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

Posted in News Roundup at 2:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Windows 10 updates – One step forward, one step back

      I am not happy with the direction the “modern” software world is going. It’s one giant waste of money. Companies are focusing on the effect of looking busy rather than creating high-quality products in one elegant go. And whenever products are normalized toward the “average” users, AKA the lowest common denominator, AKA the sub-IQ100 crowd, the products become a horrible, inefficient mess. They might make more money for the companies, but ultimately, they destroy the very essence of what the product was about in the first place.

      Windows Updates were just fine before Windows 10. Quick, simple and configurable. Power users had their choice, and ordinary people never cared. Now, power users are being punished by dreadful inefficiency for the sake of some model that ordinary people, in the best case, will not notice and appreciate, and in the worst case, make them complain, because even ordinary people will get angry if they get a sudden reboot when they don’t expect it. Really, it’s like Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

      So it was all fine, and then Windows 10 took it back a couple of steps, and now Microsoft is trying to improve on what is broken when it never needed fixing. In a way, we can hope, in this case, that the step forward will actually be a step back. Back to how the updates were (are) in Windows 7.

    • After the October Update fiasco, Microsoft needs to warn users about the risks of Windows 10 upgrades

      Performing a major operating system upgrade can result in disaster, as the Windows 10 October 2018 Update proves. But you wouldn’t know it from reading Microsoft’s upgrade prompts.

    • When Windows 10 Becomes Windows ME…

      Wow! A recent Windows 10 update is deleting personal files from the Documents folder!

      That’s new.

      Wait, not exactly. That has happened before with Windows ME around 17 years ago. In fact, this OS behavior was so famous that it was depicted in the OS-tan meme collection.

    • The Leading Linux Desktop Platform Issues Of 2018

      Linux developer Simon Peter who has spent years working on application standards like AppImage and Klik recently presented on what he believes are the 2018 Desktop Linux Platform Issues and the unfortunate continually moving target of “the year of the Linux desktop” that never materializes.

    • Microsoft pulls Windows 10 October 2018 Update after reports of documents being deleted

      Microsoft has stopped distributing its latest Windows 10 October 2018 Update. The software giant started rolling out the update during the company’s Surface event earlier this week, but some Windows 10 users immediately noticed their documents were being deleted. “We have paused the rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) for all users as we investigate isolated reports of users missing some files after updating,” says Microsoft on its support site for Windows Update.

    • Microsoft Blocks Windows 10 Version 1809 on Some Intel PCs Due to Bad Drivers
    • Microsoft Says They Can Recover User Files Lost During Windows 10 October 2018 Update

      Microsoft recently launched the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (Build 1809) and it added a load of features and improvements for the users. The update included a variety of stuff, but like most major Windows Updates, this came with another major flaw. The Update reportedly deleted a number of files present in the user’s hard disk, and consequently Microsoft had to stop rolling out the latest Update. A Microsoft representative said ““We have paused the rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) for all users as we investigate isolated reports of users missing some files after updating.”

    • Microsoft Pulls the Windows 10 October 2018 Update for Deleting Files

      If you have been affected by the file deletion bug, they also ask you to contact them to help sort out the issue, and to stop using the device until you do—which is interesting, and usually means the recovery option will include using a tool to recover deleted files—if you use your PC a lot, it can overwrite those files before they can be recovered.

    • Microsoft Warns Windows 10 Has A Serious Problem
  • Kernel Space

    • Next Linux Kernel Bringing “Speculative Store Bypass Safe” For ARMv8.5

      Speculative Store Bypass Safe (SSBS) is a new bit added with ARMv8.5-A for SoCs moving forward like the ARM Cortex-A76 as a means for mitigation against Spectre V4.

      Queued within the ARM64/AArch64 for the upcoming Linux 4.20~5.0 cycle is detection for SSBS and the ability to advertise its presence to user-space. This Speculative Store Bypass Safe functionality relies on the ARM Linux infrastructure that’s already existing for Speculative Store Bypass Disable (SSBD).

    • What systemd Is Up To With The Latest Developments In 2018

      At the end of September in Berlin was the All Systems Go! conference focusing on user-space Linux and evolving from what years ago was the annual systemd conference. We’ve covered many of the interesting sessions from that conference while what we hadn’t highlighted until now was Lennart Poettering’s systemd update.

      Among the interesting ASG2018 talks this year were about the new “nettools” networking libraries coming soon to a Linux system near you, Dbus-Broker is continuing to advance as a faster D-Bus alternative, and Facebook’s extensive use of systemd within their data centers.

    • Linux 4.19-rc7

      Yet again, it’s time for a kernel -rc release. This one is bigger than
      -rc6 was, for a variety of unrelated reasons it seems. Lots of
      different trees being merged this week, much more so than the previous
      one. Highlights include two sets of networking fixes, lots of different
      driver subsystem fixes, arm and arm64 and x86 and riscv and powerpc64
      fixes, as well as scheduler, iommu, and vfs fixes. Not a huge quantity
      overall, just overall a lot of different things.

      Given the current rate of change, and looking at the travel/conference
      schedule happening this month, it seems like we will be having a -rc8
      just to be sure 4.19 is solid as well as not having to be in the middle
      of a merge window during a conference week. Please go test and make
      sure any remaining problems are sent in in time.

    • Linux 4.19-rc7 Released: Final Kernel Likely In Two Weeks
    • Linux Code Of Conduct Might See Some Changes Before 4.19 Release

      The Linux development saw some big changes in the recent weeks — Linus Torvalds went on a break from Linux development, and a new Code of Conduct was also introduced to make the community more welcoming.

    • Linux Code of Conduct Likely To See Changes Ahead Of 4.19 Kernel Release

      The Linux kernel’s Code of Conduct that was abruptly dropped onto the Linux kernel, which happened as Linus Torvalds was announcing his empathy retreat last month, will likely see some revisions ahead of the upcoming Linux 4.19 stable debut.

      Longtime Linux kernel developer James Bottomley spent some of his Saturday sending out two “fixes” that he would like to see applied prior to the Linux 4.19 final release if there is enough support from the kernel community.

    • Linux has a developer kill switch that may be pulled after outrage over Code of Conduct [Ed: This has apparently been so-called ‘fake news’ because nobody is named who threatened to do it and it is not possible to do this under GPLv2 anyway. Why is this reposted today? 3 weeks after the negative media started?
    • Linux Driver Revived For Finally Being Able To Read DDR4 Memory SPD Data

      DDR4 memory has been around for several years already yet the mainline Linux kernel doesn’t have a driver for reading the SPD EEPROMs abiding by the JEDEC EE1004 standard as used by DDR4 SDRAM memory modules.

      In November of last year, SUSE developer Jean Delvare sent out a patch for a new “ee1004″ driver for reading the SPD (Serial Presence Detect) data on DDR4 memory modules. That patch/driver fell through the cracks while finally Jean has got around to resending out the driver on the kernel mailing list.

    • Linux 4.20 Fixing Bug Where Plugging In A MacBook Pro Leads To Excessive CPU Usage

      The upcoming Linux kernel that will be at either version 4.20 or 5.0 is going to fix a kernel issue that dates back at least a year where plugging-in or even unplugging recent Apple MacBook Pro laptops will lead to excessive CPU resources being consumed… Basically, the charging/uncharging event change for these recent MBP laptops was causing issues within the kernel — adding to the list of problems Linux faces trying to run on recent Apple hardware.

    • The Linux 4.18 Power Regression Affecting Some AMD Graphics Cards Should Be Reverted

      Making the rounds last week was a nasty power regression hitting Linux 4.18 stable and as we ended up bisecting was caused by a change to the AMDGPU kernel driver and affected select Radeon graphics cards. It looks like the goal this week is to get that patch reverted from Linux 4.18.

      The change causing that big uptick in idle power consumption was boosting the clock values in order to avoid some issues with 4K DP and 1080p HDMI displays sometimes having problems with this open-source AMD kernel driver.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Great Work In DRM-Next: More Icelake, Vega 20, xGMI & Other Additions

        Whether it’s called Linux 4.20 or Linux 5.0, the next kernel cycle is bringing a heck of a lot of improvements for the open-source graphics/display drivers on the Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) front.

        With the period for merging new feature work into DRM-Next ahead of this next Linux kernel cycle effectively being over, here’s a look back at the mass amount of new feature code that’s queued and waiting for this next kernel merge window to begin within a week or two.

      • RadeonSI Fast Color Clears Should Now Be Even Faster

        Prolific Radeon Mesa contributor Marek Olšák of AMD started off his Sunday by posting another set of RadeonSI driver patches.

        These four patches for now are just on the mailing list but will presumably soon be part of Mesa 18.3-dev. One of the patches is worth noting in that compute shaders are now used for clear and copy buffers. Marek noted that fast color clears as a result should be much faster. If you happen to hit fast color clears on evicted buffers, he noted they should now be 200x faster on GFX8 hardware and older. GFX8 covers Polaris going back to Fiji and Tonga, so basically any GCN GPUs pre-Vega should be helped out with this latest patch work.

      • Vulkan 1.1.87 Released But Not Yet Any Experimental Transform Feedback

        Vulkan 1.1.87 is another Sunday morning update to the Vulkan graphics/compute specification.

        This time around, however, there are no new Vulkan extensions… Most notably we have been looking forward to the unofficial Vulkan transform feedback extension for helping out projects like DXVK and VKD3D for mapping Direct3D with Stream Outputs on top of Vulkan. This is expected within “weeks” but didn’t make the cut for the Vulkan 1.1.87 specification update.

      • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti To GTX 980 Ti TensorFlow Benchmarks With ResNet-50, AlexNet, GoogLeNet, Inception, VGG-16

        For those curious about the TensorFlow performance on the newly-released GeForce RTX 2080 series, for your viewing pleasure to kick off this week of Linux benchmarking is a look at Maxwell, Pascal, and Turing graphics cards in my possession when testing the NGC TensorFlow instance on CUDA 10.0 with the 410.57 Linux driver atop Ubuntu and exploring the performance of various models. Besides the raw performance, the performance-per-Watt and performance-per-dollar is also provided.

      • VUDA: A CUDA-Like Runtime API For Vulkan

        An independent open-source developer has started the VUDA project as an effort to provide a CUDA Runtime API interface based on Vulkan.

        This library consists of just C++ headers to provide a CUDA-like run-time API for writing GPU accelerated applications.

      • AMDGPU DC Display Code Ported To GCN 1.0 “Southern Islands” GPUs

        The AMDGPU DC “Display Code” stack formerly known as DAL that’s been in the mainline kernel the past several releases might soon see support for GCN 1.0 “Southern Islands” GPUs. This is the big display code stack necessary for atomic mode-setting, FreeSync/Adaptive-Sync, HDMI/DP audio, and other modern display features. When AMD brought up this DC stack, they hadn’t brought it back to GCN 1.0 since for those original GCN GPUs they by default still use the Radeon DRM driver. But now they might soon see AMDGPU DC support.

      • AMD Rumored To Be Soon Launching A 12nm Polaris Refresh
      • Intel Launches Its 9th Gen Coffeelake-S CPUs Led By The Core i9 9900K
    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

    • Krita October Sprint Day 1

      On Saturday, the first people started to arrive for this autumn’s Krita development sprint. It’s also the last week of the fundraiser: we’re almost at 5 months of bug fixing funded! All in all, 8 people are here: Boudewijn, the maintainer, Dmitry, whose work is being sponsored by the Krita Foundation through this fundraiser, Wolthera, who works on the manual, videos, code, scripting, Ivan, who did the brush vectorization Google Summer of Code project this year, Jouni, who implemented the animation plugin, session management and the reference images tool, Emmet and Eoin who started hacking on Krita a short while ago, and who have worked on the blending color picker and kinetic scrolling.

    • scikit-survival 0.6.0 released

      Today, I released scikit-survival 0.6.0. This release is long overdue and adds support for NumPy 1.14 and pandas up to 0.23. In addition, the new class sksurv.util.Surv makes it easier to construct a structured array from NumPy arrays, lists, or a pandas data frame. The examples below showcase how to create a structured array for the dependent variable.

    • RcppCCTZ 0.2.4

      RcppCCTZ uses Rcpp to bring CCTZ to R. CCTZ is a C++ library for translating between absolute and civil times using the rules of a time zone. In fact, it is two libraries. One for dealing with civil time: human-readable dates and times, and one for converting between between absolute and civil times via time zones. And while CCTZ is made by Google(rs), it is not an official Google product. The RcppCCTZ page has a few usage examples and details. This package was the first CRAN package to use CCTZ; by now at least two others do—but decided in their infinite wisdom to copy the sources yet again into their packages. Sigh.

    • Weblate 3.2

      Weblate 3.2 has been released today. It’s fiftieth release of Weblate and also it’s release with most fixed issues on GitHub. The most important change is in the background – introduction of Celery to process background tasks. The biggest user visible change is extended translation memory.

    • Rancher Takes on Multicloud Kubernetes Management

      One thing that happens over time is that organizations can end up with multiple deployments in different places, something that is commonly referred to as – multicloud. It’s a deployment challenge that Rancher Labs has built it namesake Rancher cloud orchestration platform to help enable.


      With the multicloud world, Williams said its critically important to put in place all of the policy and user management that is needed to have a consistent approach across disparate Kubernetes deployments.

      Rancher is now and has always been open source software that is entirely free for any organization to use. Rancher Labs charges for commercial support, which Williams said is a stable and growing business. He said that Rancher Labs has both outbound sales people as well as channel relationships and today has over 200 customers.

      “But that’s a pretty small percentage of the total of 10,000 companies use Rancher everyday to run their containers,” he said.

      Williams said that Rancher is Kubernetes, with Docker containers and a management plane and it’s something that larger organizations really care about once those services are in production.

    • Taking notes with Laverna, a web-based information organizer

      I don’t know anyone who doesn’t take notes. Most of the people I know use an online note-taking application like Evernote, Simplenote, or Google Keep.

      All of those are good tools, but they’re proprietary. And you have to wonder about the privacy of your information—especially in light of Evernote’s great privacy flip-flop of 2016. If you want more control over your notes and your data, you need to turn to an open source tool—preferably one that you can host yourself.

      And there are a number of good open source alternatives to Evernote. One of these is Laverna. Let’s take a look at it.

    • Essential System Tools: gtop – System monitoring dashboard for the terminal

      This is the second in our series of articles highlighting essential system tools. These are small utilities, useful for system administrators as well as regular users of Linux based systems. The series examines both graphical and text based open source utilities.

      We previously covered ps_mem, a really useful memory utility. This time, another console utility is under the spotlight. It’s called gtop.

      gtop is an open source system monitoring utility written in JavaScript. Our Group Test covered alternatives to top. In particular, htop is a remarkable system monitoring tool. gtop receives far less exposure than htop, but deserves more publicity. Why? Let’s see.

    • Good Alternatives To Man Pages Every Linux User Needs To Know

      A man page, acronym of manual page, is a software documentation found in all Unix-like operating systems. Some man pages are short; some are comprehensive. A man page is divided into several parts, organized with headings for each section, such as NAME, SYNOPSIS, CONFIGURATION, DESCRIPTION, OPTIONS, EXIT STATUS, RETURN VALUE, ERRORS, ENVIRONMENT, FILES, VERSIONS, CONFORMING TO, NOTES, BUGS, EXAMPLE, AUTHORS, and SEE ALSO.

      Sometimes, I find it really time-consuming when I wanted to learn a practical example of a given Unix command using man pages. So, I started to look for some good alternatives to man pages which are focused on mostly examples, skipping all other comprehensive text parts. Thankfully, there are some really good alternatives out there. In this tutorial, we will be discussing 4 alternatives to man pages for Unix-like operating systems.

    • KeeWeb – An Open Source, Cross Platform Password Manager

      If you’ve been using the internet for any amount of time, chances are, you have a lot of accounts on a lot of websites. All of those accounts must have passwords, and you have to remember all those passwords. Either that, or write them down somewhere. Writing down passwords on paper may not be secure, and remembering them won’t be practically possible if you have more than a few passwords. This is why Password Managers have exploded in popularity in the last few years. A password Manager is like a central repository where you store all your passwords for all your accounts, and you lock it with a master password. With this approach, the only thing you need to remember is the Master password.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • You Can Play Assassin’s Creed Odyssey On Linux, But Not Without Some Help

        Assassin’s Creed Odyssey doesn’t officially support Linux OS, which makes it surprising that YouTuber “ドイツ人” has managed to run the game on Linux.

        The Youtuber used “Wine” and “DXVK 0.81” to play Assassin’s Creed Odyssey on Linux. The system used to play the game featured Ryzen 7 2700X and RX 480.

      • Google rolling out first Project Stream invites for console gaming right in Chrome

        Sign-ups are still open with Google specifying connectivity speeds of at least 25 megabits per second for Project Stream. Users also need to update the browser on Mac, Windows, Linux, and Chrome OS to version 69 or above. Wired controllers are supported, while trackpads are not recommended.

      • The Away Team: Lost Exodus releases October 22nd, with a price change

        For the uninitiated, The Away Team is a sci-fi text adventure with real-time space exploration sequences where you play as the AI onboard the last starship to leave earth, remotely guiding them through the various situations and hazards that they find while exploring planets, stations, and the vastness of space. In a universe full of danger and low on resources, will you be able to save your crew from starvation, alien hazards, and their own flaws?

      • Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War updated with an overhauled world builder and AI

        Proxy Studios have been listening to feedback about the strategt game Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War and so they’ve put out a fresh build revamping the world builder and AI.

        For those who like to customise their experience, Proxy Studios have added in the ability to adjust region size and density as well as arctic, desert, tropical and volcanic region densities. They also made regions more pronounced, giving you a better a look at the map at a glance.

        The changes the AI has gone through are rather large too, with them becoming quite a lot smarter. How they deal with their economy got he biggest boost, with them managing it a lot better. While some of the changes aren’t major, they were needed. As a simple example, the AI won’t build research buildings once it reaches the highest research tier. Lots of changes like that, make them much more interesting to deal with. Full list of the changes can be found here.

      • ATOM RPG has another large update expanding locations, new characters and more

        For fans of classic experiences like Fallout and Wasteland, ATOM RPG is a very promising Early Access game that continues to impress.

        One problem ATOM did have and still does to a certain extent is that it has quite a few locations but some of them are a little empty. That’s not so true now with update 0.8.5. This update has expanded the game quite a bit with 60+ new characters to be found in various locations!

      • Action survival game ‘Sipho’ has you grow your own organism as you fight and it seems interesting

        Sipho seems like a pretty interesting game, one that has you start off as a tiny creature and battle your way through life to grow and evolve.

        While it’s not yet released, you can test out an early build on itch.io. As for the release, the developers told me that it will be in around 1-2 months and a Linux version will be out at the same time as other platforms so that’s good news. I did test out the itch build and it seems quite interesting, although a little basic right now I love the idea.

      • Sunday Mag: Linux gaming news odds and ends and a quick look at what’s on sale

        Another week has flown by and it’s been a pretty good one, here’s a roundup of some odds and ends that we didn’t fit in this week plus a quick look over some good deals.

        First up, the open source racing game ‘Yorg’ has a release candidate available for testing, which includes a new track, improved multiplayer, a new camera, an improved driving model and more.

        Developer Leslaw Sliwko is working on a revamp of the original Age of Fear named “Age of Fear: The Undead King GOLD”. With the original being around 7 years old, it’s a good time to modernise it a bit. Find out more on the Steam page, no release date set yet.

      • ET: Legacy Is Still Letting You Relive Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory Memories In 2018

        One of the still ongoing projects based upon the open-source id Tech 3 / ioquake3 engine still having a following in 2018 is ET: Legacy. ET: Legacy is the open-source project retaining full compatibility with Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory 2.60 while continuing to make engine improvements and with time have been remastering many of the original maps.

        It’s been fifteen years already since the release of the legendary Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory game and nearly a decade since this id Tech 3 derived engine was open-sourced. There still is a small but active following of developers/modders working on ET: Legacy as well as enjoying this excellent first person shooter. Back in the day when having the time to enjoy Linux gaming, I was certainly a big fan of Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 39

        Welcome to an especially humongous week in KDE’s Usability & Productivity initiative! I typically assemble these reports incrementally over the course of the week, as fixes trickle in. But this week, I had to spend almost 4 hours yesterday getting it ready after an enormous flood of incredible work on Friday and Saturday. And there was a time at around 6 PM when patches for Baloo started pouring in faster than my capacity to review them (expect more on Baloo next week). KDE Contributors were truly on a roll!

      • KDE Plasma 5.15 Will Startup Faster, Konsole Fully Supports Emojis

        It’s been another busy week in the KDE space with a plethora of improvements from the KDE Plasma desktop to the expansive collection of desktop applications.

      • DrKonqi and QtWebEngine

        Here’s a little tip how to get DrKonqi, the KDE crash handler to work in applications that use QtWebEngine.

        If your application uses QtWebEngine, you probably noticed that DrKonqi doesn’t pop up when the program crashes. This is because QtWebEngine installs its own crash handler, overriding the one DrKonqi has set up.

      • KDE Plasma 5.15 Desktop Environment Will Start Faster, Bring More Improvements

        Now that work on the KDE Plasma 5.14 desktop environment, due for release tomorrow, October 9, 2018, is almost done, the development team is now concentrating their efforts on the next major release, KDE Plasma 5.15, by making various performance improvements and adding new features to the core apps and components.

        According to Nate Graham’s latest report, the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.15 desktop environment will start a little bit faster, with 100ms, compared to previous releases. Also, KRunner will no longer display duplicate bookmarks from Firefox and Folder View widgets and Konsole Profiles widget will work better with keyboard navigation.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Papirus Icons Updated With Newly Designed Icons, Install in Ubuntu/Linux Mint

        Papirus suite is specifically designed for KDE desktop but now the icon theme is available for other desktops as well which includes: Unity, Gnome, Mate, Cinnamon and others. Previously we had a ported version of Papirus KDE icons in the PPA but now it is directly supported and maintained by creator. There are two variants in this icon pack with light and dark panel icons, it has more than 3500 icons for different applications and still counting, if you find any missing icon then directly report it creator via Github page. There was an official PPA but discontinued back in November 2016 and now these icons can be installed via wget method. You can use Unity Tweak Tool, Gnome-tweak-tool to change themes/icons.

      • Flat-Remix: An Elegant Themes And Icons Pack For Linux Desktop

        Flat-Remix is an elegant theme and icons pack designed to make desktop pretty. It is inspired by material design, it’s Gtk theme is flat and based on Arc theme with high contrasts and sharp borders, released under GNU General Public License V3. You can find many themes or icons that looks great on Linux desktop but not hesitating to state that it seems to be perfect eyecandy for your desktop.
        There are three gtk theme variants in this pack (normal, dark and darker), we also included gnome shell themes from previous release so you can use it on your Gnome Shell desktop.

      • Vimix Themes and Icons Now Offers More Variants And Looks Great
  • Distributions

    • Deepin 15.7 Installation Guide for Laptop / Desktop with Screenshots

      Deepin is a free and open-source Debian based linux distribution. Deepin OS used at the desktop level and is very user friendly. It also comes with its own desktop environment known as “Deepin Desktop Environment (DDE)” Until version 15, Deepin was primarily based on Ubuntu but with the release of version 15, it has switched to a Debian based model. Installation of Deepin OS is very simple and can be considered as very good alternative for Windows Users

    • Reviews

      • Review: Hamara 2.1

        One of the more recent additions to the DistroWatch database is Hamara, a Debian-based desktop distribution developed by an Indian company. The project’s website reports that Hamara is developed with the idea of making an operating system more familiar to Indian users, with particular attention paid to supporting the country’s more popular spoken languages. The Hamara website also claims the company behind the distribution will provide commercial support though I could not find details on what services were offered or how much they cost. The support page has a contact form for people who wish to make inquiries into support options.

        The latest version of Hamara is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds. There is an ARM build too, but it is listed as a beta release and carries an older version number, suggesting the ARM branch may have been abandoned. When I was looking at the available download options, I noticed the project’s FAQ page seems to suggest Hamara ships with the GNOME 3 and MATE desktops (or a combination of these technologies, another page claims the distro uses LXDE and GNOME 3) but I only found download options featuring the MATE desktop. The 64-bit edition I downloaded was 1.5GB in size.

        Booting from the live media brought up a blank screen. There was no prompt, no welcome window and no visible desktop controls. The blank screen appeared both in VirtualBox and on my physical desktop computer. The display would remain blank until I switched to a text terminal (by pressing CTRL+ALT+F2) and then switched back to the desktop display (CTRL+ALT+F7). Once I had switched back to the desktop display, the MATE desktop would begin to load and the live session would present me with a working environment.

        The MATE desktop uses a two panel layout. There is a task switcher in the bottom panel. The top panel displays the application menu, system tray and a second task switcher. The top panel’s task switcher displays small application icons without text while the bottom panel displays a list of open windows with their title text.

        Something I noticed early on is that the Hamara website and the ISO’s filename indicate the latest version of the distribution is 2.1. However, when running the live media the system installer and the lsb_release program both label the latest version as being 2.0.

    • New Releases

      • ExTiX 18.10 Is the First Linux Distro Based on Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish)

        Dubbed “The Ultimate Linux System,” ExTiX 18.10 Build 181006 is out now with Arne Exton’s 4.18.12-exton kernel based on the latest stable Linux 4.18.12 kernel, which can be downloaded and installed on virtually any another Ubuntu- or Debian-based system, as well as the latest LXQt 0.13.0 desktop environment.

        The operating system includes packages from the forthcoming Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) operating system, due for release on October 18, as well as from the Debian Stable repositories. It comes with the Calamares universal installer, which lets users install ExTiX on older, non-efi computers, as well as all the latest software updates.

      • ExTiX 18.10 – based on Ubuntu “Cosmic Cuttlefish” – with LXQt 0.13.0, Refracta Tools, Calamares Installer and kernel 4.18.12-exton – a non-efi Build 181006

        I have made a new extra version of ExTiX – The Ultimate Linux System. I call it ExTiX 18.10 LXQt Live DVD. It is for non-efi computers and VirtualBox/VMware. I.e. you can use the Calamares Installer also in for example VirtualBox and VMware. Which means that you can install ExTiX in any language.

      • NixOS 18.09 Released With Upgrade To GNOME 3.28, Newer Systemd & Glibc

        NixOS, the Linux distribution built atop the unique and functional Nix package manager, is out with its latest operating system refresh.

      • 4MLinux 26.1 released.

        This is a minor (point) release in the 4MLinux STABLE channel, which comes with the Linux kernel 4.14.68. The 4MLinux Server now includes Apache 2.4.34, MariaDB 10.3.9, and PHP 7.2.10 (see this post for more details).

        You can update your 4MLinux by executing the “zk update” command in your terminal (fully automatic process).

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • What’s New in Nitrux 1.0.16

        Nitrux 1.0 .16 is the latest release of Nitrux OS based on the development branch of Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish and powered by Linux Kernel 4.18 series. This release also brings together the latest software updates, bug fixes, performance improvements, and ready-to-use hardware support.

        Using the latest version of Nomad Desktop as default desktop environment, which is built on top of KDE Plasma 5.13.90 and Qt 5.11.1. The Software Center was updated to using new web scraper backend allowing for automated sorting and listing of AppImages. Include the latest Nomad firewall tool for securing workstations, Kvantum manager tool that allows nitrux user to selecting and configuring kvantum themes was improved and updated to version 0.10.9.

        Default applications installed by default in Nitrux 1.0.16 we can mention, Dolphin File manager 18.08.1, Kate text Editor 18.08.1, Gwenview Image Viewer 18.08.1, Ark Archiving Tool 18.08.1, Konsole Terminal Emulator 18.08.1, Spactacle Screenshot Tool 18.08.1, qpdfview 0.4.17. 99, System Monitor 513.90, LibreOffice Suite, Chromium Browser 69.0, VLC Media Player 3.0.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia 6.1 Linux distribution now available

        While many people are familiar with popular Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Fedora, and Mint, there are far more open source operating systems available. There are probably too many, but I digress. Please know, just because a distro isn’t very well known, doesn’t mean it’s bad.

        One such quality Linux distro that isn’t super popular is Mageia. It is a fork of the once wildly popular Mandriva operating system. Today, Mageia 6.1 becomes available for download. It features LTS Linux kernel 4.14 and updated Nvidia drivers.

        “This release brings all of the updates and development that has gone into Mageia 6 together into fresh installation media, giving users a kernel that supports hardware released after Mageia 6. The new installations will benefit from the countless updates that current fully updated Mageia systems will have, allowing new installations to avoid the need for a large update post install,” says Donald Stewart, Mageia.

      • Mageia 6.1 Linux OS Adds Support for Pascal-Based Nvidia GPUs, Security Updates

        More than one year after the release of the Mageia 6 Linux-based operating system series, the first point release is now available to download as Mageia 6.1 hit the download channels over the weekend.

        Mageia 6.1 is here as an up-to-date installation media for those who want to deploy the Mageia 6 operating system series on their computers without downloading hundreds of updates from the main archives of the GNU/Linux distribution. It brings updated drivers and core components to offer users better hardware support, and it’s not intended for existing Mageia 6 users.

    • Gentoo Family

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE punts SES v5.5 out door, says storage is going software-defined and open source

        Private equity-owned SUSE has released v5.5 of its software-defined, Ceph-powered Enterprise Storage (SES) platform.

        SES is an all-in-one object storage repository with both file and block access protocols. It is common to have unified file and block – Dell EMC Unity and NetApp’s ONTAP – and unified file and object – Cloudian and Scality – but rare to combine all three protocols.

        Best-of-breed file and block storage products will typically be faster than SES, but SES will win where buyers want a converged single product instead of three, each of which would have had to be acquired, operated, supported and managed.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • My LTS work in September
      • Derivatives

        • Debian-Based antiX Linux Gets L1TF/Foreshadow, Meltdown, and Spectre Mitigations

          Coming more than half a year after the first point release of the antiX 17 “Heather Heyer” Linux-based operating system series, the antiX 17.2 point release is now available for downoad and it’s based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux 9.5 “Stretch” operating system, which means that it includes all its package and security updates.

          antiX 17.2 ships with a newer version of the long-term supported Linux 4.9 kernel series used by Debian Stretch, v4.9.126, which is fully patched against the latest Meltdown and Spectre exploits, aas well as the L1TF (L1 Terminal Fault) a.k.a. Foreshadow speculative execution side channel cache timing security vulnerability.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Phone Users Now Finally Have a VoIP (Voice over IP) App, Linphone

            If you’re using an Ubuntu Phone, you’ll be glad to learn that you can now make VoIP (Voice over IP) calls no matter where you are thanks to the work done by two Open Source software developers to port the Linphone app to the Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system currently maintained by the UBports community.

            With the Linphone app installed on your Ubuntu Phone, you can create a SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) account from Linphone.org to call another SIP or eNum client free of charge, as well as to call regular phone numbers, which requires a SIP account with credit. Linphone also lets you log in with your existing SIP account.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Auto industry’s thirst for software is quenched by open source

    The popularity of open source software (OSS) in the automotive space has soared in recent years as manufacturers race to keep up with new advances in technology, and new demands from consumers. OSS can significantly reduce development time and minimise otherwise costly investments, but it has taken time for the auto industry to truly harness the benefits.

    OSS can be seen, used or tweaked by anyone. It differs from ‘proprietary software’ in which the original developer holds all rights to its modification. Both forms are written to enable a computer to perform a function, but OSS was never as prominent as it is today, and in fact was barely used for software development a couple of decades ago. In the last five years or so, particularly in automotive, that has changed dramatically due to the availability of extremely high quality OSS.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • 10 Best Google Chrome Alternatives

        Google Chrome dominates the browser market worldwide with a massive 60% share, leaving the rest to other web browsers. To be honest, Chrome provides a really good web browsing experience with a seamless functioning across multiple devices. However, we all know that such a smooth experience comes at a cost — our personal data.

        We know that Google tracks us relentlessly and the onslaught of personalized ads gets really annoying at some point. Even if we keep it aside, there are serious problems like heavy RAM usage that makes your device sluggish. So whatever may be your reason to leave Chrome and seek other options, here is a list of best Google Chrome alternatives for you.

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Firefox Embracing Google’s Image Format After 8 Years

        Google brought its WebP Image Format to compete with PNG and JPEG back in 2010. The images using WebP are usually 45% smaller in size than PNG and JPEF which is great for websites as it helps reduce page load times.

        Firefox had remained rebellious to WebP until now. The browser now supports WebP, 8 years after it became a standard for Google Chrome and Chromium based browsers such as Opera.

        Mozilla originally rejected the use to WebP claiming that it doesn’t offer enough improvements, The browser supported JPEG and PNG while evaluating the use of Google’s image format every now and then.

        At this point, the format is only supported on Windows PCs and Android-based devices. Support for iOS devices such as Mac won’t roll out until the first half of 2019, according to Mozilla.

      • Calls between JavaScript and WebAssembly are finally fast

        At Mozilla, we want WebAssembly to be as fast as it can be.

        This started with its design, which gives it great throughput. Then we improved load times with a streaming baseline compiler. With this, we compile code faster than it comes over the network.

        So what’s next?

        One of our big priorities is making it easy to combine JS and WebAssembly. But function calls between the two languages haven’t always been fast. In fact, they’ve had a reputation for being slow, as I talked about in my first series on WebAssembly.

  • Databases

    • SQL tutorial: Learn SQL on PostgreSQL

      PostgreSQL is an open-source, object-relational (also called extended relational) database management system. Modern relational database features in PostgreSQL include complex queries, foreign keys, triggers, updatable views, transactional integrity, and multi-version concurrency control. Users can extend PostgreSQL with new data types, functions, operators, aggregate functions, index methods, and procedural languages.

      With more than 20 years of development and deployment behind it, PostgreSQL is a solid open-source database that rivals even commercial relational databases in many respects. You can install it on Linux (all recent distributions), Windows (Windows 2000 SP4 and later), FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, MacOS, AIX, HP/UX, and Solaris. You can also find a hosted high-performance version of PostgreSQL in Amazon Aurora, and a wire-compatible distributed implementation in CockroachDB.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • This tech investor had a killer week thanks to two big open-source deals

      Mike Volpi of Index Ventures started investing in open-source software companies when it wasn’t clear if they could make much money. This past week — more than any before it — has validated his conviction that they can.

      On Wednesday, Hortonworks, a big-data software company backed by Volpi, announced that it was merging with competitor Cloudera. Two days later, another one of Volpi’s companies, Elastic, started trading on the New York Stock Exchange and doubled in value in its debut.

      It was a whirlwind few days for Volpi, who left San Francisco early in the week for meetings in London and Paris with Index’s limited partners and other investors. On Thursday, shortly after the Cloudera-Hortonworks deal was made public, he flew to New York, where he and other Elastic board members met for three hours to price the software company’s IPO and allocate shares.

    • IOTA Has Issued Grants To Three Open-source Projects

      About $354,000 USD were allocated for this second cohort of grantees

      The IOTA Foundation, via its granting program called Ecosystem Development Fund, is supporting three open-source projects to be developed on its network, according to an announcement via its official blog.

      “We are proud to announce another cohort of fantastic open-source projects the Ecosystem Development Fund will support for a total of $354,000 USD,” reads the publication.

  • Programming/Development

    • CodeLobster – New PHP IDE for Linux Systems

      This article focuses on CodeLobster, an innovative free to download PHP editor and environment for web development.

      This application has been available for Windows for a long time. But the developers have recently released versions for Linux and Mac OS. So CodeLobster is now a cross-platform IDE.

      The Linux community has access to a lot of free and open source software, including various software development environments.

    • Extending the Performance Analysis Toolset

      Finding and analyzing performance issues on embedded devices can be a tiresome search. Nowadays, modern sampling and tracing technologies are built into the Linux kernel to address this, in the form of perf and LTTng respectively. Still, the vast amounts of data recorded are difficult to handle on the limited embedded devices themselves.

      In his talk, Chris will present Hotspot, an open-source performance analysis tool and how to optimize sophisticated tracepoint analysis as well as outline KDAB’s plans in instrumenting Qt for the LTTng tracing ecosystem.

    • Python and journalism

      Back in July, Economist wanted to judge a popularity of programming languages and used … Google Trends. Python is rocketing up, BTW. Go is not even mentioned.

    • «Software Quality Assurance, First Edition» PDF file

      For your convenience I’ve compiled in just one file the book Software Quality Assurance by Claude Y. Laporte and Alain April. The book is provided for free download at the publisher website as separated files.


  • Banksy Artwork Self-Destructs Just After $1.4 Million Sale
  • Health/Nutrition

    • Tencent Reaches Into London’s Tech Hub for Parkinson’s Partner

      Tencent Holdings Ltd. is teaming with closely held Medopad Ltd. to develop a system to remotely monitor patients with the severe movement disorder. Their goal, according to Wei Fan, executive director for medical AI research at Shenzhen-based Tencent, is to allow doctors to set drug doses and modify care without patients coming into the hospital.


      Medopad, which was founded in 2011 and has received funding from German pharmaceuticals firm Bayer AG, said in February that it had signed deals worth 100 million pounds ($131 million) with a number of Chinese companies, including Tencent.

    • Fake Abortion Clinics: “We’re Fighting Satan”

      The clock is ticking on a woman’s right to medical privacy, particularly her right to an abortion.


      Foley’s appointment was notable because she is a staunch “anti-choice” activist, the former CEO of Life Network, a company that operates two “crisis pregnancy centers” (CPC) in Colorado. These centers are pseudo birth-control facilities operated to convince pregnant women not to have abortions.

      Foley’s appointment was announced at about the same time that the Trump administration announced plans to introduce a new rule that would bar abortions at facilities receiving federal family planning funds. According to CNN, it was “a move aimed squarely at Planned Parenthood, which accepts some federal money for non-abortion services”; Planned Parenthood receives about $60 million a year through Title X.

      In June, the Supreme Court ruled, in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra, California’s Reproductive FACT Act unconstitutional. The act required California-based CPCs to post signs informing clients that the state “has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services, prenatal care, and abortion, for eligible women.”

      The Supreme Court found the act violated the First Amendment. Writing for the 5-4 majority, Justice Clarence Thomas noted, the law “imposes a government-scripted, speaker-based disclosure requirement that is wholly disconnected from the State’s informational interest.” He added, “Neither California nor the Ninth Circuit has identified a persuasive reason for treating professional speech as a unique category that is exempt from ordinary First Amendment principles.”

  • Security

    • Primary season cyberattacks illuminate campaign vulnerabilities

      The three House candidates whose campaigns suffered cyberattacks were running in competitive primaries for districts that are battlegrounds in the general election.

    • TenFourFox and Hack2Win

      After a diligent analysis of the test cases and our existing code, TenFourFox is not known to be vulnerable to the exploits repaired in Firefox 62.0.3/60ESR. Even if the flaws in question actually existed as such in our code, they would require a PowerPC-specific exploit due to some architecture-dependent aspects of the attacks.

    • 12.5 Million Hacked Email Archives Available Publicly: Report

      Digital Shadows, a security research firm, conducted a research that uncovered 33,000 hacked email credentials of finance departments from different business entities. Out of these, 83% of the compromised email credentials are available with password information.

      Compromising email accounts via phishing campaigns has become utterly common. According to Rick Holland from Digital Shadows, “With the right knowledge it is relatively easy for cybercriminals to find whole email boxes and accounting credentials – indeed we found criminals actively looking for the

    • Business email compromise made easy for cybercriminals as 12.5 million company email inboxes and 33,000 finance department credentials openly accessible on the web

      Digital Shadows, the leader in digital risk management and relevant threat intelligence, has today announced the findings of new research revealing the diversity of methods used to infiltrate company emails. The FBI has estimated that scams resulting from business email compromise – such as fake invoices and wire fraud – have cost businesses $12bn globally over the last five years.

    • Phone vendors are not updating their Linux kernels

      Linux kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman has warned that despite developer efforts, security problems can persist thanks to outside vendors beyond their control.

      He told Linux.com that hardening the kernel is not enough, vendors have to enable the new features and take advantage of them and that was not happening.

      While Kroah-Hartman releases a stable kernel every week, and companies pick one to support for a longer period so that device manufacturers can take advantage of it. He has noticed that aside from the Google Pixel, most Android phones don’t include the additional hardening features, meaning all those phones are vulnerable.

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Get Essential Security Information from Linux Security Summit Videos

      The next Linux Security Summit Europe, coming up October 25 – 26 in Edinburgh, offers more essential security information, with refereed presentations, discussion sessions, subsystem updates, and more. There’s still time to register and attend! Check out the full schedule and stay tuned for more coverage.

    • Facebook Announces a Camera for Your House. Didn’t They Just Get Hacked?

      Today Facebook announced their new Portal smart video calling device, complete with Alexa built-in, to help reinvent video chatting… but with their privacy track record, is this something you want?

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Protest Outside Creech AFB
    • 7 arrested in anti-drone protest at Creech Air Force Base
    • 7 arrested in anti-drone protest at USAF base outside Vegas
    • French Army Carries Out Air Strikes in Burkina After Islamist Attack

      France carried out air strikes in northern Burkina Faso after Islamist militants attacked a police unit at a local gold mine, the latest incident to underscore rising insurgency in the West African region.

      The arid Sahel region is suffering a spike in violence by militant groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State, highlighting the difficulty international partners face in restoring regional stability.

      The Burkinabe Ministry of Security said one gendarme was killed and another wounded in an attack on police on Wednesday at the Inata gold mine in the northern Soum region carried out by a large group of heavily armed terrorists.

    • French airstrike targets extremists in Burkina Faso

      France’s military said it directed a drone toward the site of the attack and, after a request from Burkinabe authorities, sent two Mirage jets from an air base in Niger’s capital, Niamey.

    • Iran uses drones and missiles in cross border attack on enemies in Syria

      On 1st October, the IRGC Aerospace Force used 7 drones as well as 6 ballistic missiles to destroy targets in the Albu Kamal region, in Eastern Syria, FarsNews reports. At least one of the drones was of a Saeqeh model which is an UAV of the Simorgh (Phoenix) class and enjoys the capability to simultaneously strike at four targets with smart bombs that have pinpoint precision-striking capability in far distances. Iran calls “Simorgh” its own version of the US RQ-170 Sentinel.

    • China spreads its global wings via armed drone sales to Middle East

      High above Yemen’s rebel-held city of Hodeida, a drone controlled by Emirati forces hovered as a four-wheel-drive carrying a top Shiite Houthi rebel official turned onto a small street and stopped, waiting for another vehicle in its convoy to catch up.

      Seconds later, the SUV exploded in flames, killing Saleh al-Samad, a top political figure.

      The drone that fired that missile in April was not one of the many American aircraft that have been buzzing across the skies of Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan since September 11, 2001. It was Chinese.

    • CIA collects details of 9/11 accused Abu Zobaida

      Officials of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the US are collecting details of the friends’ circle of Abu Zobaida, an accused in the September 11 terrorist attack in the United States, said to be a member of Al-Qaeda.

      Zobaida had studied in a city college from 1989 to 1991. The Central Intelligence Agency arrested him in Pakistan in 2002.

      According to sources, the CIA officials have collected details from Sarada Vilas College, where he studied and also visited Udayagiri area.

      He had studied Computer Science, Physics, Mathematics, Arabic and English at the college.

      The CIA officials searched for a woman who was a close aide of Zobaida.

    • UK’s MI5 in court for covert policy allowing agents to commit serious crimes

      Britain’s domestic security service MI5 has been operating under a secret policy that allows its agents to commit serious crimes during counter-terrorism operations in the UK, a court in London has heard.

      The limits on that policy remain secret, with the result that it is unclear whether agents have sheltered under it while committing murder or acts of torture, the court was told.

      The policy began to be scrutinised by a senior judge in 2012, but that oversight was also kept secret and David Cameron, then the British prime minister, instructed the judge that he was to examine only the operation of the policy and offer no opinion on whether or not it was lawful.

      The existence of the secret policy, referred to in court as the “third direction,” emerged by chance earlier this year during litigation that challenged the British government’s domestic surveillance powers.

    • Trump-Mattis Shambles in Yemen

      General Mattis is rabidly anti-Russian and hostile to a great many other countries, people and organizations. It is now almost forgotten that he is the man who replied to a question in 2005 about the US war in Afghanistan by uttering the psychotic pronouncement that “Actually it’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up there with you. I like brawling.” He is obviously a person who can bring balance and sympathetic understanding to international affairs.

      As recorded in the New Yorker, “on January 22nd, two days after President Trump was inaugurated, he received a memo from his new Secretary of Defence, James Mattis, recommending that the United States launch a military strike in Yemen.”

      Yemen is in a state of civil war. The country has nothing to do with the United States, but in 2017 the intelligence community in the US said they had discovered that a group of alleged anti-American terrorists were in a village called al-Ghayil and it was decided by the Best and the Brightest in Washington to attack the place.

    • 2 Colorado-based U.S. intelligence officers and a private contractor indicted in alleged $1.5M bid-rigging scheme

      A federal grand jury in Denver has indicted three people — a U.S. Air Force major, a veteran National Security Agency agent and the owner of a private government contractor — in an alleged $1.5 million bid-rigging scheme.

      The intelligence officers allegedly disclosed bid information on government contracts, U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer announced Friday.

      The grand jury indicted Kevin Kuciapinski, 43, a U.S. Air Force major working at the National Reconnaissance Office; Randolph Stimac, 61, an NSA agent; and Mykhael Kuciapinski, 51, owner and CEO of Company G, a government contractor.

    • Feds allege contracting fraud within secret Colorado spy warehouse

      Two employees of the nation’s most secretive intelligence agencies have been indicted for allegedly trying to fix a spying services contract at Buckley Air Force Base’s Aerospace Data Facility, federal prosecutors said Friday.

      Air Force Maj. Kevin Kuciapinski, with the National Reconnaissance Office, and Randolph Stimac, of the National Security Agency, face charges of “procurement fraud and unlawfully disclosing and obtaining bid information concerning a contract estimated to be worth almost $1.5 million,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver said in a news release.

    • The CIA knew where Eichmann was hiding

      On May 23, 1960, Israel triumphantly announced that Mossad agents had captured Adolf Eichmann in Argentina. “One of the greatest Nazi war criminals is in Israeli custody,” declared the prime minister, David Ben-Gurion.

      Eichmann, architect of the Final Solution, had been seized near his home north of Buenos Aires, taken to a safe house and then sedated, disguised as a flight attendant and smuggled out of Argentina on an El Al Bristol Britannia aircraft.

      The kidnapping of Eichmann, now the subject of the film Operation Finale starring Ben Kingsley, prompted rejoicing in Israel and violent antisemitic demonstrations in Argentina.

    • Three women, one child killed following air raid in Afghanistan

      At least four civilians, including three women and a child, were killed in Afghanistan’s restive Kandahar province on Friday following an air raid, according to a local official.

      Provincial police spokesman Zia Durrani told Anadolu Agency that the Taliban caused the casualties by firing at a wedding party in the Maruf district after coming under air raid by security forces.

      “The foreign forces targeted two vehicles of the Taliban in Khogyani area of the district, but they escaped and tried to hide in a wedding party, and from there the rebels and the security forces exchanged fire,” he said.


      Last month, the UN in Afghanistan expressed serious concerns over surging civilian casualties in airstrikes.

      In a statement, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said 353 civilian casualties including 149 deaths and 204 injured were documented in the first six months of 2018 from aerial strikes, a 52 percent increase from the same period in 2017.

      The UNAMA attributed 52 percent of all civilian casualties from aerial attacks to the Afghan Air Force, 45 percent to international military forces, and the remaining three percent to unidentified pro-government forces.

    • Israel’s Gabriella Blum Helped Write the Laws of Drone Warfare. Nearly Two Decades Later, She Has Regrets.

      After her first five years in the ILD, Blum would come and go from the IDF and American academia, piling up advanced degrees. In the mid-2000s, Harvard University hired her to teach at its law school. Now Harvard’s Rita E. Hauser Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, she has published books and lectured in Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Italy.

      On an agreeable summer afternoon in June, I went to Cambridge to meet her. Nearly two decades ago, she helped hash out the details of targeted killings. Now, she has reservations.

      Looking back to the dawn of the Second Intifada, Blum said, “Nobody knew what was going on. Nobody knew what the relevant laws were. You have a conflict in an occupied territory. Is it an international armed conflict between states? But Palestine is not a state, as far as Israel is concerned. It doesn’t look like traditional law enforcement. But if you call it a war, what kind of war is it? A civil war? A new kind of war?”

      On December 31, 2000, a Palestinian dentist named Thabet Thabet was shot dead in his West Bank hometown, Tulkarm, by IDF snipers in broad daylight. Thabet was known as a pro-peace figure in the Fatah party, and his death generated consternation in both the Israeli and international press. According to later Israeli government accounts, Thabet was actively involved in terrorism as a leader in Fatah’s armed militia, Tanzim. The immediate question, though, went beyond Thabet’s culpability. The immediate question was: How can you shoot someone, mafia-style, in the street? How can this be legal? That’s when the IDF’s chief of staff called the ILD.

      Reisner, Sharvit Baruch, Blum, and a few other ILD colleagues took the lead in answering the question. In war, “you’re not obliged to only target people who take a meaningful part in hostilities,” Blum explained. “Any member of the armed forces is a legitimate target. You can shoot them in the back while they’re sleeping. The only relevant obligation, really, is to minimize civilian casualties.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Spymaster James Angleton pushed back against argument that the CIA used too many cryptonyms

      In late 1963, the Central Intelligence Agency’s Executive Director Lyman Kirkpatrick sent a memo to Counterintelligence Director James Angleton asking him to review the Agency’s perceived overuse of cryptonyms and excessive security, resulting in a report that would remain classified SECRET for 39 years.

      Strangely, one reason for the request was that cryptonyms can make it harder and slower to read the materials they appear in. This, of course, is the point of cryptonyms – to make it more difficult for those unfamiliar with them to understand what’s being discussed. Kirkpatrick specifically wanted to know where they could “eliminate cryptonyms with no sacrifice of security.”

    • Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry Reaffirms Asylum for WikiLeaks Founder Assange

      Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Jose Valencia Amores on Friday reaffirmed the country’s decision to grant asylum to the WikiLeaks whistleblowing website’s founder, Julian Assange.

    • Ecuador confirmed refugee status to WikiLeaks founder Assange

      The Minister stressed that the fate of WikiLeaks founder must decide the UK authorities of Ecuador and the lawyers men. At the same time, Valencia has not commented on the information on plans to offer Assange the position of counselor in the Embassy of Ecuador in Britain or Russia.

    • Julian Assange in Crisis for Fifth Unity4J Online Vigil; Consortium News to Broadcast it Live on Saturday

      As the crisis over Julian Assange continues to mount, the fifth online vigil for Assange will be held on Saturday, to be broadcast live by Consortium News.

      The isolation of Julian Assange, publisher of WikiLeaks, continues unabated as his lawyers and the former president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, warn of deepening crisis for the imperiled asylee. These warnings come on the heel of the appointment of renowned Icelandic journalist Kristinn Hrafnsson as the new editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks – itself an indication of the dire circumstances at hand.

      Assange’s most high-profile supporters are mobilizing for the fifth #Unity4J online vigil on Saturday in solidarity with the silenced journalist. Guests will include the CIA anti-torture whistleblower John Kiriakou, ex-U.S. House of Representatives member Cynthia McKinney, progressive comedian Graham Elwood and ACLU Board member and Radio Host Garland Nixon.

    • The Fifth Online Vigil for Julian Assange

      The isolation of Julian Assange, publisher of WikiLeaks, continues unabated as his lawyers and the former president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, warn of deepening crisis for the imperiled asylee. These warnings come on the heel of the appointment of renowned Icelandic journalist Kristinn Hrafnsson as the new editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks – itself an indication of the dire circumstances at hand.

      Assange’s most high-profile supporters mobilized for the fifth #Unity4J online vigil on Saturday in solidarity with the silenced journalist. Guests included the CIA anti-torture whistleblower John Kiriakou, ex-U.S. House of Representatives member Cynthia McKinney, progressive comedian Graham Elwood and ACLU Board member and Radio Host Garland Nixon. You can watch the entire event here.

    • ‘I spent seven years fighting to survive’: Chelsea Manning on whistleblowing and WikiLeaks

      She understands this world; the overlap between military and civilian technologies that has caught us all in its dragnet. It’s her role in it that’s more opaque. She seems, still, at the beginning of a process of understanding what she did, what it all means, where she fits in. How in 2010, as Bradley Manning, aged 22, she downloaded and leaked, via Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks, 750,000 classified and sensitive documents that revealed America’s secret diplomatic cables and Iraqi and Afghanistan war logs. How she was caught, court martialled and sentenced to 35 years in prison. And how, in one of Barack Obama’s last acts as president, she was suddenly and unexpectedly granted clemency last year and freed.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • The Blue Wave Turns Orange

      On the color wheel, blue and orange are complimentary colors. Along with your swimsuit this November, Americans would do well to pack some Cheeto-repellent. The latest neolefty sweetheart is Richard Ojeda, candidate for the 3rd Congressional District in West Virginia. The pro-coal xenophobic military recruiter is just the resistance we need, apparently. Oh, and this guy voted for Donald Trump in 2016. Ojeda said about his vote for Donald Trump in the 2016 election: “If he does twenty percent of what he promises, he’ll be a decent President…and maybe he just will make America great again.” Did Ojeda change his mind because Donald is doing 100 percent of what he’d say he’d do?

      Richard Ojeda’s infatuation with coal is as dangerous as it is archaic. Ojeda, to this day, credits Donald Trump’s policy on coal—which has featured EPA rollback after rollback. This week it was to stop an Obama-era regulation of mercury. No one could ever call Barack Obama a good person, but he wasn’t stupid. Coal is dying. And we are all dying faster.

      As the world is leaving coal behind for more efficient energy solutions, it is America who clings to the old guard. Ojeda acts as if the coal industry going away would eliminate all jobs! Ojeda said of coal: “I know coal is dirty, but that’s all we got.” Never mind the coming climate change apocalypse which will literally eliminate all the working people in your beloved state! Never mind that coal mining itself is perhaps the most dangerous job in the country. Never mind that these statements about jobs being lost are completely artificial—note Sweden’s fossil fuel free pledge for a near-seamless transition to greener energy.

    • Drought-Laden Rainforests

      The world’s rainforests are under attack at a rate of 2.5 acres per second. Global warming and clear-cutting for growing palm oil and raising cattle are some of the biggest annihilators. The repercussions are devastating. For example, one of the consequences is harmful alteration of hydrological cycles for major grain-growing regions of the planet. But, that’s just the start of trouble.

      Disrupted hydrological cycles, which are only now being disclosed by new research, are one example amongst many of the aftereffects of stressed-out ecosystems as a result of (a) global warming, (b) turbo-charged climate change, and (c) the persistent human footprint. The awful truth is that ecosystems across the world are stressed-out like never before. But, nobody sees it.

      Uncommonly stressed-out ecosystems occur most prominently where nobody lives, nobody sees, Antarctica, Tibetan glaciers, the Arctic, Siberian permafrost, Colorado River Basin, Alaskan permafrost Andes’ glaciers, Patagonia, Totten glacier, East Siberian Arctic Sea, ocean plankton, the Amazon rainforest. Who lives anywhere near those hot spots of ecosystem disruption?

  • Finance

    • Hammond plotting new tax on Google and Facebook, but Amazon spared
    • Christopher Wylie says he was pushed into traffic and assaulted after exposing Facebook’s bombshell data scandal

      Four months later, the official Leave campaign was found guilty of breaking electoral law for funnelling payments of more than £675,000 to Aggregate IQ through another Brexit campaign group. Aggregate IQ is a Canadian data firm with a web of links to Cambridge Analytica.

      Wylie said it was this that made him vulnerable to attack. Some of the abuse he has encountered has been reported to the police, while a risk assessment was also carried out on the whistleblower. It all means he has to take certain precautions when he is out in public.

    • Sidewalk Toronto has only one beneficiary, and it is not Toronto

      With politicians rushing to show Canada’s innovation chops, “smart cities” have emerged as their new frontier. Most consequential of these is a high-profile agreement between Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet. A year ago, Canadians were treated to an announcement involving the leaders of all three levels of government gushing and fawning about an enlightened urban partnership with a foreign company whose business model is built exclusively on the principle of mass surveillance.

      The most insightful comments during the public announcement came when Eric Schmidt, Google’s former executive chair, said they had realized their long-running dream for “someone to give us a city and put us in charge.” He also thanked Canadian taxpayers for paying, creating and transferring the core artificial-intelligence technology he credits for Alphabet’s success, making it the world’s third most valuable corporation. The Google parent’s past and future growth are based on the intellectual property (IP) [sic] they own and the data they control.

    • Russian Oligarchs are a Problem, But Let’s Not Forget American Ones

      Oligarchs the world over have long been destabilizing economies and shaping governing bodies for their own benefit. For instance, if we turn to the supposed ‘birth of democracy’ in Ancient Athens, elites (called ‘citizens’) of the polis ruled over the mass populace (the common people of the hoi polloi). Plato had instilled in many Greeks at the time (and this is an idea seen in practice from fascist lies of white supremacy to false justifications for criminal wars) a faith in the supremacy of ruling class that the elites could justify lying to the hoi polloi,masking the truth the public was too ‘stupid’, too ‘ignorant’ to comprehend behind pathos and logos. The specific role of the noble lie, as presented by Plato’s Socrates is to have a good effect on the polity by clearly defining social classes and position within the social hierarchy for all. Never a supporter of democracy, in the Politicsand in De Anima, Plato’s student Aristotle presents a model of an oligarchic meritocracy (or in his preferred term for the rule of the few, an aristocracy), a social organization that depends upon those with ‘lesser’ souls (or those less noble, less filled with virtue than with vice), and those of the working classes especially had to be less concerned with the metaphysical and more concerned with their material labor. Over centuries of European and Anglo-American ‘democracies’, such positions on the deliberate maintenance of popular ignorance (typically coupled with or contributing to widespread compliance or complicity) through administrative means and misinformation have been re-articulated from Machiavelli to Mandeville to McCarthy, Robespierre to Rumsfeld, Burke to Bannon, ‘Socrates’ to Stalin. From Nuremburg trials to Nixonian denials, elites have enjoyed the freedom to not be burdened by such nuisances as truth, fact, or indeed, democratic means. In this paradigm, dishonest demagoguery is celebrated as a moral achievement, provided these lies lead to noble ends. What these ‘noble ends’ are isn’t quite so clear, either rhetorically or in actualization.


      Trump is not an exception or aberration, his administration is the rule, and the rule has always meant rule by the few for their own benefit. A closer look at current political and economic developments should satisfy even the most ardent skeptic of the oligarchic basis of the American—and indeed all neo-liberal and neo-fascist forms of government—regime.

      Foreign oligarchs, such as Trump’s good friend Rupert Murdoch (owner of the majority of U.S. media outlets, most notably Trumpian favorite Fox News), military and oil trade partners like the Saudi royals, and other authoritarian regimes not only garner praise from Trump (cf. his citation and praise of not only the Saudis, but also the Kim regime in North Korea recently at the United Nations), but give the distinct and disheartening impression that despite all of his patriotic and anti-‘globalist’ rhetoric, the Trump administration (as with previous administrations) is certainly beholden to the small band of billionaire boys. The international cadre of the super wealthy use flags, religions, borders, and ideologies to demark and separate us, but while delivering so much nationalistic bluster, oligarchs actually align most of their economic interests with each other transnationally. This alignment of mega wealth often occurs in the figurative sense of wealth extraction exerted on the many by the few, but also in the more literal sense of the cross-pollination of the global billionaire and mega-million class members’ investments and portfolios. Such circumstances go a long way towards explaining the crass hypocrisy of deriding other nations’ human rights violations while committing ever-greater cruelties yourself, or in building coalitions to overturn democratically elected officials who have opted out of client state status. The Trump doctrine puts its faith in the cover of smoke and mirrors, for with sleight of hand and hyperbolically divisive rhetoric, the bank accounts that matter continue to bloat.

    • Are women the last line of defence against Brazil’s authoritarian shift?

      In the world’s most celebrated footballing nation – where ‘the beautiful game’ is akin to religion – it’s almost no surprise that this week’s general elections have looked more like a football match than a democratic process that will shape the future of Latin America’s largest country.

      A sizeable number of Brazilians are behaving more like football fans, following the polls as if they were league scoreboards and supporting or opposing candidates out of passion rather than reasoned analysis of policy positions. One important distinction, however, stands out: while football and politics are both male-dominated games in Brazil – only two out of the thirteen presidential candidates are female – the outcome of this particular match may very well be in the hands of women.

      The current political environment provides a textbook example of a fertile breeding ground for far-right populists taking advantage of dissatisfaction and despair to propose deceivingly simple solutions to very difficult problems..On October 7, in a “celebration of democracy” – a commonly used expression in Brazil that serves as a reminder of the country’s not-so-distant dictatorial past (1964-1985) – voters will cast ballots for the presidency and the House and Senate as well as state leadership. If no candidate wins 50% of votes cast, runoff elections for president and state governors will be held on October 28.

    • A “Burma Brexit” – why Remainers should allow the Brexit mandate to be discharged

      We are now only a few months away from 29th March 2019, which is when by automatic operation of law the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.

      (There are ways that this date may get delayed, and it is even still possible Brexit could get cancelled altogether. But a delay or cancellation currently looks unlikely.)

      This imminent departure is the legal truth around which politics is now revolving, or should be revolving. It is the starting point of any understanding of the UK’s current predicament: “Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it.”

      This exit of the UK from the EU has been a legal fact since 29th March 2017 when the Article 50 notification was served on the European Council. The notification was valid. There is no serious doubt about that. The Supreme Court insisted on primary legislation, Parliament passed the primary legislation enabling the Prime Minister to make a notification, a notification was drafted, and the Prime Minister signed it.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • This Russian Double Agent Is A Lot Less Dead Than He Seemed

      For the right to fish along the saltwater shoreline, Alexander Poteyev disclosed his real name and date of birth, as well as a phone number, email, and mailing address — an odd choice, because Poteyev was hiding from Russian assassins.

      Moscow had outed Poteyev as a traitor who exposed a network of undercover agents, including the glamorous Anna Chapman, before he defected to the US in 2010. A few years later, according to news accounts and US intelligence sources, a suspected Kremlin hit man approached his home. Then, in July 2016, Russian state TV declared that Poteyev had died. But in fact, he was very much alive.

      The Kremlin crushes traitors. That promise, central to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s image, is backed up by a grim and growing list of enemies who have died or fallen ill in suspicious circumstances — most recently the poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal in England. By publicizing a turncoat’s death (real or otherwise), the Kremlin could claim a public relations victory while sending a warning to anyone considering similar actions. The BBC reported earlier this week on another possible incentive for the disinformation: The news might smoke the target out by prompting him to reach out to his relatives back home.

    • CIA Intervenes in Brazilian Elections, Alerts an Expert

      What is happening today in Brazil shows the intervention of foreign intelligence agencies, mainly the North American CIA, in the electoral dispute, warned Marcelo Zero, international relations specialist.

      The modus operandi exhibited in this final stretch is identical to that used in other countries and demands technical and financial resources in a degree of manipulative sophistication of which the campaign of far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro does not seem to have, said the sociologist.

      In the opinion of Zero, who is the Workers’ Party (PT) advisor in the Senate, ‘the CIA and other agencies are here, acting extensively,’ which would demand a serious investigation that apparently will not occur, unless someone on the left spreads some dubious information

      In a commentary published in the digital newspaper Brasil 247, Zero also pointed out that the growth of ‘Bolsonarist fascism’ in the final stretch of the campaign, driven among other factors by an avalanche of fake news (fake news) disseminated over the Internet, it comes to surprise.

    • 4 Questions to Ask When Comparing Midterm Candidates

      This year’s midterms are getting more attention than usual, with high stakes for both parties. You’ve probably seen a fair amount of “horse race” coverage focusing on competition between rival candidates while downplaying policies and platforms. But if you know how to read these stories, it helps you understand what’s at stake for you and can even inform your own political participation.

    • Bikini Girls and Cyberwars

      What kind of mindset do you need to have, automatically to equate opposition to Monsanto and to chlorinated chicken with being an agent of the Kremlin? Why is The Times publishing this absolute rubbish? It says something both about the quite hysterical Russophobia gripping the media and political class, and about the desire to delegitimise environmental activism, as witness the jailing of the anti-fracking protestors (against which jailing 1,000 academics have now signed a letter of protest).

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Rights violations, censorship threaten EU-Vietnam deal, says watchdog

      A global human rights watchdog claims that Vietnam’s human rights record could jeopardise a free trade deal with the European Union.

      A warning letter by Human Rights Watch, dated September 17, sent by 32 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) was addressed to the EU Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström.

    • Pakistani-American startup combating media censorship

      “We’ve seen censorship first hand and we’ve seen how it affects lives, how it affects the whole society,” Chaudhary recently told Voice of America.

      He noted that it is not uncommon for sites like YouTube to be blocked by the government in Pakistan. He began thinking about issues of censorship and how to work on behalf of those impacted by it after arriving in the United States.

      “It is a censorship-resistant platform for publishing, not just for journalists but for all types of media,” Chaudhary said of Inkrypt. He explained that because blockchain is a peer-to-peer network, it is more trustworthy and harder to hack.

    • 50 Cent Says He’s Quitting Instagram Over Censorship Issues

      50 Cent announced that he’s quitting Instagram over censorship issues on the social media site. Fif posted a screenshot of a photo that was deleted from the platform after someone reported it.

      He responded by telling fans to “Follow me on Twitter @50cent lm done with instagram this s*** is wack.” 50 added on Twitter, “Im back on Twitter f*** IG I’ll post what I want here.”

    • 50 Cent Quits Instagram Because Of Their Censorship Rules… Again

      50 Cent has nearly 21 million followers on Instagram but all of those people will need to live without him because for another time this year, he is quitting the social medium. Back in May, Fiddy raised a glass to his final day on Instagram, bidding farewell to his once-preferred social medium. A few days later, he returned, making the entire situation pretty anticlimactic. The same thing happened in 2016 when he left Instagram after a battle in court. Could this be the official moment where 50 leaves Instagram for good?

      We don’t necessarily want it to happen. In fact, he provides so much humorous content throughout the day that it would be a shame to lose his countless troll posts. Twitter just isn’t the same and although we’ll probably see the rapper back on IG before the end of the day, he has effectively switched over the to the other side.

    • 50 Cent Quits Instagram Over Post Being Taken Down: ‘I’m Done’

      super active on Instagram, getting himself in trouble and just generally being a big troll when he isn’t promoting his show Power. With over 20 million followers, he now says he’s quitting the platform, citing censorship issues.

      While it’s not clear what the offending post was that resulted in removal, it is evident that he’s not happy about the decision. “I’m done with Instagram this shit is wack,” he wrote. This isn’t the first time he’s supposedly quit Instagram, as HotNewHipHop points out he dramatically left the social media site before back in 2016 following a battle in court.

    • Israel hits legal wall in censorship battle
    • Florida student detained and ordered to leave Israel over pro-Palestinian activities

      Israel has denied entry to a University of Florida graduate, citing the student’s involvement with a group that urged a boycott against the country for its policies toward Palestinians, according to reports.

      Haretz and The Times of Israel said that, 22-year-old Lara Alqasem, a U.S. citizen with Palestinian grandparents, was prevented from entering Israel after she arrived at Ben Gurion Airport on Tuesday.

      Alqasem had been granted a student visa from the Consulate General of Israel in Miami to study in a master’s program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Haaretz reported. The visa was valid for a year.

      The Consulate General confirmed on Thursday that the visa was issued in Miami.

    • Censorship: Who should it worry?

      The 21st century has broadly been characterised as the Information Age. The rapid shift of centring the world and its economy around information technology in this Digital Age, rather than the traditional industries of the past, has led to an evolution in all societies—how humans organise themselves and their institutions—even though its effects are not yet fully understood because of the “time lag” factor.

      What is understood is that the rate at which information can flow has never been faster. And that the amount of information that can travel across distances at this fast pace has never been greater. But what implications does this have on individual human beings?

      As Elon Musk explained recently in an interview with Joe Rogan, an individual with a cell-phone connected to the internet today has far more information available to them than one without. And if that individual can transform that information into knowledge, more power—as knowledge equals power.


      But in the Digital Age that we live in today, it is nearly impossible to censor information fully, as long as there are those courageous enough to speak it. Does that mean that people who believe in the free flow of information should not fight censorship? Not at all.

      However, what that also means is that they should remember to continue to speak their truths, instead of worrying all the time about censorship and whether their truths are being heard or believed. Because true to what St Augustine had said, “The truth is like a lion. You don’t have to defend it. Let it loose. It will defend itself.”

    • How The Chinese Government Works To Censor Debate In Western Democracies
    • Private Businesses Built Modern China. Now the Government Is Pushing Back.

      The comments were couched in careful language, but the warning about China’s direction was clear.

      China grew to prosperity in part by embracing market forces, said Wu Jinglian, the 88-year-old dean of pro-market Chinese economists, at a forum last month. Then he turned to the top politician in the room, Liu He, China’s economic czar, and said “unharmonious voices” were now condemning private enterprise.

      “The phenomenon,” Mr. Wu said, “is worth noting.”

      Mr. Wu gave rare official voice to a growing worry among Chinese entrepreneurs, economists and even some government officials: China may be stepping back from the free-market, pro-business policies that transformed it into the world’s No. 2 economy. For 40 years, China has swung between authoritarian Communist control and a freewheeling capitalism where almost anything could happen — and some see the pendulum swinging back toward the government.

    • Tomorrow: come to our University of Chicago seminar on Renaissance censorship and internet censorship

      Ada Palmer is a University of Chicago Renaissance historian (and so much more: librettist, science fiction novelist, and all-round polymath); she has convened a series of seminars at the University in collaboration with science and piracy historian Adrian Johns, and me!

      We’re exploring the parallels between the censorship systems that sprang up at the advent of the printing press and the information control battles we’ve seen since the dawn of the internet.

    • Journalist associations in Brazil protest against ‘censorship’ after Supreme Court ministers ban Lula’s interview with the press

      The Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (Abraji) and the National Federation of Journalists (Fenaj) have classified as censorship and a restriction on journalism the decisions of Federal Supreme Court Ministers Luiz Fux and Dias Toffoli, which prohibit former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from granting a press interview from prison.

      Fux and Toffoli have revoked the authorization given by Supreme Court Minister Ricardo Lewandowski so that journalist Mônica Bergamo, from Folha de S. Paulo, and journalist Florestan Fernandes Junior, from Rede Minas, could interview the former president in his cell in Curitiba, in the state of Paraná.

      “Abraji sees with extreme concern the fact that an order to censure the press and restrict journalistic activity came from the Federal Supreme Court, the maximum guardian of the rights established in the Constitution,” the organization wrote in a note. Fenaj said that the STF, “which should ensure compliance with the Brazilian Constitution, attacks the constitutional rights of freedom of expression and freedom of the press, by preventing journalists from interviewing the former president.”

    • Brazil’s highest court tears up constitution

      Dias Toffoli, the President of Brazil’s highest court, along with his colleague Luiz Fux, have dispensed with any pretense of legality and trampled constitutional guarantees by barring interviews with former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva ahead of the country’s Oct. 7 presidential election. The surreal battle played out among ministers of Brazil’s Supreme Federal Tribunal (STF), whose office is analogous to those of U.S. Supreme Court justices, reflects the dominant view within the Brazilian state and ruling class that an electoral victory for the Workers Party must be prevented at all cost. The same court voted to dismiss UN demands that Lula’s political rights be respected and that he be allowed to run in the elections.

    • ‘Censorship’ of artworks: UCT’s response
    • Busan: Why ‘Rib’ Director Zhang Wei Accepted 40 Minutes of Censorship Cuts

      Independent Chinese director Zhang Wei must be one of the best-tempered auteurs in the industry. He repeatedly accepts setbacks like badges of honor, but plows on anyway.

      Zhang has produced, directed and financed socially aware films “Factory Boss” and “Sound of a Dream,” with his latest film, “The Rib,” world-premiering at the Busan International Film Festival. But before getting to Korea, it underwent a massive 40- minute cut in a unique censorship process.

      The film depicts the strained relationship between a devout Christian father and his son, who is seeking a sex change operation. Initially opposed to his son’s plans, the father seeks further guidance after he is shaken by the suicide of a friend.

      “It is very much the father’s journey,” Zhang told Variety. “On one level it is a father-son story. On another, it is an exploration of the LGBT community that the father goes to consult. Many people in real life feel unable to reveal their true selves, and flee from their family.”

    • Busan: Asian Stars Convene to Celebrate Festival’s Return to Normalcy

      The South Korean event has bounced back after four years of being rocked by a censorship scandal.

      The 23rd Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) kicked off Thursday with a glitzy opening ceremony, boasting a star wattage that loudly announced the festival’s return to normalcy.

      Oscar-winning composer Ryuichi Sakamoto — recipient of the annual Asian filmmaker of the year award — as well as superstar Jang Dong-gun and veteran filmmaker Im Kwon-taek lit up the red carpet at Busan Cinema Center.

    • Kavanaugh coverage illustrates absurdity of conservatives’ ‘online censorship’ claims

      For months now, Republicans have been pushing an evidence-free conspiracy theory that big tech companies are censoring conservative voices. It’s become a campaign issue. Last month, Donald Trump Jr. went so far as to say that he’ll focus on the “online censorship” issue this fall during campaign stops for Republican candidates.

      “I think there is, and I think there is ample evidence,” said Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) on Fox News in July, in one indicative comment. “It’s one after another after another, and it’s often related directly to the algorithm that got changed.”

      But there is, in fact, exactly zero evidence indicating conservatives are being disproportionately targeted by any online platform.

    • Alphabet’s new domain name tool could limit malware, censorship, and spying
    • Alphabet’s New App Aims to Tackle Government Censorship Caused by DNS Poisoning
    • Google releases Android encrypted DNS app that will help beat censorship
    • Google’s Sister Company Develops Anti-Censorship Android App
    • New App Successfully Fights Censorship
    • Tales from Utah Valley: Say no to censorship: Read a banned book
    • Bombay HC issues notice to government, Online censorship a reality soon?
    • PIL Seeks Regulation Of Web Content ‘Cause Indians Are Now Addicted To Censorship
    • Censorship undermines democracy
    • Bombay HC Issues Notice to I&B Ministry After PIL Demands Censorship of Online Shows
    • Internet freedom: What will censorship mean for entertainment on the web?
    • Twitter’s conservative alternative, Gab, hit by censor twits

      One of the most frequently wondered questions in this whole social media censorship of conservatives’ debate coursing through our nation, all the way to Congress, is why the ideological right can’t create an Internet-based community of its own, one that bypasses the libs at Facebook and Twitter and Google — one that offers First Amendment-like freedoms to all, as founders intended.

      Well, Gab.com did just that. Gab is the conservative alternative to Twitter. But now Gab is being attacked for its free-thinking atmosphere and getting hit where it hurts the most: on its fiscal bottom line.

    • The US military’s vision for state censorship

      In March, the United States Special Operations Command, the section of the Defense Department supervising the US Special Forces, held a conference on the theme of “Sovereignty in the Information Age.” The conference brought together Special Forces officers with domestic police forces, including officials from the New York Police Department, and representatives from technology companies such as Microsoft.

      This meeting of top military, police and corporate representatives went unreported and unpublicized at the time. However, the Atlantic Council recently published a 21-page document summarizing the orientation of the proceedings. It is authored by John T. Watts, a former Australian Army officer and consultant to the US Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security.


      In other words, the rise of uncensored social media allowed small groups with ideas that correspond to those of the broader population to challenge the political narrative of vested interests on an equal footing, without the “professional gatekeepers” of the mainstream print and broadcast media, which publicizes only a pro-government narrative.

      When “radical and extremist views” and “incorrect ideas” are “broadcast over social media, they can even influence the views of people who would not otherwise be sympathetic to that perspective,” Watts warns. “When forwarded by a close friend or relation, false information carries additional legitimacy; once accepted by an individual, this false information can be difficult to correct.”

      People must be isolated, in other words, from the “incorrect” ideas of their friends and family, because such ideas are “difficult to correct” by the state once disseminated.

    • Censorship-busting Intra app shows the duplicity of Google
    • Google’s Intra app secures older Androids with encrypted DNS

      If you agree that it’s high time that all Domain Name System (DNS) queries were encrypted to boost user privacy, two things Google has done in recent weeks will come as good news.

      The first was the inclusion of a rapidly-emerging IETF DNS encryption standard called DNS over TLS (DoT) as a default setting in the latest Android 9 ‘Pie’, released in August.

      The second arrived yesterday when Alphabet subsidiary Jigsaw (formerly Google Ideas) released a new app called Intra that allows Android users not running 9 (i.e. almost everyone) to get their hands on the same security technology but using a close cousin of DNS over TLS called DNS over HTTPS (DoH).

    • V&A Exhibition Presents a History of Censorship in the Arts in Britain

      The Victoria and Albert Museum’s exhibition Censored! Stage, Screen, Society at 50 explores censorship in the arts and freedom of expression in creative spaces as it marks 50 years since the Theatres Act 1968 came into force, abolishing censorship in the theatre.

      It might be difficult to imagine now, but between 1737 and 1968 no play could be staged without first being approved by the Lord Chamberlain – the most senior member of the Royal household.

    • Cooler Lumpur organisers dismayed by bar against film screening

      Organisers for Southeast Asia’s first festival of ideas Cooler Lumpur Festival @ Publika expressed disappointment with the new government for retaining the ban on Amir Muhammad’s Lelaki Komunis Terakhir movie imposed by predecessors.

      Programme director A. Umapagan told Malay Mail the decision denied Malaysians in the supposed “New Malaysia” the opportunity to watch the “semi-musical documentary” that he also described as a “road trip movie”.

      “It’s a really fun movie, yes I am disappointed (it was not allowed to be screened) because it’s part musical and Amir wrote these songs hilarious songs tying in each segment.

    • Authorities shoot down Cooler Lumpur bid to screen ‘Lelaki Komunis Terakhir’

      The government has rejected the proposal by organisers to show the banned Lelaki Komunis Terakhir movie at the ongoing Cooler Lumpur festival.

      In a letter shared online by organiser Umapagan Ampikaipakan, a Film Censorship Board official said the ban previously enforced in 2006 remained in effect.

      “As such, in line with the prohibition, you are hereby informed that the screening of Lelaki Komunis Terakhir is not allowed,” the official with the Home Ministry division said.

      On October 3, the festival’s organisers conveyed their ambition to show the movie by local filmmaker Amir Muhammad.

    • Censorship Board: Ban on Amir Muhammad’s Lelaki Komunis Terakhir still on

      A planned screening of the movie Lelaki Komunis Terakhir at a local festival will not be taking place after all.

      The organisers of the Cooler Lumpur Festival said in a Facebook post that the Film Censorship Board (LPF) sent them a notice informing them that the original ban from 12 years ago still stood and they were prohibited from screening it.

      The letter dated Oct 5 was sent to the Festival Director Hardesh Singh and was signed by LPF secretary Yusniza Yusuf.

      The movie, written and directed by filmmaker Amir Muhammad, was originally approved to be screened without cuts in 2006, but its public screening was overruled by the Home Ministry at the time due to objections over “sensitivity”.

    • Writing censorship

      Things are not normal for independent media in this country. Journalists in particular are feeling the pressure as their write-ups are either being withheld or edited for reasons other than ‘professional work’. Why are newspapers forced to cut down their pages including their opinion page if things are normal and democracy functional? Why are channels going ‘off air’ without even the knowledge of PEMRA or Information Ministry? What new laws are on the anvil to ‘regulate’ media? What new tactic is being adopted to exert pressure on ‘dissent’?

      With up to 20,000 workers, why does the media looks so weak today compared to the past when they were numerically much less but strong in commitment?

      Old tactics have changed. They now have been replaced by new ones where professionalism will die a natural death and media houses will be financially crippled. The worst victim of the present crisis would be ‘truth’ besides journalists, media workers and journalism as a profession.

    • What’s Next For Europe’s Internet Censorship Plan?

      Last month, a key European vote brought the EU much closer to a system of universal mass censorship and surveillance, in the name of defending copyright.

      Members of the EU Parliament voted to advance the new Copyright Directive, even though it contained two extreme and unworkable clauses: Article 13 (“Censorship Machines”) that would filter everything everyone posts to online platforms to see if matches a crowdsourced database of “copyrighted works” that anyone could add anything to; and Article 11 (“The Link Tax”), a ban on quote more than one word from an article when linking to them unless you are using a platform that has paid for a linking license. The link tax provision allows, but does not require, member states to create exceptions and limitations to protect online speech.

      With the vote out of the way, the next step is the “trilogues.” These closed-door meetings are held between representatives from European national governments, the European commission, and the European Parliament. This is the last time the language of the Directive can be substantially altered without a (rare) second Parliamentary debate.

      Normally the trilogues are completely opaque. But Julia Reda, the German MEP who has led the principled opposition to Articles 11 and 13, has committed to publishing all of the negotiating documents from the Trilogues as they take place (Reda is relying on a recent European Court of Justice ruling that upheld the right of the public) to know what’s going on in the trilogues).

    • Campus censorship is Stalinist, says Oxford professor Nigel Biggar

      The hounding of an Oxford University professor who dared to suggest that there were some good elements to the British Empire shows a worrying slide towards Stalinism on campuses, it was claimed yesterday.

      Nigel Biggar, the regius professor of moral and pastoral theology who has launched an Ethics and Empire project, said that there had been a disturbing response to his comments about Britain’s “morally mixed” colonial past. He said yesterday that colleagues had shunned him while one who was supportive of his views said that he could not be seen “consorting” with him because his career would be damaged.

    • CPI(M) Newspaper Moves Court Challenging Its Registration Cancellation

      Daily Desher Katha, a mouthpiece of Tripura unit of the CPI(M), has filed a writ petition in the Tripura High Court challenging the decision of the Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI) to cancel the newspaper’s registration, the Bengali daily’s editor Samir Paul said today.

      In a letter on October 1, the RNI said the publication of the daily was being suspended. It cited “unauthorised change of ownership” as the reason behind the step.

      “We filed the writ petition in the high court on Saturday. We are waiting for the petition to be admitted for hearing in the high court. We challenged the decision of the RNI to withdraw our registration,” Paul told reporters.

      District magistrate of West Tripura Sandeep Namdeo Mahatme had said the newspaper was found to have violated several sections of the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867.

    • APUWJ supports Desher Katha, protests cancellation of RNI licence
    • Tripura CPI (M) mouthpiece challenges RNI decision to cancel registration, moves High Court
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Former NSA deputy is Mattis’ choice to head spy service if it splits from Cyber Command
    • Former NSA deputy is Mattis’s leading choice to head the spy service if it splits from Cyber Command
    • New Yorkers sue over new Presidential Alert system

      Three New Yorkers have filed suit against President Donald Trump and the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, seeking to halt Presidential Alert notifications.

      “Plaintiffs are American citizens who do not wish to receive text messages, or messages of any kind, on any top or subject, from defendant Trump,” the lawsuit reads. Trump’s “rise to power was faciliated by weaponized disinformation that he broadcast into the public information sphere via Twitter in addition to traditional mass media.”

    • Snowden Claims Mass Spying Via ‘Presidential Alert’ System
    • Edward Snowden questions ‘Presidential Alert’ test: ‘How else might it be used?’

      Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor responsible for leaking evidence of the U.S. government’s vast surveillance abilities, has scrutinized the nationwide “Presidential Alert” test that sent messages to millions of cellphones Wednesday.

      Mr. Snowden took to Twitter following the Trump administration’s inaugural test of the “Presidential Alert” feature to raise questions involving the government’s ability to simultaneously reach most of the United States.

      “All our lives dangle at the end of a wire. Ask yourself: who controls it? How else might it be used?” Mr. Snowden wrote to his 3.8 million Twitter followers.

    • Facebook to Circumvent Cross-Site Tracking Block with New First-Party Cookie

      acebook follows Google’s and Microsoft’s example and will implement a new first-party cookie to bypass the blocking measures put in place by Apple and Mozilla in their Safari and Firefox web browsers, according to a Marketing Land report.
      The developers of both Safari and Firefox added automated blocking of cross-site tracking, with Apple introducing Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) to hinder advertisers from using third-party trackers to monitor users’ while browsing the web,

      Mozilla also decided to remove all cookies used by third-party trackers and completely disable their access to the browser’s storage in an effort to respond to their users’ frustration regarding ad retargeting.

      First-party cookies are cookies created by websites on their visitors’ computers for tracking their activity on the website and for enabling extra functionality such as enabling the users to use the website’s store.

    • Did Facebook Learn Anything From the Cambridge Analytica Debacle?

      The seriousness of Facebook’s most recent data breach ranks it among one of the most egregious in the history of Silicon Valley. A weakness in Facebook’s code allowed hackers to gain access into other people’s accounts, and potentially control not only the Facebook profiles but any services that those users logged into using Facebook — Instagram, Spotify and Tinder, for example.

      The breach originated from three bugs in Facebook’s code. At least one was introduced over a year ago; it’s still not clear when the other two became part of the code. [...]

    • The 4th OpenPGP Email Summit, October 2018

      Thus, you’re very welcome to join us if you are working in the area of

      technical details
      for sending encrypted emails
      with OpenPGP
      in a project or product

    • Feds to judge: We still think we can put GPS trackers on cars entering US

      Such an assertion comes over a month after a federal judge recently told the Department of Justice that such a practice—at least in one drug-trafficking case—is unconstitutional. His decision is based on a landmark 2012 Supreme Court ruling involving GPS tracking, known as Jones.

      Prosecutors had claimed that installing such a tracker was valid under the “border doctrine” exception to the Fourth Amendment, which finds that limited, warrantless searches at the border are allowed. US District Judge Jesus G. Bernal disagreed in an August 24, 2018 ruling.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Columbia University Postdocs Vote to Unionize

      More than 2,000 postdocs at Columbia supported the move, aligning them with thousands of students, postdocs, and research and teaching assistants pushing for unionization across the country.

    • Columbia postdoctoral researchers vote to unionize

      The union announced the vote by the postdocs Thursday and urged the Ivy League University “to move swiftly toward bargaining.”

      The move comes months after the university said it would not bargain with the graduate students who voted for union representation in 2016.

    • Reality Winner Claims Bureau Of Prisons Is Mishandling Classified Information By Sharing With Guards

      One of the main reasons former NSA contractor Reality Winner accepted a plea deal was that the government would never allow her defense team to declassify certain classified information and present those details to a jury. Yet, days ago, as she was about to be transported to a county jail, some of that classified information was lying out in the open with no markings whatsoever.

      Winner was charged with violating the Espionage Act after she mailed a copy of a classified report from the NSA on alleged Russian hacking of voter registration systems to the Intercept. She accepted a plea deal on June 26 and was sentenced to five years and three months in prison on August 23, which was the longest sentence ever for a person accused of an unauthorized disclosure.

      She was detained at the Lincolnton County Detention Center for well over a year and was supposed to be at Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, by the end of September. But the Federal Bureau of Prisons has yet to process Winner and send her to Carswell.

      Winner arrived at a federal transfer center in Oklahoma City, where she expected to be processed before she was moved to Carswell. However, the BOP was apparently not ready for her so she was put in a transport vehicle and taken to Grady County Jail in Chickasha, Oklahoma.

    • Missing Saudi Journalist Once a Voice of Reform in Kingdom

      Now the 59-year-old journalist and contributor to The Washington Post is feared dead, and Turkish authorities believe he was slain inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, something Saudi officials vehemently deny.

    • Saudi Arabia’s repression reaches Istanbul

      But murdering a critic abroad would be a chilling escalation, a tactic previously used by despots like Saddam Hussein and Muammar Qaddafi, who used their embassies in London to terrorise exiles. If the allegations are true, it is an unmistakable, brutal message to Saudi dissidents: the state can reach you anywhere. Other Arabs have heard it, too. One Syrian activist in Europe says he’s scrapped a planned trip to his own embassy.

    • “Preplanned Murder”: Turkey Says 15-Member Saudi Hit Team Murdered Journalist Inside Consulate

      In a shocking twist to an already mysterious and bizarre saga, Turkish investigators say they believe that prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after he entered on routine business four days ago.

    • Turkish police suspect Saudi journalist Khashoggi was killed at consulate: Reports

      Turkish authorities suspect that missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared four days ago after entering Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, was killed inside the consulate, two Turkish sources told Reuters on Saturday.

      “The initial assessment of the Turkish police is that Mr Khashoggi has been killed at the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul. We believe that the murder was premeditated and the body was subsequently moved out of the consulate,” one of the sources, a Turkish official, said.

      A senior Turkish police source told MEE that Khashoggi had been “brutally tortured, killed and cut into pieces. Everything was videotaped to prove the mission had been accomplished and the tape was taken out of the country”.

    • Boise Police Department launches new drone program

      The Boise Police Department spent the last year preparing to add drones to their toolbox to keep the public safe and also its officers.

      The department purchased four drones at a price of around $2,000 a piece that includes the drone and all the equipment that comes with it, they also have four pilots who have received FAA certification to fly the drones.

      The tool that it is for us that benefits our officer’s safety and the mission of the police department I think is well worth the investment that we made,” said CPT. Ron Winegar of the Boise Police Department.

    • How the New Democrats Could End the Drone Wars

      One spring during the Obama administration, I sat with a group of Yemeni farmers in Sana’a. I’d contacted them after a U.S. drone flying over the village of al-Sabool struck a bus full of shoppers, killing twelve civilians. One of the farmers, Abdullah, told me how he’d rushed to the scene to find his neighbors, grievously wounded, struggling out of the wreckage. He carried survivors to hospital.

      A man reached into his pocket and pulled up a grainy video on his phone. Together we watched the aftermath of the attack. The shell of a Land Cruiser was aflame. A woman’s charred remains had fused to those of her ten-year-old daughter in her lap. Her surviving son, Ahmed, told me he’d only recognized his sister from a clump of her hair. My colleague stepped out of the room to vomit.

      Beyond the ashen bodies, one image from the farmer’s video stayed with me: a semicircle of men, all holding glowing smartphones, filming the wreckage.

      During the Obama years, these videos became the local equivalent of American videos of police shootings. The viral images came, for Yemenis, to symbolize the brutality and incompetence of American drone policy.

    • Brett Kavanaugh Has Lied His Way Onto the Supreme Court

      The House has a duty to do what the Senate has failed to do: investigate this shameful jurist and hold him to account.

    • Facebook’s head of public policy is supporting the Kavanaugh nomination, and some employees are livid

      The C suite seems to have been annoyed by Kaplan’s attendance, but was initially dismissive of employees’ concerns.

    • Wippl Publishes Journal Article on the “CIA’s Dilemma”

      Boston University, wrote a recent journal article entitled “CIA’s Dilemma: A World Divided Between Countries With a Rule of Law and Those Without One.“


      Wippl is a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer. He spent a 30 year career as an operations officer in the National Clandestine Service (NCS). Wippl has served overseas as an operations officer and operations manager in Bonn, West Germany; Guatemala City; Luxembourg; Madrid, Spain; Mexico City; Vienna, Austria; and Berlin, Germany.

    • Citizens’ report shines light on NC role in CIA torture program

      When the U.S government betrays American values, what is the best response? It’s Americans standing up for those values. When that stops happening, the nation – or at least the moral, honest, humane nation we know – stops existing.

      Fortunately for America, a persistent and uncompromising group in North Carolina has insisted that the government acknowledge its violation of American values and make amends regarding the use of rendition and torture after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

      That group refuses to forget what the Bush and Obama administrations hoped would disappear under claims of self-defense or a desire to move on. When the government wouldn’t take action to address its own offenses, these citizens formed their own 10-member investigative panel, the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture.

    • The Government Is Blacklisting People Based on Predictions of Future Crimes

      Imagine: You’ve never been charged with any crime, yet the government blacklists you as a terrorism threat and bans you from flying indefinitely. You’re separated from family members, can’t get to weddings or funerals or religious obligations, and lose jobs because you can’t travel or your employer finds out you’re blacklisted.

      You know what the government has done violates your constitutionally protected ability to travel and to be free from false stigma. You have rights — the Constitution guarantees due process. So you ask the government for its reasons and evidence, as well as a live hearing to establish your credibility and innocence. In response, the government says it put you on the No Fly List because it predicts that you might commit a violent terrorism act in the future, but it won’t tell you all the reasons why or give you any evidence or the hearing you seek.

    • Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation isn’t democracy. It’s a judicial coup

      Mitch McConnell and his ilk must be delighted: they’ve waged a decades-long campaign to stack the courts with conservative ideologues

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Apple and manufacturers: Qualcomm can’t demand “billions in royalties” while ducking patent-specific claims

      Those seeking to monetize their standard-essential patents (SEPs) very aggressively–such as “Qualwei” (Qualcomm and Huawei), Ericsson, Nokia, or InterDigital–always want to be paid on the basis of some imaginary portfolio value while avoiding concrete, patent-specific decisions altogether or asserting particular patents only for the purpose of gaining unfair leverage in the form of injunctive relief.

      If Judge William H. Orrick hadn’t enjoined Huawei, it might sooner or later have abused its Chinese SEP injunctions in order to force Samsung to submit to an arbitration process on unfair premises. Qualcomm isn’t presently asserting SEPs, but it’s trying to enforce non-SEPs, an effort that has dealt the dominant baseband chipset maker setbacks in the ITC as well as Germany.

      In its original complaint against Qualcomm in the Southern District of California (filed in January 2017), Apple included declaratory judgment claims (non-infringement, invalidity, and exhaustion) relating to nine Qualcomm patents. In June 2017, Apple amended its complaint and added claims relating to nine more Qualcomm patents. In November 2017, Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel agreed with Qualcomm that there hadn’t been any sufficiently clear threats (such as product-specific infringement allegations in the form of claim charts) over those second-round patents, and granted a related motion to dismiss. It was a threshold question that could also have been decided the other way, but the judge, at the time, expressed concern that countless patent-related claims could otherwise be added to that case. But, at any rate, all claims over the first round of patents remained in the case.

      Three weeks ago, Qualcomm filed a motion to dismiss Apple and its contract manufacturers’ (Foxconn and others) declaratory-judgment claims over the first round of nine patents. As I noted in last year’s post on Apple’s amended complaint, it was already highly unusual that Qualcomm didn’t bring infringement counterclaims. Such counterclaims are compulsory, so by not bringing them, Qualcomm deprived itself of any future opportunity (in this case or in any other) to enforce those patents against Apple. Patent holders very rarely do so. Qualcomm argued in its motion that “resolution of claims regarding nine patents will not further resolution of the parties’ broader licensing dispute concerning Qualcomm’s portfolio of more than 130,000 issued patents and patent applications worldwide,” and pointed to a letter it sent to Apple and the contract manufacturers right before filing the motion, according to which Qualcomm “unconditionally and irrevocably covenant[ed] to refrain from making any claim(s) or demand(s) against Apple or the CMs [...] under the patent laws of the United States, relating to any claim of the Patents-in-Suit [...]“. Qualcomm described this covenant as “broad and unrestricted,” but Apple and its contract manufacturers disagree: in their opposition (filed on Friday) to Qualcomm’s motion, they say this covenant is to narrow to put any dispute over those patents aside, given that Qualcomm

    • Texas Ethics Committee: Unethical to Consult with Potential Expert When Purpose is not to Hire but to Disqualify

      The committee was asked if a lawyer could disclose confidential information to a person where there was no substantial purpose other than to preclude the other side from hiring the expert, and held “no.” Tex. St. B. Prof. Eth. Comm. Op. 676 (Aug. 2018) (here).

    • Nintendo patents a case that transforms your phone into a Game Boy
    • Nintendo Patents a Game Boy Phone Case
    • Nintendo Has Patented A Game Boy Casing For Touchscreen Devices
    • Nintendo Patents Functional Game Boy Cover For Smartphones
    • Nintendo Patent Turns Your Phone Into a Game Boy
    • Nintendo patents Game Boy cover for smart devices
    • Irreconcilable discrepancies between Huawei’s inbound and outbound patent licensing offers

      Samsung used to seek remedies over SEPs that I consistently disagreed with. I viewed their litigation tactics far more favorable when they dropped the related claims against Apple and even joined pro-FRAND organizations. Same with Google, by the way, but since it divested Motorola Mobility and contributed to an LTE patent pool, it’s probably not going to be active again as a SEP enforcer in the foreseeable future.

      If Huawei were a person, the diagnosis would be schizophrenia. Sorry to say so about one of my two favorite Android brands. According to Wall Street rumors, Huawei is (thankfully) part of the rebellion against Qualcomm. Just a couple of days ago, the FTC pointed to a 20-year-old Qualcomm filing that took the very opposite position on the FRAND licensing of rival chipset makers as Qualcomm is taking now. In Huawei’s case, we’re not talking about two decades in between. What we’re seeing unfold here are parallel cases (Huawei’s litigation with Samsung in the U.S. and China, and in parallel, PanOptis’ litigation against Huawei in the U.S. and Germany, which provoked a Huawei countersuit in China for the purpose of a FRAND determination). It’s like Huawei has to wear a different hat every 20 days, and at times every 20 hours, than change positions over the course of 20 years.

    • Trademarks

      • Does FEYONCÉ blur BEYONCÉ’s distinctiveness?

        The defendants started selling merchandise using the brand name FEYONCÉ, as well as some phrases from Beyoncé’s songs. Their products were targeted at the engaged to be married … that is fiancés. The items were sold through the website feyonceshop.com, as well as etsy.com.

        The defendants had even tried to obtain US trade mark registrations, but the USPTO refused them on grounds of confusing similarities with the registered BEYONCÉ trade mark.

    • Copyrights

      • Japanese court finds copyright infringement on choreographies of Hula dance

        In Japan, there have not been many copyright infringement cases on choreography, though Japanese copyright law exemplifies “dance works” as an example of copyrighted works.

        On September 20 2018, Osaka District Court issued an injunction against the use of the plaintiff’s choreographies for the following five songs and awarded approx. JPY 430,000 (approx. USD 3,900) in damages, in a copyright (right of performance) infringement case brought by a master teacher in the art of Hula (Kumu Hula) residing in Hawaii, Kapu Alquiza, against Kyushu Hawaiian Association. (You can read the decision in Japanese.)

      • Ninth Circuit Vacates and Remands ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Copyright Case Over Erroneous and Prejudicial Jury Instructions

        On Friday, September 28th, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion in Skidmore v. Led Zeppelin, which vacated-in-part a judgment out of the Central District of California that Led Zeppelin’s hit classic rock song “Stairway to Heaven” was not substantially similar to “Taurus,” a song written by the late songwriter Randy Wolfe, a member of the band Spirit. The case was remanded back to the district court after the appellate court found that certain instructions given by the district court to the jury were erroneous and prejudicial.

      • Canadian Music Group Proposes ‘Copyright Tax’ on Internet Use

        In Canada, there have been ongoing discussions and proposals about new levies and fees to compensate creators for ‘missed revenue.’ There have been calls to levy a tax on mobile devices such as iPhones, for example. This week the Screen Composers Guild of Canada took things up a notch, calling for a copyright levy on all broadband data use above 15 gigabytes per month.

      • MPAA Granted ‘Dynamic’ Pirate Site Blocking Order in Singapore

        The major studios of the MPAA have been granted a ‘dynamic injunction’ that will allow ISPs to thwart efforts by pirate sites to circumvent blocking orders. The Pirate Bay, KickassTorrents, Solarmovie, and dozens more sites are affected by the new ruling which was handed down by High Court in Singapore.

      • Received a Piracy Warning From Your ISP? Here’s What to Do

        Large numbers of Internet subscribers, mainly in the United States, have been taking to the Internet in recent months worried about piracy warnings sent to them by their ISPs. Despite much discussion of these online, questions continue to be asked. So, what should users do when they receive these scary emails?

      • MPAA and RIAA’s Megaupload Lawsuits Remain on Hold

        A federal court in Virginia has granted Megaupload’s request to keep the civil lawsuits filed by the music and movie companies on hold until April next year. Since all crucial data on Megaupload’s servers are safely preserved, the MPAA and RIAA have no objections against the stay, which is caused by slow progress in the criminal case.

The Federal Circuit Continues to ‘Lecture’ the Patent Office on Patent Scope and Limits, But Iancu Isn’t Listening

Posted in Law, Patents at 9:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Like a lighthouse in the Sodom and Gomorrah which is the patent litigation ‘industry’

Tall lighthouse

Summary: Director Iancu isn’t quite listening to what high courts are saying, instead choosing to cherry-pick cases based on whatever decisions suit him and his cronies, including patent maximalists with prominent blogs

THE USPTO had been recaptured by patent maximalists, but this merely resulted in greater divergence from SCOTUS, which had set or had been responsible for much of 35 U.S.C. § 101, i.e. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) laws/rules/guidelines.

“Sadly, the district courts have not fully caught up (at least not yet) with SCOTUS; they’re more USPTO-friendly.”Regarding a case that we wrote about yesterday (a Federal Circuit (CAFC) case with Chief Judge Prost personally involved) Watchtroll said this yesterday:

The Federal Circuit recently issued a ruling reversing the district court’s denial of Apple Inc.’s (“Apple”) motion for judgment as a matter of law (“JMOL”) after finding no reasonable juror could have found infringement based on the evidence presented during the liability phase of trial. The decision erased an awarded over $234 million in damages to Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). The Court, however, affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment with respect to invalidity in favor of the patent owner. See Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation v. Apple Inc., Nos. 2017-2265, 2017-2380 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 28, 2018) (Before Prost, Chief Judge, Bryson and O’Malley, Circuit Judges) (Opinion for the court, Prost, Chief Judge).

One can expect a different judgment, likely the outcome being overturned (otherwise they would not pick the case). Sadly, the district courts have not fully caught up (at least not yet) with SCOTUS; they’re more USPTO-friendly. The same goes for Gene Quinn, who smeared the good Director (an actual scientist) at the USPTO in an effort to put someone like Iancu (litigation ‘industry’) in charge, no matter what courts keep saying. Days ago the “Patent Bar Exam” and After Final Consideration Pilot Program 2.0 (AFCP 2.0) were promoted by Quinn, who acts as little more than a megaphone of the USPTO:

Earlier today the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced that the After Final Consideration Pilot Program 2.0 (AFCP 2.0) would be extended until September 20, 2019. The decision to extend this popular and sensible program comes as no shock.

The USPTO is trying to broaden patent scope and increase the number of patents. They don’t seem to care about patent quality and some of them don’t even understand the department they preside over; leadership issues and non-technical management (appointed owing to nepotism rather than qualifications and experience) is an issue that even USPTO insiders (notably examiners) speak of. Not too long ago there was a very long downtime (over a week) and Iancu hardly even apologised for it, let alone explained the cause. Donald Zuhn spoke of the following technical change a few days ago:

The Office also announced the release of a migration tool, which allows existing PKI digital certificate holders to link their USPTO.gov accounts to their current PKI digital certificates. To migrate an existing PKI digital certificate, users must have a USPTO.gov account. Users who need to create a USPTO.gov account can do so by following the steps under the “Create a USPTO.gov Account” tab at the Office’s authentication change webpage. Once a USPTO.gov account has been created, users can follow the steps under the “Migrate your PKI Certificate” tab at the Office’s authentication change webpage (or refer to the Guide for Migration) to link that account to their PKI certificate. The Office notes that users should allow 1–2 business days after the migration steps are finished for the migration process to be completed. Once the process is completed, users will be able to sign into the EFS-Web or Private PAIR using their USPTO.gov account.

Way to distract from the fact that they had a very major meltdown only weeks ago and they never explained the cause and remedy.

Anyway, we continue to admire the Chief Judge of CAFC for her (and her colleagues’) insistence on the rule of law, based on caselaw and the Constitution rather than the financial interests of self-serving law firms. It might not be long before patent maximalists attempt to do to her what they had done to Michelle Lee until she was replaced by Iancu. These people probably want another ‘Rader’ back in CAFC; they used to try to make him USPTO Director (even after he had been entangled in scandals, serving law firms rather than justice).

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Under Andrei Iancu Subjected to an Assault on Patent Quality

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 2:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Even scholarly journals are being ‘infiltrated’ by the litigation giants

Andrei Iancu

Summary: Donald Trump has let the litigation industry 'govern' itself at the USPTO; all it has accomplished so far is even greater divergence between USPTO determinations and those of actual courts (which means that the USPTO does not follow the law, there’s a state of lawlessness)

THE USPTO isn’t coping with demand for patent quality. Instead it’s trying to cope with demand for patents; the more, the merrier?

Emulation patents by Sony have been mentioned a lot on Sunday [1, 2, 3] and Apple patent propaganda sites which treat every patent from Apple like it’s the digital “second coming” celebrated a patent application on user interface navigation just a few hours ago. It sounds like another bunch of software patents ascribed to a “device”. What gives? When will we see a patent office that prioritises public interest rather than massive corporations like Sony and Apple? Who does this office really serve? It obviously doesn’t help that its new Director comes from the litigation ‘industry’.

“It obviously doesn’t help that its new Director comes from the litigation ‘industry’.”We don’t suppose patent lawyers like Techrights and we’re fine with that. We don’t try to collectively or personally insult them, we just make our observations based on the premise that patents were created (came into existence centuries ago) for the purpose of science, not just the purpose of litigation. Some patent lawyers are honest people — sometimes honest enough to the point of abandoning the occupation. Some people go the other way. Our general advice to patent lawyers, especially in the current climate, is get a real job, people, create something rather than “facilitate litigation” with threatening letters and legal attacks that are costly to both sides (those who actually create things). World Intellectual Property Review published the following some days ago:

Baltzer’s practice focuses on patent litigation in the fields of biotechnology, electronics, and data processing systems.

Many data processing systems are purely software-defined now, hence the underlying patents would be software patents. How about this from World Intellectual Property Review (same day more or less)? It’s about a man who used to write software but nowadays attacks (or contrariwise defends) coders with/from patent litigation through his new employer. Who needs this nonsense? “He has more than two decades of experience in patent law,” it says, “having spent 16 years at Seed IP and five years at Perkins Coie. Before practising law, he worked as a software engineer for six years.”

So he moved from actually creating software to litigating over software. What a failure.

“So he moved from actually creating software to litigating over software. What a failure.”Unfortunately, many people out there think that this is acceptable. They’re being brainwashed. Here we have “Recent U.S. Court Decisions and Developments Affecting Licensing” by John Paul and D. Brian Kacedon. Patent maximalists from Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP are writing ‘scholarly’ papers by which to push their agenda, which is financial (lawsuits). So even journals, not just the media, get taken over by the litigation ‘industry’. Over at Washington Law Review, which one might expect to target lawyers, another evidence of such a thing emerges. “Legislators and industry leaders claim that patent strength in the United States has declined,” they claim, but this is nonsense! Those ‘industry’ ‘leaders’ are law firms that want more lawsuits!

Guess who wrote this paper; it’s law firms pushing ‘scholarly’ papers loaded with lies. It’s Steven Udick (Skiermont Derby LLP) helped by Gregory Day (University of Georgia – C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry College of Business). They suggest “Offshoring Patent Law” in their title! As in sending it to Iancu or law firms’ interests? Letting the executive become legislator too? From the abstract:

Legislators and industry leaders claim that patent strength in the United States has declined, causing firms to innovate in foreign countries. However, scholarship has largely dismissed the theory that foreign patents have any effect on where firms invent, considering that patent law is bound by strict territorial limitations (as a result, one cannot strengthen their patent protection by innovating abroad). In essence, then, industry leaders are deeply divided from scholarship about whether innovative firms seek out jurisdictions offering stronger patent rights, affecting the rate of innovation.

This is just think tank-type propaganda disguised as academic paper. Check the authors’ affiliation. Things have gotten so bad that these law firms not only dominate public/private forums but also the media (Web, TV etc.) and literature. Patent Docs has just advertised another ‘think tank’ of the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), a front group that lobbies the above people for software patents. Patent Docs also mentioned this from the USPTO:

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will be offering the next webinar in its Patent Quality Chat webinar series from 12:00 to 1:00 pm (ET) on October 9, 2018.

A “Patent Quality Chat” (all capitalised) does not ensure quality; it’s like Battistelli's "Working Party on Quality," which is a "Ministry of Truth"-type of façade.

Patent quality is something that the USPTO under its new Director does not care about; he actively tries to lower quality, seeing that the number of granted patents declined this year (not just the number of patent lawsuits). Guess by which yardstick lawyers measure their “performance”, unlike judges?

When It Comes to Patent Quality António Campinos Might be Even Worse Than Benoît Battistelli

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Scraping the bottom of the barrel to fake ‘growth’ (number of patents, not innovation or market expansion)

António Campinos as wolf
António Campinos in sheep clothing

Summary: The lack of genuine interest in the quality of European Patents is perhaps a greater threat to the whole of Europe — if not the whole world — than well-documented human rights abuses and corruption inside the Office; António Campinos has shown no interest in improving patent quality as he denies such a problem even exists and he reduces transparency

THE promotion of software patents in Europe by the EPO is something that has definitely increased under António Campinos. We wrote about this many times before. The difference is very notable. Never under Battistelli was such promotion of software patents in Europe so frequent.

“Never under Battistelli was such promotion of software patents in Europe so frequent.”Last night Kluwer Patent Blog anonymously published this piece about “the first hundred days of EPO president António Campinos” and to quote some bits from it:

Despite the positive signs in the first hundred days, it is clear that Campinos will still have to show what his ambitions and abilities are. This blogger found it was very hard to get information from EPO employees. Under Article 19 of the Service Regulations, they don’t feel free to say anything about their work because it can lead to all kinds of sanctions. The climate of fear has not disappeared. It means that despite the new president’s invitation to speak out, people may be reluctant to do so.

In this respect: it seemed such an improvement that the president opened his blogposts for comments. But not one single reaction has appeared online. This cannot be because nobody has an opinion about the EPO, can it? It would certainly help Campinos’ ambition to hear what people have to say about his organisation, if comments were published below his blogposts or, at least, it was clear what happens with them.


A very questionable case which is still pending as well concerns Patrick Corcoran, an Irish board of appeal member who was suspended in December 2014 on suspicion of having distributed defamatory material about the EPO upper management. No less than three and a half years later the ILOAT ruled that Corcoran should be immediately reinstated in his former post (see here and here) and the Landgericht München acquitted Mr. Corcoran of all charges. However, as his term at the Boards of Appeal was almost over and was not extended by the Administrative Council, Mr. Corcoran was effectively hindered to resume his work as an appeal board member and was demoted to become examiner again. On top of that, Battistelli decided to have Corcoran transferred to another specially created post in The Hague, where the judge had never lived, which meant one additional significant and unwarranted hardship for him.

These cases are widely considered as a darker part of the legacy of former EPO president Benoit Battistelli. If António Campinos deals with these in a way which is seen as appropriate and correct, this will certainly strengthen the cautiously positive first impression the new EPO president made in his first hundred days.

There’s no doubt that when it comes to staff relations, at the very least, Campinos has been vastly better than Battistelli. That’s because he hasn’t done or even said that much. Campinos has thus been no worse than a lamppost, either. In that regard, transparency at the EPO actually decreased under Campinos and layoffs aren’t being talked about (not even the longterm hiring freeze). There’s not much of a dialogue or a communications channel. It took Campinos several months to just meet staff representatives. Campinos believes that in order to avoid conflict he needs to avoid talking or, failing that, he should 'politely' gag those who speak out. It’s called “soft power”; he’s a “brutal(ly honest) gentleman”. Like the leadership of China, which employs very similar tricks (reducing transparency and quelling dissent proactively)…

“There’s no doubt that when it comes to staff relations, at the very least, Campinos has been vastly better than Battistelli. That’s because he hasn’t done or even said that much.”Speaking of China and patent quality, mind Sunday’s post from Watchtroll’s Paul Morinville about his software patents, which the US gave up on (unlike China, which explicitly permits these). “In recent years,” he claimed, “the U.S. government has gutted the U.S. patent system. For small inventors like me, the U.S. patent system no longer works. There are no longer contingent fee attorneys or Angel investors willing to fund startups, so my patents and the patents of so many like me just languish. And since patents are a wasting asset, the clock runs on the patent’s term, which eventually make even breakthrough and groundbreaking patented innovations completely worthless.”

He’s just complaining because his patents are software patents. Those weren’t of value anyway; the USPTO should never have granted these.

Unfortunately, under Campinos, buzzwords like “AI” or “4IR” are being publicly boasted as means by which to patent software. Every seemingly-clever algorithms can be ‘dressed up’ as “AI”, so it’s clearly just a loophole they’re creating. Even patents on life itself are being granted under Campinos. He has done nothing on the matter. Nothing.

“This is just wrong as it perpetuates patent maximalism and greed rather than justice.”Remember a firm called Asha Nutrition/person called Urvashi Bhagat at the EPO? This was recalled in relation to PTAB quite recently and four days ago Watchtroll entertained the person; Watchtroll says “Denying Patents on Discoveries Puts Public Health at Risk” (the headline), but patenting things that are required to save lives denies/limits access to those, putting far more lives at risk. Very shallow spin. Harvard, we might add, bragged about patenting life itself a few days ago. As for the EPO, it recently (earlier this month) dealt with patents on barley/beer. It didn’t invalidate these patents. Remember that, in light of the above-mentioned Patrick Corcoran affair, Campinos has done absolutely nothing to restore the independence of the Boards of Appeal; they’re still at his mercy as Office President. This is just wrong as it perpetuates patent maximalism and greed rather than justice.

In Spite of Campaigns Against It, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Squashes Software Patents by the Hundreds Per Month, Patent Maximalists Still Try to Stop It

Posted in America, Courtroom, Law, Patents at 12:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A reject bin

Summary: Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) achieve exactly what they were set out to do; those who view patent quality as a foe, however, aren’t happy and they still try to undermine PTAB IPRs by any means possible (or at least slow them down considerably)

PTAB IPRs have greatly contributed to much-needed decline/demise of patent litigation in the US. The USPTO can grant all the patents it wants, but without legal certainty (associated with such newly-granted patents) there will be no lawsuits.

PTAB does not invalidate every patent it’s petitioned to look into. Days ago there was a press release [1, 2] about an IPR from famed maker of ‘torture devices’, Axon (better — or worse — known as “TASER”). To quote:

In this latest instance, Axon asked the Patent Office to invalidate Digital’s U.S. Patent No. 9,712,730 (“the ‘730 Patent”), which is not currently involved in any active litigation. Axon targeted the ‘730 Patent for unknown reasons. On October 1, 2018, the Patent Office rejected Axon’s latest challenge finding that “[u]pon consideration of [Axon’s] Petition and [Digital’s] Preliminary Response, we conclude that the information presented in the Petition does not demonstrate that it is more likely than not at least one of the challenged claims is unpatentable. Accordingly, we do not institute a post-grant review.”

To date, Axon has filed an ex parte reexamination challenge, four different inter partes review (IPR) challenges, and one post-grant review challenge against various Digital Ally law enforcement patents. None were successful.

So PTAB isn’t quite the “death squad” patent extremists have called it. As IAM put it some days ago: [via]

Further data has emerged showing that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is far from the “death squad” that many in the US life sciences industries fear that it may be becoming.

A recent study by Harvard University’s Jonathan J Darrow and Aaron Kesselheim, and the University of Calgary’s Reed F. Beall – The Generic Drug Industry Embraces a Faster, Cheaper Pathway for Challenging Patents – analyses data on inter partes review proceedings since their inception, as well as information from the FDA’s Orange Book about the drugs whose patents have been the subject to administrative challenges.

Taking note of the Hatch-Waxman process (yes, Orrin Hatch), the CCIA’s Josh Landau wrote the following:

The first study was conducted by a pair of Harvard Medical School professors, as well as a professor at the University of Calgary. The Harvard study examined all pharmaceutical IPRs through April 2017.

The second study, by a recent Northwestern J.D., extended its dataset to all pharmaceutical IPRs over a 6 year period from March 2012 to March 2018.

Both drew similar conclusions regarding the success rate of pharmaceutical IPRs. Pharmaceutical IPRs are relatively rare, around 5% of all IPRs, and similarly to non-pharmaceutical patents, pharmaceutical IPRs usually relate to patents that are also being litigated in district court.

Looking beyond their frequency, pharmaceutical IPRs are quite different from the average IPR. While pharmaceutical IPRs are instituted at roughly similar rates to other IPRs, they are significantly less likely to find some or all claims invalid if they are instituted. Of the 134 distinct drugs (covered by 198 distinct patents) challenged in the Harvard study, only 44 drugs received at least one final written decision. And of those 44 drugs, only 18 (13%) had all of their claims invalidated—and even then, all but 2 of those drugs still had other patents protecting the drug.


Given that pharmaceutical IPRs are rare and generally less successful than other IPRs, the notion that the IPR system represents a serious threat to the Hatch-Waxman balance between new and generic drugs does not appear to be correct.

Instead, the IPR system appears to be mostly used to trim back the scope of follow-on patents that attempt to extend the original drug monopoly in order to make sure generics can enter once that original patent expires. This would appear to be completely consistent with the goals of Hatch-Waxman—ensuring that the original innovation is protected, but allowing for generics to efficiently provide that innovation after the original period of protection ends.

Given these recent studies, as well as others (such as the PTO’s Orange Book study), it does not appear to be necessary to modify the IPR process to accommodate the Hatch-Waxman process.

So, taking Hatch-Waxman (a process) into account, IPRs aren’t a reason for panic. Far from it. Even Watchtroll wrote about it. An article by Tulip Mahaseth was outlined by: “Out of the 230 Orange Book patents challenged in IPR proceedings, 90.4% (208) of these patents were also challenged in Hatch-Waxman litigation…”

We’re supposed to think, based on patent extremists, that PTAB just blindly squashes patents, but that’s far from true. It’s just that weak/weaker/weakest patents are being subjected to IPRs/challenges. That includes a lot of software patents.

“Number of abstract idea rejections decided at PTAB for August 2018 higher than ever,” Anticipat acknowledged some days ago, but this anti-PTAB site then looks for some spin on these facts. Just because software patents are being crushed in the US, partly owing to PTAB, doesn’t mean PTAB fails to do its job. Anticipat is then boosting talking points from Iancu's notorious speech, which was targeted at patent extremists (IPO). The bottom line is this however: “The PTAB decided 209 abstract idea rejections.” (in August alone)

Janal Kalis, a PTAB-hostile patent attorney (apparently retired), took note of the exception when he wrote: “The PTAB Reversed an Examiner’s 101 Rejection of Claims in an Oracle Patent Application: https://anticipat.com/pdf/2018-09-14_13315665_181761.pdf …”

Those are rare. PTAB usually agrees with examiners on rejections or disagrees with them on intent to grant.

“Capella Photonics Challenges Federal Circuit Practice of Judgments Without Opinions,” Watchtroll said last week. Well, PTAB slowdown by this method or in this fashion is an old trick. Rob Sterne, Jason D. Eisenberg, William H. Milliken and Tyler J. Dutton said: “The underlying Federal Circuit appeal arose from multiple Inter Partes Reviews of two Capella patents on fiber-optic communications systems.”

This slowdown was attempted by Dennis Crouch last year and the year before that. We occasionally mention that. He too resumes with this tactic, having published the following a few days ago:

LG v. Iancu, stems from an obviousness determination by the PTAB in its IPR of LG’s U.S. Patent No. 7,664,971. On appeal, LG argued that the PTAB had failed to explain its decision as required by the Administrative Procedures Act. In a silent commentary on the current state of patent law, the Federal Circuit has affirmed the PTAB decision without issuing any opinion or explanation for judgment.

The ’971 patent claims both an apparatus and method for controlling power to the cores of a multi-core processor. In its decision, the board gave an explanation for rejecting claim 1 (the apparatus), but not for the method claim 9.

Like the SAS (versus Iancu) case in SCOTUS, the goal is to complicate the rejection process and thus slow it down. The truth of the matter is, it takes a lot of time to prepare written rejections (or acceptance of challenges). They just need to be practical. Lawyers get to bill (charge) more when the process is further complicated, so it’s not hard to see their motivation as well. Yesterday they advertised this:

LexisNexis will be offering a CLE event on “How to Analyze Federal Circuit Opinions on Patent Law” on October 24, 2018 from 3:30 to 4:30 pm (ET) at The National Press Club in Washington, DC. Donald Chisum, the author of Chisum on Patents, will discuss how to analyze the opinions of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to assess their impact on patent law and practice, and will illustrate how to “deconstruct” sometimes opaque opinions using recent cases from 2018 as examples.

Even just to analyse written decisions they’d charge their clients. So decisions without opinion/text is to them (law firms) a threat. They’re trying to defang PTAB by all means possible, even still latching onto the RPX case that by extension impacts Unified Patents. “RPX (CVSG mentioned above) is the only case from the initial September conference that was not denied on the first round,” wrote Crouch the other day. Well, sadly for him, the Supreme Court won’t change patent scope any time soon and it probably won’t look into PTAB matters, either, having already decided on Oil States and SAS this past summer. Based on the list of upcoming patent cases, Section 101 is safe. Also mind the fact that PTAB too is safe, bar Smartflash LLC v Samsung Electronics America (although it doesn’t put IPRs themselves at risk/peril).

Crouch, still desperate to change things, brings up Berkheimer v HP (not much has changed since the case was decided at the Federal Circuit except Iancu’s empty rhetoric that lacks implications/ramifications for actual courts). Crouch’s promotion for briefs and public support (magnifying the impact of the case, irrespective of the outcome) is quite revealing, bearing his motivations in mind. Dennis Crouch is still trying to water down Section 101 so as to promote software patents for his beloved trolls and bullies:

Berkheimer v. HP Inc., 881 F.3d 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2018) is in my list of top-ten patent cases for 2018. In the decision, Judge Moore vacated a lower court summary judgment ruling on eligibility — holding that a “genuine issue of material fact” as to whether the claims are directed toward a transformative inventive concept rather than merely a “well-understood, routine, and conventional” application of an abstract idea. Thus, the decision gave some amount of respect to the traditional procedures associated with providing facts. Practically, this means that is should be more difficult to challenge patent eligibility on the pleadings or on summary judgment. Likewise, it means that examiners must do a bit more work to ‘prove’ the lack of eligibility.

Charles R. Macedo, Brian Comack, Christopher Lisiewski and James Howard (Watchtroll) have meanwhile complained about PTAB again; it’s about limiting IPR ‘access’ or ‘scope’ or “Appeal by a Non-defendant Petitioner in an IPR” (related to the RPX case above). To quote:

On Tuesday, September 18, 2018, Askeladden L.L.C. (“Askeladden”) filed an amicus brief supporting Appellant’s Petition for Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc in JTEKT Corp. v. GKN Automotive Ltd., No. 2017-1828 (Fed. Cir. 2018). See Patent Quality Initiative’s website for the full brief. This case raises the important question of whether the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“Federal Circuit”) can refuse to hear an appeal by a non-defendant petitioner from an adverse final written decision in an inter partes review (“IPR”) proceeding, on the basis of a lack of a patent-inflicted injury-in-fact, when Congress has statutorily created the right for “dissatisfied” parties to appeal to the Federal Circuit.

So to summarise, PTAB squashes software patents without negatively impacting other domains (contrary to mythology). Attempts to slow PTAB down include demonisation to that effect, claims that IPRs cannot be brought forth by the most prolific petitioners, attempts to force every decision to be accompanied with lots of texts and exhaustive check of all claims. And if that’s not enough, the challenges against Section 101 itself have not stopped. Those who profit from patent litigation are scrambling to secure software patents.

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