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10.03.18

Links 3/10/2018: IBM Containers and Red Hat Announces Satellite 6.4

Posted in News Roundup at 3:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • ​IBM mainframe containers grow more secure

      Of course, you can do a wee bit more with Secure Service Containers (SSC) on IBM LinuxONE and Z mainframes than you could on a 360 mainframe with a maximum of 1MB of memory. IBM Cloud Private is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) environment for developing and managing containerized applications. It’s built on top of the Kubernetes container orchestrator Kubernetes.

    • A New Method of Containment: IBM Nabla Containers

      In the previous post about Containers and Cloud Security, I noted that most of the tenants of a Cloud Service Provider (CSP) could safely not worry about the Horizontal Attack Profile (HAP) and leave the CSP to manage the risk. However, there is a small category of jobs (mostly in the financial and allied industries) where the damage done by a Horizontal Breach of the container cannot be adequately compensated by contractual remedies. For these cases, a team at IBM research has been looking at ways of reducing the HAP with a view to making containers more secure than hypervisors. For the impatient, the full open source release of the Nabla Containers technology is here and here, but for the more patient, let me explain what we did and why. We’ll have a follow on post about the measurement methodology for the HAP and how we proved better containment than even hypervisor solutions.

      The essence of the quest is a sandbox that emulates the interface between the runtime and the kernel (usually dubbed the syscall interface) with as little code as possible and a very narrow interface into the kernel itself.

    • Kubernetes 1.12 Arrives With TLS and Better Cloud Integrations

      The Kubernetes project has been hurtling at breakneck speed towards the boring. As the popular open source container orchestration platform has matured, it’s been the boring features which have come front and center, many of which focus on stability and reliability. For the Kubernetes 1.12 release on Thursday, those working on the project and on the various special interest groups (SIGs) initially laid out over 60 proposed features. A little over half of those made it to the final release, with many more being pushed back or delayed, as usual.

      Amongst the changes that made it into this release are such additions as the general availability of TLS bootstrapping, the ability to use the Kubernetes API to restore a volume from a volume snapshot data source, a newly beta version of the KubeletPluginsWatcher, and some groundwork which is being put in place to solve scheduling challenges that confront large clusters

    • Platform9 Open-Sources etcdadm, Enabling the Kubernetes Community to Easily Create and Manage Secure etcd Clusters, Anywhere

      Platform9, the leader in SaaS-managed hybrid clouds, today announced etcdadm – a new open source project available under the Apache v2.0 license…

    • Platform9 Open Sources Its Kubernetes Etcd Support Tool

      Platform9 pushed its etcdadm support tool out into the open source community via GitHub in an effort to generate momentum behind automating the configuration, deployment, and management of etcd clusters used by Kubernetes to store control plane information. Those tasks are currently either part of more broadly-focused efforts put on the shoulders of a Kubernetes user, or cobbled together by developers.

      Etcd is the primary storage location for Kubernetes and needs to be established before Kubernetes can be run on a system. Arun Sriraman, Kubernetes technical lead manager at Platform9, explained in a video that etcd is the “backbone for Kubernetes storage.”

    • Introduction to gVisor: Sandboxed Linux Container Runtime

      Emma Haruka Iwao introduces the architecture of gVisor and its benefits and discusses differences between other isolation mechanisms.

    • AT&T Details Open White Box Specs for Linux-Based 5G Routers

      This week AT&T will release detailed specs to the Open Compute Project for building white box cell site gateway routers for 5G. Over the next few years, more than 60,000 white box routers built by a variety of manufacturers will be deployed as 5G routers in AT&T’s network.

      In its Oct. 1 announcement, AT&T said it will load the routers with its Debian Linux based Vyatta Network Operating System (NOS) stack. Vyatta NOS forms the basis for AT&T’s open source dNOS platform, which in turn is the basis for a new Linux Foundation open source NOS project called DANOS, which similarly stands for Disaggregated Network Operating System (see below).

      AT&T’s white box blueprint “decouples hardware from software” so any organization can build its own compliant systems running other software. This will provide the cellular gateway industry with flexibility as well as the security of building on an interoperable, long-lifecycle platform. The white box spec appears to OS agnostic. However, routers typically run Linux-based NOS stacks, and that does not appear to be changing with 5G.

    • ANZ slashes mainframe bill with CPU monitoring [Ed: IBM still all about proprietary at the core]
  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Is Fine, Nothing to See Here

      Recently, Linux kernel developers were prompted to revoke licenses to their pieces of code to protest against the new Code of Conduct. Over the last week a whole lot of outlets shed light on this event and mused about the morality and potential ramifications of the whole controversy.

      However, ethical and political aspects aside, there are at least two important things to understand: what are the developers opposing and whether they are really able to revoke the licenses for their code. We will try to figure out both as simply and briefly as possible.

      [...]

      The main question here is whether or not “contributors can, at any time, rescind the license grant regarding their property via written notice to those whom they are rescinding the grant from,” as it is put in the original email, urging kernel developers to protest against the Code of Conduct.

      Let’s start with something simple. General Public License is a framework license created by Free Software Foundation for open source software developers. Whenever someone creates a piece of software, they can add certain lines in the end of the code text saying that it is licensed under the GPL. And so, the GPL will apply to anyone who uses this code. Licensees will also be forced to apply the same licensing rules if distributing the code afterwards.

      Note, that GPL is a license in its essence. Hence, it is a legal construction that allows anyone to use a software developed by someone on a legitimate legal basis. It is also important that GPL license was iterated. In this case all the attention goes to GPL version 2.0 and version 3.0.

      The difference in question between GPL v.2.0 and v.3.0 is the inclusion of the non-rescission clause.

    • Learn More About The Zinc Crypto API, Which Hopes To Get Into Linux 5.0 With WireGuard

      Last week at Kernel Recipes 2018 in Paris, WireGuard lead developer Jason Donenfeld presented on the Zinc crypto API that he has been developing for the Linux kernel to suit his in-kernel secure VPN tunnel needs but also to potentially replace the existing Linux crypto code in the future.

      If you are curious about Linux crypto support, Jason has shared his Kernel Recipes presentation on Zinc and it’s embedded below.

    • Linux Australia says no ban on Ts’o attending annual conference [Ed: Sharp carries on harassing Linux developers]

      Claims that Linux Australia has a ban in place on well-known kernel developer Ted Ts’o attending the organisation’s annual national conference — which is known as LCA — have been denied by LA president Kathy Reid.

      The claims were made by ex-kernel developer Sage (formerly Sarah) Sharp in a blog post a few days after Linux creator Linus Torvalds announced he was taking a break from leading the kernel development project in order to obtain professional advice about his behaviour issues.

      In the wake of Torvalds’ decision — claimed to have been prompted by an article in The New Yorker — the project announced that its existing code of conflict would be replaced by a code of conduct.

    • Kernel Developers Discuss Defaulting To BFQ For Some Storage Devices

      There’s a new discussion taking place over the default I/O scheduler of the Linux kernel.

      Since going mainline in Linux 4.12, the BFQ I/O scheduler has continued improving. For those not familiar with the Budget Fair Queueing I/O scheduler, it’s designed for low-latency in interactive applications and soft real-time workloads, higher speed and throughput than CFQ/Deadline for many workloads on SSDs, and strong fairness/bandwidth guarantees. BFQ has been used by the default within the Linux kernel “Zen” downstream flavor along in select distributions, but now there’s talk again about trying to make it the default I/O scheduler.

    • Static Analysis Trends on Linux Next

      As one can see from above, CoverityScan has found a considerable amount of defects and these are being steadily fixed by the Linux developer community. The encouraging fact is that the outstanding issues are reducing over time. Some of the spikes in the data are because of changes in the analysis that I’m running (e.g. getting more coverage), but even so, one can see a definite trend downwards in the total defects in the Kernel.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Open source communities unite around Cloud-native Network Functions

        Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), chiefly responsible for Kubernetes, and the recently established Linux Foundation Networking (LF Networking) group are collaborating on a new class of software tools called Cloud-native Network Functions (CNFs).

        CNFs are the next generation Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) designed specifically for private, public and hybrid cloud environments, packaged inside application containers based on Kubernetes.

        VNFs are primarily used by telecommunications providers; CNFs are aimed at telecommunications providers that have shifted to cloud architectures, and will be especially useful in the deployment of 5G networks.

        Some of the first working examples of CNFs will be seen in the third release of the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP), codenamed Casablanca and expected later this year.

      • Top Five Reasons to Attend Hyperledger Global Forum

        In just over two months, the global Hyperledger community will gather in Basel, Switzerland, for the inaugural Hyperledger Global Forum.

        [...]

        At its core, Hyperledger is a global community built on the belief you can do more to advance blockchain technologies by working together than by working in isolation.

        Hyperledger Global Forum is the first worldwide meeting of those invested in or intrigued by this community-based approach, so making connections, getting involved and sharing resources will be top of mind for everyone there. There’s no better way place to become part of the global team.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel Linux Graphics Driver Working Towards 5K+ Display Support With VESA DSC

        While 4K displays are great for now, 5K displays are on the horizon and Intel is hard at work preparing their open-source Linux graphics driver for supporting 5K displays and beyond.

        Critical to supporting next-generation monitors at least with DisplayPort interfaces is being able to accommodate DSC or Display Stream Compression. This display compression spec is said to be good enough for handling up to 8K laptop displays. VESA announced it a few years back while it won’t be until Icelake CPUs with Gen 11 graphics before Intel is supporting the tech. Icelake is likely to be out either in late 2019 or early 2020, but the open-source driver crew is already working on the support.

      • Google Still Doesn’t Trust Linux GPU Drivers Enough To Enable Chrome Video Acceleration

        It’s 2018 and while Linux GPU drivers have improved a lot in recent years, Google engineers still don’t find them reliable enough to ship the Chrome web-browser with GPU video decoding enabled.

        There was a discussion once again about shipping Chrome with Linux GPU video acceleration enabled. But once again Chrome developers feel that the cons and increased maintenance burden of having to deal with Linux GPU video acceleration problems outweigh the benefits of a better Linux video playback experience and possible power-savings. Of course, that’s unless talking about Chrome OS where they do have GPU video acceleration within their Linux-based OS.

      • RADV In Mesa 18.2.2 Gets Steam Play + GTA V Fixes, SteamVR Hang Fix

        It’s time for another two-week Mesa 18.2 point release, which is v18.2.2 and preparing for release on Friday.

        Mesa 18.2.2 is a much smaller update than Mesa 18.2.1 with just under two dozen fixes queued at this point, but there are some notable changes.

      • Freedreno Enables Hardware Binning For Adreno A6xx GPUs – Yields Better Performance

        The open-source 3D driver support for Qualcomm Adreno A6xx series hardware has taken another step forward with the latest Mesa 18.3-devel Git.

        The reverse-engineered Freedreno Gallium3D driver has enabled support for hardware binning on the A6xx series hardware, the latest generation of GPUs found in Qualcomm SoCs. It was just back in August that the initial A6xx support landed inside this Gallium3D driver.

      • Proposed Changes To Intel GPU Top Would Make It A More Useful Utility

        Among the developer/enthusiast tool-set of the Intel open-source Linux graphics driver developers has been Intel GPU Top (the command intel_gpu_top) that is distributed with the Intel-GPU-Tools collection. This GPU information utility inspired by Linux’s well known top command reports for Intel HD/UHD/Iris Graphics hardware the usage information, but does require root privileges to operate. Intel GPU Top is about to get a major overhaul.

        Intel GPU Top hasn’t been the most useful utility particularly among non-developers, but Intel’s Tvrtko Ursulin is proposing a set of changes he entitled the “21st century intel_gpu_top.” These 13 patches add a lot of useful reporting to the command-line based utility.

    • Benchmarks

      • The Ubuntu Linux Performance Over The Past Six Years On An Intel Xeon Server

        In needing to make some room in the racks for some new hardware and some other interesting platforms on the way, I’ve retired the last of the Intel Nehalem era hardware at Phoronix that was still used for occasional historical Linux performance tests… I decided to take this Sun Microsystems SunFire X4170 server with dual Intel Xeon E5540 (Nehalem EP) processors for a final spin before pulling it from the racks. Here is a look at how the near-final Ubuntu 18.10 Linux performance compares to that of Ubuntu 12.10.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • New xfce4-settings release

      After quite a bit of development time I’m happy to announce the next development point release of xfce4-settings in the 4.13 series.

      There are many fixes in this release – most visibly also UI improvements. This includes consistent padding/margin etc across all dialogs as well as a restored hover-effect in the Settings Manager. Finally both the advanced (fake panel as indicator for primary displays, re-arranged settings and distinct advanced tab) and the minimal display dialog (new icons, improved strings) received a facelift.

    • Xfce Picks Up Support For Monitor Profiles

      A new release of xfce4-settings is out as another component update in the long road to Xfce 4.14.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Kontact loves Flatpak

        Flatpak is a new way of distributing applications. Each application runs in its own isolated environment called sandbox with all its dependencies being provided as part of the Flatpak and with no access to other programs. This way every user runs the exact same application in the exact same environment no matter what Linux distribution they use. The applications inside the sandbox are also limited to what system resources they can access, which provides greater security.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Antergos Softens Arch Learning Curve

        If you are already familiar with the Arch Linux family but want a quicker installation method, you will appreciate what Antergos brings to the Linux table. Those who are less familiar with the Arch Linux methodologies are sure to be much less enthusiastic about using the OS.

        This distro gives you some of the most popular desktop environments all in one download. If you are clueless about a preferred desktop, though, you will be stuck staring at the default GNOME option. Antergos does not provide users with an easy switching tool to change the desktop option. The live session ISO does not let you try out any other option either.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Middle East to reach new heights of innovation with open source tech

        OPEN source solutions are accelerating the innovation and adoption for cloud, big data and analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain. An agile, cost-effective and flexible alternative to proprietary software – there is no better way to achieve connectivity on a massive scale without relying on open source frameworks and platforms within digital infrastructures.

        As most countries in the Middle East activate national digital transformation initiatives to drive economic diversification, open source solutions will continue to gain momentum across the region.

        Open source technologies support rapid innovation through several beneficial characteristics, allowing for a more natural adoption approach within the enterprise. It›s free and generally easy to download, install, and launch. This allows easy exploration of and experimentation with new technologies and enables enterprises to get comfortable with the software on smaller, non-mission-critical projects before any financial commitment is required. Open source is becoming increasingly omnipresent across the IT stack, particularly as organizations look to drive innovation while maintaining operational and cost efficiencies.

      • Red Hat Extends Confidence and Reliability Through Automation with Ansible Certified Content Program
      • Red Hat Ansible Automation Certification Program offers tested solutions for automating across environments at scale
      • Red Hat Drives Security Orchestration and Automation with New Ansible Capabilities
      • Itential Announces Integration with Red Hat Ansible Network Automation
      • DNF 3.5 Test Day 2018-10-03

        Wednusday, 2018-10-03, is the DNF 3.5 Test Day!
        DNF 3.5 has a support for modularity and this test day is vital to test and catch bugs and any performance issues.

      • Red Hat announces Satellite 6.4

        As many IT environments continue to grow and become increasingly complex, the ability to automate and greater simplify ongoing infrastructure management can be critical to those organizations. Today at AnsibleFest Austin, we announced Red Hat Satellite 6.4, the latest version of Red Hat’s infrastructure management solution designed to keep Red Hat infrastructure running more efficiently and with the proper security provisions in place, will be available later in October. For the first time, Red Hat Satellite will be enhanced with a deeper integration with Red Hat Ansible Automation technology for an automation-centric approach to IT management.

      • …Fedora 29 Achieves “Flicker-Free” Boot Experience, Red Hat’s Satellite 6.4 Now Available and Stratis 1.0 Is Out

        Fedora 29 has achieved a “flicker-free” boot experience. According to Phoronix, this was accomplished by “preserving the EFI frame-buffer and any initial system PC/motherboard logo all the way until fading to the GDM log-in screen for the desktop. This has required changes so the EFI frame-buffer wouldn’t be messed up when the kernel starts, changes to the Plymouth boot handling, hiding the GRUB boot menu, and also making use of the Intel driver’s ‘fastboot’ option that eliminates unnecessary mode-set operations.”

        Red Hat yesterday announced Satellite 6.4, “the latest version of Red Hat’s infrastructure management solution”, at AnsibleFest Austin. With this version, Red Hat Satellite will now “be enhanced with a deeper integration with Red Hat Ansible Automation technology for an automation-centric approach to IT management”.

      • The Many Paths to “Hello, World!”

        Finally, as mentioned in my last post, we’re setting up shop at a number of events (see the full list below) to continue our mission of discovery. When each episode of this season of Command Line Heroes drops, we’ll bring you updates (like this one) on what we’re learning. If you have plans to attend any of these events, stop by! We’d love to chat with you.

      • Red Hat continues to lead the Linux server market

        As the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, Red Hat, through our flagship Linux operating system Red Hat Enterprise Linux, has long maintained a strong presence in the enterprise operating system market. This leadership continues, as a new report from IDC positions Red Hat as a driving Linux force in the worldwide server operating environment market and a powerful player in server operating systems at-large.

        According to “Worldwide Server Operating Environments Market Shares, 2017,” a global server operating system market sizing report from research firm IDC, Red Hat maintained a 32.7 percent share of worldwide server operating environments in 2017. This encompassed all operating systems, with Red Hat coming in behind only Microsoft in terms of market share. Within the Linux segment, IDC found that Red Hat Enterprise Linux adoption grew by nearly 20 percent in 2017.

      • Singlepoint attains Red Hat advanced business partner status

        This recognition highlights Singlepoint’s DevOps expertise and the technical enablement completed as part of the advanced level partner accreditation on Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, an application development platform to deliver digital innovation for its enterprise clients.

        “Singlepoint is continually investing in technologies to stay ahead of the curve, allowing our customers to easily transform their businesses through the cloud,” explains Rob Curley, managing director, Singlepoint. “Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform allows us to help our clients drive deeper customer engagement while benefiting from the efficiency and flexibility offered by the OpenStack cloud.”

      • Are App Servers Dead in the Age of Kubernetes? (Part 2)

        Kubernetes is not the death knell for application servers as we know them today. Application servers have always evolved—and will continue to evolve—as hardware and software improve. Continual improvements are being made in developer productivity. Kubernetes, Docker and, now, service mesh are another step in the evolution that necessitates a shift in application servers. It doesn’t make them irrelevant.

      • How one student’s open source journey lead her to help create ChRIS

        Parul Singh, master’s candidate at Northeastern University, has been interning with Red Hat for the past few months and is specifically working on the ChRIS Research Integration System platform. She recently shared her story with us, with the hopes of inspiring more students to take the jump and contribute to open source projects.

      • A new model for the cloud enables ChRIS: An open, scalable, and sharable platform for medical image processing

        Red Hat announced its collaboration with Boston Children’s hospital on the ChRIS Research Integration System and how it is deployed into the Mass Open Cloud (MOC) backed by Red Hat OpenShifton Red Hat OpenStack this year at Red Hat Summit. This collaboration provides ChRIS with a great mix of containerized application deployments along with the infrastructure essentials of elastic compute, dynamically provisioned storage backed by Cinder/Ceph, and object storage provided by Swift (also backed by Red Hat Ceph).

      • 13 tools to measure DevOps success

        In today’s enterprise, business disruption is all about agility with quality. Traditional processes and methods of developing software are challenged to keep up with the complexities that come with these new environments. Modern DevOps initiatives aim to help organizations use collaborations among different IT teams to increase agility and accelerate software application deployment.

      • Treading New Waters

        Today, we are not talking about Nautilus, but rather it’s just me bragging!

        After a month of waiting, talking, waiting, writing and waiting some more, I’m officially a month away from starting at Red Hat (and moving to Brno, so some of you I’ll get to meet as well), working on all things ABRT. Since my GNOME work really helped me sell myself, maybe I’ll manage to help bridge whatever gap there exists between the two.

      • [Podcast] PodCTL #51 – Reviewing Kubernetes 1.12

        As another calendar quarter passes, so too does another release of Kubernetes arrive. This time it’s version 1.12, the 13th release of Kubernetes. As we always do, we looked at the new GA features, as well as a review of some of the newly introduced features (e.g. in beta) that might be interesting to start watching or potentially playing with in a non-production environment. As usual, this release includes new capabilities that are relevant to security, scalability, multi-cloud deployments, and additional capabilities that will help more complex production deployments.

        The show will always be available on this blog (search: #PodCTL), as well as RSS Feeds, iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, TuneIn and all your favorite podcast players.

      • Learning to lead by giving up control

        The truth is that the world is just too full of uncertainty—too fast-moving, and too unpredictable for anyone to be able to anticipate and control everything. Leaders today need to realize this, and recognize that leadership is no longer about control, compliance and clairvoyance.

        People working in today’s information-rich, dynamic contexts don’t need leaders who think they know everything about prescribing the “best” paths forward. They need leaders who help them sit more comfortably (and sleep more soundly) in a more ambiguous world. Today, people don’t need to be “controlled.” They actually need to be agitated—coaxed into productive, difficult conversations about the unknown so they can collaborate on possible solutions.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Skype’s Debian Package Could Allow Attackers To Completely Takeover Machines

        Security researcher Enrico Weigelt uncovered a critical security issue in the way Skype installs itself on Debian Linux machines, adding its Microsoft’s APT repository in the system’s sources.list file.

        Skype’s Debian package uses an APT configuration profile which automatically inserts Microsoft’s apt repository to the default system package sources which would allow anyone with access to it to hypothetically use malicious tools to compromise the machine.

        In layman’s terms, APT repositories are collections of .deb packages used as the central storage, management and delivery platform for all Debian-based Linux machines.

        The APT repositories can be used to install, remove, or update applications on a Debian machine with the help of the apt-get command.

      • Android Security Patch for October, Google Pixel Slate, Skype on Debian Vulnerability, PyTorch Beta 1.0 Released and XCOM 2: War of the Chosen – Tactical Legacy Pack Coming Soon to Linux

        Skype on Debian is vulnerable to attack. On installation, the package automatically inserts Microsoft’s apt repository, which means “after obtaining control of Microsoft’s Debian apt repository, an attacker would be able to inject malicious content in various distro packages using the update system, as well as replace legitimate packages with maliciously crafted ones”. See the Softpedia News post for more details and steps you can take to protect your computer after installing Skype.

      • Apt Repositories: Goodbye Aptly, Welcome RepRepro

        I have been using aptly for several years publishing all kinds of repositories for different developments. The other day, when I wanted to update my calibre repository (see previous post) I realized that aptly cannot sign anything anymore. Huuu…

      • Debian KDE for Fun Computing Part 1: Intro

        Hello, please introduce Debian Live KDE Edition. It is a free, beautiful desktop operating system with LiveCD capability, available in 50+ of world languages, with tens of thousands free software packages are available, and amazingly vast user community. This article is the first part of introducing fun living with Debian KDE as desktop computer operating system. Here, you will see basic things about Debian, Debian Live, and Debian KDE, including where to download and how to make a bootable installation media. I hope you will like Debian KDE and find it user friendly. Enjoy Debian KDE!

        [...]

        That’s all for now. You got a basic knowledge about Debian KDE. The next part will talk about basic orientation of Debian KDE internals such as built-in applications, doing basic tasks, how to get new applications, and so on. See you next time. Have fun with Debian KDE!

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Server development summary – 2 Oct 2018

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

          • How to build and deploy your first AI/ML model on Ubuntu

            Artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) have stolen the hearts and minds of the public, the press and businesses.

            The technological advances in the field have helped to transport AI from the world of fiction, into something more tangible, and within touching distance.

            However, despite the hype, AI in the ‘real world’ isn’t quite yet a reality.

            AI is yet to take over, or see mass adoption, and there are still lengthy debates to be had as to what exactly can be considered AI and what is not.

            Still, AI promises much, and there seems to be no stopping its forward march. For better or for worse, AI is here to stay.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Mauritius: IT Workshop Focuses On Use of Open Source Software

    The use of OSS (Open Source Software) is increasing in Mauritius as citizens become more and more dependent on the Internet, on appliances and the cloud. However, challenges are also increasing and one of them is knowledge of Open Source Solutions, their features, usage and availability.

    The Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation, Mr Yogida Sawmynaden, made this statement yesterday at Cyber Tower 1 in Ebène Cyber-city. He was speaking at the launching of a two-day workshop on Open Licensing for Open Source Software, Open Content and Open Data. It is organised by the National Computer Board with a view to enlightening software developers on the legal aspects of Open Components.

  • Sourcegraph pulls back the curtain, becomes open source project

    Self-hosted code search, navigation and intelligence engine Sourcegraph is now available as an open source project under the Apache 2 License.

    Sourcegraph can, for example, be used within a browser, to add IDE-like qualities such as syntax highlighting or symbol type information during mouse overs to sites like GitLab, Phabricator, or GitHub. Code intelligence is offered via the language server protocol. Sourcegraph includes fast global code search and can also be integrated with third-party tools by using an extension API.

  • Open Xchange: Rafael Laguna on open source cars and the generosity of open source

    INQ spent two days in the hotter-than-London splendour of Rome last week as the guest of Open Xchange, one of those companies that you may well use every day and not even know.

    Open Xchange offers an open source alternative to the likes of G Suite and Microsoft Exchange, as well as a range of security products. All are available free of charge to companies and businesses alike and are used by some of the world’s biggest telcos for their customer email offerings.

    How does OX make money? Like many open source players, customers use the service gratis, but the big ones pay for support in making it work for them.

    CEO of OX is Rafael Laguna, who will be familiar to regular readers as a man we regularly pester for his opinion on matters related to this sort of thing.

  • Open Source Software Policy Options for NASA Earth and Space Sciences

    National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences; Space Studies Board; Committee on Best Practices for a Future Open Code Policy for NASA Space Science
    Description

    Modern science is ever more driven by computations and simulations. In particular, the state of the art in space and Earth science often arises from complex simulations of climate, space weather, and astronomical phenomena. At the same time, scientific work requires data processing, presentation, and analysis through broadly available proprietary and community software.1 Implicitly or explicitly, software is central to science. Scientific discovery, understanding, validation, and interpretation are all enhanced by access to the source code of the software used by scientists.

  • Cardano [ADA]’s Charles Hoskinson discusses Rust as the first open-source project

    Charles Hoskinson, the Co-Founder of the science and engineering firm InputOutput talked about the Cardano Rust Project and the anniversary of Cardano earlier this week. He stated that Cardano’s Rust is the first open-source project aimed at widening the reach of the technology to a broader range of third-party developers.

    Furthermore, Hoskinson explained that the project is significant for a number of reasons. Firstly, it opens up Cardano to the large community of Rust developers who might not have the ability to code or have much knowledge of Haskell.

  • IOHK launches opensource blockchain project

    IOHK, the blockchain research and development company behind the top 10 cryptocurrency Cardano, has launched its first open source project, opening up the technology to a wide range of third-party developers.

  • Cardano First Year Review and What’s Next

    The blockchain world has seen plenty of projects begin with bold claims that end up severely short of investors’ hopes when the project eventually launches. Charles Hoskinson, former CEO of Ethereum, noticed this disappointing trend in the blockchain sphere and decided to do something about it.

  • Events

    • 2018 Linux Plumbers Conference is almost completely full

      Due to overwhelming demand for tickets to the Linux Plumbers Conference, there are no additional registrations available at this time. As we finalize the makeup of microconferences, refereed talks, and so on, there will be some spots available. We will be making them available to those who have expressed interest as fairly as we can and as soon as we can. We plan to contact the recipients of the first batch of released slots by October 8. There may be another, likely smaller, batch notified thereafter. Those interested in attending the conference, should send a request to contact@linuxplumbersconf.org to get on the waiting list. In the unlikely event that the waiting list has been exhausted, we will release any remaining registrations on a first-come-first-served basis by mid-late October.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • happy bmo push day – mojolicious edition

        As previously announced at FOSDEM 2018 and then re-announced at MojoConf, bugzilla.mozilla.org is now running on Mojolicious “A next generation web framework for the Perl programming language”

        This release incorporates 28 changes and the Mojolicious migration is the least interesting to the end-user, but it is pretty important in terms of being able to deliver rich experiences moving forward.

      • Supporting Referrer Policy for CSS in Firefox 64

        Navigating from one webpage to another or requesting a sub-resource within a webpage causes a web browser to send the top-level URL in the HTTP referrer field. Inspecting that HTTP header field on the receiving end allows sites to identify where the request originated which enables sites to log referrer data for operational and statistical purposes. As one can imagine, the top-level URL quite often includes user sensitive information which then might leak through the referrer value impacting an end users privacy.

      • Hack on MDN: Better accessibility for MDN Web Docs

        Hack on MDN events evolved from the documentation sprints for MDN that were held from 2010 to 2013, which brought together staff members and volunteers to write and localize content on MDN over a weekend. As implied by the name, “Hack on MDN” events expand the range of participants to include those with programming and design skills. In its current incarnation, each Hack on MDN event has a thematic focus. One in March of this year focused on browser compatibility data.

        The Hack on MDN format is a combination of hackathon and unconference; participants pitch projects and commit to working on concrete tasks (rather than meetings or long discussions) that can be completed in three days or less. People self-organize to work on projects in which a group can make significant progress over a long weekend. Lightning talks provide an unconference break from projects.

      • New Firefox Focus comes with search suggestions, revamped visual design and an under-the-hood surprise for Android users

        When we first launched Firefox Focus, we wanted to quickly deliver a streamlined private browsing experience for your mobile device. Since then, we’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many people use Focus for more than just private browsing and we’ve made Focus better with a thoughtful set of features based on what our users are telling us. Custom tabs, tracker counter, full screen mode and so much more have been the result. Today, we’re pleased to announce another big update with another much-requested feature, a design refresh, and an exciting change to the underlying technology behind Focus for Android.

      • Working on Firefox desktop developer efficiency

        Mozilla is an engineering company. Its interface to—and impact on—the world is through its primary product, the Firefox web browser. Firefox is of course created, maintained, and improved by Mozilla’s developers (both employees and community members). Thus, when one increases Firefox developer efficiency and velocity the velocity of the Firefox product increases. Because Firefox is Mozilla’s primary product, an increase in Firefox product velocity transitively increases the velocity of the company and the mission overall.

      • What’s next for ESLint on Firefox Source Code?

        Around 2015 a couple of projects had started using ESLint in mozilla-central. In the last quarter of 2015, there was a big push to enable ESLint for browser/ and toolkit/ – the two main directories containing the javascript source behind Firefox.

        Since then, we have come a long way. We have commands and hooks for developers to use, checks during the review phase, and automatic tests that run against our review tools and our continuous integration branches. Not only that, but we’ve also expanded our coverage to more directories, and expanded the amount of rules that are enabled.

        As we’ve done this work, we’ve caught lots of bugs in the code or in our tests (there’s much more than just those links). Some of those have been small, some have been user facing issues. There are also now the countless potential bugs that we don’t get to see where ESLint catches issues for us before they even hit the core source trees. All this helps to save developer time and leaves more for fixing bugs and implementing new features.

      • The Things Gateway – A Pythonic Rule System

        In my last post, I talked about the features and limitations of the Rules System within the Things Gateway by Mozilla graphical user interface. Today, I’m going to show an alternate rule system that interacts with the Things Gateway entirely externally using the Web Thing API. The Web Thing API enables anyone armed with a computer language that can use Web Sockets to create entirely novel applications or rules systems that can control the Things Gateway.

        In the past few months, I’ve blogged several times about controlling the Things Gateway with the Web Thing API using Python 3.6. In each one was a stand alone project, opening and managing Web Sockets in an asynchronous programming environment. By writing these projects, I’ve explored both functional and object oriented idioms to see how they compare. Now with some experience, I feel free to abstract some of the underlying common aspects to create a rule engine of my own.

      • Distributed Teams: Regional Holidays

        Today is German Unity Day, Germany’s National Day. Half of my team live in Berlin, so I vaguely knew they wouldn’t be around… but I’d likely have forgotten if not for a lovely tradition of “Holiday Inbound” emails at Mozilla.

        Mozilla is a broadly-distributed organization with employees in dozens of countries worldwide. Each of these countries have multiple days off to rest or celebrate. It’s tough to know across so many nations and religions and cultures exactly who will be unable to respond to emails on exactly which days.

      • Uplift forms get a refresh

        Firefox is shipped using a train model. Without going into too much details, this means that we maintain several channel in parallel (Nightly, Beta, Release and ESR). Normal changes happen in Nightly. When a change needs to be cherry-picked from Nightly to another branch, the process is called “Uplift”.

        Uplifting is a key tool in the Firefox release management world. When developers want to apply a patch from Nightly to another branch, they will use Bugzilla, answering some questions in a textarea.

      • A New Way to Support MDN

        Starting this week, some visitors may notice something new on the MDN Web Docs site, the comprehensive resource for information about developing on the open web.

        We are launching an experiment on MDN Web Docs, seeking direct support from our users in order to accelerate growth of our content and platform. Not only has our user base grown exponentially in the last few years (with corresponding platform maintenance costs), we also have a large list of cool new content, features, and programs we’d like to create that our current funding doesn’t fully cover.

        In 2015, on our tenth anniversary (read about MDN’s evolution in the 10-year anniversary post), MDN had four million active monthly users. Now, just three years later, we have 12 million. Our last big platform update was in 2013. By asking for, and hopefully receiving, financial assistance from our users – which will be reinvested directly into MDN – we aim to speed up the modernization of MDN’s platform and offer more of what you love: content, features, and integration with the tools you use every day (like VS Code, Dev Tools, and others), plus better support for the 1,000+ volunteers contributing content, edits, tooling, and coding to MDN each month.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Running FreeBSD on OSX using xhyve, a port of bhyve

      xhyve is port of bhyve to OS X. It is built on top of Hypervisor.framework in OS X 10.10 Yosemite and higher, runs entirely in userspace, and has no other dependencies.

      I usually use MacPorts, but ran into trouble with xhyve, so this morning I tried Homebrew instead.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Supersizing superresolution microscopy: Open-source approaches to accelerate your microscopy research

      Three high-performance, open-source approaches—NanoJ-SRRF, NanoJ-SQUIRREL, and NanoJ-Fluidics—have recently been developed to enable and enhance optical superresolution microscopy in most modern microscopes. NanoJ-superresolution radical fluctuations (SRRF) is a new superresolution method enabling live-cell nanoscopy with illumination intensities orders of magnitude lower than techniques such as single-molecule localization microscopy (SMLM) or stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy can deliver. SRRF’s low phototoxicity allows unprecedented imaging for long acquisition times at resolutions equivalent to or better than those possible with structured illumination microscopy (SIM). NanoJ-SQUIRREL (superresolution quantitative image rating and reporting of error locations), an analytical approach that provides quantitative assessment of superresolution image quality, can guide researchers in optimizing imaging parameters. By comparing diffraction-limited images and superresolution equivalents of the same acquisition volume, this method generates a quality score and quantitative map of superresolution defects. NanoJ-Fluidics is a novel fluidics technique for automating complex sequences of treatment, labeling, and imaging of live and fixed cells with high reproducibility.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • The beauty of open source hardware

        Alicia Gibb is the face of open hardware right now. She went to library school where they taught her that freedom of information and access to it is the most important thing.

        She’s been in love with “open source” ever since and eventually got into open hardware through hackerspace meetups. Her favorite thing is when an LED lights up. “It’s the ‘Hello World’ of hardware. You know something is working.”

        Open hardware is schematics, patterns, etc. and publishing those publicly. She loves watching the community build on top of that, remixing and remaking it.

      • Aleph Objects Launches Open Source Hardware Material PETg by IC3D

        For anyone looking for an open source filament for mechanical and robotics applications, you may want to try the new offering from Aleph Objects, the company founded in 2011 and “built on the philosophy of freedom”.

        The company is mainly known for manufacturing LulzBot 3D printers (which we found to be the “Best Workhorse Printer”) has now added a PETg filament by IC3D to its range of over 30 filament types.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • The Big Lie: how polygraph companies convinced the US government to use pseudoscience on job applicants

      Lie detectors don’t work: that’s why they’re not admissible as legal evidence and why it’s illegal to subject private sector job-applicants to polygraph tests.

      But public employees aren’t so lucky: the polygraph industry intensively lobbies people with hiring power in public sector to institute lie-detector screening; since the targets of this lobbying have all passed polygraphs themselves, they’re inclined to think of them as useful tools for sorting the trustworthy from the untrustworthy.

    • Smuggling a CRISPR gene editor into staph bacteria can kill the pathogen

      Bits of DNA that make bacteria dangerous can be co-opted to bring the microbes down instead.

      Stretches of DNA called pathogenicity islands can jump between bacteria strains, introducing new toxin-producing genes that usually make a strain more harmful. Scientists have now modified pathogenicity islands by replacing the toxin-producing genes with genes that, in mice, disabled or killed Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. If the approach works for humans, it could offer an alternative to traditional antibiotics that could one day be used against deadly drug-resistant Staphylococcus strains, researchers report September 24 in Nature Biotechnology.

      Pathogenicity islands are already primed for such inside jobs: The stretches of DNA naturally get bundled into small parcels that can easily enter bacteria to deliver new genes. Researchers turned those parcels into Trojan horses of sorts, replacing the toxin-producing genes with sequences of the gene-editing tool CRISPR/Cas9, which snips DNA in specific places.

    • Enhanced Mutagenesis Methods

      Ulrich (Uli) Laemmli, an illustrious professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, developer of SDS (sodium dodecyl sulfate)-polyacrylamide electrophoresis (PAGE) for separating proteins, and responsible for identifying the “scaffold” structure of human chromosomes, was fond of saying (when he was a professor at Princeton) that in biological research it was helpful (if not essential) to “look for the mutant.” Difficulties in following this advice productively include the (low) frequency with which mutants arise, the fact that most such mutants lose or compromise the function(s) of the encoded proteins, and that conventional methods for producing mutants are as likely as not to be lethal to cells (either due to mutants of the protein of interest or other proteins that are mutated in passing). So-called “targeted” mutations produced, in its most au courant version, by CRISPR-Cas9 (wherein CRISPR is an acronym for Clustered Regularly lnterspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) require knowledge of the site to be mutagenized and hence comprise only a limited subset of targets for productive mutagenesis.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Chief Executive Resigns From Merck’s Board of Directors

      Dr. Craig B. Thompson, the chief executive of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, said Tuesday that he would resign his seats on the boards of drugmaker Merck and another public company, the latest fallout from a widening institutional reckoning over relationships between cancer center leaders and for-profit health care companies.

      Thompson has served on the board of Merck, the maker of the blockbuster cancer drug Keytruda, since 2008. He has been on the board of Charles River Laboratories, a publicly traded company that assists research in early drug development, since 2013.

      [...]

      The resignations are effective immediately. A spokesman for the hospital said the compensation he received from both companies this year would be deferred until he is 72.

      “I believe this is the right decision for Memorial Sloan Kettering and will allow me to redouble my focus on MSK priorities: quality patient care, faculty, scientists and staff,” Thompson said in a memo sent to the hospital staff. He has been the chief executive of the hospital since 2010.

      The move followed two tense meetings at the hospital on Monday, spurred by articles by The New York Times and ProPublica, about insider deals among hospital officials and undisclosed industry relationships.

      At one meeting with hospital staff, Thompson apologized for his handling of staff reaction to the issues outlined in the articles, and acknowledged that he had not adequately reined in the industry relationships of the hospital’s former chief medical officer, Dr. José Baselga, who has since resigned.

    • Regenerative Agriculture as “Next Stage” of Civilization

      The array of techniques that comprise regenerative agriculture rebuilds soils and sequesters carbon. Regenerative farming, Cummins wrote, could potentially draw a critical mass of 200–250 billion tons of carbon from the earth’s atmosphere over the next 25 years, mitigating or even reversing key aspects of global warming. Regenerative agricultural techniques allow carbon to be stored in soils and living plants, where it can increase food production and quality while reducing soil erosion and the damaging runoff of pesticides and fertilizers.

    • Big Pharma’s Biostitutes: Corporate Media Ignore Root Cause of Opioid Crisis

      At least 64,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2016, with more than 80 percent of those deaths attributed to opioid drugs, according to an August 2017 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Government officials say that the crisis is finally getting Washington’s attention, as the Wall Street Journal reported in March 2018, but debates over bigger budgets for law enforcement or drug addiction programs continue to feature most prominently in the corporate press. As Abby Martin of The Empire Files reported in November 2017, this focus potentially distracts from the root of the problem, which is gross misconduct by drug manufacturing giants and their distributors.

      Martin’s report featured an interview with Mike Papantonio, a partner in the law firm representing four Ohio counties that are suing pharmaceutical companies for their role in manufacturing the opioid crisis. As Papantonio told Martin, “Big Pharma has operated without any oversight or regulations.”

    • Extravagant Hospital Waste of Unused Medical Supplies

      Hospitals in the United States are wasting millions of dollars’ worth of sterile and unused medical supplies, practices that impact the cost of healthcare, as Marshall Allen reported for ProPublica in March 2017. The type of equipment that gets thrown away ranges from simple items like surgical masks that cost just over a dollar each, to more expensive equipment such as $4,000 infant warmers or even $25,000 ultrasound machines. These wasted supplies add up, accounting for a significant amount of a hospital’s operating costs which Americans pay for through higher healthcare costs.

      Marshall Allen’s report cited a University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) study focused on UCSF’s own medical center. In its neurosurgery department, the study found almost $1,000 in wasted resources per patient, accounting for nearly $3 million in estimated annual costs. Notably, many doctors in the UCSF study were unaware of the costs of discarded medical supplies. In response to the study’s finding, UCSF established incentives to reduce unnecessary waste, resulting in savings of more than $800,000 per year.

      [...]

      Topical and industry-focused news websites, including Healthcare Finance and FierceHealthcare, covered the story, but these outlets target healthcare professionals instead of the majority of the healthcare-purchasing American public. The Washington Post published an article, written by the original author of the ProPublica report, Marshall Allen, in its “PostEverything” section. It’s important to note how the Post presented Allen’s article. PostEverything is an online-only opinion section that hosts content from contributors who are not regular Post reporters. The Post chose not to publish Allen’s article in print form, and the outlet framed it as “opinion,” despite the factually-based hard-hitting ProPublica report on which his article was based. Although the Post version still communicated the scope of the issue, it did not have the impact of the original ProPublica report. In March 2017, U.S. News & World Report also published an article based on the ProPublica report.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • How Serious Is the New Facebook Breach?

      As public frustration has grown, the mood inside Facebook has been, on the whole, sanguine. Executives and rank-and-file employees often say they understand the complaints but also believe that the company is unfairly scapegoated by those (especially journalists) who are troubled by technology or by the outcome of the 2016 election. Executives are confident that they are taking the steps that will solve the company’s problems, as they have over its fourteen-year history. But a Facebook breach today means more than a Facebook breach five or ten years ago, not only because the company has grown so dramatically but also because of the cumulative effect. Isolated problems that might be dismissed as inevitable acquire greater meaning and consequence in the context of a pattern of missteps.

    • What to Do if You Lose a U2F Key

      First off, we should take a closer look at what U2F is. While we have a much more in-depth explanation of what U2F is, we’ll cover the quick and dirty version here.

      In a nutshell, U2F is the standard for physical two-factor authentication tokens. Instead of using something like Authy, Google Authenticator, or SMS to receive a 2FA code, U2F uses a physical key to protect your accounts.

    • Three Critical Resources You Should Use to Harden Your Linux Server

      If you have ever maintained a Linux server with ports accessible to the Internet, you have no doubt had attacks on your server. With so many tools to scan servers, as well as insecure programs and vulnerabilities, no server administrator can take the risk of being complacent. Routine security checks and maintenance are essential to server safety.

      There are numerous blogs, books, and websites that offer guidance on server security as well as resources known for their extensiveness and effectiveness. Though these are robust and detailed, take care to not apply these guidelines blindly, ensure you have a backup, and assert that you have a plan for rollback.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Android Security Bulletin—October 2018
    • Google Fixes 26 Vulnerabilities in the Android Security Patch for October 2018
  • Defence/Aggression

    • More Than 80,000 Stolen Guns Worsen Crime in Florida

      Over the past ten years, more than 82,000 guns stolen in Florida remain missing, Laura Morel reported in November 2017 in joint reports for the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Journalism’s website, Reveal. The study, based on a ten-month investigation of “thousands of law enforcement records,” found that in Tampa Bay alone at least 9,000 stolen guns have not been recovered. In 2016, on average, at least one gun was reported stolen every hour.

      Those guns turn up in the hands of drug dealers and felons, Morel wrote, and some wind up killing people.

      Experts say the figures likely underestimate the actual number of missing guns, in part because Florida law does not require gun owners to report gun thefts, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement does not keep track of recovered guns. The Tampa Bay Times/Reveal study found that five law enforcement agencies in the state documented the theft of nearly 11,000 guns between 2014 and 2016. Based on this data, only about one in five guns has been recovered.

    • Regime Change 2.0: Is Venezuela Next?

      On September 8, The New York Times carried a story with a provocative headline: “Trump Administration Discussed Coup Plans With Rebel Venezuelan Officers”. The journalists Ernesto Londoño and Nicholas Casey spoke to 11 current and former United States officials and Venezuelan commanders. These people told the journalists that they had been involved in conversations with the Donald Trump administration about regime change in Venezuela. In August 2017, Trump had bragged that the U.S. had a “military option” for Venezuela. This statement, these men told the reporters, “encouraged rebellious Venezuelan military officers to reach out to Washington”.

      In February this year, then U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, “In the history of Venezuela and South American countries, it is often times that the military is the agent of change when things are so bad and the leadership can no longer serve the people.” This was an invitation for a military coup in Venezuela.

      The language Tillerson used has a long history inside the U.S. State Department. It is the logic used since 1954, when the U.S. government overthrew the democratically elected Guatemalan government of Jacobo Arbenz. The theory was known as “military modernisation”, the idea being that in a former colonial country the only modern and efficient institution is the military. The U.S. government used this theory of military modernisation to defend its support of countries littered with military rulers—Ayub Khan in Pakistan (1958), Castelo Branco in Brazil (1964) and René Barrientos in Bolivia (1964).

    • Catalonia and postfascism

      There is a lack of understanding about what has really been happening in Catalonia over the past year. Some left commentators have been quick to label this the ‘return of Franco.’ Others have dismissed the police violence, the political prisoners and the shutting down of a democratically elected government as a reasonable reaction by a vulnerable state trying to prevent a damaging split.

      In reality neither are true. And at the same time both are true. It is the deep-lying institutional legacy of the dictatorship – a legacy that never went away – that has risen to the surface in Catalonia. And the reaction has been particularly extreme because this is the most vulnerable the Spanish state has been since Franco’s time.

    • AIN Blog: Hyper Focus on New Risk Detracts from Other Risks

      Aircraft vulnerabilities to theft, hijacking, and sabotage at airports large and small have been a security concern for years, heightened, of course, after 9/11.

    • Iran fires ballistic missiles at Syria militants over attackIran fires ballistic missiles at Syria militants over attack
    • Iran fires missiles with anti-Israel, -US slogans into Syria over parade attack

      Iran’s Revolutionary Guard launched six ballistic missiles as well as drone bombers early Monday toward eastern Syria, targeting terrorists it blamed for an attack on a military parade last month while also threatening Israel and other regional adversaries as Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers unravels.

    • To Preserve Our Humanity, We Must Ban Killer Robots

      A dystopian nightmare, in which machines make life-and-death decisions on the battlefield or in policing scenarios is not far away. It’s not Skynet or Cylons—at least, not yet—but the development of weapons with decreasing amounts of human control is already underway.

      More than 380 partly autonomous weapon systems have been deployed or are being developed in at least 12 countries, including China, France, Israel, South Korea, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. South Korea deploys mechanized sentries in the demilitarized zone, while Israel’s Iron Dome detects and destroys short-range rockets. US missile-defense systems like the Patriot and Aegis are semi-autonomous, and the US military has completed testing of an autonomous anti-submarine vessel, which is able to sink other submarines and ships without anyone on board. The United Kingdom is developing Taranis, a drone that can avoid radar detection and fly in autonomous mode. Russia has built a robot tank that can be fitted with a machine gun or grenade launcher, and has manufactured a fully automated gun that uses artificial neural networks to choose targets. China is developing weapon “swarms”—small drones that could be fitted with heat sensors and programmed to attack anything that emits a body temperature.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Finance

    • How governments around the world are using blockchain

      A number of administrations are already trialling blockchain in a range of public services, including health records, voting and taxation.

      We look at some of the governments that have launched blockchain projects.

    • China’s Leaders Confront an Unlikely Foe: Ardent Young Communists

      Then, after graduation, they attempted to put the party’s stated ideals into action, converging from across China last month on Huizhou, a city in the south, to organize labor unions at nearby factories and stage protests demanding greater protections for workers.

      That’s when the party realized it had a problem.

      The authorities moved quickly to crush the efforts of the young activists, detaining several dozen of them and scrubbing the internet of their calls for justice — but not before their example became a rallying cry for young people across the country unhappy with growing inequality, corruption and materialism in Chinese society.

    • Privatization, the EU and a Bridge

      Why did this happen? Italy’s highway company was privatized in 1999, and concessions were then granted to operate the roads. The largest concession-holder (with about 50% of the network) is currently Autostrade per l’Italia S.p.A., controlled by the Benetton family, founders of the eponymous fashion brand. They make a handsome profit off of highway tolls – among the highest in Europe – and they are responsible for maintenance and investments, which have stagnated even as tolls have more than doubled in the past 25 years.

    • A Mix Of Good And Bad Ideas In NAFTA Replacement

      Let’s start with the simple concept that it’s not at all clear why intellectual property and intermediary liability issues should even be in various free trade agreements, other than to acknowledge that the legacy copyright industry has spent decades demanding that they be included in those agreements. I’ve mentioned it many times in the past, but the book Information Feudalism should be required reading on this subject, showing how copyright interests effectively hijacked the international trade agreement process to force through domestic policies they wished to have. The internet community mostly ignored the trade agreement process for years, allowing the RIAAs and MPAAs of the world to run rampant and get more or less whatever they wanted in smokey backrooms, before running home to Congress demanding that we pass new laws to “live up to our international obligations.”

      When NAFTA was originally passed, this practice wasn’t as common. Nowadays, it’s more or less considered mandatory to include these issues in trade agreements. This is unfortunate for a large number of reasons, but it does mean that if these issues are going to show up in trade agreements, at least they ought to come out in a way that isn’t harmful.

      And that takes us to NAFTA, which our current president demanded be renegotiated for no clear reason other than he was sure it was bad and we were being ripped off. And, voila, we now have a new agreement called the USMCA agreement designed to replace NAFTA (though I agree that we really missed a huge opportunity in not calling it the CAMUS agreement (or at least *something* that is pronounceable). And, because the RIAA and MPAAs of the world forced these issues into trade agreements, this new USMCA has a bunch of issues that have literally zero to do with “trade” but could have pretty widespread impacts on innovation and the internet.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Reporter’s Notebook: When Media Obsessions Fuel Reactionary Agendas

      From time to time, Shadowproof will invite our contributors to share their perspectives on working in media. This first installment comes from Siobhan O’Leary.

      A lot of time is spent making sure I can corroborate allegations of misconduct on a small scale, but something I don’t always get the opportunity to do as a journalist is provide a bigger picture analysis.

      While I’ve been writing for the better part of six years, I’m relatively new to investigative journalism. I don’t have a lengthy career where I can compare the way people used to respond to my work. I have no frame of reference for whether things have gotten better or worse. All I know is that there are broadly speaking two groups of people I haven’t been able to reach in the past two years: the busy and the hatedrunk.

      The latter group has been busy hermetically sealing themselves for the better part of 50 years, consuming media that ironically tells them the media can never be trusted. I think it is an effective indoctrination tactic because there is a kernel of truth to it, in the sense that editorial discretion has a staggering degree of influence over people. The decisions that go into which stories are newsworthy and which aren’t shape people’s perception of current events.

    • Russiagate: Two-Headed Monster of Propaganda and Censorship

      Russiagate, which began as a scandal over Russian efforts to sway the 2016 US election, has since proliferated into a drama of dossiers, investigative councils, Russian adoption cover-ups, and an ever-changing list of alleged scandals. As journalists from the Intercept, Truthdig, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, Rolling Stone, and other independent outlets documented, corporate media coverage of Russiagate has created a two-headed monster of propaganda and censorship. By saturating news coverage with a sensationalized narrative, Russiagate has superseded other important, newsworthy stories. Furthermore, corporate news coverage that has been reflexively hostile toward Russia also serves to link political protest in the United States with Russian operatives and interests in ways that discredit legitimate domestic activism.

      In April 2017, Aaron Maté reported on a quantitative study conducted by the Intercept of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, the second most popular weekday show on cable news. The Intercept’s analysis of every episode broadcast between February 20 and March 31, 2017 found that “Russia-focused segments accounted for 53 percent of these broadcasts.” As Maté noted, Maddow’s Russia coverage “dwarfed the time devoted to other top issues,” including Trump’s escalating crackdown on undocumented immigrants, the legal battle over Trump’s Muslim ban, and other administration scandals and stumbles.

    • US-group plans dossiers on cardinals to prevent repeat of conclave that elected Francis

      A US-based Catholic think tank is seeking more than a million dollars to compile dossiers on individual cardinals in a bid to prevent a repeat of the 2013 conclave which elected Pope Francis.

      The group “Better Church Governance” has hired ex-FBI investigators and academics to give each cardinal-elector a “classification” on how they have handled “abuse and corruption” in what they argue is an attempt by ordinary faithful to hold the hierarchy to account.

      But the organisers of “The Red Hat Report” initiative are also planning to delve into cardinals’ sexual orientation and edit Wikipedia entries to link them to scandals, in the hope of tarnishing their reputations in advance of a future conclave.

    • Conservative Catholics Are Digging for Dirt on American Cardinals
    • Supreme Court censorship on Lula a threat on freedom of speech?

      In jail since April for corruption and money laundering, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has yet to give a single interview to the press since beginning his sentence. This is not for lack of trying on behalf of Lula or the Brazilian media. Last week, an interview request by Brazil’s largest newspaper was turned down by a federal court, which led to a series of Supreme Court appeals and injunctions, sparking a heated debate about press freedoms in the country.

    • The Business of Silence — “Trump, Inc.” Podcast

      President Donald Trump has had many roles in his life: Real estate scion, reality show star, Oval Office holder. But through it all, one thing has remained consistent. He works to keep people silent.

      In the latest episode of “Trump, Inc.,” our podcast with WNYC, we’re looking at the ways Trump has tried to buy and enforce silence — and how it matters more than ever now that he’s president. We talk to The New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow about just one of the tactics used by those helping the president: the “catch and kill.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Protecting the media

      Media freedom is at its lowest point when journalists are forced to operate in an increasingly hostile environment.

      While in Pakistan, there are no official curbs at the moment, as they were in the days of Gen Ziaul Haq, there is increasing pressure on media houses to conform to the narrative spun by various state institutions.

    • Journalists plan protest on Oct 9 against curbs on press freedom

      The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (Afzal Butt group) has given a nationwide call for protest on Oct 9 against mass-scale retrenchments in the media, non-payment of salaries, unannounced censorship by state institutions, intimidation of journalists by state actors and registration of treason cases against journalists.

    • 5 Washington Post Bans Employees from Using Social Media to Criticize Sponsors

      In June 2017, Andrew Beaujon reported in the Washingtonian on a new policy at the Washington Post that prohibits the Post’s employees from conduct on social media that “adversely affects The Post’s customers, advertisers, subscribers, vendors, suppliers or partners.” In such cases, according to the policy, Post management reserved the right to take disciplinary action “up to and including termination of employment.” According to the report, the Post’s policy went into effect on May 1 and applies to the entire company.

      In addition to restricting criticism, the Post’s new policy encourages employees to snitch on one another: “If you have any reason to believe that an employee may be in violation of The Post’s Social Media Policy . . . you should contact the Post’s Human Resources Department.” The Post declined to comment on the policy to the Washingtonian.

      At the time of the news report, the Washington-Baltimore News Guild, which represents newsroom and commercial employees at the Post, was protesting the company-wide action and was seeking to have the controversial parts of the policy removed in a new labor agreement.

    • Confused Swedish Ad Board Says ‘Distracted Boyfriend Meme’ Is Sexist

      It’s unclear from the reporting if there’s any actual punishment for Banhof, or if it just can’t keep using that advertisement (though, given that this has now received a ton of press attention, it probably has given the company a lot more attention). Either way, Sweden’s Advertising Ombudsman needs to lighten up a bit and maybe enjoy a meme.

    • More Censorship: Facebook Unpublishes Jihad Watch Page [Ed: The censorship bemoaned by Robert Spencer (a-hole) in this case, but will Zuckberberg protect religion from atheism too?]

      It has long been obvious that Facebook is no friend of the freedom of speech, and is especially tough on foes of jihad terror and the massive Muslim migrant influx into the West, and so it was perhaps inevitable that this would happen. The Facebook fascists, of course, do their best to conceal what they’re about. This time they have shut down the Jihad Watch page on a technicality that is in reality a catch-22.

      Facebook has been giving me notices on the Jihad Watch page saying that the page is unpublished, and will remain unpublished until I confirm what country I’m in. They want to guard against all those Russian bots, doncha know.

      Confirming what country I’m in involves entering in a code they send to my phone, and the code never arrives. The Facebook page after they say they sent the code to me tells me to update the Facebook app. It doesn’t say anything more specific, but I’ve repeatedly downloaded the latest Facebook app, so it should be fully updated.

    • Pat Shingleton: “Indian Summer and Censorship…”

      A repeat of a previous column noting some wishful thinking. Indian summer occurs in mid to late autumn, usually after the first killing frost. It’s difficult to experience this in our sub-tropical, south Louisiana climate but is greatly appreciated through other sections of the country. Its usage has been traced to 1778 as Native Americans utilized these days to increase their winter food stores. In Europe a similar weather pattern has been called Old Wives’ summer, Halcyon days, and St. Martin’s summer. Years ago, I referenced Indian summer on one of our broadcasts and received an e-mail from Marsha Reichle. She wrote, “Dear Pat: It’s called Indian summer when we have Apache fog.” As we slide into October we also move closer to the end of baseball season. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Office of Censorship advised radio stations in the Code of Wartime Practices to omit all mention of weather. Even though the “code” was voluntary, radio station managers feared that their licenses could be compromised. Newspapers were cautioned as to what with limitations to the previous day’s highs and lows for no more than 20 cities and could print briefly worded weather bureau forecasts. Any mention of a weather forecast from the Lower 48 could have helped Germany’s meteorologists with weather conditions affecting ships and submarines in the Atlantic. Surprisingly, the daily mention of field conditions for a baseball game was acceptable but constraints were placed on games that were rained-out. Announcers were instructed to broadcast a cancelled event due to “weather”, “wet grounds” or “muddy fields.”

    • Suppressing activism through censorship
    • CIA internal history blamed interagency conflicts on the National Security Act being “purposefully vague”

      As part of MuckRock’s ongoing project to declassify and collect internal Central Intelligence Agency histories, the Agency recently released a copy of the history on the Foreign Intelligence Staff’s coordination under National Security Council Intelligence Directive No. 5, from 1951 – 1967. The history outlines various “turf wars,” some which predate the Agency itself, which were the result of disagreements about what the law said and who had what responsibilities. According to the history, many of these disagreements and differing interpretations stemmed directly or indirectly from the language of the National Security Act of 1947, which both established and empowered the CIA, being “purposefully vague.”

    • Six Months Later, People Are Finally Realizing That FOSTA Actually Is Putting Lives At Risk

      Before FOSTA became law, plenty of experts in the space tried to warn everyone that a bill that was frequently promoted as being necessary to help “save the lives” of vulnerable women involved in sex trafficking, would actually put more lives at risk. And we’ve already had some evidence to support that this prediction was entirely accurate. Various law enforcement officials have been complaining that it’s now more difficult to catch sex traffickers.

      And, now the Associated Press has a big article looking at the impact of FOSTA and it’s not pretty.

    • Chinese ‘Rage Comic’ Site First Victim Of Government’s History-Rewriting ‘Heroes And Martyrs’ Law

      The Chinese government is rewriting history in its own distorted self-image. It wants to distance itself from its unseemly past, so it’s retconning history through selectively-edited educational material and blatant censorship. Sure, the Chinese government has never been shy about its desire to shut up those that don’t agree with it, but a recent “heroes and martyrs” law forbids disparaging long dead political and military figures.

      The government alone will decide how much praise must be slathered on designated “heroes and martyrs.” Criticism has been banned, so citizens are at least clear on that aspect. The law went into effect on May 1st, immediately leading to the ban of a Chinese “rage comic” site. This site is the first to be successfully sued under the new law.

    • Following Alleged Censorship of Mapplethorpe Show, Collector Seeks Termination of 700-Work Loan to Serralves Museum

      At the Vienna Contemporary art fair this past weekend, collector Luiz Augusto Teixeira de Freitas said he is seeking the termination of his loan of 700 drawings to the Serralves Foundation Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto, Portugal. The Portuguese newspaper Publico reported the news on Saturday after collector Alain Servais tweeted about Teixeira de Freitas’s talk at the fair. According to the Publico report, Teixeira de Freitas has loaned works by Gabriel Orozco, Mark Lombardi, Julião Sarmento, and others to the museum.

    • China is weaponizing online distraction
    • Art Industry News: Collector Pulls Loans From Museum Amid Mapplethorpe Censorship Battle + Others Stories
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Feds Finally Get Around To Using Someone’s Face To Unlock Their Cellphone

      First, Michalski apparently consented to the search by using his face to unlock the phone. If this was as voluntary as it appears, it pretty much eliminates a Constitutional challenge.

      Beyond that, it’s unlikely a court would find someone’s face testimonial. For the most part, courts haven’t found fingerprints to be testimonial, even if the application of a fingerprint leads directly to the production of evidence to be used against the phone’s owner.

      The “foregone conclusion” argument would only require law enforcement prove the phone belongs to the person they’re asking to unlock it — information easily acquired with a subpoena from the service provider.

      Even if all these hurdles could be jumped, actions taken by the investigating agent pretty much eliminated any evidence the defendant might have challenged, as Forbes’ Thomas Brewster reports.

    • DOJ Loses Another Attempt To Obtain Encryption-Breaking Precedent In Federal Court

      The DOJ is now 0-for-2 in encryption-breaking cases. The DOJ tried to get a judge to turn an All Writs Order into a blank check for broken encryption in the San Bernardino shooting case. Apple pushed back. Hard. So hard the FBI finally turned to an outside vendor to crack the shooter’s iPhone — a vendor the FBI likely knew all along could provide this assistance. But the DOJ wanted the precedent more than it wanted the evidence it thought it would find on the phone. It bet it all on the Writ and lost.

      Other opportunities have arisen, though. A case involving wiretapping MS-13 gang members resulted in the government seeking more compelled decryption, this time from Facebook. The FBI could intercept text messages sent through Messenger but was unable to eavesdrop on calls made through the application. Facebook claimed it didn’t matter what the government wanted. It could not wiretap these calls for the government without significantly redesigning the program. The government thought making Messenger less secure for everyone was an acceptable solution, as long as it gave investigators access to calls involving suspected gang members.

      The case has proceeded under seal, for the most part, so it’s been difficult to determine exactly what solution the government was demanding, but it appears removal of encryption was the preferred solution, which would provide it with future wiretap access if needed. If this request was granted, the government could take its paperwork to other encrypted messaging programs to force them to weaken or destroy protections they offered to users.

    • McSweeney’s and EFF Team Up for “The End of Trust”

      We also recruited some of our favorite thinkers on digital rights to contribute to the collection: anthropologist Gabriella Coleman contemplates anonymity; Edward Snowden explains blockchain; journalist Julia Angwin and Pioneer Award-winning artist Trevor Paglen discuss the intersections of their work; Pioneer Award winner Malkia Cyril discusses the historical surveillance of black bodies; and Ken Montenegro and Hamid Khan of Stop LAPD Spying debate author and intelligence contractor Myke Cole on the question of whether there’s a way law enforcement can use surveillance responsibly.

      We’ve read and reviewed every piece, and without spoiling anything, we can say that it’s smart, thought-provoking, entertaining, and altogether freakin’ awesome. What’s even better is that McSweeney’s has agreed that the content should be available to be freely shared under a Creative Commons license. You’ll be able to download that from us when the quarterly launches on Nov. 20, but we highly recommend getting your hands on a print copy to keep as an analog artifact of the strange and changing times we live in.

    • Rohingya refugees to be identified by biometrics

      The Centre would send the biometric report collected by states to the Myanmar government through a diplomatic channel, he said.
      Singh chaired a meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council here to discuss issues related to inter-state relations and security matters, including the Maoist menace.

    • Andersson puzzled by other parties’ readiness to push through intelligence laws

      “Security is a powerful argument in politics and public debate,” Andersson acknowledges in her blog. “It is nevertheless frightening how the fact that there is a desire to amend the constitution under the urgency procedure has been subjected to so little scrutiny.”

      [...]

      “Although it is tempting to bundle these issues into one, each of them is a separate decision warranting its own consideration,” stresses Andersson.

    • Unlikely alliance calls for scrapping encryption bill
    • Kim Dotcom Loses Privacy Battle Following High Court Appeal

      In March, Kim Dotcom was awarded damages after his requests for the government to hand over information held on him were denied. That ruling was immediately appealed by the Crown. The New Zealand High Court has now overturned the earlier decision by the Human Rights Review Tribunal that concluded that Dotcom’s privacy rights had been breached.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • No One Should Be Detained Without a Hearing While Fighting Deportation

      The government’s sweeping interpretation of a 1996 law has expanded mandatory detention far beyond what Congress intended.

      In May of 2013, Astrid Morataya, a legal permanent resident, woke up to a knock on the door. Looking outside the window, she saw law enforcement agents with bulletproof vests encircling her home in Illinois.

      “They must have the wrong house,” she thought. But they were, in fact, there for her. The government waited 15 years to attempt to deport Astrid for a low-level drug conviction that she received in the late ‘90s, during a period in her life when she was the victim of ongoing sexual abuse. Astrid spent the next two-and-a-half years fighting her deportation case behind bars, separated from her three U.S. citizen children. Held in county jails in Illinois and Wisconsin, she was twice placed in solitary confinement. The first time was for having a sugar packet in her uniform that she forgot to dispose of at mealtime, and the other was for not being ready to leave her cell because she had begun menstruating and was trying to obtain menstrual pads.

      At no point did Astrid receive a hearing on whether her imprisonment was justified, even though she presented no threat to public safety or to flee. Eventually, she learned that she could apply for a “U visa,” a type of visa for victims of crimes who assist law enforcement, because she had previously testified against her abuser in court.

      In November 2015, Astrid was released from detention, after spending more than two years unnecessarily imprisoned. She isn’t alone. Every day the government subjects thousands of immigrants to mandatory detention without the due process of a hearing, based on offenses they committed and served sentences for years ago.

      On Oct. 10, the American Civil Liberties Union will argue before the U.S. Supreme Court in a case which could change that. Nielsen v. Preap challenges the government’s sweeping interpretation of a 1996 mandatory detention law, which requires that certain people are detained for the duration of their deportation proceedings — without a hearing — because they have past criminal records.

      Here’s what you need to know.

    • Four Men Arrested Over Unrest During 2017 “Unite the Right” Rally

      Federal prosecutors on Tuesday announced they had arrested four members or associates of the Rise Above Movement, a white supremacist group, over their alleged role in the infamous 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

      The four men were charged with having traveled to Charlottesville with the aim of inciting a riot and conspiracy to incite a riot, and prosecutors submitted an array of photographs and videos capturing the men pummeling and choking protesters over two days.

      If convicted, the men — Benjamin Drake Daley, 25, of Redondo Beach, California; Thomas Walter Gillen, 34, of Redondo Beach; Michael Paul Miselis, 29, of Lawndale, California; and Cole Evan White, 24, of Clayton, California — could face five years in prison for each of two federal riot charges. White has been described as an associate of the group, not a member.

      Most of the men charged on Tuesday have been the subject of reporting by ProPublica and Frontline over the last year. RAM, based in Southern California, claimed more than 50 members in 2017 and an overriding purpose: physically attacking its ideological foes. Its members spend weekends training in boxing and other martial arts, and they have boasted publicly of their violence during rallies — not just in Charlottesville, but in the California cities of Huntington Beach, San Bernardino and Berkeley, as well. Many of the altercations have been captured on video.

    • Former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke Testifies In His Own Murder Trial

      Former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke testified in a trial, where he is accused of first-degree murder and other offenses. He shot Laquan McDonald 16 times and killed him.

      His defense team called him to the witness stand in an effort to show the jury that Van Dyke never had any intent to murder McDonald. They claim the shooting was justified because Van Dyke perceived a threat, since McDonald had a knife and was closing in on him.

      But Assistant Special Prosecutor Jody Gleason confronted Van Dyke with his testimony about the shooting and showed how his recollection of the shooting was different from what appears in dashcam video and even in a reconstructed animation that was commissioned by the defense to supposedly show Van Dyke’s perspective.

      Gleason recalled how Van Dyke maintained right after the shooting that McDonald brought a knife up over his chest and pointed it at him. Van Dyke confirmed while testifying that this was the story he told about the shooting.

    • Kavanaugh “Was Often Belligerent and Aggressive” When He Was Drunk, According to a Former Yale Classmate

      “In recent days I have become deeply troubled by what has been a blatant mischaracterization by Brett himself of his drinking at Yale.”

    • Brett Kavanaugh: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Watch Out Facebook, Google, Amazon, and the NSA. Solid Is Coming.
    • The powerhouses of the Internet are turning hostile to websites

      In the last five years, there has not been a single major website or dominant web property that has embraced, rewarded, or significantly grown their outlinking. We’ve reached an era of a less-connected web, a web focused on retaining users rather than sharing content. The blogosphere still holds on, clinging to its noble practices of sharing what’s share-worthy. And a few sites like Hacker News, Techmeme, Memeorandum, and SparkToro Trending, still prioritize and benefit from aggregation and sharing. But with the rise of voice answers and branded devices (Google Home, Alexa, etc), the future of referral traffic looks grim.

      Below is a visual I created based on Jumpshot’s February 2018 data. [...]

    • Bots and Volunteers Replaced 9 Million Broken Wikipedia References with Wayback Machine Links

      You click a reference on Wikipedia, only to find the URL is broken. It’s frustrating, but it should happen less often now thanks to The Internet Archive.

      Websites die, and even if they don’t they sometimes take down articles and pages. That’s a problem for Wikipedia, which builds credibility in part by citing other websites. A three year effort by The Internet Archive means 9 million previously broken Wikipedia citations point to the Archive’s Wayback Machine, providing access to source materials that would otherwise be hard for users to track down.

    • Report Finds U.S. Wireless Video Streaming Utterly Mediocre Thanks To Arbitrary Carrier Throttling

      With net neutrality on the ropes, major U.S. carriers continue to experiment with new ways to nickel-and-dime their subscribers. One of the cornerstones of this new effort involves erecting arbitrary restrictions, then charging mobile consumers extra money to overcome them. Case in point: Sprint’s attempt to charge users more money if they want to avoid arbitrary throttling of games, video, and music. Another example: Verizon’s decision to throttle all video on its network to 480p unless you pay the company for a more expensive, not really “unlimited” data plan.

      While carriers like to insist that they only throttle user wireless connections in cases of network congestion, a recent study explored how that wasn’t remotely true.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • KOL252 | Death to Tyrants Podcast: Human Rights, Property Rights and Copyrights

      We get into rights, property, self ownership and the philosophy behind these things. We then move into “intellectual property” and the case against copyright and patents.

    • The IP implications of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit [Ed: Says "UK intends to explore whether it would be possible to remain," but no, one cannot "remain" in UPC as no such thing exists! UPC is dead already.]

      The four notices look at trademark and designs; patents; exhaustion of IP rights; and copyright. As with all such guidance released to date, the solutions they contain are not certain or complete until the Withdrawal Agreement is (or isn’t) signed on ‘Brexit day’ (by 11pm on 29 March 2019, or later if an extension period is agreed). However, the content they propose is broadly in line with what has previously been discussed or proposed as part of the Draft Withdrawal Agreement.

      [...]

      The UK intends to explore whether it would be possible to remain within the Unified Patent Court and unitary patent systems in a ‘no deal’ scenario.

    • Re-Calibrating Willfulness and Enhanced Damages

      The Patent Act is remarkably unhelpful in terms of spelling out the doctrine of willfulness and enhanced damages. The statute simply states that “the court may increase the damages up to three times the amount found or assessed” without providing further guidance or limitation. 35 U.S.C. 284. The Federal Circuit has taken this simple statutory text and layered over a multi-step analysis and multi-prong doctrine that must be met prior to increasing the damage award. In Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc., 136 S. Ct. 1923 (2016), the Supreme Court cut through a portion of the complexity — holding that an infringer’s “objective reasonableness” in its infringement decision does not bar an enhanced damages award. Still, the doctrine continues to have muti-layers, including a first decision as to whether the infringer’s behavior was “willful, wanton, malicious, bad-faith, deliberate, consciously wrongful, flagrant, or—indeed—characteristic of a pirate.” Halo. That factual inquiry (willfulness finding) is then followed by a judicial decision as to whether to actually enhance damages.

      [...]

      Here, I’ll note that the Corning’s objective evidence is pretty good — the US Court of International Trade (CIT) ruled that an ITC General Exclusion Order didn’t apply to the same products at issue here — since they weren’t covered by the patent at issue. U.S. Patent No. 6,558,194. (Note that in that case the patent owner was not permitted to participate, even as an amicus).

    • 5th Global Congress On IP And The Public Interest: Successes, Strategies Highlighted

      More than 400 activists, academics and practitioners from over 50 countries gathered at this year’s Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest, according to organisers. At the Congress, participants shared success stories, developed strategies, and engaged in critical dialogue to re-think and re-invent intellectual property systems that serve the public interest.

    • Trademarks

      • Fashion Designer Balenciaga Opposes Parody Pet-Wear Maker’s Trademark Application For ‘Pawlenciaga’

        Everyone who knows me knows I love two things more than anything in this world: animals… and puns. And, to my delight, much of the pet industry considers using puns as something of a religion. You’ve all seen this, with groan-worthy names of pet stores, doggie daycares, and treat makers. And because the world simply can’t be a fun place in which to exist, sometimes these punny names cause intellectual property disputes, such as when the Prosecco people managed to oppose a trademark for a pet treat named “Pawsecco”, or when a real-life human being hotel called the Chateau Marmont sent a cease and desist notice to the Cateau Marmont, a hotel for, I don’t know… raccoons?

      • What may be the main (potential) events in the life of an EU/national trade mark? Here’s a new map

        I have now revisited my old Life of a national/EU trade Mark map and worked towards updating and improving it.

        The new map concerning EU/national trade marks: Main life events is available below and can be downloaded here. I would like to thank fellow Kat Rosie for her feedback. There is no need to say that I am responsible for any errors/inaccuracies.

    • Copyrights

      • BitTorrent Popularity And Online Piracy Is Increasing Again: Here’s Why

        A report from Sandvine’s Global Internet Phenomena suggests that internet users are again shifting their focus on BitTorrent owing to a plethora of Netflix competitors available in the market.

        Video content constitutes 58% of the total downstream volume of traffic on the internet, and just 15% of it comes from Netflix. On the other hand, BitTorrent has grabbed 22% of the upstream volume.

        BitTorrent platform is legal. However, the files shared on it are mostly copyrighted content.

      • Latvian 4.0 and Basque 4.0 and CC0 translations now available

        Creative Commons is proud to announce the release of the official translations of the Latvian 4.0 licenses and Basque 4.0 licenses, as well as the Basque CC0 translation.

        After one and a half years and many rounds of consultation, the Latvian 4.0 translation is now published on the Creative Commons site and will benefit almost 2 million native speakers. We would like to thank Toms Ceļmillers and the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia for their dedicated efforts in coordinating this translation.

      • Play 1,785 Classic Arcade Games Right Now on The Internet Archive (No Quarters Necessary)

        Arcades, in most cities, are a distant memory, but you can relive over a thousand classic games right now thanks to The Internet Archive.

        The site, which aims to preserve our digital past, offers a massive collection of emulated arcade titles, which you can play here (via OpenCulture.com). The collection currently includes 1,785 games, all emulated right in your browser.

      • Valuing Wikimedia Commons Images

        Several years ago, both Lisa and I wrote about Heald, et al.’s study that attempted to value public domain photographs as used on Wikipedia. While I liked the study a lot, two of my chief critiques were small sample size and unclear value of hits on Wikipedia pages.

        A new paper extends their study, and provides even more evidence of the extensive use of Wikimedia Commons photos. In What is the Commons Worth? Estimating the Value of Wikimedia Imagery by Observing Downstream Use, Kris Erickson (University of Leeds), Felix Rodriguez Perez (Independent), and Jesus Rodriguez Perez (University of Glasgow), have attempted to generalize the findings from the prior study.

        [...]

        That said, I do not think the assumption detracts from the value of the Wikimedia Commons for two reasons. First, they report Getty having revenues of nearly $1 billion per year, so finding $28 billion value over the lifetime of the WC is perhaps not far-fetched. Second, even if people would not pay the full amount, they might have been willing to pay less than the Getty fee (which also includes some public domain items). In the absence of WC, the differences between what they would have paid and what they get (either nothing or homegrown or search costs) is deadweight loss.

        I frankly had no idea that Wikimedia Commons was used so much, but I’m glad that there’s competition in the stock photo market. I’ll finally note that the discussion about which images get used is an interesting one. It turns out-just like Netflix, Facebook, and Twitter-the stuff that gets curated for you is the stuff you wind up seeing and using.

      • How the Music Modernization Act changes US copyright law

        Sanjana Kapila examines the Act’s provisions, its most controversial aspects, and the difference between the House and Senate versions

        The Hatch-Goodlatte Music Modernization Act has been passed by Congress and is now awaiting the signature of President Trump. Its provisions herald a significant change to US copyright law.

      • File-sharing Site Openload Generates More Traffic Than Hulu or HBO Go

        Netflix is the number one bandwidth ‘hog’ on the Internet, with video streaming sites dominating Internet traffic in general, Sandvine’s new Global Internet Phenomena report reveals. Perhaps unexpectedly, file-sharing site Openload makes an appearance among the top ten video sources, which is bound to upset Hollywood.

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  26. The USPTO's Principal Issue is Abstract Patents (or Patent Scope), Not Prior Art Searches

    In spite of the fact that US courts prolifically reject patents for being abstract (citing 35 U.S.C. § 101) Cisco, Google, MIT, and the USPTO go chasing better search facilities, addressing the lesser if not the wrong problem



  27. António Campinos Makes Excuses for Granting European Patents on Software in Spite of the EPC

    Continuing the horrid tradition of Battistelli, António Campinos sends patent quality -- the one aspect which the EPO was once renowned for -- down the drain (or down the shredder, for lack of a better and more timely metaphor)



  28. Antibody Patents Should Not be Allowed (Nor Should CRISPR Patents)

    The patent extremists are still trying to patent life (and/or nature) and their arguments typically boil down to, "there's money in it, so why the heck not?"



  29. Links 8/10/2018: Linux 4.19 RC7, Mageia 6.1, Calculate Linux 18

    Links for the day



  30. The Federal Circuit Continues to 'Lecture' the Patent Office on Patent Scope and Limits, But Iancu Isn't Listening

    Sadly, the district court have not fully caught up (at least not yet) with SCOTUS; they're more USPTO-friendly.


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