Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and Federal Circuit (CAFC) Both Smeared (Judge-Bashing Tactics) for Correctly Applying Patent Law as They See Fit

Posted in America, Courtroom, Europe, Patents at 7:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It is getting a lot uglier as the patent microcosm resorts to anti-Establishment rhetoric and unauthorised protests


Summary: An atmosphere of great hostility towards courts and towards justice is being fostered by an increasingly-angry meta-industry of patent lawyers and patent trolls

THE EPO saga has been fascinating. It included many attacks on judges, attacks on justice itself, and incredibly enough even refusal to follow court orders. We almost never got anything wrong (that we know of). Rumours almost always became substantiated as truthful and we continue to receive new information all the time.

“It included many attacks on judges, attacks on justice itself, and incredibly enough even refusal to follow court orders.”Prior to the EPO focus we were covering a lot of news about patents. I am still waiting for patent lawyers to actually point out a factual inaccuracy in my writings about patents. They never point out any errors, they just don’t like my tone and resort to ad hominem libel, questioning my motivations etc. (e.g. falsely insinuating that I get paid to write what I write). It means they’ve got nothing but smears; they don’t like the message, so they attack the messenger instead.

The same is true outwards, not just inwards. They attack judges too. We’ve given many examples. Here goes again Mr. Gross:

More in a positive trend: another PTAB 101 reversal based on Examiner failure to comply with Berkheimer and show well understood, routine, conventional: https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2017004343-07-13-2018-1 …

What positive trend? None is demonstrable. Even Watchtroll now implicitly admits that all those who claim software patents are coming back (that includes Watchtroll itself!) are basically lying. Ironic, no? Burman York (Bud) Mathis III wrote this in Watchtroll yesterday: “It’s been over eight years since the Supreme Court issued its Bilski v Kappos decision, over six years since the Supreme Court issued its Mayo v. Prometheus decision and over four years since the Supreme Court issued its Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank decision. In case anyone missed it, each of these three landmark cases was decided based on evidence on the record.”

“Even Watchtroll now implicitly admits that all those who claim software patents are coming back (that includes Watchtroll itself!) are basically lying.”There’s “No Light at the End of the Tunnel,” Mathis said in his headline, “Not Even Close…”

Just ‘pulling a Berkheimer‘ isn’t going to change that. So here comes Watchtroll attacking Judge Reyna again. Not being racist this time, unlike Patently-O (who hurried to delete it)? We don’t want to entertain these words, but what they generally do is isolate and individually attacks judges they disagree with it. Watchtroll has a long tradition doing just that; the site is attacking judges. Stay classy! Then joins Mr. Gross with this:

That’s an outstanding summary of the mess that is patent law jurisprudence on 101 “abstract ideas” – he agrees with me that Taranto is worst inconsistent offender- Alsthom is … terrible https://twitter.com/patentbuddy/status/1024664765774233602 …

They’re referring to judges as “offenders” now. Amazing! They’ve moved on from harassing USPTO staff to harassing US patent courts.

“They’re referring to judges as “offenders” now.”We still see staff of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) coming under attack all the time from Watchtroll, Mr. Gross and other patent agents who became accustomed to profiting from low-quality patents. There are even anti-PTAB sites like Anticipat, which name examiners and sort of ‘score’ them as a form of harassment, by which they hope to compel them to change their examination standards. We never name patent examiners (USPTO or EPO) and instead focus on high-level management. A few days ago Anticipat wrote: “After speaking with the USPTO’s webmaster, we were assured that the decisions will be more quickly uploaded going forward. This did not entirely assuage our concerns. So in the meantime, we are updating our Recap email functionality so that a user can modify the email settings to be sent in whatever way is most helpful to one’s practice. Stay tuned for updates very soon.”

Well, that would only further facilitate Anticipat’s bizarre and likely unethical business model. We certainly hope USPTO management sees that more or less the same way.

In seaprate news, “Nantkwest v Iancu opinion states patent applicants that bring Section 145 challenges in district court are not compelled to pay USPTO attorneys’ fees,” wrote Managing IP‘s Michael Loney (about the Federal Circuit). Kevin E. Noonan and Josh Rich wrote about it shortly afterwards, as did Dennis Crouch here. It’s worth noting that Iancu has been off and away from the limelight for nearly two months now. When he’s mentioned it’s typically in relation to cases/decisions with his name on them. A few days ago Crouch wrote that “[f]ormer Acting PTO Director Joseph Matal [Michelle's Lee colleague, interim Director after Watchtroll attacked her] has moved into the role of Acting Solicitor of the agency as well as Acting Deputy General Counsel for Intellectual Property Law. Congratulations Joe! Former Solicitor Nathan Kelley has left the office that he joined originally back in 1993 as an examiner.”

“We still see staff of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) coming under attack all the time from Watchtroll, Mr. Gross and other patent agents who became accustomed to profiting from low-quality patents.”Dennis Crouch included some Battistelli marketing video, but we’ll forgive him for that as he never ever covers EPO matters and therefore he probably doesn’t know what a fiasco Battistelli was. He doesn’t seem to know that the building he refers to is still just a construction site disguised as a finished project.

Last but not least, Watchtroll is also attacking Lofgren again, as it did just weeks ago. Lofgren’s ‘crime’ is that she cares about science and technology — a serious offense by Watchtroll’s poor taste and standards. Steve Brachmann is upset now that people who favour technology write to Iancu about PTAB. Iancu is himself part of the patent microcosm; Steve Brachmann is just a writer hired by Watchtroll in a classified ad and here he goes again writing about politics. Watchtroll has become like some kind of think tank.

“He doesn’t seem to know that the building he refers to is still just a construction site disguised as a finished project.”Politicians may be corruptible (Watchtroll likes those who are corrupted the 'correct' way), but they’re no worse than a conspiracy of law firms trying to write the very laws which govern them. Many politicians complained about clear and blatant misuse of tribal immunity by a couple of law firms, whose sole goal was to make themselves and their clients exempt from patent law. Going back to the Federal Circuit, the decision that is likely final sided with these politicians (and with common sense). We haven’t yet seen judges being attacked for it, maybe because there has been no notable dissent among them. There’s no room for “divide and conquer”. “The Federal Circuit’s reasoning in finding that tribal sovereign immunity cannot be asserted in IPRs may be used to argue the same for state universities seeking immunity from the PTAB,” Ellie Mertens wrote about the patent scam of Allergan and Mohawk (very much belatedly). Mike Masnick also wrote about it late (end of July). To quote:

Some ethically sketchy patent lawyers thought they had come up with a brilliant scam to avoid having awful patents scrutinized by the special review board created by Congress within the Patent Office — a process known as “inter partes review” or IPR. This Patent and Trademark Appeals Board (PTAB) has been a useful tool in going back and reversing the mistakes made by patent examiners in letting through bad patents. However, back in September, we wrote about a fairly devious plan by the lawyers from the law firm of Shore Chan DePumpo to help their clients avoid a PTAB review. The situation began with a PTAB ruling back in early 2017 in a review of a patent held by the University of Florida. The University claimed sovereign immunity exempted it from the whole PTAB process under the 11th Amendment (universities claiming sovereign immunity in patent cases goes way back) and the PTAB agreed it had no jurisdiction.

Sensing an opportunity, the lawyers at Shore Chan DePumpo worked out a neat little scheme in which a pharmaceutical company would “sell” its patents to a Native American nation (in this case, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe). The “sale” was in name only. The pharmaceutical companies retained not just an exclusive license to the patents, but basically all other rights as well. The only thing St. Regis got was a nice little income stream in exchange for having its sovereign status used to shield the pharma companies’ patents from scrutiny before the PTAB.

Oil States was a SCOTUS decision, so making IPRs go away would be pretty much impossible in the foreseeable future and they know it.”As we noted last month and the month before that, after Oil States we’ve been seeing the attacks shifting from PTAB to CAFC, whose judges are now routinely mocked by sites like Watchtroll. The almost daily (sometimes more than once a day) anti-PTAB pieces are long gone; Ryan Kenny writes for Watchtroll as though PTAB inter partes reviews (IPRs) are simply here to stay. Oil States was a SCOTUS decision, so making IPRs go away would be pretty much impossible in the foreseeable future and they know it.

We’ll keep our eyes open for the next attack on judges. That’s pretty serious stuff. It’s worse than the war on journalism/media. It’s an attack on justice, not only on truth.

The Number of Granted US Patents is Declining and Transparency in Patent Courts is Improving

Posted in America, EFF, Patents at 6:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Not good for patent law firms, but good for everyone else

Patent Lawyers' Tears

Summary: The EFF has managed to improve access to judgments (or briefs) and there are various indicators which suggest a generally positive trend in the United States, which had 50% more patent lawsuits just half a decade ago

THE QUALITY of patents granted by the EPO keeps sliding. Contrariwise, based on widely reported estimations, things go in the opposite direction in the United States.

“So this is indeed what we’ve heard — that patent grants will have declined this year.”Will the USPTO only chat about patent quality or actually do more to improve it? Iancu has thus far done nothing to tackle this issue, unlike his predecessor.

Dennis Crouch has just rendered this chart which serves to reaffirm rumours that patent numbers (or number of granted patents per annum in the US) is finally, belatedly, declining. He looked at a subset of these and said: “With two-months left in the fiscal year, the USPTO is on-track another 300,000+ patent year. The chart above shows the number of utility patents issued each fiscal year for the past two decades. The current forecast for FY2018 is a bit below FY2017 – but still the second highest number of patents issued in a single year. Examiners will push to make their quotas prior to the end of the year – however those will not be reflected in issued patents in FY18 because of the lag between allowance and issuance.”

So this is indeed what we’ve heard — that patent grants will have declined this year. Crouch went on to say that the PTO will discuss patent quality. Quoting Crouch, a patent maximalist: “USPTO is planning to exercise its fee setting authority to set or adjust patent fees. As part of the rulemaking proceeding for the issuance of regulations under Section 10, the USPTO will publish a proposed patent fee schedule and related supplementary information for public viewing no later than August 29, 2018.”

Things have changed a lot since Alice (SCOTUS), reducing the scope of patenting/eligibility. This is important because low-quality patent grants sometimes result in frivolous lawsuits, in turn resulting in banruptcies/embargoes, owing to a trigger-happy ITC, whose latest imposition of sanctions is being celebrated by Watchtroll. This is from yesterday:

PopSockets LLC is a Boulder, Colorado-based company that designs and manufactures mobile accessories. Its flagship product, the PopSockets Grip, is a phone grip and stand that is collapsible, customizable, and re-positionable.

PopSockets’ Grip is protected by PopSockets’ U.S. Patent No. 8,560,031, titled Extending Socket for Portable Media Player. On June 14th, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) issued a general exclusion order which prohibits the importation of any collapsible sockets for mobile electronic devices that infringe upon PopSockets’ ’031 patent.

That’s an embargo. Were all legal avenues and appeals exhausted? Probably not, but the ITC doesn’t care about these. It just “shoots first and asks questions later,” as the famous saying goes. That’s a problem. It’s also a problem because embargoes never help the market; they just help a single corporation, typically a monopoliser.

Josh Landau (CCIA) has incidentally just responded to the likes of Watchtroll when he said (two days ago): “There’s been an increasing usage of the term “efficient infringement” in the debate over patent reform. The basic idea is that large companies make an active choice to ignore patents and just pay for them when they lose a lawsuit.”

We’ve seen this smear many times. It’s being popularised by Watchtroll. Landau then puts in perspective what it means to be accused of infringement:

Now you have to pay a patent lawyer to go through that list of 2,000. They have to look at all of the claims of each patent. Some can be dismissed quickly—maybe they require an infrared lamp and our device doesn’t have any infrared, or they require the device to attach to the skin with an elastic band and our device is glued on. Some will require more thought. When working as a patent attorney, I conducted this kind of analysis. I typically estimated an average of 5 minutes per patent to make this initial determination of “clearly not relevant” or “more time required.” That’s 165 hours of attorney time. We’ll assume an inexpensive attorney who charges $200/hour. That’s $33,000 to cull our list down. Of that 2,000, we might wind up with 50-100 patents that still require significant thought, and we’ve already spent nearly $60,000.

Now, for each one of those 50-100 patents, we’re going to go through the patent in detail, read the file history, think about how the claims might apply to the product. The goal is to either be able to tell the manufacturer “this patent is unlikely to be a problem” with a convincing argument inside of a single paragraph, or to say “this patent would benefit from an opinion of counsel.” That’s about an hour per patent, for another 50-100 hours, and another $10,000-$20,000 in attorney’s fees. We’re at $70,000-$90,000. We probably have a list of around 20 patents left at this point that require an opinion.

It’s pretty obvious who can and cannot afford these fees; this is why patent trolls typically target small companies. They don’t even need to go to court.

A couple of days ago Joe Mullin wrote about a patent troll that preys on small companies [1, 2]. His employer, the EFF, hired him for his decade-long experience writing about patent trolls and TechDirt published a copy that says:

When patent trolls threaten and sue small businesses, their actions draw the public’s attention to the worst abuses of the patent system. In 2013, a company called MPHJ Technology got called out in a U.S. Senate hearing as a “bottom feeder” engaged in “garden-variety extortion” after it sent out thousands of demand letters demanding payments from small businesses that dared to use printers with “scan-to-email” functions. Lawmakers, understandably, found it incomprehensible that broad, stupid patents were being used to sue burger stands and grocery stores.

It’s essentially a patent on having a prepaid account for—well, anything.

There’s a good reason for that concern. It’s hard to see how lawsuits against small businesses using basic technology do anything to “promote the progress of science and the useful arts.” By contrast, it is easy to see how these lawsuits harm companies and consumers by increasing the costs and risks of doing business.

But the intermittent public attention hasn’t stopped this most basic abuse of the patent system. Upaid Ltd., a shell company based in the British Virgin Islands, has been filing patent infringement lawsuits throughout 2018, including 14 against laundromats—yes, laundromats—from California to Massachusetts.

Upaid says that laundromats are infringing U.S. Patent No. 8,976,947. Claim 1 of the patent describes a computer system that performs “pre-authorized communication services and transactions,” after checking an account to see if a user “has a sufficient amount currently available for the … transaction.” It’s essentially a patent on having a prepaid account for—well, anything.

Right now, Upaid lawyers are focused on systems run by Card Concepts, Inc., a service provider that markets a system called Laundry Card to laundromats. Many of the Upaid’s complaints simply point to online photos of the laundromats and the relevant card dispensers as evidence of infringement.

Mullin’s colleague, Daniel Nazer, has meanwhile heralded/spread some good news about the Federal Circuit agreeing to become more transparent about these proceedings:

In a modest victory for public access, the Federal Circuit has changed its policies to allow the public to immediately access briefs. Previously, the court had marked briefs as “tendered” and withheld them from the public pending review by the Clerk’s Office. That process sometimes took a number of days. EFF wrote a letter [PDF] asking the court to make briefs available as soon as they are filed. The court has now changed its policies to allow immediate access.

Earlier this month, the Federal Circuit announced a new compliance review policy. While that new policy [PDF] doesn’t specifically mention the practice of withholding briefs as “tendered,” we have confirmed with the Clerk’s Office that briefs are now available on PACER as soon as they are filed. Our review of recent dockets also suggests that briefs are now available to the public right away.

The EFF has understandably come under attack from patent extremists. It means that it’s doing good work. The funny thing is, these extremists now call everyone they don’t agree with a “shill”; some try to argue that Google is behind everything.

Design Patents: When Appearances Rather Than Inventions and Functions Are Oddly Enough Covered by Patents, Not Copyrights or Trademarks

Posted in America, Apple, Patents at 5:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Zach Snyder patent

Summary: Design patents, or the false assumption that shapes alone constitute ‘inventions’ (they’re more like art forms), return to headlines and it’s time to debate their very legitimacy

Design patents are incredibly stupid as a concept, yet Patently Apple celebrates these again because Apple habitually uses such patents against rivals like Samsung. Why does the USPTO even grant these? Yesterday Patently-O wrote about another example of such patents. It says that “Advantek’s U.S. Design Patent No. D715,008 covering the above-pictured “pet gazebo” that Advantek also sells as its flagship product. Long-Walk allegedly copied the design in its “pet companion” product. However, the district court dismissed the case on the pleadings — finding that the prosecution history barred any infringement finding. On appeal, however, the Federal Circuit has reversed. This is one of the few cases considering prosecution history of a design patent.”

“…many such patents ought not exist in the first place.”We’re still hoping that SCOTUS — not only the Federal Circuit — will thoroughly explore and revisit this subject. Like we said months ago, many such patents ought not exist in the first place. They’re not even ‘proper’ patents and they’re sometimes referred to as “registered designs” (similar to trademarks or a subset of these). They also exist in the EPO.

IBM’s Patent Aggression Celebrated by Law Firms, Condemned by Technical People

Posted in Deception, IBM, Law, Patents at 5:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

2016: IBM Comes Under Growing Scrutiny for Increasingly Acting Just Like a Patent Troll Amid Layoffs

Ginni Rometty

Summary: The predator which IBM has become under Ginni Rometty is rightly perceived as a dangerous parasite; sites of the litigation ‘industry’, however, treat IBM like some sort of champion, giving it speaking positions, media platforms and anything else it needs to espouse supposed virtues of software patents and shakedown with such patents (low-quality or bunk patents in large numbers)

THE decline of IBM led to a rush for patents. IBM has long dominated the USPTO ‘charts’, having pursued some of the most laughable patents (widely mocked by technical people on the Internet over the past 2 decades). Some of these patents were voided and let go of by IBM after they had caused a negative atmosphere (bad press).

But don’t think that IBM is being condemned by the “litigation community”; to them, IBM is some sort of “hero”, having “proven” that “monetisation” with “intellectual property” still “works”.

Ellie Mertens, a New York-based contributor to a patent maximalists’ site, wrote that “IBM’s win in its first patent suit to go to jury trial in 20 years may make efficient infringers think twice before rejecting licensing agreements, its lawyer John Desmarais says…”

“The ‘patent troll in chief’ is now being celebrated by the patent trolls’ lobby, IAM.”So only amplifying IBM’s side of the story? As usual? “A jury awarded IBM $82.5 million in damages on July 27 for Groupon’s wilful infringement of four of IBM’s patents that relate to enabling e-commerce,” Mertens added. Did Mertens pursue Groupon too for a comment? It’s hard to tell because of the paywall. The Chicago Tribune wrote about this too (by Christopher Yasiejko), as did a lot of corporate media. We gave some examples of coverage when we mentioned the calls for an IBM boycott.

The ‘patent troll in chief’ is now being celebrated by the patent trolls’ lobby, IAM. Days ago it wrote: “We are thrilled to have @IBM’s Cynthia Seal join us as a speaker for this year’s Patent Licensing (San Francisco, September 18). Get your ticket today to hear her discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of #PatentLicensing.”

Guess who covered the IBM aggression for IAM. It was patent extremist Richard Lloyd. This is what he said under the biased headline “IBM counsel hails big win against Groupon as another sign that the US patent pendulum is swinging back” (again amplifying the aggressors’ messages, never the defendants’). To quote:

The lead counsel representing IBM in its recently decided case against Groupon has characterised the company’s court victory on Friday in the dispute as a “shot in the arm for all licensors”. John Desmarais was speaking to IAM shortly after the verdict was handed down by the jury in the Delaware federal district court, which ruled that Groupon had willfully infringed on four e-commerce patents owned by the tech giant and ordered it to pay $82.5 million in damages.

Cynthia Seal and John Desmarais. These are the sorts of people whose side IAM is taking. Maybe IAM and IBM are similar not only in the acronym sense.

“Technical people aren’t so gullible, however, so they can see IBM for what it has really become.”As we noted before, the patents in question (those used against Groupon) are highly dubious. So are these patents, just mentioned the other day in a tweet which said: “Where #blockchain meets #drones: #IBM #patent US9875592B1: “The drone may perform an authentication procedure by scanning the person (or people) through visual, audio, biometric, or other means, and may send a signal to grant or deny access.””

That’s yet another software patent, but they ‘dress that up’ as “blockchain”.

Anyway, our main concern is that the media got stuffed by IBM, its lawyers, its front groups, and so-called ‘journalists’ who rather than study the underlying facts merely asked some law firms (patent maximalists) in order to relay the narrative IBM wants. Technical people aren’t so gullible, however, so they can see IBM for what it has really become.

The EPO’s Systematic Attacks on Justice and on Judges Have Likely Played the Biggest Role in the Death of Unitary Patent (UPC)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recent: Another Victim of Corrupt Benoît Battistelli (a judge)

Fair trial

Summary: The issues associated with lack of independence for European patent judges are totally unsolved; this means that any decisions about European Patents may, in the meantime, be subjected to substantial doubt and it harms the perception of justice

THE EPO‘s judges still lack independence under António Campinos. It certainly seems like Campinos doesn’t intend to fix anything and maybe this is why he’s so afraid to meet SUEPO officials, who are growing impatient with him by the looks of it.

“Battistelli made appeals more expensive, knowing that such a move would discourage appeals and thus help hide the profound decline in patent quality — a point we’ve made countless times over the years.”An article just published by Leythem A. Wall (Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP, one of the biggest patent maximalists out there) may be short, but it basically repeats somewhat old news from the EPO when it says: “In one of his last acts as President of the European Patent Office (EPO), Benoît Battistelli has referred a question to the Enlarged Board of Appeal concerning appeal fees and the interpretation of Article 108 EPC. The case is now pending under the reference G1/18.”

Battistelli made appeals more expensive, knowing that such a move would discourage appeals and thus help hide the profound decline in patent quality — a point we’ve made countless times over the years. What is going to happen next? We’re not optimistic. Remember that the Enlarged Board of Appeal, due to decide on matters including this, is not independent. It spoke about it again not too long ago.

“Remember that Battistelli’s abuses have played a very considerable role employees’ deaths and in the scuttling of the UPC.”The media barely mentions any of these issues. Joff Wild, for example, has just mentioned “President Benoît Battistelli” again (at IAM). This can become a serious reputational liability if Battistelli gets arrested some time in the future (not his extremely violent bodyguard). After Benoît Battistelli wrote articles for IAM and was given a keynote slot by IAM they still treat him as some sort of champion with a “legacy”. What exactly is his legacy? Corruption? Construction site? Serious brain drain? The death of the UPC? Remember that Battistelli’s abuses have played a very considerable role employees’ deaths and in the scuttling of the UPC.

There’s no “Future Unified Patent Court”. We’re pretty certain of that. But pro-UPC propaganda blogs such as Kluwer Patent Blog now give the platform to “Intellectual Property Rechtsanwälte” Thomas Musmann, whose biases are revealing. From yesterday’s blog post:

IIAs are treaties under public international law that are not specific intellectual property (IP) agreements, such as TRIPs. Rather, they generally protect property rights against state interference. To date, arbitral tribunals have rendered decisions in four IP-related international investment disputes. Whereas the Eli Lilly v. Canada award pertained to a dispute involving decisions of state courts, arbitral proceedings based on an IIA may also be considered as a special appeal mechanism concerning IP-related decisions of international organizations, e.g. the European Patent Office (EPO) or the future Unified Patent Court (UPC). Thus, they could represent an alternative to other extraordinary remedies which have already been used for challenging EPO decisions, e.g. constitutional complaints before the German Federal Constitutional Court or applications submitted to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

This is the same ECHR where SUEPO lodged a serious complaint. We expect the German FCC, ECHR, ILO and others to play a role in the scuttling of whatever remains of UPC hopes. The UPC hopefuls too will move on with their lives.

“We expect the German FCC, ECHR, ILO and others to play a role in the scuttling of whatever remains of UPC hopes.”Team UPC has in general been very quiet for months and not because it’s summer. Bad legislation dies in the midst of inaction, not because its death is announced (it ‘hibernates’). The UPC is dead. Even if Britain decided to can Brexit and remain in the EU, the UPC would still be dead. It’s no longer the UK that acts as a barrier; there are several constitutional issues, EPO corruption and a lot more.

Shelston IP and Its “Conspiracy Theories”

Posted in Australia, Patents at 3:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Truth police?

Australian police

Summary: Shelston IP continues to belittle those who don’t agree with it (or its financial agenda, which revolves around litigation)

THE ban on software patents in New Zealand was recently more or less expanded to Australia (not just the USPTO). In fact, IP Australia is being sued over it.

“Shelston IP has, in our experience, become a sworn foe of software developers both in Australia and in New Zealand.”Shelston IP’s Gareth Dixon and Jessica Chadbourne have just published this article amid restrictions on patent scope. As a reminder, Shelston IP Pty Ltd has been pushing software patents agenda and also patents on life (they are patent maximalists, as we noted here many times before) and they’re meddling even in New Zealand (in spite of being an Australian firm). We previously showed how it was maligning developers who had successfully opposed software patents. Now here they are belittling their opposition as usual. To quote: “Conspiracy theories outlining coordinated parliamentary schedules tend not to hold much water. However, if it’s mere coincidence that sees second-tier patents regimes being considered simultaneously across Australia and New Zealand, then, as proponents of such regimes, we’ll take it.”

Shelston IP has, in our experience, become a sworn foe of software developers both in Australia and in New Zealand. With derogatory terms, too.

Links 2/8/2018: Cockpit 174, OpenWrt 18.06.0, GNU C Library 2.28 and Rome’s FOSS Embrace

Posted in News Roundup at 2:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • How tai chi and a Linux laptop can create a tiny, powerful orchestra

      Dr Ivica Ico Bukvic of Virginia Tech is transcending art and science with the world’s first Linux-based laptop orchestra.

      Electronic music has improved substantially in the past few decades, but the work being undertaken by Dr Ivica Ico Bukvic of Virginia Tech is taking things to a whole new level.

      In 2005, Bukvic received his doctorate in music composition with cognates in computer music programming and music theory from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.

      Prior to joining Virginia Tech, he taught at the Oberlin Conservatory and University of Cincinnati.

      Now, he is the founder and director of the Digital Interactive Sound and Intermedia Studio (DISIS) at Virginia Tech.

    • Why I use what I use (software) – 2018 edition

      Ah, Linux. Well, things have changed here quite some. The world of Linux is one big swirly rollercoaster. In the past eight years, we had Ubuntu come and become the staple food, offering five-year LTS releases, a store, and a semblance of real professionalism that does not exist in the Tux arena. Consequently, today, it is the only operating system of the Linux persuasion that I use in a production capacity, on my laptops.

      To be more precise, we’re talking Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty, which proved to be a phenomenal release on all levels, and the best Ubuntu ever. Since, no version has matched its quality and completeness, and I am not really sure what the next one will be. Recently, the Plasma desktop has shown some real promise, and Kubuntu 17.04 Zesty was truly great, alas its successor are just average, although, post-upgrade and several months worth of bug fixes, Kubuntu Beaver is quite all right. Still, this remains an open question.

    • Linux app support on Chrome OS should hit Beta Channel this week

      It’s been a while since we’ve talked about Linux apps support in Chrome OS. A few Chromebooks already support Linux apps via Project Crostini, but only in the Dev Channel. Earlier, it was speculated that the Linux app support on Chrome OS will hit the stable channel with Chrome OS 68. But that didn’t happen. The feature is now being expected to come along with Chrome OS 69. Now latest around it is that the Chrome OS 69 Beta Channel will support Linux apps via Project Crostini. And guess what? The Beta version of Chrome OS 69 is slated for August 2 release, which is tomorrow.

  • Server

    • Istio v1.0 Service Mesh Released with Features “Ready for Production Use”

      At the Google Cloud Next 2018 event, held in San Francisco last week, the release schedule of the Istio v1.0 service mesh was announced. This week has seen the formal v1.0 release of the open platform that aims to make it easy to “create a network of deployed services with load balancing, service-to-service authentication, monitoring, and more, without any changes in service code”. Key new features include cross-cluster mesh support, fine-grained traffic flow control, and the ability to incrementally roll out mutual TLS across a mesh.

    • Google, IBM, RedHat and others launch Istio 1.0 service mesh for microservices

      Istio, an open-source platform that connects, manages and secures microservices announced its version 1.0. Istio provides service mesh for microservices from Google, IBM, Lyft, Red Hat, and other collaborators from the open-source community.

    • Red Hat Releases Istio 1.0 – Already in Use by HP and eBay

      Google Cloud already offering a managed Istio service

      It has been in development for two years and has already been seen in the wild, but this week Version 1.0 of Red Hat’s “Istio” was officially launched.

      Istio is an open source microservices management tool, designed to handle load balancing, flow control, routing and the essential security needs of businesses that use microservices. It can handle service identity and security, policy enforcement and telemetry across apps running on multiple Kubernetes hosts.

    • Google releases universal plumbing for containers

      Google today released version 1.0 of Istio, a “service mesh” designed to make it easier to adopt containers and microservices.

      Istio does so by offering a layer that does jobs like collecting logs, traces and telemetry, authentication and network policy. Any application needs those services and monolithic applications often include them.

      But microservices are designed to orchestrate lots of small single-purpose code chunks into useful applications. It would be wasteful and/or super-complex to build those services into each component of a microservice and doing so would not reduce complexity.

      Enter Istio, which offers itself as the layer to do all the plumbing, regardless of the function or code used in a microservice.

    • New Issue: Linux Journal August 2018 with a Deep Dive into Containers

      The recent rise in popularity of container technology within the data center is a direct result of its portability and ability to isolate working environments, thus limiting its impact and overall footprint to the underlying computing system. To understand the technology completely, you first need to understand the many pieces that make it all possible. With that, may we introduce Linux Journal’s Container issue.

    • How Google is using open source, containers and hybrid cloud to win over the enterprise

      This revelation prompted Google to “buckle down” and redouble its efforts to woo enterprises, said Greene, by ensuring its offerings are on-point from a regulatory and functionality point of view, while emphasising its commitment to using open source technologies to build its cloud.

      The end result is the creation of cloud services tailored to the specific needs of users in the financial services, media and entertainment, public sector and retail markets, paving the way for a number of new enterprise account wins that were announced at the show.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Review: The Linux Podcast Scene – all the movers and shakers

      Podcasts are shows, similar to radio or TV shows, that are produced by professionals or amateurs and made available on the internet to stream and/or download. They have entered into a more mature phase.

      Linux blogs and web sites carry a huge library of information to tap into about the Linux scene. Podcasts have some advantages (and disadvantages) over these resources. Portability is a key advantage of podcasts. You can be driving across states, or walking down the street, and keep up to date with the latest Linux scene.

      It’s been a long time since we covered Linux podcasts. Sadly, some great shows have podfaded, but there’s new ones entering the scene. We’ve therefore compiled a fairly comprehensive roundup of active Linux-related podcasts. We don’t feature in this article podcasts that have stopped releasing new shows.

  • Kernel Space

    • WarpDrive Proposed For The Linux Kernel: A Generic Accelerator Framework

      HiSilicon is looking to add WarpDrive to the Linux kernel. Not to be confused with anything from Star Trek, WarpDrive is a generic accelerator framework they have been developing.

      WarpDrive is a proposed generic accelerator framework built off VFIO that exposes the accelerator’s capabilities directly to user-space — and in turn allows user-space to directly interact with the accelerator hardware, bypassing the kernel mechanisms and cutting down the latency as a result.

    • Linux 4.18 Kernel Likely Faces A Week Delay Due To Last Minute Issues

      Linus Torvalds was looking at releasing Linux 4.18 this coming weekend but it looks like that is no longer going to happen with instead seeing a 4.18-rc8 test release.

      A late regression in the VMA code has caused IA64 not to boot with Linux 4.18. Linus is going to revert the change causing that breakage in the memory management code. But he notes that he will likely do a 4.18-rc8 change due to that glaring issue and other last minute changes.

    • Linux kernel 4.18 delayed: Bug ate my rc7, says Linus Torvalds

      Linux kernel supremo Linus Torvalds has taken the rare step of reverting a kernel release candidate – after it went sour.

    • A kernel event notification mechanism

      The kernel has a range of mechanisms for notifying user space when something of interest happens. These include dnotify and inotify for filesystem events, signals, poll(), tracepoints, uevents, and more. One might think that there would be little need for yet another, but there are still events of interest that user space can only learn about by polling. In an attempt to fix this problem, David Howells, not content with his recent attempt to add seven new system calls for filesystem mounting, has put forward a proposal for a general-purpose event notification mechanism for Linux.

      The immediate use case for this mechanism is to provide user space with notifications whenever the filesystem layout changes as the result of mount and unmount operations. That information can be had now by repeatedly reading /proc/mounts, but doing so evidently can impair the performance of the system. The patch set also provides for superblock-level events, such as I/O errors, filesystems running out of space, or processes running into disk quotas. Finally, the ability to watch for changes to in-kernel keys or keyrings is also included.

    • Statistics from the 4.18 development cycle

      The 4.18-rc6 kernel prepatch came out on July 22, right on schedule. That is a sign that this development cycle is approaching its conclusion, so the time has come for a look at some statistics for how things went this time around. It was another fairly ordinary release cycle for the most part, but with a couple of distinctive features.

      As of 4.18-rc6, 12,879 non-merge changesets had found their way into the mainline repository. This work was contributed by 1,668 developers who added 553,000 lines of code and removed 652,000 lines, for a net reduction of 99,000 lines. This will be the fourth time in the project’s history that a release is smaller than its predecessor — and the first time that this has happened for two releases in a row. Of those 1,668 developers, 226 made their first contribution to the kernel this time around; that is the smallest number of first-time contributors since 4.5 was released in March 2016.

    • The problem with the asynchronous bsg interface

      The kernel supports two different “SCSI generic” pseudo-devices, each of which allows user space to send arbitrary commands to a SCSI-attached device. Both SCSI-generic implementations have proved to have security issues in the past as a result of the way their API was designed. In the case of one of those drivers, these problems seem almost certain to lead to the removal of a significant chunk of functionality in the 4.19 development cycle.

      The SCSI standard is generally thought of as a way to control storage devices, such as disk and tape drives (younger readers, ask a coworker what the latter were). But SCSI can be thought of as a sort of network protocol with more general capabilities, as demonstrated by its use to control tape-changing robots, scanners, optical-disk writers, and more. Drivers for such devices tend to run in user space; to support those drivers, the SCSI generic (SG) interface was created. This interface provides direct access to the SCSI protocol, allowing user-space code to control devices in ways not supported by the in-kernel disk and tape drivers.

    • Initializing the entropy pool using RDRAND and friends

      Random number generation in the kernel has garnered a lot of attention over the years. The tensions between the need for cryptographic-strength random numbers versus getting strong random numbers more quickly—along with the need to avoid regressions—has led to something of a patchwork of APIs. While it is widely agreed that waiting for a properly initialized random number generator (RNG) before producing random numbers is the proper course, opinions differ on what “properly” means exactly. Beyond that, waiting, especially early in the boot process, can be problematic as well. One solution would be to trust the RNG instructions provided by most modern processors, but that comes with worries of its own.

      Theodore Ts’o posted a patch on July 17 to add a kernel configuration option that would explicitly trust the CPU vendor’s hardware RNG (e.g. the RDRAND instruction for x86). Kernels built with RANDOM_TRUST_CPU will immediately initialize the random number pool using the architecture’s facility, without waiting for enough entropy to accumulate from other sources; this means that the getrandom() system call will not block. Waiting for systems to gather enough entropy has been a problem in the past, especially for virtual machines and embedded systems where such entropy can be difficult to find.

    • Linux Foundation

      • The Linux Foundation: Open Networking Summit – Europe

        The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, have announced the schedule of keynote speakers and sessions for Open Networking Summit Europe, taking place September 25-27 in Amsterdam.

      • Open Source Certification: Questions and Answers

        Open source is now so pervasive at organizations of all sizes that there is outsized demand for workers skilled with open platforms and tools. This has created profound changes in the job market, and across industries the skills gap is widening, making it ever more difficult to hire people with much needed job skills.

        So far in this series, we’ve discussed why certification matters so much, explained the kinds of certifications that are making a difference, and covered some strategic ways to prepare for the task-centric exams that lead to certification. In this last article of the series, Clyde Seepersad, General Manager of Training and Certification at The Linux Foundation, answers some commonly asked questions pertaining to certification and exam-taking.

      • Linux Foundation Networking (LFN) Continues Rapid Global Growth With Addition of Eight New Members

        The Linux Foundation Networking Fund (LFN), which facilitates collaboration and operational excellence across open networking projects such as ONAP and OPNFV, today announced the addition of eight new Silver and Associate members, continuing its rapid global growth. New LFN members ARRIS International plc, Affirmed Networks, CAICT, Equinox International, MYCOM OSI, OpenAirInterface Software Alliance, SDNLAB and SnapRoute join 104 other technology leaders within the networking industry, to accelerate the development and adoption of open source and open standards-based networking technologies.

      • Deutsche Telekom joins Linux Foundation

        Linux Foundation Networking (LFN) has continued its membership growth with the addition of its newest Platinum member Deutsche Telekom, one of the world´s integrated telecommunications companies, the company said.

        With its collaboration and extensive global footprint, Deutsche Telekom will help accelerate LFN globally, contributing to emerging network technologies critical to enabling 5G services.

      • Open Networking Summit Europe Schedule Announced! 3 Days Left to Save $805 | Register Now

        Open Networking Summit, the premier open networking event in North America, comes to Europe for the first time this year, gathering enterprises, service providers, and cloud providers across the open networking ecosystem.

        Join 1000+ architects, developers, and thought leaders in Amsterdam, September 25-27, to share learnings, highlight innovation and discuss the future of open networking, including SDN, NFV, orchestration, and the automation of cloud, network, and IoT services.

      • Blockchain, Fintech, and AI Companies Join the Linux Foundation Open Source Initiative

        Since the year 2000, the Linux Foundation has remained dedicated to building open source projects aimed at accelerating technology development and commercial adoption.

        Now, the highly reputed organization has successfully added 17 silver members and five associate members to its ranks, to help in the continued development of the open source technology world.

        With the increasing ubiquity of distributed ledger technology, the world is slowly phasing out old archaic methods of coding, replacing them with decentralized and open source systems that are easily accessible by developers globally.

        The Linux foundation occupies the frontline in the open source technology world and these new members would undoubtedly contribute immensely to the growth of the open source community.

    • Graphics Stack

      • GLOVE: OpenGL ES Over Vulkan As Open-Source

        Think Silicon announced this morning they have open-sourced GLOVE, a middleware layer that implements OpenGL ES over Vulkan.

        GLOVE allows for OpenGL ES to be implemented on top of Vulkan drivers for Android, Linux, and Windows platforms. This allows for OpenGL ES support to be mapped over Vulkan just as DXVK maps Direct3D 11 to Vulkan or MoltenVK maps Vulkan on top of Apple’s Metal API. With modern OpenGL ES sharing much in common with OpenGL, it provides much of what’s needed by core OpenGL too, albeit not complete OpenGL 4 desktop. In the future they plan to support more desktop OpenGL as well as safety-critical OpenGL (OpenGL SC).

      • Armada DRM Driver Wires In Atomic Mode-Setting For Linux 4.19

        Adding to the big list of DRM driver changes for Linux 4.19 is atomic mode-setting for the Armada DRM driver.

        The Armada DRM driver doesn’t get talked about much but it’s for Marvell SoCs and just supports kernel mode-setting and memory management but without any built-in acceleration code. The driver is for the “LCD” controllers on the Marvell Armada SoCs.

      • ASTC Gallium Bits Land, VirGL Already Hits OpenGL 4.3 + GLES 3.2

        The mad rush to land last minute work ahead of the Mesa 18.2 branching has continued. The branching is set to happen today but there’s been several notable last minute additions hitting Git.

        First up, Marek’s work around ASTC compression support for all Gallium3D drivers, has landed. This work is now in place for RadeonSI and the other Gallium drivers to expose Adaptive Scalable Texture Compression (ASTC) even if the GPU doesn’t natively support it by uncompressing it to a supported format prior to uploading the texture to the GPU if necessary. With the ASTC support in place for RadeonSI, that takes the driver’s OpenGL ES support to version 3.2.

      • virgl – exposes GLES3.1/3.2 and GL4.3
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • The Current Happenings Within LXQt As Of Summer 2018

      Hong Jen Yee, the developer of the PCMan File Manager that has long served as the default file manager on the LXDE desktop environment, presented at this week’s Debian DebConf 18 event about the LXDE/LXQt desktop efforts.

      By now most of you know that the current focus when it comes to the lightweight Linux desktop is around LXQt as a collaboration between the LXDE and Razor-qt efforts. LXQt continues targeting the Qt5 tool-kit while using the same lightweight design principles of LXDE. LXQt also makes use of some KDE Frameworks / libraries, still leverages Glib/GVFS/GIO, can work with any window manager, and does support QtXdg.

      Besides code sharing with KDE, LXQt does also re-use the “good parts” from GTK+ programs like GNOME File Roller, the Openbox configuration tool, and PulseAudio mixer.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Supporting developers on Patreon (and similar)

        For some time now I been supporting two Linux developers on patreon. Namely Ryan Gordon of Linux game porting and SDL development fame and Tanu Kaskinen who is a lead developer on PulseAudio these days.

        One of the things I often think about is how we can enable more people to make a living from working on the Linux desktop and related technologies. If your reading my blog there is a good chance that you are enabling people to make a living on working on the Linux desktop by paying for RHEL Workstation subscriptions through your work. So a big thank you for that. The fact that Red Hat has paying customers for our desktop products is critical in terms of our ability to do so much of the maintenance and development work we do around the Linux Desktop and Linux graphics stack.

        That said I do feel we need more venues than just employment by companies such as Red Hat and this is where I would love to see more people supporting their favourite projects and developers through for instance Patreon. Because unlike one of funding campaigns repeat crowdfunding like Patreon can give developers predictable income, which means they don’t have to worry about how to pay their rent or how to feed their kids.

      • Improve the styling of quotes in Fractal

        Fractal is a Matrix client for GNOME and is written in Rust. Matrix is an open network for secure, decentralized communication.

        These past weeks, I’ve been working on an implementation of a context menu for the messages and on the improvement of the styling for the quotes in the messages. I will talk about the context menu in an other article later. So I’m going to talk about the new styling of the quotes.

        You can have a look at the issue here. The idea was to add a visual distinction between the quotes and regular text in messages: the text of a quote would be dimmed, with a 2px left blue border and a 6px left padding; there would be also a 6px vertical space separating the quotes and the rest of the text.

      • Mutter Gets More Crash Fixes, GNOME Shell Better Deals With 100%+ Volumes

        The GNOME 3.30 beta is being prepped for release and the UI/API/ABI freezes are now in place ahead of this desktop environment update to ship as stable in September. GNOME Shell and Mutter have staged their latest development releases for testing.

        When there is either remote desktop active, screen casting/recording, or remote control taking place, an indicator is added to the panel at the top of the screen for informing the user about this ongoing process as well as an option for turning off this remote access.

        Another practical change with this GNOME Shell 3.30 Beta is for supporting volumes above 100%. As outlined in this bug report since last year there has been some problematic behavior with the GNOME Shell such as if using a volume-up key and your volume is already above 100%, it would instead reset the volume to 100%.

      • GUADEC 2018

        Various social events make GUADEC my favourite conference. Castle tour and Flamenco show were my top 2 picks. Emm, wait. Beach party make it to top 3 as well. I enjoyed it a lot, although I can’t swim. It definitely encourages me to learn to swim.

      • Irony is the hygiene of the mind

        At a recent NetSurf developer weekend Michael Drake mentioned a talk he had seen at the Guadec conference which reference the use of sanitizers for improving the security and correctness of programs.

  • Distributions

    • How to Choose a Linux Distro (Without Trying them All)

      With so many Linux distros it might be hard, or at least time consuming, to choose the distro that suits you most. While it’s best to test drive a distro for a week or so to see how it matches your needs, this is unrealistic, even if you had all the time in the world. Here are some common factors to consider when narrowing your selection of distros to try.

    • New Releases

      • Reunited with LEDE, OpenWrt releases stable 18.06 version

        The OpenWrt project released version 18.06 of its router-oriented Linux distro, representing the first stable release since the reunification with the forked LEDE project. OpenWrt 18.06 moves to Linux 4.9.111 for some targets and adds Spectre and Meltdown fixes.

        The OpenWrt project released a stable version 18.06 of the venerable OpenWrt Linux distribution for networking and low-end hardware. Users of OpenWrt 15.05 or LEDE 17.01 can upgrade without requiring an entirely new install.

      • OpenWrt 18.06.0 final
      • OpenWrt 18.06.0 final

        The OpenWrt community is proud to announce the first release of the
        OpenWrt 18.06 stable version series. It incorporates over 4000 commits
        since branching the previous LEDE 17.01 release and has been under
        development for well over a year.

        With this release, the re-merged OpenWrt project attempts to define a
        baseline for future development based on the technological modernization
        and refined release processes done by the former LEDE project.

    • Arch Family

      • Arch monthly July

        The Arch Linux website has been updated and it’s search functionality was expanded to make it able to find the ‘archlinux-keyring’ by searching for ‘archlinux keyring’. This was contributed by an external!. Another small visual improvement was made by removing some empty spaces in provides.

      • Arch Linux Prepares For Python 3.7, Drops OpenJDK 9

        Arch Linux developer Jelle van der Waa has provided an update concerning recent Arch updates.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Ansible Engine 2.6 enhances network capabilities

        Red Hat has announced the general availability of Red Hat Ansible Engine 2.6, the latest release of its agentless open source IT automation solution. Red Hat Ansible Engine 2.6 adds new content for automating across hybrid and multi-cloud environments, along with simplified connections to network APIs and updates for Ansible deployments overseeing Windows environments, according to the firm.

      • Survey finds open source tools are the leader for developing IoT solutions

        From refrigerators to doorbells, any device with power can be made intelligent and every day, millions of new connected devices are entering the market. According to IDC, worldwide Internet of Things (IoT) spending is projected to surpass $1 trillion in 2020, with a forecast compound annual growth of over 14% over the next several years. With the development of IoT solutions rapidly accelerating, enterprises are actively investing in technology and tools that can develop, deploy and manage these IoT products and services.

      • 6 DevOps mistakes to avoid

        As DevOps is increasingly recognized as a pillar of digital transformation, CIOs are becoming more enthusiastic about how DevOps and open source can transform enterprise culture. DevOps refers to a group of concepts that, while not all new, have catalyzed into a movement that is rapidly spreading throughout the technical community. Just look at the number of books and resources that are available to help you take your DevOps initiatives and practices to the next level.

        Still, many people don’t fully understand what DevOps means. And without the right knowledge and understanding, many DevOps initiatives fail to get off the ground. Here are six common mistakes—and how to avoid them—as you start your DevOps journey.

      • How to use GPUs with DevicePlugin in OpenShift 3.10
      • Why Cloud-Native Security Requires Strong Application Identity

        Cloud-native applications are designed to take advantage of cloud frameworks and are composed of loosely-coupled services. Because of their architecture, they can run anywhere. All good, but how do you secure them?

        One may attempt to extend existing infrastructure security and segmentation techniques to the evolving cloud and microservices space, but this attempt simply ignores the realities of the hybrid cloud and the Zero Trust posture that would be wise to adopt. The ideal security posture is to protect workloads and their interactions with strong contextual identity that feeds an automatable, scalable policy engine.

      • Red Hat’s New York office hosts Tech Explorers

        On July 20, 24 girls ranging from 10-16 years of age joined us in our New York office to develop apps as part of Tech Explorers, a summer program to help introduce girls to STEM fields by delivering technology to address social issues.

        The girls attend different schools in the NYC metro area that are part of the Young Women’s Leadership School network, a program committed to building young women with strong values and skills. One of these schools participated in our CO.LAB road tour last year. CO.LAB, presented by Open Source Stories, is a learning experience focused on collaboration, community and open source principles. Its goal is to empower students with collaborative pproblem-solvingskills that can help them succeed in their pursuit of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) careers.

      • DLT Solutions Named Red Hat Certified Cloud Service Provider

        DLT Solutions, an award-winning technology provider to the public sector, announced today that it has formalized an agreement with Red Hat to be a Certified Cloud Service Provider. Under this agreement, DLT Solutions will distribute Red Hat’s on-demand products via their AWS Managed Services, and Red Hat technologies will be made available to vetted government customers and organizations in government-regulated industries that meet AWS GovCloud requirements.

      • Finance

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Snapcraft Build Environments

            After a week away from my computer I want to organize my thoughts on the progress made towards build VMs by providing this write up since that forum post can be a bit overwhelming if you are casually wanting to keep up to date.

            The reasons for this feature work to exist, for those not up to speed, is that we want to have a very consistent build environment for which anyone building a project can have an expectable outcome of a working snap (or non working one if it really doesn’t). Case in point, we want to avoid the works for me situation as much as possible.

          • The best way to update and install apps on Ubuntu

            Ubuntu is a great Linux distribution that is soon to become even better. Already it’s stable, secure, and user-friendly, so what’s about to change? Recently I received an interesting question about Ubuntu. The question was about the best way to update and install apps on Ubuntu. That’s where one major improvement is about to happen.

            The thing that needs to be considered, for Ubuntu, is that they are migrating over to GNOME in 17.10, which means the now-defunct Ubuntu Software Center is officially switching to GNOME Software. This is a good thing on so many levels. First off, the Ubuntu Software Center has been broken for a long time. Also, with the old system, you had to install software from one tool and upgrade software from another. Now, thanks to the new GNOME Software tool, everything happens in one happy location.

          • New Login Screen of Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish)

            A quick look at the upcoming Ubuntu 18.10 login screen via Yaru theme.

            Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish), the next major release of Ubuntu operating system which is currently in development. Among all the features, enhancements of Ubuntu 18.10, the main attractive feature is the look-n-feel. With 18.10 release, Ubuntu is bringing change to its default theme with a new theme called ‘Communitheme’ which is recently renamed as Yaru.

          • How to keep your Ubuntu Linux systems updated with uCaresystem

            If you’re like me, you prefer to keep your Linux systems as up to date as possible. After all, vulnerabilities are patched, new features are added, and a server or desktop can be made to run more smoothly and securely by keeping it as “in the now” as possible. To that end, most users will open up a terminal window and run the tried-and-true sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade command to catch anything available for their system.

            The thing is, those two commands either may not catch everything or they leave behind outdated files that can lead to problems down the road. Of course, you could add to your list of commands the likes of sudo apt-get autoremove and apt-get clean. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a single tool to take care of all that? Oh wait, there is! That tool is called uCareSystem. Let’s install and use this one-stop-shop updater.

          • Ubuntu Server development summary – 31 July 2018

            The purpose of this communication is to provide a status update and highlights for any interesting subjects from the Ubuntu Server Team. If you would like to reach the server team, you can find us at the #ubuntu-server channel on Freenode. Alternatively, you can sign up and use the Ubuntu Server Team mailing list.

          • UK cyber security boffins dispense Ubuntu 18.04 wisdom

            The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has dispensed advice aimed at securing Ubuntu installs and followed it up with help for Dixons customers.

            The NCSC, part of the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) exists to make the UK a safer place to do business online and, in an unusual step for a Government agency, does a pretty good job of dispensing sensible security advice.

            Dixons Carphone customers got the treatment yesterday, following the admission that, er, maybe a bit more than 1.2 million users had actually had their privates exposed in a data breach. More like 10 million records. GCHQ’s infosec crew suggested Dixons users shouldn’t fill in their log-in info via that link on that unsolicited email, hmm?

            Last week, however, it was Ubuntu 18.04 LTS upon which the agency turned its gimlet gaze. The security wonks first stated the obvious – route data over a secure VPN to avoid prying eyes, stop users installing whatever they want and for goodness sake, cut down on the admin rights.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Xubuntu Development Update August 2018

              This is the final point release for Xubuntu 16.04 “Xenial Xerus”. As Xubuntu has a 3-year support cycle, this release will be supported until April 2019. There have not been any major changes from the Xubuntu team for this point release, but there have been a number of other improvements and security updates for other components.

              16.04.5 is expected to be released tomorrow, August 2, 2018. If you have a few moments, feel free to do some testing and make sure everything is working as well as we think it is!

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Ars on your lunch break: Tim O‘Reilly discusses the birth of “open source”

    Below, you’ll find the second installment of the After On interview with legendary tech publisher and prognosticator Tim O’Reilly. Please check out part one if you missed it. Otherwise, press play on the embedded player, or pull up the transcript—both of which are below.

    O’Reilly and I start off today talking about The Whole Internet User’s Guide & Catalog, which he published in 1992. And yup—that’s a two at the end of that number. As in, a full year before the first release of the Mosaic browser. Of course, there was a World Wide Web before Mosaic—and all 200 of its sites are listed in this book (along with various non-WWW Internet stuff that was around back then).

    Jumping forward many years, O’Reilly tells us about convening a small summit of tech honchos, which quite literally named open source software. The nameless-ish phenomenon was already a big deal by then and was destined to become a huge one. But names do matter (and their lack even more so). The summit’s real purpose was to stridently promote this new approach to code to the both industry and the press in hopes of terminating the suffocating reign of Microsoft and others.

  • Localizer shares insights about the importance of translating open source software into Breton

    Breton is a Brittonic Celtic language spoken in Brittany, France and despite seeing its numbers dwindle from 1 million in 1950 to a little more than 200,000, Breton speakers are pushing to ensure their language grows. Bilingual “diwan” schools are offering Breton immersion education across Brittany and some estimates show that the number of children learning Breton is on the rise; however, like many minority languages, Breton must constantly fight for a place at the table.

    Localization Lab spoke with a Breton language localizer who is working to offer open source tools to his community and, in the process, claim space online for other Breton speakers.

  • The Open Revolution, book review: Ownership in the digital age

    Pollock makes his case by reviewing the many ways the Closed system is broken and then explaining how Open can be expanded to cover software, pharmaceuticals, and other sectors. Pollock also promotes universal service platforms with regulatory oversight that mediate between artists and audience. These revenue streams would roll together into pools out of which artists and inventors can be paid. They should, he writes, be at least as large as the aggregated amounts they’re paid now.

    It’s not the job of revolutionaries to stymie themselves by imagining the difficulties of turning their visions into reality. Pollock does cite some difficulties, but believes all this is genuinely possible given the will. Politics, money, entrenched interests, and even small-time creators tired of being ripped off — all will align against him, as will the concentrated power amassed by Closed walled gardens such as Facebook (which John Oliver’s writers call “a surveillance system disguised as a high-school reunion”). Many artists and creators are not fans of collecting society distributions; the long tail often earns less than the threshold for payouts.

  • Two years of terminal device freedom

    On August 1, 2016 a new law that allows clients of German internet providers to use any terminal device they choose entered into force. Internet service providers (ISPs) are now required to give users any information you need to connect an alternative router. In many other EU countries there is still no such law and the Radio Lockdown Directive is compulsory in all those countries. In Germany there the old “Gesetz über Funkanlagen und Telekommunikationsendeinrichtungen” is now replaced with the new “Funkanlagengesetz”.

    Routers that use radio standards such as WiFi and DECT fall under the Radio Lockdown Directive and since the European Commission did not pass a delegated act yet there is no requirement to implement a lock down for current hardware. Many WiFi chipsets require non-free firmware, future generations of that non-free firmware could be used to lock down all kinds of Radio Equipment. Radio Equipment that comes with the Respects Your Freedom hardware product certification is 2.4GHz only in many cases, but some hardware that supports 5 GHz does exist.

    Voice over IP (VoIP) is supported by most alternative routers and free software such as Asterisk. Since most ISPs and routers use SIP it is now possible to connect modern VoIP telephones directly to routers such as the FritzBox. Many compulsory routers such as the O2 Box 6431 use SIP internally, but it is not possible to connect external SIP phones with the stock firmware. So some users install OpenWRT on their box to get rid of those restrictions. Some ISPs in the cable market don’t use SIP, but an incompatible protocol called EuroPacketCable which is unsupported by most alternative routers.

  • Kontron Communications Business Acquires Inocybe
  • Kontron Scoops Up Open Source Software Provider Inocybe

    Kontron has acquired open source software company Inocybe for an as yet undisclosed amount of money, thus continuing to advance its strategy to be a full solution provider of open source hardware and software. For Inocybe, being acquired brings scale to its open networking and OpenDaylight SDN controller software, opening up market possibilities.

  • Web Browsers

    • Opera 56 Web Browser Promises an Enhanced Address Bar, Reorganized Settings Page

      Earlier this month, Opera 56 entered development, and while until now there were only bugfix updates released for the upcoming web browser, Opera Software today published a more in-depth look at some of its new features and enhancements.

      Based on the open-source Chromium 69.0.3493.3 web browser, Opera 56.0.3031.0 developer is now available for public testing with an enhanced address bar that promises to offer you a more easier way to access your Speed Dial and various other page functions, including the ability to copy/paste URLs, save web pages as PDF documents, as well as make screenshots of web pages or add them to the Speed Dial.

    • Mozilla

      • G20 digital process: Trust requires more transparency and inclusion

        We commend the Argentine G20 Presidency for continuing to build momentum around the G20 digital process and look forward to seeing the Declaration and the progress made to that end following the Digital Ministerial on August 24.

        However, we can’t ignore the lack of transparency and the step back from multistakeholder engagement that was championed under last year’s G20 Presidency by Germany. Mozilla appreciated the invitation to attend the G20-B20 workshops on July 30, which allowed for providing input into the Digital Declaration. But inviting pre-selected organisations to an unofficial side event on comparatively short notice is not sufficient for a meaningfully transparent and inclusive process.

      • Safe Harbor for Security Bug Bounty Participants

        Mozilla established one of the first modern security bug bounty programs back in 2004. Since that time, much of the technology industry has followed our lead and bounty programs have become a critical tool for finding security flaws in the software we all use. But even while these programs have reached broader acceptance, the legal protections afforded to bounty program participants have failed to evolve, putting security researchers at risk and possibly stifling that research.

        That is why we are announcing changes to our bounty program policies to better protect security researchers working to improve Firefox and to codify the best practices that we’ve been using.

        We often hear of researchers who are concerned that companies or governments may take legal actions against them for their legitimate security research. For example, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) – essentially the US anti-hacking law that criminalizes unauthorized access to computer systems – could be used to punish bounty participants testing the security of systems and software. Just the potential for legal liability might discourage important security research.

      • August’s Featured Extensions
      • Mozilla B-Team: happy bmo push day!
  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL and patents

      Patents and open-source projects are always a messy combination it seems. A recent discussion on the pgsql-hackers mailing list highlights some of the problems that can result even when a patent holder wants to make their patents available to a project like PostgreSQL. Software patents are a minefield in many ways—often projects want to just avoid the problems entirely by staying completely away from code known to be covered by patents.

      It started with a post from Takayuki Tsunakawa, who wondered how his employer, Fujitsu, could submit patches to PostgreSQL that implement various patented (and patent applied-for) techniques: “we’d like to offer our company’s patents and patent applications license to the PostgreSQL community free of charge”. He suggested three possibilities for how that might be accomplished: by way of a patent pool such as the one run by the Open Invention Network, doing an explicit patent grant (such as that in section 3 in the Apache v2 license), or by a patent promise like Red Hat’s, but only for PostgreSQL.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • LLVM / Clang 7.0 Branching Today, Releasing In September

      Not only is Mesa 18.2 ending feature development today to begin their release candidates, but LLVM 7.0 and its sub-projects like Clang 7.0 also happens to have aligned with a similar release schedule.

      LLVM 7.0 and its sub-projects were just branched in Git/SVN and preparations have begun for pushing out the first release candidate. At least a second release candidate will follow later in August before they are planning to officially release LLVM 7.0.0 on or around 5 September.

    • FreeBSD: July 2018 Development Projects Update

      To address this, under sponsorship from the FreeBSD Foundation, I am implementing in-kernel microcode loading. The aim is to apply microcode updates as one of the first stages in the kernel’s boot-up process. In particular, since microcode updates may enable new CPU features such as IBRS, it is desirable to ensure that updates are applied before the kernel enumerates these features. As part of this feature, the kernel will automatically re-apply any existing microcode update on each CPU upon resume, so only minimal portions of the kernel may ever execute without an update applied.


    • GNU C Library 2.28 released
    • The GNU C Library version 2.28 is now available

      The GNU C Library version 2.28 is now available.

      The GNU C Library is used as the C library in the GNU system and in GNU/Linux systems, as well as many other systems that use Linux as the kernel.

      The GNU C Library is primarily designed to be a portable and high performance C library. It follows all relevant standards including ISO C11 and POSIX.1-2008. It is also internationalized and has one of the most complete internationalization interfaces known.

    • Glibc 2.28 Released With Unicode 11.0 Support, Statx & Intel Improvements

      Glibc 2.28, the latest update to the GNU C Library, is now available to start off the month of August.

    • GNU C Library v. 2.28 Released, Purism Update on Librem 5 Communication Apps, Istio v. 1.0 Now Available, 4.18 Kernel Delayed and City of Rome Switching to LibreOffice

      The GNU C Library version 2.28 was released this morning. New features include localization data for ISO 14651 has been updated to match Edition 4, introducing significant improvements to the collation of Unicode characters; it now can be compiled with support for Intel CET, aka Intel Control-flow Enforcement Technology; it now supports ABSOLUTE symbols; and more. Packages for the 2.28 release are available from http://ftpmirror.gnu.org/libc or http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/libc.

    • Replacing AWK with Python in GCC?

      GCC has a lot of command-line options—so many, in fact, that its build process does a fair amount of processing using AWK to generate the option-parsing code for the compiler. But some find the AWK code to be difficult to work with. A recent post to the GCC mailing list proposes replacing AWK with Python in the hopes of more maintainable option-parsing generation in the future.

      Martin Liška raised the idea on July 17 to gauge the reaction of the GCC development community to a switch away from AWK; there are a number of cleanups that he would like to make, but he doesn’t want to make them in AWK. One problem that he noted is that the .opt file format used for specifying the options is not well-specified, so part of what he would like to do is to clean that up. That should make it easier to parse those files and for some targets that generate them (e.g. ARM). There are other problems with the AWK code, he said, including too few sanity checks on the options and the code generally being “quite unpleasant to make any adjustments”.

  • Public Services/Government

    • City of Rome begins switch to open source office default

      This month, the city of Rome has begun making LibreOffice the only available suite of office productivity tools on its workstations. The first group to switch uses office tools less than one hour per month.

      Rome will uninstall the proprietary alternative gradually, depending on the amount of time that office tools are used. This transition schedule is based on measurements that took place between June to December last year.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • EA takes down open-source SimCity 2000

      An open-source remake of SimCity 2000, called OpenSC2K, has been taken offline at the behest of Electronic Arts.

      EA filed a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) request to take the game down. It points out that OpenSC2K uses assets from SimCity 2000 which are copyrighted and, in an accompanying notice, EA pointed out: “Assets from the game are being infringed upon. An authorized and legitimate copy of the game can be found available for purchase here.”

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Why Pittsburgh’s Innovation and Performance team takes an open-source approach to open data

        It was the birth of what would be named the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center (also known as the WPRDC, also known as “Whopper Duck”), an all-star collaboration between the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and the University of Pittsburgh.

        This put us in the unique position of hosting not just city and county data, but data from non-governmental organizations such as the Carnegie Library and Bike PGH, as well as other local service providers such as the Port Authority of Allegheny County. This required a specialized set-up, which is why WPRDC is based in CKAN, an open-source data management system that allowed for a completely custom configuration.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Linux boots on new “Shakti” RISC-V chip

        The Shakti project, based at IIT Madras, has booted Linux on its first RISC-V processor. The 22nm FinFET fabricated, 400MHz Shakti chip can run at 1.67 DMIPS/MHz.

        Shakti — the Hindu goddess who personifies creative power — has been enlisted in a variety of creative enterprises, including Unilever’s Project Shakti NGO for empowering rural Indian women. Now Shakti is turning her attentions to tech where the name has been adopted for a Chennai, India based RISC-V chip development project hosted by the Indian government backed Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras). The Shakti Processor Project has just announced that it has successfully booted Linux on its first taped RISC-V processor.

      • State Attorneys General File To Block Open Source Information – Because The Info Is A Printed Gun
      • Lawmakers, police speak about risks of open-source 3D-printed gun technology

        Guns you can make from the same plastic as your kid’s Lego sets will soon be just a click away.

        Wednesday, Defense Distributed, an Austin, Texas, gun design company, will share new blueprints for building 3D-printed guns.

      • A judge has stopped the plan to post 3D-printed gun blueprints online
      • Students Can Now Build Their Own Rover Model

        With the successful past and current rovers, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California built a mini-rover (“ROV-E”) to engage the public.This rover is brought into classrooms, museums and school events to demonstrate rover mobility principles first-hand.In response to this enthusiasm, JPL engineers have designed a rover model that could be assembled by the next generation of engineers from commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) parts for as little as $2,500.

      • NASA Open Source Rover lets people roll their own rover

        OSR is a scaled down version of Curiosity that has similar 6-wheel steering and Rocker-Bogie suspension allowing it to roll over most terrain. JPL has published the design of the OSR under an open source license on GitHub allowing anyone to download the baseline instructions and test plans to build their own rover. The instructions are said to be quite detailed and to allow the builder to make their own design choices.

      • JPL’s Open Source Rover Project Lets You Build Your Own Martian Rover

        Based on the ROV-E, JPL set-up a website where those interested can find the plans to assemble their own versions of the rover for as little as $2,500. JPL plans to use the website as a tool to improve the rover and asks all those taking part to share their ideas with the rest of the world.

      • NASA’s Open Source Rover lets you build your own planetary exploration platform

        Got some spare time this weekend? Why not build yourself a working rover from plans provided by NASA? The spaceniks at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have all the plans, code, and materials for you to peruse and use — just make sure you’ve got $2,500 and a bit of engineering know-how. This thing isn’t made out of Lincoln Logs.

        The story is this: after Curiosity landed on Mars, JPL wanted to create something a little smaller and less complex that it could use for educational purposes. ROV-E, as they called this new rover, traveled with JPL staff throughout the country.

  • Programming/Development

    • Open-Source Software Framework Makes Quantum Computing More Accessible

      To help further this field, Häner and a team at ETH Zurich created ProjectQ, a free, open-source software framework for quantum computing that allows users to implement their quantum programs in the high-level programming language Python using a powerful and intuitive syntax. ProjectQ can then translate these programs to any type of back-end, either a simulator run on a classical computer or an actual quantum chip.

    • This Week in Rust 245

      Always wanted to contribute to open-source projects but didn’t know where to start? Every week we highlight some tasks from the Rust community for you to pick and get started!


  • Tips for Hiring Women in Tech From a Female CEO Who Had Trouble Hiring Women in Tech

    I fully believe that diverse teams are better teams. As a female CEO I thought it would be easier for me to find strong female candidates than other male founders, but historically, we have received 95% male applicants for all job postings which has led to a male-dominated team.

    A few months ago, part of my team got together for a photoshoot before an event. We asked whoever could come to come and this is what came out of it. A pretty amazing team, but you see my dilemma.

  • Science

    • Children starting school ‘cannot communicate in full sentences’

      The education secretary promised to halve within a decade the number of children lacking the required level of early speaking or reading skills. His department’s figures show that 28% of four- and five-year-olds do not meet communication and literacy levels expected by the end of the reception year.

    • Find shows 4,000-year-old trade routes stretched from Carolinas to Great Lake
    • When the Mind’s Eye Is Blind

      In 2003 a 65-year-old man brought a strange problem to neurologist Adam Zeman, now at the University of Exeter in England. The patient, later dubbed “MX,” claimed he could not conjure images of friends, family members or recently visited places. All his life, MX, a retired surveyor, had loved reading novels and had routinely drifted off to sleep visualizing buildings, loved ones and recent events. But after undergoing a procedure to open arteries in his heart, during which he probably suffered a minor stroke, his mind’s eye went blind. He could see normally, but he could not form pictures in his mind.

      Zeman had never encountered anything like it and set out to learn more. He has since given the condition a name—aphantasia (phantasia means “imagination” in Greek). And he and others are exploring its neurological underpinnings.

  • Hardware

    • Huawei Beats Apple in Becoming the Second-Largest Smartphone Manufacturer for Q2

      Huawei has amassed a lot of success in recent years and this level of success has enabled it to become the third-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world. However, the Chinese technology giant could not seem to overtake both Apple and Samsung but only in the second time in history, Huawei has managed to overtake Apple and become the second-biggest phone brand in the world.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Brazil: Pesticide Poisonings in Rural Areas

      The 50-page report, “‘You Don’t Want to Breathe Poison Anymore’: The Failing Response to Pesticide Drift in Brazil’s Rural Communities,” documents cases of acute poisoning from pesticide drift in seven sites, located across Brazil, including farming communities, indigenous communities, quilombo (Afro-Brazilian) communities, and rural schools. Exposure occurs when pesticide spray drifts off target during application, or when pesticides vaporize and drift to adjacent areas in the days after spraying.

    • Pesticides behind falling fertility rate in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana
    • Model Predictive Control for Closed-Loop Insulin Delivery

      Our initial model will be quite simple, but the framework we set up is flexible: the model can be improved or even replaced later. A follow-up notebook will explore some additional ideas to improve the model.

    • FDA Issues Plan for Further Facilitating Biosimilar Development

      Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a new initiative, the Biosimilars Action Plan: Balancing Innovation and Competition in furtherance of its efforts “to ensure that this balance between innovation and competition exists across the spectrum of pharmaceutical products.” The hoped-for outcome of the BAP: that “[a]fter patents or other exclusivities expire on these novel products, prices can fall dramatically once follow-on products are available, potentially lowering costs for patients and payors and expanding access to these innovations.”


      Why now? The FDA contends that “[t]his is a crucial time in the emergence of the marketplace of biosimilar and interchangeable products.” The agency expects continued expansion in the number of approved biosimilar and interchangeable products in the coming years. The announcement of this new initiative recognizes “barriers to marketing a biosimilar or interchangeable product that are outside of the FDA’s purview,” but assert that it is part of the agency’s mandate to “advance[e] policies to facilitate the efficient development and approval of these products.” Hence, the enunciation of the BAP.

    • Somali father defends FGM after daughter, 10, dies

      According to Unicef, 98% of girls and women in Somalia have undergone FGM.

    • 10-year-old girl bleeds to death after female genital mutilation in Somalia

      FGM in Somalia is constitutionally illegal, but pressure from conservative and religious groups prevents lawmakers from passing legislation to punish offenders.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • DHS Will Shore Up Cybersecurity for America’s Infrastructure

      At a cybersecurity summit Tuesday, Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced the creation of the National Risk Management Center, which will focus on evaluating threats and defending US critical infrastructure against hacking. The center will focus on the energy, finance, and telecommunications sectors to start, and DHS will conduct a number of 90-day “sprints” throughout 2018 in an attempt to rapidly build out the center’s processes and capabilities.

    • New Spectre Variant Hits the Network

      A new proof of concept is a reminder that complex systems can be vulnerable at the most basic level.

      Spectre is back, and this time in a variant that adds something truly new: remote access to cached data. The good news is that access comes at a snail’s pace.

      In a research paper published last week, four researchers from Graz University of Technology detailed NetSpectre, “a generic remote Spectre variant 1 attack.”

    • Tom Van Vleck on the Multics operating system, security decisions

      Let me start by saying that my understanding has evolved. One of the things that I worked on was the Multics system administration facilities — and they were quite elaborate. They had many commands and tech manuals describing how to use all those commands, and we built a special-purpose subsystem with different commands for the system administrators and another set of different commands for the system operators. Remember when systems had operators who were trained to operate the computer, instead of having everyone operate their own computers with no training at all?

      It was big mistake, in retrospect. It used to be that after the Multics operating system crashed — in large part due to the hardware, which was much less reliable than it is now — the operator would have to go through a very complex set of recovery steps to get the system back up and all the files happy again. Over time, we realized that every place where the operator had to make a choice and type the right thing was a chance for them to type the wrong thing. Over time, we evolved to a thing where — when the system crashed — you said start it up again, and if it turned out that you had to run some recovery step, the system would decide whether or not to do it, and we designed the recovery steps so they could run twice in a row with no negative effect. We aimed toward a completely lights-out, ‘no chance for mistakes’ interface.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • FATAH: Mentally ill? The media or the murderer?

      The most apt response to the hours of political correctness came from an Australian Islamic cleric, Imam Mohammed Tawhidi who has been to Canada and is familiar with the Islamist networks in the country. He tweeted: “If you think all these Jihadi terrorists kill because they have a mental illness, then perhaps you are the one with a mental illness. It’s not mental illness, it’s their allegiance.”

    • FUREY: Meet the spin doctor behind the Hussain family statement
    • VIPS to Trump: Intel on Iran Could be CATASTROPHIC

      As drums beat again for war — this time on Iran—-the VIPS’ warning is again being disregarded as it was before the Iraq debacle and this time VIPS fear the consequences will be all-caps CATASTROPHIC.


      As the George W. Bush administration revved up to attack Iraq 15 years ago, we could see no compelling reason for war. We decided, though, to give President Bush the benefit of the doubt on the chance he had been sandbagged by Vice President Dick Cheney and others. We chose to allow for the possibility that he actually believed the “intelligence” that Colin Powell presented to the UN as providing “irrefutable and undeniable” proof of WMD in Iraq and a “sinister nexus” between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.

      To us in VIPS it was clear, however, that the “intelligence” Powell adduced was bogus. Thus, that same afternoon (Feb. 5, 2003) we prepared and sent to President Bush a Memorandum like this one, urging him to seek counsel beyond the “circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Precariousness Of Assange’s Asylum Intensifies Solidarity Efforts

      In the last few weeks, news reports have surfaced indicating the imminent danger that Ecuador may illegally rescind Julian Assange’s asylum. WikiLeaks supporters across the globe have responded by raising their voices even louder on behalf of the politically imprisoned journalist, with a diverse range of online and physical demonstrations of solidarity unfolding over the last week.

      At the embassy, multiple supporters have been standing in a near-constant vigil in case of any sudden developments on the scene, with specific, self-imposed orders to remain non-violent in their approach. Disobedient Media previously reported on the heroic efforts of activists who have participated in physical vigils at the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the entire span of Assange’s confinement there.

    • ‘Activist’ Publishes Damaging WikiLeaks DMs
    • Julian Assange health latest: Fears Wikileaks chief may be forced to leave embassy

      JULIAN Assange, who has been sheltering at the Ecuador Embassy in London since 2012, is facing increasing pressure from the country’s new government to leave the building in Knightsbridge, amid renewed reports that his physical and mental health are deteriorating.


      Mr Moreno labelled Mr Assange as “a stone in the shoe” and an “inherited problem”, amid talk that Ecuador had finally run out of patience with the WikiLeaks founder.

      WikiLeaks, founded in 2006, is aimed at exposing government and corporate secrets.

      It came to prominence in 2010 with its massive release of classified US military documents, including how American military equipment was deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

      In recent months, Mr Assange has been indicted by Robert Mueller, the US Special Counsel leading the investigation into alleged Russian support for Donald Trump during the US presidential campaign.

    • What legacy will WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange leave behind?
    • What are Julian Assange’s options once he leaves Ecuadorian Embassy?
    • Assange may finally leave Ecuadorian embassy in London as health worsens – report

      Julian Assange, who has spent more than 2,230 days in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, is expected to leave the building soon with his health deteriorating, sources say.

      This latest information about the WikiLeaks founder, who was already expected to leave the embassy “in the coming weeks,” was broken Wednesday by Bloomberg which cited “two people with knowledge of the matter.” The news agency reported that the whistleblower’s health “has declined recently.”


      The whistleblower’s health is deteriorating, according to the Courage Foundation, a group that fundraises for the legal defense of whistleblowers. Assange is in “a small space” and has “no access to sunlight,” the group says, adding that this has a serious impact “on his physical and mental health.”

      Rape allegations, stemming from Assange’s visit to Sweden in August 2010, were the main reason that he sought refuge in London’s Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 when a warrant was issued for his arrest. Assange maintained that he could be extradited from Sweden to the US, where he would be prosecuted for his whistleblowing and would not receive a fair trial. Swedish prosecutors dropped the investigation in 2017, but a British warrant for violating bail conditions still stands.

      Washington simply “wants revenge” for the “embarrassment” WikiLeaks caused it, and wants it to serve “as a deterrent to others,” human rights activist Peter Tatchell told RT earlier in July. “Someone who’s published that information in the same way that the New York Times or the Guardian publish information, I don’t think they should face risk 30 or 40 years in jail in the United States,” Tatchell added.

      Launched in 2006, the WikiLeaks project is aimed at exposing government and corporate secrets. It garnered global attention back in 2010 with its massive release of classified US military documents, which included those detailing how American military equipment was deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Assange won thousands of admirers, with many applauding his willingness to speak the truth.

    • Assange May Leave Ecuadorian Embassy in UK Soon Due to Health Problems – Reports

      Founder of whistleblowing organization WikiLeaks Julian Assange might leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in the United Kingdom in the coming weeks due to problems with health, a news outlet reported on Wednesday.

      Assange’s health has deteriorated recently and he would leave the embassy, where he has lived since June 2012, for a hospital visit in the near future, after which the whistleblower’s options for taking shelter will be limited, the Bloomberg news agency reported, citing two sources.

    • BBC accused of ‘breaching code’ by putting Assange critic in charge of special on WikiLeaks founder

      BBC’s Newsnight will air a special on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange hosted by journalist John Sweeney, despite what the #FreeAssange campaign say are tweets in “clear breach” of the BBC objectivity standards by the journalist.

      “John Sweeney put in charge of tomorrow’s Julian Assange special despite (because of?) malicious tweets in clear breach of BBC code,” the #FreeAssange campaign tweeted.

    • Julian Assange prepares to step into an uncertain future [Ed: False. There were never any charges.]

      Julian Assange will soon leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London — his refuge from criminal charges for the last six years — and enter a changed world.

      The Australian walked into the building in the capital’s Knightsbridge neighbourhood just before the 2012 Olympics, with Barack Obama in his first term and elections untainted by alleged interference by Russian agents. When he walks out, Assange will face a new more aggressive American president, a UK trying to find its role outside the European Union and a change in Ecuadorian leadership. The 47-year-old may find the future uncertain.

    • Julian Assange Prepares to Take First Steps Into a Different World
    • Opinion: On The Latest Establishment Attack Launched Against WikiLeaks, Independent Media

      Early yesterday, journalist Duncan Campbell published an inaccurate, deceptive smear piece which doxxed independent journalist Adam Carter, while also misrepresenting the findings of members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, the Forensicator, and myself.

      In the wake of the hit-piece, Adam Carter has publicly stated that he is considering taking legal action due to the libelous material contained in Campbell’s work. Over the coming days and weeks, Disobedient Media will likely publish multiple articles addressing the issue. However, this initial response is dedicated to placing the character assassination attempt firmly into the context in which it belongs: as part of the larger picture surrounding WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, Russiagate, and the establishment’s desperate attempts to prevent the latter from falling apart.

      First: What might have provoked Campbell to publish such a long-winded, factually baseless attack at this particular time?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Why We’re Sharing 3 Million Russian Troll [sic] Tweets

      FiveThirtyEight has obtained nearly 3 million tweets from accounts associated with the Internet Research Agency. To our knowledge, it’s the fullest empirical record to date of Russian trolls’ [sic] actions on social media, showing a relentless and systematic onslaught. In concert with the researchers who first pulled the tweets, FiveThirtyEight is uploading them to GitHub so that others can explore the data for themselves.

    • Facebook reveals evidence to Congress of new disinformation campaign ahead of midterm elections

      Facebook told lawmakers in a series of briefings this week that the new efforts could have been conducted by Russia but that it has not been able to confirm this, according to a report in The New York Times.

    • Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica woes continue with UK lawsuits

      The 27-page letter, which Wired was able to review, claims that Facebook violated the UK’s Data Protection Act, which could entitle the dozens of claimants to compensation. The claimants want more thorough answers to questions about who had access to their data as well as what was done with it, and if they don’t get adequate responses, they might have a right to collect damages, says the group’s lawyer, Ravi Naik. “People should realize that data rights are real rights, and we have a mechanism to enforce them,” Naik told Wired.

    • The G.O.P. Stands By as Trump Upends American Security

      More remarkable, though, was what didn’t happen. No one resigned from the Cabinet. No Republican senators took concrete steps to restrain or contain or censure the President.

    • Facebook Detects Campaign Trying To Influence US Midterm Elections; Removes Related Pages

      Being the most significant social media platform, Facebook continually becomes the hotbed of different kinds of propaganda and misinformation which is mostly intended to affect politics.

      In a blog post published on Tuesday, Facebook revealed that it had blocked 32 Pages and Instagram accounts that were violating the ban imposed on “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

    • Trump Demands That Jeff Sessions End The Russia Investigation “Right Now”

      President Trump on Wednesday tweeted that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should end the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election “right now.”

      “This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!” Trump tweeted.


      Both Trump’s lawyers and the White House insisted Wednesday that the president was only expressing his “opinions” on Twitter and that he had not directed the Department of Justice to take any action.

      “It’s not an order,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a briefing. “It’s the president’s opinion and it’s ridiculous that all of the corruption and dishonesty that’s gone on with the launching of the witch hunt, the president wants to — has watched this process play out. But he also wants to see it come to an end as he stated many times. And we look forward to that happening.”

      She later reiterated that the president was not “obstructing” justice by calling on Sessions to end the probe, but that he was “fighting back.”

    • Trump And I Agree On One Thing

      Each of these is sufficient grounds for impeachment (fraud, espionage, emoluments, and obstruction of justice) but the GOP won’t go along with that. Fortunately, there is a back-up, the courts. Apply for the arrest warrants and lock ’em up… The GOP has Pence as a back-up, unless his snout was also in the trough.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Silencing a Witness to Thailand’s Deadly 2010 Crackdown

      After she resisted intimidation by the Thai military to stay silent, the life of Natthida “Waen” Meewangpa – a volunteer nurse who witnessed the shooting of civilians and unarmed supporters of protesting “Red Shirts” by soldiers during the 2010 political confrontations in Bangkok – has turned to hell.

    • The ACLU is turning its back on free speech

      All this is the ACLU’s prerogative. Organisations are entitled to revise their values and missions. But they ought to do so openly. The ACLU leadership had apparently hoped to keep its new guidelines secret, even from ACLU members. They’re contained in an internal document deceptively marked, in all caps, ‘confidential attorney client work product’. I’m told it was distributed to select ACLU officials and board members, who were instructed not to share it. According to my source, the leadership is now investigating the ‘leak’ of its new case-selection guidelines. President Trump might sympathise.

    • Uganda is making ISPs block pornography from its citizens

      Internet service providers in the country didn’t immediately block the pornography websites. However, when news of the directive filtered into the public domain on Friday, the executive director of the Uganda Communications Commission told journalists that network operators would be penalized for not complying. By Monday morning, smaller providers had blocked the sites but larger ones don’t seem to have complied.

    • Where Did the Concept of ‘Shadow Banning’ Come From?

      Since the early days of the web, a “shadow ban” has been a moderation technique used to ban people from forums or message boards without alerting them that they’ve been banned. Typically, this means that a user can continue posting as normal, but their posts will be hidden from the rest of the community.

    • Liberals, Don’t Lose Faith in the First Amendment

      Critics are increasingly making this claim, maintaining that under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the First Amendment, once an important safeguard for progressive speech, has become a boon to corporations, conservatives and the powerful.

      But in most instances, the First Amendment doesn’t favor speech of the right or the left; it simply takes the government out of the business of controlling speakers by virtue of what they say. It often empowers the powerless. And most important, it helps check official abuse.

      To be sure, conservatives and corporations are invoking the First Amendment, and sometimes winning. In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Roberts court deployed the First Amendment to guarantee that corporations can engage in unlimited campaign spending. A recent study found that the Roberts court has more often protected conservative than liberal speakers.

      Justice Elena Kagan herself, dissenting in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, accused her conservative colleagues of “weaponizing the First Amendment” when they ruled that public sector unions cannot charge nonmembers “agency fees” because it amounts to compelled speech.

    • KOL247 | Free Talk Live and Mark Edge on Intellectual Property and DMCA Takedowns

      On a recent episode [July 29, 2018] of Free Talk Live, Ian and Mark discuss their disagreement over Mark’s filing a DMCA (copyright) takedown of a critical YouTube video. I called in to discuss this issue and intellectual property with Mark for the July 31 episode. For the full episode, go here. The excerpt with my portion is included here.

    • Google is reportedly planning a censorship-friendly search service for China

      Google yanked its search service from China in 2010 in the face of pressure over censorship, but now the publication reports that it has developed a censored version that could launch in the country in six to nine months, according to information supplied by a source with knowledge of the plans. The alleged product would block Western services already outlawed in China, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and also scrub results for sensitive terms, such as the Tiananmen Square massacre, and international media including the BBC and New York Times.

    • Google Plans to Launch Censored Search Engine in China, Leaked Documents Reveal

      Google is planning to launch a censored version of its search engine in China that will blacklist websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest, The Intercept can reveal.

      The project – code-named Dragonfly – has been underway since spring of last year, and accelerated following a December 2017 meeting between Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai and a top Chinese government official, according to internal Google documents and people familiar with the plans.

    • Google Is Creating A “Censored” Search Engine For China: Report
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Behind the Octopus: The Hidden Race to Dismantle Global Law Enforcement Privacy Protections

      Last month, 360 cyber crime experts from 95 countries gathered in Strasbourg to attend the Octopus Conference. The event sounds like something from James Bond, and when you look at the attendee list—which includes senior figures from the United States Department of Justice, national police forces across the world, and senior figures from companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Cloudflare—it’s easy to imagine a covert machination or two.

      As it happens, Octopus is one of the more open and transparent elements in the world of global law enforcement and cybersecurity. Civil society like EFF and EDRI were invited to speak, and this year it was our primary chance to comment on a new initiative by the event’s organizers, the Council of Europe—an additional protocol to their Cybercrime Convention (also known as the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime), which will dictate how Parties of the Convention from around the world can cooperate across borders to fight Internet crime.

      Our conclusion: the Council of Europe (CoE) needs to stand more firmly against a global trend to undermine everyone’s privacy in the pursuit of faster and easier investigations. As conversations at Octopus showed, the many long arms of the world’s law-enforcers are coming for user data, and the CoE needs to stand firm that they obey international human rights, in particular article 15 of the Budapest Convention, when they reach across borders.

      The CoE is an international organization that grew out of a post-World War II initiative to build human rights into European decision-making. It’s older and has more members states than the European Union (EU), with which it is often confused (you can blame this confusion on the EU because they poached the original CoE logo for their flag, and even named one of their major institutions “The European Council”).

      Nowadays, the CoE (among other roles) acts as a forum for developing international treaties. The organization recently celebrated an update to Convention 108, its 1981 treaty on data protection that was the forerunner of the GDPR.

    • An Open Letter to Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, Chair of the California Assembly Appropriations Committee

      Dear Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher,

      We live in dangerous times. The rights of people of color, immigrants, workers, women, and asylum seekers are threatened every day. As history has repeatedly shown, one of the most powerful tools of oppression is surveillance. California has the opportunity to ensure public control and oversight of the spying technologies that law enforcement is most likely to abuse. Right now, the power is in your hands to ensure it moves forward.

      S.B. 1186 would not hamper criminal investigations or make the work of peace officers more difficult. Accountable policing is good policing.

      With each year, civil rights advocates have watched technology advance amidst a climate of growing secrecy, allowing authorities to collect more and more personal data from more and more people and store it indefinitely, without paramaters for how it can be used, with whom it can be shared, or what to do if it is misused or abused. We ask you, as chair of the California Assembly Appropriations Committee, to pass S.B. 1186 out of the committee without further amendments.

      We have reached the point where unchecked surveillance may pose a public safety risk as great as the ones the technology is meant to address.

      Over the past decade, high tech government surveillance has expanded well beyond national intelligence agencies based in the Beltway. Tools like aerial surveillance drones, automatic license plate readers, cell-site simulators, and face recognition algorithms—many originally developed for military application in foreign battlegrounds—are finding their way onto the streets of cities across our state. In San Diego and other border regions, the acceleration is acute as the Trump administration seeks to ramp up deportations, build “the Wall,” and recruit local law enforcement to assist in its “zero tolerance” schemes. As has been documented time and time again, surveillance disproportionately impacts communities of color, immigrants, and religious minorities.

    • Microsoft files patent application for eyeglasses that gauge blood pressure

      With a prototype medical device, the software giant aims to replace the traditional cuff monitor for tracking blood pressure.

    • Cops Slowly Wise Up To The SIM Hijacking Trend Carriers Don’t Want To Seriously Address

      It only took a few years, but law enforcement finally appears to be getting wise to the phenomenon of SIM hijacking, which lets a hacker hijack your phone number, then take 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.

    • Congress Members Demand Answers From, Investigation Of Federal Facial Rec Tech Users

      The ACLU’s test of Amazon’s facial recognition software went off without a hitch. On default settings, the software declared 28 Congressional members to be criminals after being “matched” with publicly-available mugshots. This number seemed suspiciously low to cynics critical of all things government. The number was also alarmingly high, as in an incredible amount of false positives for such a small data set (members of the House and Senate).

      Amazon argued the test run by the ACLU using the company’s “Rekognition” software was unfair because it used the default settings — 80% “confidence.” The ACLU argued the test was fair because it used the default settings — 80% confidence. Amazon noted it recommended law enforcement bump that up to 95% before performing searches but nothing in the software prompts users to select a higher setting for more accurate results.

      This upset members of Congress who weren’t used to be called criminals… at least not by a piece of software. More disturbing than the false positives was the software’s tendency to falsely match African-American Congressional reps to criminal mugshots, suggesting the act of governing while black might be a criminal activity.

    • Privacy row forces govt to change My Health Record law

      Faced with growing privacy concerns, the Federal Government has backed down over its controversial My Health Record system and said it would change the laws governing release of data.

    • Out of the frying pan and into the fire

      I mentioned above that the second fundamental flaw in Mariana’s article is that it perpetuates a false dichotomy. That false dichotomy is that the Silicon Valley/surveillance capitalist model of building modern/digital/networked technology is the only possible way to build modern/digital/networked technology and that we must accept it as a given.

      This is patently false.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Kris Kobach’s Lucrative Trail of Courtroom Defeats

      Kris Kobach likes to tout his work for Valley Park, Missouri. He has boasted on cable TV about crafting and defending the town’s hardline anti-immigration ordinance. He discussed his “victory” there at length on his old radio show. He still lists it on his resume.

      But “victory” isn’t the word most Valley Park residents would use to describe the results of Kobach’s work. With his help, the town of 7,000 passed an ordinance in 2006 that punished employers for hiring illegal immigrants and landlords for renting to them. But after two years of litigation and nearly $300,000 in expenses, the ordinance was largely gutted. Now, it is illegal only to “knowingly” hire illegal immigrants there — something that was already illegal under federal law. The town’s attorney can’t recall a single case brought under the ordinance.

      “Ambulance chasing” is how Grant Young, a former mayor of Valley Park, describes Kobach’s role. Young characterized Kobach’s attitude as, “Let’s find a town that’s got some issues or pretends to have some issues, let’s drum up an immigration problem and maybe I can advance my political position, my political thinking and maybe make some money at the same time.”

      Kobach used his work in Valley Park to attract other clients, with sometimes disastrous effects on the municipalities. The towns — some with budgets in the single-digit-millions — ran up hefty legal costs after hiring him to defend similar ordinances. Farmers Branch, Texas, wound up owing $7 million in legal bills. Hazleton, Penn., took on debt to pay $1.4 million and eventually had to file for a state bailout. In Fremont, Neb., the city raised property taxes to pay for Kobach’s services. None of the towns are currently enforcing the laws he helped craft.

    • What Are the FBI and CIA Hiding?

      Did the Central Intelligence Agency lead the Federal Bureau of Investigation down a rabbit hole in the counterintelligence investigation of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign?

      Although the FBI’s case officially began July 31, 2016, there had been investigative activity before that date. John Brennan’s CIA might have directed activity in Britain, which could be a problem because of longstanding agreements that the U.S. will not conduct intelligence operations there. It would explain why the FBI continues to stonewall Congress as to the inquiry’s origin.

      Further, what we know about the case’s origin does not meet the threshold required by the attorney general guidelines for opening a counterintelligence case. That standard requires “predicate information,” or “articulable facts.”

    • Texas Decides to Execute Despite a Victim’s Son Calling for Forgiveness

      The state’s use of the death penalty is not about justice for victims’ families.

      Fourteen years ago, Mitesh Patel lost his father Hasmukh in a robbery-murder at the family’s store in San Antonio. The man who killed his father, Chris Young, was sentenced to death. Leading up to Young’s execution last week, Patel called for Texas officials to halt Young’s execution and replace his death sentence with one of life without parole. His calls fell on deaf ears, and the state executed Young.

      Patel’s decision to push for clemency shows how the death penalty can betray what justice means to victims’ families.

      Patel is in fact just a couple of years older than Young, and, reflecting on the case in the days before Young’s execution, he drew parallels between his own life and Young’s. They are both men who had lived without fathers. Young lost his father to murder when he was only 8 years old and joined a gang not long after that.

      Patel realized that his father’s influence in his life growing up was a key part of his successes in life — something Young didn’t have. He also knew that the Chris Young today was not the same person who killed Patel’s father 14 years ago. He knew Young had changed, that he was remorseful, that he had supported his daughters, counseled other young people, found solace in his Christian faith, and made a difference to other prisoners on death row.

      Patel, a father now himself, did not want to play any role in taking Chris away from his daughters. Heeding his own father’s words that two wrongs don’t make a right, Patel saw little difference between Young’s intentional killing of his father and Texas’s intentional killing of Young.


      Texas executed Mark Stroman on July 21, 2011, almost exactly seven years to the day from Young’s execution this month. Patel and Bhuiyan’s stories are stark reminders that the criminal justice system too often ignores victims who oppose execution.

      These victims’ voices opposing vengeance must be heard in the criminal justice system. We need reforms that will ensure rehabilitation and reconciliation are valued and promoted. As Rais Bhuiyan said, “In order to live in a better and peaceful world, we need to break the cycle of hate and violence.”

    • The Trump Administration Is Preventing Detained Immigrants From Practicing Their Religion

      We’re suing the government to make sure detained immigrants can practice their religion as well as receive adequate food and medical care.

      Amid the chaos of family separations and zero-tolerance policies being implemented at our borders, Immigration and Customs Enforcement decided in early June to begin transferring immigrants to prisons operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Their appalling treatment in these prisons reveals, yet again, the depraved cruelty of this administration toward immigrants.

      On Wednesday, with our co-counsel partners — the Prison Law Office and the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center — we sued the Trump administration, ICE, and the BOP for violating the constitutional rights of immigrants currently detained at one of those federal prisons in Victorville, California. We are asking the court to order ICE to immediately remedy the unlawful conditions and ultimately remove immigrants from the prison.

      The Victorville prison is in a remote location in the California desert, two hours outside of Los Angeles, far from community support and legal services. It is an enormous complex of concrete buildings surrounded by fencing and barbed wire. The immigrant men who are detained there wear orange and brown prison jumpsuits, but most have not been convicted of, or even charged with, a crime. They are merely seeking relief under U.S. immigration laws — as is their legal right.

      Their movement is highly restricted. They are detained two to a cell, confined indoors for most of the day with little opportunity for exercise or exposure to sunlight. Their “meals” are often inedible: spoiled milk and meat that is infested with worms and maggots. The food is nowhere near adequate to sustain them.

      When they arrived at Victorville, the detained immigrants were not provided a change of uniform or underwear for several weeks. Some recount how they had to wash their underwear in the toilet in their cell with a small bar of soap that was also to be used for washing themselves.

    • ‘After day with Christians, Muslim teens wash in mosque’: Study charts rise of Salafism in Sweden

      The largest-ever report on the fundamentalist branch of Islam shows Salafist preachers in Sweden are cooperating to push their message across Muslim communities – and disturbing everyday behavior is now common even in children.

      “Not all Salafists are jihadists, but all jihadists are Salafists,” says the 265-page study of a movement that advocates a return to ‘pure’ Islam, commissioned by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, a government department.

    • Sweden struggles over child marriage

      “We had a large extended family in Stockholm but unlike them my parents, siblings and I did not live in an immigrant-dense [sic] area and so my parents were concerned that my sisters and I would become assimilated,” Demirörs said. “The idea was that if we got engaged, we would be somehow tied to our roots and could also avoid suspicious looks from the rest of the community.”

    • Inside Bannon’s Plan to Hijack Europe for the Far-Right

      Trump’s former White House chief advisor told The Daily Beast that he is setting up a foundation in Europe called The Movement which he hopes will lead a right-wing populist revolt across the continent starting with the European Parliament elections next spring.

      The non-profit will be a central source of polling, advice on messaging, data targeting, and think-tank research for a ragtag band of right-wingers who are surging all over Europe, in many cases without professional political structures or significant budgets.

    • President Erdogan’s alliance with the far right pays off

      Turkey’s right-wing nationalists have seldom had it so good. The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has embraced their main causes, bombing Kurdish insurgents at home and abroad, promoting militarism in education and using siege mentality as foreign policy. Their supporters have reaped the rewards of an alliance with the ruling Justice and Development (AK) party. The ulkuculer, as they are colloquially known, have landed scores of jobs in the bureaucracy amid the mass purges that followed the attempted coup of 2016.

    • Why the US and Turkey are fighting over a US pastor

      Trump is also not alone in his desire to apply pressure to Turkey. On July 19, a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation that called for Turkey to stop detaining Americans on trumped-up charges. Lawmakers named Brunson as one of the main inspirations for drafting the bill, which looks to curb Ankara’s access to international loans.

    • Brave victim of Birmingham grooming gangs tells how she was raped and abused by 70 men

      A Birmingham victim of grooming gangs has revealed how she was raped and abused by more than 70 men – but only two were ever brought to justice.

    • Very low sentences for African migrants after ‘bloody gang rape’ of 13-year-old girl in Sweden

      But now the court of appeals chooses to nearly halve their punishment – from eight months to four and five months of youth detention. A fourth rapist can not be punished because he is said to be a child.

    • Man wrecks home after accusing sister of being too western
  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The Bullshit Web

      Take that CNN article, for example. Here’s what it contained when I loaded it:

      • Eleven web fonts, totalling 414 KB

      • Four stylesheets, totalling 315 KB

      • Twenty frames

      • Twenty-nine XML HTTP requests, totalling about 500 KB

      • Approximately one hundred scripts, totalling several megabytes — though it’s hard to pin down the number and actual size because some of the scripts are “beacons” that load after the page is technically finished downloading.

      The vast majority of these resources are not directly related to the information on the page, and I’m including advertising. Many of the scripts that were loaded are purely for surveillance purposes: self-hosted analytics, of which there are several examples; various third-party analytics firms like Salesforce, Chartbeat, and Optimizely; and social network sharing widgets. They churn through CPU cycles and cause my six-year-old computer to cry out in pain and fury. I’m not asking much of it; I have opened a text-based document on the web.

    • Nokia inks 3bn-euro 5G deal with US operator

      Under the contract, Nokia will supply a range of 5G hardware, software and services that will help T-Mobile to “bring its 5G network to market for customers in the critical first years of the 5G cycle,” according to the company.

      Nokia’s COO Ashish Chowdhary said the companies would advance the large-scale deployment of 5G services throughout the US.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • India sees huge surge in Intellectual Property rights applications

      India has witnessed a huge surge in the applications for intellectual property rights and their subsequent approvals in the last five years. According to statistics from Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), trademarks, copyrights and patent registrations have seen growth of 236 per cent, 233 per cent and 41 per cent respectively since 2016.

      Intellectual property (IP) refers to the intangible creation of human intellect in the form of patent, trade mark, copyright, trade secret. Growth in intellectual property in a country is indicative of technological progress and improved economic activity.

    • Intellectual property post Brexit: the UK’s proposals

      In July 2018 the government published its White Paper on the future relationship between the UK and the EU.

      The proposals aim to deliver a balance between seizing the opportunities of global trade and respecting the deeply integrated EU supply chains which have developed over the last 40 years.

      Only a limited number of proposals specifically relate to intellectual property and related cybersecurity issues. These are as follows.

    • Managing Cartels through Patent Pools

      Patent pools can serve many purposes. Some of them are procompetitive while others anticompetitive. This article addresses one aspect of patent pools that has not received much attention—patent pool’s role in stabilizing a cartel of downstream producers. The article first reviews the problem of cartel cheating, which threats the stability of cartels. Any potential mechanisms that cartels can use to increase stability face three main challenges: (1) the cost of management, (2) agency costs, and (3) the requirement of secrecy. Our analysis shows that a vertically-related firm is an ideal candidate to manage a cartel. Our analysis has important implications for our understanding of patent pools. Because a patent pool is in a vertical relationship with multiple downstream producers, they can use a patent pool as a mechanism to facilitate collusion. The article argues that the vertical licensor-licensee relationship gives a patent pool better chances to evade antitrust scrutiny and more latitude in monitoring downstream producers’ performances. It also argues that aggregation of patents in a patent pool would make it more effective in punishing cartel cheating. The article’s main finding that a patent pool is uniquely suited to manage a downstream cartel is a reminder that an overly permissive view of patent pools can invite anticompetitive hazards.

    • What Every Startup Should Know Before Filing A Patent
    • On-going Suit About Conflicts During Prosecution

      The case itself only affirmed the denial of a motion by lawyers sued for a conflict of interest to compel arbitration, but Adherent Labs., Inc. v. DiPietro, 2018 WL 3520843 (Ct. App. Minn. July 23, 2018) (here) has interesting underlying allegations.

      Bunnelle was a part-owner of Adherent. DiPietro, a patent lawyer, began to represent Adherent in 2009. In 2010, Bunnelle left Adherent after a dispute, and began working for IFS. DiPietro continued to represent Adherent.

      Bunnelle sued Adherent in 2012, but as a result of suing assigned certain IP rights to Adherent (apparently, this was part of a settlement). DiPietro helped Adherent’s litigation counsel draft the assignment, though apparently DiPietro did not defend Adherent in that suit. However, he did continue to represent Adherent in other matters, it seems.

      In 2014, Adherent learned that in March 2013 DiPietro had filed an application for IFS, naming Bunnelle as sole inventor (presumably because the application published). Allegedly, the application was based upon subject matter that Bunnelle had assigned to Adherent in 2012.

    • Trademarks

      • #IPSC18 Preview: Trademarks

        The 18th Annual IP Scholars Conference is Aug. 9-10 at Berkeley Law. Monday I previewed the eighteen panels primarily related to patents and innovation, and yesterday I previewed the six panels related to copyright. There are only two trademark-focused panels, and I didn’t see any trademark-focused papers on general IP panels.

    • Copyrights

      • Piracy Boosts Concert Ticket Sales, Hurts Box Office Revenue

        Online piracy is a complicated phenomenon that’s constantly evolving. While it’s hard to draw strong conclusions across the board, new research published by the University of Amsterdam reveals interesting trends, including effects on legal consumption. The study is a follow-up to an earlier report which made the news last year because the EU Commission held it back.

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