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11.05.19

Links 5/11/2019: GNU/Linux Laptops, KDevelop 5.4.4 and FreeBSD 12.1

Posted in News Roundup at 9:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

  • Leftovers

    • The Price of “Progress”

      In Civilized to Death: The Price of Progress, author Christopher Ryan proposes the most controversial explanation offered today for what is wrong with our world. The problem began with advent of agriculture which gave rise to civilization: the movement of human activity from a life of cooperative community foraging together to one of individual competition for personal gain.

    • Science

      • Bizarre Calculator Experiment Shows How Reliant People Are on Technology Being ‘Honest’

        In a study published this week, Texas Tech University researchers tested how university students reacted when unknowingly given incorrect calculator outputs.

        Some students were presented with an onscreen calculator that was programmed to give the wrong answers, whereas a second group was given a properly functioning calculator.

        Participants could also opt not to use the calculator, but most chose to use it – even if they had good numeracy skills. Researchers found most participants raised few or no suspicions when presented with wrong answers, until the answers were quite wrong.

        In addition, those with higher numeracy skills were, unsurprisingly, more suspicious of incorrect answers than others.

    • Hardware

    • Health/Nutrition

      • How One Employer Stuck a New Mom With a $898,984 Bill for Her Premature Baby

        Lauren Bard opened the hospital bill this month and her body went numb. In bold block letters it said, “AMOUNT DUE: $898,984.57.”

        Last fall, Bard’s daughter, Sadie, had arrived about three months prematurely; and as a nurse herself, Bard knew the costs for Sadie’s care would be high. But she’d assumed the bulk would be covered by the organization that owned the hospital where she worked: Dignity Health, whose marketing motto is “Hello humankindness.”

      • Australia: Royal Commission Finds Aged Care Horrors

        The Australian government should act on the Royal Commission of Inquiry’s report criticizing the its failure to protect older people in aged care from chemical restraint and other abuses

      • U.S. Judge Blocks Trump’s Health Insurance Rule for Immigrants

        PORTLAND, Ore. — A federal judge in Portland, Oregon, on Saturday put on hold a Trump administration rule requiring immigrants prove they will have health insurance or can pay for medical care before they can get visas.

      • UAE: Prisoners Denied Lifesaving HIV Treatment

        United Arab Emirates (UAE) prison authorities are denying non-national HIV-positive detainees in at least one UAE prison regular and uninterrupted access to lifesaving antiretroviral treatment, Human Rights Watch said today. Detainees living with HIV are also segregated from the rest of the prison population in an isolated area and report facing stigma and systemic discrimination.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availabilitiy)

      • The new IPFire Community Portal

        Together with this new IPFire Community Portal, we are launching IPFire People – our new account system which is being integrated here, our bugtracker Bugzilla, Patchwork and many other things more. In order to sign up for this, you will need to head over to IPFire People and register a new account. That will allow you to login everywhere – a single sign-on solution.

        A new categorisation system will organise topics better and hopefully allow us to keep conversations around a problem more contained in one place, have everyone join in to contribute their knowledge and therefore create a dynamic support community!

        To be as inclusive as possible, we will make this portal English only. Having this debated for a long time, and after phasing out translations on the Wiki, we have decided that we will reach a maximum number of users and leave nobody excluded.

        The project has a large group of users in Germany, but we keep growing and IPFire is becoming more and more popular all around the world. English is the de-facto language in Open Source and allows everyone to take part in our community.

      • Security updates for Monday

        Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (chromium and qt5-webengine), CentOS (firefox and php), Fedora (file, java-latest-openjdk, nspr, nss, php, t1utils, and webkit2gtk3), Mageia (ansible, aspell, golang, libsoup, and libxslt), openSUSE (chromium and chromium, re2), Oracle (php), and Ubuntu (apport and file).

      • WhatsApp hacking – NSO group: trojan by phone call – ss7: insecure telco phone infrastructure
      • Basic security principles for containers and container runtimes

        There have been recent discussions around the general security of containers and container runtimes like Podman. None of the discussions resulted in the identification of a vulnerability or exploit by their definitions, but the talks did elevate the importance of basic security principles that apply to containers, and just about everything else we do with technology.

      • Sysdig 2019 Report Highlights Growth Of Short-Lived Containers

        Enterprises need to understand how to securely operate container workloads in production and take steps to prepare for the massive growth expected, the report said.

      • On “Clean Architecture”

        The book does a great job of identifying and describing simple rules that, when applied to a project lead to a cleaner, more structured architecture. All in all it teaches how important software architecture in general is.

        There is however one drawback with the book. It constantly wants to make you want to jump straight into your next big project with lots of features, so it is hard to keep reading while all that excited ;P

        If you are a software developer – no matter whether you work on small hobby projects or big enterprise products, whether or not you pursue to become a Software Architect – I can only recommend reading this book!

      • KeepassXC Password Manager 2.5 Brings Huge Updates

        Too many passwords and logins these days. Well, it is unwise to remember hundreds of passwords from websites or keeping them written somewhere. Which is by definition, not recommended.

        This is why you should use a strong password manager like KeepassXC. Forked from KeepassX in Linux, it is a cross platform password manager available in Windows, Linux and Mac. KeepassXC is a database driven password manager armed with industry-standard AES (alias Rijndael) encryption algorithm using a 256 bit key. Some of its features includes – auto-type passwords, multi tagging of passwords (e.g. Work, home, social etc), database locking, passphrase, temp password supports.

      • EU patches 20-year-old open source vulnerability

        A 20-year-old vulnerability in PuTTY, an open source network file transfer application, has been tracked down and patched during a wide-ranging bug bounty programme conducted by HackerOne on behalf of the European Union Free and Open Source Software Audit (EU-FOSSA).

      • Penetration Tests Take Hackers To A Whole New Level

        Undergoing penetration testing or PT, within a company is equivalent to paying a cybercriminal to come in and hack the system albeit legally and with the intention of improving the organization’s security measures. PT is essential as a means to give businesses a real-world vision into the threats that are imposing themselves on their security.

      • Windows ‘BlueKeep’ Attack That U.S. Government Warned About Is Happening Right Now

        When Microsoft issued the first patch in years for Windows XP in May 2019, you knew that something big was brewing. That something was a wormable Windows vulnerability that security experts warned could have a similar impact to the WannaCry worm from 2017. The BlueKeep vulnerability exists in unpatched versions of Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2: and it’s now been confirmed that a BlueKeep exploit attack is currently ongoing.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Islamic State and Trump’s Delusion

        Even before the recent raid that resulted in the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the erstwhile head of the Islamic State, Donald Trump had spoken of how he had single-handedly defeated the caliphate.

      • Dateline Hoa Lo Prison, Hanoi: The Moratorium Days Against the War, 1969

        On November 26, 1969, Mrs. Trinh Thi Ngo, known to Americans as “Hanoi Hannah”, read over Radio Hanoi an introduction to a tape provided from Hoa Lo prison, just a city block away: “Now listen to a US pilot captured over North Vietnam on the occasion of the [American] Thanksgiving Day.”

      • Iran Adds Advanced Centrifuges in Latest Nuclear Deal Breach

        Iran on Monday broke further away from its collapsing 2015 nuclear deal with world powers by doubling the number of advanced centrifuges it operates, linking the decision to U.S. President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement over a year ago.

      • The Right To Live In Peace: This Is Not Over

        Thousands of Chileans again filled the streets Monday in a mega-rally to kick off the third week of protests against the country’s “savage capitalism” and rising inequality under billionaire President Sebastián Piñera.

      • Interview With Renato Velez On The Protests In Chile And The Military Crackdown

        Hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola of the “Unauthorized Disclosure” weekly podcast are joined by Renato Velez, a left-wing activist in Chile. He has been involved in the protests and talks to them about how they were sparked.

        Renato addresses the way in which the military police cracked down on demonstrations and highlights the ties that President Sebastian Pinera’s administration has to the regime of Augusto Pinochet.

      • US Cuts Cameroon Trade Privileges Over Rights Abuses

        Last week, the Trump administration announced it intends to cut trade benefits for Cameroon by January 1, 2020, citing persistent human rights violations in the country.

      • Germans Reflect on 30 Years Since Fall of Berlin Wall

        This week Germany marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I remember watching the dramatic TV pictures of East Germans flocking through checkpoints on the night of November 9, 1989. A dozen years later, I moved to Berlin, and since then have seen the city and country grow together.

      • African pirates kidnap 9 sailors from Norwegian ship

        The ship, named Bonita, was boarded by pirates 9 miles (14.5 kilometers) from the port city of Cotonou on Saturday and eight crew members and the captain were abducted.

        In a statement to Norway’s Dagens Naeringsliv newspaper on Sunday, a company spokesperson said it would not reveal the crew’s nationalities, citing safety reasons.

      • Syria conflict: The ‘war crimes’ caught in brutal phone footage

        The gruesome footage is much like that produced by the ultra-violent Islamic State (IS) group.

        Yet the men in this video are not IS militants, but rather fighters for a rebel alliance known as the Syrian National Army, trained, equipped and paid for by a Nato member, Turkey. They are under the command of the Turkish army.

      • Pakistan’s Provocateurs Bring the Kashmir Conflict to Europe’s Streets, and Radicalize Europe’s Muslims

        On Kashmir, Pakistan’s leaders are pretending to put on a mask of statesmanship abroad. But the truth is Pakistan has long cultivated, trained and funded Islamist proxy terrorists who have radically undermined living conditions in Kashmir.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Caifornia Governor Vetoes Law That Would Have Mandated Retention Of State Government Emails

        California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed off on some significant wins for state residents. He approved a bill banning the use of facial recognition tech in law enforcement body cameras — the first such statewide ban in the United States. Well… I guess that’s it really. To be fair, he hasn’t been in office all that long.

      • [Old] SIFT (The Four Moves)

        So if long lists of things to think about only make things worse, how do we get better at sorting truth from fiction and everything in-between?

        Our solution is to give students and others a short list of things to do when looking at a source, and hook each of those things to one or two highly effective web techniques. We call the “things to do” moves and there are four of them: [...]

    • Environment

      • People can’t be left to die, says SC on Delhi-NCR pollution, passes slew of directions

        People in Delhi-NCR are losing “precious years of their lives” and cannot be “left to die” due to the “atrocious” pollution situation which reflects a “shocking state of affairs”, the Supreme Court said Monday and directed neighbouring Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh to stop stubble burning.

        The top court also stopped all construction and demolition activities as well as garbage and waste burning in the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) till further orders.

      • Google workers double down on climate demands in new letter

        Google workers are again calling on the company to cut all of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. In a letter sent to chief financial officer Ruth Porat today, the employees also ask Google to end contracts with fossil fuel companies and eliminate funding for think tanks, politicians, or lobbyists that impede action on climate change. They’re doubling down on demands that were made across the tech sector in September when employees at Google, Amazon, and Microsoft joined the Global Climate Strike.

      • A Useful New Life for Waste Plastic

        Swedish scientists say they have found a way to recycle plastic perfectly: their new process can turn any waste plastic back into new plastic of identical quality – and recover all of it.

      • Oil Companies Must Cut Production by 35% to Meet Paris Climate Accord

        A new report released Friday claims that if fossil fuel companies want to have any chance of hitting Paris Climate Accord numbers by 2040, they will have to cut production by over a third.

      • Strength in Numbers: November’s Best Environmental Books
      • New land height metric raises sea level rise risk
      • Energy

        • PG&E’s Outlandish Lobbying in California

          The Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E), again in the spotlight of the national and international news media because of its shutoffs of electricity to millions of Californians as fires now rage throughout the state, spent $876,445 on lobbying from January 1 to June 30 of his year.

        • EPA rolls back rule on waste from coal-fired power plants

          The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday announced it would roll back Obama-era regulations on how coal-fired power plants dispose of waste laden with arsenic, lead and mercury.

          The Trump administration’s proposals weaken rules dealing with the residue from burning coal, known as coal ash, as well as the residue rinsed off of filters installed on smoke stacks. Both are often mixed with water and stored in giant pits that could leach into groundwater or be released directly into local waterways.

        • The Big Bitcoin Heist

          The answer, he decided, lay in the unsecured buildings at the old naval base, packed with zillion-dollar money machines. “I wanted to start Bitcoin mining,” he says, “because it is very similar to growing cannabis. Everything is related: electricity, air, heat, cooling systems. So I started asking around on the [Internet].”

        • Flames, gear and risks of photographing California wildfires
        • Study: Alien grasses are making more frequent US wildfires
    • Finance

      • Is the Run on the Dollar Due to Panic or Greed?

        What’s going on in the repo market? Rates on repurchase (“repo”)  agreements should be about 2%, in line with the Federal Reserve funds rate. But they shot up to over 5% on Sept. 16 and got as high as 10% on Sept. 17. Yet banks were refusing to lend to each other, evidently passing up big profits to hold onto their cash—just as they did in the housing market crash and Great Recession of 2008-09.

      • Latin America: Is Canada Trying to Create Another “Illegitimate” Government?

        Bolivia has recently had a presidential election that without foreign interference would have passed without notice outside Latin America. President Evo Morales was re-elected democratically to a forth term without the need of a run-off election with incumbent Carlos Mesa, which shows his strength as the chosen candidate. However, nine days after the elections the Foreign Ministry of the Canadian government issues a statement expressing “concern” about “reports of serious election irregularities.”

      • They Live, We Sleep

        We’re living in two worlds, you and I.

        There’s the world we see (or are made to see) and then there’s the one we sense (and occasionally catch a glimpse of), the latter of which is a far cry from the propaganda-driven reality manufactured by the government and its corporate sponsors, including the media.

        Indeed, what most Americans perceive as life in America—privileged, progressive and free—is a far cry from reality, where economic inequality is growing, real agendas and real power are buried beneath layers of Orwellian doublespeak and corporate obfuscation, and “freedom,” such that it is, is meted out in small, legalistic doses by militarized police armed to the teeth.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • ‘They Should All Be Held in Contempt’: Mulvaney Allies Team Up to Stonewall Trump Impeachment Probe

        “This is yet more evidence of obstruction of Congress, which is an impeachable offense.”

      • The Boos at the Ballgame Were Just the Beginning, Mr. Trump

        The cry of the mighty who are falling is growing louder. In the case of the USA it’s a combination of angry accusations based on a confused bluster of humanity in the White House whose phalanx of fools exists so deep within its own perception of itself its members cannot conceive of their leader being booed at a national sporting event. Then again, neither can certain conservative pundits who do not like the man in the White House but slobber their servitude to the building’s presence as some monument of integrity and honor. Honor in DC is a presumption I won’t ever make, not even among those who are not thieves. I have more respect for the dope slingers and their customers, the hookers and their johns, and the panhandlers who sleep in places most of us never knew existed, than I do for the politicians and their paymasters. At least the former do a day’s work and rarely misrepresent their intentions.

      • John Oliver Takes On Fucked Up Voting Machines In The Way Only He Can

        At Techdirt, we’ve been writing about the problems of electronic voting for just about our entire existence. I believe the first time we wrote about the problematic nature of electronic voting was in June of the year 2000, a few months before the controversy over “hanging chads” in the 2000 election in Florida. Over the years, we’ve continued to write about electronic voting and its myriad problems dozens upon dozens of times — and to this day I remain amazed at how little companies and election officials have taken this space seriously. Part of the issue is that there is no easy solution. There isn’t a “good” solution, there are only options that are “less bad” than others. The problem is that many places use solutions that are obviously bad when there are at least better options on the table.

      • Axe the Max: Buffeting Boeing CEO’s Rope-a-Dope in Congress

        This past week, Boeing’s deadly 737 MAX crashes were the focus of two back-to-back hearings – one in the Senate and one in the House. In the House Transportation Committee hearing, at least 50 Democrats and Republicans criticized Dennis Muilenburg’s mismanagement and implied criminal negligence. Muilenburg’s actions allowed Boeing’s marketeers to overrule Boeing’s engineers so that Boeing could circumvent FAA’s safety oversight, which had already been diminished by the Congress.

      • Attacker Stabs Several, Bites Off Politician’s Ear as Hong Kong Boils

        A knife-wielding man slashed several people and bit off part of the ear of a pro-democracy politician in Hong Kong on Sunday, as riot police stormed several malls to thwart protesters who have been demanding government reforms for nearly five months.

      • Kazakhstan: UN Review Should Press for Reforms

        Governments should use an upcoming review of Kazakhstan’s rights record at the United Nations (UN) to hold the country’s new president to his pledges to respect human rights, Human Rights Watch said today. On November 7, 2019, Kazakhstan will undergo its third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • ‘Lawmakers don’t give a damn about the children’ A Russian version of the YouTube channel ‘HiHo Kids’ faces felony charges for featuring an interview with a gay man

        State Duma Deputy Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy is outraged about a YouTube channel called Real Talk, where children have conversations with “unlikely companions.” In one episode, for example, children speak to a gay man. In another, a child questions a pornographic actress. A month after Tolstoy’s complaint, Russia’s Investigative Committee launched a felony case against the channel’s unidentified owners for alleged “sexual violence against minors,” and child protection services have visited the parents of the children who appeared in the videos. Meduza spoke to someone with ties to Real Talk, who requested anonymity and answered our questions through the messenger app Telegram.

      • Former Journalist Decides There’s Too Much Free Speech These Days

        I guess if you don’t really rely on the First Amendment as much as you used to, it’s cool to tell everyone else these protections are overrated. That seems to be Richard Stengel’s take on this important Constitutional amendment. The former Time editor and State Department undersecretary has written an op-ed for the Washington Post that says we Americans perhaps enjoy too much free speech.

      • Prager University Loses Another Of Its Silly Lawsuits Against YouTube Over Non-Existent ‘Bias’

        Dennis Prager has been peddling complete and utter nonsense via his PragerU efforts for quite some time, and it expands beyond that too, because he’s been peddling complete and utter nonsense in his still ongoing joke of a lawsuit against YouTube in which he tries to insist that YouTube is biased against conservatives because they put a small number of his videos in “restricted mode.” This, despite the facts that (1) YouTube has no legal obligation to host his videos (for free!) in the first place, (2) less than 1.5% of people use “restricted mode” in the first place, (3) “Restricted mode” is to help parents block inappropriate content from kids, (4) the videos that were put into restricted mode had content that many would consider inappropriate for kids, and (5) most importantly, YouTube showed that many other sites — including those that people consider to be “liberal” had their videos put in restricted mode at a much higher rate than PragerU.

      • MPA Wants Pirated Content Removed Proactively, Just Like Hate Speech

        Major Internet platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are taking proactive measures to keep offensive content off their services. According to the Motion Picture Association, online services can use similar systems to proactively remove pirated content too. That would be even easier since it doesn’t raise the same speech concerns, the group’s senior vice president notes.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Congress, Remember the 4th Amendment? It’s Time to Stop the U.S.-UK Agreement.

        Unless Congress stops it, foreign police will soon be able to collect and search data on the servers of U.S. Internet companies. They’ll be able to do it without a probable cause warrant, or any oversight from a U.S. judge. This is all happening because of a new law enforcement deal between the U.S. and the United Kingdom. And while it seeks to exclude purely domestic correspondence between U.S. citizens and residents, plenty of Americans’ data will get swept up when they communicate with targeted individuals located abroad.

        This is all happening because, for the first time, the U.S. executive branch is flexing its power to enter into law enforcement agreements under the CLOUD Act. We’ve been strongly opposed to this law since it was introduced last year. The recently signed deal between the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.K. Home Office will allow U.K. police easy access to data held by American companies, regardless of where the data is stored. These U.K. data requests, including demands to collect real-time communications, do not need to meet the standards set by U.S. privacy laws or the 4th Amendment. Similarly, the deal will allow U.S. police to grab information held by British companies without following U.K. privacy laws. 

      • Australia proposed using facial recognition technology for online gambling and pornography age verification

        The Australian government’s Department of Home Affairs has proposed using facial recognition for online age verification for pornography and gambling websites visited by Australians as an update to Australia’s National Identity Security Strategy. The full not-so-detailed plan is titled: “Submission to the Inquiry into Age Verification for Online Wagering and Online Pornography.” In it, the Department of Home Affairs highlights their new Face Verification Service and how it could be used for age verification. Note: no words on how online pornography and gambling users would submit their face image for comparison versus their ID in the Face Verification Service…

      • Hackers Can Use Lasers to ‘Speak’ to Your Amazon Echo or Google Home

        As a result, the microphone interpreted the incoming light into a digital signal, just as it would sound. The researchers then tried changing the intensity of the laser over time to match the frequency of a human voice, aiming the beam at the microphones of a collection of consumer devices that accept voice commands.

      • Brits are divided on the fate of their social media accounts after death

        In all, 1,616 people were asked that slightly morbid question – hopefully in a way which didn’t sound like a threat – and the answers were pretty muddled.

        Overall, the most popular response with 26 per cent of the vote was that the accounts should die with them – but for the contents to be shared with friends and family as a kind of digital inheritance. That was one per cent ahead of those that just wanted everything deleted.

        Nine per cent wanted accounts to be left up for a limited time period and then taken down, and 17 per cent didn’t care because they didn’t have any social media accounts. In all just seven per cent of people wanted to (digitally) live forever, and 13 per cent ticked the every-tempting “don’t know box.”

      • I Got Access to My Secret Consumer Score. Now You Can, Too.

        As consumers, we all have “secret scores”: hidden ratings that determine how long each of us waits on hold when calling a business, whether we can return items at a store, and what type of service we receive. A low score sends you to the back of the queue; high scores get you elite treatment.

        Every so often, journalists lament these systems’ inaccessibility. They’re “largely invisible to the public,” The New York Times wrote in 2012. “Most people have no inkling they even exist,” The Wall Street Journal said in 2018. Most recently, in April, The Journal’s Christopher Mims looked at a company called Sift, whose proprietary scoring system tracks 16,000 factors for companies like Airbnb and OkCupid. “Sift judges whether or not you can be trusted,” he wrote, “yet there’s no file with your name that it can produce upon request.”

        As of this summer, though, Sift does have a file on you, which it can produce upon request. I got mine, and I found it shocking: More than 400 pages long, it contained all the messages I’d ever sent to hosts on Airbnb; years of Yelp delivery orders; a log of every time I’d opened the Coinbase app on my iPhone. Many entries included detailed information about the device I used to do these things, including my IP address at the time.

      • New Technologies: Europol sets up an „Innovation Laboratory“

        The Europol Police Agency will focus more on new technologies in the field of internal security. To this end, Europol will set up an „Innovation Laboratory“ to look for new ways of intercepting, decrypting and monitoring. This was decided unanimously by the European Interior Ministers at their last Council meeting at the beginning of October.

        The new centre will take a „proactive approach“ and analyse new products and processes before they come onto the market. At present, however, the focus is on equipment that is already available, including 3D printers for manufacture weapons. The „Innovation Laboratory“ also deals with the „Internet of Things“. It deals with „challenges and opportunities“, i.e. the criminal use of technologies and their potential use for law enforcement.

      • A network of ‘camgirl’ sites exposed millions of users and sex workers

        In all, the logs were detailed enough to see which users were logging in, from where, and often their email addresses or other identifiable information — which in some cases we could match to real-world identities.

      • This new logo will surely solve all of Facebook’s problems

        Facebook says the goal of including “from Facebook” is to let people know that its apps have “shared infrastructure” and rely on many of the same teams. “People should know which companies make the products they use,” writes Antonio Lucio, Facebook’s chief marketing officer.

        At the same time, the new logo feels like it might also be an attempt to keep Facebook’s different brands a little bit more distinct amid almost nonstop controversy. The different logos seem to say that Facebook the company is not entirely defined by Facebook the social network — they just happen to share the same name and controlling interests.

      • Why is Facebook rebranding? PR experts have some theories

        Now, instead of being rendered “Facebook” or “facebook” with a lowercase “f”, the rebranding displays the word “Facebook” in all capital letters and in a modern font. The company also seems to want its users to know that its subsidiaries are part of its parent company; hence, Instagram and WhatsApp will tell you they’re “from FACEBOOK.”

        This re-arranging of the deck chairs on the Titanic is an easy target of mockery from pundits and online personalities. As many have pointed out, it seems a bit tone-deaf to rebrand after the years of horrors that have emerged from the social media platform. To wit: Facebook’s policy around giving free rein to politicians to lie in advertisements; ennobling far-right groups promoting violence; the platform’s role in foreign manipulation of the 2016 U.S. election; and the preponderance of Myanma military personnel who used the social network to incite genocide — to name a few.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Gunmen assassinate Radio Nigeria staff, one other in Benue

        “They actually came for Engineer. After killing him, they wanted to go so one of his neighbour wanted to know the identity of any of them but they turned back and killed him too,” he said.

      • ‘Seven whistleblowers’

        According to Cockburn’s source about the seven whistleblowers, there’s more. It is that Kushner (allegedly) gave the green light to MBS to arrest the dissident journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, who was later murdered and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. A second source tells Cockburn that this is true and adds a crucial twist to the story. This source claims that Turkish intelligence obtained an intercept of the call between Kushner and MBS. And President Erdogan used it to get Trump to roll over and pull American troops out of northern Syria before the Turks invaded. Cockburn hears that investigators for the House Intelligence Committee know this whole tale and the identities of some of the people telling it. Whether any of is true is another matter but Adam Schiff certainly seems to be smiling a lot these days.

      • Exiled Russian Journalist Babchenko Leaves Ukraine Indefinitely

        Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) on May 29 staged an assassination of Bachenko as part of a sting operation to catch people involved in an alleged Russian plot to kill him.

        The SBU never presented direct evidence linking Moscow to the alleged plot.

      • UN rapporteur Nils Melzer warns: Julian Assange may die in a British prison

        In accompanying comments to the Associated Free Press, Melzer said that his statement was based on “new medically relevant information.” “Mr Assange’s health has entered a downward spiral of progressively severe anxiety, stress and helplessness typical for persons exposed to prolonged isolation and constant arbitrariness,” the UN official said.

        Melzer, an internationally recognised legal expert on torture and its symptoms, explained: “While the precise evolution is difficult to predict with certainty, this pattern of symptoms can quickly develop into a life-threatening situation involving cardiovascular breakdown or nervous collapse.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Trial by fire A scholar burned himself to death to protest the disappearance of indigenous languages and cultures in Russia. We reported from the city where he lived and died.

        On September 10, the scholar and social activist Albert Razin walked up to Udmurtia’s parliament building in the region’s capital city of Izhevsk. The 79-year-old, who held the Russian equivalent of a Ph.D. in philosophy as well as one of Udmurtia’s highest government honors for researchers, held a one-man picket against the disappearance of the Udmurt language. Then, he poured gasoline onto his body and lit himself on fire. Razin died in the hospital that same day. While many Izhevsk residents have come to revere the Udmurt elder as a hero even if they had never heard of him before his suicide, the regional government of Udmurtia has been doing its best to act as though his final act of protest never happened. Meduza reported from the ground on Albert Razin’s life, work, and death.

      • Appeals Court Says It’s OK For Cops To Destroy Someone Else’s House To Apprehend A Criminal Suspect

        Three years ago, police in Colorado destroyed Leo Lech’s home to arrest a person suspected only of shoplifting from a nearby Walmart when the house destruction began. Shoplifting suspect Robert Seacat abandoned his vehicle and hid in Lech’s house. When police entered to arrest him, Seacat shot at them five times.

      • Iraq: Arrests for Voicing Protest Solidarity

        Authorities in Iraq’s Anbar governorate are suppressing the right of residents to show support for demonstrations elsewhere in the country.

      • Riot police storm Hong Kong malls to thwart more protests

        Riot police stormed several malls in Hong Kong on Sunday in a move to thwart more pro-democracy protests, as the city’s leader prepares for talks in Beijing on deepening economic integration between the semi-autonomous Chinese territory and mainland China.

      • African slavery reexamined by a Senegalese academic

        (It may not yet be translated into English. The French publisher presents the book as a study that sheds light on a tragedy that has gone almost unnoticed: the trafficking of Blacks from Africa by the Arab-Muslim world. This trafficking has involved seventeen million victims killed, castrated or enslaved for more than thirteen centuries without interruption. The prisoners were forced to cross the desert on foot to reach the Maghreb, Egypt or the Arabian Peninsula via Zanzibar, by boat… Yet this slave trade was minimized, unlike the Western trade to America. Why? Because only conversion to Islam made it possible to escape slavery, but did not spare Blacks. However, nowadays most of Africa has become Muslim, hence a form of religious fraternity between the “white” and “black” sides of the continent, and a common desire to “veil” this genocide. A polemical and courageous book.)

      • The female Afghan boxers who found sanctuary in Spain

        “We couldn’t stay there,” explains Shabnam Rahimi, 26. “In Afghanistan, women have no rights, no life. I got tired of crying day and night. We were living in fear for much of the time. We went out to box in the mornings and we didn’t know if we would get back alive at night.”

      • Why is Latin America Burning?

        In Latin America several countries are under turmoil, as people cannot even meet their most basics needs. The last few months have seen a remarkable spectacle: hundreds of thousands of citizens are taking to the streets to protest to what they perceive is their governments’ attack on their well-being, and the governments’ responses have been late and inadequate.

      • Uganda: Security Forces Attack Students, Journalists

        The Ugandan police and military have cracked down on student protests over fee increases at Makerere University in Kampala on multiple occasions since October 22, 2019.

      • We Stand in Solidarity with Rojava, an Example to the World

        What is at stake in north-east Syria is more than the fate of the Kurdish people or the autonomous homeland of Rojava or even the fight against Isis. What is at stake is humanity’s ability to survive our current civilizational crisis and to imagine new alternatives before it’s too late.

      • Human Rights Watch to Honor ‘Why We Hate’

        The Los Angeles Committee of Human Rights Watch announced today that it will present its third annual Promise Award to the docuseries for the Discovery Channel, Why We Hate. The award will be presented at the upcoming Human Rights Watch Voices for Justice Dinner on November 12, 2019.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • FCC Freaks Out About Huawei, But Ignores The Internet Of Broken Things

        Despite a lack of public evidence proving Huawei spies on American citizens (the entire justifying cornerstone of the effort), the FCC this week just dramatically escalated the Trump administration’s blackballing of Chinese telecom firms. In a fact sheet circulated by the agency, the FCC says it will vote in November on a new rule that would ban US companies from receiving taxpayer subsidies if they use Huawei, ZTE, or other Chinese gear in their networks. This could be followed later with additional rules requiring that companies rip Chinese gear from their networks and replace it with presumably US alternatives, the FCC says.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Board Denies CVC Motion to Seal Priority Statement

          On September 11th, Junior Party (Regents of the University of California, University of Vienna, and Emmanuelle Charpentier, collectively “CVC”) in Interference No. 106,115 with The Broad Institute et al. filed a motion to file its priority statement under seal. Specifically, CVC’s motion requested that it be permitted to have the PTAB seal the priority statement until 45 days after final judgment or indefinitely; CVC also asked for 45 days after judgment to move that the statement be expunged from the record. (In the alternative, CVC requested that its statement remain sealed until a scheduling order issued by the Board for the priority phase of the interference, and that CVC be permitted to file a motion to expunge, e.g., if the count was changed). Last week, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) denied this motion, in a Decision by Administrative Patent Judge Katz, joined by APJs Moore and Lane.

          [...]

          The Board was persuaded by CVC’s request to keep its priority statement under seal until the Board issued a schedule for the priority phase, stating that CVC had correctly noted that 37 C.F. R. § 41.120(a) permits the Board to keep priority statements confidential “for a limited time.” The Board remained unpersuaded by the Broad’s arguments that it would be prejudiced, inter alia, because “Broad’s potential licensees, commercial partners, and the public will not be able to evaluate for themselves CVC’s claims to priority, and Broad’s patents will continue to be subject to the uncertainty CVC has sought to create around them since suggesting the 048 interference four years ago.” The opinion states in support that the parties’ priority evidence will not be “made in full” until priority motions are filed if there is a priority phase in this interference. And the Board does not see prejudice to the Broad’s ability to establish priority if CVC’s priority statement is kept in confidence until the priority phase commences.

          The opinion mandates that CVC file by November 7th a revised proposed protective order taking into account the Board’s decision to keep CVC’s priority statement under seal until commencement of the priority phase.

        • Pharma IP Summit: ‘Law firms should not act like law firms’
        • Federal Circuit Limiting Damage on the PTAB Appointments Clause Issue

          Customedia … submits a notice of supplemental authority identifying this court’s recent decision in Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc., No. 2018-2140 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 31, 2019). That decision vacated and remanded for the matter to be decided by a new panel of Administrative Patent Judges (“APJs”) at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board after this court concluded that the APJs’ appointments violated the Appointments Clause. Customedia’s letters seek to assert the same challenge here, which the court construes as a motion to vacate the Board decisions here and remand in accordance with Arthrex.

        • Guest Post by Prof. Rai: In the Constitutional Cross-Hairs: PTAB Judges and Administrative Adjudication [Ed: Jason Rantanen, Dennis Crouch (link above) and other patent maximalists don't even hide the fact that, for the sake of destroying patent quality (good for the litigation 'industry' they front for), they just attempt to scuttle PTAB altogether]

          Last Thursday, in Arthrex v. Smith & Nephew (Fed. Cir. 2019), a panel of the Federal Circuit held that the administrative patent judges (APJs) at the PTAB are “principal officers” who must, under the Appointments Clause of the Constitution, be appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. In contrast, the current patent statute provides for APJs to be appointed by the Secretary of Commerce in consultation with the PTO Director. The panel further determined that it could remedy the constitutional defect by severing APJ removal protections, thereby rendering them inferior officers who can be appointed by “Heads of Departments” like the Commerce Secretary.

      • Trademarks

        • No economic links, no exhaustion of the “Schweppes” mark in Spain

          This unusual trademark situation has given rise to numerous legal proceedings in Spain, in which the Spanish licensee of the trademark (Schweppes, S.A.) faced distributors who marketed products in Spain under the brand ‘Schweppes’ of the Coca-Cola Group. In the case at hand, Schweppes, S.A. brought an action against Red Paralela before the Commercial Court No. 8 of Barcelona, alleging that the marketing in Spain of Schweppes branded products, manufactured and marketed in the United Kingdom by the Coca-Cola Group, infringes its rights over the Schweppes brand in Spain.

          In defense, Red Paralela argued that the rights of the Schweppes Group in Spain have been exhausted. As a result, Schweppes, S.A. can no longer oppose the marketing in Spain of Schweppes branded products coming from the United Kingdom. In support of its claims, Red Paralela provided evidence which, in its opinion, showed the existence of economic links between the Schweppes Group and the Coca-Cola Group, as well as the existence of promotion of a single brand image by both owners.

          [...]

          On the other hand, it cannot belong exclusively to the Coca Cola Group, simply because it is the current owner of the brand in the United Kingdom, which is the historical territorial origin of the Schweppes brand, dating back to 1783.

          Thus, the historical value belongs to both the Schweppes Group and the Coca-Cola Group. This means that both owners can use the elements that form part of the historical “DNA” of the Schweppes brand, independently of the existence of a fragmentation of the brand between two owners in the territory of the EU.

        • China introduces new regulation tackling bad faith trade marks… and who is Jing Hanqing?

          As a key point of the Chinese government’s initiative to curb the proliferation of bad faith trade mark applications, Several Provisions for Regulating Application for Trade Mark Registration (规范商标申请注册行为若干规定, hereinafter referred to as ‘the Provisions’) will go into effect as of 1 December 2019. The full text (in Chinese, Google translatable) has been published on the China National Intellectual Property Administration official website (CNIPA, which used to be SIPO).

          The Provisions are intended to achieve the following:

          1. Strengthening the principle of good faith by (1) summarising and listing prohibited behaviours that are scattered in several provisions of the Chinese Trade Mark Law under Article 3; (2) holding accountable not only applicants, but also agents who facilitate activities that violate the principle of good faith (Article 4).

          [...]

          Trade mark squatting is a topic of platitude already. Normally, through early application (roughly speaking, China has a ‘first-to-file’ system for trade mark registration), or more actively, by applying for invalidation or cancellation of the pre-emptively registered trade mark, one can formulate an effective countermeasure against squatters.

          What Jing Hanqing encountered was an escalated version: it seems absurd for an individual to be pre-emptive enough to file a trade mark application for their own name. In this sense, the Provision provides practical guidance. Together with the revised Trade Mark Law of China (which has just taken effect as of 1 November 2019), the upgraded legal framework is expected to prevent bad faith applications more effectively.

      • Copyrights

        • Huge Anti-Piracy Operation in Brazil Targets Hundreds of Websites & Apps

          A massive operation in Brazil has seen police across the country take action against hundreds of ‘pirate’ websites and apps. The Ministry of Justice initially said that ‘suspensions’ had hit 136 sites and 100 apps but that number has continued to grow. Authorities state that they received assistance from US authorities including ICE and the Department of Justice.

        • US Government Threatening To Kill Free Trade With South Africa After Hollywood Complained It Was Adopting American Fair Use Principles

          Hollywood hates fair use. Even though Hollywood frequently relies on fair use, it seems to go out of its way to fight against fair use being used anywhere else. The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) (which is a mega trade group of intellectual property maximalist trade groups, including the MPAA, the RIAA, ESA, IFTA and AAP) has freaked out any time any other country in the world has sought to have American-style fair use. Over a decade ago IIPA flipped out when Israel’s fair use rules matched the US’s. The group and other surrogates have also fought American-style fair use in the UK and Australia after both of those countries explored implementing American-style fair use.

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