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10.30.18

Links 30/10/2018: System76 Hardware, Disco Dingo, New Fedora and RHEL

Posted in News Roundup at 3:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • System76 on US Manufacturing and Open Hardware

      We’ve been working on the Thelio design for about three years. The philosophy around Thelio’s design was fourfold. The design should reflect our company character and culture, the design must support the maximum performance of the fastest available components, be easy to service and upgrade, and must represent the open source roots of System76. Early on, there was a lot of testing and experimentation. We engineered prototyping techniques to quickly iterate on ideas, optimize performance and thermal characteristics, and develop a strategy to open source as much functionality as possible.

      Eventually we were ready to move from acrylic prototypes to metal. Then we tried finding factory space in Colorado. That was much harder than expected and it took a full year.

      We moved an eight-person engineering and operations team over in March of this year and the rest of the team a few months later. We began converting the design from prototype to production. At our facility, we take in US-sourced sheet metal, aluminum extrusions, and other raw materials. We use production machinery to cut it, bend it, powder coat, etch, and then assemble the parts together along the way to producing the final product. We use components that we source outside the US, like the motherboard, memory, and drives to assemble orders to the customers’ needs. Technically, Thelio is “Designed and manufactured in the US with domestic and foreign components”.

    • System76 Comments On Their Open-Source Hardware Plans & US Manufacturing

      System76 is finally announcing the Thelio system on Thursday with plans to begin shipping it in December. Ahead of that announcement they’ve clarified a bit around their US manufacturing and open-source hardware plans.

    • System76 shared some more details to clear up some questions about their open hardware manufacturing

      In their recent blog posts titled ‘System76 on US Manufacturing and Open Hardware’ the Linux hardware vendor shared some details and thoughts about what they’re up to.

      For those not up to speed, System76 will soon be putting up their new Thelio desktop computer for pre-order. This will be their first in-house production using a case they made themselves. It’s going to be quite exciting, so it’s good to get some details cleared up before the big reveal on November 1st.

      They’ve been working on the design of the Thelio system for three years, a lot longer than I originally thought. The actual design of the unit is made to offer “the maximum performance of the fastest available components” along with being easy to service and upgrade.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Episode 42 | This Week in Linux

      On this episode we cover the release of Linux 4.19, the Return of Linus Torvalds to the Linux kernel, the BIG news of IBM to Acquire Red Hat, the status update news for Solus, and the latest releases for Firefox, Teamviewer and Feren OS. We also take a look at some interesting new Hardware from System76, Pine64 and more. We haven’t had many gaming news the past couple of episodes so we’re fixing that with some awesome news for various Linux Gaming sales from Fanatical, Humble Bundle and Steam. Later in the show we’ll talk about some unfortunate security news from the X.Org project and we’ll have a follow up for the recent Microsoft Patent news. All that and much more!

  • Kernel Space

    • Pete Zaitcev: Where is Amazon?

      To begin with, as the statistics from the Linux Foundation’s 2016 report demonstrate, you have to be stark raving mad to leave Red Hat. If you do, Intel and AMD look interesting (hello, Alan Cox). IBM is not bad, although since yesterday, you don’t need to quit Red Hat to work for IBM anymore. Even Google, famous for being a black hole that swallows good hackers who are never heard from again, manages to put up a decent showing, Fuchsia or no. Facebook looks unimpressive (no disrespect to DaveJ intended).

      Now, the no-shows. Both of them hail from Seattle, WA: Microsoft and Amazon. Microsoft made an interesting effort to adopt Linux into its public cloud, but their strategy was to make Red Hat do all the work. Well, as expected. Amazon, though, is a problem. I managed to get into an argument with David “dwmw2″ Woodhouse on Facebook about it, where I brought up a somewhat dated article at The Register. The central claim is, the lack of Amazon’s contribution is the result of the policy rolled all the way from the top.

    • The Big Staging Pull Request Submitted With 44k Lines Of New Code, 16k Deletions

      Adding to the big list of changes for Linux 4.20~5.0 is a number of updates within the kernel’s staging area.

    • New /proc/pid/kill Interface Proposed For Killing Linux Processes

      A Google developer has proposed /proc/pid/kill as a new procfs-based kill interface for killing a process on Linux.

      With each process running on the system having their own /proc/PID directory, the patch proposal allows writing to /proc/PID/kill with a signal number to kill that process.

    • ARM Is Very Busy In The Next Kernel With A Lot For NVIDIA Tegra, Snapdragon 835 & More

      The pull requests adding new ARM chip/SoC support and various platforms/boards were merged on Monday evening. For this Linux 4.20 (or 5.0) kernel cycle there is a lot of new hardware support, especially among the popular ARM SBCs. NVIDIA Tegra upstreaming bits is also another big standout for this kernel.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Learn to Work with the Linux Command Line

        Open source software isn’t just proliferating within technology infrastructures around the world, it is also creating profound opportunities for people with relevant skills. Organizations of all sizes have reported widening skills gaps in this area. Linux tops the list as the most in-demand open source skill, according to the 2018 Open Source Jobs Report. With this in mind, In this article series, we are taking a closer look at one of the best new ways to gain open source and Linux fluency: the Introduction to Open Source Software Development, Git and Linux training course from The Linux Foundation.

    • Graphics Stack

      • RADV Vulkan Driver Lands Transform Feedback For Mesa 18.3

        As a big win for Radeon Linux gamers using the RADV and enjoying Steam Play (Proton) or Wine games and making use of the DXVK library, this open-source AMD Vulkan driver has merged support for transform feedback!

        With the latest Mesa 18.3-devel code as of today, the RADV driver now exposes VK_EXT_transform_feedback. This transform feedback extension was introduced recently to Vulkan (v1.1.88) as an unofficial option for wrappers like DXVK and VKD3D to provide Direct3D Stream-Out functionality on top of Vulkan. This transform feedback is similar to the OpenGL functionality so may also help out GL-over-Vulkan efforts too. The NVIDIA Vulkan beta driver for Linux has already supported this extension and RADV patches had been available since the extension debuted while today it was merged to Mesa master.

      • AMD Radeon RX 590 Leak Confirms The Use Of 12nm FinFET Process
      • Wayland’s Weston Gets A Remoting Plugin For Virtual Output Streaming

        While Wayland/Weston development might be lightening up a bit for now with Samsung OSG closing up shop and they being one of the major drivers in recent years to this stack, fortunately, other developers remain. Tomohito Esaki of IGEL endpoint management solutions has introduced a remoting plugin with output streaming for Weston.

      • AMD Raven 2 Support Might Land In Time For Mesa 18.3

        Prolific open-source AMD hacker Marek Olšák has sent out a revised patch enabling support for the yet-to-be-released Raven 2 APUs within the RadeonSI Gallium3D.

        Raven 2 is the new Raven Ridge APU while as previously covered there are also AMD Picasso APUs coming down the pipeline too.

        On the kernel side, the in-development Linux 4.20 kernel has both Raven 2 and Picasso APU support within the AMDGPU Direct Rendering Manager driver.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE apps – Any good?

        This is the most important application on the desktop. In this modern age, online connectivity is a must, and Web browsers are a portal into this big, chaotic online world. The default KDE browser is, depending on the interpretation, most likely, either Konqueror or Falkon. However you choose, it’s an nth incarnation of an idea that never quite caught on. Konqueror, rekonq, Qupzilla, Falkon, you name it. At some point in time, you must have seen or used some or all of these, alongside other browsers, and it’s quite likely you went with the more mainstream choice. in fact, KDE neon, Kubuntu, openSUSE and several other KDE desktops all ship Firefox as the default browser.

        Falkon is a reasonable product, but it’s sort of odd. There’s something about it that deters enthusiasm, and of course, it does not have any killer features over Firefox or Chrome. It feels like a mature product from an incomplete idea, or vice versa. It also does not have quite as much versatility as you’d expect from a Plasma product, and it doesn’t integrate as seamlessly into the desktop as either Firefox or Chrome do, both of which are non-native to the environment. Add plugins, extensions, overall speed and performance, plus stability, which was always odd for K browsers, and you get a game of diminishing returns.

      • Nextcloud Founder Frank Kalitschek awarded 20,000 euros — Donates prize to promote inclusiveness

        Frank Karlitschek, the founder of Nextcloud, has won the Reinhard von Koenig award and will be donating the winnings, amounting to € 20,000, to start a fund called “Nextcloud Include”.

        The fund, set up in collaboration with KDE e.V., wants to encourage diversity in open source. It aims to help underrepresented groups participate in the global Nextcloud community and foster an inclusive and diverse space where the community can continue to collaborate and develop world-class software. Mentoring, travel support, and internships are provided as part of the program. The program is ran in collaboration with the KDE community under the umbrella of the KDE e.V.

      • We have OAuth and we’re strong

        It’s been a while since I posted anything related to the Akonadi EWS resource, but that does not mean that the project is abandoned – development is ongoing, albeit a little slow.

        Today’s episode of “what’s going on in the EWS world” is all about authentication.

        From the early days of Akonadi EWS interacting with Microsoft authentication mechanisms was a bit on the hard side. Anybody who is wondering why is invited to look into Samba history & development, which should be a good enough indication of the problems we’re dealing with here. This mostly impacted NTLM authentication, which had to be patched in KIO in order to work properly (NTLM version 2).

      • 3 years with KDE – It’s about time!

        KDE life is responsible for a lot of changes in my life, including my personality. I don’t have enough thanks to this amazing community.

        Today I am part of Atelier, the printer host, where 3DPrinting was the first reason that made me into KDE, and that changed my life in so many ways… I really hope to get back to the project anytime soon… And I am also part of the Fundraising WG…

      • My participation at Krita October Sprint

        A few weeks ago I travelled to the Netherlands to be part of the Krita October Sprint. During this Sprint we decided to focus on bug fixing, my tasks included some simple bugs and a couple of more convoluted bugs. I started fixing the simple ones in order to gain speed: one about modifiers not working on OSX, the bug was simple enough but puzzling as the missing logic shouldn’t make the code work on Linux, but it did. The second bug was related to events logic in the preferences dialog command: My first approach was good but not simple, so talking with the team made me change the solution to something much more simple.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • PipeWire Hackfest

        So we kicked off the PipeWire hackfest in Edinburgh yesterday. We have 15 people attending including Arun Raghavan, Tanu Kaskinen and Colin Guthrie from PulseAudio, PipeWire creator Wim Taymans, Bastien Nocera and Jan Grulich representing GNOME and KDE, Mark Brown from the ALSA kernel team, Olivier Crête,George Kiagiadakis and Nicolas Dufresne was there to represent embedded usecases for PipeWire and finally Thierry Bultel representing automotive.

        The event kicked off with Wim Taymans presenting on current state of PipeWire and outlining the remaining issues and current thoughts on how to resolve them. Most of the first day was spent on a roadtable discussion about what are and should be the goals of PipeWire and what potential tradeoffs there would be going forward. PipeWire is probably a bit closer to Jack than PulseAudio in design, so quite a bit of the discussion went on how that would affect the PulseAudio usecases and what is planned to ensure PipeWire works very well for consumer audio usecases.

        Personally I ended up spending quite some time just testing and running various Jack apps to see what works already and what doesn’t. In terms of handling outputing audio with Jack apps I was positively surprised how many Jack apps I was able to make work (aka output audio) using PipeWire instead of Jack, but of course we still have some gaps to cover before PipeWire is ready as a drop-in Jack replacement, for instance the Jack session management protocol needs to be implemented first.

      • PipeWire Is Still On Track For One Day Being A Drop-In Replacement To PulseAudio

        Various Linux audio stakeholders are in Edinburgh having a PipeWire hackfest following the Linux Foundation events that took place last week.

        While PipeWire is mostly talked about these days on the video side for being part of the technology to allow for Wayland remote desktop handling on KDE Plasma and GNOME Shell desktops as well as being important for Flatpak app sandboxing, part of the longer-term vision at Red Hat is on seeing PipeWire also be a success on the audio front.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Trying To Make Ubuntu 18.10 Run As Fast As Intel’s Clear Linux

            With the recent six-way Linux OS tests on the Core i9 9900K there was once again a number of users questioning the optimizations by Clear Linux out of Intel’s Open-Source Technology Center and remarks whether changing the compiler flags, CPU frequency scaling governor, or other settings would allow other distributions to trivially replicate its performance. Here’s a look at some tweaked Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish benchmarks against the latest Intel Clear Linux rolling-release from this i9-9900K 8-core / 16-thread desktop system.

          • Ubuntu 19.04 Is The “Disco Dingo”

            Mark Shuttleworth has yet to come out with his usual blog post at the start of new Ubuntu Linux development cycles to officially unveil the next release’s codename and discuss the overarching theme of the next six months, but the Ubuntu 19.04 codename has come out via Launchpad.

            According to this Launchpad entry, Ubuntu 19.04 is codenamed the Disco Dingo. The Disco Dingo is the six-month non-LTS successor to the Ubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish. The last time there was a DD codename with marking the entire Ubuntu alphabet was the Ubuntu 6.04/6.06 LTS Dapper Drake release.

          • Canonical Outs Linux Kernel Patch for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS to Fix 4 Security Flaws

            The new Linux kernel security update is available for all users of the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system series and its derivatives, affecting all those using the original Linux 4.4 kernel. If you upgraded your Ubuntu 16.04 LTS installations to the Linux 4.15 kernel from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), you aren’t affected.

          • Mark Shuttleworth’s Statement on the IBM acquisition of Red Hat

            Over the past two years, many prominent Red Hat customers have selected Ubuntu and engaged Canonical to build leaner, more efficient open source infrastructure and solutions for important new initiatives. Among them we count the world’s leading banks, telcos, governments, universities, airlines, insurance companies, technology giants and media conglomerates. Several have spoken publicly, and with increasing confidence, of their Ubuntu success.

            Public sources of data on Linux trends show this move clearly. From Kubernetes to public cloud to OpenStack to machine learning and AI, from the far edge of IoT through edge-cloud and core data center operations, the momentum for Ubuntu in the enterprise has accelerated as companies unleash their developers to compete in the digital landscape.

            The acquisition of Red Hat by IBM is a significant moment in the progression of open source to the mainstream. We salute Red Hat for the role it played in framing open source as a familiar, shrink-wrapped replacement for traditional UNIX on ‘Wintel’ terms. In that sense, RHEL was a crucial step in the open source movement.

          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 551
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Monthly News – October 2018

              Before we talk about new features and project news I’d like to send a huge thank you to all the people who support our project. Many thanks to our donors, our sponsors, our patrons and all the people who are helping us. I’d also like to say we’ve had a lot of fun working on developing Linux Mint lately and we’re excited to share the news with you.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Software: 20-Plus Years of Innovation

    Open source led to a new software development and distribution model that offered an alternative to proprietary software. No single event takes the prize for starting the technology revolution. However, Feb. 3, 1998, is one of the more significant dates.

    On that day, Christine Peterson, a futurist and lecturer in the field of nanotechnology, coined the “open source” term at a strategy session in Palo Alto, California, shortly after the release of the Netscape browser source code.

    Later that month, Eric Raymond and Bruce Perens formed the Open Source Initiative, an educational and advocacy organization, to lobby for the open source label. Rapid adoption followed, with support from the Free Software Summit that April.

  • Progress in San Francisco’s Open Source Elections Project

    As many within the OSI community may know, the OSI has been following closely—and supporting—San Francisco’s efforts to develop an open source elections system.

  • California general election

    Again, probably of direct interest only to California residents, and apologies to everyone else since my hand-rolled blog software still doesn’t do cut tags.

  • Emergence of Government-backed Cryptocurrencies Highlights Necessity of Open Source Innovation
  • On Developing Open-Source Drone Software: Q&A with Kevin Sartori

    The drone and autonomous robot industry is rapidly growing. Kevin Sartori talks about Auterion’s mission to extend the reach of open-source technologies to meet enterprise-grade requirements of companies in the commercial drone space.

  • We [Jitsi] have a new home and it won’t impact you

    Today 8×8 announced it has acquired the Jitsi team and our technology from Atlassian. This is a great thing and will only help to keep Jitsi’s momentum with renewed investment. The Jitsi team will remain 100% intact and will continue to be an independent group. Operationally things will work much the same way as they did under Atlassian. Jitsi users and developers won’t see any impact, though we do expect with continued funding and support you will see even more new features and capabilities from the project!

  • Linkerd 2.0: Service ops for you and me

    Linkerd 2.0 is a super useful tool that comes with a minimal footprint and enables service ops to work faster and more effectively.

    I am excited about its possibilities and look forward to seeing what the community behind this CNCF project will deliver on top of what it already offers. I’m confident that support for things like distributed tracing, layer 7 policy enforcement, and traffic shaping (think A/B testing, etc.) are high on the list of things to come. I can’t wait to see Linkerd 2.0 continue to grow sustainably and healthy.

  • Events

    • FOSDEM 2019 Real-Time Communications Call for Participation

      FOSDEM is one of the world’s premier meetings of free software developers, with over five thousand people attending each year. FOSDEM 2019 takes place 2-3 February 2019 in Brussels, Belgium.

    • Tobias Mueller: Speaking at FIfFKon 18 in Berlin, Germany

      I was invited to be a panellist at this year’s FIfFKon in Berlin, Germany. While I said hi to the people at All Systems Go!, my main objective in Berlin was to attend the annual conference of the FIfF, the association for people in computing caring about peace and social responsibility.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Things Gateway – the Refrigerator and the Samsung Buttons

        Perhaps I’m being overly effusive, but right now, the Samsung SmartThings Button is my Holy Grail of the Internet of Things. Coupled with the Things Gateway from Mozilla and my own Web Thing API rule system, the Samsung Button grants me invincibility at solving some vexing Smart Home automation tasks.

        Consider this problem: my kitchen is in an old decrepit farm house built in 1920. The kitchen has a challenging layout with no good space for any modern appliance. The only wall for the refrigerator is annoyingly narrower than an average refrigerator. Unfortunately, the only switches for the kitchen and pantry lights are on that wall, too. The refrigerator blocks the switches to the point they can only be felt, not seen.

        For twenty years, I’ve been fine slipping my hand into the dusty cobwebs behind the refrigerator to turn on the lights. I can foresee the end of this era. I’m imagining two Samsung Buttons magnetically tacked to a convenient and accessible side of the refrigerator: one for the pantry and one for the kitchen.

        [...]

        This is just a simple finite state machine. The three shop lights are controlled by the list, combinations, referenced by an index. The only trigger is the KitchenButton (again, played by a Samsung Button). If the button is short pressed the index is incremented modulo the number of combinations. If the button is longPressed, the finite state machine is reset to state 0 and all the shop lights turned off.

      • Testing Privacy-Preserving Telemetry with Prio

        Building a browser is hard; building a good browser inevitably requires gathering a lot of data to make sure that things that work in the lab work in the field. But as soon as you gather data, you have to make sure you protect user privacy. We’re always looking at ways to improve the security of our data collection, and lately we’ve been experimenting with a really cool technique called Prio.

        Currently, all the major browsers do more or less the same thing for data reporting: the browser collects a bunch of statistics and sends it back to the browser maker for analysis; in Firefox, we call this system Telemetry. The challenge with building a Telemetry system is that data is sensitive. In order to ensure that we are safeguarding our users’ privacy, Mozilla has built a set of transparent data practices which determine what we can collect and under what conditions. For particularly sensitive categories of data, we ask users to opt-in to the collection and ensure that the data is handled securely.

        [...]

        In recent months, we’ve been experimenting with one such system: Prio, developed by Professor Dan Boneh and PhD student Henry Corrigan-Gibbs of Stanford University’s Computer Science department. The basic insight behind Prio is that for most purposes we don’t need to collect individual data, but rather only aggregates. Prio, which is in the public domain, lets Mozilla collect aggregate data without collecting anyone’s individual data. It does this by having the browser break the data up into two “shares”, each of which is sent to a different server. Individually the shares don’t tell you anything about the data being reported, but together they do. Each server collects the shares from all the clients and adds them up. If the servers then take their sum values and put them together, the result is the sum of all the users’ values. As long as one server is honest, then there’s no way to recover the individual values.

      • This Week In Servo 117

        In the past weeks, we merged 49 PRs in the Servo organization’s repositories.

      • ARCore and Arkit, What is under the hood: SLAM (Part 2)

        These form the basis of our world tracking and environment recognition. But for Mixed Reality, that alone is not enough. We have to be able to calculate the 3d position in the real world. It is often calculated by the spatial distance between itself and multiple keypoints. This is often called Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM). And this is what is responsible for all the world tracking we see in ARCore/ARKit.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • OpenStack Foundation Says Its Open Source Edge Platform StarlingX Is Ready to Fly
    • OpenStack Summit Berlin

      Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, is headlining the main event of the season, OpenStack Summit Berlin, November 13 – 15, 2018.

      As a founding member, we are are passionate about OpenStack and talking to its users about the latest trends, challenges, and finding ways in which we can help each other.

      Ubuntu is at the heart of the world’s largest OpenStack clouds, in key sectors such as finance, media, retail and telecoms. With Ubuntu the number one platform for OpenStack and public clouds, Canonical is a leader in building and operating multi-clouds.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • GhostBSD18.10 RC3 is Available for testing

      This third release candidate of GhostBSD 18.10 is the third official testing release of GhostBSD with TrueOS under the hood. The official desktop of GhostBSD is MATE. However, in the future, there might be an XFCE community release, but for now, there is no community release yet.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • bison-3.2 released [stable]

      We are very happy to announce the release of Bison 3.2! Massive improvements were brought to the deterministic C++ skeleton, lalr1.cc. When variants are enabled and the compiler supports C++11 or better, move-only types can now be used for semantic values. C++98 support is not deprecated. Please see the NEWS below for more details. Many thanks to Frank Heckenbach for paving the way for this release with his implementation of a skeleton in C++17.

  • Public Services/Government

    • 80% of Barcelona’s IT investment linked to open source

      This year, the city of Barcelona is investing 78.7% of its IT budget on open source. By 2020, Barcelona expects nearly all of its IT investment to be linked to open source projects, says Xavier Roca, director of IT development at the city.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Say ‘Hi’ to Nybble, an open-source robotic kitten

        If you’ve ever wanted to own your own open-source cat, this cute Indiegogo project might be for you. The project, based on something called the Open Cat, is a laser-cut cat that walks and “learns” and can even connect to a Raspberry Pi. Out of the box a complex motion controller allows the kitten to perform lifelike behaviors like balancing, walking and nuzzling.

        “Nybble’s motion is driven by an Arduino compatible micro-controller. It stores instinctive ‘muscle memory’ to move around,” wrote its creator, Rongzhong Li. “An optional AI chip, such as Raspberry Pi can be mounted on top of Nybble’s back, to help Nybble with perception and decision. You can program in your favorite language, and direct Nybble walk around simply by sending short commands, such as ‘walk’ or ‘turn left.’”

  • Programming/Development

    • 55 Percent of Cloud Developers Contribute to Open Source, Says Survey

      In presenting the results of its survey of 4,300 cloud developers, DigitalOcean seemed surprised that only 55 percent of respondents contribute to open source projects. Yet to tech outsiders — or old-timers — it may be more surprising that more than half of developers do contribute. There are relatively few professions in which companies and their employers regularly offer pro bono services for the greater good of the industry.

      DigitalOcean, which provides cloud infrastructure software and services, has timed its “Currents” survey release in conjunction with the conclusion of its fifth annual Hacktoberfest program. Co-hosted with GitHub and twilio, Hacktoberfest invites developers to collaborate during the month of October on a smorgasbord of open source projects.

    • IBM’s Call for Code Prize Goes to a Team with ‘Clusterducks’

      Now Project Owl has won IBM’s first ever Call for Code contest, which challenged developers across the world to build disaster relief technology using IBM and open-source software. More than 100,000 developers from 156 countries participated in the contest. A panel of judges including former President Bill Clinton selected Project Owl from a field of five finalists whose solutions ranged from using AI to speed up the rebuilding process after an earthquake to feeding firefighters live data during wildfires via sensors.

    • A fun optimization trick from rsync

      I was looking at the rsync source code today and I saw a neat trick I’d never seen before. It wants to try to set the mtime on a file, and there are several methods that might work, but it doesn’t know which. So it tries them in sequence, and then it remembers which one worked and uses that method on subsequent calls: [...]

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • 10 Reasons Why the Attempt to Commercialize Medicare Is Such a Disaster

      More and more policymakers and Americans are recognizing the value of Medicare for All, a national health insurance program run by the government on behalf of its citizens. But there is still some confusion about the role commercial insurers might play in such a system.

      Some argue that commercial insurance companies could be a part of Medicare for All, in much the same way that commercial “Medicare Advantage” plans function in today’s Medicare. That’s why it is important to understand the difference between traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans, and why Medicare Advantage plans will never meet our needs.

    • Fixing Obamacare’s “Family Glitch” Hinges on Outcome of November Elections

      Last Christmas Eve, Justine Bradford-Trent slipped on ice, slamming to the ground. Her elbow swelled. Was it broken? She couldn’t tell.

      Because Bradford-Trent was uninsured, she weighed her options. She could go to the emergency room, the immediate but more costly option. The urgent care center cost less, but it was closed for the holiday. The Idaho resident decided to wait and, once the swelling subsided, she concluded it was just a bad bruise.

      Bradford-Trent, 54, knows she was lucky this time. But, because her family can’t afford health insurance, she worries about the next time something happens.

      “What if … I end up with cancer or [something] like that,” she said. “I don’t want to be faced with a decision of having to make a choice: to live or die? Or do we go into debt so deeply that it’s thousands and thousands of dollars just to save me, and we’re stuck in debt for the rest of our lives?”

      Although the Affordable Care Act is credited with expanding health insurance to about 20 million Americans, a small segment of the population — including Bradford-Trent — has been left behind.

    • The budget offers the NHS scraps – and fails to see off the privatisers

      Yesterday’s budget was a government playing to the gallery, desperately hoping to distract from its role in creating what promises to be the worse winter crisis since records began.

      The Chancellor announced that mental health services would be getting £2bn a year by 2023-24. It’s not ‘extra’, though – it’s part of the £20.5bn already announced by the government in June. An amount that all independent experts agree fails to meet the needs of the health service.

      The Chancellor also announced that the government would be rolling out a new mental health service, providing crisis provision in every A&E. Yet again, a laudable aim. But, also one with limited efficacy. Focusing solely on crisis care won’t reduce demand on those services, nor will it address the root causes of crises. Furthermore, the money has not been ringfenced. So, there is a strong possibility that no new services will materialise irrespective of the announcement.

      We were also informed that local councils will be receiving extra funding for social care – on top of the £240m announced earlier this month – of £650m. Of course, this hardly offsets the overall £7bn cut that social care has sustained since 2010. In short, the Chancellor was laying the terrain for an imminent exercise in blame avoidance.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • After terror comes the media BS: No, lazy pundits, “both sides” don’t do this

      For decades, the Republican Party has attacked the press for an alleged liberal bias. It’s a strategy that has successfully led to a degree of infuriating capitulation among the television news media. Unless a false sense of balance is manufactured by TV news, Republicans will continue to attack the integrity of the press, thus impacting the ratings and, with those ratings, the all-important ad revenue fueling the for-profit television industry.

    • Saudis Reject Turkish Demand to Extradite Khashoggi Murder Suspects

      Saudi Arabia has rejected a call by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to extradite suspects accused of killing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi so they can be tried in Turkey. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Saturday that 18 suspects would be tried in Saudi Arabia after a Saudi-led investigation. Turkey says a squad of Saudi hit men lured Khashoggi to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2, where they tortured him and cut him to pieces using a bone saw. President Erdogan has demanded that Saudi officials show him where Khashoggi’s body is, and name those responsible for ordering the killing.

    • 2 Sisters Were Found Dead in the River, Duct-Taped Together. Police Have Few Answers.

      By Friday, detectives had learned the women were sisters from Saudi Arabia who lived in Fairfax, Va.

      [...]

      The Arab News, an English paper in Saudi Arabia, reported that Rotana Farea had been living in New York, while her mother and younger sister remained in Virginia. The mother had reported Tala missing two months ago, the newspaper said, but then called off the search when she discovered the girl was visiting her older sister. The sisters were in contact with their mother until about a week ago, the Arab News said.

      But the police in New York said the mother, whom they did not identify, also reported her daughters missing last year. When the local police located the sisters, they asked for protection and were placed in a shelter, the police said.

    • Saudi Killing in an Age of Manufactured Outrage

      The murderous dismemberment of the US-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has prompted– after an initial phase of “let’s not presume the Saudi bone-saw killers guilty until proven innocent”— subsequent about-face responses from Donald Trump and Theresa May.

      These responses, like those of the Saudis, are of course attuned in their entirety to the media.

      Neither Trump nor the Maybot have any real convictions beyond self-promotion (which in the case of the hapless May– taken to the cleaners by the Brexiters in her own party and the implacable eurocrats she has to negotiate with—seems more like a last-gasp attempt at self-preservation).

      The responses of the Orange One and the Maybot, both initially supportive of the Saudi tyrants during the early speculation regarding Khashoggi’s murder, edged ever so slowly, as increasingly conclusive evidence came to light of the circumstances of his execution, to the current “those who are guilty, and we now know who they are, must be brought to justice”.

      These responses were an absolute sham from the beginning, since only Ronald Reagan in the long senescence of his presidency, or Dubya Bush in his lifelong imbecility, could possibly have believed that the paunchy Khashoggi was foolhardy enough to get into a fist-fight with a dozen or more “security personnel” half his age belonging to elite military and intelligence units. This of course was the initial official Saudi explanation for Khashoggi’s death.

      This explanation was greeted with universal derision (the scoffers included such redoubtable fans of dictators as Bill Kristol), which led slowly to the Saudi “updating” of their implausible initial narrative, culminating in their most recent admission that “yes, a crime had been committed, and it was premeditated”.

    • Trump Administration Ramps Up Threats Against Iran

      The alleged torture, murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, widely believed to have been carried out on orders of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, may put a crimp in Donald Trump’s plans to escalate his aggression against Iran.

      Saudi Arabia, the United States and Israel are unified in their hatred of Iran, albeit with different motives. Iran has been in the crosshairs of the United States since the 1979 Iranian Revolution overthrew the vicious, US-installed puppet Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi; indeed, in 2002, George W. Bush initiated Iran into his “axis of evil.” Saudi Arabia, home to the two holiest Sunni Muslim sites, sees Shiite Iran as a rival for regional hegemony. And Israel considers Iran an “existential threat.”

      “Trump administration officials and outside experts said that possible repercussions on an elaborate plan to squeeze the Iranians have dominated internal discussions about the fallout over what happened to Mr. Khashoggi,” David Sanger reported in The New York Times.

      The allegations against the Saudi crown prince “have already had an effect” on Israel, “effectively freezing the push to build an international coalition against Iran’s regional influence, the top priority for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” Ben Hubbard and David Halbfinger, citing “analysts,” wrote in the Times.

      White House officials are worried the mushrooming crisis with Saudi Arabia could “derail a showdown with Iran and jeopardize plans to enlist Saudi help to avoid disrupting the oil market.”

    • Tomgram: Michael Klare, On the Road to World War III?

      Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a warning. As the New York Times described it: “If the United States deploys new intermediate-range missiles in Europe after withdrawing from a nuclear treaty prohibiting these weapons, European nations will be at risk of ‘a possible counterstrike.’” It was the sort of threat that, in the previous century, would have raised the level of everyday nuclear fears in this society, too. I remember them well — from the “duck-and-cover” experiences of schoolchildren huddling under desks that were somehow to protect them from nuclear annihilation to the vivid nightmares of my teen years. (Yes, in a dream at least, I saw and felt an atomic blast.) This was the world of the Cold War in which I grew up.

      I’ve always believed that the last of such Cold War nuclear fears manifested themselves on September 11, 2001, when those towers in lower Manhattan collapsed amid a horrifying cloud of smoke and ash — and the place where it all happened was promptly christened Ground Zero, a term previously reserved for the spot where a nuclear blast had gone off. Somehow, on that day, something was called back to life from those Cold War years in which newspapers regularly drew imagined concentric circles of atomic destruction from fantasy Ground Zeros in American cities, while magazines offered visions of our country as a vaporized wasteland. In the chaos and destruction of that moment, there was perhaps a subliminal feeling that the U.S., the first country to use an atomic weapon, had finally experienced some kind of payback. As Tom Brokaw, chairing NBC’s nonstop news coverage, said that day, it looked “like a nuclear winter in lower Manhattan.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • How Capitalism Stokes the Far Right and Climate Catastrophe

      We are living in ominous times. Every week something new: white supremacist murders in Kentucky and Pittsburgh; the continued rise of the far right in Europe; Trump’s attack on transgender rights; the election of aspiring tyrant Jair Bolsonaro to the Brazilian presidency; the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that climate catastrophe is likely only about 20 years away. What’s next?

      At a time when we should be uniting globally to reorganize our way of life to stave off climate disaster, many parts of the world are instead veering to the right, rejecting internationalism and demonizing marginalized communities. How did we get here? How can we escape annihilation?

  • Finance

    • Budget 2018: Tech giants face digital services tax

      Technology giants will be forced to pay tax on the sales they generate in the UK, under new plans announced in the Budget.

    • UK to impose digital services tax on tech giants from 2020

      The UK has become the first country to slug big technology firms with a tax based on revenue, with the Chancellor Phillip Hammond introducing a digital services tax from April 2020 onwards.

      [...]

      Australia has wrestled with the tax avoidance practised by big technology companies like Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon for some time.

    • Donnie Maclurcan Wants to Change the Way We Think About Money—He’s Doing That by Giving It Away

      At the same time that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has a net worth of $160 billion, 44 million adults in the U.S. collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. The mass disparity between extravagant wealth and immense debt is, as Donnie Maclurcan calls it, both a fundamental flaw and characteristic of capitalism.

      “Because money is lent into existence where credit and debt are created simultaneously, you actually have a situation where, [when] money concentrates in a capitalist society, the debt has to concentrate elsewhere,” he said. “And as a result of this, that means that certain people, certain small businesses, certain governments around the world, are permanently indebted. And therefore the economy has to grow because those people have to take out more credit to survive.”

      Maclurcan is the co-founder of the Post Growth Institute, an international organization dedicated to evolving into an economy that can thrive within ecological limits. The Post Growth Institute (PGI) primarily focuses on what economic system will come after capitalism and what that system will look like.

      Maclurcan said one of the goals of a post-growth economy is the circulation of money in a way that still takes care of the environment.

    • Trump Tax Cuts at Election Time: Failing on Schedule

      The centerpiece of the tax cut was a huge cut in the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.

    • Winter Is Coming, and Fuel Costs Will Hit the Poor the Hardest

      “Starting junior year,” recalls Alexis Stewart, a West Virginia-based writer and musician, “my mom said we couldn’t afford heat and I had to ‘suck it up.’ I don’t know if we didn’t qualify for [the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program] those years or if the funding ran out before they got to us. I bought a space heater with money from my part time job, but because of the poor insulation, I’d still wake up to a stiff frozen blanket.”

      Stewart grew up in a low-income household and today still struggles with the cost of heat. While living in one antiquated shared home in Huntington, “the food bank used to see a lot of me between November and March” thanks to high heating bills that were challenging even when split among six people.

    • The ‘Big Four’ and the UK government: too close for comfort

      The ‘Big Four’ accountants – an oligopoly if ever there was one as Bill Michael of KPMG has freely admitted – are charged with lowballing statutory audit services to major companies in the UK in order to gain much more lucrative advisory work. As a result (it is said) the audit work is done poorly and this has contributed to the series of scandals such as Carillion and BHS. What is more, it is also said that the ‘Big Four’ have little incentive to give the sometimes necessary bad news to their client (and therefore the market) for fear of losing the tasty advisory work for which the statutory audit has provided such an unappetising entrée.

      So unattractive is it to be a player in the statutory audit market for FTSE 350 companies that a fringe competitor to the ‘Big Four’ (Grant Thornton) has actually pulled out of it recently citing the impossibility of making it pay. Unsurprisingly in these circumstances the government has now taken action and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will revisit this classic case of market failure for which it failed to come up with any effective remedies but five years ago. With the much criticised Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) also carrying out a separate investigation on the regulatory side, it is fair to say the ‘Big Four’ are getting serious attention from regulatory authorities.

    • The Ignominious Death of the United Kingdom

      Most of the budget’s rehashed public spending announcements and tax cuts for the wealthy are not worth analysis. The condemnation of PFI was very welcome, but it has taken 20 years for the political class – Red Tories or Blue Tories – to acknowledge the blindingly obvious, that they have used it as a device massively to abuse public services to rip off the taxpayer to the benefit of the bankers and wealth managers who funded the PFI schemes.

      Hammond made the constantly repeated Tory claim that the income gap between rich and poor in the UK is shrinking. It depends what you are measuring. While it is indeed true that the income gap between the top and bottom deciles is slightly shrinking, the gap between the top centile and the bottom decile – or any other decile, including the between the top centile and the top decile – is expanding very fast. In short, we are taking on the characteristics of a helot society, where distinctions between the upper middle class and working class are reducing, but the gap to the extremely wealthy is growing.

    • The GOP Tax Cuts Are Already Hurting Social Security

      The GOP has been intent on destroying Social Security since 1934 when its creation was first proposed by the Roosevelt administration. This, however, remained always a rather remote possibility … until now. With Trump and Congress transferring even more wealth to the rich and large corporations in the form of tax cuts that will land the country $10 trillion deeper in debt, the party of pseudo-fiscal hawks is campaigning hard for legislation that will lead to sharp cuts in Social Security and other entitlements.

      In this context, the 2018 midterm elections could be the most consequential midterm election in years, according to Teresa Ghilarducci, an internationally known economist on labor and retirement. In this exclusive interview, Ghilarducci — a professor at The New School for Social Research, as well as the author of numerous books including Rescuing Retirement: A Plan to Guarantee Retirement Security for All Americans and When I’m Sixty-Four: The Plot Against Pensions and the Plan to Save Them — shares her analysis of the GOP attack on Social Security.

    • Bitcoin emissions alone could push global warming above 2°C

      Bitcoin is a power-hungry cryptocurrency that is increasingly used as an investment and payment system. Here we show that projected Bitcoin usage, should it follow the rate of adoption of other broadly adopted technologies, could alone produce enough CO2 emissions to push warming above 2 °C within less than three decades.

    • Opposing labour market Uberculosis

      Uber is appealing the ruling that its drivers deserve workers’ rights. Meanwhile its drivers show strike action is possible against ‘platform capitalism’.

      [...]

      The current phase of ‘flexible capitalism’ sees production and employment arrangements being transformed, resulting in growing disruptions to secure and predictable career trajectories, the development of precarious employment, irregular scheduling, the extension of working hours and the erosion of worker rights and benefits. The recent emergence of connective platforms in different sectors – urban transport (Uber, Lyft), housekeeping (Helpling, TaskRabbit), childcare (Bambino, UrbanSitter) or food delivery (Deliveroo, UberEats) – pushes these ‘flexible’ employment arrangements to the extreme. The workers are no longer treated as employees but as ‘independent contractors’, ‘freelancers’ or ‘entrepreneurs’ that these platforms ‘simply connect’ with clients. Because of such categorization, platform workers have no rights and protections usually assigned to employees, such as benefits related to health care, pensions or parenting. Nor do they have any collective bargaining power. They are, to use Guy Standing’s term, members of the ‘precariat’ – a social class formed by people suffering from existence without predictability, security, labour rights or safety nets. Platforms take advantage of this large pool of precarious labourers ready to make themselves available to earn extra money even at the lowest possible wage rates.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The bizarre Justin Bieber burrito incident reminds us not to believe everything online

      Yes Theory brought Bieber’s Instagram influencer doppelgänger, Brad Sousa, to Los Angeles to pose in the shot. They spent the day driving around LA and staging different events that could make for a viral story, but the team put their bets on the weird burrito shot. To make sure it was seen by absolutely everyone on the internet — or at least, by people who would turn it from a random photo into a conversation-starter — they uploaded the photo to Reddit’s r/pics and r/mildlyinfuriating subreddits to boost circulation.

      “Not a single person is questioning whether it’s actually Justin Bieber,” one of the team members says in the video.

    • How the Census Citizenship Question Could Affect Future Elections

      The Trump administration is attempting to dilute the political influence of millions of people.
      On Nov. 6, Americans will head to the polls to exercise their right to vote. The day before, the ACLU will head to trial to try to prevent the Trump administration from diluting the political influence of millions of people for years to come.

      In March, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced that for the first time in 70 years the decennial census questionnaire will ask respondents whether or not they are U.S. citizens. Secretary Ross has admitted that including this citizenship question will result in the census undercounting an estimated 1 percent of the population — more than 3 million people — because, in his own words, there are “folks who may not feel comfortable answering” the citizenship question.

      The folks who won’t want to answer a citizenship question on the census are largely members of immigrant communities of color whom the Trump administration has targeted since it came to power. This includes both non-citizens and U.S. citizens, many of whom may fear that participating will expose their non-citizen family members, neighbors, or loved ones to repercussions.

      The census already has a history of undercounting communities of color. In the 1990 census, Hispanic Americans were undercounted by about 5 percent. In 2010, the census failed to count 1.5 million Latino and Black people. In 2020, the Census Bureau will ask for citizenship information – a move that will dissuade millions from responding and make the undercounting problem far, far worse.

    • ‘Only Salt in Our Wounds’: Reagan Daughter Patti Davis Explains Why We Shouldn’t Look to Trump for Compassion

      Ronald Reagan’s daughter called out President Donald Trump for his inability to perform one of the most essential aspects of his job — offering comfort and compassion in the wake of tragedy.

    • Counterinsurgency On Steroids: Interview With Bernard Harcourt On Trump, Cesar Sayoc, And The Counterrevolution

      Bernard Harcourt, author of “The Counterrevolution: How Our Government Went To War Against Its Own Citizens,” joins the “Unauthorized Disclosure” weekly podcast to talk about what he describes as the Counterrevolution and how President Donald Trump’s administration advances this new form of governing in the United States.

      He outlines counterinsurgency and its objectives and how it accelerated after the September 11 attacks.

      Later, he highlights how Trump is counterinsurgency on steroids and addresses the case of Cesar Sayoc, who was arrested for allegedly sending mail-bombs to targets of Trump’s vitriol.

      Listen to the interview by clicking on the above player or go here.

    • We Must Pressure Mainstream Forces to Stop Downplaying the Far Right

      The three perpetrators each came from different parts of the far right and targeted different kinds of victims. Taken together, they illustrate how the far right’s targets include a wide range of people, in terms of age, race, religion and gender. And they illustrate how violence is endemic to different factions of this movement, and not just limited to open white supremacists like neo-Nazis.

      On Saturday, October 27, Robert Bowers allegedly entered a Pittsburgh synagogue and murdered 11 people aged 54 to 97, on their day of worship. He had an account on Gab, a Twitter-like social media network that’s favored by the “alt-right.” There he was a prolific anti-Semitic poster. His account’s banner featured the numbers “1488,” a neo-Nazi alpha-numeric code.

    • Korean translator alleges Harris County election judge hindered voters [Ed: Korean Translators Barred From Texas Polling Place]

      delete

      Dona Kim Murphey said she and roughly 10 other volunteers at the Trini Mendenhall Community Center were instructed to stand in the parking lot Sunday afternoon, beyond the 100-foot markers that draw a boundary for where people can electioneer. Murphey said she thought translators typically were allowed to stay in the polling place to offer help.

    • Georgia election fight shows that black voter suppression, a southern tradition, still flourishes

      Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp has been sued for suppressing minority votes after an Associated Press investigation revealed a month before November’s midterm election that his office has not approved 53,000 voter registrations – most of them filed by African-Americans.

      Kemp, who is running for governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams, says his actions comply with a 2017 state law that requires voter registration information to match exactly with data from the Department of Motor Vehicles or Social Security Administration.

      The law disproportionately affects black and Latino voters, say the civil rights groups who brought the lawsuit.

    • Democrats’ Attempt To Trick Progressives When Drafting Obamacare May Help Trump Ruin Law

      President Donald Trump’s administration recently announced they will use a provision of the Affordable Care Act known as the “state innovation waiver” to undermine the law.

      The “state innovation waiver”—which appears in the law as the 1332 provision—is supposed to allow states to waive certain regulations in the law, as long they create a system that is “at least as comprehensive and affordable.” But now the Trump administration has adopted some dubious definitions of words, like “comprehensive” and “affordable,” to undermine the law’s protections and structure.

      It is fittingly ironic that a provision added mainly as a public relations stunt to trick progressives into supporting the ACA would be used to cripple the law.

      The 1332 waiver was originally sold as a way to get “state-level single-payer” — a myth that reporters still echo.

    • Images of bloody fetus sent to Beto O’Rourke supporters in Garland neighborhood

      Residents of a north Garland neighborhood say they received black envelopes in the mail last week with a postcard inside bearing the image of a bloody fetus.

      The residents have at least one thing in common: They all had yard signs showing support for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke.

      [...]

      The postcard — first reported in a tip to ProPublica’s Electionland coalition — also bears a web address for the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, a California-based anti-abortion organization.

      Calls and emails to the organization were not returned.

      O’Rourke, a U.S. House member from El Paso who supports abortion rights, is locked in a tight battle with Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.

    • Instant Bull in Istanbul

      Heads will probably roll, but likely not those affixed to the most pertinent bodies. The Trump administration, along with Prince Mohammed bin Salman (or his father) will see to that: It was a completely rogue operation unknown to the little Prince. An impromptu fifteen member debate team hijacked a plane (déjà vu) and with bone saw in hand, piloted themselves to Istanbul in an effort to rein in the impertinent voice of Jamal Khashoggi. The debate, which seemingly lacked a moderator, quickly grew heated. The visibly agitated Khashoggi became a violent threat to the fifteen member team, so his fingers were cut off to keep him from pointing. His still dangerous body was then dismembered to avoid further bloodshed. The team’s quick action cooled Khashoggi’s impertinent rhetoric and ended the debate (he lost).

      It leaves so many unanswered questions, especially to an outsider and one not so familiar with Islam. By all accounts, Saudi Arabia is an Islamic monarchy, strictly governed by Islamic principles. It’s known to be fundamentally zealous, adhering to the most stringent interpretations of Islamic doctrine. The Wahhabi inspired monarchy must surely represent the epitome of Islamic culture, so this whole sordid Khashoggi affair must not be sordid at all, but actually is a faithful testimonial to the glory of Allah. It has to be, right? So why all the obfuscation? Just explain it in Islamic terms and the world will understand.

    • After Win by Brazilian Fascist Jair Bolsonaro, World’s Capitalists Salivate Over ‘New Investment Opportunities’

      While highlighting Bolsonaro’s “homophobic, racist, and misogynist statements,” the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) gushed that his win over Workers’ Party candidate Fernando Haddad “could mean fresh opportunities for Canadian companies looking to invest in the resource-rich country” thanks to his strong commitment to “open markets.”

      “It could be a good time to be a mining investor in Brazil,” declared Anna Prusa, a former U.S. State Department official who researches Brazil for the Wilson Center, a Washington, D.C.-based firm.

    • Glenn Greenwald on Bolsonaro: Brazil Has Elected “Most Extremist Leader in the Democratic World”

      Far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro has been elected Brazil’s next president, marking the most radical political shift in the country since military rule ended more than 30 years ago. Bolsonaro, a former Army officer, openly supports torture and dictatorships, has a history of making racist, misogynistic and homophobic comments, and has threatened to destroy, imprison or banish his political opponents. He defeated Fernando Haddad of the leftist Workers’ Party with 55 percent of the vote. His ascendance to power is leading many to fear the future of democracy in Brazil is in danger. We speak with Glenn Greenwald, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and one of the founding editors of The Intercept, in Rio de Janeiro. He says that Bolsonaro is “by far the most extremist leader now elected anywhere in the democratic world.”

    • Here’s How Hyper-Partisan Super PACs Conceal Their Real Intentions from Voters in Facebook Ads

      One ad, taken out by a group called “The Voter Awareness Project,” reopens old wounds between President Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, implying that Trump is at odds with Cruz even as the president stumped for the senator last week near the end of Cruz’s surprisingly close re-election bid against Democrat Beto O’Rourke.

      “Trump’s trying to drain the swamp of do-nothing politicians. Trump says Lyin’ Ted Cruz has accomplished nothing for Texas, and he’s right,” the ad reads, referring to a 2016 tweet from when Trump was a candidate.

      But Trump and Cruz have since buried the hatchet. Trump has been endorsing Cruz for re-election since February. He recently said, “He’s not Lyin’ Ted anymore. He’s Beautiful Ted. I call him Texas Ted,” and he held a rally for Cruz last week in Houston.

    • Groups Mask Partisan Attacks Behind Neutral-Sounding Names in Facebook Ads

      Some political groups on the left are borrowing a tactic from disinformation campaigns, placing ads on Facebook that pretend to be impartial information or unbiased news sources, when in fact the ads spread misleading facts about candidates.

      One ad, taken out by a group called “The Voter Awareness Project,” reopens old wounds between President Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, implying that Trump is at odds with Cruz even as the president stumped for the senator last week near the end of Cruz’s surprisingly close re-election bid against Democrat Beto O’Rourke.

      “Trump’s trying to drain the swamp of do-nothing politicians. Trump says Lyin’ Ted Cruz has accomplished nothing for Texas, and he’s right,” the ad reads, referring to a 2016 tweet from when Trump was a candidate.

    • What to Tell a Boss Who Won’t Give You Time Off to Vote

      Voting in person on Election Day can be an exhilarating experience, but some voters who work day jobs have trouble getting time off when it’s impossible to get to the polls before or after work. When you’re dealing with a hostile boss, it’s important to know your rights.

      Depending on where you live, you may be entitled to time off to vote, so that you — like former Governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley, pictured above — can play a role in the political process.

      If you think you might need time off to vote, start early — not the day before Election Day. Provide as much advance notice as possible as a courtesy for scheduling. If your workplace doesn’t have a formal “time off to vote” policy, bringing the topic up can trigger an important workplace policy discussion. Your employer may not have thought about this issue before — especially if they’re a small or new company — and asking them to formalize it will benefit everyone.

      Try: “Hey boss, the election is in a couple of weeks and I’m a little worried I won’t have time to cast my ballot before or after work. Does Company have a time off to vote policy? If not it would be great to set one up.”

      Before you approach your boss to ask for time off to vote, double check the hours for polling places, as well as the location of your polling place. Your boss may try to argue that you should vote before or after work, so take a minute to think about the logistics. Would it be possible? If not, why not?

    • Jimmy Carter calls for Brian Kemp’s resignation to ensure “nonbiased” election

      The Republican candidate for governor in Georgia is in charge of overseeing his own election as Secretary of State

    • Poll: Majority of Americans not confident in security of US elections

      A majority of Americans are not confident that the country’s election systems are secure from cyber threats and think that it is likely that a foreign country will try to influence next week’s midterm elections, according to a new poll.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Luongo: The Attack On Gab Proves Speech Was Never Free

      With the recent passing of the EU’s “Link Law” which is designed to shut down opposition voices, the merged corporate/political oligarchy are moving to ensure that all speech is criminalized.

      But to do that they first have to square the circle around that pesky First Amendment in the U.S.

      And that means outsourcing the censorship to the companies who own the internet access points – the app platforms, the social media giants, the hosting firms and payment processors.

      If you can’t build and maintain a business then you can’t oppose their rule.

    • Farrakhan Compares Jews to ‘Termites’ in Anti-Semitic Rant, but Twitter Doing Nothing About It`

      In July, Twitter “unverified” Farrakhan’s account as punishment following his tweet that stated, “Thoroughly and completely unmasking the Satanic Jew and the Synagogue of Satan.”

    • Far-right social network Gab goes offline after GoDaddy tells it to find another domain registrar

      Gab now displays a message claiming it “is under attack” and has been “systematically no-platformed by App Stores, multiple hosting providers, and several payment processors.”

    • Two more platforms have suspended Gab in the wake of Pittsburgh shooting

      Hours after Paypal confirmed that it had suspended social network platform Gab, two additional companies have informed the site that they plan to suspend their services: payment processing site Stripe, and cloud hosting company Joyent.

    • Australian MP Pushes Back Against Expanded Site And Search Blocking Laws

      We’ve been talking for several months now about the amendments to Australian copyright law currently under consideration by the government there. As a refresher, Australia put a site-blocking policy in place several years ago. That policy has been praised by both government and rightsholders as effective, even as those same interests insist that it doesn’t do enough to stop piracy down under. As a result, the government is currently considering amendments to Australian copyright law that would make it easier for extra-judicial blocks of “piracy sites” and their mirrors, and includes demands that search engines like Google participate in this censorship as well, despite the fact that blocking search returns relevant to a user request is the opposite of what Google does. Predictably, the amendments to the law have wide support across political parties in Australia, and pretty much everyone is sure it’s going to pass as is.

      A key aspect of this is that all of the focus is on piracy and how to stop or minimize it, regardless of whatever negative effects that might have on ISPs and a free and open internet. There has been zero focus thus far on whether these legal mechanisms are really the optimal route to addressing this problem. This week, however, one Australian MP decided to grab a microphone and finally take rightsholders to task.

    • NFF President: “The festival faced no censorship obstacles”

      Director of the National Film Festival, Samir Seif, announced the participation of “Al-Masira” by Ali al-Ghazoli, competing in the documentary category in the festival’s 22nd edition, which is set to resume Monday, Oct. 29, 2018 in the Hanager Hall and Civilization Hall in the Cairo Opera House.

      Seif revealed that the film was approved by the National Censorship Department, denying the existence of censorship objections to the film, which revolves around a marsh that emerged during the January 2011 revolution.

      Seif affirmed that the festival did not face any censorship issues.

      On the other hand, Fathi Abdel Wahab, head of the cultural development fund sector, attributed the film’s absence from the festival schedules and publications due to the delay of the film’s exit from censorship.

    • The ‘Men Of Notre Dame’ Demand A Porn Filter That Won’t Work To Keep Them From Watching Porn

      A brief review of the many, many stories we’ve posted on porn filters should leave you with two undeniable conclusions: porn filters are generally terrible at actually keeping dedicated pornography viewers from watching porn and porn filters are generally fantastic at turning the attempt to block porn into an orgy of collateral damage, typically to do with educational sites. This hasn’t stopped many organizations and governments from trying to save all the children and the dignity of all the women by putting these filters in place, of course, but it needs to be repeatedly noted that these attempts are routinely futile.

      Rare, however, is the group that demands the porn filter to stop themselves from seeing sex acts. Rarer still is the group that does so in as insulting and sanctimonious a way possible. To see that kind of rare gemstone of silly, you apparently have to travel to Notre Dame, where “the men of Notre Dame” have demanded a porn filter from the school.

      Read the whole post, if you can stomach it, but the writer kicks the whole thing off with back to back paragraphs that make it clear it’s themselves they want to handcuff here.

    • Journalism Using Blockchain with Dan Kinsley, and a California Scandal with Peter Byrne

      Our first guest, Dan Kinsley, presents a new approach to journalism, based on blockchain technology. His organization, the Civil Media Company, employs blockchain to raise funds for online-journalism enterprises, and also to empower those enterprises to collectively enforce high standards of reporting. In the second half of the program, independent journalist Peter Byrne explains a recently-exposed scandal in which a powerful Democratic political consultant and a US Senator’s son schemed to enrich themselves at the expense of a California Indian tribe.

    • Distributed Dialogues: Political Censorship in China

      Technologies with the power to harm human freedoms are developed and deployed in countries with a strong emphasis on protecting these freedoms, but then they are “exported to other parts of the world where things like the rule of law and privacy rights aren’t very developed, with disastrous consequences.”

      To showcase some of these consequences, this experience with modern China is intercut with the life of Fang Zheng, a promising Chinese athlete who was run over by a tank and lost both of his legs in the Tiananmen Square protests. Ever since then, his desire to represent his country as an international paralympic athlete has been subverted, and the government hounded him with more and more sophisticated methods over the years.

      The episode serves as a documentary on the state organs of Chinese political repression, a well-researched examination into the context and effects of this ossified state power. However, the episode is not entirely bleak, as it also involves a look into how blockchain technology can evade China’s Great Firewall.

      Justin Hunter, the founder of Graphite, talks about his censorship-resistant decentralized information storage, that can allow citizens to keep data without any government holding the ability to subpoena. A small measure at a glance, the very existence of information outside of government control is still a revolutionary act.

    • Facebook Censorship Exposes Campaign Against Free Speech

      Veterans’ rights attorney Benjamin Krause continues his work exposing fraud within the VA, yet Facebook recently banned his article about the VA’s Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection, which he said is “more like the ‘Office of Whistleblower Retaliation’.” He has an idea of Facebook’s real agenda.

      When social media giant Facebook rejected an article written by journalist and veterans’ rights attorney Benjamin Krause that was about the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and was critical of President Donald Trump, Krause knew there was a bigger story there than the conventional wisdom of tech companies censoring conservative viewpoints.

      American Free Press sat down with Krause—who spends much of his time helping to expose scandals, fraud, waste, and abuse in the VA through his DisabledVeterans.org website—to discuss what it means to all of us.

    • Frederick Wiseman on Censorship, Small-Town America, and Why He Dislikes the Word “Documentary”

      Well, I wanted to make a film about the new immigrants to America. I mean, new in the sense that my father was an immigrant. He came to America when he was five, in 1890. You know, the accurate cliché is that America is a country of immigrants. I wanted to have a look at the new generation immigrants, and in Jackson Heights, as Danny Dromm, the city councilman from Jackson Heights, says in the film, they speak a hundred and sixty languages.

      There are remnants of the earlier generations who are Irish, Jewish, and Italian immigrants. But now there are people from all over South and Central America and from all over East Asia. It seems, to me, equivalent in some ways to the Lower East Side in 1902.

    • CPJ: Impunity in the murders of journalists emboldens censorship

      A lack of justice in the murders of journalists creates an entrenched climate of censorship, the Committee to Protect Journalists found in its Global Impunity Index released today. The eleventh annual report highlights countries where journalists are murdered regularly and their killers go free.

      All 14 of the countries featured this year have appeared multiple times on the index since CPJ began collecting data in 2008, and half have appeared every year. In the past decade, at least 324 journalists have been silenced through murder worldwide and in 85 percent of these cases no perpetrators have been convicted.

    • Japanese Developer Sheds More Light on Sony Censorship Scenario
    • Pirate radio = drug dealing and municipal broadband is anti-competitive censorship
    • Alleged CIA leaker: Manhattan jail is worse than North Korea
    • Accused Vault 7 Leaker Calls Himself a ‘Slave,’ Claims Otto Warmbier Was Treated Better in Bizarre Deleted Jail Letter
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Florida Appeals Court Says Producing Passwords Is Testimonial And Protected By The Fifth Amendment

      The Florida State Appeals Court is bucking the trend on compelled decryption. While most courts have held forcing someone to relinquish the password to a locked device does not raise Fifth Amendment issues, this court has decided that act is testimonial in and of itself. This makes the state’s demand unconstitutional and sends it up the ladder to the state’s highest court. (via FourthAmendment.com)

      The facts of the case may play a role in future deliberations. It involves a drunk driving accident. Phones belonging to the driver and passenger were were taken from the crashed car. The search of the driver’s phone didn’t go far, thanks to it being locked with a password. Prosecutors sought an order compelling password production but were met with arguments from the driver’s lawyer claiming this would violate his Fifth Amendment rights. The appellate court agrees.

    • EFF Sues California Law Enforcement Agency For Refusing To Hand Over Stingray Documents

      The EFF is taking the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department to court. The dispute centers on Stingray warrants possessed by the agency. The Sheriff’s Department likely holds more of these records than any other agency in the state. According to the Desert Sun’s investigation — based on state law-mandated reporting on electronic searches, San Bernardino residents were 20 times more likely to be subjected to an electronic search than residents elsewhere in state.

      Even more troubling, a lot of these searches — including Stingray deployments — were performed by the department when it had no idea who it was looking for or whose devices it was searching.

    • Apple Finally Shuts Down Security Flaw Used By Phone-Cracking Vendor [Ed: But Apple still sports lots of back doors, is in NSA PRISM etc. This article is poor as it helps promote Apple’s lie despite utter disregard for privacy.]

      Some in law enforcement may view this as confirmation of their “going dark” complaints and claim that Apple cares more about its customers than it does about fighting crime. As if that was bad thing. Apple should care more about what its customers want and need than government access to locked devices. A security hole is a hole that can be used by everyone who can exploit it. There’s no way to prevent a flaw from being exploited by criminals even if law enforcement agencies find the exploit super-useful.

      Grayshift’s products are still somewhat useful, but it’s going to be hard to justify a premium price for a stunted service. This new development might be Grayshift’s fault. Soon after Apple announced one fix for an exploit used by Grayshift, the company bragged it could still crack phones just as easily. This appears to have prompted closer examination of the problem Apple thought it fixed with the first round of patching. The second pass has blunted the exploit’s usefulness, even if it hasn’t made it completely impossible to access some data contained in locked devices.

      Even with the fix in play, law enforcement complaints about “darkness” are overblown. There are other technical solutions available, along with a wealth on information stored by third parties and cloud services. The more technical solutions won’t scale, but that’s not really something law enforcement should complain about. Security protections for phone owners shouldn’t be viewed as weapons deployed against law enforcement. Phone manufacturers have an obligation to their customers to protect their personal data, and encryption is just one of the tools deployed to keep customers’ information out of the hands of others. That some of the “others” are cops and investigators is just a side effect of providing solid products and service.

    • Court: Teen’s driving killed someone, but he can’t be forced to give up passcode

      A Florida state appellate court has ruled that an inebriated teenager involved in a car crash that resulted in the death of another person cannot be compelled to provide a passcode to his iPhone 7—the boy can indeed invoke a Fifth Amendment privilege, protecting him against self-incrimination.

      The October 24 ruling in G.A.Q.L. v. State of Florida before the 4th District appellate court runs against a previous ruling by a sister court in a case known as State of Florida v. Stahl.

    • Technology preview: Sealed sender for Signal

      We have been exploring techniques to further reduce the amount of information that is accessible to the service, and the latest beta release includes changes designed to move Signal incrementally closer to the goal of hiding another piece of metadata: who is messaging whom.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Indiana Woman Says She Feels Better After Sending Black Neighbors a ‘No N*****s Wanted’ Letter: ‘I Released Some Anger’
    • ‘Women’s walkout’ at Google to protest sexual harassment report

      More than 200 Google engineers will stage a “women’s walkout” on Thursday to protect against the company’s handing of a handsome payout to Android chief Andy Rubin and the protection of several other big names who had allegedly engaged in sexual misconduct.

    • Court Tells Deputy He Can’t Lie About Reasons For A Traffic Stop And Expect To Keep His Evidence

      The nation’s courts don’t have a problem with pretextual traffic stops. Any traffic violation — real or imagined — can trigger an investigatory stop. There are limits, of course. The Supreme Court’s Rodriguez decision says officers can’t extend stops past the objective of the stop if reasonable suspicion of additional criminal activity fails to materialize.

      It’s perfectly legal to pull someone over for crossing a fog line when all you really want to do is search their vehicle for contraband. But you have to stick to the pretext… at least for the most part. A host of excuses and exceptions (good faith, plain view, “I smelled marijuana,” etc.) salvage most stops-turned-searches but if a defendant can show the stop itself was bogus, all bets are off.

      This short federal court decision [PDF] ordered the suppression of evidence obtained during a pretextual stop, and calls out a sheriff’s deputy for lying about the reason for the stop, one that resulted in the discovery of drugs and weapons.

    • Federal Judge Catches Mississippi Traffic Cop In A Lie

      A federal court on Tuesday threw out felony charges against a motorist who was pulled over by a police officer who was caught stretching the truth. Cederic Gordon was driving his dark blue GMC Yukon on Highway 51 on the evening of September 9, 2017, when he caught the attention of Deputy Robert Forbert.

      The deputy explained to the court that he ordered Gordon to pull over because the Yukon’s license plate light was out, making it impossible to read the tag. The officer also said he saw the woman riding in the passnenger seat was not wearing a seatbelt. Once stopped, the officer insisted that he smelled marijuana which allowed him to conduct a search. He found a .40 caliber Glock and some methamphetamine, for which Gordon, a convicted felon, was charged with three felony counts.

      The case fell apart when US District Judge Sharion Aycock reviewed photographs taken the night of the incident that showed the Yukon’s license plate lights were fully functional. The deputy adjusted his testimony.

    • Google Engineers Organizing “Women’s Walk” Walkout Over Sexual Misconduct

      On Thursday, The New York Times reported the alleged sexual misconduct of Android creator Andy Rubin while he was working at Google. The story was also supported by the similar behavior of other top executives at the company. Instead of taking some concrete step to curb such behavior, Google gave Rubin a reported $90 billion exit package.

      In response to this protection of executives (read: men in power), a group of more than 200 engineers at Google is organizing a company-wide “women’s walk” walkout.

      As reported by BuzzFeed News, on Thursday itself, Google executives held a meeting and attempted to explain the incident and apologize to the employees. Following that, over the weekend, a group of women engineers began rooting for a post on an internal forum that suggested a walkout later this week.

    • Google Engineers Are Organizing A Walkout To Protest The Company’s Protection Of An Alleged Sexual Harasser

      Google gave Rubin a reported $90 million exit package in 2014, following an investigation into an allegation that he had coerced another employee to perform oral sex on him. That investigation reportedly found that allegation to be credible.

      “Personally, I’m furious,” said one Google employee who requested anonymity. “I feel like there’s a pattern of powerful men getting away with awful behavior towards women at Google‚ or if they don’t get away with it, they get a slap on the wrist, or they get sent away with a golden parachute, like Andy Rubin. And it’s a leadership of mostly men making the decisions about what kind of consequences to give, or not give.”

    • A Call to Secular Humanist Resistance: Global Humanism for a Safer, Kinder and Better World

      In May of 2018, Counterpunch.org was kind enough to publish my essay, “A Call to Secular Humanist Resistance.” That piece was very popular on social media. It even received a “like” and re-tweet from a very well known celebrity who has received the ire of Donald Trump. But as I reviewed my essay, one startling idea jumped out at me, and that was the essay might be too localized. Although, as a stand-alone piece, it served an important purpose in May to rally others to the cause of freedom and against the current American administration in Washington.

      But there was lack of a humanist worldview related to resistance to tyranny as not just a United States issue. Humanist resistance is a worldwide concern and one that citizens around the globe should consider and encourage both in terms of dialog and non-violent action to bring social change. Therefore, and upon much reflection, I have updated the work to revise and refocus the first essay.

    • Trump Administration is Illegally Turning Away Asylum Seekers

      We filed a Freedom of Information Request to find out why refugees are being turned away at Texas border.
      When President Trump announced on Monday that he planned to send some 5,000 military troops to fortify the southern border, even his supporters were quick to dismiss this as a political stunt. A convoy of migrants, many of whom are families with young children fleeing violence, is not a threat to the United States.

      There is a crisis unfolding at the border, but it is not the one the Trump administration would have its supporters believe. The real problem at the border is that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been violating its legal obligations and mistreating immigrants — including by refusing to accept legitimate asylum applications.

      Although both U.S. and international law dictate that noncitizens arriving at our borders have a right to apply for asylum and other forms of protection, the Trump administration has been routinely turning them away, a policy for which it is already being sued. Since June, CBP has stationed its agents mid-bridge to summarily turn away asylum seekers along the Texas border where international bridges at ports of entry span the Rio Grande. These are the ports of entry that Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen have told asylum seekers to go to.

      CPB claims that it is at capacity and doesn’t have the personnel to process the asylum seekers, but given the empty waiting rooms we’ve routinely seen, this is difficult to believe. CBP is the country’s largest law enforcement agency and in 2018 it has processed 1.1 million fewer people arriving at our southern border than crossed in the year 2000. At that time, the agency had less than half the budget and at least 10,000 fewer officers.

    • A Blatant Lie and ‘Obvious Stunt’: Trump Claims He Can End 14th Amendment Guarantee of Birthright Citizenship by Presidential Fiat

      Denouncing the U.S. right to birthright citizenship—guaranteed by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution—as “ridiculous,” President Donald Trump has falsely claimed that he has the power to subvert that guarantee by presidential fiat – his latest effort to mainstream a noxious lie and xenophobic trope while also furthering what critics call his authoritarian approach to governance by once more exploiting certain members of the White House press corps willing to carry his water for him.

    • Trump Says He Will End Right of Citizenship at Birth for American Children of Immigrants

      President Donald Trump says he is going to sign an executive order to end birthright citizenship: the right of children born to immigrants in the U.S., legally or not, to be American citizens at birth.

      “It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t,” Trump told Axios in an interview published Tuesday morning. “You can definitely do it with an Act of Congress. But now they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order.”

      The stripping away of rights granted by the U.S. Constitution would be among President Trump’s most virulent attacks on immigrants – and the U.S. Constitution – ever.

    • Fascism Denial Ignores Some Inconvenient Truths

      The massacre of 11 Jews at a Pittsburgh synagogue, the arrest of a far-right serial bomber in Florida, and probably the killings of two African Americans in Kentucky, should be signs that fascism is no longer an abstract threat, but is right on our doorstep. In the same way, the recent intensified hurricanes in Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico should confirm that the climate crisis is no longer a future possibility, but has already arrived.

      But in the same way that too many Americans engage in Climate Change Denial, many Americans are now engaging in “Fascism Denial.” An existential threat to our humanity seems so enormous and threatening that it cannot possibly be real. If we knew the inconvenient truths about both, we may either feel overwhelmed and powerless, or realize we have to make radical changes to adequately confront them.

      Robert Bowers and Cesar Sayoc have added their names to the pantheon of 2010s far-right killers including Jared Loughner (who shot a congresswomen and others in Arizona), Wade Michael Page (who murdered Sikhs in a Wisconsin temple), Dylann Roof (who massacred African Americans in a Charleston church), Jeremy Christian (who knifed two white men defending African American women on a Portland train), and James Alex Fields (who drove into an anti-fascist protester in Charlottesville).

      It is far too easy to dismiss these “lone wolves” as mentally ill loners, rather than to understand the political roots and rationales of their actions. It is also too easy to point only to President Trump’s ramped-up nationalist rhetoric, or the midterms and refugee caravan crisis, as the short-term source of the current upsurge in violence. Far-right authoritarianism is a longer-term global trend, as we can have seen in countries such as Hungary, Austria, Poland, Italy, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, and now Brazil.

    • Lost in a Week of Hateful Violence, a White Man Killed Two Black Shoppers at a Kentucky Supermarket

      Just days before a domestic terrorist entered a Pittsburgh synagogue and shot 11 worshipers dead, a white man gunned down two elderly African-American customers at a Kentucky grocery store Wednesday in what many are calling a hate crime. Fifty-one-year-old Gregory Bush opened fire and killed Maurice Stallard and Vickie Lee Jones at a Kroger supermarket in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, shortly after trying to enter a predominantly black church. Bush reportedly then told an armed bystander that “whites don’t kill whites.” As the community mourns, we speak with Kentucky Rep. Attica Scott and Reverend Vincent James, chief of community building for the city of Louisville and pastor of Elim Baptist Church.

    • How White Supremacist Ideology & Conspiracies Have Fueled U.S. Domestic Terror & Hateful Violence

      Domestic terror swept the country last week, when a white gunman stormed a peaceful synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11 peaceful worshipers in what has been described as the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history. The attack came a day after an avid Trump supporter in Florida was arrested and charged with mailing bombs to more than a dozen of the president’s prominent critics, and three days after a white gunman fatally shot two African Americans at a grocery store shortly after trying and failing to enter a black church. We speak with Lois Beckett, a senior reporter for The Guardian covering gun policy, criminal justice and the far right in the United States. “The shooter in Pittsburgh was not just anti-Semitic,” Beckett says. “He had been radicalized by white supremacist ideology.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • California Agrees To Delay Net Neutrality Law Pending Outcome Of Federal Lawsuit

      California has agreed to pause the state’s shiny new net neutrality lawsuit pending the outcome of a looming federal lawsuit against the FCC. After some early gamesmanship courtesy of AT&T, California passed one of the toughest net neutrality laws in the nation (which isn’t saying much) back in September. The law effectively mirrors the discarded 2015 FCC net neutrality rules, though the law goes a little further to ensure that ISPs can’t abuse things like zero rating (exempting a partner or an ISP’s own content but not others) and usage caps.

      In a not entirely-unexpected move, the state late last week struck a deal with government and industry lawyers, agreeing to delay its implementation until a lawsuit against the FCC can be settled. That federal lawsuit, filed by Mozilla and 23 State Attorneys General, isn’t expected to hear opening arguments until February. If the FCC and industry lose, the 2015 rules would be restored. If the FCC and industry win, the legal fight shifts to whether states will be allowed to implement their own rules, potentially, eventually, coming down to new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

    • FCC Falsely Claims Community Broadband an ‘Ominous Threat to The First Amendment’
    • FCC Falsely Declares Community Broadband An ‘Ominous’ Attack On Free Speech

      Absent any hard data to support their claims, you may have noted that the Trump FCC often just makes up some shit.

      Like that time FCC boss Ajit Pai tried to claim that net neutrality somehow aids dictators. Or that time Pai’s office just made up a DDOS attack to try and downplay massive public backlash to his historically unpopular policies. There’s often no real-world data that can defend blindly kissing the rings of widely-loathed telecom monopolies, so bullshit tends to be the weapon of choice when Pai’s FCC embraces whatever handout to Comcast and friends is on the menu this week.

      [...]

      Ultimately, Chattanooga’s service forced these ISPs to do the one thing they had been hoping to avoid: compete on both service speed and price. That’s not to say local-government owned broadband should be the only solution embraced, but it’s obviously one of several ways you can actually prod lumbering, pampered mono/duopolies to actually give a damn.

      And of course that’s the real problem in O’Rielly’s mind: that locals would dare impede on Comcast’s god-given right to buy itself a geographical monopoly over an essential service, nickel-and-diming consumers until they grew so frustrated they’re forced to get into the broadband business themselves.

      Of course ISPs could prevent this by simply offering better, faster, and cheaper service. But it’s far easier and cheaper to try and buy laws restricting consumer rights, and to have your favorite public official mindlessly demonize something that is, at the end of the day, a legitimate, organic public response to a broadband competition and availability problem ISPs like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast would prefer regulators ignore.

    • Trump FCC official publicly lying about censorship on municipal broadband

      FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly gave a speech to the Media Institute in which he falsely claimed that municipal fiber networks (which provide competitive services that are cheaper and better than those provided by commercial telcoms monopolies, and which are a major target for dark-money billionaire smear campaigns) have onerous terms of service that allow them to censor users’ speech, and that they use this power to suppress right-wing political views.

    • Regulating the Web through decentralisation

      The adoption of the Copyright Directive and the recent debates about the “Fake News” have been an introduction to the more general discussion about the regulation of the Internet, which will be held (FR) this year. Today, La Quadrature du Net submits some practical proposals.

      The French Government wants (FR) the major social networks to stop promoting the dissemination of “hate and extremist speech”. Why not.

      The French report (FR) aiming at “strenghtening the fight against racism and antisemitism on the Internet”, ordered by the Prime minister and published last month, explains it very clearly. It denounces “a perverted connection between hate speech and advertising: people who write offensive or extremist remarks are the “money makers”, because one of them can cause fifty or a hundred others. From this perspective, it is valuable for these networks to host and disseminate this kind of speech”.

      More generally, the report regrets “the rule according to which an offensive remark will generate more “buzz” than a consensual one, fueling the economic model of these platforms”. This is the same analysis that we developped to explain why Google (FR) or Facebook (FR) must be fought.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Pharrell Is Not At All Happy About Trump Using ‘Happy’ At His Rally… And He Might Actually Have A Case

        It happens basically every election cycle: at a political event or rally a politician that a musician dislikes uses one of that musician’s songs to get the crowd excited. The musician gets upset and speaks out about it, and maybe even sends a legal threat letter. We’ve written about this many, many times before going back many years. And in most cases, the complaints are bullshit. Most event venues and and most competent campaigns have the appropriate blanket performance licenses from BMI and/or ASCAP, and that allows them to play whatever they want at the events, and the musicians really can’t do much about it (other than complain publicly, which makes lots of news — and which is why we’re still amazed that campaigns don’t first check to make sure they play music of musicians who support them).

        But… there are some rare exceptions to this general rule, and not only have we found one, but it involves quite an impressive legal threat. It appears that on Saturday evening, just hours after 11 people were murdered in Pittsburgh, President Donald Trump decided to still hold a political rally, because when the choice is put in front of Trump between “appropriate silence” and “pointless spectacle that makes Trump feel worshiped” he will always choose the latter*. But at this highly inappropriate rally, Trump apparently played Pharrell Williams’ incredibly upbeat earworm of a pop song “Happy.”

        * Hey, I get that some of you are going to be upset about this line, and will come up with all sorts of bullshit rationalizing and excuses for why the rally was appropriate, and all I will say to you is: make better life choices, and maybe, take a serious look at yourself in the mirror and ask “what the fuck happened to me?”

      • Interview With Catherine Chammartin, Director General Of The Swiss Federal Institute Of Intellectual Property

        IPW: Switzerland was on the US Section 301 Watchlist for its copyright legislation allowing in principle the downloading of protected material for personal use. Would the new copyright law change the situation?

        CC: We are effectively on the US 301 Watchlist. The main concern of the US is that Switzerland does not have enough instruments to fight internet piracy, especially since the “Logistep” decision of the Federal Supreme Court, which created uncertainty as to whether the collection of IP addresses is in conformity with data protection law. When copyright infringement occurs on the internet, rights owners usually do not know who is responsible for this infringement. In order to identify the responsible person, they need to take criminal action against the infringer and submit to the authorities the IP addresses from where the copyright infringement came. The revision would eliminate these uncertainties. We expect that the improvements in the fight against internet piracy will satisfy the US. At the same time, the revision of the Copyright Act was not initiated because of US criticism, but because of concerns of Swiss stakeholders. The revision being presented to Parliament was prepared in close cooperation with the stakeholders. A compromise was found where all stakeholders see some, but not all, of their concerns fulfilled.

        Together with the revision of the Copyright Act, the Federal Council has submitted for approval two WIPO instruments: The Beijing treaty [Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances] and the Marrakesh treaty [Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled].

        The IPI is also currently preparing the necessary steps for the government to take a decision on Switzerland’s accession to the Geneva Act [Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications].

      • Piracy reflects market failure: Husic

        An expansion of Australia’s piracy site-block laws is “a form of regulatory hallucinogen”, Labor MP Ed Husic has said, adding that the voice of the consumer needs to be heard and rights holders should be less “resistant” to digitisation and reforming their systems.

        “The big challenge is the freeing-up of copyright to ensure that innovation can spread more widely and to face up to big rights holders and the types of hysterical arguments we get in this space,” Husic said.

        “These rights holders think that by constantly using legal mechanisms through this place and elsewhere, piracy will disappear. The reality is that piracy is a reflection of a market failure.”

      • Administrative UK Site-Blocking Should Be Accompanied By Absolute Transparency

        This week the UK Government announced that it’s considering options for ‘pirate’ site-blocking without rightsholders having to go to court to obtain an injunction. While there are undoubtedly plenty of pitfalls to consider before implementing this kind of system, absolute transparency should be the minimum standard. Without it, confusion reigns.

      • The EU’s new Link Tax bans the use of Creative Commons and open access for news

        But link taxes go even farther than merely requiring paid licenses: the accompanying “Recital 32″ suggests that copyright owners won’t be allowed to waive this right, and will have to negotiate a separate license for every platform that wants to link to them.

      • Will Internet Services Block Europeans to Avoid “Upload Filters”?

        The EU’s plans to modernize copyright law in Europe are moving forward, including the controversial Article 13. While supporters and opponents remain diametrically opposed, we take a look ahead. If Article 13 is implemented, will large websites block European visitors fearing potential liability for pirated content?

      • The New Mayor of Prague is a ‘Pirate’

        The Pirate Party movement has booked quite a few successes already and this week it can add yet another. The 37-year-old Pirate Party member Zdeněk Hřib is the newly appointed mayor of the Czech Republic’s capital Prague, which solidifies the party’s recent election win. Hřib initially joined the Pirates to help with its health care program, but he’s now leading the country’s largest city.

Team UPC Hijacks the Debate in the Media and in British Parliament

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 10:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s like Battistelli is still there ‘in spirit’ or in the shadows

CIPA meeting with Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones (CIPA) with Lutz and Battistelli

Summary: The dubious if not profoundly corrupt activities that motor the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement (UPCA) carry on unabated; front groups like the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA), aided by one-sided British media, tell a bunch of lies to British politicians, hoping that policy would thus be changed to favour the litigation ‘industry’ at the expense of productive industries

Earlier today, or just a few hours ago according to this page, there was a Parliamentary session titled “Patent protection experts questioned by Committee” in the UK. “Witnesses” were only Team UPC (lawyers and the front group CIPA, friends of Battistelli) because we’re supposed to think patents exist just for a bunch of law firms. Hey, who needs to listen to real companies and actual scientists anyway? Yesterday Team UPC wrote: “#UPCandBrexit Listen in tmrrw, Tue, 10:45 GMT” and from the corresponding page:

Witnesses
Tuesday 30 October in Committee Room 3, Palace of Westminster

At 10.45am

Mr Kevin Mooney, Simmons & Simmons (and Chairman of the Committee tasked with drafting the Rules and Procedure of the Unified Patent Court)
Mr Stephen Jones, President of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA)

This is Stephen Jones, who is fine with EPO crimes and even met Battistelli after he had edited IP Kat (where criticism of corrupt Battistelli is no longer allowed). Kevin Mooney was also mentioned here before [1, 2].

We are disgusted to learn that these are the supposed ‘experts’; all they do there is lobby for their financial agenda and lawyers’ media helps amplify them (see this Team UPC tweet) like some sort of think tank. Exactly 5 days earlier Max Walters published a piece titled “‘Tragedy’ for UK to miss out on European patent court, say lawyers” (nice propaganda he got there, just in time for the Parliamentary session).

‘Tragedy’ because they rely on lots and lots of lots of legitimate British companies getting sued by patent trolls and then hiring lawyers (also hired by trolls) to ‘save’ them. These lawyers are blood-sucking leeches. From the so-called article (at the Law Gazette):

Lawyers have told parliament that the government should do ‘everything it can’ to grasp the opportunity of joining an EU-wide patent court – a month after Whitehall conceded a ‘no-deal’ Brexit could force the UK to withdraw from the system.

Giving evidence to the House of Lords’ EU Justice Sub-Committee yesterday Trevor Cook, partner at international firm WilmerHale, and Daniel Alexander and Charlotte May, both silks at 8 New Square, stressed the importance of the UK remaining in the Unified Patent Court (UPC).

Absent from this article are any views from anyone other than law firms. This is very much consistent with the foul play and corruption of Team UPC. They try to hijack the law and co-opt politicians for this crooked agenda. They also infiltrate and spread their lies in the media. In the above, for example, they spread two lies at once when they say “remaining in the Unified Patent Court (UPC).” (as if it already exists and the UK can join; neither is true)

EPO Insider: Under António Campinos “the Union Busting Done by the Administration Continues Even Worse Than Before”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

One year ago: ‘Efficiency’ in Action: António Campinos is Sending Jobs Abroad, Then Gagging Critics

EUIPO outsourcing

Summary: The patent office that used to be the world’s best has deteriorated and become one of the world’s worst in terms of atmosphere and human rights (routinely trampled upon by management that exploits immunity)

THE European Patent Office (EPO) under the leadership of António Campinos is still an appalling workplace with no job security and examiners are compelled to grant software patents in Europe in direct defiance of the EPC, which makes them reluctantly complicit (because they’re afraid of losing their job, whereupon they need to leave the country with their family).

As one EPO insider put it a short while ago: “With the arrival of the new president #campinos nothing significant has changed… noppes, nada, niente! On the contrary, following the recent developments, the union busting done by the administration continues even worse as [sic] before. Really depressing for all staff involved.”

“Many suicides are a symptom of the problem. From a dream job it turned into a stressful nightmare and a high proportion of EPO workers seek professional mental support.”It often feels as if the US controls the ‘European’ Patent Office. “The European Patent Office (EPO) is holding a seminar for US‑based patent attorneys,” says this new page (warning: epo.org link), which a day ago the EPO promoted as follows: “What are the advantages of using the EPO as PCT International Searching Authority? We’ll present them at our upcoming events in Houston and Washington…”

Yes, Houston, Texas. That part of Texas (east). Imagine the USPTO holding patent events across Europe as often as the EPO goes to the US to promote software patents and other such nonsense. The EPO just keeps promoting software patents in Europe and yesterday it wrote: “Why attend our Patenting #Blockchain conference? For one, you’ll be able to develop your knowledge of blockchain-related examination practice at the EPO. For more reasons, see here: http://bit.ly/EPOblockchain18 pic.twitter.com/C0ezZCizPX”

Welcome to EPO 2.0. It’s a software patents powerhouse. What would the founding fathers (behind the EPC) have said? It all went wrong. Many suicides are a symptom of the problem. From a dream job it turned into a stressful nightmare and a high proportion of EPO workers seek professional mental support.

IBM- and Microsoft-Backed Patent Troll Strikes Again and IBM’s Lobbyist for Software Patents Has Just Defended Patent Trolls (Again)

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, OIN, Patents, Red Hat at 9:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: IBM, IPO, AIPLA, ABA and Other Lobbying/Front Groups of the Patent Microcosm Are Trying to Change US Law for Software Patents

David Kappos as lobbyist

Summary: With IBM and Microsoft having lots of commonalities when it comes to patent policy and exploitation of the law (both employed similar people too, notably Marshall Phelps and David Kappos, former Director of the USPTO), concerns should be raised in light of the latest lawsuit from the patent troll they support

FORGET the nonsense about OIN and LOT Network; OIN does nothing to shield anyone from trolls or proxies, which Microsoft is leveraging to sell “Azure IP Advantage” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21]. It’s also difficult to forget Microsoft’s role in the SCO lawsuit, which is still ongoing (more than a decade and a half now) and primarily targets IBM.

“It is quite worrying to see IBM- and Microsoft-employed lobbyists publicly defending patent trolls on the very same day an IBM-armed and Microsoft-funded patent troll uses software patents for blackmail.”According to patent boosters, who took note of it pretty fast and linked to reports, patent troll Finjan, fueled by the new owner of Red Hat, backed and financed by Microsoft, filed another lawsuit. We had spotted the original press release within hours upon publication and it said this:

Finjan Holdings, Inc., (NASDAQ:FNJN), a cybersecurity company, today announced that — after nearly two years of good faith efforts to resolve a patent dispute with Fortinet, Inc. ( “Fortinet”) — its subsidiary Finjan, Inc. (“Finjan”) has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Fortinet, Inc., a Delaware corporation with headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Finjan filed the Complaint (Case No. 3:18-cv-06555), on October 26, 2018, and alleges that Fortinet’s products and services infringed or are infringing at least nine of Finjan’s U.S. patents. Specifically, Finjan asserts that Fortinet’s FortiGate, FortiManager, FortiAnalyzer, FortiSiem, FortiSandbox, FortiMail, FortiWeb, FortiCache and FortiClient technologies, including Fortinet Security Fabric Platform products infringe U.S. Patent Nos. 6,154,844; 6,965,968; 7,058,822; 7,418,731; 7,647,633; 7,975,305; 8,079,086; 8,225,408; and 8,677,494 (collectively “the Asserted Patents”). Finjan is seeking, among other things, a jury trial, past damages not less than a reasonable royalty, enhanced damages for willful, wanton and deliberate infringement, and reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs for infringement of each of the Asserted Patents. Additionally, Finjan is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctive relief against Fortinet and those in privity with them, from infringing and inducing the infringement of the ‘968, ‘822, ‘731, ‘633, ‘305, and ‘408 Patents.

These are software patents. So the same month that Microsoft said it had reached patent “truce” with GNU/Linux its patent troll Finjan is filing yet another lawsuit against Microsoft’s rivals. It’s as if nothing at all has changed except Microsoft’s lies embedded all over the media (something about “protecting Linux” and “open-sourcing patents).

Meanwhile, the lobbyist David Kappos (sponsored by Microsoft and IBM after he had run the USPTO) is promoting software patents and patent trolls (like Microsoft’s and arguably IBM). He uses the euphemism non-practicing entities (NPEs) and published this article yesterday in what’s likely the largest site on the topic, saying:

The recipe for swinging the pendulum of patent law towards weaker patent rights is simple: Start with a generous warning about the scourge of low quality patents, stir in a skosh of fear mongering regarding non-practicing entities (NPEs) asserting those patents, then apply heat with predictions of lost jobs and threats to innovation, publicize in a blog, speech or article, and there you have it!

Just like the Trump-appointed Director Iancu he seems to be denying there’s a problem. Earlier this month Iancu came under a lot of fire, especially from front groups of technology firms large and small, after he had insinuated that patent trolls aren’t a problem or don’t even exist (they’re a ‘fiction’ or ‘fake news’). It is quite worrying to see IBM- and Microsoft-employed lobbyists publicly defending patent trolls on the very same day an IBM-armed and Microsoft-funded patent troll uses software patents for blackmail. Need we add that on the same day IBM also announced that it bought or agreed to buy all of Red Hat’s ‘defensive’ patents, which include software patents? The Federal Circuit typically finds that those patents are invalid (if the case reaches that far, at great expense to the defendant).

Nobody Should be Immune From Patent Law or the Rule of Law in General

Posted in America, Courtroom, Law, Patents at 9:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Old cartoon about António Campinos and his son, who attempted to 'borrow' his father's immunity

Son of Campinos

Summary: The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has been asked to determine whether the US government is a person and is therefore accountable for breaches of patent law; it seems like a rather trivial question to be dealing with if everyone in society is equal before the court

EARLIER this week the CCIA’s head of patents (Patent Progress) wrote: “New patent SCOTUS cert grant in Return Mail (is the gov a person for purposes of IPR.)”

It’s about AIA and Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs), which are generally supported the vast majority of the time by the Federal Circuit (sometimes it’s remanding/vacating, rarely overturning/reversing).

“We’re against the concept of immunity for anyone, having written a lot about EPO corruption, showing how immunity was misused to perpetuate crimes without anyone being held accountable.”Remember that “corporations are people” and bribes are “free speech” to SCOTUS. But SCOTUS does not, however, tolerate USPTO-granted software patents and it definitely supports IPRs as Constitutional. Guess what comes next… “Is the Government a Person?”

That’s how Dennis Crouch put it. I have actually received legal threats — both online and at my doorstep — from lawyers who lie shamelessly, painting massive corporations as “native American tribes” for tax and patent purposes. They guard scammers and criminals, then they threaten critics (who dare point out that they grossly abuse sovereign immunity).

Anyway, this is how Crouch put it:

The outcome here is an open question: The AIA doe not define the term; nor has the PTO through rulemaking; nor is there any real legislative history on point. The petition cites to the 2000 Supreme Court decision of Vt. Agency of Nat. Res. v. US ex rel. Stevens, 528 U.S. 765, for the proposition that “person” does not ordinarily include the “sovereign.”

In considering the issue, the Federal Circuit first noted that “Return Mail has waived reliance on the term “person” because it failed to make any arguments in that regard in its opening brief.” The court then went on to explain that – if the issue is somehow “not waivable” then the correct interpretation of “person” in this context would include the Government — noting that there is “no hard and fast rule of exclusion, and much depends on the context, the subject matter, legislative history, and executive interpretation.” Wilson v. Omaha Indian Tribe, 442 U.S. 653, 667 (1979). In general though the Federal Circuit’s statutory construction analysis in this case is quite lacking.

It troubles us to see that it’s actually an open question. We’re against the concept of immunity for anyone, having written a lot about EPO corruption, showing how immunity was misused to perpetuate crimes without anyone being held accountable. The US uses terms like “sovereign” in relation to tribes and also defends universities, not just government branches. Nobody should be above the law. Nobody. As for corporations and governments, their make-up is mostly people and these people can be held accountable both individually and collectively. Nobody and nothing should be above the law. EPO perpetrators are a good reminder of it.

Meanwhile, according to this new press release [1, 2], the Western District of Pennsylvania made the following decision, spun by one of the sides in the dispute as “United States District Court Confirms Construction of Blast Motion Patent” (we’re no strangers to it because we noted an embargo attempt). To quote:

On October 24, 2018, the Western District of Pennsylvania issued a favorable claim construction to Blast Motion, Inc. (“Blast Motion”) in the ongoing five-patent lawsuit between Blast Motion and Diamond Kinetics, Inc. (“Diamond Kinetics”). Diamond Kinetics challenged, and lost, the key term it had selected for construction.

[...]

Diamond Kinetics attempted to narrow the scope of the claim language of the ’527 patent by proposing a construction that would have limited the patented invention to a “simultaneous” broadcast such as television broadcasting. The Court soundly rejected Diamond Kinetics’ proposed limiting construction and interpreted “broadcasting,” as used in the ’527 patent, to mean “transmitting information capable of being received by multiple display devices.” As a result, the Court’s order confirms the strength of Blast Motion’s infringement allegations against Diamond Kinetics.

If the case is properly followed, as per the rule of law, and if Diamond Kinetics is indeed found to have violated a patent (or even 5), then so be it. We’re not against patents. We’re actually against those who try to disregard the rule of law or subvert the law for purely financial agenda.

Donald Trump’s Choice of Leadership for the USPTO Means That Invalid Patents Continue to be Granted Only for Law Firms to Profit

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 8:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Legal departments versus justice and scientific advancement, competition

“It’s certainly a lot more likely that Microsoft violates patents than Linux does [...] Basic operating system theory was pretty much done by the end of the 1960s. IBM probably owned thousands of really ‘fundamental’ patents [...] The fundamental stuff was done about half a century ago and has long, long since lost any patent protection.”

Linus Torvalds, 2007

Summary: Bogus patents (or ‘fake patents’ as today’s President might put it) are being awarded in spite of 35 U.S.C. § 101, almost as though SCOTUS does not exist or does not count; this means that a lot of lawsuits end up nowhere, leaving only a long trail of legal bills

OVER the weekend we wrote that in Australia the large patent law firms (through a front group of theirs) tried to bring back software patents because they assume that litigation and feuds are not only their source of income but something to be imposed on everyone else (taxing society and industry by legal bills). We received some heckling for that, courtesy of the patent trolls’ lobby, so that might mean that we touched a sensitive spot (they didn’t refute anything we had said). There’s now a new article about it (behind a paywall of course) from an Australian site called Lawyerly.

No matter how one looks at it, it’s impossible for law firms to deny that they want more lawsuits; they want to be involved in those because it’s “big money” (to them at least, no matter the outcome of these lawsuits).

“We have reached a sad situation where the Director of the world’s most influential patent office, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, simply diverges from the decisions made by courts and instead takes instructions from radicals like IPO, i.e. companies like IBM.”We are saddened to see that the USPTO’s new Director, Mr. Iancu, insists on granting fake software patents that have no legal worth or use. Maybe because the USPTO has been taken over by the litigation ‘industry’? This Director had worked for Trump (his firm had done work for the President), whereupon he was thrust into the very top of the patent office. Somehow.

Earlier this week Marks & Clerk’s Julian Asquith and Tobias Eriksson wrote that this “USPTO Director suggests new test for software patents” and remember that Marks & Clerk has long been very vocal in its support for software patents, even in Europe. It said that it had become easier to get software patents from the EPO than from the USPTO.

It’s concerning that Director Iancu takes advice from and ‘works’ for IPO radicals, a front group funded by the likes of IBM to push for software patents in the US (he should follow the law and courts, not lobbyists), but here’s what Asquith and Eriksson report:

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) director, Andrei Iancu, recently gave a talk at the IPO’s annual meeting, and he had some…

The rest is behind a paywall. But what’s important here is the headline and his participation in this event.

Weintraub Tobin meanwhile writes (on October 29th) that “Ordering Pizza Is Not Patentable!” (yes, exclamation mark in the headline) and he refers to the USPTO. A better headline and summary would have clarified (no need for exclamation marks) that courts assure the US patent office that it keeps granting bogus, fake, worthless software patents that have no legitimacy in actual legal processes. To quote Weintraub Tobin:

Some things are not patentable: laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas. The Supreme Court has long held that inventions falling within these categories are not patentable; they are patent-ineligible subject matter. In 2014, the Supreme Court relied on this principle in deciding Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International, 134 S. Ct. 2347. In that case, the Court invalidated patent for a computerized system for mitigating risks in financial transactions. The Court also established a test for determining patent-eligible subject matter. Since then, Alice has been used to invalidate many patents, particularly software patents. Now it has been used to invalidate a patent for ordering pizza.

Ameranth owned four patents for “an information management system” for transmitting menus from a master database to handheld devices. In 2011, Ameranth filed suit in the Southern District of California against several defendants, including Pizza Hut, Domino’s Pizza, and others, for infringement of the four patents. The defendants challenged the validity of three of the patents in the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The PTAB invalidated many of the claims of the three patents, and, in a subsequent appeal, the Federal Circuit invalidated the remaining claims. All three patents were held invalid on the grounds that they were directed to patent-ineligible subject matter because the invention was an abstract idea.

We have reached a sad situation where the Director of the world’s most influential patent office, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, simply diverges from the decisions made by courts and instead takes instructions from radicals like IPO, i.e. companies like IBM.

Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Judges Oughtn’t Attend Patent Lawyers’ Echo Chamber Events Like the AIPLA Annual Meeting

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 7:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Don’t become a raider like Rader

CAFC corruption

Summary: It nowadays seems as though the value of PTAB inter partes reviews (IPRs) has been widely realised and acknowledged by companies that actually make things (not just legal papers); but the litigation ‘industry’ fights back and PTAB staff (mostly technical people) should remember to defend science and technology, not those striving to ‘monetise’ as many lawsuits as possible

LEADING scholars in the area of patents recently finalised a scholarly study on pertinent actions at the USPTO, showing the impact of 35 U.S.C. § 101, based on massive amounts of data rather than some biased (financial agenda-driven) claims from the patent microcosm, unhinged from any facts or hard evidence.

“If invited by the likes of IPO or AIPLA, they should tell them where they can go…”Unified Patents has just caught up with this other new paper titled “Maintaining the Balance: An Empirical Study on Inter Partes Review Outcomes of Orange Book Patents and its Effect on Hatch-Waxman Litigation” (we wrote about it a few times before).

“A recent study of PTAB and district court litigation involving Orange Book patents,” Unified Patents wrote, “examined how these FDA-approved pharmaceutical patents fare in inter partes review as compared to other patents in the same tech center. The study also evaluated IPR outcomes based on the petitioner type and the drug type.”

It is worrying to see PTAB disdain, however, at the top of the USPTO. Director Iancu does to PTAB judges what corrupt Battistelli did to BoA judges (a sort of equivalent of PTAB at the EPO). According to yesterday’s article from a patent maximalists’ publication:

The PTAB acting chief judge and vice-chief judge advised to inform them if there has been a final claim construction determination in another forum, and revealed another update to the Trial Practice Guide will be coming in the next few months

PTAB judges provided tips for petitioners and patent owners during at session at the AIPLA Annual Meeting last week.

As we said yesterday, it’s not exactly appropriate for judges to attend these events of patent maximalists such as AIPLA (or their “Annual Meeting” that’s essentially a lobbying event that’s preaching to the choir). It gives the impression that they may be open to influence in those corridors.

PTAB judges are kindly advised to remember that the patent office exists to advance science, not to line the pockets of greedy law firms. If invited by the likes of IPO or AIPLA, they should tell them where they can go…

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