Just About Everything the EPO Tells Stakeholders, Media and Even Its Own Workers is the Opposite of What’s True

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Who does the EPO even serve?

Back In My Day... The EPO was European and was accountable to those who fund it

Summary: The EPO continues to lie to everybody in order to defraud the public (with public money) and pour money into few pockets that love to gamble with that money (for personal gain)

BEHIND the lies and the fraud of the European Patent Office (EPO) we have the likes of António Campinos making rounds of smiles and photo-ops, just like Battistelli (except that ENA sociopath lacks the capacity to smile).

“Behind all those smiles there’s a very dark agenda.”People or stakeholders are expected to think everything is nowadays rosy because the EPO says (warning: epo.org link) “EPO and INPI Brazil launch technical and strategic partnership”; well, the EPO President can have a chat in Portuguese about it, but that won’t change the fact that it’s little but another photo-op stunt. The EPO has published a selected photo-op in tweets, too.

What’s the actual substance behind it? Nothing new; just renewal of some old and mundane MoU. To quote: “The European Patent Office (EPO) and the National Institute of Industrial Property of Brazil (INPI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on a Reinforced Technical and Strategic Partnership to enhance co-operation between Europe and Brazil in the area of patents.”

Behind all those smiles there’s a very dark agenda.

The EPO’s examiners lack time and capacity to do their job, say the EPO’s examiners themselves. They’re pressured to grant illegal software patents in Europe where it’s against the law (in effect granting fake patents!). With quality of granted patents rapidly declining (as is their eligibility as seen by courts) someone will need to start flagging the loads of fake ones. European Patents cannot be presumed valid anymore. It’s a crisis in the making. This data which the EPO brags about may prove to be more harm than good. What the EPO nowadays calls “hey hi” (AI) typically refers to software patents and the EPO has just said: “Artificial intelligence: is the IP world ready for it? We summarised what experts had to say at our Patenting AI conference…”

They’re doing it all over again. They’ve also just asked: “Interested in the EPO’s #patent search strategies & techniques?”

This links to this page that starts with: (warning: epo.org link) “This year’s Search Matters conference aims to deliver workshops and lectures with a special focus on disruptive technologies such as 3D printing and AI.”

“Hey hi” again. No honesty, just buzzwords and nice-sounding hype waves.

Earlier this week the EPO again “tweeted” some “SME” nonsense, such as: “How do SMEs with diverse profiles leverage European #patents to sustain growth in Europe?”

That links to the EPO-commissioned propaganda, as usual, inverting what’s true with complete fabrication to suit the misleading narrative. Hours ago the EPO tweeted: “Are you a startup? At this seminar in Ljubljana we’ll explain what SMEs should have in their basic IP toolkit…”

They pull this kind of stunt every day, lying to SMEs about their role in the EPO’s eyes.

Remember what the EPO said about its financial situation. SUEPO Central calls it a "hoax" (that’s an understatement, it’s a scam — an elaborate one too) and it has just published this “Letter to EPO AC Chairman re Financial Study from Chairman Association of EPO Pensioners” [PDF] (sent to a lot of people).

From the introduction:

The Association of EPO Pensioners has continued to analyse to Financial study. The findings of the Association have been issued as a new letter for the Administrative Council, since the Association’s request to be allowed as an observer at the meeting when the study is discussed has been refused.

From the underlying document (as HTML)

Der Vorsitzende
The Chairman
Le President
De Voorzitter

26th November 2019
Mr Josef Kratochvil (per email)
President of the Industrial Property Office of the Czech Republic
Chairman of the Administrative Council of the EPO

cc: All Heads of delegations on the Administrative Council of the EPO (per email)

President of the EPO (per email)
Central Staff Committee (per email)

Dear Mr Kratochvil

I respectfully request that this letter is added to the agenda when documents CN83/19 and CA84/19 are discussed at the meeting of the Administrative Council th is December.

I also reiterate my earlier request that the Association should be allowed to take part as an observer when this point on the agenda is being discussed.

The Association of EPO Pensioners of course agrees that the EPO needs to plan its financial future prudently. It is however important that such planning is based on realistic assumptions and not on merely speculative elements as explained below. This has resulted in a calculated financial gap which is largely overestimated.

1. Decision Basis for Selection of Scenario

The EPO has chosen the Base 2 scenario in the Financial Study resulting in a calculated financial gap of 3.8 BN€ and then added to this a further 53% or 2.0 BN€ as a safety buffer, resulting in a total financial gap of 5.8 BN€.

The Association of EPO Pensioners having made an in-depth analysis of the study calls into question the calculation and selection of the Base 2 Scenario as well as the financial gap(s) arrived at.

a) The Base 2 Scenario is not based on an economic forecast but on a theoretical stress test scenario performed by the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB). The Association is of course not calling the results of the stress test into question, but wishes to point out that the ESRB itself states as a disclaimer for its scenario that the “Scenario presented is not a forecast. It should not be interpreted as the ESRB’s expectations about future economic and financial developments.”

b) In the Financial Study the Base 2 Scenario is based on a global recession. However, the stress test scenario of the ESRB which has been used is nothing but a financial crisis scenario with a 30% drop in equity values assumed in 2021.

c) The Base 1 Scenario on the contrary is based on proper economic and financial forecasts performed by OECD, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The Association finds that it would therefore have been appropriate to select the Base 1 Scenario for the discussions about the financial gap and how to close it and NOT to select the Base 2 Scenario, which is based on a theoretical “what if’ scenario. To then add another 2.0 BN€ safety buffer for which the only justification is a speculative assumption that the present low interest environment will persist for another 20 year is not plausible.

2. Closing the Financial Gap in Base 1 Scenario

The financial gap in the Base 1 Scenario is calculated as 1.6 SN€. This financial gap can effortlessly be more than covered by two measures entirely under the control of EPO management. These measures are:

~ To digitise the Patent Grant Process (PGP) end-to-end (Measure 13).
~ To invest 60% of cash surpluses in EPOTIF (Measure 15).

In CA/83/ 19 and CA/84/19 the positive financial impact of digitising PGP end-to-end is calculated by the Office to bring savings of 1.2 SN€. Despite the fact that the financial study includes spending of over 1.0 SN€ on various building projects, investing 60% of remaining surpluses in EPOTIF is calculated by the consultants to still have a positive financial impact of 1.0 SN€. The table below summarises the result in Base 1 Scenario applying these two measures:

Base 1 Calculated Financial Gap -1.6BN€
Diqitisinq PGP end-to-end (Measure 13) + 1.2 BN€
Invest 60% of cash surplus in EPOTIF (Measure 15) + 1.0 SN€
Net Result + 0.6 BN€

The Association of EPO Pensioners, for the reasons given above, is of the opinion that Base 1 Scenario should form the basis for any measures to be taken to close the financial gap. As shown above the financial gap is more than closed by the proposed two measures identified in the Study which are entirely under the control of EPO management.

3. Closing the Financial Gap in Base 2 Scenario

For the sake of completeness, this analysis will show that also the calculated financial gap in the Base 2 Scenario and Base 2 + Buffer Scenario can equally be closed without resorting to measures having a serious negative impact on present and future members of the Association of EPO Pensioners.

There is already a proposal for decision by the Administrative Council at its December 2019 meeting to increase contributions to the Pension scheme by 3.3% from 2020 onwards. This corresponds to measure 10 in the Financial Study where it is given the monetary value of 0.3 SN€.

It is worthwhile to recall that in the Financial Study salary expenditure for the next 20 years has been calculated based on an annual salary adjustment of inflation +0.5%. For the same period only one single fee adjustment of +4% has been included in the revenue calculations, whereas the Administrative Council has adopted a policy of biennial inflation based fee adjustments. In document CA/80/19, presented for decision by the Administrative Council at its December 2019 meeting, the President of the Office advocates the necessity to continue to pursue this policy of biennial inflation based fee adjustments. The continued consistent implementation of this policy (Measures 11 and 12) would improve the financial result with a further +1.3 BN€.

Page 2 of 4

The table below summarises the result in the Base 2 scenario applying all of the above:

Base 2 Calculated Financial Gap - 3.8 BN€
Diqitise PGP end-to-end (Measure 13) + 1.2 BN€
Invest 60% of cash surplus in EPOTIF (Measure 15) + 1.0 BN€
Increase contribution to Pension Fund (Measure 10) + 0.3 BN€
Biennial inflation based fee adjustments (Measures 11 and 12) + 1.3 SN€
Net Result +/- 0 BN€

As can be seen from the table above, the financial gap of 3.8 BN€ resulting from using a scenario based on a financial crisis, is also covered. As already stated, the Association of EPO Pensioners is of the opinion that Scenario 1 is the only one that constitutes a realistic basis for discussion of any measures to be taken.

Should the Administrative Council, after deliberations and taking into account our in-depth analysis, decide that the Base 2 Scenario is to be used, it is reassuring to note that even the case of a Financial Gap in this scenario, which is calculated on the basis of a financial crisis, can be completely addressed by applying five measures (Measures 10, 11, 12, 13 and 15) already planned or proposed the President of the Office.

4. Closing the Financial Gap in Base 2 + Buffer Scenario

The Association of EPO Pensioners is of the firm opinion that the gap now presented to be 5.8 SN€ by the addition of a further 2.0 SN€ as safety buffer to Base 2 Scenario is not based on real facts. The only justification for adding 2.0 BN€ to a scenario based not on a forecast but on a financial crisis seems to be an assumption that the present low interest environment will remain for the next 20 years.

The Association wishes to draw the attention of the Administrative Council to the fact that the 2008-20 18 long- term annualised performance of the RFPSS was 7.9%, thereby exceeding the annualised long-term objective for the Fund by 2.9%. Moreover, this performance has been achieved in spite of very volatile financial markets and a continuous low interest environment!

In their calculations before applying the safety buffer of 2.0 SN€, the consultants have already indirectly introduced a further safety buffer of about 2.6 SN€ by reducing the expected net return on investments made by the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security (RFPSS) to 2.1% above inflation. This is in clear contradiction to the Strategic Asset Allocation (SAA) unanimously agreed by the Supervisory Board of the RFPSS (SBRFPSS) on which also the Office is an important stakeholder with voting rights. This SAA is expected to give a net return of 3.5% above inflation. The much lower return on investment used in the Financial Study results in the above-mentioned further safety buffer with a net return which is about 2.6 SN€ less than the net return to be achieved using the SAA agreed by the SBRFPSS.

Since this further safety buffer of about 2.6 SN€ has already been incorporated in the calculations made by the consultants by their use of a much lower return on investment by the RFPSS than agreed by the SBRFPSS, it is impossible to understand why a safety buffer of another 2.0 SN€ has been added to a financial crisis Base 2 scenario in which financial losses have already been accounted for.

Page 3 of 4

5. Conclusion and Request

The analysis performed by the Association of EPO Pensioners and presented here in this letter, highlights several questionable assumptions made in the Financial Study, amongst others, the basis for selection of Scenarios and also putting into question the validity of the financial gap(s) presented.

To avoid serious consequences and impact on present and future members by implementation of Measures which are not needed, the Association therefore requests that the Administrative Council mandates the Office to revisit and reanalyse the Scenarios and the financial gap(s) to enable further discussion in the Supervisory Bodies of the Organisation before returning with concrete proposals, if any are needed, to be adopted by the Administrative Council.

Curt Edfjall
Chairman, Association of EPO Pensioners
Page 4 of 4

We’ve omitted the E-mail address of Curt Edfjall to reduce charge of spamming. The fact remains, however, that such a letter deserves broader audience. How many people out there are aware of the EPO’s abuses against its own staff? At the expense of Europe? The EPO likes to present itself as beneficial to the European economy, but that too is a fat lie, i.e. the usual.

As one attorney put it today: “Unfortunately I can’t interact with the EPO in my language. It would REALLY simplify my life.”

The EPO’s management shamelessly fosters a system that facilitates just loads and loads of litigation, irrespective of the impact on the European economy as a whole.

Links 27/11/2019: Proxmox Mail Gateway 6.1 and Krita 4.2.8

Posted in News Roundup at 1:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Android, Linux smartphone-computer: Dual-screen Cosmo Communicator is out

      The Cosmo Communicator is inspired by old-school PDAs such as the Psion Series 5, Nokia Communicator, and Sharp Netwalker.

      In fact Planet Computers can trace the Cosmo Communicator’s lineage back to Psion, since it was designed Martin Riddiford, the UK designer behind the original Psion Series 5 PDA from the 1990s.

      Planet Computers kicked off a crowdfunding campaign late last year, which attracted just under 4,000 backers and €1.86m ($2.05m) in funding for the concept.

      The Cosmo Communicator is meant to address some of the problems with its predecessor, the Gemini from 2017 – Planet Computers’ first attempt to revive Psion-like PDAs.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • System76 to design and manufacture their own Laptops

        System76 recently announced that they are following up on the success of its popular Thelio desktop with their very own laptops. The Denver-based hardware manufacturer and Pop_OS! developer already offers a wide array of laptops for sale designed and manufactured by outside computer manufacturers such as Clevo and Sager. This will be the company’s first foray into the world of laptop design and manufacturing.

        It’s been a busy couple of years for System76. Their desktop series, Thelio, featuring their Pop_OS! software rolled out in 2018, and more recently, Pop_OS! 19.10, their Ubuntu 19.10-based distribution, debuted earlier this year in October.

        System76 CEO Carl Richell explains that the company’s first order of business in their newest venture is to lock down the aesthetic of the laptop and how various materials look and feel. They will also simultaneously speak with display and component manufacturers and begin work on aspects of the supply chain.

    • Server

      • IBM

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          1. There were a whole bunch of ACPI related errors in dmesg. It turns out that these affect almost all HP laptop models and we have a multiple bugs open for this. Debugging these pointed to the hp-wmi driver. I wrote 2 patches fixes 2 different kind of errors and submitted these upstream. Unfortunately this does not help with the suspend/resume issue, but it does fix all those errors people have been complaining about :)

        • Flatpak 1.5.1 Prepares For Protected/Authenticated Downloads – Future App Purchasing

          Flatpak 1.5.1 was released today as a new development release for this Linux application sandboxing technology. With Flatpak 1.5.1 it also begins laying the groundwork for a future payments system around Flathub as what’s starting off for allowing donation-based software acquisition but could ultimately turn into a paid app store.

          The noteworthy change with Flatpak 1.5.1 is introducing the notion of protected applications and authenticating downloads. These new features aren’t yet stable but found in Flatpak 1.5.1 for encouraging testing / early adoption work by developers. Flatpak 1.5.1 also adds optional support for parental controls, better handling in low disk space situations, and various other changes. The parental control support is making use of the malcontent library.

        • Red Hat Customer Success Stories: Migrating to SAP S/4HANA with RHEL for SAP Solutions and more

          Automation and management are important tools for organizations looking to modernize, improve efficiency, and expand their IT systems without having to add staff. When faced with these problems, some companies turn to Red Hat to help them use enterprise open source to solve their problems. See how Mann & Schröder Cosmetics, Swiss Federal Railways, and Česká spořitelna worked with Red Hat to improve their IT.

        • Handling Angular environments in continuous delivery with Red Hat OpenShift

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        • CentOS Working To Increase Transparency, Revamp Branding

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    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • linux-5.4-ck1, MuQSS version 0.196 for linux-5.4

        Announcing a new -ck release, 5.4-ck1 with the latest version of the Multiple Queue Skiplist Scheduler, version 0.196. These are patches designed to improve system responsiveness and interactivity with specific emphasis on the desktop, but configurable for any workload.

      • Linux 5.4-ck1 Kernel Released With MuQSS Patched In

        While the release of Linux 5.3-ck1 with MuQSS was quite tardy and only arrived a few weeks ago, Con Kolivas has returned to his punctuality in releasing Linux 5.4-ck1 with the updated MuQSS scheduler intended to improve the responsiveness of desktop/mobile class Linux systems.

        MuQSS 0.196 is the new version of his MultiQueue Skiplist Scheduler. The BFS-derived MuQSS scheduler is re-based for Linux 5.4 source compatibility but doesn’t appear to have any visible changes compared to the earlier revision.

      • Newer Loongson 3A Variant Being Supported By Linux 5.5 Along With The SGI Octane

        As covered earlier this month, the next version of the Linux kernel is finally offering mainline support for SGI’s Octane / Octane II MIPS workstations from the SGI IRIX days about two decades ago. Not only is the vintage SGI IP30 hardware seeing mainline kernel support, but there is other new MIPS hardware support too.

        Complementing the SGI Octane support as part of the Linux 5.5 MIPS updates is also supporting the Loongson 3A R4 variant, a newer version compared to what the kernel already supported on the Loongson front, the Chinese MIPS64 CPUs.

      • Many RISC-V Improvements Ready For Linux 5.5: M-Mode, SECCOMP, Other Features

        The RISC-V kernel code has some interesting changes ready for Linux 5.5.

        Among the RISC-V changes for the in-development Linux 5.5 kernel include:

        - M-Mode support, which is the highest privilege mode for RISC-V and typically reserved for the system firmware. The M-Mode has access to all resource and interrupts while normally RISC-V kernels run in the lower S-Mode privilege level. The motivation for the M-Mode kernel support appears to be CPU-level interrupt controller functionality.

        - SECCOMP secure computing mode support now works on RISC-V.

      • Linux 5.2+ Hit By AVX Register Corruption Bug – Affecting At Least Golang Programs

        The Linux 5.2 kernel and newer appears to be suffering from an AVX register corruption bug stemming from signal delivery. This register corruption issue is manifesting itself at least for Golang programs leading to a variety of bug reports when running on Linux 5.2 through at least the newly-minted Linux 5.4.

        Golang developers have traced back many recent bug reports to being a corruption issue on Linux 5.2 and newer while being built with the GCC 9 compiler (using the GCC 8 compiler does not seem to bring this kernel bug to light). Golang developers and users are finding run-time errors over invalid memory addresses / pointer dereferences, segmentation violations, and related issues.

      • Linux Kernel 5.4 released with kernel lockdown and exFAT support

        However, the most anticipated updates are, without a doubt, the exFAT support and kernel LOCKDOWN mode.

        Late last summer, Microsoft published the exFAT specification and made the popular file-system open-source. Linux kernel developers wasted no time in integrating exFAT file-system support into the kernel. Ensuring that support was included in the stable kernel 5.4 is a direct result of those efforts by kernel developers.

        The Linux LOCKDOWN functionality is, in most cases, to provide Linux functionality for pairing with UEFI SecureBoot, as well as other security-sensitive environments.

        If you want more detailed information on the 5.4 kernels, please check out our more in-depth article featuring the release from September.

        The 5.4 kernels will be the last stable release of the year, with Linux kernel 5.5 slated for release in late January or early February 2020. Rest assured that FOSS Linux will keep you posted.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Radeon ROCm 2.10 Released With SUSE 15 SP1 Support, rocBLAS For Complex GEMM

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          ROCm 3.0 support was noted in their SC19 press release with having new HIP-clang improvements for better running CUDA codes on Radeon GPUs, expanded HPC programming model support with the likes of OpenMP / NAMD / LAMMPS, and new support for system/workload deployment tools like Kubernetes. ROCm 3.0 sounds like it should be a great release, thus surprising today they diverted to releasing ROCm 2.10.

        • Wayland’s Weston 8.0 Bringing Direct-Display Extension, HDCP On DRM Back-End + More

          Simon Ser has stepped up again to manage the upcoming release of the Weston 8.0 Wayland reference compositor. No Wayland update itself is planned with nothing real to release at this point, but Weston 8.0 should arrive before the end of January.

          For making a January release target for Weston 8.0, Simon has laid out plans for the initial alpha release around 6 December, a beta release on 20 December, and the first release candidate on 17 January. If all goes well with Weston 8.0 RC1, the actual release could be on or around 24 January.

        • X.Org’s Modesetting Driver Gets Smarter – Queries Mesa For Which GL Driver To Use

          There is a list of PCI ID driver mappings that has needed to be maintained for correlating graphics hardware to the respective DRI driver that should be loaded. That’s been another maintenance burden and rather vintage, but now a modern solution has landed thanks to Intel’s Ken Graunke. Since earlier this year has been the MESA_query_driver EGL extension for being able to query the name of the running 3D/OpenGL driver on the system. EGL_MESA_query_driver is now being used for dynamically querying the driver that was loaded by Mesa rather than having to duplicate the PCI ID driver mapping logic within X.Org Server.

          Besides the burden of having to maintain multiple graphics PCI ID mappings in 2019, the motivation for Graunke to get this change made is for Intel’s transition to the “Iris” Gallium3D driver he has been leading. With Intel Gen12 / Tiger Lake graphics, only Iris is supported and starting with Mesa 20.0 they intend to default to this Gallium3D driver over the “i965″ classic driver. Rather than having to work this logic into their mapping for the xorg-server, EGL_MESA_query_driver can simply leverage the logic from Mesa’s driver loader.

    • Benchmarks

    • Applications

      • Open Source Music Notations Software Musescore 3.3 Released!

        You can even use a MIDI keyboard as input and simply play the tune you want to create the notation of.

        In order to make use of it, you need to know how sheet music notations work. In either case, you can just play something using your MIDI keyboard or any other instrument and learn how the music notations work while using it.

        So, it should come in handy for beginners and experts as well.

        You can download and use Musescore for free. However, if you want to share your music/composition and reach out to a wider community on the Musescore platform, you can opt to create a free or premium account on Musescore.com.

      • Timekpr-nExT Is A Linux Parental Control Program For Limiting Computer Usage

        Timekpr-nExT is graphical parental control tool for Linux, useful if you want to limit child activity on a computer. The application, which uses Python / GTK3, works with multiple desktop environments, including GNOME, Xfce, Cinnamon, KDE Plasma, Unity, Deepin and Budgie, under both X11 and Wayland.

        The application can limit computer usage for some user accounts by setting predefined access rules. You can set daily computer time usage limits — either by setting the number of hours/minutes per day an account can have access to the computer, or by specifying an hour interval. You may also specify weekly and monthly computer usage limits. After the time expires, the user is automatically logged out.

        The client (the user account for which you’ve set computer access limits — see screenshot at the top of the article) can see the remaining time for today, the daily limits, as well as configure the display of notifications when the time is about to expire or when there are limit changes.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • The ridiculously large Stardew Valley 1.4 update is out

        Stardew Valley, that relaxing and colourful game about taking over a worn-down farm just had a big 1.4 update release with a ton of new content and bug fixes.

        The full details of the update are…how do I put this? Humongous? Yeah, that sounds about right. Looking over the changelog, I honestly don’t know where to begin to talk about it.

      • Football Story sounds like an incredibly weird mix with a story-based campaign and competitive multiplayer

        From publisher Crytivo (The Universim) and Russian developer Fructus Temporum we have Football Story, an incredible intriguing Football (Soccer to some of you…) adventure game with a narrative campaign and competitive multiplayer matches.

        It blends together a sort-of exploration adventure RPG in the story mode, giving you a massive city loaded with quests to run around in with four customizable characters, each with skills you can progress. On top of that, when playing matches online with others each player on the team is controlled by someone. It sounds thoroughly amusing and it certainly sounds like something I want to try.

      • World of Warcraft Classic: Hell is other people

        I didn’t play World of Warcraft when it launched 15 years ago when I played some World of Warcraft with friends seven years ago, around the time of the Mists of Pandaria expansion. I hadn’t played it before and I didn’t get into the lore. I enjoyed running around in the big open world, seeing new places, and completing quests.

        This year I got the opportunity to experience the original game with the release of World of Warcraft: Classic. The game rolled back the clock and got back to its roots. The Classic game is less complicated with fewer distinct systems to keep track of. There’s less to do in the world, but I don’t miss the busywork that has been added to the modern game. I thought I’d give it a try.

      • The unique online RPG Book of Travels from the dev of Shelter has been funded

        Not exactly surprising to see but Book of Travels, the unique small online RPG from Shelter developer Might and Delight has been fully funded over on Kickstarter so that’s another game coming to Linux.

      • Dota 2 just got massive overhaul with The Outlanders Update

        The Outlanders Update has arrived for Dota 2, with it introducing new heroes and some pretty big changes to the gameplay. As someone who has always enjoyed the gameplay of Dota 2 but found some elements of it highly frustrating, the gameplay update sounds fantastic.

      • Dota Underlords also got a huge update with a new Knockout game mode and multiple heroes

        It’s not just Dota 2 seeing a massive upgrade, as Valve also pushed out The Outlanders Update for Dota Underlords as well with a new fast game mode and a better on-boarding experience for new players.

        Like Dota 2, Underlords has also gained two brand new heroes with Snapfire and Void Spirit. Void was also joined by Storm Spirit, Ember Spirit, and Earth Spirit entering the White Spire to create the new Spirit Alliance as well.

        Heroes work quite differently in Underlords though so let’s take a quick look at their abilities.

      • Quake II RTX got an update to further improve the graphical fidelity

        It seems NVIDIA aren’t quite done with Quake II RTX, seemingly now using it as a testing area to keep pushing more advanced features for ray tracing.

        Yesterday, an update was released for Quake II RTX to update over 400 textures used to improve the image quality. They also improved the rendering of metals, which together enhance the look quite a lot, especially since it’s quite an old game now. In addition, rendering with water was improved as well. There’s now underwater god rays and god rays in reflections and refractions.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Krita 4.2.8 Released

          The Krita team is pleased to announce another bug fix release of Krita 4.2: Krita 4.2.8. Part of Krita’s core team is now working on rewriting the way Krita loads and saves resources like brushes or gradients. This is a big task that takes up a lot of time, so there are fewer bug fixes in this release than there were for 4.2.7. Still, there has been a lot of work done on vector shapes, the transform tool and, especially, saving on Windows.

          Windows usually only writes out saved files to the actual disk when it feels like it. So if you’d cut the power to your computer before Windows did that, you might get corrupted files. With 1,500,000 distinct Windows 10 users of Krita in the past month, chances are good for that happening (just like there are people who work exclusively with unnamed autosave files — don’t do that!), so we now try to force Windows to write files to disk after saving. This does make saving slower on Windows, but the added security should be worth it.

          The autoprecision setting in the brush preset editor has been rewritten as well, which should result in better performance and nicer lines, too.

    • Distributions

      • Kali Linux 2019.4 includes new undercover mode for pentesters doing work in public places

        Offensive Security, maintainers of the popular Kali Linux open source project, released Kali Linux 2019.4, the latest iteration of the Kali Linux penetration testing platform. The new release includes several new features, including a new default desktop environment, a new theme and a new undercover mode for pentesters doing assessment work in public places.

      • Latest Kali Linux OS Added Windows-Style Undercover Theme for Hackers

        While working on my laptop, I usually prefer sitting at a corner in the room from where no one should be able to easily stare at my screen, and if you’re a hacker, you must have more reasons to be paranoid.
        Let’s go undercover:
        If you’re in love with the Kali Linux operating system for hacking and penetration testing, here we have pretty awesome news for you.
        Offensive Security today released a new and the final version of Kali Linux for 2019 that includes a special theme to transform your Xfce desktop environment into a Windows look-a-like desktop.
        Dubbed ‘Kali Undercover,’ the theme has been designed for those who work in public places or office environments and don’t want people to spot that you’re working on Kali Linux, an operating system popular among hackers, penetration testers, and cybersecurity researchers.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • GK Software and SUSE: A Proven Partnership in the Retail Ecosystem

          The partnership between GK Software and SUSE goes back several years when GK first certified the GK/Retail Business Suite with SLES 11. Since then, collaboration between the two companies has expanded to certify on SLES 12, and more recently on SLES 15.
          The GK/Retail Business Suite provides market-leading solutions for stores, enterprise headquarters and contemporary omni-channel retail concepts. Today, GK Software has over 300,000 installations in more than 60 countries.

      • Debian Family

        • Proxmox Mail Gateway 6.1 released

          Proxmox Server Solutions GmbH has released version 6.1 of its open-source email security solution Proxmox Mail Gateway. The anti-spam and anti-virus filtering solution is a complete operating system based on the latest Debian 10.2 (Buster) with a 5.3 kernel and uses the Postfix MTA, ClamAV and SpamAssassin. Deployed between the firewall and the internal mail server the Proxmox Mail Gateway works as a full-featured mail proxy and protects organizations against spam, viruses, trojans, and phishing emails.

          Proxmox Mail Gateway 6.1 comes with updated SpamAssassin rules easily adjustable in the web-based user interface, added DKIM signature support for email authentication, and a new attachment quarantine. The high availability cluster usability brings improved handling of the Configuration and Rule changes.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Why do we contribute to open source software?

        Organizations as a whole contribute to open source software projects for a variety of reasons.

        One of the most important is that the open source development model is such an effective way to collaborate with other companies on projects of mutual interest. But they also want to better understand the technologies they use. They also want to influence direction.

        The specific rationale will vary by organization but it usually boils down to the simple fact that working in open source benefits their business.

        But why do individuals contribute to open source? They mostly see some kind of personal benefit too, but what specifically motivates them?

      • Some Open Source Android Applications that Available on Google Play!

        Smartphone is one of the gadgets that are currently becoming people’s needs. Many people use smartphones for other purposes besides communication, for example, for playing games, multimedia purposes, writing and for business. Based on the Netmarketshare website, Android is one of the mobile operating systems that is widely used by people around the world. That is, many people who use smartphones with the Android operating system.

        We can install android applications through Google Play or other app stores. There are paid applications, some are free but contain advertising content or in app purchase. But we can also find several mobile applications for Android open source.

      • Events

        • Linux App Summit and Capitole du Libre 2019

          This year, the Linux App Summit was held in Barcelona, Spain, which is just a few hours away from Montpellier so there was no way I wouldn’t attend it!

          There I’ve been able to talk about how I helped porting GNOME to mobile devices, and I demoed it on a Librem 5 devkit in the corridors.


          Unfortunately I had to leave Barcelona on the last day and head to Toulouse to attend Capitole du Libre. There I helped my colleague François hold the Purism booth and I gave the same talk I did at GUADEC, but in French. I love these kind of free software conventions, you meet lots of end users with varying degrees of tech-savviness, it helps a lot to keep your feet on the ground when developing. On the booth we demoed the Librem 5 devkit, the excitement was very high!

      • FSF

        • Come together for free software

          Here at the Free Software Foundation (FSF), we strongly believe that one person can make a difference. Our main task, as the principal organization in the fight for user freedom, is one of connection; to bring people together around an unwavering set of principles. We will achieve global software freedom by staying the course, by focusing on education, and by making tools and solutions available, all by working together with this passionate and diverse community.
          Every individual that takes action now will help us reach our goal of welcoming 600 new associate members by December 31st. Associate members give us the strength to amplify the free software message — each new member exponentially increases our reach and our ability to make change. Visit fsf.org/appeal to learn more about all the different ways we can stand strong together and for access to engaging images to help you spread the message using the hashtag #ISupportFreeSoftware!
          The FSF is supported by thousands of individuals like you who form the heart of the movement. Thank you for being an associate member we can depend on. While it’s humbling to have thousands of people around the world giving us their votes of confidence, we also know we need to connect with millions more. Please take this moment to publicly share your passion for free software. If each associate member inspires just one other, we can double our strength. Plus, if you manage to get a minimum of three people to mention you as a referral before December 31st, you will receive an exclusive year-end gift. If you can do a little more, any extra donation you can make will help us reach even more people on your behalf.
          This year, our staff of only fourteen used your financial support to unite people all over the world around our mission, with increased opportunities both in-person and online.

        • FSFE

          • FSFE Newsletter – November 2019

            This month, we present our Portuguese friends from ANSOL and their success story on solving the problems DRM creates in their country and gives tips on how you can take similar actions in your country. Episode 2 of the FSFE’s Software Freedom Podcast is out and we dedicate it to the KDE Community and the transformations and updates they are currently undertaking. You can discover upcoming events and interesting stories with visuals from the events where our community promoted Free Software across Europe. We offer a sneak peak into this year’s FSFE Annual Community Meeting in Bolzano, Italy before the official report. In the Get Active section, we ask for your help with the new “Public Money? Public Code!” initiative. We need more municipalities and public sector bodies to embrace the principles and become part of the signatories.

            How DRM was fixed in Portugal
            DRM technologies restrict individuals from doing things with their media that are otherwise perfectly legal. For example we might not be able to put together a mix of music files we bought legally or to lend an e-book to a friend. Even backups can be restricted. Following up with the Day against DRM, in November we published a guest article by our friends from the Portuguese Association for Free Software (ANSOL), Paula Simões and Marcos Marado. Together with the Portuguese Association for Free Education (AEL) they were working towards resolving the DRM policies in Portugal for 15 years. They finally accomplished the solution they sought and in their article they shared with you the insights of that success. ANSOL and AEL have been able to show policy makers what was wrong with DRM and how its implementation hinders citizens and other actors from exercising their rights and take advantage of the legally foreseen copyright exceptions. Their story may inspire you to do the same in your country or simply learn insights on how policy-making can be influenced for the better.

      • Programming/Development

        • Rust 2020

          First, some history about myself in the Rust community — I started learning Rust a few years ago, had a go at Advent Of Code 2016 in it, completed that, wrote a testing tool in Rust, and then promptly did nothing with Rust except read blogs and reddit for a year. Then I went and did Advent of Code 2017 in Rust and reminded myself of why I enjoyed the language. This time I decided I’d do more with Rust and started playing around. I wrote bits and bobs through 2018, but still failed to do anything major until once again, December rolled around and I did Advent of Code 2018 in Rust, learning an awful lot about procedural macros and other useful things. This was the time of the 2018 Rust edition which also spurred me on to do more useful stuff.

          While I was enjoying the fun coding through December, I sat down and decided how I wanted 2019 to play out. I was very aware that I was failing a number of open source communities I was part of, and so I resolved (a) to be a net positive influence on any community I remained active in, and (b) to specifically work to be part of the wider Rust community because I wanted to give back to a community which had been welcoming to me and given me so much joy in coding. I went looking for ways to contribute, did a small patch to the panic wording as per an open issue, and then looked at the developer tools surrounding Rust. I noted that rustup needed some TLC and so I ended up filing my first PR on rustup, I then filed others, and on the 18th Of December 2018, my PR to update rustup to the 2018 edition was merged and thus began my time as a rustup contributor.

          Fast-forward to mid-January 2019 and the Rustup working group is established and I was invited to be a member of that. Zoom on to mid-May and I’m asked to take on the mantle of leading the working group, and from there I ended up also helping on rustdoc and various other bits and bobs. I’ve ended up quite involved in an exciting and interesting community which has always made me feel welcome.

        • Qt / QML introduction tutorial release

          We are proud to announce that the release of the first module of our Qt/QML Introduction training was very well received. Since the release, we got a lot of positive feedback and most of all: no thumbs down. We would like to thank all of you for watching, liking, commenting and supporting our videos.

          Because the digital era constantly moves and evolves, we seek to learn and explore change with it. One thing we’ve noticed, among others, is that we tend to do more and more self-guided learning via online videos. To that end, we have been working for more than 6 months now to capture our regular Qt/QML Introduction training on video.

          Looking into our analytics, it is clear that the majority of our viewers are located in Germany and the US. In light of that, we are currently looking into adding subtitles in various languages to make our content accessible to a larger number of countries. Though it will likely take quite some time before it will be ready for release, do let us know if you are interested in subtitles in your region.

        • Is your code inclusive?

          I have been involved with assistive technology for about ten years now, beginning with a stint as an assistive technology tutor with the Kenya Society for the Blind.

          Assistive technology helps improve the lives of people with cognitive, physical or sensory challenges. It comprises a wide range of hardware, specialist software such as screen readers, as well as accessibility features in general software.

          Over the ten years that I have worked with assistive technology, it has vastly improved. This is due in part to the advent of more powerful technologies, as well as better education and stronger disability rights legislation across much of the world. However, progress has been uneven and much of the legislation, well-meaning as it is, is poorly enforced, so there is still work to be done.

        • Perl / Raku

        • Python

          • Manhole service in Twisted Application.

            Manhole is an in-process service, that will accept UNIX domain socket connections and present the stack traces for all threads and an interactive prompt.

            Using it we can access and modify objects or definition in the running application, like change or add the method in any class, change the definition of any method of class or module.

            This allows us to make modifications in running an application without restarting the application, it makes work easy like debugging the application, you are able to check the values of the object while the program is running.

          • Awesome Full Stack Python Resources

            When I first decided to learn Django. I relied on tons of Youtubers who had created tutorials to help me get started.

            Which leads me to pick up Two Scoops of Django (this was one of my best investments).

            Besides taking a Udacity React Nanodegree course and watching videos on using Django.

            Now as years goes by I would like to revise this list of bookmarks for anyone.

            Who is just starting out to help them get started on their journey as a Full Stack Python developer.

          • Browser Automation Using Selenium (Python)

            SELENIUM is a web based & open source tool which is used to control the web browser through many programming languages. It is a third party tool and is available for many programming languages (e.g. Java, Python, C#, PHP etc.). It has the support for almost all the browsers. In this tutorial, we’ll look at how to use Selenium with Python because Python provides a comfortable environment to use this tool. Selenium API for Python lets your program directly control your browser in a similar fashion as a human does. It can open new tabs for you, fill out your information, submit forms, click on different links and other similar actions. Here we will see how we automate our web browser using selenium with Python.

          • How to write a Python web API with Flask

            Python is a high-level, object-oriented programming language known for its simple syntax. It is consistently among the top-rated programming languages for building RESTful APIs.

            Flask is a customizable Python framework that gives developers complete control over how users access data. Flask is a “micro-framework” based on Werkzeug’s WSGI toolkit and Jinja 2′s templating engine. It is designed as a web framework for RESTful API development.

            Flask is one of the fastest-growing Python frameworks, and popular websites, including Netflix, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, have incorporated Flask into their development stacks. Here’s an example of how Flask can permit users to fetch data from a server using the HTTP GET method.

          • From webscraper to wordcloud
          • There’s no wrong way… to eat a Bite of Py
          • How to Update Legacy Code Successfully
  • Leftovers

    • Oprah Winfrey Remembers Acclaimed Writer Toni Morrison

      Last Thursday, literary luminaries and social leaders from around the country gathered at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan to honor Toni Morrison, one of the nation’s most influential writers. She died in August at the age of 88 from complications of pneumonia. In 1993, Morrison became the first African-American woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. She also won a Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for her classic work Beloved. Much of Morrison’s writing focused on the black female experience in America, and her writing style honored the rhythms of black oral tradition. In 2012, President Obama awarded Morrison the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Ta-Nehisi Coates, Edwidge Danticat and Oprah Winfrey were among those who spoke about Toni Morrison’s life and legacy. We air Oprah’s eulogy.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • So-Called ‘Army Built to Fight Medicare for All,’ Says Healthcare Expert, Really ‘Just Hired Guns Hired by Corporate Stooges’

        “We have to take this evil deadly seriously,” another critic said of the for-profit healthcare industry’s efforts to kill single-payer legislative proposals.

      • We read the World Anti-Doping Agency’s new Russia recommendations so you don’t have to

        The World Anti-Doping Agency’s Compliance Review Committee has recommended suspending Russia from international competitions for four years. The committee developed new recommendations for WADA’s Executive Committee after a WADA report indicated that doping data from a Moscow laboratory may have been manipulated. The Executive Committee will issue a decision after debating the recommendations during a December 9 hearing in Paris.

      • Our children await a radioactive legacy

        We are leaving our children a radioactive legacy, the lethal waste that current governments still cannot make safe.

      • Gilead’s HIV Patent Spat With HHS Could Keep Drug Prices High

        The Trump administration’s lawsuit against Gilead Sciences Inc. over the company’s alleged infringement of government-owned patents for the HIV-prevention drug PrEP could unintentionally lead to higher drug prices, according to attorneys watching the case.

        The issue is that the government’s patents don’t cover the drug itself but the regimen that has patients take one pill daily.

        Patents like this—that cover process rather than an invention—are controversial because they’re often filed late in a drug’s original patent life by brand-name companies to extend monopolies on their products. These so-called follow-on patents delay the entry of lower-cost generic versions to the market.

        Now, with its lawsuit against Gilead in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, the government appears to be taking the position that extending the market life cycle of brand-name drugs in this way is a valid approach.

        “It is a bit contradictory because they are on the one hand trying to lower drug prices, but this could increase drug prices,” said Michael Carrier, a professor at Rutgers Law School who specializes in intellectual property law and who has testified before Congress on drug pricing issues.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Wladimir Palant: Assorted Kaspersky vulnerabilities

          The first vulnerability affects Kaspersky Protection browser extension for Google Chrome (not its Firefox counterpart) which is installed automatically by Kaspersky Internet Security. Arbitrary websites can trick it into uninstalling Chrome browser extensions (CVE-2019-15684). In particular, they can uninstall Kaspersky Protection itself, which will happen silently. Uninstalling other browser extensions will make Google Chrome display an additional confirmation prompt, so social engineering is required to make the user accept it. While this prompt lowers the severity of the issue considerably, the way it has been addressed by Kaspersky is also quite remarkable. The initial attempt to fix this issue took eight months, yet the issue could be reproduced again after making a trivial change.

          The second vulnerability is very similar to the one demonstrated by Heise Online earlier this year. While Kaspersky addressed their report in a fairly thorough way and most values exposed to the web by their application were made unsuitable for tracking, one value was overlooked. I could demonstrate how arbitrary websites can retrieve a user identifier which is unique to the specific installation of Kaspersky Internet Security (CVE-2019-15687). This identifier is shared across all browsers and is unaffected by protection mechanisms such as Private Browsing.

          Finally, the last issue affects links used by special web pages produced by Kaspersky Internet Security, such as the invalid certificate or phishing warning pages. These links will trigger actions in the application, for example adding an exception for an invalid certificate, overriding a phishing warning or disabling Safe Money protection on a banking site. I could find a way for websites to retrieve the value of one such link and from it to predict the value assigned to future links (CVE-2019-15688). This allows websites to trigger actions from special pages programmatically, without having to trick the user into clicking them via clickjacking or social engineering.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • IOTA news: Contest for sustainability and update on the cooperation with Linux

                In a new blog post, the IOTA Foundation has announced a competition in which the IOTA community is to submit proposals for a sustainable future based on the Tangle technology. The three best proposals, together with experts from the international development sector, will be invited to Berlin for a full-day workshop on 10 December 2019.

                The competition will be held with regard to IOTA’s cooperation with the EIT Climate-KIC. This is a leading European initiative for climate protection, supported by the European Union (EU). Regarding the motivation for the project, Florian Doebler of the IOTA Foundation explained in the blog post that people often make decisions based on short-term thinking.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Wednesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (bsdiff, libvpx, tiff, and xmlrpc-epi), Fedora (freeimage, imapfilter, kernel, mingw-freeimage, and thunderbird), openSUSE (cups and djvulibre), Oracle (SDL), SUSE (ardana-db, ardana-keystone, ardana-neutron, ardana-nova, crowbar-core, crowbar-openstack, crowbar-ui, openstack-barbican, openstack-heat-templates, openstack-keystone, openstack-neutron, openstack-neutron-gbp, openstack-neutron-lbaas, openstack-nova, openstack-octavia, openstack-sahara, python-psutil, release-notes-suse-openstack-cloud, freerdp, mailman, and slurm), and Ubuntu (ruby2.3, ruby2.5).

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • America’s Mask Bans in the Age of Face Recognition Surveillance
            • Pennsylvania Supreme Court Says Compelled Password Production Violates The Fifth Amendment

              The Fifth Amendment prevents compelled production of passwords, the top court in Pennsylvania has ruled. (h/t ACLU) It joins a handful of other state courts finding passwords to be testimonial, including Indiana, Illinois, and Florida. Unfortunately, there’s no SCOTUS opinion uniting the states, so Fifth Amendment coverage remains spotty.

            • EU raises eyebrows at possible US encryption ban

              The growing battle over end-to-end encryption took another turn last week, when EU officials warned that they may not take kindly to a US encryption ban or insertion of crypto backdoor technology.

              In June 2019, senior US government officials met to discuss whether they could legislate tech companies into not using unbreakable encryption. According to Politico, the National Security Council pondered whether to ask Congress to outlaw end-to-end encryption, which is a technology used by companies to keep your data safe and secure.

              To recap briefly, US law enforcement worries about its targets such as criminals and terrorists “going dark” by using this technology to shield their communications. Banning it outright would make it easier for government agencies to access those messages and documents. Encryption advocates counter that making encryption breakable would also allow malicious actors such as foreign governments to steal domestic secrets and they also worry about unlawful access to information by their own governments.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Russian Orthodox fundamentalist who threatened to burn down movie theaters in 2017 has been freed

        On November 26, a court sentenced Alexander Kalinin, the leader of the group “Christian State,” to a year already served in pretrial detention for issuing violent threats to movie theaters that showed the historical romantic drama film “Matilda.” He went free in the courtroom. The ultra-conservative Christian activist previously faced extremism charges, but this case was dropped after the partial decriminalization of Russia’s hate speech laws. 

      • The US Has Tried to Divide Iraqis. Now Protests Are Uniting Them.

        In Iraq, more than 340 people have died since anti-government protests began in early October. More than 15,000 Iraqis have been injured. Tires were set on fire Monday and main roads and bridges were blocked in the cities of Basra and Nassiriya. Over the weekend, security forces opened fire on civilians in Baghdad and other cities. Demonstrators are protesting corruption and lack of jobs and basic services, including clean water and electricity. In Baghdad, many university students are taking part in the demonstrations. To talk more about the protests in Iraq we are joined by the Iraqi poet, novelist, translator, and scholar Sinan Antoon. He was born and raised in Baghdad and his most recent novel is titled, The Book of Collateral Damage. “What’s really important is the reclaiming of Iraqi identity and a new sense of Iraqi nationalism that transcends the sectarian discourse that was institutionalized by the United States in 2003,” Antoon says.

      • End the Wars, Win the Antiwar Vote

        Like anyone else who was around that day, I can tell you exactly where I was on 9/11.I was a Catholic school eighth grader, fresh off my 14th birthday. The school day lurched along for a while, but eventually we dropped the pretense of carrying on. Teachers ushered us into the adjoining church for a prayer service, then sent us home early.

      • Kurdistan Region of Iraq: Refugees’ Movements Restricted

        Security forces for Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have arbitrarily imposed restrictions on movement for most residents of Makhmour refugee camp for Turkish Kurds since mid-July 2019, Human Rights Watch said today.

      • Syria: Civilians Abused in ‘Safe Zones’
      • The Legacy of Uganda’s Kasese Massacre

        Three years ago, the Ugandan army attacked the Rwenzururu royal palace in the town of Kasese, resulting in the deaths of over 100 people. But the families of those killed are still waiting for answers, amid fears of reprisals for pressing for justice.

    • Environment

      • ‘The Science Is Screaming’: UN Report Warns Only Rapid and Transformational Action Can Stave Off Global Climate Disaster

        “Failure to heed these warnings and take drastic action to reverse emissions means we will continue to witness deadly and catastrophic heatwaves, storms, and pollution.”

      • Climate Change is a War Crime
      • Energy

        • Russia’s largest independent oil-processing plant loses one of Putin’s ex-classmates and gains another, sources tell ‘Kommersant’

          Former Putin classmate Ilham Rahimov has replaced another peer from the president’s university days at the Antipinsky oil refinery, Russia’s largest independent oil-processing plant. Sources told the newspaper Kommersant that Ilham Rahimov, a partner at the “Kievskaya Ploshchad” real-estate group, has acquired shares in the Antipinsky refinery. According to the newspaper, Rahimov and former Lukoil senior vice president Valery Subbotin are the ultimate beneficiaries of the offshore firm “Nitron Investments,” through which a chain of other companies has a stake in “Sokar Energy Resource,” the owner of 80 percent of the Antipinsky refinery.

        • Oil and Gas Industry Rebukes Fracking Ban Talk as UN Shows Just How Much Fossil Fuel Plans Are Screwing Climate Limits

          API’s video is part of a broader strategic campaign by the oil and gas industry to quash public support for a national ban on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and to promote itself as the “natural gas and oil industry.” The lobbying group released its video last week to coincide with the fifth Democratic presidential debate, saying, “some Democratic presidential candidates are now proposing restrictive energy policies that would erase a generation of American progress.”

      • Overpopulation

        • The Choice Is Ours: Extinction or Rebellion?

          In the early twentieth century, tens of millions died under the Stalinist regime. We blame these deaths on the wickedness of socialism. Later, in Germany, around 6 million Jews were systematically murdered in gas chambers. We blame these deaths on the ills of fascism. At the other end of the Eurasian continent, around 22 – 45 million died under Chairman Mao between 1958-1962.

        • Hunger Games: Food Abundance and Twisted Truths

          The world already produces enough food to feed 10 billion people but over two billion are experiencing micronutrient deficiencies (of which 821 million were classed as chronically undernourished in 2018). However, supporters of genetic engineering (GE) crops continually push the narrative that GE technology is required if we are to feed the world and properly support farmers.   

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • We’re Grateful for the Constitution
      • It’s Past Time Congress Reined in the President’s Emergency Powers
      • Bloomberg Scandals Don’t Bother the Billionaire’s Punditry Class Cheerleaders

        Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s entrance into the crowded presidential race hasn’t caused big changes in polling for the top three Democratic candidates Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. It has, however, brought a number of media cheerleaders for the city’s richest resident out of the woodwork.

      • A Tale of Two Princes

        Prince Andrew and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia have both had a bad week.

      • If Not for Damage to Future Presidents, Trump Claims He Would ‘Love’ to Have Pompeo, Mulvaney, Perry, Bolton, and Others Testify

        “Donald Trump,” responded one sarcastic critic, “famed for his consideration of other Presidents.”

      • No ‘Revolution’ Without Palestine: a Letter to Bernie Sanders

        On Tuesday, November 12, Israeli forces assassinated Islamic Jihad Commander Bahaa Abu al-Ata, along with his wife, in their home in the besieged Gaza strip.

      • Waging War Against the Rule of Law

        There is no doubt about it: at our present moment in history it is embarrassingly hard to be a defender of the rule of law. This is particularly so when such laws seek to assert and protect human rights. It is embarrassing because being supportive of such regulations should be a “no-brainer.” Instead, it pits you against the U.S. government and its closest ally, Israel.

      • Zelenskyy and Putin had one phone call, but their teams put out two very different press releases about it

        On November 18, the Russian government returned the Berdyansk, the Nikopol, and the Yany Kapu to Ukraine a year after the three ships were seized as material evidence in a border violation case. Kyiv complained that all of the vessels’ equipment had been removed, including “ceiling lamps, electrical outlets, and toilets.” The Russian Federal Security Service responded that the ships had been returned “in normal condition and with functional sanitary equipment.”

      • House Judiciary Committee Sets Dec. 4 Impeachment Hearing

        The House Judiciary Committee is set to take over the impeachment probe of President Donald Trump next week, scheduling a Dec. 4 hearing on the question of “high crimes and misdemeanors” set out in the Constitution.

      • Bringing Shame To Our People and Our Country: Miller (Still) Must Go

        Democrats, civil rights groups and other sentient humans have demanded the removal of Nazi-fan-boy, xenophobe and, yes, Jew Stephen Miller after emails leaked of him peddling white nationalist conspiracies and ranting about white genocide. Now, after more damning leaks, multiple Jewish groups say he must go; they include a broad progressive coalition and three branches of

      • Obama Privately Considered Leading ‘Stop-Bernie Campaign’ to Combat Sanders 2020 Surge: Report

        “From lofty heights, Obama has now become a dampener of hope, a barrier to change, and a threat to progress.”

      • Obama Is Wrong to Push Democratic Party Centrism

        Former President Barack Obama recently offered some pointed criticism of the Democratic party’s “activist wing,” cautioning candidates to not move too far left and to remain “rooted in reality.”“The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it,” Obama told an audience in Washington, D.C.

      • The Age of Trump, the End of What?

        French king Louis XV reputedly said, “Après moi, le déluge.” (“After me, the flood.”) Whether that line was really his or not remains unclear, but not long after his death did come the French Revolution. We should be so lucky! Our all-American version of Louis XV, Donald I, is incapable, I suspect, of even imagining a world after him. Given the historically unprecedented way he’s covered by the “fake” or “corrupt” news media, that “enemy of the people,” I doubt they really can either.

      • Misinformation Efforts Over Kentucky Vote Could Be Playbook for 2020

        The right-wing radio personality took to Twitter not long after the polls had closed and it seemed the Democtratic candidate had prevailed in the excruciatingly close race for governor of Kentucky.

        “Today #ELECTIONFRAUD and what is going on in #kentucky is REAL,” the host of “Tore Says,” streamed on the Red State Talk Radio website, tweeted on Nov. 8. “How do I know? I am actually have EVIDENCE because me and my family are VICTIMS of it.”

      • Judge Says Trump Can’t Block Officials From Testifying

        In a legal ruling that has major implications for the impeachment inquiry, a federal judge on Monday ordered former White House counsel Don McGahn to comply with a congressional subpoena and testify before House impeachment investigators.

      • Jeremy Corbyn Denies Chief Rabbi’s Charge of Anti-Semitism

        Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn sought Tuesday to defuse harsh criticism about anti-Semitism leveled at the party by Britain’s chief rabbi.

      • European Pirates voted against the new European Commission

        n today’s vote, Pirates MEPs voted against the new European Commission under the leadership of Ursula von der Leyen. Neither the digital policy, nor the personal composition, nor the process of Commission setup are satisfactory.

        Pirates disagree on the program, which is often in direct contradiction with the principles of free internet and respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms, such as the right to privacy. “Ursula von der Leyen advocates upload filters, and even on such a simple matter as promising not to deepen the interference with the privacy of Europe’s citizens (surveillance moratorium), she failed to make a clear commitment,” said Marcel Kolaja, head of the Pirates’ delegation. “Freedom of the Internet and digital rights are key issues for our voters and us, which we have come to defend in the European Parliament, and this Commission does not have our confidence,” said Pirate MEP Patrick Breyer.

        The newly elected Commission shall act as defender of the Treaties in the member states. “Commissioners nominated by Hungary, Poland or Czechia remain in close contact with the ruling nationalistic parties of the countries. Such a conflict of interests effectively prevents independent actions on behalf of Commission to protect the Rule of law in the countries,” comments Mikuláš Peksa, chairperson of the European Pirate party. “French commissioner Breton responsible for IT industry is close to the board of a major digital company thus establishing a danger for data protection of European citizens. ” adds Peksa.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Doctors Petition UK Home Secretary Over Julian Assange

        We write this open letter, as medical doctors, to express our serious concerns about the physical and mental health of Julian Assange. Our professional concerns follow publication recently of the harrowing eyewitness accounts of Craig Murray and John Pilger of the case management hearing on Monday 21 October 2019 at Westminster Magistrates Court. The hearing related to the upcoming February 2020 hearing of the request by the US government for Mr Assange’s extradition to the US in relation to his work as a publisher of information, including information about alleged crimes of the US government.

        Our concerns were further heightened by the publication on 1 November 2019 of a further report of Nils Melzer, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, in which he stated: ‘Unless the UK urgently changes course and alleviates his inhumane situation, Mr Assange’s continued exposure to arbitrariness and abuse may soon end up costing his life.’

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • ‘This Is Meant to Scare Workers’: Vows to Fight Back After Google Fires Four Employees Who Led Organizing

        “They think this will crush our efforts, but it won’t. For every one they retaliate against, there are hundreds of us who will fight.”

      • Russia’s Justice Ministry refuses to share the materials it used to designate anti-corruption activists as ‘foreign agents’

        Russia’s Justice Ministry has refused to share a copy of the evidence it used to designate the Anti-Corruption Foundation as a “foreign agent,” the organization’s director, Ivan Zhdanov, revealed in a tweet on Tuesday.

      • Moscow university student charged with ‘justifying terrorism’ says federal agents tortured him in the school library

        Marat Nigmatulin, the first-year Moscow State University philosophy student charged with “justifying terrorism,” says federal agents tortured him on school grounds. Nigmatulin told the television network Dozhd that the incident occurred on November 20, when two Federal Security Service agents confronted him at the MGU library and demanded that he sign a confession stating that he “created a terrorist organization with 100 members,” “arranged terrorist attacks in Kerch, Arkhangelsk, and Blagoveshchensk,” “built close ties with German, French, British, and Cuban intelligence,” “worked for the Vatican for many years,” and “sold Russia’s military secrets to foreigners.”

      • Bangladesh Turning Refugee Camps into Open-Air Prisons

        Bangladesh Army Chief Gen. Aziz Ahmed said this week that a plan to surround the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar with barbed wire fences and guard towers was “in full swing.”

      • Chile Despertó! Chile Has Woken Up! The Rising Fight Against Neo-Liberalism in Chile

        ¡Chile despertó!¡Piñera, renuncia!¡Piñera ya fue!¡Que se vayan los milicos!Chile Has Woken Up!Piñera Resign!Piñera Has Gone!Let the “Milicos” leave! (“Milicos” is a derogatoryword for police and military personnel)

      • Chile: Police Reforms Needed in the Wake of Protests

        Chile’s national police, Carabineros, committed serious human rights violations, including excessive use of force in the streets and abuses in detention, after thousands of Chileans took to the streets on and in the weeks following October 18, 2019. Human Rights Watch met with President Sebastián Piñera on November 26 and recommended a series of reforms directed to help prevent police misconduct and strengthen oversight in the wake of compelling evidence of excessive use of force and abuses against demonstrators and bystanders. 

      • Chilean Government Cracks Down as Protest Becomes Deep Movement for Change

        Moving into the sixth week of massive protests, Chilean authorities have shown few signs of resolving the crises that began over a public transportation fare hike and quickly evolved into widespread criticism of the country’s profound inequality and neoliberal policies. Instead of seeking democratic solutions that engage relevant social and political sectors, President Sebastián Piñera’s government has responded with brutal force to subdue popular dissent.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Empty T-Mobile Promises Convince Texas To Back Off Merger Lawsuit

        While the DOJ and FCC have rubber stamped T-Mobile’s controversial $26 billion merger with Sprint, the megadeal still faces stiff opposition from more than a dozen state AGs. What began as a coalition of ten states had been slowly expanding over the last few months to include states like Texas. Collectively, state AGs have made it very clear that every meaningful economic metric indicates the deal will erode competition, raise rates, and result in thousands of layoffs as redundant employees are inevitably eliminated.

      • Weather forecasters lost the battle for strict interference limits on 5G

        Weather forecasters pushing for strict limits on 5G’s rapidly growing footprint were dealt a blow today by the World Radiocommunication Conference in Egypt. Delegates there voted to create a new international standard that places much looser limits on interference from 5G operating in a specific radio frequency that’s crucial to accurate weather forecasting. Meteorology experts worry that this decision could one day seriously impact their ability to forecast severe storms, leaving communities around the world vulnerable to extreme weather events.

    • Monopolies

      • ‘Law on steroids’: students reveal IP career expectations

        IP provides an opportunity to be creative and is seen as more “playful” and dynamic than other areas of law, according to students about to embark on a career in the industry.

      • Examining Pharmaceutical Exceptionalism: Intellectual Property, Practical Expediency, and Global Health

        Advocates, activists, and academics have criticized pharmaceutical intellectual property (“pharma IP”) rights as obstacles to access to medicines for the global poor. These criticisms of pharma IP holders are frequently exceptionalist: they focus on pharma IP holders while ignoring whether others also bear obligations to assist patients in need. These others include holders of other lucrative IP rights, such as music copyrights or technology patents; firms, such as energy companies and banks, that do not rely on IP; and wealthy private individuals. Their resources could be used to aid patients by providing direct medical assistance, funding prizes or biomedical research, or purchasing pharmaceutical patents and granting rights to the disadvantaged.

        After identifying this exceptionalism, this Article evaluates several arguments in its defense. These are that pharma IP holders are unique in (1) owning what poor patients need, (2) being in special proximity to these patients, (3) being able to assist at low cost to themselves, (4) having a professional duty to help these patients, or (5) being implicated by their past conduct in these patients’ plight. It concludes that none of these arguments are compelling: while IP holders have a duty to help, this duty is not fundamentally different from the duties others owe.

        Even though this project criticizes exceptionalism, it does not absolve pharma IP holders of duties to help the sick. Rather, it argues that spreading the costs of aiding patients in need across a greater number of market actors, via publicly funded “pull” programs like prizes and patent buyouts or “push” programs like grants, would be preferable. So would allowing pharmaceutical firms to seek contribution from others who are able to help. However, if others cannot be held to account, imposing burdens on pharma IP holders can be justified in order to promote global health: treating wealthy firms arbitrarily is preferable to ignoring the urgent needs of the global poor.

      • Patents

        • FTC leverages its assets against Qualcomm’s appeal: “strikingly consistent” industry testimony, Qualcomm’s own documents, heightened deference to witness credibility findings

          In its answering brief to Qualcomm’s Ninth Circuit antitrust appeal, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) downplays the importance of Judge Lucy H. Koh’s holding that Qualcomm has an antitrust duty to license rival chipset makers. The FTC describes that part as “secondary” in the greater scheme of things. But that’s a gross understatement. The FTC may take a holistic perspective and/or may be more interested in Qualcomm’s “No License-No Chips” policy, but a firm obligation to extend exhaustive licenses, on FRAND terms, to rival chipset makers has enormous problem-solving potential and definitely matters to the industry at large.

          By electing to rely on a contract-antitrust combination (arguing that the violation of competition law lies in a breach of a contract that is, as I put it, a cartel remedy), the FTC actually makes the chipset licensing part even more applicable to automotive supplier Continental’s antitrust lawsuit in the same district as Nokia, too, signed ATIS’ and TIA’s FRAND licensing pledges, and could be held in violation of antitrust law on the same grounds as Qualcomm. By contrast, even if an attempt to push the Aspen Skiing duty-to-deal envelope succeeded to the extent that Judge Koh’s related decision could be upheld on the original grounds, one would still have to prove–in order to establish an antitrust violation–that a company like Nokia abandoned a prior voluntary and profitable course of dealing, which would be hard to do in most if not all cases.


          Of the passages of the FTC’s brief that address precedent, I liked the part on linkLine best. I’ve talked about that case before and will address it again between now and the appellate hearing–but that’s not a suitable topic for this bird’s-eye view post.

        • Added DoE Flexibility Sticks: Federal Circuit Denies Rehearing in Ajinomoto [Ed: The patent zealots call the law, justice, judges, courts “awful”… because they don’t swallow the zealots’ pill, allowing fake patents]

          Yes – this is awful. Its not me; Lets blame the courts who wanted to empower patentees with the doctrine of equivalents but then became afraid that they had gone too far.

          In Ajinomoto, the Federal Circuit found that the patentee had found its way through the DoEPHETAN maze. As originally filed, the patent claims covered the accused genetically engineered E. coli. During prosecution the claims were narrowed to avoid a particular prior art references. However, the accused bacteria is also different from the amended-around prior art and so the Federal Circuit found the amendment merely tangential to the equivalent and therefore did not bar the patentee from relying upon the Doctrine of Equivalents. In the original decision, the majority (Judges MOORE and TARANTO) sided with the patentee while Judge DYK dissented in part.

          In recent filings, the adjudged infringer (CheilJedang) asked for rehearing — arguing that the majority “applied an expansive approach” the “merely tangential” exception rather than the proscribed “very narrow” application.

        • CRISPR Housekeeping

          Part of every interference are a variety of housekeeping matters which, while not dispositive, are important to recognize for their effects (or potential effects) on the proceedings. Some are simple matters: for example, on October 28th, the Board granted the Broad’s request for authorization to file a Reply to CVC’s (the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Vienna; and Emmanuelle Charpentier) opposition to the Broad’s Substantive Motion No. 1 (which the Broad filed on November 4th), and CVC filed its revised protective order on November 7th, pursuant to the Board’s earlier authorization.

          More recently, the Board issued an Order denying CVC relief requested on two grounds. First, CVC requested authorization to file a sur-reply to Broad’s reply to CVC’s opposition to Broad’s Motion No. 1. The Board denied this motion for now, saying that it could reconsider after it had had the opportunity to review the Broad’s motion, CVC’s Opposition, and the Broad’s Reply. This result logically followed from the grounds CVC asserted in support of its sur-reply request, including that the Broad in its reply had mischaracterized CVC’s arguments in its Opposition.


          Finally, for now, on November 20th CVC provided an updated Notice of Related Proceedings, informing the Board and the Broad of the following newly granted patents (as well as additional pending applications), none of which are involved in this interference…

        • Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. v. Wyeth LLC (Fed. Cir. 2019)

          Today, in Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. v. Wyeth LLC, the Federal Circuit vacated and remanded two final written decisions by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Patent Trial and Appeal Board finding claim 18 of U.S. Patent No. 8,562,999 to be nonobvious. The ’999 patent, which is directed to formulations for stabilizing polysaccharide-protein conjugate vaccines, is assigned to Wyeth LLC.

          Polysaccharide-protein conjugate vaccines are derived from capsular polysaccharides present on the surface of certain disease-causing bacteria. These capsular polysaccharides can be used by the human immune system to detect different serotypes (or strains) of a bacterial species. Polysaccharide vaccines can be monovalent (comprising a single serotype) or multivalent (comprising multiple serotypes). Because such capsular polysaccharides may have low immunogenicity, it is desirable to enhance the effectiveness of vaccines comprising such polysaccharides by conjugating the polysaccharides to a carrier protein with high immunogenicity. As the ’999 patent explains, however, polysaccharide-protein conjugate vaccines aggregate when exposed to silicone oil, which is commonly used as a lubricant in vaccine storage containers.

        • Sony Patent Tweaks DualShock Design for PlayStation 5

          As with every new hardware generation, it’s not just the games console being upgraded, we also get a new controller iteration, too. A new patent filing by Sony has revealed what looks to be the design of the DualShock 5.

          As VentureBeat reports, a new patent filed by Sony has appeared at the Japanese patent office for what’s clearly a new DualShock controller for the PlayStation 5. The good news is for anyone who enjoys gaming with their DualShock 4, the DualShock 5 is almost exactly the same design with a few minor, but important tweaks.

        • BMW sued for patent infringement over hybrid engine technology

          BMW has been hit with a patent infringement lawsuit from a U.S. hybrid engine technology provider.

          Paice and nonprofit The Abell Foundation said BMW has infringed on their patents involving hybrid engines, according to a suit filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Maryland. Baltimore-based Abell Foundation is an investor in Paice, which is also based in Baltimore.

          Infringement is claimed on eight BMW hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles, including the 330e iPerformance, 530e iPerformance, 750e xDrive iPerformance, i8 Roadster Plug-in and Mini Countryman Plug-in.

          “Paice shared intimate details of our hybrid vehicle technology with BMW in good faith,” Paice CEO Robert Oswald said in a statement. “Rather than negotiate a license for our technology, BMW took what it learned from Paice and used it for its own gain.”

        • Apple Will Continue Licensing Acquired Intel Patents

          Over the summer, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) acquired the bulk of Intel’s (NASDAQ:INTC) smartphone modem business in a $1 billion deal that will accelerate the timeline for Apple’s in-house 5G modem. That transaction was precipitated by Apple settling its legal war with Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), which was followed by Intel announcing it was abandoning the 5G modem market.

          The Cupertino tech giant is now the owner of numerous cellular standards-essential patents (SEPs). Any entity that owns SEPs is expected to license out the intellectual property (IP) on a fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) basis. This week, Apple published a statement committing to doing exactly that.

        • Software Patents

          • Court Examines Inadvertent Waiver in Patent Prosecution Context

            Lawyers give advice. It’s a big part of the job. Sometimes it’s legal advice and sometimes it’s business advice and sometimes (particularly for lawyers who focus on technology and intellectual property) it’s hard to tell. And that can be a problem. Because the conversations clients have with their lawyers are protected—until they aren’t. The idea that a client can talk freely and confidentially with her lawyer without fear that the conversation will be disclosed is fundamental to the American legal system. Lawyers and lay people alike understand that concept implicitly, and most probably assume that the protection is extremely broad, which in many cases it is.

          • Apple patent aims for more streamlined control of your home lighting

            It’s not uncommon for a patent filing to send the rumor mills into overdrive, and a recent Apple patent has succeeded in doing exactly that. The patent describes a method for maintaining the same level of ambient light in a room no matter the placement of the sun. For example, the described sensor would be able to detect when the sun moves behind a cloud and brighten the lights in the room, or vice-versa.

      • Trademarks

        • China apex court Honda decision a boon for brand owners

          Brand owners have welcomed a ruling by China’s Supreme People’s Court (SPC) that marks a turning point for trademark enforcement against those producing and exporting counterfeit goods.

        • When is Harvard not Harvard ?

          In the recent IPOS decision of Harvard Club of Singapore v President and Fellows of Harvard College [2019] SGIPOS 14, the President and Fellows of Harvard College (the body corporate constituting Harvard University) (“Applicant”) filed two applications to register “HARVARD CLUB OF SINGAPORE” and “HARVARD UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE” in Class 41, both for “Club Services [education or entertainment]”. They were opposed by the Harvard Club of Singapore (“Opponent”).

          The Opponent was registered in 1969 and, for most of its existence, was recognised by the Applicant as the official Harvard Club in Singapore. However, in 2015, the Applicant’s Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) terminated its relationship with the Opponent and revoked its status as a recognised Harvard alumni club, as a result of the Opponent’s failure to comply with HAA’s request that its president Dr Irene Lee step down.


          Section 7(5) TMA In relation to “HARVARD CLUB OF SINGAPORE”, the Opponent relied on S7(5) TMA, which states that a “trade mark shall not be registered if or to the extent that its use is prohibited in Singapore by any written law or rule of law”. The written law relied on was S4(3) of the Societies Act, which states that the Registrar may refuse to register a society if inter alia its name is identical to that of an existing society. The argument was that the Applicant, by applying to register “HARVARD CLUB OF SINGAPORE” intended to form a new society under that name and the Register of Societies would have to reject it.

          This argument was rejected by the Registrar, who held that S7(5) TMA concerned actual “use” in the real world, which was clearly different from the act of registration of a society.

          Accordingly, the Opponent failed on all grounds of opposition.


          The author understands that an appeal to the High Court has just been filed.

        • Crystal Head vodka 3D shape mark invalitiy application: Who you gunna call?!

          Is a skull shaped bottle for vodka devoid of distinctive character and does it substantially enhance the attractiveness of the goods and strongly influence consumer preferences? A recent decision of the Cancellation Division considered the absolute grounds for resual of a 3D shape mark, which offered this Kat the opportunity to post a cat in a Ghostbusters costume!


          The Cancellation Division found that the applicant failed to demonstrate that the proprietor emphasised the aesthetic qualities of the EUTM first when promoting its products. There was no evidence of a systematic promotional campaign that placed the primary emphasis on the design of the bottle, which could have been demonstrated with adverts or screenshots of the proprietor’s website. Instead, most of the extracts seemed to be commentaries on events or interviews which was not deemed evidence of a regular marketing campaign focusing on the aesthetics of the bottle.

          The Cancellation Division took the view that the applicant merely demonstrated that there are people who like the appearance of the crystal head bottle, but not that the EUTM proprietor promotes the appearance and aesthetics of its bottle to the extent that it has become an essential part of its branding, increasing the appeal, and therefore the value, of the product contained within the bottle. Furthermore, the proprietor demonstrated that the appearance of the bottle did not strongly sway the preference of the consumer, who is primarily intent upon purchasing a luxury vodka product, by way of several compelling items of evidence, such as winning blind taste test awards. Therefore, concluding that the applicant failed to prove that the design of the EUTM was an essential element of the branding policy of the proprietor which increased the value of the product and the application was rejected.

        • Cannabis Trademarks and the First Amendment

          A review of Supreme Court trademark litigation interpreting the First Amendment as well as recent trademark litigation at the state and federal levels. The prohibition on immoral trademarks has been steadily eroding as a result of First Amendment litigation at the United States Supreme Court. In light of recent Supreme Court decisions on trademark registrations and free speech, the question then becomes: Is the ban on cannabis trademark registrations justifiable in light of the First Amendment in view of these recent cases? The issue of whether the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) should or will issue registrations in light of this recent line of cases is discussed.

      • Copyrights

        • Kylie Minogue not so lucky in IPEC copyright infringement claim

          BCPL, the defendant, is owned by Caprice Bourret, a well-known model and TV star. BCPL makes and sells bed linen products (among other things) under the “By Caprice Home” brand; two of these products, a duvet cover and a matching runner, were the subject of the dispute (the “Amore products”).

          It was common ground that Ashley Wilde owns copyright in the prototype fabric design (an artistic work) for the “Evangeline” duvet cover in the “Kylie Minogue at Home” range. The cover was sold in the UK online and in physical stores in 2014-15 at least. As readers can probably see for themselves, the design (top of the below image) features a repeating horizontal pattern of “scallop-style” pleats.


          In a way, this case concerns simply the good old-fashioned idea/expression dichotomy. Although the parties’ respective products were both available in the UK within a few years of each other, the evidence showed that scallops and pleats were “having ‘a moment’” in the fashion and interior design industries in 2016, when the Amore products were designed. Although conceptually the parties’ products were similar, the respective expressions of the relevant idea were not particularly similar.

          Ashley Wilde was clearly left spinning [around] by the total rejection of its expert evidence on the basis of partiality. Because there was no “smoking gun” hidden in BCPL’s story of independent creation, Ashley Wilde needed its evidence regarding close similarities to be persuasive. Unfortunately for Ashley Wilde, this was not to be.

        • Google v Oracle could ‘restore us to the world before’

          Lawyers say that Google v Oracle has the potential to upend common understanding of software copyright, but alternatively that the US Supreme Court decision might not provide any clarity at all.

Librem 5 Batches Are About 100 Each (in Production)

Posted in Hardware at 6:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A phone backlit

Summary: The vision of Purism is promising (freedom-respecting mobile devices), but practical limitations seem to be getting in the way and even big fans have begun reconsidering

EARLIER this week we wrote about evident problems with shipment/fulfillment by Purism after we had seen press reports about it and also heard from readers.

One such reader said he read an article on Techrights regarding Purism and “would like to add the problems [he was] having.”

“I can’t believe there is only 350 units being produced for the first 4 batches??? This stinks!”
“Last Tuesday,” he said, “after reading many articles about the Librem 5, I decided to ask for a refund on my ‘pre-ordered’ phone as I feel some things don’t feel right. The communication was cordial, making sure they had the right credit card details to my account and was told it would take 2 – 15 days.

“On Thursday I checked my Purism account to still find my order was ‘active’ and awaiting shipping, so I emailed again asking for confirmation, only to receive a very cavalier response saying ‘we’ll sort it in a couple of days!’

“As you can imagine this was a red rag with my reply being rather angry reminding them I wasn’t a backer but a pre-order and interest will [be] expected. As of today my order is still active and I don’t hold much hope that anything will happen soon.

“The good news is, less than a day ago we learned that Purism issued a refund.”“So info I did find strange was on the Purism forum, an early backer 350th (he screen shot his place) received his email asking what batch he would like, which he put Aspen, Birch and Chestnut, only to receive a reply he would be in Evergreen? I can’t believe there is only 350 units being produced for the first 4 batches??? This stinks!”

That’s the bad news. The good news is, less than a day ago we learned that Purism issued a refund. So at least our worst fears are bygones.

Understanding Thierry Breton: “Mister Cash” and “Madame Bailout”

Posted in Europe, Finance at 4:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Understanding Thierry Breton

Further parts pending review and research

Lagarde with mirrors
The IMF’s “Madame Bailout”: Always smiling, always polite –
“but she’s an American lawyer at heart – a killer shark”

Summary: In December 2016 Lagarde was found guilty of negligence but served no time because of connections

The bromance with Nicolas may have turned sour but Thierry continues to enjoy cordial relations with other former cabinet colleagues.

One person with whom he has maintained close links over the years is the high-flier Christine Lagarde, the IMF’s “Madame Bailout”, who is regularly fêted in media puff-pieces as the “rock-star” of international finance.

Lagarde was appointed head of the International Monetary Fund in 2011 and has recently moved back across the Atlantic to take over the helm at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt.

“She handled major antitrust and labour cases, was made partner after six years and was named head of the firm in Western Europe. She joined the Executive Committee in 1995 and was elected as company chairman in October 1999.”Her career began as a lawyer back in the 1980s when she joined the Chicago-based international law firm Baker & McKenzie as an associate after completing law studies in Paris in 1981. She handled major antitrust and labour cases, was made partner after six years and was named head of the firm in Western Europe. She joined the Executive Committee in 1995 and was elected as company chairman in October 1999.

According to press reports, Lagarde’s years working in America gave her “an empathy with Anglo-Saxon ways” and “a pragmatic, team-oriented style of solving problems”.

But the charming and elegant facade conceals a ruthless streak. One official who had the misfortune to fall out with her put it like this: “She’s always smiling, always polite, but she’s an American lawyer at heart – a killer shark”.

In May 2005, Lagarde left her legal career in Chicago and returned to France to take up a position as Minister for Foreign Trade under President Jacques Chirac and his Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin.

“While Thierry’s wife, Valerie, was off on a jolly up the Ganges with First Lady Bernadette Chirac, Thierry and Christine were busy posing for official photo-ops alongside Uncle Jacques.”A few months earlier in February 2005, Thierry Breton had assumed his portfolio as Minister for the Economy.

The two newcomers at the cabinet table had some common ground because they were not career politicians but had started their careers in the private sector. In addition to this they were both ideologically aligned to the neo-liberal wing of the UMP.

Press photos from that period often show Breton and Lagarde in tandem, frequently appearing together with their political patron, Jacques Chirac.

Lagarde's plane meeting
On board the presidential jet with defence minister Michele Alliot-Marie (February 2006)

For example, they were among the select group of ministers who accompanied Chirac on his state visit to India in February 2006.

Chirac, Lagarde and Breton
Accompanying Uncle Jacques on a state visit to India (February 2006)

While Thierry’s wife, Valerie, was off on a jolly up the Ganges with First Lady Bernadette Chirac, Thierry and Christine were busy posing for official photo-ops alongside Uncle Jacques.

Official press photos from the period indicate a strong professional rapport between the Ministers for Economy and Foreign Trade who often appear in public like two peas in the proverbial pod.

lagarde and Breton
The ministerial duo – like two peas in the proverbial pod

It comes as no surprise to find that the pair continued to rub shoulders at social events long after Thierry had departed from the cabinet table. A photo from 2009 shows the pair enjoying a “night at the opera” in Paris where they attended a gala performance of Verdi’s Macbeth organised by the Friends of the Paris Opera.

Lagarde and Breton true love
A night at the opera: attending a performance of “Macbeth” in Paris (April 2009)

As we have seen, Sarkozy decided to ditch Breton as Minister for Economy when he took over the reins of power in France in May 2007.

However, he kept the “killer shark” Lagarde on his team. She was initially assigned to the Ministry of Agriculture but a few weeks later after a disappointing election result for the UMP, Sarkozy decided to reshuffle his recently-formed cabinet.

As a result of this reshuffle, Lagarde was moved to the Ministry for Economy (Bercy) where she was mandated to oversee various reforms, including tax cuts and the implementation of measures to liberalise the labour market.

Lagarde remained at Bercy until mid-2011 when a high-profile international scandal that erupted around the IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn suddenly and unexpectedly opened up a new career opportunity for her.

DSK and Lagarde
Lagarde with IMF head honcho DSK – the body language says it all…

On 14 May 2011, Strauss-Kahn (often referred to by his initials as “DSK”) was arrested and charged with the sexual assault and attempted rape of 32-year-old Nafissatou Diallo, a chambermaid at the Sofitel New York Hotel in Manhattan earlier that day.

At the time of the alleged attack, Strauss-Kahn was the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and a kingpin of the French Socialist Party where he was regarded as the favoured candidate for the upcoming French Presidential election in 2012.

“Strauss-Kahn’s position at the IMF quickly became untenable as criminal proceedings were opened against him in New York on charges of sexual assault and attempted rape. Four days after his arrest, he resigned as head of the IMF.”But, as is well known, a week is a long time in politics. Strauss-Kahn’s position at the IMF quickly became untenable as criminal proceedings were opened against him in New York on charges of sexual assault and attempted rape. Four days after his arrest, he resigned as head of the IMF.

The criminal charges were eventually dismissed at the request of the prosecution due to doubts about the testimony provided by the alleged victim and a lack of conclusive physical evidence. Diallo filed a parallel civil suit against Strauss-Kahn which was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount, reported to have been $1.5 million.

The affair brought a sudden and abrupt end to Strauss-Kahn’s IMF career on the international stage. However, his difficulties turned out to be a golden opportunity for Lagarde.

Her privileged relationship with Sarkozy propelled her to the forefront in the IMF succession stakes and before long she was once again on her way across the Atlantic to take up her new position in Washington D.C.

But the past was about to catch up with her.

Several months after her appointment as head of the IMF, the public prosecutor in France recommended an investigation into her involvement in a massive government payout to businessman Bernard Tapie in 2008.

The case itself was decades old, going back to the 1990s when Tapie had to sell his stake in the sportswear firm Adidas because he became a government minister under François Mitterand. From 1993 to 2008 a long-drawn out legal battle took place between Tapie and the partly state-owned Crédit Lyonnais bank. Tapie claimed that Crédit Lyonnais had short-changed him when it sold Adidas on his behalf.

In 2008, the case was referred to a special arbitration panel which ruled that Tapie should receive compensation of €404 million from the French state. Lagarde, who was Minister for Finance at the time, decided that the ruling should be accepted without challenge.

Bernard Tapie
Bernard Tapie received an award of €404m approved by Lagarde

The case was controversial because Tapie was a close friend of Sarkozy and he was reported to be on the verge of bankruptcy at the time of the settlement. It was alleged by opposition politicians that the settlement procedure had been politically motivated and was designed to reward Tapie for his support for Sarkozy during the 2007 election campaign.

“…a special court established to try cases of ministerial misconduct, ordered that Lagarde should stand trial for alleged complicity in the misuse of public funds.”On 3 December 2015, a French court ruled that Tapie should return the compensation with interest. A few days later, the Court of Justice of the Republic, a special court established to try cases of ministerial misconduct, ordered that Lagarde should stand trial for alleged complicity in the misuse of public funds.

Lagarde trial
Not amused – Christine Lagarde on the opening day of her trial in Paris (12 December 2016)

Following a hearing which took place in December 2016, Lagarde was found guilty of negligence. She was not present in court to hear the verdict because she had already left Paris to return to her IMF job in Washington.

Lagarde could have faced up to a year in prison and a fine of €15,000 upon conviction, but the court decided that she should be spared a sentence. And so, incredibly, despite the guilty verdict she emerged from the trial without a criminal record.

The court’s ruling, which took many by surprise, was “explained” by the presiding judge Martine Ract Madoux as follows: “The context of the global financial crisis in which Madame Lagarde found herself in should be taken into account.” The judge also cited the court’s desire to protect Ms Lagarde’s “good reputation” and “international standing” as reasons for not imposing a sentence!

“Following a hearing which took place in December 2016, Lagarde was found guilty of negligence.”To the outside observer, it seems like a clear case of “different strokes for different folks” in the land of “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity”.

Despite the leniency of the court, the episode must have been an unpleasant experience for someone like Lagarde who is not used to standing in the dock. But, despite the public embarrassment, she could take consolation from the loyal support that she received from many old friends during her ordeal.

These included her former cabinet colleague, Thierry Breton, who dutifully attended the hearings and was spotted in the foyer of the court exchanging pleasantries with Claude Soulier, general secretary of the CJR on 14 December 2016.

Claude Soulier and Breton
Breton with Claude Soulier, general secretary of the Court of Justice of the Republic, prior to a hearing of IMF boss Christine Lagarde (14 December 2016)

Whatever emotional distress Lagarde may have suffered from her little scrape with the CJR, she emerged unscathed from this encounter with the wheels of justice.

As one cynical commentator chose to put it: “As is usual for white-collar establishment criminals in France, she did not receive any formal punishment, and was left to get on with her career.”

Her term at the IMF was due run until 2021, but in July of this year Lagarde announced that she was stepping down early and would leave on 12 September 2019.

She hadn’t fallen victim to some sleazy PR disaster like her predecessor the self-confessed “libertine” and reported sexual predator, Strauss-Kahn. Nor was she facing fresh allegations of ministerial misconduct. On the contrary, she had her eyes set on a new career move.

“…Thierry Breton, who dutifully attended the hearings and was spotted in the foyer of the court exchanging pleasantries with Claude Soulier, general secretary of the CJR on 14 December 2016.”As it happened, Lagarde had just been nominated by EU leaders to replace the outgoing European Central Bank president Mario Draghi from 1 November. Her nomination was approved by the European Parliament on 17 September and her appointment was officially confirmed in October.

According to Politico, the choice of Lagarde for the top ECB post was the result of a Franco-German political “horse-trading” deal in return for which the Germans received the top job at the European Commission which was assigned to Ursula von der Leyen (née Albrecht).

There are still a lot of unanswered questions about Lagarde’s “non-conventional” appointment as president of the ECB but this is not the place to go into them.

All that remains to be said at this point is that it now seems almost certain that “Madame Bailout” will soon be joined in the upper echelons of the EU Nomenklatura by her old cabinet colleague, Thierry “Mister Cash” Breton, as soon as his nomination as Commissioner for the Internal Market has been rubber-stamped.

We will just have to wait and see whether or not Thierry will be at the receiving end of any gushing missives from Christine such as the “pledge of allegiance” which she addressed to her former political patron, Sarkozy.

According to press reports, this “billet-doux” to Sarkozy was found during a police raid on Lagarde’s Paris flat in 2013 in the course of investigations into the Tapie affair:

Dear Nicolas, very briefly and respectfully,
1) I am by your side to serve you and serve your plans for France.
2) I tried my best and might have failed occasionally. I implore your forgiveness.
3) I have no personal political ambitions and I have no desire to become a servile status seeker, like many of the people around you whose loyalty is recent and short-lived.
4) Use me for as long as it suits you and suits your plans and casting call.
5) If you decide to use me, I need you as a guide and a supporter: without a guide, I may be ineffective and without your support I may lack credibility.
With my great admiration,
Christine L.

In the next part we will explore Thierry’s connections to another UMP luminary, albeit a relatively minor one – Benoît Battistelli, a deputy-mayor of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, who gained notoriety as president of the European Patent Office.

Links 27/11/2019: Kali Linux 2019.4 Release and Plasma Browser Integration 1.7

Posted in News Roundup at 4:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • OpenMoji is an Open Source Emoji Set That Looks Awesome

      OpenMoji is an open source emoji library licensed under Creative Commons that’s totally, absolutely, and completely free to use.

      And I think it looks terrific!

      Most desktop Linux distributions (including Ubuntu) ship with full colour emoji support by default, making use of Google’s free, open-source Noto Color Emoji font.

      And I’ll state the obvious: Noto is a decent, comprehensive emoji set that doesn’t deviate too heavily in its design from the way emoji look on other operating systems and messaging service look, like Android and WhatsApp.

      Similarity is important because emoji that look different on different platforms can easily result in misunderstandings or dramatically alter the meaning and intent of a message.

    • A few tips on Mastodon

      In recent months, you may have come across the name Mastodon here and there. Especially two weeks ago, when Twitter again made headlines with some, possibly politically motivated, account suspensions that resulted in an influx of users from India to the federated network. Time to look at it a bit, also with regards to accessibility.

      Mastodon itself is merely the name of an application that, like many others, uses an open standard called ActivityPub to exchange and manage social media content. The perk is that there is not one centralized service that manages all users or the content they generate. Instead, there are hundreds or thousands of servers all over the world running the Mastodon software and exchange the status messages, called toots, by their users. This is called a federated model. Most of these instances, as the servers are called, are run by private persons or small companies, but as its popularity catches on, one can expect to see more instances by bigger entities as well.

      Users are addressed much like in an e-mail, which is also a decentralized service. The address is usually @<username>@<instance.domain>. Users can follow each other across instances. Most instances also have timelines that are only from the users of that instance, and one that is a collective federated view of recent toots from people of instances they exchange their toots with. More on the privacy settings follows further below that control how toots appear in these timelines, or not.


      I already mentioned that Mastodon supports image descriptions from the start. The default Mastodon interface is also quite accessible, and because Mastodon is open source software, everybody can file issues on the Github repository, or even submit pull requests to fix problems and improve the software. In my previous interactions, I have found the maintainers to be open to almost every suggestion. The one instance where the accessibility community has failed so far surrounds a question around underlining links. Some software like Pinafore (see below) therefore offer various options to customize the appearance of various elements far beyond just theming.

      And because Mastodon is open and has an unrestricted public API, anyone can write an own client to interact with that. There are very accessible alternatives. Mastodon is OK for most things, too, but a really enjoyable experience is delivered by some other software. See the next section for a few names.

    • Around the World

      • European Linux Open-Sourcing Summit, Lyon, France, reviewed
      • Karyuna Institute of Technology and Sciences leading SUSE Education in India

        How did we get here: BL Radhakrishnan, Coordinator Industry-Academia collaborations-CSE and Assistant Professor, Computer Science and Engineering Department at Karunya Institute of Technology and Sciences, sought out SUSE’ Academic Program in early 2019. Prior to this, the computer, science and engineering (CSE) department had a previous engagement with Novell Software briefly. The department established a relationship and signed the first agreement with Novell in the year 2010. Because of the tremendous academic support and guidance by Novell, the CSE department started offering the Novell Certified Linux Administrator (NCLA) from the year 2010. Currently, the certification is offered as “SUSE Certified Administrator (SCA) in Enterprise Linux.”

      • Kiwi TCMS is going to FOSDEM 2020

        Hello testers, Kiwi TCMS is going to FOSDEM 2020.

    • BSD

      • FreeBSD Project Quarterly Status Report – Third Quarter 2019

        Here is the third quarterly status report for 2019.

        This quarter the reports team has been more active than usual thanks to a better organization: calls for reports and reminders have been sent regularly, reports have been reviewed and merged quickly (I would like to thank debdrup@ in particular for his reviewing work).

        Efficiency could still be improved with the help of our community. In particular, the quarterly team has found that many reports have arrived in the last days before the deadline or even after. I would like to invite the community to follow the guidelines below that can help us sending out the reports sooner.

        Starting from next quarter, all quarterly status reports will be prepared the last month of the quarter itself, instead of the first month after the quarter’s end. This means that deadlines for submitting reports will be the 1st of January, April, July and October.

        Next quarter will then be a short one, covering the months of November and December only and the report will probably be out in mid January.

      • FreeBSD Foundation Buying Newer Laptops To Help Improve Hardware Support

        The FreeBSD Q3-2019 quarterly report is now available. One of the interesting bits from this report is the FreeBSD Foundation planning to buy one or more families of new laptops to supply to their core developers in working to improve the modern hardware support.

    • FSF

      • GNU Projects

        • Guix on an ARM Board

          Increasingly people discovering Guix want to try it on an ARM board, instead of their x86 computer. There might be various reasons for that, from power consumption to security. In my case, I found these ARM boards practical for self-hosting, and I think the unique properties of GNU Guix are making it very suitable for that purpose. I have installed GNU Guix on a Cubietruck, so my examples below will be about that board. However, you should be able to change the examples for your own use case.

          Installing the Guix System on an ARM board is not as easy as installing it on an x86 desktop computer: there is no installation image. However, Guix supports ARM and can be installed on a foreign distribution running on that architecture. The trick is to use the Guix installed on that foreign distribution to initialize the Guix System. This article will show you how to install the Guix System on your board, without using an installer image. As we have previously mentionned it is possible to generate an installation image yourself, if your board is supported.

          Most boards can be booted from an existing GNU+Linux distribution. You will need to install a distribution (any of them) and install GNU Guix on it, using e.g. the installer script. Then, my plan was to install the Guix System on an external SSD drive, instead of the SD card, but we will see that both are perfectly possible.

          The first part of the article will focus on creating a proper u-boot configuration and an operating system declaration that suits your board. The second part of this article will focus on the installation procedure, when there is no installer working for your system.

        • Gnuastro 0.11 released
          Dear all,
          I am happy to announce the 11th stable release of GNU Astronomy
          Utilities (Gnuastro).
          Gnuastro is an official GNU package of various command-line programs
          and library functions for the manipulation and analysis of
          (astronomical) data. All the programs share the same basic
          command-line user interface (modeled on GNU Coreutils). For the full
          list of Gnuastro's library, programs, and a comprehensive general
          tutorial (recommended place to start using Gnuastro), please see the
          links below respectively:
          Many new features have been added, and many bugs have been fixed in
          this release. For the full list, please see [1] below (part of the
          NEWS file within the tarball). 
        • Gnuastro 0.11 released

          The 11th release of GNU Astronomy Utilities (Gnuastro) is now available. Please see the announcement for more.

        • GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 17 new GNU releases in November!


    • Public Services/Government

      • Royal Navy launched an open source toolkit for application development

        The United Kingdom’s naval warfare force, the Royal Navy, launched the NELSON programme as part of its digital transformation strategy. Moving towards open source, the Royal Navy now provides the open source NELSON Standard toolkit, and requires its future IT suppliers to have capability to develop digital services “using a range of Open Source Technologies”.

    • Programming/Development

      • Develop a Kubernetes controller in Java

        Java is no doubt one of the most popular programming languages in the world but it?s been difficult for a period time for those non-Golang developers to build up their customized controller/operator due to the lack of library resources in the community. In the world of Golang, there?re already some excellent controller frameworks, for example, controller runtime, operator SDK. These existing Golang frameworks are relying on the various utilities from the Kubernetes Golang SDK proven to be stable over years. Driven by the emerging need of further integration into the platform of Kubernetes, we not only ported many essential toolings from the Golang SDK into the kubernetes Java SDK including informers, work-queues, leader-elections, etc. but also developed a controller-builder SDK which wires up everything into a runnable controller without hiccups.

      • Make Lua development easy with Luarocks

        You should try Lua, a lightweight, efficient, and embeddable scripting language supporting procedural programming, object-oriented programming, functional programming, data-driven programming, and data description. And best of all, it uses explicit syntax for scoping!

        Lua is also small. Lua’s source code is just 24,000 lines of C, the Lua interpreter (on 64-bit Linux) built with all standard Lua libraries is 247K, and the Lua library is 421K.

        You might think that such a small language must be too simplistic to do any real work, but in fact Lua has a vast collection of third-party libraries (including GUI toolkits), it’s used extensively in video game and film production for 3D shaders, and is a common scripting language for video game engines. To make it easy to get started with Lua, there’s even a package manager called Luarocks.

      • Multi-cluster Management with GitOps

        In this blog post we are going to introduce Multi-cluster Management patterns with GitOps and how you can implement these patterns on OpenShift.
        If you’re interested in diving into an interactive tutorial, try this link.

        In the introductory blog post to GitOps we described some of the use cases that we can solve with GitOps on OpenShift. In
        today’s blog post we are going to describe how we can leverage GitOps patterns to perform tasks on multiple clusters.

      • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn C

        C is a general-purpose, procedural, portable, high-level programming language that is one of the most popular and influential languages. It was designed to be compiled using a straightforward compiler, to provide low-level access to memory, to provide language constructs that map efficiently to machine instructions, and to require minimal run-time support. Many programming languages owe a considerable debt to C. It has become something of the lingua franca in the programming world.

        C is fairly simple to understand. It allows the programmer to organize programs in a clear, easy, logical way. It is a very flexible, practical and compact language combined with an easy to read syntax. Code written in C runs quickly, with easy access to the low level facilities in the computer. Compiler directives make it possible to produce a single version of a program compiled for different architectures.

      • LibreOffice Macro Team: progress report

        So, what has happened in the meantime? This article is a collection of the work done by the LibreOffice Macro Team in the past few months, as well as any other macro-related things in the project. If you are interested in contributing to the macro team (development, testing or documentation), we’d love to hear from you – please send an email to ilmari.lauhakangas@libreoffice.org and we’ll get in touch.

      • Your Debugger Sucks

        If you don’t use an interactive debugger then you probably debug by adding logging code and rebuilding/rerunning the program. That gives you a view of what happens over time, but it’s slow, can take many iterations, and you’re limited to dumping some easily accessible state at certain program points. That sucks.

        If you use a traditional interactive debugger, it sucks in different ways. You spend a lot of time trying to reproduce bugs locally so you can attach your debugger, even though in many cases those bugs have already been reproduced by other people or in CI test suites. You have to reproduce the problem many times as you iteratively narrow down the cause. Often the debugger interferes with the code under test so the problem doesn’t show up, or not the way you expect. The debugger lets you inspect the current state of the program and stop at selected program points, but doesn’t track data or control flow or remember much about what happened in the past. You’re pretty much stuck debugging on your own; there’s no real support for collaboration or recording what you’ve discovered.

      • Motorola m68k Support Improved Upon In GCC – Saved From Being Removed In GCC 11

        While the Motorola 68000 32-bit processors are from the 80′s and early 90′s, there still is a loyal following of hobbyists who managed to save the “m68k” compiler back-end from being removed in GCC 11.

        The m68k back-end in GCC was at risk of being removed due to plans for GCC 11 to drop the CC0 representation code and the back-ends still depending upon it. M68k was the most notable user relying upon the deprecated CC0 representation but there are also other back-ends like AVR (AVR micro-controller), CRIS (the Axis Communications’ ETRAX CRIS embedded processors), H8300 (the Renesas H8 microcontrollers), VAX (DEC VAX), and CR16 (National Semi CompactRISC). But now at least m68k is safe.

      • Perl / Raku

        • 2019.47 Late Again Or

          If you intended to write a blog post for this years Raku Advent Calendar, you’re too late! Well, sort of. You can still add yourself as a fallback should one of the other participants not be able to write a blog post after all!

      • Python

        • Using SQLAlchemy to access MySQL without frustrating library installation issues

          I’ve often struggled with accessing MySQL from Python, as the ‘default’ MySQL library for Python is MySQLdb. This library has a number of problems: 1) it is Python 2 only, and 2) it requires compiling against the MySQL C library and header files, and so can’t be simply installed using pip.

          There is a Python 3 version of MySQLdb called mysqlclient, but this also requires compiling against the MySQL libraries and header files, so can be complicated to install.

        • Two Books About the Kivy GUI Framework

          The Kivy Python GUI framework is intriguing.

          Not only it’s cross-platform but also supports Android. Java is too verbose and low level for me and Kivy is an opportunity for developing native Android apps without leaving Python.

          Outside of the Kivy project documentation, there are few third-party advanced tutorials that go in more depth than the official tutorials. So, before diving into the code of the Kivy demos, I wanted some books to explore more features and get a broader picture of the framework and what it can do.

      • Revisiting Building Android Apps in Python Using Kivy with Android Studio

        One of the books I read on Kivy, a Python cross-platform GUI framework, is Building Android Apps in Python Using Kivy with Android Studio: With Pyjnius, Plyer, and Buildozer by Ahmed Fawzy Mohamed Gad (Apress, 2019). My comments on the book, which focused on it not being a good match for my learning needs, sounded negative. Perhaps unnecessarily so.

      • Insertion Sort in Python

        If you’re majoring in Computer Science, Insertion Sort is most likely one of the first sorting algorithms you have heard of. It is intuitive and easy to implement, but it’s very slow on large arrays and is almost never used to sort them.

        Insertion sort is often illustrated by comparing it to sorting a hand of cards while playing rummy. For those of you unfamiliar with the game, most players want the cards in their hand sorted in ascending order so they can quickly see which combinations they have at their disposal.

      • How our Open Studio team hacked together a project tracker with Python and a Raspberry Pi

        Yet another marketing piece was late, and what we had published was underperforming.

        In October 2018, Red Hat marketers recognized that our existing project management process, which relied on manual data entry and email updates, was unsustainable given an exploding demand for datasheets, whitepapers, e-books, and other marketing collateral.

        Purchasing an existing system didn’t make sense. Our project management tool, CA Agile Central (previously known as Rally), does not allow content requesters to kick off projects through a form.

        To initiate a project, requesters had to fill out a template file. The project manager would then manually create a project and pass the template file back and forth as it was edited, designed, and published. When requesters wanted to know the status of a project, they would email their project manager, who would check CA Agile Central.

      • Python KeyError Exceptions and How to Handle Them

        Python’s KeyError exception is a common exception encountered by beginners. Knowing why a KeyError can be raised and some solutions to prevent it from stopping your program are essential steps to improving as a Python programmer.

      • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #396 (Nov. 26, 2019)
      • Tips for Selecting Columns in a DataFrame

        This article will discuss several tips and shortcuts for using iloc to work with a data set that has a large number of columns. Even if you have some experience with using iloc you should learn a couple of helpful tricks to speed up your own analysis and avoid typing lots of column names in your code.

    • Other

      • Kubernetes for Full-Stack Developers

        If you are interested in using containers, in particular Kubernetes, Digital Ocean has provided a self paced, and free, community curriculum and there’s also a fun introduction from the Cloud Native Foundation.

      • Displaying dates and times your way

        The Linux date command provides more options for displaying dates and times than you can shake a stick at (without hurting your wrist anyway). Here are some of the more useful choices.

      • Why Should You Learn R for Data Science?

        Data Science is the most popular field of study in today’s world that leverages scientific methods, processes, algorithms and systems to convert structured and unstructured data into meaningful insights. Since it is mostly comprised of statistics, R is the bridging language of this field. It is a popular programming language and software environment and an important tool for data science.

        R is one that enables statistical computing which is used widely by the data miners and statisticians for data analysis. It has various programming features, including data inputs and data management; and distributed computing and R packages – a collection of R functions, with code and sample data.

  • Leftovers

    • Thankful in 2019

      A political writer’s annual Thanksgiving column can be easy to write, or incredibly difficult to put together. It can also be inspiring or banal. The two are probably connected. It’s always a difficult one for me; its quality is a matter of your opinion. But hey, Turkey Day is just around the corner and it’s time to talk about being thankful. Please bear with.

    • Science

      • Moscow-area cows enjoy summer year-round with new virtual reality glasses

        A dairy farm near Moscow has begun testing virtual reality glasses designed specially for cows. Agriculture officials are betting that the futuristically decked-out bovines will experience heightened moods, which will raise milk yields in turn. Each set of glasses is designed with the cows’ physiology and visual system in mind, enabling the animals to enjoy views of summer fields year-round.

    • Education

      • After Katrina, neoliberals replaced New Orleans’ schools with charters, which are now failing

        After Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was shock doctrined through a massive, neoliberal transformation, the centerpiece of which was a replacement of the public school system with a system entirely made up of charter schools.

        While these schools showed some initial promise, the overall performance of these schools has been in free fall for some time, and this year’s state assessment of the district assigned a “failing grade” (D or F) to 35 of its 72 schools.

      • Nearly half of New Orleans’ all-charter district schools got D or F grades; what happens next?

        The release of the state’s closely watched school performance scores earlier this month offered an overall update on New Orleans schools that seemed benign enough: A slight increase in overall student performance meant another C grade for the district.

        But a closer look reveals a startling fact. A whopping 35 of the 72 schools in the all-charter district scored a D or F, meaning nearly half of local public schools were considered failing, or close to it, in the school year ending in 2019. Since then, six of the 35 have closed.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • The $11 Million Dollar Medicare Tool That Gives Seniors the Wrong Insurance Information

        The federal government recently redesigned a digital tool that helps seniors navigate complicated Medicare choices, but consumer advocates say it’s malfunctioning with alarming frequency, offering inaccurate cost estimates and creating chaos in some states during the open enrollment period.

        Diane Omdahl, a Medicare consultant in Wisconsin, said she used the tool Friday to research three prescription drug plans for a client. The comparison page, which summarizes total costs, showed all but one of her client’s medications would be covered. When Omdahl clicked on “plan details” to find out which medicine was left out, the plan finder then said all of them were covered.

      • Health Officials in “Cancer Alley” Will Study if Living Near a Controversial Chemical Plant Causes Cancer

        Louisiana health officials plan to knock on every door within 2.5 kilometers of the controversial Denka Performance Elastomer plant in St. John the Baptist Parish in hopes of determining exactly how many people in the neighborhood have developed cancer.

        Neighbors say the inquiry, first announced in late August, is long overdue.

      • Texas Abortion Clinics Still Shuttered Despite Supreme Court Win

        Over the past few years, abortion providers in Texas have struggled to reopen clinics that had closed because of restrictive state laws.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Studying Donot Team

          At the early stage of infection, the victim receives an MS Word document in Office Open XML format. Even though we do not have clear evidence, we are sure that the initial penetration vector is a targeted phishing message with MS Office attachment. The document itself is not malicious, but it abuses the external elements autoloading capability to launch the next stage document.

          Communicating with a linked external object The loaded fine is an RTF document exploiting vulnerability CVE-2018-0802 in Microsoft Equation. The main shellcode is preceded by a chain of intermediate ones, each decrypting the subsequent slice with a single-byte XOR with keys 0×90 and 0xCE.

        • How the NYPD’s fingerprint database got shut down by a computer virus [iophk: Windows TCO]

          The virus — generally referred to as “ransomware” because it locks users out of infected computers until they pay a ransom — “never executed,” but the NYPD shut down LiveScan that night and reinstalled software on 200 computers citywide out of an abundance of caution, she said.

        • The 30 Best VMware Tools for Modern Enterprises in 2019

          VMware is the most popular software company providing enterprise-level cloud computing and virtualization solutions. If you’re a tech professional, chances are you have worked with, or at least know its name. VMware is widely used to deploy servers and cloud platforms on the web. Many home users also use it to create their favorite Linux virtual machines. Moreover, they offer a huge list of user convenient utilities, known as VMware tools. These are developed especially to enhance the performance of your virtual machines and make management almost effortless. In this guide, we’ll discuss 30 extremely useful VMtools that can make virtualization more accessible than ever.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • CNCF SIG Network Set to Push Cloud Native Networking Forward

                The inaugural public meeting the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) Networking Special Interest Group (SIG) was held in a session at the KubeCon event on Nov. 19, ushering in a new era for networking at the highly influential open source group.

                The CNCF is home to many different projects, including the Kubernetes container orchestration system. Kubernetes itself has its’ own set of SIGs, which is the core organizing unit for the project, among those SIGs is one for networking. The CNCF however is a bigger organization that just Kubernetes and includes over 40 projects. CNCF SIGs cut across all projects, with cross project concerns in different topic areas.

                Lee Calcote, Founder at Layer5 and one of the leaders of CNCF SIG Network explained during the session that there are already a few network specific projects within the CNCF, including CNI (Container Network Interface), CoreDNS, Envoy, gRPC, Linkerd, NATS and the Network Service Mesh project.

                “Part of what we’re hoping to do is with SIGs in general is to help more impact fully scale the CNCF Technical Oversight Committee (TOC),” Calcote said.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (libxdmcp, nss, php-imagick, and ruby2.1), openSUSE (java-11-openjdk), Red Hat (389-ds-base, kernel, kernel-rt, python-jinja2, qemu-kvm-ma, and tcpdump), SUSE (bluez, clamav, cpio, cups, gcc9, libpng16, libssh2_org, mailman, sqlite3, squid, strongswan, tiff, and webkit2gtk3), and Ubuntu (redmine).

          • Internal Kaspersky API exposed to websites

            In December 2018 I discovered a series of vulnerabilities in Kaspersky software such as Kaspersky Internet Security 2019. Due to the way its Web Protection feature is implemented, internal application functionality can used by any website. It doesn’t matter whether you allowed Kaspersky Protection browser extension to be installed, Web Protection functionality is active regardless and exploitable.

          • AMD’s TEE Driver For Loading “Trusted Applications” On Their Secure Processor Under Linux [Ed: So they call backdoors "trust" and "security" now... see the comments as well]

            A few weeks back AMD published a TEE “Trusted Execution Environment” driver for APUs on Linux for utilizing the controversial AMD Secure Processor.

            The AMD Secure Processor / PSP is what’s been built into their processors for a half-decade now for providing a secure hardware environment similar to Intel’s Management Engine. This ARM-based secure processor is now seeing a Trusted Execution Environment driver for Linux.

          • The Debate Over How to Encrypt the Internet of Things

            Debate about the merits of lightweight cryptography isn’t exactly generating major drama—especially considering NIST itself invited Teserakt researchers to share their industry perspective at its conference. But it’s an important issue, especially given the stakes in working to better secure the billions of /[Internet] of things devices lurking everywhere.

          • Warning over spike in attacks on exposed Docker platforms

            Security researchers have warned of a campaign of [Internet] scanning activity by a group of hackers hunting for Docker platforms with exposed API endpoints.

            Exposed platforms are then compromised with cryptomining malware.

            The campaign started on 24th November, according to Troy Mursch, chief research officer of cyber-threar intelligence firm Bad Packets, who first noticed the activity and its sheer size.

          • Five Years Later, Who Really [Cracked] Sony?

            The massive cyberattack just before Thanksgiving 2014 crippled a studio, embarrassed executives and reshaped Hollywood. The FBI blamed a North Korea scheme to retaliate for the comedy ‘The Interview,’ but many whose lives were upended have doubts. Says Seth Rogen: “The fact that [co-director Evan Goldberg and I] were never really specifically targeted always raised suspicions in my head.”

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Huawei Files SLAPP Suits In France Against Critics Who Highlighted The Company’s Ties To The Chinese Government

              We’ve spent many years pointing out that the freak out over Huawei equipment possibly being compromised by the Chinese government still remains without evidence to back it up. This does not mean that it’s not there. But we’ve just noted that many (especially in the US) keep stating it as if it’s factual, despite a Congressional investigation that turned up nothing (not to mention competitor Cisco fanning the flames of the attacks on Huawei, and the fact that the NSA is already known to compromise telco equipment for the US government). The usual response to pointing this out is to highlight that most large and successful Chinese companies have close relationships with the Chinese government (because they need to) and that Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, was an engineer in the Chinese military. This is enough for many people to assume that the company would actively sabotage its own equipment to help the Chinese government.

            • California Makes $50 Million Annually Selling Your DMV Data

              Earlier this year leaked data revealed that the Department of Motor Vehicles in numerous states has spent years selling citizen data to a laundry list of third parties, often without making such financial relationships or data transfers clear to patrons. Some of the data wound up being sold to the usual suspects (auto insurance and credit reporting companies being the most obvious), but much of it is routinely sold to more dubious third-party outfits and private investigators, which fairly obviously poses a risk to folks dealing with stalkers and psychotic exes.

            • Senator Cantwell Releases Another Federal Privacy Law That Won’t Go Anywhere And Doesn’t Deal With Actual Issues

              A few weeks ago we wrote about a privacy bill in the House that seemed unlikely to go anywhere, and now we have the same thing from the Senate: a new privacy bill from Senator Maria Cantwell, called COPRA for “Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act.” For months it had been said that Cantwell was working on a bipartisan effort to create a federal privacy law, so the fact that this bill only has Democratic co-sponsors (Senators Schatz, Klobuchar and Markey) doesn’t bode well for its likelihood of success.

            • Expert Says Senate Democrats’ Sweeping Online Privacy Bill Answers Public Demand for ‘Transformative Shift’

              “The Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act gives consumers meaningful rights, holds companies accountable, and protects stronger state safeguards.”

            • Facebook’s only fact-checking service in the Netherlands just quit

              Facebook is now operating without a third-party fact-checking service in the Netherlands. The company’s only partner, Dutch newspaper NU.nl, just quit over a dispute regarding the social network’s policy to allow politicians to run ads containing misinformation.

              “What is the point of fighting fake news if you are not allowed to tackle politicians?” asked NU.nl’s editor-in-chief Gert-Jaap Hoekman in a blog post announcing the decision. “Let one thing be clear: we stand behind the content of our fact checks.”

            • Twitter will remove inactive accounts and free up usernames in December

              Twitter is sending out emails to owners of inactive accounts with a warning: sign in by December 11th, or your account will be history and its username will be up for grabs again. Any account that hasn’t signed in for more than six months will receive the email alert.

            • Workers at Israeli surveillance firm NSO sue Facebook for blocking private accounts

              Messaging service WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, had accused NSO in its own legal action filed in California last month of helping government spies break into the phones of roughly 1,400 users across four continents in a hacking spree whose targets included diplomats, political dissidents, journalists and senior government officials.

              The NSO employees said their Facebook and Instagram accounts, and also those of former workers and family members, had been blocked. They petitioned the Tel Aviv District Court to order Facebook to unblock the accounts, which they claim was done abruptly and without notice.

            • More Than Half of Americans Are Concerned About Smart Speaker Data Privacy

              Pew Research Center conducted a study of U.S. adults to determine American attitudes towards smart speakers. The result reveals that over half of Americans are concerned about data privacy. Unsurprisingly, those most concerned are in the younger demographic.

              The study found that one-quarter of U.S. adults say they have a smart speaker in their home. Adults younger than 50 are more likely to have a smart speaker than those 50 and older.

            • I tried to access my secret consumer data. Their facial recognition software told me to smile.

              In early November, the New York Times published an article called “I Got Access to My Secret Consumer Score. Now You Can Get Yours, Too.” Naturally, this struck my curiosity, and I decide to try and navigate the various labyrinthine processes to try and find out what kind of information the conglomerates have on me, and how I can potentially get rid of it.

            • EU Tells US: Ban Strong Encryption, And Privacy Shield Data Sharing Agreement Could Be At Risk

              As a recent post underlines, law enforcement agencies around the world are still trying to argue that things are “going dark”, and that strong encryption is bad and should be made illegal. Techdirt and many others have pointed out what an extremely stupid idea this would be. Here’s a further reason why the US shouldn’t ban strong encryption: it might lead to the EU making data transfers across the Atlantic much harder. The possibility has emerged thanks to some formal questions to the European Commission (pdf) submitted by a Member of the European Parliament, Moritz Körner.

            • DEEP DIVE: EFF to DHS: Stop Mass Collection of Social Media Information

              The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently released a proposed rule expanding the agency’s collection of social media information on key visa forms and immigration applications. Earlier this month, EFF joined over 40 civil society organizations that signed on to comments drafted by the Brennan Center for Justice. These comments identify the free speech and privacy risks the proposed rule poses to U.S. persons both directly, if they are required to fill out these forms, and indirectly, if they are connected via social media to friends, family, or associates required to fill out these forms.

              In the proposed rule, “Generic Clearance for the Collection of Social Media Information on Immigration and Foreign Travel Forms,” DHS claims that it has “identified the collection of social media user identifications . . . as important for identity verification, immigration and national security vetting.” The proposed rule identifies 12 forms adjudicated by DHS agencies U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that will now collect social media handles and associated social media platforms for the last five years. The applications will not collect passwords. DHS will be able to only view information that the user publicly shares.

            • New Campaign Demands Congress Probe the ‘Ever-Expanding Surveillance Empire’ of Amazon

              Over a dozen groups call for a full congressional investigation in the online giant citing threats to privacy, security, and civil liberties posed by Alexa, Ring, and Rekognition.

            • Amazon: Cops Can Get Recordings From Ring, Keep Them Forever, And Share Them With Whoever They Want

              Even more alarming news has surfaced about Amazon’s Ring doorbell/camera and the company’s ultra-cozy relationship with police departments.

            • Law Enforcement Agencies Bumping Up Demands For Uber Customers’ Data

              If it generates records — especially third-party records — the government is going to come asking for them.

            • EU’s ePrivacy regulation is being subverted by publishers who want their “right” to use tracking cookies enshrined in law

              Last year, Privacy News Online wrote about the important EU ePrivacy legislation. As that noted, it was moving through the EU’s legislative process slowly because of massive lobbying against the new law, which aims to regulate how metadata is gathered and used, and to limit how people are tracked online, for example using cookies. A year ago, there were already warning signs that one of the most important provisions was under threat. Article 10 of the original text reads as follows:

            • Locations of More than 5,000 Children Exposed by Cheap Smartwatch for Kids

              As the old saying goes, hindsight is better than foresight. Certainly, that is no less true than when involving children in the tech world. Sure, the Internet is chock-full of great information, fun games, great social opportunities, etc. But there are also hackers, scammers, and a number of other individuals looking to take advantage. That’s what makes this situation understandable, while at the same time questionable. Thanks to a web backend and mobile app for a cheap children’s smartwatch, details for the kids, including their locations, were exposed. Parent account information was exposed as well.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • WATCH: First Lady Melania Trump Loudly Booed by Students During Baltimore Opioid Summit

        “If your president husband calls the city ‘a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess’ where ‘no human being would want to live’ and then you hold an ‘anti-bullying’ event there, on behalf of the White House, honestly, what do you expect?”

      • Democratic Party Falls Further Behind GOP in October Fundraising

        As 2020 nears, the Democratic Party continues to lag behind its Republican counterpart in fundraising efforts.

      • Betrayed by Joe Biden: a Personal History

        Even at age 77, Joe Biden cuts a dashing figure. In 1972, when he was 29 and I was 15, he spoke at my high school in suburban Wilmington Delaware. I practically swooned over the handsome, charismatic young Biden as he spoke passionately about civil rights, environmental protection, womens’ rights and ending the Viet Nam War.  I’d already told my father that I wanted to work for environmental protection and he had assured me that he’d put me on the first train to Montreal if I were drafted for the war that Nixon had promised to end, but instead had escalated.  (My friend Rosemary’s older brother had returned from Viet Nam in a box.)  After hearing Biden, I enthusiastically volunteered to canvass Wilmington for both the presidential candidate George McGovern and Senate candidate Joe Biden.  On Election Day, we knocked on hundreds of doors to get out the vote. Biden’s victory felt like a silver lining to Senator McGovern’s lopsided defeat to Nixon.

      • Nadler Invites Trump to Either Participate in Impeachment Hearing Next Week or ‘Stop Complaining’

        “The President has a choice to make: he can take this opportunity to be represented in the impeachment hearings, or he can stop complaining about the process.”

      • Trump Campaign, GOP Groups Attack Google’s New Ad Policy

        President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign and other Republican election groups criticized tech giant Google on Tuesday for making it harder for political advertisers to target specific types of people.

      • Talking Turkey About Impeachment Hearings

        Congratulations, you made it through the public hearings of the impeachment inquiry, one eye on the livestream and one eye on your work email, and somehow you met your deadlines even as you followed along blow by blow. So what are you going to say about it around the Thanksgiving dinner table?

      • The End of the Rule of Law: The 12 Impeachable Offenses Committed By Trump

        Bruce Fein, a former senior official in the Department of Justice and a constitutional scholar, has identified 12 impeachable offenses committed by Donald Trump. But, as he notes, many of these constitutional violations are not unique to the Trump administration.

      • When Progressives in Congress Let Us Down, We Should Push Back

        Last week, the Democratic leadership put an extension of the Patriot Act into a “continuing resolution” that averted a government shutdown. More than 95 percent of the Democrats in the House went along with it by voting for the resolution. Both co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Pramila Jayapal and Mark Pocan, voted yes. So did all 11 of the CPC’s vice chairs.

      • Scandalgate: Weapon of Mass Distraction – Censored Notebook
      • New Ukraine Documents Expose Clear Paper Trail From Giuliani to Trump to Pompeo

        A trove of State Department documents obtained late Friday by watchdog group American Oversight provided new details on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s involvement in the White House effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate President Donald Trump’s political rivals.

      • Are Democrats Impeaching Trump For the Wrong Crimes?

        What follows is a conversation between author and activist David Samson and Marc Steiner of The Real News Network. Read a transcript of their conversation below or watch the video at the bottom of the post.

      • Noting That ‘Presidents Are Not Kings,’ Federal Judge Rules Don McGahn Must Submit to Congressional Subpoena

        “This ruling means not only that McGahn must provide testimony, but so must a raft of administration officials who have been stonewalling Congress in attempts to protect this president.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Nigerians Should Say No to Social Media Bill

        Nigerian campaigners are speaking out against a bill that would regulate engagement on social media with the campaign #SayNoToSocialMediaBill.

      • TekSavvy Appeals First Canadian Pirate Site Blockade

        Internet provider TekSavvy has appealed the first Canadian pirate site blocking order. According to the Internet provider, the ruling clearly violates Network Neutrality. If it stands, the open Internet will be undermined to advance the interests of a few powerful media conglomerates, the company says.

      • Iran letter raises prospect of ‘white list’ [Internet] clampdown

        The Iranian government has written to state-run organisations and private companies asking them which foreign websites they rely on.

        The effort has come to light 11 days after the authorities imposed a week-long [Internet] blackout following protests against a rise in fuel prices.

      • A Simple Truth About the Protests in Iran

        A wave of protests hit Iran this past week, shaking the nation and its ruling regime, to the core. More than a decade after widespread protests over electoral fraud captured the world’s attention, the Iranian people are back in the streets with a vengeance. Reports of demonstrations in more than 100 cities across the country included footage of protestors setting fire to banks and government buildings, clashing with security forces, and chanting slogans calling for an end to the theocracy.

      • This Week In Free Speech Hypocrites: ‘Free Speech’ Supporter Sheila Gunn Reid Gleefully Sues Someone For Calling Her A Neo-Nazi

        What is it with people who pretend to be free speech “warriors” only to rush to sue someone for stating an opinion about them? And why are so many of them Canadian?!? We’ve already covered folks like Jordan Peterson suing a university because some professors said mean things about him in a private meeting, and Gavin McInnes suing SPLC for calling the group he founded a “hate group.” And now we have Sheila Gunn Reid, who works for The Rebel Media, which is sort of the Canadian equivalent of Breitbart. Sheila pretends to be a free speech supporter in dozens upon dozens of tweets.

      • Egypt: Independent News Website Targeted

        Egyptian security forces raided the headquarters of the Cairo-based independent news website Mada Masr on November 24, 2019 as part of the government’s suppression of media freedom in Egypt, Human Rights Watch said today.

      • Sanctions, Protests, and Shutdowns: Fighting to Open Iran’s Internet

        Last week, Iranians took to the streets nationwide in protest after an abrupt spike in fuel prices. As the protests grew, the government disrupted the internet across Iran in an apparent attempt to quell unrest. The slowdown was, for most, experienced as a full blackout of internet and mobile connectivity. EFF joins a number of Iranian and international organizations in expressing grave concerns over the internet blackout and violence against protesters.

        A number of complicating factors have led to this shutdown. Renewed US sanctions have exacerbated economic hardship for Iranians, and tech companies’ compliance—and at times over-compliance—with these sanctions has led to diminished reliance on international services (such as Amazon Web Services, Apple and Github outright prohibiting access to users in Iran). This trend has led to further isolation of Iranians from the global Internet.

      • Police Raid Egypt’s Last Independent News Outlet

        Egyptian security forces raided the office of Mada Masr, the country’s last independent media outlet, and arrested three of its journalists this weekend. The raid began Sunday afternoon, when nine plainclothes security officers entered the Mada Masr office in Cairo, seizing phones and laptops and holding the staff in the building for more than three hours. They then arrested editor-in-chief Lina Attalah, managing editor Mohamed Hamama and reporter Rana Mamdouh. It came just a day after security forces arrested senior editor Shady Zalat at his home. All four journalists were released from detention Sunday night. The raid and arrests mark a sharp escalation in Egypt’s attack on press freedom under Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who came to power after the 2013 overthrow of former President Mohamed Morsi. We go to Cairo where we’re joined by Mada Masr reporter Sharif Abdel Kouddous. He’s also a Democracy Now! correspondent and was detained with his colleagues on Sunday.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Warning Julian Assange ‘Could Die in Prison’, 60+ Doctors Demand Immediate Medical Attention for WikiLeaks Founder

        “Tortured to near death for publishing truthful information.”

      • Julian Assange Could Die in Prison, Doctors Warn

        More than 60 doctors have written an open letter saying they fear Julian Assange’s health is so bad that the WikiLeaks founder could die inside a top-security British jail.

      • Fishrot Files – Part 2

        Today WikiLeaks releases documents pertaining to the Fishrot case that have come to light as a result of investigation into bribes, money laundering and tax evasion. These investigations have been launched by several institutions across Norway, Iceland and Namibia as a result of WikiLeaks’ Fishrot publication earlier this month.

        The first document details internal exchanges between staff at DNB, Norway’s largest bank, from April 2018 to 2019, discussing how to respond to AML flagging (anti-money laundering) from Bank of New York Mellon. Specifically it relates to payments from the international fishing company Samherji to JPC Ship Management (Cyprus), a crew management company supplying services to Samherji.

        The second document outlines how DNB (the Norwegian bank) carried out a detailed assessment in 2017 of JPC Ship Management in accordance with KYC principles (Know Your Customer) and did not seem to find anything wrong, despite being classified as a high-risk customer. Another company associated with Samherji financial transactions, Cape Cod FS (Marshall Islands), however was evaluated using the very same principles and its accounts were closed as the bank could not determine who the owner was.

        The third document shows how DNB finally decided to terminate its accounts with JPC Ship Management only after receiving AML flagging from Bank of New York Mellon:

        “Conclusion: The client is not in need of Norwegian account or within LCI strategy. The client does not have AML Policy and there is considerable risk related to transactions to Russia and Ukraine. The necessary resources to manage the sanction risk will be too high and the client has already disrespected instruction regarding resend once. Our recommendation is offboarding the client.“

        Also published today is a spreadsheet overview of transactions to and from various bank accounts of companies owned by and linked to the fishing company Samherji. They include Cape Cod FS (a Marshall Island company), JPC Ship Management (a Cypriot company) and Tundavala (a firm in Dubai set up primarily for Namibian entities to receive bribes from Samherji). The Tundavala payments continued at least until January 2019. This spreadsheet is not an original, however it is derived from the original spreadsheet which cannot be published for reasons of source protection. The original spreadsheet has been verified by WikiLeaks and investigative journalists of their media partners.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Contract for the Web: Internet Inventor Tim Berners-Lee Unveils Global Plan to Battle ‘Digital Dystopia’

        “The power of the web to transform people’s lives, enrich society and reduce inequality is one of the defining opportunities of our time. But if we don’t act now—and act together—to prevent the web being misused by those who want to exploit, divide and undermine, we are at risk of squandering that potential.”

      • The Washington Post And AT&T Team Up To Over-hype 5G

        Buried underneath the blistering hype surrounding fifth-generation (5G) wireless is a quiet but unpopular reality: the technology is being over-hyped to spike lagging cell phone and network gear sales, and early incarnations were rushed to market in a way that prioritized marketing over substance. That’s not to say that faster 5G networks won’t be a good thing when they arrive at scale several years from now, but early offerings have been almost comical in their shortcomings to the point where, at least in tech policy circles, 5G has become a sort of magic pixie dust, capable of fixing anything.

      • .ORGanized Takeover – a timeline of the ISOC, PIR & Ethos Capital Deal

        There have been so many different emails and articles floating around about the ISOC sale of PIR to a new, two-person investment firm with only one investment, it’s hard to piece together exactly what has happened and when. I have put together a timeline based upon what I have read, and I’m sharing it here in case you find it helpful. I think it raises more questions than answers, though…

      • The Sketchy, Sketchy Case Of ICANN Execs And Self-Dealing Regarding The .Org Domain

        Earlier this month, within the domain name world, there were significant concerns raised upon the news that Internet Society (ISOC), the (perhaps formerly?) well-respected nonprofit that helps “provide leadership in Internet-related standards, education, access, and policy” had agreed to sell off the Public Interest Registry, which is the registry that manages all .org top level domain (TLD) names, to a private equity company called Ethos Capital. Just having a public interest nonprofit selling off a part of its operations to a private equity group would be trouble enough, but the details make the story look much, much worse.

    • Monopolies

      • Google Escalates Internal Crackdown, Firing Four Employees

        Stranger still, the memo conflates issues of confidentiality with those of data access. “We’ve seen a recent increase in information being shared outside the company, including the names and details of our employees,” the email opens. It goes on to describe “an individual [who] subscribed to the calendars of a wide range of employees outside of their work group.” It’s unclear if such access to calendars runs counter to any specific company policy. The memo is reproduced below in full: [...]

      • Patents

        • Software Patents

          • Video: Ruth Taylor Describes Her Win Against an Online Voting Patent

            We’ve been fighting abuses of the patent system for years. Many of the worst abuses we see are committed by software patent owners who make money suing people instead of building anything. These are patent owners we call patent trolls. They demand money from people who use technology to perform ordinary activities. And they’re able to do that because they’re able to get patents on basic ideas that aren’t inventions, like running a scavenger hunt and teaching foreign languages.

            Efforts at reforming this broken system got a big boost in 2014, when the Supreme Court decided the Alice v. CLS Bank case. In a unanimous decision, the high court held that you can’t get a patent on an abstract idea just by adding generic computer language. Now, courts are supposed to dismiss lawsuits based on abstract patents as early as possible.

      • Trademarks

        • Beer Trademarks At Record High In UK As The Locking Up Of Language Continues To Boom

          We’ve been on this for some time now, but the explosion in the craft brewing industry has led to a likewise explosion in trademarks for individual brews and breweries. It’s a problem very specific to the craft brewing industry for a number of reasons. First, this trademarking practice deviates from the tradition in the industry, which was one in which craft breweries were largely amicable and permissive with their cleverly named beers. Second, the explosive growth is quickly running into a roadblock of language, in which only so many words can be combined to name brews, even as the number of those brews on offer continues its exponential growth. Third, and perhaps most importantly, craft brewing is now big business, such that many macro-breweries are now gobbling up craft breweries, and those macros tend to be more litigious and more often engage in trademark bullying.

      • Copyrights

        • MPA & Roadshow-Led Coalition File Major Pirate Site-Blocking Application

          A large coalition of movie and TV companies has filed a new blocking application in Australia’s Federal Court. The Roadshow and MPA-led initiative demands that 50 ISPs should block access to 87 domains, offering movies, TV shows, anime and subtitles, or providing proxy access to the same. Considering the range of targets, it’s one of the broadest applications yet.

        • Music Companies Don’t Want Copyright Profs to Be Heard in Piracy Case

          A group of major music publishing companies doesn’t want 23 copyright law professors to be heard in a piracy case. The scholars submitted a brief in the ongoing piracy liability lawsuit against ISP Charter, warning that a recent recommendation could harm both ISPs and consumers. However, the music groups suggest that not all profs are completely neutral.

        • Richard Liebowitz Is Wrong On So Many Levels, And Is In Trouble Yet Again

          Copyright troll Richard Liebowitz (who once got so offended that he was called a copyright troll that he asked a judge to “redact” the phrase, only to have the judge double down on calling him a troll)… He’s been sanctioned for lying to the court, he’s been sanctioned for failing to comply with court orders, and is currently facing some serious penalties for lying about the death of his grandfather to a judge (which resulted in the most ridiculous letter he had a family friend send to the court, chalking such mistakes up to inexperience). But Liebowitz has a ton of experience in getting the law wrong. Hell, it was over two years ago that we wrote about him getting a judicial smackdown so bad that the judge began it by stating:

        • Movie Pirate Pleads Guilty, Faces Five Years in Prison, Forfeits Millions of Dollars

          A man who ran several US-based ‘pirate’ websites has pleaded guilty to one count each of criminal copyright infringement and tax evasion. Talon White, 29, faces up to five years in prison and must pay more than $4m in restitution to the MPAA and IRS, while forfeiting around $4.8m in cash, crypto, and property.

IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:10 am by Needs Sunlight



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