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07.12.20

Links 12/7/2020: KF6 Progress Report, GNUnet 0.13.1, Nano Becomes Default Terminal Text Editor in Fedora

Posted in News Roundup at 2:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

      • A Vote for American Healthcare is a Vote for Violence

        “I write this to appeal, hell, plead, with my fellow Americans to pay attention to the suffering that exists all around us—to recognize our well, able-bodied privilege, and to come together to tear this cruel system down.”

      • With Covid-19 Deaths on the Rise, Hardest-Hit States Report Hospitals are Near Capacity Following Early Reopenings

        “It’s consistently picking up. And it’s picking up at the time you’d expect it to.”

      • Federal Court Strikes Down Trump’s ACA Rule Amounting to ‘Intentional, Targeted Attack on Abortion Access’

        “It would have created a logistical nightmare for health insurers and individual enrollees and pushed abortion even further out of reach in the midst of a global pandemic that has upended our economy.”

      • ‘We’re hanging on for dear life’ – Khayelitsha Cookies refuses to crumble due to Covid-19

        Almost 100 women in Cape Town who bake goods for Khayelitsha Cookies, a supplier to the hospitality industry, may lose their breadwinner status as the effect of the lockdown takes its toll.

        Many South Africans would have seen the company’s individually wrapped biscuits at tea and coffee stations in their hotel rooms, or in airport lounges, conference centres and large offices – a product which makes up over 65% of total revenue.

        But when the lockdown was announced in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, business all but ground to a halt.

      • Nationalism, Drugs and Public Interest – Remdesivir and Beyond

        With 9 generic companies licensed to manufacture and distribute the drug to 127 countries around the world, without even having to pay royalty to Gilead, one could be forgiven for thinking a substantial impact may be made in the attempts to address the global pandemic. Unfortunately, in terms of countries with Covid-19 cases, only 7 of the 30 worst affected countries are included in these Gilead-generic company licenses. These 7 are India, Pakistan, South Africa, Bangladesh, Egypt, Belarus, and Indonesia. US has Gilead of course, but not generic versions. And of course – these are only the ‘official’ numbers from these countries. Given that this sounds like a recipe for NOT really stopping the virus, it sounds like there will be plenty of profit to go around for a while. After all, if the disease keeps spreading, treatments will continue to be needed.

        All of this, of course, is only about remdesivir – a drug that shows very moderate therapeutic benefits so far. What happens if/when a full treatment, or even vaccine, is developed? If it is developed in US – we already have an example of what path they may seek to follow. What about if it is developed in another country? Some observers are already warning about a global ‘hunger games’-esque future, with poor countries at the mercy of richer countries. It almost makes one nostalgic of the “Nexavar is only for western patients” times, when prohibitive pricing (and perhaps some variety of discrimination) was the only concern – and not defensive stockpiling, trade-wars and global buyouts!

        Of course, as Mintze and t’Hoen point out, generic companies could start launching ‘at risk’ in these other countries, or apply for compulsory licences. And generics that have the gumption to ‘risk’ annoying Big Pharma may be well placed to do this. After all, if a country is being severely affected by the pandemic, and there is a globally announced shortage of the patented medicine declared – what better time is there to trigger a compulsory licence? It’s also a great time for countries to re-look at the access concerns that patent-linkage (linking regulatory approval with patent status) can cause, while also re-looking at the access benefits that local working requirements can bring. While ‘charity’ or ‘goodwill’ such as through Open-Covid pledges, patent pools, etc can play a large role in helping access concerns – it is high time that stronger legally enforceable public-interest centric policy levers are focused on, to change ‘access’ from a reactive-concern to a pro-active reality. After all, if US can find a way to take such strong ‘national interest’ measures, surely other countries can respond by taking their own ‘public interest’ measures!

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Databricks hands MLflow to Linux Foundation, speeds up Delta Lake, and pushes pandas on Spark forward

                Data science conference Spark+AI Summit is still in full swing. Organised by Spark experts Databricks, it naturally lent itself as a stage for some progress reports and letting the firm show off new products.

                Amongst other things, machine learning platform MLflow has found a new home at the Linux Foundation. After being in the open for two years, the move provides the Databricks project with a new vendor neutral environment in the hopes that this will lead to higher adoption rates and more outside committers.

                While this seems like a somewhat sensible thing to do, onlookers might wonder about the choice of foundation. After all, company co-founder and MLflow creator Matei Zaharia chose the Apache Software Foundation for Spark. A second glance however reveals that the Linux Foundation seems to become a bit of a default for Databricks in recent years, since the company’s Delta Lake was also handed over to the org last autumn.

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Wells Fargo tells workers to delete TikTok as security, privacy concerns grow

              The company had requested that its workers remove the app from their mobile devices due to “security risks,” according to a memo to employees seen by Reuters.

              NBC News has not seen the memo.

            • Wells Fargo directs employees to remove TikTok from company mobile devices

              “We have identified a small number of Wells Fargo employees with corporate-owned devices who had installed the TikTok application on their device,” a Wells Fargo spokesperson said in an email to The Verge. “Due to concerns about TikTok’s privacy and security controls and practices, and because corporate-owned devices should be used for company business only, we have directed those employees to remove the app from their devices.”

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Calling out NYT “unprofessional” reporting on ‘Bountygate’

        Red Lines host Anya Parampil speaks with investigative journalist Gareth Porter about his latest report “How the Pentagon failed to sell Afghan government’s bunk ‘Bountygate’ story to US intelligence agencies.”

      • The BBC World War Two Porn Page

        Waking up this morning and putting on the TV to see the news, instead I saw on BBC Breakfast a 30 minute piece on the role of a teenage girl in 1932 in helping her father do the maths to establish that the Spitfire needed eight .303 guns to deliver a sufficient weight of shot.

      • The colonels list: Why is Alexander Vindman being driven out of the Army? He’s not a suck-up

        Well, it didn’t cost him his life, but it cost him his career. On Wednesday, Vindman announced he was retiring. He had gotten word that pressure had been put on the Pentagon to remove him from the colonels list and effectively end his career. Vindman’s lawyer, David Pressman, issued a statement explaining why he was retiring: “Through a campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation, the President of the United States attempted to force LTC Vindman to choose: Between adhering to the law or pleasing a President. Between honoring his oath or protecting his career.” Vindman had made his choice when he responded to a subpoena and testified last fall. In the administration of Donald Trump, telling the truth under oath was a career-killing offense.

      • Jeff McCausland Trump, Vindman and a military leadership case study that will be taught for years

        An Army board had selected Vindman, along with hundreds of other officers, for promotion to full colonel. Normally, this is a routine bureaucratic process that requires the Army staff to forward the proposed list to the secretary of defense for review. It is then sent to the White House and subsequently to the Senate for final confirmation.

        Aides to the president had made it clear that Trump did not want to see Vindman promoted. It has also been reported that the release of the promotion list was already being held up over Vindman. In order to avoid a public and embarrassing scene with Trump this summer, defense officials had told Vindman that they were considering forwarding his name on a special “list of one,” or holding his name back until after the election to avoid affecting the promotions of other officers. The White House had even asked Pentagon officials to find instances of misconduct and witnesses that would justify removing Vindman from the list. But Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy were unable to find reason to do this. Esper completed his review and forwarded the list, including Vindman’s name, to the White House on Monday.

      • Reports of a Silicon Valley/Military Divide Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

        We argue that two of the primary tech defense contractors, Microsoft and IBM, helped normalize their industry’s suppression of human rights in exchange for market access. Despite the human rights messaging of Microsoft’s head lawyer and lobbyist, the company has proactively suppressed dissent in Bing for more than a decade, and its subsidiary, LinkedIn, is infamous for doing the same; in early 2010 Bill Gates pointedly criticized Google for — as it turns out, temporarily — taking a principled stand for human rights. [19] IBM’s “safe city” products are known to have involved a video surveillance system for strongman Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City. And IBM’s CEO having directly led sales of cataloguing equipment for Nazi Germany, which directly contributed to the Holocaust, is still defended by the company.

        Similarly, Perspecta, a close Hewlett Packard affiliate/spin-off that dominates our chart of tech defense contractors, incorporates components of both Computer Sciences Corporation, which helped charter CIA rendition flights to secret prisons, and QinetiQ North America. QinetiQ, the privatization of England’s former Defense Evaluation and Research Agency, has had former CIA Chief who personally authorized his agency’s use of torture on its board. [20]

        Another tech defense contractor, Cisco, has been in court since 2013 for not only helping custom-build China’s “Golden Shield” project — commonly known as the “Great Firewall of China” — but even purpose-building a censorship, video surveillance, and “forced conversion” module for suppressing a dissident religious minority. Some of Cisco’s internal marketing materials mentioning this work even leaked the day before a Senate human rights hearing. And despite Google’s 2010-2018 public stance against suppressing dissent, Google’s former CEO, and primary interface to the DoD, Eric Schmidt, has defended complying with authoritarian demands since 2006. [21]

        Companies and executives which comply with authoritarian demands are only openly criticized by the US national security community if they do not significantly interface with the DoD. When they are willing to partner with the DoD, as is the case with Eric Schmidt and Reid Hoffman, they are welcomed as leaders.

      • U.S. Air Force Launches Three-Year Fielding Plan For Skyborg Weapons

        The next combat aircraft to enter the U.S. Air Force inventory will not be a manned sixth-generation fighter or even the Northrop Grumman B-21.

        By fiscal 2023, the Air Force expects to deliver the first operational versions of a new unmanned aircraft system (UAS) called Skyborg, a provocative portmanteau blending the medium of flight with the contraction for a cybernetic organism.

        The Skyborg family of aircraft is expected to fill an emerging “attritable” category for combat aircraft that blurs the line between a reusable UAS and a single-use cruise missile.

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Oratory of the Trump

        Two recent speeches by the president are “equally authentic Trump and each describes a country that only the Trump and his benighted followers can see.”

      • The Enduring Case for Demanding Trump’s Resignation

        “It is our obligation as citizens to organize and demand Trump’s resignation and focus millions of voters on turning out the Trumpsters and their four-year Dark Age that is wrecking America.”

      • Trump, the Pandemic, and the End of the Trumpian Tragedy

        “Trump’s idiocy is, perhaps, unsurprising. But is there no one in Trump’s orbit who saw (sees) that ignoring the virus will not revive the economy?”

      • The region’s biggest protest, ever Tens of thousands rally in Khabarovsk to defend their arrested governor

        Tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Russia’s Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk on Saturday, July 11, for an unpermitted protest against the arrest of their governor, Sergey Furgal. It was the biggest public assembly of its kind in the region’s history. Before the rally, messages circulated on social media and on public announcement boards in apartment lobbies, urging people to attend, reports the local news site DVHAB.RU. The city’s authorities tried to prevent the demonstration by fencing off Khabarovsk’s main square, where organizers planned to stage the protest, under the pretext that the area was being disinfected. This police tactic failed, and protests poured in not just from all around the city but from neighboring towns, as well.

      • Biden campaign hires top cybersecurity officials to defend against threats

        The presidential campaign of former Vice President Joe Biden announced Friday that it had filled the positions of chief information security officer (CISO) and chief technology officer (CTO) in order to address potential cybersecurity threats to the campaign.

        The campaign hired Chris DeRusha to serve as CISO and Jacky Chang as CTO. DeRusha previously served as chief security officer for the state of Michigan, and previously served in the White House and the Department of Homeland Security, along with leading Ford Motor Company’s enterprise vulnerability management program.

      • American Passports Are Worthless Now (Map)

        Welcome to the club. Post-colonial bullshit and racism have made my Sri Lankan passport worthless for years. Now the American passport is worse. America has crashed straight through the third world into the fourth.

        Here is a list, in total, of all the places Americans can go. Most of them are small Caribbean islands.

        American now have access to exactly two dozen states, five more (*) if they want to endure a 14-day quarantine on the end. Americans have gone from world power to getting the side-eye from Ecuador in a matter of months. Right now Americans are only really welcome on remote islands or at corralled resorts in Mexico, where they can be isolated from everyone else.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • As Schools Reopen, China Removes ‘Illegal’ Library Books Nationwide Amid Xi’s Push for Patriotism

        Though specific books were not mentioned in the directive, the news outlet said the ministry did provide schools with a list of books approved to replace the removed titles, which included writings by former Communist Party leader Mao Zedong. According to Reuters’ review of social media posts by teachers in China since the directive was announced, religious texts and at least two of English author George Orwell’s famous books—Animal Farm and 1984—were among those taken from some school libraries.

      • In echo of Mao era, China’s schools in book-cleansing drive

        As schools reopened in China after the COVID-19 outbreak, they have thrown themselves into a nationwide exercise to remove books deemed politically incorrect, deepening Chinese President Xi Jinping’s push to instil patriotism and ideological purity in the education system.

        A directive from the Ministry of Education last October called on elementary and middle schools to clear out books from their libraries including “illegal” and “inappropriate” works. Now teachers have removed books from schools in at least 30 of mainland China’s 33 provinces and municipalities, according to a Reuters review of social media posts, publicly available school and local government documents, and interviews with teachers.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Monopolies

      • Shaping tomorrow: 3D printing and its impact on IP
      • Patents

        • When is the Attorney-Client Relationship Created?

          John Eaken publicly displayed his cattle-foot-bath invention and then waited more than a year before filing a patent application. During that time, Eaken had called-up a patent attorney (Svendsen, then of Stratton Ballew) who spoke to Eaken before running a conflict check with the firm. During the call, Svendsen did not ask the status of invention development, or whether it had been on public use or display (or would be in the near future). Eaken then hired Svendsen

          Eaken later learned that his public displays would limit his patent protection and then sued the firm for malpractice. The district court, however dismissed the case–holding that there was no duty-to-warn until the the creation of an attorney-client relationship and that the initial screening call did not create such a relationship.

          On appeal, the Washington Court of Appeals has reversed — asking the lower court to delve deeper into whether an attorney-client relationship had been created.

          [...]

          One of the judges wrote in dissent — arguing that Eaken failed his burden of producing sufficient evidence to prove the existence of an attorney-client-relationship.

          Note about the invention: The cattle-foot-bath seems all spa-like when you hear the name, but actually it is a mechanism for coating the feet with chemical fungicide (concentrated medicinal agent).

        • Around the IP Blogs

          The German Federal Court of Justice announced that Judge Tim Crummenerl will join the 10th Civil Senate of this court. The Juve Patent blog brought this news and looked into the most prominent cases that Judge Crummenerl decided while at the Regional Court of Dusseldorf.

        • German Federal Court of Justice announces new judge

          The election was supposed to take place in March. However, the coronavirus crisis meant the court postponed the election. Among the other candidates was Matthias Zigann, presiding judge of the 7th Civil Chamber at the Regional Court Munich. He is also a well-known patent judge.

          The election of Crummenerl means he will now move to the 10th Civil Senate. In turn, this will give rise to staff changes in Düsseldorf.

          The 10th Civil Senate at the Federal Court of Justice is Germany’s highest instance for patent infringement proceedings. Furthermore, the senate is also the appeal instance for patent revocation cases. It thus combines two separate strands of the German bifurcation system. The senate regularly sets important precedents in German and European patent law.

        • WntResearch Gets Positive Opinion From European Patent Office

          * WNTRESEARCH RECEIVES POSITIVE OPINION FROM THE EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE, EPO, REGARDING FOXY-5 MANUFACTURING

          * POSITIVE OPINION PROVIDES WNTRESEARCH WITH A CONSIDERABLE AND ENHANCED PROTECTION FOR MANUFACTURING OF FOXY-5 BEYOND 2035 Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage: (Gdansk Newsroom)

        • Versa-Flex owner files patent for mask that doesn’t fog glasses
        • Anixa Biosciences’ CAR-T Cancer Therapy Receives Intention to Grant Notice from the European Patent Office
        • Anixa Biosciences’ CAR-T Cancer Therapy Receives Intention to Grant Notice from the European Patent
        • Anixa Biosciences’ CAR-T Cancer Therapy Receives Intention to Grant Notice from the European Patent Office

          Anixa Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: ANIX), a biotechnology company focused on the treatment and prevention of cancer and infectious diseases, today announced that the European Patent Office has issued an Intention to Grant notice for the first European patent covering Anixa’s novel CAR-T cancer treatment technology, which has been licensed from The Wistar Institute and is being developed at the Moffitt Cancer Center.

        • The German UPC story: take 2 (and is the London seat up for grabs?) [Ed: Nonsensical loaded headline. There's no UPC, hence nothing is "up for grabs"]

          The German Federal Ministry of Justice shows unexpected pace in repeating the legislative process for the German Act of Approval for the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA Approval Act). As we explained in our last post, the German Federal Constitutional Court ruled that UPCA Approval Act adopted by the German Parliament in March 2017 was null and void because it had not been voted by a two-thirds majority (it was adopted unanimously, but when the vote was taken at 1:30am only 35 out of 630 members of parliament were in attendance). In a letter dated 8 June 2020, the Federal Ministry of Justice invited patent law circles and associations to comment on the draft bill of the UPCA Approval Act (the substance of which is unchanged) by 3 July 2020.

          Although the invitation is not a constitutional component of the legislative procedure as such, it is nevertheless to be taken as a clear indication that the German Bundestag will vote on the law again (probably within this legislative period ending in September 2021), with the express goal of achieving the two-third majority required by the Federal Constitutional Court.

      • Trademarks

        • Supreme Court Promotes Weaponization of Generic Domain Names–USPTO v. Booking.com

          The USPTO believed that “generic.com” domain names were almost always generic and therefore unregistrable. On that basis, it denied registration for Booking.com. The Supreme Court holds that generic.com domain names aren’t necessarily generic, which means they have the potential to become protectable trademarks and registrable.

          Justice Ginsburg’s majority opinion holds: “Whether any given ‘generic.com’ term is generic…depends on whether consumers in fact perceive that term as the name of a class or, instead, as a term capable of distinguishing among members of the class.” A footnote explains that consumer perceptions can be demonstrated by consumer surveys, dictionaries, usage by consumers/competitors, and other sources.

        • Good tech conquers whack-a-mole but risks info overload

          Trademark attorneys who have a solid technology strategy can more easily beat down infringement but should avoid getting overwhelmed by too much information

        • Singer says lawsuit over Lady A name is ‘white privilege’

          Singer Anita White, who was sued by a country group over the use of the name Lady A, says the group is using their white privilege against her.

          The band, who had previously been known as Lady Antebellum, filed a lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday seeking a ruling that their use of the trademark “Lady A” does not infringe on White’s use of the same name. The band is not seeking monetary damages.

        • 38 rules on trade mark infringement in China

          The China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) has published 38 rules on the criteria to determine trade mark infringement. These provide guidance on trade mark enforcement for authorities including the Administrations for Market Regulation.

          They aim to standardise enforcement across the country and better protect the rights of trade mark holders. Until now, there had been inconsistency in the enforcement of trade marks under the Chinese Trademark Law.

          The criteria were published on 15 June 2020.

          Ms Haoyu Feng and Mr Tingxi Huo of the MARQUES China Team have published an article on the criteria, which is available for members to read on the China Team page here (MARQUES log in required). They have also prepared an English translation of the CNIPA Notice, which is available on the Team page.

      • Copyrights

        • CJEU follows AG and rules that notion of ‘address’ does not extend to email and IP addresses and telephone numbers

          Does the notion of ‘address’ only refer to one’s own postal address or does it also encompass one’s own email and IP address, as well as telephone number?

          This, in a nutshell, is the question which the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) had been required to answer in Constantin Film v YouTube, C-264/19.

          The referral, which Germany’s Federal Court of Justice had made, focused on the interpretation of Article 8(2)(a) of the Enforcement Directive, a piece of EU legislation adopted in 2004.

          The background national proceedings had originated from the refusal, by YouTube and its parent company Google, to provide film producer Constantin Film with the email and IP addresses, as well as telephone numbers, of YouTube users who had uploaded on that platform unlawful copies of its films Parker and Scary Movie 5.

          A few months ago – as The IPKat reported – Advocate General (AG) Saugmandsgaard Øe advised the CJEU to rule that the notion of ‘address’ is limited to one’s own postal address, but that individual Member States could go beyond the Enforcement Directive (this is only aimed at providing a minimum harmonization between Member States’ law) and provide for more extensive obligations on infringers or other subjects, including online intermediaries and platforms.

        • Rapidgator Uses DMCA to Crack Down on Premium Link Generators

          File-hosting service Rapidgator has had millions of pages removed from Google’s search results following complaints from copyright holders. However, the site is not just on the receiving end of takedown notices as it has started to send its own too, targeting ‘premium link generators’ and other problematic sites.

        • Amazon Piracy Lawsuit: Court Restrains Assets & Domains of Pirate Sites

          A lawsuit filed this week by Amazon Publishing, Penguin Random House and authors including Lee Child and John Grisham, has chalked up an early win. A Washington court has ordered that the assets and domains of Kiss Library, which is accused of massive copyright infringement, should be seized as part of a temporary restraining order.

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