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10.26.19

All Patents on ‘Artificial Intelligence’ (or Machine Learning) Are Basically Fake Patents Waiting for Rejection by Courts

Posted in Deception, Patents at 10:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Scientific-sounding hype for very old algorithms, which are simply not patent-eligible

They tell me AI (Artificial Intelligence) is a buzzword; So now I just say Machine Learning instead

Summary: Patents on maths/stats are not legal; but when the media uses all sorts of other words, or non-abstractions that over-complicate matters (making simple things sound more magical than they really are) we’re supposed to think that magic defies patent law, too

WE ARE, as usual, still filing a lot of patent news in Daily Links, especially news pertaining to particular cases and US policy. Why do we do this? Simple. Lack of time. We don’t have enough time to cover these things like we did in prior years. Moreover, it certainly seems like some time around 2017 there was active discussion/debating about/around 35 U.S.C. § 101 and its handling by the American courts. That’s not the case anymore (or barely). It’s often assumed abstract patents will perish, based on the prosecution (or lack thereof) track record.

“It’s often assumed abstract patents will perish, based on the prosecution (or lack thereof) track record.”One item, however, caught our attention and merits special/lengthy commenting. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) have, in recent years, helped squash a lot of software patents — to the point where many parties were reluctant to file lawsuits or make demands with these (fearing a petition would be filed with PTAB). Seeing that the Federal Circuit had increasingly affirmed PTAB in this area, serial bullies nearly gave up and many went out of ‘business’. And this is where spying operations crept in, offering ways around PTAB, first by analysing IPRs and later — seeing that IPRs statistics could not support their propaganda (Mr. Loney apparently left his job over it) — they went on to analysing Ex Parte Reexaminations instead. We have been mentioning this, at least in passing, in past Daily Links.

“But these are software-implemented. They’re software patents. They should not be granted.”Anticipat is the largest culprit in that regard. It now says “3600 art units are well known for applying knee-jerk Section 101 patent-ineligible rejections” as if applying the law and rejecting software patents is “knee-jerk”; this is the expected kind of response from the anti-PTAB (and therefore anti-patent quality) collective known as Anticipat (they seem to be very small judging by this new booth photo, taken at an event of patent extremists [1, 2]). Anticipat is basically promoting software patents in the European Patent Office (EPO — not just the USPTO — under the guise of “hey hi” (still maths/stats, plus buzzwords and hype). So we wish to respond to that.

My credentials in this domain are a matter of public record (it’s all online). When I was 20 I implemented a computer game with so-called “hey hi” (game theory) and its Web site has been online for over 15 years. Later, when I did my Ph.D., I formally studied Machine Learning (way back in 2003), wrote papers about it, and carried on in this field for about a decade, first as a Ph.D. student and later as a postdoc. This whole “hey hi” nonsense (obscure buzzword and a vague, catch-all phrase) isn’t new to me. But the media as well as law firms want us to think it’s very new and exciting; in reality that goes back at least half a century. So, let’s examine what Anticipat is saying:

One reason why these allowance rates are much lower may depend on the art unit differences. Machine learning inventions typically get assigned to the 2121 or 2122 art units whereas business method inventions get assigned to the 3620s, 3680s and 3690s. The 3600 art units are well known for applying knee-jerk Section 101 patent-ineligible rejections whereas AI art units are not as preoccupied with Section 101. Often times, Examiners in these machine learning art units see the cutting edge technology of machine learning in these applications and generally quickly grant the patents for these inventions.

But these are software-implemented. They’re software patents. They should not be granted.

On they go, this time with “hey hi” instead of “machine learning” and the vague term “technical” (e.g. “technical purpose” at the EPO):

But not all AI inventions are as easy to get allowed, especially depending on the jurisdiction. Take Europe, for example. The standard for patent-eligibility at the EPO is somewhat different than the US in that it requires a sufficiently technical nature (i.e., the claim must have a technical implementation or technical application). For image processing and speech recognition, this technical nature can be easily shown. But other types of machine learning tech, such as NLP, have not been so recognized as having a technical purpose.

[...]

The [US] Board viewed the claim holistically by stating that “[t]aken as a whole, claim 1 recites a set of steps for a particular query- and hypothesis-based processing sequence and set of rules, executed by a QA system.” Then citing McRO, the Board held that this amounts to “us[ing] the limited rules in a process specifically designed to achieve an improved technological result in conventional industry practice,” i.e., to improve the technology of QA systems.” After coming to this determination, the Board found that the claim imposes meaningful limits on the application of the recited judicial exception for generating candidate answers to a question and thus are not directed to a patent-ineligible abstract idea.

AI will continue to transform all sectors of industry and patentability standards across jurisdictions will continue to change. Patentability standards across jurisdictions should continue to evolve to balance the growing impact of AI on society. As it does so, it is important to anticipate prosecution strategy internationally with the best patent data.

OK, this is complete waffle. They move on from discussion about machine learning and particular families of algorithms to this vague thing they’ve dubbed “hey hi” — the same thing nontechnical management does at the EPO and USPTO.

“We’ll continue to blast patent offices that resort to buzzwords instead of patents.”It does not seem like this hype wave is going away from the media and from patent offices. It’s not a passing fad if it can persist for years. They totally exploit misconceptions to associate just about anything — automation, computers, algorithms — with “hey hi”. We’ve written over a dozen articles about this one pattern of misinformation. Even if we did dozens more, people would still name-drop these buzzwords. Examiners would still be compelled — by guidelines that mention these buzzwords — to grant patents on these algorithms (or use of such algorithms in particular contexts, e.g. neural networks for spam filtering).

This will hopefully be the last post on this particular subject because it has gotten somewhat repetitive. We’ll continue to blast patent offices that resort to buzzwords instead of patents. But explaining why this is wrong won’t put an end to it. That much is pretty clear by now.

Links 26/10/2019: Mesa 19.2.2, VirtualBox 6.1 Beta 2, Tails 4.0 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 12:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • What’s the best Linux distribution for beginners?

      There are hundreds of different Linux distributions, each meeting the unique needs of its users. This diversity of distributions is what makes Linux the preferred operating system, but choosing the best one to get started can be quite daunting. First-timers need to take into consideration hardware, internet connection, installation method, desktop environment, support community, and more. So which one should a beginner choose? Take our Linux poll!

      If you are a seasoned Linux user, what distribution did you use first? Was it an easy transition or do you wish you had started with a different distribution? For newbies, how is your new life on Linux going? What distribution are you using now? Take our poll and leave us a comment with your Linux story.

    • Desktop

      • Desktop Linux Needs Better Marketing: Here Are 2 Ways It Can Find A Larger Audience

        Linux marketing sucks. It’s a sobering proclamation, normally resulting from things as simple as lack of funding and resources, or lack of experience. There are several reasons Linux hasn’t caught fire on the desktop like it has elsewhere. I absolutely share Linus Torvalds’ belief that a contributing factor is fragmentation. That problem may persist eternally, but there is so much more we can do to increase awareness and audience for desktop Linux.

        [...]

        “Linux insiders benefit from a brand that signals technical ability, even as that costs the ecosystem as a whole. But even the technically inclined can have dated ideas of the desktop experience. Six months ago, I’d only used Linux as a server environment. I’d no idea how polished the desktop had become.”

        “Everything’s so easy to find, you don’t have to wrestle with it, it just works,” he continues. “It’s now Windows that feels too difficult, with all its armed robbery style updates and baffling menus, settings and file systems.”

      • deepin shows off gorgeous V20 launcher and taskbar – watch out Microsoft and Apple!

        Deepin has come a long way in its 15-year history. Based on Debian (stable branch), the open-source Linux distro is widely hailed as the “eye candy” of Linux distros, with many users claiming that it is even better looking than Windows or macOS.

        Their recent release of the deepin v20 launcher preview on youtube.com has Linux lovers abuzz and in awe. Somehow the deepin developers have made the aesthetically pleasing OS even more so. Who knew this was even possible?

    • Server

      • Thinking big: Nextcloud chief aims to overtake Office365 and GSuite

        The head of the open-source file syncing and sharing software company Nextcloud, which has been growing at a fast pace, has ambitions to overtake proprietary services like Office 365 and Google GSuite.

        Founder and chief executive Frank Karlitschek told iTWire that, given these plans, the forthcoming Nextcloud releases would see big improvements in productivity, collaboration, communications, scalability and security.

        Nextcloud was started as a breakaway from another company, ownCloud, that Karlitschek himself started in 2010. Asked about the split, which occurred in 2016, he said he did not want to dwell on the reasons for the break-up, but said: “At the end of the day the complete set-up of the old company was wrong. [It had] the wrong management, investors, product focus and strategy.

      • Where are my Containers? Are VMs dead?

        The concept of computing container technology has been around a few decades, depending on what you consider a “container.” In the past decade, enterprise IT and web-scale cloud providers have begun to rely upon containers to run many applications, starting up billions of them every week.

        At the same time, we have also seen many industries being disrupted or impacted by personalized digital services. The world is abuzz with how 5G and edge computing will change our lives, maybe even more than the introduction of the smartphone. Before we leap forward into 5G, let?s catch up on what communications service providers (CSPs) and our industry have been able to accomplish with current infrastructure.

        Our CSP customers like Turkcell have been actively building private clouds for the past few years to accelerate and automate the deployment of their mobile (4G/LTE) and business (SD-WAN) network services using network function virtualization (NFV) to package those applications in virtual machines (VMs) on off-the shelf server hardware.

      • Juniper Building Out Linux Cloud Native Capabilities to Fuel Future Growth

        Another big area of future growth for Juniper is going to come from a new version of its Junos operating system. Rahim said that the new Junos operating system that has been designed very purposefully for the cloud provider space.

        “So, it has all of the capabilities, the Linux native capabilities, the modularity, the programmability, the telemetry aspects of what we know our cloud providers need and want,” he said. “We also have our very first systems based both on merchant silicon and custom silicon offerings that run that operating system and there will be more to come.”

      • IBM

        • Red Hat and NVIDIA Team to Bring High-Performance, Software-Defined 5G RAN to Telecoms Industry

          NVIDIA and Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced they are expanding their alliance to deliver high-performance, software-defined 5G wireless infrastructure, running on Red Hat OpenShift, to the telecoms industry.

        • The next wave of API management

          This has been the API status quo for the last couple of years, and API and API management have been steadily moving along.

          “API management is a pretty mature discipline now. When API management companies like 3scale were conceived 10-12 years ago, that was really a response to a real need from Agile developers who were saying our interoperability needs are not met by the ESD (electronic software distribution) model that had dominated for 20 years up until that point,” said David Codelli, senior principal product marketing manager for the open-source software company Red Hat. “Today API management is doing an outstanding job of allowing microservices teams to get the interoperability and the self service they need. It is a well established business for mature companies.”

          But as time has proven again and again, most things in software development don’t stay the same for long. The advent of these modern software techniques has spurred new technologies to support the new techniques, and API management will have to evolve to continue to meet the needs and expectations of users.

          [...]

          The microservice architecture has introduced a new concept over the last couple of years to help deal with the overall visibility and insight into microservices. A service mesh is “a way to control how different parts of an application share data with one another,” according to Red Hat. While microservices enable developers to easily make changes to their services, a service mesh is used to handle the service-to-service communication.

          According to Kevin Matheny, a senior director analyst for Gartner technical professionals, service meshes and API management are related, but also very different. Over time, developers are going to start, and some have already started, to combine service meshes into their API management initiatives.

          “Our customers are engaging with us to try to sort out the landscape and figure out what is complementary and what is overlapping. What are the ways they can build a plan to capitalize on both: advancements in service mesh and advancements in API management,” said Red Hat’s Codelli.

        • Introducing OpenShift Container Storage 4.2

          Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage is software-defined storage integrated with and optimized for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform. It runs anywhere OpenShift does: on-premise or in the public cloud. OpenShift Container Storage 4.2 is built on Red Hat Ceph® Storage, Rook, and NooBaa to provide container native storage services that support block, file, and object services. For the initial 4.2 release, OpenShift Container Storage will be supported on OpenShift platforms deployed on Amazon Web Services and VMware.

          [...]

          With OpenShift Container Storage 4.2, we focused on the customer experience from the ground up with the goal of making it easier and accessible to all OpenShift administrators — whether they are new to storage or are already ninja-level storage gurus — so anyone can install, upgrade and manage the storage in a public cloud-like experience.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Linux Gaming News Punch – Episode 20

        Hello and welcome back to the Linux Gaming News Punch, after taking a break for the Summer holidays we’re back for Episode 20.

        For those just joining, this is a quick take roundup on recent Linux gaming news. Meant for those who struggle to keep up or just want a little Linux gaming news on the go. Audio-only files and feed links below the video.

      • 2019-10-25 | Linux Headlines

        US telcos cut Google out of the shift to rich communication services, three companies respond to user backlash, and Google unveils a new search algorithm.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.5 Bringing A New System76 ACPI Driver For Their Coreboot-Enabled Laptops

        Slated for introduction with the upcoming Linux 5.5 kernel is a System76 ACPI driver needed for their new laptops that are now shipping with an open-source Coreboot firmware implementation.

        System76 recently launched two laptops that are featuring Coreboot support, which itself is open-source granted not 100% open-source due to there still being the relevant Intel firmware binaries bundled as part of the system. It at least is more exciting than a conventional proprietary BIOS and great seeing more vendors embracing Coreboot while we still long for the day that the likes of the Intel FSP and ME are neutralized completely or fully open-sourced.

      • Graphics Stack

        • AMD Sends In Another Batch Of Feature Changes For Linux 5.5 AMDGPU Driver Code

          Complementing the big AMDGPU feature pull request from two weeks ago, on Friday AMD sent out a second batch of features targeting the upcoming Linux 5.5 kernel merge window.

          On the feature front, the main change with this pull request for Linux 5.5 is the BACO support for older AMD GPUs. Those Radeon 200/300 series parts are seeing BACO support for possible power-savings ultimately but the short-term focus is using it for GPU reset functionality. BACO is already supported on the newer AMD GPUs.

        • RADV Vulkan Driver’s ACO Compiler Back-End Has Navi/GFX10 Nearly Squared Away

          Following a lot of work on the AMD “ACO” compiler back-end to the RADV Vulkan driver for GFX10/Navi, this experimental alternative to AMDGPU LLVM is about ready to go for these newest AMD graphics processors.

          There was more aco/gfx10 activity merged yesterday getting the hazard mitigations in place and other bits landing earlier in the week as well.

        • NVIDIA Extends GL_SYNC_DISPLAY_DEVICE To Work With Vulkan Apps, Better RAM Reclamation

          NVIDIA on Friday released the 435.27.02 Linux beta driver that features a few Vulkan updates.

          First up, the environment variable __GL_SYNC_DISPLAY_DEVICE is now honored by Vulkan applications. This environment variable has been used by the NVIDIA Linux driver for a few years in cases of multi-monitor setups that are not ideal for specifying which display device / output to sync to in a bid to eliminate tearing. This GL_SYNC variable has obviously been focused on OpenGL (there is also a separate one for VDPAU synchronization) while now it works for Vulkan games/programs too.

        • Intel’s ANV Driver Now Exposes Vulkan Memory Model Support

          The newest Vulkan extension now supported by Intel’s open-source “ANV” Linux driver is VK_KHR_vulkan_memory_model.

          The VK_KHR_vulkan_memory_model support was originally introduced a year ago and then solidified in Q1 as the formal memory model for Vulkan and the first for a major graphics API. VK_KHR_vulkan_memory_model exposes support for the Vulkan Memory Model as the means of defining synchronized memory access to the same memory locations via multiple shader invocations.

        • mesa 19.2.2
          Hi list,
          
          Sorry for the slight delay in the release, my fault. I'm pleased to announce the
          availability of mesa 19.2.2, the second point release in the mesa 19.2 series.
          Things have started to slow down a bit, and I like that. We've had an assortment
          of fixes in this release, notably a bunch of work to get Solaris and illumos
          working with mesa, as well as more work fixing issues in the migration of
          package-config and headers being handled by libglvnd instead of mesa when mesa
          is built with support for glvnd.
          
          There's  bunch of other changes here, with radv and intel leading the pack,
          otherwise just a few things here and there.
          
          Dylan
          
          
          Shortlog
          ========
          
          Alan Coopersmith (6):
                c99_compat.h: Don't try to use 'restrict' in C++ code
                util: Make Solaris implemention of p_atomic_add work with gcc
                util: Workaround lack of flock on Solaris
                util: Solaris has linux-style pthread_setname_np
                meson: recognize "sunos" as the system name for Solaris
                intel/common: include unistd.h for ioctl() prototype on Solaris
          
          Alejandro Piñeiro (1):
                v3d: take into account prim_counts_offset
          
          Bas Nieuwenhuizen (3):
                radv: Disallow sparse shared images.
                nir/dead_cf: Remove dead control flow after infinite loops.
                radv: Fix single stage constant flush with merged shaders.
          
          Clément Guérin (1):
                radeonsi: enable zerovram for Rocket League
          
          Connor Abbott (2):
                nir/sink: Rewrite loop handling logic
                nir/sink: Don't sink load_ubo to outside of its defining loop
          
          Dylan Baker (3):
                docs: Add SHA256 sum for 19.2.1
                docs: Add release notes for 19.2.2
                Bump version for 19.2.2 release
          
          Eric Engestrom (7):
                GL: drop symbols mangling support
                meson: rename `glvnd_missing_pc_files` to `not glvnd_has_headers_and_pc_files`
                meson: move a couple of include installs around
                meson: split headers one per line
                meson: split Mesa headers as a separate installation
                meson: skip installation of GLVND-provided headers
                util/u_atomic: fix return type of p_atomic_{inc,dec}_return() and p_atomic_{cmp,}xchg()
          
          Ian Romanick (2):
                nir/search: Fix possible NULL dereference in is_fsign
                intel/vec4: Don't try both sources as immediates for DPH
          
          James Xiong (1):
                iris: finish aux import on get_param
          
          Kenneth Graunke (2):
                iris: Properly unreference extra VBOs for draw parameters
                iris: Implement the Gen < 9 tessellation quads workaround
          
          Lepton Wu (1):
                egl/android: Remove our own reference to buffers.
          
          Lionel Landwerlin (3):
                etnaviv: remove variable from global namespace
                anv: fix vkUpdateDescriptorSets with inline uniform blocks
                anv: fix memory leak on device destroy
          
          Lucas Stach (3):
                etnaviv: fix vertex buffer state emission for single stream GPUs
                rbug: fix transmitted texture sizes
                rbug: unwrap index buffer resource
          
          Pierre-Eric Pelloux-Prayer (1):
                mesa: fix invalid target error handling for teximage
          
          Roland Scheidegger (1):
                gallivm: Fix saturated signed psub/padd intrinsics on llvm 8
          
          Samuel Pitoiset (6):
                drirc: enable vk_x11_override_min_image_count for DOOM
                radv: bump minTexelBufferOffsetAlignment to 4
                radv: fix DCC fast clear code for intensity formats
                Revert "radv: do not emit PKT3_CONTEXT_CONTROL with AMDGPU 3.6.0+"
                radv: fix DCC fast clear code for intensity formats (correctly)
                radv: fix updating bound fast ds clear values with different aspects
          
          Timothy Arceri (1):
                glsl: fix crash compiling bindless samplers inside unnamed UBOs
          
          
          git tag: mesa-19.2.2
          
        • Mesa 19.2.2 Brings Fixes For Solaris/Illumos, Continued Fixes For Intel ANV + Radeon RADV

          Mesa 19.2.2 was released on Thursday as the second point release to this quarter’s Mesa 19.2 stable series.

          With all new feature work focused on Mesa 19.3 for release in just over one month’s time, Mesa 19.2.2 is just focused on fixes. The Mesa 19.2.2 brings a number of compatibility fixes/workarounds for Oracle Solaris (and the open-source Illumos), a number of Radeon Vulkan (RADV) fixes, the workaround to enabling zeroed vRAM for the Rocket League game to avoid artifact issues, Meson build system updates, a few Intel Iris Gallium3D driver fixes, and various other fixes scattered throughout.

        • NVIDIA have released a new Vulkan Beta Driver 435.27.02

          NVIDIA continue pushing out new builds to their special Vulkan Beta Driver, a staging area to test out new features. They’ve been running this special series now for a number of years, as they continue to keep up with the latest updates to the Vulkan API and their support of Linux with recent drivers has been great.

    • Benchmarks

      • A Look At The Per-Clock Performance / Peak Frequencies With The Intel Core i7-1065G7 Ice Lake

        Following this week’s Intel Core i7-1065G7 Ice Lake Linux benchmarks there was some questions and speculations about the per-clock performance of this long-awaited Intel microarchitecture update. Here is some additional data shedding light on the clock frequencies under load and ultimately how the per-clock performance compares to the common Intel previous-generation mobile CPUs.

        The Core i7-1065G7 features a 1.3GHz base frequency and 3.9GHz turbo frequency, well below the i7-8550U clock frequencies of 1.80GHz and 4.0GHz for the i7-8550U or 1.8GHz and 1.6GHz of the i7-8565U processors, the two other mobile processors compared to in this week’s Linux benchmarks. But thanks to superior per-clock performance, the Ice Lake CPU offered significant raw performance and performance-per-Watt gains over these earlier processors.

    • Applications

      • VirtualBox 6.1 Beta 2 released

        Please do NOT use this VirtualBox Beta release on production machines. A VirtualBox Beta release should be considered a bleeding-edge release meant for early evaluation and testing purposes.

        You will shortly be able to download the binaries here. Please use sha256sum to compare the hash of the downloaded package with the corresponding hash from this list.

        Please do NOT open bug reports at https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Bugtracker but use our VirtualBox Beta Feedback forum to report any problems with the Beta. Please concentrate on reporting regressions since VirtualBox 6.0.14.

      • VirtualBox 6.1 Beta 2 Released As Oracle’s Next Virtualization Update Approaches

        Oracle today released their second public beta of the forthcoming VirtualBox 6.1 virtualization software.

      • MPV Player 0.30 Released For This Advanced Open-Source Video Player

        MPV 0.30 is out as the newest release to this cross-platform, open-source video player derived from MPlayer/mplayer2.

        MPV continues to be on an exciting trajectory with their v0.30 release. This release adds Vulkan interoperability with its CUDA hardware decoding support as well as VA-API + Vulkan interop support too. MPV 0.30 also replaces its previous Vulkan implementation with one based upon libplacebo, the work-in-progress MPV library, so their Vulkan support is centered around the library.

      • The Best DVD Players for Ubuntu

        In the past, multimedia was a sore point for Linux users. Now, though, it’s a strength. There are plenty of fantastic DVD and video players for Linux systems, including Ubuntu. As an added bonus, they all should be readily available in the default Ubuntu repositories.

      • Rav1e Rust AV1 Encoder Adds SSSE3 Support, AArch64 NEON – But It’s Still Slow

        The Xiph rav1e AV1 video encoder written in the Rust programming language recently picked up more optimizations among other improvements.

        This week’s pre-release adds SSSE3 and AArch64 NEON as the newest optimizations to rav1e. That comes on top of other recent work like better rate control, two-pass rate control, x86_64 speed-ups, tiles being expressed in linear units, other new x86_64 SIMD optimizations, a fast 8-bit code-pathm and other work.

      • Proprietary

        • QQ for Linux is Back, 10 Years After Discontinued!

          Tencent QQ, one of the favorite instant messaging apps for Chinese users, now is back to Linux by releasing QQ for Linux 2.0.0 Beta.

          QQ for Linux was discontinued about 10 years ago. Now it’s back with following features:

          Support x64、ARM64、MIPS64.
          Offers .rpm, .deb, .pkg.tar.xz, and .sh packages.
          Login by scanning QR Code via QQ on mobile.
          Send texts, files, pictures, and take screenshots.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Noir-inspired detective adventure ‘Backbone: Prologue’ now supports Linux

        Backbone: Prologue, acting as the demo of an upcoming much larger game from developer EggNut has finally added Linux support today a few months after releasing for Windows.

        Originally funded on Kickstarter back in 2018, Backbone is a pixel art cinematic adventure with stealth and action elements. It does look seriously good, the atmosphere is incredible so it’s good to see we weren’t forgotten about.

      • Valve Adds RADV “Secure Compile” Support For Pre-Caching Game Shaders

        The latest feature contribution by Valve’s Linux driver developers to the open-source RADV driver is a “secure compile” feature.

        The secure compile feature allows for spawning multiple compile threads on the same system that are secured via SECCOMP filters as the “secure” aspect of this feature for ensuring the threads are just doing their designated shader compilation tasks with no shaders going rogue.

      • Blasters Of The Universe | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 19.04 | Steam Play

        Bioshock 1 & 2 running through Steam play.

      • The deep roguelike Tales of Maj’Eyal has a big update out now, new DLC on the way

        Something that’s proven to be a little controversial is their inclusion of micro-transactions. They say these are only for special cosmetic items to support further development, along with additional online Vault space, special community events and a really dumb sounding “pay2die” system that spawns impossibly strong monsters. It’s a little confusing though, they need to make it a lot clearer on the how/where you actually get them. It can only be done currently when you’re in-game, by a little coin icon next to your character name.

        As for what’s coming next. A new Annihilator class is set to launch for owners of the Embers of Rage DLC next month. These Annihilators use “steamguns” and new heavy weapons including “flamethrower, shockstaff and boltgun”, with the ability to deploy automated steam turrets—sounds like a fun character class to play with.

      • Sweet text-driven travelling adventure Wanderlust Travel Stories arrives on Linux, we have a discount for you

        Wanderlust Travel Stories is a text-driven adventure that wants you to slow down a bit, from the lead gameplay and narrative designers on The Witcher games and written in collaboration with seasoned journalists and reporters. It’s out for Linux now and we have a GamingOnLinux 33% discount on GOG for you!

      • Summer Daze at Hero-U from the designers of Quest for Glory will support Linux

        Lori and Corey Cole are back again, after releasing Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption last year they’re returning for the spin-off game Summer Daze at Hero-U.

        Currently funding on Kickstarter, with 11 days left of the campaign they are getting close to hitting the almost $100K target. Summer Daze is actually a prequel to the original game, aimed to be a “light-hearted interactive tale of friendship, fun, and folly suitable for all ages”. Blending multiple genres together with narrative-driven gameplay that’s part Visual Novel, part Adventure game and a sprinkle of “light RPG” elements. There’s even talk of puzzles for more experienced players.

      • Starbreeze are reviving PAYDAY 2 development, Ultimate Edition is gone and DLC returns

        Well this is a bit unexpected. After Starbreeze went through some major issues, they’re back and working on PAYDAY 2 once again with an announcement about the future.

        As a very brief history lesson, back in 2018 Starbreeze went into “reconstruction” as they pretty much ran out of cash. According to what Mikael Nermark, the CEO of Starbreeze said, through “extremely hard work and commitment by all of our employees” they’ve been able to keep the lights on.

        So what’s happening to PAYDAY 2? Previously, they gave away millions of copies and removed individual DLC purchases in favour of an Ultimate Edition with the promise of that keeping everything in future under one roof too. They’re now breaking that previous promise. Instead, you can now buy the base game, a new Legacy Collection that includes all current DLC and shortly all individual DLC will become purchasable again.

      • Google want Stadia to have exclusive games other platforms can’t support

        Think about it, AI that’s a lot smarter powered by something like Google Duplex, many times more people available on the screen than would be possible before and so on. There are a lot of possibilities with.

        Raymond said in the interview, that they do have some exclusive games currently in the works that should demonstrate what they mean with Stadia’s server power. However, it could be “several years” before some big new IP comes out that fully takes advantage of it but they claim we should see some that push the boundaries coming out every year.

        There are a lot of drawbacks to the service, many of which we’ve mentioned before. However, for Linux gamers especially it really could fill a huge gap. Having access to things like online multiplayer titles that will never be ported to Linux and possibly never work in Steam Play is an exciting one.

      • Amusing looking multiplayer railroad construction game Unrailed! is coming to Linux

        Starting Friday off with some good news, the developer of Unrailed! has confirmed a Linux version is currently in progress.

        Back in July, the developer actually said on Steam that some of their team are Linux users but they weren’t promising anything for the game. However, just yesterday they came back to the same Steam forum post to note “It is in the works :)”.

      • A new Steam Client Beta is up and it looks like Valve may add better support for Soundtracks

        Valve have released another update to the Steam Beta Client to deal with a few issues, along with adding in a few little helper options.

        Having problems with all those free to play titles you no longer play appearing in your Library? Fear not, Valve added a quick option to sort it out. Right click -> Manage -> Remove from account. On top of that, Valve added an easy way to add custom artwork for each game in the right click Manage menu.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Plasma Mobile: weekly update: part 4

          Plasma Mobile now uses the same notification code that is used on the desktop, which has received some slight adjustments when running on a phone (Marco Martin).

          The dialer now uses the SearchField component from Kirigami, giving it the same look and feel as in similar places (Jonah Brüchert).

          The icons in the top drawer are consistently monochrome now (Nicolas Fella).

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • How Ubuntu Helped Make GNOME Shell Faster (And Why The Work Continues)

          We’re talking a high-level over-view on effort undertaken to ‘boost’ the real time functioning of GNOME Shell, benefitting not just Ubuntu 19.10 users, but other Linux distros too.

          For those unaware, a fair chunk of Ubuntu’s engineering effort of late has focused on ameliorating performance issues across key areas, from video accelerated playback to compositing fixes (i.e. nixing the terror of screen tearing) to improving GNOME Shell performance.

          And it’s this latter endeavour, issues affecting GNOME Shell and related components, that Daniel’s discourse digest get in too.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Dragora Linux Is Anything But Simple

          The developer describes Dragora “as an independent GNU/Linux-Libre distribution based on concepts of simplicity.” Perhaps the problem rests on the definition of the word “simplicity.” Gregora 3 is anything but simple to install and manage packages.

          Dragora version 2.2.0 had a text-based installer that automated much of the file fetching and compiling. It started the installation process by creating a bootable DVD from a downloaded ISO file.

          You booted the computer using the DVD and typed “setup” to begin the scripted installation routine. The process included partitioning the hard drive manually and processing configuration tasks when prompted.

          That was a more traditional installation routine. It was, in fact, SIMPLER than dealing with what I described above.

          For the less adventurous, I can not recommend Dragora Linux. If you are a seasoned software engineer or otherwise are handy at performing complicated compiling routines, feel invited to try Dragora 3 beta.

          My suggestion to the developer: Lose Qi. Replace it with an installation process that is actually SIMPLE.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2019/43

          This week it has been another three snapshots released upon the users. There were some updates, as usual, and a larger stack has been removed from Tumbleweed, after weeks of preparation. The three snapshots released were 1018, 1022 and 1023

        • Webinar: Boost Developer Productivity with SUSE Cloud Application Platform

          Last week, Troy Topnik and I presented a webinar on how to boost developer productivity with SUSE Cloud Application Platform — our modern application delivery platform that brings an advanced cloud native developer experience to Kubernetes and enables fast and efficient delivery of cloud native applications at scale. Developers can serve themselves and get apps to the cloud in minutes instead of weeks. SUSE Cloud Application platform eliminates manual IT configuration and helps accelerate innovation by getting applications to market faster. Streamlining application delivery opens a clear path to increased business agility, led by enterprise development, operations, and DevOps teams.

        • SUSE YES Certification Kit for SUSE Enterprise Storage 6 Now Available

          With the official release of SUSE Enterprise Storage 6, SUSE Partner Engineering would like to announce the availability of the latest SUSE Enterprise Storage (SES) Certification Kit version 1.2. The SESCK v1.2 has been updated and enhanced to provide certification support for SUSE® Enterprise Storage 6.

      • Arch Family

        • Clarification regarding recent email activity on the arch-announce list

          Today, one email was sent to the arch-announce mailing list that was able to circumvent the whitelisting checks that are done by the mailman software. This was not due to unauthorized access and no Arch Linux servers were compromised.

          We have implemented measures to make sure this does not happen again, by using mailman’s poster password feature. We are also making sure, these simple whitelist checks are not used anywhere else.

      • Slackware Family

        • Chromium 78 for Slackware

          This week, Google released the first 78 version in the “stable” channel of their Chromium sources – the basis of Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi and even the Edge browsers, and of course the Chromium open-source browser itself. The release notes contain a fairly long list of security issues (CVE’s) which were taken care of.

          I built packages for you today, so that you can enjoy the latest&greatest Chromium browser on Slackware 14.2 or -current.

      • Fedora Family

        • 4 cool new projects to try in COPR for October 2019
        • Fedora 31 Will Be Released Next Week Tuesday

          While Fedora 31 didn’t make its original release target of this week due to being delayed by installer issues and DNF bugs, those blocker bugs have now been addressed and this next installment of Red Hat’s Fedora Linux is coming out next week!

          Fedora 31 is bringing with it many exciting features and improvements with GNOME 3.34 powering Fedora Workstation, continued Wayland improvements, Red Hat continues working on PipeWire, Fedora Silverblue continues getting more fit, and many other features and a plethora of bleeding-edge packages.

        • Fedora Community Blog: FPgM report: 2019-43

          Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora Program Management this week. Fedora 31 RC1.9 is GO and will release on Tuesday 29 October. We are currently under the Final freeze.

          I have weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

      • Debian Family

        • Tails 4.0 Released

          First thing first, Tails 3.16 was vulnerable with multiple security issues including issues with popular applications like Libreoffice, Samba, FFmpeg, OpenSSL, etc. Tails 4.0 packs a bundle of security fixes. You can find the complete list of security fixes here.

        • Privacy and anonymity focused Linux distro Tails 4.0 released

          A new version of the privacy and anonymity focused Linux distribution Tails has been released this week; Tails 4.0 is a major update of the Linux distribution that improves performance and usability, upgrades included components, and fixes security issues.

          The new version is already available for download on the official Tails project website. The Tails 4.0 ISO image has a size of 1.1 Gigabytes. It can be burned to disc or put on a USB stick to boot into the environment. Note that existing distributions cannot be upgraded to Tails 4.0; a manual upgrade is necessary.

          Tails was designed specifically to be run from USB or optical discs to run independently of operating systems installed on computer systems. It comes with Tor built-in and features several other tools and components to improve security and privacy.

        • Calibre 4.2 based on Python3 in Debian/experimental

          With the finally finished Qt transition to 5.12, Calibre 4 can be included into Debian. I just have uploaded Calibre 4.2 build using Python 3 to the experimental suite in Debian. This allows all those who want to get rid of Python2 to upgrade to the experimental version.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • How Ubuntu Advantage for Infrastructure delivers top-notch Linux security

          Every two years in April, a Long Term Support (LTS) release is published. Ubuntu LTS releases are commonly used in enterprise environments, with more than 60% of large-scale production clouds running Ubuntu LTS images.

          Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) is the latest Ubuntu LTS release, with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS coming in April 2020. Each new LTS release is supported for ten years total; five years of standard support, and five additional years of support under Ubuntu Advantage for Infrastructure (UA-I). UA-I provides users and organisations access to key security fixes and patches, including Canonical’s Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) and Kernel Livepatch services.

          Twice every year, in April and October, interim releases are published. They are commonly used by those interested in the latest features and capable of upgrading more frequently.

          Our latest interim release, which arrived last week, is Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine). Its enhanced capabilities include the latest OpenStack Train release for live-migration assistance, improved security for Kubernetes deployments at the edge and significant updates to desktop performance. Standard support for an interim release is provided for nine months with no additional support extension offered.

        • Ubuntu 19.04 vs. 19.10 Performance On High-End AMD/Intel Desktop CPUs

          For those curious how the Ubuntu 19.04 vs. Ubuntu 19.10 performance is looking for higher-end Intel/AMD desktops, here are some fresh benchmarks.

          With last week’s release of Ubuntu 19.10 we began carrying out some Ubuntu 19.04 vs. 19.10 performance comparisons. Based upon the higher-end desktop CPUs we had access to, this comparison is of four different systems including the Intel Core i9 9900K, Intel Core i9 7980XE, AMD Ryzen 9 3900X, and AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX.

          Note there are component differences between the systems with this testing is focused on looking at the Ubuntu 19.04 vs. 19.10 performance as opposed to directly comparing the various systems under test, which we do anyhow in our various Linux CPU reviews.

        • Ubuntu 19.10 Makes it Easier to Share Media to Your TV, Games Consoles, Etc

          Ubuntu 19.10’s new ‘Media Sharing’ toggle in Settings > Sharing means there’s no need to download and install a separate DLNA server client to share media photos, videos and music over your local network.

          Once enabled you can, for example, forage through the photos you downloaded on your laptop from the biggest screen in your house, namely your TV.

          Similarly, you can stream music and video files kept on your main machine via a games console or web-enabled set-top box like the Roku.

          And it all works using the ubiquitous DLNA/UPnP protocols and your local network — no third-party cloud server or media centre set-up required.

        • Full Circle Magazine: Full Circle Magazine #150

          This month:
          * Command & Conquer
          * How-To : Python, Automation, and Darktable
          * Graphics : Inkscape
          * Linux Loopback
          * Everyday Ubuntu
          * Book Review : Developing Games on the Raspberry Pi
          * Review : Bodhi Linux
          * Interview : Tsu Jan – FeatherPad Dev
          * Linux Certified
          * Ubuntu Games : Pathway
          plus: News, My Story, The Daily Waddle, Q&A, Crossword and more.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Collapse OS – An OS Created to Run After the World Ends

        To put it bluntly, I see Collapse OS as more of a fun hobby project (for those who like building operating systems), than something useful. When a collapse does come, how will Collapse OS get distributed, since I imagine that GitHub will be down? I can’t imagine more than a handful of skill people being able to create a system from scavenged parts. There is a whole new generation of makers out there, but most of them are used to picking up an Arduino or a Raspberry Pi and building their project than starting from scratch.

        Contrary to Dupras, my biggest concern is the use of EMPs. These things fry all electrical systems, meaning there would be nothing left to scavenge to build system. If that doesn’t happen, I imagine that we would be able to find enough x86 components made over the past 30 years to keep things going.

        That being said, Collapse OS sounds like a fun and challenging project to people who like to program in low-level code for strange applications. If you are such a person, check out Collapse OS.

      • Events

        • Arturo Borrero González: seville kubernetes meetup 2019-10-24 – summary

          Yesterday I attended a meetup event in Seville organized by the SVK (seville kubernetes) group. The event was held in the offices of Bitnami, now a VMware business.

          The agenda for the event consisted in a couple of talks strongly focused on kubernetes, both of which interested me personally.

          First one was Deploying apps with kubeapps, a talk by Andres Martinez Gotor, engineer at Bitnami. He presented the kubeapps utility, which is an application dashboard for kubernetes developed by Bitnami. We got a variety of information, from how to use kubeapps, to how this integrates with helm/tiller, and how this works in a multi-tenant enabled cluster. Some comments were added from the security point of view, things to take into account, etc. In general, kubeapps seems easy to install and use, and enables end users to easily deploy arbitrary apps into kubernetes.

        • Susan Lauber: ATO 2019 – Inclusion event (a report)

          This was the second year that ATO hosted a pre-conference track on diversity and inclusion. It was a sold out event with a free but separate registration (for booking, budgets, and accounting). I attended last year as well.

          As I began writing up this report, I noticed the title of the event does not include the word diversity. According to the wayback machine, the main title was the same last year but it felt like the word diversity was included in most of the promotion of the event. Last year did have “A Conversation” as part of the title and incorporated much discussion on the definitions and differences in diversity, inclusion, and equity. This year the title was simply Inclusion in Open Source & Technology [1] and the presentations had a lot more actionable examples of how a project, organization, team, or individual can be more inclusive.

          I really like the format of this event. They have a series of short talks which this year were basically people’s stories of how they felt included or actions they thought there should be more of so others feel more included. Later there is a Q&A session for everyone to further explore these topics and suggestions.

          This year also included a screening of the second episode of the Chasing Grace Project and a Q&A with the producer. I cannot seem to remember which event I was at when I had the opportunity to screen the first episode. I am looking forward to the complete series being available to a wider audience.

          Last year I remember feeling a mix of depression and optimism. There were a lots of examples showing how those paying attention have expanded the types of diversity beyond gender and race and how many opportunities do exist. There were also a lot of stats showing how slow the progress is happening and where it is even going backwards. In many ways I felt like I was hearing the same things I’ve heard all my life and that is a tiring thought.

        • Back from the Blender Conference 2019

          Yesterday, me, Dmitry, Wolthera and Agata visited BlenderCon 2019. Intel had asked us to come to the conference to help set up the Intel/Acer booth, which was showing off Krita in all its HDR glory. After all, it’s pretty cool when a free software project has a real, tangible, technical, artistic first! It was great being there, meeting people who were really pleased to finally meet Krita hackers in the flesh.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • AWS to sponsor Rust project

            Amazon Web Services has agreed to sponsor the development of the Rust project, being just one of the latest tech giants to throw its weight behind this security-focused programming language.

            The sponsorship comes in the form of “promotional credits” that AWS will be making available to the Rust team, which they’ll be able to use to rent AWS infrastructure and support the language’s development.

            “We’re thrilled that AWS, which the Rust project has used for years, is helping to sponsor Rust’s infrastructure,” said Alex Crichton, Rust Core Team Member.

          • Pernosco Demo Video

            Over the last few years we have kept our work on the Pernosco debugger mostly under wraps, but finally it’s time to show the world what we’ve been working on! So, without further ado, here’s an introductory demo video showing Pernosco debugging a real-life bug…

          • why async fn in traits are hard

            After reading boat’s excellent post on asynchronous destructors, I thought it might be a good idea to write some about async fn in traits. Support for async fn in traits is probably the single most common feature request that I hear about. It’s also one of the more complex topics. So I thought it’d be nice to do a blog post kind of giving the “lay of the land” on that feature – what makes it complicated? What questions remain open?

            I’m not making any concrete proposals in this post, just laying out the problems. But do not lose hope! In a future post, I’ll lay out a specific roadmap for how I think we can make incremental progress towards supporting async fn in traits in a useful way. And, in the meantime, you can use the async-trait crate (but I get ahead of myself…).

      • Linux Foundation

        • Embedded Linux Conference Europe 2019

          Next week, Collabora will be sponsoring, exhibiting & speaking at Embedded Linux Confererence Europe in Lyon, France. Now in its 14th year, ELCE, which is co-located with the Open Source Summit Europe, is the premier vendor-neutral technical conference for companies and developers using embedded Linux. If you are planning on attending either conference, please make sure to come say hello and see what our team has been working on!

          [...]

          Open Source meets augmented reality in our second demo, which centers around custom development work on the Magic Leap One augmented reality headset using GStreamer! This is your chance to experience this lightweight, wearable computer that seamlessly blends the digital and physical worlds, allowing digital content to coexist with real world objects around you.

        • Apple Provides Scholarships for FoundationDB Summit

          Apple will be providing sponsorships for the scholarships at FoundationDB Summit, happening on Day Zero of KubeCon + CloudNativeCon San Diego.

          For its second year, FoundationDB Summit has two tracks. The first is curated for attendees new to the community and will focus on architectural overviews as well as real-world business applications. The second track will provide technical deep dives into features, challenges, and tooling community members have been working on.
          The FoundationDB scholarship program provides support to those from traditionally underrepresented and/or marginalized groups in the technology and/or open source communities, who may not otherwise have the opportunity to attend CNCF events for financial reasons. Scholarships are also available on a needs and affordability basis.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Upcoming Elections for the next Board of Directors of The Document Foundation

          That upcoming term will then (regularly) end on February 17, 2022, so the next elections of the Board of Directors will take place before.

          As per § 6 III, only members of the Board of Trustees of The Document Foundation, as well as current members of any of its bodies, are eligible to be elected into the Board of Directors, and the election is overseen by the Membership Committee (§ 7 II).

          The active electoral right is reserved to those who have been members of the Board of Trustees before this announcement (§ 7 II).

          § 6 III also states that members of the Board of Directors or their deputies may not be members of the Membership Committee and vice versa. This means that current members of the Membership Committee are eligible to be elected, but with the acceptance of their new role they lose their current role in the MC. For clarification, they have to step down from the Membership Committee, with effect no later than to the beginning of the new term of the Board of Directors, the minute before accepting to become a member of the Board of Directors.

          There is one more notable limitation: per § 8 IV of the statutes, a maximum of 1/3 members of the Board of Directors is allowed to work on an employment basis for the same company, organization, entities, affiliates or subdivisions.

          Nomination of candidates fulfilling the above requirements, as well as self nomination is welcome. In total, at least seven Board of Directors members are required, and given there are enough candidates, up to three deputies can be elected (§ 7 II). As deputies are on duty quite often, we encourage many candidates to participate.

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

        • Netflix builds a Jupyter Lab alternative, a bug bounty to fight election hacking, Raspberry Pi goes microscopic, and more open source news
        • Grafana Labs observability platform set to grow

          Dutt: Not really, I said we work with some CNCF projects like Prometheus, but there’s no desire on our part to put our own projects such as Grafana or Loki into the CNCF.

          We are an open source observability company and this is our core competency and our core brand. Part of our strategy for delivering differentiated solutions to our customers involves being more in control of our own destiny, so to speak.

          We very much believe in the power of the community. We do have a pretty active community, though certainly more than 50 percent of the work is done by Grafana Labs. We have a habit of always hiring the top contributors within the community, which is how we scale our engineering team.

          [...]

          You know, if you want to have something be open source, then make it really open source, and if it doesn’t work through a business model to make a particular thing open source, then don’t make it open source.

          So our view is we have a lot of open source software, which is truly open source, meaning under a real open source license like Apache, and we also have our enterprise offerings that are not open.

        • How to migrate from VSCode to VSCodium (the best code editor ever minus the corporate bullshit) [Ed: No, you don't get to escape the "corporate bullshit" by using another form of "teaser" and openwashing stunt of proprietary software MSVS]

          Blogception: a post on VSCodium as it’s being written in VSCodium.

        • The Dawn Of Ad Tech’s Open Source Era
      • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

        • Guix Profiles in Practice

          Guix provides a very useful feature that may be quite foreign to newcomers: profiles. They are a way to group package installations together and all users on a same system are free to use as many profiles as they want.

          Whether you’re a developer or not, you may find that multiple profiles bring you great power and flexibility. While they shift the paradigm somewhat compared to traditional package managers, they are very convenient to use once you’ve understood how to set them up.

          If you are familiar with Python’s virtualenv, you can think of a profile as a kind of universal virtualenv that can hold any kind of software whatsoever, not just Python software. Furthermore, profiles are self-sufficient: they capture all the runtime dependencies which guarantees that all programs within a profile will always work at any point in time.

        • LibreDNS has a new AdBlock endpoint

          This new endpoint is unique cause it blocks by default Ads & Trackers !

        • DARPA Spectrum Collaboration Challenge won by U of Florida team

          DARPA program manager of Paul Tilghman; and Ben Hilburn, president of the GNU Radio Foundation.

        • DARPA’s Spectrum Collaboration Challenge: Hulking out, helping out and exploring the limits of AI-based spectrum sharing

          Tilghman and Ben Hilburn, director of engineering for DeepSig and president of of GNU Radio emceed the event, with help from Mythbusters host (and electrical engineer) Grant Imahara.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Access/Content

          • What if “Sesame Street” Were Open Access?

            The news of iconic children’s television show “Sesame Street”’s new arrangement with the HBO MAX streaming service has sent ripples around the Internet. Starting this year, episodes of “Sesame Street” will debut on HBO and on the HBO MAX service, with new episodes being made available to PBS “at some point.” Parents Television Council’s Tim Winter recently told New York Times that “HBO is holding hostage underprivileged families” who can no longer afford to watch new “Sesame Street” episodes.

            The move is particularly galling because the show is partially paid for with public funding. Let’s imagine an alternative: what if “Sesame Street” were open access? What if the show’s funding had come with a requirement that it be made available to the public?

          • Don’t Let Science Publisher Elsevier Hold Knowledge for Ransom

            It’s Open Access Week and we’re joining SPARC and dozens of other organizations this week to discuss the importance of open access to scientific research publications. 

            An academic publisher should widely disseminate the knowledge produced by scholars, not hold it for ransom. But ransoming scientific research back to the academic community is essentially the business model of the world’s largest publisher of scientific journals: Elsevier.

        • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Programming/Development

        • Netflix Releases Polynote – A Polyglot Jupyter Notebook Variant

          Netflix announced that they are releasing a new piece of open source software that they are calling Polynote. Polynote is an IDE-inspired polyglot notebook that includes first-class Scala support, Python and SQL. Looking at the website, it appears to be built on top of Jupyter Notebook.

          Their top goals for the project are reproducibility and visibility. You can read the full announcement with examples on Medium.

          This looks like an interesting project and I am curious to see how it impacts Project Jupyter. My personal hope is that Netflix’s work will be useful to the Python community and perhaps enhance Jupyter Notebook and JupyterLab.

        • Why You Should Learn Several Programming Languages & Where to Learn Them

          If you are a programmer who has found his feet in the developer community by learning one language, we strongly recommend adding more arrows to your quiver and widening your horizons.

          In this article we focus on the benefits of learning more than one programming language, what some of the expert programmers around the world have to say about it and finally, we recommend the top languages to learn and where to learn them from.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: dang 0.0.11: Small improvements

          A new release of what may be my most minor package, dang, is now on CRAN. The dang package regroups a few functions of mine that had no other home as for example lsos() from a StackOverflow question from 2009 (!!) is one, this overbought/oversold price band plotter from an older blog post is another. More recently added were helpers for data.table to xts conversion and a git repo root finder.

          Some of these functions (like lsos()) where hanging in my .Rprofile, other just lived in scripts so some years ago I started to collect them in a package, and as of February this is now on CRAN too for reasons that are truly too bizarre to go about. It’s a weak and feeble variant of the old Torvalds line about backups and ftp sites …

        • Time Series Prediction using LSTM with PyTorch in Python

          Time series data, as the name suggests is a type of data that changes with time. For instance, the temperature in a 24-hour time period, the price of various products in a month, the stock prices of a particular company in a year. Advanced deep learning models such as Long Short Term Memory Networks (LSTM), are capable of capturing patterns in the time series data, and therefore can be used to make predictions regarding the future trend of the data. In this article, you will see how to use LSTM algorithm to make future predictions using time series data.

          In one of my earlier articles, I explained how to perform time series analysis using LSTM in the Keras library in order to predict future stock prices. In this article, we will be using the PyTorch library, which is one of the most commonly used Python libraries for deep learning.

        • How to Use Kivy on Repl.it
  • Leftovers

    • Ouilpo Goes to Japan

      Have the American Exceptionalists ever played Go, the ancient Chinese game of strategy? It is well-known that the Iranians are very good at chess and that the Egyptians call Putin Vladimir the Fox. The fox is a shapeshifter and trickster according to ancient Chinese lore. Chinese legend also states that Emperor Shun invented Go 4000 years ago to sharpen the wits of a dull son. Washington’s wits remain dull. Their game of choice is probably checkers, despite all that cant about Game Theory, ‘pivoting’ and counterinsurgency. The English play conkers, which originated with a king named William in 1066, and rhymes with bonkers.

    • The Paradox of Cleanliness
    • Evelyn Waugh’s Life Revisited
    • Education

      • Betsy DeVos Held in Contempt of Court for Refusing to Stop Collecting Loan Payments From Defrauded Students

        “She’s also held in contempt by millions of Americans who support strong public schools.”

      • Experiments in Nurturing Classroom Curiosity

        I wasn’t cancelled either. Instead, this “socially engaged art” class became the highlight of my fledgling career in academia. Much of this success depended on applying the Socratic method as a model for class discussions. They were not formal Socratic Seminars, but I facilitated discussions with probing questions to encourage students to think deeper about their opinions. For example, in our conversation about censorship, a student expressed concern about violent speech. “Do you mean violent or hurtful?” I asked. After a pause, “I guess… hurtful?”

      • Colombia Diary: Higher Ed Under Threat

        Recent events in Chile and Ecuador reverberate throughout South America and indeed the world. Confronted with violent government repression, by insisting on reasoned argument, critical thinking, and mass direct action, non-violent student movements in South America offer hope at a time when authoritarianism threatens democratic citizenship worldwide.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availabilitiy)

      • Security updates for Friday

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (firefox-esr), Gentoo (php), Oracle (firefox), Scientific Linux (sudo), and SUSE (accountsservice, binutils, nfs-utils, and xen).

      • stealth virus – unique mutation Virus in Word.doc Mail Attachment not detected by Virus Scanner anymore – emotet most evil and costly malware yet

        on the heise security conference last year was said: Virus Scanners since around 10 years are not sufficient anymore.

        (heise a computer focused news outlet itself was infected on Mai 2019 with emotet trojan probably via word.doc (src))

        today that statement has become reality.

        neither ClamAV nor Antivir were able to spot the virus or virus-loader in the word.doc attachment.

      • An Open-Source Success Story: Apache SpamAssassin Celebrates 18 Years of Effectively Combating Spam Email

        Apache SpamAssassin celebrates its 18th birthday this year, a huge accomplishment for everyone who has contributed to the open-source project for nearly the past two decades. SpamAssassin, a renowned and respected open-source anti-spam platform, provides a secure, reliable framework upon which companies can build highly effective spam filtering and email security solutions.

        The project is the epitome of an open source success story: expert engineers and developers volunteered their time to combat the unsolicited email problem. The team demonstrated innovation, leadership and perseverance in the face of both success and adversity. Along the way, they incorporated enterprise functionality into the platform they had created as a means to solve real-world issues.

        Kevin McGrail, a cyber security and privacy expert and one of the lead developers for the SpamAssassin project since 1996, also considers SpamAssassin an open source success story, stating in a recent conversation with the LinuxSecurity team, “It protects millions of users every day and provides the inspiration if not the foundation of numerous commercial solutions for battling spammers.” Over the years McGrail has served as a developer, administrator, project chair and release manager for the SpamAssassin project. He is still involved with the project to this day. McGrail is also Director of Business Growth at InfraShield.com and serves as a Top Contributor, Developer Expert and Evangelist for Google G Suite.

      • Interview with Security Analyst Lou Stella | Jupiter Extras 25

        Ell and Wes talk to Lou Stella, Security Analyst at Rackspace, about transitioning to the cyber security industry.

      • Whirlpool Left Appliance Data, User Emails Exposed Online

        Another day, another shining example of why connecting everything from your Barbie dolls to tea kettles to the internet was a bad idea. This week it’s Whirlpool that’s under fire after a researcher discovered that the company had failed to secure a database containing 28 million records collected from the company’s “smart” appliances. The database contained user email addresses, model names and numbers, unique appliance identifiers, and data collected from routine analysis of the appliances’ condition, including how often the appliance is used, when its off or on, and whether it had any issues.

      • Alex Mooney’s Hilarious Self-Own

        Mooney actually came back out the door and had a staffer film him while explaining that “this is not the SCIF” and, once they entered, “nobody was using a cell phone”. The problem is that he’s using as a backdrop for this explanation the sign showing that electronics were not to be used even going through this outer door, and his entry through that door, with his cell phone going, has been documented by Scott Thuman, Alex Mooney, the New York Times and hopefully, law enforcement: [...]

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Because Federal Government Is Allowed to ‘Weaponize the Law,’ Plowshares 7 Found Guilty for Anti-Nuclear Weapons Protest

        “I really think that the verdict was, frankly, reactionary.”

      • The Essence of War

        Many US teenage boys in the late 1960s and early 1970s grew up wondering if they would end up in the jungles of Vietnam when they reached draft age. Some could hardly wait to go fight in their idealized version of honor and glory. Some knew by the time they were sixteen that they would do whatever they could to avoid going. The rest of us were somewhere in the middle. Although I leaned towards running away to Canada or Sweden, I included myself among the uncertain. If there was one instance that convinced me I was going to avoid military service no matter what, it was the exposure of the massacre in MyLai. I had recently attended my first antiwar protest in the suburban town I lived in between Washington, DC and Baltimore and was devouring all the antiwar literature I could find. Most of it came from a friend’s older brother who was volunteering for the Vietnam Moratorium Committee and attended the nearby University of Maryland at College Park.

      • ‘New War for Oil?’: Pentagon Chief Confirms US to ‘Strengthen’ Military Presence Near Syria Oil Fields

        “It’s all out in the open, the blatant barbarism of U.S. imperialism.”

      • New War for Oil? Trump to Occupy Oil-Rich Syrian Province with Tank Corps, Asks for Kurdish Displacement There

        Trump said he talked to Syrian Democratic Forces leader Gen. Mazloum Abdi on Thursday. As usual, Trump’s report of the conversation is marred by outright lies and bizarre allegations. He said,I really enjoyed my conversation with General @MazloumAbdi. He appreciates what we have done, and I appreciate what the Kurds have done. Perhaps it is time for the Kurds to start heading

      • Beirut is Burning: Why I Don’t Blame the Rioters

        I thought the days when I kicked burning tyres off roads had ended. I used to clear the road in Belfast in 1972. Then, often, I did the same in Beirut.

      • Russian soldier opens fire at military base, killing eight servicemembers

        A soldier serving his mandatory term in the Russian military opened fire on his fellow servicemembers October 25. The shooting took place at a base in the Zabaikalsky region town of Gorny, Defense Ministry officials told Interfax.

      • Military Madness Meets the Counterculture: a Personal Tale

        Eugene and I share overlapping experiences. We both are scions of military families. My father was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army, Eugene’s was a Sergeant in the Air Force. We both attended the Department of Defense high school in Frankfurt, West Germany, (Frankfurt American High School FAHS), at the height of the cold war. I graduated from FAHS, while Eugene departed from Frankfurt abruptly and graduated elsewhere. Eugene is several years younger than I and our paths did not intersect, although he remembers me as a vague presence in his high school life. This is because Eugene befriended my younger brother James and hung out with him extensively.

      • The Military Industrial Complex Has Won

        When Americans think of militarism, they may imagine jackbooted soldiers goose-stepping through the streets as flag-waving crowds exult; or, like our president, they may think of enormous parades featuring troops and missiles and tanks, with warplanes soaring overhead. Or nationalist dictators wearing military uniforms encrusted with medals, ribbons, and badges like so many barnacles on a sinking ship of state. (Was Donald Trump only joking recently when he said he’d like to award himself a Medal of Honor?) And what they may also think is: that’s not us. That’s not America. After all, Lady Liberty used to welcome newcomers with a torch, not an AR-15. We don’t wall ourselves in while bombing others in distant parts of the world, right?

      • Threatening Food and Medicines, Trump Admin Accused of Putting Iranian People in ‘Cross-Hairs of Its Ongoing Economic War’

        The new designation under Section 311, the adminstration was warned, would mean foreign banks no longer processing humanitarian-related transactions.

      • Eight dead in Russian military base shooting: What we know so far

        A soldier serving his mandatory military term killed eight of his fellow servicemembers in Russia’s Zabaikalsky region. The incident took place at Military Base 54160, which is located in the Gorny Closed Administrative Territorial Unit. Russia’s Defense Ministry has officially reported that the soldier opened fire from his service weapon during a changing of the guard. Two officers were among those killed. The Telegram channel Life Shot claimed that the shooter was a 20-year-old named R. Shamsutdinov. He first shot an officer and then began shooting at the other soldiers once they had gone prone to protect themselves. In addition to the eight soldiers who were killed, two received injuries that Defense Ministry officials said were non-life-threatening. An unofficial list of those killed has begun circulating online.

      • Trump’s Antiwar Speech Deserved a Better Reception

        There were parts of President Trump’s latest speech on Syria, which, if read without the sound of The Donald’s gruff, bombastic voice, sounded a whole lot like Bernie Sanders might’ve delivered it.

      • Two truckers killed in Kashmir as apple trade turns bloody

        The nearly US$2 billion (S$2.73 billion) apple trade has been caught between militants wanting a shutdown of the local economy in protest over India’s actions and New Delhi, which wants to restore normality.

      • U.S. Military Could Collapse Within 20 Years Due to Climate Change, Report Commissioned By Pentagon Says

        The report, titled Implications of Climate Change for the U.S. Army, was launched by the U.S. Army War College in partnership with NASA in May at the Wilson Center in Washington DC. The report was commissioned by Gen. Milley during his previous role as the Army’s Chief of Staff. It was made publicly available in August via the Center for Climate and Security, but didn’t get a lot of attention at the time.

        The two most prominent scenarios in the report focus on the risk of a collapse of the power grid within “the next 20 years,” and the danger of disease epidemics. Both could be triggered by climate change in the near-term, it notes.

      • Inside the U.S. Cyber Army

        The U.S. military prides itself on being one of the most powerful militaries on the face of the earth. The best trained, the best equipped with the latest wartech, the most mobile, with a power projection around the world. It’s why, sadly, as the Bureau of Investigative Journalism—which tracks U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Somalia—maintains that the American military has killed as many as over 12,000 people in targeted strikes since 2004. Of those numbers, close to 1,800 are civilians and up to nearly 400 of that number, are kids.

      • ISIS women impose their own caliphate in Syria’s Al Hol camp

        In just seven months of being held captive, radicals in the Al Hol camp have managed to establish a complex internal structure in the image and likeness of the caliphate that was proclaimed by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on June, 2015 in Mosul in Iraq. “The emir, who has emerged as the boss of the camp, sleeps every night in a different tent to avoid being arrested,” says Julia, the pseudonym of one of the female Kurdish militants in charge of security at Al Hol.

      • Killing Me Softly With Militarism

        When Americans think of militarism, they may imagine jackbooted soldiers goose-stepping through the streets as flag-waving crowds exult; or, like our president, they may think of enormous parades featuring troops and missiles and tanks…

      • Trump: The Job of Our Military Is Not to Police the World

        In a statement on U.S. military operations in Syria, the president says, “We’re getting out. Let someone else fight over this long blood-stained sand.” Watch his full remarks below.

      • “We Came, We saw, He Died:” Once Young in a Land of Endless Wars

        Shock is the reaction that comes to mind. While discussing the likelihood of Trump taking demonstrative military action against what the US government or the US plutocracy considers a military or economic threat, the editor to whom I wrote made a snide remark about how the military establishment would not support Trump in a military adventure because they view him as someone who shirked the military during the Vietnam War. The shock came because the person with whom I correspond has been consistently antiwar during the few years we have been in touch.

      • Don’t Call it Ethnic Cleansing: Erasing Turkey’s State Terrorism in Syria

        In the wake of the Syrian ceasefire, predictions of continued humanitarian disaster following a U.S. “withdrawal” are becoming more pronounced. Syrian Democratic Forces commander Mazlum Kobani warns that “there will be ethnic cleansing of the Kurdish people from Syria, and the American administration will be responsible for it.” President Donald Trump, in contrast, celebrated the withdrawal as proof of his opposition to U.S. wars. Republican Senator Rand Paul supports the troop removal from Syria, announcing that “I don’t see what our national interest is in policing the Middle East and nation-building.” But Paul should choose his words more carefully. The “withdrawal” has nothing to do with bringing the troops home. In reality, it is a repositioning of U.S. forces. U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper explains “that all of the nearly 1,000 troops withdrawing from northern Syria are expected to move to western Iraq to continue the campaign against Islamic State group militants and to help defend Iraq.”

      • ‘Killer Robots’ Debate Hits the Small Screen

        Last Sunday, CBS aired an episode of its show Madam Secretary focusing on “killer robots” or fully autonomous weapons, an issue Human Rights Watch has worked on since 2012.

      • A Soldier or a “Killing Machine”?

        “We train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill!” Donald J. Trump tweeted October 12, 2019 regarding the case of Maj. Mathew Golsteyn a former Green Beret who is on trial for killing an unarmed Afghan man in 2010, a killing Golsteyn twice admitted. This statement was made by the Chief Law enforcement officer of the U.S. whose job it is to enforce the Constitution and laws (including the laws of war) “faithfully” under Article II of the Constitution, a Constitution which supposedly sought to limit war by giving only Congress the power to declare war, to avoid standing armies in times of peace, and to, in America, “make law king.”

      • Turkey: Syrians Being Deported to Danger

        Turkish authorities in Istanbul and Antakya arbitrarily detained and deported dozens of Syrians and possibly many more to northern Syria between January and September 2019 despite active hostilities there, Human Rights Watch said today. Deported Syrians said that Turkish officials forced them to sign forms they were not allowed to read, in some cases after beating or threatening them, and transported them to Syria.

      • After the Last Cop Killed Himself, All the Criminals Have to Do Is Hide

        One spring day in 2005, a man in a crisp brown uniform stood before a group created by Congress to fix rural Alaska’s lack of cops. In his soft-spoken way, Simeon Askoak explained his dilemma.

        He was the only law enforcement officer in Russian Mission, a village of 340 people where he was born and raised. He’d worked as a village public safety officer for the previous 13 years, and while the state of Alaska covered his salary, he lacked equipment, resources and respect.

      • Iraq: Government Promises Action On Security Force Abuse

        The Iraqi government has promised dismissals and possible additional action against senior security officials over the deadly response to a series of protests in early October 2019, Human Rights Watch said today.

      • Now the Generals Speak Up?

        Now they’ve decided to speak out! For years, I’ve published searing critiques of America’s senior generals and admirals for their failure to speak out publicly against U.S. foreign policy and warmongering. Specifically, I’ve argued that it’s their duty to loudly dissent, and if necessary resign, in opposition to the nation’s ongoing, ill-advised, illegal and unwinnable forever wars.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Assange’s Extradition Is a Case About the Crimes of Empire

        On October 21, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared in Westminster Magistrates’ Court in his fight against extradition to the United States. Assange has been charged with 17 counts of Espionage in the U.S., where he faces 175 years in prison related to WikiLeaks’ 2010 publication concerning US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Diplomatic Cables and Guantanamo Bay.

      • Trump Appointees Used “Whistleblower Protection” Law to Target Whistleblowers, Review Finds

        Political appointees at the Department of Veterans Affairs failed to follow a new law on disciplining employees and protecting whistleblowers, and instead used it to mount shoddy and biased investigations, according to the agency’s watchdog.

        In a blistering report released Thursday, the VA’s inspector general said the department’s Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection investigated things it shouldn’t have, didn’t investigate things it was required to and bungled the investigations it did do. It also misspent funds. President Donald Trump created the office with an executive order in 2017, and Congress then codified it into law. Trump frequently points to it as one of his signature legislative accomplishments.

      • Where is the Freedom of Information Act?

        At just a two weeks before the General Elections in Mauritius, I am pondering over the achievements of the outgoing government. A renewed alliance between the MSM Party and Muvman Liberater is asking the citizens to give them another mandate to run the country.

        At this stage I thought I should check their Electoral Manisfesto of 2014 to see where do they stand on their promises.

        One particular area I am interested in is Good Governance. I am looking for what happened to the promised Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), to be more precise.

        Page 22 of L’Alliance Lepep’s Electoral Manifesto of 2014 talks about Good Governance. Item number three reads as follows:

      • “I Was Fired for Helping Julian Assange, and I Have No Regrets”

        Assange had been granted asylum in 2012, at the height of Latin America’s Pink Tide, when progressive governments across the continent challenged US interference in the region. Six and a half years later, Assange’s expulsion reflects a rightwards shift in Ecuadorian politics and a new president, Lenín Moreno, willing to serve US interests.

        For his cooperation, Moreno has been warmly received by Washington, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressing his enthusiasm to “continue to work in partnership” with Ecuador.

        To discuss the dynamics behind Ecuador’s decision to expel the Australian Wikileaks founder, Jacobin spoke to Fidel Narvaez, the former Ecuadorian consul in London, who was instrumental in obtaining asylum for Assange in 2012, and who spent six years at the embassy with him.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • The Racial Wealth Divide Hurts the Entire Middle Class

        Americans are more aware than ever that America has a race problem — and, more specifically, a racial wealth divide problem. As researchers from the Institute for Policy Studies and I found earlier this year, median white families are 41 times wealthier than median Black families in the United States.

      • Blame the Economic Policies, Not the Robots

        The claim that automation is responsible for massive job losses has been made in almost every one of the Democratic debates. In the last debate, technology entrepreneur Andrew Yang told of automation closing stores on Main Street and of self-driving trucks that would shortly displace “3.5 million truckers or the 7 million Americans who work in truck stops, motels, and diners” that serve them. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) suggested that the “automation revolution” was at “the heart of the fear that is well-founded.”

      • California Opens the Public Banking Floodgates

        When you pay state and local taxes, parking fees and other payments to your regional government, chances are those funds will almost immediately end up in a corporate bank. 

      • Rethinking the Looming Threat of Neoliberal Fascism

        Talk of a fascist politics emerging in the United States and in the rise of right-wing populist movements across the globe is often criticized as a naive exaggeration or a misguided historical analogy. In the age of Trump, such objections feel like reckless efforts to deny the growing relevance of the term and the danger posed by a society staring into the abyss of a menacing authoritarianism. In fact, the case can be made that rather than harbor an element of truth, such criticism further normalizes the very fascism it critiques, allowing the extraordinary and implausible, if not unthinkable, to become ordinary. Under such circumstances, history is not simply being ignored or distorted, it is being erased. Moreover, after decades of a savage global capitalist nightmare both in the United States and around the globe, the mobilizing passions of fascism have been unleashed unlike anything we have seen since the 1930s.

      • House Dems Take Aim at ‘Trust Fund Babies’ With Estate Tax Designed to Combat Obscene Wealth Inequality

        “The ever-widening gap between the ultra-rich and the rest of us has reached alarming proportions and demands a strong legislative response.”

      • GM Workers Ratify Contract, 40-Day Strike to End

        General Motors workers voted 57.2% in favor of a new contract with the company, bringing an immediate end to a contentious a 40-day strike that paralyzed GM’s U.S. factories.

      • What the Chicago Teacher Union and the GM Auto Workers Strikes Teach Us

        The Chicago teachers and staff, numbering 35,000, are on strike for the second time in seven years. And for a second time, the teachers’ action has helped spark a social movement. This strike questions to the long-held understanding that unions have no right to make demands beyond work conditions, pay and benefits.

      • Chicago’s Citywide Strike Just Spread to Charter School Teachers

        More than 32,000 Chicago Public School (CPS) teachers and staff—one out every 100 people in the city—have been on strike since October 17. On Tuesday, the ranks of the striking workers—represented by the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and SEIU Local 73—swelled a little further as nearly 40 teachers walked off the job at Passages Charter School on the city’s north side.

      • State Higher Education Cuts Pushed Costs to Students, Worsened Inequality

        Deep state higher education funding cuts over the last decade helped drive rapid, significant tuition increases and pushed more of college costs to students, making it harder for them to enroll and graduate, as we explain in our new report.

      • Gen X Faces a Bleak, Impoverished Old Age

        In 1991 the demographers Neil Howe and William Strauss published their awkwardly-titled tome “13th Gen,” about Generation X—the Americans born between 1961 and 1981. If Xers had paid attention they would have committed suicide.

      • Don’t panic, but don’t not panic Making sense of data leaks at Russia’s banks

        On October 24, the newspaper Kommersant reported that Sberbank clients’ personal data were for sale on the black market in a database that apparently contains roughly a million lines of customers’ passport numbers, registration information, home addresses, telephone numbers, account numbers and balances, and records of any recent communication with the bank’s call center. Spokespeople for Sberbank, meanwhile, deny any such data leak. Earlier in October, Kommersant reported another leak of 60 million Sberbank credit card numbers, though the company’s spokespeople acknowledged the leak of just 5,000 clients’ card numbers. These incidents are just two episodes in the wider theft and illegal sale of banking information that belongs to millions of Russians. Meduza asked two experts who work on preventing data leaks to weigh in on the Kommersant reports, and explain why Russian banks don’t do more to protect their customers’ information.

      • Honneth’s Resolution: Philosophical Grounding for the Emancipation of Labour

        Alex Honneth’s essay, “Labor and interaction: a redefinition,” in his book, The I in We: Studies in the Theory of Recognition (2012), revisits an earlier attempt to find moral norms immanent in the capitalist mode of production. His first one failed; his second carries promise to provide the moral grounding that could animate labour and social movements as well as precipitating dialogue in various public spheres. By the twenty-first century, Honneth (2012) proclaims, “Never in the last two hundred years have there been so few efforts to defend an emancipatory and humane notion of labor as today” (p. 56). A great, black blanket seems to have fallen over the domain of work for those of critical sensibility as well as public policy-makers.

      • Russian nuclear research employee sentenced to three years for mining cryptocurrencies at work

        Andrey Rybkin, an employee at the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Experimental Physics, has been sentenced to three years in a prison colony and fined 200,000 rubles ($3,122) for using his workplace’s resources to mine cryptocurrencies. The specific charges in the case included spreading viruses and obtaining illegal access to digital information using a professional position.

      • How a Tax Break to Help the Poor Went to NBA Owner Dan Gilbert

        Billionaire Dan Gilbert has spent the last decade buying up buildings in downtown Detroit, amassing nearly 100 properties and so completely dominating the area, it’s known as Gilbertville. In the last few years, Gilbert, the 57-year-old founder of Quicken Loans and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, has also grown close to the Trump family.

        Quicken gave $750,000 to Trump’s inaugural fund. Gilbert has built a relationship with Ivanka Trump, who appeared at one of his Detroit buildings in 2017 for a panel discussion with him. And, last year, he watched the midterm election returns at the White House with President Donald Trump himself, who has called Gilbert “a great friend.”

      • ‘Outrageous’: Analysis Shows $1.7 Billion Payout for WeWork CEO Equal to Years of Salary for Company’s Expected 4,000 Laid Off Workers

        “This is likely only the beginning of a jobs massacre.”

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Dialogue of Divisiveness

        There is, of course, no fruitful dialogue in extreme cases of social and political divisiveness. Mikhail Bakhtin writes of “basic conditions governing the operation of meaning in any utterance” and as these conditions change, meaning changes. Meanings interact, each conditioning each. Right now, we have no commonly accepted basic conditions and so the meaning of any utterance, say, a transcript of a phone conversation, or a White House chief of staff’s utterance at a press conference, is subject to divided explications. And because we are so deeply divided, we don’t interact, our meanings stay polarized, each in their own silos. Dialogue, then, is preempted, prevented.

      • Five Questions for Elizabeth Warren
      • Impeachment: Trump Has Already Confessed to “High Crimes”

        Every time a witness testifies behind closed doors in the US House of Representatives’ methodical march toward the impeachment of President Donald Trump, Trump supporters scream “no quid pro quo” while Trump opponents breathlessly inform us that the “smoking gun” has turned up and that impeachment is now “inevitable.”

      • All That is Holy is Profaned: Beyond Ruling Class Trumpeachment

        Malignant Orange is an unspeakable atrocity. Think Muslim travel ban, Charlottesville, the advance pardoning of racist pig Joe Arpaio, sadistic family separations, calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “murderers,” the fake national emergency, the Nativist Wall, the criminal diversion of taxpayer funds, “go back to the crime-ridden countries you came from,” Kavanaugh, the captivity to the National Rife Association, emoluments, climate denial, reckless environmental deregulation, the abrogation of asylum rights, record-setting drone war, “shithole countries,” insane threats (“fire and fury”) to annihilate other nations (North Korea and Iran), “I might end birthright citizenship,” threats of “tough guy” violence if Congress or voters try to remove him from office, disfigured weather maps, the torture of Puerto Rico, covering for Saudi Arabia’s dismemberment of a dissident journalist, the torture of Yemen, 10,000 false statements, “the Blacks love me,” “my perfect phone call,” “the Kurds are very happy,” “this phony emoluments clause”….the nauseating list of its soul-numbing and head-shaking offenses goes on and on and on.

      • TRUMP’S EMOLUMENTS MESS

        That’s when the American public can stop Trump from making money off his presidency by voting him out of office.

      • Warnings DOJ Has Become ‘Vehicle for President Trump’s Political Revenge’ as Barr Opens Criminal Probe of Mueller Investigation

        “It was bad enough Trump and Barr were wasting resources on this. But now they are fully weaponizing DOJ for political purposes.”

      • ‘Not How We Defeat Trump,’ Says Sanders Campaign After Biden Opens Door to Super PACs

        “The former Vice President has been unable to generate grassroots support, and now his campaign is endorsing an effort to buy the primary through a super PAC that can rake in unlimited cash from billionaires and corporations.”

      • Prerequisite to Grassroots Campaigns Facing Impossible Odds

        A grassroots campaign against a powerful foe is a battle where your best source of ammunition is data you weaponize into persuasive information, and the simplest way to collect, organize and mobilize data is to put it in a case file created specifically for the issue.

      • The DNC Versus Democracy

        With Bernie Sanders the people’s choice for winner of the Democratic primary in terms of political organizing and campaign contributions, the powers-that-be in the DNC are putting out a call for establishment figures like Hillary Clinton or Michael Bloomberg to join the race. Not being ‘reported’ by the establishment press is that these same kingmakers 1) weighted the Democrat’s choice against Mr. Sander’s and towards Ms. Clinton in 2016 and lost and 2) chose Joe Biden as their ‘heavyweight’ candidate for 2020.

      • Skin Care Company, Sunday Riley, Somehow Gets No Consequences In Fake Reviews FTC Settlement

        We’ve long discussed the problem that is astroturfing and companies that abuse website reviews sections by inputting fake positive reviews for their own products. These fake reviews break the ecosystem of sites like Yelp and many others, where a big part of the draw to the sites are the communities that provide helpful, honest reviews. It’s also been the case, however, that such fake review campaigns have occasionally come with fines or lawsuits with limited clarity on precisely what laws were being broken.

      • Centrists—Or Neoliberals–Control the Party and the Media and They’re Risking Losing to Trump Again in 2020

        Neoliberal centrists either don’t understand why Trump won, or they’re so desperate to stay in control of the Party they’re willing to risk four more years of Trump.So let’s look at the arguments they’re mounting against the progressive candidates and policies.Let’s get one thing clear: the overwhelming majority of voters support progressive issues on a case-by-case basis, and

      • Will Trump Leave Quietly?

        On October 23, about two dozen unhappy Republican congress members stormed a closed hearing that was part of the impeachment inquiry, determined to show their loyalty to Trump (who knew of and inspired the action) and their distaste for the House intelligence panel led by Rep. Adam Schiff. To some observers, like Mieke Eoyang, vice president of the Third Way think tank and a specialist on intelligence, “storming the [secure meeting room] without respecting the security protocols that require people to leave their electronic devices outside the space, is actually compromising our national security.” But I think there is an even more important reason for concern.

      • Nations, Nationalism, and Non-Nation Political Movements

        Many may wonder what all the fuss in Catalonia, Spain is about—a previous 2017 referendum vote for independence, and now, people rioting in the streets following the judicial conviction of Catalonian nationalist leaders for sedition, and violent altercations in Catalonian streets with the police. After all, Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is a travel hotspot but when it comes to Catalonian nationalism and Catalonian politics, such political movements may remain a mystery to many American observers.

      • Canada’s NDP Looks Like the US’s GOP: Voter Disenfranchisement in the Parkdale-High Park Riding

        The west Toronto riding (electoral district) of Parkdale-High Park is one of the last places working people and the poor can access affordable housing in this very expensive city. Think of Parkdale-High Park in the shape of an L. The vertical line is High Park, where whiter, wealthier residents live. Queen West is the horizontal line at the bottom.  This is the main commercial street of Parkdale.  Grungier, poorer, and more diverse. A Tibetan community lives and works here. Some have shops along the always busy street. Some work at the Ontario Food Terminal a couple of miles out; the workers at the food terminal unionized over a year ago after dealing with racist harassment. Crossing Queen West is Jameson, a small street lined with apartment complexes and public housing that connect the parallel streets of Queen and King, where more of the poor and immigrants live. However, working class people in Parkdale are being displaced by gentrification.  Already astronomically housing prices continue to increase and it is at least $2200/month to rent a one bedroom apartment in downtown Toronto.

      • Brand Trudeau Wins a Second Term

        Few politicians come across more as products of hashtag committee management than Justin Trudeau. His image has been doctored, massaged and spruced, and even then, the Instagram-Twitter committee did not quite see those corrupt influences that are bound to tarnish someone who believes in endless, indestructible parliamentary majorities. The image can do much, but not that much.

      • White House Moves to Halt Times, Post Subscriptions

        President Donald Trump has had it with The New York Times and The Washington Post. The White House is preparing to instruct federal agencies not to renew their subscriptions to the newspapers.

      • How a Veteran Reporter Worked with Giuliani’s Associates to Launch the Ukraine Conspiracy

        Last March, a veteran Washington reporter taped an interview with a Ukrainian prosecutor that sparked a disinformation campaign alleging Joe Biden pressured Ukrainians into removing a prosecutor investigating a company because of its ties to the former vice president’s son. The interview and subsequent columns, conducted and written by a writer for The Hill newspaper, John Solomon, were the starting gun that eventually set off the impeachment inquiry into the president.

        Watching from the control booth of The Hill’s TV studio was Lev Parnas, who helped arrange the interview.

      • ‘The Problem Is We Need Some Money’: Ridicule Follows After NBC Journalist Reports Rudy Giuliani Butt Dial

        “I will not give it any credence,” Giuliani responded when asked for comment on the contents of the voicemails.

      • Trump’s Company Exploring Sale of Marquee Washington Hotel

        President Donald Trump’s company said Friday it is exploring the sale of its landmark Washington hotel after nearly three years of ethics complaints and lawsuits accusing him of trying to profit off the presidency.

      • Fun, Games and American Priorities

        It was all in good fun  It took place for trump supporters the weekend of October 14, 2019, at the Trump National Doral Miami.  That was the trump owned resort that was to be the site of the G-7 meeting in 2020, until it wasn’t. It had been selected by trump for the meeting of the G7 because, as Mick Mulvaney, Acting Chief of Staff explained: “Trump still considers himself to be in the hospitality business.”

      • Hundreds of Thousands Expected to Join ‘Historic Nationwide Mobilization’ on Eve of Trump Impeachment Vote

        “The night before the House of Representatives takes a historic vote to impeach Trump,” progressive groups said of the anticipated action, “we’ll head to every congressional office and public square to declare that nobody is above the law.”

      • A Tale of Two Phone Calls: an Impeachment Puzzle

        Here’s a puzzling question: The House impeachment inquiry against President Trump is focused entirely on Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president that linked US aid to Ukraine with Ukraine’s investigation of Trump’s rival Joe Biden. The evidence for this quid pro quo, from transcripts and whistleblowers, is now solid, but this impeachment effort faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled Senate.

      • Time to Point Fingers
      • Trials and Tribulations with a Dead Press

        I have lived a life marked by many roles, some of them mutually exclusive. According to The Dallas Morning News, for instance, I’m an “investigative journalist whose prison sentence was derided by free press advocates”, as well as an “Anonymous activist and award-winning journalist”.

      • Judge Hands Democrats a Victory in Impeachment Inquiry

        A judge on Friday ordered the Justice Department to give the House secret grand jury testimony from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, handing a victory to Democrats as they gather evidence for the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

      • Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant: Brother Elijah Comes Home

        Rep. Elijah Cummings, warrior for good, master of the House, beloved son of Baltimore and the first black lawmaker to lie in state at the Capitol was celebrated Friday at his longtime church as “a fierce champion of truth, justice and kindness.” Thousands of residents listened and wept as speakers eloquently praised the sharecropper’s son and statesman who held fast to his

      • Remembering US Congressman Elijah Cummings

        America has lost a hero at a time when they are in great demand but in short supply. I, along with other hero seekers, stood in the long and solemn line at the United States Capitol building in Washington to pay homage to Congressman Elijah Cummings, chair of the House Oversight Committee, who died on October 17.

      • Hillary Clinton Spoils the Party

        In the middle of October, Hillary Clinton managed to perform a minor political miracle. By baselessly speculating that Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, was a “favorite of the Russians” and preparing to run as an independent, she revived one of the more quixotic, eccentric and increasingly moribund campaigns of this election cycle while spoiling a primary that has proved shockingly substantive for a major party in the United States.

      • Fretting About Progressives’ ‘Electability,’ Establishment Dems Are Really Worried About Their Power in the Party

        With Joe Biden struggling as frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, a surging Elizabeth Warren has begun to emerge as the party establishment’s new bogeyman—and corporate media are ready and willing to transmit insiders’ panicked calls for new “moderate” entrants to the race.

      • ‘There Are Noncoercive Solutions to Our Problems’
      • Old White Men Like Me Need to Shut Up and Step Aside

        After more than 200 years of democracy in the United States and 400 years of global capitalism, the overwhelming majority of political and economic power still remains firmly entrenched in the hands of white males. This information isn’t news to anyone; it has been widely known for a long time. And while older progressive white males, with the best intentions, often speak out in solidarity with marginalized populations, their voices are still the voices of privileged white males. Therefore, it’s not only older conservative white males who need to shut up and step aside, it’s ALL older white men. And that includes me.

      • Zuck claims he chows down with politicos from “across the spectrum” but they all seem to be far-right creeps

        Facebook’s spokespeople could not name anyone from any part of “the spectrum” who wasn’t to the right of Fox News, however, so The Intercept’s Jon Schwarz canvassed the editors of The Nation, Mother Jones, Black Agenda Report, Jacobin, Current Affairs, FAIR, Democracy Now, and other members of the sweeping left-wing media cabal, and, surprisingly enough, not one of them has ever been invited to one of Zuck’s dinners.

      • Russian ‘agent’ Maria Butina released from US prison after 18 months behind bars

        A Russian gun rights activist who admitted being a secret agent for the Kremlin and trying to infiltrate conservative U.S. political groups while Donald Trump rose to power has been released from federal prison.

      • Mark Zuckerberg is struggling to explain why Breitbart belongs on Facebook News

        On Friday morning, Facebook announced its plan to spend millions of dollars on high-quality journalism, fueling the launch of a new dedicated news tab on its platform. CEO Mark Zuckerberg joined News Corp CEO Robert Thomson for an interview soon after, and Thomson hammered home the need for objective journalism in the age of social media, waxing nostalgic about the importance of rigorous fact-checking in his early career.

        An hour later, however, Zuckerberg struggled to explain how Facebook’s most controversial new partner fits into its mission.

      • Joe Biden and the Lackawanna Blues

        On Wednesday morning Joe Biden shuffled into Scranton, Pennsylvania, a couple hours’ drive south from my place in Ithaca, New York. He spoke at the city’s Cultural Center housed in a monumental, neo-Gothic building that was once the Masonic Temple and Scottish Rite Cathedral, completed in 1928, the year before the Great Depression. Scranton, and most of industrial America, has never reclaimed those glory days, and, despite his slogans, Biden will not usher them in should his white teeth succeed to the White House.

      • “That’s Not How We Defeat Trump”: Biden Campaign, Reversing Course, Will Work With Super PACs

        “The former Vice President has been unable to generate grassroots support, and now his campaign is endorsing an effort to buy the primary through a super PAC that can rake in unlimited cash from billionaires and corporations.”

      • Sanders Campaign Calls on Biden—and All 2020 Democrats—to Reject Any Help From Shadowy Super PACs

        Such groups, said campaign manager Faiz Shakir, “exist for one reason and one reason only: to help billionaires and corporations bankroll a presidential campaign.”

      • House Homeland Security Chair Demands Sergeant at Arms ‘Take Action’ Against Republicans Who Stormed Impeachment Hearing

        Rep. Bennie Thompson called the GOP stunt an “unprecedented breach of security.”

      • The White House Targets Refugees, Green Card Applicants, and Poor Immigrants

        On September 26th, President Donald Trump’s White House announced that, in 2020, refugee admissions to the United States will be limited to 18,000, drastically lower than any yearly ceiling over the past 40 years. Along with that announcement, the White House released a separate executive orderintended to upend many years of precedent by giving state and local authorities the power to deny refugees resettlement in their jurisdictions.

      • Clinton, Stein, Gabbard, and the Deconstruction of RussiaGate

        Oh, how the simplistic certainty resonates. Russsiagate, recently stoked by Hillary Clinton, comes saturated in ironies, which are usually media-invisible.

      • The Alternate Reality of Congressman Greg Gianforte

        Montanans have known for a long time that U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte has a minimal grasp on reality. I mean, who else would build a museum claiming humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time and dinosaurs were on Noah’s Ark? But late last week, in an interview with reporter Tom Lutey, Gianforte outdid himself by claiming he “read the transcript” of Donald Trump’s impeachment-launching call with the Ukrainian president in which he asked for “a favor” in exchange for releasing hundreds of millions in military aid to the country. And what did Gianforte say? “I don’t think there’s anything there.”

      • Pro-Kremlin pundit and state media head Dmitry Kiselyov says Putin thinks constantly about grooming a successor, and that’s perfectly normal

        Vladimir Putin spends all his waking hours thinking about grooming a successor, pro-Kremlin TV pundit and “Rossiya Segodnya” state news agency CEO Dmitry Kiselyov told an audience of first-year journalism students in an unscheduled lecture at Moscow State University this week. Footage of Kisleyov’s remarks was published on October 23 by the news website RBC.

      • The Case for Trump’s Impeachment Is Only Growing

        What follows is a conversation between professor Bill Black and Greg Wilpert of The Real News Network. Read a transcript of their conversation below or watch the video at the bottom of the post.

      • ‘Utterly Disqualifying’: Pete Buttigieg Panned for Praising Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

        Critics pointed out that the retired justice “voted to uphold Trump’s Muslim ban, voted for the Janus decision gutting labor unions, and voted to uphold voter suppression in Husted.”

      • Bolivia’s Morales Says He Won Presidential Vote Outright Amid Protests

        Bolivia’s Evo Morales declared himself the outright winner of the country’s presidential election Thursday, which would give him a fourth straight term after a vote that has sparked days of protests by his opponents and supporters over accusations of fraud.

      • Atos CEO Thierry Breton might join race to become France’s new Commissioner pick

        After the European Parliament rejected Sylvie Goulard as the French Commissioner, rumours suggest that Thierry Breton, the CEO of French multinational Atos, might be in the race. EURACTIV France reports.

        Breton, the chief executive of multinational IT service and consulting company Atos, might well become France’s new candidate to take the Commissioner post, according to the satirical weekly newspaper Le Canard enchaîné.

        In the race to replace Goulard, Breton will probably join Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, whose potential candidacy has been put back in the spotlight.

        If confirmed, the chances of the French Commissioner still being a woman – and thus upholding Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s strived-for gender balance – are now unlikely.

        [...]

        Three years ago, Breton put forward proposals for a European Security and Defence fund in a report published by the liberal think-tank Ifrap. He made those proposals even though the company he headed back then had been involved in such matters.

        The main idea of the report was to pool defence costs at the European level through a fund that would make it possible to reduce the debt of certain states. In turn, this would improve the eurozone’s financial health and pool European defence management issues, rather than entrust it to a few member states such as France.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • The NBA, China and Trump

        How about the hapless NBA? Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets basketball team, tweeted support for the rioters in Hong Kong. The United States is openly fomenting this often quite violent insurrection. I have no idea whether Mr. Morey knew of the beating of the journalist Fu Guohao or the involvement of American official Julie Eadeh in the uprisings. The United States, without any attempt at concealment, is stirring up this violent separatist insurrection that conceals its nature by following an earlier protest against an extradition law already shelved. But, given that these riots are an attempt by the United States to destabilize China, it is not surprising that China objected.

      • The NBA’s China Fiasco Shows What Businesses Value

        The NBA has gotten itself into a bit of a situation.

        [...]

        Nearly all come from Chinese nationals warning that if Morey isn’t fired, the Rockets will lose the entire Chinese market. Fertitta himself may agree, as evidenced by his liking Instagram comments calling for Morey’s ouster. Reports suggest the Rockets have internally discussed this option.

        Firing one of the most successful general managers in the NBA over the past decade may seem absurd. But the Rockets are the most popular NBA team in China — and, as many businesses have found, that market share can put a lot of pressure on political speech well outside of the country.

        By now the Rockets have lost business deal after business deal in China, drawn a condemnation from the Chinese consulate in Houston, and jeopardized their status in the country.

        The NBA hasn’t exactly been supportive of Morey either. In a bland statement, Commissioner Adam Silver offered only very tepid backing.

        Meanwhile Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai — a co-founder of Chinese retail giant Alibaba — put out a long statement describing Hong Kong’s protests as a “separatist movement.”

        In an especially disappointing statement, superstar LeBron James seemed to suggest Morey — who has been doing business in China for over a decade — was “misinformed” about the situation in Hong Kong.

      • Russian oligarch wins slander suit against ‘The Times,’ ‘The Daily Telegraph,’ and ‘The Nation’ with all defendants absent

        A Krasnoyarsk arbitration court has ruled in favor of Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska in a lawsuit the businessman brought against two British news sources (The Times and The Daily Telegraph) and one U.S. outlet (The Nation). None of the defendants were present to respond to Deripaska’s case.

      • Indian Court Orders Global Takedown Of ‘Defamatory’ Video From YouTube, Twitter, Facebook

        I’ve mentioned in the past that, from Techdirt’s earliest posts, one key topic is how you handle “jurisdiction” on the internet, since the internet is global, and laws don’t always work that way. Indeed, allowing for global jurisdiction for any particular government’s laws would inevitably mean that the most draconian and the most limiting laws rule around the globe — and that should worry everyone. This is why we’ve been so concerned about rulings concerning “global” blocking of content in places like Canada and the EU. Thankfully, just recently, the Court of Justice in the EU stopped one global application of the EU’s right to be forgotten, and Canada’s attempt got effectively stopped by a US court.

      • In the Debate Over Online Speech and Security, Let’s Get to the Science

        A debate is raging, in Congress and the media, over whether or not we need new regulations to try to shape how Internet platforms operate. Too often, however, the discussion is based on rhetoric and anecdote, rather than empirical research. The recently introduced National Commission on Online Platforms and Homeland Security Act is intended to change that, and we’re pleased to support its goals.

        Comprehensive Research Can Help Ensure Policy Choices are Based on Factual Evidence

      • Toxic “Safety” orders the latest tool to shut down free speech

        Today we can unveil yet another threat to freedom of speech: the Personal Safety Intervention Order (PSIO), a court order which is intended to help victims of domestic violence but instead is being abused as a tool to harass journalists, namely Sandi Keane, Editor of this publication.

      • What happens when every nation censors search results globally?

        The truth is that Google has long been censored globally based on the laws of one nation. That nation was the United States. For example, Google has been actively and globally censoring in accordance with the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act for years.

        There is no U.S.-specific version of Google. There’s regular Google, which is subject to censorship according to U.S. law, and now there are nation-specific versions subject to the local laws of those countries. Still, U.S.-driven censorship has been minimal because of the First Amendment and a cultural norm of generally tolerating free-speech in the U.S.

        But now that foreign governments have started to assert their rights to censor Google globally, we’re entering new territory.

      • Moscow bookstore refuses to sell magazine on Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact due to image of Hitler-Stalin wedding on cover

        The Moscow bookstore Molodaya Gvardia has refused to sell the latest issue of the pop history magazine Diletant, Ekho Moskvy reported. The cover of the magazine depicts Joseph Stalin in a bridal veil alongside Adolf Hitler, who is wearing a suit with a swastika on the front.

      • No, Internet Companies Do Not Get A ‘Free Pass’ Thanks To CDA 230

        There are many critics of CDA 230 these days, and there’s a pretty wide range in the quality of their arguments. Law professor Danielle Citron is, for good reason, considered one of the more thoughtful critics of the law. And, to her credit, she actually does understand the law, what it enables, and what the wider impacts of the law might be. Her scholarship tends to be thoughtful and careful as well, and, just recently, she was awarded a MacArthur “genius grant.” And that’s why I find it frustrating that her presentations before Congress recently seem to miss the mark by a fairly wide margin. Earlier this year, we called out her testimony on “deep fakes” because she falsely suggested that internet platforms have “no incentive to address destructive deepfake content.”

      • Aussie Censorship In Action: National Enquirer Editor Threats Get Bookstores To Block Sale Of Ronan Farrow Book

        We’ve covered a few times in the past some of the oddities of both Australia’s defamation laws and its views on intermediary liability. Our big complaint regarding both of those things is how they end up enabling censorship by the powerful of critical reporting and commentary. Perhaps a perfect example of this is former National Enquirer editor Dylan Howard having some pricey lawyers threaten Australian booksellers if they decided to offer Ronan Farrow’s new book Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators. If you haven’t guessed, a part of Farrow’s book covers efforts by the Enquirer to “get dirt” on certain people in what appears to be an attempt to suppress their credibility or ability to go public, and also to engage in the practice of “catch and kill” (from whence the book gets its title) a story by “buying” the exclusive rights to it, only to kill it.

      • White House moves to halt Times, Post subscriptions
    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Facebook Tries Again With News, This Time Paying Publishers

        In 2018, Thomson singled out Facebook for being “in denial” about itself, adding that “Mark [Zuckerberg] finds it very difficult to say ‘publisher,’ but he is a publisher, and a lot of what they are publishing is reprehensible.” In March, he said “the Facebook icon may appear to be an approving thumb, but to content creators it’s actually a contemptuous middle finger.”

      • Microsoft Wins $10 Billion Pentagon Cloud Contract, Beating Amazon

        The decision, which was announced by the Defense Department late Friday, may be challenged by Amazon, according to a person familiar with the matter, because President Donald Trump weighed in on the bidding process. The terms of the competition were also hotly contested by another rival, Oracle Corp.

      • Pentagon chooses Microsoft over Amazon for $10bn ‘Jedi’ contract

        It said that it had awarded more than $11bn in 10 separate cloud-computing contracts over the past two years.

        The Jedi deal “continues our strategy of a multi-vendor, multi-cloud environment as the department’s needs are diverse and cannot be met by any single supplier,” it added.

        Microsoft has not yet issued a statement.

      • Microsoft Is the Surprise Winner of a $10B Pentagon Contract

        Meantime, Microsoft will become a mascot for Pentagon ambitions to adapt commercial technology to defense purposes. That could lead it into contentious territory, as Google found with its Maven contract. That project helped inspire an ambitious new Pentagon AI strategy, and the creation of a Joint AI Center to speed adoption of the technology across the US military. The center is already building new AI tools, and planning to run them on JEDI.

      • Microsoft Wins Pentagon’s $10 Billion JEDI Contract, Thwarting Amazon

        The 10-year contract for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, known as JEDI, had set off a showdown among Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and Google for the right to transform the military’s cloud computing systems. The acrimonious process involved intense lobbying efforts and legal challenges among the rivals.

      • Microsoft beats Amazon to win the Pentagon’s $10 billion JEDI cloud contract

        The US government has awarded a giant $10 billion cloud contract to Microsoft, the Department of Defense has confirmed. Known as Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI), the contract will provide the Pentagon with cloud services for basic storage and power all the way up to artificial intelligence processing, machine learning, and the ability to process mission-critical workloads.

      • Microsoft Beats Amazon For $10B Pentagon JEDI Contract

        The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure program is meant to replace the U.S. military’s poorly integrated, aged computer networks and clouds with a single cloud system that would encompass all networked assets, from soldiers on the ground to all of its combat aircraft and naval vessels.

      • AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile have finally agreed to replace SMS with a new RCS standard

        All four major US carriers — AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint — have each issued the same joint press release announcing the formation of “a joint venture” called the “Cross-Carrier Messaging Initiative” (CCMI). It’s designed to ensure that the carriers move forward together to replace SMS with a next-generation messaging standard — including a promise to launch a new texting app for Android phones that supports the standard by next year.

      • [Old] What is RCS messaging? Here’s all you need to know about the successor to SMS

        Even with all of the faults, 97 percent of smartphone owners send text messages, making it the most widely used feature on smartphones. To make the service more valuable and competitive with messaging apps, smartphone manufacturers and carriers are teaming up with the cell phone industry’s governing bodies to develop a modern take on texting called Rich Communication Services (RCS), which combines the best of Facebook Messenger, iMessage, and WhatsApp into one platform.

        [...]

        There is one crucial element missing from chat, however. While the original RCS protocol allowed the implementation of client-to-server encryption, Chat will not offer end-to-end encryption like iMessage or Signal. In short, it allows for the same legal intercept standards as its predecessor.

      • Facebook’s Zuckerberg, Accused of Lying, Withstands a Washington ‘Beating’

        Representative Nydia M. Velázquez, a Democrat from New York, pointed to Facebook’s promise in its acquisition of WhatsApp in 2014 to keep the messaging app separate from the main Facebook platform. A few years later, Mr. Zuckerberg announced it would merge data between the two apps.

        “Do you understand why this record makes us concerned with Facebook entering the cryptocurrency space? Have you learned that you should not lie?” Ms. Velázquez said.

      • How to permanently delete your Facebook account

        The good news is that you don’t need to let that stop you. Facebook makes it easy to download a backup of all of your data. It’s in the same section as the option to deactivate or delete your account.

      • [Old] Over 50% of Google searches result in no clicks, data shows

        Even worse, it seems this trend towards zero-click searches has seen steady growth since 2016. In the meantime, organic reach for third-party websites has continued to shrink.

      • [Old] Less than Half of Google Searches Now Result in a Click

        We’ve passed a milestone in Google’s evolution from search engine to walled-garden. In June of 2019, for the first time, a majority of all browser-based searches on Google.com resulted in zero-clicks.

      • Opinion: Facebook’s Libra and the power of money

        But Zuckerberg’s story lacks credibility. Why have eBay, PayPal, Mastercard and Visa recently turned their backs on the project? Why are regulators and finance ministers suddenly getting nervous? Why was Zuckerberg grilled for six hours this week in front of a congressional committee? Nonetheless, even the boss of the largest bank in the world, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, does not really seem confident when he says that Libra has “no future” and will “never happen.”

      • How We’re Making Certbot More Usable

        The movement to encrypt the web has reached milestone after milestone in recent years as major platforms and small websites alike have made the shift from insecure HTTP to more secure HTTPS. Let’s Encrypt and EFF’s Certbot have changed the game here, making what was once an expensive, technically demanding process into an easy and affordable task for webmasters across a range of resource and skill levels.

        Today we’re releasing a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to make a tool like Certbot easy to use. This case study walks readers through our designers’ and developers’ process for redesigning our interactive Certbot website: our methods, the challenges of doing user research on a tight budget, and strategies to make the most of the resources available to your team. We hope this case study can serve as a resource for other scrappy groups of designers and developers working to improve their own tools and projects.

      • Steak With A Side Of Surveillance: Outback Restaurants Adding Employee-Tracking Analytics To Its Cameras

        Surveillance growth markets are the best growth markets. Amazon, not satisfied with tying up the online shopping and data storage markets, is moving forward aggressively with plans to become the government’s top surveillance vendor, as well as the friendly face of (cop-enabled) home surveillance via its Ring doorbell camera. A swarm of analytics companies have descended on the massive amounts of data generated by social media/cellphone users to turn haystacks into marketable needle sources.

      • Watch Ocasio-Cortez’s Epic Takedown of Mark Zuckerberg (Video)

        At Wednesday’s congressional hearings about Libra, Facebook’s cryptocurrency project, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took the opportunity to question founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg about more than a couple of things he likely wasn’t expecting. Probably one of the most memorable questions came when AOC, as the congressmember is known, asked the Facebook CEO about the content of the discussions at his “ongoing dinner parties with far-right figures.” Another great moment came when she asked Zuckerberg if he’d take down false political advertisements and he responded with, “Lying is bad,” but refused to say what he’d do.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Interior removes controversial proposed change from final FOIA rule

        The Interior Department has removed heavily criticized language from the final version of its public records rule that some worried would give officials too much leniency in withholding documents.

        The final iteration of the department’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) regulation issued Friday removes several proposed language changes that government watchdog groups argued would place an unlawful burden on public records seekers and offered the agency broader authority to reject requests that didn’t fit the more narrow request format.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • ‘What an Unexpected, Unpleasant Situation for Students,’ Says NAACP Leader Regarding Trump Visit to Historically Black College

        Days after “lynching” comment, the president addresses a forum at Benedict College in South Carolina.

      • The House Freedom for What Caucus

        Over the past 50 years the Republican Party has turned racial politics into an art form, demonstrating not only contempt for minorities but for democracy itself. Today Trump’s GOP manifests few of the nuances and most of the crudities of this wretched saga. Trump and his operatives aggressively stoke racial prejudice and channel it into votes to support their revanchist agenda. The party that once merely practiced racial politics now embraces white nationalists tied to and tolerant of domestic terrorism. Thanks to the nativist con-man-in-chief, the politically unacceptable has become the political norm.

      • Bad cousin Chechen state TV releases footage of Ramzan Kadyrov’s relative torturing women

        On October 24, the Chechen state television network Grozny released footage showing former Grozny Mayor and former Chechen Deputy Prime Minister Islam Kadyrov using a taser to force confessions from people accused of fraud. The station shared the 13-minute news segment on its Instagram and YouTube channels.

      • The Crucifixion of Jesus Continues in Kings Bay Plowshares Trial

        Jesus of Nazareth was given a trial before Pontius Pilate and under Roman Law before being crucified. Crucifixion was nothing special at the time, it was the usual and ordinary punishment for many crimes. It was only that Jesus was an extraordinary advocate for peace, justice and love that made that crucifixion extraordinary.

      • New York Police Union: Lying And Violating Rights Is Just Part Of Everyday Police Work

        On very rare occasions, the front mouths for law enforcement — police unions — will surprise you with inadvertent truthiness. Such a rarity occurred recently. It was — as almost every union outburst is — provoked by the introduction of the tiniest sliver of accountability.

      • Chicago Cops: The Torture Machine, Unending
      • ‘This Was an Execution’: Outrage as Video Shows California Police Officer Shooting Unarmed 16-Year-Old in Back of Head

        “The city was so adamant that the officer ‘feared for his life.’ Why were they hiding the video? If a picture speaks a thousand words, then the video speaks a million words.”

      • Alaska’s Uneven Rural Law Enforcement System Often Leaves Remote Villages With No Cops

        In his first seven months as a village public safety officer in the remote Alaska village of Chenega, Andrew Jonda has enjoyed world-class fishing and gorgeous ocean views.

        What he hasn’t done is make a single arrest.

      • New Mass Shooting Prevention Bill Will Use ‘Anti-Terrorism’ Methods To Ramp Up Surveillance Of Students

        The federal government still doesn’t have any great ideas on how to head off future school shootings. But it does have some ideas. Some ideas are better than none when calls to “do something” abound. Something is indeed in the works. Unfortunately, the solution being offered just opens up students to increased surveillance, on and off campus.

      • Trump and the Conman Theory of History

        “The owl of Minerva,” Hegel wrote, “takes flight with the setting of the sun.” He meant that the true meaning, the correct interpretation, of past events becomes evident only in retrospect.

      • Sexual Misconduct and the Plague of “Himpathy”

        Earlier this month, famed astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson appeared on The Late Show, where host Stephen Colbert asked Tyson about the allegations of sexual misconduct four women had brought against him.

      • A Hopeful Speech, but Will Tunisia’s President Deliver?

        In his inaugural speech on October 23, Tunisia’s new president, Kais Saied, pledged to “honor Tunisia’s obligations under international law.” This was an unexpected turn, given his hostility towards human rights treaties during his campaign.

      • UN Criticized for Failing to Live Up to Its Own Values in Kosovo

        Yesterday was supposed to be a celebration at the United Nations. But on the UN’s birthday, the world body received sharp criticism regarding its own human rights record.

      • Die Jim Crow Project To Become First U.S. Record Label Devoted To Incarcerated Musicians

        Carl Dukes was incarcerated for 31 years in prisons throughout the state of New York. He works for the Fortune Society, which helps incarcerated individuals all over the United States that can help them re-enter society after their release from prison. He also is a vocalist featured on Die Jim Crow’s 2016 EP.

        Die Jim Crow is a project that aims to provide formerly and currently incarcerated musicians a high quality platform for their voices to be heard. They go through the extra effort to gain access to facilities and do not rely on contraband phones. They lay down instrumentals, record vocals, and mix tracks with professional equipment.

      • The First Step Act was Exactly that, a First Step. What Comes Next?
      • Tanzanian court upholds a law banning child marriage

        The Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed the attorney general’s appeal on Wednesday and asked Tanzania’s government to respect the previous ruling, according to court documents seen by CNN.

        With two out of five girls being married off before their 18th birthday, Tanzania has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world, according to UN estimates.

      • The Day Women Brought Iceland to a Standstill

        Indeed, it is estimated that 90 percent of women in Iceland did not show up for work on October 24, 1975. And the strike brought the Icelandic economy to a standstill. Schools, nurseries, shops, and factories closed, and men had to step in by either staying at home or bringing their children to work. There were over twenty rallies organized all over the country, but the biggest event took place in Lækjartorg, the main square in downtown Reykjavík, 25,000 women attending — just under half of the entire female population in the capital area.

      • Regent’s Park stabbing: Killer who hid in mosque found guilty

        A 22-year-old who stabbed a man, then hid in a London mosque which was stormed by police, has been found guilty of manslaughter.

      • Man who sparked armed raid on Regent’s Park mosque guilty over stab death

        Kamal Hussain, 22, and Yosef Ahmed, 18, changed clothes in the mosque to evade police, jurors were told.

      • U.K. MP calls for crackdown on human trafficking after 39 bodies found in truck

        Mitchell says he blames human traffickers and an international system that he says does nothing to stop them. Here is part of his conversation with As It Happens host Carol Off.

      • As President Trump Abuses His Power, Why Is Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer Trying to Criminalize Dissent?

        In a blue state, in a blue city, on the Bruin blue campus of a public university system that once gave rise to the Free Speech Movement, why were the UCLA administration and Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, a liberal Democrat, bent on charging and jailing four young protesters for briefly interrupting a 2018 campus speaking appearance by U.S. Treasury Secretary…

      • #NoMusicForICE: 300+ Musicians Pledge to Boycott Amazon-Sponsored Events and Partnerships Over Contracts With US Agencies

        “Nobody should ever have to live under the kind terrorism that ICE has inflicted upon countless immigrant communities.”

      • Dorothee Benz on LGBTQ Rights, Joe Emersberger on Ecuador Protests

        This week on CounterSpin: The Supreme Court won’t rule until spring on the cases it recently took up, involving employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. But that doesn’t mean we have to wait until then to assess the state of fairness for LGBTQ people in US society. Just as abortion can be out of reach even with Roe v. Wade in place, the gap between what the law says a person merits, and the harms and hardships they experience, can be cavernous. It doesn’t mean ignoring the legal front, just placing it within a more complex picture. We’ll talk about that with writer and organizer Dorothee Benz.

      • Ecuador’s President Moreno Struggles to Buy Off Fake Leftists

        Ecuador’s President Moreno was elected in 2017 by campaigning to continue Rafael Correa’s leftist policies. Within weeks of taking office, he morphed into a right winger obsessed with inventing a public debt problem and outlawing Correa along with anyone who stayed loyal to him and his policies (Correaists). But a few weeks ago, things exploded when Moreno made his boldest move yet to return Ecuador to IMF bondage by eliminating fuel subsidies. Eight protesters were killed in eleven days before Moreno withdrew the decree that eliminated the subsidies.

      • The Courier and His Anti-British barrage

        He sits calm and unruffled by the blazing heat on a small bridge atop this compact dam in Kolhapur that he brought into being over half a century ago. Patiently continuing to answer questions we had sprung on him earlier at lunch. He also walks, sprightly and energetic, all over the bridge with us – explaining how this barrage came to life in 1959.

      • I Rebel, Therefore We Exist

        When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke of her origins and family today (19 October 2019), I remembered my own story because they are so similar. My mother, too, is a lovely Puertorriqueña; I too was born in the Boogie-Town island stolen from the American Indians (Manhattan); we too lived in Parkchester, in the Bronx, in a basement apartment (concrete floor, concrete walls, tiny windows at the top at shoe-level to the sidewalk); I too have felt the glass ceiling pushing me down (my whole career), along with other melanin-rich talent.

      • Son of former Russian minister charged in major fraud case flees Russia to avoid child protection services

        Former Russian Open Government Minister Mikhail Abyzov said during an October 24 court hearing that one of his children has fled Russia to avoid being seized by child protection officers. Abyzov was jailed in spring 2019 on charges of fraud and forming a criminal organization during his time in Russia’s federal executive branch.

      • Human Scum, Unite

        So many follies, so little time. In the last day, the swiftly unraveling Idiot Thug has threatened to sic his “tough people” – police, bikers, military – on his enemies, promised to build a big beautiful wall in…Colorado and, frantically expanding his repertoire of insults and targets, followed in a fine fascist tradition by calling people who disagree with him…

      • Segregation, Wealth and Education: the Politics of Liberal San Francisco’s ‘Separate But Equal’

        A recent New York Times article about the segregation of schools across the district of San Francisco (San Francisco Had an Ambitious Plan to Tackle School Segregation. It Made It Worse) cites president of the SF Board of Education, Stevon Cook, stating that the problem arose inadvertently. It discusses issues of wide-scale busing needs and school zoning as contributing factors to the city’s segregation. That article pertains to segregation between schools, not within schools, and Starr King Elementary, the city’s single most segregated school, is not even mentioned.

      • A Blatant Disregard for Human Dignity
      • Equine Hypocrisies: Race Horses for the Knackery

        It was always a probable fact: the dark consequences of having what is termed in Australia a “racing” industry, where breeds do battle on the track, sponsored and watered by the money of an industry that sees no sign of contracting. Curiously, most states within the Australian Commonwealth boast a racing minister to mind the industries in which punters, animal owners and investors partake. From greyhounds to horses, a lingering question remains: Where to with the animals once they have done their dash?

      • South Carolina Judge Says State’s Asset Forfeiture Programs Are Unconstitutional

        Asset forfeiture certainly seems unconstitutional. But we don’t have a lot of case law actually saying that. Something that began in the United States as a way to punish wrongdoers located elsewhere in the world, but whose property (usually a ship and its contents) had sailed into US jurisdiction, is now used by American law enforcement to take cash, vehicles, and whatever else they can haul away from people they think smell like weed.

      • Northern Ireland Strikes Victory for Equality

        At midnight on Monday, legislation came into force that decriminalized abortion and legalized same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

      • Federal Lawsuit Targets Vicious Gang Composed Of… Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputies

        The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is a law enforcement agency known mainly for its criminals. Yes, it oversees the largest jail system in the world, but even that can’t hold all the criminals the LASD associates with. The Department hires (and re-hires) criminals to staff itself. It has 300 employees on the LA District Attorney’s “Brady list” — the list of officers prosecutors feel are too untrustworthy to testify in court due to past misconduct and lying.

      • Countering Domestic Violence Myths in Armenia

        Domestic violence is a persistent problem in Armenia, where at least 10 women were reportedly killed by family members or partners in the first six months of 2019.

      • Thailand: Peaceful Critics Prosecuted

        Thai authorities over five years of military rule have prosecuted numerous peaceful critics of the government to stay in power, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. 

      • Victory Against Child Marriage in Tanzania

        Girls and boys in Tanzania have cause to celebrate: child marriage is now illegal in the country.

      • Algeria: Crackdown on Protestant Faith

        The recent closure of three Protestant churches and a police assault on worshipers at one church are the latest examples of the repression of this tiny religious minority in Algeria, Human Rights Watch said today.

      • Why is Missouri So Afraid of Finding out Whether Lamar Johnson is Innocent of Murder?
      • I Went to Mexico to Meet Asylum-Seekers Trapped at the Border. This Is What I Saw.
      • My father was IBM’s first black software engineer. The racism he fought persists in the high-tech world today

        John Stanley Ford, my father, was the first black software engineer in America, hired by IBM in 1946. Passed over for promotions, discriminated against in pay, with many inside IBM working to ensure his failure, he still viewed his job as an opportunity of a lifetime. He refused to give up.

        Minority underrepresentation in high tech has been present since the earliest days of the industry. In reflecting upon my father’s career for a new memoir I wrote about him, I saw important lessons about the history and nature of racism in high tech, and about the steps that corporations and individuals can take to bring about much-needed change.

        IBM publicly represents itself as a company with deep roots in diversity and inclusion, but history tells a different story. The roots of racism in high tech coincide with the advent of the digital age, when in the late 1920s a fledgling company run by a cutthroat but savvy businessman named Thomas J. Watson saw an opportunity in eugenics.

        Eugenics is a pseudoscience that seeks to create a “racially pure” master human race by eliminating those deemed inferior. In 1928, the Eugenics Records Office in Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., had undertaken a project to identify mixed-race individuals on the island of Jamaica for forced sterilization and other means of population control. Realizing the massive amount of data to be collected and compiled, Watson stepped in with IBM to provide the punched-card technology crucial for the Jamaica project’s success.

        In 1933, Watson offered IBM’s services, based on similar punched-card technology, to the Third Reich and automated every aspect of Hitler’s war machine — including Luftwaffe bombing runs, train schedules for carrying Jews to camps, and the measures by which Jews were apprehended and exterminated. Concentration camps had IBM rooms, where the gruesome tallies of life and death were encoded on IBM punched cards.

        In recognition of IBM’s extraordinary service, Hitler created a medal festooned with swastikas that he pinned on Watson in 1937. Although Watson returned the medal when America entered the war, IBM’s support of the Nazi regime never ceased. (IBM has never acknowledged the company’s role in the Holocaust nor disputed historical accounts of it.)

      • Grim find: 39 dead in one of UK’s worst trafficking cases

        Authorities found 39 people dead in a truck in an industrial park in England on Wednesday and arrested the driver on suspicion of murder in one of Britain’s worst human-smuggling tragedies.

        Police were reconstructing the final journey of the victims as they tried to piece together where they were from and how they came to be in England.

        “To put 39 people into a locked metal container shows a contempt for human life that is evil,” said Jackie Doyle-Price, a member of Parliament who represents the area where the truck was found. “The best thing we can do in memory of those victims is to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.”

      • To Overthrow Radical Evil, the Revolution Must Go Deep

        Chris Hedges, quoting Hannah Arendt, calls the system in which we live, which depends for its survival on the disposability of human beings, “radical evil.” This system is a total conditioning reaching into the being of every individual, making individuals and institutions existentially sick. When everyone has been conditioned to disregard – even to despise – their subjective being, then the source of totalitarianism is within and has to first be resisted there. MLK’s fully necessary but long avoided “revolution of values” (we display the quotation on a banner at our Cafe in Utica) must begin with a near-impossible feat of defiance: the authority located in the system of top-down power must be displaced by the authority present in the life-giving roots of connectedness and meaning within the individual soul. This is why, in a post-religious age, the practicing of an art is vital; in its restoration of the missing spiritual dimension, it is quintessentially disobedient to neoliberal totality.

      • She Deserves Our Support: Betty McCollum Wants US to Stop Subsidizing Torture of Palestinian Children

        In December 2018, 17-year-old Palestinian teen, Ayham Sabah, was sentenced by an Israeli military court to 35 years in prison for his alleged role in a stabbing attack targeting an Israeli soldier in an illegal Jewish settlement in the West Bank.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Like The Rest Of Its 5G Footprint, Verizon 5G Sports Venue Availability Is Being Overhyped

        Have we mentioned lately that 5G is being over-hyped? While it’s an important evolutionary step in wireless connectivity, it’s far from the revolution hardware vendors and cellular carriers are promising. Verizon, for example, insists that 5G is the “fourth industrial revolution” that will almost miraculously spur the smart cities and smarter cars of tomorrow. While 5G is important (in that faster, more resilient networks are always important), the idea that 5G will fundamentally transform the world tends to overshoot the mark.

      • Google And Facebook Didn’t Kill Newspapers: The Internet Did

        There is an infamous chart in media circles. It shows newspaper advertising revenue steadily rising until about the year 2000. A few years later, it drops off a cliff. Superimposed on this chart is the exponential growth of Google and Facebook…

      • AT&T Jacks Up TV Prices Post Merger After Repeatedly Claiming That Wouldn’t Happen

        You may be shocked to learn this, but nearly all of the promises AT&T made in the lead up to its $86 billion merger with Time Warner wound up not being true.

    • Monopolies

      • Lego’s Mostly Obnoxious IP Bullying Of The 3D Printing Community Doesn’t Make Any Sense

        In the earlier days of Techdirt, Lego made multiple appearances as an IP bully. However, its IP bullying ran into some legal headaches as various courts pushed back again and again and again. The company failed, pretty spectacularly, in its quest to argue that no one could make similar, or even interconnecting, Lego bricks. Its patents long expired, and any copyright and trademark rights were much more limited.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Weakening Our System of Patent Challenges Will Hurt Consumers, Unions, and Health Care Providers

          The Stronger Patents Act, S. 2082, won’t give us a stronger patent system—just the opposite, in fact. It is a deliberate attempt to dismantle one of the few effective forums for challenging wrongly-issued patents. The bill would put dramatic and unwarranted changes into effect that would make the U.S. Patent Office’s system of inter partes review, or IPR, much less effective. That means the Stronger Patents Act will weaken the quality of issued patents and the patent system as a whole.

        • Patents Are About Sharing Information with the Public. Don’t Shroud Them in Secrecy.

          Patents give their owners the power to stop people (and companies) from doing whatever the patent claims as an “invention” for twenty years. But that power doesn’t come for free: it’s a trade. In exchange for the right to sue others to stop using the invention, patent applicants have to disclose enough information about their invention to allow others in the field to make and use it. Encouraging people to share information so that others can use it to make further advances is the whole point of the patent system.  

          The public can read the information in a patent from the moment it’s published. But for the twenty years of a patent’s term, the owner can sue anyone who uses their invention without their permission. To get permission, members of the public need to know who owns the patent and therefore has the power to control and demand payment for its use. Unfortunately, essential information about patent ownership is often out of the public’s reach. In particular, patent trolls—individuals or companies that make money by threatening to sue instead of developing or commercializing technology—often divide up patent rights between different entities in ways that make it practically impossible to identify the legal owner of a patent. A 2012 study found that notorious patent troll Intellectual Ventures divides its portfolio among over 1000 different shell companies. There are a number of reasons why patent owners might want to keep ownership information secret. For example, doing so might limit fee awards for bad litigation conduct to an entity with no assets, shielding its parent company from the full price of overly aggressive patent enforcement.

        • Judicial imperialist Birss called “madness” what is just a hypothetical consequence of patent holder’s rent-seeking: Unwired Planet v. Huawei

          In the England & Wales High Court’s Unwired Planet v. Huawei ruling that had given rise to the four-day UK Supreme Court hearing that concluded yesterday, Mr. Justice Birss, a judicial imperialist (who wants UK courts to set FRAND licensing rates even for patents in other countries, on other continents, and–if only he could–in other solar systems or galaxies) wrote that a country-by-country resolution of standard-essential patent (SEP) licensing disputes would be “madness.”

          I disagree with those who believe this is a factual finding that the UK Supreme Court will have to defer to. It’s not a finding of fact such as a damages determination. It’s just an opinion–the opinion of an outlier judge and patent extremist.

          “Madness” is a particularly absurd label in light of a simple fact: prior to that decision, no other court anywhere in the world did anything similar (there have been a few cases in which courts in one EU member state thought they could adjudicate issues relating to other EU countries, but they didn’t get far), yet the industry has been able to avoid parallel SEP litigation in many countries for the most part. The only exception I remember is that–at some point earlier in this decade–Samsung was asserting SEPs against Apple in nine countries, but the dispute had started with Apple asserting non-SEPs and was not the commonplace situation in which a SEP holder just seeks to be compensated.

          Most of those disputes get resolved based on a decision in one key jurisdiction, or maybe two. And rarely three. But that’s about it.

          Justice Birss made up a problem that never existed just so he could solve it. In his extremism he didn’t merely legislate from the bench. He actually tried to conclude a global trade agreement between 200+ countries, singlehandedly. The patent system is a country-by-country system. Justice Birss is not alone in seeing the potential benefits of a unified global patent system–but he hasn’t been elected to represent even a single nation on Earth, much less the 200+ countries he’d have to be authorized to speak for to achieve what he wants by allowing patent holders–including patent trolls–to leverage the threat of injunctive relief.

          There’s another reason for which Justice Birss’s “madness” opinion is misguided. If a patent holder spends money on patent attorneys’ fees, examination fees, registration/renewal fees etc. in order to obtain patents in multiple countries, why would it be unacceptable for that same patent holder to be required to prove validity, essentiality, and value on a country-by-basis unless a commercial agremeent is reached? Implementers won’t want to incur the cost of unnecessary scattershot litigation around the globe–provided that a licensing offer is fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory.

        • Leveraged patent engineering meets leveraged financial engineering: Unwired Planet v. Huawei (UK Supreme Court hearing)

          Many–obviously not all–policy makers and judges way overestimate the “innovation” behind standard-essential patents (SEPs). In reality, the intrinsic value of the “inventions” covered by SEPs is usually anything but impressive, and most of what licensees agree or are forced to pay for SEP licenses is due to patentees mostly capturing the value of the standard.

          A rational valuation needs to focus on the commercial value of the incremental technical benefits of a claimed invention over the state of the art. That delta is all it’s worth. Typically, that value is very low because there are numerous ways–sometimes practically an infinite number of them–to solve the kind of technical problem at hand, such as encoding a data stream for the purpose of radio transmission or giving priority to the handsets of first responders over regular users of a network at its capacity limit. But once a patent becomes a SEP because a particular technical solution (again, usually one of many viable options) it covers is adopted as part of a standard, all implementers of the standard need a license. Otherwise, if the patented technique hadn’t made it into the standard, very few companies or maybe even none at all would pay for a license, given the availability of numerous replacements or workarounds.

          It happens all the time that technically superior inventions are not adopted as part of the standard, especially because standard-setting is a horse-trading exercise along the lines of “I’ll vote for some of your technical proposals today if you support some of mine tomorrow.”

          Those sitting at the standard-setting table aren’t always true innovators. You find companies there that spends billions of dollars on research and development, and a portion of it on the kinds of techniques become part of a standard. But you also find plenty of opportunists who capitalize on their involvement in the process, and whose “engineers” don’t truly invent useful things but primarily seek to anticipate where the standard-setting discussion is headed in order to file for SEPs. Those aren’t engineers in a traditional R& D sense–they’re practically patent engineers.

      • Trademarks

        • Havarti cheese can now only be produced in Denmark

          Danish dairy producers were jubilant yesterday following an EU decision to award the Havarti cheese the Protected Geographical Indication logo – meaning only Havarti cheese produced in Denmark will be permitted to use the Havarti name.

          Havarti joins in the list the other three Danish cheeses already included: Danablu, Esrom, and Danbo, which may only be produced in Denmark from Danish milk and at approved dairies that are regularly checked.

      • Copyrights

        • Future of Open Access

          They conclude:

          One interesting realization from the modeling we’ve done is that when the proportion of papers that are OA increases, or when the OA lag decreases, the total number of views increase — the scholarly literature becomes more heavily viewed and thus more valuable to society.

          Thus clearly demonstrating one part of the value that open access adds. Below the fold, some details and commentary.

        • TV Network Declares IPTV Tool Copyright Infringing, Even Though It’s Just A Tool

          To a certain segment of the population, just mentioning IPTV is enough to get them frothing at the mouth and shouting “copyright infringement” at anyone who will listen. This isn’t entirely without cause, of course, as IPTV is a technology that can be used to infringe by streaming copyrighted TV shows and films. There are entire sites out there that list such infringing content, as well. But the fact remains that IPTV is a tool, not content that infringes copyright itself. As such, there are plenty of IPTV-related tools and uses out there that are perfectly legit.

        • Police Drop Criminal Investigation into Pirate Bay Co-Founder
        • The US Senate will vote on the CASE Act, which would unleash a copyright claims hell

          Copyright lawyers could soon be able to seek up to $30,000 in damages from individuals for even the simplest and most unintentional of copyright violations. Earlier this week, the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act (CASE Act) was passed by the House of Representatives with a 410-6 vote with 16 abstaining votes. The Case Act is now going to be voted on by the US Senate, where a similar outcome might come about if the American people do not rally against this heinous copyright law.

The “I’ll Just Use a Mac” Mentality

Posted in Free/Libre Software, OSI at 11:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Running Away Balloon meme

Software Freedom, Computer User, and OSI/Open Source

Summary: What’s holding Software Freedom back?

The Media is Not Observing But Actively Participating in Patent Lies of the EPO and Self-Serving Law Firms

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 10:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

What good is media that either isn’t covering news or simply repeating press releases and marketing pitch?

White tower

Summary: Criticism of the shallow coverage (if any) regarding patents in Europe and elsewhere; the patent ‘industry’ seems to be totally dominating the ‘debate’ in the media because investigative, independent journalism perished (or committed suicide)

THE overall strategy of the European Patent Office (EPO) has generally been shallow, misguided and even illegal. Battistelli sought new ways to undermine oversight, attack judges, lower patent quality and promote new buzzwords that correspond to software patents that are illegal in Europe. António Campinos implements deep cuts that further harm quality or intimidate staff into increased ‘production’ (i.e. decreased quality) whilst also lowering salaries, pensions and even outsourcing key jobs.

“The overall strategy of the European Patent Office (EPO) has generally been shallow, misguided and even illegal.”To distract from all the above the EPO has already ensured media remains on its side, either by silence (complicity) or cheerleading. The EPO did so by intimidation and bribery — examples of which were covered here before. Before the weekend the EPO issued this ridiculous statement (warning: epo.org link). The latest EPO “press release” is gross and embarrassing greenwashing; it’s hardly the first time these corrupt people try to come across as environmentalists. In Twitter they wrote: “European Patent Office joins City of Munich @muenchen ’s #climatepact to cut CO2 emissions…”

“To distract from all the above the EPO has already ensured media remains on its side, either by silence (complicity) or cheerleading.”Munich is happy to have these EPO abuses on its soil in Bavaria. After all, that can generate income (circulation of money) in the city, but what’s in it for all the other cities in Europe?

The EPO has also just tweeted: “How do you make the best use of patent documents as a source of information for developing new #climatechange mitigation technologies?”

“These are patent monopolies,” I responded, “so when the EPO grants these it actually reduces the availability is new-developed solutions by which to tackle the climate crisis…”

All these greenwashing tweets and press releases are old distraction tactics. Sometimes they talk about stuff like social responsibility, SMEs, ethics, innovation and so on. In other words, the very same things the EPO fights against.

“All these greenwashing tweets and press releases are old distraction tactics. Sometimes they talk about stuff like social responsibility, SMEs, ethics, innovation and so on. In other words, the very same things the EPO fights against.”The EPO may be impressing itself (not the staff but the administration); it’s not fooling judges and the media is hardly fooled, it’s just being bribed for puff pieces and threatened for silence. It’s very gross abuse.

What we’ve mostly been left with is so-called ‘news’ sites that are actually lobbying platforms of law firms. That’s not journalism. Lawyer Monthly Magazine, for instance, has just said (earlier this week) that “it is highly likely that Brexit will impact on the implementation of the proposed (EU) unitary patent and the Unified Patent Court in London.”

There’s no UPC. It’s dead. It is not a matter of London or not, not even Brexit or not. There are many reasons UPC failed, irrespective of Brexit.

From France/Paris we have this new nonsense about “IP [sic] Regime” (the misleading language of patent maximalists).

“There are many reasons UPC failed, irrespective of Brexit.”“Dan Prud’homme is a professor of innovation, strategy and international business at the EMLV Business School in Paris,” it says at the bottom and over at Harvard Business Review he promotes the myth (lie) of “IP” and says the following about China (the focus of his article): “There is faster invention patent pendency (time to grant patents) in China than at the European Patent Office (EPO) and US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), and invention patent examination is widely accepted to be of higher quality in China than at some national offices in Europe. [...] potential discrimination against foreigners during the patent examination processes at the EPO, Japanese Patent Office, and in other liberal democracies; and, more generally, the US and EU are the world’s leading defendants in WTO cases and have the worst records in terms of timely and full compliance with WTO judgments.”

While there’s no disputing EPO patent quality became low this article fails to explain that China has “faster invention patent pendency” because patent quality is totally awful. Examination not being done means ‘optimal’ pendency!

These people don’t care. All they care about is litigation. Money. Money, money and money. Legal bills.

“All they care about is litigation.”Suffice to say, lots of Chinese software patents would hardly survive courts; but China doesn’t care because to thwart sanctions they need to create this illusion of innovation rather than copycats; they game the patent systems nowadays… and WIPO could not be happier!

Here’s a new article from a law firm (FB Rice’s Paul Whenman and Mary Turonek), promoted through Lexology just a few days ago. This one is about Singapore which has a large Chinese community and far too many software patents. Notice how patent litigation firms paint as “stars” countries that just grant lots of patents i.e. monopolies, to sue over. All about money and monopolies (rich clients), right?

As we’ve noted here many times in the past, Singapore grants loads of software patents the rest of the world (courts) would reject. In that regard, IPOS is a POS. To quote Whenman and Turonek:

To foster innovative growth in its already strong financial sector, a Fintech Fast Track initiative has been in place since April 2018. This program is designed expedite the patent application to patent grant process as a means to support commercialisation of underlying financial technology. This initiative was recently complemented with the launch in April 2019 of the Accelerated Initiative for Artificial Intelligence.

See what they do there? “This initiative was recently complemented with the launch in April 2019 of the Accelerated Initiative for Artificial Intelligence,” i.e. granting software patents disguised as “hey hi!” even faster. And there’s also the buzzword “FinTech” — a nonsensical term that Singapore treats similarly because the country’s economy is all about finance and trade.

“Many software patents are nowadays being painted as “hey hi” and so-called law firms encourage this dodge (because they’re dishonest and all they care about is robbing clients and defendants).”As Henrion put it the other day, the EPO does the same thing. “EPO says AI do not need a change of the EPC, I say otherwise. Especially when their “technical” swpat doctrine is not a solid foundation.”

Many software patents are nowadays being painted as “hey hi” and so-called law firms encourage this dodge (because they’re dishonest and all they care about is robbing clients and defendants). Watch this newly-promoted article from Gowling WLG’s Shahrzad Esmaili and Roch J. Ripley who say:

Artificial intelligence (AI)—the use of various methods and algorithms to simulate cognitive functions in machines—has its origins dating back to the 1950s. In recent years, the confluence of advancements in computational power and the abundance of rich data sets has led to a surge in the number of practical applications for AI. The time and money required to properly train, test, and deploy AI in these applications makes protecting them using patents a crucial consideration in any business plan.

So they’re using these same semantic tricks even in Canada. Buzzwords spread fast. What will happen when all these patents perish in courts, by means of precedents at least? Choose between an avalanche and bubble metaphor…

“What will happen when all these patents perish in courts, by means of precedents at least?”Bardehle Pagenberg, the software patents zealots, publicly admit some of these patents turn out to be bogus (“There’s a new entry in the EUROPEAN SOFTWARE PATENTS knowledge base: De-identifying data for privacy reasons: non-technical”) and Axel B. Berger and Nils J. Lindenmaier (Bardehle Pagenberg) have begun comparing courts’ assessments to the EPO’s only outside the realm of software! They openly say that the “European Patent Office (EPO) applies the enablement regulations in a more stringent manner in this regard.” This is what the German Federal Patent Court — not the EPO — has decided about a patent covering a physical thing:

The subject matter of the patent-in-suit is an apparatus for the drying of particulate material of a type known as such in which the drying takes place in superheated steam in a closed container, in the upper part of which a dust-separation cyclone is arranged.

According to the patent-in-suit, a disadvantage of the known apparatus type is to be eliminated by means of the claimed apparatus, namely the fact that the steam flow and, thus, the drying capacity cannot be increased without an unacceptably great amount of particulate material simultaneously being swept into the dust separation cyclone together with the steam.

Specifically, the patent-in-suit defines that the problem to be solved by the invention is the provision of an apparatus which has a greater drying capacity than the known types of apparatus, without this giving rise to an increase in the cost of the apparatus, and without any reduction in the quality of the finished product.

To solve the problem, the patent-in-suit provides that at least a half part of the steam is fed into the upper part of the cyclone through corresponding openings instead of not feeding the steam into the bottom part of the dust separation cyclone, or only feeding the steam into said bottom part to a small extent, as was the case in the known types of apparatus.

[...]

The German Federal Patent Court dismissed the nullity complaint as unfounded and, in particular, affirmed the enabling disclosure of the invention. In its statements of grounds, the German Federal Patent Court also made reference to the worked example described in the patent-in-suit, according to which all of the steam and dust is fed through openings in the upper part.

[...]

The European Patent Office (EPO) applies the enablement regulations in a more stringent manner in this regard. While disclosing a way in which the person skilled in the art may carry out the invention is usually sufficient, even in the practice of the EPO, this only applies if the invention may also be realized in the whole area claimed on this basis. Therefore, in the present case, the EPO could conceivably have considered the provision of only one enabling way of the claimed invention in the form of the threshold value of 100:0% not sufficient regarding the distribution of 50:50% to 100:0% of the steam and the dust in the upper part claimed by means of feature 5.1. This would have been conceivable at least if the person skilled in the art had not been able to realize the full range up to a distribution of 50:50% on this basis without undue burden.

Why doesn’t Bardehle Pagenberg speak about all those European Patents which cover software and that the courts in Germany throw out? Why focus on drying machines all of a sudden? These should be legitimate concerns. Bardehle Pagenberg is, in our experience, one of the least credible firms in Germany. They openly and repeatedly advocate patents which are likely illegal and which would be thrown out by courts (i.e. be a waste of time and money for applicants/clients).

“Bardehle Pagenberg is, in our experience, one of the least credible firms in Germany.”Here in the UK, according to this new press release, there’s an upcoming seminar teaching people how to overcome the EPC (patent law) by tricking EPO examiners. They conveniently target a patent office where patents are nowadays granted easily, only due to corrupt management that consciously violates the law in order to fake so-called ‘production’.

Henrion has meanwhile noted, using about half a dozen tweets, the latest scandal implicating Thierry Breton. Here he focused on patent aspects, noting that “Thierry Breton nomination is bad news for software freedom, ex-CEO of Technicolor/Thomson who was collecting royalties over MP3. Plus he seems to be in the Batistelli/EPO sphere https://www.francophonie.org/Discours-SG-prix-inventeur-europeen-2018-48929.html …”

He also noticed that “Juve awards people like “Arnold Ruess” for defending patent trolls like Sisvel https://www.juve-patent.com/news-and-stories/people-and-business/juve-awards-names-arnold-ruess-and-thyssenkrupp-ip-teams-of-the-year/ …”

JUVE has awarded even worse and pushed UPC all along.

What happened to media which is actually objective and actually investigates facts?

G1/19: Enlarged Board of Appeal Bombarded by Monopolies, Law Firms and EPO President in Favour of Software Patenting

Posted in Europe, IBM, Law, Patents, Red Hat at 6:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s as if court outcomes too can be bought (caselaw up 'for sale' or setup)

EPO toons

Summary: The largest panel of judges at the European Patent Office (EPO) isn’t listening to actual scientists and technologists; instead it takes instructions from a nontechnical tyrant (who can punish them) along with law firms and legal departments of international monopolists that overwhelm submissions because they can afford it

THE absence of justice at the EPO is largely the fault of the dictatorship at the Office — a ruthless dictatorship that’s being defended by the Council too (the Organisation). How can there be a patent office where the very basic concept of justice does not prevail? Where judges are collectively punished by being sent to exile (Battistelli pretended this attack would ‘improve’ their independence) and when legally questioned over it the question itself gets squashed and buried? It’s like the lawlessness itself has become illegal to debate.

“How can there be a patent office where the very basic concept of justice does not prevail?”Simon Davies, Consultant and Patent Attorney at D Young & Co LLP, has just mentioned the upcoming case regarding — inter aliasoftware patents in Europe. He may be missing the point that this court or board or tribunal is pressured (already, as we’ve covered here before) by EPO President António Campinos to allow such abstract patents (which aren’t legal or constitutional; neither is his intervention!). In his employer’s site he wrote about it using the usual buzzwords and euphemisms, e.g. “CIIs”:

For the first time in the history of the EPO, the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) has been asked for a decision relating to the patentability of computer-implemented inventions (CIIs) .

The present case, G1/19, stems from a referral by an EPO Board of Appeal in the case T489/14 and concerns the patentability of a computer-implemented simulation as described in EP 03793825.5, derived from WO2004023347: “MOVEMENT OF AN AUTONOMOUS ENTITY THROUGH AN ENVIRONMENT”. The web-site of the PCT applicant refers to the development of “a phenomenological model tuned to reproduce the movement of individuals in public venues hosting large crowds”. This topic has been the subject of academic study; for example, the application itself cites “Simulating dynamical features of escape panic“ by Dirk Helbing, Illis Farakas and Tamas Vicsek, Nature, volume 407, pages 487 to 490 (2000).

Benjamin Henrion has just reviewed the submissions, which can take a long time to prepare (lots of money in the event of using/hiring law firms to do this or even in-house legal departments with massive salaries), not just to read. “Watch all those large corporations pushing for software patents, where is the opposition? Time for a new directive,” he said. It has been a long time since 2005.

“It’s like the lawlessness itself has become illegal to debate.”“The “opposition” does not make billions of dollars per quarter,” I told him, “hence no dedicated legal department to lobby (write documents to) the corrupt EPO where judges are terrorised by EPO [P]resident, working for litigation zealots…”

Had the EFF given a damn about Europe and the EPO (it consciously ignores all this), there would be far more submissions from actual developers. That’s what happened after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) had asked for feedback on 35 U.S.C. § 101 guidelines. Yesterday the EFF published two articles about the USPTO (see [1,2] below), but it never ever said anything about the EPO!

Henrion went on to providing some examples, which include “Amicus Curiae Brief for case G1/19 before the EPO Enlarged Board of Appeal” by Dr. Reinier B. Bakels (September 2019).

Bakels is quoted [1, 2] as arguing: “The EPO attempted to resolve this paradox by 65 requiring a “further technical effect” for “computer-implemented inventions” [...] As Enlarged Board of Appeal, you are at a turning point. Building on existing case law is normally desirable, but then the current fundamental problems remain: [...] 3.the lack of democratic legitimacy of particular EPO interpretations…”

“Benjamin Henrion has just reviewed the submissions, which can take a long time to prepare (lots of money in the event of using/hiring law firms to do this or even in-house legal departments with massive salaries), not just to read.”I quickly opened the entire document [PDF]. It’s long. Not many people will read it. I once submitted one of my own.

It should be noted that as recently as Friday the EPO tweeted: “Want to know more about patenting computer-implemented #inventions? Check this out…”

They’re still using misleading terms that help hide the illegal practice; they give tips for getting illegal, bunk patents — patents that European courts would throw out. This isn’t “the EPO’s problem,” according to management composed of patent maximalists, to whom the only thing that matters is money.

Henrion then said: “EFPIA (Big Pharma) is now lobbying for software patents … Leave business to big business.”

This is the document [PDF]

“They’re still using misleading terms that help hide the illegal practice; they give tips for getting illegal, bunk patents — patents that European courts would throw out.”Here’s the one from Philips [PDF] — a submission from which Henrion quoted “a technical solution for a technical problem,” remarking that it “sounds like it loops back to itself” (technical effect, solution, problem… something “technical” — whatever that means!).

Wake up, Red Hat employees. Your employer is lobbying for software patents in Europe yet again! About a decade ago it said that Open Source innovation was only possible ‘thanks’ to software patents — patently a lie that enraged many of us. Henrion pulled this document from IBM [PDF], remarking that “IBM still lobbying for software patents in G1/19…”

“Wake up, Red Hat employees. Your employer is lobbying for software patents in Europe yet again!”Suffice to say, G1/19 is expected to be more of the same, i.e. a case to be decided as the President pleases. G1/19 will likely give the EPO more excuses to grant illegal software patents while ignoring caselaw of European courts, instructions from Parliament, the EPC and so on. Actual software developers and their interests obviously don’t matter here. They’re treated as passive observers.

D Young & Co LLP’s Stephanie Wroe (collague of the above) has meanwhile promoted her article about another case, G1/18. To quote:

In view of conflicting decisions concerning the refund of Appeal fees, the Enlarged Board of Appeal considered in G1/18 the distinction between (i) an appeal deemed not to have been filed (and thus the fee is refunded) and (ii) an inadmissible appeal (in which the fee cannot be refunded).

The Enlarged Board concluded that an appeal is deemed not to have been filed if the notice of appeal is filed after the two-month limit and/or the appeal fee is paid after the two-month limit. Thus, the appeal fee will be reimbursed.

In a welcome development, the Enlarged Board indicated that this also applies to similar situations such as opposition proceedings.

There’s another new article being pushed, this time by Iain Robertson (Haseltine Lake Kempner LLP) who comments on T 0235/13. He would have won bonus points had he mentioned the EPO Boards of Appeal lack independence and any decision issued in Haar is legally invalid as per the EPC — a subject that the EPO refuses to even entertain.

“Unless or until this issue is properly tackled — i.e. without the Office President meddling in the outcome — everything will be buried instead of tackled.”“Two recent decisions from the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office have highlighted the difficulties applicants and opponents can face when trying to reply on new experimental data to support their arguments,” Robertson wrote. “In T 0235/13, the appellant tried to rely on post-published evidence to support the inventiveness of their application.”

Here’s more:

In T 2469/17, an appellant-opponent tried to rely on experimental evidence to show that a patent lacked novelty over D1, D2 and D5.

The appellant-opponent re-produced a sample from an example in D1. The re-produced sample had a different bulk density and a different viscosity to those reported in D1. Although claim 1 in this case did not define the claimed product by its bulk density or viscosity, the differences in these properties were enough for the Board of Appeal to conclude that the sample re-produced by the appellant-opponent was not, in fact, the same as that disclosed by D1, and so the re-produced sample was irrelevant to the novelty of the claims in this case.

D2 did not disclose all the information necessary to exactly re-produce the examples disclosed by D2, and so the appellant-opponent had to make some assumptions when trying to re-produce the examples from D2. They argued that these assumptions were based on an evaluation of what the skilled person would have done. However, the Board of Appeal decided that there simply was not enough information in D2 to re-produce the examples of D2, and so the Board decided that the sample produced by the appellant-opponent was not directly and unambiguously disclosed by D2. Consequently, the sample did not affect the novelty of the claims in this case.

All these other cases serve as somewhat of a distraction from what we’ve long focused on. That’s patent scope. The reason the EPO is said to have increased so-called ‘production’ (monopoly protection) is the lowering of the bar and granting of illegal patents. Unless or until this issue is properly tackled — i.e. without the Office President meddling in the outcome — everything will be buried instead of tackled.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Weakening Our System of Patent Challenges Will Hurt Consumers, Unions, and Health Care Providers

    The Stronger Patents Act, S. 2082, won’t give us a stronger patent system—just the opposite, in fact. It is a deliberate attempt to dismantle one of the few effective forums for challenging wrongly-issued patents. The bill would put dramatic and unwarranted changes into effect that would make the U.S. Patent Office’s system of inter partes review, or IPR, much less effective. That means the Stronger Patents Act will weaken the quality of issued patents and the patent system as a whole.

  2. Patents Are About Sharing Information with the Public. Don’t Shroud Them in Secrecy.

    Patents give their owners the power to stop people (and companies) from doing whatever the patent claims as an “invention” for twenty years. But that power doesn’t come for free: it’s a trade. In exchange for the right to sue others to stop using the invention, patent applicants have to disclose enough information about their invention to allow others in the field to make and use it. Encouraging people to share information so that others can use it to make further advances is the whole point of the patent system.  

    The public can read the information in a patent from the moment it’s published. But for the twenty years of a patent’s term, the owner can sue anyone who uses their invention without their permission. To get permission, members of the public need to know who owns the patent and therefore has the power to control and demand payment for its use. Unfortunately, essential information about patent ownership is often out of the public’s reach. In particular, patent trolls—individuals or companies that make money by threatening to sue instead of developing or commercializing technology—often divide up patent rights between different entities in ways that make it practically impossible to identify the legal owner of a patent. A 2012 study found that notorious patent troll Intellectual Ventures divides its portfolio among over 1000 different shell companies. There are a number of reasons why patent owners might want to keep ownership information secret. For example, doing so might limit fee awards for bad litigation conduct to an entity with no assets, shielding its parent company from the full price of overly aggressive patent enforcement.

EPO Management Plays With — and for — the Wrong People

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Family group

Summary: The EPO makes it abundantly clear that scientists, SMEs and Europeans don’t mean a thing to it; it’s all about lawyers, patent trolls and international monopolists looking to guard their monopolies

THE MANAGEMENT of the European Patent Office (EPO) and sometimes even the Council (Organisation) believe they do a great job. A great job for who? To whom are they being beneficial? Check who attends the meetings of today’s Administrative Council and who these people are accountable to. They’re patent maximalists, not scientists, so the likes of António Campinos and Battistelli make sense to them until scientists get so angry that they need to ‘shuffle’ the leadership again (only to be replaced with friends and family of the next President). Those angry scientists include patent examiners, who have plenty of other things to be angry about.

The ‘normalisation’ of software patents in Europe has done great damage to European technology (especially software) companies; just like the same in the US (until 35 U.S.C. § 101). But the EPO doesn’t care because it’s in the pocket of litigation giants, not small ’boutique’ software houses across Europe.

“They paint themselves as the very opposite of what they are and who they serve.”Just before the weekend this German software developer (and famed activist against software patents) wrote: “The trolls’ lawyer, Adrian Speck, in #unwiredvhuawei just made a false claim about the legal situation in Germany: he said a defendant couldn’t change mind and still accept #FRAND rates. Not true. SEP injunctions in Germany get stayed once a defendant accepts terms deemed FRAND.”

We aren’t covering this case, except in our Daily Links. At the start of the year we said we would not cover pertinent patent cases so as to save time. But the above is noteworthy because nowadays the trolls’ lawyers see a rise in ‘business’ (there have been studies into it). It has been predictable and foreseeable all along that the EPO with its inherently illegal policy would do this; it gleefully attracts patent trolls from all over the world and then it wants to give them something like the UPC.

The above software developer shared this ‘tweet’ which said (it’s part of a series): “He notes that at the moment, there is only one first instance patents judge who can try these type of cases [Birss]. “If ruling is upheld one can see this will become an attractive game that will completely overwhelm the English courts.””

“With something like UPC and [the] EPO connected to it,” I responded, “judges would be chosen and kept for attracting litigation and trolls (money sources for them)…”

It’s very worrying to see the vision EPO management has for Europe. It’s not difficult to see whose biddings are prioritised. Looking through EPO ‘tweets’ is always a somewhat troubling experience; they never promote anything to do with science.

“The number of European patent applications relating to self-driving vehicles increased by 330% between 2011 and 2017,” they wrote the other day. Notice how the only (sole) measure they have is number of patents or applications. Nothing else matters.

In this particular case they’re giving new names, buzzwords and acronyms to old ideas (e.g. “SDV”), offering new patents and many monopolies that are illegal as per the EPC. It’s done so as to fake ‘growth’ by essentially breaking the law. Like banks lending too much money (which they don’t even have)…

Every day up until Friday (yesterday) the EPO was also repeating the joint EUIPO propaganda. Here are a couple more examples [1, 2] (two days before Friday), one of which said, as per the same old template: “Businesses that use intellectual property rights more intensively generate 45% of the EU’s total GDP.”

The EPO has been repeating this paid-for propaganda for a whole month now, pretty much every single day. Every day they repeat these lies because they try to give the impression that the more patents get granted, the merrier. Heck, why not grant one billion patents in 2020? Wouldn’t that be the hallmark of “innovation”? And doesn’t every business boil down to nothing other than patents? They had the audacity to mention “SME” some days ago and again yesterday (Friday). They paint themselves as the very opposite of what they are and who they serve.

Here’s a new tweet that says: “Idle thought to my patent litigator friends, if [Section] 101 weren’t on the table to obtain early dismissal of NPE suits, what would you change about patent litigation to give small companies the ability to escape NPE threats early / at low cost?”

“Patent litigators are no friends,” I responded. “Whose friends are they? Ask yourself that question.”

Watch this so-called ‘report’ from Texas. It’s a patent propaganda outlet and it’s always happy to celebrate new patents — low-quality patents which the USPTO very well knows court would invalidate (if the wrongly-accused could afford the litigation).

On went the EPO with a lot of misleading statements. It’s a torrent of lies and it later deleted this tweet which said: “How can you benefit from over 100 million patent documents from all over the world?”

“Reviewing such documents only makes you liable for more in damages,” I responded, “which is why even legal professionals advise people to actively refrain from such an activity…”

We don’t know why the EPO deleted this tweet; it never wrote anything similar to it later.

EPO workers who read such tweets should ask themselves, “whose interests are being served?”

Reforming (Fixing) the EPO is the Goal

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 4:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Goal in soccer

Summary: The EPO operates illegally in all sorts of ways (incompatible with European law, international law, labour law, and even its founding document); the solution is to make that simple fact clear enough to invoke outside intervention

THE European Patent Office (EPO) has long misused the term ‘reform’ — or used that to mean something negative while putting positive spin/gloss on it. Battistelli mastered the misuse if not abuse of this word (crimes were whitewashed as ‘safety’) and António Campinos does this in a more passive fashion. It is clear that nothing is changing. 'Efficiency' means layoffs and one must wonder if Serco has lots of European Patents at the EPO; does it not disqualify it from profiting/managing internal affairs and de facto policy? This is a Campinos policy, which will become his legacy. So-called financial ‘reforms’ (unemployment). Don’t get us started on Campinos obstructing speech, like he did at the EUIPO as recently as 2 years ago. “As of 1 November 2019,” the EPO wrote some days ago, “users of the Mailbox will be able to receive an even wider range of EPO communications electronically.” The EPO is still illegally blocking SUEPO’s E-mails and Techrights (the whole Web site), among other things. Welcome to ChinaPOnia — only the Communist Party leadership may communicate. Truth is treason. Campinos has also put further limits on representatives’ communications with staff (we covered this before).

“The EPO is still illegally blocking SUEPO’s E-mails and Techrights (the whole Web site), among other things.”So it is pretty clear that the EPO is nowhere near to improving/recovering (covering up abuses by bribing the media doesn’t count) and in many ways it has been getting even worse since Campinos took over — to the point where staff decided to protest 3 days ago. I saw a lawyer yesterday (one whom I trust, which is rare) for just over one hour. It turned out he had heard about EPO protests (the protests that took place Wednesday). The word is spreading to people who aren’t even into patent law but entirely different domains. Have EPO employees noticed how not a single blog or news site covered these protests? It’s pretty revealing, isn’t it? Well, aside from us and aside from the SUEPO Central page there was also this one from SUEPO Munich and it said (shorter version of the same text but with few differences): “Today, the EPO Budget and Finance Committee meets in Munich. On the agenda are CA/83/19 and CA/84/19. Despite the excellent performance of staff during the last years, these documents foresee an unprecedented set of punitive financial measures. Is it a fair recognition of staff’s efforts ? Is this in the interest of the EPO and its stakeholders? Please join us for the demonstration today in front of the Isar building if you don’t think so !”

As I’ve been saying repeatedly since 2014, my goal when covering EPO scandals isn’t to cause the EPO to collapse. It will in fact collapse if it goes down the current trajectory of Campinos/Battistelli ‘reforms’. EPO workers try hard to salvage not only their careers (at great personal expense and risk) but their employer too. They see the writings on the wall.

“EPO workers try hard to salvage not only their careers (at great personal expense and risk) but their employer too. They see the writings on the wall.”A few days ago Benjamin Henrion resurrected an old hashtag, “EPO must go”…

I’ve never used such a hashtag personally. Campinos/Battistelli policies/teams are those who insist that “EPO must go”… down the bin.

“Unfortunately,” someone responded to Henrion, “wrong hashtag , it is not the EPO that has to go, but those who are responsible for making the wrong decisions. The EPO should be put back on the right track as soon as possible.”

Henrion then said: “An administration which is not responsible in front of a court for its wrong doings should not exist.”

“…there’s still that glimmer of hope or the somewhat elusive prospect of EPO being grabbed by body — metaphorically speaking of course — and this entire body reshaped to fit a structure with accountability, checks and balances, separation of powers, rule of law etc.”“If only it were that simple” was the response. “Shut down the EPO and distribute the billions among the Member States, right? Remember, about 7 to 8k would lose their jobs, no joke. Besides, there is a court perhaps not the most efficient one, but still. Hello ILOAT, do you copy?”

Henrion then said: “ILOAT is not for the users, only for the EPO employees.”

ILOAT isn’t working too well either. The same is true for the appeal boards — a subject we’ll cover later today. But the point is, there’s still that glimmer of hope or the somewhat elusive prospect of EPO being grabbed by body — metaphorically speaking of course — and this entire body reshaped to fit a structure with accountability, checks and balances, separation of powers, rule of law etc. It certainly is not what we have at the moment and this is the primary reason EPO workers are protesting.

Guest Post: Social Justice Warriors Are Like Policemen With Guns on the Street

Posted in America, Deception at 12:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Article by Jagadees.S

Old policeman

Summary: “They may be studying mechanical engineering at a slave owner-founded company, US military and foreign brutal dictator-funded elite college.”

American police is killing about 1,000 black people every year. Those are innocent unarmed black people. You may be wondering why police is killing these poor people. You may think that American policeman are bad, brutal criminals. Please don’t think like that. American police is brave, it is patriotic. They cannot kill people without any reason. There is reason for these killings. It is the “fear for one’s life.”

“He gets frightened and within seconds fires 40-50 shots at that very scary ‘thing’.”Yes, a policeman often says “I feared for my life.” Who on Earth can execute a suicidal mission apart from the CIA-funded religious fools? So you have to understand the situation of the policeman. He may be peacefully laying on his mother’s lap and drinking breast milk. Immediately a phone from his office rings and asks him to attend a situation. He jumps from his mother’s lap and puts on his uniform, armed to his teeth (and nails). Drives to the place. There he sees a ‘monstrous’ man, right on the street. He gets frightened and within seconds fires 40-50 shots at that very scary ‘thing’. Just like that; only this ‘thing’ has happened. So you cannot blame policemen. They are frightened. (Those who planning to visit the US, please don’t scare them.)

A similar situation has been happening to and affecting our social lives too. We have lot of social justice warriors. I don’t know what exactly makes the criteria for this title. Maybe you have to post something in social control media and feed the monstrous surveillance engine. Then they may give you the title of “SJW”.

“Like the American police, these people are so tender and sensitive.”Anyway, these social justice warriors are like American policemen in the street with military-style assault weapons. They may be studying mechanical engineering at a slave owner-founded company, US military and foreign brutal dictator-funded elite college.

Like the American police, these people are so tender and sensitive. They cannot even bear the sound of tree leaves in the wind. So wind stopped blowing in the US. (If it happens, it will be a hurricane. Thank global warming.) So these people are very sensitive and are always inspecting things around them. As soon as they see something that they don’t like, they get frightened. They start shouting, crying and immediately want to eliminate the unpleasant things that scare them.

“Since the dollar is ruling this world this kind of behavior is spreading to other countries too. So beware if you are grown-ups.”There is no option for that scary thing. All it has to do is to cancel itself. Once that happens these SJWs move on and start waiting for the next scary thing (scary to them).

Since the dollar is ruling this world this kind of behavior is spreading to other countries too. So beware if you are grown-ups.

Note: This has nothing to do the with a girl who asked for Richard Stallman’s resignation. She just became a random spark. If she did not do that, the system would find somebody else for that task. So don’t blame her.

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