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08.21.18

Software Patent Trolls Are Dropping Like Flies in the United States

Posted in Courtroom, Patents at 1:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Flies

Summary: Colossal losses for patent trolls, who increasingly face challenges for a plethora of reasons including venue, competitive aspects, and 35 U.S.C. § 101 (Section 101)

THE US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has deterred and repelled patent trolls. Nobody would deny that, not even the trolls themselves. The SCOTUS Justices even used the term “patent trolls” (which surprised some observers), so they’re well aware of this problem.

“The SCOTUS Justices even used the term “patent trolls” (which surprised some observers), so they’re well aware of this problem.”Of most interest to us there’s 35 U.S.C. § 101 (Section 101), notably the Alice case. Lots of EPO-granted software patents (EPs) are nowadays disguised as “AI” or similar terms. The EPO promotes this. The EPO has done that almost every weekday since António Campinos took over. The same thing is happening in the US. Sometimes they say “ML” instead of “AI”. I personally wrote ML code and technical reports a great deal before, since a decade and a half ago, so I’m fairly familiar with the underlying concepts. Those are statistics and maths, i.e. they’re all abstract and invalid as per Section 101/Alice . Yesterday an article was published under the headline “What the ML Patent Application Boom Means for Tech”. It’s tempting to say say that it means bad patents, which are hard if not impossible to enforce in courts, are being pursued. From the article:

There has been a surge in applications of machine learning over the last few years as companies look for ways to leverage big data in their products and services. That has corresponded with a big increase in another type of machine learning application – i.e. those sent to the United States Patent and Trademark Office for protection. But the ramifications of the machine learning-patent uptick are not yet clear.

Statistical and anecdotal evidence suggests we’re in the midst of major upswing in patent protection requests for machine learning inventions. While hard numbers can be tough to come by due to intricacies of the USPTO process (and the fact that it will conceal applications upon request), several researchers have identified what they see as a surge in interest in protecting machine learning products over the past several years.

They’re just trying to build/assemble a patent thicket around “AI” or “ML” or whetever, irrespective of the value or validity of the pertinent patents.

“They’re just trying to build/assemble a patent thicket around “AI” or “ML” or whetever, irrespective of the value or validity of the pertinent patents.”Abstract — as per Alice/Section 101 — patents should not be granted. Apple’s very latest bunk software patents show USPTO examiners asleep at the wheel again. It’s more of that “AI” nonsense.

But in better news regarding Apple, there’s something about Wireless Licensing SARL, which is part of Conversant (formerly MOSAID). The case was covered in this relatively new post of ours as well as by Jan Wolfe, who wrote in Reuters about it:

A federal appeals court on Thursday took a step toward throwing out a $7.3 million patent infringement verdict a licensing company won against Apple Inc, saying the iPhone maker did not infringe one of the two wireless technology patents at issue in the case.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed a finding by a California jury in favor of patent holder Core Wireless Licensing SARL. The appeals court did not disturb the jury’s finding that Apple infringed a different Core Wireless patent but asked the lower court to reconsider its enforceability, opening the door for Apple to nix the verdict entirely.

This is going to have far-reaching ramifications because the troll has targeted many companies, including Linux vendors. Apple is just one of the more ‘lucrative’ targets (more in potential ‘damages’).

“It’s more of that “AI” nonsense.”Consider Apple’s history with a troll known as Mirror Worlds. We wrote about that before, e.g. in [1, 2, 3] and this troll was also covered here shortly after the decision last week. “Facebook still wasting money on defending itself over software patents,” Benjamin Henrion wrote about this report. But Facebook does patent bullying of its own. It makes Facebook part of the problem, its much-appreciated support for the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) notwithstanding. To quote:

Facebook has prevailed in a suit over its iconic news feed and claims it ripped off the idea from a patent troll.

Judge John Koetl granted Summary Judgement [PDF] to House Zuck, approving its motion to dismiss an allegation that the Facebook timeline violated Mirror Worlds’ purchased patents on the organization of messages and news items.

Well, that timeline is software-based (arguably “AI”) and such patents aren’t valid anymore, especially after Alice (Apple didn’t enjoy the full benefit of it).

“This is going to have far-reaching ramifications because the troll has targeted many companies, including Linux vendors.”We are probably going to see a lot more cases like these in the news. Those are all software patents (very easy to spot based on a succinct description) and it seems like none can endure a court as high as the Federal Circuit.

Links 21/8/2018: deepin 15.7 and Git 2.19 RC

Posted in News Roundup at 12:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Teaching kids Linux at summer camp

    As the late, great mathematician, computer scientist, and educator Seymour Papert once said, “I am convinced that the best learning takes place where the learner takes charge.” Unfortunately, most schools stifle children’s natural curiosity and creativity, locking down technology and reducing students to consumers of content they have no hand in creating.

    This summer, I had an opportunity to test Papert’s theory while teaching a session on open source technology to a small group of middle school students at a local summer camp. I used some of open source advocate Charlie Reisinger’s methods from his book, The Open Schoolhouse, to give the students the opportunity to explore and create their own knowledge. Reisinger says, “In an open schoolhouse, every student is trusted with learning technology and empowered to rewire and reshape the world.”

  • Desktop

    • True Believer

      With the fervor of the evangelical, I began to spread the word far and wide. I read incessantly, from Stallman to Torvalds, Searles, Moody, Knaapen, Raymond and Schroder, I learned the history and mechanics of Linux. I read not only of my new freedom but of the restrictions and limitations of other proprietary operating systems. The more I read, both my anger and excitement grew in equal measure. I took it upon myself to join The Movement against anything and anyone who stood in the way of spreading the news. This new way of operating your computer could indeed change the world. The Blog of helios began…

      and so it went. Surely The Year of the Linux Desktop was at hand. Year, after year, after year. and surely. It wore on me year after year, breakthrough after failure, hope dashed by hopelessness. Until the harsh, glaring truth descended upon me like a shipping container full of anvils…..

      We never had a prayer. We entered a race with all other contestants miles ahead.

      I rattled off a list of names above. Those who have inspired me and in more than one case, probably saved me from something terribly grim. Glyn Moody is one of those names. Glyn has been an inspiration to me since the turn of the century. I’ve come to count on Glyn for insightful and brutally honest commentary. He’s a brilliant writer and wastes no time with hyperbole. But aside from that, Glyn aided me at a time when I thought my life was over. To this day he has no idea, the part he played in turning me away from something horrible. We’ll just leave it at that.

    • Top Linux Applications For Office Use

      The next time you encounter a laptop or PC, pay attention to the operating system. Most likely it is not open source because closed-source platforms such as Windows and macOS have captured most of the PC client OS market.
      Open source OS programs such as Linux, makeup only a tiny bit of market share and rightly so – they still have a lot to do if they want to compete with the likes of MacOS and Windows in terms of appearance and functionality.

      Although Ubuntu and other distributions are a clear sign of progress, most companies are not yet ready to establish their employees with an open source operating system. The employees themselves are reluctant to use this operating system.

  • Kernel Space

    • A checklist for submitting your first Linux kernel patch

      One of the biggest—and the fastest moving—open source projects, the Linux kernel, is composed of about 53,600 files and nearly 20-million lines of code. With more than 15,600 programmers contributing to the project worldwide, the Linux kernel follows a maintainer model for collaboration.

      In this article, I’ll provide a quick checklist of steps involved with making your first kernel contribution, and look at what you should know before submitting a patch. For a more in-depth look at the submission process for contributing your first patch, read the KernelNewbies First Kernel Patch tutorial.

    • Nintendo Wii’s Guitar/Drums Will Work On The Linux 4.19 Kernel Plus Totem & Surface Dial

      Going back to 2011 there’s been a Nintendo Wii remote “Wiimote” driver in the Linux kernel but this unofficial hardware driver hasn’t worked with some of the devices that can interface with the Wiimote like devices for Rock Band and Guitar Hero. In 2018, that’s now changed with the in-development Linux 4.19 kernel.

    • Updated HID Drivers in Linux 4.19 Kernel Support Wiimote Instruments for Rock Band and Guitar Hero

      It would appear that a “Wiimote” driver has existed in the Linux kernel for the Nintendo Wii remote since 2011, but being an unofficial hardware driver, it hasn’t exactly worked with some of the devices that can interface with the Wiimite such as the instruments for Rock Band and Guitar Hero. Well, guess what? Now it does, thanks to some development in that regards on the Linux 4.19 kernel.

      Even though the Nintendo Wii is discontinued for several years now, a Linux developer has gotten the guitar and drum kits for Guitar Hero and Rock Band to work with the Wiimote while attached to Linux. The method is based on some never-mainlined patches from a few years ago, but the patches have been updated to work with the latest kernel / HID interfaces.

    • security things in Linux v4.18

      One of the many ways C can be dangerous to use is that it lacks strong primitives to deal with arithmetic overflow. A developer can’t just wrap a series of calculations in a try/catch block to trap any calculations that might overflow (or underflow). Instead, C will happily wrap values back around, causing all kinds of flaws. Some time ago GCC added a set of single-operation helpers that will efficiently detect overflow, so Rasmus Villemoes suggested implementing these (with fallbacks) in the kernel. While it still requires explicit use by developers, it’s much more fool-proof than doing open-coded type-sensitive bounds checking before every calculation. As a first-use of these routines, Matthew Wilcox created wrappers for common size calculations, mainly for use during memory allocations.

    • Linux 4.19 Raises The GCC Minimum Version Required To Build The Kernel

      Officially the Linux kernel listed GCC 3.2 as the minimum version of the GNU compiler needed. However, with Linux 4.19 that is being raised to GCC 4.6.

      Various architectures on older GCC4 releases had already been failing to cleanly compile the Linux kernel so with Linux 4.19 that minimum version supported is being set at GCC 4.6.

    • Linux 4.19 Kernel Now Requires GCC 4.6 to Build, Due to Compiling Failures on Older Architecture

      For Linux developers working on the kernel, the to-be-released Linux 4.19 kernel raises the GCC minimum version required for kernel building. The official Linux kernel has listed GCC 3.2 as the minimum version of the compiler required for kernel building, but Linux kernel 4.19 is raising that to GCC 4.6.

      This is because various architectures on older GCC4 releases have been failing to cleanly compile the Linux kernel, hence why GCC 4.6 is being set as the minimum. The kernel will also explicitly check for GCC 4.6.0 or newer and if not found, the compiler will error out.

      This is also beneficial for the kernel code, as the kernel devs were able to strip out several dozen lines of code for older GCC workarounds that were aimed at compiler bugs and behavioral differences in the older compiler releases.

    • Libratbag + Piper Allow For Great Logitech Gaming Mouse Support On Linux

      While Roccat previously backed their devices on Linux that is the case no more and what is left for the time being are various community/third-party applications for supporting gaming mice/keyboard configuration under Linux from Logitech to Razer and various other lesser known brands of gaming peripherals (Razer will hopefully change this, at least). One of the most promising efforts right now for unifying mouse configuration on Linux is libratbag and its GTK3 Piper interface. Ratbag and Piper have evolved into a very competent open-source project for configuring Logitech mice on the Linux desktop.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Performance and Scalability Systems Microconference Accepted into 2018 Linux Plumbers Conference

        Core counts keep rising, and that means that the Linux kernel continues to encounter interesting performance and scalability issues. Which is not a bad thing, since it has been fifteen years since the “free lunch” of exponential CPU-clock frequency increases came to an abrupt end. During that time, the number of hardware threads per socket has risen sharply, approaching 100 for some high-end implementations. In addition, there is much more to scaling than simply larger numbers of CPUs.

      • Trinity Desktop Environment New Release, New Read-Only File System Designed for Android Devices, CloudNative Conference Coming Up, Retro Arcade Games Coming to Polycade

        Mark your calendars for September 12-13: the CloudNative, Docker, and K8s Summit will be hosted in Dallas, Texas this year. To learn more, visit the official conference website.

      • Building a Cloud Native Future

        Cloud and open source are changing the world and can play an integral role in how companies transform themselves. That was the message from Abby Kearns, executive director of open source platform as a service provider Cloud Foundry Foundation, who delivered a keynote address earlier this summer at LinuxCon + ContainerCon + CloudOpen China, known as LC3.

        “Cloud native technologies and cloud native applications are growing,’’ Kearns said. Over the next 18 months, there will be a 100 percent increase in the number of cloud native applications organizations are writing and using, she added. “This means you can no longer just invest in IT,” but need to in cloud and cloud technologies as well.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Collabora Improves Graphics, Support for Chromebook Devices in Linux Kernel 4.18

        Collabora informs Softpedia about the contributions made by various of its developers to the recently released Linux 4.18 kernel series during its entire development cycle.

        Linux kernel 4.18 was released two weeks ago, and it’s currently the most advanced Linux kernel series featuring mention Spectre V1 and V2 mitigations for 32-bit ARM architectures, Spectre V4 mitigations for ARM64 (AArch64) and ARMv8 architectures, as well as a just-in-time compiler for eBPF programs on 32-bit (x86) architectures.

        It also improves discard support for the F2FS (Flash-Friendly File System) file system, adds official support for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 ARM mobile processor, as well as better support for USB Type-C and USB 3.2 connections, and initial support for the upcoming Radeon Vega 20 graphics processing units.

      • Mesa 18.2 Is Releasing Soon With Many OpenGL / Vulkan Driver Improvements

        Mesa 18.2.0 is expected to be released in the days ahead as the latest quarterly feature release to this collection of open-source user-space graphics driver components. As has been the case each quarter for particularly the past few years, these timed quarterly releases are quite feature-packed.

    • Benchmarks

      • The Impact Of The CPU Frequency Scaling Governor On AMD Threadripper 2990WX Linux Performance

        One of many test requests we have received concerning the AMD Threadripper 2 Linux performance was to look at the impact of the different CPU frequency scaling governors, particularly for the 32-core / 64-thread Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX. Here are those CPUFreq governor benchmarks for those interested in squeezing slightly better performance out of your HEDT system by changing how aggressively or not the system is shifting power states to higher frequencies.

  • Applications

    • Flatpak Post-1.0 Will Focus On Infrastructure Work

      Now that Flatpak 1.0 was released yesterday, what’s next for this leading Linux app sandboxing and distribution framework?

      Alex Larsson, the Red Hat developer who started Flatpak (originally known as XDG-App), has shared his personal commentary on reaching the big “1.0″ milestone for Flatpak. He does expect the rate of change to Flatpak itself to now decrease with having a solid — and stable — footing in place. But moving past the 1.0 release, Larsson and the team will be focusing on the infrastructure around Flatpak.

    • Kick-starting the revolution 1.0

      Yesterday marked the day when we finally released Flatpak 1.0 (check out the release video!). I want to thank everyone who helped make this a reality, from writing code, to Flathub packaging, to just testing stuff and spreading the word. Large projects like this can’t be done by a single person, its all about the community.

      With 1.0 out, I expect the rate of change in Flatpak itself to slow down. Going forward the focus will be more on the infrastructure around it. Things like getting 1.0 into all distributions, making portals work well, ensuring Flathub works smoothly and keeps growing, improving our test-suites and working on the runtimes.

    • Flatpak 1.0 Released, Could Be the Best Decentralized Linux App Sandboxing Tool

      The Linux app sandboxing tool Flatpak 1.0 (previously known as XDG-App) has been released as their new stable release series. Flatpak packages GNOME in the main runtime, and is advocated for by at least 16 different Linux distributions.

      One of the main differences between Flatpak and similar tools like Snap is that Flatpak is entirely decentralized from, for example, the Canonical store, and also Flatpak utilizes a collection of oneshot applications that perform their task and exit, instead of a daemon that runs in the background.

    • 8 Feature Rich Image Viewers for Linux

      Is your default image viewer not giving you the image viewing experience you desire? Do you feel frustrated that it lacks other essential editing capabilities that you think are crucial for a more immersive viewing and editing experience?

      In this tutorial, we’ll look some nice alternative image viewer to the default one on Linux and see how to install its packages on Ubuntu, Centos and Arch Linux.

    • GIMP 2.10.6 Released with Vertical Text, New Filters and Improvements

      GIMP 2.10.6 lands with some new features. Here’s what’s new.

      GIMP, the best image editor for Ubuntu, Linux ecosystem recently released a revamped version post major release of 2.10 version (which we covered here).

    • Dropbear SSH a lightweight alternative to OpenSSH

      Dropbear is a small and lightweight SSH server and client that can replace OpenSSH on any POSIX platform such as GNU / Linux, * BSD, Cygwin … Dropbear is free software since it is released under MIT-style licenses.

    • Moreutils – A Collection Of More Useful Unix Utilities

      We all know about GNU core utilities that comes pre-installed with all Unix-like operating systems. These are the basic file, shell and text manipulation utilities of the GNU operating system. The GNU core utilities contains the commands, such as cat, ls, rm, mkdir, rmdir, touch, tail, wc and many more, for performing the day-to-day operations. Among these utilities, there are also some other useful collection of Unix utilities which are not included by default in the Unix-like operating systems. Meet moreutilis, a growing collection of more useful Unix utilities. The moreutils can be installed on GNU/Linux, and various Unix flavours such as FreeBSD, openBSD and Mac OS.

    • Proprietary

      • Opera 55 Web Browser Debuts with Easier Installation of Chrome Extensions, More

        Opera Software has promoted this week the Opera 55 Chromium-based web browser to the stable channel for all supported platforms, including Windows, Mac, and Linux.

        Opera 55 is now the most stable version of the Chromium-based and cross-platform web browser, a release that adds yet another layer of improvements and new features, starting with the installation of Google Chrome extensions from the Chrome Web Store, which is now a lot easier thanks to a new “Install Extension’ button that’ll be displayed on top of the page when visiting the extensions web store.

      • Opera 55 offers better control of web pages and more accessible bookmarks

        It has been a big summer for us at Opera, and today we are excited to unveil Opera 55.

        The new stable build of our browser includes a smarter layout for the settings page, an expanded security badge and page information pop-up for better page control, easier Chrome Web Store extension installation and more accessible bookmarks.

        Our busy and exciting summer continued on July 27 when we became a listed company on the Nasdaq market and enjoyed a successful initial public offering. This was a major milestone for our company, and one we could not have accomplished without the support and trust from you, our users! A week later, Opera launched as a snap in the Snap Store for Linux systems.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

    • Games

      • The Linux version of Graveyard Keeper is now available on GOG

        Need to hide a few bodies? Graveyard Keeper is now available for Linux on GOG after being missed at the release.

        It was actually added a day or so after the initial release. Sometimes the Linux version is missing when a game is released on GOG, as the Linux team at GOG discover issues in it. The game did indeed have some pressing issues at release, a fair few have been fixed now so it is quite a bit better.

      • Life is Strange 2 officially revealed with a new trailer

        While we don’t yet know about Linux support, I will honestly be shocked if Feral Interactive didn’t port Life is Strange 2. Especially since they ported the original to Linux and are currently porting Before the Storm which is a little delayed.

      • The Jackbox Party Pack 5 now has a Steam page and it’s going to release with Linux support

        Currently scheduled to release “Fall 2018″, The Jackbox Party Pack 5 is the latest pack of crazy party games from Jackbox Games, Inc. and it should be coming out with Linux support.

      • Combat helicopters are coming to War Thunder in the next update

        Gaijin Entertainment have announced that combat helicopters are coming to War Thunder [Steam, Official Site] along with a teaser trailer.

      • The action RPG Underworld Ascendant is now releasing in November

        The action RPG Underworld Ascendant [Official Site] from OtherSide Entertainment is now going to release on November 15th and they have a new trailer. They previously said it would be September, so hopefully the extra time will make it a better game.

        Last we heard from them, they were still planning Linux support although they didn’t have a specific date nailed down for the Linux version just yet, so do keep that in mind.

      • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night delayed again, this time until 2019

        Not for the first time, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has been delayed and will now launch in 2019.

        Writing in a Kickstarter update, they confirmed it’s to increase the quality of the game as a whole after they gathered feedback from a special backer demo. Delays sadly happen and if we can get a decent game out of this then I will be happy. Hopefully it will give them time to ensure the Linux version is nicely polished too. The Vita version was cancelled along with this announcement.

      • Die for Valhalla! is an action RPG that has you possess enemies and objects

        A supernatural Valkyrie with the ability to possess things, what could possibly go wrong? Go ahead and Die for Valhalla!

        Released back at the end of May with full Linux support, Die for Valhalla! offers an action-RPG with single-player and local co-op options for up to four people.

      • BATTLETECH has an expansion named FLASHPOINT coming out this November

        Even though they still haven’t managed to get the Linux version out yet, Harebrained Schemes and Paradox Interactive have announced the FLASHPOINT expansion for BATTLETECH. As a reminder, we spoke to the developer earlier this month about the Linux version which they do hope to release soon.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDevelop 5.2.4 released

        As the last stabilization and bugfix release in the 5.2 series, we today make KDevelop 5.2.4 available for download. This release contains a few bug fixes and a bit of polishing, as well as translation updates, and should be a very simple transition for anyone using 5.2.x currently.

      • flameshot – simple to use screenshot program

        Being able to take a screenshot comes in handy so many times. Linux is blessed with a good range of competent screenshot software. One which has recently caught our attention is Flameshot, an easy to use, open source, Qt-based screenshot utility which is adept at capturing custom areas of a desktop.

        It’s a complete screen capture and snipping tool with some unique and interesting features. We didn’t think a screenshot tool could capture (no pun intended) our attention this much!

      • Qt5 Screenshot Tool FlameShot 0.6.0 Adds Pin And Text Tools, More

        Flameshot, a Qt 5 screenshot tool, has been updated with new features, like new pin and text tools, a new side panel, and other important improvements.

        Flameshot is a tool for taking screenshots which includes features like annotations (you can draw lines, arrows, blur or highlight text, etc. on the screenshot), upload screenshot to Imgur, and more. It comes with a GUI but it can also be controlled from the command line, and it supports X11 while also having experimental Wayland support for Gnome and Plasma.

        The biggest change in Flameshot 0.6.0 is for me the merge of its 3 menu entries into a single entry. Previously, Flameshot installed 3 menu entries, for taking a screenshot, launch the application in tray mode, or open its settings, which was confusing.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Robert Roth: Five or More GSoC
      • Adventures with NVMe, part 2

        A few days ago I asked people to upload their NVMe “cns” data to the LVFS. So far, 643 people did that, and I appreciate each and every submission. I promised I’d share my results, and this is what I’ve found:

      • The Next Challenge For Fwupd / LVFS Is Supporting NVMe SSD Firmware Updates

        With UEFI BIOS updating now working well with the Fwupd firmware updating utility and Linux Vendor Firmware Service (LVFS) for distributing these UEFI update capsules, Richard Hughes at Red Hat is next focusing on NVMe solid-state drives for being able to ship firmware updates under Linux.

        Hughes is in the early stages at looking to support NVMe firmware updates via LVFS/fwupd. Currently he is hoping for Linux users with NVMe drives to send in the id-ctrl identification data on your drives to him. This data will be useful so he knows what drives/models are most popular but also for how the firmware revision string is advertised across drives and vendors.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Robolinux 9.3 Raptor – Bird of prey?

        Robolinux 9.3 Raptor is an interesting project. On one hand, it does most of the basics well, offers good functionality out of the box, comes with modern features and software, and tries to provide unique value through its Stealth VM capability. Quite commendable on that front.

        Unfortunately, there are problems, too. The looks are more than questionable, the aggressive focus on donations spoils the experience and even breeds a sense of mistrust, hardware compatibility can be quite a bit better, and there were also some crashes and a dozen papercuts typical of small distros. In the end, it’s still Ubuntu, improved and spoiled by the extras. The security card is flashed way too many times, and it creates a sour feeling. This is a neat distro, but it tries too hard.

        All in all, it has its own identity, and it could become quite useful to new users, but it’s overwhelming in its current guise, and the desktop stability needs to improve, pretty much across the board. It deserves something like 7/10. Well, that said, I’m looking forward to the next release, hopefully with more aesthetic focus and a fully streamlined operating system conversion and migration experience for new users. Now that could really be a killer feature. Take care.

    • New Releases

      • deepin 15.7 – Enjoy The Better Performance

        deepin 15.7 mainly optimizes the performance, including ISO size reduction, laptop power optimization and memory optimization. What is more, it fixed many bugs found in deepin 15.6.

      • Deepin 15.7 Ships With Power/Performance Optimizations, NVIDIA PRIME Support

        Deepin 15.7 is the project’s new release under their new versioning scheme. Deepin 15.7 features a smaller footprint for its ISO, laptop power optimizations yielding a standby time up to 20% longer, lower memory consumption, NVIDIA PRIME support, and a variety of bug fixes and other improvements to this desktop-focused Linux distribution.

      • Deepin 15.7 Released, Claims to Use Less Memory Than Ubuntu

        A new version of the Deepin Linux distribution has been released — and it boasts significantly lower memory usage.

        A performance-focused update building on the Deepin 15.6 release launched back in June, Deepin 15.7 also features improvements to power consumption and a smaller ISO download size.

      • deepin 15.7 Linux Distro Released With Size Reduction And Memory Optimization

        deepin desktop edition is known to often preferred by the users who love to use a system that’s easy to use and good looking as well. In June, the developers of the distro shipped deepin 15.6 with 217 bug fixes and a new welcome program to let you customize your computer as per your preference.

        Just recently, deepin 15.7 was released to bring even more improvements and polishing. Apart from the major features rolling out with this release, an important change has taken place in deepin version naming and upgrade strategy.

      • deepin Linux 15.7 available for download

        Yeah, there are way too many Linux distributions these days. You know what, though? Many of them are great! True, it is probably a waste of resources, but as long as high-quality distros are being released, who really cares?

        One such excellent Linux-based desktop operating system is the beautiful deepin. Today, that OS reaches version 15.7. The distribution features significant performance improvements, a new laptop battery saving mode, a reduced ISO image size (nearly 20 percent), and better memory optimization. Owners of laptops with Nvidia hybrid graphics will appreciate improved compatibility thanks to NVIDIA-PRIME.

      • Deepin 15.7 Released With Fixes for Memory Leakage, Chrome and Firefox Updates

        The Debian-based Deepin Linux distro has just been updated to Deepin 15.7, which falls under the project’s new versioning scheme. Among its features are a smaller ISO footprint, laptop power optimizations which should yield a 20% longer standby time, support for NVIDIA PRIME, lower memory consumption, and just overall bug fixes and improvements to the distro.

        There’s a lot of improvements to be found in this release, including a rebuilt network plugin, optimized system volume, an optimized switching effect between desktops, and updates to Google Chrome and Firefox Quantum (ZH).

      • Freespire 4.0 Released

        Today we are pleased to announce the release of Freespire 4.0. Freespire 4.0 is our newest release in the Freespire line. Freespire 4.0 is a free release in both terms of cost and code. Freespire 4.0 is a migration of our current 16.04 LTS codebase to the 18.04 LTS codebase which brings with it many improvements to usability and to hardware support. Freespire 4.0 is also the base for our commercial Linspire release

      • Freespire 4.0 Released, The Linux Distribution That Originated As “Lindows”

        Earlier this year development on Linspire/Freespire was restarted for this Linux distribution that dates back to 2001 when it launched as “Lindows” before having to be renamed due to a trademark dispute with Microsoft. Back in January, PC/OpenSystems who is now developing the distribution, the Freespire 3.0 release debuted while today Freespire 4.0 is available.

        Freespire 4.0 migrates from an Ubuntu 16.04 LTS base to now relying upon the Ubuntu 18.04 “Bionic Beaver” archive and is also now serving as the base for their next Linspire release. Freespire 4.0 pushes the desktop in a different direction from upstream Ubuntu and some of its default applications include Geary, Chromium, Abiword, Gnumeric, Audacious, Totem, G-Debi, and Synaptic. Freespire 4.0 is supporting both Snaps and Flatpak packaging.

      • Freespire 4.0 Officially Released, Based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver)

        The Freespire 4.0 Linux-based operating system has been officially released as the first major version, as project leader Roberto J. Dohnert informed Softpedia earlier today.

        Based on the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system series, Freespire 4.0 promises to offer users a stunning graphical interface that’s familiar to those coming from another Linux OS or even from a Windows OS. It also features an intuitive dark mode for professionals and those who like dark themes.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • [Older] Language, Networking Packages Get Updates in Tumbleweed

        There were two openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots this past week that mostly focused on language and network packages.

        The Linux Kernel also received an update a couple days ago to version 4.17.13.

        The packages in the 20180812 Tumbleweed snapshot brought fixes in NetworkManager-applet 1.8.16, which also modernized the package for GTK 3 use in preparations for GTK 4. The free remote desktop protocol client had its third release candidate for freerdp 2.0.0 where it improved automatic reconnects, added Wave2 support and fixed automount issues. More network device card IDs for the Intel 9000 series were added in kernel 4.17.13. A jump from libstorage-ng 4.1.0 to version 4.1.10 brought several translations and added unit test for probing xen xvd devices. Two Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures fixes were made with the update in postgresql 10.5. Several rubygem packages were updated to versions 5.2.1 including rubygem-rails 5.2.1, which makes the master.key file read-only for the owner upon generation on POSIX-compliant systems. Processing XML and HTML with python-lxml 4.2.4 should have fewer crashes thanks to a fix of sporadic crashes during garbage collection when parse-time schema validation is used and the parser participates in a reference cycle. Several YaST packages receive updates including a new ServiceWidget to manage the service status with yast2-ftp-server 4.1.3 as well with yast2-http-server, yast2-slp-server and yast2-squid 4.1.0 versions.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” Receives L1 Terminal Fault Mitigations, Update Now

        The Debian Project released today a new Linux kernel security update for Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” users to address the recently disclosed L1 Terminal Fault vulnerabilities.

        According to the security advisory published on Monday, the new kernel security update addresses both CVE-2018-3620 and CVE-2018-3646 vulnerabilities, which are known as L1 Terminal Fault (L1TF) or Foreshadow. These vulnerabilities had an impact on normal systems, as well as virtualized operating systems, allowing a local attacker to expose sensitive information from the host OS or other guests.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • The Fridge: Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 541

            Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 541 for the week of August 12 – 18, 2018.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • LinuxAIO – Test All The Ubuntu Flavours at Once

              We recently released an article wherein I discussed which Ubuntu flavour you should choose, and if you checked it out you will notice that there are well over 5 flavours to pick with varying main features. Would you like to try all of them for yourself but have limited time and resources? Today is your lucky day, then.

              If you haven’t heard about LinuxAIO before, it is a tool that enables you to run multiple major Linux distributions directly from a single ISO file on a USB 4GB+/8GB+ flash drive or DVD / DVD DL. Every distro can be used as a Live system without the requirement of hard drive installations.

              LinuxAIO currently supports Ubuntu and its most popular flavors, Linux Mint, Debian Live, LMDE, and a variety of other secondary releases as listed on its website.

              This utility tool also comes with inbuilt tools for hardware detection and memory testing – features that will come in handy if you’re not sure of your system specs.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Nerd Knobs and Open Source in Network Software

    Tech is commoditizing. I’ve talked about this before; I think networking is commoditizing at the device level, and the days of appliance-based networking are behind us. But are networks themselves a commodity? Not any more than any other system.

    We are running out of useful features, so vendors are losing feature differentiation. This one is going to take a little longer… When I first started in network engineering, the world was multiprotocol, and we had a lot of different transports. For instance, we took cases on IPX, VIP, Appletalk, NetBios, and many other protocols. These all ran on top of Ethernet, T1, Frame, ATM, FDDI, RPR, Token Ring, ARCnet, various sorts of serial links … The list always felt a little too long, to me. Today we have IPv4, IPv6, and MPLS on top of Ethernet, pretty much. All transports are framed as Ethernet, and all upper layer protocol use some form of IP. MPLS sits in the middle as the most common “transport enhancer.” The first thing to note is that space across which useful features can be created is considerably smaller than it used to be.

  • Events

    • Meetings that make people happy: Myth or magic?

      People tend to focus on the technical elements of meeting prep: setting the objective(s), making the agenda, choosing a place and duration, selecting stakeholders, articulating a timeline, and so on. But if you want people to come to a meeting ready to fully engage, building trust is mission-critical, too. If you need people to engage in your meetings, then you’re likely expecting people to come ready to share their creativity, problem-solving, and innovation ideas.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Announces 26 New Fellows in Openness, Science, and Tech Policy

        These technologists, activists, and scientists will spend the next 10 to 12 months creating a more secure, inclusive, and decentralized internet

        A neuroscientist building open-source hardware. A competition expert studying net neutrality enforcement in Nigeria. A technologist studying tools that combat disinformation.

        These are just three of Mozilla’s latest Fellows — 26 technologists, activists, and scientists from more than 10 countries. Today, we’re announcing our 2018-2019 cohort of Fellows, who begin work on September 1, 2018.

      • AV1 and the Video Wars of 2027

        Author’s Note: This post imagines a dystopian future for web video, if we continue to rely on patented codecs to transmit media files. What if one company had a perpetual monopoly on those patents? How could it limit our access to media and culture? The premise of this cautionary tale is grounded in fact. However, the future scenario is fiction, and the entities and events portrayed are not intended to represent real people, companies, or events.

      • Volunteer Add-on Reviewer Applications Open

        Thousands of volunteers around the world contribute to Mozilla projects in a variety of capacities, and extension review is one of them. Reviewers check extensions submitted to addons.mozilla.org (AMO) for their safety, security, and adherence to Mozilla’s Add-on Policies.

        Last year, we paused onboarding new volunteer extension reviewers while we updated the add-on policies and review processes to address changes introduced by the transition to the WebExtensions API and the new post-review process.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • An Insight into the Future of TrueOS BSD and Project Trident

      Last month, TrueOS announced that they would be spinning off their desktop offering. The team behind the new project, named Project Trident, have been working furiously towards their first release. They did take a few minutes to answer some of our question about Project Trident and TrueOS. I would like to thank JT and Ken for taking the time to compile these answers.

    • July/August 2018 Issue of the FreeBSD Journal Now Available

      The July/August 2018 issue of the FreeBSD Journal is now available! The latest issue is focused on Big Data and features articles on High-performance

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Open-Source RISC-V-Based SoC Platform Enlists Deep Learning Accelerator

        SiFive introduces what it’s calling the first open-source RISC-V-based SoC platform for edge inference applications based on NVIDIA’s Deep Learning Accelerator (NVDLA) technology.

        A demo shown at the Hot Chips conference consists of NVDLA running on an FPGA connected via ChipLink to SiFive’s HiFive Unleashed board powered by the Freedom U540, the first Linux-capable RISC-V processor. The complete SiFive implementation is suited for intelligence at the edge, where high-performance with improved power and area profiles are crucial. SiFive’s silicon design capabilities and innovative business model enables a simplified path to building custom silicon on the RISC-V architecture with NVDLA.

      • SiFive Announces First Open-Source RISC-V-Based SoC Platform With NVIDIA Deep Learning Accelerator Technology

        SiFive, the leading provider of commercial RISC-V processor IP, today announced the first open-source RISC-V-based SoC platform for edge inference applications based on NVIDIA’s Deep Learning Accelerator (NVDLA) technology.

        The demo will be shown this week at the Hot Chips conference and consists of NVDLA running on an FPGA connected via ChipLink to SiFive’s HiFive Unleashed board powered by the Freedom U540, the world’s first Linux-capable RISC-V processor. The complete SiFive implementation is well suited for intelligence at the edge, where high-performance with improved power and area profiles are crucial. SiFive’s silicon design capabilities and innovative business model enables a simplified path to building custom silicon on the RISC-V architecture with NVDLA.

      • SiFive Announces Open-Source RISC-V-Based SoC Platform with Nvidia Deep Learning Accelerator Technology

        SiFive, a leading provider of commercial RISC-V processor IP, today announced the first open-source RISC-V-based SoC platform for edge inference applications based on NVIDIA’s Deep Learning Accelerator (NVDLA) technology.

        The demo will be shown this week at the Hot Chips conference and consists of NVDLA running on an FPGA connected via ChipLink to SiFive’s HiFive Unleashed board powered by the Freedom U540, the world’s first Linux-capable RISC-V processor. The complete SiFive implementation is well suited for intelligence at the edge, where high-performance with improved power and area profiles are crucial. SiFive’s silicon design capabilities and innovative business model enables a simplified path to building custom silicon on the RISC-V architecture with NVDLA.

      • Building microprocessor architectures on open-source hardware and software

        “The real freedom you get from open source projects is much more, and more important than the fact that you don’t have to pay for it,” Frank Gürkaynak, Director of ETHZ’s Microelectronics Design Center, writes in an article posted on All About Circuits. “Researchers can take what we provide and freely change it for their experiments. Startup companies can build on what we provide as a starting point and concentrate their time and energy on the actual innovations they want to provide. And people who are disturbed by various attacks on their systems [1, 2] have the chance to look inside and know what exactly is in their system.”

      • Create DIY music box cards with Punchbox

        That first time almost brought tears to my eyes. Mozart, sweetly, gently playing on the most perfect little music box. Perfectly! No errors in timing or pitch. Thank you, open source—without Mido, Svgwrite, PyYAML, and Click, this project wouldn’t have been possible.

  • Programming/Development

    • Git v2.19.0-rc0 [Ed: Microsoft spends billions of imaginary money trying to extinguish it and shore up its proprietary software]

      An early preview release Git v2.19.0-rc0 is now available for testing at the usual places. It is comprised of 707 non-merge commits since v2.18.0, contributed by 60 people, 14 of which are new faces.

    • Git 2.19 Begins Its Release Dance, RC0 Is Up For Testing

      Junio Hamano issued the first release candidate on Monday of the upcoming Git 2.19 distributed revision control system update.

      Git 2.19-RC0 comes with hundreds of changes over Git 2.18. There isn’t any select standout features of this new release but a lot of continued code churn all over the place with a ton of smaller additions.

Leftovers

  • Hardware

    • NVIDIA Unveils The GeForce RTX 20 Series, Linux Benchmarks Should Be Coming

      NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang has just announced the GeForce RTX 2080 series from his keynote ahead of Gamescom 2018 this week in Cologne, Germany.

    • NVIDIA have officially announced the GeForce RTX 2000 series of GPUs, launching September

      The GPU race continues on once again, as NVIDIA have now officially announced the GeForce RTX 2000 series of GPUs and they’re launching in September.

      This new series will be based on their Turing architecture and their RTX platform. These new RT Cores will “enable real-time ray tracing of objects and environments with physically accurate shadows, reflections, refractions and global illumination.” which sounds rather fun.

    • NVIDIA Launches GeForce RTX 2000 Series With 6x Faster Performance

      Last week we saw the release of the professional Quadro RTX series at SIGGRAPH 2018. As expected, Nvidia has now unveiled its latest consumer-facing cards as well. The company unveiled the new GeForce RTX 2000 series of graphics cards at Gamescom in Germany.

      Just like the Quadro series, the RTX 2080 is also based on Nvidia’s newly introduced Turing architecture. The company unveiled the RTX 2070, RTX 2080, and RTX 2080 Ti promising up to 6x better performance than its predecessors.

  • Security

    • Fix for July’s Spectre-like bug is breaking some supers

      High-performance computing geeks are sweating on a Red Hat fix, after a previous patch broke the Lustre file system.

      In July, Intel disclosed patches for another Spectre-like data leak bug, CVE-2018-3693.

      Red Hat included its own fixes in an August 14 suite of security patches, and soon after, HPC sysadmins found themselves in trouble.

      The original report, from Stanford Research Computing Center, details a failure in LustreNet – a Lustre implementation over InfiniBand that uses RDMA for high-speed file and metadata transfer.

    • Aqua Security Launches Open-Source Kube-Hunter Container Security Tool

      Aqua Security has made its new Kube-hunter open-source tool generally available, enabling organizations to conduct penetration tests against Kubernetes container orchestration deployments.

      Aqua released Kube-hunter on Aug.17, and project code is freely available on GitHub. Rather than looking for vulnerabilities inside of container images, Kube-hunter looks for exploitable vulnerabilities in the configuration and deployment of Kubernetes clusters. The project code is open-source and can be run against an organization’s own clusters, with additional online reporting capabilities provided by Aqua Security.

    • Election Security Bill Without Paper Records and Risk Limiting Audits? No Way.

      The Senate is working on a bill to secure election infrastructure against cybersecurity threats, but, unless amended, it will widely miss the mark. The current text of the Secure Elections Act omits the two most effective measures that could secure our elections: paper records and automatic risk limiting audits.

      Cybersecurity threats by their very nature can be stealthy and ambiguous. A skillful attack can tamper with voting machines and then delete itself, making it impossible to prove after the fact that an election suffered interference. Paper records ensure that it is possible to detect and quickly correct for such interference. Automatic audits ensure that such detection actually happens.

    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #173
    • North Korean Hackers Exploit Recently Patched Zero-Day

      North Koren hackers are exploiting a recently patched vulnerability in Microsoft’s VBScript engine vulnerability in live attacks, security researchers say.

    • Windows VBScript Engine Zero-day [sic] Flaw used by Darkhotel Hackers Group To Compromise Vulnerable Systems
    • Philips to look into PageWriter Cardiograph Device Vulnerabilities Mid 2019
    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Fund Meant to Protect Elections May Be Too Little, Too Late

      The Election Assistance Commission, the government agency charged with distributing federal funds to support elections, released a report Tuesday detailing how each state plans to spend a total of $380 million in grants allocated to improve and secure their election systems.

      But even as intelligence officials warn of foreign interference in the midterm election, much of the money is not expected to be spent before Election Day. The EAC expects states to spend their allotted money within two to three years and gives them until 2023 to finish spending it.

      Election experts have expressed skepticism that the money will be enough to modernize election equipment and secure it against state-sponsored cyber threats.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • A ‘Regime’ Is a Government at Odds With the US Empire

      In the aftermath of the assassination attempt against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, an article in the Miami Herald (8/5/18) reported that “a clandestine group formed by Venezuelan military members opposed to the regime of Nicolás Maduro claimed responsibility.” A New York Times op-ed (8/10/18) mused, “No one knows whether the Maduro regime will last decades or days.” AFP (8/12/18) reported that “Trump has harshly criticized Maduro’s leftist regime.”

      The word “regime” implies that the government to which the label is applied is undemocratic, even tyrannical, so it’s peculiar that the term is used in Venezuela’s case, since the country’s leftist government has repeatedly won free and fair elections (London Review of Books, 6/29/17). One could argue that, strictly speaking, “regime” can simply mean a system, and in some specific, infrequent contexts, that may be how it’s used. But broadly the word “regime” suggests a government that is unrepresentative, repressive, corrupt, aggressive—without the need to offer any evidence of these traits.

      Interestingly, the US itself meets many of the criteria for being a “regime”: It can be seen as an oligarchy rather than a democracy, imprisons people at a higher rate than any other country, has grotesque levels of inequality and bombs another country every 12 minutes. Yet there’s no widespread tendency for the corporate media to describe the US state as a “regime.”

    • A Gangster State

      Max Weber defined a key attribute of a state as holding the monopoly on the legitimate exercise of violence within a given territory. For anybody other than the state to use substantive physical force against you or to imprison you is regarded as an extremely serious crime. The state itself may however constrain you, beat you, imprison you and even kill you. That link is on deaths in police custody. I might also quote the state murder of 12 year old British child Jojo Jones, deliberately executed by drone strike by the USA with prior approval from the British government.

      That is but one example of the British state’s decreasing reticence over the use of extreme violence. The shameless promotion of Cressida Dick to head the Metropolitan Police as reward for orchestrating the cold-blooded murder of an innocent and unresisting Jean Charles de Menezes is another example. So is Savid Javid’s positive encouragement of the US to employ the death penalty against British men stripped of citizenship.

      There are a class of states where the central government does not have sufficient control over its territories to preserve its monopoly of violence. That may include violence in opposition to the state. But one further aspect of that is state sanctioned violence in pursuit of state aims by non state actors, done with a nod and a wink from the government – death squads and private militias, often CIA supplied, in South America have often acted this way, and so occasionally does the British state, for example in the murder of Pat Finucane. In some instances, a state might properly be described as a gangster state, where violent groups acting for personal gain act in concert with state authorities, with motives of personal financial profit involved on both sides.

      [...]

      Rory Stewart appeared on Sky News this morning and the very first point he saw fit to make was a piece of impassioned shilling on behalf of G4S. That this was the first reaction of the Prisons Minister to a question on the collapse of order at Birmingham Prison due to G4S’ abject performance, shows both the Tories’ ideological commitment to privatisation in all circumstances, especially where it has demonstrably failed, and shows also the extent to which they are in the pockets of financial interests – and not in the least concerned about the public interest.

    • Fifteen Years of Forever Wars

      Fifteen years ago on May 1, 2003, speaking in Kabul, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld declared that, in Afghanistan, “we clearly have moved from major combat activity to a period of stability and stabilization and reconstruction activities.” Later that same day, standing on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, President George W. Bush proclaimed that “…major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.” He described the U.S. overthrow of the Iraqi government as “one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11th, 2001,” adding that our “war on terror is not over, yet it is not endless.”

      But, evidently, it is indeed endless. Secretary Rumsfeld defined success in this war as not creating more terrorists than we kill. That seems a fair standard. But, by this criterion, what we have done is clearly counterproductive.

    • What a New Study of British Spies Reveals About the CIA

      Historians know a great deal about CIA history. The US government has acknowledged some 50 Cold War covert actions, from fiddling with Italian elections in the late 1940s to undermining Marxist influence in Yemen in the 1980s. Spy chiefs, practitioners, journalists, and academics have written enough books on the CIA to fill several libraries. Although debate still rages about the good or ill of the CIA, we know the major contours of its history.

      [...]

      Looking at the history of covert action through the eyes of MI6 therefore offers unexpected insight into the CIA.

      British covert action cannot be considered in isolation from US activity, but the reverse is also true. Since 1945, both sides have misled the other, manipulated the other, tried to recruit the other and restrained the other.

      In trying to “rollback”the Soviet Union from Eastern Europe, the CIA has gained a reputation for being rather aggressive, especially in the early Cold War. Traditional narratives cast the UK as a responsible partner trying – with various degrees of success – to restrain American recklessness.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Summer weather is getting ‘stuck’ due to Arctic warming

      Summer weather patterns are increasingly likely to stall in Europe, North America and parts of Asia, according to a new climate study that explains why Arctic warming is making heatwaves elsewhere more persistent and dangerous.

      Rising temperatures in the Arctic have slowed the circulation of the jet stream and other giant planetary winds, says the paper, which means high and low pressure fronts are getting stuck and weather is less able to moderate itself.

      The authors of the research, published in Nature Communications on Monday, warn this could lead to “very extreme extremes”, which occur when abnormally high temperatures linger for an unusually prolonged period, turning sunny days into heat waves, tinder-dry conditions into wildfires, and rains into floods.

      “This summer was where we saw a very strong intensity of heatwaves. It’ll continue and that’s very worrying, especially in the mid-latitudes: the EU, US, Russia and China,” said one of the coauthors, Dim Coumou from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “Short-term heatwaves are quite pleasant, but longer term they will have an impact on society. It’ll have an affect on agricultural production. Harvests are already down this year for many products. Heatwaves can also have a devastating impact on human health.”

    • How One West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Gave Natural Gas a Big Victory and Shortchanged Residents

      Justice Beth Walker voted to reopen an already decided case around the time her husband owned stock in a variety of energy companies. And that’s not even why she’s been impeached.

      [...]

      But left unmentioned in the impeachment and the debate around it has been a peculiar vote by Walker that benefited the natural gas industry. In one of her earliest votes, Walker made a highly unusual decision to reopen a case and then reverse a Supreme Court ruling that would have forced drillers to pay more in profits to residents. Walker voted to reopen the case around the time her husband owned stock in a variety of energy companies, including those participating in West Virginia’s growing gas boom.

      The case focused on whether natural gas companies are allowed to deduct a variety of expenses — for the transportation and processing of gas, for example — when they calculate payments for West Virginia residents or companies that lease them drilling rights to their gas. Millions of dollars in gas royalty payments, the riches from the industry’s dramatic growth in West Virginia over the past decade, were at stake.

  • Finance

    • Some Techies Are Shunning Silicon Valley for the Japanese Dream

      Corporate Japan has a reputation for long hours, small salaries and no Silicon Valley-style stock options for the rank-and-file, but the country is also having a kind of renaissance that’s making it easier to recruit global talent. Tourism is booming and, for the last few years, Japanese cities have been ranked routinely among the world’s most livable. For some tech firms, Japan’s pop culture caché is also providing an edge when it comes to hiring engineers, who, let’s face it, tend to skew a little nerdy.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump Speechwriter Fired After Revelations of His Links to White Nationalists

      Back in the United States, a speechwriter for President Trump was fired last Friday after revelations surfaced that he had spoken at a conference alongside prominent white nationalists. In 2016, Darren Beattie was a panelist at the H.L. Mencken Club conference alongside Peter Brimelow, founder of the anti-immigrant website VDARE.com. The Southern Poverty Law Center calls the conference a gathering of “white nationalists and pseudo-academic and academic racists.”

    • Ex-CIA chief John Brennan an outlaw like his Irish namesake “Brennan on the Moor”

      It’s been a tough week for the President. His golfing was interrupted when he realized that he had another Brennan on the Moor—John Brennan—metaphoric blunderbuss bearing down on him. There was the monster he created, Omorosa, giving White House tapes to the media. There was his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, about to be convicted for his love of ostrich coats, Russian oligarchs and other spendthrift ways.

      And, of course, there is the Hero of America, Robert Mueller, closing in.

      Silent, relentless, terrifying.

      Trump is indeed terrified at what is coming for him. When he is frightened, like a child in a thunder storm, he whelps out.

    • Protests and Blaming the Media. Sound Familiar? That Was During the ’68 Democratic National Convention.

      Like so many others, Stan Skoko was outraged by what he’d seen of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, where TV cameras captured images of officers beating protesters with nightsticks, kicking them and throwing them into police wagons as tear gas floated over Michigan Avenue.

      So Skoko, a commissioner in Clackamas County, Oregon, near Portland, fired off a note on his office letterhead to Mayor Richard J. Daley. But unlike the withering criticism from reporters and TV anchors covering the street clashes, Skoko wanted to let the mayor know he and the Chicago police had done a great job.

      “Congratulations on the manner in which you handled the ridiculous demonstrations by certain persons of questionable intelligence in your City during the recent Democratic Convention,” Skoko wrote. “My only criticism of your action is you were too lenient.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • EU Commission Moving Forward With Legislation Demanding One Hour Removal Of ‘Terrorist Content’

      Governments — which will process requests from citizens in statutorily-required time almost zero percent of the time — never think the private sector moves fast enough. The government says “Jump” and then immediately asks why the jumping wasn’t already in progress when it ordered the jumping to commence.

      Content that isn’t even of the “I know it when I see it” variety isn’t being taken down quickly enough for the EU. Various members have implemented their own 24-hour policies for the removal of everything from “hate speech” to “extremist content” — both particularly difficult to classify immediately when context and newsworthiness must be considered.

      The EU Commission is reeling in the leash it has attached to US social media companies. It pitched the idea back in March but now appears to following through with its threats. The latest move towards impossibility is detailed by The Financial Times.

    • Social media faces EU fine if terror lingers for an hour

      The European Commission is planning to order websites to delete extremist content on their sites within an hour to avoid the risk of being fined.

    • EU wants tech firms to remove terror content within an hour or face fines

      In March, legislation passed that presented the hour-long purge window, but it was only marked under voluntary guidelines. But it looks like tech firms aren’t volunteering to work to these guidelines so the EU wants to force them to do so by imposing fines on firms that are blasé about terrorism-related materials on their services, networks and platforms.

    • EU considers fining tech companies for extremist content

      If passed, it would be the first time the EU has imposed rules that go beyond self-regulation efforts favored by technology companies.

    • Appeals Court Says Of Course Twitter Can Kick Racists Off Its Platform

      Phew. After a surprising (and very, very weird) ruling in a California state court earlier this summer, that suggested that a well known racist might have a legitimate legal case against Twitter for kicking him off their platform, an appeals court has quickly and thoroughly corrected that error. To understand what happened here requires a little bit of background, so let’s dig in.

      Back in March, we wrote about a silly case filed by noted racist (he prefers “race realist” or “white advocate” but come on), Jared Taylor, who had been kicked off Twitter. Taylor sued, claiming that Twitter kicking him off the platform violated various rights. As we noted at the time, the case had no chance, and would be tossed out on CDA 230 grounds, as the law makes it clear that platforms cannot be liable for their moderation choices. Indeed, the whole reason CDA 230 was first created was in response to a horrible court ruling that said moderation choices could make you liable. CDA 230 was a correction to that mistaken court. And in the two decades since then we’ve seen all sorts of attempts by people to argue their way around CDA 230 and nearly all of them fail, and thus we expected this one to fail easily. As I noted in that original post, I had spent some time going back and forth with some of Taylor’s lawyers, who seemed surprisingly uninformed about CDA 230.

      So, I will admit that I was a bit surprised back in July when the court refused to dump the case. While the official ruling came in July, the Judge’s rational was laid out at a hearing in June, in which he did agree to dump some of the claims, but kept one claim: an “unfair competition” claim. The reasoning was… very, very strange. Basically, the court claimed that under California law, Taylor could claim that Twitter’s terms of service were “unconscionable” because they said the site could kick you off for any reason. It is true that California code 1670.5 says that “If the court as a matter of law finds the contract or any clause of the contract to have been unconscionable at the time it was made the court may refuse to enforce the contract.” But how is Twitter’s terms of service unconscionable?

    • As Press Freedom Dies In Turkey, Twitter Is There To Help Dig Its Grave

      Turkish president Recep Erdogan figures the best critic is a silenced critic. Determined to “earn” the respect of people worldwide, Erdogan and his government have engaged in unprecedented censorship. This goes far beyond the punishment of its own citizens. Erdogan has tried to secure charges and prosecutions from other governments against their own citizens for having the temerity to not take him as seriously as he takes himself.

      [...]

      It doesn’t work, of course. Nothing gets censored worldwide and whatever censorship hits home can be circumvented. But of all the internet targets, Twitter is Erdogan’s absolute favorite. The Committee to Protect Journalists has done the math. Its excellent article on Erdogan’s censorship activities makes it clear that all other countries are merely pretenders to the throne when it comes to talking Twitter into doing their dirty work.

    • How Turkey silences journalists online, one removal request at a time

      On June 19, Abdülhamit Bilici, the last editor-in-chief of the now-shuttered Turkish paper Zaman, tweeted about the decline of press freedom in his home country. If you can see his tweet, you are probably not in Turkey because it is among the over 1.5 million tweets belonging to journalists and media outlets censored there under Twitter’s “country withheld content” (CWC) policy.

    • GOP leader accuses Twitter of censoring conservatives, finds out his user settings was hiding tweets

      House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy learned something about Twitter this week, and it had nothing to do with the supposed censorship of right-wing users.

      The California Republican sent a tweet on Friday complaining that conservatives were being censored on Twitter. He ordered Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to rectify the issue immediately.

    • Shadow Banning: GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy Mocked For Crying Censorship Over His Own Account Settings
    • GOP leader mocked for tweet complaining of conservative censorship on Twitter
    • GOP Leader Accuses Twitter Of Censorship — But It Really Was His Own Account Settings At Fault
    • House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy Is At It Again with Bullshit Censorship Claim
    • Egypt internet: Sisi ratifies law tightening control over websites
    • Egypt president approves law tightening internet controls
    • Law tightens Egypt’s grip on websites
    • Egypt’s Sisi ratifies new cyber-crime law – Politics – Egypt
    • President Sisi Tightens Control Over Internet
    • Egypt signs censorship-focused cybercrime bill into law
    • Egyptians to face jail for accessing banned websites

      Egypt has adopted a law that threatens to jail anyone who browses censored websites, after having already blocked dozens of sites belonging to human rights groups and critical media.

      The law, ratified by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the president, on Saturday, gives courts the power to block websites deemed a threat to national security.

      The decision may be appealed, but if upheld anyone who browses the censored websites faces at least one year in prison and a fine.

    • Egypt’s President Sisi ratifies new internet control law

      Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi signed a new law on Saturday tightening the government’s control of the internet, state media reported.

      Aimed at combating extremism, the Anti-Cyber and Information Technology Crimes legislation prohibits the “promotion of the ideas of terrorist organizations” and allows authorities to block websites deemed by judges to be threats to national security.

      It also bans the dissemination of information on the movement of security forces and imposes strict punishments for hacking government information systems, according to the state-run Al-Ahram newspaper.

    • Egypt’s Sisi signs new law tightening government control online

      Egypt has rolled out a new law that allows authorities, through a judge, to order the blocking of websites that “constitute a threat” to the state, as well as jail or fine those who run them.

      The “cybercrime” legislation, signed by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Saturday, is one of a series of measures that critics have deplored as attacks against freedom of speech in the country.

      The penalties also target those who intentionally or “in error without a valid reason” visit the banned websites considered by the authorities as threatening to Egypt’s economic and national security interests, according to the official gazette.

  • Goggle/Privacy/Surveillance

    • California Assembly Acquiesces In Secret Police Surveillance

      For the second year in a row, the California State Assembly’s Appropriations Committee has effectively killed a bill that was poised to ensure transparency, community oversight, and civil liberties regarding proliferating police surveillance technology.

      S.B. 1186 was approved by the California Senate, as well as by two Assembly policy committees. Despite that momentum, the bill stalled in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, chaired by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher of San Diego. The bill needed to be voted on by committee members by August 17 in order to move to a floor vote, but was instead indefinitely placed on a “suspense calendar” without the committee ever voting.

      Like S.B. 21 in the 2017 session, S.B. 1186 was a straightforward measure that would have simply required police to respect public oversight before gaining access to powerful surveillance technology. S.B. 1186 differed from its predecessor in that it did not require annual transparency reports, a compromise accepted by the author, Sen. Jerry Hill, that should have alleviated the Appropriation Committee’s fiscal concerns.

    • The right of access in GDPR: What are the debates?

      There is much debate about the right of access in GDPR but many of them are yet to be discussed widely outside of academia. Here we discuss some of those debates including around subject access requests and privacy protections.

    • Google Sued For Tracking Location History Of Users With Location Turned Off

      Last week Google admitted that it tracks the location history of users even after turning off location services. Not long after, a man name Napoleon Patacsil from San Diego filed a lawsuit against the tech giant for the same.

      This lawsuit was filed in a federal court in San Francisco where his attorneys argued that “Google is violating the California Invasion of Privacy Act and the state’s constitutional right to privacy.”

    • San Diego man sues Google over Location History deception

      A resident of San Diego, California, has sued Google overs its deceptive practice of continuing to track users’ locations even after the Location History option was turned off on its Android mobile operating system.

    • Women are 79 percent more likely to spend money on mobile games

      Female users purchase in-app content 16.7 percent of the time after installing an app, and the report encourages app developers to focus on this segment of the market in the future. The report states that although it takes $0.18 more to make an app appealing enough for a female user to install than a male user, “a closer examination of conversion rates reveals females are in fact the most valuable gamers.”

    • Liftoff: Females are 79% more likely to make in-app purchases in mobile games

      The report also found that Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) in-app purchase rates are increasing, with the cost-per-install at $2.63, compared with $4.66 for North America and $2.62 for Asia Pacific. But when it comes to the cost of acquiring a user who makes an in-app purchase, the numbers are very different. The cost for acquiring a North American user who makes an in-app purchase is $21.42, compared to $16.53 for an EMEA user and $71.02 for a user in Asia Pacific.

    • Australians who won’t unlock their phones could face 10 years in jail

      The Australian government wants to force companies to help it get at suspected criminals’ data. If they can’t, it would jail people for up to a decade if they refuse to unlock their phones.

      The country’s Assistance and Access Bill, introduced this week for public consultation, strengthens the penalties for people who refuse to unlock their phones for the police. Under Australia’s existing Crimes Act, judges could jail a person for two years for not handing over their data. The proposed Bill extends that to up to ten years, arguing that the existing penalty wasn’t strong enough.

    • Schools Are Mining Students’ Social Media Posts for Signs of Trouble

      Blake Prewitt, superintendent of Lakeview school district in Battle Creek, Michigan, says he typically wakes up each morning to twenty new emails from a social media monitoring system the district activated earlier this year. It uses keywords and machine learning algorithms to flag public posts on Twitter and other networks that contain language or images that may suggest conflict or violence, and tag or mention district schools or communities.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Head Of Department Of Justice Bashes Justice System Because It Blocks Too Many Of Trump’s Orders

      Recently, Attorney General Jeff Sessions attended the Eighth Circuit Judicial Conference. Considering he was speaking to members of the judiciary, it seems odd he would have used this occasion to deliver a rant against the judicial system.

      As a prosecutor, Sessions greatly benefited from the system he now maligns. The justice system barely enters the lives of those being prosecuted. An adversarial system designed to provide the accused with due process is rarely engaged. The outcome is predetermined, except for arguments over minor details. As the Supreme Court wrote in a 2012 decision, the criminal justice system is a downhill slope for prosecutors who rarely need more than a light shove to put someone behind bars.

    • Under Court Order, ICE Must Reconsider Asylum Seekers’ Humanitarian Parole Applications

      After ICE is forced to do a case-by-case review of asylum seekers’ requests for release from detention, we’re seeing life-changing results.

      Last month, a federal judge blocked the government from arbitrarily locking up asylum seekers who came to the U.S. fleeing persecution, torture, or death in their countries of origin. The judge found that under President Trump, the Department of Homeland Security had been violating its own policy, which instructs that asylum seekers be released on humanitarian parole — provided they meet a series of strict requirements — while they await decisions in their case.

      The impact of DHS’s about-face on humanitarian parole was felt immediately by asylum seekers. Our lawsuit identified five ICE field offices where parole grant rates had dropped from 95 percent in 2013 to nearly zero since President Trump took office. At the time of filing in March, we estimated that there were more than 1,000 asylum seekers locked up in these districts alone.

      The court ordered ICE to do a case-by-case review of each asylum seeker’s request for release from detention, and for some there have already been life-changing results. In the El Paso region — which covers New Mexico and West Texas — more than 20 women have been released from the Cibola County Correctional Center transgender unit. A prominent Mexican journalist and his adult son were released from the El Paso Processing Center, along with H.A.Y. and A.M.M., a married couple who are two of our plaintiffs in the Damus suit.

    • Puerto Ricans: Have You Experienced Any Problems When Registering to Vote?

      A lawsuit filed Thursday claims that Puerto Ricans living in Florida who have limited English proficiency will be prevented from voting because, according to a press release by the advocacy group Demos, “elections in many parts of the state are conducted only in English.” The suit alleges that 32 Florida counties are not planning to provide ballots in Spanish.

      The suit cites Section 4(e) of the Voting Rights Act, which specifically protects Puerto Rican voters educated in Spanish-speaking schools on the island. It prohibits states from making the right to vote contingent on a person’s ability to understand English.

      Although Puerto Ricans are American citizens, the island doesn’t elect a voting representative or senators. Evacuees who moved to the mainland after the hurricanes are eligible to vote in the midterm elections in the state in which they’re living, but they have to re-register.

      The exodus of Puerto Ricans affected by the storms has created an influx of potential voters. The Center for Puerto Rican Studies estimates more than 130,000 Puerto Ricans relocated to the continental U.S. after Hurricane Maria. Of those, 56,447 reside in Florida as of March 2018. Despite the efforts of campaigns to reach this new electorate, displaced Puerto Ricans don’t seem to be registering to vote at the rate some were expecting, at least by now.

    • Arizona Could Illegally Disenfranchise 500,000 or More Voters

      The state’s failure to update people’s address could have dire consequences for the 2018 election. We’re suing before it’s too late.

      The state of Arizona is violating the National Voter Registration Act, putting more than 500,000 voters at risk of being disenfranchised. The ACLU has repeatedly warned Arizona that it is violating the law, and yet it has failed to take the necessary steps to protect voters.

      This weekend, we filed a federal lawsuit against Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan, nine months after first notifying her office of significant federal voting rights violations. The lawsuit asks the court to order Arizona to keep voters’ registration addresses up to date. To ensure that affected voters’ ballots count in the 2018 general election, we are also asking the court to instruct the secretary of state to count provisional ballots cast by affected voters and to send a mailing to all affected voters informing them of how to correct their registration address and locate polling location. The secretary of state has indicated that more than half a million of voters could require their addresses to be updated.

    • The Nationwide Prison Strike: Why It’s Happening and What It Means for Ending Mass Incarceration

      Earlier this spring, violence broke out in the Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina, resulting in seven deaths and many injuries. Incarcerated leaders in the South Carolina prison system decided they had had enough. Brutal treatment from corrections officers, deteriorating prison conditions, and incredibly long, punitive sentences had led to a condition of hopelessness in South Carolina’s prisons.

      Leaders within the South Carolina prison system began reaching out to incarcerated allies across the country, including the Free Alabama Movement, who had led a prison strike in 2016. A decision was made: It was time to launch a national prison strike to raise awareness around the brutality of mass incarceration.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • A Senator Says U.S. Broadband Maps ‘Stink.’ Here’s Why Nobody Wants To Fix Them.

      Last week we noted how an FCC “oversight” hearing fell well short of anything actually resembling, well, actual oversight. Three FCC staffers had just been caught making up a DDOS attack and misleading Congress, the press and the FBI about it — yet the subject was was barely even broached by lawmakers on either side of the aisle. It was another embarrassing example of the absence of anything resembling genuine accountability at the agency.

      Fortunately one subject that did get a little attention was the FCC’s comically-terrible broadband maps, something we’ve covered at great lengths here at Techdirt. If you want to see our terrible broadband maps at work, you need only go visit the FCC’s $300+ million broadband availability map, which is based on the Form 477 data collected from ISPs. If you plug in your address, you’ll find that not only does the FCC not include prices (at industry behest), the map hallucinates speed and ISP availability at most U.S. addresses.

    • Domain Name Registrations Reach 339.8 Million in 2Q18

      VeriSign tracks the continued growth of internet domains on a quarterly basis and released its’ second quarter 2018 Domain Name Industry Brief (DNIB) on Aug. 16.

      According to VeriSign there were 339.8 million domain name registrations across all top-level domains (TLDs), up from 333.8 million at the end of the first quarter. That’s a 1.8 percent quarterly gain, or 2.4 percent over the second quarter of 2017.

      As has been the case since the beginning of the internet, dot com is the top domain registry, accounting for approximately 135.6 million domain names as of June 30. China’s .cn country code TLD (ccTLD) holds on to second spot at 22.7 million. Rounding out the top three is the .tk ccTLD which is a free domain for island of Tokelau, that now has 21.5 million registrations.

  • DRM

    • Android Anti-Piracy Software DexGuard Has Source Code Leaked to Over 200 Repos

      The popular commercial anti-piracy software developed by Guardsquare DexGuard recently had its source code leaked online, which could be a field day for Android pirates to take apart and decompile commercial Android apps, and possibly release “hacked” versions.

      DexGuard essentially makes it difficult for Android hackers to take apart commercial apps by obfuscating some of the inner-working of the app, as well as protecting the app against reverse engineering attacks – which in turn prevents users from figuring out all of the apps secret functions. This is basically Android anti-piracy, as DexGuard makes it more difficult for attackers to bypass anti-piracy checks – but an older version of DexGuard’s source code leaked onto GitHub, and it has been confirmed to be the real deal as Guardsquare is filing a DMCA takedown request on the GitHub repo for copyright infringement.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Interview: Baidu’s Jian Qin on the role of patents in its strategy

      The Chinese tech company’s IP leader explains to Karry Lai why his focus has shifted more to patent and trade secret protection from copyright and internet IP. He says a big focus is good quality patents to compete on the world stage

    • When Can a Company Be Liable for Its Vendor’s Copyright or Patent Infringement?: Hollywood Studios’ IP Headache

      The case of Rearden LLC et al. v. The Walt Disney Company et al., Nos. 3:17-cv-04006, 04191 & 04192 (N.D. Cal.), has been covered more in the Hollywood Reporter than in legal publications, but it is both a “Hollywood story” and a case with intellectual property issues that cover the spectrum of patent, copyright and (to a lesser extent) trademark law. The case revolves around a technology called MOVA Contour Reality Capture technology (“MOVA Contour”) that is used to create 3D animated characters that appear more human than ever, as used in movies such as Guardians of Galaxy and many others. Some of Hollywood’s biggest studios hired a vendor, DD3, which used this 3D technology as part of the process of creating 3D characters in the movies. Rather than suing DD3 for any IP violations, however, the plaintiff, Rearden, decided to sue those Hollywood Studios for alleged copyright, patent and trademark infringement. The case thus illustrates various issues and considerations as to when a party can be liable for the acts of a vendor it hires, if the vendor is (allegedly) committing copyright and patent infringement.

    • Nokia reveals expected licensing rate for 5G phones [Ed: Microsoft entryism turned Nokia from Linux champion (almost top kernel committer) to patent parasite]

      Nokia has announced its expected licensing royalty rate for 5G mobile phones, becoming the latest operator to publicly disclose its price for the next generation of wireless devices.

      The Finnish telecoms giant’s rate will be capped at €3 per device for a licence to the company’s 5G portfolio of standard essential patents.

      The news comes with the roll out of 5G expected to start in earnest next year which should be a considerable boon to Nokia and other licensors that own significant amounts of the IP underpinning the new technology.

      It also comes as another example of patent owners conceding that they must provide some transparency around their royalty rates in a licensing market that is typically fairly opaque.

      “We feel it’s a best practice to give some indication and it’s fairly consistent with what we’ve done with 3G and 4G,” Nokia patent chief Ilkka Rahnasto commented on the company’s 5G announcement.

    • Trademarks

      • Express Homebuyers Wins Its Bid To Cancel Competitors ‘We Buy Houses’ Trademark

        We’ve often made the point in the past that much of the trademark legal strife and bullying that occurs throughout the country ought to be squarely blamed on a USPTO that can’t be bothered to put much thought into the trademarks it approves. All too often, the Trademark Office acts as a mindless rubber stamping facility, pushing through the application paperwork without thinking about the broader consequences of its approvals, nor the legal minutia involved into what makes a term a valid trademark. That bureaucratic lethargy is precisely how you get trademark bullies wielding trademarks that should never have been granted. And, because trademark bullying generally works, it’s rare that anyone outside the USPTO is actually forced to clean up this mess it created.

        But, on rare occasions, sanity puts a win up on the board. Such is the case with Express Homebuyers USA of Virginia, which defeated WBH Marketing Inc.’s trademark suit in which the latter claimed infringement based on its registered trademark for the phrase “We Buy Houses.”

    • Copyrights

      • Only 12% Of Music Revenue Goes To Actual Artists

        You may be noticing a pattern? Very little of the money being made actually goes to the artist. Now we have even more data on this. Citibank recently released a massive and incredibly thorough report on the entire music industry showing how and where the money is made. There’s lots of interesting and useful information in the report, but the headline grabbing fact is that musicians end up with just about 12% of global music revenue. As I said, the report is incredibly thorough (and a really useful read if you want to get a sense of just how convoluted and complex the music business really is), but the key is that there was ~$43 billion spent on music in 2017.

      • No Ban for ‘Stealing’ and ‘Theft’ Terms During Cox’s Piracy Liability Trial

        Music publisher BMG and Internet provider Cox are gearing up for a new trial. Having learned from the first one, Cox has asked the court to preclude BMG from using inflammatory and derogatory statements, as well as terms such as “stealing” and “theft” when referring to copyright infringement. However, the court sees no reason for such a ban.

      • Tomorrow! Join Us For a Reddit AMA On Defending Security Researchers From Copyright Law

        Have you ever wanted to talk with the Electronic Frontier Foundation about the risks of talking in public about security issues, especially in connected Internet of Things devices? Tomorrow, you’ll get your chance.

        Information security has never been more important: now that everything from a car to a voting machine is just a computer in a fancy case, being able to tell the difference between secure systems and insecure ones is a literal life-or-death matter.

        But security researchers have never faced more threats. When security researchers divulge flaws in computers, the companies that make those computers are often tempted to shoot the messenger, threatening civil and criminal retaliation against their critics.

      • Book Review: Copyright – What Everyone Needs to Know

        Rather, the book ‘speaks’ to a wider audience with no, or little, legal background and no specific knowledge in copyright.

      • When John Fogerty was sued for sounding too much like John Fogerty

        Now, let’s make it clear that both songs were written by the same songwriter.

Admissibility of the Unitary Patent Constitutional Complaint Was Likely the Final Nail in the Coffin of the Unified Patent Court (UPC)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Final nail

Summary: Lack of justice at the EPO has doomed the UPC; Inadmissible appeal handling is meanwhile being assessed internally (at the Enlarged Board of Appeal)

THE Unitary Patent system or the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is a subject we have been watching very closely for a number of months. But hardly anything is said/uttered about it. As far as the media is concerned, it’s already history. It’s dead. There might not be a decision on it from the German FCC any sooner than 2019 and some estimate 2020.

“Don’t expect UPC to ever become a reality; they might reconstruct and rename it, but that too can take several years and the EPO is already ebbing away.”The EPO, we might add, has not mentioned anything at all regarding the UPC for a month and a half (António Campinos briefly said something about it on his first week in Office). We expect not much to happen for a long time, possibly months. Even Bristows spinners have been mum.

Ghosts of corrupt Battistelli are still lurking at the EPO. J A Kemp’s belated mention of the Enlarged Board of Appeal referral a few days ago said this:

Shortly before the end of his term as President of the EPO, Benoît Battistelli referred (see here) the following question to the Enlarged Board of Appeal:

If notice of appeal is filed and/or the appeal fee is paid after expiry of the two month time limit under Article 108 EPC, is the appeal inadmissible or is it deemed not to have been filed, and must the appeal fee be reimbursed?

The referral is now pending under the reference G1/18. The main significance of this question from a practical perspective is that the appeal fee is not be reimbursed if the appeal is deemed inadmissible, but is reimbursed if the appeal is deemed not to have been filed.

Like we said at the time, the Enlarged Board of Appeal no longer has independence; Battistelli totally eliminated this independence — an issue which itself contributed a great deal to the constitutionality questions.

Don’t expect UPC to ever become a reality; they might reconstruct and rename it, but that too can take several years and the EPO is already ebbing away.

The USPTO Still Down (for Nearly a Week): Multiple Systems Not Accessible

Posted in America, Patents at 7:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

As of minutes ago, the popup in almost every page still says this: “A number of USPTO online business systems remain offline. We understand the impact to our users and the frustrations that come from having such systems down unexpectedly. The USPTO is working hard to resolve the issue and we will continue to provide updates to you. The latest information on alternative methods of filing and payment and our systems status can always be found on our website. More updates will be forthcoming.”

Water goes down

Summary: Putting the patent system at the hands of an office that cannot cope with science and technology even internally; it will soon be over a week of downtime

THE EPO and USPTO both have questionable CIOs, as we last noted a few days ago when dealing with USPTO downtimes (almost a week now!).

“What might they do to prevent similar incidents in the future?”While patent maximalists like Eibhlin Vardy carry on with their foolish celebration of patent maximalism (sharply increasing patent granting levels/volumes) the USPTO’s systems are still down and yesterday the British media belatedly picked up the story, under the headline “Face-PALM: US Patent and Trademark Office database down for 5 days and counting” (“if the USPTO would be down forever,” Benjamin Henrion told them, “no one would care, except patent applicants.”)

To quote:

The US Patent and Trademark Office has taken a novel approach to dealing with the problem of patent trolls. The solution? Shut everything down.

The Patent Application Locating and Monitoring (PALM) database forms the backbone of a distressingly large number of US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) systems and, during some maintenance at 04:30 ET on 15 August, “experienced an issue”.

More than five days on, PALM is still down. As such, this is more akin to the Titanic experiencing an iceberg “issue” rather than a straightforward turn it off and on again.

Systems impacted include the USPTO’s Electronic Filing System (EFS), the Public and Private Patent Application Retrieval (PAIR) systems and the Electronic Patent Assignment (ePAS) among others.

36 hours after the outage began, the USPTO kicked off its contingency systems so users could at least still file patents (in theory), if not access saved submissions. Users were not convinced.

The latest on this is that the core functions have been down for almost (soon over) a week now! “The PTO’s current best estimate is that service will be restored sometime on Tuesday August 21, 2018,” we read yesterday. “The PTO has announced that it will refund the extra fees paid due to paper filing. However, system failures will not generally provide an excuse for filing delays.”

“…the USPTO says it’s promoting technical innovation/advancement while failing/faltering on the very basics itself.”What might they do to prevent similar incidents in the future? Will anyone(s) be fired for this? Either way, technical incompetence best describes what we’re seeing. One might also joke, in light of the massive budget at hand, that the USPTO says it’s promoting technical innovation/advancement while failing/faltering on the very basics itself. This epic catastrophe might at least encourage outsiders, including journalists, to assess the nepotism scandals (or at least substantiated allegations) at the relevant departments.

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