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10.05.18

Links 5/10/2018: Mesa 18.2.2 Released, First Release of libxmlb

Posted in News Roundup at 11:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Server

    • Kubernetes for personal projects? No thanks!

      I have read multiple times this article about running Kubernetes to run small projects and thought I could share why I think that might not be a great idea.

    • I am gonna run retro server

      You probably know that I am fan of retro computers. Those from 80s, 70s and older ones. And for quite a time I told that I do not plan to run retro machines at home. But it has to change.

      Due to some work things I am going to run Mustang again. But where is retro in it someone may ask…

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.18.12
    • Linux 4.14.74
    • Linux 4.9.131
    • Some AMD GPUs Affected By A Nasty Power Regression That Snuck Into Linux 4.18 Stable

      A Phoronix reader emailed in that since the recent Linux 4.18.10 stable kernel the power usage on his system has increased by around 50 Watts while idling… Not the overall AC system power draw being 50 Watts, but an increase of roughly that amount on the latest 4.18 stable point releases up to this point. I’ve now been able to reproduce as well as bisect the cause.

      Besides the reader’s own experience, he also pointed out some reports on Reddit of the power consumption being much higher on these latest Linux 4.18 point releases but without any bisecting or narrowing down of the problem. For those without power meters, some individuals have reported higher system temperatures with these post-4.18.9 point releases. The issue is also present in the current Linux 4.19 code.

    • Intel Is Having Great Success With Their Open-Source Sound Firmware

      Intel a while back open-sourced their sound firmware and SDK and also launched the “Sound Open Firmware” project in cooperation with the Linux Foundation. It’s been an interesting journey and getting Intel pointed towards offering more open-source firmware.

    • Apple Magic Trackpad 2 Driver Support Queued In Linux 4.20~5.0

      The patches written by Google/ChromeOS developers to support the Apple Magic Trackpad 2 that we were talking about a few days back have now been queued ahead of the next Linux kernel cycle.

    • Facebook Continues Making Extensive Use Of systemd

      At last week’s All Systems Go! 2018 conference in Berlin, Davide Cavalca talked about Facebook’s use of systemd in 2018 and how it’s expanded since their talk a year ago on the subject.

      Simply put, you could say Facebook loves systemd. Facebook continues making use of systemd’s many features inside their data centers.

    • New Project Aims To Make It Easy To Reuse Kconfig Outside Of The Linux Kernel

      Init-kconfig is the new software project trying to make it easy for re-using the Kconfig configuration system outside of the Linux kernel and more adaptable for independent software projects.

      Kconfig is the robust configuration system used by the Linux kernel for configuring the built-in modules and plethora of other kernel tunables. Kconfig has already been used by outside projects like U-Boot, Coreboot, and several others. But currently to re-use Kconfig you basically need to pull the code from the Linux kernel and begin adapting it to your own purposes.

    • Nouveau DRM Tree Sees Updates Ahead Of Linux 4.20

      While there has been lots of Intel updates and tons of AMDGPU activity in DRM-Next for the upcoming Linux 4.20~5.0 cycle, there hadn’t been any changes to the open-source NVIDIA “Nouveau” driver while at least today the Nouveau DRM tree has seen some new updates.

      Not queued yet in DRM-Next, but today a batch of new commits hit the Nouveau DRM development tree and the first new bits to land in the tree in the past month. Ben Skeggs of Red Hat and the Nouveau DRM maintainer has pushed the latest set of changes. However, it isn’t all that exciting as it mostly just contains some display fixes, some work around HDMI 2.0, a memory leak fix, and mostly other maintenance work.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Edgility Open Source Initiative Marries Serverless With the Edge

        The network edge is a huge component of 5G. That’s why big service providers like Verizon and AT&T are suddenly talking about how they are adding new capabilities to the edge of their networks. But adding all those capabilities also creates complexity because it often involves thousands of edge sites in every major market.

        That’s where Edgility comes in. This new initiative was developed by AT&T and Cloudify to help operators manage the computing resources across the network.

      • Using Text Mining and Machine Learning to Enhance the Credit Risk Assessment Process

        Advances in technology have instigated a substantial shift in consumer expectations. Today’s financial services customers demand access to a range of services, real-time updates and a seamless customer experience. At Open FinTech Forum, I will provide some insight into Spotcap’s approach to credit risk assessment using text mining and machine learning.

      • Kid’s Day at Open Source Summit

        The Linux Foundation strives to make Open Source Summit one of the most inclusive tech events in a variety of ways, offering activities such as the “Women in Open Source” lunch, a diversity social, a first-time attendees get-together, and more. The have activities focused on children, too. Not only does Open Source Summit offer free on-site childcare for attendees’ children, they also sponsor a Kid’s Day.

      • The Linux Foundation to Drive Shift to Container Network Functions

        The rate at which cloud-native network functions (CNF) are going to employed to drive next-generation networking services is about to accelerate following a decision by the Open Networking Automation Platform (ONAP) and Kubernetes working groups within The Linux Foundation to collaborate on a CNF architecture.

        Arpit Joshipura, general manager for networking at The Linux Foundation, says that while telecommunications providers have been making extensive investments in network functions virtualization (NFV) software based on virtual machines, it’s become apparent to many that containers offer a lighter-weight approach to virtualizing network services.

    • Graphics Stack

      • mesa 18.2.2

        Mesa 18.2.2 is now available.

        In this release we have:

        Different patches for the DirectX9 and DRI state trackers.

      • Mesa 18.2.2 Released With RADV GTA V Fix, Vulkan Additions & D3D9 Patches

        Mesa 18.2.2 is out this morning as the second point release to the Q3’2018 stable release series.

      • The Kazan Vulkan CPU/Software-Based Implementation Being Rewritten In Rust

        Remember Kazan, the project originally known as Vulkan-CPU? That was the Google Summer of Code 2017 project to implement a CPU/software-based Vulkan driver. It had been dormant since GSoC 2017 ended, but now work on it has been restarted.

        Kazan development stalled shortly after GSoC 2017 when the student developer Jacob Lifshay was busy again with university. But now after a year he’s decided to working on Kazan.

    • Benchmarks

      • RADV vs. AMDVLK vs. Radeon Software Vulkan Driver Performance – October 2018 Linux Gaming

        Given AMD’s weekly updating of the public AMDVLK Vulkan driver source tree as their official open-source Vulkan Linux driver while RADV continues to be maintained as the popular open-source Radeon Vulkan driver within the Mesa source tree, here is a fresh look at how those competing drivers perform. Additionally there are the results from Radeon Software / AMDGPU-PRO using its closed-source Vulkan driver that is derived from the same sources as AMDVLK but built against AMD’s proprietary shader compiler.

        This round of benchmarking is a look at the fresh AMD Vulkan Linux driver performance on these three options when testing with a Radeon RX 580 and RX Vega 64 graphics cards. The same Core i7 8086K system was used the entire time (obviously) and it was running with Ubuntu 18.04 on the Linux 4.19-rc6 kernel. The Vulkan driver configurations came down to…

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Krita 4.2 Will Be Another Step Up For Open-Source Digital Painting

        The KDE/Qt-aligned Krita open-source digital painting program will soon see its 4.2 feature release that is bringing with it many new features.

        Some of the features already added into the experimental Krita 4.2 are improvements to masks and selections, gamut masks, performance improvements, colored assistants, an improved move tool, a smoother user-interface, and around 200 bug fixes.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Announcing the first release of libxmlb

        Today I did the first 0.1.0 preview release of libxmlb. We’re at the “probably API stable, but no promises” stage. This is the library I introduced a couple of weeks ago, and since then I’ve been porting both fwupd and gnome-software to use it. The former is almost complete, and nearly ready to merge, but the latter is still work in progress with a fair bit of code to write. I did manage to launch gnome-software with libxmlb yesterday, and modulo a bit of brokenness it’s both faster to start (over 800ms faster from cold boot!) and uses an amazing 90Mb less RSS at runtime. I’m planning to merge the libxmlb branch into the unstable branch of fwupd in the next few weeks, so I need volunteers to package up the new hard dep for Debian, Ubuntu and Arch.

      • Introducing Genius, the Advanced Scientific Calculator for Linux

        Genius is a calculator program that has both a command-line version and a GNOME GUI version. It should available in your distribution’s package management system. For Debian-based distributions, the GUI version and the command-line version are two separate packages. Assuming that you want to install both, you can do so with the following command:

      • GUADEC 2018 by numbers

        It took me a while but now I can gave you some stats from GUADEC 2018, following past year Sam’s example.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • The October 2018 Issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine

        The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the October 2018 issue. With the exception of a brief period in 2009, The PCLinuxOS Magazine has been published on a monthly basis since September, 2006. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community. The magazine is lead by Paul Arnote, Chief Editor, and Assistant Editor Meemaw. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is released under the Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 Unported license, and some rights are reserved. All articles may be freely reproduced via any and all means following first publication by The PCLinuxOS Magazine, provided that attribution to both The PCLinuxOS Magazine and the original author are maintained, and a link is provided to the originally published article.

    • Gentoo Family

      • CLIP OS – a hardened, multi-level OS based on Gentoo Hardened

        ANSSI, the National Cybersecurity Agency of France, has released the sources of CLIP OS, that aims to build a hardened, multi-level operating system, based on the Linux kernel and a lot of free and open source software. We are happy to hear that it is based on Gentoo Hardened!

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Daniel Pocock: Stigmatizing volunteers who miss an event

        In various free software communities, I’ve come across incidents where people have been criticized inappropriately when they couldn’t attend an event or didn’t meet other people’s expectations. This has happened to me a few times and I’ve seen it happen to other people too.

        As it turns out, this is an incredibly bad thing to do. I’m not writing about this to criticize any one person or group in return. Rather, it is written in the hope that people who are still holding grudges like this might finally put them aside and also to reassure other volunteers that you don’t have to accept this type of criticism.

      • Unusual meetings

        It was interesting to finally know someone inside the Debian organization. We discussed about various conferences on free software, how Debian works, my work during the GSoC and the heating system he’s working on in his house.

      • Derivatives

        • Interview With Peter Ganten, CEO of Univention GmbH

          I have been asking the Univention team to share the behind-the-scenes story of Univention for a couple months. Finally, today we got the interview of Mr.Peter H. Ganten, CEO of Univention GmbH. Despite his busy schedule, in this interview, he shares what he thinks of the Univention project and its impact on open source ecosystem, what open source developers and companies will need to do to keep thriving and what are the biggest challenges for open source projects.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • How mir-kiosk enables a graphical IoT using Mir

            If you have a problem… if you just need support for one fullscreen application… and, if you can use snaps… maybe you can use… mir-kiosk.

            Many devices need to provide some sort of graphical output or display (with the options of keyboard, mouse and touchscreen input) to the user. Some examples include interactive kiosks, digital signage, in-car entertainment, smart meters, the screens seen on everything from washing machines to smart thermostats and various “maker” projects.

          • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E30 – Thirty Seconds

            It’s Season 11 Episode 30 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

          • Ubuntu at GTC Europe 2018
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Yabits: A New UEFI Coreboot Payload Alternative To TianoCore & Closed-Source Blobs

    Yabits was announced last month at the OSFC 2018 conference in Erlangen, Germany. Yabits is a lighter-weight alternative to the open-source TianoCore UEFI implementation and other commonly used proprietary UEFI implementations by motherboard vendors.

    Yabits is “Yet another UEFI coreboot payload” and aims to deliver the same UEFI x86_64 booting capabilities as TianoCore but with a much smaller code-base for environments like embedded systems and the cloud.

  • The State Of LinuxBoot For Replacing Proprietary UEFI Firmware With The Linux Kernel

    LinuxBoot is the year-old project for replacing proprietary UEFI implementations with the Linux kernel in essence. Adoption continues to grow for LinuxBoot and is now being used inside several large corporations.

    Ryan O’Leary is one of the Google developers behind LinuxBoot and he presented at last month’s Open-Source Firmware Conference in Germany on this Linux Foundation hosted project.

  • Charles Hoskinson Examines Rust To Be The First Open Source Project

    The co-founder of Ethereum and founder of Cardano, Charles Hoskinson has discussed the anniversary of Cardano and the new Cardano Rust Project earlier this week. He stated that Cardano’s Rust is the first open-source project aimed at widening the reach of the technology to bring in a bigger range of third-party developers.

    [...]

    Hoskinson finished by saying that there have been several notable significant moments and accolades for Cardano since it started up a year ago. In May this year, IOHK teamed up with the Ethiopian government to explore applications of the technology in blockchain including coffee supply chain traceability.

  • Open-Source Machine Learning Is Free, As In Beer
  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Sourcegraph

    Code search and navigation engine Sourcegraph went open-source this week alongside the introduction of new features aimed at welcoming community contribution. In the announcement, Sourcegraph CEO Quinn Slack said the move brings Sourcegraph more in line with the company’s “master plan.”

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Rep of the Month – September 2018

        Umesh is from Kharagpur, India and works as Big Data Splunk Architect & Administrator. He is an Open Source Geek and his other areas of interest are Cyber Security and Big Data Analysis. He is a passionate Mozillian and an amazing contributor for more than 6 years. Umesh served as Reps Council Member in 2016 and currently he is an active Reps Mentor.

  • CMS

    • Nuxeo Shortlisted by Constellation, Liferay Acquires Triblio, More Open Source News

      Nuxeo has been recognized in the Constellation ShortList for Digital Asset Management (DAM) for Digital Experience (DX) in Q3 2018. Listed alongside the likes of Adobe and Bynder, Nuxeo’s CMO Chris McLaughlin voiced Nuxeo’s appreciation of the recognition, “Nuxeo continues to receive analyst recognition and generate interest in the digital asset management space because we deliver a solution that provides rich DAM functionality built on the most modern, scalable, and modular underpinnings. This approach helps our customers in every industry transform and grow their businesses faster,” McLaughlin said.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD Is Looking To Drop Many Of Its 10/100 Ethernet Drivers

      FreeBSD is looking to deprecate “most” of their 10/100 Ethernet drivers in FreeBSD 12 so that they can be dropped entirely in FreeBSD 13, but not everyone wants to see these older networking drivers dismissed.

      FreeBSD kernel developers want to drop most of their in-kernel 10/100 Ethernet drivers due to the maintenance burden involved and they just being burdensome to keep up as they look to further enhance their networking stack.

    • Polish BSD User Group

      We had one meeting in English, during which George Nevill-Neill was presenting DTrace. You can see all the presentations on BSD-PL meetings and the recording from the meetings at our Youtube channel.

      If you are interested in BSD and you are in Poland (or you want to be the person who has travelled the further for a meeting), please join us in our next meeting which will be on October 11 at the University of Technology (see map below). This time we changed the location because the new semester is starting at the university and we would like to introduce the BSD world to the students.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • The Global Multilateral Benefit-Sharing Mechanism: Where Will Be The Bretton Woods Of The 21st Century?

      Similar thinking has not transpired at any of the Conferences of the Parties (COP) to the 1993 United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), even though conservation is as economic as is finance. The problem lies in the language of the CBD. “Genetic resources” are defined as “material”, which is interpreted as matter [2].

      Were genetic resources instead interpreted as information, [3] economics would imply that “bounded openness” be the policy for “access to genetic resources” and “the fair and equitable sharing of benefits” (ABS), which is the third objective of the CBD [4]. But to so persuade the delegations to the COP, a willingness to be persuaded must first exist [5]. Bretton Woods is again instructive. The merciless destruction of Europe and Asia by both Axis and Allies prepared the psyche of the 44 nations who met in Bretton Woods. To prevent WWIII, concessions by the victors would be a small price to pay–a prescient insight that Keynes wrought from the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 [6]. The threat today of ecosystem collapse on land, air and sea should likewise persuade Users to concede benefits to Providers. However, as argued in the previous essays in this trilogy, concessions are not even necessary. Bounded openness is a Win-Win situation that can pay for itself through the emergence of biotechnologies which would have otherwise been stymied by Prior Informed Consent, Mutually Agreed Terms and Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs).

      Bretton Woods was a radical departure from the competitive devaluations and the restrictive trade policies that vexed the interwar years [7]. In a similar fashion, bounded openness departs from competitive MTAs and the restrictive measures of ABS Competent National Authorities. However, bounded openness is far less contingent on achieving first this and then that, than was Bretton Woods. One thinks of the establishment of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group. The execution of bounded openness will draw from existing institutions, and the system itself would become a means of financial support. The legal vehicle is Article 10 of the Nagoya Protocol (NP), titled “Global Multilateral Benefit-Sharing Mechanism” (GMBSM).

    • Open Hardware/Modding

Leftovers

  • Science

    • ACS and Elsevier Sue ResearchGate For Copyright Infringement

      Academic publishers American Chemical Society and Elsevier have sued scientist and researcher networking site ResearchGate. The publishers claim that research papers uploaded to the platform infringe their copyrights and for that, they’re demanding damages of $150,000 per infringed work.

  • Apple

  • Security

    • Bug in Windows 10’s Latest Update Might Be Deleting Files, Back Up Your Data Now

      Multiple Windows users are reporting the latest update is deleting documents. Consider backing up your data right now.

    • Windows 10 October 2018 Update Is Apparently Wiping Out User Data

      Windows 10 October 2018 update was announced a while back and Microsoft mentioned that the new update would come with support for DirectX Ray Tracing. The API that will support Nvidia RTX graphics cards with features like ray tracing and DLSS.

      It turns out, the update is now being halted due to an issue with Intel drivers that are causing some unexpected problems. Some people have reported losing their data when updating to Windows 10 October 2018 update. Rollback is also not something that will solve this issue as it turns out, once you update your data is gone and it’s pretty much irreversible.

    • Paper over the Kracks: New techniques can bypass WPA2 flaw mitigations

      Following last year’s discovery of the key reinstallation attack (Krack) vulnerability affecting devices using the WPA2 wireless protocol, most vendors updated their products – but in certain cases attacks were still possible, security researcher Mathy Vanhoef has confirmed.

      Twelve months after coming forward with their initial findings, Vanhoef and fellow KU Leuven academic Frank Piessens have published a fresh white paper indicating that some vendor mitigations against Krack were flawed, leaving devices open to selected attacks.

      The team also discovered new techniques to bypass the WiFi protocol’s official defense against Krack, allowing an adversary to replay broadcast and multicast frames.

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • What you need to know about the first-ever DNSSEC root key rollover on October 11, 2018
    • RedHat shares what to expect from next week’s first-ever DNSSEC root key rollover

      DNSSEC is a system of digital signatures to prevent DNS spoofing. Maintaining an up-to-date KSK is essential to ensuring DNSSEC-validating DNS resolvers continue to function following the rollover. If the KSK isn’t up to date, the DNSSEC-validating DNS resolvers will be unable to resolve any DNS queries.

    • Russian spies hacked officials to protect doping athletes, US charges

      Ordinarily, intelligence agencies focus on issues related to national security. But a federal indictment announced on Thursday charges that Russian spies waged a long-running campaign to undermine investigations into doping activities by Russian athletes during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

      Key Russian attacks were carried out in 2016, days after the World Anti-Doping Agency released an initial report on Russian doping activities. Russian agents targeted anti-doping organizations to gather information to undermine the investigation and embarrass non-Russian athletes.

    • Password security management still not up to scratch as attacks grow: report

      Attacks on passwords continue to grow in number and complexity every year, but despite these threats, businesses have struggled to quantify their own level of password risk, according to a newly published report that also found that the insurance sector in Australia is doing the best in maintaining password security.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Trump Admin Follows Corporate Media Playbook for War With Iran

      Three years ago, as Americans debated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran—popularly known as “the Iran deal”—I highlighted a troubling media trend on FAIR.org (8/20/15): “For nearly all commentators, regardless of their position, war is the only alternative to that position.”

      In the months since US President Donald Trump tore up the JCPOA agreement, his administration has been trying to make good on corporate media’s collective prediction. Last week, John Bolton (BBC, 9/26/18), Trump’s national security advisor and chief warmonger, told Iran’s leaders and the world that there would be “hell to pay” if they dare to “cross us.”

      That Bolton’s bellicose statements do not send shockwaves of pure horror across a debt-strapped and war-weary United States is thanks in large part to incessant priming for war, facilitated by corporate media across the entire political spectrum, with a particular focus on Iran.

      Back in 2015, while current “resistance” stalwarts like the Washington Post (4/2/15) and Politico (8/11/15) warned us that war with Iran was the most likely alternative to the JCPOA, conservative standard-bearers such as Fox News (7/14/15) and the Washington Times (8/10/15) foretold that war with Iran was the agreement’s most likely outcome. Three years hence, this dynamic has not changed.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • WikiLeaks Celebrates 12th Anniversary

      Granted political asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in the U.K. in an attempt to prevent extradition to the U.S., and subsequent trial for publishing secret U.S. military documents, Assange is devoid of medical care, access to family and friends, and cyber-communication to the outside world. His attorney Jennifer Robinson claims the Wikileaks founder’s health is in serious jeopardy due to lack of access to natural light and fresh air.

      It was all different 12 years ago today, when Wikileaks first shocked the world by revealing secret documents ranging from planned assassination attempts on government officials, to uncensored footage of global unrest that had previously been censored to prevent mainstream backlash.

      Launched on Oct. 4, 2006, the non-profit organization, led by co-founder Assange, posted these revelations in a manner akin to Wikipedia, and immediately faced the wrath of government officials.

    • WikiLeaks denies publishing details of Anwar’s accounts
    • WikiLeaks denies publishing Anwar’s bank details

      Whistleblower site WikiLeaks has denied publishing bank account details that purportedly belong to PKR president-elect Anwar Ibrahim.

    • WikiLeaks denies publishing details on Anwar’s accounts

      WIKILEAKS has slammed as a “fabrication” former Simpang Renggam MP Liang Teck Meng’s claim that it published details on offshore bank accounts allegedly owned by Anwar Ibrahim.WIKILEAKS has slammed as a “fabrication” former Simpang Renggam MP Liang Teck Meng’s claim that it published details on offshore bank accounts allegedly owned by Anwar Ibrahim.

    • Fake News: Reports Wikileaks exposed Anwar’s bank details ‘a fabrication’
    • WikiLeaks rejects Gerakan sec-gen’s claim it outed Anwar’s alleged foreign riches

      The allegation by Gerakan’s Datuk Liang Teck Meng that WikiLeaks released banking information of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is false, according to the whistleblower organisation he claimed had done so.

      In a message posted on Twitter, the WikiLeaks group confirmed that it previously released particulars related to some local personalities, but insisted that none was linked to the PKR president-elect.

    • WikiLeaks denies publishing details of Anwar’s alleged offshore accounts

      WikiLeaks has rubbished claims that it published details of PKR president-elect Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s (pix) alleged offshore accounts.

      In a message posted on its Twitter account, the whistleblower said it has not published anything on Anwar’s bank accounts.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Interior Department Wants Stricter Data Standards in Conservation Decisions

      The US Department of the Interior issued a proposal last week (September 28) that the scientific data contributing to conservation decisions be publicly available and peer-reviewed, BuzzFeed News reports. The government says the rule will increase transparency, while critics argue that valuable data—such as confidential information on threatened species—could be ignored.

    • The Trump Administration Just Quietly Adopted An “Open Science” Policy That Limits Conservation Science

      On the surface, it sounds like a rule to increase transparency, “but from their track record that doesn’t seem likely,” Charise Johnson, a researcher at the science advocacy organization Union of Concerned Scientists, told BuzzFeed News. A UCS survey of federal scientists, published in August, showed many at the Interior Department reported experiencing censorship and political interference on the job.

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Taking the Radical Road with AUOB

      The radical road up Salisbury Crags got its name because pro-democracy labourers building it held meetings there to avoid bans within the city of Edinburgh, back in the era of Peterloo. This is precisely where Historic Environment Scotland are banning tomorrow’s Independence rally, and if we accept it we are turning our back on our heritage.

      [...]

      The Tories have already announced that Westminster will not agree to another Indyref before 2027. We have a fundamental stand to make on whether we accept that a parliament in England dominated massively by representatives of England, has a veto on the self-determination of the Scottish people.

    • How Much Money Is Being Spent in the Illinois Governor’s Race?

      The 2018 race for Illinois governor could be the most expensive in U.S. history. With election day coming up Nov. 6, the two major candidates have already raised a combined quarter billion dollars since 2015.

      Recent campaign figures, as of Oct. 4, reveal Democrat JB Pritzker has raised nearly $149 million, while current Gov. Bruce Rauner, the Republican incumbent, has raised about $106 million.

      There are still millions left to spend. As of the end of June, Pritzker had spent $88.5 million, while Rauner had spent about $72 million of his campaign funds.

    • Maintaining Media Omerta

      What happens when a national newspaper cares more about the appearance of bias in its reporting than any actual evidence of it? Earlier this week provided an example, when the New York Times apologized for allowing one of its reporters to work on a story that no one has disputed or claimed contains a single inaccuracy.

      The fight began when New York Times Magazine writer Emily Bazelon shared a byline on a straightforward story (10/1/18) based on a police report about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh instigating a bar fight while an undergraduate at Yale. Definitely newsworthy, the article dovetailed with a number of other contemporaneous reports about Kavanaugh’s behavior while drinking, a specific point of contention at last week’s Senate hearing where Christine Blasey Ford accused him of sexually assaulting her.

      But the Times piece came under fire, not for what it reported, but because Bazelon was the one who reported on it. Almost immediately, right-wing pundits began to target the story as biased because Bazelon had dared to publicly air her opinion on Kavanaugh’s nomination back in July. In two tweets this past summer, Bazelon, who is also a lecturer at Yale Law School, argued against Kavanaugh’s appointment as a “fifth vote for a hard-right turn on voting rights and so much more that will harm the democratic process and prevent a more equal society.” That she thought Kavanaugh unfit for SCOTUS and also assisted in reporting on his conduct back in college—from New Haven, Conn., where she is based, and where the incident took place—was seen as more evidence of a liberal plot against him, and sent conservative pundits into high-harrumph mode on Twitter and elsewhere.

    • Can We Make Congress Less Dumb About Technology?

      Earlier this week, a bunch of organizations — including Techdirt’s own sister organization, the Copia Institute — announced the launch of a new project, called Future Congress. It’s a coalition of organizations, some of whom rarely agree on anything with some of the other members. It is made up of organizations with a variety of political viewpoints and policy ideas. But, this coalition does agree one one thing: we need to stop Congress from being so damn clueless about technology.

      For many years, we’ve talked about the unfortunate decision by a Newt Gingrich-led Congress back in the mid-90s to dismantle the Office of Technology Assessment (or OTA). This was the organization that was a non-partisan, careful think tank focused on providing useful technology briefings to anyone in Congress who needed it. And yet, just as technology was becoming central to our every day lives, Congress defunded it (technically, the office still exists on the books, but it has no funding and no staff). Over the years there have been many calls to bring OTA back, and every so often someone in Congress floats a bill… which always gets shot down (the latest was just a few months ago).

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Instagram prototypes handing your location history to Facebook

      Instagram now that its founders have resigned. Instagram has been spotted prototyping a new privacy setting that would allow it to share your location history with Facebook. That means your exact GPS coordinates collected by Instagram, even when you’re not using the app, would help Facebook to target you with ads and recommend you relevant content. The geo-tagged data would appear to users in their Facebook Profile’s Activity Log, which include creepy daily maps of the places you been.

    • Instagram’s New Prototype Shares Your Location With Facebook

      It’s not a week since Instagram’s founders resigned from their positions after a strained relationship with Zuckerberg and clash of ideologies to run the business.

      Facebook has already started tightening the noose on Instagram. A prototype privacy setting has been spotted on Instagram that allows you to share your location history with Facebook. This geo-tagged data collected by Instagram will help Facebook in showing targeted ads to users.

    • Privacy Badger Now Fights More Sneaky Google Tracking

      With its latest update, Privacy Badger now fights “link tracking” in a number of Google products.

      Link tracking allows a company to follow you whenever you click on a link to leave its website. Earlier this year, EFF rolled out a Privacy Badger update targeting Facebook’s use of this practice. As it turns out, Google performs the same style of tracking, both in web search and, more concerning, in spaces for private conversation like Hangouts and comments on Google Docs. From now on, Privacy Badger will protect you from Google’s use of link tracking in all of these domains.

      [...]

      In Hangouts and the Docs suite, the tracking is less sophisticated, but just as effective. Try sending a link to one of your friends in a Hangouts chat. Although the message might look like an innocuous URL, you can hover over the hyperlink to reveal that it’s actually a link shim in disguise. The same thing happens with links in comments on Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. That means Google will track whether and when your friend, family member, or co-worker clicks on the link that you sent them.

      These tracking links are easy to spot, if you know where to look. Simply hover over one and you’ll find that it’s not quite what you expect.

    • There are Many Problems With Mobile Privacy but the Presidential Alert Isn’t One of Them

      On Wednesday, most cell phones in the US received a jarring alert at the same time. This was a test of the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system, also commonly known as the Presidential Alert. This is an unblockable nationwide alert system which is operated by Federal Emergency Management Agency (*not* the President, as the name might suggest) to warn people of a catastrophic event such as a nuclear strike or nationwide terrorist attack. The test appears to have been mostly successful, and having a nationwide emergency alert system certainly doesn’t seem like a bad idea; but Wednesday’s test has also generated concern. One of the most shared tweets came from antivirus founder John McAfee.

    • Fitbit Data Leads To An 90-Year Old Alleged Killer Of His Stepdaughter [Ed: The real news here: Fitbit collects lots of data about you and hands that data to US authorities (ignore all the 'marketing' slant of it). Media promotes mass surveillance using the same old lie that it will “protect” you.]

      I reckon you wouldn’t have imagined murder-solving to be one of the perks of using Fitbit Fitness Tracker. However, that seems to be the case here. Seemingly, police were able to capture a 90-year old alleged killer only because of the Fitbit band, attached to the victim device.

    • Police Use Fitbit Data to Charge 90-Year-Old Man in Stepdaughter’s Killing

      The last time Anthony Aiello spoke to his stepdaughter, he took homemade pizza and biscotti to her house in San Jose, Calif., for a brief visit. Mr. Aiello, 90, told investigators that she then walked him to the door and handed him two roses in gratitude.

      But an unnoticed observer in the house later revealed that their encounter ended in murder, a police report said.

      Five days afterward, Mr. Aiello’s stepdaughter, Karen Navarra, 67, was discovered by a co-worker in her house with fatal lacerations on her head and neck. She had been wearing a Fitbit fitness tracker, which investigators said showed that her heart rate had spiked significantly around 3:20 p.m. on Sept. 8, when Mr. Aiello was there.

      Then it recorded her heart rate slowing rapidly, and stopping at 3:28 p.m., about five minutes before Mr. Aiello left the house, the report said.

    • Now Twitter’s ‘Report’ Function Being Used To Disappear Complaint About GDPR Being Used To Disappear Public Court Document

      Just recently we wrote about how a guy in France, Michael Francois Bujaldon, who had been sued in the US and accused of securities and real estate fraud, had apparently been using the GDPR’s right to be forgotten features to get the court docket about this lawsuit deleted from the web (in at least one case) or have his name removed from it (in the other). Our story focused on the situation with the website PlainSite, which is run by Aaron Greenspan and hosts tons of public court dockets. In our comments, it was interesting to note that at least one person seemed hellbent on trashing Greenspan. Greenspan and I have had our own differences throughout the years, and he has been a vocal critic of the way I’ve covered him in the past, but these comments seemed to go way over the line.

      And now, Greenspan informs me that someone is trying to get his original tweet — which alerted me to this abuse of the GDPR to delete public documents — disappeared from the internet as well. On Wednesday morning Greenspan discovered that both his PlainSite Twitter account and his personal Twitter account were “limited” due to reports. It’s unclear why his personal account was limited, but Twitter told him that his original tweet about Bujaldon violated its rules on “posting personal information.”

    • US parental protection groups accuse Facebook of collecting Kids data in Messenger

      The ‘safer’ version of Messenger was launched in 2017 is the target of attacks led by the Campaign for a Commerical-Free Childhood (CFCC) which has filed a complaint saying that the app collects data without the explicit consent of the parents.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Grievance Studies Scandal: Five Academics Respond

      For the past year scholars James Lindsay, Helen Pluckrose, and Peter Boghossian have sent fake papers to various academic journals which they describe as specialising in activism or “grievance studies.” Their stated mission has been to expose how easy it is to get “absurdities and morally fashionable political ideas published as legitimate academic research.”

      To date, their project has been successful: seven papers have passed through peer review and have been published, including a 3000 word excerpt of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, rewritten in the language of Intersectionality theory and published in the Gender Studies journal Affilia.

      Below is a response to the scandal from five academics who are currently researching, publishing and teaching in the fields of Philosophy, English Studies, Behavioral Genetics and Economics. [...]

    • French Cop Arrested For Selling Sensitive Law Enforcement Info On The Dark Web

      The discovery of the officer’s misconduct came to light after French police shut down a dark web market. That there was a cop selling cop stuff to criminals on the dark web is inevitable. If it wasn’t this investigation, any of the dozens of others happening around the world would have uncovered a law enforcement officer doing bad things. Two of the federal agents involved in the Silk Road investigation ended up being charged with money laundering and wire fraud after they stole Bitcoin and issued fake subpoenas to further their own criminal ends.

      Again, it’s a people problem — one that’s present anywhere people are given power and access not present in most jobs. The problem is government agencies, in particular, tend not to hold their own employees accountable and work hard to thwart their oversight. The more brazen examples of government malfeasance are enabled by the dozens of smaller infractions that go unpunished until they’re the subject of a lawsuit or government investigation.

    • Beyond Prisons — Episode 29: Kempis ‘Ghani’ Songster (Part 1)

      After 30 years of incarceration, Ghani was released from prison at the age of 45. Since his release, he has joined the staff at the Amistad Law Project, a grassroots abolitionist law collective working for the release of others, as they fight to end the sentencing of human beings to life without parole/death by incarceration and to abolish prison industrial complex. He has also joined the membership of Ecosocialist Horizons. Ghani continues to organize actively for healing justice and a more livable planet.

    • ProPublica, New York Times Magazine and Harvard Law’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute Present “How Bad Science Is Corrupting the Justice System”

      On Oct. 25, ProPublica, Harvard Law School’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, and The New York Times Magazine will present “How Bad Science Is Corrupting the Justice System.” This in-depth discussion will look at faulty forensic testimony in the courtroom and its devastating consequences, as well as efforts around the country that show the potential for reform.

      ProPublica, in partnership with The New York Times Magazine, has traced how one forensic discipline — bloodstain-pattern analysis — has become entrenched in our legal system despite grave questions about its accuracy. Published in May, the series “Blood Will Tell” explored how a Texas man was convicted of murder using bloodstain pattern-analysis that has been called into question, and it showed that his case is but one of many troubling examples of faulty forensics subverting justice.

    • Spanish Court Moves Forward With Prosecution Of Man Who Offended A Bunch Of Religious Lawyers

      Spain’s speech laws continue to be a nightmare. What started out as merely terrible has progressively gotten worse over the years as the government continues to strip protection from speech for the stupidest of reasons. The country’s laws against hate speech have resulted in the prosecution of comedians, artists, and critics of the government. The laws forbidding speech supporting terrorism have seen more of the same locked up as jokes about a politician’s assassination were determined to be promoting an “unhealthy humoristic environment” and “justifying terrorism.”

      Yes, the Spanish government gets to decide what’s funny in Spain. It also apparently gets to decide how offended followers of certain faiths will be when dead/imaginary religious figures are disparaged on social media. Thanks to Spain’s insane laws, a complaint from a religious group is enough to get someone arrested.

    • Judge to prosecute actor Willy Toledo for insulting God and the Virgin Mary

      A Madrid judge has decided to press ahead with a court case involving Spanish actor and activist Willy Toledo, in which he is accused of offending religious sentiments by insulting God and the Virgin Mary in messages posted on Facebook.

      Toledo was arrested on September 13 on orders from the judge, after he failed to appear in court on two prior occasions to answer questions about the case in a preliminary probe. After spending a night in the cells, and then appearing before the judge the next morning, he was released. Outside the courthouse he told reporters that he didn’t believe that he had “committed any kind of crime,” and that, by forcing the police to arrest him, he was staging “an act of civil disobedience.”

    • San Francisco Is a Hotbed of Illegal Race-Based Policing

      Law enforcement in San Francisco have subverted the Constitution and broken the law by basing arrests on race.

      Our Constitution promises all people, regardless of race, equal protection under the law. Yet the San Francisco Police Department has consistently singled out Black people for enforcement of criminal laws.

      In 2013 and 2014, the SFPD collaborated with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California on a drug enforcement operation. Despite the fact that the SFPD knew that in the Tenderloin district — where they chose to the focus the operation — people of many different races engaged in drug sales, all 37 people targeted for arrest and federal prosecution were Black. Those statistics were not the result of chance. Video showed an undercover informant flat out refusing to buy drugs from an Asian woman. Instead, he waited to buy drugs from a Black woman instead.

      After the federal public defender representing some of the accused presented evidence that the SFPD had singled out Black people over other races engaged in the same activity, the district court judge found that there was “substantial evidence suggestive of racially selective enforcement.” Before the parties completed the discovery process ordered by the court, the federal prosecutor abruptly moved to dismiss the indictments.

      This targeted enforcement is racist and illegal. So the national ACLU, the ACLU of Northern California, and the law firm Durie Tangri LLP have sued the city of San Francisco seeking damages on behalf of Black plaintiffs harmed by the SFPD’s race-based policing.

    • ‘How Many Other Laquan MacDonalds Are There?’

      The trial of former Chicago police officer Jason van Dyke continues this week—Van Dyke charged with first-degree murder for killing Laquan McDonald in October of 2014, firing 16 shots into the 17-year-old, who was moving away from him. A former head of Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police, attending Van Dyke’s trial, took a moment to remember another officer, Jon Burge, who died on September 19. Former Commander Burge, with a gang of his cops known as the “Midnight Crew,” terrorized communities of color and engaged in the systemic torture of more than 100 black men.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Fake Comments Are Plaguing Government Agencies And Nobody Much Seems To Care

      You might recall that when the FCC repealed net neutrality, the agency’s open comment period (the only opportunity the public had to voice their concerns) was plagued with all manner of bogus comments and identity fraud. From bots that lifted the identities of dead people to create fake enthusiasm, to the hijacking of legitimate identities (like Senators Jeff Merkley and Pat Toomey, or my own) to forge bogus support, it was a pretty major problem the FCC utterly refused to do anything about. A year later and we’re still trying to find the culprit (though who benefitted should be pretty obvious).

      And while the fake net neutrality comments got the lion’s share of public and media attention, the reality is this is a problem that’s been plaguing government proceedings for years. For example, recent reports highlighted how the NFL was only recently busted sending fake fan comments to the FCC as early as 2014 as the league tried to fight FCC efforts to eliminate the so-called “black out rule,” which requires that broadcasters black out certain game broadcasts if real-world attendance doesn’t meet the league’s liking.

  • DRM

    • GOG Celebrates 10 Years Of Competing With Piracy And Being DRM Free By Saying So

      It did indeed. In fact, the story of GOG’s anniversary is the story of one platform successfully competing with free, with a much bigger competitor, and having to drag wary publishers that might be scared off of the anti-DRM stance along for the ride… for ten years. For a decade now, GOG has built a business that started and is still largely centered around retro-games that are easily pirated in the video game industry of all places, where customers are far more likely to know the methods for piracy than in other industries. And, yet, here they are, retelling how it filled the market for retro-games by assuming many people actually still wanted developers to be rewarded for great game-making.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • 20-year-old court filing comes back to haunt Qualcomm in antitrust dispute with Federal Trade Commission

      20 years back from tomorrow, Qualcomm itself brought a motion for partial summary judgment in a SEP dispute with Ericsson in the Eastern District of Texas. The objective: obtain a SEP license from Ericsson on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms for Qualcomm’s baseband chipsets. The legal basis: a promise Ericsson had made to the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), a U.S. standard-setting body. In other words, Qualcomm was doing essentially the same thing (same objective, same contractual basis, same stage of proceeding) as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in its late-August motion in the Northern District of California that Qualcomm is fighting tooth and nail because it would rather have a monopoly now.

      From the perspective of those of us who’d like to see the FTC open up the wireless chipset market even ahead of the January 2019 trial, this may seem too good to be true, but here’s the FTC’s reply brief in support of its motion, including all public exhibits (Exhibit 14, starting on PDF page 87, is Qualcomm’s October 1998 filing; this post continues below the document):

    • Trademarks

      • Thin Food and Thin People: CORN THINS are merely descriptive and perhaps generic

        I previously wrote about the Real Foods v. Frito Lay case in a post titled Federal Circuit and Sealed Opinions. Now, the court has unsealed its decision focusing on trademark rights in CORN THINS and RICE THINS. Frito-Lay opposed the registrations and the Trademark Trial & Appeal Board (TTAB) agreed — finding the marks “merely descriptive” and without “acquired distinctiveness.”

        Generic terms — common names of a descriptive class — cannot be registered as trademarks. Other descriptive marks can be registered — but only once they acquire distinctiveness. 15 U.S.C. § 1052(f). Proof of distinctiveness is not required for terms that are suggestive (rather than descriptive) of a class, nor is it required of arbitrary or fanciful marks.

    • Copyrights

      • US Perspectives: US High Court To Confront Unique Copyright Issue

        The US Supreme Court often decides momentous cases. And then there’s Fourth Estate Pub. Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com. Many experts view this case as little more than a tempest in a teapot. However, the suit will resolve a legal dispute that has simmered for over 30 years, and it highlights some important copyright issues that are unique to the US.

      • Can warehouse storage of copyright-infringing products be considered an act of distribution? AG Campos advises CJEU to rule ‘yes’

        Can the right of distribution under Article 4 of the InfoSoc Directive come into consideration in relation, not just to the sale of counterfeit garments bearing a copyright-protected motif, but also the storage of such garments in a warehouse? More generally: how far does the control of the copyright holder go in relation to unauthorized uses of their works?

        Readers will remember that over time the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has interpreted expansively the scope of, inter alia, the right of distribution, and got to the point of holding – in Dimensione Direct Sales [Katposts here] – that even the advertisement for sale (not necessarily followed by an actual sale) of a copyright work may fall within the scope of Article 4.

        [...]

        The public prosecutor appealed this new decision to the Swedish Supreme Court, which decided to stay the proceedings and make a referral to the CJEU. In any case, the top court in this country held the view that the right of distribution within Article 4 of the InfoSoc Directive would also include preparatory acts for the sale of a copyright work or copy thereof, including warehouse storage, and that it is not required that a sale actually takes place (this is also the position that Swedish Government took at the time of transposing the InfoSoc Directive into this Member State’s own law).

        All this would be in line [as it is indeed] with CJEU case law, notably the recent decision in Dimensione Direct Sales. According to the EU Commission, however, it would not be correct to say that mere storage at a warehouse falls within the scope of the right of distribution, because in that case the CJEU did not go that far.

      • How will US Supreme Court define “full costs” in copyright cases?

        In Rimini Street v Oracle, the definition of “full costs” awarded to prevailing parties by the Copyright Act is disputed. IP practitioners weigh in on whether the court will decide it includes only taxable costs or non-taxable costs as well

      • Thanks To Copyright, We Already Know How Aggressive Content Moderation Works: And It’s A Disaster

        One of the reasons why I’m so adamant about the negative impacts on free speech from making internet platforms liable for the speech of their users, or even just by pushing for greater and greater content moderation by those platforms, is that this is not a theoretical situation where we have no idea how things will play out. We have reams and reams of evidence, just in the US alone (and plenty outside of the US) by looking at the copyright world. Remember, while CDA 230 makes platforms immune from a civil lawsuit regarding content posted by users or for any moderation choices regarding that content, it exempts intellectual property law (and criminal law). On the copyright side, we have a different regime: DMCA 512. Whereas CDA 230 creates a broad immunity, DMCA 512 creates a narrower “safe harbor” where sites need to meet a list of criteria in order to be eligible for the safe harbor, and those criteria keep getting litigated over and over again. Thus, we have quite a clear parallel universe to look at concerning what happens when you make a platform liable for speech — even if you include conditions and safe harbors.

        And it’s not good.

Patents on Life and on Algorithms in Europe Will Doom the EPO

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 3:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Santorini cat

Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) wrongly assumes that just granting as many patents as possible — irrespective of their merit and contribution (or lack thereof) to society — will magically make itself sustainable in the long run

THE rapidly-declining (to meet ‘targets’) quality of patents granted by the EPO isn’t really the fault of examiners but the rules which govern examination. We know who sets these rules; they’re not examiners but a bunch of tyrannical maniacs, typically unqualified in the fields they decide on (more so under Battistelli because of his cronyism).

“The EPO quit pretending to have any respect for the EPC — a fact which disturbs EPO insiders because that has a profound effect on their lives.”Back when technical judges were under attack from Team Battistelli (the Boards of Appeal have never regained their independence since then) the EPO was granting patents on Carlsberg and Heineken beer. The EPO has not reversed this course of action but found a mere ‘compromise’, as reported yesterday:

The European Patent Office (EPO) has decided to restrict the scope of a patent it previously granted to beer manufacturers Carlsberg and Heineken for a specific strand of barley.

But that does not mean that the patent/s got eliminated. As another site put it yesterday:

The patent covered conventionally-bred barley, its usage in brewing and the resulting beer. The patent originally covered all plants with reduced content of some undesirable flavours. Now the patent is restricted to plants with a specific mutation which can influence the content of these flavours. This genetic variation is considered to be an invention despite being random and the plants being the result of conventional breeding. No Patents on Seeds! plans to appeal the decision and is demanding that politicians take action.

“This decision is only a partial success for us. Despite legally binding rules, the EPO continues to grant patents on plants derived from conventional breeding. In 2018, patents were granted on petroselinum, cichorium, melons, tomatoes and lettuce,” says Erling Frederiksen for No Patents on Seeds! (Denmark). “As long as such patents are still being granted, we will continue to file oppositions.”

In June 2018, No Patents on Seeds! called upon European politicians to take an active role against seed monopolies such as those created by the Bayer takeover of Monsanto. Member states of the EPO will once again be reminded of their continuing responsibility to protect the common good.

“This decision is only a partial success for us,” they say. Because there are still patents on mere crops. Those are reminiscent if not related to GMO patents (Bayer/Monsanto no doubt pays attention), which are used to oppress poor farmers, controlling and ‘owning’ their food supply or ability to grow seeds/plants. Curiously enough, shortly after William New (head of IP Watch) met António Campinos and bragged about it in a public ‘selfie’ he came up with yesterday’s puff piece about “Building Respect for IP Division” (a WIPO indoctrination campaign in Africa). Such WIPO agenda was also served by Frantzeska Papadopoulou just hours apart at IP Kat — a blog in which UPC booster Eibhlin Vardy then promoted a software patents advocacy event of the EPO, entitled “Computer-Implemented Inventions” (CII, the EPO’s favoured term for software patents in Europe). To quote:

Hosted by Queen Mary University of London at Kilburn & Strode’s offices at Lacon London, the event involves presentations from the technical board of appeal responsible for examining appeals in the fields of computing and computer-implemented inventions. The board will present on recent case law developments and topics include “Debating the Line between Technical and Non-Technical Matter” and “Technical Contribution in a User Interface”. Q&A and drinks to follow.

This is an unprecedented (if short notice) opportunity to meet the entire EPO computer-implemented inventions Board of Appeal.

The EPO quit pretending to have any respect for the EPC — a fact which disturbs EPO insiders because that has a profound effect on their lives.

Yesterday IPPro Patents reporter Barney Dixon published this piece about new messages from Roberta Romano-Götsch, saying that these “reveal quality decline and ‘confuse’ staff…”

As a reminder, this is the same Romano-Götsch who recently liaised with patent extremists (Watchtroll) and lied about patent quality at the EPO. Honesty isn’t her strength; she was close to VP Minnoye (she’s part of Team Battistelli, close to Minnoye and Battistelli, having apparently drafted bogus letters in Battistelli’s support, based on several independent sources). She spoke for the EPO's Team Battistelli amid scandals covered by Italian media and we have been told many negative things about her servitude to the worst abusers. In any event, this is what she says now, albeit internally:

New messages from the European Patent Office (EPO) in relation to production targets and quality are “confusing”, according to the Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO).

Two emails, both from Roberta Romano-Götsch, COO Mobility and Mechatronics at the EPO, discussed production targets at the office.

The first, sent to directors and team managers in Mobility and Mechatronics, said that a recent decrease in production figures needs to stop.

She said: “If there is a general feeling that we can relax because the production has not become a priority, this is very naïf. We have a financial sustainability to secure and a rewards exercise coming up.”

“Please help me get the message right—we do not relax!”

[...]

Romano-Götsch said that the number of files checked per sector was too low to be able to have reliable data for Mobility and Mechatronics, but explained that she did “not want to wait for more quarters to take action”.

She explained: “I have asked Directorate Quality Audit about the areas of substantive examination where they see more frequently issues in Mobility and Mechatronics. This is the information I received: of the 75 non-conforming grants since January, 32 were considered to lack novelty—in many cases with respect to an X document is cited in the case. In 15 cases grants were considered in breach of Art 123(2), especially due to intermediate generalisation.”

Romano-Götsch added: “So: to reinforce the quality of grants, I ask you to explain in the votum why any document cited as X in the search report is not relevant anymore at the time of grant.”

“I am convinced that a well drafted votum allows you to have a final check on the patentability of your application. It is about content and not only form. We are also providing you with support on Art 123(2) through classroom training. The first ones are due in two weeks—no time to waste!

[...]

These latest emails from Romano-Götsch seem to provide contradictory information to the EPO’s official statements on quality at the office, and confirm the suspicions of many, including that of German law firms Grünecker, Hoffmann Eitle, Maiwald, and Vossius & Partner, that an “overreaching desire” for high productivity has led to a drop in quality and adequately assessed patents.

SUEPO says that these messages from Romano-Götsch are “confusing”.

[...]

According to SUEPO, this “relentless pressure” is “dangerous for the health, well-being and physical and professional integrity of staff, especially the weakest among our colleagues.”

“We have a financial sustainability to secure,” said Romano-Götsch after Battistelli had sent millions of EPO euros to his other employer and tied hundreds of millions of euros to potentially toxic loans.

Corrupt management is killing the EPO. They try to enrich themselves while killing it.

Microsoft Uses LOT Network to Spread Lies and Promote Its Protection Racket

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 2:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An aggregator (DPA) or a vision so shallow that even Microsoft can enlist

LOT Network: A WHOLE LOT OF SOFTWARE PATENTS

Summary: A Red Hat- and Google-centric aggregator of software patents adds Microsoft as a member even though Microsoft continues to arm and fund patent trolls; the main/net effect of this move appears to be promotion of “Azure IP Advantage” (protection from Microsoft’s trolls as long as one pays Microsoft monthly fees)

THE COMPANY of endless lies is at it again, having leveraged many US patents (software patents wrongly granted by the USPTO) against GNU/Linux.

“Microsoft loves Linux” is a lie. And now Microsoft wants us to think that Microsoft battles patent trolls. This too is a Microsoft lie, albeit one that corporate media is happy to play along with, e.g. with headlines such as “Microsoft joins the LOT Network to help fight patent trolls” (a lie, the latter part in particular).

Deducted from fact-checking is the abundant evidence which is widely available, such as Microsoft’s patent troll Intellectual Ventures, which is the world’s largest. We wrote about it as recently as yesterday. The dedicated Microsoft propaganda sites (these sites’ names give that away) promote the same fiction that Microsoft is against patent trolls. Just don’t let facts get in the way…

There’s also this batch of hours-old headlines about patents Microsoft can and possibly will use against Android OEMs [1, 2, 3]. Microsoft loves its patents and it actively uses them for litigation and shakedown purposes.

So what explains this lunacy we saw yesterday evening in the media? This press release [1, 2] from Microsoft started it. It is a lie because Microsoft actively contributes to patent trolls and their attacks, but the title of the press release says Microsoft wants to “Protect its Community Against Patent Troll Attacks” (whose patent trolls and which community?).

It didn’t take long for Red Hat to play along with this publicity stunt that misleads. Remember that Red Hat hires managers from Microsoft (it’s well documented), so Red Hat will defend its shareholders rather than the Free software community. Red Hat is also still applying for software patents while propping up LOT Network, which is not the solution at all. This is what Red Hat said about its beloved LOT Network:

We are excited to see Microsoft – a top 10 recipient of U.S. patents – announce today it is joining the LOT Network (LOT), a company we helped form. Since 2014, Red Hat and other top companies around the world have come to recognize LOT as an innovative response to patent assertion entities (PAEs). Microsoft is a welcome addition to LOT’s almost 300 members, which together hold more than one million patent assets.

[...]

Red Hat is committed to LOT’s mission and to broadening its reach. We believe that LOT is a significant tool in weakening the threat that PAEs pose to operating companies, including those that distribute free and open source software. We are pleased Microsoft has joined our ranks, and look forward to working with them to expand the reach of LOT.

As we explained a few months back, LOT Network had become somewhat of a joke because it is a proponent of software patents. It’s like its purpose is to protect software patents from the community’s scrutiny rather than protect the community from software patents. It is, in that regard, somewhat similar to OIN. Earlier this week [1, 2] we showed that Microsoft’s patent trolls are still attacking Microsoft’s rivals in new lawsuits, so how can the company pretend to have changed its strategy? Erich Andersen (Microsoft) says they’re “helping to lead the way toward addressing the patent troll problem” (but Microsoft actively contributes to this problem!) and yet LWN framed it as follows: “Microsoft has announced that it has joined the LOT Network, which is an organization set up to help thwart patent trolls by licensing any member’s patents to all members if they end up in the hands of a troll.”

But Microsoft itself does exactly that, e.g. passing Nokia‘s patents to this troll in bulk. Microsoft’s site, which LWN cites for its “facts”, says this:

We are pleased to announce that Microsoft is joining the LOT Network, a growing, non-profit community of companies that is helping to lead the way toward addressing the patent troll problem, an issue that impacts businesses of all sizes.

Microsoft has seen this problem firsthand. We’ve faced hundreds of meritless patent assertions and lawsuits over the years, and we want to do more to help others dealing with this issue. In most cases, the opportunists behind these assertions were not involved in the research and development of the ideas that came to be embodied in patents. Many do not even understand the technical concepts described in them. In the most extreme cases, we’ve seen mass mailings and campaigns to extract value from small businesses who are not equipped to understand patents. Although these problems are less acute in the US today than in the past, in part because of changes in the law, the challenge persists for many businesses. Entrepreneur magazine cited a recent study showing that 40 percent of small companies involved in patent litigation reported “significant operational impact” from those suits, which some described as a “death knell.”

It then mentions Microsoft’s protection racket [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21], known as “Azure IP Advantage” (same as the scheme Microsoft set up with Novell). There’s ‘special’ protection from trolls only for those who host with Azure. It’s like GNU/Linux users need to reach a patent settlement with Microsoft, paid in several installments (Azure subscription). With a host like Amazon/AWS one risks patent lawsuits, albeit not from Microsoft directly.

Mary Jo Foley, a career Microsoft booster (for well over a decade), perpetuates Microsoft’s misleading claims and promotes their extortion racket, which Andersen introduces as follows:

This also means we are continuing on the path we started with the introduction of the Azure IP Advantage program in 2017. As part of that program, Microsoft said that it would defend and indemnify developers against claims of intellectual property infringement even if the service powering Azure was built on open source. We also said that if we transferred a patent to a company in the business of asserting patents, then Azure customers would get a license for free. Our LOT membership expands this pledge to other companies in the LOT network.

So they’re basically saying, “host everything in Azure (even GNU/Linux) and you’ll be safer from trolls” (“even the trolls that we’re funding and arming”). This is, for the most part, just a marketing opportunity for Microsoft. It also helps distort the record, e.g. on Microsoft’s major role in sponsoring and giving patents to patent trolls. How long before Jim Zemlin congratulates Microsoft?

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