon-feed them the results, but if they can’t be bothered working it out for themselves, or contacting the researchers and asking for an explanation, they probably wouldn’t write a very good article anyway.

        The other concern relates to the quality of preprints. One of the key differences between a preprint and a paper published in a journal is that the latter usually goes through the process of “peer review”, whereby fellow academics read and critique it. But it is widely agreed that the peer review process has serious flaws, as many have pointed out for years — and as Sheldon himself admits.

        Indeed, as defenders note, preprints allow far more scrutiny to be applied than with traditional peer review, because they are open for all to read and spot mistakes. There are some new and interesting projects to formalize this kind of open review. Sheldon rightly has particular concerns about papers on public health matters, where lives might be put at risk by erroneous or misleading results. But major preprint sites like bioRxiv (for biology) and the upcoming medRxiv (for medicine and health sciences) are already trying to reduce that problem by actively screening preprints before they are posted.

  • Programming/Development

    • MUMPS Masochism part I: Line and Block Scope

      It’s sort of an open secret that I sometimes use ANSI M, better known as MUMPS. It was developed in the 60′s, and it definitely still looks like something from the 60′s. But it’s 1,000 times uglier than anything from that decade. I’ve made plenty of people, from software testers at work to other developers on IRC, recoil in horror from showing them samples of even relatively mundane code like a simple “Hello, World!”.

Leftovers

  • Twitter’s fear of making hard decisions is killing it

    But rather than kill off third-party apps for good, it introduced a series of half-measures designed to bleed them out slowly: denying them new features, for example, or capping the number of users they could acquire by limiting their API tokens. While this spared some amount of yelling in the short term, the move — which was still hugely unpopular with a vocal segment of the user base — needlessly prolonged the agony.

  • Twitter shutters legacy APIs and borks third-party apps in the process

    In it there’s a “told you so” dating back to 2011, warning devs not to make apps that do what the official app does. In 2012 it warned that it would limit the use of the API, which it did.

    After that, it gave exceptions to certain apps, but warned: “We’ve repeatedly told developers that our APIs does not prioritise client use cases”.

  • Science

    • M&S ditches call centres for AI chatbots; nans run away screaming

      Staff can even sign up for longer courses in Python and AI, though we’re not sure what use that’s going to be on a checkout, though the company has been partnering with Microsoft to bring AI into the company along with digital transformation powered by specialist firm True.

    • A Bot Panic Hits Amazon’s Mechanical Turk

      But here’s the thing: It’s hard to know for sure if what Bai reported was the result of bots run amok. There are plenty of explanations for junk responses on MTurk. Bai recognizes this. “It might be bots, it might be human-augmented bots, or it might be humans who are tired of taking the survey and are just randomly clicking the buttons,” he says. It could also be the result of poor survey design, as Joe Miele, who operates an MTurk data consultancy, pointed out in response to the uproar.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Young doctors revolt, force AMA to consider backing single-payer healthcare for the first time

      This June at the American Medical Association’s annual meeting, a coalition of young doctors forced the AMA to debate its decades of opposition to single-payer healthcare. During the heated debate on the resolution, older doctors lectured their young challengers about the possibility that universal health care would erode doctors’ income.

    • Once Its Greatest Foes, Doctors Are Embracing Single-Payer

      Though they had tried for years to advance a resolution calling on the organization to drop its decades-long opposition to single-payer health care, this was the first time it got a full hearing. The debate grew heated — older physicians warned their pay would decrease, calling younger advocates naïve to single-payer’s consequences. But this time, by the meeting’s end, the AMA’s older members had agreed to at least study the possibility of changing its stance.

    • Single Payer Is Actually a Huge Bargain

      It’s easy to get lost in the weeds here. But at the end of the day, even according to Blahous’s errant projections, Medicare for All would save the average American about $6,000 over a decade. Single payer, in other words, shifts how we pay for health care, but it doesn’t actually increase overall costs—even while providing first-dollar comprehensive coverage to everyone in the nation. The Post’s fact-checker is wrong: Single-payer supporters can and should trumpet this important fact.

    • US invaded by savage tick that sucks animals dry, spawns without mating

      The tick, the Asian longhorned tick (or Haemaphysalis longicornis), has the potential to transmit an assortment of nasty diseases to humans, including an emerging virus that kills up to 30 percent of victims. So far, the tick hasn’t been found carrying any diseases in the US. It currently poses the largest threat to livestock, pets, and wild animals; the ticks can attack en masse and drain young animals of blood so quickly that they die—an execution method called exsanguination.

      Key to the tick’s explosive spread and bloody blitzes is that its invasive populations tend to reproduce asexually, that is, without mating. Females drop up to 2,000 eggs over the course of two or three weeks, quickly giving rise to a ravenous army of clones. In one US population studied so far, experts encountered a massive swarm of the ticks in a single paddock, totaling well into the thousands. They speculated that the population might have a ratio of about one male to 400 females.

  • Security

    • OpenSSH Username Enumeration

      We realized that without this patch, a remote attacker can easily test whether a certain user exists or not (username enumeration) on a target OpenSSH server

  • Defence/Aggression

    • US suspect was ‘training children to commit school shootings’

      A man arrested after 11 malnourished children were found in a remote desert compound was training them to commit school shootings, US media report.

      According to prosecutors’ documents, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj was teaching some of the children, who are aged one to 15, how to use weapons.

    • New Mexico compound suspects were training children for school shootings, prosecutors say

      If the defendants were to “be released from custody, there is a substantial likelihood defendant may commit new crimes due to his planning and preparation for future school shootings,” the court documents said.

    • A bubbling Islamist insurgency in Mozambique could grow deadlier

      Adding to the misery are reports of ruby-related land grabs. In London lawyers are pursuing cases against Gemfields on behalf of over 100 small-scale ruby miners, who claim they were shot at, beaten up and sexually abused by police officers and the company’s security guards.

    • Yazidis in US Mark IS Genocide Anniversary
    • Bomb that killed 40 children in Yemen was supplied by the US

      The bomb used by the Saudi-led coalition in a devastating attack on a school bus in Yemen was sold as part of a US State Department-sanctioned arms deal with Saudi Arabia, munitions experts told CNN.

      Working with local Yemeni journalists and munitions experts, CNN has established that the weapon that left dozens of children dead on August 9 was a 500-pound (227 kilogram) laser-guided MK 82 bomb made by Lockheed Martin, one of the top US defense contractors.

      The bomb is very similar to the one that wreaked devastation in an attack on a funeral hall in Yemen in October 2016 in which 155 people were killed and hundreds more wounded. The Saudi coalition blamed “incorrect information” for that strike, admitted it was a mistake and took responsibility.

    • Why a retired Navy SEAL commander wants Trump to revoke his security clearance

      The former Navy admiral bashed Trump’s leadership and said that Trump used “McCarthy-era tactics” against his critics.

      “Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation,” McRaven wrote.

      McRaven’s letter joined a chorus of detractors who have condemned Trump’s decision Wednesday to revoke Brennan’s security clearance.

    • Inside the Coup Plotting Before the Venezuela Drone Assassination Attempt

      This past April, a number of Venezuelan military dissidents were holed up in neighboring Colombia plotting to overthrow the government of President Nicolas Maduro when they were approached by a group with similar plans.

      The second group, mostly civilians, wanted to assassinate Maduro and suggested joining forces. They showed videos of armed drones shipped from Miami and being tested on a Colombian farm.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • No, Julian Assange is NOT a Fascist.

      No, Julian Assange is not a Fascist. Nor is he to blame for Donald Trump becoming US President. Assange did not support and does not support Trump, who certainly does not and never did support WikiLeaks. Sure, Trump repeatedly exploited WikiLeaks revelations to help himself win the election, but that’s just political opportunism. In 2010 Trump said WikiLeaks revelations merited “the death penalty or something”. After winning power he made his lack of support for WikiLeaks even clearer.

    • London: Ecuador embassy vigil marks six years since Julian Assange granted asylum

      Supporters of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange took part in a demonstration outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London Thursday to mark six years since he sought refuge there and was granted political asylum.

      Chanting slogans including “Protect all journalists, free Assange!” protesters held placards reading, “Free Julian Assange,” “Free Press! Free Assange!” “No Internet Censorship” and “Bring Julian Home.”

      Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno, under pressure from the United States with which he seeks closer relations and investment, has stepped up moves to eject Assange from the embassy.

      [...]

      World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke to some of those at the protest. Mr. Tan from Singapore, who is holidaying in the UK, said he fully supported Assange and was pleased to see people still defending him.

      “I think Julian Assange has done more than anyone this century to promote freedom of speech. In my own country, Singapore, we have been a so-called democratic state since independence [in 1965 from Britain] but it has been the same party in power, the People’s Action Party [PAP], ever since.

      “For a lot of that time the same man, Lee Kuan Yew, was the prime minister. So you could say Singapore is a one-party state. And even though it has absolute power the PAP uses the courts and all sorts of underhand ways to stop opposition parties growing.

      “We are ranked as one of the worst countries in the world in terms of press freedom. And it is getting worse, with more and more restrictive laws.

      “Although the government says it does not censor political opinion on the internet, nearly all the online news channels are owned by the big newspaper companies which are tightly controlled or censor themselves. I will have to look at the World Socialist Web Site when I get back home.

    • Julian Assange Can Vindicate Trump

      President Donald Trump and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) were once enemies as they vied for the presidency, but these days they are best buds working together to spread peace instead of war by pursuing diplomatic measures with countries such as Russia and North Korea, much to the chagrin of the deep state and military-industrial complex.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • EPA docs don’t show any scientific evidence for Scott Pruitt’s climate claims

      The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not been able to offer any scientific evidence for statements made by the agency’s former Administrator Scott Pruitt when he went on CNBC in March 2017 and said that carbon dioxide was not known to be a major contributor to climate change.

    • Palm oil: A new threat to Africa’s monkeys and apes?

      Endangered monkeys and apes will almost certainly face new risks if Africa becomes a big player in the palm oil industry.

    • Trump administration delays Dakota Access Pipeline decision again

      In a status report filed in federal court on Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it needed until August 31 to complete its work on the final portion of the $3.8 billion project. The agency is reviewing information submitted by tribal opponents and Energy Transfer Partners, the firm behind the pipeline, government attorneys said.

    • Standing Rock protesters now protesting Line 5 pipeline

      Shomin, 54, and others have set up a camp to protest Canadian oil transport company Enbridge’s Line 5, which carries millions of gallons of oil and natural gas liquids each day, splitting into two pipelines as it passes underwater through the Straits of Mackinac.

    • ‘Tears running down my face’: farmers turn to crowdfunding for support

      Tammy and Craig Whatman supply 1.2 million litres of milk to the Australian market from their Mayberry farm in Burrawang, NSW but their more than 300 cows are approaching starvation and drought conditions are pushing them to the edge.

    • On climate change, it’s time to start panicking

      Yet this is one of those issues in which — because there are so many twists and turns and overwhelming details — it is easy to lose sight of a crucial fact: If we do not resolve the problem of man-made climate change, it could quite literally spell the end of human civilization.

    • The world is losing the war against climate change

      Yet as the impact of climate change becomes more evident, so too does the scale of the challenge ahead. Three years after countries vowed in Paris to keep warming “well below” 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels, greenhouse-gas emissions are up again. So are investments in oil and gas. In 2017, for the first time in four years, demand for coal rose. Subsidies for renewables, such as wind and solar power, are dwindling in many places and investment has stalled; climate-friendly nuclear power is expensive and unpopular. It is tempting to think these are temporary setbacks and that mankind, with its instinct for self-preservation, will muddle through to a victory over global warming. In fact, it is losing the war.

    • New South Wales drought now affects entire state

      A dry winter has intensified what has been called the worst drought in living memory in parts of eastern Australia.

      NSW produces about a quarter of Australia’s agricultural output. It was officially listed as “100% in drought” on Wednesday.

    • Finnish travel firms consider ban on parks with captive orca

      Finnish holiday companies such as Aurinkomatkat (Suntours), Apollomatkat (Apollo Travels) and TUI Finland are mulling whether they should join in a decision by one company in Britain to ban destinations with animal theme parks that feature captive orcas as entertainment.

      Thomas Cook Group, a British-owned travel group, announced on July 29 that it would be stopping trips and ticket sales to several destinations in 2019.

    • Is Climate the Worst Casualty of War?

      The Pentagon uses more petroleum per day than the aggregate consumption of 175 countries (out of 210 in the world), and generates more than 70 percent of this nation’s total greenhouse gas emissions, based on rankings in the CIA World Factbook. “The U.S. Air Force burns through 2.4 billion gallons of jet fuel a year, all of it derived from oil,” reported an article in the Scientific American. Since the start of the post-9/11 wars, U.S. military fuel consumption has averaged about 144 million barrels annually. That figure doesn’t include fuel used by coalition forces, military contractors, or the massive amount of fossil fuels burned in weapons manufacturing.

    • VW’s CEO was told about emissions software months before scandal: Der Spiegel

      Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) Chief Executive Herbert Diess was told about the existence of cheating software in cars two months before regulators blew the whistle on a multi-billion exhaust emissions scandal, German magazine Der Spiegel said.

  • Finance

    • HUD accuses Facebook of Fair Housing Act violations

      The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) filed a complaint [PDF] against Facebook on Friday. HUD accuses the social media company of violating the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in print and online advertisements on the basis of race, religion, physical ability, gender, and other attributes.

      The HUD complaint [read it here, PDF] claims Facebook allowed advertisers to target prospective buyers or renters and filter out others– for instance, a person interested in “accessibility,” or another from a zip code associated with a given race or economic class.

    • HUD hits Facebook with housing discrimination complaint

      The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits home rental and sale advertisements from discriminating “based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.”

      In its complaint, the federal housing agency outlined several ways landlords or sellers can use Facebook ads to do just that. They could, for example, decide to show the ads to only men, or ensure that their ads don’t appear in the feeds of anyone with “accessibility” listed as an interest.

    • Walmart completes $16 bn acquisition deal; to hold 77% stake in Flipkart

      Founded in 2007, Flipkart has led India’s eCommerce revolution. The company has grown rapidly and earned customer trust, leveraging a powerful technology foundation, including artificial intelligence, and emerging as a leader in electronics, large appliances, mobile and fashion and apparel.

    • Walmart is now the largest shareholder of Flipkart

      Walmart’s $16 billion investment includes $2 billion of new equity funding to help accelerate the growth of the Flipkart business. The Bentonville-based company had announced its intent to acquire Flipkart on May 9 and in less than three months received an approval by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on August 8.

    • Japan’s habits of overwork are hard to change

      The model now holds Japan back. It is miserable for male workers, especially as companies no longer make the money to offer new employees the same benefits and guarantees. It is even worse for women. Those who succeed in a male-dominated workplace risk all if they have children, after which it is hard to pick up careers again. A large number of women don’t return to work at all. As for Japan’s young, many opt out of corporate life to open or staff boutiques, cafés and the like. There they accept low pay rather than toil in bleak offices. None of this helps companies either—Japan has the lowest productivity of the G7.

    • Appeal from a political economist: the left internationalist case for a second referendum on Brexit

      In 1975, a referendum was held on Britain’s membership of the European Union in which a substantial proportion of the left of the Labour Party, and of the labour movement more generally, voted in favour of withdrawal. Why? Because the EU’s institutional structures and trading arrangements favoured the interests of capital far more than they did the interests of labour. Rejecting Britain’s EU membership was therefore a clear-cut and correct class position for the left to take.

      But is that same position correct today, more than four decades later? As the EU’s political and economic structures are still weighted in favour of business interests, it would seem that the answer has to be affirmative: rejection of Britain’s membership of the EU appears to represent a consistency of class principle. However, this consistency is only valid if complete abstraction is made from the seismic changes in the world order that have occurred since 1975. Factor these changes into the equation and what appears to be a consistent class position turns out to be anything but that in reality.

    • Stephan Livera Podcast 15 – Intellectual Property, Bitcoin, and Internet Censorship

      Stephan Kinsella, Intellectual Property lawyer, and libertarian advocate joins me in this episode to discuss:

      His story with bitcoin
      Money as Sui Generis Good
      The imprecise application of Lockean property theory
      Why you can’t own bitcoin, but it probably doesn’t make a big difference anyway
      The harmful effects of patents and copyright
      ‘Internet Censorship’ as it relates to property rights and ownership of private social media platforms

    • Self-made entrepreneur behind Superdry fashion label hands £1m to Brexit referendum campaign

      The businessman behind the Superdry fashion label is donating £1m to the People’s Vote campaign for a new referendum on Brexit.

      Self-made entrepreneur Julian Dunkerton said he was giving the money because there is “no vision for Brexit” being offered by the government.

      It will be used to launch one of the biggest polling operations ever undertaken in UK politics, to bolster the campaign for a new public vote.

    • Brexit is a consequence of low upward mobility

      On June 23, 2016, the British public voted by a 52-48 percent margin for the United Kingdom to leave its membership of the European Union. A popular view is that British citizens favored Brexit because they were swayed by misplaced nationalism and base xenophobia. Most academic studies, however, find that the Brexit vote reflected economic grievances: economically distressed regions had higher “Leave” shares; and people under financial stress were more likely to vote for Brexit. Recent research shows that people who are economically marginalized and see their social standing slipping away are likely to identify themselves with nationalistic and xenophobic ideas and seek solutions for their grievances outside of the political mainstream. People who…see their social standing slipping away are likely to identify themselves with nationalistic and xenophobic ideas and seek solutions for their grievances outside of the political mainstream.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • OMG This This This This!

      Last night, one of my callers said we needed journalists and commentators willing to die for the truth,” Black tweeted. “I disagreed. We need journalists and commentators willing to give up their status, quit their jobs and make less money telling truth and sadly to most that’s the same as dying.”

      There’s so much truth in that I just want to unpack it a bit and riff on its implications from my own perspective. What would happen if a significant percentage of journalists got fed up with spoon feeding lies to a trusting populace and decided to place truth and authenticity before income and prestige? Or, perhaps more realistically, what if people who are interested in reporting and political analysis ceased pursuing positions in the plutocrat-owned mass media and pursued alternate paths to getting the word out instead?

    • Identity politics has conquered the Westminster bubble

      Something strange has happened to British politics: more and more social and political grievances are being aired and conducted through accusations and counter-accusations of Islamophobia or anti-Semitism or some other form of prejudice. This ‘racism’ game seems to be the only one in town at the moment.

    • Michigan Candidate for Governor Linked to Nation of Islam

      NOI has a long history of extremism. Imam Deen Mohammad’s former assistant Imam Mubarak affiliates himself with the mosque and regularly posts to the Center’s Facebook page, including posts describing Jews and Christians as untrustworthy.

      In addition to its connection to the Nation of Islam, the Muslim Center has several ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

    • Brennan: “We have never before seen the approval or removal of security clearances used as a political tool”

      Last week Trump suspended former CIA head John Brennan’s security clearance.

      His defenders immediately rose to declare this shall not stand. Twelve former intelligence officials signed a statement criticizing Trump’s decision, claiming “We have never before seen the approval or removal of security clearances used as a political tool, as was done in this case… this action is quite clearly a signal to other former and current officials to stay silent.”

      [...]

      All those statements are completely and idiotically wrong. My clearance was revoked by my then-employer, the State Department, in 2011 for political reasons, to silence me and others, as part of the Obama war on whistleblowers. And I wasn’t alone. Jesselyn Radack then of The Government Accountability Project wrote “Peter Van Buren is the latest casualty of this punitive trend. The government suspended his top-secret security clearance – which he has held for 23 years – over linking, not leaking to a WikiLeaks document on his blog and publishing a book critical of the government.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Why should Islam be exempt from ridicule?

      However, this is the price of living in a free society where free expression is sacrosanct. Sometimes you have to listen to and tolerate views that may annoy you, and as an adult you should be able to cope with that. Islam cannot be given special exemption from scrutiny, criticism, ridicule or satire. No other religion, philosophy or ideology is, and yet our politicians and much of the mainstream media pander to such demands from some sections in the Muslim community. The silencing term ‘Islamophobia’ is also employed to conflate bigotry against peaceful individual Muslims, which is wrong, with any criticism of Islam. The witch hunt is back and Islamophobes are the new witches.

    • Google defends controversial China project in meeting with employees

      The Dragonfly project would reportedly involve censoring information in accordance with the Chinese government’s demands, which has prompted some employees
      to protest the company’s secrecy over the matter. “I think there are a lot of times when people are in exploratory stages where teams are debating and doing things, so sometimes being fully transparent at that stage can cause issues,” Pichai said, according to BuzzFeed News. “So I do think there are genuine issues teams are grappling with. We are as a company, I think, more committed to transparency than probably any company in the world.”

    • Google’s Brin Cops to Plan to Reclaim Lost Decade in China

      At the company’s weekly all-staff meeting, the project was discussed by co-founder Sergey Brin — the very executive most closely associated with the decision in 2010 to pull out of China. It was a widely lauded move by Google managers, led by Brin, who argued that they’d rather leave than subject their search tool to China’s stringent rules that filter out politically sensitive results, such as the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

    • Here’s What Happened At Today’s Google All-Hands Meeting

      Google leadership addressed Dragonfly, the company’s censored search product for Chinese markets that sparked internal furor when many employees first learned about it two weeks ago, for the first time at an all-hands staff meeting today.

      But according to a source with knowledge of the meeting, after answering a few questions on the subject, executives present at the meeting changed the topic because reporters were live tweeting what they were saying.

    • WordPress removes several alt-right blogs that spread Sandy Hook conspiracies

      Now alt-right bloggers and readers claim several sites have been removed, including conspiracies about Sandy Hook and 9/11. The timing of the move comes just after The New York Times reported on how WordPress was still allowing these bloggers to stay online.

    • Finnish court issues precedent “right to be forgotten” decision for Google to remove data

      The Supreme Administrative Court ruled that Google must remove a convicted man's information from its search engine data, as requested, in respect of his privacy.

    • Twitter Shut Down My Account For “Abusing” John McCain

      They’re calling it a “suspension”, but nobody can view my page and I can’t perform any activities on it, and it appears to be permanent unless I succeed in going through the anonymous and unaccountable appeals process. Now when people try to access my account, they get a screen that looks something like this depending on what device they’re using…

      [...]

      I posted this four days ago when John McCain was trending because Donald Trump didn’t pay him any respect when signing the bloated NDAA military spending bill that was (appropriately) named after him. My reason for doing so was simple: the establishment pundits responsible for manipulating the way Americans think and vote have been aggressively promulgating the narrative that McCain is a hero and a saint, and I think it’s very important to disrupt that narrative. If we allow them to canonize this warmongering psychopath, then they’ll have normalized and sanctified his extensive record of pushing for psychopathic acts of military violence throughout his entire political career. They’ll have helped manufacture support for war and the military-industrial complex war whores who facilitate it. Saying we’ll be glad when he’s gone is a loud and unequivocal way of rejecting that establishment-imposed narrative.

      Interestingly, I’ve been saying this exact same thing repeatedly for over a year. An article I wrote about McCain in July of last year titled “Please Just Fucking Die Already” received a far more widespread backlash than this one, with articles published about it by outlets like CNN, USA Today and the Washington Post. Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar talked about me on The View. I was never once suspended or warned by any social media outlet or blogging platform at that time; it was treated as the political speech about a public figure that it clearly and undeniably is. The only thing that has changed since that time is the climate of internet censorship.

      [...]

      So it looks like anyone who voices a political opinion that is deemed sufficiently offensive to Centrist Twitter can be purged in this way now. If you can get enough people reporting the same thing over and over again for a few days, one of those reports will eventually land in the lap of an admin whose personal bias allows them to squint just right at political speech about a public figure and see a violation of Twitter policy.

      I’ve been writing about the dangers of internet censorship so much lately because this is becoming a major problem. In a corporatist system of government, wherein government power and corporate power are not separated in any meaningful way, corporate censorship is state censorship. The plutocratic class which effectively owns the US government also owns all the mass media, allowing that plutocratic class to efficiently manipulate the way Americans think and vote so as to manufacture public consent for the establishment status quo upon which those plutocratic empires are built.

    • Free Press with Craig Aaron

      On today’s program, we look at the state of the media as we hear updates from Craig Aaron, CEO and president of FreePress.net about their latest campaigns fighting big media consolidation at the FCC, including on matters of net neutrality, and spearheading initiatives to revive local journalism. In the second half of the show we’re joined by Jesse Franzblau, policy analyst with Open the Government coalition to discuss recent and ongoing attacks on journalists and the free press.

    • 1A Victory: SCOTUS Again Confirms ‘Hate Speech’ is Protected

      In the world we awoke to on November 8, 2016, a myth took hold among many progressive people that so-called “hate speech” — speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability — is not protected by the First Amendment. Even Howard Dean contributed to the falsehood.

      The Supreme Court just made it very, very clear that is wrong. Offensive and hateful speech is as protected as any other. It is vital to protect all speech, for the road of prohibiting speech one disagrees with is a slippery one. There is a right to offend; deal with it, snowflakes.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • NSA hacked Al Jazeera & Aretha Franklin ‘disturbs the peace’ (E783)

      Former intelligence officer Philip Giraldi discusses the multitude of ways that sanctions harm the wellbeing of people in targeted countries, and talks about the NSA reportedly hacking Al Jazeera in 2006.

    • After call to implant microchips in people awaiting trial, are they about to become the next threat to our privacy?

      Last year, Privacy News Online wrote about the Swedish SJ Railways allowing customers to use under-the-skin microchip implants for “easy” ticket purchases. That might have seemed a one-off bad idea, but such implants have a surprisingly long history. More worryingly, they seem to be gaining in popularity, and cropping up increasingly in everyday situations, with evident privacy implications.

    • Google Goggles Goes to the Grave, Long Live Lens

      Google Goggles has been around for years, but it hasn’t been updated since 2014. Until now. The new app kills off Goggles entirely, directing users to install Google Lens.

    • Google Goggles is dead, now prompts users to install Lens

      When Google Lens was first announced a year ago, many pointed out its similarities to the long-abandoned Google Goggles app. Both were designed to identify objects in pictures, but Lens is far smarter thanks to a healthy dose of machine learning.

      Google Goggles just received its first update since 2014, which replaces the entire app with a “Hello, Google Lens!” message. It asks users to install the new standalone Lens app, and that’s it.

    • Exclusive: U.S. government seeks Facebook help to wiretap Messenger – sources

      The U.S. government is trying to force Facebook Inc (FB.O) to break the encryption in its popular Messenger app so law enforcement may listen to a suspect’s voice conversations in a criminal probe, three people briefed on the case said, resurrecting the issue of whether companies can be compelled to alter their products to enable surveillance.

    • US seeks Messenger data in case that could mirror one in Australia
    • Have British Spies Been Hacking the EU?

      Just after midnight on Aug. 16, I was called by LBC Radio in London for a comment on a breaking story on the front page of The Daily Telegraph about British spies hacking the EU. Even though I had just retired to bed, the story was just too irresistible, but a radio interview is always too short to do justice to such a convoluted tale. Here are some longer thoughts.

      For those who cannot get past the Telegraph paywall, the gist is that that the European Union has accused the British intelligence agencies of hacking the EU’s side of the Brexit negotiations. Apparently, some highly sensitive and negative EU slides about British Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan for Brexit, the Chequers Plan, had landed in the lap of the British government, which then lobbied the EU to suppress publication.

      Of course, this could be a genuine leak from the Brussels sieve, as British sources are claiming (well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?). However, it is plausible that this is the work of the spies, either by recruiting a paid-up agent well placed within the Brussels bureaucracy, or through electronic surveillance.

    • Modern horror films are finding their scares in dead phone batteries

      Which is why, at this point, the “neutralizing the characters’ cellphones” moment has become a standard part of horror movie language. The most common way around cellphones in horror films is putting the characters in a dead spot where they can’t get reception, either because they’re too isolated or more often because of some kind of technological or supernatural interference.

    • Google clarifies location-tracking policy

      Google has revised an erroneous description on its website of how its “Location History” setting works, clarifying that it continues to track users even if they’ve disabled the setting.

      The change came three days after an Associated Press investigation revealed that several Google apps and websites store user location even if users have turned off Location History. Google has not changed its location-tracking practice in that regard.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • A feeling of apartheid in Holland

      The harsh reality in Holland now is that people have their own barbers, their own shopping markets, their own foods, their own places to socialise, their own worlds. They are not comfortable living around one another, and where they are forced to do so by the rental market, they are not comfortable sharing the space. This is not an opinion – this is a fact backed by government research. The latest findings by the Dutch government explicitly state that feelings of mistrust and loss of identity rise in parallel with an increase in societal diversity.

      The Dutch seem insulated. You can get used to anything if it sticks around long enough. This is also one of the more nefarious effects of segregation: necessarily it is difficult to see and experience the problem if it is in a neighbourhood where you never go. Out of sight, out of mind. Again it harks very much back to South Africa, where the racial tension is so deeply embedded, so much part of the national psyche, that it would be unhealthy and unrealistic to spend your days obsessing over it. And so the poison lingers.

    • The burqa represents an ideology that looks down on women

      Non-Muslim protesters even wore burqas in ‘solidarity’ with Muslim women, standing on the wrong side of history by indirectly opposing the Muslim women who are defying the idea of full veil in countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia.

      Anyone fighting the Danish ban is not only willing to compromise the security of their fellow citizens but they are also endorsing the extremist men who want to alienate their female members, despite the full veil having no roots in core Islamic scriptures.

    • ‘I was kidnapped in London and trafficked for sex’

      Anna came to London from Romania intending to study, but first she needed to earn some money. She took temporary jobs – waitressing, cleaning, maths tutoring. Then one day in March 2011 she was snatched off the street, flown to Ireland and put through nine months of hell.

    • The Perils of Housecleaning Abroad

      Better laws can reduce forced labor, but they will not end it. For starters, throughout much of the Arab world, such regulations operate within a much larger, inherently exploitative structure — the “kafala” system. This form of visa sponsorship is believed to have originated in Gulf states to accommodate foreign workers, mostly from South Asian countries like Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Over the years, the scheme has evolved from helping protect migrants to severely limiting domestic workers’ rights. Under today’s kafala, a migrant is not allowed to leave her employer without the employer’s consent. She is also forbidden from changing employers or traveling out of the country. Escaping is a crime, punishable by arrest and deportation. Human Rights Watch has long argued that no secondary regulation can guarantee the safety of domestic workers as long as the kafala keeps them legally handcuffed to their employers.

    • Amanda Lindhout recounts 15-month Somalia ordeal on Australian TV’s Interview programme

      Young reporter Amanda Lindhout was aware of the risks, but three days after entering Somalia, she and her friend were seized. She told Andrew Denton of her 15-month ordeal.

    • Friday’s papers: Recognising shared parenting, cops feign ignorance, deterring repeat offenders

      National daily Helsingin Sanomat features an analysis of the preliminary investigation report from a trial that began on Tuesday, where top police leaders are suspected of dereliction of their official duties by not ensuring that a database of police informants was properly managed.

      [...]

      HS reports that the behaviour of the leaders of the police and security institutions in Finland when confronted with the problem of Aarnio’s rebel methods was nothing less than “embarrassing”. Throughout the investigation report, their responses to questions on the register were a consistent “I don’t know”, “I can’t answer that”, “I have no knowledge of that”, or “I don’t know.”

    • Slavery Survivor Recalls Trafficking Horrors
    • Facebook accused of helping traffickers by not blocking ads aimed at refugees

      Facebook has been accused of allowing refugees to be tricked into unsafe situations by not blocking advertisements from human traffickers on its site.

    • A Retrospective on Kofi Annan, Dead at 80

      Kofi Annan, the first United Nations secretary general from sub-Saharan Africa, ends his 10-year term on Sunday, leaving behind a complex legacy during an era of genocide, terrorism, and US dominance.

      The 2001 Nobel Peace Prize recipient charted a treacherous course between pleasing and antagonizing Washington while resisting persistent calls for his resignation over the worst corruption scandal in UN history.

      Annan was a secretary general of many contradictions: the first UN staff member to rise to the top, he was later reviled by much of the staff. A champion of developing world causes against entrenched First World power, he was lambasted as a toady of the West. And while critics say his inactions contributed to genocide in Bosnia and Rwanda, he later became a leading advocate for military intervention to curb mass killings.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • NBN Co forced to back down on charging rural users more

      Under pressure from the Federal Government, the NBN Co, the company rolling out Australia’s national broadband network, has backed down on a decision to charge rural and regional users $20 more for their fixed wireless 50/20Mbps plans.

    • A Straightforward Timeline of the FCC’s Twisty DDoS Debacle

      This particular drama started last year, when comedian John Oliver urged viewers of his show, Last Week Tonight, to file comments through the FCC’s website asking the FCC to preserve its net neutrality rules. The next day, the FCC’s site went unresponsive. Rather than blaming the traffic generated by Oliver’s show, the FCC claimed it was the victim of a “distributed denial of service,” or DDoS, attack, meaning that someone had deliberately tried to overload its servers and cause them to crash.

      Security experts, journalists, and Congress immediately questioned the claim, but FCC chair Ajit Pai assured both houses of Congress that the agency had evidence of an attack. [...]

    • Ajit Pai knew DDoS claim was false in January, says he couldn’t tell Congress

      Making false statements to Congress can be punished with fines or imprisonment, but the US Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute any FCC employees, according to the IG report.

  • DRM

    • Netflix will now interrupt series binges with video ads for its other series

      In a statement given to Ars Technica, Netflix described the change as follows: “We are testing whether surfacing recommendations between episodes helps members discover stories they will enjoy faster.” The reasoning, Netflix’s statement says, comes from its last controversial decision: to add auto-playing videos, complete with unmuteable audio, while browsing through Netflix content.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Property Rights, but only To the Extent Needed

      In addition to its patent law jurisprudence, the Federal Circuit also handles appeals from the US Court of Federal Claims (CFC). The CFC hears monetary claims against the U.S. Government – including breach of contract, takings, and unlicensed patent use under 28 U.S.C. Section 1498. The CFC also meets in the same Madison Place building as the Federal Circuit.

      The Federal Circuit’s new decision in Crow Creek Sioux Tribe v. United States, App. No. 2017-2340 (Fed. Cir. August 17, 2018), revolves around a water-rights takings claim against the U.S. Government. The particular claim stems from two dams across the upper Missouri River that limit the Tribe’s ability to use and enjoy river water. The tribe sued in 2016. However, the case was dismissed for failure to state a claim. The Federal Circuit has now affirmed that decision – holding that the tribal water rights are only a weak form of property. In particular, the appellate held that the tribal property right in the water flow only extends to the amount of “to the extent needed to accomplish the purpose of the reservation.” Quoting Winters v. United States, 207 U.S. 564 (1908) (known as “Winters rights” to water). In Cappaert v. United States, 426 U.S. 128, 138 (1976), the court reiterated the winters rule – noting that Winters rights entitle a tribe to “that amount of water necessary to fulfill the purpose of the reservation, no more.”

    • Big Bang: the “stupid patent” on teledildonics has expired
    • The 20-Year Patent on Teledildonics Has Expired

      On August 17, 1998, three men applied for a patent that envisioned how the future might fuck, before we even had the technology to apply it. Today, it’s officially expired, ending a complicated 20-year relationship between teledildonics and patent law.

    • Cybersex toy industry heats up as infamous “teledildonics” patent climaxes

      On Friday, US Patent No. 6,368,268 expired after being on file with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for 20 years. The company that had previously held the patent, TZU Technologies, LLC, of Pasadena, California, had filed 10 lawsuits alleging infringement since 2015—one as recently as December 2017. All suits appear to have been settled, with TZU Technologies receiving a payout in exchange for dropping the lawsuit.

    • Trademarks

      • Getting Worse: The Office Of Hawaiian Affairs Jumps Into The Aloha Poke Situation As Chicago Chain Stonewalls

        It’s been a week or so since we last checked in on the Aloha Poke situation, so perhaps you were wondering how things were coming along with the Chicago chain that wasn’t founded by Hawaiians attempting to bully native Hawaiian poke joints across the country out of using their own language and culture over trademark concerns. You will recall that Aloha Poke Co. had sent cease and desist notices to many poke restaurants that dared to use the ubiquitous Hawaiian term “Aloha” in their names, including to proprietors on the Hawaiian Islands themselves. That many operations throughout the country had been chugging along sharing this name and food culture without issue apparently didn’t prevent Aloha Poke Co. from registering “Aloha Poke” as a trademark and then go the bullying route. The last touchstone in all of this was a hundreds-strong planned protest at the company’s headquarters in Chicago, which indeed ended up happening.

        So, how have things gone since? Well, Aloha Poke Co. appears to be simply digging in its heels and trying to ride this storm out rather than backing down, but it’s a strategy that doesn’t appear to be working all that well. Just this week, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, an organization that promotes and protects Hawaiian culture, has jumped into the fray, both voicing its displeasure at Aloha Poke Co.’s bullying and essentially filling up its homepage with news about the protests.

    • Copyrights

      • ISP Has No ‘Safe Harbor’ Defense in Piracy Case, Record Labels Argue

        Texas-based Internet provider Grande Communications has no right to a safe harbor defense, several major record labels have informed the court. The companies are requesting a summary judgment, arguing that evidence and testimony clearly show that the ISP’s acceptable use policy was a sham.

      • RIAA Paid Handsomely for BitTorrent Piracy Evidence

        Anti-piracy outfit Rightscorp has profited handsomely from the music industry’s efforts to hold ISPs accountable for pirating subscribers. According to a recent court filing, the company convinced the RIAA to pay $700,000 for notices related to Grande Communications.

      • Out-of-control censorship machines removed my article warning of out-of-control censorship machines

        A few days ago, about a dozen articles and campaign sites criticising EU plans for copyright censorship machines silently vanished from the world’s most popular search engine. Proving their point in the most blatant possible way, the sites were removed by exactly what they were warning of: Copyright censorship machines.

      • Prenda Lawyer Pleads Guilty in Pirate Bay Honeypot Case

        Paul Hansmeier, one of the lead attorneys behind the controversial law firm Prenda, has pleaded guilty to mail, wire fraud, and money laundering. The Pirate Bay provided important evidence in the case, where Hansmeier and his colleague were found creating and uploading porn movies to file-sharing sites to extract settlements from alleged pirates.

08.18.18

David Ruschke, the PTAB’s Chief, is Moving So the Patent Maximalists Push Their Anti-PTAB Agenda

Posted in America, Patents at 2:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Scott Graham [1, 2, 3, 4] heard from PTAB practitioners that Ruschke is moving

A moving box

Summary: As the chief judge of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) moves elsewhere at the USPTO there are those who hope that a replacement will undo PTAB inter partes reviews (IPRs), which generally improve the quality of granted patents

Michael Loney was one of the first people to report that Ruschke from PTAB is moving on (or sideways, or upwards). His background, which involves enduring attacks and abuse from patent maximalists, may not have suited his character. So here’s what’s coming next in his career:

David Ruschke, who has been Patent Trial and Appeal Board chief judge since 2016, has been given a role intended to improve the free flow between the Patents and PTAB business unites at the USPTO

It didn’t take long for the patent trolls’ lobby, IAM, to pressure Iancu to marginalise PTAB after Ruschke’s departure (or announcement thereof). IAM is not even pretending to respect PTAB; it’s a hostile trolls-funded think tank and under the loaded headline “Exit of PTAB chief judge gives Iancu further opportunity to put his own imprint on agency leadership” it wrote:

The news that David Ruschke, chief judge of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), is leaving his role to take up a new position at the USPTO took much of the DC patent community by surprise. After the move was disclosed in a town hall meeting on Tuesday and a memo from Director Iancu was circulated internally, PTAB practitioners started to pick up on events and by that evening it had hit the headlines, with Scott Graham over at law.com the first to break the story.

Scott Graham is another one of those patent maximalists, fed by other patent maximalists as his sourced (as we noted here before). With an imminent departure of a good and thick-skinned judge like Ruschke we need to watch closely who’s suggested as a replacement (and who by).

If David Chiles Turned the USPTO Into a ‘Microsoft Shop’ That Might Explain Three Days (or More) of Outages

Posted in America, Patents at 2:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

David Chiles is blamed by some, which gives him yet more unwanted attention [1, 2]

David Chiles

Summary: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is having profound technical issues; some already point their fingers at David Chiles, alleged to have been hired/promoted for the wrong reasons

THE INTERNAL affairs of the USPTO have vexed some insiders, who said that the CIO was hired/promoted for reasons associated with nepotism (people hired for family connections, not for skills). A few days ago we wrote about how the USPTO planned to penalise non-Microsoft customers, in effect favouring proprietary Microsoft formats over industry standards or open standards (which Microsoft obviously opposes).

“That’s far too much money and it is reminiscent of what goes on at the EPO where Battistelli’s companion is still the CIO.”Moments ago we accessed the official USPTO Web site only to be greeted with a pop-up that says: “A number of USPTO online business systems remain offline. We understand the impact to our users and the frustrations that come from having such systems down unexpectedly. The USPTO is working hard to resolve the issue and we will continue to provide updates to you. The latest information on alternative methods of filing and payment and our systems status can always be found on our website. More updates will be forthcoming.”

“Day Three of USPTO E-Filing Outages” is what Dennis Crouch called it a couple of days ago, so we assume that now it’s the fifth day in a row. “Note that the system failures do not automatically serve as any excuse for filing delays,” Crouch wrote. “The Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) is currently led by Acting Chief David Chiles and has a budget of $600 million.”

That’s far too much money and it is reminiscent of what goes on at the EPO where Battistelli's companion is still the CIO.

08.17.18

Links 17/8/2018: GNU/Linux From ASUS, Debian at 25, Lubuntu Plans

Posted in News Roundup at 6:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • ASUS Begins Offering Linux-Based Endless OS On Select Laptops

      It has been a while since ASUS last offered any Linux options for laptops, but they appear to have a new effort underway with Endless OS.

      For those that remember Eee PC from a decade ago, ASUS used to offer some Linux laptops/netbook options that back was using Xandros Linux during the netbook fad…

    • Endless OS and Asus, Update on L1TF Exploit, Free Red Hat DevConf.US in Boston, Linux 4.19 Kernel Update

      Some of us may recall a time when ASUS used to ship a stripped down version of Xandros Linux with their line of Eee PC netbooks. Last week, the same company announced that Endless OS will be supporting non-OS offerings of their product. However it comes with a big disclaimer stating that ASUS will not officially support the operating system’s compatibility issues.

    • The Chromebook Grows Up

      What started out as a project to provide a cheap, functional, secure and fast laptop experience has become so much more. Chromebooks in general have suffered from a lack of street-cred acceptance. Yes, they did a great job of doing the everyday basics—web browsing and…well, that was about it. Today, with the integration of Android apps, all new and recently built Chrome OS devices do much more offline—nearly as much as a conventional laptop or desktop, be it video editing, photo editing or a way to switch to a Linux desktop for developers or those who just like to do that sort of thing.

    • Windows 10 Linux Distribution Overload? We have just the thing [Ed: Microsoft is still striving to control and master GNU/Linux through malware, Vista 10]
  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Some Of The Smaller Features Hitting The Linux 4.19 Kernel This Week

      Here is a look at some of the smaller features landing in the Linux 4.19 kernel this week in a variety of different subsystems.

    • Linux Kernel Diverts Question To Distros: Trust CPU Hardware Random Number Generators?

      In a controversial move, the Linux kernel will be pushing the question off to distribution vendors on whether to put trust in CPU hardware random number generators.

      Google’s Ted Ts’o sent out the random subsystem updates this week for the Linux 4.19 kernel merge window. In addition to the recent change of better protecting entropy sent in from user-space, the decision on whether to trust the CPU hardware random number generators like Intel’s RdRand will now be left up to the Linux distribution vendors or end-users having the final say in overriding that decision.

    • L1TF / Foreshadow Mitigations Land In Linux 4.18 / 4.17 / 4.14 / 4.9 / 4.4 Kernel Update

      Linux stable maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman has released new updates across the Linux 4.18, 4.17, 4.14, 4.9, and 4.4 kernel channels to address the recently exposed L1 Terminal Fault “L1TF” / Foreshadow Meltdown-like CPU vulnerability affecting Intel processors.

      Linux 4.4.148, 4.9.120, 4.14.63, 4.17.15, and 4.18.1 are all out this morning with their principal changes in these patch releases being the inclusion of L1TF/Foreshadow mitigation. As covered already, the default behavior is to carry out conditional L1D flushes on VMENTER, but there are kernel knobs available for always forcing L1 cache flushes on VMENTER and the full protection of disabling SMP/HT support.

    • Linux 4.19 Goes Ahead And Makes Lazy TLB Mode Lazier For Small Performance Benefit

      Last month I wrote about lazy TLB mode improvements on the way to the mainline kernel and this week the changes were indeed merged for the in-development Linux 4.19 kernel.

    • AMD Begins Staging AMDGPU Patches For Linux 4.20/5.0, Including FreeSync Refactoring

      With the DRM feature work for Linux 4.19 now in the kernel, AMD’s stellar open-source driver team has begun staging their work-in-progress changes for the AMDGPU Direct Rendering Manager driver for the next kernel cycle.

      There is now drm-next-4.20-wip as part of AMD’s development Git tree of the Linux kernel for Radeon/AMDGPU development. That’s for “Linux 4.20″ that will almost surely be renamed to “Linux 5.0″ given Linus Torvalds’ expressed versioning preference of bumping the major kernel version once hitting that number equal to all of his fingers and toes.

    • More AMDGPU Work For Linux 4.19 Has VCN + PSP Firmware Hookup For Future Hardware

      The good news is that the open-source AMD graphics team continues working on support for upcoming hardware, but the bad news is that it looks like their VCN video hardware might be a bit more locked down than it is now.

      With current Raven Ridge APUs there is VCN as “Video Core Next” as a replacement to UVD and VCE for video decoding and encoding, respectively. This dedicated hardware core for video encode/decode has been supported well now for some months on the open-source Linux graphics driver stack. The latest patches hitting the mailing list for hopeful integration to Linux 4.19 are a bit interesting and reveal a change for future hardware.

    • POWER Changes On The Way To Linux 4.19 Include More Spectre Work

      The POWER architecture changes have been submitted for the in-development Linux 4.19 kernel.

    • Qualcomm Adreno 600 Series Support Submitted For Linux 4.19

      Following the main DRM features update for Linux 4.19, a secondary pull request has now been submitted that offers up the nine thousand lines of code for bringing up the Adreno 600 series support for supporting the very latest Qualcomm Snapdragon SoCs.

      Last week Freedreno/MSM founder and maintainer Rob Clark proposed getting A6xx support into Linux 4.19 after this Direct Rendering Manager code has been reviewed and revised for months on mailing lists. These code contributions in part come from Qualcomm / Code Aurora and there are also Google developers working on it too, including the bring-up of A6xx support within the Freedreno Gallium3D driver. This A6xx device support is good enough for running various OpenGL test cases and other basic code. The Adreno 600 series hardware can be found in Snapdragon SoCs like the new Snapdragon 845, 730, and others.

    • Linux Foundation

      • James Bottomley on Linux, Containers, and the Leading Edge

        It’s no secret that Linux is basically the operating system of containers, and containers are the future of the cloud, says James Bottomley, Distinguished Engineer at IBM Research and Linux kernel developer. Bottomley, who can often be seen at open source events in his signature bow tie, is focused these days on security systems like the Trusted Platform Module and the fundamentals of container technology.

      • More Open Source Automotive Grade Linux Members
      • Automotive Grade Linux Extends Global Reach with Six New Members

        Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), a collaborative cross-industry effort developing an open platform for the connected car, is announcing that six new members have joined the project including Kinetica, Neusoft, NXM Technologies, NYU Tandon School of Engineering, Spireon Inc. and Veniam. With the addition of these companies and organizations, the project is 130 members strong.

        “We are delighted to see six new members deepen their investment in automotive open source,” said Dan Cauchy, Executive Director of Automotive Grade Linux, The Linux Foundation. “As we continue to advance our platform through the release of AGL UCB 6.0, expanding our global community is crucial. We look forward to further leveraging their expertise in embedded automotive technologies as we advance the connected car ecosystem.”

      • Open Source Comes to Hollywood and a New Foundation is Formed

        In another sign of how mainstream “open source” technology has become, last Friday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences—you know, the folks who award the Oscars—officially partnered with the Linux Foundation to create the Academy Software Foundation, an open-source repository for film and media makers.

      • Hollywood teams with Linux Foundation to fix open source

        Formation of a new industry body always begs the question why it was needed now and did not exist before and that certainly applies to the newly formed Academy Software Foundation (ASWF). It has been established by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) and the Linux Foundation to foster open source software development in the movie and video production businesses. It already has strong backing with premier founding members including Cisco, Google Cloud, Intel, Animal Logic, Blue Sky Studios, DreamWorks, Walt Disney Studios and Weta Digital, who are a combination of major content creators and video infrastructure vendors. The focus is on animation, audio and visual effects, for which 84% of studios already use open source software,…

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux Scaling Benchmarks With The AMD Threadripper 2990WX In Various Workloads

        While yesterday were the benchmarks showing how Linux games struggle to scale past a few CPU cores/threads, in this article is a look at the scaling performance of various applications/workloads under Linux up to 64 threads using the AMD Threadripper 2990WX. Here’s a look at how the Linux performance changes in a variety of applications from one to sixty-four threads with this new HEDT processor.

        The benchmarks today are for mostly curiosity sake about Linux and the Threadripper 2990WX, particularly on the impact of 32 threads (cores) to 64 threads with SMT, etc. In the next few days is a much more interesting comparison and that is looking at the Windows Server 2019 vs. Linux performance on the Threadripper 2990WX at various SMT and CCX configurations. That should reveal a lot about Windows’ scaling abilities given the immense interest this week in the Windows vs. Linux Threadripper performance. But for today are just these reference numbers.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • What is your favorite Linux window manager?

      While many Linux users have a strong preference for a window manager of choice, for those just making their way over from Windows or Mac, it may be hard to understand what a window manager is, or that it’s even something you have a choice in. A window manager is the part of your system that dictates how individual application windows look, and how you can interact with, control, and arrange them.

      There are many choices, some more popular than others. Yesterday, we wished the GNOME Project a happy twenty-first birthday and launched a cheat sheet for interacting with GNOME 3′s windows via hotkeys. But others are popular too; our article on “5 reasons the i3 window manager makes Linux better” was last week’s most-read article.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Applications 18.08 Open-Source Software Suite Released, Here’s What’s New

        Being in development for the past several months, KDE Applications 18.08 goes stable today and will hit the software repositories of various popular GNU/Linux distributions during the next few days. This is a major release and brings numerous new features and improvements across multiple apps, including Dolphin, Konsole, Gwenview, KMail, Akonadi, Cantor, Spectacle, and others.

        “We continuously work on improving the software included in our KDE Application series, and we hope you will find all the new enhancements and bug fixes useful,” reads today’s announcement. “More than 120 bugs have been resolved in applications including the Kontact Suite, Ark, Cantor, Dolphin, Gwenview, Kate, Konsole, Okular, Spectacle, Umbrello and more!”

      • KDE Applications 18.08 Released

        Today the quarterly update to the collection of KDE software applications has shipped with its newest features.

      • KDE Ships KDE Applications 18.08.0

        We continuously work on improving the software included in our KDE Application series, and we hope you will find all the new enhancements and bug fixes useful!

      • KDE 18.08 Receives Massive Quarterly Update with Entire KDE Suite Upgraded

        KDE released earlier today their quarterly update to the entire collection of KDE software applications with all of the latest features. This includes many application enhancements and bug fixes – over 120 bug fixes to be more precise.

        The Konsole (KDE’s terminal emulator app) has received some additional changes, such as the ‘Find’ widget now appearing on the top of new windows, which will not disrupt workflows. Furthermore, it now features support for more escape sequences (DECSCUSR and XTerm Alternate Scroll Mode), as well as being able to assign any character as a key for a shortcut.

      • KDE5 August release for Slackware with Applications 18.08

        A repetition of events… just like in July, an update in Slackware-current broke lots of 3rd party stuff. This time it was the boost package that got updated and, oh man. The most visible victims are my LibreOffice and Qbittorrent packages, but also some of the software in Plasma5 stopped working due to the library ABI update in libboost. A new LibreOffice package is coming (64bit package is ready) and Qbittorrent will be next, but first: back to the topic for this article.

        Here is my monthly update of my ‘ktown’ repository, containing latest sources from the KDE download server and built on the latest Slackware-current.

      • Invite me to your meetings

        I was invited by my boss to a dinner. He uses exchange or outlook365 or something like that. The KMail TNEF parser didn’t succeed in parsing all the info, so I’m kind of trying to fix it.

      • Last week in Kube
      • Akademy & Binary Factory

        During Akademy it was brought to my (and the other Kate developers) attention, that we should take a closer look on the Binary Factory for KDE. There were some blogs about the Binary Factory in the past but we somehow never really linked it on our homepage as potential source for up-to-date installers for the different operating systems. I feel a bit sorry for neglecting that area in the past year.

        Therefore, as we have now some time during Akademy together as team, we did take a look at the current state of the installers there for Windows and macOS.

      • Akademy: closing time

        Akademy is always a whirlwind which is my excuse for not blogging! Today we wrapped up the program which leaves us in a nearly-empty venue and a bit of time after lunch to catch up.

        I did manage to gather photos together in Google Photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/qHPwehW8C1zPGuav7

        Thanks again to the KDE e.V. for sponsoring my hostel and the Ubuntu Community Fund for part of my travel expenses. This allowed me to attend. Meeting Popey from the Ubuntu community and the Limux team was great, although we didn’t do as much Kubuntu work as in past years. However, attending the Distro BoF was a great experience; very friendly and collaborative.

      • Akademy 2018 Wrap-Up

        The Akademy 2018 ends today.

        Like each Akademy I attended, it was an interesting experience. As the location switches around each year, so does the set of people attending change every year, too.

        That is actually nice, as you get always to meet some of your old “friends” but additionally new members of the KDE community. I think this kind of “conferences” or “meetings” are an important way to get some more cohesion in the community, which is sometimes a bit lacking between people only meeting online via mail/…

      • Memories from Akademy 2018

        Here is my semi-traditional “memories from Akademy” post for this year. I have to admit I don’t manage to do it consistently each year but this edition was special enough that for sure it deserves one.

        First of all, it was the first time I did live sketchnoting of the sessions I attended. I posted the result on social media as soon as the talk was over and I also had a special blog post to present them. I think it was all well received which is motivating. I will likely do it again I think.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Richard Hughes: NVMe Firmware: I Need Your Data

        In a recent Google Plus post I asked what kind of hardware was most interesting to be focusing on next. UEFI updating is now working well with a large number of vendors, and the LVFS “onboarding” process is well established now. On that topic we’ll hopefully have some more announcements soon. Anyway, back to the topic in hand: The overwhelming result from the poll was that people wanted NVMe hardware supported, so that you can trivially update the firmware of your SSD. Firmware updates for SSDs are important, as most either address data consistency issues or provide nice performance fixes.

      • Gnome Shell Android Integration Extension GSConnect V12 Released

        GSConnect v12 was released yesterday with changes like more resilient sshfs connections (which should make browsing your Android device from the desktop more reliable), fixed extension icon alignment, along with other improvements.

        GSConnect is a Gnome Shell extension that integrates your Android device(s) with the desktop. The tool makes use of the KDE Connect protocol but without using any KDE dependencies, keeping your desktop clean of unwanted packages.

      • Linux Release Roundup: Communitheme, Cantata & VS Code

        GSconnect is a magical GNOME extension that lets your Android phone integrate with your Linux desktop. So good, in fact, that Ubuntu devs want to ship it as part of the upcoming Ubuntu 18.10 release (though last I heard it probably just end up in the repos instead).

        Anyway, a new version of GSconnect popped out this week. GSconnect v12 adds a nifty new features or two, as well as a few fixes here, and a few UI tweaks there.

  • Distributions

    • AryaLinux: A Distribution and a Platform

      I’ll be honest, if you’re just a standard desktop user, AryaLinux is not for you. Although you can certainly get right to work on the desktop, if you need anything outside of the default applications, you might find it a bit too much trouble to bother with. If, on the other hand, you’re a developer, AryaLinux might be a great platform for you. Or, if you just want to see what it’s like to build a Linux distribution from scratch, AryaLinux is a pretty easy route.

      Even with its quirks, AryaLinux holds a lot of promise as both a Linux distribution and platform. If the developers can see to it to build a GUI front-end for the alps package manager, AryaLinux could make some serious noise.

    • Reviews

      • GNU/Linux Review: Linux Mint 19 LTS Cinnamon Edition

        LMCE 19 has a new star for the future: Timeshift. It makes updating now less-worrisome and will encourage users to experiment more without afraid to break anything. We can revert back easily now! A method to make stable system more stable and to prevent broken system easier for end-user. This is a very good thing for both long-time and new users, even I hope this feature to be exist on other distros as well. Second star, it supports HiDPI better now, which means Linux Mint will embrace more users from Retina Display-alike computers and more! Other features, such as faster Nemo and more extensive Software Manager, will make you love Linux Mint even more. It’s really quick to install (15 minutes or less) and brings complete set of apps (LibreOffice, Firefox, and so on). Finally, I recommend Mint users to upgrade to this version or at least try it on LiveCD session. Enjoy!

    • New Releases

      • Debian-Based Q4OS Linux Operating System for Raspberry Pi Goes Stable

        Q4OS emphasizes the Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE), which continues the legacy of the old KDE 3.5 desktop. The latest release, Q4OS 2.5, was available only for 64-bit (x86_64) and 32-bit (i686 PAE) hardware architectures, but now it can also be installed on ARM hardware like the Raspberry Pi, Pine64, and Pinebook.

        “Q4OS on Raspberry Pi performs at lightning speed due to its exceptionally low hardware requirements,” say the devs in the announcement. “All the native Q4OS features, for example “Desktop profiler” and “Setup tool,” are available and fully functional within the Raspberry Pi Q4OS edition.”

    • Red Hat Family

      • Talking UX at DevConf.us 2018

        DevConf.us 2018 is the first annual, free, Red Hat sponsored technology conference in North America for contributors to free and open source projects. It follows on the success of DevConf.cz and DevConf.in, and will highlight emerging technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence, serverless, containers and orchestration, as well as important foundational practices like quality engineering and user experience.

        We sat down with a few of the Red Hat speakers presenting on user experience (UX) in open source technologies to talk about user experience and how it impacts them in all of their different roles.

      • Visualizing a DevOps mindset
      • Red Hat Advances Container Storage

        Red Hat has moved to make storage a standard element of a container platform with the release of version 3.1 of Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage (OCS), previously known as Red Hat Container Native Storage.

        Irshad Raihan, senior manager for product marketing for Red Hat Storage, says Red Hat decided to rebrand its container storage offering to better reflect its tight integration with the Red Hat OpenShift platform. In addition, the term “container native” continues to lose relevance given all the different flavors of container storage that now exist, adds Raihan.

        The latest version of the container storage software from Red Hat adds arbiter volume support to enable high availability with efficient storage utilization and better performance, enhanced storage monitoring and configuration via the Red Hat implementation of the Prometheus container monitoring framework, and block-backed persistent volumes (PVs) that can be applied to both general application workloads and Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform (OCP) infrastructure workloads. Support for PVs is especially critical because to in the case of Red Hat OCS organizations can deploy more than 1,000 PVs per cluster, which helps to reduce cluster sprawl within the IT environment, says Raihan.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Lennart Jern: How Do You Fedora?

          Lennart Jern is a Swedish-speaking Finn, who has been living in Umeå, Sweden, for about three years. He was born and raised in southern Finland where he obtained his master’s degree in applied mathematics. His time at university exposed Lennart’s true passion. “While at the university, I realized that computer science was really what I wanted to work with.” In order to follow his dream of working in computer science he moved to Sweden with his wife to pursue a master’s program in computer science. After a short while he had learned enough to land a job with a local startup. “I’m working with cloud/distributed systems, specifically with tools like kubernetes and OpenShift.”

          Lennart’s first contact with Linux was in 2006. Some of the computers in his high school were running OpenSuse. He installed Ubuntu’s Hardy Heron in 2008 and has been using Linux ever since.

        • FPgM report: 2018-33
    • Debian Family

      • Happy 25th Birthday, Debian!

        Today, August 16, 2018, the Debian Project celebrates its 25th anniversary since the late Ian Murdock announced the Debian Linux Release, which is now known as the Debian Project.

        It’s been 25 years since the late Ian Murdock, the founder of the Debian project, send his famous email to the comp.os.linux.development mailing list announcing that he is working on a new release and was looking for suggestions. He called it the Debian Linux Release, which was put together from scratch by the Linux software developer, though it was inspired by Softlanding Linux System (SLS).

      • Debian: 25 years and counting

        The Debian project is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its founding by Ian Murdock on August 16, 1993. The “Bits from Debian” blog had this to say: “Today, the Debian project is a large and thriving organization with countless self-organized teams comprised of volunteers. While it often looks chaotic from the outside, the project is sustained by its two main organizational documents: the Debian Social Contract, which provides a vision of improving society, and the Debian Free Software Guidelines, which provide an indication of what software is considered usable. They are supplemented by the project’s Constitution which lays down the project structure, and the Code of Conduct, which sets the tone for interactions within the project. Every day over the last 25 years, people have sent bug reports and patches, uploaded packages, updated translations, created artwork, organized events about Debian, updated the website, taught others how to use Debian, and created hundreds of derivatives.” Happy birthday to the project from all of us here at LWN.

      • Mixed Emotions On Debian Anniversary

        When I woke up this morning, my first conscious thought was that today is the 25th anniversary of a project I myself have been dedicated to for nearly 24 years, the Debian GNU/Linux distribution. I knew it was coming, but beyond recognizing the day to family and friends, I hadn’t really thought a lot about what I might do to mark the occasion.

        Before I even got out of bed, however, I learned of the passing of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul. I suspect it would be difficult to be a caring human being, born in my country in my generation, and not feel at least some impact from her mere existence. Such a strong woman, with amazing talent, whose name comes up in the context of civil rights and women’s rights beyond the incredible impact of her music. I know it’s a corny thing to write, but after talking to my wife about it over coffee, Aretha really has been part of “the soundtrack of our lives”. Clearly, others feel the same, because in her half-century-plus professional career, “Ms Franklin” won something like 18 Grammy awards, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and other honors too numerous to list. She will be missed.

      • Steve McIntyre: 25 years…

        We had a small gathering in the Haymakers pub tonight to celebrate 25 years since Ian Murdock started the Debian project.

      • Happy 25th Birthday, Debian Linux!

        Debian is one of the most important open source projects ever. The Debian Linux operating system is extremely popular in its own right, but also, it is used as the base for countless other distributions. Ubuntu, for instance — one of the most-used distros — is Debian-based. Even Linux Mint, which is based on Ubuntu, also has a Debian edition. Not to mention, Raspbian — the official Raspberry Pi OS — which is based on Debian too.

        Today, Debian is celebrating a very important milestone — a 25th birthday! Yes, it is seriously that old — its development was announced on August 16, 1993. Hell, many of its current users weren’t even born then!

      • Distro inferno: Debian’s still rocking at 25

        Hot on the heels of Slackware’s quarter century comes the 25th anniversary of the announcement that Debian was incoming.

        Unlike Slackware, however, the Debian flavour of Linux remains hugely popular and the platform can usually be found troubling the top five rankings on open source OS tracker DistroWatch.com.

        Announced by Ian Murdock on 16 August 1993 (the name “Debian” is a portmanteau of the name of Murdock’s girlfriend Debra, and his own forename, Ian) the original announcement cites Murdock’s dissatisfaction with the de-facto distro of the day, SLS, and his desire to create something “sleeker and slimmer”. It would, however, take until January 1994 before an open beta was unleashed on the public with v0.90.

      • Derivatives

        • Elive 3.0 to be released in a month

          For those of us who have been following this stunningly beautiful distro, the 8-year waiting seems to be finally coming to an end.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Mir Has Partial Support For The NVIDIA Proprietary Driver, X11 Support Remains WIP

            Canonical’s team responsible for continuing to advance the Mir display server has been making good progress this summer on fleshing out some missing functionality.

            This week partial support for the NVIDIA proprietary driver was merged. In particular, the EGLStreams platform support. This is the initial bits for getting the NVIDIA proprietary driver to play along with Mir, but isn’t yet the full implementation required to get OpenGL clients working on Mir with the NVIDIA driver. That work is still being pursued and is a work-in-progress. Mir’s path for NVIDIA support is similar to that of the Wayland compositors with needing to implement EGLStreams and there not yet being any new Unix device memory allocation API that NVIDIA has been pushing for years to create the best of both worlds — in terms of EGLStreams and GBM APIs for all driver vendors to agree upon.

          • Mir News: 17th August 2018
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Lubuntu Planning Switch To Wayland, Porting Openbox To Mir

              Ubuntu derivative Lubuntu that is now using the LXQt desktop environment has laid out more of their plans to switch over to Wayland rather than the existing X.Org based session.

              In order to achieve their Wayland support with the LXQt desktop, they intend to port the Openbox window manager to using the Mir display server and also leveraging QtLayerShell. Mir, of course, has been focused on Wayland compatibility the past year and is becoming quite solid as of late with its core Wayland protocol support.

            • Lubuntu Development Newsletter #9

              We’ve been polishing the desktop more, but work has been blocked by the still ongoing Qt transition.

              The 16.04 to 18.04 upgrade has now been enabled! Please do let us know if there’s any issues. Here’s a video we made when 17.04 went End of Life; the instructions are still current.

              Our main developer, Simon Quigley, became an Ubuntu Core Developer this past Monday! He now has access to the entire Ubuntu archive.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Salesforce Open-Sourcing Machine Learning Software Behind Its ‘Einstein’ AI

    Salesforce is opening sourcing TransmogrifAI, key software behind Einstein, the AI that’s strategic to the company’s future in sales, customer services and more.

    TransmogrifAI helps build machine learning systems at enterprise scale. While consumer AI generally learns from a small number of well-understood use cases and datasets, enterprise scale AI requires a broad diversity of data and use cases, which makes building enterprise AI systems harder, according to a post Thursday on the Salesforce Engineering blog by Shubha Nabar, senior director of data science at Salesforce Einstein. A broad range of data is required to predict enterprise events such as customer churn, sales forecasts and lead conversions.

  • Salesforce plans to open-source the technology behind its Einstein machine-learning services

    Salesforce is open-sourcing the method it has developed for using machine-learning techniques at scale — without mixing valuable customer data — in hopes other companies struggling with data science problems can benefit from its work.

    The company plans to announce Thursday that TransmogrifAI, which is a key part of the Einstein machine-learning services that it believes are the future of its flagship Sales Cloud and related services, will be available for anyone to use in their software-as-a-service applications. Consisting of less than 10 lines of code written on top of the widely used Apache Spark open-source project, it is the result of years of work on training machine-learning models to predict customer behavior without dumping all of that data into a common training ground, said Shubha Nabar, senior director of data science for Salesforce Einstein.

  • Salesforce takes ML library behind Einstein to open-source
  • Salesforce Open-Sources Automated Machine-Learning Library Used To Build Einstein
  • Salesforce Einstein team open sources TransmogrifAI, their automated machine learning library
  • Salesforce open-sources TransmogrifAI, the machine learning library that powers Einstein

    Machine learning models — artificial intelligence (AI) that identifies relationships among hundreds, thousands, or even millions of data points — are rarely easy to architect. Data scientists spend weeks and months not only preprocessing the data on which the models are to be trained, but extracting useful features (i.e., the data types) from that data, narrowing down algorithms, and ultimately building (or attempting to build) a system that performs well not just within the confines of a lab, but in the real world.

  • Salesforce open-sources the tool it uses to build Einstein’s AI models

    A day after Oracle Corp. released the code for an internally developed tool designed to ease artificial intelligence projects, Salesforce.com Inc. is joining the fray too.

    Salesforce today open-sourced TransmogrifAI, a homegrown piece of software for automating AI initiatives. The tool addresses a different aspect of the task than Oracle’s tool. Whereas the database giant’s goal is to simplify the task of connecting models to applications, Salesforce is focusing on making it easier to build those models.

  • Cloudgizer: An introduction to a new open source web development tool

    Cloudgizer is a free open source tool for building web applications. It combines the ease of scripting languages with the performance of C, helping manage the development effort and run-time resources for cloud applications.

    Cloudgizer works on Red Hat/CentOS Linux with the Apache web server and MariaDB database. It is licensed under Apache License version 2.

  • Instaclustr grabs $15 mln from Level Equity
  • Open-source software services company Instaclustr lands $15M funding round
  • Open-Source Software Program Providers Firm Instaclustr Lands $15M
  • Open Source is Now a Big Data Service

    Open source technologies continue to make headway across a range of industries undergoing digital conversions. The big data sector has of course led the way with a growing list of Apache Foundation projects ranging from Hadoop to Spark that have made their way into data-centric enterprises coping with huge data volumes.

    Among the vendors seeking to make access to open source technologies a single-click service is the Silicon Valley startup Instaclustr, which touts its “Open Source-as-a-Service” platform as a way of hosting and managing big data technologies in their “100 percent open source form.”

  • Canberra big data start-up Instaclustr raises $20.6m led by NY fund Level Equity

    Canberra-based start-up Instaclustr has raised a $US15 million ($20.6 million) Series B funding round, led by a New York venture capital fund Level Equity as it looks to hire staff to grow its increasingly popular open source tech platform.

    The company, conceived in 2014 by Ben Bromhead and Adam Zegelin, has created a tech platform that customers pay a monthly fee to use, in order to hosts and support applications that run using myriad open source data technologies.

  • Infineon enables open source TSS ESAPI layer

    This is the first open source TPM middleware that complies with the Software Stack (TSS) Enhanced System API (ESAPI) specification of the Trusted Computing Group .

    “The ease of integration on Linux and other embedded platforms that comes with the release of the TPM 2.0 ESAPI stack speeds up the adoption of TPM 2.0 in embedded systems such as network equipment and industrial systems,” says Gordon Muehl, Global CTO Security at Huawei.

  • Open source RDBMS uses spurred by lower costs, cloud options

    As the volumes of data generated by organizations get larger and larger, data professionals face a dilemma: Must database bills get bigger in the process? And, increasingly, IT shops with an eye on costs are looking to open source RDBMS platforms as a potential alternative to proprietary relational database technologies.

  • Progress open sources ABL code in Spark Toolkit

    New England headquartered application development company Progress is flexing its programmer credentials this month.

    The Massachusetts-HQ’d firm has now come forward with its Progress Spark Toolkit… but what is it?

    The Progress Spark Toolkit is a set of open source ABL code combined with some recommended best-practices.

  • Mixing software development roles produces great results

    Most open source communities don’t have a lot of formal roles. There are certainly people who help with sysadmin tasks, testing, writing documentation, and translating or developing code. But people in open source communities typically move among different roles, often fulfilling several at once.

    In contrast, team members at most traditional companies have defined roles, working on documentation, support, QA, and in other areas.

    Why do open source communities take a shared-role approach, and more importantly, how does this way of collaborating affect products and customers?

    Nextcloud has adopted this community-style practice of mixing roles, and we see large benefits for our customers and our users.

  • FOSS Project Spotlight: SIT (Serverless Information Tracker)

    In the past decade or so, we’ve learned to equate the ability to collaborate with the need to be online. The advent of SaaS clearly marked the departure from a decentralized collaboration model to a heavily centralized one. While on the surface this is a very convenient delivery model, it simply doesn’t fit a number of scenarios well.

    As somebody once said, “you can’t FTP to Mars”, but we don’t need to go as far. There are plenty of use cases here on Earth that are less than perfectly suited for this “online world”. Lower power chips and sensors, vessel/offshore collaboration, disaster recovery, remote areas, sporadically reshaping groups—all these make use of central online services a challenge.

    Another challenge with centralization is somewhat less thought of—building software that can handle a lot of concurrent users and that stores and processes a lot of information and never goes down is challenging and expensive, and we, as consumers, pay dearly for that effort.

    And not least important, software in the cloud removes our ability to adapt it perfectly for use cases beyond its owner’s vision, scope and profitability considerations. Convenience isn’t free, and this goes way beyond the price tag.

  • ProtonMail’s open source encryption library, OpenPGPjs, passes independent audit

    ProtonMail, the secure email provider, has just had its credentials re-affirmed after its encryption library, OpenPGPjs, passed an independent security audit. The audit was carried out by the respected security firm, Cure53, after the developer community commissioned a review following the release of OpenPGPjs 3.0 back in March.

  • Uber Announces Open Source Fusion.js Framework

    Uber Announces Fusion.js, an open source “Plugin-based Universal Web Framework.” In the announcement, Uber senior software engineer Leo Horie explains that Uber builds hundreds of web-based applications, and with web technologies changing quickly and best practices continually evolving, it is a challenge to have hundreds of web engineers leverage modern language features while staying current with the dynamic nature of the web platform. Fusion.js is Uber’s solution to this problem.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Recommend a Privacy Extension That Is Tracking Your Web History

        Web Security, a Firefox extension with over 200,000 current users, tracks every website users visit and stores that information on a German web server.

        The extension was recommended by Mozilla in a blog post last week about add-ons that improve users’ privacy. Mozilla has since edited the post, removing Web Security.

      • ASAN And LSAN Work In rr

        AddressSanitizer has worked in rr for a while. I just found that LeakSanitizer wasn’t working and landed a fix for that. This means you can record an ASAN build and if there’s an ASAN error, or LSAN finds a leak, you can replay it in rr knowing the exact addresses of the data that leaked — along with the usual rr goodness of reverse execution, watchpoints, etc. Well, hopefully. Report an issue if you find more problems.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Open-Sources GraphPipe to Support ML Development

      Oracle on Wednesday announced that it has open-sourced GraphPipe to enhance machine learning applications.

      The project’s goal is to improve deployment results for machine learning models, noted Project Leader Vish Abrams. That process includes creating an open standard.

      The company has a questionable relationship with open source developers, so its decision to open-source GraphPipe might not receive a flood of interest.

      Oracle hopes developers will rally behind the project to simplify and standardize the deployment of machine learning models. GraphPipe consists of a set of libraries and tools for following a deployment standard.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • OERu makes a college education affordable

        Open, higher education courses are a boon to adults who don’t have the time, money, or confidence to enroll in traditional college courses but want to further their education for work or personal satisfaction. OERu is a great option for these learners. It allows people to take courses assembled by accredited colleges and universities for free, using open textbooks, and pay for assessment only when (and if) they want to apply for formal academic credit.

        I spoke with Dave Lane, open source technologist at the Open Education Resource Foundation, which is OERu’s parent organization, to learn more about the program. The OER Foundation is a nonprofit organization hosted by Otago Polytechnic in Dunedin, New Zealand. It partners with organizations around the globe to provide leadership, networking, and support to help advance open education principles.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Tomu Is A Tiny, Open Source Computer That Easily Fits In Your USB Port

        There are a number of USB stick computers available in the market at varying prices. One of them that really stands out is Tomu — a teeny weeny ARM processor that can entirely fit inside your computer’s USB port.

        Tomu is based on Silicon Labs Happy Gecko EFM32HG309 Arm Cortex-M0+ microcontroller that runs at 25 MHz. It sports 8 kb of RAM and 60 kb of flash onboard. In spite of the small size, it supports two LEDs and two capacitance touch buttons.

  • Programming/Development

    • Garbage collection in Perl 6

      In the first article in this series on migrating Perl 5 code to Perl 6, we looked into some of the issues you might encounter when porting your code. In this second article, we’ll get into how garbage collection differs in Perl 6.

      There is no timely destruction of objects in Perl 6. This revelation usually comes as quite a shock to people used to the semantics of object destruction in Perl 5. But worry not, there are other ways in Perl 6 to get the same behavior, albeit requiring a little more thought by the developer. Let’s first examine a little background on the situation in Perl 5.

    • An introduction to the Django Python web app framework

      In the first three articles of this four-part series comparing different Python web frameworks, we covered the Pyramid, Flask, and Tornado web frameworks. We’ve built the same app three times and have finally made our way to Django. Django is, by and large, the major web framework for Python developers these days and it’s not too hard to see why. It excels in hiding a lot of the configuration logic and letting you focus on being able to build big, quickly.

      That said, when it comes to small projects, like our To-Do List app, Django can be a bit like bringing a firehose to a water gun fight. Let’s see how it all comes together.

    • Dirk Eddelbuettel: RcppArmadillo 0.9.100.5.0

      A new RcppArmadillo release 0.9.100.5.0, based on the new Armadillo release 9.100.5 from earlier today, is now on CRAN and in Debian.

      It once again follows our (and Conrad’s) bi-monthly release schedule. Conrad started with a new 9.100.* series a few days ago. I ran reverse-depends checks and found an issue which he promptly addressed; CRAN found another which he also very promptly addressed. It remains a true pleasure to work with such experienced professionals as Conrad (with whom I finally had a beer around the recent useR! in his home town) and of course the CRAN team whose superb package repository truly is the bedrock of the R community.

    • RcppArmadillo 0.9.100.5.0

      A new RcppArmadillo release 0.9.100.5.0, based on the new Armadillo release 9.100.5 from earlier today, is now on CRAN and in Debian.

      It once again follows our (and Conrad’s) bi-monthly release schedule. Conrad started with a new 9.100.* series a few days ago. I ran reverse-depends checks and found an issue which he promptly addressed; CRAN found another which he also very promptly addressed. It remains a true pleasure to work with such experienced professionals as Conrad (with whom I finally had a beer around the recent useR! in his home town) and of course the CRAN team whose superb package repository truly is the bedrock of the R community.

    • PHP version 7.1.21 and 7.2.9

      RPM of PHP version 7.2.9 are available in remi repository for Fedora 28 and in remi-php72 repository for Fedora 25-27 and Enterprise Linux ≥ 6 (RHEL, CentOS).

      RPM of PHP version 7.1.21 are available in remi repository for Fedora 26-27 and in remi-php71 repository for Fedora 25 and Enterprise Linux (RHEL, CentOS).

Leftovers

  • How the [I]nternet has changed dating

    Others talk of the exhaustion of trawling through endless matches, going on disappointing dates with some of them, then having to drag themselves back onto the net when it goes nowhere. There is a loneliness, too. The [I]nternet uncouples dating from other social activities which might comfort a shy or spurned heart in the offline world; love’s vicissitudes can be harder when taken away from the context of a club or church hall.

  • Twitter destroys outside apps again by killing the API most of them use

    Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it, the writer and philosopher George Santayana said. That’s what Twitter has just done with the outside app developers on the microblogging platform, making a familiar move that threatens to destroy them once again.

    Officially citing “technical and business constraints,” Twitter today said it has shut down an application programming interface used by most third-party Twitter apps for things such as push notifications and automatic timeline updates. It claimed that “we’re not changing our rules, or setting out to ‘kill’ 3rd party clients but we are killing, out of operational necessity, some of the legacy APIs that power some features of those clients.”

    Further trying to justify the move, Twitter said in an internal email that the API used by third-party clients relied on “legacy technology” that was still in a “beta state” after more than nine years, somehow trying to shift the blame onto others.

    Twitter built much of its business off third-party app support until it decided to try to kill off third-party app support in 2011 in an effort to force users to use Twitter’s own apps with the built-in advertising Twitter needed to make money. That move didn’t successfully kill off all third-party apps, with some surviving under strict rules.

  • Twitter shuts down 3rd party API

    But now, some developers will no longer have access to the Twitter API.

  • Here’s Why Your Third Party Twitter Client Broke Today

    Every major third party Twitter client basically broke today, with key features like realtime updates, push notifications, and stats no longer working. Twitter caused the change themselves by shutting down some key APIs.

  • Hardware

    • ARM challenges Intel in PCs with Deimos and Hercules chips

      With PC makers like Asus and HP beginning to design laptops and tablets around ARM chips, ARM itself has decided to emerge from the shadows and unroll its roadmap to challenge Intel through at least 2020.

      ARM’s now-public roadmap represents its first processors that are designed for the PC space. ARM, taking aim at the dominant player, claims its chips will equal and potentially even surpass Intel’s in single-threaded performance.

    • ARMed PCs

      It will be interesting to see how Intel responds. They are locked into supporting a backwards architecture due to huge investments in software globally. I don’t care about that. I use GNU/Linux and FLOSS exclusively. My software will run natively on optimized hardware designed by ARM and associates. I do care about having real competition in the space.

    • ARM Aims To Deliver Core i5 Like Performance At Less Than 5 Watts

      ARM has made public an aggressive CPU forward-looking road-map and some performance expectations. ARM is hoping to deliver year-over-year performance improvements of more than 15% through 2020.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • California May Make Abortion Pill Available at All Public University Student Health Centers

      A bill in the California legislature would expand abortion access, as much of the rest of the country is restricting it.

      California, the nation’s most populous state and a national leader in protecting and advancing reproductive health, could become the first to ensure that medication abortion is available to college students in public universities.

      State Senator Connie M. Leyva has authored SB320 — a groundbreaking bill in California that would require that the abortion pill, a safe and effective method to end a pregnancy, be offered at student health centers in every University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) campus in the state. The law would lift barriers currently faced by students who struggle to travel off-campus to obtain an abortion, which results in unnecessary hardship and delay. The bill passed the California Senate last year; the California Assembly will vote on it by the end of this month.

      California’s effort to improve access to abortion care is a bright point in a national landscape that has seen access to abortion decrease significantly. In just the first six months of 2018, 11 states enacted 22 new medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion. West Virginia and Oregon will have anti-abortion measures on the ballot this November. Numerous other states are considering anti-abortion restrictions and if the Senate confirms Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, the court may not uphold the right to abortion.

      Jessica R., a UC student, struggled with paying for care and dealing with the complexities of insurance plans when she needed an abortion. She had to go off-campus to an unfamiliar provider for two separate appointments, which took take time away from class, work, and other responsibilities. Jessica’s grades slipped as she tried to navigate the obstacles to getting an abortion. Such financial, logistical, and emotional tolls are completely unnecessary.

    • St. Luke’s Heart Transplant Program to Lose Medicare Funding Today

      The heart transplant program at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center is set to lose federal funding today, a serious blow to a Houston hospital long regarded as one of the nation’s best for cardiac surgery.

      The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced in June that it would cut off funding for heart transplants this month after concluding that the hospital had not done enough to correct issues that led to a high rate of patient deaths in recent years. The federal action came weeks after an investigation by ProPublica and the Houston Chronicle detailed the depth of the problems and revealed that several physicians had left the program in recent years after raising concerns.

      Barring a last-minute delay by the agency, which would be highly unusual, the hospital will no longer be allowed to bill Medicare and Medicaid for heart transplants, and experts say the termination could affect the hospital in more far-reaching ways.

      With the federal sanction looming, some patients awaiting heart transplants at St. Luke’s have transferred their care to neighboring Houston Methodist and Memorial Hermann hospitals, officials at both said; at least two patients have already received new hearts since switching to Methodist. Meanwhile, St. Luke’s spokeswoman Marilyn Gerry said in an email that the hospital “is continuing to communicate with CMS about possible options” to maintain federal approval.

    • “Do Something, Please,” Doctors Testify at DCFS Hearing

      I didn’t expect so many doctors. Usually, when I cover legislative hearings, a steady stream of state officials testify. But this was different because Illinois lawmakers wanted to hear from the doctors who had overseen the treatment of some of the children I’ve been writing about.

      Five of those doctors testified on Tuesday from behind the long witness table at the Senate Human Services Committee, and I was struck by a theme that emerged: Children in psychiatric hospitals who watch their discharge dates come and go suffer deeply as they wait to be released.

      State sen. Julie Morrison, a Democrat from north suburban Deerfield, called the hearing in response to a ProPublica Illinois investigation in June that found that hundreds of children in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services had spent weeks or even months at a time locked in psychiatric hospitals.

      Doctors — some of the very ones who testified Tuesday — had cleared the children for discharge, but DCFS had failed to find them appropriate homes.

    • Why were people thinner in the 1970s?

      As you can see, lively Twitter discussion ensued. Monbiot did some research into people’s dietary and exercise habits, then and now. He found that people actually ate more in the 1970s than they do now. Manual laborers are heavier today than they were in the 1970s. Kids move around as much today as they did 50 years ago.

  • Security

    • The Problems and Promise of WebAssembly

      WebAssembly is a format that allows code written in assembly-like instructions to be run from JavaScript. It has recently been implemented in all four major browsers. We reviewed each browser’s WebAssembly implementation and found three vulnerabilities. This blog post gives an overview of the features and attack surface of WebAssembly, as well as the vulnerabilities we found.

      [...]

      Overall, the majority of the bugs we found in WebAssembly were related to the parsing of WebAssembly binaries, and this has been mirrored in vulnerabilities reported by other parties. Also, compared to other recent browser features, surprisingly few vulnerabilities have been reported in it. This is likely due to the simplicity of the current design, especially with regards to memory management.

      There are two emerging features of WebAssembly that are likely to have a security impact. One is threading. Currently, WebAssembly only supports concurrency via JavaScript workers, but this is likely to change. Since JavaScript is designed assuming that this is the only concurrency model, WebAssembly threading has the potential to require a lot of code to be thread safe that did not previously need to be, and this could lead to security problems.

      WebAssembly GC is another potential feature of WebAssembly that could lead to security problems. Currently, some uses of WebAssembly have performance problems due to the lack of higher-level memory management in WebAssembly. For example, it is difficult to implement a performant Java Virtual Machine in WebAssembly. If WebAssembly GC is implemented, it will increase the number of applications that WebAssembly can be used for, but it will also make it more likely that vulnerabilities related to memory management will occur in both WebAssembly engines and applications written in WebAssembly.

    • Detecting Bomb And Guns Using Normal WiFi: Researchers Find A New Way

      The test was able to give out accurate results on 15 different objects ranging in there different categories — Metal, liquid, and non-dangerous items.

      While it’s not clear whether the government will adopt and use the newly developed tracking method in public places, this certainly looks like the best way to stop guns and bombs get into school premises.

    • What OpenShift Online customers should know about L1TF OpenShift SRE Security

      On Aug. 14, 2018, information was released about another set of “speculative execution” issues with Intel microprocessor hardware known as “L1 Terminal Fault”. As with earlier issues like Spectre and Meltdown, this information was coordinated with the release of updated software solutions to help mitigate the issue.

      At the time the embargo was lifted, the OpenShift SRE team worked to begin remediation (detailed below) on all OpenShift Online clusters. All Pro clusters finished remediation shortly before 18h00 EDT August 14, 2018. All Starter clusters were patched as of 23h30 EDT August 14, 2018.

    • L1TF (AKA Foreshadow) Explained in 3 Minutes from Red Hat
    • Google bod wants cookies to crumble and be remade into something more secure

      A key member of the Google Chrome security team has proposed the death of cookies to be replaced with secure HTTP tokens.

      This week Mike West posted his “not-fully-baked” idea on GitHub and asked for comments. “This isn’t a proposal that’s well thought out, and stamped solidly with the Google Seal of Approval,” he warns. “It’s a collection of interesting ideas for discussion, nothing more, nothing less.”

      So far, people are largely receptive to the idea while pointing to the complexities that exist in trying to replace something that has become an everyday part of online interaction.

    • The Internet of 200 Kilogram Things: Challenges of Managing a Fleet of Slot Machines

      In a previous post we talked about Finland’s Linux powered slot machines. It was mentioned that there are about 20 000 of these machines in total. It turns out that managing and maintaining all those machines is a not as easy as it may first appear.

      In the modern time of The Cloud, 20 thousand machines might not seem like much. Basic cloud management software such as Kubernetes scales to hundreds of thousands, even millions of machines without even breaking a sweat. Having “only” 20 thousand machines may seem like a small and simple thing that can be managed by one intern in their spare time. In reality things get difficult as there are many unique challenges to managing slot machines as opposed to regular servers.

      [...]

      There are roughly two different ways of updating an operating system install: image based updates and package based updates. Neither of these works particularly well in slot machine usage. Games are big, so downloading full images is not feasible, especially for machines that have poor network connections. Package based updates have the major downside that they are not atomic. In desktop and server usage this is not really an issue because you can apply updates at a known good time. For remote devices this does not work because they can be powered off at any time without any warning. If this happens during an upgrade you have a broken machine requiring a physical visit from a maintenance person. As mentioned above this is slow and expensive.

    • Security updates for Friday
    • How to Crack WinRAR Password Protected Files In Simple Steps?
    • A 16-Year-Old Hacked Apple Servers And Stored Data In Folder Named ‘hacky hack hack’

      Apple’s tall claims of keeping your data secured were shown mirror by an Australian teenager when he repeatedly hacked Apple servers and downloaded 90 GB of ‘secure files.’

      As reported by The Age, the teenager hacked Apple’s mainframe multiple times from his home because he was a fan of the iPhone maker company and dreamed of working for Apple.

    • Melbourne teen hacked into Apple’s secure computer network, court told
    • SEI CERT releases open-source Source Code Analysis Laboratory for pinpointing vulnerabilities

      The Software Engineering Institute’s (SEI) CERT Division at Carnegie Mellon University released an open-source static analysis aggregator/correlator this week. Source Code Analysis application (SCALe) is designed to find vulnerabilities in application source code via multiple, independent static analysis tools.

    • Two DDoS Friendly Bugs Fixed in Linux Kernel [Ed: It wasn’t even anything critical]

      Maintainers behind the Linux kernel have rolled out patches in the past weeks for two bugs that are just ideal for causing havoc via DDoS attacks.

      Both bugs affect the Linux kernel’s TCP stack and are known to trigger excessive resource usage in Linux-based systems.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Paul suggests granting Assange immunity in exchange for congressional testimony: Report

      Julian Assange should be let off the hook for releasing stolen material through his WikiLeaks website if he agrees to testify in person before lawmakers investigating his publication of Democratic Party documents, Sen. Rand Paul said in an interview published Wednesday.

      “I think that he should be given immunity from prosecution in exchange for coming to the United States and testifying,” said Mr. Paul, Kentucky Republican.

      “I think he’s been someone who has released a lot of information, and you can debate whether or not any of that has caused harm, but I think really he has information that is probably pertinent to the hacking of the Democratic emails that would be nice to hear,” Mr. Paul told a writer for The Gateway Pundit site.

    • Assange should be given immunity if US wants him to testify – Rand Paul
    • Defending Julian Assange’s leaks equals a free press
    • Corporate Media Join in Editorializing for Press Freedom…for Themselves

      Some 300 newspapers, large and small, joined today in publishing, often on their front pages, editorials defending the First Amendment’s freedom of the press, often making note of their own efforts to combat current threats to that freedom posed by President Trump’s attacks on journalists and the entire Fourth Estate, which Trump routinely denounces in tweets and at rallies as “enemies of the people.”

      However, missing from most of these full-throated editorials is any real defense of those who are in the trenches doing the hardest job of a free press, which is exposing the worst offenses of government: the war crimes, the craven systemic corruption of the political system, and the purveying of propaganda and disinformation in the furtherance of anti-democratic policies. (A good example would be the employment by most major news organizations of retired generals and colonels as war commentators without noting their roles on corporate boards of arms merchants that profit form war — a scandal that not one major news organization will expose.)

      Nowhere does one read, in these coordinated and seemingly impassioned editorial paeans to press freedom, a condemnation of the five-year torture and pursuit of journalist and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has been holed up in the London embassy of Ecuador, hiding from a secret sealed indictment that since the days of the virulently anti-free-press Obama administration has been sitting in the Attorney General’s office waiting for his capture.

      Assange is trapped in the cramped Ecuadoran embassy by a complicit British government that has threatened to arrest him if he exits the building, claiming he is wanted for jumping bail in a court case that was already long-ago mooted by the expiration of Swedish arrest warrant that itself was based upon trumped-up charges of “rape” made against Assange by women who say they had not wanted those charges made in the first place. His real crime, and the thing the US wants to extradite him from Britain for, is publishing leaked Pentagon documents and videotapes proving a policy in the Iraq war of massive and deliberate war crimes.

  • Finance

    • We must come together to make the call for democracy loud and clear

      Does protesting change anything? Sometimes, yes. Marches and protest can and do bring rapid political change – there are no rules about that. The louder, the more insistent, the more compelling the argument, the more chance of it prevailing. More than anything, a march is a visible symbol and is hard to ignore. So it is with a final say on Brexit.

      That is why The Independent is joining forces with the People’s Vote March for the Future, taking place in London on Saturday 20 October. People’s Vote has similar objectives to The Independent’s Final Say campaign, which calls for a public vote on a Brexit deal. Many other organisations, such as trade unions, professional associations and others in civic society, share those goals. Today we report that Community, the union for steelworkers and other trades, supports a final say for the British people, joining bodies as diverse as the British Medical Association and the National Union of Students in this broad-based coalition.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • How to Beat a Manipulator

      Humans are hackable. Ask any conman. Our desire to think we have control over our lives often hides this from ourselves, but most of us are highly suggestible and hypnotizable. If you think you’re not, you’re in more danger of being hacked than someone who has humbled themselves enough to see how this works in them.

      There’s no need to be ashamed of being conned. Realizing that you’ve been, or are being, conned will naturally bring up feelings of embarrassment, but it’s never your fault that someone’s taken you for a ride. Get clear: conning someone is the crime; being conned is being a victim of that crime. That’s how the law sees it in fraud cases. Manipulators would love you to think that it’s your fault for allowing yourself to be manipulated, but that’s just another manipulation isn’t it?

      Manipulators use one of our most astounding, useful, and beautiful human characteristics when they con us—empathy. Our innately trusting nature is the reason why we’ve been able to collaborate on large scales to create and innovate in extraordinary ways unseen anywhere else in the animal kingdom. Because we learn by modeling, and we are shaped by the group we inhabit and our urge to create harmony will make life viscerally uncomfortable until we are back in alignment with our tribe. We are the peacemakers; we seek alignment, which is how we are paced by manipulators into aligning with their sick agendas. How gross is it then that our ability to empathize and relate to each other is one manipulators use to control us?

      Because of the reach of mass media, every single one of us is in an abusive relationship with plutocratic manipulators. Many of us are in personal relationships with manipulators too. Conveniently, the strategies for dealing with sociopathic manipulators are the exact same, from plutocrats to your live-in partner.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Google’s Location Info Failure Might Interest The FTC

      It’s entirely possible, if not likely, that the location history feature is completely disconnected from the location specific data within these other apps. But, still, the average consumer is not going to realize that. Indeed, the tech savvy consumer is mostly unlikely to understand that. And Google’s new “clarification” isn’t really going to do a very good job actually clarifying this for people either. Google certainly has done a better job than a lot of other companies both in providing transparency about what data it collects on you and giving you controls to see that data, and delete some of it. But this was still a boneheaded move, and it’s simply ridiculous that someone at the company didn’t spot this issue and do something about it sooner.

      As I’ve been pointing out for a while, a big part of why so many people are concerned about privacy on digital services is because those services have done a piss poor job of both informing users what’s happening, and giving them more control over the usage of their data. This kind of situation is even worse, in that under the guise of giving users control (a good thing), Google appears to have muddied the waters over what information it was actually collecting.

      I also wonder if this will make the FTC’s ears perk up. There is still an FTC consent decree that binds the company with regards to certain privacy practices, and that includes that the company “shall not misrepresent in any manner, expressly or by implication… the extent to which consumers may exercise control over the collection, use, or disclosure of covered information.” And “covered information” includes “physical location.”

    • NJ Courts Impose Ridiculous Password Policy ‘To Comply With NIST’ That Does Exactly What NIST Says Not To Do

      As a New Jersey native I know how tempting it is for people to gratuitously bash my home state. But, you know, sometimes it really does have it coming.

      In this case it’s because of the recent announcement of a new password policy for all of the New Jersey courts’ online systems – ranging from e-filing systems for the courts to the online attorney registration system – that will now require passwords to be changed every 90 days.

    • Yes, That Location History Button Is Useless, Confirms Google!

      Google updated a page titled ‘Manage or delete your location history’ in their support forum which states that “this setting [location history] does not affect other location services on your device. Some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other services, like Search and Maps.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Malala calls for rebuilding of torched schools in GB

      Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai has called for the rebuilding of 13 schools torched by unidentified assailants in Gilgit Baltistan’s (GB) Diamer district.

    • Number of schools torched in Diamer goes up to 13

      There are no Taliban militants in the area, however, extremists who oppose female education are present, Shah disclosed.

    • Jeff Sessions Slams the Door on Immigrants Desperate to Escape Domestic Violence

      The Trump Administration’s new asylum and deportation policies create illegal hurdles for women fleeing persecution.

      Last Thursday, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan sharply criticized the government for deporting two ACLU clients — a woman and her child who had fled rape and other brutality by her husband and a gang in El Salvador — who are challenging the Trump administration’s draconian new policies applicable to the initial “credible fear” asylum screening system.

      “This is pretty outrageous,” Sullivan said. “Somebody in pursuit of justice who has alleged a credible fear in her mind and is seeking justice in a United States court is just spirited away?”

      Carmen (a pseudonym) and her young daughter were returned to the United States that same day after the judge threatened to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt if they were not. But they are not alone in facing deportation while requesting protection from domestic violence. In its crackdown on immigrants at the border and in the United States, the Trump administration has endangered countless asylum seekers and immigrants pursuing justice under U.S. laws.

    • Border Officials Are Still Defending Family Separations

      Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, recently gave The New York Times an interview. For those expecting some contrition from him for the lasting trauma inflicted by CBP on children taken away from their parents under the Trump administration’s family separation policy, or empathy for the hundreds of kids still without their parents, his answers project callous defensiveness and alarming inaccuracy.

      McAleenan’s Border Patrol agents are the ones who implemented family separation, so he has a responsibility to engage in straight talk about what happened and his views on the policy. Instead, however, McAleenan chose in the interview to be evasive and downright misleading, leaving a clear impression of CBP’s sole “lesson learned”: It’s the public reaction to this vile policy that went wrong — not the actual damage it caused.

      When asked, “Do you have any regrets about how [family separation] was implemented?” McAleenan replied: “I think we have a responsibility to protect families and children. Well-intended efforts to enforce the law are not going to succeed if they lose the public trust.” This echoes the words of an anonymous Border Patrol official, who recently stated, “We missed out on an opportunity to educate the public about the reality of the border. You have to think everything through before you move on something like this, and when the pushback hits, you have to weather the storm.”

    • Aretha Franklin—Musical Genius, Truth Teller, Freedom Fighter
    • New Bill Aims To Pierce The Darkness Surrounding California Police Officers’ Disciplinary Records

      Cops in California have literally unbelievable protections. To ensure the “privacy” of government employees sworn to serve the public, the Cali legislature has kowtowed to state police unions to make disciplinary records all but impossible to obtain… by anyone.

      This has led to the expected results. Professional liars in cop uniforms offer unimpeached testimony filled with more lies as defense lawyers stand helplessly by, screwed out of offering effective counsel by state law. The law is so restrictive prosecutors are often unable to obtain these files. In the unlikely event a cop is being prosecuted, past misdeeds are hidden under a heavy layer of legislated opacity, hindering effectiveness on the other side.

      Sure, if you’re the victim of police violence, your past is an open book. The cops will dump everything they have on you, from the shoplifting citation two decades ago to every charge ever brought (but ultimately dropped or dismissed) against you in your lifetime to smear your reputation and burnish their own. But if the court would be better served knowing the witness on the stand is an inveterate liar with a history of misconduct, justice will not only go blind but underserved under state law.

    • Free Expression Activist and Poet Birgitta Jónsdóttir Joins EFF’s Advisory Board

      EFF is thrilled to welcome Birgitta Jónsdóttir as a Technical Advisor on our Advisory Board. The founder of Iceland’s Pirate Party and a former member of Iceland’s Parliament, Birgitta is a poet, artist, and free expression and digital rights activist who is one of the world’s most inspiring voices for the possibility of the Internet as force for freedom.

      Birgitta’s activism has been an inspiration to many, including EFF. In 2010, she worked with WikiLeaks to release a video of a U.S. helicopter gunning down a group of civilians and journalists in Baghdad. That put her on the radar screen of U.S. Justice Department, which sought to obtain her Twitter account records in an investigation of Wikileaks.

      When Twitter notified Birgitta and others about the government request, EFF stepped in to ask a court to block the government from forcing Twitter to turn over Birgitta’s records. We sought to encourage other companies to follow Twitter and notify customers when law enforcement demands user data, which led to the creation of our annual “Who Has Your Back” report examining tech companys’ policies for protecting their users from the government.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • ‘Oversight’ Hearing Fails Utterly To Hold FCC Accountable For Lying To Congress About Fake DDOS Attack

      FCC “oversight” hearings continue to be comically lacking in the actual oversight department. As we noted previously, today was Congress’ opportunity to hold the FCC and agency head Ajit Pai accountable for making up a DDOS attack and then lying (repeatedly) about it to the press, FBI investigators, and Congress. As we’ve previously stated, both e-mails obtained via FOIA and an FCC Inspector General report found that the FCC bizarrely made up a DDOS attack to try and explain away the fact that John Oliver viewers angry about the net neutrality repeal had organically crashed the agency’s website.

      The IG’s report and internal e-mails go to great lengths to point out that not only did FCC CIO make up a DDOS, but several FCC staffers then misled Congress repeatedly about the total lack of evidence supporting that claim. The false statements were bad enough to warrant them being forwarded to the DOJ, which refused to prosecute anyone. But the e-mails also highlight how the FCC’s press office repeatedly misled numerous press outlets, and even went so far as to issue statements denigrating like Gizmodo’s Dell Cameron for being “irresponsible” as they slowly uncovered the fake claims.

      In a functional democracy, this is the sort of thing that would be covered extensively at a hearing purportedly designed specifically to hold the FCC accountable to Congress and the public. In said fictional healthy democracy, Congress might even, you know, actually do something about it.

    • Brett Kavanaugh Chose Corporations Over the Public in a Major Net Neutrality Fight

      Senators must decide whether they support a Supreme Court justice who values the free speech rights of corporations over those of their constituents.

      Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, will have his Senate confirmation hearings next month. An exacting look at his judicial record is crucial to understand where he stands on issues of critical importance to the American people.

      In one such case, United States Telecom Association. v. FCC, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals was called upon to review the constitutionality of the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality regulations from 2015. Kavanaugh’s dissenting opinion places a troublingly limited value on the free speech interests of the public relative to those of internet service providers.

    • Ajit Pai Opposes Effort To Update The Definition Of Broadband

      The Telecom Act of 1996 mandates that the FCC routinely assess whether broadband is “being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion,” and do something about it if that’s not the case. As part of that mission, the FCC also periodically takes a look at the way it defines broadband to ensure the current definition meets modern consumer expectations and technical advancements. That’s why, much to the telecom industry’s chagrin, the FCC in 2015 changed the definition of broadband from a fairly-pathetic 4 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream to the current standard of 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream.

      Telecom monopolies (and the lawmakers paid to love them) whined incessantly about the changes at the time. Why? Because the higher definition only highlights how there’s virtually no competition at faster speeds in the U.S. It also highlights how because countless U.S. telcos have shifted their focus to more immediately-profitable ventures (like flinging video ads at Millennials), they’ve neglected network upgrades on a comical scale. As a result, most modern telcos fail to even technically sell “broadband” across vast swaths of America, giving cable giants like Comcast a bigger broadband monopoly than ever before.

      As such, you can kind of understand why, if you’re a lumbering broadband monopoly, why you’d prefer the definition of broadband remain at ankle height.

      With the FCC preparing its latest assessment of the broadband broadband industry as required by law, the question over whether the broadband standard should again be lifted has again raised its ugly head. Especially given that in the age of symmetrical gigabit (1 Gbps) connections and cloud storage, that 3 Mbps upstream standard is looking a little lame. But in a Notice of Inquiry (pdf) published last week, Pai’s FCC proposed keeping the current 25/3 definition intact, something that apparently annoyed his fellow Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Germany: Telekommunikationsnetzwerkdienste, Federal Court of Justice of Germany, X ZR 89/15, 16 January 2018

      Nullity Plaintiff still has a need for legal relief even after expiry of the patent as long as Patentee has not given up claims against customers of Plaintiff.

    • Unauthorized Amendment of Contentions Does Not Require Motion to Strike if the Issue is Clearly and Timely Raised by Letter

      The court denied as moot defendant’s motion to strike plaintiff’s supplemental infringement contentions after plaintiff conceded the contentions should be withdrawn.

    • Japanese local banks to increase chances to give a loan using IP information

      Recently, alternative lending has been attracting attention in Japan. Alternative lending is a business loan option that falls outside of a traditional bank loan. For example, a Japanese electronic commerce and Internet company Rakuten gives a loan to its online shopping site owners using daily accounting data, and an accounting software company Yayoi also provides a loan to the users based on accounting data stored in the cloud. The banks seem to be losing opportunities to make a loan. Considering such situation, some banks reportedly have started collaboration with IT companies to develop similar services.

    • Trademarks

      • ‘In-N-Stout Beer’ Spurs Punny Cease and Desist Letter From Burger Chain
      • In-N-Out Sends Punny Cease And Desist Over Fairly Clear Trademark Infringement

        You may have heard the general mantra that “puns are the lowest form of comedy.” Heathens say that, because puns are great and, if I had my way, there would be a legal requirement to use at least one in every legal document this country produces. They can also be used to lighten up what would otherwise be heavy legal actions. Such is the case with In-N-Out Burger, which decided to respond to what is pretty likely trademark infringement with a pun-laden cease and desist.

        We’ll start with the product that was likely infringing on In-N-Out’s trademarks, which itself involves some punnery.

      • Comrade Brewing Registers ‘Superpower’ Following Legal Dispute with POM Wonderful

        On Thursday, August 2, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) ruled that Comrade Brewing Co. LLC could register its “Superpower” as a trademark for beer, shooting down a challenge filed by the company behind POM Wonderful and Fiji Water. This came with the ruling that consumers will not confuse a juice called “Antioxidant Superpower” with a beer called “Superpower,” rejecting the argument that the two types of beverage were closely related for trademark purposes.

        [...]

        “Particularly in light of the differences between the goods but also because the two marks had key differences in appearance,” Cataldo wrote, “the board sided with Comrade Brewing.”

        “The result is what we expected and contended from the start,” explains Comrade Brewing owner David Lin. “We’re pleased with the result and appreciate the passion and efforts of our lawyers at beerattorney.com in defending this matter.”

        Comrade Brewing has filed for the ‘Superpower’ trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and is currently waiting for approval.

      • Comrade Brewing Gets Its ‘Superpower’ Trademark After Nonsense Opposition From The Wonderful Company

        Between the explosion in the craft beer industry and our pernicious ownership culture, the beer industry has enough of a trademark problem to regularly appear in our posts. While many of the disputes in the industry are generated by once-small breweries that have grown up and shed their permissive attitudes towards branding, just as many trademark disputes result from entities outside the industry attempting to pretend that the alcohol industries, if not craft beer specifically, are not markets all to their own. This lack of nuance occasionally pervades even within the USPTO, unfortunately.

        But sometimes the TTAB gets it right. Such is the case with Comrade Brewing, makers of its ‘Superpower IPA’ brew, for which the TTAB refused the opposition of The Wonderful Company, which makes fruit juices. At issue was the slogan for POM Wonderful juices: “Antioxidant Superpower.”

08.16.18

Links 16/8/2018: MAAS 2.4.1, Mesa 18.2 RC3

Posted in News Roundup at 4:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • How to install Linux apps on your Chromebook

      Chromebooks are great because they’re simple: there’s a lot you can get done with web services without exposing yourself to the troubles and security issues that plague more complex platforms.

      But if you need to do a bit more with your Chromebook, you have a few options. Most Chromebooks these days allow you to install apps from the Google Play Store, which should fill most productivity gaps. If not, you’ll soon have one more option: installing Linux apps. To be clear, you’ve been able to install Linux apps on Chromebooks for years because Chrome OS is Linux. But, it’s about to get much easier.

    • Top 5 Features Still Missing From Chrome OS

      Google’s Chrome OS gets a lot of things right, and the platform has evolved considerably over the years. Not only does it offer an always up-to-date version of the Chrome browser, but there are also Android apps, stylus input, and even Linux support on some devices. However, Chrome OS is far from perfect. You have to make compromises if you choose to live with a Chromebook, but you shouldn’t have to make quite this many. Here are the top five things Google should fix.

    • Walmart’s selling an all-aluminum Chromebook with a comfy keyboard for just $220

      If you’re not considering a Chromebook when you’re shopping for a notebook, you’re doing it wrong. Google’s low-cost laptops are typically light, fast, secure, and have almost everything you need for remote work a.k.a. the Internet. Today, you can get in on the action for a great price. Walmart is selling the Acer Chromebook 14 (CB3-431-C6ZB) for $220. That’s about $30 to $40 cheaper than you’d usually pay for this laptop.

  • Kernel Space

    • Crypto Updates Sent In For Linux 4.19 Kernel, Speck Is Still In The Kernel

      The Linux kernel’s crypto subsystem updates were sent out today with its new feature work for the Linux 4.19 kernel. One change we were curious to see was whether they were going to nuke the Speck cipher code, but they did not.

      Back during Linux 4.17, the Crypto updates added the Speck block cipher (and in 4.18, file-system encryption support with Speck was added) which has come under fire since Speck was developed by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and it’s speculated that it could be back-doored by the agency but at the very least can’t be a fully trusted for encryption.

    • The Big Networking Update Sent In For Linux 4.19, Including 802.11ax Bits

      David Miller sent in the networking subsystem updates today for the Linux 4.19 kernel merge window.

    • New round of 64-bit ARM Patches Merged into Linux 4.19 Kernel, Includes GCC Stackleak Plugin Support

      A new round of changes for 64-bit ARM architecture (ARM64/AArch64) were just loaded into the Linux 4.19 kernel merge window, and its generally some pretty good stuff being included.

      The 64-bit ARM space on Linux as been fairly busy, and there’s likely more to come before Linux 4.19 kernel is released.

    • 64-bit ARM Changes For Linux 4.19 Has “A Bunch Of Good Stuff”

      Will Deacon submitted the 64-bit ARM (ARM64/AArch64) changes on Tuesday for the Linux 4.19 kernel merge window.

    • Why Locking Down the Kernel Won’t Stall Linux Improvements

      The Linux Kernel Hardening Project is making significant strides in reducing vulnerabilities and increasing the effort required to exploit vulnerabilities that remain. Much of what has been implemented is obviously valuable, but sometimes the benefit is more subtle. In some cases, changes with clear merit face opposition because of performance issues. In other instances, the amount of code change required can be prohibitive. Sometimes the cost of additional security development overwhelms the value expected from it.

      The Linux Kernel Hardening Project is not about adding new access controls or scouring the system for backdoors. It’s about making the kernel harder to abuse and less likely for any abuse to result in actual harm. The former is important because the kernel is the ultimate protector of system resources. The latter is important because with 5,000 developers working on 25 million lines of code, there are going to be mistakes in both how code is written and in judgment about how vulnerable a mechanism might be. Also, the raw amount of ingenuity being applied to the process of getting the kernel to do things it oughtn’t continues to grow in lockstep with the financial possibilities of doing so.

      The Linux kernel is written almost exclusively in the C programming language — while the most significant reasons that the kernel needs to be hardened arise from aspects of this programming language.

    • GSoC Final Report

      Nothing lasts forever, and this also applies for GSoC projects. In this report, I tried to summarize my experience in the DRI community and my contributions.

    • VKMS Coming In Linux 4.19 Is One Of The Best GSoC & Outreachy Projects Of The Year

      One of the student summer coding projects that ended up being a cross between Google Summer of Code (GSoC) and Outreachy was the VKMS driver to provide a virtual KMS implementation for headless systems and other interesting use-cases.

      Rodrigo Siqueira applied to GSoC 2018 to work on the long talked about “VKMS” driver while separately Haneen Mohammed had applied to Outreachy with a similar goal. Given the overlap, they worked together to get the Virtual KMS driver working. These summer student coding projects are drawing to a close and this initial driver is being sent sent into Linux 4.19 via the DRM tree. Not bad considering most GSoC/Outreachy projects introducing new code don’t make it mainline so quickly, if ever.

    • Scheduler utilization clamping

      Once upon a time, the only way to control how the kernel’s CPU scheduler treated any given process was to adjust that process’s priority. Priorities are no longer enough to fully control CPU scheduling, though, especially when power-management concerns are taken into account. The utilization clamping patch set from Patrick Bellasi is the latest in a series of attempts to allow user space to tell the scheduler more about any specific process’s needs.

      Contemporary CPU schedulers have a number of decisions to make at any given time. They must, of course, pick the process that will be allowed to execute in each CPU on the system, distributing processes across those CPUs to keep the system as a whole in an optimal state of busyness. Increasingly, the scheduler is also involved in power management — ensuring that the CPUs do not burn more energy than they have to. Filling that role requires placing each process on a CPU that is appropriate for that process’s needs; modern systems often have more than one type of CPU available. The scheduler must also pick an appropriate operating power point — frequency and voltage — for each CPU to enable it to run the workload in a timely manner while minimizing energy consumption.

    • Linux 4.18.1
    • Linux 4.17.15
    • Linux 4.14.63
    • Linux 4.9.120
    • Linux 4.4.148
    • Linux Kernel 4.18 Gets First Point Release, It’s Now Ready for Mass Deployments

      Linux kernel 4.18 was released on Sunday, August 12, 2018, by Linus Torvalds, and it’s currently the most advanced kernel series available for Linux-based operating systems. The first point release, Linux 4.18.1, is now available, which marks the Linux 4.18 kernel series as stable and ready for mass deployments.

      All Linux OS vendors are now urged to adopt the latest Linux 4.18 kernel series for their operating systems on supported architectures as it brings various new features, improvements, and updated drivers for better hardware support. Linux kernel 4.18.1 is now available for download from kernel.org or our software portal.

    • GNU Linux-Libre 4.18 Kernel Officially Released for Those Who Seek 100% Freedom

      Following in the footsteps of the recently released Linux 4.18 kernel series, the GNU Linux-libre 4.18 kernel is now available for those who don’t want to run any proprietary firmware on their Linux-based operating system or the GNU operating system.

      Including pretty much the same new features and enhancements as Linux kernel 4.18, the GNU Linux-libre 4.18 kernel cleans up the new psp-dev crypto and icn8505 touchscreen drivers, removes the atom isp driver, and adjusts numerous others.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Embedded Linux Conference Europe tackles tech’s diversity problem

        The Linux Foundation has posted session descriptions for the Embedded Linux Conference Europe and OpenIoT Summit Europe, to be held Oct. 22-24, in Edinburgh, with topics ranging from RISC-V to deep learning to workplace diversity.

        Even if you can’t make it to Edinburgh Oct. 22-24 for the Embedded Linux Conference Europe (ELCE) and co-located OpenIoT Summit Europe, the session descriptions are a good place to find clues about what’s hot in Linux and open source embedded technology. To be sure, the Linux Foundation offers a heavy dose of sessions on Linux Foundation projects such as Zephyr or Yocto Project, but it’s still a very inclusive collection from across the industry.

      • 10 Reasons to Attend ONS Europe in September | Registration Deadline Approaching – Register & Save $605
      • Linux Foundation Zephyr Project Attracts IoT Developers and Tech Giants

        The Linux Foundation has always been committed to welcoming companies and organizations of all sizes as part of its heritage and ongoing vision for opening technology for all to experiment with and to build things.

        The Zephyr Project, an open source project to build a real-time operating system (RTOS) for the Internet of Things (IoT), announced last week they grew their community of contributors with support for more than 100 developer boards and the addition of six new members.

        These industry and academic leaders include Antmicro, DeviceTone, SiFive, the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, The Institute of Communication and Computer Systems (ICCS) and Northeastern University.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel Begins Teasing Their Discrete Graphics Card
      • Mesa 18.2-RC3 Released With Two Dozen Fixes

        Mesa 18.2 as the next quarterly feature release to the contained OpenGL/Vulkan drivers is about two weeks out if all goes well, but today for testing Mesa 18.2-RC3 is now available.

      • DRM Updates Sent In For Linux 4.19 With New VKMS Driver, Intel Icelake Work

        David Airlie has submitted the Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) updates for the Linux 4.19 kernel merge window with these various open-source graphics/display driver updates.

      • NVIDIA are working towards better support for NVIDIA Optimus on Linux

        Thanks to a little Twitter tip, we’ve learned today that NVIDIA are indeed working to provide better support for NVIDIA Optimus on Linux.

        Currently, if you have a laptop with NVIDIA Optimus the official NVIDIA driver gives you the option between using the Intel GPU or switching over to the NVIDIA GPU. It doesn’t handle it like you would expect it to on Windows, where it would offload the work to the more powerful NVIDIA GPU. Not an ideal situation, to switch between the two GPUs and from when I had a laptop with one (some time ago) it required logging out before it would take effect.

      • libinput’s “new” trackpoint acceleration method

        This is mostly a request for testing, because I’ve received zero feedback on the patches that I merged a month ago and libinput 1.12 is due to be out. No comments so far on the RC1 and RC2 either, so… well, maybe this gets a bit broader attention so we can address some things before the release. One can hope.

        [...]

        Because basically every trackpoint has different random data ranges not linked to anything easily measurable, libinput’s device quirks now support a magic multiplier to scale the trackpoint range into something resembling a sane range. This is basically what we did before with the systemd POINTINGSTICK_CONST_ACCEL property except that we’re handling this in libinput now (which is where acceleration is handled, so it kinda makes sense to move it here). There is no good conversion from the previous trackpoint range property to the new multiplier because the range didn’t really have any relation to the physical input users expected.

    • Benchmarks

      • The Linux Benchmarking Continues On The Threadripper 2950X & 2990WX

        While I haven’t posted any new Threadripper 2950X/2990WX benchmarks since the embargo expired on Monday with the Threadripper 2 Linux review and some Windows 10 vs. Linux benchmarks, tests have continued under Linux — as well as FreeBSD.

        I should have my initial BSD vs. Linux findings on Threadripper 2 out later today. There were about 24 hours worth of FreeBSD-based 2990WX tests going well albeit DragonFlyBSD currently bites the gun with my Threadripper 2 test platforms. More on that in the upcoming article as the rest of those tests finish. It’s also been a madhouse with simultaneously benchmarking the new Level 1 Terminal Fault (L1TF) vulnerability and the performance impact of those Linux mitigations on Intel hardware will start to be published in the next few hours.

      • An Early Look At The L1 Terminal Fault “L1TF” Performance Impact On Virtual Machines

        Yesterday the latest speculative execution vulnerability was disclosed that was akin to Meltdown and is dubbed the L1 Terminal Fault, or “L1TF” for short. Here are some very early benchmarks of the performance impact of the L1TF mitigation on the Linux virtual machine performance when testing the various levels of mitigation as well as the unpatched system performance prior to this vulnerability coming to light.

      • Phoronix Test Suite 8.2 M2 Released With Offline Improvements, L1TF/Foreshadow Reporting

        The second development snapshot of the upcoming Phoronix Test Suite 8.2-Rakkestad to benchmark to your heart’s delight on Linux, macOS, Windows, Solaris, and BSD platforms from embedded/SBC systems to cloud and servers.

      • AMD’s New Threadripper 2990WX Much Faster On Linux Than Windows 10
      • A Quick Look At The Windows Server vs. Linux Performance On The Threadripper 2990WX

        One of the frequent requests/comments stemming from the launch-day Windows 10 vs. Linux benchmarks on the new AMD Threadripper 2990WX were questions about whether this 32-core / 64-thread processor would do better with Windows Server given Microsoft’s obvious tuning of that Windows flavor to high core/thread counts… Well, here are some initial figures with Windows Server 2016 and a Windows Server 2019 preview.

        Given the immense interest and speculation about the Windows Server performance on the AMD Threadripper 2990WX, to see if it would give Linux better competition relative to Windows 10, I ran some initial benchmarks so far. I am still doing some more Windows vs. Linux exploration and benchmarking (a lot of other interesting tests from this new hardware) while for today are the Windows Server 2016/2019 results alongside the other operating system tests on this 2990WX system.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • PSA: Workaround for a working MTP

        KDE Connect is awesome, we all know that. But sometimes you still want (or need) to acces the files on your Android phone via a good old USB cable. And to do so, you need a working implementation of the MTP protocol.

        Many people on bugzilla complain that the MTP support in Plasma is just broken. And indeed the MTP implementation we have has always been ignoring a fundamental limitation of MTP: the protocol doesn’t allow parallel operations, unlike the old Android USB mass storage did. In practice, if more than one process spawns an mtp ioslave, everything breaks.

      • Museum Day, or, the Benefit of Skiving Off

        Tomorrow, there’s the fund raiser training session. Given that we’ve been raising funds for Krita since time immemorial (our first fund raiser was for two Wacom tablets and art pens so we could implement support for them, the second to let Lukas Tvrdy work on Krita for a couple of months and after that, we’ve had the kickstarters), that might seem superfluous. But I’m still hoping to learn lots. After all, it’s not like we’re exactly awash in money.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • How to navigate your GNOME Linux desktop with only a keyboard

        Almost ever since I first started using Linux, I’ve been on a mission to find the perfect window manager.

        My first experience with Linux was in the late 90s, and I first tried installing it on my own in the early 2000s. Like many converts, my previous experience was largely with Windows, and so my early mission was to find an experience that closely replicated Windows, or at least let me interact with it in a familiar way.

        [...]

        So I’ve been making a concerted effort to learn the GNOME keyboard shortcuts, and honestly, it hasn’t been as hard to stick with them as I had thought. Just like any other set of keyboard shortcuts, the trick is to practice them a bit, and then do what you can to discourage you from slipping back into your old ways. I set my mouse just a wee bit further away, and when practical, will flip the switch on the bottom when I’m in a keyboard-heavy activity so I’m not tempted by muscle memory.

        The other trick is to have a good cheat sheet handy, posted up somewhere that you can easily see it. I made my own for GNOME, and I’ve created a version of it that you can download too.

        The GNOME project turns twenty-one years old this month, but as it keeps growing and evolving to keep up with the changing needs of computing environments, it wouldn’t surprise me if I’m still using it twenty-one years from now. And if you are too, I hope you will have taken the time to learn the keyboard shortcuts by then.

      • GNOME Celebrates Its 21st Birthday By Releasing GNOME 3.29.91

        Today marks 21 years since the GNOME desktop environment project was started by Miguel de Icaza and Federico Mena. Coincidentally, released today is GNOME 3.29.91 that is the GNOME 3.30 desktop’s second beta release.

      • GNOME 3.29.91 released

        GNOME 3.29.91 is now available!

      • GNOME 3.30 Desktop Environment Gets Beta 2 Release Ahead of September 5 Launch

        Coming two weeks after the first beta release, the highly anticipated GNOME 3.30 desktop environment received a second beta release today as Michael Catanzaro informed us via an email announcement. This beta 2 release is tagged as GNOME 3.29.91, and it marks the Software String Freeze stage in the development cycle.

        But it doesn’t look like it was an easy release for the GNOME Release Team, as Michael Catanzaro reports build failures for several components, including GNOME Boxes, which didn’t make it for this second beta release. As a consequence, numerous components weren’t updated in this beta 2 release.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Zorin OS 12.4 Released, Available to Download Now

        The latest update to the popular Ubuntu-based Linux distribution, Zorin OS 12.4 boasts of being “more secure and compatible than ever before.”

        “This new release brings together the latest software updates, bug fixes, performance enhancements and hardware support out of the box. Zorin OS 12.4 introduces an updated hardware enablement stack,” say the Zorin devs.

      • Major Zorin OS Linux Release Is Coming This Fall Based on Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS

        Shipping with the updated HWE (Hardware Enablement) stack from the recently announced Ubuntu 16.04.5 LTS point release, which is powered by the Linux 4.15 kernel from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), as well as an updated X graphics stack, Zorin OS 12.4 brings all the latest software and security updates from the Ubuntu repositories, along with performance enhancements and bug fixes.

        “Zorin OS 12.4 introduces an updated hardware enablement stack. The newly-included Linux kernel 4.15, as well as an updated X server graphics stack,” reads the release announcement. “In addition, new patches for system vulnerabilities are included in this release, so you can have the peace of mind knowing that you’re using the most secure version of Zorin OS ever.”

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Turns 25! Here are Some Interesting Facts About Debian Linux

        One of the oldest Linux distribution still in development, Debian has just turned 25. Let’s have a look at some interesting facts about this awesome FOSS project.

      • 25 years and counting

        When the late Ian Murdock announced 25 years ago in comp.os.linux.development, “the imminent completion of a brand-new Linux release, [...] the Debian Linux Release”, nobody would have expected the “Debian Linux Release” to become what’s nowadays known as the Debian Project, one of the largest and most influential free software projects. Its primary product is Debian, a free operating system (OS) for your computer, as well as for plenty of other systems which enhance your life. From the inner workings of your nearby airport to your car entertainment system, and from cloud servers hosting your favorite websites to the IoT devices that communicate with them, Debian can power it all.

        Today, the Debian project is a large and thriving organization with countless self-organized teams comprised of volunteers. While it often looks chaotic from the outside, the project is sustained by its two main organizational documents: the Debian Social Contract, which provides a vision of improving society, and the Debian Free Software Guidelines, which provide an indication of what software is considered usable. They are supplemented by the project’s Constitution which lays down the project structure, and the Code of Conduct, which sets the tone for interactions within the project.

      • DebConf 18 – Day 3

        Most of Japan is on summer vacation now, only a small village in the north resists the siege, so I am continuing my reports on DebConf. See DebConf 18 – Day 1 and DebConf 18 – Day 2 for the previous ones.

      • Derivatives

        • Hands-on with Linux Mint Debian Edition 3 Beta

          I have been out of touch for the past six months, because I accepted a teaching position in Amsterdam. The amount of time that required, and the weekly commute from Switzerland (yes, really, weekly), was vastly more than I expected, and left me no time to do justice to my blog. But now I am back again, and determined to manage my time more effectively and keep up with blogging.

          Although I haven’t been writing, I certainly have been keeping up with news and developments in the Linux world. What really inspired me to get busy and write again was the announcement of LMDE 3 (Cindy) Beta. Hooray! How long have we been waiting for this? It feels like years. Oh, that’s because it has been years.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu, Debian, RHEL, and CentOS Linux Now Patched Against “Foreshadow” Attacks

            Both Canonical and Red Hat emailed us with regards to the L1 Terminal Fault security vulnerability, which are documented as CVE-2018-3620 for operating systems and System Management Mode (SMM), CVE-2018-3646 for impacts to virtualization, as well as CVE-2018-3615 for Intel Software Guard Extensions (Intel SGX). They affect all Linux-based operating system and machines with Intel CPUs.

            “It was discovered that memory present in the L1 data cache of an Intel CPU core may be exposed to a malicious process that is executing on the CPU core. This vulnerability is also known as L1 Terminal Fault (L1TF). A local attacker in a guest virtual machine could use this to expose sensitive information (memory from other guests or the host OS),” reads the Ubuntu security advisory.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 8 hurdles IT must overcome if they want open source success

    Open source software has the potential to drive innovation and collaboration across an enterprise, and can transform the way developers work together.

    “Open source is now part of the evaluation criteria when deciding on a software platform, so much so that it is expected,” said Matt Ingenthron, senior director of engineering at Couchbase. “In this way, open source has somewhat faded into the background in a positive way. Just like no consumer would inquire if a mobile phone had internet access or text messaging, choosing an open source solution is almost always an option.”

  • Sprint calls on open source analytics to prevent cyberfraud

    Mobile phone-related fraud is big business. Fraudsters, hackers, and other bad actors employ creative techniques to compromise networks, hijack user information, and piece together customer identities that are then sold for big bucks on the dark web. To protect its customers, Sprint needed to transform the way it detected and blocked fraudulent activity.

    “In the mobile phone business, there’s no markup on selling devices — our bread and butter is the network and the services that are delivered on that network, through the devices,” says Scott Rice, CIO of Sprint. “Identity theft is a huge problem and the ability for nefarious actors to use that theft of information to impersonate our customers means we were eating the costs of the devices and the costs of services delivery.”

  • Open Source Platform Delivers LDAP Integration

    The latest release of InfluxData, an open source platform for metrics, events, and other time series data, adds LDAP integration, new advanced analytics, and self-healing capabilities in the time series database platform. According to the company, time series data, collected and stored with InfluxData’s Time Series database platform is integral to observability and is becoming mission critical for organizations. Enhancements to InfluxEnterprise make it easier for administrators to keep this mission critical data available and secure by checking and verifying every requested action. This includes creating databases, storing data and running queries – against a user’s stored authorizations and role.

  • YOYOW-WeCenter Special Edition Release: Free and Open Source

    The YOYOW-WeCenter Special Edition, customized and developed by YOYOW and based on WeCenter Q&A community framework, has been released on GitHub. Compared to regular WeCenter frameworks, YOYOW is providing free open source services and will be continually iterating products and will be introducing an incentive mechanism. Each Q&A community can directly integrate into YOYOW’s bottom layer network and enjoy the network services provided by YOYOW.

  • Events

    • Using AI on patents

      Software patents account for more than half of all utility patents granted in the US over the past few years. Clearly, many companies see these patents as a way to fortune and growth, even while software patents are hated by many people working in the free and open-source movements. The field of patenting has now joined the onward march of artificial intelligence. This was the topic of a talk at OSCON 2018 by Van Lindberg, an intellectual-property lawyer, board member and general counsel for the Python Software Foundation, and author of the book Intellectual Property and Open Source. The disruption presented by deep learning ranges from modest enhancements that have already been exploited—making searches for prior art easier—to harbingers of automatic patent generation in the future.

    • Diverse technical topics from OSCON 2018

      The O’Reilly Open Source Conference (OSCON) returned to Portland, Oregon in July for its 20th meeting. Previously, we covered some retrospectives and community-management talks that were a big part of the conference. Of course, OSCON is also a technology conference, and there were lots of talks on various open-source software platforms and tools.

      An attendee who was coming back to OSCON after a decade would have been somewhat surprised by the themes of the general technical sessions, though. Early OSCONs had a program full of Perl, Python, and PHP developer talks, including the famous “State of The Onion” (Perl) keynote. Instead, this year’s conference mostly limited the language-specific programming content to the tutorials. Most of the technical sessions in the main program were about platforms, administration, or other topics of general interest, some of which we will explore below.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 42
      • Dweb: Building a Resilient Web with WebTorrent

        WebTorrent is the first torrent client that works in the browser. It’s written completely in JavaScript – the language of the web – and uses WebRTC for true peer-to-peer transport. No browser plugin, extension, or installation is required.

        Using open web standards, WebTorrent connects website users together to form a distributed, decentralized browser-to-browser network for efficient file transfer. The more people use a WebTorrent-powered website, the faster and more resilient it becomes.

      • Bitslicing, An Introduction

        Bitslicing (in software) is an implementation strategy enabling fast, constant-time implementations of cryptographic algorithms immune to cache and timing-related side channel attacks.

        This post intends to give a brief overview of the general technique, not requiring much of a cryptographic background. It will demonstrate bitslicing a small S-box, talk about multiplexers, LUTs, Boolean functions, and minimal forms.

      • Firefox Security Add-on on 222k Devices Found Sending Browsing Data to Remote German Server

        There is a popular browser add-on which is installed by 222,746 Firefox users according to Mozilla’s own statistics of add-on downloads. According to a German security blogger, Mike Kuketz, and the author of uBlock Origin, Raymond Hill, this particular add-on has been spying on users’ activity by tapping into their browser histories and keeping track of the web pages that they visit. This add-on is the Web Security extension for the Mozilla Firefox browser.

        Web Security is designed to protect users from online phishing and malware attacks that could potentially steal personal information. This comes across as ironic as the extension is found to be unethically keeping tabs (pun intended) on your own information, evading your privacy without your consent. The reason that this news is hitting the stands so massively is that the add-on was publicized by Mozilla itself in a blog post just last week. The add-on boasts fantastic reviews and that’s why it is used so widely by so many people too.

      • Time Dilation

        I riffed on this a bit over at twitter some time ago; this has been sitting in the drafts folder for too long, and it’s incomplete, but I might as well get it out the door. Feel free to suggest additions or corrections if you’re so inclined.

        You may have seen this list of latency numbers every programmer should know, and I trust we’ve all seen Grace Hopper’s classic description of a nanosecond at the top of this page, but I thought it might be a bit more accessible to talk about CPU-scale events in human-scale transactional terms. So: if a single CPU cycle on a modern computer was stretched out as long as one of our absurdly tedious human seconds, how long do other computing transactions take?

      • Add-on Recommended By Mozilla Caught Logging Users’ Browsing History

        According to the reports by Mike Kuketz, an independent security blogger from Germany and uBlock Origin, an add-on named “Web Security” has been caught collecting users’ browsing history.

        [...]

        Soon after this discovery by Hill, Kuketz added a post on his blog about the same extension pointing to the same strange behavior of the add-on. A user on Kuketz’s blog decoded the garbled data and found that the add-on was collecting users’ browsing history and sending it to a German server.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle open sources Graphpipe to standardize machine learning model deployment

      Oracle, a company not exactly known for having the best relationship with the open source community, is releasing a new open source tool today called Graphpipe, which is designed to simplify and standardize the deployment of machine learning models.

      The tool consists of a set of libraries and tools for following the standard.

    • Oracle open-sources Graphpipe to make it easier to deploy machine learning models

      Oracle today open-sourced Graphpipe, a tool created to make it easy to serve machine learning models in the cloud made by popular frameworks like TensorFlow, MXNet, Caffe2, and PyTorch. Graphpipe was designed to simplify the deployment of machine learning for use on mobile apps and IoT devices, as well as web services for end users or AI for internal use at companies.

      “Graphpipe is an attempt to standardize the protocol by which you speak to a remotely deployed machine learning model, and it includes some reference servers that allow you to deploy machine learning models from existing frameworks very easily in an efficient way,” Oracle cloud architect Vish Abrams told VentureBeat in a phone interview. Prior to joining Oracle, Abrams led efforts at NASA to open-source the OpenStack cloud computing platform.

    • Oracle open sources GraphPipe, a new standard for machine learning models

      Machine learning is expected to transform industries. However, its adoption in the enterprise has been slower than some might expect because it’s difficult for organizations to deploy and manage machine learning technology on their own. Part of the challenge is that machine learning models are often trained and deployed using bespoke techniques, making it difficult to deploy models across servers or within different departments.

    • Oracle offers GraphPipe spec for machine learning data transmission

      Oracle has developed an open source specification for transmitting tensor data, which the company wants to become a standard for machine learning.

      Called GraphPipe, the specification provides a protocol for network data transmission. GraphPipe is intended to bring the efficiency of a binary, memory-mapped format while being simple and light on dependencies. There also are clients and servers for deploying and querying machine learning models from any framework.

    • Oracle releases GraphPipe, an open-source tool for deploying AI models

      Major tech firms regularly open-source internal software projects, but it’s not often that Oracle Corp.’s name comes up in this context. Today marked one of those occasions.

      The database giant this morning released GraphPipe, a tool for easing the deployment of machine learning models. Development on the project was led by Oracle cloud architect Vish Abrams, an open-source veteran who previously worked at NASA as part of the team that created the OpenStack data center operating system.

    • Oracle Open Sources GraphPipe for ‘Dead Simple’ Machine Learning Deployment
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • How a civic hacker used open data to halve tickets at Chicago’s most confusing parking spot

        Matt Chapman used the Freedom of Information Act to get the City of Chicago’s very mess parking ticket data; after enormous and heroic data normalization, Chapman was able to pinpoint one of the city’s most confusing parking spots, between 1100-1166 N State St, which cycled between duty as a taxi-stand and a parking spot with a confusingly placed and semi-busted parking meter.

        After surveying the site and deducing the problem, Chapman contacted the alderman responsible for that stretch of North State Street, and, eight months later, the signage was cleaned up and made more intuitive.

        Followup data analysis showed that Chapman’s work had halved the number of parking tickets issued on the spot, with 600-odd fewer tickets in the past 20 months, for a savings of $60,000 to Chicago motorists.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Bluespec, Inc. Releases a New Family of Open-Source RISC-V Processors

        Bluespec Inc. has released Piccolo, its first in a family of RISC-V open-source processors provided as a vehicle for open innovation in embedded systems.

        Piccolo is a 3-stage RV32IM processor whose small “footprint” is ideal for many IoT applications. The repository (https://github.com/bluespec/Piccolo) contains a royalty-free synthesizable Verilog core that can be easily integrated and deployed into an ASIC or FPGA. Bluespec, Inc. will actively maintain Piccolo. It also offers commercial-grade tools for the customization and verification of RISC-V cores. Configurations will be continually added to provide the full spectrum of embedded controller features. Companies or universities interested in contributing to the Piccolo project should contact Bluespec, Inc. (add contact – RISC-V open source support).

  • Programming/Development

    • File Indexing In Golang

      I have been working on a pet project to write a File Indexer, which is a utility that helps me to search a directory for a given word or phrase.

      The motivation behind to build this utility was so that we could search the chat log files for dgplug. We have a lot of online classes and guest session and at time we just remember the name or a phrase used in the class, backtracking the files using these are not possible as of now. I thought I will give stab at this problem and since I am trying to learn golang I implemented my solution in it. I implemented this solution over a span of two weeks where I spent time to upskill on certain aspects and also to come up with a clean solution.

    • How Agile helps non-technical teams get things done

      What are the best ways for governments to improve effectiveness and efficiency? At San Jose City Hall, we’re getting traction with an unconventional approach: agile for non-technical teams. Public servants who do everything from emergency management to parks programs are finding that Agile methods help them with that most basic of challenges: Getting things done amid frequent interruptions and evolving priorities.

      Last September, I proclaimed, “Scrum is the best thing that’s happened to our government team.” Our innovation team of five had discovered that planning and delivering work in small increments enables us to stay focused, aligned, and continuously improving. We didn’t yet know if our experience would be replicable by other teams in our organization. We offered Agile training for 10 colleagues to see what would happen.

      Nine months later, 12 teams and more than 100 staff members throughout our organization are using Agile methods to organize their work. Notably, the spread of Agile among city teams has been largely organic, not driven by top-down mandates.

    • Top Linux developers’ recommended programming books

      Without question, Linux was created by brilliant programmers who employed good computer science knowledge. Let the Linux programmers whose names you know share the books that got them started and the technology references they recommend for today’s developers. How many of them have you read?

      [...]

      Linux was developed in the 1990s, as were other fundamental open source applications. As a result, the tools and languages the developers used reflected the times, which meant a lot of C programming language. While C is no longer as popular, for many established developers it was their first serious language, which is reflected in their choice of influential books.

      “You shouldn’t start programming with the languages I started with or the way I did,” says Torvalds. He started with BASIC, moved on to machine code (“not even assembly language, actual ‘just numbers’ machine code,” he explains), then assembly language and C.

      “None of those languages are what anybody should begin with anymore,” Torvalds says. “Some of them make no sense at all today (BASIC and machine code). And while C is still a major language, I don’t think you should begin with it.”

      It’s not that he dislikes C. After all, Linux is written in GNU C. “I still think C is a great language with a pretty simple syntax and is very good for many things,” he says. But the effort to get started with it is much too high for it to be a good beginner language by today’s standards. “I suspect you’d just get frustrated. Going from your first ‘Hello World’ program to something you might actually use is just too big of a step.”

Leftovers

  • Aretha Franklin, The Queen Of Soul, Has Died At 76

    Aretha Franklin, the undisputed Queen of Soul and a music legend who enjoyed a career longer than many of her successors, died Thursday. She was 76.

    Her publicist confirmed her death to the Associated Press, saying she died in at her home in Detroit from advanced pancreatic cancer.

    “In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart,” her family said in a statement. “We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family.”

  • Science

    • Children are susceptible to peer pressure from robots

      In a study published today in the journal Science Robotics, researchers from Germany and the UK demonstrated that children are susceptible to peer pressure from robots. The findings, say the researchers, show that, as robots and AIs become integrated into social spaces, we need to be careful about the influence they wield, especially on the young.

  • Hardware

    • As one Samsung factory opens and another may close, shifting supply chain means different IP risks [Ed: Very, very, very, very, very slow news day for the patent trolls' lobby, IAM. So they write about Samsung shifting factory location as though it's about patents; but it's not. Not even remotely...]

      Where is the biggest smartphone factory in the world? If you guessed Shenzhen, or anywhere else in China, you’re wrong as of last month. Samsung in July opened what has been dubbed the world’s largest smartphone factory in Noida, just outside of Delhi. Meanwhile, South Korean media this week reported that Samsung may be on the verge of shuttering its smartphone factory in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin. The news comes as the top global handset maker ramps up production in other parts of Asia.

    • Physical Home Cluster Setup

      Dell inspiron with extra Intel Pro/1000 Dual port Server Adapter

      3 Nodes Dell Poweredge 610 ( each with a different Solid State Drive)

      Juniper SRX 220 Router

      Tenda 8 port Gigabit Desktop switch

      The whole thing is housed in a StarTech.com 12U Adjustable Depth Open Frame 4 Post Server Rack

      Here’s what it looks like:

  • Health/Nutrition

    • A Contractor Knowingly Sold US Troops Defective Earplugs For Years. Now They’re Paying For It

      A defense contractor has agreed to pay $9.1 million to settle claims that it furnished U.S. service members with earplugs that it knew were defective, the Department of Justice announced on Thursday. The settlement suggests that pure greed may be partly to blame for the military’s “silent epidemic” of hearing loss.

    • Veterans Group Sues to Block VA Shadow Rulers

      A liberal veterans group is suing to block the influence of three outside advisers who have been secretly influencing the Department of Veterans Affairs from Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Florida.

      ProPublica reported last week that the advisers — Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter, West Palm Beach doctor Bruce Moskowitz and Washington lawyer Marc Sherman — have been shaping VA personnel and policy decisions despite having no official role or relevant expertise.

      The trio, sometimes referred to as the “Mar-a-Lago Crowd,” is failing to disclose its activities as required by federal law, according to a lawsuit filed today in federal court in Washington, D.C., by VoteVets, a liberal activist group that says it represents 500,000 supporters.

  • Security

    • Three More Intel Chip Exploits Surface
    • Spectre-like “Foreshadow” Flaw In Intel CPUs Can Leak Your Secrets
    • Intel Foreshadow exploits: How to protect yourself from latest chip vulnerability

      Like the Spectre and Meltdown exploits earlier this year, the new L1TF / Foreshadow vulnerabilities allow for a form of speculative execution attack. Unlike those earlier exploits, these affect modern chips with SGX architecture extensions, designed to protect data and applications from interference.

    • L1TF Explained in 3 Minutes from Red Hat
    • Linux Kernel TCP Vulnerability 2

      On the week of July 15th, researcher Juha-Matti Tilli disclosed a vulnerability in the Linux kernel to the kernel maintainers, the National Cyber Security Center – Finland (NCSC-FI), CERT Coordination Center (CERT/CC), and Akamai. The vulnerability, CVE-2018-5391, is a resource exhaustion attack triggered by a specially crafted stream of IP datagrams that cause expensive processing within the Linux kernel. This vulnerability is similar to the Linux TCP vulnerability announced August, 6th, 2018.

    • Two Linux bugs let remote attackers knock out network devices with low-traffic attacks

      The US CERT Coordination Center posted an alert about the security issue, tagged with the ID CVE-2018-5391, and notes the issue affects versions 3.9 and above of the Linux kernel.

    • Security updates issued for VMware, Samba, Internet Key Exchange, and Linux

      US-Cert announced updates and patches for VMware, Samba, Internet Key Exchange, and Linux kernel, respectively, to address a host of vulnerabilities.

      The VMware security updates fixed vulnerabilities in vSphere, Workstation, Fusion, and Virtual Appliances which could allow an attacker to obtain sensitive information if exploited, according to an August 14 advisory.

      The Samba Team released security updates to address several vulnerabilities which if exploited could allow threat actors to gain control of an affected system.

    • Microsoft, Intel Warn of ‘Foreshadow’ CPU Security Attacks [Ed: A Microsoft booster's take]
    • Intel Issues Security Advisory on L1 Speculative Execution Attack Method [Ed: Also a Microsoft booster's take]
    • Protecting Our Customers through the Lifecycle of Security Threats [Ed: Intel's face-saving take]
    • QEMU 3.0 Brings Spectre V4 Mitigation, OpenGL ES Support In SDL Front-End

      QEMU 3.0 is now officially available. This big version bump isn’t due to some compatibility-breaking changes, but rather to simplify their versioning and begin doing major version bumps on an annual basis. As an added bonus, QEMU 3.0 comes at a time of the project marking its 15th year in existence.

      QEMU 3.0 does amount to being a big feature release with a lot of new functionality as well as many improvements. Changes in QEMU 3.0 include Spectre V4 mitigation for x86 Intel/AMD, improved support for nested KVM guests on Microsoft Hyper-V, block device support for active mirroring, improved support for AHCI and SCSI emulation, OpenGL ES support within the SDL front-end, improved latency for user-mode networking, various ARM improvements, some POWER9 / RISC-V / s390 improvements too, and various other new bits.

    • How the L1 Terminal Fault vulnerability affects Linux systems

      Announced just yesterday in security advisories from Intel, Microsoft and Red Hat, a newly discovered vulnerability affecting Intel processors (and, thus, Linux) called L1TF or “L1 Terminal Fault” is grabbing the attention of Linux users and admins. Exactly what is this vulnerability and who should be worrying about it?

    • Flaw discovered in Intel chips, allows attackers to steal cloud data [Ed: Intel deserves to go bankrupt for selling billions of chips with defects and back doors in them (no accident, they put the ME there consciously)]
    • Theo on the latest Intel issues

      Theo de Raadt (deraadt@) posted to the tech@ mailing list with some background on how the latest discovered Intel CPU issues relate to OpenBSD.

      [...]

      These 3 issues (CVE-2018-3615, CVE-2018-3620, CVE-2018-3646) together
      are the currently public artifacts of this one bug.

    • OpenBSD chief slams Intel , says more CPU flaws likely to be found

      The head of the OpenBSD project, Theo de Raadt, has warned that more flaws related to speculative execution in Intel CPUs are likely to be found and that the two vulnerabilities found by Intel, as a result of examining the Foreshadow bug — found by two independent teams — are cause for much worry.

      De Raadt told iTWire that Foreshadow was “the wrong name. It is one of three side effects of a very poor Intel decision”.

      And he added in a mailing list post, “CVE-2018-3615 (Foreshadow) is by receiving the most press which is amazing considering it is by far the most boring of the 3, since very few few people give a rat’s ass about SGX – who cares if SGX is broken when the CPU can’t run your OS safely? Some convincing press agencies were hired, I guess, and have performed a masterful job of distracting.”

    • New family of new speculative execution bugs, Foreshadow, adds to Spectre-Meltdown misery

      Three newly discovered speculative execution vulnerabilities found in Intel CPUs may turn out to be more serious than their Spectre and Meltdown cousins, because this time the side-channel attack bugs affect microprocessors that support Intel Software Guard Extensions, as well as virtual machines running on the same third-party cloud as the susceptible device.

      The new family of Spectre-like flaws, dubbed Foreshadow (CVE-2018-3615) and Foreshadow-NG (CVE-2018-3620 and CVE-2018-3646), were independently uncovered by two separate research teams — one from imec-DistriNet-KU Leuven in Belgium, and the other from Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, the University of Michigan, and University of Adelaide and CSIRO’s Data61 in Australia.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Cisco, Huawei, ZyXel, and Huawei patch Cryptographic IPSEC IKE Vulnerability
    • 11-year-old shows it’s child’s play to mess with elections

      At the DefCon Voting Village in Las Vegas last year, participants proved it was child’s play to hack voting machines: As Wired reported, within two minutes, democracy-tech researcher Carsten Schürmann used a novel vulnerability to get remote access to a WinVote machine.

      This year, it was literally child’s play: the DefCon village this past weekend invited 50 kids between the ages of 8 and 16 to compromise replicas of states’ websites in the so-called “DEFCON Voting Machine Hacking Village.”

    • Election Websites, Back-End Systems Most at Risk of Cyberattack in Midterms

      Both adult and kid hackers demonstrated at DEF CON how the hackable voting machine may be the least of our worries in the 2018 elections.

      Two 11-year-old budding hackers last week at DEF CON in Las Vegas used SQL injection attack code to break into a replica of the Florida Secretary of State’s website within 15 minutes, altering vote count reports on the site.

      Meanwhile, further down the hall in the adult Voting Machine Hacking Village at Caesars Palace, one unidentified hacker spent four hours trying to break into a replica database that housed the real, publicly available state of Ohio voter registration roll. He got as far as the secured server — penetrating two layers of firewalls with a Khali Linux pen testing tool — but in the end was unable to grab the data from the database, which included names and birthdates of registered voters.

    • How Netflix Secures AWS Cloud Credentials

      Netflix has long been the poster child for being an “all-in-the-cloud” organization. The streaming media service relies on Amazon Web Services (AWS) for infrastructure and computing resources that it uses to operate.

    • Researchers Reveal Security Vulnerabilities in Tracking Apps

      Millions of users around the world regularly install tracker apps on their Android devices to help them keep track of friends and loved ones. Some of those tracker apps, however, contain vulnerabilities that could potentially enable an attacker to track the users of the apps.

      Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology detailed 37 vulnerabilities found in 19 mobile tracking apps in a session at Defcon in Las Vegas on Aug. 11. The researchers responsibly disclosed the flaws to Google and noted that, as of the time of their presentation, 12 of the apps had been removed from the Google Play store, leaving seven still publicly available and vulnerable.

      “In this project it was very easy to find vulnerabilities,” security researcher Siegfried Rasthofer said. “There were no sophisticated exploits.”

    • Reconsidering Speck

      The Speck cipher is geared toward good performance in software, which makes it attractive for smaller, often embedded, systems with underpowered CPUs that lack hardware crypto acceleration. But it also comes from the US National Security Agency (NSA), which worries lots of people outside the US—and, in truth, a fair number of US citizens as well. The NSA has earned a reputation for promulgating various types of cryptographic algorithms with dubious properties. While the technical arguments against Speck, which is a fairly simple and straightforward algorithm with little room for backdoors, have not been all that compelling, the political arguments are potent—to the point where it is being dropped by the main proponent for including it in the kernel.

    • WireGuarding the mainline

      The WireGuard VPN tunnel has been under development — and attracting attention — for a few years now; LWN ran a review of it in March. While WireGuard can be found in a number of distribution repositories, it is not yet shipped with the mainline kernel because its author, Jason Donenfeld, hasn’t gotten around to proposing it for upstreaming. That changed on on July 31, when Donenfeld posted WireGuard for review. Getting WireGuard itself into the mainline would probably not be all that hard; merging some of the support code it depends on could be another story, though.

      WireGuard implements a simple tunneling protocol allowing network traffic to be routed through a virtual private network provider. It has been developed with an eye toward smallness, ease of verification, and performance, rather than large numbers of features. It is, according to the patch posting, “used by some massive companies pushing enormous amounts of traffic”. Some effort has gone into making WireGuard widely available, an effort that has helped to create a significant user community. But the ultimate way to make this kind of software widely available is to get it into everybody’s kernel; that requires upstreaming.

    • Putting Stickers On Your Laptop Is Probably a Bad Security Idea

      Mitchell said political stickers, for instance, can land you in secondary search or result in being detained while crossing a border. In one case, Mitchell said a hacker friend ended up missing a flight over stickers.

    • Video Shows Hotel Security at DEF CON Joking About Posting Photos of Guests’ Belongings to Snapchat

      But the room check captured on video suggests the walkthroughs are subject to abuse by hotel personnel who may use them as opportunity to snoop on guests or take and post images for amusement. And accounts of other searches that involved hotel security staff refusing to show ID or showing insufficient ID, and displaying bullying and threatening behavior to guests in occupied rooms, raises questions about the legality of the searches and the tactics and training of security personnel.

    • Researchers in Finland detect vulnerability in password management software

      Researchers identified a security gap in more than 10 applications used by millions around the world, including an app used by Finland's population registry.

    • How to Protect Your PC From the Intel Foreshadow Flaws
    • AT&T Sued After SIM Hijacker Steals $24 Million in Customer’s Cryptocurrency

      It has only taken a few years, but the press, public and law enforcement appear to finally be waking up to the problem of SIM hijacking. SIM hijacking (aka SIM swapping or a “port out scam”) involves a hacker hijacking your phone number, porting it over to their own device (often with a wireless carrier employee’s help), then taking control of your personal accounts. As we’ve been noting, the practice has heated up over the last few years, with countless wireless customers saying their entire identities were stolen after thieves ported their phone number to another carrier, then took over their private data.

      Sometimes this involves selling valuable Instagram account names for bitcoin; other times it involves clearing out the target’s banking or cryptocurrency accounts. Case in point: California authorities recently brought the hammer down on one 20-year-old hacker, who had covertly ported more than 40 wireless user accounts, in the process stealing nearly $5 million in bitcoin.

      One of the problems at the core of this phenomenon is that hackers have either tricked or paid wireless carrier employees to aid in the hijacking, or in some instances appear to have direct access to (apparently) poorly-secured internal carrier systems. That has resulted in lawsuits against carriers like T-Mobile for not doing enough to police their own employees, the unauthorized access of their systems, or the protocols utilized to protect consumer accounts from this happening in the first place.

    • Voting Machine Vendors, Election Officials Continue To Look Ridiculous, As Kids Hack Voting Machines In Minutes
    • Security updates for Thursday
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Mexico’s Tlatelolco Massacre, and Its Echoes Today
    • Mental Illness does not Explain Terrorism

      If we truly want to get to a place where we can live in a society that treats mental health seriously and effectively we need to have the ability to have tough conversations. Following the Danforth shooting we need to be able to speak openly and honestly about Islamic terrorism, guns, crime, mental health, fentanyl and policing without getting into shouting matches.

    • ‘Ultimate Form Of Civilization Jihad’ Planned For This Michigan City

      Sterling Heights is unique in that it is home to not only a growing Muslim community but one of the largest concentrations of Chaldean Catholic Christians in the U.S. These Christians fled persecution in Iraq. Word of the open house spread quickly among Chaldeans and other Christians when a flyer showing the targeted church started circulating in the area last week.

    • Ceuta Onslaught: How Gaddafi’s Grim Prophecy for Europe is Coming True

      “Now listen, you people of NATO,” Gaddafi said on the eve of NATO’s invasion of Libya in 2011. “You’re bombing a wall which stood in the way of African migration to Europe and in the way of al-Qaeda terrorists. This wall was Libya. You’re breaking it.”

    • Honour Killing in UP : Brother beheads sister, waits for police with blood-soaked knife

      Her father Kallu Gazi and brother Aas Mohammad were very annoyed with her eloping with Abid whom they disliked. About a week ago, Aas Mohammad had publicly announced in the colony that he would behead her sister for daring to go against the family members.

    • “Girl With A Book” Frightens Extremists: Malala On Pak School Burning

      According to Dawn, Diamer Superintendent Police (SP) Roy Ajmal said 12 schools, including only-girls schools were set on fire. He also said that in a few cases, books were also thrown out and torched.

      Dawn quoted local police officer Mohammad Bashir as saying that the attack on schools took place near Chilas before dawn on Friday, however, no casualties were reported as the schools were closed when the attack took place.

      Police added that no group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

    • Amnesty accuses Turkey of ‘turning blind eye’ to abuses in Afrin

      Amnesty International says Turkish forces in the northern Syrian city of Afrin are giving Syrian militias “free rein” to commit serious human rights abuses. The group alleges torture, forced disappearances and looting.

    • Syria: Turkey must stop serious violations by allied groups and its own forces in Afrin

      Research released today reveals that residents in Afrin are enduring a wide range of violations, mostly at the hands of Syrian armed groups that have been equipped and armed by Turkey. These violations include arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, and confiscation of property and looting to which Turkey’s armed forces have turned a blind eye. Some of these groups, and Turkish armed forces themselves, also have taken over schools, disrupting the education of thousands of children.

    • Russian-backed separatists are using terrifying text messages to shock adversaries — and it’s changing the face of warfare

      Russian-backed separatists are “adept at identifying Ukrainian positions by their electrometric signatures,” US Army Col. Liam Collins wrote in late July.

    • Linguistic Contortions in Gaza

      News outlets have performed torturous linguistic contortions to avoid stating the simple fact that Israel is shooting hundreds of demonstrators with live ammunition, killing 30 and injuring close to 2,000. An Associated Press headline (4/6/18) said, “Palestinian Protesters Burn Tires, Sending Smoke Billowing at Gaza/Israel Border; Israeli Troops Fire Back Sporadically.” That’s a logical impossibility: Israeli forces cannot “fire back” at people who aren’t firing at them. The sentence rests on the absurd assumption that burning tires is the same as shooting people.

    • Man who destroyed Trump’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star charged with felony vandalism

      The man who allegedly used a pickaxe to vandalize President Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame has reportedly been charged with vandalism.

    • Israeli Military Clears Itself of Wrongdoing in 2014 Gaza War’s ‘Black Friday’

      Known as “Black Friday,” Israel’s assault on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Aug. 1, 2014, was one of the deadliest and most scrutinized episodes in the 50-day war that summer.

      On Wednesday, the Israeli military cleared itself of wrongdoing in the bitterly contested episode. It published the conclusions of the examination into its conduct as Israel eased some restrictions on Gaza and moved to shore up the fragile cease-fire agreements that ended that war.

      Human rights groups like Amnesty International have said there was “strong evidence” that Israel carried out war crimes in Rafah by killing scores of Palestinians, most of them civilians. Some accused the Israeli military of firing in revenge, disproportionately and indiscriminately, after Hamas militants abducted a soldier, Lt. Hadar Goldin.

    • Whatever happened to al-Qaeda in Afghanistan?

      The troops waging America’s 17-year-old war in Afghanistan are confronting a puzzle: What has become of the enemy who drew them there?

      Al-Qaeda, the group whose September 11 terror attacks provoked the U.S. invasion in 2001, has shrunk to relative obscurity among the military’s other missions in Afghanistan, supplanted by newer threats such as a local branch of the Islamic State. And it is a matter of debate how much al-Qaeda’s remaining Afghan presence still focuses on launching attacks overseas, according to current and former military officers and government officials, experts, and Afghans from areas where the group operates.

      Only a small portion of the 15,000 American troops in Afghanistan are involved in the counterterrorism mission that the military calls its “core objective” there. Even fewer of those are hunting al-Qaeda, whose presence in the country has dwindled after years of drone strikes. Instead, U.S. special operations forces are focusing on the Afghan branch of ISIS, a less secretive group that in some way offers an easier target.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Wikileaks served via twitter

      The US Democratic National Committee (DNC) has subpoenaed Wikileaks via Twitter.

      Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, the DNC’s law firm, filed a motion to serve Wikileaks through Twitter and first-class mail on 20 July. The motion was granted by US District Court Judge John Koeltl on 6 August.

      On 10 August, Cohen Milstein tweeted to Wikileaks from a newly created account linking to legal documents hosted on a website that appears to have been created for the purpose.

    • Democrats Tweet-Serve Subpoena to WikiLeaks

      The Democratic National Committee’s vendetta against WikiLeaks, Russia and pro-Trump political operatives took an unconventional turn recently when the political party served WikiLeaks with a subpoena over Twitter.

      A law firm representing the DNC notified WikiLeaks it had been sued simply by mentioning the document publisher in a tweet and dumping the associated legal URLs to fill out the rest of the tweet. “By Court order, you are being served with the following legal documents,” the law firm said August 10.

    • Are Summons Just Getting Tweeted Now? Analyzing the Legal Issues With Serving Formal Papers on Social Media

      Last Friday, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) served WikiLeaks via Twitter. While the microblog service is extremely popular within the White House these days, it’s one of only a handful of instances when it has been used for such an official purpose, maybe except that time when the U.S. Secretary of State found out he had been fired in a presidential tweet.

      So, the law firm representing the DNC in its civil lawsuit against WikiLeaks officially served the legal documents on the case to WikiLeaks by tagging its official account in a post. Notably, the account seems to have been created specifically for that purpose, as it is relatively new and has no other tweets.

    • Courage announcement

      We thank Naomi Colvin for her work as Courage Director over the last year, including the successful campaign to resist Lauri Love’s extradition to the US, which was widely publicised in the UK and abroad. Naomi joined Courage in 2014. We wish her all success.

      Courage defends those who are subject to serious prosecution or persecution. It is designed to increase the power of defence campaigns through mutual aid, sharing basic financial and internet infrastructure and solidarity.

    • The White House Is Terrified As Omarosa Is Giving Trump The WikiLeaks Treatment

      Omarosa’s decision to slowly leak out her taped conversations is exactly what Trump and WikiLeaks did with the Russian hacked Clinton emails, and it is terrifying the White House.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Group aims to help resolve DAPL protest warrants

      An organization formed to provide legal help to opponents of the Dakota Access oil pipeline is launching an effort to help protesters with criminal warrants resolve their cases.

      There are about 100 outstanding warrants issued for people from 25 states.

    • Dead fish, birds, manatees, even a whale shark. Toll from worst red tide in decade grows.

      And while red tide is an annual event, Ruane sees the severity of this year as a chance to educate his constituents about the risks of over-fertilizing, not addressing pollution from stormwater run-off and the need for long-term fixes to the Everglades. He’s also hoping to convince the Corps — he took the agency’s South Florida deputy commander Lt. Col. Jennifer Reynolds on a tour Tuesday — to speed up changes in managing the lake and reconsider flushing water to the coasts.

      It should also serve as a wake-up call, Baroon said.

      “Wildlife is the canary in the coal mine,” she said. “It’s the thing telling us your environment is very unhealthy and as a human species you need to do something about it.”

    • Germany’s car industry can’t build its own battery cells

      Later this year, Audi will sell an electric vehicle that can keep up with Tesla’s performance and range. Mercedes, Volkswagen, and BMW will follow soon, as they are set to regain technological leadership, especially when it comes to luxury cars. But even if they do, they will be depending on suppliers from China, Korea, or Japan to deliver one crucial part of their EVs: the battery cells. As it turns out, Germany’s automotive industry is not able to build those highly needed components. At least, not anymore.

    • Gruesome Faroe Islands whale cull turns the sea RED as fishermen force hundreds ashore to butcher them

      Horrific photos reveal the aftermath of a brutal killing of a pod of whales on a remote Arctic island.

      The animals are rounded up and slaughtered by villagers several times a year in a tradition that has caused outrage across the world.

      One of these culls happens every summer where thousands of pilot and beaked whales are massacred in bays across the Danish-owned Faroe Islands as inhabitants prepare for the harsh winter months ahead.

      Images show fishermen driving herds into shallow waters that have already been stained red by the blood of previously slaughtered animals.

      The water is littered with dozens of corpses many of which can be seen with massive gashes on their bodies where people have hacked at them.

  • Finance

    • Where do people get money to buy California homes these days? Often, from mom and dad

      Back in 2011, about one in four FHA loans in California included down payment money from relatives. Today, it’s one in three.

    • Japan regulator reportedly looking into whether Apple secretly crushed an App Store competitor

      Japan’s Fair Trade Commission is looking into whether Apple improperly pressured Yahoo Japan to shut down a game streaming platform that competed with the iOS App Store, according to Nikkei. Yahoo Japan’s Game Plus service allowed people to stream full games made for other platforms and to play HTML5 games on mobile phones, which would have allowed iPhone owners to get games without going through the App Store.

    • Apple probed in Japan over anti-competitive behavior

      Yahoo told multiple business partners that it was forced to cut back because of pressure behind the scenes from Apple. The Japanese company relies on the U.S. tech giant for part of its profits in the form of sales through the App Store.

    • Uber reportedly lost $891 million in the second quarter of 2018 as growth slows

      Bloomberg characterized the report as Khosrowshahi embracing the company’s “growth above profit” ethos. But it has cast a spotlight on some of Uber’s more expensive, trouble-prone projects. Specifically, the company’s beleaguered self-driving car operation is said to be losing as much as $200 million a quarter, The Information reported today. And Bloomberg noted that Uber is being urged by investors to off-load the unit.

    • Uber CEO Embraces Losing Money With Revenue Growth Slowing

      Nearly a year into Khosrowshahi’s tenure, Uber reported on Wednesday a second-quarter loss of $891 million. While it’s a 16 percent improvement from a year earlier, the loss follows a rare profit posted in the first quarter, thanks largely to the sale of overseas assets.

    • Tencent Slumps After First Profit Drop in at Least a Decade

      The very government that has favored Tencent as a technology champion is now directly hurting its results, with the bureaucratic shakeup in Beijing blocking its path to making money from games. The Shenzhen-based company relies on new content to draw and keep users on its WeChat messaging service, over which it sells in-game items and advertising to a billion-plus users. Tencent hasn’t been able to cash in on the world’s most popular games, including Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

    • ‘There’s an Alternative to the Hierarchical, Top-Down Capitalist Corporation’

      No, you know, it’s always struck me as bizarre, even if you are a great lover of capitalism, our system, and you just think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. Even if you’re like that, if that’s your point of view, the fact is that places, like, I don’t know, let’s pick one: the People’s Republic of China—for the last 25 years, that economy, which is organized in ways that are different from the one we have here in the United States, that People’s Republic of China has achieved the most rapid economic transformation from poor country to superpower economically, that we have ever seen in the history of the human race. OK…. That alone would mean we ought to be exploring, in our classrooms, in our media: What’s that about? How did they accomplish that? That’s something that most of the world’s people dream of, and so it’s an important matter.

      And now you add another couple of other considerations. That it’s the largest country by population on this planet. And it is a superpower, has nuclear weapons and all of that. And you’d say, any rational person would understand: Of course we have to look at that model of how you do economics, how you organize an economic system, to ask the logical, rational question: not necessarily that we must copy them, but are there things about what they do, and how they organize, that we might be able to learn something from?

    • More Than One Million Labour Leave Voters Have Abandoned Brexit, Says Gordon Brown

      Gordon Brown has said more than one million Labour supporters who voted for Brexit have now changed their mind, as pressure grows on Jeremy Corbyn to back a second EU referendum.

      The former prime minister said on Wednesday that the country was “losing hope” and had been “immobilised by divisions”.

      “Remain voters are despondent, fearing that we have moved from a soft Brexit to a hard Brexit to a no-deal Brexit,” he told the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

      “But leave voters believe that none of the Brexit options- a Norway-style deal, a Swiss-style deal or the Canadian option – can deliver what they were promised and now feel betrayed.

      “Our country is often accused of being stuck in the past. The problem this time is that we are stuck in the present – and, as each day passes, becoming less and less optimistic about the future.”

      Brown said polling, including a survey from Hope not Hate that suggested 21% of Labour leave votes had changed their mind, meant more than one million of the party’s supporters had abandoned Brexit.

      Labour’s internal arguments over Brexit are set to come to a head at its annual conference in September.

      Corbyn is facing a move by pro-EU members to hold a vote committing the party to holding referendum on Theresa May’s final Brexit deal.

    • Fox Business Took a Shot at Denmark. Denmark Fired Back.

      An anchor, Trish Regan, called the country a warning about socialism, mentioning it alongside Venezuela. The Danish finance minister led an angry response.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump ends Obama-era rules on US-led cyberattacks: report

      The memorandum required that an extensive interagency process take place before the U.S. government embarks on any cyberattacks. Trump reversed the rules to try and ease some of those restrictions, which critics argued were detrimental to launching the attacks quickly, according to the Journal.

    • Trump Strikes Back at ‘Ringleader’ Brennan

      There’s more than meets the eye to President Donald Trump’s decision to revoke the security clearances that ex-CIA Director John Brennan enjoyed as a courtesy customarily afforded former directors. The President’s move is the second major sign that Brennan is about to be hoist on his own petard. It is one embroidered with rhetoric charging Trump with treason and, far more important, with documents now in the hands of congressional investigators showing Brennan’s ringleader role in the so-far unsuccessful attempts to derail Trump both before and after the 2016 election.

      Brennan will fight hard to avoid being put on trial but will need united support from from his Deep State co-conspirators — a dubious proposition. One of Brennan’s major concerns at this point has to be whether the “honor-among-thieves” ethos will prevail, or whether some or all of his former partners in crime will latch onto the opportunity to “confess” to investigators: “Brennan made me do it.”

    • Trump-Media Logrolling

      Today, hundreds of newspapers, at the initiative of The Boston Globe, are purporting to stand up for a free press against Trump’s rhetoric.

      Today also marks exactly one month since I was dragged out of the July 16 Trump-Putin news conference in Helsinki and locked up until the middle of the night.

      As laid in my cell, I chuckled at the notion that the city was full of billboards proclaiming Finland was the “land of free press“.

      So, I’ve grown an especially high sensitivity to both goonish behavior toward journalists trying to ask tough questions — and to those professing they are defending a free press when they are actually engaging in a marketing exercise.

      As some have noted, the editorials today will likely help Trump whip up support among his base against a monolithic media. But, just as clearly, the establishment media can draw attention away from their own failures, corruptions and falsehoods simply by focusing on Trump’s.

      Big media outlets need not actually report news that affects your life and point to serious solutions for social ills. They can just bad mouth Trump. And Trump need not deliver on campaign promises that tapped into populist and isolationist tendencies in the U.S. public that have grown in reaction to years of elite rule. He need only deride the major media.

      They are at worst frenemies. More likely, at times, Trump and the establishment media log roll with each other. The major media built up Trump. Trump’s attacks effectively elevate a select few media celebrities.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • FCC shuts down Alex Jones’s flagship radio station

      The Austin American-Statesman reported Wednesday that the pirate radio station, Liberty Radio, was hit with a $15,000 fine and at least temporarily pulled from the airwaves.

    • Austin pirate radio station, flagship for Alex Jones, faces $15k fine

      A pirate radio station that serves as controversial host Alex Jones’ Austin flagship has been knocked off the city’s airwaves – at least temporarily – and the Federal Communications Commission has levied a $15,000 penalty that the station’s operators are refusing to pay.

    • Google Needs To Come Clean About Its Chinese Plans

      Eight years after Google initially took a stand against Internet censorship by exiting the Chinese search market, we are disappointed to learn the company has been secretly re-considering an extended collaboration with the massive censorship and surveillance-wielding state. According to an Intercept report released at the beginning of the month, Google is working on a censored version of its search service for release in China.

      In 2010, EFF and many other organizations praised Google for refusing to sacrifice the company’s values for access to the Chinese market. At the time, this move followed public backlash and several attacks on Google’s infrastructure that targeted the personal data of several prominent Chinese human rights activists. Google’s departure from China showed that strong core values in fundamental human rights could beat out short-term economic gain in the calculus of an Internet company.

      But now it seems the company has reversed course.

      This news comes amid other reports of American tech giants compromising values to enter or remain within China: Facebook has piloted a censored version of its own platform, and Apple recently faced criticism for moving its customers’ data into China-hosted servers, and adding code to filter the Taiwanese flag emoji in Chinese locales.

      Within China, Google’s direct competitor, Baidu, has been facing a significant amount of social, regulatory, and economic backlash over recent advertising malpractice, such as monetizing questionable medical advertisements, heavily deprioritizing non-Baidu services, and allegedly promoting phishing sites. There may well be a growing demand for competition within the Chinese search engine market.

    • Court Says CBP Likely Violating First Amendment By Forbidding Photography Of Publicly-Viewable Border Crossings

      Another (partial) win for the First Amendment, the ACLU, and American citizens. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a decision forbidding the photography of CBP officers at border crossings. (h/t Mitra Ebadolahi)

      The CBP seems to have a problem respecting the First Amendment rights (along with several other rights) of American citizens when engaged in its border patrolling and protecting. This same appeals court recently allowed the heavily-harassed citizens of an Arizona border town to move forward with their First Amendment lawsuit against the agency, ruling that the CBP acted arbitrarily when dealing with protesters and activists documenting checkpoint activity. The record clearly showed the CBP removed people it didn’t like from its imaginary zone of exclusion while allowing other random citizens more aligned with the CBP’s open harassment of American citizens to venture inside the ad hoc DMZ to harass citizens documenting harassment.

      [...]

      The decision does not hand the plaintiffs a complete victory. It does shift the burden of proof back on the government and instructs the lower court to allow the case to proceed to see if the government can actually offer up anything supporting its random time/place restrictions that border on total violation of established First Amendment principles. The appeals court seems inclined to believe the CBP cannot simply forbid photography of publicly-viewable enforcement activities by members of the public. We’ll have to see what the lower court does on remand, considering it already granted the government a free pass once, because National Security > Established Constitutional Rights, apparently.

    • I’m Alex Jones x Infinity Worse (on Twitter)

      Twitter just suspended Alex Jones for a week after he called on millions of people to pick up weapons to attack the press. I am still in the dark about what I said on Twitter that is x Infinity worse, as mine is a permanent suspension.

      Anyway, I hope with Alex Jones (and me) gone, your Twitter is better, kinder, more… ideologically pure. @jack seems to be on a campaign ahead of the midterms to make Twitter less politically diverse, so I hope that is good for you, not to have to block all those nasty contrary opinions and all. Soon enough it’ll be just down to what the Party wants you to read and for most people that is a comfortably numb place to be. I wish you well! You will learn, as I have, to love Big Brother. Twitter will help you learn.

      [...]

      Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis held people must discuss and criticize unpopular ideas, that free speech is not an abstract virtue but a key element at the heart of a democratic society. Even the fact that speech is likely to result in “violence or in destruction of property is not enough to justify its suppression.” Brandeis concluded “the deterrents to be applied to prevent violence and disruption are education and punishment for violations of the law, not abridgment of free speech.”

      Free speech is not an ends, it is a means, in a democracy. Shame on Twitter, et al, for treading on that mighty concept. Free speech is messy, and it is our essential defense against fascism, whether from the left or the right.

    • Video Games In Germany Can Now Maybe Kinda Sometimes Have Swastikas

      As you likely know, Germany has some very restrictive laws surrounding how and when Nazi iconography can appear in the country. This has resulted in a heavily-policed artistic community, particularly when it comes to video games, which has produced some fairly funny happenings about games accidentally going to Germany chock full of Nazi stuff and other funny happenings in which the game makers make a show of doing as little as possible to get around the law. In the realm of other media, such as movies, the German government has put in place a review process to make sure that the use of Nazi symbols furthers the artistic or historical accuracy of the entertainment. Video games have not had such a review system. And, look, on some level this sort of attempt by Germany to restrict the use of these hateful symbols is understandable. The kind of global embarrassment that comes with committing the worst genocide in history is the sort of thing that leaves a mark. But we’ve also pointed out that these German laws aren’t so much stamping out fascist thought as they are putting the government’s collective head in the sand as some kind of grand virtue signal to the planet.

    • TLS 1.3 is Coming – an Opportunity for Amazon, Google and Microsoft to End Censorship

      A new standard for cryptography is on the horizon, called Transport Level Security 1.3 (TLS 1.3).

      TLS 1.3 is a major update to cryptography, and fundamentally changes how websites and services will handle negotiating and executing encrypted services.

      Among the big improvements are faster handshakes with websites (meaning faster page load times), new ciphers (new and stronger types of encryption) and new hash functions (types of verification to check if data is genuine). It also features privacy improvements such as reducing the amount of metadata that is exposed to eavesdroppers, as all metadata that isn’t needed for the routing around the web itself is now hidden behind encryption.

    • A Free Press Works for All of Us

      ProPublica does not have an editorial page, and we have never advocated for a particular policy to address the wrongs our journalism exposes. But from the very beginning of our work more than a decade ago, we have benefited enormously from the traditions and laws that protect free speech. And so today, as the nation’s news organizations remind readers of the value of robust journalism, it seems fitting to add our voice.

      ProPublica specializes in investigative reporting — telling stories with “moral force” that hold government, businesses and revered institutions to account. There are few forms of journalism more vulnerable to pressure from the powerful. What we publish can change the outcome of elections, reverse policies, embarrass police or prosecutors and cost companies boatloads of money. The main subjects of our work, in most cases, would much prefer that our reporting never appear or be substantially watered down.

    • Murphy’s Law: Big Tech Must Serve as Censorship Subcontractors

      In a recent tweet, US Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) warned that “Infowars is the tip of a giant iceberg of hate and lies that uses sites like Facebook and YouTube to tear our nation apart.” His solution: “These companies must do more than take down one website. The survival of our democracy depends on it.”

      Yes, odd as it might seem, Senator Murphy believes that the future of America can only be secured by suppressing information and discussion he doesn’t like. That sentiment seems to be going around. David McCabe of Axios reports on a leaked policy paper from the office of US Senator Mark Warner (D-VA). Two of its most dangerous proposals:

      “[N]ew federal funding for media literacy programs that could help consumers sort through the information on online platforms. ” In other words, well-financed government propaganda to make sure we hear what Mark Warner wants us to hear (and think what he wants us to think about what we hear elsewhere).

    • ‘Towering’ opponent of censorship John Calder dies aged 91

      Described as “at the forefront of postwar publishing and a towering figure in the fight against censorship,” the Canadian-born Calder founded his own company in 1949, now part of Alma Classics. Calder Publishing published Chekhov, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky as well poetry, novels, criticism and plays of Beckett.

      Alma Books’ founder Alessandro Gallenzi told The Bookseller that Calder died on Monday morning (13th August) at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh after suffering a rapid decline in health over the past few weeks.

      Gallenzi described Calder, who was a publisher, bookseller and author himself, as “a passionate publisher and a fiercely independent man”.

    • Edinburgh festivals: Calder, publisher who helped beat censorship, dies aged 91
    • Lester Holt talks Twitter censorship
    • Why Did Facebook Purge TeleSUR English?
    • Analysis: teleSUR censorship shows that the press can never be free in a world of social media superpowers
    • Five examples that show internet censorship is as much a threat to the left as the right

      The banning of right wing controversialist Alex Jones from multiple social media platforms last week was a cause of celebration for many liberals, but should those on the left really be so complacent about creeping censorship?

      So far, the evidence suggest that there is indeed plenty for the left to worry about when it comes to corporations like Facebook and Twitter and their alliances with government censors.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • IA concerns over privacy, security issues with encryption law

      Internet Australia has raised serious privacy and security concerns about the Australian Government’s proposal to introduce a new cyber encryption law, warning the draft law seeks unprecedented expansion of powers to access citizen’s devices.

    • US gov staffers are officially banned from using Huawei and ZTE devices

      Trump, who famously made a cameo in Zoolander, this week signed the Defense Authorization Act into law. The bill, which goes into effect over the next two years, introduces a ban on devices and equipment used to route or view user data made by Chinese manufacturers including Huawei and ZTE.

    • Brazilian data protection is strong step forward, action needed on enforcement

      Brazil’s newly passed data protection law is a huge step forward in the protection of user privacy. It’s great to see Brazil, long a champion of digital rights, join the ranks of countries with data protection laws on the books. We are concerned, however, about President Temer’s veto of several provisions, including the Data Protection Authority. We urge the President and Brazilian policymakers to swiftly advance new legislation or policies to ensure effective enforcement of the law.

    • Here’s What Happens When We Allow Facial Recognition Technology in Our Schools

      Facial recognition technology — unregulated, prone to error, and poorly understood — is being rapidly rolled out in schools.

      The idea of facial recognition technology conjures up scenes from books and films set in dystopian futures in which freedom and liberty have been forfeited in exchange for the illusion of security. From 1984 to Minority Report, these are worlds where everyone is suspect, and no one is safe.

      Today, you don’t need to look to fiction to imagine these consequences. Facial recognition technology — unregulated, prone to error, and poorly understood — is being rapidly rolled out in the institutions where we should place the most trust: our schools.

      In recent weeks, the NYCLU sounded the alarm after the Lockport City School District received $4 million in state funds to purchase facial recognition technology. More recently, RealNetworks announced that it is offering its facial recognition technology to any K-12 school in the country for free, claiming it’ll make schools safer.

      This is a dangerous path that schools should think twice about.

      We will do just about anything to protect our children. Promises of an omnipotent machine correctly identifying and stopping potential perpetrators make facial recognition technology alluring to parents and educators. And from the perspective of cash-strapped school districts, obtaining this technology for free can seem like a no-brainer.

      But facial recognition technology does not make our schools safer. In fact, facial recognition technology is especially prone to sabotage: For 22 cents, you can purchase a pair of cardboard glasses to fool it.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Pope Francis changes church’s teaching on the death penalty

      “Consequently the church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person,” and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide,” reads the new text, which was approved in May but only published Thursday.

    • Afghan child bride killed by husband in revenge: Officials

      After the other girl in the arrangement was killed by her own husband, Hameya’s husband began to torture her in revenge and eventually killed her, Shahabi told AFP.

    • Saudi Arabia arrests two more women’s rights activists: rights group

      “The arrests of Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sadah signal that the Saudi authorities see any peaceful dissent, whether past or present, as a threat to their autocratic rule,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement.

    • Court Strikes Down New Hampshire Law That Disenfranchised Voters Over Handwriting

      Judge finds the state’s signature-match process to be “fundamentally flawed.”

      On Tuesday, a federal judge struck down a New Hampshire law that disenfranchised hundreds of voters each general election because of their handwriting. The law in question required election moderators to compare the signature on a voter’s absentee-ballot application to the signature on an affidavit that the voter sends with the absentee ballot. If the election official felt that that the signatures did not match, they would simply throw out the vote.

      In the ruling, U.S. District Judge Landya McCafferty called the process, “fundamentally flawed,” finding that it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because the law did not provide voters with notice and an opportunity to be heard before they were disenfranchised.

      Under the law, New Hampshire voters were not informed of the decision that their signatures do not match or given an opportunity to address it before their vote is discarded. This is exactly what happened to our client Mary Saucedo, a 95-year-old woman who is legally blind and requires the help of her husband Gus to fill out her ballot. In 2016, an election moderator determined that Mary’s signatures did not match and threw out her vote without notification. It was one of the rare times Mary was not able to participate in the democratic process since 1944, when she first voted in a presidential election.

      Disenfranchisement does not only violate individuals’ constitutional rights — it can impact close elections. At least two voters at the Laconia Rehabilitation Center were disenfranchised during the 2016 general election because of the signature-match law. The Senate District 7 race — which covers Laconia — was decided by only 17 votes and, in fact, was subject to a recount. During the recount, the secretary of state took the position that he did not have the authority to overturn the moderator’s decision to reject these ballots due to “signature mismatch.” As the court noted, “[T]he likelihood of error . . . is only compounded by the lack of meaningful review or oversight.”

      The court also agreed, “It cannot be emphasized enough that the consequence of a moderator’s decision—disenfranchisement—is irremediable.”

    • ‘Journey for Justice’ Caravan Launches Cross Country Trek

      The Trump Administration, with Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions as its willing lightning rod, is in the process of dismantling key aspects of the U.S. political asylum program. To that end, the administration has begun to zero in on what is known as Temporary Protected Status(TPS). TPS was established by Congress in the Immigration Act of 1990. It’s a humanitarian program that mandates that the United States should suspend deportations to countries that have been destabilized by war, civil conflict, or natural catastrophe.

      According to the National TPS Alliance, if the trump Administration manages to crush the program, over 450, 000 people would face possible deportation, putting them in harm’s way, facing extreme violence and possible death.

      In response, a national grassroots coalition of refugee and immigrants rights activists will caravan from Los Angeles to Washington D.C. Those who are directly affected by Trump’s extreme anti immigrant policy–the TPS recipients themselves will lead the Journey for Justice Caravan.

    • When Sarah Sanders and the ACLU Teamed Up for Voting Rights

      As the midterm elections approach, Republican state officials and lawmakers have stepped up efforts to block students from voting in their college towns. Republicans in Texas pushed through a law last year requiring voters to carry one of seven forms of photo identification, including handgun licenses but excluding student IDs. In June, the GOP-controlled legislature in North Carolina approved early voting guidelines that have already resulted in closing of polling locations at several colleges. And last month, New Hampshire’s Republican governor signed a law that prevents students from voting in the state unless they first register their cars and obtain driver’s licenses there.

      One nationally prominent Republican, however, once took the opposite stance on student voting. As an undergraduate at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, Sarah Huckabee — now White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders — sued to allow students to vote after being one of more than 900 purged from the county’s rolls.

      “It’s almost like taxation without representation,” she said at the time. “They thought that because we were young that they could walk all over us, but obviously that’s not the case.”

      Illustrating the adage that politics makes strange bedfellows, the 2002 lawsuit paired a then-20-year-old Sanders with the American Civil Liberties Union. It began, as disputes over student voting often do, with a town-and-gown conflict. Reversing the usual pattern, a Democrat rather than a Republican instigated the student disenfranchisement.

    • Prisons Switch Device Providers; Render $11.3 Million Of Inmate-Purchased Music Worthless

      Because of the tablets, inmates will have to return the players, and they can’t transfer the music they already purchased onto their new devices.

      The corrections system is switching to JPay. Unfortunately, nothing else is switching. Money isn’t easy to obtain in prison, meaning most of this suddenly useless music was purchased with funds from friends and family at inflated prices. The prison system comes out of it OK. It has collected $11.3 million on the sale of worthless infinite goods to a literally captive audience.

      Now, with a lucrative JPay contract in effect, inmates are out millions of dollars in digital goods. The only options to keep what they purchased means shelling out more cash for the opportunity to put their purchased music completely out of reach.

    • Boy, 8, Runs into Street, Gets Hit By Car. Judge Must Decide: Was Mom at Fault for Not Being With Him?

      A very sad story in England had a good court outcome the other day: The mother of a boy who ran into the street and got seriously injured by a car (at age 8) was found NOT guilty of his accident — something the insurance company had accused her of, because she wasn’t with him at

    • “Unite the Right 2″ Showed the Growth of Anti-Fascism and the Police Response

      August has seen a rash of confrontations as far-right ensembles — from open white nationalists to radical right anti-immigrant and anti-LGBT groups — hit the streets and are met by massive community contingents. The story has evolved from one of opposing street contingents to a mass anti-fascist upswell in cities around the US — a point that has been eclipsed by allegations of massive police overreach on protests meant to halt the rise of the far right.

      Last weekend saw far-right activists convene in Washington, DC, on the one-year anniversary of the first “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. An estimated 40 “alt-right” supporters turned out for “Unite the Right 2,” and counter-protesters showed up in larger numbers. “Their rally happened, but it was clearly [outnumbered] 300 to 1,” said Scott Brown, an organizer with Shut It Down DC, the coalition which coordinated the actions across Washington, DC, on August 11 and 12.

      Last year’s “Unite the Right” rally was intended to be the high-water mark for a racist movement moving toward ascendancy. Donald Trump’s presidency offered a huge opportunity for the “alt-right” and the larger white nationalist movement to access recruits, but as conservative moderates started to turn on them, they needed to see exactly where they stood among the right. That event on August 12, 2017, brought out a thousand people from a range of organizations, from the National Socialist Movement to the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) to various “alt-right” fraternal projects.

    • WikiLeaks Wonders if ‘Bloody Gina’ Had Sexual Response to Torture

      CIA Director Gina Haspel is facing a new wave of criticism over the excessively colorful description of enhanced interrogation techniques under her supervision at a Thailand black site in 2002, which prompted WikiLeaks to ask whether the current CIA chief “has a sexual response to torture.”

      New CIA documents, declassified at the request of the National Security Archive, an independent non-governmental research institution, and released on August 10, have shown the agency’s director Gina Haspel in a new light.

    • Our Vision for Achieving Gender Justice In the Trump Era and Beyond

      The ACLU has been fighting gender discrimination since its founding. Under the leadership of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the 1970s, the Women’s Rights Project was instrumental in knocking down the vast majority of laws that explicitly treated women differently from men and in establishing constitutional protections against discrimination on the basis of sex.

    • Bill Proposes Greater Accountability for New York Prosecutors Who Break the Law

      Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York has a bill before him that would create a commission to bring a greater measure of accountability to prosecutors who withhold evidence, suborn perjury or commit other ethical violations that undermine justice. It would be the first of its kind in the country and conceivably create a model for other states to follow.

      The bill, passed overwhelmingly by the Senate and Assembly in June, authorizes the governor, the Legislature and the state’s chief judge to pick 11 people to investigate allegations of misconduct. The panel, when it sees fit, could issue warnings and recommend sanctions, or even firings, to the governor.

      Now, prosecutors are overseen like any other lawyer — by disciplinary committees attached to the state’s appellate courts. But ProPublica’s 2013 analysis found that even when convictions are thrown out as a result of harmful misconduct on the part of prosecutors, the appellate courts often fail to refer them to disciplinary committees.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • United Kingdom: Regeneron Pharmaceuticals v Kymab, Court of Appeal of England and Wales, Civil Division, [2018] EWCA Civ 1186, 23 May 2018

      Following the Court of Appeal’s decision that two of Regeneron’s patents were valid and infringed, it refused to grant Kymab permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, but held that the injunction against Kymab should be stayed, subject to certain conditions, whilst Kymab applied directly to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal.

    • Qualcomm’s Settlement With Taiwanese FTC Ignores Broken Promises

      Last week Qualcomm reached an agreement with the Taiwanese Fair Trade Commission (TFTC), overturning the $778 million penalty the TFTC levied in October. Qualcomm promised to invest $700 million in Taiwan and commit to certain process safeguards over their licensing arrangements with handset makers. In exchange, the original TFTC ruling is wiped away. Qualcomm will not be required to pay the majority of the fine and—far more important—Qualcomm can continue to ignore license requests from other baseband chip manufacturers.

      As covered before, the ability to refuse to license competitors—in violation of Qualcomm’s commitment to license their standard-essential patents on non-discriminatory terms—is an anti-competitive act that provides Qualcomm with the ability to raise competitors’ costs and obtain more than the value of their patents in licensing.

    • Registration No Longer Constitutes Legitimate Use Defence in Turkey

      Turkey has welcomed the new Intellectual Property Code (the IP Code) numbered 6769. This came force on January 10 2017.

      One of the major changes in the new IP Code is an explicit provision in Article 155 preventing later dated IP registrations being submitted as a defence in infringement actions.

    • Germany: Feldmausbekämpfung, Federal Court of Justice of Germany, X ZB 18/16, 27 March 2018

      The Federal Court of Justice held that in utility model registration proceedings, the utility model department must examine whether one of the grounds for refusal listed in Sec. 2 Utility Model Law exists.

    • Pappalardo v. Stevins (Fed. Cir. 2018)

      Last week, in Pappalardo v. Stevins, the Federal Circuit affirmed-in-part, vacated-in-part, and remanded a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida granting a motion to dismiss filed by Defendant-Appellee Samantha Stevins, in which Ms. Stevins sought to dismiss an amended complaint filed by Plaintiff-Appellant Michael Pappalardo for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Mr. Pappalardo had filed suit against Ms. Stevins asserting state law claims of fraud and negligent representation and seeking a declaratory judgment naming him as sole inventor of U.S. Patent Application No. 15/275,597.

      As alleged in Mr. Pappalardo’s complaint, he met Ms. Stevins at a pharmaceutical products trade show, where he disclosed to her a product related to liquid and solid cannabis delivery systems. As also alleged in the complaint, Ms. Stevins indicated that she had access to funding from a network of investors for the product, and the two entered into a business relationship to commercialize the product. The complaint further alleges that Ms. Stevins recommended filing the ’597 application, which names Ms. Stevins as a joint inventor. Mr. Pappalardo’s complaint further alleges that Ms. Stevins attempted to independently exploit his technology, and he responded by filing suit against her asserting claims of fraud and negligent representation and seeking declaratory judgment of sole inventorship. The District Court dismissed the declaratory judgment claim on the grounds that it lacked jurisdiction to hear claims for correction of inventorship for a pending patent application, and dismissed the state law claims on the grounds that they were contingent on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s determination on the ’597 application.

      [...]

      The District Court had also determined that it lacked diversity jurisdiction over Mr. Pappalardo’s state law claims. The Federal Circuit noted, however, that because the District Court had original jurisdiction over a federal question in the declaratory judgment claim, it could have exercised supplemental jurisdiction to hear the state law claims because they were so related to claims in the action that they formed part of the same case or controversy. The Federal Circuit also noted that because that authority is generally discouraged where a court has dismissed all claims over which it has original jurisdiction, and because the District Court stated that it was “hard-pressed to find that [Mr.] Pappalardo has adequately plead[ed] damages and causation—both elements needed to state an actionable claim for fraud and negligent misrepresentation—with the requisite particularity,” the Federal Circuit would interpret that statement as a decision declining to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims. The Federal Circuit therefore affirmed the District Court’s dismissal of the state law claims.

    • Trademarks

      • Honey badger don’t care – transforming trademark infringement into artistic or expressive works

        African honey badgers became well known in 2011 for their feisty nature. At the peak of their popularity, a multitude of cars were plastered with bumper stickers decorated with such catchphrases as “honey badger don’t care”, “honey badger don’t give a s***” and other variations on that theme. The impetus behind the now-infamous honey badger is the humorous soundtrack recorded over a National Geographic video about African honey badgers and their prey, titled The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger, which was written and produced by comedian and writer Christopher Z Gordon.

      • International report – Dressing up a brand against lookalikes: part one

        The launch of any fashion brand is usually preceded by clearance and the registration of one or more trademarks. However, this is not always the case and a trademark registration does not always provide the necessary scope of protection against copycats. This drives the need for unconventional means of brand protection.

      • Disney Finds It’s Not So Easy to Sue Over Knockoff Characters at Birthday Parties

        Does Disney really want to go to trial to prevent knockoffs of Darth Vader, Iron Man and Elsa and Anna from Frozen from showing up at children’s birthday parties? If the studio really wishes to continue a lawsuit over unlicensed characters, it may need to after experiencing a setback against Characters for Hire, LLC.

        On Thursday, a New York federal judge refused to grant summary judgment in favor of Disney in its ongoing case against Nick Sarelli, alleged to run a “knock-off business … built upon the infringement of Plaintiffs’ highly valuable intellectual property rights.”

        What’s more, U.S. District Court Judge George Daniels threw out most of Disney’s trademark claims against a defendant who will send out individuals dressed as “The Princess” (meaning Leia) or “Big Hairy Guy” (meaning Chewbacca) for special events.

        Daniels recognizes some similarity, but isn’t buying that Disney and Sarelli compete in the same business nor that Sarelli’s customers are likely to be confused. The judge makes the point that it’s “adults, not children” who plan parties and there’s no evidence of actual confusion.

      • Disney Gets Early Loss In Trademark, Copyright Suit Against Unlicensed Birthday Party Characters

        Late last year, we discussed a lawsuit brought by Disney against Characters For Hire, a small company that sends costume characters to children’s birthday parties. Those characters, as we said at the time, are barely-altered clear homages to storied Disney-owned characters, such as Dark Lord (Dearth Vader) and Big Hairy Guy (sigh, Chewbacca). While Disney sued over both trademark and copyright, the alterations to the characters and the very clear disclaimer Characters For Hire puts on its site and documents meant the chances for confusion as to Disney’s affiliation was always non-existent. When you add that the changes in the characters and the medium in which they were offered at least partially put us in the idea/expression dichotomy zone for copyright law. That part of the law essentially says copyright applies to specific expressions (written stories, film, music, and sometimes characters), but not general ideas (a Dark Lord, a, sigh, Big Hairy Guy).

      • Elected Official Files Business, Trademark Registrations Using Name Of Website That Frequently Criticized Her

        Becker has gone after Edwards and Wedge LIVE! as well, claiming the site is funded by “realtors” using “dark money.” The contentious relationship has escalated in recent months, with the formation of an activist group by Edwards that opposes the policies and zoning changes Becker would like to institute. Edwards also asked readers to comment on proposed plans during the public comment period, leading to Becker receiving negative responses by readers of his site.

        All of this has now culminated in an intellectual property war without the knowledge of one of the participants. A public notice of a business registration was spotted by a Wedge LIVE! Fan while reading the analogue version of the local paper. This was passed on to Edwards, who had no idea his site’s name was being turned into a business by a subject of his criticism.

    • Copyrights

      • Berlin Court: ‘framing’ of copyright protected images not a communication to the public

        Just when you think all has been said about linking, framingand communication to the public, another judgment shows up and proves you wrong. This time, a legal dispute between the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek (DDB = ”German Digital Library”, the German content provider for Europeana) and the Verwertungsgesellschaft Bild-Kunst (VG Bild-Kunst), a German collecting society for visual artists, gave the Higher Regional Court of Berlin the chance to further clarify what constitutes a communication to the public, and what does not.

      • Automated ‘Content Protection’ System Sends Wave Of Bogus DMCA Notice Targeting Legitimate URLs

        Topple Track’s failures came to the EFF’s attention because it targeted one of its URLs, supposedly for infringing on artist Luc Sky’s copyright for his song “My New Boy.” The page targeted by Topple Track discusses the EMI lawsuit against MP3Tunes — one that has been on the EFF’s site for eight years. If Luc Sky even exists (the EFF could find no info on the artist/track), the discussion of a long-running legal battle certainly didn’t contain an unauthorized copy of this track.

        Presumably Topple Track has customers. (The “Luc Sky” dead end isn’t promising.) If so, they’re being ripped off by DMCA notices sent in their names that target tons of legit sites containing zero infringing content. The URLs targeted have no relation to the name/title listed as protected content and it’s impossible to see how an algorithm could do the job this badly. There’s obviously no human interaction with the DMCA process Topple Track employs, otherwise none of the DMCA notices listed would even have been sent to Google.

        What did we say about trust?

      • Judge Rules Photographer Owned Marilyn Monroe Photo Copyright, Fair Use Moves to Trial

        U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer of the Southern District of New York recently entered an opinion and order in a copyright case involving the famed “Last Sitting” photographs of American movie star Marilyn Monroe. Although the case will continue to proceed towards a trial, Judge Engelmayer resolved various issues in the case including a determination that the owner of the copyrights to the Last Sitting photographs is the trust of the now-deceased photographer who took the photos and not Condé Nast, the publisher of the magazine Vogue where the photographs first appeared in 1962.

      • Facebook Bans Ads for Kodi Boxes Because Pirates Are Ruining Everything

        A line added to Facebook’s commerce policies this week specifically bans “Promoting the sale or use of streaming devices with Kodi installed,” though the policy does allow the sale of remote controls and keyboards that support the app.

        We’ve been over this a few times: Kodi is not a piracy application. It’s an open source video player that happens to support add-ons, and a few third party developers happen to make add-ons for pirating TV shows and movies. Another group of people and companies sell “fully loaded” Kodi boxes, which are basically small computers with Kodi installed alongside a bunch of piracy add-ons.

      • Facebook Bans ‘Promotion’ Of Kodi Boxes, Even If They’re Perfectly Legal

        If you haven’t noticed, the entertainment industry has a new, terrifying bogeyman. Over the last year or two, pressure from entertainment industry lobbying groups has resulted in an all-out war on streaming video devices (aka computers) that run Kodi, the video streaming software. Kodi has technically been around since 2002, first as Xbox Media Player, after which it became the Xbox Media Center until 2014. The XBMC Foundation then renamed the software Kodi, and it became popular as an easy way to store and stream content, including copyrighted content, from hardware running Kodi to other devices in or out of the home.

        For years now, tinkerers everywhere have built custom-made PCs that use the open-source Kodi platform. In more recent years, outfits like Dragonbox or SetTV have taken things further by selling users tailor-made hardware that provides easy access to live copyrighted content by not only including Kodi, but integrating numerous tools and add-ons that make copyright infringement easier. Driven largely by clearly-terrified entertainment-industry execs and lobbyists, numerous studios, Netflix and Amazon have tried to sue these efforts out of existence.

        Even the FCC has tried to help the entertainment industry in this fight, demanding that Ebay and Amazon crack down on the sale of such devices. Since the FCC lacks authority over copyright, it has instead tried to justify its involvement here by focusing on these devices’ illegal use of the FCC approval logo. It’s another big favor to the entertainment industry by the Pai FCC, who you’ll recall killed efforts to help make the traditional cable box sector more open and competitive.

      • Irony Alert: Disney (Yes, DISNEY!) Whines About ‘Overzealous Copyright Holders’

        Here’s one that might create a bit of a stir. The history of the 20th century and maximalist, ever expanding copyright is often associated with one particular company: Disney. I mean, the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA) is regularly called the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act” and Tom Bell once created this lovely Mickey Mouse Curve showing how copyright terms always seemed to expand just before the original movie starring Mickey, Steamboat Willie was about to enter the public domain…

      • Telling the Truth About Defects in Technology Should Never, Ever, Ever Be Illegal. EVER.

        Congress has never made a law saying, “Corporations should get to decide who gets to publish truthful information about defects in their products,”— and the First Amendment wouldn’t allow such a law — but that hasn’t stopped corporations from conjuring one out of thin air, and then defending it as though it was a natural right they’d had all along.

        Some background: in 1986, Ronald Reagan, spooked by the Matthew Broderick movie Wargames (true story!) worked with Congress to pass a sweeping cybercrime bill called the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) that was exceedingly sloppily drafted. CFAA makes it a felony to “exceed[] authorized access” on someone else’s computer in many instances.

        Fast forward to 1998, when Bill Clinton and his Congress enacted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a giant, gnarly hairball of digital copyright law that included section 1201, which bans bypassing any “technological measure” that “effectively controls access” to copyrighted works, or “traffic[ing]” in devices or services that bypass digital locks.

        Notice that neither of these laws bans disclosure of defects, including security disclosures! But decades later, corporate lawyers and federal prosecutors have constructed a body of legal precedents that twist these overbroad laws into a rule that effectively gives corporations the power to decide who gets to tell the truth about flaws and bugs in their products.

        Businesses and prosecutors have brought civil and criminal actions against researchers and whistleblowers who violated a company’s terms of service in the process of discovering a defect. The argument goes like this: “Our terms of service ban probing our system for security defects. When you login to our server for that purpose, you ‘exceed your authorization,’ and that violates the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.”

      • Europeans Take “Upload Filter” Protests to The Streets

        Following massive protests, the EU copyright reform plans were sent back to the drawing board last month. This means that the proposal will be opened up for changes, also to the controversial “upload filter” text. In support of this effort and to show critics that the opposition is real, the protests will soon move beyond the web, to the streets of several European cities.

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts