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09.16.18

Months After Oil States the Patent Maximalists Are Still Desperate to Crush PTAB in the Courts, Not Just in Congress and the Office

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 11:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent Lawyers' Tears

Summary: Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) improve patent quality and are therefore a threat to those who profit from spurious feuding and litigation; they try anything they can to turn things around

THE new U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Director is no friend of PTAB, unlike his predecessor. The Congress, as we noted some hours ago, is being approached by those looking to undermine PTAB. 35 U.S.C. § 101 has a lot to do with it, sometimes because of drug companies.

“There’s an attempt there to make life harder for filers, reducing the overall number of IPRs.”If the patent ‘industry’ cannot get PTAB and the Federal Circuit on its side, then it typically resorts to attacking both. Not a clever strategy

Days ago we saw RPX‘s press release titled “RPX Corporation Completes Transaction with Realtime Data” [1, 2]. The patent maximalist Matthew Bultman (Law360) then recalled a case which patent maximalists hoped would help friction, eroding access to PTAB and degrading productivity. To quote:

Defensive patent group RPX Corp. is asking the full Federal Circuit to reconsider a ruling that instructed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board to use a broader test when looking for unnamed beneficiaries in patent reviews, warning the ruling has “massive implications.”

RPX filed a petition for en banc rehearing on Friday, nearly two months after a three-judge panel ordered the PTAB to reconsider whether Salesforce.com Inc. should have been named an interested party in inter partes reviews that RPX requested in 2015 challenging two regulatory…

This would have implications for Unified Patents as well. There’s an attempt there to make life harder for filers, reducing the overall number of IPRs. That’s what SAS proponents sought to accomplish while ‘hiding’ the decision on Oil States a few months ago. SCOTUS still stubbornly defends PTAB. SAS was no exception to this; it was just something for the USPTO to exploit (Iancu in particular) if the goal is to slow down PTAB, if not by fee hikes and 'decapitation' then additional workload per IPR.

“Such a mindset is a dangerous mindset and surrogate of institutional corruption.”Recently we saw the Smartflash petition being promoted by sites like Patently-O. A petition to SCOTUS isn’t so extraordinary a thing; not many are successful, but the patent maximalists view this one as a threat to PTAB, so obviously Watchtroll has just promoted it as well, preceded by the usual propaganda:

In early August, patent owner Smartflash filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court to appeal a case stemming from covered business method (CBM) review proceedings carried out at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). Smartflash is asking the Supreme Court to decide whether PTAB administrative patent judges (APJs) are principal officers of the United States who are subject to the terms of the Appointment Clause, whether CBM review of patents disclosed prior to passage of the America Invents Act (AIA) violates the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, and whether undisputed evidence that an invention is not unduly preemptive is relevant to answer questions of patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

At issue in this petition are a total of 30 CBM reviews petitioned by Apple, Samsung and Google against Smartflash, which were instituted by APJ panels at the PTAB. Although the APJ panels in these cases found that petitioners did not establish a likelihood that Smartflash’s patent claims were invalid under on 35 U.S.C. § 102 grounds for novelty or 35 U.S.C. § 103 grounds for obviousness, they did find a likelihood that the patent claims were invalid on Section 101 grounds for being directed to patent-ineligible subject matter. In the CBM reviews, the PTAB panels applied the two-part Alice test to determine first that the claims were directed to the abstract idea of conditioning and controlling access to content based upon payment, and then second that the additional elements of the claims did not contain an inventive step, thus rendering the claims invalid under Section 101. Smartflash appealed the PTAB’s final written decisions and the Federal Circuit issued a Rule 36 affirmance upholding the PTAB’s decisions without an opinion.

These “decisions without an opinion” aren’t so unusual and less than a day ago we wrote about Patently-O‘s long-going lobby on the matter.

At the moment we generally see the patent maximalists working hard to shut down or at least weaken PTAB at the legislative, judicial, and executive levels. They also hope that Iancu, a Trump appointee from the patent microcosm (Trump had paid his firm), will simply disregard courts' decisions. Such a mindset is a dangerous mindset and surrogate of institutional corruption.

IAM, Watchtroll and the EPO Still Spread the Mentality of Patent Maximalism

Posted in America, Deception, Europe, Patents at 10:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Joff Wild and BattistelliSummary: The misguided idea that the objective (overall) should be to grant as many monopolies as possible (to spur a lot of litigation) isn’t being challenged in echo chamber ‘events’, set up and sponsored by think tanks and pressure groups of the litigation ‘industry’

TODAY we shall write a lot about patent scope, software patents in Europe and in the US in particular. It is generally a symptom of the patent system getting hijacked by those who were originally meant to service scientists. Roles have been reversed and scientists are now expected to provide “demand” (or cash flow) for lawyers, who sometimes just sue scientists without prior provocation (many patent trolls are just lawyers).

According to this hours-old blog post from Satoshi Watanabe, the patent trolls’ think tank (IAM), which is also a Battistelli mouthpiece (he’s an author and keynote speaker to them), is nowadays in Japan spreading the ‘religion’ (litigation ‘industry’ psyche). The think tank entertains accompanying ‘studies’ etc. “The chart compares the number and ratio of patent applications filed to Japan by US, Korean, and German companies,” Watanabe says, “respectively compared between a period of 2002-2006 and 2012-2016. The JPO studies all the patent applications which are filed both to US and Europe. The yellow bar in the chart indicates the number and ratio of patent applications whose counterparts were not filed to Japan, while the blue bar indicates those whose counterparts were filed to Japan. They obviously reduced patent application filings to Japan.”

So what? So there may be fewer monopolies. Is that a bad thing? It’s only necessarily a bad thing for the litigation ‘industry’. The USPTO is currently paying the price for over-granting for a number of decades.

Hours ago also came Watchtroll’s promotion of the EPO‘s charade with IPO, in which they promote software patents under the guise of ‘automobiles’ (as we last noted yesterday). It’s all about inflating the number of patents, irrespective of patent quality, merit, necessity etc. “The impetus for this interview,” Watchtroll admits upfront, “is the upcoming EPO Automotive and Mobility Seminar, which will be held in Chicago, IL, immediately after the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) 2018 Annual Meeting, on September 26-27, 2018. Romano-Götsch will be participating in this EPO program, providing a landscape and overview on the morning of September 26, as well as participating on a panel and providing closing remarks on September 27.”

It’s somewhat of an inner/insider joke at the EPO that those who get rewarded or promoted are those who suck up to Battistelli and Bergot. That makes one wonder about Romano-Götsch’s motivations. To participate alongside zealots like IPO says a lot about oneself.

Watchtroll and Other Proponents of Patent Trolls Are Trying to Change the Law Outside the Courts in Order to Bypass Patent Justice

Posted in America, Law, Microsoft, Open XML, Patents at 11:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Court's steps

Summary: 35 U.S.C. § 101 (Section 101) voids almost every software patent — a reality that even the most zealous patent professionals have come to grips with and their way of tackling this ‘problem’ is legislative, albeit nowhere near successful (so far)

TWO years ago we still wrote some articles about the EPO‘s relationship with Microsoft — a subject we had covered in years prior to that and got us some threats from the EPO’s lawyers. A few weeks ago we wrote about the USPTO in relation to "Changing Rules to Punish PTAB Petitioners and Reward Microsoft for Corruption at ISO" — a subject which was later discussed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC), as scheduled earlier this month. Based on Watchtroll’s report on this: “The USPTO is also looking to encourage patent applicants to file their applications in the DOCX format by introducing a new surcharge for utility non-provisional applications that are filed in formats other than DOCX. This would introduce a new $400 fee for such applications. According to Hourigan, the decision to encourage DOCX-format filings is intended to simplify the sharing of application data as DOCX files are XML-based. Other formats, such as PDFs, must be converted to XML using optical character recognition (OCR), a technology which is a source of potential errors.”

“Related to this is a bill that deals with fee-setting authority, as covered by CCIA three days ago.”So they basically decided that proprietary Microsoft formats are the gold standard? This is ridiculous. What about ODF (Open Document Format) or XML-based formats that do not contain blobs and Microsoft-specific directives like OOXML?

Related to this is a bill that deals with fee-setting authority, as covered by CCIA three days ago. Josh Landau (CCIA’s main patent matters person) said:

Today, the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to markup Rep. Chabot’s newly-introduced SUCCESS Act, which is itself a combination of portions of two other bills Patent Progress has covered: Reps. Comstock and Adams’ SUCCESS Act, and the fee-setting authority contained within Rep. Chabot’s BIG DATA for IP bill.

Each bill is individually worthwhile. The SUCCESS Act attempts to address the relatively low number of patent applications filed by underrepresented groups. And fee-setting authority is important to help prevent marginal patents from being issued.

At the same time, Rep. Chabot’s bill does not currently incorporate any of the suggested improvements to the SUCCESS Act designed to study the impacts of patents that never should have been granted when they’re used to threaten innovative companies founded by underrepresented minorities. Without these improvements, the SUCCESS Act can only study a portion of the barriers to innovation faced by underrepresented minorities.

The problem with many of these bills is that they’re promoted by bribed politicians. They try to shape the law depending on which millionaires and billionaires sponsor them.

Going back to Watchtroll, a site that promotes several anti-PTAB bills (but hasn’t done so recently), on the same day (as the above) it published complete nonsense, pretending that patents are necessary for startups and whatnot (they’re not). In “Can I hold on long enough until the madness stops?” (also published on the same day) Watchtroll gives Jeffrey Killian a platform in which to frame patent quality as “madness”. These people are laughable. Here’s the portion which bemoans Section 101: “This anti-patent bias toward software is illustrated in many ways. The Supreme Court of the United States added the words “abstract” and “significantly more” to 35 U.S. Code § 101 and did not define such terms. Previously 35 U.S. Code § 101 granted patents in the past and now 35 U.S. Code § 101 has become a provision to deny software patents on a wholesale basis. The added judicial exceptions were not approved by Congress, the law still reads the same, the added and undefined terms were legislated from the judicial bench. Something is inherently wrong with this situation from a common person’s viewpoint.”

SCOTUS decided on Alice and patent maximalists like Watchtroll and Patently-O try hard to get US Congress to intervene, counterbalanced by the likes of HTIA, CCIA, EFF etc.

Patently-O meanwhile says that the “House [is] Considering [a] Bill that Would Preclude Enforcement of Injunctions Against Non-Parties,” interjecting the author’s views as follows: “I am trying to envision the problems this creates for patents, and happen to be writing a book on Remedies right now. Problems?”

Injunctions are basically something like an embargo, imposed by the ITC typically. We have already seen how the ITC simply disregards judgments made by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) on inter partes reviews (IPRs), before or after the Federal Circuit gets involved. This means thar they disregard and totally disreprect the principle of due process — something which certainly makes the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) seem rather aloof or detached from the rule of law.

Courts aren’t entirely “pure”, but high courts a lot less impure than politicians with “campaign contributions” and a patent office that measures “success” by number of patents rather than justice. So we’d rather rely on Justices than on a bunch of politicians.

Links 16/9/2018: Windows Plays ‘Nice’ Again, Elisa Music Player 0.3 Beta and Latte Dock 0.8.1

Posted in News Roundup at 8:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Windows derails Chrome, Firefox installation, promotes Microsoft Edge instead [iophk: "Where are the Microsoft apologists on this? They sure have been quiet."]

      Microsoft is trying a new tactic to get people to use its Edge browser: a warning dialog box that interrupts the installation of other browsers like Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.

    • Microsoft tests ‘warning’ Windows 10 users not to install Chrome or Firefox

      While the prompts can be turned off, they’re yet another example of Microsoft infesting Windows 10 with annoying ads and pop-ups. Some similar prompts already appear and attempt to push Chrome or Firefox users to use Edge, but this latest one steps up Microsoft’s war against Chrome even further. It’s not clear why Microsoft thinks it’s a good idea to include these irritating prompts, as all they’re likely to do is anger Windows 10 users rather than convince them to switch to Edge.

    • Microsoft Tests Warning Windows 10 Users About Installing Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox [iophk: "yeah, Microsoft "loves" FOSS"]

      While the warning does not block the installation, it is a blatant move from Microsoft to try and stop users from downloading a rival’s Web browser. As per a CNET report, test was confirmed in Windows 10 version 1809, build 17758.1. It is worth noting that it is a preview release, which will not be available to the general public for another month or so. In a statement to CNET, Microsoft referred to its Windows test programme, and said, “We’re currently testing this functionality with insiders only. The Windows Insider Program enables Microsoft to test different features, functionality and garner feedback before rolling out broadly. Customers remain in control and can choose the browser of their choice.” The Verge, on the other hand, cites its sources to say the warning will not make its way to the Windows 10 October 2018 Update.

    • Microsoft Rethinks Decision: Windows No Longer Shows A Warning When Trying To Install Other Browsers In Latest Insider Update

      Strong arm tactics like this don’t help anyone, people at this day and age won’t use an inferior product, specially ones that are free.

  • Kernel Space

    • It’s Looking Like WireGuard Could Be Ready In Time For Linux 4.20~5.0

      The latest revised patches were sent out on Friday evening for WireGuard, the very promising secure VPN tunnel technology developed over the past few years by Jason Donenfeld.

      This marks the fourth time these patches have been revised with this latest series fixing various issues discovered during earlier rounds of review, porting more crypto code to the new Zinc crypto library, documentation improvements, and other code improvements.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Igalia Sends Out Another 26 Patches Chipping Away On Intel ARB_gl_spirv Support

        OpenGL 4.6 has been out for more than a year but the Mesa-based drivers (namely RadeonSI and Intel) remain blocked from officially advertising this latest GL revision due to not yet supporting the ARB_gl_spirv extension and related ARB_spirv_extensions.

        Intel Open-Source Technology Center developers and consulting firm Igalia have been working on this key component to OpenGL 4.6 for allowing SPIR-V ingestion (the now common IR to OpenGL / Vulkan / OpenCL) but it’s a tall order and even with many patch series still isn’t quite to the finish line yet.

      • AMD Contributes 8.5x More Code To The Linux Kernel Than NVIDIA, But Intel Still Leads

        Given all the new hardware enablement work going into the Linux kernel recently, I was curious how the code contributions were stacking up by some of the leading hardware vendors… Here are those interesting numbers.

        As of this morning’s Linux 4.19 Git kernel state, I ran some Git statistics for some weekend numbers fun primarily to see how AMD vs. NVIDIA vs. Intel is doing for code contributions.

      • AMD Preps For A Big Linux 4.20 Kernel With Vega 20, Picasso, Raven 2, xGMI, Better DC

        It was a busy Friday for the open-source AMD folks as in addition to releasing AMDGPU DDX 18.1 and the big ROCm 1.9 release, their latest batch of feature changes were also submitted to DRM-Next ahead of the Linux 4.20~5.0 kernel cycle. This is going to be another exciting release for Radeon Linux users.

    • Benchmarks

      • Multi-threaded Linux Performance: AMD’s Threadripper 2990WX vs. Intel’s Core i9-7980XE

        To deliver a full-featured article for launch, my look at AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX and 2950X combined Windows and Linux performance in the same article. As it turns out, that was a mistake, since few people noticed we even had Linux benchmarks, despite there being an obvious demand for them.

        Before publication, I debated on whether or not I should break Linux performance into its own article, but in this particular case, I opted for the combo because I felt the bigger picture was needed. That’s because in Windows, performance scaling on such a big CPU is hit-or-miss, whereas the Linux kernel seems to support AMD’s biggest no problem.

        I am not going to stand here (or sit) and pretend to understand why the 2990WX doesn’t perform so well in all Windows tests, because getting a clear answer out of anyone is tough. No one wants to pass around the blame, but by all appearances, it looks like a bulk of the problem is Windows. This article exists to not only draw attention to that, but also highlight a bit better what the 2990WX is capable of – if the software in question can take advantage of it.

  • Applications

    • Release of Foundry (previously known as rlife) 0.2.0

      These past weeks, I’ve been working a lot on my side project and I’ve made a new release of it. First of all, the project has been renamed “Foundry” (instead of “rlife”). I wanted to find a better name for this project and as this project is now actually based on Vulkan (that was my primary objective when I started it), I thought it would be a good idea to give a name related to it. Plus, there was no crates already named “Foundry”.

    • Ducktype parser extensions

      When designing Ducktype, I wanted people to be able to extend the syntax, but I wanted extensions to be declared and defined, so we don’t end up with something like the mess of Markdown flavors. So a Ducktype file can start with a @ducktype/ declaration that declares the version of the Ducktype syntax and any extensions in use. For example:

    • Proprietary

      • AION Blockchain System Releases Desktop Wallets With Windows, Mac & Linux Compatibility

        AION has finally released its Desktop wallets; the product is Linux, Wndows and Mac compatible. The AION wallet underwent thorough tests and audits both internally and externally to have this milestone released for users. AION’s wallet is built for storing the AION altcoin as is the move by most of its peer competitors within the crypto space.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to Reconfigure Installed Package in Ubuntu and Debian
      • How to Access Microsoft Exchange in Linux
      • Plasma desktop & HD scaling tutorial

        Say you have a small form-factor device with a high-resolution display. Case in point, my Slimbook Pro2 laptop, which comes with fourteen inches of equity and 1920×1080 pixel grid. This means things are rendered rather small, and if you wish to read or interact with the desktop environment and the applications in a meaningful way, you will strain your eyes – unless you’re twenty and a developer, in which case you have bionic eyes.

        Prompted by this serious ergonomic need, I started fiddling with different options and settings, to see if I could adjust the viewability in KDE, and make the small screen shows things in a slightly enlarged manner. This turned out to be a rather long and non-trivial exercise. In this guide, I will show you how to properly and elegantly scale the KDE desktop, GTK applications (both 2.0 and 3.0 editions), Firefox and Chrome browsers with tips that also apply to all operating systems and use cases, and then some. After me.

      • Backup Installed Packages And Restore Them On Freshly Installed Ubuntu System
      • Getting started with Tmux
      • Troubleshooting With Git – Git Series Part 3

        From time to time, you will encounter problems while using Git. The most common of these is a merge conflict. Fortunately, git will provide solutions to many problems for you. Sometimes, though, there are certain problems that do require the assistance of more experienced people. Most of these problems that I will describe are what I have encountered personally in my line of work.

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine-Staging 3.16 Released With ~880 Patches Still Atop Wine

        Busy since Friday’s release of Wine 3.16, the volunteers maintaining the Wine-Staging tree with the various experimental/testing patches atop upstream Wine are out with their adjoining update that continues with just under 900 patches being re-based.

    • Games

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE’s Elisa Music Player 0.3 Enters Beta

        Elisa is one of several options when it comes to music players for the KDE desktop. Elisa 0.3 entered beta this week as another step forward for this relatively young project.

      • The Krita 2018 Fundraiser Starts: Squash the Bugs!

        It’s time for a new Krita fundraiser! Our goal this year is to make it possible for the team to focus on one thing only: stability. Our previous fundraisers were all about features: adding new features, extending existing features. Thanks to your help, Krita has grown at breakneck speed!

        [...]

        As an experiment, Dmitry has just spent about a month on area of Krita: selections. And now there are only a few issues left with selection handling: the whole area has been enormously improved. And now we want to ask you to make it possible for us to do the same with some other important areas in krita, ranging from papercuts to brush engines, from color management to resource management. We’ve dug through the bugs database, grouped some things together and arrived at a list of ten areas where we feel we can improve Krita a lot.

        The list is order of number of reports, but if you support Krita in this fundraiser, you’ll be able to vote for what you think is important! Voting is fun, after all, and we love to hear from you all what you find the most important things.

      • KDE Itinerary – Static Knowledge

        In the previous post on writing custom data extractors for the KItinerary framework, I mentioned we are augmenting extracted data with knowledge from Wikidata. This post will cover this aspect in more detail.

        Static knowledge refers to information that with near certainty don’t change for the duration of your trip, or during a release cycle of our software. That’s things like name, location and timezone of an airport, or the country it belongs to, as opposed to dynamic knowledge like departure gates or platforms, delays, etc.

      • KMail Now Supports A Unified Inbox While KDE Keeps Getting Polished

        Come KDE Applications 18.12 in time for the holidays, the KMail KDE email client will finally offer a unified inbox.

        The unified mailbox support for KMail allows for a single “inbox” folder of emails from all of your accounts as well as unified sent/draft folders and other folders.

      • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 36

        Greetings, KDE-loving humans! This week’s Usability & Productivity is a heavy one in terms of importance. We scored awesome fixes and improvements through the KDE software stack for subjects as varied as Libinput mouse and touchpad device handling, Task Manager icon sorting for LibreOffice, and a snazzy new unified mailbox in KMail.

      • Latte bug fix release v0.8.1

        Latte Dock v0.8.1 has been released containing important fixes and improvements!

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Behind the GNOME 3.30 Release Video

        With each video I experiment with new workflows. Traditionally I have been involved in every step of the production apart from the voice-over with very few opportunities for others to step in and contribute. With Gitlab’s powerful issue tracking system, this no longer needs to be the case. This has meant that I can spend more time on production in Blender and spread out the other aspects of production to the GNOME community.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Summer’s End Roundup 2018

        Although it looked from the outside as if Mageians were sleeping through August, it wasn’t so! And now that it’s Autumn – fall for you folks in the North Americas – we’ll be more communicative, we promise.

    • Gentoo Family

      • Overriding misreported screen dimensions with KMS-backed drivers

        With Qt5 gaining support for high-DPI displays, and applications starting to exercise that support, it’s easy for applications to suddenly become unusable with some screens. For example, my old Samsung TV reported itself as 7″ screen. While this used not to really matter with websites forcing you to force the resolution of 96 DPI, the high-DPI applications started scaling themselves to occupy most of my screen, with elements becoming really huge (and ugly, apparently due to some poor scaling).

        It turns out that it is really hard to find a solution for this. Most of the guides and tips are focused either on proprietary drivers or on getting custom resolutions. The DisplaySize specification in xorg.conf apparently did not change anything either. Finally, I was able to resolve the issue by overriding the EDID data for my screen. This guide explains how I did it.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • A Summary of deepin 15.6 and 15.7

          Both deepin 15.6 and 15.7 were released at June and August 2018. Here’s a short summary of them showing the new features and improvements. You will find new Welcome Intro, new Dark Theme, new Power Saving Mode, reduced RAM usage and smaller ISO size, improvements in System Settings, and new ability of File Manager (renaming partition by right-click, for example). You will see them in this article with GIF animations and screenshots. This article also shows in brief why 15.7 is far better than 15.6 so you can choose it to start deepin for your first time. Enjoy!

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Technology streamlines computational science projects

    Researchers use ICE to study topics in fields including nuclear energy, astrophysics, additive manufacturing, advanced materials, neutron science and quantum computing, answering questions such as how batteries behave and how some 3-D-printed parts deform when exposed to heat.

    Several factors differentiate ICE from other workflow management systems. For example, because ICE exists on an open-source software framework called the Eclipse Rich Client Platform, anyone can access, download and use it. Users also can create custom combinations of reusable resources and deploy simulation environments tailored to tackle specific research challenges.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Chrome 69 gives worldwide web a stay of execution in URL box

        Google Chrome 70 arrived as a beta release on Thursday, bringing with it a handful of meaningful improvements and some more esoteric features of interest to developers.

        Available on the Chrome Beta channel for Android, Chrome OS, Linux, macOS, and Windows – the iOS beta requires participation in Apple’s TestFlight program – Chrome 70 implements a Shape Detection API that allows web apps to do things like detect faces in images, read barcodes and parse text in images.

        The API is particularly promising for mobile web apps, which can now return the location of facial features within an image, turn barcodes and QR codes into strings and read Latin alphabet text found in pictures.

  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL 11 Won’t Ship With Its Faster JIT Support Enabled By Default

      One of the coolest innovations landing this year in PostgreSQL was LLVM-based JIT support to speed up database queries. But it’s not going to be enabled by default in the upcoming PostgreSQL 11 release.

      This functionality relies upon LLVM for JIT compiling SQL queries rather than passing those queries to the PostgreSQL interpreter. These LLVM JIT’ed queries have led to more efficient code being generated and particularly help with more complex queries.

  • BSD

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Stop using GitHub as a measure of open source contributions

      It should go without saying, but apparently doesn’t, that GitHub hosts only a fraction of open source projects and activity.

      GitHub launched about 10 years ago. Open source and free software development predates GitHub’s existence by twenty years or so. A lot of projects have picked up and moved from their previous homes to GitHub, but many haven’t. GNU projects, for example, aren’t hosted there. Canonical’s Launchpad repository hosts a lot of projects that aren’t on GitHub. Fedora has Pagure, the Eclipse project has its own source control for its projects, as well as the Apache Software Foundation, etc.

      Some of those may mirror projects on GitHub, but it’s unclear to me how people who don’t have GitHub accounts are counted when people survey GitHub. I’m skeptical that using GitHub APIs to pull user data to see “what company does so-and-so work for?” is effective when that person hasn’t created a GitHub account.

      GitHub metrics are biased towards newer projects, corporate-founded projects, and projects that have a bent towards non-reciprocal licenses.

  • Programming/Development

    • Redis does a Python, crushes ‘offensive’ master, slave code terms

      The open-source Redis database, like the Python programming language, is moving away from using the technical terms “master” and “slave” in its documentation and API – to the extent that’s possible without breaking things.

      For Python, the decision this week to replace the words “master” and “slave”, prompted by undisclosed complaints that they’re offensive, led to a backlash.

      Meanwhile, those overseeing Python’s CPython repo on Github today locked a pull request purging the words, and deleted several comments. But not before one developer highlighted the irony of executing the word change using the Git version-control software, which still relies heavily on “master” – for example, merging commits in the master branch. (Barely any instances of “slave” appear in Git code, though.)

      The Register asked Python developer Victor Stinner, author of the pull requests and Python bug report at the heart of the issue, whether he would like to discuss the controversy, but he declined. In previous comments, he justified his proposals to strip “master” and “slave” from the widely used programming language by saying some people object to the terms.

    • Backing the wrong horse?

      I started using the Ruby programming in around 2003 or 2004, but stopped at some point later, perhaps around 2008. At the time I was frustrated with the approach the Ruby community took for managing packages of Ruby software: Ruby Gems. They interact really badly with distribution packaging and made the jobs of organisations like Debian more difficult. This was around the time that Ruby on Rails was making a big splash for web application development (I think version 2.0 had just come out). I did fork out for the predominant Ruby on Rails book to try it out. Unfortunately the software was evolving so quickly that the very first examples in the book no longer worked with the latest versions of Rails. I wasn’t doing a lot of web development that at the time anyway, so I put the book, Rails and Ruby itself on the shelf and moved on to looking at the Python programming language instead.

      Since then I’ve written lots of Python, both professionally and personally. Whenever it looked like a job was best solved with scripting, I’d pick up Python. I hadn’t stopped to reflect on the experience much at all, beyond being glad I wasn’t writing Perl any more (the first language I had any real traction with, 20 years ago).

    • Google’s Dataset Search, Julia programming language, and more news

      TechRepublic described this programming language, originating from 2012 and just released as version 1.0, as follows: “designed to combine the speed of C with the usability of Python, the dynamism of Ruby, the mathematical prowess of MatLab, and the statistical chops of R.”

      Liked by data scientists and mathematicians, Julia is also used in industries, such as the automotive industry for self-driving cars, and for 3-D printing.

      Julia is open source, counts 700 active contributors, 1,900 registered packages and two-million downloads. Details, download, and documentation can be found on julialang.org.

Leftovers

  • Where in the World Is Larry Page?
  • Health/Nutrition

    • Are Aging Americans Too Old to Work?
    • The ‘Liquidators’ Who Risked It All to Clean Up Chernobyl

      It was, obviously, not an easy task. Remote-controlled bulldozers and other robots proved too weak for the job, their circuitry fried by radiation. So the Soviet Union sent in humans—600,000 of them. These brave firefighters, soldiers, janitors, and miners—the so-called “liquidators”—did everything from hosing down streets to felling trees to building a concrete sarcophagus around the exposed reactor … all the while charged subatomic particles ravaged their cells and shortened their life spans.

      “No personal sacrifice was too much for these men and women,” says photographer Tom Skipp. Moved by their story, he visited Slavutych, Ukraine in April to photograph survivors, now in their golden years. The portraits make up his haunting series The Liquidators.

    • Mega-rich family behind opioid crisis has second, secret opioid company

      The Sacklers own the infamous drug company Purdue Pharma, which in 2007 pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges for misleading doctors, regulators, and patients about the addictiveness of its branded oxycodone opioid drug, OxyContin. Yet the guilty plea seemed to do little to reform the company’s ethics or curb sales, according to a new report in the FT. Purdue continued to recklessly push the drugs on doctors, insiders told the outlet, and in 2010, it was raking in more than $3 billion in OxyContin sales.

    • Arkansas scraps Medicaid coverage for thousands of individuals

      A total of 4,353 individuals have been booted from the program for not reporting to the state how they’re meeting the requirements or for not working enough hours. Under the new program, those who are out of compliance three months in one year become ineligible for coverage the remainder of the year.

    • New research suggests possible link between sudden infant death syndrome and air pollution

      The research, published in BMJ Open and carried out in collaboration with the University of Oulu in Finland and the Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia in Africa, examines the relationship between the effects of short-term variations in air pollution and the onset of cot death or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

      [...]

      The research found an increased risk for SIDS two days after exposure to NO2, while exposure to PM10 was shown to have an effect for up to five days after exposure.

    • Michael Moore’s Flint water movie claims county faked kids’ lead blood tests

      Cook-Hawkins repeated her allegations during the “All In With Chris Hayes” show that was taped in Flint and broadcast Wednesday, Sept. 12, on MSNBC.

      The former health department secretary told The Journal that other witnesses and documents will support her story if it is tested and said she will share what she knows with Flint water investigators working for Attorney General Bill Schuette.

    • Lead in US school water “disturbing”—Detroit just shut off all fountains

      Students returning to school in Detroit next week will find their water fountains entirely shut off over concerns of elevated lead and copper levels—something that federal lawmakers say is part of a “disturbing and unacceptable” nationwide issue.

      The decision to shut off the drinking water in Detroit was based on a first round of results from testing that the school district carried out in its 106 schools earlier this year. The results from just 24 schools so far surfaced 16 that had water sources tainted with excessive levels of lead, copper, or both. For instance, tests at the district’s Academy of the Americas Elementary school found a kitchen and drinking faucet in a basement cafeteria that had lead levels of 182 micrograms per liter (ug/L) and 154 ug/L, respectively. Those are more than ten times the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended limit of 15 ug/L. The full testing results can be found here.

    • Detroit schools shutting off drinking water because of lead, copper

      The Detroit school district is shutting off drinking water to all of its schools after test results found elevated levels of lead or copper in 16 out of 24 schools that were recently tested.

    • Sitting is being considered the new smoking, your desk job is to blame

      The rat race of modern life is making bad back a lifestyle disorder, with most people complaining of a catch or a longer period of pain that may keep recurring. Lower back pain can emerge abruptly due to an exercise injury, if you’ve lifted anything heavy or it may just be an age-related disintegration in the body. However, if you have a desk job and spend over 4-5 hours sitting constantly in the incorrect posture, you are prime candidate for recurrent lower backache. Newer scientific studies also point out that sitting is perhaps the new smoking.

    • About Half of Clinical Trials Go Unreported in EU

      Approximately half of all clinical trials registered in the European Union have not reported results on the European Union Clinical Trials Register as required by the European Commission, according to a study published September 12 in The BMJ. While 68 percent of pharmaceutical companies disclosed their trial data, only 11 percent of academic institutions including hospitals and universities had done so.

      “This problem strikes to the heart of evidence based medicine. We cannot make informed choices about which treatments work best, as doctors and patients, unless all results are reported,” coauthor Ben Goldacre of the University of Oxford says in a statement. A new tracker was launched along with the study to help keep a check on clinical trial reporting in the European Union (EU).

    • Emirates flight with dozens of sick passengers lands at JFK

      An Emirates flight from Dubai was quarantined Wednesday morning at JFK Airport, where it landed with about 100 of its 521 passengers feeling sick, according to reports.

  • Security

    • Course Review: Software Defined Radio with HackRF

      Over the past two days, I had the opportunity to attend Michael Ossman’s course “Software Defined Radio with HackRF” at Toorcon XX. This is a course I’ve wanted to take for several years, and I’m extremely happy that I finally had the chance. I wanted to write up a short review for others considering taking the course.

    • WPScan – A Black Box WordPress Vulnerability Scanner

      WordPress is all over the web; it’s the most popular and most used content management system (CMS) out there. Is your website or blog is powered by WordPress? Did you know that malicious hackers are always attacking WordPress sites every minute? If you didn’t, now you know.

      The first step towards securing your website or blog is to perform a vulnerability assessment. This is simply an operation to identify common security loopholes (known to the public), within your site or its underlying architecture.

    • Are BGPs security features working yet?

      This post is a textual version of a talk I gave at NLNOG 2018, You can watch the talk below if that’s your preferred medium: [...]

      BGP has had a problem for quite a while, most of the time when we hear about this in the news outside of the networking word it is referred to as a “BGP Hijack”. Which can be better phrased as “someone routed someone else’s addresses to them”.

    • Illegally Released NSA Hacker Tool EternalBlue Being Used to Mine Cryptocurrency [Ed: Microsoft’s collusion with NSA for back doors continues to serve crackers well, enriching them.]

      One Year After Their Illegal Release, the NSA’s Classified Exploits Are Still Being Used to Mine Crypto

      One year ago, the National Security Agency suffered one of the worst leaks in its history: a series of classified exploits built by the NSA were stolen and published online. Today, those exploits continue to be used to attack cryptocurrency miners worldwide.

      One of the exploits, called EternalBlue, is a particularly effective backdoor exploit. EternalBlue can be used to silently break into virtually any Windows machine in the world.

      Hackers have used EternalBlue to install ransomware on thousands of computers worldwide. Government organizations, corporations, and even entire towns have ground to a halt due to EternalBlue ransomware attacks.

    • Kodi users fall victim to malware due to malicious add-on
    • x86 finds its way into your iPhone

      The baseband cpu is a standalone core that lives in your phone and is responsible for managing 2g/3g/4g/cdma/5g wireless communications. Given the absurd complexity of these standards, today a baseband cpu must be very powerful and enough general purpose, so the days of custom FPGA based IPs are long gone, at least for the main part. A lot has been said and written about basebands on modern smartphones, so I won’t repeat it. For our purpose, you just need to know that usually basebands are implemented using embedded friendly CPUs, like for example ARM (Cortex-M, Cortex-R or something inbetween), Qualcomm Hexagon (a kind of general purpose, VLIW dsp) or other more or less known architectures.

      Apple is nothing special in this regard, up until the iPhone8/iPhoneX, they used to have two different basebands, one for CDMA markets and one for everything else. The CDMA one was based on Qualcomm Hexagon dsp, while the GSM one was based on Intel XMMxxxx architecture. For those that like to play around with iPhone firmwares, you might have seen MAVxxx and ICExxx files in the ipsw, well those two files contain the firmware respectively for Qualcomm based devices (MAV) and Intel based ones (ICE).

      As you may know, Apple decided to drop Qualcomm and now they’re using exclusively Intel based basebands, so we will concentrate on this.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Colombian activists face ‘extermination’ by criminal gangs

      Since the beginning of 2016 – the year that a peace agreement was signed with Colombia’s largest leftist rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (or Farc) – some 311 activists, community leaders, and human rights defenders have been murdered, according to the national human rights office.

      At least 123 of those killings took place in the first six months of this year, in what the country’s human rights ombudsman described as “an extermination”.

    • ‘Only bones remain’: shattered Yazidis fear returning home

      Her village is Kocho, only a short drive away. In the vast catalogue of Isis’s war crimes, Kocho set a new bar for brutality. About 400 men, the entire male population, were rounded up, shot or beheaded. Old women were killed and dumped in mass graves, younger ones sold in markets as sex slaves, boys turned into child soldiers.

    • The NRA’s Catch-22 for Black Men Shot by Police

      A National Rifle Association spokesperson says Botham Jean would still be alive if he’d had a firearm. But when African Americans legally bearing arms are shot by police, the organization’s media outlet doesn’t defend them.

    • US military to cancel $300m in Pakistan aid over terror groups

      The Haqqani network is a militant group that focuses most of its activities on neighbouring Afghanistan, which has complained for years that Pakistan allows it to operate unimpeded from its soil across the border.

      The group is linked to the Afghan Taliban – a hardline Islamist movement that poses a major threat to the Afghan government. Pakistani Taliban groups, while associated with the Afghan Taliban, focus on attacks within Pakistan.

    • 5 Bizarre Problems Modern Militaries Are Facing

      The challenges facing modern militaries are very real … and very stupid.

    • With New Niger Drone Base, Trump’s CIA Poised for Expanded African Footprint: NYT

      The CIA under President Donald Trump has expanded its drone program in Africa with a recently built-up airbase in northeastern Niger the likely launchpad for surveillance and bombings across the region, the New York Times reported Sunday.

      The expansion reflects the agency’s reclaimed authority to conduct covert lethal drone strikes—a capacity President Barack Obama curtailed but which Trump returned to the CIA soon after taking office.

    • CIA broadening drone strike operations in Africa: report

      The CIA is broadening its drone strike operations in Africa, reversing an Obama-era decision to significantly scale back attacks, according to The New York Times.

      The intelligence agency is reportedly moving aircraft to Niger in order to conduct drone strikes against al Qaeda and Islamic State fighters in Libya.

      Nigerien and American officials told the Times that the CIA has been conducting surveillance missions with drones for several months, and will soon be using the drones in lethal missions.

      A CIA spokesman declined to comment for the report while a Defense Department spokeswoman, Maj. Sheryll Klinkel, insisted the military does not launch drone missions from the Dirkou airport, the alleged base of the recent surveillance missions.

    • How a C.I.A. drone base grew in the desert

      Officials from the U.S. and Niger have confirmed the location of a new C.i.A. drone base to The New York Times. They’ve analyzed its construction and location.

    • Marines are on Sweden’s coast preparing for largest NATO exercise as Russia grumbles

      Marines are also training with Sweden’s Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle.

    • Saudis Created ‘Little Crucible’ for 9/11 Hijackers, CIA Never Told FBI

      On the 17th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Towers and damaged the Pentagon, Radio Sputnik spoke with the authors of a new book that hit shelves last month about the failures of the US intelligence community and heretofore unknown connection the hijackers had with the Saudi monarchy.

      On Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear Tuesday, hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou spoke with Ray Nowosielski and John Duffy, about their new book: “The Watchdogs Didn’t Bark: The CIA, NSA, and the Crimes of the War on Terror,” and some of the shocking facts it brings to light about how competition between intelligence agencies for information overlapped with the creation of “a little crucible” in California for two key 9/11 hijackers by figures with high-up connections in the Saudi state in the year before the attacks, and that those same people were allowed to keep their jobs and advance in the CIA.

    • Abbas Threatens to Terminate CIA Intelligence Briefings

      The Palestinian Authority (PA) is threatening to terminate security and intelligence coordination with the American Intelligence Central (CIA) following the Trump Administration’s decision to close the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington. In a report on Israeli state-run Kan radio, a senior PLO official said the Ramallah government is reconsidering their ties with the United States and is considering severing security ties with the United States.

      Relations between the Palestinian intelligence apparatus, under Majad Farah’s command, and the CIA had been in good standing until now; despite the tense political relations between the White House and the Muqata (the headquarters of the Palestinian government in Ramallah). Security cooperation includes constant meetings between representatives of the CIA and Palestinian intelligence officials, as well as the exchange of information.

    • CIA Veterans Get Chance to Fly Restored Makasi Plane

      In the mid-1960s, the CIA financed a clandestine air force in the congo. The mission: drive Russian and Chinese communists and Che Guevera’s Cuban troops out of the mineral-rich country.

      Who flew those planes? Cuban exiles, many of them veteran pilots from the Bay of Pigs.

      [...]

      The plane looks a lot different almost 55 years later. It’s the same plane, restored in U.S. Navy markings but carrying the logo of the Makasi, the nickname for the secret CIA air force.

      “This airplane is part of my life,” said Dario Filpes, a Makasi pilot. “Today I am 80. I feel good but I can’t fly anymore.”

    • Jordan’s Salt Cell Planned Drone Bomb Attack

      Members of a terrorist cell, who carried out a bombing in the town of Fuheis near the capital Amman on August 9, have admitted to planning for bigger attacks, including attempts to target a military base with a drone.

      The country’s General Intelligence Department (GID) said Friday that during confessions, the terrorists who were arrested in a joint gendarmerie and police raid in the city of Salt, northwest of Amman, admitted to having had the intention to carry out a series of operations across the Kingdom just after the Fuheis attack with a homemade explosive device planted near a police van, which killed a policeman and injured six others.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Mystery of missing Dutch cyber-security expert linked to WikiLeaks whose belongings were found in sea off Norway… before his phones were switched on 1,000 miles away

      The belongings of a leading Dutch cyber-security expert who went missing in August have been discovered floating in the sea around 30 miles from Bodø, Norway.

      This has led to speculation over the fate of Arjen Kamphuis who was last seen in the Arctic Circle after checking out of a hotel in Bodø, with plans to travel to Trondheim by train, which is ten hours away.

      Mr Kamphuis, an associate of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, never boarded the train or the connecting flight to Amsterdam.

      A thorough search led by Norwegian police has failed to locate Mr Kamphuis, however a kayak believed to belong to him has been recovered from the sea.

    • Mysterious Disappearance of WikiLeaks Associate Takes New Turn

      The man disappeared in Norway three weeks ago, but police still haven’t come up with an official version of what happened with the cyber security expert and tech guru.

      A new piece of evidence has surfaced in the case of tech expert and WikiLeaks associate Arjen Kamphuis, who disappeared on August 20 after leaving his hotel room in the northern Norwegian town of Bodo. According to SBS News, local police found his kayak, which he had recently bought. The boat was found roughly at the same spot as some of Kamphuis’ other belongings, which were spotted by a fisherman floating in the water 50 kilometers away from Bodo on September 12.

    • Julian Assange was involved in Melbourne’s rave scene in the 1990s, Techno Shuffle book reveals

      In early ’90s Melbourne it was difficult to find electronic dance music on the radio or at the record store.

      But almost every weekend, somewhere in the city, a dancefloor would be filled with ravers wearing brightly-coloured home-made costumes.

      “If you wanted to hear this music — you know, techno music, acid house, house music — you could only really hear it in a club, at a party or at a rave,” says Paul Fleckney, author of Techno Shuffle: Rave Culture and the Melbourne Underground.

      These events were put on by English expats and local DJs, supported by rave devotees who looked after the lights, décor and chill-out zones.

      One of these devotees, according to Fleckney, was WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • No more BBC platform for climate change deniers? It’d be about time

      The other major factor behind the BBC’s occasional troubles on climate change is lobbying. The newspaper commentariat is amply stocked with columnists who routinely lambast the corporation for bias; and the weight of rhetoric has had an impact.

    • Wildlife group details growing illicit animal trade on Facebook
    • Facebook animal trade exposed in Thailand

      The anti-trafficking body analysed membership of the Facebook groups in 2016 and then again two years later. It found that, while two groups had ceased to exist, total membership had almost doubled – up from 106,111 in 2016 to 203,445 in 2018.

    • Hey, Army Corps of Engineers—Show Us Your Work in Your DAPL Report

      So what’s the Corps hiding? Its reassessment of the potential environmental impacts of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, or DAPL, ordered by a federal judge in 2017. (You probably recall the massive demonstrations and international outcry that took place beforehand.) Under the terms of the court order, the Corps was instructed to reexamine whether a leak in the pipeline would pose a disproportionately high risk to the Standing Rock Sioux’s “distinct cultural practices”—which, in this case, include the ability of its 8,000 members to obtain food and water from the Missouri River and Lake Oahe.

    • Trump and Friends Cash In

      Members and backers of the Trump administration are profiting from DAPL while scheming to make even bigger bucks shipping oil and petrochemicals overseas.

    • Trump’s Disregard of Puerto Rico’s Death Toll Is Putting Lives at Risk

      I’m not laying those two studies out to re-report their conclusions but to indicate that claims have to be delivered with evidence and methods. That’s how scientists talk to each other and give policymakers tools to make decisions. In this case, both studies also contained information and recommendations of what could be improved the next time a hurricane comes to Puerto Rico—which could be any week now.

    • The Fight to Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline Continues—in the Bayous of Louisiana

      This Labor Day weekend, L’Eau Est La Vie put out a national call for reinforcements for a new wave of actions. It offered newcomers training in using ropes and climbing gear to scale a cypress tree and then establish and defend a tree sit, and led lessons in boat-based resistance, in which “kayaktivists” row up to remote swamp construction zones. Hands were also needed for ongoing construction projects: compost toilets, showers, and a library. I came down to learn why they are so determined. I also wondered why their fight has been almost completely ignored.

    • Australian Youth Activists Are Trying to Shut Down the World’s Largest Coal Port
    • Scientist who thinks more CO₂ is great joins National Security Council

      In the end, Happer was not tapped as Science Advisor by the Trump administration, but E&E News reported Tuesday that he is now a member of the National Security Council.

      Happer was previously listed as the director of a group called the “CO2 Coalition,” which has a website that claims that CO2 released from fossil fuels is just good news for global plant growth while having no real effect on Earth’s climate. (These claims are false.) He has also taken to referring to the field of climate science as a “cult movement.”

    • Sick salmon at Scottish fish farm revealed on film

      A video shot underwater on 27 August 2018 inside a cage at Vacasay fish farm in Loch Roag showed hundreds of sea lice feeding on salmon with open wounds and damaged tails and fins.

      The video has been passed to the Scottish Government and Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA), both of which have launched investigations. Campaigners said that lice from the fish farm have spread to wild salmon in a nearby river, and killed them.

    • Campaigners claim fish farms are to blame for wild salmon deaths

      Campaigners claim wild salmon returning to a river in the Isle of Lewis are infested with sea lice originating from local fish farms.

    • Scottish Salmon : Silent, contagious and deadly… the sea lice devastating Scotland’s wild salmon

      Shocking images from Loch Roag on the Isle of Lewis show fish covered in hundreds of deadly sea lice, which campaigners claim are being spread by salmon farms.

      They say the farm parasites are having “devastating consequences” on Scotland’s wild salmon and have called for legislation to be introduced to protect the species.

    • Dozens of elephants killed near Botswana wildlife sanctuary

      Carcases of nearly 90 elephants have been found near a famous wildlife sanctuary in Botswana, conservationists say.

      [...]

      With 130,000 elephants, Botswana has been described as their last sanctuary in Africa as poaching for ivory continues to wipe out herds across the rest of the continent.

    • If you want to save the world, veganism isn’t the answer

      So there’s a huge responsibility here: unless you’re sourcing your vegan products specifically from organic, “no-dig” systems, you are actively participating in the destruction of soil biota, promoting a system that deprives other species, including small mammals, birds and reptiles, of the conditions for life, and significantly contributing to climate change.

      Our ecology evolved with large herbivores – with free-roaming herds of aurochs (the ancestral cow), tarpan (the original horse), elk, bear, bison, red deer, roe deer, wild boar and millions of beavers. They are species whose interactions with the environment sustain and promote life. Using herbivores as part of the farming cycle can go a long way towards making agriculture sustainable.

    • Tropical Forests Are Flipping From Storing Carbon to Releasing It

      Apart from the human toll, the violence in the Amazon is also driving an ominous trend in the earth’s climate system. Last October, Science published one of the most important—and least noticed—climate studies in years. Tropical forests in the Amazon and around the world have been so degraded by logging, burning, and agriculture that they have started to release more carbon than they store, according to scientists from the Woods Hole Research Center and Boston University. In the parlance of climate change, these forests are flipping from carbon sinks to carbon sources.

      [...]

      “We’re dangerously approaching a point where the convergence of all these drivers might reach irreversibility,” Nobre says. Cross that threshold, and much of the Amazon rain forest will begin to die. The Amazon could reach that tipping point if 20 to 25 percent of its original forest cover is destroyed, Nobre estimates. In that case, more than half the Amazon would transition from rain forest to savannah, releasing massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere as the trees die and burn. Such a “dieback” is one of the scenarios that could trigger runaway global warming, according to the “hothouse Earth” study published by the Potsdam Climate Impacts Institute in August.

    • To Prevent ‘Major Extinction Crisis,’ Scientist Call for Designating Half of Planet as Protected Areas by 2050

      The demand comes in the form of an editorial published in the journal Science on Friday by chief scientist of the National Geographic Society Jonathan Baillie and Chinese Academy of Sciences biologist Ya-Ping Zhang.

      In their piece, Baillie and Zhang argue, “If we truly want to protect biodiversity and secure critical ecosystem benefits, the world’s governments must set a much more ambitious protected area agenda and ensure it is resourced.”

      “Given the evidence to date and the implications of an underestimate,” the editorial urges policymakers “to set minimum targets of 30 percent of the oceans and land protected by 2030, with a focus on areas of high biodiversity and/or productivity, and to aim to secure 50 percent by 2050.”

      “This will be extremely challenging, but it is possible,” the editorial asserts, “and anything less will likely result in a major extinction crisis and jeopardize the health and well-being of future generations.”

      The scientists concede that “estimating how much space is required to protect current levels of biodiversity and secure existing ecosystem benefits is challenging because of limited knowledge of the number of species on this planet, poor understanding of how ecosystems function or the benefits they provide, and growing threats such as climate change.”

    • Pope urges action on plastic in the ocean

      The Pope addressed about 100 business leaders invited to the Vatican for the occasion, saying that “each of us has to be responsible for others and for the future of our planet”.

      United Nations figures show eight million tonnes of plastic – bottles, packaging and other waste – enter the ocean each year, killing marine life and entering the human food chain.

      Scientists have urged tougher restrictions on plastic waste.

    • U.N. Chief Warns of a Dangerous Tipping Point on Climate Change

      One of the big tests at those talks, which start Dec. 3 in Katowice, will be whether countries, especially industrialized countries that produce a large share of global emissions, will set higher targets for reducing their emissions.

    • Here’s how climate change is fueling Hurricane Florence

      Reed talked with Science News about what a forecast attribution study is, how the new study suggests climate change may have altered Florence’s rainfall and size, and the future of real-time attribution. His responses are edited for space and clarity.

  • Finance

    • Women suffering more than men from austerity policies, finds gov’t report

      The report concluded that changes to taxation and social programmes benefitted 61 percent of men compared to 54 percent of women. As a result women’s disposable incomes have seen a greater decrease compared to men’s during the period under review.

      One finding was that government policies have resulted in roughly half a million people losing more than 50 euros in income every year. Some 55 percent of these economic underdogs have been women, whose disposable income declined by 0.41 percent more than their male peers’, the report said.

    • Zambia’s looming debt crisis is a warning for the rest of Africa
    • Why PayPal’s crackdown on ASMR creators should worry you

      In June, China banned and excised videos of sound effects while claiming to cleanse its internet of pornography. YouTube had already demonetized the genre in a sex panic; now PayPal is banning people for life and holding individuals’ funds, ignorant of the facts and marching lockstep to the tune of 8chan trolls enacting a campaign to punish “whores.”

      The most bitter punchline in all this? A tiny percentage of the entire video genre is even remotely sexual, and those suffering — female creators — aren’t even making sex content.

      This past week, nonsexual ASMR video creators Sharon DuBois (ASMR Glow), Scottish Murmurs, Creative Cal, and Rose ASMR have been permanently banned from PayPal and had their funds frozen for 180 days.

      [...]

      Capitalizing on entrenched and easily exploitable anti-sex policies by internet giant payment processors and a new internet sex panic ushered in by FOSTA, 8chan trolls have started a campaign to mass-report attractive women who make ASMR videos. Listing names of women making these sound-effect videos in a forum thread called “PayPal lowering the hammer on ASMRtits” they’ve declared war by posting links to report pages for PayPal, and called upon fellow haters to get the women kicked off YouTube and Patreon as well. They’re laughing at the women’s anguish over creating nonsexual content and losing their revenue streams, saying things like “another whore for the deep-freeze” — in between posting anti-Semitic and Pepe the frog images, of course.

      If you’re unfamiliar with ASMR, it’s essentially a genre of videos where the creator makes sound effects in a variety of scenarios that are geared toward evoking a sense-memory of tingling sensations from the back of the head. If anyone ever played with your hair and you felt a funny but calming shiver, you get the idea. The performance artists in these videos do things to create sounds like playing with hair, brushing microphones with makeup brushes, chewing ice and lots of other things that evoke a feeling for viewers. Not everyone tunes into the sensations, but those who do find it very beneficial.

    • Bitcoin [BTC]’s censorship resistance will propel it towards mass adoption, says mining firm Argo’s head

      On Friday, 14th September, Jonathan Bixby, the Chief Executive Officer of Argo, a mining company stated that the demand for cryptocurrency has actually suffered from the bearish market but there is still hope for mass market adoption.

      He stated that the affiliation of normal market users to cryptocurrencies is still in the early stages with a majority of them being early adopters. The CEO went on to say that the main problem that affects the industry is misconceptions with cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. People just need to simplify and understand what the fintech industry is really about and that will solve almost all the insecurities related to cryptocurrencies, he said.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Google a cult of censorship, fear and discrimination

      In the past days, weeks, months, and years the mask has come off Google, the company that was once considered cool and benevolent, to reveal a festering, pus-filled pit of hypocrisy and corrupt values.

    • Don’t Force Google to Export Other Countries’ Laws

      We’ve come a long way from the 1990s, when the internet evangelist John Perry Barlow, in his “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace,” asserted that governments “have no sovereignty” online. These days, many critics call for more state intervention online, to curb the spread of disinformation and other internet-borne harms, and to limit the power of platforms like Google and Facebook to shape political discourse. Those are legitimate concerns, and rightly the subject of debate.

      We should be equally worried, however, about the prospect of platforms like Google and Facebook, with their international reach and pervasive role in our lives, doing the bidding of governments around the world.

    • Blasphemy: Pakistan’s curse
    • How Chinese influence in US universities relies on self-censorship

      A research project looking into Chinese influence in US universities has found that it is far more nuanced than many China critics have suggested.

      The Asia Society study identifies self-censorship by academics and students as the biggest impediment to independent research on China.

      The author is Senior Fellow at the Asia Society’s Centre on US-China Relations in New York, Isaac Stone Fish and he joined The World Today from New York.

    • China scholars agree ‘self-censorship is a problem in the China field.’ But whose problem?

      The conservative National Association of Scholars and the liberal American Association of University Professors have both warned about the influence of Chinese-funded Confucius Institutes on American college campuses.

      A recent research paper by University of Missouri and Princeton University political scientists probes a related issue: how Chinese pressure on scholars of China studies has affected their research.

      Sheena Chestnut Greitens and Rory Truex conducted a survey of more than 500 China scholars to collect the first “systematic data on how common it actually is for China scholars to have their work affected by PRC [Chinese government] repression,” they write in the paper.

    • Amazon opposes voluntary censorship code move mooted by industry

      Amazon is opposing a move by its peers in the video-on-demand industry in India to consider adopting an industry-wide voluntary censorship code, fearing that it will alienate viewers.

      [...]

      ET reported last week that top VOD companies were exploring the adoption of a voluntary code in anticipation of the Indian government coming up with its own rules, which some players expect will be onerous. AltBalaji, the VOD arm of Balaji Telefilms, opposes such a move and has stayed away from these discussions.

    • Amazon India Says ‘No’ To Self-Censorship, Urges Other OTT Players To Follow

      The Seattle-based company is reportedly trying to dissuade other players to drop the idea, fearing that it will alienate viewers in India.

      It was earlier reported that OTT players in India, including Amazon, allegedly met in New Delhi to discuss the possibility of censorship codes and what they would look like.

    • I don’t believe in song censorship – M.anifest

      Ghanaian rapper, M.anifest says he doesn’t believe in censoring lyrics of songs.

      According to him, just like a writer or poet is allowed to use any diction to express a concept, he believes rappers must have the same privilege.

      “I don’t believe in censorship. I don’t go into a song saying ABC, its like any writer. Just like Ama Atta Aidoo, she uses whatever she wants to use. Its not something done for short value but if needs be. We have to be real. People have grown to know authenticity so for me to censor myself, it will be a big fail…

      He, however, added that, he adheres to the censorship rules when writing his songs.

      “We do the radio and clean versions, we master all of these. I always have a radio edit…” he said.

    • Burlington school district rescinds principal’s article review policy

      Editors at the Burlington High Register, the student paper, said Friday that principal Noel Green was re-instituting a policy that required all articles be reviewed by administrators 48 hours prior to publication.

      The students and their allies immediately criticized the move as a violation of the ‘New Voices’ legislation passed by the Vermont legislature in 2017 to protect student journalists from censorship.

    • Burlington School Officials Seek to Quell Censorship Controversy

      The Burlington School Board and Superintendent of Schools Yaw Obeng on Saturday attempted to quell the controversy over censorship of the city high school’s newspaper, saying that a new policy will be developed.

      The board and Obeng announced that guidelines for material to be published in the Burlington High School Register are no longer in effect. Instead, the board and administration will develop a policy that is consistent with the free speech and student journalist protections under Vermont’s New Voices law, the announcement said.

    • Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Nick Ut on his Napalm Girl shot, censorship and taking it slow

      I kept thinking that I had a bad picture. I kept thinking if it was any good at all,” says Nick Ut, Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, whose iconic photograph — The Terror Of War or Napalm Girl — taken in 1972 is one of the most hard-hitting images of the Vietnam War. “We — there were other media personnel as well — used to travel with the soldiers, in the helicopters, everywhere. The Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese (Army) troops were at a stand-off and the highway was shut. We were walking just outside a village in Trang Bang, it was early in the morning, there was random bombing happening, and we were taking pictures. And then we saw this huge airplane fly low, then came a second one that dropped the napalm, and everyone screamed and started running,” says Nick Ut at a Networking India Series event in Delhi’s Unesco auditorium, organised by Yes Arts and Culture Institute and Leica.

      It’s a tale that he has recounted innumerable times, to the likes of actors Warren Beatty and Joan Collins. Even the reclusive actor Marlon Brando, who did not like to be photographed, gave Ut an audience because of the defining photograph. “I think seconds later, after the bomb dropped, I saw this deluge of children and women running on the road towards us. I started shooting. First, I saw a woman, she had a baby in her arms. Then on the periphery of my lens I saw this small girl, she was naked. She was crying. I started running towards her, but I kept shooting,” says Ut, who was born Huynh Công Út, in a village just outside of Saigon, Vietnam. After having shot eight rolls of film, Ut piled on as many children and women as possible in a van, including the nine-year-old napalm girl — he first wrapped her up in a raincoat — and drove them to a hospital, after having used his media card at check points to drive unhindered all the way to Saigon. “I kept thinking she would die. She had torn off her clothes because she was burning,” says Ut in heavily-accented English.

      Clicked on June 8, 1972, The Napalm Girl — which the 21-year-old thought was a bad picture — and other pictures were sent to the Associated Press in the US, after being routed through Tokyo. “The photo was a subject of debate. Associated Press (AP) had a strict policy on nudity. Horst Faas, the editor and senior journalist, argued that the photo rose above the clauses of nudity. It got published on June 12, 1972, in The New York Times and then everything changed for me,” says Ut, 67. The photo won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973, and was also the World Press Photo of the year. The napalm girl, Phan Thi Kim Phuc, survived severe third-degree burns that affected her deeper tissues. Fourteen months after multiple surgeries, she returned home. Kim, now 55, lives in Canada and is a grandmother. She speaks to Ut every week till date. He even attended her son’s wedding.

    • Hong Kong airport accused of censorship after Taiwanese airline’s logo disappears from photo

      Hong Kong International Airport has been accused of censorship after it removed the logo of a Taiwanese airline in a photo posted to Facebook.

      HKIA’s Facebook page was posting about the iconic Boeing 747, which is often nicknamed the “Queen of the Skies.”

      “Have you ever come across her at the airport?” the post on Tuesday read.

    • CPJ: Pakistan’s Press Freedom Climate Fraying

      A global media monitoring group said the climate for press freedom in Pakistan is deteriorating and accused the country’s powerful military of “quietly, but effectively” encouraging “self-censorship.”

      In a report released Wednesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), said its findings are based on interviews with journalists during a mission to Pakistan this year. They “painted a picture of a media under siege,” CPJ noted.

      The research, however, noted a drop in murders and violence against journalists in Pakistan, which, until recently, had been condemned as one of the deadliest for reporters.

    • Freedom of press on the decline in Pakistan: Committee to Protect Journalists
    • Press freedom in Pakistan under pressure by military: Report
    • Pakistan military ‘quietly’ stifles press with intimidation: group
    • CPJ: Pakistan’s Military Curbing Press Freedoms Using Fear, Intimidation
    • How Pakistan’s military intimidates journalists and silences dissent, according to press watchdog
    • Acts of Intimidation: In Pakistan, journalists’ fear and censorship grow even as fatal violence declines
    • Target is reportedly censoring words like “Nazi” and “queer” from book descriptions
    • Allison Varnes writes a cautionary tale about censorship for young readers
    • This Vietnamese singer tried to battle state censorship. Now she only performs in secret.
    • Constitution After-Dark: Obscenity, Censorship, and Speech Rights in the Digital Age
    • EDITORIAL: The latest examples of academic censorship

      There are many valid reasons for an academic journal to reject a scientific paper, but concerns over the political implications of its findings aren’t among them.

      Yet that’s what happened to Theodore Hill, a professor emeritus of mathematics at Georgia Tech. He chronicled his saga at Quillette.com earlier this month. It started last year with a paper on the “greater male variability hypothesis,” which contends that men are more likely to be both geniuses and dolts. This isn’t a new idea. Charles Darwin studied this back in the 19th century, finding a greater variability among males, compared to females, in many animal species.

      Hill was interested in why this was and worked on “a simple intuitive mathematical argument based on biological and evolutionary principles.” Mathematical Intelligencer, a research journal, decided to publish a paper by Hill detailing his work. That’s when the backlash started.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Chinese tech firm fights GCHQ warning

      A Chinese state-backed technology giant is recruiting MPs and peers for a campaign to overturn GCHQ advice that its equipment may be a threat to national security.

      ZTE, which makes network gear and is owned by the Chinese state, is ­battling advice issued in April by GCHQ’s National Cyber ­Security Centre (NCSC) that use of its “equipment or services within ­existing ­telecommunications infra- structure would present a risk to UK national ­security that could not be mitigated effectively or practicably”.

    • UK mass surveillance broke human rights convention, European court rules

      The UK’s mass surveillance program is in violation of human rights, the European Court of Human Rights has declared. The challenge was instigated following the revelations from US whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

      The court stated there is “insufficient oversight” and “inadequate safeguards” over the government’s ‘bulk interception’ of communications. Furthermore, it found the UK “was not in accordance with the law” over it’s obtaining of communications data from service providers.

    • UK Surveillance Programs Violated Privacy Rights, Court Says

      The European Court of Human Rights said that some U.K. surveillance programs, including the bulk interception of communications exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, violate rules that protect privacy and family life.

      The seven judges at the Strasbourg, France-based court said in a 5-2 ruling that such interceptions violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which also deals with the privacy of communications. There was insufficient oversight of how information in the bulk scoop of data was intercepted and filtered, and the safeguards governing the selection of “related communications data” for examination were inadequate, the judges said in a statement published Thursday following their decision.

    • Top European Court Says British Spies Broke Human Rights Rules With Their Mass Surveillance Tactics
    • “Bulk interception” by GCHQ (and NSA) violated human rights charter, European court rules

      The Court found that sharing intelligence information gathered from bulk surveillance—as GCHQ does with the NSA and other members of the “Five Eyes” intelligence and security alliance—does not violate the human rights charter. But the judges did warn that using such intelligence sharing to bypass restrictions on surveillance of a member state’s own citizens would be a violation of the charter.

      In the ruling, the judges found that there was insufficient oversight through the UK’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal (the UK equivalent of the US’ Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court) over the UK’s bulk interception, filtering, and search of communications by the GCHQ. The judges also found that there were insufficient safeguards put in place to govern access to communications data. While the case has no direct impact on US intelligence gathering, the case could have a ripple effect because of the close connections between US and UK intelligence and law enforcement organizations.

    • British spies broke law in GCHQ mass surveillance, says European Court of Human Rights

      Britain broke human rights law when the GCHQ intelligence agency carried out the mass snooping operation that was exposed by Edward Snowden, a European court has ruled.

      The European Court of Human Rights said spies broke the right to privacy and ignored surveillance safeguards when they carried out the data harvesting and intercepted private online conversations in bulk. Judges ruled that UK intelligence agencies sharing the data with foreign governments, such as the US, was not illegal.

    • AT&T Users Lack Standing In NSA Spying Suit, Court Told

      The National Security Agency is pressing a California federal judge to ax a long-running putative class action accusing the agency of illegal spying, arguing that the AT&T customers leading the dispute lack standing because they have failed to offer any “competent evidence” that their communications were scooped up by the challenged surveillance.

      A group of American citizens who are AT&T telephone subscribers first sued the NSA and several high-ranking government officials in 2008, claiming that several NSA intelligence-gathering programs that involve the collection of noncontent data about…

    • Tech Firms Push Gov’t For Limits In Hoarding Security Flaws [Ed: Microsoft is a company of liars. They actively collude with the NSA to make back doors, based on leaks. Publicly they pretend to oppose it.]

      Members of the Cybersecurity Tech Accord, which includes Microsoft Corp., Facebook Inc., HP, Cisco Systems Inc. and Dell, called Monday for the U.S. government and other major powers to develop criteria for deciding whether to disclose software and hardware vulnerabilities to the public.

    • Bay Area transit system approves new surveillance-oversight policy

      On Thursday, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Board of Directors voted to approve a new policy that requires that it be notified if the local police department wishes to acquire new surveillance equipment.

      BART is one of the largest mass transit agencies in northern California, with a system that stretches from the San Francisco International Airport, through San Francisco itself, across to Oakland, north to Antioch and south to Fremont—adjacent to Silicon Valley. This new policy puts it in line with a number of other regional cities that impose community oversight on the acquisition and use of surveillance technology. It is believed to be one of the first, if not the first, such policies for a transportation agency in the nation.

    • Edward Snowden Reconsidered

      The Snowden phenomenon was far larger than the man himself, larger even than the documents he leaked. It showed us the first glimmerings of an emerging ideological realignment—a convergence, not for the first time, of the far left and the far right, and of libertarianism with authoritarianism. It was also a powerful intervention in information wars we didn’t yet realize we were engaged in, but which we now need to understand. To this day, Snowden speaks often, and uses his platform. So whether we trust him matters. And it certainly matters if we conclude that he is a well-intentioned whistleblower who has shown bad judgment or has allowed himself to become an unwitting pawn of the Russians.

    • U.S. Mobile Giants Want to be Your Online Identity

      Tentatively dubbed “Project Verify” and still in the private beta testing phase, the new authentication initiative is being pitched as a way to give consumers both a more streamlined method of proving one’s identity when creating a new account at a given Web site, as well as replacing passwords and one-time codes for logging in to existing accounts at participating sites.

      [...]

      All four major mobile providers currently are struggling to protect customers against scams designed to seize control over a target’s mobile phone number. In an increasingly common scenario, attackers impersonate the customer over the phone or in mobile retail stores in a bid to get the target’s number transferred to a device they control. When successful, these attacks — known as SIM swaps and mobile number port-out scams — allow thieves to intercept one-time authentication codes sent to a customer’s mobile device via text message or automated phone-call.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Ending Child Marriage in the United Kingdom

      In allowing some children to marry the UK is out of step with the international standards it claims to support. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child supports a global minimum of 18 years for marriage, without exceptions, and recommended in 2016 that the UK raises the minimum marriage age to 18, including in its overseas territories.

    • Criminalizing Childhood: School Safety Measures Aren’t Making the Schools Any Safer

      By the time the average young person in America finishes their public school education, nearly one out of every three of them will have been arrested.

      More than 3 million students are suspended or expelled from schools every year, often for minor misbehavior, such as “disruptive behavior” or “insubordination.”

      Black students are three times more likely than white students to face suspension and expulsion.

      Zero tolerance policies that were intended to make schools safer by discouraging the use of actual drugs and weapons by students have turned students into suspects to be treated as criminals by school officials and law enforcement alike, while criminalizing childish behavior.

    • Dallas cop faces homicide charge after killing neighbor in his [own] apartment
    • Dallas officer who shot man in his own apartment was involved in 2017 shooting of a suspect
    • Texas officer charged with manslaughter over ‘wrong flat’ killing
    • Dallas Cop Claims Botham Jean Ignored Her ‘Verbal Commands’
    • Hate preacher Anjem Choudary, to be freed in weeks, is ‘still a threat’

      Around 25 Muslim chaplains are to receive a week’s training on how to deal with prisoners with Islamist extremist ideologies as part of a pilot to be launched before the end of the year, the Ministry of Justice confirmed.

      [...]

      There are already about 300 Muslim chaplains working in prisons. Stewart’s proposal would lead to one or two specially-trained chaplains assigned to prisons on a regional basis.

    • Pope Francis summons his bishops to discuss sexual abuse
    • When Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Hits Home

      Sadly, Olivia is one of many Native women who have gone missing in the United States. Native Americans and Alaska Natives represent only 0.8% of the U.S. population, but in 2017, they made up 1.8% of missing persons cases in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database.

    • “It Was Us Against Those Guys”: The Women Who Transformed Rolling Stone in the Mid-70s

      “Some of it was about drugs, and some of it was about sex,” recalls Sarah Lazin, who went from editorial assistant to director of Rolling Stone Press over the course of a decade. “But it was really about doing challenging work, and being on the cutting edge of journalism and history.”

    • Labor Day 2018: How the Ongoing Prison Strike is Connected to the Labor Movement

      The striking prisoners of today have released a list of ten demands, which calls for improvements to the current living conditions in prisons, increased rehabilitation programs, educational opportunities, and specific policy goals. This essentially articulates the idea of non-reformist reforms, a central plank of prison abolition. By illuminating the barbarity of the current prison system and calling for its abolishment while advocating for an improvement in current conditions, they are—to paraphrase French socialist André Gorz—asking not for what can be achieved within a current system, but for what should be possible.

      [...]

      The prison strike was organized by workers both inside and outside detention facilities, spearheaded by Jailhouse Lawyers Speak (JLS), and supported by the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) and the Free Alabama Movement (FAM), and sparked by [deadly uprisings at Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina earlier this year that cost seven prisoners’ lives. The strike began on August 21 and ends on September 9, dates that reflect the legacy of rebellion in American prisons: on August 21, 1971, George Jackson was killed by prison guards in San Quentin, and his death was met by protests from other prisoners across the country, culminating in the famed September 9 uprising at the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York. By choosing these dates, participants in the prison strike of 2018 are drawing a direct line between their current struggle and the struggles of those who have come before, emphasizing the stark fact that very little has changed in terms of conditions or opportunities for those who are locked up and held by the state since the birth of the modern prison system.

    • US inmates claim retaliation by prison officials as result of multi-state strike

      As a multi-state prison strike continues through a second week, many participants have been hit by prison officials with swift and vicious reprisals, advocates, prisoners and their families said.

      It is claimed that inmates – especially those seen as organizers – have been subject to solitary confinement, revocation of communication privileges and long-distance transfers, in attempts to weaken the effects of work stoppages and to chill dissent.

    • Woman lay dead in Nevada jail cell for hours after deputy found her unresponsive

      Locked away in a Nevada county jail for failing to take care of her traffic tickets, 27-year-old Kelly Coltrain asked to go to the hospital. Instead, as her condition worsened, she was handed a mop and told to clean up her own vomit. She died in her jail cell less than an hour later.

      Despite being in a video-monitored cell, Mineral County Sheriff’s deputies did not recognize that Coltrain had suffered an apparent seizure and had not moved for more than six hours. When a deputy finally entered her cell and couldn’t wake her, he did not call for medical assistance or attempt to resuscitate her. Coltrain lay dead in her cell until the next morning when state officials arrived to investigate.

      [...]

      According to the investigation report, the 20-minute section of video depicting Gulcynski entering her cell was missing entirely from the files the state obtained for its investigation from the sheriff’s office. But a Reno Gazette Journal reporter found the video in files provided by Keyser-Cooper.

    • Vigilantes With A Badge: Warrior Cops Endanger Our Lives And Freedoms

      So when I say that warrior cops—hyped up on their own authority and the power of the badge—have not made America any safer or freer, I am not disrespecting any of the fine, decent, lawful police officers who take seriously their oath of office to serve and protect their fellow citizens, uphold the Constitution, and maintain the peace.

      My beef is with the growing squads of warrior cops who have been given the green light to kill, shoot, taser, abuse and steal from American citizens in the so-called name of law and order.

      These cops are little more than vigilantes with a badge.

    • Duterte Jokes About Rape, Again. Philippine Women Aren’t Laughing.

      “Instead of seriously addressing the problem, the misogynist Duterte has added insult to the scars of rape survivors,” a coalition of a women’s groups called #BabaeAko (I Am Woman), said in a statement.

    • US envoy denies CIA hand in coup plot

      United States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim has denied accusations that the US Central Intelligence is involved in the alleged destabilization plot against President Rodrigo Duterte.

      “I can assure you with great confidence and conviction that there is actually no effort in the US government, including the CIA, to come up with some effort to undermine President Duterte’s administration,” Kim said in a rountable discussion with journalists.

    • Ambassador Kim denies CIA kill plot against Duterte: President’s fears have no impact on US-PH ties
    • US envoy on ‘CIA slay plot’: No efforts to undermine Duterte admin
    • No CIA destab effort vs. Duterte: US envoy
    • Why sex assault survivors are fuming over DeVos proposal

      The proposed changes — from the federal Department of Education led by Michigan’s Betsy DeVos — would limit colleges to investigating only those sex assaults that happen on campus. Assaults that occur just off campus, in places like fraternity houses or off-campus housing, wouldn’t be investigated by the institutions.

    • Stephon Clark-inspired bill to limit police killings in California shelved for the year

      AB 931 would have raised the state standard for using lethal force from “reasonable” — when a reasonable officer in similar circumstances would have acted the same way — to “necessary,” when there are no alternatives for police to consider in that situation.

    • Met police sergeant cleared over strip search of academic

      “They are effectively saying: ‘This is our policy; Met police policy is to strip search anyone who stands up for their rights or the rights of somebody else.’

      “This makes very clear that we are not dealing with one bad apple, they are closing ranks and saying this is Met police policy. That’s my sense of what this judgment means.

    • The Trajectory Of The Restriction Of Privacy And Freedom

      Recently, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced a plan to begin deploying full-body scanners in the LA subway system.

    • Man who bought sex doll online ends up in court because it was child-sized

      He added that pictures of the doll on the website showed it set against a white background and that there was no way to compare its height and he had cohosen than particular model because it was on sale.

      Ayelen Tunon, defending, told jurors that while it may be a short version it had an adult face and breasts, which a child would not have.

    • Women caned in Malaysia for attempting to have lesbian sex

      Rare punishment was carried out in a courtroom and witnessed by up to 100 people

    • Christian girl attacked for refusing to marry and convert to Islam

      Binish Paul, a high school student, was being stalked by a Muslim man who was her friend, and when she said no to his petition, he got angry and after beating her, he took her to the second floor of a building and pushed her from there.

      The Pakistani girl survived, but has suffered severe fractures in her spine and legs, and she will no longer be able to walk.

    • Vision and strategy: on solidarity, multiculturalism, identity politics, Muslims, Islamists and the Western Left

      The problem occurs when multiculturalism becomes social policy. There is more emphasis on differences then similarities. This leads to communities living separate, but unequal lives. For example, in Britain we have faith-based schools and faith-based services as if we can’t go see a doctor that doesn’t have the same beliefs as we do. We also have faith-based courts such as Jewish courts or Sharia courts where there is discrimination against women. You have citizens in this country who don’t have the same access to the same rights, services and education as the rest of the country. You have children from Muslim parents that are going to Islamic schools where they are taught that they need to be veiled, they can’t listen to music, they can’t take pictures of themselves and they can’t mix with boys. This is happening to children from a very young age. These are not prescriptions for a multicultural, plural society as people envision it to be, but a society that is completely segregated, separated and unequal.

    • Indonesia: Ban on Unmarried Couples Dining Together Spawns Criticism

      However, the head of Bireuen’s sharia office, Jufliwan, said the guidelines were intended to protect the honor of women.

    • Saudi Arabia arrests man who filmed video of himself eating breakfast with female colleague

      The owner of the hotel has also been summoned for questioning, according to the ministry.

      The footage, which has been shared widely on social media, shows a woman dressed in a burqa eating breakfast with a man and, at one point, feeding him some food.

    • Muslims ‘proselytizing’ at U.S. school assemblies

      However, both the California and U.S. Constitutions prohibit the government from aiding religious sects or favoring one religious organization over another. The legal team explained courts repeatedly have ruled students suffer spiritual and psychological harm if they are exposed to religious indoctrination in a compulsive educational environment.

    • Two sisters die after undergoing FGM in Somalia, campaigner says

      “Unfortunately, they never made it to the hospital as they all died on the way,” said Aden Mohamed, who has been calling for legislation banning the practice commonly done on young girls in Somalia.

    • UK schoolgirls have been pressured by peers to have FGM, campaigner says

      She is frustrated that there have been no convictions in the UK to date, although FGM has been illegal since 1985. Hussein ascribed that failure partly to a lack of evidence available to the police, PA said.

    • U.S., U.K. authorities to work more closely on ending female genital mutilation

      “FGM is an international issue. No one country can deal with it on its own,” Ivan Balhatchet, Commander in the London Metropolitan Police and the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for FGM, told CBS News.

    • Factbox: Female genital mutilation around the world: a fine, jail or no crime?

      World leaders have pledged to eliminate FGM, which affects an estimated 200 million girls and women worldwide. But a report launched in London by campaign group 28 Too Many says there are major gaps in legislation across countries in Africa where FGM is prevalent.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Starting an Internet Service Provider – Part 2 – Deploying Fiber

      Nearly 2 years ago I wrote Starting an Internet Service Provider. When I sat down to write that post I initially intended it to be a weekly or monthly log of events to look back on, but it turned into one long blog post about the struggles of starting an ISP. That post ended up receiving over 20,000 visits in one day while at the top of Hacker News and roughly 40,000 total. I obviously haven’t written weekly or monthly since then; mainly due to lack of time.

    • Here’s why you can’t use dual SIM iPhones in India

      Moving on to the network part, the type of carrier you are using decides if you can use two SIMs simultaneously in your iPhone. Notably, amongst the two SIM cards you’ll be integrating, one of them needs to support the eSIM standard. Only then can you use two carriers together. Not all companies provide cards with the support for eSIM standard and in India, Airtel and Reliance Jio are the only two providers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Time for a break – catching up with KitKat

        By now, the fate of the four fingered KitKat shape mark is old news – Joined Cases C‑84/17 P, C‑85/17 P and C‑95/17 P

        Rumours of the mark’s death have been greatly exaggerated – it is now for the EUIPO to reconsider the evidence in light of the CJEU’s ruling and reach a decision as to whether or not the mark is valid.

        Whilst the press may have put the cart before the horse, the CJEU’s decision does suggest that the mark will not remain registered long term.

      • The Most Significant Unresolved Legal Issue In Trademark Licensing
    • Copyrights

      • You Don’t Really ‘Own’ That Movie You Bought, But Pirates…

        In this day and age ownership of digital media is often an illusion. When you buy a book or movie there are severe restrictions on what you can do with these files. In some cases, purchased content can simply disappear overnight. These limitations keep copyright holders in control, but they breed pirates at the same time.

      • ISP Can Charge Money to Expose Pirates, Canadian Supreme Court Rules

        The Canadian Supreme Court has ruled that ISPs are entitled to compensation for looking up the details of alleged copyright infringers. This is the result of a dispute between Rogers and movie company Voltage Pictures, which demanded details of tens of thousands of alleged pirates. The scale of compensation is yet to be determined.

Slamming Courts and Judges Won’t Help the Patent Maximalists; It Can Only Make Things Worse

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 5:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recent: Patent Maximalists — Not Reformers — Are the Biggest Threat to the Viability of the Patent System and Innovation

Green puzzle

Summary: Acorda Therapeutics sees its stock price dropping 25% after finding out that its patent portfolio isn’t solid, as affirmed by the Federal Circuit (CAFC); the only way out of this mess is a pursuit of a vastly improved patent quality, thorough patent examination which then offers legal certainty

THE EPO grants monopolies that kill people, just like the USPTO. It’s like corporate interests rather than science or innovation are the sole priority. What about public interest? Or public welfare/wellbeing?

The other day patent maximalists wrote about Acorda. Dennis Crouch (Patently-O) keeps sobbing for the patent aggressors, even if the patents at hand (underlying USPTO-granted monopolies) turn out to have been errors, hence injustices. To quote Crouch:

In a 50+ page majority opinion, the Federal Circuit has affirmed a district court obviousness judgment. Judge Taranto penned the majority opinion and was joined by Judge Dyk. Judge Newman wrote in dissent — arguing in 20+ additional pages that the majority improperly discounted the objective indicia of non-obviousness. On news of the invalidity decision, Acorda’s stock price dropped 25%.

[...]

Remember that broad Elan patent exclusively licensed by Acorda. The majority explains that Acorda’s commercial success and the long-felt need for advances were due to the roadblock set-up by that patent. “The risk of infringement liability for marketing in the US would have provided and independent incentive [for third parties] not to develop the invention of the Acorda patents, even if those inventions were obvious.” (internal quotations eliminated; this holding, the appellate court finds was supported by the trial record). Although the Elan patent was a US patent — and thus did not block research (FDA Research Exemption) nor did it block international sales, the majority explained that those caveats are “not shown to be weighty.” Several Amici filed briefs in support of the patentee — however, the Federal Circuit found that the friendly arguments failed for lack of proffered evidence.

If a company is this dependent on a patent monopoly, then perhaps it should not exist in the first place and the patents are of rubbish quality anyway. Something similar happened in Europe recently.

It’s not too surprising that similar ‘sob stories’ came from proponents of patents on life/nature such as “Patent Docs authors Kevin Noonan and Donald Zuhn,” as Patent Docs themselves put it shortly after Kevin Noonan wrote about Acorda:

Determining obviousness is always a reconstruction, imperfectly done, of a past that never was. The prior art is consulted and the question asked, would the worker of ordinary skill in the art have been able to achieve the claimed invention with a reasonable expectation of success? Of course, this question is posed against a backdrop of the ordinarily skilled worker not having achieved the invention; that accomplishment was attained by the named inventor. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court since Hotchkiss and the Patent Act since 1952 has recognized that sometimes the answer to the question must be no, if only to ensure that the constitutional mandate that Congress only grant patents that will “promote the progress of . . . the useful arts” be satisfied.

[...]

The lawsuit arose when Roxane and co-Defendants Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. each filed an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) for Acorda’s multiple sclerosis drug (Ampyra®) and sent Paragraph IV letters to Acorda (and co-Plaintiff Alkermes Pharma Ireland Ltd.) asserting that four Orange Book-listed patents (U.S. Patent Nos. 8,007,826; 8,663,685; 8,354,437; and 8,440,703) were invalid. As the Federal Circuit panel stated, there was one additional patent, U.S. Patent No. 5,540,938, owned by Elan Corp. plc and exclusively licensed to Acorda. That patent broadly claimed therapeutic formulations of 4-aminopyridine (4-AP); Acorda’s patents were for more narrow formulations having specific characteristics and properties that distinguished (undisputedly, for novelty purposes) these claims from the claims of the ’938 patent.

None of that would happen had the USPTO properly assessed the patents in the first place, possibly aided by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), even without an inter partes review (IPR). What we generally have here for all to see is a reminder of the great importance of patent quality.

The US patent courts, CAFC in this case, keep telling off the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for granting bogus patents and trying to justify that, as is common when it comes to 35 U.S.C. § 101. Here is another new example from Patently-O:

Today the Federal Circuit issued three parallel decisions all stemming from the patent case brought by Asghari-Kamrani. The first two decisions affirm the E.D.Va. judgment-on-the-pleadings. In those cases, the district court held that the patentee (Asghari-Kamrani) failed to state a plausible claim for relief within her complaint. In particular, the court found that all the asserted claims were invalid for lack of eligibility. On appeal, the Federal Circuit AFFIRMED in a R.36 Judgment Without Opinion. [Link].

The third decision is an order of dismissal of a parallel appeal from the PTAB (CBM Review). The PTAB had found all of the claims unpatentable as obvious or anticipated. On appeal, though the Federal Circuit dismissed the appeals as moot — and vacated the USPTO decisions.

Dennis Crouch, in his rather typical fashion, complains about it. This patent maximalist says “the automatic vacatur of the PTAB decisions does not sit well with me.” He has long used this strategy of trying to slow PTAB down, just like the SAS decision from earlier this year.

Crouch later wrote another one of his many rants, this time titled “The Federal Circuit Strides Forward with No-Opinion-Judgments” (never mind if they cannot cope with the number of appeals coming from PTAB). To quote Crouch:

Petition for Writ of Certiorari. I explain in the article, that the issue was rather low-level up until 2013 and the explosion of inter partes review (IPR) proceedings and resulting appeals to the Federal Circuit. Because those cases typically involve complex obviousness analysis (as in the case at hand), the shortcut route has been for the court to issue R.36 Judgments Without Opinion in these IPR appeals. The result has been hundreds of R. 36 Judgments of PATO appeals over the past few years.

Although a number of parties have raised the issue with the Federal Circuit, the court has not yet addressed the issue directly (other than by continuing to issue no-opinion-judgments). I will note that the same question is also presented in the pending petition in Leon Stambler v. Mastercard International, Inc., SCT Docket No. 17-1140.

Rob Sterne’s team at Sterne Kessler is representing the patentee-petitioner. Sarah Guske (Baker Botts) represented Cisco in the appeal.

If Crouch is so bothered to see patents invalidated at a very high pace, maybe he should introspect and consider if his worldview has been warped by the litigation ‘industry’ with its financial agenda. He’s supposed to be a law professor, but instead he speaks like a lobbyist for patent trolls who just ‘happens’ to lecture people in an educational institution.

Observations like the above only further contribute to the perception of a nefarious agenda; and as a side note, many patent sites I’ve long followed (they’re even called “Patent” something) are diverging/moving away from patents to copyright and trademark stuff. Some, including Watchtroll, no longer even cover any of the above. They seem totally lost. When they write something — as we shall show later this weekend — it’s typically an attack on a court, tribunal, panel, or judge. This is not good. It’s not good for the image of their profession as a whole. Unless they give up on their patent maximalism/lobbying, they will only alienate judges even further. Moving to greener pastures may be a better trajectory. IAM, for example, has virtually gone dark; it’s barely even visible anymore.

Patent Trolls Are Still Active and Microsoft is Closely Connected to Many of Them

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 4:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Still connected

Summary: A roundup of patent trolls’ actions in the United States; Microsoft is connected to a notably high number of these

THE software patents granted by the USPTO often travel or find their way into the hands of trolls such as Intellectual Ventures (IV) with its notorious proxies like ‘offspring’ trolls (for ‘enforcement’ i.e. lawsuits and shakedown). IV isn’t just Microsoft-funded; it’s also funded by Bill Gates, headed by his close friend, and led by former Microsoft executives. It’s everything one needs to know about the ‘new’ Microsoft.

Watchtroll’s post about IV’s latest defeat in court was composed by Robert Schaffer, Joseph Robinson and Dustin Weeks. The case was previously covered by Watchtroll and in Techrights as well. James Korenchan from Patent Docs said this a few days ago:

Last week, in yet another patent case before Judge Rodney Gilstrap of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas Marshall Division, the Court ruled that Defendants T Mobile USA, Inc. and T-Mobile US, Inc. (collectively, “T-Mobile”) failed to show that a claim related to packet scheduling is patent ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

T-Mobile had moved to dismiss claim 109 of U.S. Patent. No. RE46,206 (the ’206 patent) (a reissue of U.S. Patent No. 7,251,218) as directed to ineligible subject matter. In addition, T-Mobile, as well as Defendants Ericsson Inc. and Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson, moved to dismiss all claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,359,971 and claim 1 of the ’206 patent as barred by issue preclusion. The Court carried the motion under issue preclusion grounds but denied the motion as to patent eligibility.

35 U.S.C. § 101 thankfully stepped in, but in the Eastern District of Texas the outcomes aren’t so predictable. Expect this to carry on for some time…

There are many other trolls that are connected to Microsoft. Interval Licensing, for instance, is a patent troll of Microsoft’s co-founder and it recently resurfaced in some headlines. One patent maximalist picked on Judge Plager for this: “There was a funny moment during the oral argument of Interval Licensing, LLC v. AOL, Inc. last December when Judge Plager explained why his law clerk was just an abstract idea…”

Another Microsoft proxy was mentioned by Nasdaq the other day in anticipation of a “Mini-Trial December 10, 2018″ against Juniper Network. Finjan is a patent troll that has Microsoft behind it (as backer and funder). There’s also Cisco, a rival of Juniper Network.

It is just too difficult to ignore the fact that Microsoft is responsible for a feeding frenzy, sending money and patents into the laps of notorious and active patent trolls while offering ‘protection’ from these trolls. This racket has been bundled or lumped into Azure [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20].

Over the past week there have been also troll stories that have nothing to do with Microsoft. Here are software patents in action again… in the US. Note that the target in this case was Azure Farms (not Microsoft):

Farm victim of ‘patent troll’ lawsuit

The vaguely threatening letter over alleged patent infringement that Azure Farms received last year didn’t make much of an impression on David Stelzer.

Stelzer, the company’s founder and CEO, consulted with his information technology employees, who assumed the letter was a scam.

“I didn’t give it a second thought,” he said.

Now, the Oregon company is the defendant in a lawsuit that alleges its online website for selling organic food and other products has violated a patent for automated financial transactions owned by Landmark Technology LLC of San Diego, Calif.

Stelzer said his website isn’t much different from multitudes of others that sell products online, making him think the plaintiff has filed a “nuisance lawsuit” aimed at a quick settlement.

Azure Farms, based in Dufur, Ore., doesn’t have deep pockets to hire expensive attorneys, which is perhaps why the company was targeted, he said.

“I have no clue what they are after,” said Stelzer, who farms nearly 2,000 acres. “They’re basically saying because we have a working website, we have patent violations.”

Another troll lawsuit was covered by Dennis Crouch a few days ago. It’s about Blackbird Tech LLC, which is a malicious patent troll we wrote a great deal about in the past. Having failed with software patents they now try again with fluorescent patents:

Blackbird Tech’s US patent at issue (7,086,747) is directed to an LED light fixture designed to retro-fit to the space of old tubular fluorescent light fixture having a ballast cover. The claims particularly require a “housing having an attachment surface.”

[..]

In the original panel decision, Judge Moore penned the majority decision and was joined by Chief Judge Prost. Judge Reyna filed a dissent — concluding that the “attachment surface” limitation is an element of the claimed retrofit function of the invention and should be attachable to something in the old housing. Judge Reyna writes: “The plain language of claim 12, read in the context of the specification, implicitly requires that the attachment surface be secured to the ballast cover to achieve the retrofit function.”

The basic debate here stems from the reality that the canons of construction conflict with one another. The unfortunate result though is the old-fallback that claims mean what the Federal Circuit says they mean.

Crouch’s complaints (and sometimes rude remarks) about the Federal Circuit is a subject we explored before and will revisit later this weekend. He is particularly upset that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) decisions are so often affirmed by the Federal Circuit (after referrals/appeals emanating from inter partes reviews).

Advancements in Automobile Technology Won’t be Possible With Patent Maximalism

Posted in Patents at 3:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Blue truck

Summary: Advancements in the development of vehicles are being discouraged by a thicket of patents as dumb (and likely invalid) as claims on algorithms and mere shapes

THE EPO‘s and the USPTO‘s retreat to buzzwords isn’t particularly new. They attempt to find creative new ways to grant software patents pertaining to driving/vehicles. The EPO together with IPO will do this in Chicago.

We previously wrote about "Autonomous Driving" and "Self-Driving Cars" in relation to patents; these are software patents. Such patents ought not exist.

“They attempt to find creative new ways to grant software patents pertaining to driving/vehicles.”A few days ago we also saw updates on the ludicrous case of Nikola, which thought the design of a vehicle merited a patent (designs are covered more appropriately by other laws). According to this update from Ross Tessien: “The US Patent Examiner ruled the Tesla design is unique compared to the Nikola design.”

There’s also this lengthy report from Fred Lambert, who said this:

Tesla is currently being sued by Nikola Motors for $2 billion over the design of the Tesla Semi, but the automaker has now obtained its own design patents for the electric truck – significantly weakening Nikola’s case.

As we previously reported, Nikola alleged that Tesla’s electric truck design infringes on its existing patents. Specifically, a series of 3 patents that Nikola recently obtained for the design of a few features of their Nikola One truck unveiled in 2016 – a year before Tesla unveiled its own electric truck.

We broke down each of the Nikola’s specific claims in what we believed basically amounted to a patent trolling case in a purely design-based objective way.

As we said before, design patents are a stupid idea to begin with; laws covering designs exist which have nothing to do with patents. How is society supposed to advance when not only technical patents need to be assessed but also patents on mere shapes? That’s an impediment to science and technology, not a facilitator thereof.

“How is society supposed to advance when not only technical patents need to be assessed but also patents on mere shapes?”The patent maximalism site BNA (and its authors who are themselves patent maximalists) has just published this “INSIGHT” (all caps) titled “Biggest Roadblocks to Getting Driverless Cars on the Road—The High Stakes of Patent Protection in the Era of Self-Driving Cars” (title seems promising enough).

We expected the article to give examples of patents holding back science in this domain (in this particular domain we’d be dealing with computer vision for the most part). The article, however, makes excuses for patents on self-driving cars:

There are few inventions that have changed the face of the planet. First, there were motor vehicles, then airplanes, and now self-driving cars have emerged, set to completely revolutionize the way we travel. This convergence of so many disparate technology sectors will make self-driving cars a reality: chip companies; software developers; and cameras (to name a few). This has made investments in the space the hottest commodity in Silicon Valley. With continued innovation and efforts in technology such as engines, microchips and 5G all being funneled into the development of self-driving cars, technology companies should consider how to protect their intellectual property in a way that keeps them competitive and brings their innovations to the roadway as soon as possible.

There’s no time to waste—companies need to start thinking through now how they plan to protect their inventions, innovations, talent and investments—while still ensuring they don’t halt the growth of the industry in the process. Considerations of patent protection and strategy are critical in this burgeoning field. Here’s what companies need to keep in mind as they “autonomously” navigate new waters…

Like we said several times a few years ago, virtually all of these patents are software patents that are reducible to mathematics. The cars themselves are the same, but there’s a computer doing all or much of the steering, throttling etc. based on stereo-vision and an assessment of the environment (segmentation, classification and so on).

Society won’t be able to advance too well if electric and computer-assisted cars are kept out of reach — artificially — by patents and patent lawsuits.

Battistelli “Has Deeply Hurt the Whole Patent Profession, Examiners as Well as Agents” and Also the Image of France

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There’s still lack of diversity in the management, which is clearly French-led under António Campinos

French EPO

Summary: A French perspective regarding Battistelli’s reign at the EPO, which has not really ended but manifests itself or ‘metastasises’ through colleagues of Battistelli (whom he chose) and another French President (whom he also chose)

MANY EPO scandals that include nepotism have been covered here for over four years. 3 out of 4 successive EPO presidents are French and that has a lot to do with politics as well as lobbying, including by Battistelli, who intervened to have António Campinos appointed. Pompidou was reasonably OK (not perfect, there were a few complaints associated with him as well) and a few hours ago I received the following comment in French:

Avec le comportement radicalement antisocial et délibérément dictatorial du précédent président français de l’OEB, la France va pour longtemps paraitre indésirable au niveau exécutif de l’OEB aux yeux de nombreux pays membres. On peut déjà être heureux que le Français soit encore considéré comme langue officielle de l’OEB. Dans un passé relativement récent, Mr Pompidou a été un président français raisonnable et diplomate qui a été respecté, bien que tout le monde savait y compris lui-même que son implication dans les brevets ne lui permettait pas de s’imposer en tant qu’expert de la propriété industrielle au niveau international. Evidemment, la renommée de son père adoptif a été déterminante dans sa nomination à la tête de l’OEB.

Mr Batistelli, par contre, a profondément blessé toute une profession, les examinateurs aussi bien que les mandataires, spécialement par son mépris du droit de la propriété inustrielle. Son trop long mandat à l’OEB a sapé tous les efforts diplomatiques de la France dans les années 1970 à 2010. L’INPI qu’il a dirigé n’a jamais eu une politique d’examen quant au fond très développée et il ne pouvait se prévaloir de cette expérience puisque l’INPI a délivré pendant très longtemps des brevets sans examen sérieux.

L’Allemagne, les Pays-Bas, la Grande-Bretagne, la Suisse ont été des membres fondateurs de l’Organisation européenne des brevets qui, à la différence de la France, avaient de longue date développé un examen quant au fond de qualité, ce qui reste dans les mémoires toujours maintenant et qui reste le seul élément important pour l’industrie mondiale. La désindustrialisation de la France dans les dernières décennies n’est pas pour donner à la France un rôle de 1er plan dans le développement de la protection par brevets.

Il est vrai que l’évolution actuelle du droit communautaire attire les convoitises de chaque pays pour occuper les places importantes de la structure de l’OEB. Souhaitons que les choix des responsables soient basés, non pas sur des motifs politiques aveugles, mais sur des raisons sérieuses et consistantes.

Ces réflexions sont basées sur mon expérience d’examinateur pendant 10 ans à l’INPI puis pendant 30 ans à l’OEB. Ceci autorise une vue d’ensemble certainement crédible.

The entirely automatic translation:

With the radically antisocial and deliberately dictatorial behavior of the former French President of the EPO, France will for a long time appear undesirable at the executive level of the EPO in the eyes of many member countries. We can already be happy that French is still considered the official language of the EPO. In a relatively recent past, Mr Pompidou was a reasonable and diplomatic French president who was respected, although everyone knew, including himself, that his involvement in the patents did not allow him to prevail as a expert in industrial property at the international level. Evidently, the fame of his adoptive father was decisive in his appointment as head of the EPO.

Mr. Batistelli, on the other hand, has deeply hurt a whole profession, examiners as well as agents, especially by his contempt for industrial property rights. His lengthy tenure at the EPO undermined France’s diplomatic efforts in the 1970s to 2010. The INPI he led never had a substantive substantive examination policy and he did not could benefit from this experience since the INPI issued for a very long time patents without serious examination.

Germany, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Switzerland were founding members of the European Patent Organization which, unlike France, had long developed a substantive quality examination, what remains in the memories always now and which remains the only important element for the world industry. The deindustrialization of France in recent decades is not to give France a leading role in the development of patent protection.

It is true that the current evolution of Community law attracts the desires of each country to occupy the important positions of the structure of the EPO. Let us hope that the choices of those responsible are based, not on blind political motives, but on serious and consistent reasons.

These reflections are based on my experience as an examiner for 10 years at the INPI and for 30 years at the EPO. This allows for a certainly credible overview.

Back in the days (over a year ago) French MP Philip Cordery spoke about these issues [1, 2, 3] and he wasn’t alone [1, 2]. A female French politician said that Battistelli is “extremely damaging to the image of France” and Cordery said something similar to a lot of politicians. Battistelli had simply lied to them by claiming that his exposers were just "Nazis".

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