The Latest Talking Point of Team UPC: Ignore Brexit, UPC Will Miraculously Come Very Soon! (Somehow!)

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 9:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Deeply dishonest or blind to the simple facts

The blinds

Summary: Team UPC is blinding itself; it is also attempting to hide from the public the very simple fact that UPC is now doomed (likely the point of no return)

READERS of ours would likely be aware that we’ve been tracking UPC very closely for a very long time. Much was at stake — including software patents in Europe — since the Battistelli era, which may have contributed to Brexit (the misconduct of the management at the European Patent Office (EPO) could not have helped, could it?).

It is worth stating upfront that our opposition to the UPC is purely practical and has nothing to do with António Campinos or Battistelli or Brexit or whatever. It’s purely on technical or practical grounds. It has always been so. And sure, there’s the legal ground/aspect too (e.g. violation of constitutions). With that in mind, let’s examine what lawyers around Europe are saying now that the UK has, at least on paper, separated from the EU.

The VP of the EPO, Mr. Rowan, decided to tweet some hours ago (around 8PM on a Saturday): “Noticefrom [sic] the European Patent Office dated 29 January 2020… https://www.epo.org/law-practice/legal-texts/official-journal/information-epo/archive/20200129.html … via @EPOorg”

Let’s put aside the motivation of this tweet (in the weekend, one whole day after so-called ‘Brexit Day’). Just like Bristows “Business as Usual” LLP, the EPO carefully avoids mentioning that the UPC is now dead. Here’s the EPO’s ‘tweet’ about it — a tweet which links to this page (warning: epo.org link). Notice the complete absence of UPC: (absurd, right?)

The European Patent Organisation is an international organisation established on the basis of the European Patent Convention (EPC). It is independent of the EU and currently has 38 member states, of which 28 are also members of the EU (incl. the UK) and 10 are not. The UK’s withdrawal from the EU will consequently have no impact on its status within the European Patent Organisation.

The EPC establishes the procedure for the granting of European patents by the European Patent Office (EPO) for all its 38 contracting states. Hence, the procedure for obtaining a European patent before the EPO will not be affected by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. This applies equally to any opposition and appeal proceedings, as well as to any limitation and revocation proceedings. Furthermore, UK citizens and natural persons domiciled in the UK, as well as legal persons based in the UK (as governed by its national law) will still be able to file European patent applications. Under the EPC, anyone can file a patent application with the EPO, irrespective of nationality, residence or place of business.[ 1 ]

The UK’s status as a contracting state to the Agreement on the application of Article 65 of the Convention on the Grant of European Patents (London Agreement)[ 2 ] will likewise remain unaffected by its withdrawal from the EU. Consequently, patent holders will remain exempt from filing any translations of European patents granted for the UK, after its withdrawal from the EU.[ 3 ]

On it goes, not mentioning the UPC even once. How could they have missed such a crucial point? This would not be the first time they attempt to give such an impression (that the UK is still fully on board because of the EPC, without bothering to mention the UPC membership). This is carefully-crafted propaganda, based upon convenient omission. They could always come up with reasonable-sounding excuses for the omission.

The National Law Review has just published this piece by Bud Ehrlich (Winstead). Entitled “Happy BREXIT Day!” it has no mention of the UPC, an EU system. To quote: “European and UK patents are not impacted by Brexit. The European Patent Office (EPO) is established under the European Patent Convention (EPC). The EPC is separate from the European Union and the UK is, now, one of several non-EU contracting states. The EPO will continue to validate “European” patents in the UK and the UK will continue to grant UK national patents.”

UPC omitted. How curious.

We’ve also noticed James Nurton at Watchtroll (same Nurton who promoted UPC at Managing IP, a think tank which even helped the EPO manage their lobbying/propaganda events for UPC). “Brexit is Finally Happening: Here’s What to Expect for IP” was the headline (link omitted because it’s Watchtroll). UPC wasn’t entirely left out as there’s one single sentence about it, highlighted below:

Unitary Rights after Brexit

EU trade marks and registered Community designs will remain in force in the UK during the implementation period, after which they will be converted automatically into UK rights. EUIPO published updated information on Brexit on January 27, stating that “all proceedings before the Office that involve grounds of refusal pertaining to the territory of the UK, earlier rights originating from the UK, or parties/representatives domiciled in the UK will run as they did previously, until the end of the transition period”.

The UKIPO has also published guidance, in particular confirming that it will convert almost 1.4 million EU trade marks and 700,000 registered Community designs to comparable UK rights which will come into effect on January 1, 2021. Applicants that have applications pending at the end of the implementation period will have nine months in which to apply in the UK for the same protections.

Patents and the EPO

The European Patent Organization, which has 38 Member States, is not part of the EU. The UK has no plans to leave the EPO so European patents are unaffected by Brexit and European patent attorneys in the UK can continue to act before the European Patent Office.

However, there are some aspects of patent law that do have an EU dimension. One of these is the grant of Supplementary Protection Certificates for pharmaceutical and plant protection products. SPCs are granted as national rights and will continue to be examined under the current framework in the UK, though in time the law might diverge. The EU Biotech Directive also has an impact on patents, as do certain provisions of EU competition law, for example in FRAND cases. The proposed Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court are not yet in effect as a challenge before the German Constitutional Court is still pending.

He says they’re “are not yet in effect” as if it’s only matter of time and he also pretends that the sole barrier is this complaint. That’s a lie that understates the severity of the situation. Given Brexit, even the government in Berlin would not ratify (irrespective of what the FCC says). There’s no point ratifying something which is already dead in the water.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s Rachel Montagnon meanwhile says “the unitary patent is not yet available”.

Hmmm… not yet available?

It’s dead. Law firms don’t exactly lie when they say this; they just deliberately give a false impression.

Then they use Lexology to amplify this nonsense. Here’s the sentence in full: “There is little in the way of patent provision in the WA as the unitary patent is not yet available (awaiting the introduction of the Unified Patent Court to enforce it, which in turn appears to be awaiting the outcome of Brexit, and perhaps even subsequent UK-EU trade negotiations).”

As if some “trade negotiations” would magically render the UPC a non-EU system? Impossible.

The IAM folks, the EPO-funded (bribed) think tank for the UPC, have also weighed in. Yesterday we spotted their parent company posting no less than 4 pointers to self-promotional pieces entitled “IAM Global Leaders 2020″ and the first one concerned Hugh Goodfellow. To quote the part about UPC:

How do you expect the European patent landscape to evolve over the coming years?

The obvious thing to mention is whether the unitary patent and the UPC systems will come to pass with the fallout from Brexit and the German constitutional challenge. One other thing to watch is how the patent system copes with the growing new fields of connected and digital health and inventions involving AI. I think patent firms will need to evolve the way in which they organise their practice groups away from the historic splits between life sciences, chemistry and engineering and towards sectors that combine expertise between, for example, molecular biologists, data scientists, bioinformatics and tech experts, and form interdisciplinary groups of attorneys who can acquire deep knowledge of these new fields.

Notice the UPC theme. It’s promoted and repeated again in this Michaël Beck page, which says:

How do you expect the European patent environment to develop over the next few years?

For the past few years, European patent professionals have been eagerly awaiting the EU patent package (ie, unitary patent protection and the UPC). Various political and legal factors have made the future of this project very uncertain. However, whether or not the UPC eventually comes to fruition, I am hopeful that the spirit of this project will survive and eventually lead to more consistency and coherence in court decisions across the different European states and more efficient inter partes proceedings both in the national courts and before the EPO.

When he says “European patent professionals” he means lawyers. The next one, concerning Heinz Goddar, said this: “I am also sceptical about the proposals for unitary patents and the UPC. The latter system in particular is much too complicated and expensive, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises.”

Some honesty for a change…

Here’s the full answer:

How do you expect the European patent environment to evolve over the coming years?

I am deeply sceptical about the pending EU patent package system. It is possible that there might be a return to the old idea of a community patent for larger geographical areas (eg, the European Union). I am also sceptical about the proposals for unitary patents and the UPC. The latter system in particular is much too complicated and expensive, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises. Time will tell what happens to the current EU patent package after Brexit. I believe (and I could be wrong) that the German Constitutional Court will need another two to three years to decide whether, and in which form, Germany will revise the ratification process concerning the EU patent package. It is possible – and for some scholars probable – that the Constitutional Court will shift the pending complaint to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), with the aim of getting a comment from that court of supremacy in the EU package system, particularly if the United Kingdom does not want the ECJ to continue to have the final word in the UK patent system.

There’s one more with Gary Wilson:

What single development would most improve the patent protection regime in the United Kingdom and Europe?

Although they have been a long time coming, the unitary patent and the UPC – when they come into existence – will supplement and strengthen the unitary patent granting system that already exists before the EPO. The UPC and the unitary patent should make it easier and faster to conduct litigation across many European countries and obtain injunctions where necessary. The process will significantly reduce translation costs and provide a simplified renewal fees system. Over time, the system will hopefully provide more certainty to clients compared with the current system, where different European jurisdictions can decide the same case in different ways.

He says “when they come into existence” as if it’s inevitable. Keep dreaming.

An EPO-connected publication (we wrote about the connection before) has meanwhile published some EPO figures. “Per capita,” it says, “UK entities file fewer European patents than Switzerland” (the leading nation in this regard, even if the applicants are not necessarily Swiss).

Very low ranking for the UK on European Patents:

According to data from the European Patent Office (EPO), in 2018, UK companies filed a total of 5,736 European patents.

EPO records show UK companies file 88.1 patents per million inhabitants, a ratio lower than Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Germany.

So this may actually lower the attractiveness of the UPC (or anything like it) for British firms other than law firms. Years ago we took note also of a sharp decline in EPO recruits from the UK. It collapsed. Did the media report on this? Never. London-based law firms prefer for people not to notice this trend. It ruins the bogus narrative they keep pushing about British SMEs and so on.

Links 1/2/2020: Scott Rifenbark RIP, FOSDEM 2020, HPVM 0.5 Release

Posted in News Roundup at 12:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • Oracle/IBM

        • Announcing the First Oracle Linux 7 Template for Oracle Linux KVM

          We are proud to announce the first Oracle Linux 7 Template for Oracle Linux KVM and Oracle Linux Virtualization Manager.

          The new Oracle Linux 7 Template for Oracle Linux KVM and Oracle Linux Virtualization Manager supplies powerful automation. It is built on cloud-init, the same technology used today on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

        • Introduction to Customer Empathy Workshops

          Product feedback from users goes a long way. It’s why Red Hat’s OpenShift Web Console UI is as awesome as it is today. Features like Dashboards and Topology were added because of user feedback—and that’s how we plan on enhancing the console even further. One thing’s for sure: The path to a better console experience relies on continued customer engagement.

          Thus, Red Hat has launched a series of workshops specifically geared towards engaging and empathizing with OpenShift customers in order to better understand their needs. We’ve dubbed them customer empathy workshops.

        • How Omnitracs Transformed to a DevOps Culture with OpenShift

          Omnitracs has taken an interesting road to get to its current position as a leader in fleet management software for logistics and transportation companies. Their SaaS-based offering allows companies to track, monitor, and bring into compliance all of their trucks and shipping vehicles around the globe from one system. But just because Omnitracs users were taking advantage of cloud-based software as a service models of consumption doesn’t mean Omnitracs developers were fully utilizing the cloud and the agile methodology it enables.
          That’s only been the case for the past year, in fact, since Omnitracs began adopting Red Hat OpenShift. Andrew Harrison, lead IT DevOps Engineer and lead of the Agents of Change team at Omnitracs, was tasked with building the company a road to the future of software development, and the pavement on this road was built with OpenShift.

          Since 2014, Omnitracs has been growing rapidly, launching over 30 new products, and merging in the assets from a number of acquired companies. To keep up with all of this growth, the developers in the company had to transform their way of doing things, top to bottom.

          Thus, a year ago, Harrison was placed in charge of affecting change throughout Omnitracs’ IT organization. That means introducing devops, automation, agile methodologies, and continuous integration and deployments. That’s a tall order for a single team to spread such changes through an entire enterprise.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2020-01-31 | Linux Headlines

        IBM shakes up its leadership, the Hyperledger Project releases version 2 of Fabric, OpenAI endorses PyTorch, and FOSDEM kicks off in Brussels.

    • Kernel Space

      • Sad news about Scott Rifenbark

        I’m sorry to have to pass on the sad news that Scott Rifenbark, our
        tech writer for the project passed away on Wednesday after a battle
        with cancer.

        I remember interviewing Scott over 10 years ago when forming a team at
        Intel to work on what became the Yocto Project, he was with it from the
        start. He warned me he wasn’t an entirely traditional tech writer but I
        warned we weren’t aiming to be a traditional project either. It was a
        great match. He stayed with the project ever since in one way or
        another, he enjoyed working on the project and we enjoyed working with

      • The Yocto Project mourns Scott Rifenbark

        The longtime tech writer for the Yocto Project, Scott Rifenbark, has died after a battle with cancer.

      • F2FS Experimental Compression Is Ready For Extending Flash Storage Life

        The F2FS file-system compression functionality is the main feature addition for this flash-optimized file-system coming with the Linux 5.6 kernel. This native LZO/LZ4 compression support is geared for optimizing the lifespan of SSDs/flash memory thanks to reducing disk writes.

        This F2FS compression support is still experimental with Linux 5.6 but is easy to activate via a mount option. LZO and LZ4 compression algorithms are available right now while other formats are being investigated for supporting in the future. The compress_algorithm mount option can be used for specifying the mode and there are several other compression options too, such as for limiting the compression to certain file extensions.

      • 4 Key Changes to Look Out for in Linux Kernel 5.6

        While we’ve already witnessed the stable release of Linux 5.5 with better hardware support, Linux 5.6 is next.

        To be honest, Linux 5.6 is much more exciting than 5.5. Even though the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS release will feature Linux 5.5 out of the box, you should really know what Linux 5.6 kernel has in store for us.

      • Char/Misc Updates For Linux 5.6 Bring New Qualcomm Drivers, Intel Code Updates

        While not as exciting as the USB4 support and staging code lightening for these areas managed by Linux’s second in command Greg Kroah-Hartman, he also sent out the char/misc updates this week with other hardware support improvements.

        The “char/misc” area that basically is a catch-all for driver not belonging to another subsystem has seen its usual wide assortment of changes.

      • Ingenic X1000 SoC Being Supported By The Linux 5.6 Kernel

        Adding to the Linux 5.6 excitement is the hardware enablement of the MIPS-based Ingenic X1000 SoC.

        The Ingenic X1000 SoC has been out for over four years by this Chinese chip vendor and features their XBurst MIPS-based cores with clock speeds up to 1.0GHz and other modern features. Of MIPS chips out there, the Ingenic X1000 is fairly interesting.

      • /dev/random Is More Like /dev/urandom With Linux 5.6

        First up, with Linux 5.6 /dev/random behaves more like /dev/urandom now for polling RNG data in user-space. The changed behavior causes /dev/random to behave the same as /dev/urandom except for reads being blocked until the CRNG (the Linux cryptographic-strength random number generator) is ready. Meanwhile /dev/urandom will continue to serve its best data but never block. This /dev/random change allows the random’s blocking pool to be removed and in turn clean-up the Linux random code in the process.

      • Intel MPX Support Is Dead With Linux 5.6

        Following on from last week’s story that it was looking like Linux 5.6 would drop Intel MPX support, that has now taken place.

        Memory Protection Extensions (MPX) is now dead on Linux. It was already effectively dead if using GCC 9.1 and later since the compiler-side support was removed last year while now the kernel support is eliminated in Linux 5.6.

      • Saying Goodbye to Lars Kurth: Open Source Advocate and Friend

        Lars joined the Xen Project in January 2011, and it’s no exaggeration to say that the project may not be here without him. He worked to formalize the project’s governance documents, making it clear how companies could contribute and affect the decisions of the project. He spearheaded the search for a “home” for Xen.org within a larger governing body and oversaw its movement into the Linux Foundation.

        He developed the concept of Xen Project sub-projects, and oversaw the addition of Xapi, Windows Drivers, Mirage, Unikraft, Automotive, and finally XCP-ng as sub-projects. He was instrumental in forging relationships with various companies, finding out what their business goals were, and helping them see how they could work with the Xen Project to achieve them. Lars, gifted at communicating across boundaries, was a tireless peace-keeper. He always listened and strived for mutual understanding.

      • Linux Kernel 5.6 adds support for USB4

        USB4 devices are expected to come out later this year, but before that, the Linux 5.6 kernel had added initial support for USB4. Support for USB4 in Linux 5.6 is a much-anticipated feature, and now it is active. The Linux kernel mailing list shows that initial support for USB4 has been added to the Linux Kernel 5.6-rc1.

      • Linux Kernel 5.6已添加对USB4的支持
      • Linux Kernel 5.6 To Fix The Year 2038 Issue ” Unix Y2K”

        Linux developer Arnd Bergmann mentioned this feature in an email mailed to Linus Torvalds.

        The Year 2038 problem is also called Unix Millenium Bug or Y2K38 bug which might cause problems in the data storage situations, such situations where time values are stored or calculated as a signed 32-bit integer.

        Embedded systems that use dates for either computation or diagnostic logging are most likely to be affected by the 2038 problem. According to this bug, The time values will be stored as a negative number and the systems will read the date as Dec. 13, 1901 rather than Jan. 19, 2038.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Nvidia Will Retire Many of Their Legacy Linux Graphics Drivers

          Nvidia announced that it plans to retire some of their legacy Linux graphics drivers at the end of 2022, and will no longer provide further updates to some some very old GPU drivers.

          According to Nvidia, the Nvidia 340, 304, 173.14, 96.43, and 71.86 legacy Linux graphics driver series will no longer be maintained. The company has no plans to continue updating these old drivers.

          The Linux 340 legacy driver series currently supports G8x, G9x, and GT2xx GPUs, as well as motherboard chipsets based on them. The current and last release is 340.108 and supports Linux kernel 5.4 and X.Org Server 1.20.

    • Benchmarks

      • Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Linux Performance On A $199 AMD Ryzen Laptop

        When carrying out our Windows vs. Linux benchmarks we normally are doing so on interesting high-end hardware but for today’s benchmarking is a look at how a $199 USD laptop powered by an AMD Ryzen 3 3200U processor compares between Windows 10 as it’s shipped on the laptop against the forthcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Linux distribution.

        The $199 AMD laptop being used for testing is the Motile M141, a 14-inch laptop with Ryzen 3 3200U and Vega 3 graphics, 4GB of RAM, 120GB solid-state drive, and 1080p display. This 14-inch Ryzen 3 laptop is currently selling for just $199 USD at Walmart. While never hearing of Motile previously, I decided to go ahead and buy this laptop for some Linux testing… Motile is a private-label brand from Walmart.

    • Applications

      • Meet The Best Music App For Linux — And It Actually Looks Good, Too

        If you’re a Linux user and music junkie, there is no shortage of apps to choose from on your favorite Linux distribution. Amarok, Clementine and Rhythmbox? They’ve been around the block and have some name recognition — they’re perfectly capable music players — but they don’t exactly excel in the aesthetics department. It’s time to check out Lollypop, which is not only feature-rich but looks gorgeous on your desktop.

        Right out of the gate, Lollypop distinguishes itself by simply look superb. The mandatory-in-2020 dark theme option is present, the UI is clean and easy to navigate, feature icons are simple but instantly recognizable, and the app puts a heavy emphasis on staying uncluttered and letting your music collection shine.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Thanks to Linux on Chrome OS, you can play the ‘Game of the Decade’ on your Chromebook [VIDEO]

        We’re coming up on two years since Linux apps on Chromebooks became official. At Google I/O 2018, an announcement that Chrome OS would soon be able to run Linux applications via containters kickstarted a new wave of development for the Chromium OS developers. It was an exciting time and in the 20 months since, we’ve seen Google deliver on that promise and continue adding more and more features to Chrome OS’ Linux abilities.

      • Frictional Games are getting sneakier with their teaser – looks like we have a baby coming

        I hope you’re getting as ridiculously excited as I am about whatever this ends up being. Frictional Games have updated their teaser website for their upcoming game again.

        Here’s an overview of how it’s changed.

      • Psychological horror adventure Saint Kotar: The Yellow Mask confirmed on the way to Linux

        Acting as a free demo showing off the first part of the upcoming psychological horror adventure, Saint Kotar: The Yellow Mask will be coming to Linux. A modern point and click adventure with a psychological horror theme, which takes some inspiration from the likes of Broken Sword, Gabriel Knight, Black Mirror, The King in Yellow, True Detective and more that follows a series of murders that seem linked to devil worship and witchcraft

        Currently in development by Red Martyr Entertainment (prev called Tanais Games), and while there’s no expected release date for either Saint Kotar or the demo with Saint Kotar: The Yellow Mask they have now confirmed that it will be on Linux.

      • Puppygames have formally announced Battledroid – a massively multiplayer strategy game

        Using their own state-of-the art custom voxel graphics engine named Voxoid, Puppygames have formally announced their next game with Battledroid.

      • Volcano eruptions no longer prevent exploring in Volcanoids with Blast Shelters added

        Volcanoids, an incredibly unique and extremely promising steampunk base-builder just had a huge feature update and it’s a big improvement.

        Your base, the Drillship, is also your transportation but the island you’re on has a constantly erupting Volcano which usually meant a mad-dash back to your ship. This made exploration a bit of a nuisance but no more! You can now find dedicated Blast Shelters to hide in, with each village having one and so you can explore further without too many worries. The developer also added in various mines to find spread across the map.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Qt 5.12.7 Released

          I am happy to announce we have released Qt 5.12.7 today.

          The Qt 5.12 LTS is in ‘strict’ phase, so it will receive only the selected important bug and security fixes. This 7th patch release for Qt 5.12 LTS series contains almost 50 bug fixes including security issue fixes for both Qt ( CVE-2020-0569 and CVE-2020-0570) and 3rd party components (CVE-2019-19244, CVE-2019-19603, CVE-2019-19242, CVE-2019-19645, CVE-2019-19646 & CVE-2019-19880). Also in QtWebEngine there are many CVE fixes from Chromium. Please check other most important changes from Qt 5.12.7 Changes Files.

          Qt 5.12.7 is now available via the maintenance tool of the online installer. For new installations, please download latest online installer from Qt Account portal or from qt.io Download page. Offline packages are available for commercial users in the Qt Account portal and at the qt.io Download page for open-source users. You can also try out the Commercial evaluation option from the qt.io Download page.

        • December/Januaray in KDE Itinerary

          It has been a packed two month again around KDE Itinerary! Nextcloud Hub integrated the itinerary extraction engine, a presentation at 36C3 and working towards more elaborate assistance features are just some of the highlights since the last report.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Rust/GStreamer paid internship at Collabora

          Collabora is offering various paid internship positions for 2020. We have a nice range of very cool projects involving kernel work, Panfrost, Monado, etc.

          I’ll be mentoring a GStreamer project aiming to write a Chromecast sink element in Rust. It would be a great addition to GStreamer and would give the student a chance to learn about our favorite multimedia framework but also about bindings between C GObject code and Rust.

        • Implementing a Vala Language Server

          An LSP Client can used by Source Code Editors, like GNOME Builder or elementary’s code, or Anjuta, in order to provide specific services to the coder, like completion, goto symbol definitions, diagnostics, code formatting and others. A Client request all above services from a Server. This way, a source code editor can support multiple programming languages, just implementing an LSP Client and connect to an LSP Server.

          Client and Server should cooperate in order to provide power full tools to the user. Some times one or other, provides limitations or the cooperation requires to changes in the source code editor design.

          Anjuta for example, has implemented a database to track symbols definitions, this is no necessary as an LSP Client, because the Server should track them for you. Client just need to request if a symbol is found and get back its type and children (a very common concept on Object Oriented Programming Languages like Vala).

          A Server requires lot of information from the Client, like the root directory and compilation flags used, so it can provide reliable diagnostics and, like in Vala, the –pkg switches in use so it can find the namespaces in use for both, completion and diagnostics.

          Vala has its own Language Compiler and as many others, creates a tree of structured information about the code in order to translate it to C and then use another compiler to transform the resulted code to machine code. The Vala’s tree lot of the information we need to implement an LSP.

          Recently GVls was accepted by GNOME Builder, as The Vala Language Server for source editing. It provides completion, goto definition and diagnostics, with more services coming.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Solus Shines With Plasma Desktop Options

          Solus is one of the leading alternative distros to other more mainstream Linux OSes. The 4.1 upgrade, especially the Plasma edition, clearly set the standard that other Linux distributions should follow.

          If you are a gamer, take note of this: Solus 4.1 just made gaming simpler. Solus 4.1 ships with increased file limits to enable ESync support. This release also raises the file limits in the PAM (Pluggable Authentication Modules) package to Lutris’ suggested value. This lets you spend less time configuring your system and more time playing games.

      • New Releases

        • Kali Linux 2020.1 Released, Download Now!!!

          Offensive Security recently announced its first release of 2020, Kali Linux 2020.1 for penetration tests and forensic analysis.

          This Kali release brings several new improvements, including the highly-anticipated non-root by default.

          For those unaware, Kali Linux is one of the best Linux distros for hackers, pen-tester, and security researchers due to the fact that most of the hacking tools that are available online are built-in this Linux Distro.

        • Kali Linux 2020.1 allows hackers to use NetHunter without rooting their phones.

          As a kid when I heard of the term hacking, it immediately translated to me typing away at multiple screens and accessing everything I wanted to. And in doing so, guess which operating system appeared as the foremost choice, a no brainer? Kali Linux.

          Perhaps, this can be attributed to a huge range of tools that come pre-installed with it. Regardless, it is an essential part of every ethical hacker’s toolkit and with its release of a new version today titled Kali Linux 2020.1, we have an array of new features and updates to be excited about.

        • Kali Linux Adds Single Installer Image, Default Non-Root User

          Kali Linux 2020.1 was released today by the Kali Linux team at Offensive Security with a new Kali Single Installer image for all desktop environments and a previously announced move to a non-root default user.

          The ethical hacking distribution’s first release of this decade also comes with changes to its NetHunter pentesting platform that now can be used with unrooted Android devices.

          Also, Kali Linux 2020.1 adds seveeral new tools since 2019.4 was released, including cloud-enum, emailharvester, phpggc, sherlock, and splinter to name just a few.

      • Gentoo Family

        • Pentoo – A Security-Focused Linux Distro Based on Gentoo

          Pentoo is an open-source Live CD and Live USB Gentoo Linux-based operating system designed for experts in the field of penetration testing and security assessment. It is available for both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures and is can be run as an overlay on an existing Gentoo installation.

          If you’re not familiar with Gentoo Linux, it is an advanced Linux distro that enables users to compile their operating system from the source in other to enjoy advantages such as applications and optimal performance specific to the computer, to mention a couple.

          It does not have an installer and users are to translate the software they want before continuing with the installation. In short, one shouldn’t go near it if they don’t have the perseverance for filing through Linux documentation.

          Just like with Gentoo, Pentoo has an advanced Python-based package management system with cool features such as “fake” (OpenBSD-style) installs, system profiles, config file management, safe unmerging, and virtual packages, among others.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

      • Arch Family

        • Arch Linux 2020.02.01 Is Now Available for Download

          The Arch Linux 2020.02.01 installation media has been released today and it’s now available for download as the latest and most up-to-date snapshot of the Arch Linux operating system.

          Packed with all the software updates and security patches released through the official repositories during January 2020, this new Arch Linux snapshot is here to provide users with an up-to-date installation medium that doesn’t require them to download a bunch of updates after installation.

          Every month, the Arch Linux project releases a new ISO image that includes the most recent packages and security fixes. But because Arch Linux uses a rolling release model, which means that users install the operating system once and receive updates forever, existing users don’t have to download the new ISO.

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora program update: 2020-05

          I hold weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1, but if you’ll be at FOSDEM or Copyleft Conf, you can catch me in person. The mass rebuild is underway. Here’s what to do if your build fails.

      • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 20 and LMDE 4 Announced, Cinnamon 4.6 Gets Fractional Scaling

          Work on the Linux Mint 20 and Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) 4 operating system releases, as well as the Cinnamon 4.6 desktop environment kicks off over at the Linux Mint headquarters.

          Linux Mint project leader Clement Lefebvre revealed today in the monthly newsletter that the development cycle of the upcoming Linux Mint 20 and LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition) 4 has begun, and it starts with LMDE 4, which will be the first to be released later this year.

          Packed with all the goodies from Linux Mint 19.3 “Tricia” and based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system series, the Linux Mint Debian Edition 4 release will feature a better looking installer that now supports Btrfs submodules and /home directory encryption.

        • Monthly News – January 2020
        • Linux Mint Debian 4 Coming – Rebased Against Debian 10, Adds “Boot With NVIDIA” Option

          In addition to Linux Mint 20 coming this year that will be based off Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, the Linux Mint crew is preparing LMDE 4 as their re-base of the Debian based variant.

          Linux Mint Debian 4 is in the works as their re-based atop the Debian 10 package set. This updated LMDE release will feature the various improvements made through Linux Mint 19.3 like better HiDPI support, XApps enhancements, and all the other Cinnamon desktop happenings.

        • Charmed OSM release SEVEN: Container network functions

          Canonical is proud to announce the general availability of OSM release SEVEN images in Charmed OSM distribution. OSM release SEVEN introduces a range of exciting features, such as the ability to deploy container network functions on Kubernetes with K8s charms, and several improvements which enhance Open Source MANO (OSM) across various areas.

        • Full Circle Magazine: Full Circle Magazine #153

          This month:
          * Command & Conquer
          * How-To : Python, Test Linux in VirtualBox, and Darktable
          * Graphics : Inkscape
          * Graphics : Krita for Old Photos
          * Linux Loopback: Project Trident and other BSD options
          * Everyday Ubuntu
          * Interview : FuryBSD Developer
          * Review : mtPaint
          * Ubuntu Games : Stygian
          plus: News, My Opinion, The Daily Waddle, Q&A, and more.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Lightmeter will soon help you tune up your email server

        If you refuse to be tied to a big-name email server, such as Gmail, Outlook, or Yahoo, then you probably run your own mail server. While that requires some technical savvy, you don’t need to be a computer scientist to do it… until recently. Lately, 15% of all email messages fail to reach their destination. That’s lousy. The new open-source delivery monitoring tool, Lightmeter, may be able to change those numbers for the better.

        There are many reasons for this. One is that spam, powered by botnets such as Emotet, often overwhelms not just frustrated users but overwhelmed email servers as well. For those problems, server-based spam filtering programs, such as SpamTitian, MX GuardDog, or the good-old, do-it-yourself, open-source SpamAssassin are a must.

      • ExifTool is an open source and cross-platform metadata editor

        Metadata is useful in many ways, for instance when it comes to search or the representation of data. A popular type is exif data that’s associated with photos.

        These are used for all kinds of purposes. Photographers use them to check various characteristics of a photo, e.g. the camera make and model, aperture or ISO.

        But it’s not the only kind of metadata. You may use ID3 tags for your music files for example. Similarly, documents, videos or images that you create contain other forms of metadata. Right-click on a file and select Properties > Details in Windows. The data that you may see will differ, but you should know that metadata can contain personally identifiable data such as the latitude and longitude (GPS location), date created/modified, or the author name.

      • Intel MKL-DNN/DNNL 1.2 Released With Performance Improvements For Deep Learning On CPUs

        Intel on Friday released Deep Neural Network Library (DNNL) version 1.2, formerly known as MKL-DNN. With this release comes both new features and better performance.

        On the performance front, Intel DNNL 1.2 brings better int8 inference on pre-AVX512 hardware while int8 inference is also boosted for 3D spatial data on all CPUs. Int8 inference is also supported on GPUs with this release. There is also better performance on DNNL 1.2 when it comes to 1D backward convolutions.

      • Events

        • FOSDEM 2020 Opens Its Doors in Brussels to Open Source Developers

          The FOSDEM 2020 (Free and Open source Software Developers’ European Meeting) conference opens its doors today in Brussels as the first major event for the Open Source community.

          If you’re an Open Source developer, you need to be at FOSDEM 2020, where software developers from all over the world met to share ideas and collaborate on current and future projects. It’s a great opportunity for any free and open source software developers to present his/her projects, ideas, and other related things.

          All the major Open Source companies and projects you know are at FOSDEM, including The Document Foundation (LibreOffice), Debian, KDE, GNOME, Collabora, Nextcloud, LPI (Linux Professional Institute), CentOS, OpenMandriva, openSUSE, Fedora Project, Gentoo Linux, elementary OS, Mozilla, FreeBSD, ReactOS, Haiku, Apache Software Foundation, and many others.

        • FOSDEM 2020

          It’s that time of the year, and I need to thank my company Kinvolk for sponsoring this waffle-gobbling-presentation-hopping event we all love.

        • fosdem, day #0

          I arrived in Brussels yesterday, and today feels like the day before the storm. Closing some work from the hotel room, meeting some people before the fosdem chaos, doing some preparatory stuff for foss-north.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Tracking Diaries with Melanie Ehrenkranz

            In Tracking Diaries, we invited people from all walks of life to share how they spent a day online while using Firefox’s privacy protections to keep count of the trackers that tried to follow them.

            Whenever you’re online, a multitude of third parties attempt to record what you’re doing, largely without your knowledge or consent. Creepy! That’s why Firefox has turned the tables, letting you block and see the trackers. Read on to find out how many trackers tried to trail writer Melanie Ehrenkranz throughout her day, and how she felt about it.

          • Armen Zambrano: Join Mozilla’s new chat rooms

            For over a decade Mozilla has been using IRC to publicly chat with anyone interested to join the community. Recently, we’ve launched a replacement for it by creating a Mozilla community Matrix instance. I will be focusing on simply documenting what the process looks like to join in as a community member (without an LDAP account/Mozilla email address). For the background of the process you can read it here. Follow along the photos and what each caption says.

          • ProtonVPN adopts GPLv3, Mozilla Thunderbird gets new home, and more news

            What a difference a few years makes. When the Mozilla Foundation announced in 2015 that it was considering spinning off the Thunderbird email client, the software’s adherents feared the worst. Since then, Thunderbird has persisted but its fate has also been up in the air. That’s changed with the formation of MZLA Technologies Corporation.

            MZLA Technologies is “a new wholly owned subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation” that’s the new home of the Thunderbird project. The move to the new corporation means that development will continue on the software and that move “won’t have an impact on Thunderbird’s day-to-day running.” According to Thunderbird’s Phillip Kewisch, shifting the project to MZLA Technologies enables it to “explore offering our users products and services that were not possible under the Mozilla Foundation.”

      • BSD

        • OPNsense 20.1 released with TLS certificate creation and more

          The latest update to OPNsense, known as Keen Kingfisher, strives to take your firewall experience to the next level with the help of various improvements, software updates, and documentation changes.

          In case you have never dipped your toes in the open-source firewall world, it is highly likely that you wouldn’t have heard of OPNsense. Well, this makes the perfect opportunity to briefly introduce this software to all of our readers out there.

        • HardenedBSD Tor Onion Service v3 Nodes

          I’ve been working today on deploying Tor Onion Service v3 nodes across our build infrastructure. I’m happy to announce that the public portion of this is now completed. Below you will find various onion service hostnames and their match to our infrastructure.

        • The MWL 2020 Asia Tour

          Why do this trip, when I loathe travel? Over the last twenty years, I’ve promised several folks that I would one day attend AsiaBSDCon. I keep my promises. I’m looking forward to being there, but not to getting there. The Bangalore trip is serendipitous. Presenting technology is how I built my career. Bangalore is a technology center and obviously a place I should present in. HasGeek asked if I would be interested, I said “if you could put an event by AsiaBSDCon,” and those folks actually went and did it. I’m simultaneously amazed and honored that they’ve gone to such trouble.

      • FSF

        • Diversity at the Australian Open Tennis, Margaret Court and the FSF’s Richard Stallman

          In 2014, Brendan Eich, one of the co-founders of Mozilla, was promoted to the position of CEO. A lynching-by-Twitter quickly began, hounding him to resign barely 10 days later because of his concerns about gay marriage.

          In 2019, similar tactics were used to attack Richard Stallman (RMS), founder of the Free Software Foundation. RMS has no homophobic or sexist agenda. He is a computer scientist, not a diplomat and some of his communications could have been worded more carefully. Nonetheless, the dogs were let off their leash, things he had written were used out of context to create a false depiction of him as a villain and within a few days, RMS had resigned.

          In contrast to Tennis Australia’s memorialisation of Margaret Court’s achievements, the FSF has set about deleting RMS’s legacy, deleting his name from their history. Newspaper headlines have appeared associating RMS with Jeffrey Epstein, yet there is no evidence that they ever had any contact during Epstein’s visits to RMS’s former workplace, MIT. This type of press coverage is no accident: it is not only intended to hurt RMS personally, it is also intended to undermind his message of freedom. It is an attack that hurts anybody with a personality that prioritizes principles over popularity.

          In the short term, some of those behind these attacks may be giving themselves high-fives and pats on the back but in the long term, these lynchings send out a subconscious message to volunteers that we are all disposable. If the founder of the movement can be backstabbed on the cusp of his retirement, anybody can. Tennis Australia’s celebration of Margaret Court, however, sends out a message that achievement will always have merit and nobody’s achievements will be erased for political expedience. Which type of organization would you rather associate with in the long term?

        • GNU Projects

          • Using gcc sanitisers to get a nasty bug fixed

            A couple of days ago a colleague at Collabora asked me to help create a Debian package for the tool he needed to complete his task. The tool happened to be an NXP code signing tool, used to sign OS images to be run on i.MX systems using ‘High Assurance Boot’.

            As it often happens, the tool was distributed in a manner typical for corporations like NXP: no direct link to the tarball, custom buildsystem, compiled binaries in the same tarball as the sources. A big relief was that the tool has been distributed under a three-clause BSD license since version 3.3.0 (the sources were not provided at all before that).

          • GNU C Library 2.31 Nearing With Experimental C2X Support, Time Changes

            GNU C Library 2.31 (Glibc 2.31) should be releasing in the days ahead and is now under a hard freeze for this next feature release to this important libc implementation.

      • Programming/Development

        • Top 14 Open Source Web Development Tools

          A GitLab report found that developers overwhelmingly prefer open source development tools, “98 percent of developers say they use open source tools, and 75 percent say at least half of their tools are open source.” Open source software is always in flux. New projects are being born every day, and from time to time, we like to shine a spotlight on those that seem particularly noteworthy. There’s always something valuable in open source software. Of course, there are plenty more out there that didn’t get included. If you know of one (or more) notable open source apps, please make a note in the Comments section below.

        • HPVM (v0.5) Release

          The Illinois LLVM group is excited to announce the open-source release of HPVM (version 0.5), a compiler infrastructure for heterogeneous parallel systems.
          The release includes the implementation of the IR as well as backends for CPUs and NVIDIA GPUs (using OpenCL). It also comes with an install script that automates the process of installing LLVM and patches it with HPVM. In addition, a handful of benchmarks as well as unit tests and regression tests are provided with the release.

          HPVM can be downloaded from our public GitLab repository. It requires an installation of LLVM-9, which can be downloaded and installed using our provided install script. All the necessary instructions on how to install and use HPVM are provided in README files at appropriate places in the repository. HPVM is provided under the Illinois/NCSA Open Source License. Any questions or suggestions can be directed to hpvm-dev at lists.cs.illinois.edu.

        • University of Illinois Releases HPVM As Heterogeneous Parallel Systems Compiler

          University of Illinois and associated developers have released HPVM 0.5, their LLVM-based compiler infrastructure for Heterogeneous Parallel Systems with CPU execution and OpenCL-based NVIDIA GPU support.

          HPVM is a University of Illinois research project for exploring heterogeneous parallelism with a language-neutral IR and virtual instruction set.

        • Node.js rival Deno emphasizes security

          Intended to provide a productive, secure scripting environment for the modern programmer, Deno arose from Dahl’s dissatisfaction with the popular Node.js JavaScript runtime, particularly in regards to security. The only major feature still missing is debugger support, Dahl said, adding that the project aims to draw on Chrome Devtools for debugging.


          With Deno, the plan is to use web standard ES modules for modules outside the browser. A side effect is that Deno does not require a package manager; third-party code can be imported via HTTP. Thus Deno aligns server-side JavaScript modules with web standards and allows modules to be hosted on any web server, not just in NPM. The result is that Deno is less monolithic than Node.

          The Deno development team publishes internal parts of Deno, which was written in Rust, on crates.io, the Rust package registry. In addition to a deno-core crate there is deno-typescript, which allows developers to compile and “snapshot” TypeScript code. Deno developers also have built a crate featuring raw V8 bindings in Rust.

        • The 25 Best Linux Compilers for Modern Developers

          Compilers play an important role in the development of modern software and systems. They’re computer programs that transform source codes into binary executables. When you write a program using a high-level language such as C or Pascal, you need the compiler to interpret your code and turn it into a machine-readable binary. Usually, modern Linux IDEs take care of this using in-built compiler frontends. On the other hand, many systems programmer like me writes their code using a simple editor and compiles the program using the appropriate Linux compilers. Since Linux offers a plethora of compelling compilers, we’ve curated this guide to help you choose the best one for your needs.

        • Perl / Raku

          • Perl Weekly Challenge 045: Square Secret Code & Source Dumper

            But the task can be solved in a completely different way. There’s a special category of programs called “quines” (named after Willard Van Orman Quine). Their sole purpose is to output their source without reading it. I was introduced to the idea several decades ago, the first quine I’ve ever seen was written in Pascal and I still keep a copy of it (tested in recent FreePascal; the trailing whitespace is part of the source!) I don’t know who the original author was, let me know if you do.

      • Standards/Consortia

        • When Open Source Software Costs Cities More [Ed: Forbes pushing that stigma that Free software is "expensive" and we should just settle for proprietary software with "standards" instead (as if freedom and autonomy should be abandoned for "savings")]

          Open standards that are developed with a clear and transparent process are essential for ensuring flexibility and adaptability, and are almost always undeniably “good”. Whereas open source software, especially in the context of the public sector, has various pros, cons, and sometimes unexpected challenges.

          Open Standards

          Open standards are often developed for data or hardware that are made available to the general public and are designed and maintained through a collaborative and consensus driven process. They are critical for allowing for different systems to communicate and share information seamlessly.

          In open standards making processes, members (which in some cases may include open participation without membership criteria or costs) work collaboratively together to develop standards. These standards are designed and tested in the open with members; they are not developed and tested by one or a limited set of actors in a black box and then pushed out as a standard.

          The most popular example of an open standard in transportation is the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS), originally developed by Google and TriMet. GTFS standardized how public transit systems share information about their schedules and locations of their vehicles (GTFS -real time). GTFS is not software – it is a data specification or standard.

  • Leftovers

    • Because We Are Thieves
    • Films From the Frontlines: Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite

      Parasite, by Bong Joon-ho a noted filmmaker from South Korea, nominated for Best Picture and Best Foreign Film by the Academy, is one of the finest films I’ve seen in a long time. Bong wrote the story, wrote the screenplay, directed the film and willed it into existence. To me, its fundamental premise is that capitalism itself, in this case reflected in South Korean society, is the parasite. But unlike Occupy’s appealing illusion of the virtuous 99% against the evil 1% Parasite offers the viewers a chance to see what they don’t want to—that the parasitism of capitalism and imperialism infects all of us. And unless we dedicate our life to its destruction, (and even then) it is a cancerous web that ensnares all of us in its devious machinations. In the end, the film’s central questions are “Who is the parasite?” and even more challenging, “Are you a parasite inside a parasitical system?” Parasite, in the brilliant web Bong weaves, shows capitalism as a system that implicates the members of every class and, in the absence of a revolutionary, counter-hegemonic movement, is loved or at least emulated by all. The poor are not angry at the rich. They are angry they are not rich and their only real anger is not at the system but those below them–what I call “upward mobility and downward hostility.”

    • The Making of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ Was as Far Out as the Movie

      Enter “Envisioning 2001: Stanley Kubrick’s Space Odyssey,” a new exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, that runs through July 19. The show brings together original correspondence, sketches, storyboards, props, video clips and much more to illustrate how Kubrick, the film’s director, and Arthur C. Clarke, the science fiction author who collaborated with him on the screenplay, set about bringing the future to the screen. The museum will show “2001” on 70-millimeter film monthly while the exhibit runs, and several sidebar movie series — the first, on movies that inspired “2001,” runs through Feb. 2 — will complement the showcase.

    • Wes Wilson, Psychedelic Poster Pioneer, Dies at 82

      Wes Wilson, who helped create the trippy look associated with the second half of the 1960s through the vivid, swirling posters he made for rock shows by the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and others, died on Jan. 24 at his home in Leanne, Mo. He was 82.

    • Roku is losing Fox apps just in time for you to miss the Super Bowl, maybe

      If you were hoping to watch the Super Bowl on your Roku TV or set-top box, I hope you don’t mind paying for streaming services like FuboTV, Sling or Hulu, because your existing cable subscription is no good as of today — Roku is pulling all of its Fox apps off of the platform, effective tomorrow, two days before the Big Game.

    • Fox News hosts urge their fans to complain to Roku over streaming blackout

      For the first time, Roku has found itself in a heated carriage dispute that’s very familiar to cable providers, but less often associated with tech companies. Yesterday, the conflict between Roku and Fox spilled out into the open, with Roku emailing customers to announce that all of Fox’s standalone channels would abruptly be going away on January 31st.

      With virtually no notice, Roku has kicked Fox Now, Fox News, and Fox Sports (among others) off its hugely popular platform. The removal comes just days before Super Bowl 2020, which Fox is broadcasting this Sunday night. After Roku’s email, Fox responded with a contentious statement that accused Roku of using its customers “as pawns” in negotiations and reminded viewers of other ways to watch the big game.

    • How Much Football Is Even In A Football Broadcast?

      We examined the nature of pro sports broadcasts as part of the sports analytics course we taught last semester at the University of Texas. We watched dozens of broadcasts across all major sports and charted every second along the way. Our goal was to understand the makeup of the most valuable properties in sports — live game broadcasts — and to map out how these broadcasts vary across different sports.

      Our findings reveal that while different sports produce wildly different broadcast experiences, NFL broadcasts are among the most interrupted and least action-packed broadcasts of any sport. Simply put, there’s not a lot of actual football in a football game.

    • Opposition grows to Microsoft’s make-Chrome-use-Bing plan for Office 365 customers

      Resistance has mounted over the last several days to Microsoft’s decision to change the default search engine of Google’s Chrome to Bing on personal computers running Office 365 ProPlus.

      Microsoft quietly announced the move Jan. 21 on its Microsoft 365 Roadmap page, then on Jan. 22 published support documents with additional information and a blog post that stated the company’s rationale.

      Commentary on Microsoft’s blog, the support document and elsewhere — including an Office 365 website dedicated to user requests — was almost universally negative.

    • So you locked your backups away for years, huh? Allow me to introduce my colleagues, Brute, Force and Ignorance

      You can imagine the horrors that lurked within. As well as the tar from years of tobacco smoke, there was “ash, spider webs and assorted dirt”.

      “My first problem-solving question of the day was: Do you have a vacuum cleaner?”

      Having cleaned the thing up, Alessandro hoped it might boot but alas, nothing.

      No problem: “Where are your backups?”

      A box of floppy disks was extracted from a safe (sensible) but Alessandro was given only two of the 10, labelled BACKUP01 and BACKUP02. After a bit of awkward prodding, the customer admitted to “safely keeping the original backup locked away for years because he was told to…”

      But he’d never actually taken another. For years.

      What to do? The bigwig would not be keen on re-entering all the data. Brute force and experience would have to come to the rescue.

    • Science

      • AI still doesn’t have the common sense to understand human language

        Until pretty recently, computers were hopeless at producing sentences that actually made sense. But the field of natural-language processing (NLP) has taken huge strides, and machines can now generate convincing passages with the push of a button.

        Karen Hao

      • Alphabet Has a Second, Secretive Quantum Computing Team

        X, formerly known as Google X, is dedicated to incubating “moonshot” technologies that might underpin new Google-scale businesses. Its small group of quantum researchers is not building its own quantum computing hardware. The group’s leader is more interested in creating new algorithms and applications to run on quantum computers, and building software libraries that allow conventional coders to use the exotic machines.

        “Hardware’s very interesting [but] it’s really software that gets the majority of the value creation,” said Jack Hidary, the serial entrepreneur who leads X’s quantum research, in a November talk at Carnegie Mellon University. He pointed to how software companies such as Microsoft are collectively worth much more than the hardware manufacturers their products run on, even though it was advances in hardware that initially created the computing industry.

    • Hardware

      • VR Headset Sales Drop Over 40% Compared to Last Year – Why?

        A Nielsen subsidiary has published VR sales figures for 2019 — the data includes AR, VR, and hybrid headsets.

      • Direct Memory Access Attacks – A Walk Down Memory Lane

        DMA attacks are a particularly powerful class of attacks for any adversary who has compromised firmware locally or remotely on peripheral hardware such as network cards, or who has physical access to a system. As the name suggests, DMA attacks enable a potential attacker to read and write memory off a victim system directly, bypassing the main CPU and OS. By overwriting memory, attackers can gain control over kernel execution to perform virtually any manner of malicious activity. We collectively refer to these as Memory Lane attacks.

        While we will look at a few specific examples here, it is important to note this is an industry-wide issue. Previously, successful DMA attacks have been demonstrated against Intel NUC and Lenovo laptops, and these vulnerabilities apply equally to servers as well as laptops. While device vendors, chip vendors, and operating system vendors have all developed new controls to defend against these threats, our research shows that many devices with built-in hardware protections continue to be vulnerable.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Shocking! Antivirus company tracked and sold users’ personal browsing histories

          A joint investigation by Motherboard and PCMag led to this revelation. The data that is being sold even includes the porn search history of the users and the videos that they finally watched.

        • Antivirus company Avast shuts down porn-tracking subsidiary

          Antivirus software giant Avast has scrapped a subsidiary that was exposed in a bombshell report for harvesting and selling millions of users’ private web browsing histories.

        • Popular antivirus tracked users’ porn browsing habits: report

          Experts told Motherboard, however, that in certain instances it “could be possible to deanonymize certain users” provided there was enough specific data about their browsing habits.

        • The Cost of Avast’s Free Antivirus: Companies Can Spy on Your Clicks

          The data collected is so granular that clients can view the individual clicks users are making on their browsing sessions, including the time down to the millisecond. And while the collected data is never linked to a person’s name, email or IP address, each user history is nevertheless assigned to an identifier called the device ID, which will persist unless the user uninstalls the Avast antivirus product.

        • Cisco Patches DoS, Information Disclosure Flaws in Small Business Switches

          Cisco this week informed customers that some of its Small Business Switches are affected by high-severity vulnerabilities that can be exploited to obtain sensitive device information and to launch denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.

          The flaws, tracked as CVE-2019-15993 and CVE-2020-3147, were reported to the company by Ken Pyle of DFDR Consulting. Both security holes can be exploited remotely and without authentication, and they impact a switch’s web-based user interface.

        • Severe ‘Perfect 10.0’ Microsoft Flaw Confirmed: ‘This Is A Cloud Security Nightmare’

          There are two vulnerabilities here. The first is a modest software bug that can be pushed hard to crash a system and escalate that crash to secure user privileges. And the second in a lack of security on a relatively arbitrary shared service that can be manipulated to break out of a user’s own part of the cloud infrastructure and onto the common shared hardware. That great advantage of the cloud, using only what you need, just when you need it, means you are a tenant in a server version of an apartment block. Check Point’s exploit built a master key for all the other apartments in that block.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Facebook open-sources Polygames- a new framework to train AI bots [Ed: More openwashing of surveillance by Facebook (which keeps 99% of its malicious code secret)]

              Polygames is a new open source AI research framework for training agents to master strategy games through self-play, rather than by studying extensive examples of successful gameplay. Because it is more flexible and has more features than previous frameworks, Polygames can help researchers with advancing and benchmarking a broad range of zero learning (ZL) techniques that don’t require training data sets.

              Polygames’ architecture makes it compatible with more kinds of games — including Breakthrough, Hex, Havannah, Minishogi, Connect6, Minesweeper, Mastermind, EinStein würfelt nicht!, Nogo, and Othello — than previous systems, such as AlphaZero and ELF OpenGo. In addition to building and evaluating ZL methods across a variety of games, Polygames allows researchers to study transfer learning, meaning the applicability of a model trained on one game to succeed at others. Polygames provides a library of included games, as well as a single-file API to implement your own game.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (libsolv, libxmlrpc3-java, openjpeg2, qemu, and suricata), Fedora (ansible, chromium, java-latest-openjdk, links, mingw-openjpeg2, nss, openjpeg2, python-pillow, thunderbird, webkit2gtk3, and xen), Mageia (gdal, java-1.8.0-openjdk, mariadb, openjpeg2, and sqlite3), Oracle (kernel), Red Hat (rh-java-common-xmlrpc), SUSE (e2fsprogs, ImageMagick, php72, tigervnc, and wicked), and Ubuntu (keystone).

          • Meet OpenSK, an Open-Source 2FA Security Key Platform from Google

            Google has announced OpenSK, a fully open-source solution for accelerating the adoption of security keys by the masses.

          • Google releases open-source 2FA security key platform called OpenSK

            Two-factor security is a basic requirement these days if you want to take your digital responsibilities seriously, but some hardware lacks the sort of public documentation that some privacy advocates feel is truly necessary to provide ideal security. Open source enthusiasts will be glad to hear that Google has just announced the release of OpenSK, an open-source implementation for security keys, supporting both FIDO U2F and FIDO2.

            This isn’t the sort of thing most of our readers will be able to appreciate immediately, you can’t zip out and buy a product running Google’s OpenSK just yet. This early, explicitly experimental release is only compatible with a single piece of reference hardware right now: the Nordic chip dongle (for which the project supplies a 3d-printable case). But with this working software platform and reference hardware, Google and participating developers/security researchers may be able to build something new with the benefits of open-source security.

          • Intel Should Now Have Gen7 Graphics Mitigated Without The Hefty Performance Hit

            Earlier this month when Intel disclosed CVE-2019-14615 as a security vulnerability affecting their graphics architecture, older Gen7 graphics saw a huge hit to their performance with the initial patches for addressing this vulnerability on Ivy Bridge and Haswell processors. Fortunately, a new mitigation patch series was sent out this week where they believe the performance costs are now avoided.

          • KVM Virtualization Adds Protections For Spectre-V1/L1TF Combination Attack

            Following the Xen hypervisor in mitigating against a possible Spectre Variant One and L1 Terminal Fault combination attack, the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) has added its own protections with the Linux 5.6 kernel on top of all the other mitigations they’ve had to endure as a result of CPU vulnerabilities over the past two years.

            The new concern for virtualization is that Spectre V1 and L1TF (Level One Terminal Fault) could be combined to more easily collect leaked information. Xen recently issued XSA-289 as “cache-load gadgets exploitable with L1TF.” While now the KVM code has been updated to protect against this combination attack.

          • Winnti Group targeting universities in Hong Kong

            In November 2019, we discovered a new campaign run by the Winnti Group against two Hong Kong universities. We found a new variant of the ShadowPad backdoor, the group’s flagship backdoor, deployed using a new launcher and embedding numerous modules. The Winnti malware was also found at these universities a few weeks prior to ShadowPad.

            The Winnti Group, active since at least 2012, is responsible for for high-profile supply-chain attacks against the video game and software industries leading to the distribution of trojanized software (such as CCleaner, ASUS LiveUpdate and multiple video games) that is then used to compromise more victims. It is also known for having compromised various targets in the healthcare and education sectors.

          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

            • OpenSMTPD advisory dissected

              Qualys contacted by e-mail to tell me they found a vulnerability in OpenSMTPD and would send me the encrypted draft for advisory.

              Receiving this kind of e-mail when working on a daemon that can’t revoke completely privileges is not a thing you want to read, particularly when you know how efficient they are at spotting a small bug and leveraging into a full-fledged clusterfuck.

            • This Week In Security: OpenSTMPD, Kali Release, Scareware, Intel, And Unintended Consequences

              If you run an OpenBSD server, or have OpenSMTPD running on a server, go update it right now. Version 6.6.2, released January 28th, fixes an exploit that can be launched locally or remotely, simply by connecting to the SMTP service. This was found by Qualys, who waited till the update was released to publish their findings.

              It’s a simple logic flaw in the code that checks incoming messages. If an incoming message has either an invalid sender’s username, or invalid domain, the message is sent into error handling logic. That logic checks if the domain is an empty string, in which case, the mail is processed as a local message, sent to the localhost domain. Because the various parts of OpemSMTPD operate by executing commands, this logic flaw allows an attacker to inject unexpected symbols into those commands. The text of the email serves as the script to run, giving an attacker plenty of room to totally own a system as a result.

            • Serious Security – How ‘special case’ code blew a hole in OpenSMTPD

              If there’s one open source project with an unashamedly clear focus on security, it’s the OpenBSD operating system.

              In its own words, its efforts “emphasize portability, standardization, correctness, proactive security and integrated cryptography.”

              Indeed, numerous sub-projects under the OpenBSD umbrella have become well-known cybersecurity names in their own right, notably OpenSSH – which ships with almost every Linux distribution and, since Windows 10, with Windows – and LibreSSL.

              There’s also OpenSMTPD, a mail server that aims to allow “ordinary machines to exchange emails with other systems speaking the SMTP protocol”, for example to let you run a mail server of your own instead of relying on cloud services like Gmail or Outlook.com.

              Well, if you do use OpenSMTPD, you need to make sure you’re not vulnerable to a recently-disclosed bug that could let a crook take over your server simply by sending an email containing evil commands.

              Being security-conscious doesn’t stop the OpenBSD project from writing buggy code…

              …but it has made the core team very quick at responding when bugs are reported, which is what happened in this case.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • London Police Move Forward With Full-Time Deployment Of Facial Recognition Tech That Can’t Accurately Recognize Faces

              The London Metropolitan Police sure loves its facial recognition tech. But it’s an unrequited love. The tech doesn’t appear to have done anything for the Met during its past deployments.

            • Dating Apps Can Be Dangerous. Congress Is Investigating.

              A House subcommittee chair announced on Thursday a broad investigation of the safety of online dating apps in the wake of “extremely troubling reports.” Among those cited in letters sent by the subcommittee to dating app companies is a lengthy recent investigation by Columbia Journalism Investigations and ProPublica.

              Launched by Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, the inquiry will focus on the use of dating sites among underage users, the sale or dissemination of users’ personal information and the presence of registered sex offenders on free dating sites. Krishnamoorthi added in a press release, “Protection from sexual predators should not be a luxury confined to paying customers.”

            • What can we learn from the Clearview “end of privacy” story?

              A couple of weeks ago, a story in the New York Times put facial recognition, and the serious problems it raises, firmly into the mainstream. It concerned the start-up Clearview AI, which, as the headline breathlessly informed us, “might end privacy as we know it.” The reason for this worrying description is not any breakthrough in AI technology by Clearview, but the fact that the company claims to have created a database of more than three billion facial images collected from Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and millions of other websites, apparently by scraping Web sites without asking anyone’s permission. A background document explains that “Clearview’s data is all gathered from publicly available sources, including news sites, social media, mugshots and more”. The company also says that more than 600 law enforcement agencies have started using Clearview – one reason why it is problematic.

            • NYPD Engaged in Coverup to Hide Its Ties to a Facial Recognition Firm

              In New York, a city whose recent surveillance scandals range from a juvenile DNA database to dangerous body scans for pregnant women, it’s hard to be shocked when new spy tools come to light. But when news surfaced last week about the NYPD’s connections to the controversial facial recognition firm Clearview, the public took note.

            • Facebook closes down 6%, wiping out more than $30 billion in market value

              The decline comes after Facebook reported a 51% rise in expenses compared with its total in 2018. The expenses were largely related to the company’s privacy and security improvements. That coincides with a drop in the company’s operating margin, which fell from 45% in 2018 to 34% in 2019.

            • Confidentiality

              • Amazon Engineer: ‘Ring should be shut down immediately and not brought back’

                An Amazon software engineer named Max Eliaser is calling for the shutdown of Ring, the doorbell camera company Amazon paid $2 billion for in 2018.

                Hundreds of Amazon employees recently banded together to form Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, an organization dedicated to holding the company’s feet to the fire when it comes to taking the steps necessary to face the global climate crisis. The group published a post on Medium yesterday sharing its members’ views on climate change, but Eliaser apparently felt the need to speak out on a different subject.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Iraq’s ISIS Trials Don’t Deliver Justice – Including for Children

        Over the past two years, Iraqi courts have processed more than 20,000 terrorism cases against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) suspects, including hundreds of children. But a new United Nations report finds that far from delivering justice, these trials are seriously flawed.  

        The UN monitored more than 600 trial hearings against ISIS suspects in 2018 and 2019. It found judges relied heavily on confessions, despite frequent allegations of torture. The courts made little distinction between those responsible for violent crimes and those coerced into ISIS association or those that joined for their own survival. Whether they served as a commander or a cook, most were simply charged with ISIS membership, which can carry a death sentence. Lawyers, almost always state-appointed, rarely saw – or questioned – the “evidence” against their clients. Perhaps even worse, the trials completely excluded the participation of victims or witnesses of ISIS abuse.

      • 2nd CIA Contractor Testifies in 9/11 Case at Guantanamo

        A former CIA contractor who helped design a harsh interrogation program following the the Sept. 11 attacks sought Friday to minimize the severity of techniques used on the men facing war crimes charges for their alleged roles in the plot.

      • US: Trump Administration Abandons Landmine Ban

        The Trump Administration’s decision to cancel a policy to eliminate all antipersonnel landmines reverses years of steady steps toward alignment with the 1997 treaty banning the weapons, Human Rights Watch said today. The new United States policy rolls back the US prohibitions on landmine production and use.

        “Most of the world’s countries have embraced the ban on antipersonnel landmines for more than two decades, while the Trump administration has done a complete about-face in deciding to cling to these weapons in perpetuity,” said Steve Goose, director of the arms division at Human Rights Watch. “Using landmines, which have claimed so many lives and limbs, is not justified by any country or group under any circumstances.”

      • DARPA is testing drones it can launch from a plane—then collect mid-air

        The news: The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has conducted the first test of a new type of drone that can be launched from a plane in a swarm and recovered in mid-air when it’s done its job.

        Charlotte Jee

        Charlotte Jee

      • Interior formally grounds drones amid cyber concerns tied to Chinese-made systems

        Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt formally grounded the department’s drones from non-emergency operations in a Jan. 29 order amid cybersecurity concerns relating to Chinese-made drones in its fleet.

        The formal measure “affirms” an Interior Department announcement in late October that it was temporarily halting non-emergency drone operations in late October last year. That review is ongoing.

      • “Balfouristans” for Bibi: “Apartheid” Isn’t an Insult, It’s a Blueprint

        The image on the left is from a map Donald Trump tweeted out with the label, “Vision For Peace: Conceptual Map/The Future of Palestine.” The one on the right shows the “Bantustans” created by apartheid-era South Africa in 1970, a move designed to pen the country’s black citizens into impoverished “homelands.”

      • Omar Baddar on Israel/Palestine ‘Peace’ Plan, Rainey Reitman on Greenwald Persecution

        This week on CounterSpin: It is strange to think that you could create a plan to shape the relationship between two entities, in consultation with one but not the other, and then not just declare it, yourself, a “win-win,” but also say to the unconsulted party, “You better take it, or else.”  Yet that is what’s unfolding with Donald Trump’s plan for Israel/Palestine, which some corporate media are describing as a “peace” plan, even as a chorus of voices, including Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, say the plan would put Palestinians in a “permanent state of apartheid.” We’ll talk about Trump’s—or Jared Kushner’s—proposal for Israel/Palestine with Omar Baddar, deputy director of the Arab American Institute.

      • Ending Palestinian Statehood as ‘Path’ to Palestinian Statehood

        Media coverage of the Israel/Palestine conflict over the years has typically portrayed Palestinians as obstinate and imperious negotiating partners who insist on unreasonable preconditions before reaching an agreement (e.g., US News, 6/20/12; Wall Street Journal, 4/28/13; Jerusalem Post, 7/18/17). When Israel’s preconditions are reported, the precondition that the peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians should be mediated by the US is often omitted.

      • Donald Trump gives Israel the green light to annex occupied lands
      • Edging World Closer to Nuclear War, Trump Deploys ‘Low Yield’—More ‘Usable’—Atomic Warhead on US Submarine

        “An alarming development that heightens the risk of nuclear war.”

      • Approaching Midnight: the Nuclear Threat, Then and Now

        A former U.S. Air Force missile base on Long Island—set up to use nuclear-tipped missiles to shoot out of the sky Soviet bombers feared to be flying over or near Long Island to bomb New York City and other targets—may be designated a high-pollution New York State Superfund site.

      • Growing Up Panther: An Interview With K’sisay Sadiki

        That two-year-old, K’Sisay Sadiki, is now in her forties with kids of her own. She has lived her life in two worlds. She’s attended prestigious dance and film schools, holds down a steady job, pays taxes. And, as the child of Black Panthers, she’s lived underground, raised by people dedicated to overturning white supremacy. Her father, Kamau, also has a daughter – K’Sisay’s sister – by Assata Shakur, who famously escaped from prison in 1979 and now lives in Cuba as a “dangerous fugitive,” hunted by the US government. Kamau is in a Georgia prison, serving a life-plus-ten-years sentence for the 1971 fatal shooting of a police officer – a cold case, resurrected in the post-9/11 world.

      • ‘Absolutely Horrific’: Trump Preparing to Roll Back Restrictions on US Military Use of Landmines

        “Trump’s policy rollback is a step toward the past, like many of his other decisions, and sends exactly the wrong message to those working to rid the world of the scourge of landmines.”

      • ‘Historic Step’: House Votes to Repeal 2002 Iraq AUMF Trump Used to Justify Soleimani Assassination

        “Trump’s claim that the 2002 AUMF can authorize his attacks against Iran has no basis in reality, underscoring the need for immediate action.”

      • Maneuvering Hell for Our Advantage

        Eighteen years on, we’re bombing Afghanistan more savagely than ever. We’ve already destroyed the country, but we can’t stop trying to save it.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Government Debts as Class Swindles

        The same politicians who facilitate tax reductions for banks, big corporations, and the wealthiest individuals likewise then facilitate government borrowing money from them.

      • Ilhan Omar Asked About the Dreams Student Debt Kills, and the Internet Answered

        The issue of student loan debt is especially important to young voters, as polling indicates. According to the Federal Reserve, there is currently over $1.6 trillion of outstanding student loan debt owed across the country — that’s a massive increase from 2006, when the number was around $480 billion.

      • Capitalism in America: the Coming Crisis

        “Alphabet joins the $1trn club” the headline read. It is a very exclusive club—in fact, only three other companies in the world belong to it. The Saudi oil monopoly, Aramco, is the only one that is not American. Microsoft and Apple are the other two. They both have a market value well in excess of one trillion dollars. A fourth monster U.S. corporation, Amazon, will probably join this elite group sometime in 2020.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Admitting Trump’s Actions Are Worthy of Impeachment, Rubio Nonetheless Declines to Support Removing President From Office

        “In which Marco Rubio openly acknowledges he is abrogating his oath to uphold the Constitution.”

      • Two Wings, Four Despotisms

        Republican Tyranny, Orange Menace

      • White House Curbs Immigration for 6 Nations in Election-Year Push

        The Trump administration announced Friday that it was curbing legal immigration from six additional countries that officials said did not meet security standards, as part of an election-year push to further restrict immigration.

      • Paranoid Groundings and Technocratic States: Hillary Clinton Versus Mark Zuckerberg

        It is another one of those contests and disagreements where the contestants should all loose, or at the very least, be subjected to a torturous stalemate. Hillary Clinton remains the nasty sprinkle on the Democratic Party in the United States, ever hopeful that some door might open to enable her to come sliding in, taking the reins to what she regards as her possession: the White House.

      • The Common Good

        We’re launching a new talk show called “The Common Good,” with new episodes every Thursday on my YouTube channel. The inaugural episode is now up. In it, I talk with Katie Milne from the Inequality Media team about the Senate trial, the bombshell John Bolton news, witnesses, and the outright crazy things Donald Trump’s lawyers and GOP lackeys are saying to try to acquit our lawless president. We also discuss the upcoming Democratic primaries, Bernie Sanders’ rise in the polls, Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer attempting to buy the presidency, and what we can expect in Iowa.

        Inequality Media is a digital media organization aimed at debunking right-wing lies, educating the public about inequality and imbalance of power, and breaking down solutions to the economic and structural issues plaguing our country. We provide a platform for you to learn, share your ideas, and, hopefully, mobilize your communities to make change for the common good.

      • Pro-Europeans have a right to help shape future relationship with Europe, say UK’s Greens
      • Voting to acquit this noxious criminal is the point of no return for the Republican Party

        There are many theories about when it was exactly that Republicans lost their minds. Some will point out, correctly, that the strain of reality-free conspiracy-mongering that defines the Donald Trump presidency dates back at least to the era of Joseph McCarthy and the John Birch Society. Others will note Richard Nixon’s reliance on the “Southern strategy,” which helped remake the GOP into a white ethno-nationalist party that was capable of nominating Trump. Still others will point to the Tea Party, which was reported at the time as somehow an anti-tax movement, but now looks clearly like a panicked, racist reaction to the election of Barack Obama, and resulted in a purging of any moderate or reality-based impulses in the Republican ranks.

        But whenever it started, I think it’s safe to say that the upcoming votes in the Senate impeachment trial, in which the Republican Senate majority will hold tight to prevent any witnesses from testifying and will then vote to acquit Trump, will mark a point of no return for the Republican Party.

      • Resist false hope: America under Trump is in big trouble, and there’s no going back

        Mainstream “hope peddlers” keep telling us everything will be normal again. But it won’t — time to face the truth

      • Watch Elizabeth Warren Corner Chief Justice Roberts, Forcing Him to Question Aloud His Own Legitimacy

        On Thursday while presiding over impeachment, Chief Justice John Roberts read the Democratic presidential candidate’s question, which asked, “At a time when large majorities of Americans have lost faith in government, does the fact that the chief justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the chief justice, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution?”

      • Dangerous Music?

        If a soundtrack were to be commissioned for the present impeachment spectacle it would have to come from the pen of John Adams—not the Founding Father, but the preeminent American composer of the same name.

      • Lindsey Graham’s Sneak Attack On Section 230 And Encryption: A Backdoor To A Backdoor?

        Both Republicans and Democrats have been talking about amending Section 230, the law that made today’s Internet possible. Most politicians are foggy on the details, complaining generally about “Big Tech” being biased against them (Republicans), “not doing enough” about harmful content (Democrats, usually), or just being too powerful (populists on both sides). Some have promised legislation to amend, while others hope to revoke Section 230 entirely. And more bills will doubtless follow.

      • YouTube’s algorithm seems to be funneling people to alt-right videos

        The team, from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, also found evidence that the overlap between alt-righters and others who dabble in intellectual dark web and alt-lite material is growing. The authors estimate that about 60,000 people who commented on alt-lite or intellectual dark web content got exposed to alt-right videos over a period of about 18 months. The work was presented at the 2020 Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency in Barcelona this week.

      • The Many Faces of Bernie Derangement Syndrome

        It’s getting pretty damn near impossible, even for a vengeful anarcho-cynic like myself, to deny that the system clearly despises Bernie Sanders. Both the DNC and their moronic B-team in the so called mainstream media seem to be downright apoplectic over the fact that the grizzled old buzzard is leading the presidential pack in all the ways that count. Not that you’d ever know it by watching the news. Based on the coverage, you would think Bernie was trailing behind the Yang Gang in the polls. Even at the debates, they avoid his perpetually pontificating old ass like the drunk chick at a wedding party, while they softball grounder after grounder to poll-fucked centrist losers like Amy Klobuchar.

      • Right-Wing Business Billionaires Launch Attack on Bernie Sanders

        Conservative business executives launched an ad campaign against Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders this week, attacking the democratic socialist on his plans to provide health care to all Americans and clean up the planet with a major public works program.

      • Cadre of DNC Insiders Plot Return of Super Delegates to Stop Sanders at Convention

        “Here come the dirty tricks…”

      • The “Stop Sanders” Movement Is Worried That Bernie Can Actually Win, Not That He’ll Lose

        This week, NBC, the Associated Press, and Politico all reported on the emerging anxiety within elite Democratic circles about Sanders’s ascent in the polls and nascent efforts by operatives to arrest his momentum. As journalist Andrew Perez noted, all three reports cited one Matt Bennett, cofounder of the organization Third Way, who issued boilerplate warnings about the supposed dangers of a Sanders nomination. In a pattern that is almost certain to be repeated in the coming weeks and months, Bennett’s intervention was framed as an earnest expression of concern by a moderate Democrat mindful of taking what he believes to be a major political risk.

      • Harry Dunn case and Prince Andrew inquiry ‘not to be haggled over’

        “There is no haggle and no-one’s raised Prince Andrew. Frankly, no-one has ever raised that with me.”

        Mr Pompeo countered: “Yes, now they have.”

        The developments come after US attorney Geoffrey Berman said on Monday that Prince Andrew had provided “zero co-operation” to an inquiry into late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

      • Edward Snowden warns that Assange and Greenwald prosecutions mark new stage in assault on press freedom

        In an opinion piece published in the Washington Post on Sunday, National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden warned that US charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and a Brazilian prosecution of Intercept journalist Glenn Greenwald are the spearhead of a campaign by governments around the world to abolish press freedom.

        Calling for all supporters of democratic rights to rally to the defence of both Assange and Greenwald, Snowden wrote: “The most essential journalism of every era is precisely that which a government attempts to silence. These prosecutions demonstrate that they are ready to stop the presses—if they can.”

      • The Senate’s Make Believe Trial of Donald Trump

        President Trump is on trial.

      • Democrats Should Want Joe Biden To Testify

        If Democrats want to block the existential threat of a second Trump term, they need to find out as soon as possible during the primary season whether Biden has what it takes to stand up to Trump.

      • New Poll Shows Sanders Is Trump’s Most Formidable Foe in “So-Called Red State” of Texas

        “Texas is not a red state. It’s a non-voting state with one of the worst voter participation rates in the country. Bernie Sanders will change that!”

      • Could This Be the End of American Exceptionalism?

        More Americans are dissatisfied with democracy than at any point since records began in 1995, according to a new study published Wednesday, and the number of citizens with a positive view of the U.S. system of government dipped for the first time below 50%.

      • Does a New York Times Endorsement Matter at All?

        The New York Times’ recent endorsement (1/19/20) of both Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Amy Klobuchar for the Democratic presidential nomination seems to have stirred up as much anger as when Time (12/25/06) selected “you” as its person of the year in 2006. CNN (1/20/20) mocked the Times’ “utterly confusing” decision as inconsequential. Others claimed it “reeked of ignorant pomposity” (the Federalist, 1/22/20) or that it “fails us all” (Nation, 1/21/20). Meanwhile, the Atlantic’s David Frum (Twitter, 1/20/20) said the board should “Quit mumbling and worrying about upsetting readers and forthrightly SAY, ‘Anybody but Bernie [Sanders].’”

      • Your Emoji-Based Guide to Where the 2020 Candidates Stand on Media and Tech Policy

        President Donald Trump gets all frowns, but Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren stand out for their proposals to invest billions to expand internet access and rein in steep broadband prices that keep low-income families and people of color offline.

      • Trump Allies Reportedly Target Black Voters Using Envelopes Stuffed With Cash

        President Donald Trump’s allies are trying to win over black voters by offering envelopes of cash at pro-Trump events around the country, Politico reports.

      • Trump Is Not Above the Law, No Matter What Dershowitz Says

        President Trump’s legal team offered an extraordinary new defense during Trump’s impeachment trial on Wednesday. Attorney Alan Dershowitz said that a sitting president could take any action to boost his re-election chances if he felt his re-election was in the public interest. “If a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment,” Dershowitz said. Trump was impeached by the House last month for freezing military aid to Ukraine in an effort to pressure Ukraine to open an investigation of Trump’s political rival, Joe Biden. Dershowitz’s claim came during a portion of the trial where senators were given a chance to submit written questions to Trump’s legal team and the House impeachment managers. The question-and-answer period continues today. The impeachment trial could end as soon as Friday if the Senate Republican leadership succeeds in blocking Democrats from calling any witnesses. Democrats are hoping to secure enough votes to get Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton to testify. For more on President Trump’s ongoing impeachment trial in the Senate, we speak with Neal Katyal, former acting U.S. solicitor general in the Obama administration, a Supreme Court lawyer and a Georgetown University law professor. Katyal is the author of Impeach: The Case Against Donald Trump.

      • Trump’s Deal of the Century Won’t Bring Peace…That Was the Plan

        Much of Donald Trump’s long-trailed “deal of the century” came as no surprise. Over the past 18 months, Israeli officials had leaked many of its details.

      • Call It an ‘Apartheid Plan’—Trump’s New Neo-Colonial Proposal Cements Palestinian Subjugation

        There is no commitment to a Palestinian state.

      • 2020 Election Must Focus on Voter Needs and Future

        Voters need substantive, issue-driven debates, not sensationalized campaign wars.

      • ‘Nobody Can Build Like I Can Build. Nobody’: Watch Winds Knock Down Trump Border Wall

        “What a perfect visual metaphor for a presidency fuelled by hot air.”

      • Sanders Team Weighing Executive Orders to Legalize Marijuana, Stop Trump Border Wall, Declare Climate Emergency, and More

        “We cannot accept delays from Congress on some of the most pressing issues, especially those like immigration where Trump has governed with racism and for his own corrupt benefit.”

      • The Impeachment of Trump Isn’t Nearly Enough
      • Impeachment Experts Argue Democrats Should Let Hunter Biden Testify in Exchange for John Bolton

        “Granted, horse trading is not the usual way to determine what witnesses get called in a trial. But this is not a normal trial.”

      • The Real John Bolton

        It isn’t enough for the corporate media to praise John Bolton for his timely manuscript that confirms Donald Trump’s explicit linkage between military aid to Ukraine and investigations into his political foe Joe Biden.  As a result, the media have made John Bolton a “man of principle,” according to the Washington Post, and a fearless infighter for the “sovereignty of the United States.”  Writing in the Post, Kathleen Parker notes that Bolton isn’t motivated by the money he will earn from his book (in the neighborhood of $2 million), but that he is far more interested in “saving his legacy.”  Perhaps this is a good time to examine that legacy.

      • Writer Who Accuses Trump of Raping Her Seeks His DNA

        Lawyers for a woman who accuses President Donald Trump of raping her in the 1990s are asking for a DNA sample, seeking to determine whether his genetic material is on a dress she says she wore during the encounter.

      • ‘Apologia for Authoritarianism’: Trump Lawyer Argues President Can Do Whatever He Wants to Boost Reelection Chances

        “They are saying that abuses of power in order to get reelected could be considered in the national interest and therefore not impeachable. If that doesn’t worry you I just don’t know what to say.”

      • Mexico: Justice System Proposals Violate Fundamental Rights


        View of the plenary session inside the Senate of the Republic of México on March 22, 2018.

      • Five Criteria for Selecting the Worst Old White Man to Lead Us

        The Super Bowl presidency.

      • ‘Dangerous’: Democrats Fire Back At Trump Lawyer’s Answer On Foreign Interference

        President Trump’s legal position welcoming information from foreigners threatens to open Pandora’s box in coming elections and nullify one of the key lessons from 2016, critics warned.

        “This is setting precedent that is unheard of in our country,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. “It’s dangerous, dangerous, dangerous.”

        She and other members of Congress said they were aghast after Trump attorney Patrick Philbin responded to a question in the president’s impeachment trial late Wednesday by saying it would be proper for Trump or another politician to take a tip from a foreigner about a political opponent.

        “If there is credible information of wrongdoing by someone who is running for a public office, it’s not campaign interference for credible information about wrongdoing to be brought to light,” Philbin said.

        Congress has limited the ways foreigners can take part in elections — by forbidding them from voting and restricting their contributions — but the idea that simply because “information” originates overseas is a “non sequitur,” Philbin said.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Lawsuit in India Seeks to Shut Down Access to U.S. Journalism Website

        Computer security researchers and journalists play a critical role in uncovering flaws in software and information systems. Their research and reporting allows users to protect themselves, and vendors to repair their products before attackers can exploit security flaws. But all too often, corporations and governments try to silence reporters, and punish the people who expose these flaws to the public.

        This dynamic is playing out right now in a court in India, where a company is seeking to block Indian readers from accessing journalism by the American security journalist known as Dissent Doe. If it succeeds, more than a billion people in India would be blocked from reading Dissent Doe’s reporting.

      • Appeals Court Tells Serial Litigant Runescape Didn’t Violate His Constitutional Rights By Muting His Account

        Last summer, a federal court tossed a lawsuit by Amro Elansari brought against the makers of Runescape for muting his account. Elansari seemingly has nothing better to do than file lawsuits — none of which appear have any merit. As a taster of Elansari’s serial litigation, here’s the opening of the Third Circuit Appeals Court’s rejection of his proposed class action against Tinder.

      • Russian Justice Ministry proposes fines for users who share articles from non-registered media

        Russia’s Justice Ministry has published its proposal for a new Codex of Administrative Violations (KoAP). In Russia, the KoAP dictates legal penalties for non-criminal offenses.

      • How Canada’s corporate media smeared WikiLeaks publisher and journalist Julian Assange

        The Australian citizen is being held in the maximum security Belmarsh Prison alongside convicted murderers and terrorists, and denied regular access to his lawyers or to the documents he needs to review to prepare his legal defence. UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer has stated that Assange shows symptoms of prolonged exposure to psychological torture, and dozens of doctors from around the world have warned that if he continues to be denied proper medical care he could die in prison.

        But the Canadian media excises, or to be more precise, self-censors all this from “the News.”

        This silence is all the more damning given that Assange is being prosecuted under the US Espionage Act—although he is neither a US citizen nor a US resident—for publishing leaked documents, an activity constitutionally protected under US law. His conviction would open the door for other critical journalists whether working in Canada or any other part of the world to be swept up in the dragnet of US imperialist “justice.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Criminal Charges Finally Dropped Against Security Researchers Who Broke Into An Iowa Courthouse

        Security research isn’t a criminal activity, no matter how many companies might wish otherwise when their bad security practices are exposed. But a couple of researchers working for Coalfire Security found themselves arrested and charged after performing a physical penetration test of an Iowa courthouse. Testing the physical security boundaries of the courthouse didn’t go exactly as planned once the local sheriff showed up.

      • Congress Must Stop the Graham-Blumenthal Anti-Security Bill

        There’s a new and serious threat to both free speech and security online. Under a draft bill that Bloomberg recently leaked, the Attorney General could unilaterally dictate how online platforms and services must operate. If those companies don’t follow the Attorney General’s rules, they could be on the hook for millions of dollars in civil damages and even state criminal penalties.

        The bill, known as the Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies (EARN IT) Act, grants sweeping powers to the Executive Branch. It opens the door for the government to require new measures to screen users’ speech and even backdoors to read your private communications—a stated goal of one of the bill’s authors.

      • Sexual Abuse Reports From Illinois’ Catholic Dioceses Are Still Missing A Lot of Data

        While researching a bit of context to introduce this week’s newsletter, I came across a column from May 2019 written by Chicago Sun-Times journalist Laura Washington. In it, she writes about the horror she felt as she sat in the pews of her church earlier that year while a representative of the Archdiocese of Chicago informed the congregation that its “beloved pastor” had been accused of sexually abusing a minor in 1979, when he was at another parish.

        “I sat in the pew in stunned silence,” Washington wrote, adding: “The headlines of rampant abuse and cover-ups in the church are horrific enough. This was surreal.”

      • The Khachaturyan sisters, prosecuted for murder after killing their abusive father, might go free. We asked one of their attorneys what’s going on.

        On January 30, news emerged that Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office had requested that the charges against Angelina and Krestina Khachaturyan be reclassified from murder to necessary self-defense. The two young women, along with their younger sister Maria, killed their severely abusive father in July of 2018 and were subsequently prosecuted, sparking a protest movement on their behalf. If the sisters’ case is reclassified, then the charges against them will be dropped. The case is currently undergoing an additional round of investigation in Russia’s Investigative Committee. Pavel Merzlikin asked Alexey Liptser, the attorney representing Krestina Khachaturyan, what the recent turn in the sisters’ case means.

      • “Women to One Side, Men to the Other”: How the Border Patrol’s New Powers and Old Carelessness Separated a Family

        Mirza had a sense of foreboding soon after she crossed into the U.S. with her two children and their father, David. A Border Patrol agent ordered the family from Honduras and the rest of their group to divide into two lines: “Women to one side, men to the other.”

        Mirza held 19-month-old Lia and joined the women’s line. David took their 6-year-old son Sebastian and lined up with the men. An agent told them not to worry, everyone was going to the same place. A bus took them in two trips to a collection of tents and trailers where they would be processed.

      • ‘This Is About Making a Very Large Number of Indians Second-Class Citizens’
      • Bringing Back ‘Archaic and Gruesome Weapons,’ Trump Reverses US Restrictions on Landmines

        “The United States is doing a 180 on the near-global consensus to ban the abhorrent and inhumane use of landmines.”

      • US to Roll Out New Guidelines for Use of Landmines

        Although the United States is not among the 164 countries that have renounced anti-personnel mines, we have consistently sought to limit their production, export, and use,” Leahy said in a statement.“

        The example we set has global ramifications,” he added. “Congress must be consulted before any decision that would reverse the gains we have made toward ending the carnage caused by landmines.”

      • [Older] Right to privacy and reputation

        Section 25 of the Human Rights Act 2019 says that:

        A person has the right –

        not to have the person’s privacy, family, home or correspondence unlawfully or arbitrarily interfered with; and

        not to have the person’s reputation unlawfully attacked.

      • [Older] Human rights law

        Queensland’s Human Rights Act 2019 protects 23 human rights in law.

        The Act protects the rights of everyone in Queensland. You don’t need to be a resident, or have a particular citizenship or visa status.

        It requires the Queensland public sector – Queensland Government departments and agencies, local councils, and organisations providing services to the public on behalf of the state government – to act and make decisions which are compatible with the rights it protects. Private businesses, private schools and health services, and the federal government and its agencies (including Centrelink and Medicare) are not obligated to comply with it.

        It applies from 1 January 2020 and to acts and decisions made on or after that date. It is not retrospective.

        None of the rights in it are absolute – that is, they are allowed to be limited, but only after careful consideration and only in a way that is necessary, justifiable and proportionate.

      • Weinstein defends use of private investigators who allegedly tried to silence accusers

        Harvey Weinstein offered an unscripted defence Thursday of his use of private undercover investigators who allegedly tried to silence his accusers, saying he did it “for days like this.”

        The remark came as the former Hollywood producer left his New York City rape trial when a reporter asked him why he hired Black Cube, a firm founded by former intelligence analysts from the Israel Defence Forces. Prosecutors say the firm’s investigators used fake identities to meet with journalists and track the accusers to thwart publication of stories about Weinstein’s alleged sex offences.

      • U.S. Government’s New Program to Collect DNA from Detained Migrants is Unethical and Unnecessary: PHR

        The U.S. government’s new program to collect DNA from detained migrants in U.S. custody is a violation of human and civil rights, Physicians for Human Rights said today. The program constitutes an unethical use of biotechnology and a further attack on migrants exercising their legal right to seek asylum.

        Despite overwhelming public concern, including a public comment to the Department of Justice submitted by Physicians for Human Rights, the Trump administration has advanced this reprehensible and hastily-designed plan, which will require Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Border Patrol agents to collect DNA samples via cheek swabs. This sensitive biometric information would be held indefinitely in a criminal database run by the FBI.

      • Turkish Court Upholds Sentence for Armenian Writer Who Criticized Muhammad

        Nişanyan is a public intellectual from Turkey’s Armenian minority who is well-known for his writings on various issues such as history, linguistics, religion and politics.

        His “crime”? In a piece he published on his own blog website on September 29, 2012, he wrote, in part:

        “Mocking an Arab leader — who claimed that he contacted God hundreds of years ago and who gained political, financial and sexual profit from this — is not a hate crime. Almost at the level of kindergarten, it is a test case of the thing called ‘freedom of expression’.”

      • The Power of Mothers

        Who are we? Central American mothers! Who are we looking for? Our children! Why do we look for them? Because we love them! What do we want? JUSTICE! They hold hands and form a circle in the small church in Marín, Nuevo León. The Caravan of Central American Mothers of Missing Migrants has come to this northern Mexico town precisely for what is about to happen. It’s the reason for the existence of the yearly caravan—a reunion between mother and child, long separated by forced migration and now reunited by this group’s work.

      • Ohio Hearing on Proposed Anti-Protest Law Draws… Loud Protest

        The controversial bill was passed out of committee despite demonstrations.

      • ‘A Champion of Workers Rights’: 200,000-Strong Postal Workers Union Endorses Sanders for President

        “We believe it is in the best interests of all postal workers, our job security, and our union to support and elect Bernie Sanders for president.”

      • Mexico’s “Progressive President” Sends National Guard to Teargas Immigrants

        More than a year after the last migrant caravan left Central America, thousands of Central Americans gathered again in Honduras and started their journey to the United States on Jan 15. Back in late 2018, 4,000 migrants made a perilous journey from San Pedro Sula, Honduras’ second-largest city, to the U.S. border at Tijuana. Desperate to leave behind a life of extreme violence and poverty, thousands of Central Americans traveled north again for the prospect of a better life.

      • When Politicians Turn Immigration Into a ‘Crisis,’ Entire Societies Suffer

        A look at Sicily, where political restrictions on immigration are taking their toll on local residents as well as immigrants.

      • More Americans Favor Decriminalizing Sex Work

        A new report published today by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Center for Transgender Equality, and 22 other United States-based human rights organizations finds that 52 percent of Americans and two-thirds of voters age 18 to 44 years support decriminalizing sex work.

        Decriminalizing sex work means ending laws that make it illegal to sell and buy consensual, adult sex or related activities like advertising sex work or renting a room to a sex worker. Actual criminal behavior such as child prostitution or sex trafficking would, of course, remain illegal.

      • New Polling Shows That for the First Time Ever, a Majority of Americans Support Decriminalizing Sex Work

        “Laws criminalizing sex work criminalize poverty and thrust LGBTQ people of color who face rampant employment discrimination into prisons and jails.”

      • NFL’s Saints Accused of Helping Shape Clergy Sex Abuse List

        The New Orleans Saints say they only did “minimal” public relations work on the area’s Roman Catholic sexual abuse crisis, but attorneys suing the church allege hundreds of confidential Saints emails show the team’s involvement went much further, helping to shape a list of credibly accused clergy that appears to be undercounted.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • After Nonprofits Protest at ICANN, California’s Attorney General Steps Into the .ORG Battle

        Once appearing to be a done deal, the sale of the .ORG registry to private equity is facing new delays and new opposition, after a successful protest in front of ICANN last week by nonprofits and an intervention by the California Attorney General. Private equity firm Ethos Capital’s proposed $1.1 billion purchase of the Public Interest Registry (PIR) has raised nearly unanimous opposition from the nonprofit world, along with expressions of concern from technical experts, members of Congress, two UN Special Rapporteurs, and U.S. state charities regulators. ICANN, the nonprofit body that oversees the Internet’s domain name system, has found itself under increasing pressure to reject the deal.

        Last Friday’s protest at ICANN’s Los Angeles headquarters was the culmination of two months of intense backlash to the sale by nonprofits from around the globe, from The Girl Scouts of America, Consumer Reports, and the YMCA to Wikimedia and Oxfam. Nonprofit professionals and technologists gathered to tell ICANN their concerns in person: a private equity–owned firm running the .ORG registry would have strong incentives to undermine the privacy and free speech rights of nonprofit organizations, and to exploit them financially, in pursuit of new revenue streams for its investors. Besides potentially raising annual registration fees, PIR could censor nonprofit organizations at the request of powerful corporations or governments, or it could collect and monetize web browsing data about the people who visit .ORG websites. 

      • AT&T’s Attempt To Dominate The Pay TV Sector Continues To Go…Poorly

        AT&T’s attempt to buy its way to TV sector domination isn’t going so well. In 2015 you’ll recall that AT&T spent $67 billion to buy DirecTV, eliminating a direct competitor in the TV space. In 2018 it spent another $89 billion to acquire Time Warner, one of the biggest broadcasters in America. Both acquisitions were designed to propel AT&T toward supremacy in the TV sector. Neither acquisition is actually doing so. In fact, to recoup the massive debt incurred from both deals, AT&T started raising rates hand over fist despite the growing competitive threat posed by streaming video providers.

      • Blackouts that cut cell service aren’t just annoying, they’re dangerous

        As deadly wildfires raged in California last year, utilities across the state gave residents a taste of a dystopian future. To prevent their power lines from causing new blazes again — in 2018, equipment from Northern California utility PG&E sparked the most destructive fire in the state’s history — the companies instituted Public Safety Power Shutoff programs. That allowed them to purposefully plunge entire cities into darkness, sometimes for as long as a week.

        More than 2 million Californians fumed, and government officials questioned whether the shutoffs were really necessary, even as the utilities insisted the blackouts could be a fact of life during fire season for the next decade. It quickly became clear that the shutoffs had serious consequences outside of spoiled food in refrigerators. When cellphone towers in shutoff areas became either overloaded or were offline completely, people lost a vital way to get emergency alerts. For Californians without landlines at home — a number as high as 85 percent according to AT&T — that’s a big problem.

        Fortunately, state officials have noticed. Last week, the California Public Utilities Commission said it’ll spend the next few months deciding whether wireless carriers will be required, under penalty of fines, to provide backup power for their towers during blackouts so people’s mobile phones can keep working.

    • Monopolies

      • CJEU rules that pay-for-delay agreements likely violate competition law where reverse payments occur without justifiable explanation

        In today’s decision in Generics (UK) v. Competition and Markets Authority [C-307/18, here], the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that pay-for-delay agreements may violate Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Under a pay-for-delay agreement, the holder of a pharmaceutical patent pays generics to stay off the market or delay their entry on the market. The decision is significant because it is the first time the CJEU addresses this issue.


        The CJEU reiterated that the prohibition to restrict competition pursuant to article 101 TFEU with respect to horizontal cooperation only applies to competitors or potential competitors (§32). Whether a generic, which is not yet on the market, must be considered as potential competition for an originator, depends on its real and concrete possibilities to enter the market, absent the settlement agreements (§37).

        Such possibilities require that the generic has taken the necessary preparatory steps to enter the market (e.g. MA, stock of generics,patent litigation), and that there are no insurmountable barriers to entry (§44-45). In line with the AG’s Opinion, the CJEU considered that patents are no such insurmountable barrier because of the uncertainty around the validity of patents and the possibility for a generic to launch-at-risk (§46-51). Unsurprisingly given the overall approach, the CJEU also held that the fact that an interim injunction had been granted does not preclude potential competition (§53).

        Taken at face value, there are quite a number of commonly recognized entry barriers present in this case: the medicines sector is characterized by strong entry barriers and is strictly regulated. Also, a launch “at risk” of a generic competing against a blockbuster could lead to a huge exposure of the generic if the patent turns out to be valid and infringed. It follows from established case law that regulatory barriers, access to infrastructures and IP rights can create a so-called “blocking position” on the market (Guidelines Technology Transfer §32-33).

        Nevertheless, the CJEU ruled that a competitive relationship was present in this case. The reason for the decision is relatively intuitive: if market players feel the need to conclude an agreement to keep one of them out of a specific market, this is a strong indication that a competitive relationship exists between them (§55). In other words, in a pay-for-delay case, the competition law assessment of the agreements almost precedes the question whether the parties to the agreement are competitors. The CJEU (and before it the GC and AG) seemed to be reasoning to the goal that it wished to achieve.

        The CJEU’s considerations around potential competition show that patent-related matters remain a source of constant struggles for competition law. On the one hand, patents are presumed to be valid, creating entry barriers; on the other hand, there is a constant uncertainty regarding the outcome of validity proceedings, which limits the relevance of patent validity as a factor when applying competition law. The economic and legal context around patents makes it difficult to establish whether they are capable of restricting competition that would otherwise have existed – a phenomenon known from cases involving Standard Essential Patents (SEPs).

      • IP Australia interview: the shift towards digital intelligence

        Chief legal counsel Elizabeth Carroll shares views on the organisation’s most innovative developments, the phase-out of innovation patents and what can be expected in the coming 12 months

      • What Brexit Will Mean For Intellectual Property Law

        Law360 (January 31, 2020, 8:45 PM EST) — The United Kingdom’s official withdrawal from the European Union on Friday won’t immediately disrupt intellectual property law, but it may lead to a divergence on internet copyright policy, complicate plans for Europewide patents and alter trademark strategies in the years to come. Here’s a primer for IP attorneys now that Brexit has become a reality.


        The U.K.’s divorce from the EU had its most noticeable effect on IP law to date when, in mid-January, the British government said it would not adopt sweeping changes to copyright law that the EU approved last year.

      • Patents

        • Trump is in Michigan to tout the new NAFTA. Here’s what it means to Michigan.

          The new trade deal was passed by Congress with bipartisan support and comes with the endorsement of leading Democrats, who say they fought to include more protections for workers and the environment. It still must be approved by Canada before taking effect, but the nation’s leaders are expected to sign it soon.

          While proponents say the deal will boost car production in heavy auto manufacturing states, experts told Bridge Magazine it could also have the opposite effect over the long term, as car companies may choose to leave North America rather than comply with increased regulations.

        • Rogers on the road to success in two patent infringement proceedings against KCC in Germany

          US-based Rogers Corporation (“Rogers”), a worldwide technology leader in providing materials-based solutions, asserted two patents against KCC Corporation of Seoul, South Korea, in Germany through its German affiliate. In both proceedings, over the last weeks, important milestones were achieved by Rogers:
          In the first proceedings, on January 8, 2020, the Higher Regional Court of Karlsruhe issued an order to take evidence. This order was rendered in proceedings against KCC Corporation and its German subsidiary KCC Europe GmbH regarding direct copper bonded (DCB) substrates produced by KCC in South Korea. Rogers filed complaints against both KCC companies on December 3, 2015 for infringing the German part of the European Patent 1 412 307 (in the following: “EP ‘307”) by selling DCB substrates manufactured using a process protected under claim 1 of EP ‘307. At first instance, the Regional Court of Mannheim had initially dismissed the complaints by decisions of May 9, 2017. On appeal, however, the Higher Regional Court of Karlsruhe did not follow the Regional Court’s construction of claim 1 of EP ‘307; instead, it ordered that a court expert should examine whether KCC’s process realizes the asserted claim features of EP ‘307.

        • Rogers on the road to success in two patent infringement proceedings against KCC in Germany
        • Certified Questions on Appeal under 1292(b)

          In civil procedure, I just finished teaching appeals of interlocutory orders under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b).

          The normal rule in patent cases (and in federal litigation generally) is that the parties have to wait until the case is complete — final judgment — before having a right to appeal. Under this “final judgment rule,” interlocutory orders — orders that do not end the case — are generally not immediately appealable. Rather, parties have to wait for final judgment. There are, however, a number of exceptions to the final judgment rule.

          Appealing Injunction Orders: Because injunctions are often requested in patent cases, § 1292(a) is regularly invoked. That section creates a right to appeal district court decisions “granting, continuing, modifying, refusing or dissolving injunctions, or refusing to dissolve or modify injunctions.” Thus, even if an injunction order is interlocutory (such as denying preliminary injunctive relief), that order can be automatically appealed.

        • Shanghai research group to license SEPs through Sisvel

          USPTO assignment records from two weeks ago have revealed a patent deal between licensing firm Sisvel and a research lab called Shanghai Langbo Communication Technology. The transaction includes seven US patents and one EPO-granted right.

          The transfer was executed back in November, and signing off on the deal for Langbo was Yang Lin, the company’s CEO and managing director. I spoke with Yang last week to learn more about Langbo – which describes itself as an “IP-centric startup company […] focusing on 4G and 5G SEP creation” – and its first US patent deal.

        • Broad Institute dealt huge blow as fundamental CRISPR patent falls foul of EPO priority rules

          The second article in our CRISPR series (the first article can be found on our website here) analyses the recent appeal hearing for patent EP2771468 (T 0844/18), owned by the Broad Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard College (the Patentees). In what was almost 2 years to the day when EP2771468 was revoked by the Opposition Division, the hearing took place before the Board of Appeal in Munich on 13-16 January 2020.

          How did we get to this point?
          In January 2018, EP2771468, viewed as the Patentee’s foundational CRISPR-Cas9 patent in Europe, was revoked in its entirety at an Opposition hearing due to lack of novelty, after it was argued that the patent was not entitled to its earliest claimed priority date.

          Briefly, an inventor of Rockefeller University was named as an applicant on the priority documents but not as an applicant on the later patent applications and had not assigned priority rights to Broad, MIT and Harvard. Thus, the priority was not validly claimed. This changed the effective filing date of the patent, and therefore, the relevant prior art, which resulted in the patent being revoked for lack of novelty.

          In a press release immediately after the proceedings had closed, the Patentees indicated that they would appeal the decision in order “to harmonize the international patent process, including that of the United States and Europe”.

        • Broad Institute dealt huge blow as fundamental CRISPR patent falls foul of EPO priority rules
        • Philips v ASUS: ASUS compelled to participate in FRAND trial

          In Unwired Planet v Huawei (which is subject to an appeal to the Supreme Court), the English Patents Court held that, if a patentee’s UK patent in a portfolio is held to be valid, essential and infringed, the court will determine the terms of a FRAND licence. This FRAND licence is likely to be a global portfolio licence. If the implementer does not take the FRAND licence, it is likely to be injuncted in the United Kingdom.

          Following this decision, a number of implementers have, at different stages in the proceedings, elected to forego a FRAND licence and be injuncted in the United Kingdom. This is often with a view to avoiding a public determination of a FRAND licence.

        • Software Patents

          • The EPO’s fourth law of robotics: a robot must not be the inventor of a patent

            Isaac Asimov famously coined the three laws of robotics in the 1940s*, but these didn’t explain whether a robot (or artificial intelligence) could be the inventor of a patent. Nor did more recent explorations in the 1980s (The Terminator) or the 2010s (Westworld and Humans). Thankfully, the Receiving Section of the European Patent Office in 2020 has sought to fill this lacuna by handing down two decisions which find that the robot (or AI system or machine) cannot be such an inventor.

            The decisions were made in relation to European patent applications EP 18 275 163 and EP 18 275 174, In both cases, the applicant (Dr Stephen Thaler) indicated that the inventor had been a machine (a type of connectional AI called DABUS created by Dr Thaler) and that he had acquired the rights to the invention as employer or as a successor in title to DABUS.

            The Receiving Section decided that the inventor must be a natural person; that an AI system or machine has no legal personality comparable to natural (or legal) persons; and that the application must fail on the basis of a failure to identify a natural person as inventor. The requirement that the inventor be a natural person, although not explicit, was derivable from a purposive construction of the EPC and its legislative history; from the case law of the EPO Boards of Appeal and the UK and US courts; from the patent offices in China, Japan, Korea and the US; from the patent laws of Lithuania and Estonia; and from the results of an EPO consultation of member states in 2018/19 and an AIPPI study from 2015.

          • The EPO’s fourth law of robotics: a robot must not be the inventor of a patent

            None of this means that the Receiving Section is necessarily wrong to conclude that a robot (or AI system or machine) cannot be the inventor of a patent, even if it leaves some innovations unpatentable. In any case, the Receiving Section is unlikely to have the final word – the issues will be back. We can expect to see an appeal filed within the next two months (although the CrowdJustice campaign failed to meet its target), with a final decision from the EPO on these cases not until 2021 or later. ¡Hasta la vista!

          • EPO refuses to name machine as legal inventor
          • EPO refuses to name machine as legal inventor

            It follows that recognising a program or machine as an inventor, would require either a change in law that enables machines to have legal status or a change in patent law that dispenses with the requirement of an inventor as the first owner of an invention.
            Neither change is within the powers of the patent offices or its appellate bodies. Having this argument with the patent offices could be seen futile aside from the publicity that it clearly has raised. What would be needed is legislative change.

            Before that can be contemplated, one should ask the question whether it is in fact established that a program or machine can be an inventor, a deviser of an inventive concept? Machines programmed with machine learning techniques can be an extremely powerful tool in discovering correlations in data and knowledge, even unearthing new connections not previously known.
            However, it is less clear whether machines are currently, or even foreseeably, able to autonomously reason in a way that results in an inventive concept, i.e. a purposeful answer to a question to improve an existing technology, and to do so in a general purpose architecture that does not need specific adaptation in order to be able to “invent” to address a given question? The answer may or may not be yes but there seems to be so far merely an assumption that this is the case, without any clear evidence being published to support this notion. At present the information relating to “machine inventions” that is readily accessible is somewhat neulous, so that it is difficult to assess whether a change in policy should be contemplated or not.

      • Trademarks

        • It’s That Time Of Year: No, The NFL Can’t Stop Every Business From Using ‘Super Bowl’ In Every Instance

          It’s an annual tradition here at Techdirt, something like our deranged version of Christmas. Whenever the start of February rolls around, we gleefully point out to all that will listen that the NFL’s stance on how strictly it can control its trademarked term, “Super Bowl”, is largely fantasy. Through a combination of overly aggressive enforcement against smaller entities, constantly repeating it has rights it actually doesn’t, and a largely unhelpful mass media that simply takes these claims as gospel, far too many people and companies think they can simply not state the factual claim that the Super Bowl exists and occurs around this time of year.

        • Furry thoughts on Sky v. Skykick – Part 1: trade marks lacking sufficient clarity and precision

          The IPKat has now had some time to put its razor-sharp fangs into the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)’s decision in C-371/18 Sky v. SkyKick [rapid announcement post here] and offers some furry further thoughts. The background to the case, together with an analysis of the opinion of Advocate General (AG) Tanchev, can be found here.

          Because the decision has much to offer, the analysis will proceed in two parts. This post concerns the issue of trade mark registrations suffering from a lack of clarity. A follow-up post will be dedicated to the issue of bad faith registrations in the absence of an intention to use.

      • Copyrights

        • Does South Africa want public interest considerations for copyright limitations and exceptions at the WTO?

          The Communication emphasises that limitations and exceptions such as fair use and fair dealing are not in conflict with the three-step test requirement under Article 13 of the TRIPS Agreement. [The three-step test requires that Members "confine limitations or exceptions to exclusive rights to certain special cases which do not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work and do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the right holder”]. The Communication also mentions the WTO Panel’s interpretation of the three-step test in resolving the dispute between the EU and the US over section 110(5) of the US Copyright Act. The WTO Panel in that case held that the three-step test requests 3 separate, independent, cumulative tests for copyright limitations and exceptions.

          Given this interpretation, it may be puzzling to see South Africa posing the question again to Member States through the TRIPS Council. Granted, many scholars (as acknowledged in the Communication) have disagreed with the WTO Panel’s interpretation and found it unduly focused on economic interests. It may therefore be helpful to hear what Member States think of the boundaries of the three-step test vis-à-vis public interest considerations. Also, this Africa Correspondent is of the opinion that the underlying issue that South Africa wants addressed is the question of whether the three-step test under the TRIPS regime admits a public interest approach – “in sectors of vital importance to (national) socio-economic and technological development…”.

          But, why issue the Communication now?

        • UK court applies CJEU Cofemel decision for the first time: “complete conformity” with EU law would preclude any requirement of aesthetic appeal

          The claimant, Response, is a clothing company; the defendant, EWM, is a major retailer of clothing with about 400 stores in the UK.

          Between 2009 and 2012, Response supplied EWM with ladies tops made of a jacquard fabric of a design referred to as a ‘wave arrangement’. In 2012, Response attempted to raise the price of the tops, but EWM refused. The latter then provided a sample of Response’s top or a swatch of its fabric to other garment suppliers, with an invitation to supply tops made from a similar fabric. A few companies got the order over time, and supplied garments made from jacquard fabric.

        • DISH Demands $9.9m in Damages From Pirate IPTV Provider

          A lawsuit filed by US broadcaster DISH Network against Easybox IPTV looks set to end with significant cost to the men behind the unlicensed IPTV provider. In a motion for final judgment and permanent injunction, DISH is demanding $9.9m in damages for direct copyright infringement of 66 copyrighted works, broadcast by Easybox without permission.

        • YouTube Copyright Strike Took Down Livestream Before it Even Started

          YouTube allows copyright holders to remove videos they deem to be copyright-infringing. However, it turns out that these takedown powers go even further. As it turns out, rightsholders can also remove content before it even exists. That’s what happened to a reporter who had his perfectly legal livestream taken down by Warner Bros. before it even started.

Wasting (Misusing) Money on ‘Researchers’ and So-called ‘Studies’ Only Reinforces the Perception That the EPO Attacks Science With Its Money, Just Like Climate Deniers and Big Tobacco Lobby

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 12:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Is the EPO morally any better than Exxon?

A university

Summary: The above-the-law monopoly which is based on Munich not only silences dissent but also bribes for self-serving propaganda (distorting public opinion and corrupting science) — something it knows it won’t be held accountable for

THE European Patent Office (EPO) does not bring much pride to Europe. It used to, no doubt. I used to be a bit of a fan prior to the software patent debacles (back when the office wasn’t run by politicians, either [1, 2]; not to mention family members/other relatives and military people). Today’s EPO is rather absurd; a quick review of the career record of people who run it ought to suffice. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) — with all its flaws — never experienced such a credibility crisis. I’ve never come across people promoting spouses there (only in-laws, albeit that too is rather rare).

“Those people are patently ignorant about what it takes to actually run a patent office.”It should not shock anyone — not even the EPO’s own examiners — that low patent quality is covertly the goal (when they speak about “quality” they mean speed, i.e. the opposite of quality). Those people are patently ignorant about what it takes to actually run a patent office. These “superiors” are less qualified than many of their “inferiors” — examiners who would certainly have done a better job running this office (than these bureaucrats who love wine and gambling).

Just before the weekend we saw this new press release [1, 2] about “Intention to Grant” stem cell patents — only a week or so after CRISPR patents were thrown out (not by the Office but the Boards, which are only in theory “independent” from the EPO). To quote this press release: “BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: BCLI), a leading developer of adult stem cell therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases, today announced that the European Patent Office (EPO) has communicated its intention to grant a European patent titled ‘Methods of Generating Mesenchymal Stem Cells which secrete Neurotrophic Factors’. Allowed claims cover the method for manufacturing MSC-NTF cells (NurOwn®).”

This is that same old slippery slope. In the US, for example, Myriad and Mayo showed that the highest court (SCOTUS) isn’t tolerating patents on life or nature.

“Just ensure the patent application has a real person’s name and not something like “DABUS”.”As for the EPO?

Anything goes nowadays.

Almost anything.

Just ensure the patent application has a real person’s name and not something like “DABUS”.

As one EPO insider put it in response to our article about the latest incident on Dutch territories: “The decisions they have made so far regarding the construction of the new building, their published reports and studies are not worth the paper it’s written on. No joke. [] EPO top management (with the exception of a handful) is a huge failure and, to put it nicely. They’re a bunch of incompetent cowboys. [] As the saying goes, the decisions where made by monkeys (EPO management) but approved and signed off by Donkeys (Administrative Council of the European Patent Office).”

Look at the people who make up the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (not Office); they’re usually just lawyers from national patent offices (NPOs). Only few of them are scientists and they’re in bed with the litigation industry in their country and abroad.

“Look at the people who make up the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation (not Office); they’re usually just lawyers from national patent offices (NPOs).”It is hardly shocking that all we’ve said above isn’t being touched by mainstream media. For one thing, as we’ve shown before, the EPO bribes the major publishers. It buys silence and puff pieces. We have many concrete examples of this. Expect nothing but puff pieces in Dutch media about the ‘wonderful’ new building of the EPO, based on “published reports and studies [that] are not worth the paper it’s written on,” as the above EPO insider put it. Even the EPO’s internal gazette is full of puff pieces about it (we covered this years ago). Some fine work of engineering, eh? What does it say about the EPO if it (itself!) cannot put together a simple building with cubicles for staff? Even at a massive budget, which was quickly overspent. In past years we wrote about the missed schedules, the massive losses (sheltered by the private firm, not the EPO), the injuries and many defects. Even Berlin Airport hasn’t suffered that many flukes.

But never mind facts, never mind reality. The EPO can afford to buy itself a parallel reality. Last month we wrote a number of articles on this topic. Management of the EPO bribes scholars and then it brags about it. It’s like those oil companies that fund ‘research’ for their bottom line, corrupting the integrity of academia in the process.

Just before the weekend the EPO tweeted: “Martin Wörter of @ETH has categorised technological fields to distinguish between process & product #inventions. You can read his results here: https://bit.ly/38P7DkN His project was funded by our Academic Research”

Who benefits from this so-called ‘research’? The EPO of course. This was likely a condition for this bribe grant.

This wouldn’t be the first time the EPO corrupts academia, even outside this so-called ‘programme’ it called “Academic Research Programme” (it sounds better than “bribe”). In past years it also bribed scholars for UPC propaganda and while the EPO actively harms SMEs it bribes some corruptible scholars to manufacture a fictional tale saying the exact opposite. The EPO has just tweeted this: “Italian company Cosmed has built its reputation for laboratory-based medical device products on a sound IP portfolio. You can read how they did it here: http://bit.ly/epoSMEstudies …”

“Suffice to say, patent offices are not supposed to be in the ‘business’ of research grants; that’s what the ERC and others are tasked to do (with safeguards in place to protect against mischief like the above).”So-called ‘SME’ ‘studies’; many of these SMEs aren’t exactly known for creating anything.

Oh, how about PR ‘on the cheap’ with an academic veneer? Here we go, greenwashing services for the EPO; “Julie Lochard of @UPECactus set out to measure the impact of environmental regulation on innovation in #climatechange mitigation technologies,” the EPO has just tweeted. “You can read her results here: https://bit.ly/38P7DkN #greentech Her research was funded by our Academic Research Programme.”

It doesn’t take a genius to understand that patents in this area merely harm the planet (offering monopolies on mitigation techniques), but bribed scholars will mislead everyone for cash. This is not EPO “generosity” but overt abuse.

In a lot of ways, the EPO’s behaviour resembles that of Big Oil-funded scholars whose task is to seed uncertainty and doubt about independent climate research, making the topic seem like a “controversial” “debate” with “political” slant. Suffice to say, patent offices are not supposed to be in the ‘business’ of research grants; that’s what the ERC and others are tasked to do (with safeguards in place to protect against mischief like the above).

The Office of Philpott and Pol Pot

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Identity politics”

EPO and Cambodia

Summary: It seems so perfect a match; Cambodia (with no European Patents and a genocidal legacy) with a so-called ‘patent’ office run by ex-military people (not just Philpott)

THE management of the EPO had nothing better to brag about on Friday than this nonsense (warning: epo.org link) about Cambodia. For those who don’t know, Fridays are somewhat notorious inside the EPO because the managements tends to unload lies on EPO staff on that day, typically later/late in the day. The Cambodia affair has long been ridiculed by internal people (EPO examiners). Cambodia has a lot more to gain from those photo ops than the EPO. The EPO was once renowned for many things. Now it is a world leader in SLAPP, bribery, corruption, gambling, nepotism and so on.

Shortly after the puff piece from the local press there (in Cambodia) the EPO decided to write this prose:

Organised with the support of EuroCham Cambodia and with a welcoming speech by the Ambassador of the EU to Cambodia, Ms Carmen Moreno, the conference celebrated the significant validation registrations being witnessed since the implementation of the EPO-MIH validation agreement which came into force in March 2018, stressing the importance of IP rights in both attracting foreign direct investment as well as supporting innovation locally.


Cambodia was the first Asian country to recognise European patents on its territory. Under the validation agreement with the EPO, inventors and businesses filing for patent protection at the EPO can also extend protection given by a European patent to Cambodia. The validation agreement is now being systematically used, and significant numbers of validations of around 75 per month have been coming in since around October 2019.

EPO is satire; “Cambodia was the first Asian country to recognise European patents on its territory,” it says. Well, it has no European Patents. It has no democratic system, either. The whole thing resembles the EPO’s management, which breaks the law with immunity.

IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 31, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:02 am by Needs Sunlight



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