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09.13.18

EPO Seals Many Death Sentences With Acceptance of EP 2604620

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Martin Shkreli

Summary: Very disappointing news as EP 2604620 withstands scrutiny, assuring that a lot of poor people will not receive much-needed, life-saving treatments

YESTERDAY we wrote about a controversial patent that hadn’t been granted for a dozen years, probably for good reasons. We expected the EPO to do better than the USPTO, but under the leadership of Battistelli this application became a patent grant and it is defended under the leadership of António Campinos, Battistelli’s choice of President (another Frenchman who totally disregards patent quality and lacks experience in this domain).

Catherine Saez, a good author from Intellectual Property Watch, wrote about the latest news yesterday afternoon. To quote:

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF – Doctors Without Borders), announcing the decision, said it “is gravely disappointed with the European Patent Office’s decision today to uphold US pharmaceutical corporation Gilead’s Sciences’ patent related to the key hepatitis C drug sofosbuvir.”

Patent EP 2604620 was challenged by groups in 17 European countries, including Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF); Médecins du Monde (MdM); the European Public Health Alliance (EU-wide); Salud Por Derecho (Spain); AIDES (France); Praksis (Greece); and Access to Medicines Ireland (IPW, Health & IP, 12 September 2018).

The civil society groups intend to appeal the decision.

The EPO did not respond by press time. An update will be made when confirmation is received.

Gaelle Krikorian, head of Policy, MSF Access Campaign, said in the release, “Today’s decision is a clear illustration of how multinational pharmaceutical corporations like Gilead abuse the patent system so they can shut out any competition and continue unfettered to charge exorbitant prices. We will appeal today’s decision as we strongly believe that the European Patent Office should have revoked the patent.”

Meanwhile, Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review, a patent propaganda site that uses the misleading term “life science/s” [1, 2] to advocate patents on life, organises a “webinar”. With the EPO (and EPC) losing its way the patent extremists take advantage and say:

In the EU, novelty of purpose for first medical use was enshrined in article 54 of the European Patent Convention (EPC), 1973. As explained by Gainey, this provision did not allow for a second or further medical use to the one specified.

But, in 1984, the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property issued an adopted statement of practice. It said that a claim to the use of an active ingredient for the manufacture of a medication may be allowed, even where it relates to the second application of a known pharmaceutical composition.

Gainey said that the European Patent Office’s (EPO) Enlarged Board of Appeal endorsed the Swiss office’s communication shortly afterwards, and from then on, patent applications were often drafted “in the Swiss format to stretch the boundaries of what is permissible under second medical use”.

Considering the fact that the Boards (including the Enlarged Board of Appeal) repeatedly complain that they lack independence from the Office and its President, how can one expect patent justice? At the moment the Office is controlled by a bunch of UPC-boosting thugs. It’s all about litigation profits, not science and technology. Not even public interest.

Links 13/9/2018: Compiz Comeback, ‘Life is Strange: Before the Storm’

Posted in News Roundup at 10:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Windows 10 Tries to Push Firefox and Chrome Over the Edge

      Windows 10 now “warns” you not to install Chrome or Firefox when you download them. It’s just one of the many annoying ways Microsoft pushes Edge, which only has 4% market share despite Microsoft’s increasing desperation.

      Microsoft will probably start using this “app recommendations” feature to push other apps in the future, too. Imagine Windows warning you not to install LibreOffice because you could pay for Office 365 instead.

    • Microsoft: You don’t want to use Edge? Are you sure? Really sure?

      Microsoft really wants you to use Edge in the latest Windows Insider builds, and the software giant is not afraid to let you know it.

      Windows Insider Sean Hoffman took to Twitter last night to express his displeasure at a pop-up shown by Windows 10 when he attempted to install an alternative browser. When he ran the Firefox installer, a pop-up showed up suggesting perhaps he’d like to stick with Edge. It is safer and faster, after all (according to Microsoft).

      Hoffman, running build 17744.1004, the current slow ring version of the next release of Windows 10, pulled no punches in his reaction.

    • Chromebooks gain faff-free access to Windows file shares via Samba

      Google’s Chrome OS tanks crept a little further onto Microsoft’s manicured enterprise lawns with hints that Windows file-share support will arrive out-of-the-box in an upcoming version of Chrome OS.

      Those brave enough to be on the Canary version of Chrome 70 already have the functionality, assuming the preview software stays upright long enough to connect. The code uses the Samba project’s libsmbclient to access the file shares.

      Veteran Windows blogger Paul Thurrott spotted a posting on Google+ by “Chromium Evangelist” François Beaufort indicating that the functionality was inbound. In the post, Beaufort linked to a Chromium code commit with the text: “Set NativeSmb flag to enabled by default – Network File Shares for ChromeOS will be available by default starting in M70.”

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Academy Announces Acquisition of Jupiter Broadcasting

      Linux Academy, a leading provider of hands-on online training in Linux and cloud technologies, today announced it has acquired Jupiter Broadcasting, a podcasting network covering Linux, security, privacy, community and other open source content, to further strengthen its contributions to the open source and free software industry. Linux Academy will acquire Jupiter Broadcasting’s shows, assets, and employees.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation

      • Going to Hyperledger school

        Hyperledger (or the Hyperledger project) is an umbrella project of open source blockchains and related tools.

        The project was founded by the Linux Foundation at the end of 2015 with the intention of encouraging the collaborative development of blockchain-based distributed ledgers.

      • Linux Foundation’s OpenDaylight Fluorine Release Brings Streamlined Support for Cloud, Edge and WAN Solutions

        The OpenDaylight Project, the leading open source platform for programmable, software-defined networks, today announced its ninth release, OpenDaylight Fluorine. The latest version brings major advancements for solution providers through key enhancements to the platform, including simplified packaging to speed solution development and enhanced capabilities for key use cases.

      • OpenDaylight Advances Open Source Software Defined Networking in Fluorine Release

        OpenDaylight is made up of a collection of different networking capabilities that can be combined into an architecture to enable a complete SDN platform. Among the new features in OpenDaylight Fluorine, the Service Function Chaining (SFC) project supports Network Service Headers (NSH) for accelerated service delivery. The BGP and Path Computation Element Protocol (BGPCEP) for IP Transport has been improved to enable better SD-WAN use cases for inter-data center connectivity.

        Optical transport also gets a boost in the OpenDaylight Fluorine release, with the debut of the TransportPCE project, which is a reference implementation of Open ROADM (Reconfigurable Optical Add-Drop Multiplexer). The TransportPCE project enables network operators to configure their WDM (Wavelength-Division Multiplexing) equipment such that it can handle requests coming from an SDN controller.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Khronos Talks Up The New Vulkan Memory Model

        Released this past weekend was Vulkan 1.1.84 and one of the newly introduced extensions was
        VK_KHR_vulkan_memory_model.

        This extension for the Vulkan Memory Model deals with memory synchronization and other traits when dealing with memory accesses by shaders in GLSL or SPIR-V.

      • NVIDIA Rolls Out Tesla T4 GPUs, DRIVE AGX Xavier & Clara Platform

        NVIDIA used their GPU Technology Conference (GTC) in Japan that’s happening this week to announce a slew of new offerings and technology advancements.

      • RADV Finally Picking Up Support For Conservative Rasterization

        The RADV Mesa-based Radeon Vulkan driver is picking up support for another extension.

        Back in January with the Vulkan 1.0.67 release one of the new extensions introduced was VK_EXT_conservative_rasterization. The Vulkan conservative rasterization mode allows for over-estimation or under-estimation in limiting the rasterization process and providing more certainty over the expected rendering behavior.

    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

    • Wallapatta – A Beautiful Markdown Editor with Layout Support

      If you have been following our posts then it must be clear to you by now that there is no shortage of note-taking apps in the open-source community and the note-taking app category includes Markdown editors.

      We have written about a couple already and today, it is with pleasure that we introduce to you such an app with a layout inspired by the design handouts of Edward R. Tufte Wallapatta.

      Wallapatta is a modern open-source and cross-platform Markdown editor with an emphasis on design and clear writing.

    • Curlew: Still Great Multimedia Converter That Uses FFmpeg for Ubuntu/Linux Mint

      Right now there are handful of multimedia converters available for Linux. It is an free and open-source application that converts to plenty of formats using FFMpeg and avconv. It is written using Python programming language and GTK3 for GUI. Currently has ability to convert more than 100 different formats.
      Curlew multimedia converter is around from quite sometime and known to have some extra features such as: ability to show file information(duration, progress, approx size, duration etc.), preview file before conversion, convert part of specified file, attach subtitles to videos, show errors in details if occurs, allow to skip files or remove during conversion process, and fairly simple user interface. It is available for all currently supported Ubuntu 18.04/16.04/14.04/Linux Mint 19/18/17 and other Ubuntu based distributions.

    • Happy birthday Kiwi TCMS
    • ScreenCloud: The Screenshot++ App

      ScreenCloud is an amazing little app, that you don’t even know you need. The default screenshot procedure on desktop Linux is great (Prt Scr Button) and we even have some powerful screenshot utilities like Shutter. But ScreenCloud brings one more really simple yet really convenient feature that I just fell in love with. But before we get into it, let’s catch a little backstory.

      I take a lot of screenshots. A lot more than average. Receipts, registration details, development work, screenshots of applications for articles, and lot more. The next thing I do is open a browser, browse to my favorite cloud storage and dump the important ones there so that I can access them on my phone and also across multiple operating systems on my PC. This also allows me to easily share screenshots of the apps that I’m working on with my team.

      I had no complaints with this standard procedure of taking screenshots, opening a browser and logging into my cloud and then uploading the screenshots manually, until I came across ScreenCloud.

    • Proprietary

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine Announcement

        The Wine maintenance release 3.0.3 is now available.

      • Wine 3.0.3 Ships With 50+ Bug Fixes

        If you are a user of the Wine stable releases rather than the bi-weekly Wine development releases or Wine-Staging (or now Proton too), Wine 3.0.3 is out today as the latest version.

      • Wine’s VKD3D Lands An Initial Vulkan Pipeline Cache

        The Wine project’s Direct3D 12 to Vulkan API translation layer has implemented a basic Vulkan pipeline cache that may help with performance.

        Józef Kucia of CodeWeavers who has been leading much of the VKD3D development landed this initial pipeline cache. Earlier today he posted the initial patch series on the Wine mailing list and already has merged the patches laying out this inline caching implementation.

      • Valve have now pushed out all the recent beta changes in Steam Play’s Proton to everyone

        For those of you sticking with the stable channel of Steam Play’s Proton system, Valve have today rolled out all the recent beta changes for everyone.

        Previously, you had access to Proton 3.7-3 which was what everyone used by default and you could also use the “Compatibility tool” dropdown in the Steam Play options section to switch to a beta to have the latest updates. Valve must now consider all the changes stable enough, as Proton 3.7-6 is now the default. There’s another beta channel now, which is still currently at 3.7-6 but it should remain where the latest changes go.

        There’s quite a lot of improvements included since the initial release, like: automatic mouse capturing in fullscreen windows by default, performance improvements, certain game compatibility improvements, an updated build of DXVK, more display resolution support and so on. You can see the full changelog here.

      • Some Linux Gamers Using Wine/DXVK To Play Blizzard’s Overwatch Reportedly Banned

        Multiple individuals are reporting that they have been just recently banned by Blizzard for playing their games — seemingly Overwatch is the main title — when using Wine with the DXVK D3D11-over-Vulkan translation layer.

        Blizzard support has said they are not banning Linux gamers for using these “emulation” techniques but not officially supported.

        However, per this Reddit thread with one of the users writing into Phoronix, there have been recent bans to Linux gamers and the only expressed common denominator seems to be the use of Wine and DXVK.

    • Games

      • Life is Strange: Before the Storm is now officially available on Linux

        Life is Strange: Before the Storm, the three-part prequel to the original Life is Strange ported to Linux by Feral Interactive is now available. After very much enjoying the first game, I can’t wait to dive into this!

        While the original was made by DONTNOD Entertainment, this time around it was developed by Deck Nine and published by Square Enix.

      • Life is Strange: Before the Storm Is Out Now for Linux and macOS

        UK-based video games publisher Feral Interactive announced today the availability of the Life is Strange: Before the Storm adventure video game for the Linux and macOS platforms.

        Developed by Deck Nine and published by Square Enix, Life is Strange: Before the Storm was launched on August 31, 2017, as the second installment in the BAFTA award-winning franchise. The all-new three-part standalone story features new and beautiful artwork set three years before the events of the first Life is Strange game.

      • Life Is Strange: Before The Storm Is Now Out For Linux

        Feral Interactive released today Life is Strange: Before the Storm for Linux and macOS.

        Life is Strange: Before the Storm is the latest in this episodic game series from Deck Nine and ported to macOS and Linux by Feral Interactive. Before the Storm was released for Windows in late 2017.

      • Forsaken Remastered adds Vulkan support to the Linux version

        For those who love testing out games with Vulkan, do take a look at Forsaken Remastered which was updated last night for Linux to add in Vulkan support. To enable it, simply load the game and go into the video options where it will now let you pick your graphics API.

      • Build the aquarium you always wanted in Megaquarium, out now for Linux

        Megaquarium is like theme park for those who love fish and it’s now officially available with same-day Linux support. Developed by Twice Circled, who were responsible for the rather good Big Pharma which also has a Linux version. Note: Key provided by the developer.

        As someone who is fascinated by ocean life, I often visit our local aquarium to learn a little and take it all in. This is probably why Megaquarium speaks to me on a level other such tycoon builders don’t.

      • Nimbatus – The Space Drone Constructor has come a long way since the Kickstarter, Early Access soon

        Nimbatus – The Space Drone Constructor, as the name might suggest, has you building drones, which you can directly control or give them some autonomous features. The closed alpha is extremely promising and a lot of fun to play with.

      • Puzzle game BFF or Die is out with Linux support, interesting in both singleplayer and local co-op

        BFF or Die is an interesting puzzle game from ASA Studio that I was testing before release (key provided by the developer), one that offers a decent experience if you’re alone or if you have friends around for some local co-op.

        [...]

        The design is pretty good, while the early levels are naturally as easy as breathing, the later levels certainly get a lot more interesting when many more gameplay elements start coming together. Especially tricky when you think you’ve mapped out the level in your brain and new enemies appear to throw a spanner in the works, even more so in single-player when you’re controlling a light to see what’s around independently of your movement.

      • Unity 2018.3 Beta Promotes Vulkan Editor No Longer Experimental, Various Linux Fixes

        The first public beta of the Unity 2018.3 game engine is now available for testing and evaluation.

        Unity 2018.3 beta is shipping today with various workflow improvements, improvements to the Shader Graph, drops their legacy particle system, and other changes. From their overview there isn’t all that much to get excited about by Linux gamers…

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • A Look at KDE’s KAlgebra

        Many of the programs I’ve covered in the past have have been desktop-environment-agnostic—all they required was some sort of graphical display running. This article looks at one of the programs available in the KDE desktop environment, KAlgebra.

        You can use your distribution’s package management system to install it, or you can use Discover, KDE’s package manager. After it’s installed, you can start it from the command line or the launch menu.

        When you first start KAlgebra, you get a blank slate to start doing calculations.

      • KDE Plasma 5.13 Desktop Reaches End of Life, KDE Plasma 5.14 Arrives October 9

        KDE Plasma 5.13.5 arrived a week ago, on September 4, 2018, as the last point release for the short-lived KDE Plasma 5.13 desktop environment series, which won’t receive further updates or security fixes. It brought a total of 35 changes across various core components and apps.

        “Plasma 5.13 was released in June with many feature refinements and new modules to complete the desktop experience. This release adds a month’s worth of new translations and fixes from KDE’s contributors. The bugfixes are typically small but important,” reads the announcement.

      • Plasma 5.14 Beta Updates Discover, KWin and Adds New Widgets

        Thursday, 13 September 2018. Today KDE launches the beta release of Plasma 5.14.

        Plasma is KDE’s lightweight and full featured Linux desktop. For the last three months we have been adding features and fixing bugs and now invite you to test the beta pre-release of Plasma 5.14.

        A lot of work has gone into improving Discover, Plasma’s software manager, and, among other things, we have added a Firmware Update feature and many subtle user interface improvements to give it a smoother feel. We have also rewritten many effects in our window manager KWin and improved it for slicker animations in your work day. Other improvements we have made include a new Display Configuration widget which is useful when giving presentations.

      • KDE Plasma 5.14 Desktop Environment Enters Beta with New Features, Improvements
      • KDE Plasma 5.14 Beta Brings Many Improvements, Especially Wayland Polishing

        The KDE community has released the beta of the upcoming Plasma 5.14 desktop update.

      • KStars on Microsoft Store

        I’m glad to announce that KStars is now available on Microsoft Store in over 60 languages! It is the first official KDE App to be published by KDE e.V on the MS Store.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Google Code-in 2018 and Wikimedia: Mentors and smaller tasks wanted!

        Google Code-in will take place again soon (from October 23 to December 13). GCI is an annual contest for 13-17 year old students to start contributing to free and open projects. It is not only about coding: We also need tasks about design, documentation, outreach/research, and quality assurance. And you can mentor them!

      • Give Your Ubuntu a Fresh Look Using Canta Theme and Icons

        We have seen some cool themes earlier, like Paper, Arc themes which comes with Dark and light version. However none of them having the Green as base color.

        Canta theme is a Green color based GTK theme which is available for GTK 2 and GTK 3 based desktop environments. You can install in in latest Ubuntu GNOME Shell along with all distributions which supports GTK 2 and 3.

        This theme comes with 11 variants classifying in base, light, dark, round, square and compact version for each.

      • Former Compiz Developer Creating New Window Animation Library

        Sam Spilsbury who was the former Compiz lead developer at Canonical and involved in the Unity desktop shell development is creating a new library spun out of Compiz.

        Since leaving Canonical six years, he’s spent a good portion of that time since working for Endless Computer on their GNOME Shell driven Linux desktop environment. Initially he wrote a “libwobbly” library at Endless for implementing support for “wobbly windows” and other animation logic spun out of the former Compiz code.

      • libanimation for everyone

        Something I worked on when I first started at Endless was the rather interesting task of “making Wobbly Windows from Compiz work on GNOME-Shell”.

        This task is interesting in the sense that GNOME-Shell doesn’t really work in the way that the wobbly plugin for Compiz wanted it to. There is the “Wobbly Windows” extension for the shell, but that was sort of out for Endless, since we didn’t want to rely on the extensions mechanism and that extension also didn’t quite work the way I had come to know and love.

        What I really wanted to do with this project was replicate the same smooth wobbly windows from Compiz in the shell itself.

        Where do you even start on such a project? The first hard part is trying to get the math to work and knowing that you have the math working. Thus, libwobbly was born – a library that reimplements the same math that Compiz itself used, allowing callers to create a 3×3 mesh of springs representing the physical effect of “wobbly” windows and providing functions to interpolate into that 3×3 mesh. Then, we used libwobbly in our fork of GNOME-Shell along with ClutterDeformEffect and a bridge to get the same, buttery smooth wobbly windows in GNOME-Shell.

      • Wobbly Windows Are Making a Comeback

        Wobbly windows and other desktop effects might be making their way BACK to the Ubuntu desktop, all thanks to a new project by a former Compiz developer.

        If your first formative steps with Linux took place in the latter part of the last decade then a) you have my mutual sympathy on being old (sucks, doesn’t it?) and b) there’s a good chance you used wobbly windows and other OTT effects on your own Ubuntu desktop.

        This particular superfluous desktop effect even made my list of five things we all miss about Ubuntu.

      • Remember Linux’s Wobbly Window Animation? It Might Come Back!

        Remember playing around with wobbly windows in Linux? That animation, and a few more, might be coming back soon.

        Linux users loved playing with Compiz, a window manager that added all kinds of animations to the Linux desktop. Perhaps the most famous were the wobbly windows, which brought a tactile feel to moving windows around. It was great fun.

      • Fractal contribution report: improvements for the context menu

        These past weeks, I’ve been mainly working on my side project (rlife) but I’ve also done some small improvements for the context menu in Fractal.

        [...]

        I also have an open MR for hiding the option to delete messages in the context menu when the user doesn’t have the right to do so (i.e. for the user’s own messages or when it has the right to do so in the room (e.g. for moderators or owners)). It’s pending for now because there are work done to reliably calculate the power level of a user given a certain room.

  • Distributions

    • Gentoo Family

      • We mostly protect against script kiddie attacks

        The recent efforts on improving the security of different areas of Gentoo have brought some arguments. Some time ago one of the developers has considered whether he would withstand physical violence if an attacker would use it in order to compromise Gentoo. A few days later another developer has suggested that an attacker could pay Gentoo developers to compromise the distribution. Is this a real threat to Gentoo? Are we all doomed?

        Before I answer this question, let me make an important presumption. Gentoo is a community-driven open source project. As such, it has certain inherent weaknesses and there is no way around them without changing what Gentoo fundamentally is. Those weaknesses are common to all projects of the same nature.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Ben Hutchings: Debian LTS work, August 2018

        I was assigned 15 hours of work by Freexian’s Debian LTS initiative and carried over 8 hours from July. I worked only 5 hours and therefore carried over 18 hours to September.

      • TeX Live contrib updates

        It is now more than a year that I took over tlcontrib from Taco and provide it at the TeX Live contrib repository. It does now serve old TeX Live 2017 as well as the current TeX Live 2018, and since last year the number of packages has increased from 52 to 70.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Robots that run Ubuntu

            The home for innovators, Ubuntu is a place where developers can create what previously lived solely in the realms of fiction. The internet of things, the cloud, and robots are world changing technologies and they’re all running Ubuntu.

            With an estimated worldwide spending figure of $103bn by 2020, according to IDC, the field of robotics is one of those transformative industries that is really gaining traction, and it’s not just the manufacturing industry that’s using them, robots are everywhere.

            From collecting tennis balls, to social robots, agriculture and retail. Robots are making our lives easier and it turns out that a large amount of them are an Ubuntu robot.

            Don’t just take my word for it though, below is a list of of just some of the cool and brilliant ways Ubuntu is being used in the field of robotics.

          • Key considerations when choosing a robot’s operating system

            Whether it be down to technological advances, rising market demand or just the ‘cool’ factor, the increase in robotics is happening and across numerous industries from healthcare, industrial to retail. According to IDC, worldwide robotic spending, encompassing hardware, software and related services, is set to reach US$230.7bn by 2021.

            Much like the wider internet of things (IoT) industry, this trend has inevitably seen an increase in the amount of robots being produced from both new start-ups and more established organisations.

            Any robotics manufacturer needs to consider how their OS will influence both the speed and efficiency of development and then how that performs in production to provide a stable yet supportable product in the long run. These considerations are even more important in such a fast-moving and competitive market.

          • Fresh Snaps from August 2018

            Another month passes and we’ve got a collection of applications which crossed our “desk” (Twitter feed) during August 2018. We have a mix of social tools, music creation and curation software, password storage systems, developer tools and some fun too. Take a look down the list, and discover something new today.

          • Financial services: escaping the burning platform

            The financial services industry is standing on a burning platform, it’s time to jump to safety or suffer the consequences.

            The platform in this picture is the legacy infrastructure that dominates their IT organisations. From ageing servers and a dwindling workforce that’s even capable of running these monoliths, the pressure to change, for many, would have already forced a leap to safety.

            Unfortunately for banks, that’s not the only pressure they are under. Challengers have emerged where there were none before and changes in regulation are forcing a dramatic rethink of how infrastructure can be approached and what technologies are available for them to use. Compounded by a growing demand from customers for services that are modern, always-on, safe, and simple to use, and you’ve got a perfect storm that FS is having to navigate.

          • Leading the Vanilla design system

            We currently have 47 websites from marketing to cloud applications under our suite of products here at Canonical, the Vanilla squad are working through migrating these sites to our latest release.

            We’ve completed 60% of the migration and are making good headway. Once complete, our codebase will be unified across our sites making it easier for our front-end developers to jump between projects. And from a design perspective we will have a consistent look and feel.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Lubuntu Switching To VLC, KDE 5 LibreOffice Frontend

              Lots of changes are happening in the Lubuntu camp.

              It’s been busy in the Lubuntu space recently, the Ubuntu derivative that’s historically shipped with the LXDE desktop environment. Most notably, Lubuntu 18.10 switching to LXQt by default over LXDE, while the LXQt spin has been experimental up to this point.

              Lubuntu is also planning to switch to Wayland and as part of that to port Openbox to run on the Mir-Wayland code. But this work isn’t happening overnight but rather is a goal to have done by Lubuntu 20.10 in 2020.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Create and publish video with open source Kaltura editor

    Video has long been an integral part of education—back in the day, movies shown on huge reel-to-reel projectors were wheeled into classrooms to supplement teaching. Today, even the youngest students demonstrate their knowledge with multimedia video presentations recorded and edited on smartphones or Chromebooks, the “flipped classroom” (where students watch video lectures for homework and do assignments in class) is taking hold in K-12 schools, and professors make live video recordings of their classes available online for motivated students who want to review a lecture they attended (or for lazy learners who can’t quite make it to their morning biology class).

    Video software-as-a-service provider Kaltura offers a platform that helps businesses, cloud TV providers, and—increasingly—educators make video available to their audiences. The company started in 2006 as a business-to-consumer (B2C) platform for open video collaboration. Of the company’s beginnings, Zohar Babin, Kaltura’s vice president of platform and growth, says, “we built a platform where people from all around the world could collaborate to create online video shows. The platform would enable anyone to integrate video into their show and have the ability to edit and publish episodes all via the browser.”

  • The (awesome) economics of open source

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. Consider how changed a world we live in today when The Economist openly questions the bulk behavior of capitalists as evil bureaucratic rent-seekers and suggests that perhaps Karl Marx has something to teach after all. But the world remains stubbornly the same, as expert after supposed expert attempts to argue that open source software makes no economic sense and that a company like Red Hat cannot, therefore, exist (the latest example being this article on Medium.com).

    Arrgh!

    W. Edwards Deming said “experience teaches nothing without theory,” so I’m going to explain the theory that I believe underlies the 30+ years of experience I’ve witnessed in the world of successful open source software. A disclaimer: I didn’t develop this theory. Credit goes to Ronald Coase (Nobel Prize in Economics, 1991), Oliver Williamson (Nobel Prize in Economics, 2009), and others. And indeed, I was unaware of this theory when I started Cygnus Support, the world’s first company to provide commercial support for free software back in 1989. But I did joke, in all seriousness, that someday an economist would win the Nobel Prize in Economics for explaining the theoretical basis of that company. Open source exceeded expectations yet again when not one, but two economists were so honored. And so I begin with a lengthy paraphrase of Coase’s Nobel Prize lecture to set up the theory.

  • 5 Open-Source Trends to Watch

    Open-source software use in business has come a long way since the first LinuxWorld Conference & Expo was held in San Jose, California, in March 1999. Linux had been around as an operating system since its invention in 1991 by Finnish-American developer Linus Torvalds, but its use in business computing was just beginning to germinate by the early 2000s.

    Fast-forward to 2018. Open-source software powers the internet, much of the world’s cloud computing infrastructure, thousands of companies around the globe and a wide range of technologies, including software used in motor vehicles, consumer devices, in-home systems and more. Channel partners are increasingly involved in open source today, selling services, offering advice and helping clients use open source effectively.

    And despite that phenomenal growth, millions of developers continue to devote countless hours to projects. By the end of 2017, more than 24 million developers in more than 200 countries had contributed to some 67 million GitHub project repositories. Many more projects are also used by more developers on code repositories offered by GitLab, Bitbucket, SourceForge and others.

    For almost every customer software need, there is likely an open-source project working on the problem.

    With all of this activity around the world, some open-source trends could become even more important to partners in the future.

  • YouTube Begins Rolling Out AV1 Support In Beta

    YouTube has begun transcoding videos into the new royalty-free AV1 video codec.

    So far just a handful of videos are available with this AV1 beta support on YouTube. The Google company is supporting AV1 in MP4 within the Media Source for Chrome 70+ and the newest Firefox Nightly builds as of today. The Firefox Nightly support also requires media.av1.enabled and media.mediasource.experimental.enabled preferences enabled.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Focus with GeckoView

        Firefox Focus is private browsing as an app: It automatically blocks ads and trackers, so you can surf the web in peace. When you’re done, a single tap completely erases your history, cookies, and other local data.

      • Mozilla Future Releases Blog: DNS over HTTPS (DoH) – Testing on Beta

        DNS is a critical part of the Internet, but unfortunately has bad security and privacy properties, as described in this excellent explainer by Lin Clark. In June, Mozilla started experimenting with DNS over HTTPS, a new protocol which uses encryption to protect DNS requests and responses. As we reported at the end of August, our experiments in the Nightly channel look very good: the slowest users show a huge improvement, anywhere up to hundreds of milliseconds, and most users see only a small performance slowdown of around 6 milliseconds, which is acceptable given the improved security.

      • WebRender newsletter #22

        The closer we get to shipping WebRender, the harder it is for me to take the time to go through commit logs and write the newsletter. But this time is special.

        Yesterday we enabled WebRender by default on Firefox Nightly for a subset of the users: Desktop Nvidia GPUs on Windows 10. This represents 17% of the nightly population. We chose to first target this very specific configuration in order to avoid getting flooded with driver bugs, and we’ll gradually add more as things stabilize.

      • Mozilla Begins Slowly Enabling WebRender For Some Users

        One of the Mozilla technologies we have been most excited about in recent years is WebRender, the Rust-written restructuring of the graphics/GPU code.

        WebRender was developed with Servo in mind but was developed externally and as a GPU-based renderer for web content. Those unfamiliar with WebRender can see their existing project Wiki.

  • Databases

    • Brisbane open-source database specialist Open Query acquired by Catalyst IT Australia

      Queensland-based open-source database expert Open Query has been acquired by Catalyst IT Australia, the local arm of New Zealand-born open-source technology integrator.

      Open Query delivers training and support for MySQL, MariaDB, Percona XtraDB and related open source technologies, and offers system administration and security services.

      Open Query’s flagship service offering is the support and maintenance of databases on the aforementioned open-source platforms, with offerings spanning initial health checks and ad-hoc consulting, to subscription-based proactive support and remote database monitoring.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 6.1 Gets First Point Release with More Than 120 Bug Fixes

      Coming more than a month after the launch of the major LibreOffice 6.1 series, which introduced a revamped and much faster image handling feature, a new Page menu and reorganized Draw menus, a new icon theme for Windows users, new Online Help pages, and a much-improved LibreOffice Online, LibreOffice 6.1.1 adds more than 120 bug and regression fixes.

      “LibreOffice 6.1.1 represents the bleeding edge in term of features for open source office suites, and as such is targeted at technology enthusiasts, early adopters and power users,” said The Document Foundation. “For any enterprise class deployment, TDF maintains the more mature LibreOffice 6.0.6, which should be sourced from a company providing a Long Term Supported version of the suite.”

  • Healthcare

    • Open-source software may aid brain imaging to find disease treatments

      Researchers say the open-source software, called PySight, acts as a photon counting add-on for laser scanning microscopes. Because it can image deep into tissue, a laser-based technique known as multiphoton microscopy is often used to study the rapid activity of neurons, blood vessels and other cells at high resolution over time. The method uses laser pulses that excite fluorescent probes, eliciting the emission of photons, some of which are detected and used to form 2D and 3D images.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • NetBSD 7.2 comes with Security & Stability Enhancements as well as USB 3.0 Support

      NetBSD has come out with a new release for the 7.x series. The second feature update of NetBSD 7, NetBSD version 7.2, comes with a few new features and enhancements including, most prominently, the support of the USB 3.0 device as well as improvements for the Linux emulation. The latest release also supports the Raspberry Pi 3 computer range, adapting the release to be compatible for running on those devices, and the release ramps up updates for several drivers to make all of this possible.

      The release announcement for the NetBSD 7.2 states that this update incorporates substantial bug fixes and enhancements for overall improvement of the stability and security of NetBSD. The update also introduces new features such as the few mentioned above and other fixes in binary compatibility for ancient NetBSD executables. The iwm(4) driver for Intel Wireless 726x, 316x, 826x, and 416x has also been incorporated and a legacy network adapter has been improved to resolve a setup interruption found in the Hyper-V VMs.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • LibreJS 7.17 released

      GNU LibreJS aims to address the JavaScript problem described in Richard Stallman’s article The JavaScript Trap*. LibreJS is a free add-on for GNU IceCat and other Mozilla-based browsers. It blocks nonfree nontrivial JavaScript while allowing JavaScript that is free and/or trivial.

  • Public Services/Government

    • How to save 11 million Euros by switching to open-source software

      In 2003, Microsoft stopped supporting the Windows NT4 desktop operating system. As a result, Munich’s city government had to migrate over 15,000 personal computers (PCs) to a new operating system. This made the disadvantages of dependence on big proprietary software providers obvious to local policy makers.

      In 2004, the City Council decided to migrate its PCs to Linux, a free and open-source operating system, to achieve more independence and stimulate the local economy by using local developers for the migration. The choice for Linux was made despite the fact that Microsoft’s CEO personally offered Munich a 90 percent discount on new software. The project, called LiMux, took seven years to complete and saved Munich over 11 million euros ($12.3 million). Other advantages include more flexibility in software management, better security, and a lower number of support calls.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Evaluating Open Source Software to Build a Connected Autonomous Vehicle [Ed: Muckraking as usual, lawyers from Mayer Brown LLP (Marjorie H. Loeb, Richard M. Assmus, Linda L. Rhodes and Paul A. Chandler) make FOSS sound scary, dangerous legally. It wasn’t so long ago that Black Duck, Microsoft’s anti-copyleft front, told the media that if automobiles adopted FOSS, vehicles would start crashing. CBS/ZDNet posted that crap for them.]

      The varying OSS licenses may conflict with each other, which can frustrate an automaker’s license compliance. To comprehensively assess the risk that any combination of OSS blocks may infringe or violate the license terms, one must first identify and trace the use of OSS throughout, which may involve analyzing thousands of files or lines of code contributed from numerous sources. To maintain compliance, significant due diligence is required both at the outset and each time code is changed or altered. To complicate matters further, the use of automated software development tools, which pull pieces of OSS from the Internet, may make it difficult to identify applicable license requirements before those pieces become an integral part of the code base. While scanning software and solutions may help identify embedded OSS, significant analysis is still required to evaluate the provenance of the OSS and whether its intended use raises license compliance or related concerns.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Data

      • What We Mean When We Say “Data Portability”

        “Data portability” is a feature that lets a user take their data from a service and transfer or “port” it elsewhere. This often comes up in discussions about leaving a particular social media platform and taking your data with you to a rival service. But bringing data to a competing service is just one use for data portability; other, just-as-important goals include analyzing your data to better understand your relationship with a service, building something new out of your data, self-publishing what you learn, and generally achieving greater transparency.

        Regardless of whether you are “porting” your data to a different service or to a personal spreadsheet, data that is “portable” should be easy to download, organized, tagged, and machine-parsable.

        EFF supports users’ legal right to obtain a copy of the data they have provided to an online service provider. Once you move beyond that, however, the situation gets more complicated. Data portability interacts, and sometimes even conflicts, with other digital rights priorities, including privacy and security, transparency, interoperability, and competition. Here are some of the considerations EFF keeps in mind when looking at the dynamics of data portability.

      • Hortonworks plans to revamp Hadoop and its big data tools with cloud best practices in mind

        One big disadvantage that comes with a hybrid cloud strategy is forcing your developers to learn and understand the different techniques required by cloud providers and on-premises software vendors for lots of applications. Hortonworks, the company behind several tools for big-data darling Hadoop, plans to revamp its software over the next few years in order to make modern cloud-native development practices part of its on-premises tools, giving hybrid cloud developers one less thing to worry about.

        Hortonworks plans to announce the Open Hybrid Architecture Initiative Monday, kicking off the project that will allow customers running Hadoop and Hortonworks tools on their own servers to take advantage of newer infrastructure ideas that have become popular since the big-data analysis software was created, said Arun Murthy, co-founder and chief technical officer of Hortonworks. It’s yet another sign that while self-managed servers aren’t disappearing as fast as people once thought they might, the infrastructure concepts of the cloud-native era are going to eventually become de facto standards.

  • Programming/Development

    • Bugs Ahoy: The Next Generation

      Bugs Ahoy’s time is over, and I would like to introduce the new Codetribute site. This is the result of Fienny Angelina’s hard work, with Dustin Mitchell, Hassan Ali, and Eli Perelman contributing as well. It is the spiritual successor to Bugs Ahoy, built to address limitations of the previous system by people who know what they’re doing. I was thrilled by the discussions I had with the team while Codetribute was being built, and I’m excited to watch as the project evolves to address future needs.

    • Announcing Rust 1.29

      The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.29.0. Rust is a systems programming language focused on safety, speed, and concurrency.

    • HHVM ending support for PHP

      The HHVM project has announced that the Hack language and PHP will truly be going separate ways. The HHVM v3.30 release, due by the end of the year, will be the last to support code written in PHP.

    • Why Python is so popular with developers: 3 reasons the language has exploded

      Python is the fastest-growing programming language in the world, as it increasingly becomes used in a wide range of developer job roles and data science positions across industries. But how did it become the go-to coding language for so many tasks?

      “Python is very popular because of its set of robust libraries that make it such a dynamic and a fast programming language,” said Kristen Sosulski, clinical associate professor of information, operations, and management sciences in the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University, and author of Data Visualization Made Simple. “It’s object-oriented, and it really allows for everything from creating a website, to app development, to creating different types of data models.”

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Top Official at Memorial Sloan Kettering Resigns After Failing to Disclose Industry Ties

      Dr. José Baselga, the chief medical officer of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, resigned on Thursday amid reports that he had failed to disclose millions of dollars in payments from health care companies in dozens of research articles.

      The hospital’s chief executive, Dr. Craig B. Thompson, confirmed the resignation.

      The revelations about Baselga’s disclosure lapses, reported by The New York Times and ProPublica last weekend, have rocked Memorial Sloan Kettering, one of the nation’s leading cancer centers, in recent days. Its top executives scrambled to contain the fallout, including urgent meetings of physician leaders and the executive committee of its board of directors.

    • Brazilian Supreme Court Refuses To Judge Its Biggest Case On IP And Access To Medicines, And Benefits Big Pharma With Undue Monopolies

      The Brazilian Supreme Court (STF) has mysteriously cancelled the judgment of the most important case regarding intellectual property and health ever to be decided by the court. On 28 June, the date of the judgment was set for 6 September. The cancellation occurred on the eve of the judgment, something very rare in the practice of the Court. The lack of decision on the case only benefits the transnational companies awarded with hundreds of undue monopolies. Just a few days before, the President of the STF – judge Carmem Lucia – had a meeting with Interfarma, the association of multinational pharmaceutical companies in Brazil .

      [...]

      The direct action of unconstitutionality (ADI) questions the validity of a mechanism (known as “pipeline”) of the Brazilian patent law which allowed for the revalidation of patents granted in other countries that were already in the public domain in Brazil. Those were patents covering alimentary or chemical-pharmaceutical substances, which were excluded from patentability in the country prior to 1996.

      The main argument for invalidation is that those patents are not promoting the social interest and the technological and economic development of the country, as determined by the Brazilian Constitution when it talks about the grant of temporary privilege of use for industrial creations (article 5, XXIX). There are patents whose priority date goes back as far as 1977, and all of them were already part of the public domain, as national legislation of the time did not allow for their private appropriation by the granting of patents.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • ‘Destabilization’ is a CIA euphemism for ‘overthrow’

      THE situation has suddenly gotten more complex and menacing, not because President Duterte says so, but because our political vocabulary has suddenly morphed from “amnesty” to “destabilization.”

      In a wink, we have been transported to the world of the spooks, the intelligence community. The language or lingo here is “CIA-ese,” says William Safire, the language maven. (See list of CIA-ese below.)

      If you know a fraction of what I have learned (from books, reports, DVDS, etc.) about the world of intelligence and the games that spooks play, you will sit up straight when you hear President Duterte declare that there is a destabilization plot against his government that is targeted to unfold on September 21, 2018, the anniversary of Martial Law.

      You will listen and you will study the mountain of information before you. Then you will watch the calendar and become enraged.

    • In City That Once Banned Drones, Evanston Police Crafted A Secret Drone Policy

      Evanston police quietly maintained an unreleased internal policy regarding the use of drones, according to a document obtained by Lucy Parsons Labs.

      The document [PDF], entitled “Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Operations” and dated July 25, 2018, lays out departmental guidelines for the use of drones. It is included in the department’s standard policy manual.

      The Evanston Police Department’s policy was created without public knowledge or debate in a community that was an early leader in preventing the rush to drones by law enforcement.

      In May 2013, the Evanston City council passed a resolution banning drones for two years. That ban specifically included police, stating, “Police departments have begun to deploy drone technology absent any regulation on the appropriate use of such technology, although the Evanston Police Department has not.” That moratorium expired in 2015.

      Since the lapse of Evanston’s drone ban, police use of drones has become a major concern among civil rights and police accountability activists. Outgoing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently pushed to give the Chicago Police Department drones.

      Emanuel’s plan would have allowed police to fly military-style surveillance technology over any gathering of more than 100 people. The legislation stalled but only after a concerted effort by advocates and activists.

      Yet, in Evanston, police use of drones largely faded from local politics.

    • Trump Asked Saudi Arabia for $4 Billion to Fund Anti-Assad CIA Op in Syria, New Book Reveals

      According to journalist Bob Woodward’s book “Fear”, one of Trump’s biggest goals is to acquire foreign funds to finance CIA operations in foreign nations.

      U.S. investigative journalist Bob Woodward’s new book “Fear: Trump in White House”, a White House tell-all, amidst other shocking revelations, enlightens its readers about Trump administration’s negotiation with Saudi Arabia regarding funding a CIA operation in Syria.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Belongings of WikiLeaks associate found in Norway
    • The CIA had a SECRET report on Soviet superstitions

      The report, classified for 60 years, details familiar fears such as black cats and more involved customs, such as road bucket etiquette

    • Norwegian police find canoe belonging to missing Dutch cyber security expert

      Police in Norway say they have found a collapsible canoe which belongs to missing Dutch cyber security expert Arjen Kamphuis.

      The canoe was found a day after several other items owned by Kamphuis turned up on the coast, east of Bodo where he was staying when he disappeared. He is known to have bought a canoe to use in the Norwegian fjords.

      Norwegian television station TV2 also claims that a fisherman found Kamphuis’ identity papers close to where the canoe was found. Police have declined to comment on the other findings.

      Kamphuis was last seen in Bodo on August 20 and should have returned to the Netherlands on August 22. On September 6 a witness told police he had spotted the missing man in Denmark.

    • Norway police find missing WikiLeaks associate’s kayak

      Norwegian police on Thursday said they have found a kayak they believe belonged to a missing WikiLeaks associate who disappeared in mysterious circumstances three weeks ago.

      The police released a photo of a white foldable kayak they believe Dutch cyber security expert Arjen Kamphuis bought just before going on a holiday in Norway.

      Kamphuis, 47, has not been seen since leaving his hotel in the northern Norwegian town of Bodo August 20.

      His disappearance has triggered a wave of conspiracy theories on social media, ranging from CIA and Russian involvement to a mission to carry out a secret project for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

      However police said they were examining three theories: a voluntary disappearance including a possible suicide, an accident or a crime.

    • Norway police find missing WikiLeaks associate’s kayak
  • Finance

    • Video: Dayton and the America Left Behind

      The many woes of the Rust Belt and the industrial heartland have been frequently dissected since the election of Donald Trump (and less often, before it). Even as large portions of the country thrive, unemployment, poverty and opiate addiction continue to ravage huge swaths of the nation, including Dayton, Ohio.

      Once a backbone of the U.S. auto industry, the city has never recovered from the loss of its stalwart employers. Dayton is the laboratory through which reporter Alec MacGillis, as part of a collaboration between ProPublica and Frontline, examined an America that is suffering even as the nation’s economy booms. In addition to showing the searing human cost of a long-term economic collapse, MacGillis reveals a divide that is rarely acknowledged. Beyond the often chronicled gap between urban and rural in the U.S., there is a growing chasm between cities — those that have soared in a winner-take-all society, and those that have been left behind.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Breitbart leaks video of Google executives’ candid reaction to Trump victory

      But the bombastic responses ignored the substance and true tenor of the meeting, which was more measured and less partisan than Breitbart implied.

    • That Time CNN Staged A Fake Interview With A Syrian Child For War Propaganda

      Now imagine one of your friends says he can see everything in the room perfectly, and starts describing the different things that he sees in a confident, assertive tone of voice. You know for a fact that there’s no light in the room, so you are doubtful that your friend is able to see any better than you are, but one by one your other friends start talking about the objects in the room as though what he is saying is true. After a while your group starts telling you you’re crazy and evil because you remain skeptical of your first friend’s ability to see the room in pitch darkness, despite his assertive tone of voice and despite the fact that everyone else believes it.

    • Idlib, Youtube and the War on Information

      San Bruno-based video sharing website YouTube shut down multiple Syria-based accounts last Saturday in attempts to enforce media blackouts against Syrian state and their allied forces.

      [...]

      The termination came as Syria, with Russian assistance, waged a campaign to liberate Idlib, destroying rebel military equipment and bases, and incurring heavy losses from the terrorists. A day prior, SANA reported on the collaboration between militants from the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and the White Helmets to identify key locations, where sarin and chlorine gas has been shipped, to launch a potential chemical weapons attack.

      Meeting on Thursday in Jisr al-Shughour, the groups contended between al-Najia, a countryside region of Jisr al-Shughour, al-Hamawsh, and Kafr Nubbul as potential sites to launch a chemical attack from, according to the sources.

      The account terminations have been carried out allegedly to muddle footage and coverage of another chemical attack waged by rebels, with the intent of framing Damascus and thus providing the justification for the US and its allies to strike Syria. Conveniently enough, YouTube’s media blackout came as Syria, with Russian assistance, launched strikes against over 100 opposition military targets.

    • ‘We are stuck with (vote rigging) ED junta, make it work’ argue Cross – how, GNU fog has never cleared

      Zimbabwe is in a serious economic and political mess with unemployment a nauseating 90% and political paralysis as neither the ruling party, Zanu PF, nor the whole opposition camp led by MDC have a clue what to do. The root cause of the mess is the country’s failure to hold free, fair and credible elections.

      Zanu PF has created a de facto one-party dictatorship that has stifles all public debate and democratic competition forcing all the competent individuals to shy away from politics leaving the space to be filled with corrupt, incompetent and murderous thugs. Where one expected quality fish all we get is frogs, crocodiles and, at best, mudskippers!

    • Ex-NSA chief wishes Trump had pressed Putin on Russian election attacks

      The former Director of the National Security Agency, retired Admiral Mike Rogers, said Tuesday that he thought President Donald Trump should have taken the opportunity to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly in Helsinki, Finland over Russia’s election meddling.
      “I thought there was an opportunity there that I wish we would have taken advantage of,” Rogers said at an event at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, on the relationship between the presidency and the intelligence community.
      In July, Trump met one-on-one with Putin, a meeting he did not ask his top intelligence officials — including Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats — for advice on, Coats later revealed.

      During a press conference with the Russian leader, Trump undermined the US intelligence community’s universal conclusion that Russia had made attempts to attack the 2016 US presidential election, through digital interference and other methods.

    • Trump supporter demanded to see a list of impeachable offenses; someone happily obliged
    • ProPublica’s User’s Guide to Democracy: Political Advertising

      To help us both out, I tapped ProPublica’s reporters who cover election security, voting access, political ads, online misinformation, campaign cash flows and Congress; asked them a ton of questions; and stripped down what I learned to the most essential parts. Over the next few weeks, I’ll share these lessons with you, one step at a time.

      You can follow along here, on our website, or you can sign up to receive this info by email. One reason you might want to get the emails: I worked with our data team to pick out specific information that is relevant to each voter who signs up. In each email, we’ll give you a closer look at your specific state or representatives. (Plus, we’ll send you reminders about Election Day and give you tips on working with your newly elected representatives after the big day!)

    • The Strange Russian Alibi

      Like many, my first thought at the interview of Boshirov and Petrov – which apparently are indeed their names – is that they were very unconvincing. The interview itself seemed to be set up around a cramped table with a poor camera and lighting, and the interviewer seemed pretty hopeless at asking probing questions that would shed any real light.

      I had in fact decided that their story was highly improbable, until I started seeing the storm of twitter posting, much of it from mainstream media journalists, which stated that individual things were impossible which were, in fact, not impossible at all.

      The first and most obvious regards the weather on 3 and 4 March. It is in fact absolutely true that, if the two had gone down to Salisbury on 3 March with the intention of going to Stonehenge, they would have been unable to get there because of the snow. It is therefore perfectly possible that they went back the next day to try again; and public transport out of Salisbury was still severely disrupted, and many roads closed, on 4 March. Proof of this is not at all difficult to find.

    • Agency Takes Back Instructions to Residents in Brooklyn Housing Project to Stay Home on Primary Day

      Hundreds of residents of the Marlboro Houses near Coney Island in Brooklyn received notices from the New York City Housing Authority telling them to remain home on Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a routine lead inspection. That left residents scrambling for a way to comply with NYCHA’s directive and to vote in the New York state primary election, which runs from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

      But according to Jasmine Blake, a spokesperson for NYCHA, the agency scheduled inspections on primary day by mistake, and residents should go vote.

      [...]

      Jones said residents in his mother’s complex, who are largely people of color, improvised after receiving the notices, offering to watch one another’s apartments while they went out to vote. Still, the entire situation struck Jones as “a problem that shouldn’t have been there in the first place.”

      Blake said the agency will not schedule inspections for November’s general election.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Spanish actor detained after ridiculing ‘God and the Virgin Mary’
    • Censorship of Burlington School Newspaper May Have Violated Law

      Burlington High School principal Noel Green may have violated state law when he ordered student journalists to take down a story posted to the school newspaper’s website.

      Monday night the Register broke the news that the state has been investigating school guidance director Mario Macias, who is accused of unprofessional conduct and could lose his educators license for nearly a year.

    • Burlington HS student journalists say school censored them

      Student journalists at Burlington High School say their school principal censored them by ordering their news article be taken down from their website.

      This week, the Burlington High School Register, a student newspaper, broke news that the Secretary of Education recommended the high school’s director of guidance, Mario Macias, have his license suspended for 364 days.

    • Why libraries are standing up against censorship
    • Offline: Activists and Technologist Still Face Grave Threats for Expression

      A decade ago, before social media was a widespread phenomenon and blogging was still a nascent activity, it was nearly unthinkable outside of a handful of countries—namely China, Tunisia, Syria, and Iran—to detain citizens for their online activity. Ten years later, the practice has become all too common, and remains on the rise in dozens of countries. In 2017, the Committee to Protect Journalists found that more than seventy percent of imprisoned journalists were arrested for online activity, while Reporters Without Borders’ 2018 press freedom barometer cited 143 imprisoned citizen journalists globally, and ten citizen journalists killed. While Tunisia has inched toward democracy, releasing large numbers of political prisoners following the 2011 revolution, China, Syria, and Iran remain major offenders, and are now joined by several countries, including the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

    • Actual Research On Political Bias In Search Results Would Be Useful, But So Far It Doesn’t Show Anything

      A few weeks back, we explained why claims of political bias in moderation by tech companies was not accurate at all. I recognize this has upset people who seem to have staked their personal identity on the idea that big internet companies are clearly out to get them, but we like to deal in facts around here. Of course, soon after that post went up, PJ Media editor Paula Bolyard put out an article — using what she admits isn’t anything close to a scientific study — to make dubious claims of bias in Google searches for Trump news.

      There were all sorts of problems with her methodology (including using Google search, rather than Google News, and using an extraordinarily sketchy ranking of how liberal or conservative certain publications were). But the bigger issue, as we noted in another post this week was that it showed a fundamental misunderstanding of how search engines work. It was not — as some commenters who clearly did not read the article claimed — that algorithms are perfect and show no bias (because they obviously do). But that the search algorithm boosts sites that are more popular, and if you looked at the sites that Bolyard’s test showed as appearing in her search results were… larger sites. And those included typically “conservative” news sites such as the Wall Street Journal and Fox News. In other words, Google wasn’t biasing based on political viewpoint, but on popularity of the news site itself. Which… is how Google has worked since basically the beginning.

      Unfortunately, our President did what our President does, and took Bolyard’s confusing mess (as amplified by Lou Dobbs on Fox News) and claimed that it was now proven that Google biases its search results against conservatives. He’s since posted a video claiming that Google didn’t link to a live stream of his state of the union address — a claim that has already been proven to be 100% false.

    • Manafort’s Daughter’s Lawyer Wants Twitter To Vanish Tweets Linking To Text Message Database

      The leak of text messages sent and received by Paul Manafort’s daughter might be old news, but new wrinkles keep appearing. Originally obtained by hackers, the texts have been perused by journalists, resulting in articles discussing Manafort’s apparent complicity in violence in Ukraine. The full set of texts has been around since at least early 2017, but no searchable database of the texts themselves existed publicly.

      Apparently, Wikileaks had the full dataset in searchable form but refused to release it. FOIA/transparency activist Emma Best decided to call out Wikileaks on its perceived duplicity (the dumping of the Podesta/DNC emails but not the release of the Manafort text messages) and made the database publicly available. As she wrote then, the likelihood of the text message dump leading to further issues for Manafort’s daughter was minimal, given that it had been more than a year since it became public knowledge their phones had been hacked.

    • Google Fights In EU Court Against Ability Of One Country To Censor The Global Internet

      Where one can be at least marginally sympathetic to the French regulator’s argument, it is in the issue of circumvention. If Google is only required to suppress information in France, then if someone really wants to, they can still find that information by presenting themselves as surfing from somewhere else. Which is true. But that limited risk — which would likely only occur in the very narrowest of circumstances in which someone already knew that some information was being hidden and then went on a quest to search it out — is a minimal “risk” compared to the very, very real risk of lots of truthful, historical information completely being disappeared into nothingness. And that is dangerous.

      The broader impact of such global censorship demands can easily be understood if you just recognize that it won’t just be the French looking to memory hole content they don’t like. Other governments — such as Russia, China, Turkey, and Iran — certainly wouldn’t mind making some information disappear. And if you think that various internet platforms will be able to say “well, we abide by French demands to disappear content, but ignore Russian ones,” well, how does that work in actual practice? Not only that, but such rules could clearly violate the US First Amendment. Ordering companies to take down content that is perfectly legal in the US would have significant ramifications.

      But, it also means that we’re likely moving to a more fragmented internet — in which the very nature of the global communications network is less and less global, because to allow that to happen means allowing the most aggressive censor and the most sensitive dictator to make the rules concerning which content is allowed. And, as much as people rightfully worry about Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Dorsey deciding whose speech should be allowed online, we should be much, much, much more concerned when its people like Vladimir Putin or Recep Erdogan.

    • Illinois Department Of Corrections Sued For Censoring Book On Attica Uprising

      The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) was sued by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author for allegedly censoring her nonfiction book, “Blood In The Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy.”

      Heather Thompson ordered her book from Amazon and had it sent to three inmates. One inmate received the book while the other two inmates received censorship notices without any explanation.

      By coincidence, the lawsuit was filed by Sidley Austin LLP and the Uptown People’s Law Center on the anniversary of the massacre at Attica Prison.

    • Daniel Pocock: What is the difference between moderation and censorship?

      Some people complained that my last blog didn’t provide evidence to justify my concerns about censorship. I’d like to thank FSFE management for helping me respond to that concern so conclusively with these heavy-handed actions against the community over the last 48 hours.

      The collapse of the fellowship described in my earlier blog has been caused by FSFE management decisions. The solutions need to come from the grass roots. A totalitarian crackdown on all communications is a great way to make sure that never happens.

      FSFE claims to be a representative of the free software community in Europe. Does this behaviour reflect how other communities operate? How successful would other communities be if they suffocated ideas in this manner?

    • Facebook Expands Fact-Checking to Include Photos and Videos in a Bid to Fight Misinformation

      Facebook has always placed a priority on fighting misinformation and since the last two years, efforts in this area have become extensive. In order to achieve this, Facebook administration works with independent, third-party fact-checkers that rate and reviews the accuracy of content on the website. Up until now these fact-checkers focused on articles only. Today Facebook announced that it is expanding its fact-checking to include photos and videos as well for all of their 27 partners around the world. This move is aimed at identification of misinformation faster than before.

    • The Weekly Standard’s Kavanaugh Fact Check Was Correct
    • Liberal Media Whine After Facebook Fact Checks Them: ‘Censorship!’
    • Facebook blocked the spread of a liberal article because a conservative told it to
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • FDA approves heart monitor in new Apple Watch

      Apple on Wednesday unveiled its latest Apple Watch, which includes an FDA-approved electrocardiogram (ECG) app that will allow users to record and monitor their heart activity.

    • UK mass surveillance ruled unlawful in landmark judgment

      The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) today ruled that the UK’s mass interception programmes have breached the European Convention on Human Rights.

    • GCHQ can access ‘the web browsing histories of every visible user of the internet’, says civil liberties director

      Silkie Carlo has said that GCHQ have programmes that can collate “the web browsing histories of every visible user of the internet” as the European Court found the Government’s mass surveillance violated human rights.

      Ms Carlo, the Director of Big Brother Watch told talkRADIO’s Matthew Wright: “GCHQ, which is a UK intelligence agency, have a programme called Karma Police that is effectively a catalogue of the web browsing histories of every visible user of the internet.

      “That includes us domestically in the UK as well.

      “They also had a programme called Black Hole which was a repository of over one trillion events including internet histories, email messenger records, search engine queries and social media activity.

    • GCHQ data collection violated human rights, Strasbourg court rules

      GCHQ’s methods in carrying out bulk interception of online communications violated privacy and failed to provide sufficient surveillance safeguards, the European court of human rights has ruled in a test case judgment.

      But the Strasbourg court found that GCHQ’s regime for sharing sensitive digital intelligence with foreign governments was not illegal.

      It is the first major challenge to the legality of UK intelligence agencies intercepting private communications in bulk, following Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing revelations.

      The long-awaited ruling is one of the most comprehensive assessments by the ECHR of the legality of the interception operations operated by UK intelligence agencies.

      The claims, which had already been heard by the UK’s investigatory powers tribunal, were brought by a coalition of 14 human rights groups, privacy organisations and journalists, including Amnesty International, Liberty, Privacy International and Big Brother Watch.

    • European Court Of Human Rights: UK Surveillance Revealed By Snowden Violates Human Rights

      Yet another vindication of Ed Snowden. Soon after some of the documents he leaked as a whistleblower revealed that the UK’s GCHQ was conducting mass surveillance, a variety of human rights groups filed complaints with the European Court of Human Rights. It’s taken quite some time, but earlier today the court ruled that the surveillance violated human rights, though perhaps in a more limited way than many people had hoped.

      At issue were three specific types of surveillance: bulk interception of communications, sharing what was collected with foreign intelligence agencies, and obtaining communications data (metadata) from telcos. The key part of the ruling was to find that the bulk interception of communications violated Article 8 of the Human Rights Act (roughly, but not exactly, analogous to the US 4th Amendment). It was not a complete victory, as the court didn’t say that bulk interception by itself violated human rights, but that the lack of oversight over how this was done made the surveillance “inadequate.” The court also rejected any claims around GCHQ sharing the data with foreign intelligence agencies.

    • After many opsec fails, Russia seeks to ban soldier social media spoilers

      The draft bill states that “servicemen are prohibited to place in mass media, and the Internet information (including photos, video, geolocation data and other information) about yourself and other servicemen disclosing the department they belong to, information about their official activities or service activities of other military personnel, the activities of military units, organizations and units in which they perform military service, and their place of deployment, except for cases provided for by regulatory legal acts of the Russian Federation.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Pussy Riot activist hospitalized, band members suspect poisoning

      A member of Russian feminist punk band and activist group Pussy Riot has been hospitalized in Moscow, according to band members, who suspect he has been poisoned.

    • Pussy Riot member who invaded pitch during World Cup has been hospitalised: Russian reports

      Ekho Moskvy radio and online news portal Meduza reported on Wednesday that Pyotr Verzilov has been in emergency care since late Tuesday.

    • Tech Firms Face Hefty Fines Under New EU Terror Rules

      Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Twitter Inc., Facebook Inc. and other tech firms could be slapped with fines as high as 4 percent of annual revenue if they fail to remove terror propaganda from their sites quickly enough under new European Union legislative proposals unveiled Wednesday.

    • EU considers fining tech companies over extremist content

      “One hour is the decisive time window, when the greatest damage can take place,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told the European Parliament during his state of the union address Wednesday.

      Under the proposed rules, companies that don’t remove content within the one-hour timeframe face steep fines rising to as much as 4 percent of their global revenue for the previous year.

    • Corporate Sovereignty On The Wane, As Governments Realize It’s More Trouble Than It’s Worth

      As with NAFTA and CETA, it seems that the nations involved in RCEP no longer regard corporate sovereignty as a priority, and are willing to weaken its powers in order to reach agreement on other areas. Once the principle has been established that ISDS can be watered down, there’s nothing to stop nations proposing that it should be dropped altogether. Given the astonishing awards and abuses that corporate sovereignty has led to in the past, that’s a welcome development.

    • The Anonymous Anti-Trump Op-Ed Inadvertently(?) Exposes Real Danger

      On September 5, the New York Times published an op-ed supposedly written by an anonymous official within president Donald Trump’s administration. The snobbish and self-serving hit piece paints Trump himself as dangerously immature, incompetent, and unstable, while reassuring us that “adults in the room” are working tirelessly to keep his worst impulses in check and save the republic without tedious formalities like invoking the 25th Amendment and removing him from power.

      The op-ed itself was a jejeune and mediocre example of a time-honored American pastime, talking smack about one’s boss behind his back. On its own terms, it deserved at most a brief period of public mockery before fading away to something less than an historical footnote.

      But then Trump responded swiftly and decisively from his favorite bully pulpit, Twitter.

      “TREASON?” he thundered. “If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!”

      In a few short outbursts, Trump managed to confirm all the op-ed’s worst characterizations of his temperament and mental state.

    • UK MP Thinks Secret Online Groups Are The Root Of All Evil Online, Promises To Regulate ‘Large Online Groups’

      It’s always fascinating to me when people try to condense the complex and varied reasons why people sometimes behave badly into a single factor for blame. This is especially true online. A commonly misdiagnosed “problem” is anonymity, despite the fact that studies show anonymous online users tend to be better behaved in online flame wars, than those using their real names.

      British Member of Parliament Lucy Powell has come up with her own simplistic and ridiculous explanation for why people are bad online and has a plan to do something about it. In her mind, the real problem is… “large secret online groups.” She’s written a whole Guardian opinion piece on it, as well as given a Parliamentary speech on it, not to mention making the rounds to snippet of the actual proposal (the full bill hasn’t been placed online as far as I can tell as I type this), it appears that she wants to ban secret groups over 500 members, requiring that for any online group that has more than 500 members, the moderators and administrators would be legally required to publish public information about the group (she insists not the members), but also “to remove certain content.” What kind of content isn’t explicitly stated, which should set off all sorts of censorship alarm bells.

      In her speech to Parliament, she mentions racism, revenge porn, jokes about the holocaust, and conspiracy theories as the types of content she’s concerned about. Also… um… bad advice for autistic parents? It seems kind of all over the map. Which is why most people find this all so ridiculous. First off, you can’t stop people from saying stupid stuff. That’s just asking for the impossible. But it’s even more ridiculous to argue that non-public groups of over 500 individuals now suddenly are going to be legally liable for censorship of amorphous “bad content.”

    • The War on Raspberries

      On a recent visit to the National Mining Museum in Newtongrange, I was taken slightly aback by the questions from young adults who knew nothing at all about Thatcher’s destruction of the coal mining industry or its motives. It is hard to realise that for an 18 year old today the miners’ strike is as chronologically distant an event as Dunkirk was to me.

      My whole adult life has been defined by the changes initiated by Thatcher and continued by Tories and New Labour. It is hard to remember now the world where your employer could not, by law, sack you just because they wanted to, and where you could get state protection from rapacious landlords charging unfair rents. The destruction of heavy industry in order to destroy the strength of organised labour, and the privatisation of the monopoly utilities for the profit of the rich, was a transformation that is at the root of the mass misery we live amongst today.

      There was one small and forgotten part of Thatcher’s attack on traditional working class lifestyle that you probably had to be in Dundee to remember. The war on berry pickers. The soft fruit of the Carse of Gowrie and the Tay Valley is an important part of the Scottish economy. There is currently much concern as to how, post-Brexit, labour is to be found to pick the fruit. Government proposals to issue visas for the purpose are an order of magnitude below what is needed, and local labour remains difficult to attract.

      It did not used to be difficult, until around 1980 the Tories launched an extraordinary campaign to drive pickers out of the fields. Berry pickers, they decided, were an unacceptable part of the informal economy and were not declaring their income on benefits claims. Suddenly teams of besuited benefits inspectors started appearing among the raspberry canes demanding social security numbers. People signing on for the broo had to produce their hands for inspection for berry stains. There was a campaign in the rabidly Tory Courier newspaper which even alleged that Tayside berry pickers were a major source of funding to the IRA!

    • A Smith College Employee Called the Police on Me for Eating Lunch While Black

      A student opens up about experiencing racial profiling at Smith College and what she expects Smith to do to address it.

      Enrolling in Smith College a year ago was a dream come true. But rarely has a dream so swiftly turned into a nightmare. As I begin my sophomore year, I’m returning to a new slate of classes and to unsettling memories that I wish I could shake.

      This summer, I was racially profiled — an all-too-common experience for Black people in America. But unlike most people who are targeted for simply existing in their skin, my story of harassment went viral.

      It happened on July 31, when I was working on campus for a program that encourages high school girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). I was proud to remain on school grounds instead of taking a full summer vacation like many of my peers. As the first person in my family to attend college, every moment at a prestigious institution like Smith was a reminder that my mother’s hard work had paid off.

    • A Second Chance for Separated Families

      The Trump administration agrees to allow separated families to apply for asylum under proper procedures.

      The fight over the asylum rights of families who had been separated by the Trump administration took what could be a critical turn late last night. Following weeks of negotiation, parties in three lawsuits — including the ACLU’s class-action lawsuit, which first blocked the family separation policy and forced the government to reunite families — brokered an agreement that, if approved by the judge, will allow hundreds of parents to re-apply again for asylum in the U.S. after being turned down previously.

    • Police Officers At A Tactical Disadvantage Bravely Tase 87-Year-Old Woman Into Submission

      I understand the only way out of this debacle is going straight through it, but it’s astounding the chief is actually trying to present this as a dynamic situation in which officers were at a tactical disadvantage. It was two (2) officers against a 5’2″ 87-year-old woman who didn’t speak English. It seems they could have regained the high ground by walking at a normal rate of speed around her. And if it looked like she might charge them, they could have walked slightly faster. (And it’s your own damn fault you “contained” her on the high ground.)

      But we’re supposed to be grateful she was only tased. Chief Etheridge twice suggests she could have been shot. First, she might have been “accidentally” shot because an officer might have pulled a gun for god knows what reason…

    • ‘What happened to Mayberry?’ asks relative of 87-year-old Georgia woman police used stun gun on

      The police chief of a small Georgia town is defending an officer who deployed a stun gun on a “smiling” 87-year-old woman, saying she refused to comply with numerous commands to put down a kitchen knife she was using to cut dandelions.

      But relatives of the octogenarian, Martha al-Bishara, say police failed to use good common sense to prevent the incident from quickly escalating to a use-of-force confrontation in Chatsworth that landed their diminutive matriarch in handcuffs.

      “We have nothing but love for this county, but within that context, we think that what happened is absolutely ridiculous,” al-Bishara’s grandson, Timothy Douhne, a 24-year-old medical student, told ABC News on Wednesday. “If they had calmed down, deescalated the situation, listened a little bit, we wouldn’t be having this issue right now. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Nine No-Nos of Patent Licensing (1970)

      I’m thinking about the USDOJ’s “Nine No-Nos” of Patent Licensing. These were the subject of an important set of remarks in 1970 by then Bruce Wilson (USDOJ) on antitrust considerations for patent and know-how license agreements. At the time, the DOJ considered these all per-se antitrust violations. US Antitrust Law has really relaxed since then, and for the most part these are no longer per-se violations. That said, they still represent cautionary signs of potential antitrust trouble — especially if coupled with actual market power.

    • One year after telling judge its house was on fire, Qualcomm spends tens of billions on stock buybacks

      Today Qualcomm proudly “announced that it has entered into accelerated share repurchase agreements (ASR Agreements) with each of Bank of America, N.A., Citibank, N.A. and Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC to repurchase an aggregate of $16 billion of Qualcomm’s common stock, with an initial delivery to Qualcomm of approximately 178 million shares in the aggregate”. Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf notes that the company is “continue to execute on [its] previously announced $30 billion stock repurchase program.”

      A few days ago, Qualcomm’s stock hit $70 for the first time in three years.

      It’s just that all this good news is in stark contrast to what Qualcomm’s lead counsel, Cravath’s Evan Chesler, told Judge Gonzalo Curiel of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California about a year ago when Qualcomm was seeking a preliminary injunction requiring four Apple contract manufacturers to make royalty payments prior to a final ruling on the Apple v. Qualcomm dispute. Judge Curiel didn’t buy Qualcomm’s “irreparable harm” theory and denied the motion. The course of events since–showcased by this week’s news on Qualcomm’s stock price and the share repurchase programm–clearly has validated the judge’s decision. It means Qualcomm has tens of billions to distribute, but claimed that Apple, through its contract manufacturers, withholding half a billion a quarter would put the whole company in jeopardy.

    • How a Global Patent Market Could Spur Growth

      If developed and developing countries’ national patent systems were integrated into the trade system, the result would be greater specialization among inventors and, with it, faster technological innovation and productivity growth. Yet under current arrangements, World Trade Organization member states do not honor foreign inventors’ claims to their own innovations. More than ever, the world needs a new framework of trade rules to facilitate the exchange of ideas across borders.

      Economic growth is essentially driven by growth in productivity, which, in turn, is driven by the creation of new technologies. In today’s world, such innovations will increasingly be developed as a result of coordination among inventors across companies and countries. Yet productivity growth has been sluggish for more than 50 years, owing significantly to gaps in trade rules, intellectual-property mercantilism through “forced technology transfer,” and the weakening of national patent systems. These factors have shut out grassroots inventors.

    • Lobbying in an Autocracy: Intellectual Property and Medical Equipment Firms in China

      As a direct consequence of the globalization the willingness of foreign investments massively increased. Businesses see opportunities to gain sustainable competitive advantages by expanding and outsourcing sub-divisions into other countries (Pei, 2005). But this also implies that businesses not only need to meet and deal with the existing market conditions, but also often need to deal with a different political environment. Policies, legislation and legal forces differ from country to country, and become one of the key concerns for international acting firms. This is especially true for intellectual property protection. Since decades, and as globalization of industry continues, intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) emerged as the key issue of global innovation policy (Archibugi and Filippetti, 2010). With the international development of economies and growing trade opportunities, the protection of IPR is getting more and more important (Wang, 2004). To establish a worldwide IPR standard have become one of the core businesses of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO supports country authorities to design effective and appropriate IPR regimes (Maskus, 2000). As IPR can be used as policy tool to ensure adequate return on investment, firms are eager to take a stand in this process (Greenhalgh and Rogers, 2007), but this will not be as easy as originally thought, at least not in an totalitarian state like China. Doing business in a totalitarian state significantly differs from running business in a democracy. Business law seems to be rather vague in totalitarian states, and businesses tend to be rather excluded from policy shaping and decision-making processes (Weil, 2016). In order to succeed and survive, firms need to build allies and find business partner (Kazmi et al., 2013).

    • Copyrights

      • Sony Finally Admits It Doesn’t Own Bach and It Only Took Public Pressure

        Here’s the thing about different people playing the same piece of music: sometimes, they’re going to sound similar. And when music is by a composer who died 268 years ago, putting his music in the public domain, a bunch of people might record it and some of them might put it online. In this situation, a combination of copyright bots and corporate intransigence led to a Kafkaesque attack on music.

        Musician James Rhodes put a video of himself playing Bach on Facebook. Sony Music Entertainment claimed that 47 seconds of that performance belonged to them. Facebook muted the video as a result.

        So far, this is stupid but not unusually stupid in the world of takedowns. It’s what happened after Rhodes got Sony’s notice that earned it a place in the Hall of Shame.

        One argument in favor of this process is that there are supposed to be checks and balances. Takedown notices are supposed to only be sent by someone who owns the copyright in the material and actually believes that copyright’s been infringed. And if a takedown notice is wrong, a counter-notice can be sent by someone explaining that they own the work or that it’s not infringement.

      • European Parliament backs copyright changes

        MEPs voted on a series of changes to the original directive, the most controversial parts are known as Article 13 and Article 11.

        Article 13 puts the onus on web giants to take measures to ensure that agreements with rights holders for the use of their work are working.

        Critics say that would require all internet platforms to filter content put online by users, which many believe would be an excessive restriction on free speech.

        Article 11 is also controversial because it forces online platforms to pay news organisations for the use of their content.

      • German Supreme Court refers questions to CJEU in YouTube copyright case

        The questions to the CJEU concern whether YouTube has primary liability for videos uploaded without the permission of right holders, with the German judges also suggesting the platform acts as a neutral intermediary for the purposes of copyright

        The German Supreme Court has released a statement on the YouTube copyright case, suspending proceedings and referring a number of questions to the CJEU.

      • BREAKING: FCJ refers case regarding YouTube’s liability for damages to the CJEU

        A lawsuit between music producer Frank Peterson and YouTube (and Google) that has been ongoing since 2009 did not come to an end today. The German Federal Court of Justice (FCJ) decided to stay the proceedings and refer several questions to the CJEU, regarding (once again) the question of platform liability and the right of communication to the public.

      • Conan O‘Brien’s complete late-night TV archive will be posted online in January

        The announcement does not include clarification of exactly where this video archive will be hosted, which could prove slightly complicated since that 25-year span includes work for both NBC (a wholly owned subsidiary of Comcast) and TBS (a wholly owned subsidiary of Turner). Whether that means the full archive will land on a network-specific video hub, on YouTube, or on O’Brien’s own Team Coco site remains to be seen, as the announcement didn’t include further details.

      • EU Parliament Adopts Controversial ‘Upload Filter’ Proposal

        In a plenary vote, the European Parliament backed a slightly amended version of the original Article 13 proposal, one that would still result in an indirect upload filter requirement for many Internet services. Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda regrets the outcome of the votes. However, the opposition’s fight is not over yet.

      • EU approves controversial Copyright Directive, including internet ‘link tax’ and ‘upload filter’

        The fallout from this decision will be far-reaching, and take a long time to settle. The directive itself still faces a final vote in January 2019 (although experts say it’s unlikely it will be rejected). After that it will need to be implemented by individual EU member states, who could very well vary significantly in how they choose to interpret the directive’s text.

      • EU adopts automatic censorship filters to thunderous applause
      • What’s in the sweeping copyright bill just passed by the European Parliament

        Today’s vote was not the end of Europe’s copyright fight. Under the European Union’s convoluted process for approving legislation, the proposal will now become the subject of a three-way negotiation involving the European Parliament, the Council of the Europe Union (representing national governments), and the European Commission (the EU’s executive branch). If those three bodies agree to a final directive, then it will be sent to each of the 28 EU member countries (or more likely 27 thanks to Brexit) for implementation in national laws.

        That means that European voters who are concerned—or excited—about this legislation still have a few more months to contact their representatives, both within their national governments and in the European Parliament.

      • Abstraction, Filtration, and Comparison in Patent Law

        This essay explores how copyright’s doctrine of abstraction, filtration, and comparison is being used in patent law, and how that use could be improved. This test, which finds its roots in the 1930′s but wasn’t fully developed until the 1990′s, is one that defines scope for determining infringement. The copyrighted work is abstracted into parts, from ideas at the highest level to literal expression at the lowest. Then, unprotected elements are filtered out. Finally what remains of the original work is compared to the accused work to determine if the copying was illicit.

        This sounds far removed from patent law, but there is a kinship, though perhaps one that is not so historic and a bit hidden. The essence of the test is determining protectable subject matter. These same needs permeate patent law as well. This essay explores how the test is implicitly used and should be explicitly used.

        With design patents, the test might apply as it does in copyright, with functional elements being filtered out during infringement. Current precedent allows for this filtering, but not clearly or consistently. With utility patents, the abstraction, filtration, and comparison happen earlier, during the test for patentable subject matter. Here, the comparison is with what is conventional or well known. The essay concludes by discussing why the application is different for design and utility patents.

Now We Have Patents on Rooms. Yes, Rooms!

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 8:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Imagine “patent-infringing” rooms

Room passage

Summary: The shallow level of what nowadays constitutes “innovation” and merits getting a patent for a couple of decades

AS we’ve noted several times earlier this year, there are a lot of pro-patent maximalism blogs and blog posts in Forbes. Some of the bloggers are literal/classic patent trolls and some are directly responsible for blackmail (piggybacking wrongly-granted — by the USPTO — patents). The person who created IBM’s and then Microsoft’s patent aggression strategy has a whole blog there and so does the head of a large patent troll that’s connected to Microsoft’s. This is just typical Forbes and considering their ownership and funding sources it is difficult to not see why they do this; such corporate media, which habitually glorifies billionaires like Bill Gates, is a disease that feeds on the false perception that it’s unbiased. Earlier this month the site celebrated Apple’s ‘watch’ (watching you!). But it was even worse; it celebrated the patent on non-stop wearable surveillance that always watches/listens. An Apple patent reveals that they even want a monopoly on this. They pursue a patent on this. Memories return of Bill Gates’ highly controversial suggestion that young pupils should wear wristbands to monitor them in the classroom. Amazon has since then patented something to that effect (but for workers, not pupils). It caused a stir some months back.

What can be even more Orwellian than surveillance patents? How about patents on a room? Yes, that’s right, there’s now a patent on a room and Christopher Elliott (Forbes) celebrated it a few weeks ago in the article “This New Hotel Room Is So Groundbreaking That They Patented It” (there’s nothing particularly innovative about it).

This is similar to a controversial patent that circulated among EPO insiders at one point (even they, the EPO‘s well-meaning examiners, were astonished that adding a window to a room was considered innovative and had “inventors” as assignees).

We live in crazy times when people claim to ‘own’ the colour of a shoe’s sole (recent high-profile controversy) and have patents on rooms.

“There’s not going to be innovation anymore,” my wife says, “they’re just going to watch other people’s back. I’m watching you, be aware!”

“I own this…”

EPO Granted a Controversial European Patent (Under Battistelli) Which May Literally Kill a Lot of People

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Access to medicines
Reference: Access to medicines

Summary: The EPO (together with CIPA) keeps promoting software patents; patents that are being granted by the EPO literally put lives at risk and have probably already cost a lot of lives

CORRUPT Battistelli is no longer at the EPO, but his abusive legacy lives on under his leader of choice, compatriot António Campinos. It may take many years if not decades to undo the chaos (assuming that the EPO even has decades left; layoffs are in motion already).

“It may take many years if not decades to undo the chaos (assuming that the EPO even has decades left; layoffs are in motion already).”As covered here on Wednesday (early morning), there’s a strong opposition to a hepatitis C patent. It’s being discussed this week at the EPO. Catherine Saez, who covered it for IP Watch yesterday, offered a good chronology of this:

The European Patent Office is expected to hold oral proceedings later this week on a challenge filed against a Gilead patent on hepatitis C treatment. Invalidation of the patent would open the way to competition and lower prices, according to civil society groups which initiated the challenge. But according to an EPO source, the company is seeking at most an amendment to the patent.

[...]

According to an EPO source, the patent application was filed by Gilead at the EPO in April 2004, and granted in June 2016 (EP 2604620). Four oppositions were filed with the EPO in March 2017: three joint oppositions from MDM, MSF and the European Public Health Alliance, and from a patent attorney.

The opponents request revocation of the patent in its entirety for reasons of non-compliance with provisions of the European Patent Convention, the source told Intellectual Property Watch, such as lack of novelty and inventive step.

Gilead requests that the patent be maintained in an amended form, the source said.

After the decision is taken by the Opposition Division, it can be appealed by any of the parties at the EPO’s Board of Appeal, according to the source. If the European patent is maintained, it can be contested in front of national jurisdictions of the European countries where the patent was validated, the source explained.

Notice that this was granted under Battistelli. The application had been sitting there for a dozen years prior to that, probably for good reasons.

“The application had been sitting there for a dozen years prior to that, probably for good reasons.”It really worries us to think that many poor people (literally poor) will die as a result of this patent. As if Battistelli hasn’t already done incredible damage to the European economy, Never mind the fact that half a dozen suicides happened under his watch and some can be attributed, according to insiders, to Battistelli himself.

Funnily enough, Team UPC, whose pressure on Battistelli contributed to these policies and thus to EPO suicides, currently pretends to be the victim.

Yesterday came this article about CIPA’s latest propaganda, which piggybacks “World Suicide Awareness Day”. To quote: “Brewster’s comments come following an IP Inclusive and CIPA survey that showed that 33 percent of patent professionals are uncomfortable, unhappy or very unhappy, with disturbing numbers confessing to thoughts of self-harm or suicide.”

“His father came from Angola, so certainly he should know the impact of the above patent on hepatitis C treatments (access to medicines).”We already responded to it last week. Dirty CIPA is pretending to be the victim. What about all those whom it is threatening? How many committed suicide over the years because of threats of lawsuits if not the lawsuits themselves? I spoke to some who faced incredible emotional distress due to that. They’re neither in law firms nor at the EPO.

Speaking of CIPA, as of yesterday the EPO was still tweeting about their joint advocacy for software patents in London; they’re still promoting this agenda with 3-4 tweets per day! It’s growing in frequency over time. It’s like Campinos totally takes the gloves off not only when it comes to layoffs but also patent scope/quality. Shame on Campinos. His father came from Angola, so certainly he should know the impact of the above patent on hepatitis C treatments (access to medicines). These people do not seem to care. They’re greedy psychopaths who surround themselves by thugs.

Links 13/9/2018: Parrot 4.2.2, Sailfish OS Nurmonjoki, Eelo Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 1:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Tips to adopt open source enterprise architecture tools

    If you’re a CTO and your head of engineering asks, “Can we say that Docker is production-ready now?” your answer would undoubtedly be: “Yes.” If you weren’t using Docker already, you would be eager to adopt the technology that now forms the basis of many companies’ application architecture.

  • Inside Alfresco’s open source faction: the Order of the Bee

    When Thomas H Lee Partners moved to acquire information management business Alfresco, many of its open source contributors inside and outside the company were concerned the new leadership might not appreciate the open DNA of the firm. Enter the Order of the Bee.

    While those fears ultimately were not realised – to the relief of Alfresco employees and the wider open source ecosystem that contributes – the faction of open source advocates with their DIY philosophy is an independent symbol of the company’s open source core.

    The Order of the Bee is a group separate to Alfresco that is concerned chiefly about the open source Community Edition and advocacy of this in the open source and wider technical community.

  • Sauce Labs coding lead: how open source contribution should work

    Sauce Labs is known for its Continuous Testing (CT) technology and the company is a devoted adherent to open source — it provides a continuous testing cloud that allows developers to verify that their web and mobile native apps work correctly across a variety of devices using the open source testing protocols Selenium and Appium.

    [...]

    As an end note here, Sauce Labs says it’s also about culture and the firm insists that contributions comes all the way from Charles Ramsay, the CEO, down.

    Murchie has said that this also highlights that open source is not just about lines of code. Every expertise that is useful within a company is also useful in the open source community.

  • Open Source Eases AT&T’s Technical Burden

    AT&T’s embrace of the open source community was echoed by Wheelus’ colleague Catherine Lefèvre, associate vice president for Network Cloud and infrastructure at AT&T Labs, who said the carrier’s work with that ecosystem is very collaborative. AT&T has been central to a number of telecom-focused open source projects housed with the Linux Foundation, including the Open Network Automation Project (ONAP), the Akraino Edge Stack project, and the Acumos artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning platform.

    “It’s not just thinking about yourself, but what needs to be developed beyond just your own needs,” Lefèvre said of working in the open source community.

  • Events

    • linuxdev-br: a Linux international conference in Brazil

      linuxdev-br second edition just happened end of last month in Campinas, Brazil. We have put a nice write-up about the conference on the link below. Soon we will start planning next year’s event. Come and join our community!

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Looking at Firefox performance 57 vs 63

        Last November we released Firefox v.57, otherwise known as Firefox Quantum. Quantum was in many ways a whole new browser with the focus on speed as compared to previous versions of Firefox.

        As I write about many topics on my blog which are typically related to my current work at Mozilla, I haven’t written about measuring or monitoring Performance in a while. Now that we are almost a year out I thought it would be nice to look at a few of the key performance tests that were important for tracking in the Quantum release and what they look like today.

        First I will look at the benchmark Speedometer which was used to track browser performance primarily of the JS engine and DOM.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Altair Introduces Open Source and Free Basic Editions for Model-Based Development Offerings

      Altair (Nasdaq: ALTR) announces the release and immediate availability of free Basic Editions of its Model-Based Development suite and its open matrix language (OML) source code. To help innovators everywhere accelerate the time-to-benefits from Model-Based Development (MBD) and to make MBD more open and accessible, Altair is taking the following steps:

      Building upon its strong reputation of providing open-architecture simulation solutions by open-sourcing its open-source computational programming language, OML. Interested users and contributors can download the source code from the OpenMatrix website.

      Introducing Basic Editions of its MBD suite of software products – Altair Compose™, Altair Activate™, and Altair Embed™ – available to everybody at no cost, with free training videos available online via Altair’s open Learning Center. There are no license fees, nor any subscription or maintenance fees.

    • GitHub Foreshadows Big Open Source Announcements at GitHub Universe
    • Ending PHP Support, and The Future Of Hack [Ed: Facebook EEE]
    • Facebook’s Last HHVM Release With PHP Support Set For December

      HHVM that started out as Facebook’s project for a high-performance PHP implementation and morphed into the basis of their Hack programming language will cease to support PHP.

      As was decided months ago, Facebook developers will be working on HHVM just for Hack and no longer for PHP compatibility. That’s being done in part since PHP7, the official PHP implementation has gotten a lot faster and Facebook has meanwhile migrated more of their internal code to be Hack-based.

    • FreeYourGIS: Open Source or Commercial GIS, or both [Ed: Promoting the fiction (FUD) that "Open Source" and "Commercial" are opposites. They should say proprietary, i.e. secret and untrustworthy.]

      I’m a big fan of open source software, including geospatial software, such as QGIS and GeoServer, and it’s not just because it can be used without paying a license fee. The best thing about open source is the community of users that share their code and support one another through shared applications, documentation, tips, and tricks. This is the same spirit that exists in the Pitney Bowes user community (Li360), ESRI’s GeoNET, and the countless other software communities of practice.

  • Funding

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Slides From The GNU Tools Cauldron 2018 Conference

      Taking place last weekend over in Manchester was the annual GNU Tools Cauldron conference where toolchain developers spent a few days discussing the latest open-source compiler work.

      Talks this year included the state of C++ modules, libgccjit for GCC JIT’ing, the state of RISC-V, using the GCC regression suite suite for LLVM, GDB, the GNU C Library, and much more. It was also at the GNU Tools Cauldron where we learned more about the AMD GCN back-end.

    • New release of FisicaLab for Windows

      Due to some problems reported by Windows users, I decide to release a new Windows installer of FisicaLab with the alternative interface using IUP. This version is the number 0.3.5.1 and you can download it here. I will add some new features before release the version 0.4.0. If you have some problem with this new installer please write me.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Is the ‘commons clause’ a threat to open source?

      There are discussions on various forums regarding this clause with conflicting views. So, I will try to give my views on this.

      Opposers of the clause believe a software becomes propriety on applying commons clause. This means that any service created from the original software remains the intellectual property of the original company to sell.

      The fear is that this would discourage the community from contributing to open-source projects with a commons clause attached since the new products made will remain with the company. Only they will be able to monetize it if they choose to do so.

      On the one hand, companies that make millions of dollars from open source software and giving anything back is not in line with the ethos of open source software. But on the other hand, smaller startups and individual contributors get penalized by this clause too.

      What if small companies contribute to a large open source project and want to use the derived product for their growth? They can’t anymore if the commons clause is applied to the project they contributed to. It is also not right to think that a contributor deserves 50% of the profits if a company makes millions of dollars using their open source project.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Bixel, An Open Source 16×16 Interactive LED Array

        The phrase “Go big or go home” is clearly not lost on [Adam Haile] and [Dan Ternes] of Maniacal Labs. For years they’ve been thinking of creating a giant LED matrix where each “pixel” doubled as a physical push button. Now that they’ve built up experience working on other LED projects, they finally decided it was time to take the plunge and create their masterpiece: the Bixel.

        [...]

        In the end, they cut the individual LEDs out of RGB strips, and soldered them down to their custom designed 500mmx500mm PCB. To the sides of each section of strip are two tactile switches, and above is a “sandwich” made of laser cut acrylic. The sheet closest to the LEDs has a 25mm hole, the top sheet has a 20mm hole, and between them is a circle of acrylic that acts as the “button”. Once it’s all screwed together, the button can’t fall out of the front or move from side to side, but it can be pushed down to contact the tactile switches.

  • Programming/Development

    • Firefox is now built with clang LTO on all* platforms

      You might have read that Mozilla recently switched Windows builds to clang-cl. More recently, those Windows builds have seen both PGO and LTO enabled.

      As of next nightly (as of writing, obviously), all tier-1 platforms are now built with clang with LTO enabled. Yes, this means Linux, Mac and Android arm, aarch64 and x86. Linux builds also have PGO enabled.

      Mac and Android builds were already using clang, so the only difference is LTO being enabled, which brought some performance improvements.

    • Firefox Is Now Built With Clang+LTO Everywhere, Sizable Performance Wins For Linux

      Firefox nightly builds are now built with the LLVM Clang compiler on all major platforms and the Linux build in particular is also now utilizing PGO optimizations too. Faster Firefox is coming thanks to this compiler work.

      All of Mozilla’s tier-one platforms are now building the newest Firefox browser code under the Clang compiler and having LTO (Link Time Optimizations) enabled. That includes Linux, Mac, Android, Windows across ARM / AArch64 / x86 relying upon this open-source compiler. For now only the Linux builds also have PGO (Profile Guided Optimizations) enabled.

    • Rust office hours

      …I’m going to start an experiment that I call Rust office hours. The idea is simple: I’ve set aside a few slots per week to help people work through problems they are having learning or using Rust. My goal here is both to be of service but also to gain more insight into the kinds of things people have trouble with. No problem is too big or too small!

    • This Week in Rust 251

      Hello and welcome to another issue of This Week in Rust! Rust is a systems language pursuing the trifecta: safety, concurrency, and speed. This is a weekly summary of its progress and community.

    • Return to Limbo

      When the time came to pack up and return to Norway I considered whether I wanted to continue writing small examples in Go and porting some of my Python modules. It didn’t feel all that comfortable or intuitive to write in Go, though I realise that it simply takes practice to gain familiarity. Despite this, it was worth taking some time to get an overview of the basics of Go for reasons that I’ll get to later.

      [...]

      As mentioned earlier, I was interested in setting up Inferno on an old netbook – an Efika MX Smartbook – and had already experimented with running the system in its hosted form on top of Debian GNU/Linux. Running hosted Inferno is a nice way to get some experience using the system and seems to be the main way it is used these days. Running the system natively requires porting it to the specific hardware in use, and I knew that I could use the existing code for U-Boot, FreeBSD and Linux as a reference at the very least. So, the task would be to take hardware-specific code for the i.MX51 platform and adapt it to use the conventions of the Inferno porting layer. Building from the ground up, there are a few ports of Inferno to other ARM devices that could be used as foundations for a new port.

    • An introduction to the Julia language, part 2

      Part 1 of this series introduced the Julia project’s goals and development process, along with the language syntax, including the basics of control flow, data types, and, in more detail, how to work with arrays. In this part, user-defined functions and the central concept of multiple dispatch are described. It will also survey Julia’s module and package system, cover some syntax features, show how to make plots, and briefly dip into macros and distributed computing.

    • Learning about Go internals at GopherCon

      GopherCon is the major conference for the Go language, attended by 1600 dedicated “gophers”, as the members of its community like to call themselves. Held for the last five years in Denver, it attracts programmers, open-source contributors, and technical managers from all over North America and the world. GopherCon’s highly-technical program is an intense mix of Go internals and programming tutorials, a few of which we will explore in this article.

      Internals talks included one on the scheduler and one on memory allocation; programming talks included why not to base your authorization strategy on hash-based message authentication codes (HMACs). But first, here’s a little about upcoming changes to Go itself.

    • How subroutine signatures work in Perl 6

      In the first article in this series comparing Perl 5 to Perl 6, we looked into some of the issues you might encounter when migrating code into Perl 6. In the second article, we examined how garbage collection works in Perl 6, and in the third article, we looked at how containers replaced references in Perl 6. Here in the fourth article, we will focus on (subroutine) signatures in Perl 6 and how they differ from those in Perl 5.

Leftovers

  • Fab Lab-enabled Humanitarian Aid in India

    Since June 2018 the state of Kerala in India has endured massive floodings, as you may have read in the news. This article contains a brief summary what the international Fab Lab Community has been doing until now (early September 2018) to help the people recovering.

  • Security

    • It’s September 2018, and Windows VMs can pwn their host servers by launching an evil app

      Admins will again be working overtime as Microsoft and Adobe have posted their monthly scheduled security updates for September.

      This month’s Patch Tuesday bundle includes critical fixes for Windows, SQL Server, and Hyper V, as well as Flash and Cold Fusion.

    • Windows Task Scheduler Micropatch Released by 0patch
    • Dell EMC VPlex GeoSynchrony Users Requested to Upgrade to v6.1 to Avoid Insecure File Permissions Vulnerability
    • Apache Struts 2.3.25 and 2.5.17 resolve Cryptojacking Exploit Vulnerability
    • TOR Browser Zero Day Vulnerability Revealed On Twitter; Patched Immediately

      A zero-day vulnerability for Tor browser was revealed yesterday on Twitter by Zerodium — a company that buys and sells exploits in software.

      [...]

      Even though NoScript is supposed to block all JavaScript at its “safest” security level, but there is a backdoor that can be exploited by attackers to suppress NoScript and run malicious codes anyway.

      However, this bug can be exploited in Tor Browser 7.x only and the recently released Tor Browser 8.x is unaffected by this bug.

    • Protecting files with fs-verity

      The developers of the Android system have, among their many goals, the wish to better protect Android devices against persistent compromise. It is bad if a device is taken over by an attacker; it’s worse if it remains compromised even after a reboot. Numerous mechanisms for ensuring the integrity of installed system files have been proposed and implemented over the years. But it seems there is always room for one more; to fill that space, the fs-verity mechanism is being proposed as a way to protect individual files from malicious modification.

      The core idea behind fs-verity is the generation of a Merkle tree containing hashes of the blocks of a file to be protected. Whenever a page of that file is read from storage, the kernel ensures that the hash of the page in question matches the hash in the tree. Checking hashes this way has a number of advantages. Opening a file is fast, since the entire contents of the file need not be hashed at open time. If only a small portion of the file is read, the kernel never has to bother reading and checking the rest. It is also possible to catch modifications made to the file after it has been opened, which will not be caught if the hash is checked at open time.

    • Strengthening user-space Spectre v2 protection

      The Spectre variant 2 vulnerability allows the speculative execution of incorrect (in an attacker-controllable way) indirect branch predictions, resulting in the ability to exfiltrate information via side channels. The kernel has been reasonably well protected against this variant since shortly after its disclosure in January. It is, however, possible for user-space processes to use Spectre v2 to attack each other; thus far, the mainline kernel has offered relatively little protection against such attacks. A recent proposal from Jiri Kosina may change that situation, but there are still some disagreements around the details.

      On relatively recent processors (or those with suitably patched microcode), the “indirect branch prediction barrier” (IBPB) operation can be used to flush the branch-prediction buffer, removing any poisoning that an attacker might have put there. Doing an IBPB whenever the kernel switches execution from one process to another would defeat most Spectre v2 attacks, but IBPB is seen as being expensive, so this does not happen. Instead, the kernel looks to see whether the incoming process has marked itself as being non-dumpable, which is typically only done by specialized processes that want to prevent secrets from showing up in core dumps. In such cases, the process is deemed to be worth protecting and the IBPB is performed.

      Kosina notes that only a “negligible minority” of the code running on Linux systems marks itself as non-dumpable, so user space on Linux systems is essentially unprotected against Spectre v2. The solution he proposes is to use IBPB more often. In particular, the new code checks whether the outgoing process would be able to call ptrace() on the incoming process. If so, the new process can keep no secrets from the old one in any case, so there is no point in executing an IBPB operation. In cases where ptrace() would not succeed, though, the IBPB will happen.

    • Life behind the tinfoil curtain

      Security and convenience rarely go hand-in-hand, but if your job (or life) requires extraordinary care against potentially targeted attacks, the security side of that tradeoff may win out. If so, running a system like Qubes OS on your desktop or CopperheadOS on your phone might make sense, which is just what Konstantin Ryabitsev, Linux Foundation (LF) director of IT security, has done. He reported on the experience in a talk [YouTube video] entitled “Life Behind the Tinfoil Curtain” at the 2018 Linux Security Summit North America.

      He described himself as a “professional Russian hacker” from before it became popular, he said with a chuckle. He started running Linux on the desktop in 1998 (perhaps on Corel Linux, which he does not think particularly highly of) and has been a member of the LF staff since 2011. He has been running Qubes OS on his main workstation since August 2016 and CopperheadOS since September 2017. He stopped running CopperheadOS in June 2018 due to the upheaval at the company, but he hopes to go back to it at some point—”maybe”.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • 4 Practical Measures to Improve Election Security Now

      It’s more critical than ever for states to protect our democratic system and voting infrastructure from foreign cyber espionage.

      In the past, a midterm election season would pass without much fanfare. These have been torpid affairs with low voter turnout and few big-ticket issues, which historically has meant incumbents rather predictably hold their seats.

      If midterms made for few headlines then, they’re making up for it now. At the recent Black Hat and DEF CON conferences, election security was a foremost concern.

      I was able to visit the DEF CON Voting Village, where actual voting machines were being hacked. But more importantly, there were independent experts and state government voting officials that you could talk to about the voting process.

    • Injecting chaos experiments into security log pipelines

      Security teams depend on high-quality logs for most preventative security efforts. Preventing an incident from occurring requires observable insight into where the failure might come from, and logs are one important source for such insights. When an incident occurs, organizations must be able to respond and contain them as quickly as possible. Logs are not only essential to find the source of a problem, but they also help identify appropriate countermeasures.

      But what happens when an organization doesn’t have the right log data? When an unknown or unforeseeable event occurs, how can we gain insights into why we didn’t see it coming?

      Consider this scenario: You go to work as a security incident response engineer one fine Monday morning. As soon as you walk into your office, you are informed that the HR department has suddenly lost access to the content, which includes some highly sensitive data, on their shared network drives. Further examination shows that all of the files and directories on the drive have been renamed to .exe. At this point, you are almost certain that it is the result of some kind of a malware and you have a security incident on your hands.

    • Top 10 Ubuntu Network Tools

      Ubuntu is the most popular choice for underlying Operating System due to its ease of use and powerful shell system. Due to more and more network access needed in most of the distributed applications today, the restrictions which need to be applied for network access and monitoring has only increased. In this lesson, we will study the ten most popular Network Tools for Ubuntu OS which can be used to monitor network usage with visualization as well.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • 1953: The CIA and Iran’s stolen democracy

      Almost 65 years ago, the CIA overthrew Iran’s first democratically elected prime minister, Mohammed Mossadegh. Recently the U.S. State Department published documents showing the full extent of U.S. involvement in the coup. By Thomas Latschan

    • CIA Likely to Launch Drone Strikes in Libya – Report

      These attacks are in addition to the strikes expected to be launched by the U.S. military against Sahel militants from new facilities being built by the U.S. Air Force in Agadez in central Niger. This news comes after word that the U.S. Air Force is months away from completing the construction of an air base in Niger for armed drones that will target militant groups operating in the region.

    • How a C.I.A. drone base grew in the African desert
    • Militarized Drones Take Africa in Counterterrorism Tactic: CIA

      Reports said the U.S. presence in the region has grown from 100 military personnel to 800 people.

      The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s drone program in Africa is expanding and will target concentrations of al-Qaeda and ISIS in the Nigerian desert, the New York Times said Monday.

    • US threatens to arrest ICC judges who probe war crimes

      The United States threatened Monday to arrest and sanction judges and other officials of the International Criminal Court if it moves to charge any American who served in Afghanistan with war crimes.

      White House National Security Advisor John Bolton called the Hague-based rights body “unaccountable” and “outright dangerous” to the United States, Israel and other allies, and said any probe of US service members would be “an utterly unfounded, unjustifiable investigation.”

      “If the court comes after us, Israel or other US allies, we will not sit quietly,” Bolton said.

    • A Trumpian War on Terror That Just Keeps Getting Bigger

      On August 29, U.S. forces carried out their 21st confirmed air strike in Somalia this year. The short U.S. Africa Command (Africom) press release announcing the strike on al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda–linked insurgency that has sought to implement a hard-line Islamic state in Somalia, resembled those that had come before it: It did not specify the kind of aircraft used, the exact location of the strike, or the identities of those killed. As with past press statements, this one also claimed that no civilians had been killed or injured in the strike.

      Though America’s drone war in Somalia has been shrouded in secrecy, in the past year and a half the number of American air strikes in Somalia have notably increased. According to multiple foreign analysts, Somali officials, and several al-Shabaab defectors, these strikes have become one of the most effective tools in confronting the group. The air campaign has hindered al-Shabaab’s ability to communicate, sown widespread mistrust among its members, and restricted its leaders’ mobility.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Belongings of missing WikiLeaks associate Kamphuis found in Norway: police

      Norwegian police have found belongings of missing WikiLeaks associate Arjen Kamphuis at sea in northern Norway more than three weeks after he disappeared.

      [...]

      WikiLeaks was launched in 2006 as a web-based outlet for would-be leakers. In July 2010, it released more than 90,000 classified U.S. military documents on the war in Afghanistan and before publishing 400,000 more secret U.S. files on the Iraq war. The two leaks represented the largest security breaches of their kind in U.S. military history.

      It followed these up with the release of 250,000 secret diplomatic cables from U.S. embassies around the world, angering U.S. politicians and military officials, who said the unauthorized dissemination would put lives at risk.

      The discovery of Kamphuis’ belongings was being investigated and the police are asking the public for any information about his movements in the area.

      Investigators searched the area with assistance from local Red Cross and a rescue vessel.

    • Arjen Kamphuis: Belongings of missing WikiLeaks associate found in sea off Norway

      The personal belongings of a WikiLeaks associate who has been missing for three weeks have been found at sea.

      Arjen Kamphuis left his hotel in Bodoe, Norway, where he was on holiday, on 20 August and has not been seen since.

      His belongings were found by a fisherman on 11 September, in an area east of the town.

      Police and the Red Cross are now searching the area where the belongings were found with a rescue vessel.

    • Missing WikiLeaks associate’s belongings found in Norway fjord
    • Belongings of missing WikiLeaks associate Kamphuis found in Norway – police

      The Dutch cybersecurity expert has been missing since Aug. 20, when he left his hotel in the northern Norwegian town of Bodoe, where he had been on holiday. The belongings were found by a man out fishing on Tuesday in an area to the east of Bodoe.

    • Missing WikiLeaks associate Arjen Kamphuis’ belongings found in sea – three weeks after he disappeared

      Kamphuis, 47, from Amsterdam, has not been seen since August 20 after leaving his hotel in Norway to reportedly go hiking.

      The Dutch cybersecurity expert had been on holiday in the northern Norwegian town of Bodoe but checked out of his hotel on the day he went missing.

      Police believe he then caught a train to Rognan more than 50 miles away.

      The discovery was made by a fisherman on Tuesday who found the items floating in the sea near the shoreline in an area to the east of Bodoe.

    • Belongings of missing WikiLeaks associate found by fisherman in Norway

      Norwegian police have found the belongings of Julian Assange’s associate, cyber security expert Arjen Kamphuis, who mysteriously went missing in late August.

      The 47-year-old co-author of a handbook for investigative journalists on how to keep themselves and their work safe from government spying, has been missing since August 20. At that time, Kamphuis checked out of a hotel in the town of Bodo in northern Norway and hasn’t been seen since.

    • Fisherman Finds Assets of Assange’s Missing Associate off Norway Coast – Reports

      Kamphuis was last seen checking out of a hotel in the northern Norwegian town of Bodo on August 20. Police believe that he could have taken a train to the town of Rognan. This comes as the only development in the ongoing two-week investigation into the missing cybersecurity expert.

      On Tuesday night, a Norwegian fisherman found the personal belongings of Arjen Kamphuis, WikiLeaks founder Assange’s associate, who went missing three weeks ago. They were found in the sea between the towns of Fauske and Rognan in Nordland county, the local newspaper VG reported on Wednesday.

      Officials didn’t reveal what belongings had been found for the sake of the ongoing investigation. But police suggested that Kamphuis, who was last seen in the northern city of Bodo on August 20, took a local train to Rognan that day, departing at 16:05 and arriving at 17:29.

    • Belongings of missing associate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are found in the sea off of Norway

      Investigators searched the area with assistance from local Red Cross and a rescue vessel.

    • Items of missing WikiLeaks man found
    • Items of missing WikiLeaks man found near Norway
    • Missing WikiLeaks associate’s items found in Norway fjord

      A fisherman found the objects floating in the water late yesterday, said police in a statement, confirming that the items “belong to the missing person”, but providing no details about them due to the ongoing investigation.

    • Missing WikiLeaks associate’s belongings found in Norway fjord

      The objects were found near Kvaenflaget, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) east of Bodo, in the waters of a fjord. Police and emergency crews have now begun searching the water and land in the area.

    • WikiLeaks Associate Kamphuis’ Belongings Found Floating in Sea, Sparking Homicide Fears

      BODØ, NORWAY — The belongings of Arjen Kamphuis, a Dutch cybersecurity expert closely associated with the transparency organization WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, have been found in Norway, sparking fears that Kamphuis was the victim of a criminal act.

      Kamphuis’ belongings were found on Tuesday floating in the sea east of the Norwegian town of Bodø, where Kamphuis was last seen on August 20 by a local fisherman.

      The discovery is the first concrete lead in an intensive, weeks-long search that was conducted in part by Norway’s elite missing-persons and organized-crime unit, Kripos.

    • Greg O’Connor to accept petition asking New Zealand to give Julian Assange asylum

      A support group campaigning for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to get political asylum New Zealand will present a petition to Parliament.

      MP Greg O’Connor will receive the petition from Free Assange NZ at Parliament due to a request from a constituent in his electorate Ohariu.

  • Finance

    • History’s solutions to runaway inequality: warfare, revolution, state collapse and plague

      In Walter Scheidel’s new book The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century, the Stanford classics prof traces the rise and fall of inequality from humanity’s history, showing how over time, the rich get richer and richer, creating an ever-more-unstable situation, until, basically, the world melts down or the people start building guillotines on their doorsteps.

    • Can inequality only be fixed by war, revolution or plague?

      So are liberal democracies doomed to a repeat of the pattern that saw the gilded age give way to a breakdown of society? Or can they legislate a way out of the ominous cycle of brutal inequality and potential violence?

    • Bitmain, Goldcoins and Delphy Under Censorship: WeChat Limits Crypto Accounts Again

      The Messenger WeChat continues to block accounts related to cryptocurrency. If in August these were media accounts, this time the messenger decided to ban Bitmain and crypto analysts Goldcoins and Delphy.

      The official sales account of Bitmain (WeChat ID: antminersale) was limited for using on September 10, when searching for this page, a statement appeared proving the inconsistency of publications with the rules of the messenger.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Facebook has empowered a conservative magazine to suppress liberal viewpoints.
    • Judge Says Trump ‘Witch Hunt’ Tweets Can’t Beat DOJ’s Glomar Response On FBI Investigation Documents

      A federal court has decided public statements — including a handful of tweets — from President Trump aren’t enough to undercut the DOJ’s Glomar response about the existence of investigation documents. The James Madison Project, along with journalist Josh Gerstein, have been seeking documents confirming (or denying) President Trump himself has been or is currently the target of a DOJ investigation. (h/t Mike Scarcella)

      The DOJ has refused to answer the question or provide documents asserting anything one way or the other. Instead, it has told the plaintiffs it can neither confirm nor deny these documents exist. The DOJ is using FOIA Exemption 7(a) to support its Glomar, which covers documents whose release could “reasonably be expected to interfere with law enforcement proceedings.”

      One would think the use of any FOIA exemption would indicate sought documents exist. But the DOJ continues to insist it can’t even verify the existence (or nonexistence) of these documents without undermining an investigation it is or isn’t engaged in.

    • Shedding Some Light on Dark Money Political Donors

      On Wednesday we added details to our FEC Itemizer database on nearly $763 million in contributions to the political nonprofit organizations — also known as 501(c)(4) groups — that have spent the most money on federal elections during the past eight years. The data is courtesy of Issue One, a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization that is dedicated to political reform and government ethics.

      These contributions often are called “dark money” because political nonprofits are not required to disclose their donors and can spend money supporting or opposing political candidates. By using government records and other publicly available sources, Issue One has compiled the most comprehensive accounting of such contributions to date.

      To compile the data, Issue One identified the 15 political nonprofits that reported spending the most money in federal elections since the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC in early 2010. It then found contributions using corporate filings, nonprofit reports and documents from the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor and Federal Election Commission. One of the top-spending political nonprofits, the National Association of Realtors, is almost entirely funded by its membership and has no records in this data.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Valve Clears Up Nothing With Its Latest Explanation Of What Games It Will Ban As ‘Troll Games’

      You will recall that several months back, Valve released a statement outlining what it considered to be sweeping changes to its game curation duties. While the company made a great deal of forthcoming tools on the Steam store for filtering game searches, pretty much everyone focused on the platform’s claim that it would no longer keep any game off its platform unless it was “illegal or a troll game.” That, of course, still left all kinds of ambiguity as to what is and is not allowed on the platform and it provided a wide avenue through which Steam could still drive its oversight truck. This led to our having a podcast discussion in which I pointed out repeatedly that this was every bit as opaque a policy as the one that proceeded it, which was followed by the real-world example of developers across the spectrum pointing out that they in fact had no idea what the policy actually meant. In other words, the whole thing has generally been an unproductive mess.

      A mess which Valve tried to clean up this past week in an extensive blog post on its site which attempted to define what it meant by “troll games.” As the folks at Ars point out, this attempt at clarity is anything but. Much of what Valve lays out as “troll games” makes sense: scam games that work Steam’s inventory system, or try to manipulate developer Steam keys, or games that are simply broken due to a lack of seriousness on the part of the developer. But then it also said the definition included what most people thought of in the original announcement: games that “just try to incite and sow discord.”

    • Letter: Censorship ‘boils my blood’
    • Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy?
    • We won’t find out if Mark Zuckerberg can fix Facebook by asking him

      Can Mark Zuckerberg fix Facebook before it breaks democracy? That’s the headline on Evan Osnos’ 14,000-word profile of the Facebook CEO, after two years’ worth of scandals, in the New Yorker. That question is maybe unanswerable — what would it mean to fix Facebook, or democracy? — but the article does a better-than-average job at exploring its contours.

    • Facebook punishes liberal news site after fact check by right-wing site

      The article in question, published by ThinkProgress, was titled, “Brett Kavanaugh said he would kill Roe v. Wade last week and almost no one noticed.” While Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh didn’t literally say that he would vote to overturn the abortion ruling from 1973, ThinkProgress writer Ian Millhiser made a reasonable argument that Judge Kavanaugh’s statements show that he believes Roe v. Wade was decided incorrectly.

    • Brett Kavanaugh said he would kill Roe v. Wade last week and almost no one noticed [Ed: The article in question]
    • ThinkProgress Accuses Facebook of Censorship After Conservative Factchecker Correctly Points Out an Error

      But the claim made by the article’s headline—”Brett Kavanaugh said he would kill Roe v. Wade last week and almost no one noticed”—is at the very least quite misleading.

      ThinkProgress is a left-of-center news site published by the Center for American Progress. Its writers have previously expressed concerns that Facebook would award an explicitly conservative media outlet factchecker status, a privilege enjoyed by just four other organizations: the Associated Press, Factcheck.org, Politifact, and Snopes.com. Articles tagged as false will lose “80 percent of future traffic,” according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and thus the stakes are indeed quite high for media organizations.

    • Facebook’s idea of ‘fact-checking’: Censoring ThinkProgress because conservative site told them to

      Last year, Facebook announced that it would partner with The Weekly Standard, a conservative magazine, to “fact check” news articles that are shared on Facebook. At the time, ThinkProgress expressed alarm at this decision.

      The Weekly Standard has a history of placing right-wing ideology before accurate reporting. Among other things, it labeled the Iraq War “A War to Be Proud Of” in 2005, and it ran an article in 2017 labeling climate science “Dadaist Science,” and promoted that article with the phrase “look under the hood on climate change ‘science’ and what you see isn’t pretty.”

    • The Way Forward: Bypassing Big Tech Censorship

      Obviously, corporate silencing of dissent is not the only troubling element of the Big Tech giants. At the top of concerns for users is privacy. And with new scandals about abuses of privacy emerging on a continual basis, a growing number of people are voting with their digital devices and using alternatives. In late July, Facebook lost $120 billion in value in one day — about 20 percent of the company’s market capitalization — setting a new record in stock-market history. And that incredible sell-off was caused, in part at least, by “reduced use,” with users spending less time on the platform and user growth slowing dramatically. In early 2018, Facebook announced its first-ever decline in daily U.S. users. With the company making a deliberate decision to purge conservatives, there may be more downside still to come.

    • Google Fights Global Expansion Of EU’s ‘Right To Be Forgotten’ Law

      Google is fighting back against an expansion of the European Union’s “Right to Be Forgotten” law, and on Tuesday, the EU’s executive arm joined it.

      The EU’s “Right to Be Forgotten” rule says that citizens have the right to have “inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive” links about themselves removed from EU search results. In practice, that includes embarrassing information.

      In the European Court of Justice Tuesday, France’s privacy regulator argued that the information should also be removed in global searches. It said by not doing so, Google isn’t respecting citizens’ right to privacy.

      But the European Commission and countries including Ireland and Greece say that would extend privacy protection laws beyond their original scope.

    • Google is fighting a big, messy battle over whether expanding the ‘right to be forgotten’ amounts to censorship

      Most people outside Europe don’t know much about the digital “right to be forgotten,” the idea that private citizens can ask search engines to scrub certain results about them.

      It’s a comparatively new idea, but a landmark ruling in 2014 from the European Court of Justice set the initial parameters of how it might apply. That ruling said search engines like Google could be forced to delete results.

      That ruling is at the center of a thorny battle between Google and France’s data-protection agency, CNIL, which is arguing that the right to be forgotten should apply to search-engine results globally, not just within the EU.

      According to CNIL’s complaint, Google does delete, or “delist,” some results from private citizens when requested. But its main bone of contention is that Google isn’t delisting the results everywhere. Some delisted information, CNIL said, was still visible on non-EU versions of Google.

    • Activists warn about ‘right to be forgotten’ being transformed into censorship

      The “right to be forgotten” or stopping certain web search results from appearing under searches for people’s names is once again up for scrutiny. Some free speech organisations are warning that the right to be forgotten may be in danger of being transformed into a tool of global censorship.

      As reported by The Guardian, a new test case at the European court of justice (ECJ) is looking to extend the power of the right to be forgotten, universally. This means, this would permit even national regulators to hide articles, which they feel are unacceptable. Further, in this case, the information could be removed not only from the national cyberspace, but also from global domains and from those of other countries.

    • Free speech concerns over possible extension of ‘right to be forgotten’ online

      Free speech could be under threat if the so-called “right to be forgotten” concept is rolled out globally, a human rights organisation has warned.

      Article 19, a British-led group of non-governmental organisations, is concerned that countries such as China, Russia and Saudi Arabia would have greater power in censoring information on the internet, if France is granted permission to force Google to de-list content on all the search engine’s domains.

      At present, the right to be forgotten allows European citizens to demand any results about them considered “inadequate, irrelevant or… excessive” to be removed, if the search is carried out in an EU country – even though the web page would still exist, it would be impossible to find on a search engine.

      France’s data regulator, the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertes (CNIL), is now asking the European Court of Justice to clarify whether the ability to de-list links should go beyond google.fr, the French site of Google, extending to all versions across the world.

    • Google case set to examine if EU data rules extend globally

      Google is going to Europe’s top court in its legal fight against an order requiring it to extend “right to be forgotten” rules to its search engines globally.

      The technology giant is set for a showdown at the European Union Court of Justice in Luxembourg on Tuesday with France’s data privacy regulator over an order to remove search results worldwide upon request.

    • Expanding Right To Be Forgotten slippery slope to global censorship, warn free speech fans

      Europe’s top court will tomorrow hear a case that could extend the scope of right to be forgotten rules globally – which free speech campaigners warn would amount to mass online censorship.

      The French data protection agency (CNIL) is pushing to broaden a landmark 2014 ruling (Google Spain v Gonzalez et al) that said Google could – in certain circumstances – be forced to delete search results.

      The CNIL is arguing that any such ruling should apply globally – rather than in the country where the request was made.

      Free speech campaigners counter that allowing this to happen would effectively grant European regulators the power to censor the world’s internet.

    • How to Use ‘Right to be Forgotten’ as a Censorship Tool

      A French data regulator is asking for more powers to remove out-of-date or embarrassing content from the web. This effectively turns the ‘right to be forgotten’ rule into a censorship tool.

    • Fake News Making Democracies Increasingly Vulnerable But Censorship is Not the Answer, Says US Expert

      Democracies worldwide, including India, are getting increasingly vulnerable to manipulations, and disinformation and more effective means must be put in place to check fake news but that does not mean that nations resort to censorship, says US expert Geysha Gozalez.

      Geysha Gonzalez, deputy director for the Eurasia centre at the Atlantic council, speaking to News18, in Lucknow said fact checking is a must to combat the disinformation in present scenario.

    • Censorship Spider Webs: The Curious Case Of Lebanese Cinema

      There are other endless similar anecdotes of movie parts that were censored because they were either deemed offensive to religion (mainly Islam and Christianity) as in the case of The Da Vinci Code, or because they contained sexually explicit material, or because they singled-out a certain political party.

      The reason behind such strict measures is due to the complex nature of the social and political Lebanese fabric, in addition to the confusion surrounding Lebanese identity as Lina Khatib points out.

      Such a fragile composition is mainly dominated by sectarian politics which were enforced following the Lebanese independence from France in 1943. By recognizing the multi-religious identity of Lebanon, politics and religion intermixed to produce a sectarian political system that cost the country a fifteen-year civil war between 1975 and 1990.

    • A Louisiana Mayor’s Ban of Nike Products Violates the First Amendment

      The city of Kenner’s policy of preventing booster clubs from buying or accepting delivery of Nike products is unconstitutional.

      The mayor of Kenner, Louisiana, doesn’t seem to like Colin Kaepernick much. He also doesn’t seem too happy that the sports merchandise juggernaut Nike made Kaepernick the face of its new “Dream Crazy” campaign. But instead of simply expressing his personal opinion, he’s trying to use the power of his public office to prevent others from expressing their support for Colin Kaepernick.

      And that’s unconstitutional.

      On Sept. 5, Kenner Mayor E. “Ben” Zahn III issued a memorandum prohibiting private booster clubs operating at Kenner recreation facilities from buying or accepting delivery of any product with the company’s famous swoosh symbol. “Under no circumstances,” the memo reads, “will any Nike product or any product with the Nike logo be purchased for use or delivery at any City of Kenner Recreation Facility.” Under the new policy, the city’s director of parks and recreational must approve any athletic product or apparel before a booster club can purchase them.

    • Burlington High School guidance counselor faces licensing charges
    • Agency of Education charges Burlington guidance director with unprofessional conduct
    • Investigator: ‘Unprofessional’ Burlington High School Guidance Director Faked Transcript
    • Agency urges suspension of BHS guidance director
    • Burlington High censorship could test Vermont’s ‘New Voices’ law

      The editors of the Burlington High School newspaper, the BHS Register, say they have reached out to a legal nonprofit after being told to take down a story about a series licensing charges against Mario Macias, the director of the school’s guidance department.

      The interaction may test the state’s New Voices law, signed into law by Gov. Phil Scott in May 2017, which restricts prior restraint of high school publications and protects advisors and journalists from being disciplined over the publication of sensitive stories.

      Student editors Julia Shannon-Grillo, Halle Newman, Nataleigh Noble and Jenna Peterson broke the story Monday night after receiving an anonymous tip (the reporting has since been confirmed by VTDigger and other media outlets).

    • Facebook’s New “Rosetta” AI Can Spot Offensive Images And Videos

      Pictures and videos are an integral part of any social network, but these media mediums also turn out to be the chief perpetrators of fake news and hate speech. To minimize the impact of such harmful media, companies like Facebook use automated tools.

      In a recent blog post, Facebook has described a new machine learning-powered system that can identify text in videos and images, and transcribe the text into a machine-readable format.

    • Battlefield V Bizarre Beta Chat Censorship Is Confirmed

      With the Battlefield V open beta being released for a few days now, I think it’s fairly safe to say that, being diplomatic, opinions are mixed. While some have praised its polish and presentation, other have been exceptionally critical of the Call of Duty style play the game (and series in general) has clearly begun to orientate towards.

      One of the more strange claims though was that the in-game chat censor had some very unusual inclusions. Well, following a number of reports (and me checking myself) I can confirm that these rumours are 100% true!

    • EA acknowledges concerns over Battlefield V chat censorship, claiming it’s a “work-in-progress”
    • EA responds to Battlefield V beta chat filter that censors “white man,” DLC,” and “lag”
    • Twitter Accused of Censorship After Tagging Phrase ‘Illegal Alien’ as ‘Hateful’
    • Twitter Rejects Center for Immigration Studies Ads Critical of Illegal Immigration for ‘Hateful Content’
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Windows 10 Will Automatically Upload Rarely Used Files To OneDrive

      Windows 10’s new update Redstone 5 which is set to be released in October will change the way how files are managed and cleaned to free up the storage.

    • ‘The next billion users’: Google targets India’s lucrative mobile market

      As mobile markets in developed world near saturation, Google rolls out Neighbourly, its first Indian-inspired social network

    • Apple to create portal for law enforcement data requests

      The technology company said it will also create a team to train law enforcement regarding digital evidence as well as offer online training to authorities on how to submit requests through the portal, according to a letter sent to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) by the company that was provided to The Hill.

      Apple has previously handled such requests over email.

    • Nearly half of U.S. homes will have a smart speaker by year’s end, Adobe says

      Voice assistants, in the form of smart speakers such as Amazon.com’s AMZN, +2.48% Echo, Alphabet’s GOOGL, +1.27% GOOG, +1.09% Google Home and Apple’s AAPL, +2.53% HomePod, are now in 32% of homes, up from 28% in January, according to the report by Adobe Analytics, a unit of Adobe Systems Inc. ADBE, +0.61% . And that’s before the holiday shopping season, when analysts expect 79% of smart speakers to be sold this year. The report predicts 48% of households will have a smart speaker by the end of 2018.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Ron Wyden says Brett Kavanaugh appears to have lied in 2006 testimony

      Sen. Ron Wyden said Thursday that it appears Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh lied to Congress in 2006 when he testified about when he learned of a post-9/11 surveillance program.

      The Oregon Democrat said in an emailed statement to the Washington Examiner that documents published by the New York Times appear to contradict Kavanaugh’s testimony.

      “Yes, the documents made public this week strongly suggest Brett Kavanaugh was involved in discussions about the Bush administration’s illegal warrantless wiretapping programs, and that he misled the American people in his 2006 testimony,” Wyden said.

      “That kind of deception is unacceptable for someone who seeks a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land,” said Wyden, a prominent critic of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.

      Kavanaugh testified during his 2006 confirmation hearing to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that he learned about “the president’s NSA warrantless wiretapping program” when he read a December 2005 article in the New York Times.

    • China BURNING bibles and closing churches in Communist Party censorship purge

      Video footage, captured in the Henan province of central China, shows crosses and bibles being thrown onto a large fire.

      A Chinese pastor in the city of Nanyang confirmed there was a raid on September 5.

      The crackdown on the Christian faith comes as part of a government initiative to “sinicize” religion by demanding loyalty to the atheist Communist Party.

      This way, President Xi Jinping could be able to remove the political threat of religion posed to the party’s authority.

    • China restricts online coverage of burning incense and praying in religious crackdown

      Chinese authorities have drafted sweeping new regulations that would severely restrict religious content online, including images or even descriptions of religious activities from praying and chanting to burning incense.

    • China is reportedly burning bibles and making Christians renounce their faith to ensure total loyalty to the Communist Party

      China’s government is ratcheting up a crackdown on Christian congregations in Beijing and several provinces, destroying crosses, burning bibles, shutting churches and ordering followers to sign papers renouncing their faith, according to pastors and a group that monitors religion in China.

      The campaign corresponds with a drive to “Sinicize” religion by demanding loyalty to the officially atheist Communist Party and eliminating any challenge to its power over people’s lives.

    • A Missouri Town Will Finally Stop Banishing Residents for Reporting Domestic Violence

      In a sweeping settlement, the city of Maplewood has agreed to overhaul an ordinance that discourages crime victims from coming forward.

      In cities across America, calling 911 can get you evicted. This week, a city less than 10 miles outside of St. Louis agreed to stop enforcing this inhumane policy as part of an extensive settlement.

      Last year, we filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Rosetta Watson, a domestic violence survivor who was kicked out of her home and city because she called the police. Under a local ordinance in Maplewood, Missouri, anyone making more than two calls to the police for domestic violence was designated a “nuisance,” with no exception for victims. Ms. Watson called the police four times, when her ex-boyfriend kicked in her front door, punched her, and strangled her. Based on those calls, Maplewood revoked her occupancy permit, and she was banished from living in Maplewood for six months. For years afterwards, she struggled with fear of her abuser, distrust of law enforcement, and the inability to keep a stable home.

      On Tuesday, the Maplewood City Council approved an agreement settling the lawsuit, which includes a major overhaul of the law and compensation for Ms. Watson. Under the settlement, Maplewood will no longer enforce the ordinance against victims of crime or penalize residents based on calls for police or emergency services. The city also will train its officials on how to support victims of crime and provide records annually to the ACLU about how it is enforcing the ordinance overall.

    • Is China Cracking Down on Christianity? Officials Are Burning Bibles and Destroying Crucifixes as Religious Freedoms Sink

      A religious monitoring group added to the growing criticism that the Chinese authorities were cracking down on Christianity. The U.S.-based group China Aid said the government in Beijing was guilty of a “blatant violation of freedom of religion and belief,” The Associated Press reported.

      A Christian pastor in the city of Nanyang told the agency how in September authorities raided his church and burned bibles, crosses and furniture. But this has been disputed by a local official, who told the AP that the authorities respected religious freedoms.

      But on Sunday, they shut down one of Beijing’s largest unofficial Protestant churches after declaring that gatherings at the Zion Church were illegal. The church’s pastor, Ezra Jin Mingri, told Reuters: “I fear that there is no way for us to resolve this issue with the authorities.”

    • China Tightens Screws On Religion, Restricts Religious Content Online

      Chinese authorities have drafted sweeping new regulations that would severely restrict religious content online, including images or even descriptions of religious activities from praying and chanting to burning incense.

      The move comes as Beijing tightens the screws on religion, especially for followers of Islam and Christianity.

      The new rules would only allow members of officially licensed organisations to post certain kinds of religious content, according to a draft document published online Monday by the bureau of religious affairs.

      Individuals would be forbidden from posting photos, videos and even text related to religious activities, or sharing links related to preaching.

    • Outing the CIA’s Alfreda Bikowsky: An excerpt from “The Watchdogs Didn’t Bark”

      On Sept. 8, 2011, a representative of the Central Intelligence Agency sent a message to our joint work email account. We did not expect the CIA to be thrilled that we wanted to tell the story of their pre-9/11 failures, revealing names of employees working from their headquarters in the process, but we certainly did not expect to be threatened.

    • Senate Fails to Address Vital Questions During Examination of Supreme Court Nominee

      The Senate Judiciary Committee is charged with scrutinizing whether U.S. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Trump should be confirmed. Three days of lengthy hearings, however, failed to meaningfully address crucial questions about how old law designed for analog situations might apply to our digital age. It would be premature for Congress to vote on any confirmation before a record of the judge’s views on new technologies and markets is thoroughly developed.

      It would be premature for Congress to vote on any confirmation before a record of the judge’s views on new technologies and markets is thoroughly developed.

      This summer, we published a detailed list of suggestions for questions the Senate should ask Judge Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings. We recommended that Senators explore the nominee’s views of mass surveillance and law enforcement access to digital information, net neutrality and innovation (spanning both patent and copyright law), and competition and antitrust law.

      But after three days of hearings, the Senate process yielded only breadcrumbs as answers to the questions we identified as crucial for assessing how Judge Kavanaugh might rule in cases impacting your rights online.

    • It’s Time to Close a Loophole in the Constitution’s Double Jeopardy Rule

      State and federal prosecutors should not be permitted to prosecute someone twice for the same offense.

      The Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment states that no one can be tried more than once for the same crime. The clause is designed to protect people from the danger of multiple prosecutions by overzealous prosecutors. Yet, since 1922, the Supreme Court has undermined this clause with an exception that allows state and federal prosecutors to bring separate charges for the same alleged crime. As a result, people can be prosecuted twice for the same offense — so long as the prosecutors are from separate “sovereigns.”

      This “dual-sovereignty” loophole should be closed. On Tuesday, the ACLU and ACLU of Alabama, alongside the Cato Institute and the Constitutional Accountability Center, filed an amicus brief in Gamble v. United States urging the Supreme Court to end the exception for good. The case involves Terance Gamble, who was convicted in 2016 by a federal court for weapons possession when he had already been tried and convicted in Alabama state court for the same exact crime. The federal conviction added years to his prison term.

      For nearly a century, the Supreme Court has operated under the questionable logic that having state and federal prosecutors bring the same case against the same person for the same offense in two different jurisdictions somehow makes it permissible.

    • Bolton’s Attack On International Criminal Court Was Hostile Expression Of Bipartisan Consensus In US Government

      John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, renewed his vendetta against the International Criminal Court. A longtime opponent, Bolton claimed the Trump administration would not offer any assistance to the ICC nor would officials cooperate with the ICC.

      The proclamation stemmed from the possibility that the ICC might investigate war crimes by United States military and coalition forces in Afghanistan, as well as crimes committed by the Afghan military and the Taliban.

      Bolton threatened to ban the ICC’s “judges and prosecutors from entering the United States,” “sanction their funds in the U.S. financial system,” and “prosecute them in the U.S. criminal system.” Even companies or countries that assist ICC investigations of Americans would face the ire of the administration.

      Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU’s Human Rights Program, noted this could have implications for investigations into CIA torture at black sites in Lithuania, Romania, and Poland.

      “They are sending this threat to anyone, virtually anyone who would be an a position to assist the ICC,” Dakwar said. “Does that include lawyers? Does that include individuals, organizations here in the United States? Lawyers who represented torture victims, including us at the ACLU? Where does that go? What is it that the Trump administration wants to do?”

      This is critically important. However, there were several liberals, including notorious #Resistance grifters, who reacted as if Trump was launching an attack on another pillar of justice and the law without acknowledging how the U.S. has never really supported the ICC.

    • D.C.-Based Pro-Israel Group Secretly Ran Misleading Facebook Ads to Target Pro-Palestinian Activist

      In 2016, as Palestinian-American poet Remi Kanazi performed at college campuses around the United States, his appearances seemed to spark student protests.

      Before his visit to John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, a page called “John Jay Students Against Hate” appeared on Facebook with Kanazi’s face next to a uniformed cop, painting Kanazi as anti-police. When Kanazi crossed the country a few days later to visit San Jose State, a nearly-identical Facebook page popped up, this one called “SJSU Students Against Hate,” with Kanazi’s face superimposed over an image of military graves. Paid Facebook campaigns promoted both pages.

      Despite their names, the Facebook campaigns were run by professional Washington D.C. political operatives who work for a group called the Israel on Campus Coalition, according to promotional materials obtained by ProPublica and the Forward.

    • Note to the Next Mayor: Chicago Is a City of the World, But We Want the Neighborhoods Fixed, Too

      Chicago police Officer Ray Tracy opened the September community meeting for police beats 815 and 821 the way he does every month, by going over the good news and bad news in the area’s recent crime statistics.

      Tracy noted that crime in the two beats, which make up much of the Archer Heights and Brighton Park neighborhoods on the city’s Southwest Side, remains relatively low.

      But the totals had ticked up in a number of areas, Tracy told the 20 residents gathered in a Catholic school classroom, many sitting in kid-size chairs. Several garages had been burglarized. And in the second half of August, there had been three shootings — none fatal, though still troubling.

    • EA defies Belgian loot box decision, setting up potential “gambling” lawsuit

      In the months since the Belgian Gaming Commission determined that certain video game loot boxes constituted illegal gambling, publishers like Blizzard, Valve, and Take-Two have removed loot boxes from their games in the country. Electronic Arts, though, has yet to remove the randomized items from its recent FIFA games, a decision which seems poised to set up a court fight.

    • It is now a thoughtcrime to criticise transgenderism

      Professors are facing calls to be sacked for holding impure thoughts. No, not in the long-forgotten past. Not in Saudi Arabia or some other fundamentalist state or totalitarian regime. Here, in the UK, in 2018. The accused – all of whom are women – would once have been burned for heresy. Now their names are added to secret lists. Universities are warned that they are harbouring dangerous blasphemers.

    • Trans Goldsmiths lecturer Natacha Kennedy behind smear campaign against academics

      A transgender lecturer orchestrated a smear campaign against academics across the UK in which universities were described as dangerous and accused of “hate crime” if they refused to accept activists’ views that biological males can be women, it can be revealed.

    • Americans Are Shifting The Rest Of Their Identity To Match Their Politics

      But New York University political scientist Patrick Egan has written a new paper showing evidence that identity and politics operate in the opposite direction too — people shift the non-political parts of their identity, including ethnicity and religion, to align better with being a Democrat or a Republican.

    • Couple Get Back $10,000 Seized By State Trooper After Local Media Starts Asking Questions

      The couple was traveling from New Jersey to a casino in West Virginia. A West Virginia state trooper rolled the dice on the out-of-state plates and pulled over their car for “failure to drive within [their] lane.” From there, the stop became exploratory with the trooper accusing them of smuggling drugs, smuggling cigarettes, or — following a search of the vehicle — gift card fraud.

      Smith and Patlias had $10,000 in cash between both of them. In addition, they had a number of gift cards, loyalty cards, and cash cards — all legally obtained — which the trooper used to shore up the last accusation on the list. Despite being possible fraudsters/smugglers, the trooper handed the pair a warning for the lane violation and let them go on their way. So, they returned to New Jersey with $2 in their pockets.

      This set the forfeiture in motion. The couple had 30 days to state a claim to their belongings, otherwise the proceeds would be split between the state police and the prosecutor. The trooper had every incentive to seize everything in the car (which included a cellphone): 90% of proceeds go to the agency that performed the seizure.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Ajit Pai Again (Falsely) Claims States Are Powerless To Protect Broadband Consumers

      For much of the last year ISPs like Comcast have been successfully lobbying to eliminate most meaningful oversight of their broadband monopolies. On the federal level, that has involved convincing Ajit Pai to neuter the FCC’s authority over ISPs, then shoveling any remaining authority to an FTC that’s ill-equipped to actually do the job. On the state level, that has involved lobbying Pai (who again was happy to oblige) to include language in the FCC net neutrality repeal attempting to “pre-empt” (read: ban) states from also protecting consumers.

      These efforts haven’t gone well so far. Charter (Spectrum) tried to lean on this language to recently wiggle out of a New York State lawsuit over terrible speeds and poor service, only to have the courts reject its argument. And lawyers have argued that when the FCC abdicated its authority over ISPs, it ironically also eroded its rights to tell states what they can do, spelling trouble for any ISP plans to kill state level net neutrality rules.

      Undaunted, Pai’s FCC continues to insist it has this authority anyway. Last week, the US Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit ruled (pdf) that Minnesota’s state government cannot regulate VoIP phone services offered by Charter and other cable companies because VoIP is an “information service” under federal law. Charter had sued the state PUC after it filed a complaint noting that Charter had split off its voice service from its regulated wholesale telecommunications business, dubbing it an “information service” in a bid to avoid state oversight.

  • DRM/”You Don’t Own What You’ve Bought”

    • Farmer Lobbying Group Accused Of Selling Out Farmers On Right To Repair Laws

      For the last few years, numerous states have been pushing so-called “right to repair” bills, which would make it easier for consumers to repair their own products and find replacement parts and tools. Not surprisingly, many tech companies have been working overtime to kill these efforts including Apple, which has tried to argue that Nebraska’s right to repair bill would turn the state into a nefarious playground for hackers. Opposition also includes Sony and Microsoft, both of which enjoy a repair monopoly on their respective video game consoles.

      Whether coming from Apple, Sony, or Microsoft, opposition to these bills usually focuses on the three (false) ideas: the bills will make users less safe, somehow “compromise” intellectual property, and open the door to cybersecurity theft.

      Much of the current right to repair fracas began with the lowly tractor. More specifically, it started when John Deere decided to ban anything but “unauthorized repairs,” inadvertently turning countless ordinary citizens into technology policy activists. A lengthy EULA the company required customers to sign back in 2016 forbids the lion-share of repair or modification of tractors customers thought they owned, simultaneously banning these consumers from suing over “crop loss, lost profits, loss of goodwill, loss of use of equipment … arising from the performance or non-performance of any aspect of the software.”

    • You Don’t Own What You’ve Bought: Apple Disappears Purchased Movies

      Once again, copyright and the digitization of everything means you no longer “own” what you’ve “bought.” I thought we’d covered all this a decade ago when Kindle owners discovered that, even though they’d “purchased” copies of the ebook of George Orwell’s 1984, their books had been memory holed, thanks to Amazon losing a license. After there was an uproar, Amazon changed its system and promised such things would never happen again. You would think that other online stores selling digital items would remember this and design their systems not to do this — especially some of the largest.

      [...]

      Last year we had a podcast about a new book by two copyright professors about the “end of ownership” due to excessive copyright usage, and this is just yet another unfortunate example of what has happened when we lock everything up. You don’t own what you’ve bought.

      And, yes, it is not endorsing or advocating for piracy to note that this is one of the reasons why people pirate. Content that people pirate doesn’t magically disappear when licenses change and giant multinational companies decide to reach into your library and memory hole your purchases. Don’t want people to pirate so much? Stop doing this kind of anti-consumer bullshit.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Qualcomm facing additional preliminary antitrust investigations in the EU over German iPhone lawsuits targeting Intel chips: MLex

      MLex, the leading source of insight on regulatory risk (and by now a Bloomberg subsidiary), yesterday reported that the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition (DG COMP) has asked Qualcomm questions about an antitrust complaint Apple had filed earlier this year and that I believe hasn’t previously been reported on by anyone. According to Matthew Newman, one of the best-connected EU reporters (among other things, he was spokesman for a commissioner), the complaint relates to Qualcomm’s patent enforcement against Apple in Germany (trials will take place in Mannheim and Munich over the next few months, with one in each city scheduled for next week) targeting iPhones that incorporate Intel baseband chips.

      In January, the EU’s competition authority slammed Qualcomm with a $1.2 billion fine for its exclusionary conduct in the years 2011-2016 when Apple was contractually precluded from sourcing baseband chipsets from Qualcomm’s competitors such as Intel. As Commissioner Vestager explained at the time, Qualcomm had “taken measures to avoid competition on the merits” in its quest for total market dominance.

      [...]

      It has worked out for me in logistical terms to be able to attend next week’s Qualcomm v. Apple trials in Germany. I still have some things to do in Germany and will therefore be able to report on what’s going on there. A patent family Qualcomm is asserting in Munich raises a broader concern over the scope of software patents in Germany that sends a shiver down the spine of a former anti-software-patent campaigner, but the antitrust implications of cases specifically targeting Intel-powered iPhones (given that Intel is the only major competitor, thanks to its iPhone deal with Apple, that Qualcomm is facing at the moment) are even more important in the global scheme of things.

    • The great paradox: will mandarins splatter onto patent cases across Europe? [Ed: This is about mandarins, the fruit, not the language, but Miquel Montañá (Clifford Chance), writing in the Team UPC and litigators' blog, might as well point out that UPC would make things an order of magnitude worse. More money for law firms that help the Chinese blackmail European firms.]
    • Trademarks

      • European Commission Moves On Adoption Of WIPO GI Treaty; Timeframe Uncertain

        Over two years after a group of World Intellectual Property Organization members adopted a treaty on the protection of geographical indications, the European Commission has recommended that the European Union join the treaty. The EU was one of the major proponents of the treaty. Separately, a geographical indications industry group is urging EU attention to be placed on the need for legal certainty after the exit of the United Kingdom from the EU.

      • Scandals and Corruption: Administration Should Focus its Attention on Actual Scandals

        Thinking about Brunetti – Prof. Ned Snow has explained his view that the limit on registering scandalous marks should be upheld — so long as the term scandalous is limited to just marks communicating “sexually-explicit or vulgar content.” Ned Snow, Denying Trademark for Scandalous Speech, 51 UC Davis L. Rev. ___ (2018). As I suggested in a prior post, the “scandalous” nature of the mark would be largely viewpoint neutral and therefore more likely to pass through Supreme Court scrutiny. Snow goes on to explain why the government should be involved — think of the children!

      • Yes, You Can Name A Website “Fucknazis.us”

        Jeremy Rubin just wanted to speak out about the rise of white supremacist groups in the U.S. and raise some money to fight against those groups. But the Internet domain name he registered in late 2017 for his campaign—“fucknazis.us”—ran afoul of a U.S. Department of Commerce policy banning certain words from .US domain names. A government contractor took away his domain name, effectively shuttering his website. Last month, after EFF and the Cyberlaw Clinic at Harvard Law School intervened, Mr. Rubin got his site back.

        A government agency shutting down an Internet domain based on the contents of its name runs afoul of the First Amendment. After a long back-and-forth with EFF and the Cyberlaw Clinic, the Commerce Department’s contractor Neustar agreed to give Mr. Rubin back his domain, and to stop banning “dirty words.” fucknazis.us has proudly returned to the Internet.

        As anyone with a business or personal website knows, having a meaningful domain name can be the cornerstone of online presence. Mr. Rubin, moved to act after anti-Semitic and white supremacist incidents last summer, created a “virtual lapel pin” through the Ethereum computing platform as a fundraiser for opposition to these causes. The virtual pins, and the domain he registered to sell them, declared his message in a pithy fashion: “fucknazis.us”

        The Internet’s domain name system as a whole is governed by ICANN, an independent nonprofit organization. While ICANN imposes questionable rules from time to time, a blanket ban on naughty words in domain names has never been one of them. Unluckily for Mr. Rubin, the .US top-level domain is a different animal, because it’s controlled by the U.S. government.

      • Success! Roanoke ‘Harry Potter Festival’ Changes Name To ‘Generic Magic Festival’ due to WB’s Bullying

        Earlier this summer, we discussed a policy shift at Warner Bros. regarding how it was enforcing its Harry Potter intellectual property that has resulted in the bullying of several fan conventions and gatherings. Events long left alone by WB to enjoy and promote the Potter franchise were suddenly getting threat letters and communications from the studio, informing them that all references to franchise had to be removed. Many festivals, including one in Philadelphia, chose to simply shut down.

      • To avoid copyright infringement Roanoke’s Harry Potter Festival is now ‘Generic Magic Festival’

        The popularity of the Harry Potter series has led to various festivals across the nation. A copyright crackdown by Warner Brothers is putting a dark spell over these local events.

        In Philadelphia, a Harry Potter Festival that drew in 50,000 fans has been canceled.

        Although much smaller, even Roanoke’ Harry Potter Festival has now changed its name.

        New names, new features, larger spaces and more magical stories can be expected to appear in this year’s Generic Magic Festival– once known as the Harry Potter Festival.

        “We are still celebrating literary magic and a lot of the creatures and potions Rowling uses are ones from mythology that have been used for years,” said Tracy Fisher, Roanoke minister of magic for the Generic Magic Festival.

    • Copyrights

      • New Copyright Powers, New “Terrorist Content” Regulations: A Grim Day For Digital Rights in Europe

        Despite waves of calls and emails from European Internet users, the European Parliament today voted to accept the principle of a universal pre-emptive copyright filter for content-sharing sites, as well as the idea that news publishers should have the right to sue others for quoting news items online – or even using their titles as links to articles. Out of all of the potential amendments offered that would fix or ameliorate the damage caused by these proposals, they voted for worst on offer.

        There are still opportunities, at the EU level, at the national level, and ultimately in Europe’s courts, to limit the damage. But make no mistake, this is a serious setback for the Internet and digital rights in Europe.

        It also comes at a trepidatious moment for pro-Internet voices in the heart of the EU. On the same day as the vote on these articles, another branch of the European Union’s government, the Commission, announced plans to introduce a new regulation on “preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online”. Doubling down on speedy unchecked censorship, the proposals will create a new “removal order”, which will oblige hosting service providers to remove content within one hour of being ordered to do so. Echoing the language of the copyright directive, the Terrorist Regulation “aims at ensuring smooth functioning of the digital single market in an open and democratic society, by preventing the misuse of hosting services for terrorist purposes”; it encourages the use of “proactive measures, including the use of automated tools.”

        Not content with handing copyright law enforcement to algorithms and tech companies, the EU now wants to expand that to defining the limits of political speech too.

        And as bad as all this sounds, it could get even worse. Elections are coming up in the European Parliament next May. Many of the key parliamentarians who have worked on digital rights in Brussels will not be standing. Marietje Schaake, author of some of the better amendments for the directive, announced this week that she would not be running again. Julia Reda, the German Pirate Party representative, is moving on; Jan Philipp Albrecht, the MEP behind the GDPR, has already left Parliament to take up a position in domestic German politics. The European Parliament’s reserves of digital rights expertise, never that full to begin with, are emptying.

      • With the European Parliament vote on the copyright directive, the internet lost – for now

        The Parliament voted in favor of almost all provisions that extend more rights to the establishment copyright industries while failing to protect users and new creators online.

        The Parliament voted in favor of Article 13, which will essentially force online platforms to install expensive content filters to police user uploads and remove content if there’s any whiff of unauthorized sharing of copyrighted materials. The rule covers all types of content, from music to video to images. If platforms don’t take action, they assume liability for what their uses publish online. Upload filters will limit freedom of expression, as the technologies can’t tell the difference between copyright infringement and permitted uses of copyrighted works, such as memes shared as parody, or the incidental capture of an advertisement in the background of a selfie.

        They approved Article 11, which provides extra copyright-like rights to press publishers. Article 11 would force news aggregators to pay publishers for linking to their stories. The rule covers links and snippet over a single word. The Parliament’s vote also included giveaways to other groups, such as a new right for sporting event producers to lock down the sharing of fan photography and short videos at sporting events.

      • Today, Europe Lost The Internet. Now, We Fight Back.

        Today, in a vote that split almost every major EU party, Members of the European Parliament adopted every terrible proposal in the new Copyright Directive and rejected every good one, setting the stage for mass, automated surveillance and arbitrary censorship of the internet: text messages like tweets and Facebook updates; photos; videos; audio; software code — any and all media that can be copyrighted.

        Three proposals passed the European Parliament, each of them catastrophic for free expression, privacy, and the arts:

        1. Article 13: the Copyright Filters. All but the smallest platforms will have to defensively adopt copyright filters that examine everything you post and censor anything judged to be a copyright infringement.

      • Mozilla Open Policy & Advocacy Blog: Mozilla reacts to EU Parliament vote on copyright reform

        Today marks a very sad day for the internet in Europe. Lawmakers in the European Parliament have just voted to turn their backs on key principles on which the internet was built; namely openness, decentralisation, and collaboration.

        Parliamentarians have given a green light to new rules that will compel online services to implement blanket upload filters, a crude and ineffective measure that could well spell an end to the rich creative fabric of memes, mashups, and GIFs that make internet culture so great. The Parliament’s vote also endorses a ‘link tax’ that will undermine access to knowledge and the sharing of information in Europe.

      • Mozilla Open Policy & Advocacy Blog: EU terrorism regulation threatens internet health in Europe

        The European Commission has today proposed a troublesome new regulation regarding terrorist content online. As we have said, illegal content – of which terrorist content is a particularly striking example – undermines the overall health of the internet. We welcome effective and sustainable efforts to address illegal content online. But the Commission’s proposal is a poor step in that direction. It would undermine due process online; compel the use of ineffective content filters; strengthen the position of a few dominant platforms while hampering European competitors; and, ultimately, violate the EU’s commitment to protecting fundamental rights.

        Under the Commission’s proposal, government-appointed authorities – not independent courts – would have the unilateral power to suppress speech on the internet. Longstanding norms around due process and the separation of powers would be swept aside, with little evidence to support such a drastic departure from established norms. These authorities would have vague, indeterminate authority to require additional proactive measures (including but not limited to content filters) from platforms where they deem them appropriate.

      • European Parliament Approves Negotiating Stance On Copyright Reform

        European Union lawmakers today approved by a 438-226 margin a measure updating EU copyright law and voted to begin negotiations with the European Commission (EC) and Council. The vote followed parliamentary rejection in June of plans to launch an immediate “trilogue” with the EC and Council based on text as approved by the lead Legal Affairs Committee (JURI), instead sending the measure for full debate at the September plenary held today.

      • Copyright Directive approved by EU Parliament

        After its rejection in July, the Digital Single Market Copyright Directive has been endorsed by the EU Parliament. But the controversial provisions contained in Articles 11 and 13 were only voted in by a narrow majority

        The European Parliament voted in favour of the Digital Single Market Copyright Directive today and paved the way for the long-awaited trilogue negotiations between the EU Council, Parliament and Commission.

      • EU Gives Up On The Open Web Experiment, Decides It Will Be The Licensed Web Going Forward

        Well, this was not entirely unexpected at this point, but in the EU Parliament earlier today, they voted to end the open web and move to a future of a licensed-only web. It is not final yet, as the adopted version by the EU Parliament is different than the (even worse) version that was agreed to by the EU Council. The two will now need to iron out the differences and then there will be a final vote on whatever awful consolidated version they eventually come up with. There will be plenty to say on this in the coming weeks, months and years, but let’s just summarize what has happened.

        For nearly two decades, the legacy entertainment industries have always hated the nature of the open web. Their entire business models were based on being gatekeepers, and a “broadcast” world in which everything was licensed and curated was perfect for that. It allowed the gatekeepers to have ultimate control — and with it the power to extract massive rents from actual creators (including taking control over their copyright). The open web changed much of that. By allowing anyone to publicize, distribute and sell works by themselves, directly to end users, the middlemen were no longer important.

        The fundamental nature of the internet was that it was a communications medium rather than a broadcast medium, and as such it allowed for permissionless distribution of content and communication. This has always infuriated the legacy gatekeepers as it completely undermined the control and leverage they had over the market. If you look back at nearly every legal move by these gatekeepers over the last twenty five years concerning the internet, it has always been about trying to move the internet away from an open, permissionless system back towards one that was a closed, licensed, broadcast, curated one. There’s historical precedence for this as well. It’s the same thing that happened to radio a century ago.

        [...]

        This is a dark day for the open internet in the EU… and around the world. Expect the same gatekeepers to use this move by the EU to put pressure on the US and lots of other countries around the world to “harmonize” and adopt similar standards in trade agreements.

      • MEPs advance Article 13 of EU Copyright Directive

        Open Rights Group has been campaigning against Article 13 over concerns that free speech will be impacted through the large scale removal of material without adequate review.

        Reacting to the vote in the EU Parliament in favour of Article 13 of the Copyright Directive, Jim Killock, executive director of Open Rights Group said:

        “Article 13 creates a Robo-copyright regime that would zap any image, text, meme or video that appears to include copyright material whether it is legally used or not. This is disappointing and will open the door to more demands for Robocop censorship.

        The Directive is not yet law and could improve during trilogue negotiations. We will keep opposing these measures which will lead to legal material being removed in this way.”

      • Antiterrorist Censorship: The EU Commission Wants to Kill the Decentralized Internet

        This morning, as everybody was looking at the Copyright Directive adoption, the EU Commission released a proposal for a Regulation on the censorship of terrorist propaganda.

        This proposal would impose new obligations to hosting service providers, including the removal in less than an hour of the reported content. This proposal trivializes police and private censorship as well as the circumvention of justice. Automated filters, which play a crucial role in the debate for the Copyright Directive, are being held as a key component for the censorship in the digital era1.

        The fact is that only a few providers would be able to comply to those news obligations – in particular the one-hour deadline. The others – the vast majority which, since the beginning, have been the body of the Internet, would never be able to comply with these obligations and would be exposed to sanctions on a persistent basis.

      • Copyright Directive: the cultural industry and press publishers feed on the crumbs of the mass surveillance business

        The European Parliamant has just adopted the CopyRight Directive, despite delaying it last summer. Having successfully passed this Directive, the cultural industry and press publishers feed on the crumbs left by mass surveillance businesses. Rather than preventing such a capitulation to the GAFAM, French Government has vigourously promoted it.

        For 20 years, the French cultural industry has never been able to adapt to the Internet. Today, it is crazy about the success of Netflix or Amazon. Now, it is claiming for the crumbs of the cake. This industry is trying to make the giants of the Web, such as Youtube and Facebook, share the revenues of targeted advertising displayed with their contents.

        Targeted advertising depends on the monitoring of everyone, everywhere, anytime, without our freely given consent. Since 25 May and the GDPR, this clearly breaches the law.

        However, having failed to evolve, the cultural industry is now ready to rely on such unlawful practices. Following today’s vote, the financing of culture will be submitted to the mass surveillance business. By supporting the Directive, the French Government gave its blessing to the unlawful powers of Internet giants, rather than fighting them and protecting us.

      • ACE Scores Legal Victory and Wins $25m Piracy Damages From Tickbox

        ACE, the coalition of major Hollywood studios plus Amazon and Netflix, scored its first major legal win today. The company behind TickBox TV, a Kodi-powered streaming device, agreed to a stipulated judgment and permanent injunction which requires the company to cease all piracy activities and pay $25 million in damages.

      • More Than 35,000 ‘Pirates’ Targeted in Swedish Lawsuits This Year

        Sweden has become a hotbed for piracy lawsuits and the number of targets continues to rise. Newly released details show that more than 35,000 IP-addresses have been listed in so-called copyright troll cases thus far in 2018. That’s more than in the US and Canada combined. Swedish Internet provider Bahnhof is calling on the Government to curb this trend.

      • Europe is voting on a controversial law that could force Google, Facebook to block copyrighted content
      • European Union Copyright Vote Too Close To Call
      • The EU’s copyright plans will let anyone mass-censor the internet

        Tomorrow’s EU vote on a new copyright directive will determine whether the EU internet will be governed by algorithmic censorship filters whose blacklist anyone can add anything to. (Visit Save Your Internet to tell your MEP to vote against this)

        These filters are supposed to stop copyright infringement (in practice, infringers find it easy to get around filters, though), and they’re going to have to accept thousands of new entries at a time (Disney and Corbis will want to upload their whole catalogues, not pay data-entry clerks to upload every work in their vaults one at a time), and those new entries will have to go into effect immediately (companies whose new releases have leaked onto the internet won’t tolerate a delay of days or even hours while a human being reviews their submissions).

      • EU’s decision on Copyright Reform tomorrow could be a turning point for the web

        After a long and arduous process, the pivotal moment for EU‘s controversial Copyright Reform has arrived. On September 12, the 751 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will have a final decisive vote on the hotly debated reform, cementing the Parliament’s position before opening negotiations with national governments.

      • Pascal Nègre: ‘Article 13 would take the music industry backwards.’

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