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04.25.17

Astoundingly, IP Kat Has Become a Leading Source of UPC and Battistelli Propaganda

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s only getting worse than earlier this month

Bristows EPO

Summary: The pro-UPC outlets, which enjoy EPO budget (i.e. stakeholders' money), are becoming mere amplifiers of Benoît Battistelli and his right-hand UPC woman Margot Fröhlinger, irrespective of actual facts

IN our previous post, a post about the EPO, we noted that the UPC cannot happen (it’s stuck). Everybody knows it, but the lobbyists (notably Team Battistelli and Team UPC) try hard to deny it. The UPC threatens to bring to Europe the patent trolls that currently or previously revolved/orbited around the USPTO.

One new comment from this morning spoke about BB’s (Battistelli’s) “Plan B” as follows, reinforcing voices of insiders who believe that Battistelli has no intention of leaving (just like Erdoğan). To quote:

Don’t assume that BB does not have (or will not generate) a “Plan B” that will be equally unpalatable as a 3-year extension.

Remember, this is a man who has virtually wrecked the EPO on the grounds of financial self-interest (of the EPO management, the AC delegates and the Member States), in the process trampling over the (basic human) rights of the staff, crippling the Boards of Appeal and blatantly ignoring both the interests of the users and the rule of law. For someone who has achieved all that, what is to stop him twisting the agenda yet again to suit his personal needs? Certainly not the AC.

We expect that Battistelli will use the UPC woes as an excuse and ask for “more time” to “make it happen”. It’s like that classic Martial Law (or national emergency or wartime) pretext for never-ending dictatorship.

“They are manipulating international media and apparently even blogs now.”We are still truly disgusted to see what IP Kat has become. I used to view them as allies, but now they are like foes. They do exactly the opposite of fixing the EPO and instead bolster the dictatorship. Here it is writing once again about that stupid think tank, complete with stuffed/stacked panels from Microsoft, Bristows and other lovers of UPC (litigation plus patent maximalism) Kool-Aid. Battistelli’s chief UPC liar, Margot, was already aided by the Bristows mouthpieces, who in effect took over IP Kat. It’s almost unthinkable and unbelievable that IP Kat was a prominent critic of Battistelli one year ago. “The mere presence of members of the Boards of Appeal [in the panels] would have spoiled the performance of the other member of staff of EPO,” said one comment. “She came to herald the UPC, one wonders why.”

She did the same thing in Korea some weeks ago. They are manipulating international media and apparently even blogs now. Yesterday, the Bristows-run blog (IP Kat) continued to cheer for patent trolls that operate in London (profitable for Bristows). Something like the UPC would make things even worse!

As someone pointed out in the comments this morning:

What always worries me in this respect is A54(3) EPC. I could scan through the patent publications in the afternoon of the publication day, find something interesting, add a few trivial features (the processor may be silicon based, a copper containing current distributor may be used, etc.) and file it as my patent application before 24:00. As the original application is only prior art according to A54(3) and I have some trivial features for novelty, I should be fine and get it granted.

Another person asked: “Entitlement?”

“…Annsley Merelle Ward continued acting almost like a Battistelli ‘mole’ inside the blog.”Remember that Unwired Planet is just a patent troll utilised by Ericsson.

Bristows staff soon thereafter proceeded to another EPO puff piece (like amplifying Margot). In it, Annsley Merelle Ward continued acting almost like a Battistelli ‘mole’ inside the blog. Those who make a living out of litigation (like trolls with threatening letters) understandably tolerate Battistelli because of his UPC ambitions. Watch this new tweet that says “Anjali Chopra of GreyB believes that getting rid of #Patenttrolls would hurt #innovation”

Let’s just pretend — as some legal firms do — that patent trolls are good for innovation. Let’s just invert truths, pretending that UPC would be good for SMEs etc. Just earlier this month the Washington Times published “Banish the [patent] trolls” — an article which explains, in the words of United For Patent Reform, that “[p]atent reform requires shifting burden of proof “to the trolls and away from inventors & innovators”…”

From the article:

There’s an entire class of litigants in patent law that lawyers call “venue-shoppers.” U.S. district courts in East Texas and Delaware have become the go-to venues, courts likely to produce huge judgments in plaintiffs’ favor. Courts in these jurisdictions have shown themselves to be sympathetic to the trolls, or as they call themselves, “patent-assertion entities.”

Patent trolls, typically shell companies, buy the rights to dormant patents and use them to extort holders of similar patents by filing false patent-infringement claims. Defendants will often settle out of court just to make the case go away. It’s cheaper than hiring expensive lawyers to fight claims without merit.

The predatory patent-infringement threats and lawsuits drained an estimated $29 billion from the U.S. economy in 2011 alone, according to a Boston University study released in June 2012. That figure represents only direct legal costs, so the true economic toll is much higher since the true toll includes “various indirect costs such as diversion of resources, delays in new products, and loss of market share.”

Taking much of the above into account, what we have now is a British blog called IP Kat which is primarily run by proponents of patent trolls, software patents, the UPC and even Battistelli’s agenda. The FFII’s President today complained that “Redhat does not do much against swpats [software patents] anymore, against UPC for ex it is around zero.”

“Taking much of the above into account, what we have now is a British blog called IP Kat which is primarily run by proponents of patent trolls, software patents, the UPC and even Battistelli’s agenda.”It leaves not so many of us to fight for EPO justice, to combat the UPC, to stop trolls, and take away those software patents they rely on so much.

IAM ‘magazine’, a think tank of Battistelli, pushes on with propaganda and fake news about the UPC, citing this piece that says:

The Isle of Man is signing up to a Europe-wide system for registering patents.

It is planned for the agreement to continue beyond Brexit.

No, it’s not. That’s a lie right there. They perpetuate UPC lies again. It probably won’t be long before IP Kat, i.e. Bristows, does another series of lies about the UPC, feeding much of the misinformation whose purpose is to compel officials abroad to ratify (based on false information).

EPO Fiasco to be Discussed in German Local Authority (Bavarian Parliament) Some Time Today as the Institution Continues Its Avoidable Collapse

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Aktuelle Informationen zu den Sitzungen

Summary: Conflict between management and staff — a result of truly destructive strategies and violations of the law by Benoît Battistelli — continues to escalate and threatens to altogether dismantle the European Patent Office (EPO)

T

WO hours ago (at the earliest), based on this page, there was a Freie Wähler motion for EPO workers who are being abused in Germany. It can go on almost until midnight, or the window for this motion will be some time from 2 hours ago until 10 PM GMT. The “basic rights for EPO employees,” SUEPO explains, “will be discussed today, 25.04.2017, between 14.00-23.00…”

“Meanwhile, as some people have already noticed, Battistelli’s political party in France has just lost…”“Unfortunately,” SUEPO continues, “we cannot inform you on the exact time. We can only inform you that it is motion 23 of 29 motions to be discussed.”

We can only wait and hope that someone in Germany (or someone who understands German) will publish the outcome, transcript, etc. We’ll happily accept and of course publish anything to that effect if it’s sent to us.

Meanwhile, as some people have already noticed, Battistelli’s political party in France has just lost (his political affiliation disqualifies him by the way, just like his age, making him strictly unsuitable for his position). Here is a comment posted in relation to the outcome of the election (first round):

Bad evening for Battistelli : crooked Fillon lost it!

Indeed Battistelli placed until very recently, his hope in Fillon’s election (they both belong the same political party Les Republicains). He was heard in Munich telling with his usual arrogance that should Fillon win, he would get a three years’ extension

well Benoit, time for a change? En Marche back in St Germain !

http://techrights.org/2017/04/23/board-of-epo-and-servregs/

Battistelli should never have been given the job of President (of EPO). He is a political figure. It’s not allowed. But Battistelli, being Battistelli, breaks all the rules and lies all the time. The man is a chronic liar. It has gotten so bad that every time he speaks out (it has been a while) it’s guaranteed to be a lie and this is why we call him the Liar in Chief.

Recall the latest article from The Register; it was neatly split into four parts: Battistelli’s claims (lies), refutation from stakeholders, refutation from insiders, then an attack on insiders who say the truth. The third part contained some new information (not covered here before) and it noted “a stunning 99 per cent conformity” at the EPO, which means that Battistelli turned the EPO into another FISA/FISC, i.e. rubberstamping operation. To quote from page 2:

At the same time that the EPO management has relentlessly pushed to speed up processes, it has had maintained a second keen focus on quality, knowing full well that the entire Battistelli experiment could fall apart if the quality of patent examination is seen to suffer.

Ominously, however, as soon as the reforms started taking effect EPO management introduced a new approach to quality measurement that removed many of its independent aspects and put them under the control of the president and his team. In addition, an effort to speed up the process, combined with an aggressive clampdown on staff by management, has undermined the process for critical evaluation of patents.

Previously, the three-person team working on a given patent case would work together and then the chair in each case would do a quick quality check at the end of that process to confirm all was fine.

Under the new system, the chair is expected to weigh in earlier and lodge any concerns in the EPO’s Conformity Assurance for Search and Examination (CASE) system before talking to the first evaluator. The subsequent conversation on those points is then also lodged in the system.

The end result of this change is any errors that were previously caught at the earliest stages become a part of the record: so either the first examiner is seen to have made a mistake or the chair is seen to have falsely flagged a problem.

The end result of that, according to internal figures that The Register has seen is that there is less critically analysis being applied to applications rather than more as examiners worry about EPO management blaming them for, ironically, bringing down quality metrics.

Prior to the change, there was a 85-88 per cent conformity rate i.e. agreement between examiners; after the change, a stunning 99 per cent conformity. Battistelli’s team, convinced that their pressure tactics are simply causing people to work harder and better, view the results as validating their approach when in reality it undermines it.

But just as the EPO is increasingly unable to keep a lid on the impact of its “early certainty” program, so the knock-on impact on EPO report quality is starting to overwhelm the management’s efforts to contain it.

At the last meeting of the EPO’s Administrative Council, when the management team outlined their unlikely double-whammy of more patent application approvals while quality also rose, staff union representatives gently suggested that the figures were not showing the full picture.

Astounding, isn’t it?

No matter if one is an examiner, an attorney, lawyer or whatnot, this isn’t good. It’s not good at all. It’s almost as though the EPO covertly adopted 'registration' only, just like in France. It means that stakeholders are overpaying, examiners are made almost redundant (their skills aren’t being put to proper use), they are compelled to operate like machines and get sacked if they refuse to. Who takes the blame for all this? Not the management.

Battistelli is now doing the same thing to judges and notice the following remarkable comment:

As I have heard Americans refer to Patent Agents and Patent Atttorneys as “Patent Lawyers”, for the benefit of our transatlantic cousins, perhaps Mr. Justice Birss’ comment that that “… you don’t have to have a science degree to be a great patent lawyer” requires qualification. As far as the UK is concerned, the statement may well be true for someone who wishes to qualify as a Barrister or Solicitor with a view to specialising in Intellectual Property: however, in order to sit the qualifying exams for a UK Patent Attorney or a European Patent Attorney, a degree in Science or Engineering is normally essential. As an exception the EPO does allow candidates who have a technical qualification that is not of the required academic standard may be allowed to sit if they can offer sufficient post-qualification experience in industry.

Well, not anymore. First of all, the EPO almost stopped hiring judges (see the sad state of the appeal boards), as if the only judges to be hired are seen as UPC placeholders. Some insiders have openly hypothesised that Battistelli hopes to just demolish the EPO, negligently deal with the remaining pending patents, and get the UPC off the ground, even if it’s not possible due to Brexit and other show-stopping barriers.

In blunt terms, the EPO has truly become a clusterf*ck under Battistelli. Everyone knows it and everybody suffers from it.

In the US and Elsewhere, Qualcomm’s Software Patents Are a Significant Tax Everyone Must Pay

Posted in America, Patents at 8:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Welfare for a fossil of a company which bullies real companies (like Microsoft still does) without really creating anything

Phone and USPTO

Summary: The state of the mobile market when companies such as Qualcomm, which don’t really produce anything, take a large piece of the revenue pie

Qualcomm does not make phones. At least not anymore. The same is true for Microsoft (with rare, minor exceptions here and there). Yet they want to be paid for every phone produced (raising prices considerably). They’re like patent trolls — the very same thing that BlackBerry and Nokia gradually become as their sales flat-line near 0. Their stockpiling of patents, they believe, is their last remaining ‘asset’ in the mobile market (Nokia, BlackBerry, Ericsson and Microsoft also feed patent trolls for this purpose). Various software patents, granted by the USPTO before Alice, account for the lion’s share of the said patents, the rest being on hardware, radio, etc. Please note that we are not opposing hardware patents like this one just covered by Patently-O or material-related patents like the one just covered by Managing IP. In the case of Qualcomm, a lot of their patents are on software (their former chiefs advocated these patents last month), so we stand on pretty firm ground when we oppose these. So does Florian Müller, who has just found out that “Qualcomm’s involuntary refund to BlackBerry amounts to approximately $5 per device” and added:

The term “specified number of subscriber units from 2010 through the end of 2015″ in Qualcomm’s press release on this month’s arbitration award could mean all or some of the devices BlackBerry sold during the period in question. What I’m interested in (because I believe many readers will be curious, too) is what indication the “rebate” gives us with a view to Qualcomm’s standard-essential patent (SEP) royalty demands. A couple of months ago I saw indications, by deducing and inferring information from certain public documents, that Apple may have been paying Qualcomm approximately $20 for its baseband chip and a second amount like that for patent license (a total of $40 per device for the chip and the license). The higher the rebate is on a per-unit basis, the more likely it is that Qualcomm’s royalty demands are really that high (we’re talking about stratospheric heights compared to what other companies are rumored to receive; for example, financial investors appear to believe that Nokia receives about $2 per device from Apple).

So let’s look at publicly-available information in the light most favorable to Qualcomm: that the “royalty cap” applied to all BlackBerry smartphones sold in the years 2010-2015. Not only is that most favorable to Qualcomm but it’s also a reasonable assumption.

How many of the patents in question are no longer valid after Alice and what will regulators say about Qualcomm’s anticompetitive practices?

“We live in a world where journalism about patents is composed by non-scientists who speak to lawyers, not scientists.”We certainly hope that Qualcomm will just disappear. It contributes nothing and takes away from everyone.

Suffice to say, the patent microcosm is supportive of Qualcomm. They push the bogus narrative of “inventors” (who create nothing) being “robbed”. Some take this further and pretend that it’s the root of all the problems in the US. For example, as if everything boils down to patents (the more, the merrier), Watchtroll has just published “Fixing America’s Patent System is the Best Strategy to Jump-Start our Stalled Economy” (on Monday).

“It has become so bad that the industry is full of trolls — one of whom (Erich Spangenberg) made about $50 million from one single patent which recently turned out to be invalid.”What they mean by “fixing” is the very opposite of fixing. They want to bring rise to more Qualcomm-like parasites.

Yesterday, behind a paywall, the patent microcosm also promoted software patents, as it so habitually does. Heck, who needs the opinion of actual software professionals? We live in a world where journalism about patents is composed by non-scientists who speak to lawyers, not scientists. It has become so bad that the industry is full of trolls — one of whom (Erich Spangenberg) made about $50 million from one single patent which recently turned out to be invalid. Think of all the companies he robbed by this charalatan over the years.

In South Asia, Old Myths to Promote Patent Maximalism, Courtesy of the Patent Microcosm

Posted in Asia, Patents at 7:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

LexOrbisSummary: The latest example of software patents advocacy and patent ‘parades’ in India, as well as something from IPOS in Singapore

THE USPTO has shifted in a direction similar to that of India, i.e. no software patents, at least not without some loopholes that would most likely fail to convince courts (so the patents are no longer potent, at least once challenged).

“LexOrbis is not a software firm; it’s an enemy of many and it uses terms like “Computer Related Inventions” (CRI), which just like CII is a dodge from the term that would instantaneously disqualify patents.”Several weeks ago we saw LexOrbis promoting Indian software patents at IAM and elsewhere, based on flawed logic. These opportunists, spinners and self-serving staff of LexOrbis keep lobbying against India’s laws not because they care about software but because they want to prey on software developers, using patents on software. The latest such piece is “India: Need ‘SoftPatents’ for Software Inventions” and it shows them trying to work around the law, then concluding with “let us keep looking for that inventive step in ‘software inventions’ and file patent applications for Computer Related Inventions.”

Or how about quit meddling in software? LexOrbis is not a software firm; it’s an enemy of many and it uses terms like “Computer Related Inventions” (CRI), which just like CII is a dodge from the term that would instantaneously disqualify patents.

“Just because patents become available for something doesn’t mean one will produce a better product or “think harder” or “innovate better”.”Elsewhere in the Indian press today, the patent microcosm maintains an atmosphere of confusion and mass deception. Here, for example, we have a new article titled “India leads Asian peers in growth in filing patents” — a piece which asserts that it’s something to be celebrated. Corporate media wants us to think that more patents mean more innovation and are necessarily more desirable. It’s not that simple. It depends on what these patents cover. Another corporate media ‘genius’ now conflates patents with innovation. Is he just gullible or intentionally dishonest? Just because patents become available for something doesn’t mean one will produce a better product or “think harder” or “innovate better”. It’s a myth.

What is the role model? China! Here is a portion:

China reduces patent fees by 75-80% for people who can’t afford it and has a patent fund to provide cash subsidies for patent applicants and patentees gratuitously.

And what has China gotten out of it? A massive surge in litigation and patent trolls. Is this really desirable? Well, for those who make a living messing around with papers (lawsuits, filings etc.) this is great.

Over at IAM, in the mean time, IPOS is quoted as some sort of authority; they never speak to actual engineers that create something. Daren Tang from IPOS is talking nonsense, resorting to the lingo of patent maximalists who compare monopoly to objects. Remember that it is IAM that keeps attacking India’s patent policy all the time (and almost every week/fortnight this year). We responded to some of it in:

We certainly hope that developers/engineers in India are paying attention and operating in a reactionary manner to all that meddling from the patent microcosm, its think tanks, and cooperative media. They will never rest until (if ever) software patents become legal in India.

04.24.17

Links 24/4/2017: Linux 4.11 RC8, MPV 0.25

Posted in News Roundup at 6:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Software: 10 Go To Solution for Small Businesses

    While closed-source operating systems such as Windows and Mac OS may still dominate the OS market, not everyone can afford the high costs that they entail. For small- and medium-sized enterprises where every penny matters, taking advantage of open-source software such as Ubuntu’s Linux is a good bet to boost productivity and cost effectiveness. The fact that open-source softwares have evolved to become somewhat user-friendly and sleek also helps a good deal.

  • How I became a webcomic artist in less than a month with open source tools

    If you are reading this, you probably care about, or are at least mildly interested in, open source. Like you, I care about and am interested in open source. Perhaps unlike you, I am also a webcomic artist. You can find my work at Herpaderp.party.

    This is a story about how I came to use and, indeed, vaunt open source. I’ll also tell you about how and why I produce my comic using open source tools and infrastructure.

    The story begins in 2005 when I got my first computer as an off-to-college gift. It was an iBook G4. I carefully booted it and set it up according to the manual. It worked. I didn’t feel as excited as I expected. I didn’t feel cool, or dangerous, or in control, or like I should start wearing a leather trench coat like in The Matrix five years before. I knew a place called SourceForge, which had programs that weren’t written by Apple, but I didn’t see anything I really needed there. I installed The Matrix screensaver and moved on to my next challenge.

  • Switch to open source model turns costs into R&D

    Public administrations that switch to an open source software model and contracting for services, also transform the costs previously spent on acquisition and maintenance into budget for research, development and innovation, says Álvaro Anguix, general manager of the gvSIG association.

  • How to track and secure open source in your enterprise

    Recently, SAS issued a rather plaintive call for enterprises to limit the number of open source projects they use to a somewhat arbitrary percentage. That seems a rather obvious attempt to protest the rise of the open source R programming language for data science and analysis in a market where SAS has been dominant. But there is a good point hidden in the bluster: Using open source responsibly means knowing what you’re using so you can track and maintain it.

  • An Aerospace Coder Drags a Stodgy Industry Toward Open Source

    More than a decade ago, software engineer Ryan Melton spent his evenings, after workdays at Ball Aerospace, trying to learn to use a 3-D modeling program. After a few weeks, for all his effort, he could make … rectangles that moved. Still, it was a good start. Melton showed his spinning digital shapes to Ball, a company that makes spacecraft and spacecraft parts, and got the go-ahead he’d been looking for: He could try to use the software to model a gimbal—the piece on a satellite that lets the satellite point.

    Melton wanted to build the program to save himself time, learn something new. “It was something I needed for me,” he says. But his work morphed into a software project called Cosmos—a “command and control” system that sends instructions to satellites and displays data from their parts and pieces. Ball used it for some 50 flight projects and on-the-ground test systems. And in 2014, Melton decided Cosmos should share its light with the world. Today, it’s been used with everything from college projects to the planet-seeking Kepler telescope.

  • SRT Video Transport Protocol Open-Sourced

    In aiming to enhance online video streaming, the SRT video protocol has been open-sourced and an alliance forming around that for low-latency video.

    SRT is short for Secure Reliable Transport and is a low-latency video transport protocol developed by Haivision. The SRT protocol is being opened under the LGPL license.

  • Events

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Your CEO’s Obliviousness about Open Source is Endangering Your Business [Ed: Jeff Luszcz says nothing about the risk of proprietary components with back doors etc. and instead 'pulls a Black Duck']

      But what caused these issues? Itis what happens when an open source component is integrated into a commercial software product and violates its open source license, or when it contains a vulnerability that was previously unknown. As technology evolves, open source security and compliance risk are reaching a critical apex that if not addressed, will threaten the entire software supply chain.

  • BSD

    • TrueOS STABLE Update: 4/24/17

      After testing the UNSTABLE push over the weekend, the devs are happy to release a new STABLE update and installation files today! This update consists of two parts: installer changes for those who install TrueOS fresh, and general updates for systems with TrueOS already installed.

    • TrueOS 20170424 Stable Update
  • Public Services/Government

    • German states adopt open source-based security checks system

      The German federal state of Thuringia will join North RhineWestphalia, Baden-Württemberg, Hamburg and Hesse and start using OSiP, a system for performing security checks for staff access to sensitive areas. The system, built on open source components, is set to become the default security system for all 16 federal states.

  • Programming/Development

    • GCC 6 Becoming Auxiliary Compiler In OpenIndiana

      While GCC 7 is being released in the days ahead, the OpenIndiana crew continuing to advance the open-source Solaris stack has begun offering GCC 6 as an auxiliary/supplementary compiler.

    • LLVM Still Working Towards Apache 2.0 Relicensing

      LLVM developers have been wanting to move from their 3-clause BSD-like “LLVM license” to the Apache 2.0 license with exceptions. It’s been a while since last hearing about the effort while now a third round of request for comments was issued.

    • How Operation Code helps veterans learn programming skills

      After leaving the military, Army Captain David Molina knew he wanted to go into software development. As Molina did research on the field, he found himself overwhelmed by the vast amount of information and choices. For example: What coding language is the right one to learn? What language is the most valuable for being competitive in the job market? To add to the confusion, there are a myriad of for-profit code schools that are proliferating at an exponential rate, and each one advertises career outcomes for a fraction of the cost of a four-year computer science degree. Where could he turn for guidance on how to enter the tech industry?

    • Stack Overflow: Python snakes up developer ecosystem ladder
    • Almost 10pc of Dublin workers are software developers
    • Which programmers work late at night
    • These are the fastest growing developer technologies in the UK and Ireland
    • Stanford Uni’s intro to CompSci course adopts JavaScript, bins Java

      In early April, Stanford University began piloting a new version of its introductory computer science course, CS 106A. The variant, CS 106J, is taught in JavaScript rather than Java.

      “[CS 106J] covers the same material as CS 106A but does so using JavaScript, the most common language for implementing interactive web pages, instead of Java,” the university website explains. “No prior programming experience required.”

      According to The Stanford Daily, Eric Roberts, emeritus professor of computer science, has been working on the transition for the past five years, writing a new textbook, creating assignments, and training teaching assistants.

    • Assimilate Go Programming with Open Source Books

      Go is a compiled, statically typed programming language that makes it easy to build simple, reliable, and efficient software. It’s a general purpose programming language with modern features, clean syntax and a robust well-documented common library, making it a good candidate to learn as your first programming language. While it borrows ideas from other languages such as Algol and C, it has a very different character. It’s sometimes described as a simple language.

Leftovers

  • Stop Guessing Languages Based on IP Address

    Instead, Accept-Language should be used and the browser should provide appropriate methods at relevant times for specifying it.

    Currently there are ways to specify Accept-Language in the major browsers, but almost nobody does it, knows about it, and leaves it as the language of their browser’s interface.
    [...]
    That is a UX failure, not an engineering one. That’s a shame because Accept-Language is likely more powerful than you realize.

  • Linguistic experts warn Icelandic language is at risk of dying out because smartphones don’t speak it

    The widespread use of English in the country, both for tourism and for voice-controlled electronic devices, has slowly reduced the numbers of people speaking Icelandic to less than 400,000.

  • [Old] Björn Bjarnason
    Minister of Education, Science and Culture: Address on the Signing of the Translation Agreement with Microsoft, 20th January 1999

    Referring to the policy adopted by the Ministry in 1993 to fund only the publication of software for DOS/Windows, the booklet stated:
    [...]

  • Guardian US receives major grant to create change within the homelessness crisis [Ed: Bill Gates pays The Guardian again].
  • Science

    • How The March For Science Finally Found Its Voice

      They marched for science, and at first, they did so quietly. On Saturday, as thousands of people started streaming eastward from the Washington Monument, in a river of ponchos and umbrellas, the usual raucous chants that accompany such protests were rarely heard and even more rarely continued. “Knowledge is power; it’s our final hour,” said six enthusiastic people—to little response. “What do we want? Science! When do we want it? After peer review!” shouted another pocket of marchers—for about five rounds.

      Scientists are not a group to whom activism comes easily or familiarly. Most have traditionally stayed out of the political sphere, preferring to stick to their research. But for many, this historical detachment ended with the election of Donald Trump.

    • In Photos: Scientists Worldwide Fight Back Against Anti-Science Trump Agenda
  • Health/Nutrition

    • Farm Workers Resist Trump’s Policies

      President Trump’s promised purge of undocumented people from the United States is facing resistance from the United Farm Workers (UFW) and other groups in California that reject this rollback of civil rights and workers’ rights.

      On March 31, the birthday of the late founder of the UFW, Cesar Chavez, the union kicked off a month-long series of activities to fight back against Trump’s anti-immigrant policies, which many analysts believe is designed to make life so miserable and difficult in the U.S. that people begin to “self-deport in” in large numbers.

    • Sanders’ Stumping for Anti-Choice Mayoral Candidate Draws Ire

      U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who’s now on a multi-state tour to galvanize grassroots resistance to the Trump agenda, can boast of high popularity, but he’s taking flak for backing an anti-choice mayoral candidate.

      Speaking Thursday at a sold-out event at the University of Nebraska Omaha’s Baxter Arena, Sanders rallied support for Heath Mello, the Democrat who’s hoping to unseat Omaha’s Republican Mayor Jean Stothert next month.

      “Maybe, just maybe it’s time to change one-party rule in Nebraska,” Sanders said during the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) “Come Together and Fight Back” tour stop, the Associated Press reports. “And we can start right here by electing Heath Mello as the next mayor,” Sanders said.

  • Security

    • More Windows PCs infected with NSA backdoor DoublePulsar [Ed: Look what Microsoft’s back doors for the NSA are causing this month; recall Snowden’s leaks about it.]

      Although the exact number varies among security researchers, the DoublePulsar infection rate is climbing

    • NSA-linked hacking tools released by Shadow Brokers have compromised almost 200,000 Windows PCs
    • ‘Beautiful’ NSA hacking tool DoublePulsar infects almost 200,000 Windows PCs

      Tools supposedly developed by the US National Security Agency (NSA) leaked early this month by the Shadow Brokers hacking group are being used in attacks on Windows PCs.

      The tools, released to the open-source developer website Github, have been gratefully scooped up by malware writers of varying levels of competency and pimped via phishing emails across the internet.

      And researchers at Swiss security company Binary Edge claim to have found 183,107 compromised PCs connected to the internet after conducting a scan for the DoublePulsar malware. Conducted every day over the past four days, the number of infected PCs has increased dramatically with each scan, according to Binary Edge.

    • Three months on, no Linksys router patches for remote holes

      More than three months after being informed about remotely exploitable vulnerabilities in 25 router models, Linksys is yet to issue patches to remedy them.

    • [Older] Tracing Spam: Diet Pills from Beltway Bandits

      Here’s the simple story of how a recent spam email advertising celebrity “diet pills” was traced back to a Washington, D.C.-area defense contractor that builds tactical communications systems for the U.S. military and intelligence communities.

    • Top-ranked programming Web tutorials introduce vulnerabilities into software

      “[Our findings] suggest that there is a pressing need for code audit of widely consumed tutorials, perhaps with as much rigor as for production code,” they pointed out.

    • [Old] PHP: a fractal of bad design

      PHP is an embarrassment, a blight upon my craft. It’s so broken, but so lauded by every empowered amateur who’s yet to learn anything else, as to be maddening. It has paltry few redeeming qualities and I would prefer to forget it exists at all.

    • The Cloud Foundry Approach to Container Storage and Security

      Recently, The New Stack published an article titled “Containers and Storage: Why We Aren’t There Yet” covering a talk from IBM’s James Bottomley at the Linux Foundation’s Vault conference in March. Both the talk and article focused on one of the central problems we’ve been working to address in the Cloud Foundry Foundation’s Diego Persistence project team, so we thought it would be a good idea to highlight the features we’ve added to mitigate it. Cloud Foundry does significantly better than what the article suggests is the current state of the art on the container security front, so we’ll cover that here as well.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • ‘Every Day Things Are Getting Worse’ for Children in Yemen

      Persistent attacks on health care in Yemen is severely impacting children’s well-being, civil society detailed at the launch of a report.

      In the report, Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, in collaboration with Save the Children, found a series of systematic attacks on medical facilities and personnel and families’ restricted access to health care across three of the most insecure governorates in the Middle Eastern nation.

      According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), warring parties carried out at least 160 attacks against medical facilities and personnel between March 2015 and March 2017 through intimidation, air strikes, and impeded access to medical supplies.

      In one incident, anti-Houthi forces raided and shutdown Al Thawra hospital for reportedly treating several injured Houthi-fighers. The hospital had also previously been shelled on numerous occasions.

    • With Error Fixed, Evidence Against ‘Sarin Attack’ Remains Convincing

      In my report published April 19 on Truthdig, I misinterpreted the wind-direction convention, resulting in my estimates of plume directions being exactly 180 degrees off. This article corrects that error and provides important new analytic results that follow from correction of that error.

      When the error in wind direction is corrected, the conclusion is that if there was a significant sarin release at the crater as alleged by the White House Intelligence Report (WHR) issued April 11, the immediate result would have been significant casualties immediately adjacent to the dispersion crater.

    • NYT Mocks Skepticism on Syria-Sarin Claims

      In the old days of journalism, we were taught that there were almost always two sides to a story, if not more sides than that. Indeed, part of the professional challenge of journalism was to sort out conflicting facts on a complicated topic. Often we found that the initial impression of a story was wrong once we understood the more nuanced reality.

    • At Sea With Capt. ‘Wrong Way’ Trump

      Baby boomers like me fondly remember the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons of childhood (and adulthood, for that matter — in their grown-up jokes and cultural references they presaged The Simpsons by a good 25 years and are still pretty hilarious).

      You may particularly recall one Rocky and Bullwinkle character, Capt. Peter “Wrong Way” Peachfuzz, an addled mariner so spectacular in his incompetence that even his toy boats sank in the bathtub.

      At one point, Peachfuzz managed to steer his ship into New York’s financial district — and I mean into, so much so that it was given the permanent address of 17 ½ Wall Street. Now at the helm of an investment firm, his board of directors wanted to get Capt. Peachfuzz as far away as possible and found him a job counting penguin eggs in Antarctica. But a secretary mistyped the form and Peachfuzz was made head of the nation’s intelligence community.

      [...]

      In recent days, we’ve heard inconsistent policy statements, and not just about where the hell our ships are. There have been flip-flops on China and Russia as well as conflicting declarations when it comes to President Bashar al-Assad’s brutality in Syria and the contested referendum in Turkey that by a narrow margin gave President Recep Tayyip Erdogan increased dictatorial control over his government. Trump called to heartily congratulate Erdogan on his win, yet at the same time the State Department warned the Turkish leader against ignoring the “rule of law” and urged him to respect “a diverse and free media.”

    • Dropping the (Non-Nuclear) Big One

      After pounding “war on terror” targets for 15-plus years, the U.S. military dropped its “mother of all bombs” on some caves in Afghanistan, a show-off of its terrifying weapon, peace activist Kathy Kelly told Dennis J Bernstein.

    • Borussia Dortmund bombs: ‘Speculator’ charged with bus attack

      Police in Germany have charged a man suspected of being behind an attack on the Borussia Dortmund team bus.

      Rather than having links to radical Islamism, he was a market trader hoping to make money if the price of shares in the team fell, prosecutors say.

      The suspect has been charged with attempted murder, triggering explosions and causing serious physical injury.

    • Human rights lawyer lodges case at International Criminal Court against Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte for ‘mass murder’

      A human rights lawyer lodged a case on Monday (April 24) with the International Criminal Court (ICC), calling President Rodrigo Duterte a “mass murderer”, and seeking an investigation into “this dark, obscene, murderous and evil era in the Philippines”.

      In a 77-page complaint filed with ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, lawyer Jude Jose Sabio sought to have Mr Duterte and 11 others arrested and held in The Hague to prevent him “from further committing mass murder and from killing potential victims and witnesses”.

    • Istanbul law enforcement ban April 23 Armenian Genocide commemoration event

      Turkish law enforcement banned the April 23 Armenian Genocide commemorative event in Istanbul’s Sisli district. The event is being held for five years.

      Police told the participants of the event they “have orders from above to ban the rally”, threatening if they don’t obey, police are authorized to intervene.

      The demonstrators collected the posters, which said: “Don’t forget, don’t let to be forgotten”, “As long as there is no confrontation, genocides won’t stop” and took off to the Sisli office of the People’s Democratic Party.

    • US ‘deep state’ sold out counter-terrorism to keep itself in business

      New York Times columnist Tom Friedman outraged many readers when he wrote an opinion piece on 12 April calling on President Trump to “back off fighting territorial ISIS in Syria”. The reason he gave for that recommendation was not that US wars in the Middle East are inevitably self-defeating and endless, but that it would reduce the “pressure on Assad, Iran, Russia and Hezbollah”.

    • Tell Us Why We’re At War, President Trump

      People speak of Afghanistan as “our generation’s” Vietnam, a quagmire, a war that goes on simply because it has been going on.

      The Afghan war is dragging into being our generation’s, and soon the next generation’s Vietnam as well, over a decade and a half old. There are troops deploying now that were two years old when the conflict started. There are fathers and sons deploying together. Bin Laden’s been dead for years.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • CIA, FBI launch manhunt for leaker who gave top-secret documents to WikiLeaks

      The CIA and FBI are conducting a joint investigation into one of the worst security breaches in CIA history, which exposed thousands of top-secret documents that described CIA tools used to penetrate smartphones, smart televisions and computer systems.

    • Prosecuting Assange under Espionage Act would set dangerous precedent

      Last week, news reports indicated that the Justice Department is considering whether to press charges against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks for posting classified information on the Internet. Section 793(e) of the Espionage Act makes it illegal for anyone with “unauthorized possession” of “national defense information” to “willfully communicate” such information “to any person not entitled to receive it” if the person “has reason to believe” the information “could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.” This language is incredibly broad and, if applied as written, raises serious First Amendment concerns. As Steve Vladeck noted on Twitter, using the Espionage Act in this way would set a troubling precedent.

      The Trump administration is not the first to consider using the Espionage Act to prosecute those who disclose embarrassing national security information. The George W. Bush administration considered prosecuting journalists for publishing information about surveillance and other counter-terrorism activities. At the time, I co-authored an article with Michael Berry for National Review Online explaining why such prosecutions would be a bad idea (with a follow-up here).

    • Long before WikiLeaks, the FBI spent decades obsessing over Gavin MacFadyen

      In response to the initial FOIA request for files on deceased WikiLeaks Director and Courage Foundation trustee Gavin MacFadyen, the FBI cited a litany of exemptions. These included an ongoing investigation, national security, and the need to protect the identity of a confidential informant. While the Bureau used these exemptions to withhold all of the materials on MacFadyen in their possession, they did reveal that at least four files mentioning MacFadyen had been transferred to the National Archives.

    • Candidate Trump: ‘I Love Wikileaks.’ President Trump: ‘Arrest Assange!’

      “I love Wikileaks,” candidate Donald Trump said on October 10th on the campaign trail. He praised the organization for reporting on the darker side of the Hillary Clinton campaign. It was information likely leaked by a whistleblower from within the Clinton campaign to Wikileaks.

      Back then he praised Wikileaks for promoting transparency, but candidate Trump looks less like President Trump every day. The candidate praised whistleblowers and Wikileaks often on the campaign trail. In fact, candidate Trump loved Wikileaks so much he mentioned the organization more than 140 times in the final month of the campaign alone! Now, as President, it seems Trump wants Wikileaks founder Julian Assange sent to prison.

      Last week CNN reported, citing anonymous “intelligence community” sources, that the Trump Administration’s Justice Department was seeking the arrest of Assange and had found a way to charge the Wikileaks founder for publishing classified information without charging other media outlets such as the New York Times and Washington Post for publishing the same information.

      It might have been tempting to write off the CNN report as “fake news,” as is much of their reporting, but for the fact President Trump said in an interview on Friday that issuing an arrest warrant for Julian Assange would be, “OK with me.”

    • Symantec Blames Global Cyber Attacks On Secret CIA Tools

      Agency spokeswoman Heather Fritz Horniak said any WikiLeaks disclosures aimed at damaging the intelligence community “not only jeopardise United States personnel and operations, but also equip our adversaries with tools and information to do us harm”.

      Numerous tools revealed in the WikiLeaks Vault7 cache have been spotted in the wild attacking targets in 16 countries and linked to a group operating since at least 2011, Symantec claimed. Given the close similarities between the tools and techniques, there can be little doubt that Longhorn’s activities and the Vault 7 documents are the work of the same group.

    • CIA Director Says WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Has No Freedom Of Speech Protection Because He’s Not A Citizen
    • Wikileaks investigation could threaten freedom of the press

      Late Thursday, The Washington Post reported that the Department of Justice is reconsidering whether to file charges against Wikileaks and its founder, Julian Assange, for publishing classified government documents.

      Potential charges against Assange and other members of Wikileaks could include conspiracy, theft of government property, and charges under the Espionage Act, according to the Post.

    • Why Soviet Weather Was Secret, a Critical Gap in Korea, and Other NSA Newsletter Tales

      Three years after the 9/11 attacks, a frustrated NSA employee complained that Osama bin Laden was alive and well, and yet the surveillance agency still had no automated way to search the Arabic language PDFs it had intercepted.

      This is just one of many complaints and observations included in SIDtoday, the internal newsletter of the NSA’s signals intelligence division. The Intercept today is publishing 251 articles from the newsletter, covering the second half of 2004 and the beginning of 2005. The newsletters were part of a large collection of NSA documents provided to The Intercept by Edward Snowden.

      This latest batch of posts includes candid employee comments about over-classification, descriptions of tensions in the NSA-CIA relationship, and an intern’s enthusiastic appraisal of a stint in Pakistan.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • The Planet Can’t Stand This Presidency

      What I mean is, we have only a short window to deal with the climate crisis or else we forever lose the chance to thwart truly catastrophic heating.

    • French Elections: Alt-Right, Total and Gold Mines, the Story Behind the Candidates’ Environmental Policies

      France, the birthplace of the Paris Agreement, is a week away from the first round of its presidential election on April 23. Throughout the campaign debates on the environment have often been side-lined, with the three leading candidates showing no sign of real climate leadership.

      The backdrop to the election campaign has been full of “fake news”, Brexit and Donald Trump. It has also been mired in scandals over corruption claims and growing concerns of Russian interference.

    • Trump and Global Warming Destroy Rivers

      One of the least understood aspects of global warming is entire countries threatened by loss of major rivers, for example, the Lancang River (70% of its headwater glaciers gone), affectionately known as “the Danube of the East” of China and the Andes river system in South America (the World Bank warning that millions threatened by loss of glacial water supplies), and the Lower Colorado River in America, at “the breaking point.”

      River systems provide recreation, sport, wildlife habitat, agricultural irrigation, and drinking water for the majority of the world’s population. The loss of river system integrity and strength of its flow indubitably throws the world into utter chaos, likely leading to worldwide water wars, e.g.: India’s numerous clashes and riots over water for example in Bundelkhand (deadly clashes), Bangalore, and Munak (18 people killed and 200 injured); and, Tunisia’s “thirst uprisings”; and, 10 deaths over water rights on Iran and Afghanistan border; and, Peru farmers challenging (clashes) a corporation over water rights; and, Syria’s repeated fighting over water; and, Somalia where dozens killed over water access; and, Mexico’s 100 injured in water clashes; and, Yemen, where 4,000 die every year from water-related violence. Moreover, the list of water wars goes on and on, seemingly evermore.

    • The environment-hating US Chamber of Commerce is losing the support of the world’s biggest companies

      The US Chamber of Commerce, which represents the interests of over 3 million companies and spent $104 million on lobbying in 2016, has been less than willing acknowledge the role that humans, and businesses, play in climate change.

      When the Chamber’s representative was asked whether climate change was real and caused by humans in a 2014 Senate hearing, she dodged the question until finally saying that it was “an ongoing discussion.”

      Following president Donald Trump’s executive actions that would gut the Obama administration’s policies to curb global warming, the chamber’s president, Thomas Donohue, said, “These executive actions are a welcome departure from the previous administration’s strategy of making energy more expensive through costly, job-killing regulations that choked our economy.”

  • Finance

    • Sir Philip Green could still lose knighthood, says MP

      Sir Philip Green has been warned that he could still be stripped of his knighthood and faces further questions from MPs, one year after the collapse of BHS.

      The veteran Labour MP Frank Field said Green had not done enough to keep his title amid lingering concerns over the £363m settlement struck between the retail tycoon and the Pensions Regulator.

      “Sir Philip Green remains on the hook,” he said. “When parliament comes back from the election we need to pursue the charge sheet from the Pensions Regulator against him and what the Pensions Regulator got in return,” said Field.

    • Displacing the Unprofitable and Undesirable in San Jose’s Fountain Alley

      The impulse to surveil this area in this manner brings up a question of San Jose’s decision-makers: who is being protected and for what motives? The individuals the police presence targets are predominantly Black and Brown folks, many of whom are homeless or poor. Some are caught up in alleged drug violence or sex work, which are not acknowledged as a symptom of larger issues – of poverty, a lack of housing, of mental illness among others – in our community, but as the problem itself. In our minds, the very people targeted are the ones who need the most assistance and protection.

    • In Latest Populist Betrayal, Trump Executive Order Unchains Wall Street Greed

      Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs for watchdog group Public Citizen, described the orders signed Friday at the Treasury Department as “nothing more than special favors for the same Wall Street banks that crashed our economy in 2008 and put millions of Americans out of work.”

      According to ABC News, Trump signed “two presidential memoranda on the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, which former President [Barack] Obama signed in response to the 2007-2008 financial crisis.” They order two six-month reviews of what the Los Angeles Times called “pillars” of Dodd-Frank: the Orderly Liquidation Authority and the Financial Stability Oversight Council.

    • “Fear City” Explores How Donald Trump Exploited the New York Debt Crisis To Boost His Own Fortune

      Reading this, it struck me how Trump’s entire career has been shaped by the exploitation of crisis. And that’s relevant stuff for what it tells us about what we can expect from his administration in the months and years to come. So I’m very happy to be joined by Kim Phillips-Fein, a historian of the first order, in The Intercept studios.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Front National’s Le Pen can be called fascist, court rules
    • French election: Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen through to second round, estimates show – live
    • Far-Right Le Pen and Center-Right Macron Frontrunners in French Election

      France will see the far-right, xenophobic Front National candidate Marine Le Pen face off against Emmanuel Macron, an investment banker who hasn’t held public office, in a runoff vote on May 7, as the first round of an unusual presidential election concluded with Sunday’s vote.

    • Russia’s Shadow-War in a Wary Europe

      Last month, the combative populist Marine Le Pen of the right-wing National Front flew to Moscow to meet with President Vladimir Putin. It was a display of longtime mutual admiration. The frontrunner in a field of 11 candidates, Le Pen shrugs off allegations of corruption and human rights abuses against Putin, calling him a tough and effective leader. Her hard-line views on immigration, Islam and the European Union win praise from Putin and enthusiastic coverage from Russian media outlets. Her campaign has been propelled by a loan of more than $9 million from a Russian bank in 2014, according to Western officials and media reports.

    • Remember Those Temporary Officials Trump Quietly Installed? Some Are Now Permanent Employees.

      Last month, ProPublica revealed that the Trump administration had installed hundreds of political appointees across the federal government without formally announcing them.

      The more than 400 officials were hired in temporary positions for what the White House calls “beachhead teams.” Government hiring rules allow them to have those positions for up to eight months.

      Now some of them are getting permanent federal jobs, oftentimes with little or no public notice.

      A review of federal agencies’ staffing lists, obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests and department websites, found the Trump administration has made at least 25 of its beachhead hires permanent. The White House and federal agencies don’t have to make public hires that don’t require Senate confirmation.

    • RIP United Kingdom, 1927-2017

      Theresa May’s call for a snap election received overwhelming endorsement from parliament by 522 to 13, whereas the Scottish SNP abstained. It is now expected that parliament will end all business in early May in the run up to the ballot of 8 June. Why did May call an early election since her argument all along has been that the “country needs stability” and that new elections would take place as normal in 2020?

      May was appointed PM in the wake of the Brexit referendum of 23 June 2016, after the country, albeit narrowly, voted to leave the EU. Commentators argue that she needed an electoral mandate to strengthen her position and image as PM. Also, her surprise move, the argument goes, was caused by a shrewd power calculus, the most important factors being the disarray in the Labour Party; the need for May to strengthen her grip on her own party and government undermining Europhile influence while boosting her parliamentary majority (currently only at 17 seats whereas polls show a Tory lead as high as 21%); and, thereby ‘strengthening the external position of the country in the Brexit negotiations’ that May herself triggered on 29 March. These arguments do not go to the bone of British, European and global politics.

    • Trump Inaugural Committee Falsely Lists Big Donation From “Hidden Figures” Hero

      The 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee, the campaign entity used to fund Donald Trump’s inauguration and related festivities, claimed in its official filing with the Federal Election Commission that it received a $25,000 donation from Katherine Johnson, the distinguished NASA mathematician and physicist. The filing listed her address at 1 NASA Drive in Hampton, Va., the location of NASA’s Langley Research Center. Johnson, who is retired at age 98, does not live at the research center.

      Eugene Johnson, who described himself as a friend and power of attorney for Katherine Johnson, told The Intercept that the “donation is fake, she did not make that donation.”

    • Donald Trump: Ruling Class President

      One of the many irritating things about the dominant United States corporate media is the way it repeatedly discovers anew things that are not remotely novel. Take its recent discovery that Donald Trump isn’t really the swamp-draining populist working class champion he pretended to be on the campaign trail.

      The evidence for this “news” is solid enough. His cabinet and top advisor circle has been chock full of ruling class swamp creatures like former Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn (top economic adviser), longtime top Goldman Sachs partner and top executive Steve Mnuchin (Secretary of the Treasury), and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross (Secretary of Commerce). Trump has surrounded himself with super-opulent and planetarily invested financial gatekeepers – the very club he criticized Hillary Clinton for representing.

      Trump meets regularly with top corporate and financial CEOs, who have been assured that he will govern in accord with their wishes. He receives applause from business elites for his agenda of significant large scale tax cuts and deregulation for wealthy individuals and for the giant, hyper-parasitic, and largely transnational corporations they milk for obscene profits

    • Roaming Charges: Dude, Where’s My War?

      Trump seems to suffer from a kind of attention deficit disorder.

      [...]

      Uncharacteristically, Trump didn’t even pause for a selfie beside the smoldering crater left by his MOAB bomb in Afghanistan, before he was rattling his sabre at North Korea, boasting about how his giant Armada was steaming toward the Korean peninsula. A few days later this robust pronouncement was obsolete, when it turned out that the mighty fleet was instead retreating 3,000 miles in the opposite direction, south to the coast of Australia. Call it the wrong-way Armada. Meanwhile, Trump had already fast-forwarded to furious denunciations of Iran.

      Trump’s martial pronouncements are generally too truncated and disarticulated to ever embody something so substantial as a trope or a theme. Indeed, many of these public utterances are so garbled that they defy translation by even the most gifted linguists. They are more like the petulant bleats of an overgrown adolescent testing out a rack of video games, blasting away at one zombie invasion after another until he tires of it and seizes on another scenario. It might be said that he practices the Man-Child theory of foreign relations: belligerent, shallow, easily bored.

    • Group of Mental Health Professionals Warn Trump’s State ‘Putting Country in Danger’

      A group of mental health professionals gathered at Yale University Thursday to discuss what they believe is their duty to warn the public of the “danger” posed by President Donald Trump.

      The “Duty to Warn” event was attended by roughly two dozen people and was organized Dr. Bandy Lee, assistant clinical professor in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, the CTPost writes. Lee called the mental health of the president “the elephant in the room,” and said: “Colleagues are concerned about the repercussions of speaking.”

    • The Corbyn Conundrum

      Having shared a platform with Jeremy Corbyn several times, I have to admit I had doubts about his leadership capacity. I had none about his heart, his motives, or his intellectual capacity. My doubts were about his interpersonal skills and charisma. I had him marked down as not very sociable and even shy.

      I have just watched his interview on Marr where Corbyn performed much better than I would have imagined possible. He was calm, reasonable and even wise. He came over as an attractive personality. He was, in short, excellent.

      Marr did the job his masters paid him to. He started, instantly, going for the jugular on the tabloids’ favourite attack line on Jeremy Corbyn. Having stated he was going to kick off with foreign policy, did Marr then ask whether Corbyn would continue to support the Tory policy of selling weapons to the Saudis to kill children in Yemen? Would continue uncritical support of Israel and diplomatic protection of its illegal occupation?

    • Equal under the Law

      The Pirate Party stands for justice and equality. We believe that a person’s beliefs, preferences, and physical attributes should have no bearing on how they are treated or what opportunities they have access to.

    • Whistleblower exposes conflict of interest at the heart of HS2

      A whistleblower exposed a significant conflict of interest at the heart of the government’s controversial HS2 project which led to the withdrawal of American firm CH2M from the contract, City AM reported yesterday.

      CH2M was set to be awarded the HS2 contract when a whistleblower alerted rival firm Mace to a major potential conflict of interest involving former HS2 Chief of Staff Chris Reynolds, who had taken up a role with CH2M three months after leaving HS2. Upon questioning, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling claimed that the onus was “first and foremost” on the firms bidding to conform to the rules, rather than on the Department for Transport (DfT) or HS2 to look for possible concerns.

    • Nearing 100 Days In, Trump is Least Popular President in Modern History

      A NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll recorded a 40 percent approval rating, and a Washington Post-ABC News poll saw 42 percent approval. Other surveys have previously put his approval rating as low as 37 percent.

    • “You black bastard” Offensive, friendly banter, somewhere in between or both?

      The Sun publishes an article comparing a black Everton player to a gorilla. While the reporter denies that his piece could be seen as racist, The Sun issues an apology. How might the law deal with this situation? Was the original article racist, defamatory, ignorant or simply fair comment?

    • A Hundred Days of Trump

      On April 29th, Donald Trump will have occupied the Oval Office for a hundred days. For most people, the luxury of living in a relatively stable democracy is the luxury of not following politics with a nerve-racked constancy. Trump does not afford this. His Presidency has become the demoralizing daily obsession of anyone concerned with global security, the vitality of the natural world, the national health, constitutionalism, civil rights, criminal justice, a free press, science, public education, and the distinction between fact and its opposite. The hundred-day marker is never an entirely reliable indicator of a four-year term, but it’s worth remembering that Franklin Roosevelt and Barack Obama were among those who came to office at a moment of national crisis and had the discipline, the preparation, and the rigor to set an entirely new course. Impulsive, egocentric, and mendacious, Trump has, in the same span, set fire to the integrity of his office.

      Trump has never gone out of his way to conceal the essence of his relationship to the truth and how he chooses to navigate the world. In 1980, when he was about to announce plans to build Trump Tower, a fifty-eight-story edifice on Fifth Avenue and Fifty-sixth Street, he coached his architect before meeting with a group of reporters. “Give them the old Trump bullshit,” he said. “Tell them it’s going to be a million square feet, sixty-eight stories.”

    • Stop It. Trump’s Lawyers Did Not Say That Protestors Have No First Amendment Right To Dissent

      If you’re wondering why people who support Donald Trump can repeatedly claim that various mainstream publications traffic in “fake news,” look no further than the ongoing news coverage of a lawsuit that was filed against his campaign by three protestors. Yes, we know that reporting on legal issues by mainstream publications is bad, but the reporting on this particular case is so bad that over and over and over again it directly states, or at least implies, things that are simply not true. Over and over and over again, the press has taken fairly mundane and expected aspects of this lawsuit and taken them out of context, misreported them and generally suggested they meant things they absolutely did not. And, of course, every time, the reporting has made the President look bad. It should be quite clear by now that I’m not a fan of the President, who I think may be the least qualified person in office ever, but this particular case is a perfect case study in the kind of biased bad reporting, which will cling to anything to attack the President.

      So if you’ve heard reporting recently about how a Trump supporter was suing the President for inspiring him to violence against a protestor, or how a judge said Trump incited violence at a rally, or how Trump’s lawyers claimed there’s no right to protest the President at rallies or that the President is claiming that protestors violated his First Amendment rights, then you’ve been had. None of those are accurate depictions of what’s happening. And, amazingly, these all refer to the same exact case. A case where the press can’t help themselves but to report everything in misleading ways.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Homeland Security’s Inspector General Investigating Attempt To Unmask ‘Rogue’ Tweeter

      As you probably recall, a few weeks ago Twitter sued Homeland Security after it received a summons from Customs & Border Patrol seeking to identify any information about the @ALT_uscis account. USCIS is the US Citizenship and Immigration Service, and the “alt” part is similar to many other such accounts purporting to be anonymous insiders in the government reporting on what’s happening there (whether or not the operators of those accounts truly are inside those organizations is an open question). Anyway, the issue here is that such a use of Twitter would be protected by the First Amendment, and unless the account was revealing classified info, it’s unlikely that there would be any legit means to investigate who was behind the account. And, because of that, it certainly appeared that Customs and Border Patrol decided to use illegitimate means to get the info. Specifically it sent a 19 USC 1509 summons, which is an investigative tool for determining the correct duties, fees or taxes on imported goods. As you can see, identifying a Twitter user does not seem to fit into what that law is for.

    • NSA Kept Watch Over Democratic and Republican Conventions, Snowden Documents Reveal
    • Japan secretly funneled hundreds of millions to the NSA, breaking its own laws
    • NSA Gave Japan Access to Secret Internet Surveillance Program in 2013 – Reports
    • Japan Made Secret Deals With the NSA That Expanded Global Surveillance

      It began as routinely as any other passenger flight. At gate 15 of New York City’s JFK Airport, more than 200 men, women, and children stood in line as they waited to board a Boeing 747. They were on their way to Seoul, South Korea’s capital city. But none would ever make it to their destination. About 14 hours after its departure, the plane was cruising at around 35,000 feet not far from the north of Japan when it was shot out of the sky.

      The downing of Korean Airlines Flight 007 occurred on September 1, 1983, in what was one of the Cold War’s most shocking incidents. The plane had veered off course and for a short time entered Soviet airspace. At Dolinsk-Sokol military base, Soviet commanders dispatched two fighter jets and issued an order to “destroy the intruder.” The plane was hit once by an air-to-air missile and plummeted into the sea, killing all passengers and crew. President Ronald Reagan declared it a “crime against humanity,” marking the dawn of a volatile new chapter in relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. Soon, tensions would escalate to a level not seen since the Cuban missile crisis, which 20 years earlier had brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.

    • LinkedIn Apologizes For Trying To Connect Everyone In Real Life

      LinkedIn has apologized for a vague new update that told some iPhone users its app would begin sharing their data with nearby users without further explanation.

    • [Tor] Transparency, Openness, and our 2015 Financials

      After completing the standard audit, our 2015 state and federal tax filings are available. We publish all of our related tax documents because we believe in transparency.

      I’m sorry for the delay in posting them: we had everything ready in December, but we had a lot going on at the end of the year (if you haven’t seen it yet, check out the Tor at the Heart of Internet Freedom blog post series!), and then time got away from me after the new year.

    • USPTO site downgrades to HTTP despite US federal government promise to adopt HTTPS on all websites

      The US Patent Office’s (USPTO) website is now unusable with HTTPS as of April 21st, 2017.

    • Uber tried to fool Apple and got caught

      Apple CEO Tim Cook threatened to have Uber’s iPhone app removed from the App Store in 2015, when it learned that the ride-sharing company had secretly found a way to identify individual iPhones, even once the app was deleted from the phone, according to The New York Times.

    • Uber’s C.E.O. Plays With Fire

      For months, Mr. Kalanick had pulled a fast one on Apple by directing his employees to help camouflage the ride-hailing app from Apple’s engineers. The reason? So Apple would not find out that Uber had been secretly identifying and tagging iPhones even after its app had been deleted and the devices erased — a fraud detection maneuver that violated Apple’s privacy guidelines.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • How tech created a global village — and put us at each other’s throats

      For years now, psychological and sociological studies have been casting doubt on the idea that communication dissolves differences. The research suggests that the opposite is true: free-flowing information makes personal and cultural differences more salient, turning people against one another instead of bringing them together. “Familiarity breeds contempt” is one of the gloomiest of proverbs. It is also, the evidence indicates, one of the truest.

    • Saudi Arabia elected to UN women’s rights commission

      [UN Watch's] executive director slammed the election, which occurred in a secret vote during the U.N.’s Economic and Social Council.

    • No Joke: U.N. Elects Saudi Arabia to Women’s Rights Commission, For 2018-2022 Term

      The Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch condemned the U.N.’s election of Saudi Arabia, “the world’s most misogynistic regime,” to a 2018-2022 term on its Commission on the Status of Women, the U.N. agency “exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.”

      “Electing Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch. “It’s absurd.”

    • US family wins battle, names baby ‘Allah’

      Their daughter, ZalyKha Graceful Lorraina Allah, was born in 2015, but Georgia’s health department had insisted that the initial birth record should have one of the parent’s last names, or a combination thereof.

      [...]

      Handy and Walk’s two sons had previously been given the surname “Allah” without objection from Georgia authorities, according to the civil rights group.

    • Crime Lab Scandal Forces Prosecutors to Disavow Thousands of Drug Convictions

      During her career as a Massachusetts lab chemist, Annie Dookhan has admitted to making up drug test results and tampering with samples, in the process helping send scores of people to prison. Her work may have touched some 24,000 cases.

      On April 18, nearly five years after Dookhan’s confession, prosecutors submitted lists of about 21,587 tainted cases with flawed convictions that they have agreed to overturn. The state’s highest court must still formally dismiss the convictions.

      Once that happens, many of the cleared defendants will be freed from the collateral consequences that can result from drug convictions, including loss of access to government benefits, public housing, driver’s licenses and federal financial aid for college. Convicted green card holders can also become eligible for deportation, and employers might deny someone a job due to a drug conviction on their record.

    • Thousands of hardline Islamists protest Bangladesh statue

      Protesters want the statue of the blindfolded woman holding scales — said to represent justice — destroyed and replaced with a Koran, despite Bangladesh’s secular constitution.

    • Reforming Islam: Can it be done?
    • Chechen Leader Wants Gays ‘Eliminated By Start Of Ramadan’
    • Maldives blogger stabbed to death in capital

      His blog, The Daily Panic, had a considerable following and was known for poking fun at politicians in the nation of some 340,000 Sunni Muslims.

    • 2nd doctor, wife arrested in genital mutilation case

      Nagarwala’s husband, Moiz Nagarwala, is listed as a leader of the Farmington Hills mosque, according to the mosque’s password-protected website, and records list him as having served as joint treasurer.

    • Here Are 11 Weird Fatwas Issued By Clerics Which Will Leave You In Splits

      In 2007, Dr Izzat Atiya, head of Al Azhar University’s Department of Hadith, issued a fatwa, or Islamic decree, saying that female workers should “breastfeed” their male co-workers in order to work in each other’s company.

    • Anti-Israel Sharia advocate to give CUNY commencement speech

      Anti-Zionist who praised terrorist murderer, hailed stone throwers as ‘courageous’ tapped to give commencement address at public NY college.

    • UK Crime Agency’s Latest Moral Panic: Kids Modding Videogames May Be A Gateway To Becoming Criminal Hackers

      In this age where having more people knowledgeable about computers and programming is important for future innovation, these kinds of scaremongering reports do a hell of a lot of damage. Lots of really smart techies got their programming chops started by messing around with video games. Having parents stop them from tinkering because of this overblown report of how it’s a “gateway” to crime could do a lot of damage.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The relentless fighting over net neutrality rules needs to end, but how can it?

      Leaving the matter to voluntary pledges and the Federal Trade Commission, on the other hand, would be precious close to having no safeguards at all.

    • Net neutrality changes would ‘kneecap’ Mass. entrepreneurs, say tech execs

      The Massachusetts tech community continued its vocal opposition to the Trump administration’s policies on Friday at a press conference where a number of prominent CEOs joined U.S. Sen. Ed Markey in decrying potential changes to so-called net neutrality rules at the Federal Communications Commission.

      Speakers argued that allowing internet service providers (ISPs) to choose which data travels fastest over their networks would give them too much control over who wins and who loses in the internet economy and would be especially damaging to startups, which can’t afford to pay ISPs for faster access to the internet.

    • Boston tech firms, Markey, vow net neutrality fight

      Markey met with executives of 14 major companies, including General Electric Co.,TripAdvisor , Wayfair LLC, iRobot Corp., and Microsoft Corp., at the Boston headquarters of data backup company Carbonite Inc. At a post-meeting press conference, Markey said the coming fight over net neutrality “is going to create a national debate about the Internet the likes of which we have never seen before.”

    • Trainwreck – the danger of upending net neutrality

      The anti-net neutrality crowd prefers a system in which, much like airlines, a monopolist entity can dominate a market deciding service levels and fees. Of course one of the big issues in net neutrality is giving this oligopoly the ability to set up a multi-tiered system for delivering Internet services. Another way to look at it would be institutionalizing slow Internet.

  • DRM

    • Kodi and DRM

      Thanks to a bunch of ill-informed idiots on YouTube posing as Kodi experts and shady vendors looking to make a quick buck off our backs and take advantage of gullible people, Kodi is generally portrayed as a piracy platform. Meanwhile, Team Kodi takes all the heat. Add to that lazy article authors on several news and media sites and we have the perfect storm. Sadly, for many article authors, hearsay is actually a credible source and click bait their living.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

04.23.17

Why Authorities in the Netherlands Need to Strip the EPO of Immunity and Investigate Fire Safety Violations

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Factory alleged to have ignored warnings
Reference: Factory alleged to have ignored warnings

Summary: How intimidation and crackdown on the staff representatives at the EPO may have led to lack of awareness (and action) about lack of compliance with fire safety standards

IN THE last part about the fire hazard at the EPO we shed light on the continuation of this problem at the next building in the Netherlands. Why does this matter? Because the unwillingness of Dutch authorities to compel the EPO to obey the law causes the EPO to operate with impunity and potentially put a lot of lives in great danger, even consciously.

“Lately, it was the Dutch representatives taking a lot of heat or even coming under fire (pardon the pun).”Staff representatives are understandably afraid to bring this up. Each time they say the truth there is severe action of retribution from Battistelli and his goons. Lately, it was the Dutch representatives taking a lot of heat or even coming under fire (pardon the pun).

“Unfortunately,” one person explained to us, “the majority of the local staff committee as well as the local SUEPO committee have been very reluctant to take any further measures to protect our safety in case of a fire at our site. Until now they did not bother to inform [...] though some members were aware of this issue since November 2010.”

“The immunity of the EPO must be ended, and not only after a major catastrophe (one that would belatedly put the EPO in the headlines, due to a tragedy other than Battistelli).”See the effect of union-busting actions and extreme attacks on staff representatives? Even life-threatening risks (mere facts) become suppressed. We too need to be careful in what we say because we are well aware of risk to our sources. Not too long ago we belatedly kick-started a series revolving around the inadequacy of these facilities by sharing, in redacted form, anything but the most sensitive details. We feel safe to assert that this helps highlight human rights aspects (disregard for staff’s safety) and is in the public interest.

We would like to urge readers, especially Dutch-speaking readers, to forward these bits of information to the suitable authorities in Holland and urge for immediate action. The immunity of the EPO must be ended, and not only after a major catastrophe (one that would belatedly put the EPO in the headlines, due to a tragedy other than Battistelli).

Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part IX: Testament to the Fear of an Autocratic Regime

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When Exposing A Crime Is Treated As Committing A Crime, You Are Being Ruled By The Criminals Themselves.

Summary: A return to the crucial observation and a reminder of the fact that at the EPO it takes great courage to say the truth nowadays

THE lives ruined by the EPO‘s management extend well beyond EPO staff and stakeholders; spouses, children, friends and peers are impacted as well. The whole European economy is negatively affected. This is why we believe that everyone in Europe (if not well beyond Europe) should pay closer attention to scandals which the media seems unwilling to cover (like it covered FIFA scandals, for instance, if not Volkswagen too, especially amid Dieselgate).

“The EPO has become a sociopathic institution which takes orders from one single person as though he is a monarch in a palace.”In part VII and part VIII of this series we wrote about whistleblowing at the EPO and absolutely zero tolerance of criticism. The EPO has become a sociopathic institution which takes orders from one single person as though he is a monarch in a palace. Nothing like this ever happened at the USPTO or any other patent office (as far as we are aware). European autocracy up on display? Certainly a reputational issue for the EU, even if the EPO isn’t an EU entity (unlike the distant ‘fantasy’ — or contrariwise nightmare — which is UPC).

“In any healthy (or functional) institution, none of this would be required and there would be an ombudsman to turn to. But not the EPO under Battistelli…”The EPO’s whistleblowers are scared; they are not always confident and occasionally they feel the need to forge details not about the story but about themselves. “We were thinking also of changing some terms and details of the story,” one person once told us regarding “nationalities, countries, disease details, sex and ages etc. — [just] enough to make sure that if they [are] still going [to point] the finger on me, it would be an open admission that they did what we relate.”

In any healthy (or functional) institution, none of this would be required and there would be an ombudsman to turn to. But not the EPO under Battistelli…

For the Fordham Echo Chamber (Patent Maximalism), Judges From the EPO Boards of Appeal Are Not Worth Entertaining

Posted in America, Deception, Europe, Microsoft at 9:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft is the sole leading sponsor this year (same as last year)

Bristows and Microsoft

Summary: In an event steered if not stuffed by patent radicals such as Bristows and Microsoft (abusive, serial litigators) there are no balanced panels or even reasonable discussions

THE EPO is not interested in patent quality. Everyone knows it by now, both inside and outside the Office.

According to patent maximalists’ tweets from Fordham, “[i]n the EPO it is easier to get a method for diagnosis patent than in the US.”

“Bristows staff — the one who ‘took over’ IP Kat — was attending this echo chamber of the patent microcosm recently.”Well, CPIP treats patent quality as a nuisance (they ask for Alice to be undermined and software patents to be back to old glory). They do not treat quality as a desirable feature; they profit not from quality. The same goes for some firms that say the EPO more easily grants software patents than the USPTO these days. Bristows staff — the one who 'took over' IP Kat — was attending this echo chamber of the patent microcosm recently. She professed admiration for Microsoft’s chief patent bully and quoted (or paraphrased) a judge as saying that “everyone is equipped to deal with science.”

“Sorry to disappoint the Honorable judge,” said one of the comments, “but that is an absurd comment, demonstrating ignorance and delusion.” An earlier comment said: “No judges from the EPO Boards of appeal present?”

“At two levels, both technical and juridical, the EPO has been unhinged and is not totally out of control.”Of course not! That would be disruptive to the echo chamber.

The attack on the appeal boards has been (in our humble assessment) intended to help mask the sharp decline in patent quality and/or suppress criticism related to that. At two levels, both technical and juridical, the EPO has been unhinged and is not totally out of control.

“A stacked panel, on the other hand, is like a stacked deck: it is packed with people who, on the face of things, should be neutral, but who are in fact strong supporters of our technology. The key to stacking a panel is being able to choose the moderator. Most conference organizers allow the moderator to select die panel, so if you can pick the moderator, you win. Since you can’t expect representatives of our competitors to speak on your behalf, you have to get the moderator to agree to having only “independent ISVs” on the panel. No one from Microsoft or any other formal backer of the competing technologies would be allowed -just ISVs who have to use this stuff in the “real world.” Sounds marvellously independent doesn’t it? In feet, it allows us to stack the panel with ISVs that back our cause. Thus, the “independent” panel ends up telling the audience that our technology beats the others hands down. Get the press to cover this panel, and you’ve got a major win on your hands.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

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