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10.20.14

How Patent Lawyers Analyze Alice v. CLS Bank

Posted in Patents at 5:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Breaking down a patent lawyer’s analysis of a Supreme Court’s decision that seemingly invalidated hundreds of thousands of software patents

SHORTLY after the Alice v. CLS Bank ruling we gave several dozens of examples where patent lawyers either denied the impact of this ruling/decision on software patents or simply downplayed it. We now know that they were wrong — not necessarily lying — as software patents are being squashed by the patent office and the courts. Lawsuits have almost halved in number. The same thing happened after In Re Bilski; in sheer numbers (number of articles), patent lawyers tried to impose/project their will onto the law, overriding what’s true and what shall become legal practice. It’s rather appalling. They capture the system. Since many journalists quote these people (especially in the corporate media), it matters a lot.

“These “legal” publications tend to be more like cults of subcultures where the reality can be vastly different from that which everyone else observes.”Despite all this evidence, some patent lawyers would rather continue to ignore the facts or simply lie (at the very least distort). The other day Kelley Drye & Warren LLP published a so-called ‘analysis’ in a legal publication. These “legal” publications tend to be more like cults of subcultures where the reality can be vastly different from that which everyone else observes. David W. Long, from the Washington (DC) office of this firm, wrote this:

Patent System Benefits From Supreme Court Guidance In Alice v. CLS Bank

Benefit, right? Tell us more.

This case primarily impacts software- or computer-implemented inventions. Alice dealt with a patent on a generic computer implementing a conventional business practice of using a third-party intermediary (clearing house or escrow agent) to mitigate the “settlement risk” that a party cannot fulfill its obligation in a transaction. Each side’s consideration is exchanged once the intermediary receives the required consideration from both sides. The issue presented was whether someone could patent using generic computer components to implement “the abstract idea of intermediate settlement” that is a long-standing “fundamental practice” and “building block of the modern economy.” The Court said no.

Right. No means no. Go on then.

The short answer is: incrementally. There’s nothing earth shattering about Alice.

Except the invalidation of many software patents? Right, let’s just ignore that.

The Court applied prior decisions to a new set of facts, resulting in incremental guidance on this nuance issue. The bigger impact of Alice is that it resolved a stalemate in the Federal Circuit appeals court that is tasked with developing patent law.

CAFC has been thoroughly discredited in this area and it was found to be corrupt. It’s quite a miracle that it continues to exist, albeit some corrupt people got ousted.

Here, the Federal Circuit judges agreed that the patent claims were invalid, but they disagreed as to why and, thus, gave no guidance to practitioners. Stalemates and attendant uncertainty often happen in these gray mushy areas, so it’s significant that the Supreme Court decision breaks the stalemate to keep progress flowing.

The problem is, none of the judges (or justices) actually understands computers properly; none can write a computer program. Why are people with a fancy gown, a wooden hammer (gavel, but probably no longer a wig) deemed more competent to rule on matters such as software patents and APIs than technical folks who most likely don a T-shirt and a portable music player? Legal threatre is doing a great deal of damage to the technical community and this hurts customers (that’s everyone) too.

There has been incremental development on what is an unpatentable abstract idea, and that development should continue. So far, the Court has addressed patent eligibility in cases that involved well-known, or old, abstract ideas: Bilski was about financial hedging, and Alice was about third-party intermediaries to settle a financial contract. The really interesting question is: what do the courts do when someone develops a wholly new abstract idea?

If it’s abstract, then it does not matter if it’s new.

When someone first intuited, for example, that 2+2=4 and 2*2=4 and 22=4, this was a completely new insight. While it may have contributed greatly to society to know, it is still a fundamental building block that could not be patented from day one. If it were patented, you couldn’t build a car or anything else without paying a license fee every time that fundamental mathematical relationship was used. So we may see interesting developments in the way courts handle generic computer implementation of new abstract ideas, though such case law development will be a marathon, not a sprint.

Mathematics was not much of a new insight. It was only formalised at some later stage, using some particular notation, e.g. decimal numbers (base 10). At no stage was a patent suitable and just because we encode mathematics in binary form now (or let machines do so) does not mean we are entitled to patents.

Some patents will have this issue, but that’s par for the course since any patent might be challenged on any number of grounds, such as prior art or definiteness. The news is that Alice gave us helpful tools that practitioners can use in evaluating patents, and we will see development in this area near term. Already, we’re seeing that more district courts are invalidating patents on this ground at the motion-to-dismiss stage, which is very early in the litigation process compared to the practice before Alice.

So here he is admitting that Alice v. CLS Bank did in fact change things. Why not take this further and state that software patents are now in trouble or perpetual demise? Well, granted, as even Mr. WatchTroll himself (IP Watchdog) admitted a couple of months ago, if you tell the “legal community” that software patents (or any patent type for that matter) are going away, you’re likely to be ridiculed or chastised. The problem is, the press likes to quote people who are patent lawyers for insight on patent law.

The bottom line is, whenever reading some so-called ‘analysis’ from patent lawyers about software patents, be careful. They are not writing like journalists but more like marketing people trying to attract potential clients. In the corporate press, so-called ‘journalists’ treat these ‘marketing people’ as credible authority on these subjects.

Is It Google’s Turn to Head the USPTO Corporation?

Posted in America, Google, IBM, Patents at 4:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Michelle Lee
Photo from Asian Pacific Fund

Summary: The industry-led USPTO continues to be coordinated by some of its biggest clients, despite issues associated with conflicting interests

IT IS no longer just rumour or suspicion that USPTO nominates Lee as new director. This is possibly going to result in an appointment, showing us yet again that corporate stewards are truly in charge of the government, not just in the United States. Industrial bodies are full of “revolving door”-type scenarios and altercations.

This probably is not as bad as nominating Philip Johnson (it didn't go down well) or David Kappos from IBM (both big and vocal proponents of software patents), but it’s still not a good thing, either. As we showed in past years, Google had hired many patent lawyers rather than fight software patents; Michelle Lee may therefore be part of the problem. Not much is known about her to Wikipedia. He career at Google was very short (going back to when Google hired patent lawyers) and her career before this is not even mentioned. We wrote about her when she was appointed and even in 2012 when sources said she might lead a Silicon Valley patent office (hence software patents). According to a USPTO press releases, “Lee worked as a computer scientist at Hewlett-Packard” (a proponent of software patents). But much of the private sector stuff is usually omitted. To quote this press release: “Prior to becoming Director of the Silicon Valley USPTO, Lee served two terms on the USPTO’s Patent Public Advisory Committee, whose members are appointed by the U.S. Commerce Secretary and serve to advise the USPTO on its policies, goals, performance, budget and user fees.”

A site that acts as a CCIA front (as well as CCIA itself) and which wrote about her before has worked with Google and for Google, so no wonder it endorses Michelle Lee. CCIA is more concerned about patent trolls but not about abuse by its members (such as Microsoft), so it continues to treat only small abusive companies as the problem, e.g. for lack of evidence. Here is what the CCIA front said:

The White House announced yesterday that it’s nominating current Deputy Director Michelle Lee to be Director of the USPTO. By all accounts, she’s done a good job during a difficult time at the USPTO. This is definitely a smart move by the Administration.

How about appointing someone who is not supporting software patents and has not come from companies that accumulate software patents? Well, that might be too “revolutionary” for the USPTO and for the White House to do.

The EPO’s Public Relations Disaster Amid Distrust From Within (and EPO Communications Chief Leaves): Part VII

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jesper Kongstad
Jesper Kongstad. Photo from the Nordic Patent Institute.

Summary: Amid unrest and suspicion of misconduct in the EPO’s management (ongoing for months if not years), Transparency International steps in, but the EPO’s management completely ignores Transparency International, refusing to collaborate; the PR chief of the EPO is apparently being pushed out in the mean time

KONGSTAD was the subject of our coverage before. We mentioned him in previous parts of exclusive EPO scandal stories. Mr Jesper Kongstad had already been mentioned in several past posts because he’s suspected to have played a role in an inadequate appointment, potentially motivated by nepotism. The suspicion is not a one-man whisper campaign. Staff at the EPO too seems to be concerned. The EPO is not new to scandals.

As we showed some weeks ago, the EPO’s management had oversight dismantled (related original documents are to be found here) and later on we were told about a letter to Kongstad from Cobus de Swardtz [PDF], the Managing Director of Transparency International (TI), which calls itself a “global coalition against corruption”.

There was a lot more to come, but we chose to sit aside for a while, letting things take their natural course without publicising anything in particular. The silence needed to be broken when the letter was circulated internally. The following document was published some weeks ago, which basically means that its contents are freely available to quite a lot of people. We too received a copy. At the time, Transparency International had already waited a few weeks (after it sent a letter to the Chairman of the Administrative Council) and the Administrative Council did not respond. As far as we know, Kongstad never responded. Administrative Council seems to prefer to just keep quiet about it. The interesting thing is that Transparency International was invited by the EPO staff representatives to examine the governance of the EPO. This is public knowledge. Kongstad must either be very arrogant or he has something to hide.

In the future, in order to facilitate public pressure on the Administrative Council, we are going to reveal for our European readers some contact details so that they contact their national representatives on the Administrative Council in relation to the various issues concerning EPO governance. Details of the national delegates can be found in the EPO’s Web site. They are mostly the heads of national patent offices who are subject to instructions from the competent government Ministry. Any kind of public campaign should also target the corresponding government Ministries and/or Prime Ministers as that is where the buck really stops at a national level.

The following is a portion from a letter we got hold of. The letter provides some background and contains references:

EPO & Transparency

Summary

Transparency International (TI) critically examines how national political systems all around the world address corruption risks and foster integrity. They publish and encourage best practice in integrity and expose the effects of conflicts of interest and lack of transparency. Recently, TI also assessed how the EU institutions deal with ethics, how they ensure transparency and accountability, and how they ultimately prevent corruption. The Central Staff Committee suggested to the EPO Administrative Council that a similar study be done for the EPO. TI has signaled its interest in the matter. But until now the Council cloaks itself in silence.

The governance of the EPO

The EPO still has the governance system that it was created with. Oversight is in the hands of the Administrative Council. The Heads of the national delegations in the Administrative Council are almost without exception heads of national patent offices. The delegates are in a situation of conflict of interests since the EPO is at the same time the main competitor and a major source of income for the national patent offices. The meetings of the Administrative Council and the majority of its documents are not open to the public. Maybe significantly the Office has started to publish the salaries of its staff, but the salary and benefits of the President are not disclosed, not even to the Administrative Council.

The European Patent Organisation sets its own financial regulations, independent from national or European law1. Adherence to these rules is controlled by a Board of Auditors of consisting of three individuals who are appointed by and reporting to the Administrative Council, on 5-year renewable contracts. Their reports (CA/20/yy) tend to be rather mild and the (few) critical comments are routinely ignored by the Office. The most recently appointed auditor is a close co-worker of Mr Battistelli from his time in the French patent office. Maybe not surprisingly, the most recent Audit report (CA/20/14) is even milder than usual. An attempt by the Brimelow administration to strengthen the audit system through the creation of an Audit Committee2 was supported by Mr Battistelli in his function of Chairman of the Council, but annulled by him as soon as he became President of the Office3. Note that the Organisation’s immunity blocks third parties from effectively challenging its financial decisions. The Staff Committee challenged the decision of the Office to use a direct placement procedure in favour of an external consultancy. The Board of Auditors even agreed that an invitation to tender would have been justified. Even if clearly justified, the complaint was recently dismissed by ILO-AT as irreceivable4.

______
1 Article 50 EPC
2 Bossung, Otto. “The Return of European Patent Law in the European Union”.
IIC 27 (3/1996). Retrieved June 30, 2012.
3 CA/140/08 «Audit Committee: possible models», resp. CA/55/11, «Disbanding the audit committee»


Immunity, or impunity?

The lack of transparency and the lack of truly independent financial and political control would seem to pose a serious risk for the integrity of the EPO and consequently for the European patent system. This is particularly worrying at a time that the EPO is to be given the additional responsibilities for the Unitary Patent. The staff representation has repeatedly requested a discussion on, and a modernisation of, the governance of the Organisation5, thus far to no avail.

Transparency International

Transparency International is a global civil society organization that aims at stopping corruption and promoting transparency, accountability and integrity at all levels and across all sectors of society6. TI has developed a methodology to assess how well national governments ensure the integrity of their institutions. The beauty of the methodology is that it is systemic. It does not rely on leaks and/or scandals but assesses whether the necessary legislation and mechanisms are in place to prevent, detect and combat corruption, and abuse of power. They check how well these mechanisms function in practice. An adapted version of this methodology has been used to assess various EU institutions. For the EU institutions Transparency International found that the EU has done a lot to put their house in order in recent years, but that strong foundations are being undermined by complex rules, complacency, and a lack of follow-up7.

What is the Council waiting for?

With a letter dated 6 June 20148 the Central Staff Committee (CSC) again raised the issue with the Chairman of the Administrative Council. The CSC drew the attention of the Council to the report of Transparency International on the EU Institutions and suggested that a similar study be done for the EPO. We note that the EU institutions cooperated with the Transparency study. Transparency International has reacted to the letter of the CSC9. It has offered its support and experience in promoting a culture of integrity and good governance in the EPOrg. Just recently Transparency International sent a reminder of its letter to the Council.

[...]

_____
4 ILO-AT 3343
5 CA/93/07 «Governance of the EPO: a staff perspective»,
6 http://www.transparency.org/whatwedo?gclid=CJWu5eC5tsACFa7KtAodXRoA2A
7 http://www.transparencyinternational.eu/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/EUIS_press_release.pdf
8 http://www.epostaff.org/archive/sc14139cl.pdf
9 see annex

The Transparency International story has been reported via another channel. The investigation was ignored. To quote WIPR: “A staff committee at the European Patent Office (EPO) has said its requests for the office’s governance to be assessed by a corruption specialist have been ignored, WIPR can reveal.

“The office’s central staff committee (CSC) said it had recommended to its supervisory body that anti-corruption organisation Transparency International (TI) carry out a study on the everyday running of the office, to ensure accountability.

“The CSC said its own attempts at convincing the Administrative Council (AC) were ignored, and has revealed that a letter sent directly to AC chairman Jesper Kongstad from TI has also yet to receive a response.

“TI’s letter, seen by WIPR, was sent in July this year and said the EPO’s governance has at times come under criticism.”

That basically sums up how the EPO’s management behaves; the modus operandi is to ignore or destroy any regulatory apparatus or oversight, External ones are ignored, internal ones are brutally (but almost silently) squashed.

There is probably no harm in waiting for while as there may be a follow-up by Transparency International. For the time being the situation is clear; an external audit is being ignored by the Administrative Council. Jesper Kongstad doesn’t appear to have made any response.

“For the time being the situation is clear; an external audit is being ignored by the Administrative Council.”Curiously enough, as also reported by WIPR just a few weeks later, there was a “[m]ysterious departure for EPO communications chief” (i.e. PR). “According to sources,” says the article, “a recently uncovered trademark application at the German Patent and Trademark Office in Schröder’s name bearing the words “f**k the US” may have been a contributing factor.”

A source tells us a slightly different story however. Some believe that Battistelli is planning to maneuver another French “crony” (Vincent Bénard, formerly of Airbus) into this key PR position, meaning that the previous occupant of the position, Oswald Schroeder, had to be “eliminated”. Whether he was set up or fell into a trap due to his own stupidity one cannot say for sure. “Oswald Schröder left “by mutual consent” on October 10,” says the article. It seems like he got pushed out. One just need to put some of the details found within the article together.

Battistelli’s regime can now tighten its grip and surround itself with more cronies that can perhaps push out challenges, such as Transparency International’s.

10.18.14

Links 18/10/2014: Debian Plans for Init Systems, Tails 1.2

Posted in News Roundup at 7:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

Links 18/10/2014: New ELive, Android Expansion

Posted in News Roundup at 2:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Why you should buy computers with Linux preinstalled
  • Italian consumers shouldn’t have to pay for software they don’t want – Letter to Regulators

    FSFE and Italian consumer association ADUC, along with Italian group ILS, are asking regulators to take concrete steps to protect Italians from being forced to pay for software they do not want or need. Italy’s High Court ruled in September that computer vendors must reimburse customers for the price of unwanted non-free software that comes pre-installed on PCs and laptops. Today, FSFE, ADUC and ILS have sent a letter to the Italian competition authorities, calling on them to ensure that vendors will comply with the High Court’s decision, and respect the rights of their customers.

  • The Advantages of Computer Hardware Designed For Linux

    When you buy a computer with Linux pre-installed, like when you buy from Apple, you can be sure that the hardware works beautifully with your chosen operating system. OK, so the hardware may not have been designed specifically to run Linux, but the computer vendor has chosen that hardware specifically because it DOES work well with Linux — any Linux!

  • Desktop

    • Sager NP2740 Review – A Linux Powerhouse

      I was looking for something powerful to stream some games on, but also light enough that it was not going to feel like a brick next to my Chromebook. Since Linux is my OS of choice, having reasonable Linux support is also on my list of desires. Because of this I wanted to stay away from ATI graphics cards and nVidia cards with optimus.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Feature-creep will ensure that systemd stays

      Nussbaum was, no doubt, sincere in what he said. But his remedy to avoid what has become a major issue for many Debian users can only be used for so long.

    • Linus admits cocking up the Linux community

      Systemd developer Lennart Poettering recently described the Linux community as “not a friendly place to be in” with open source community mailing lists are rife with language and even stronger opinions which has descended into death threats. Torvalds, in a “fireside chat” with Intel’s Dirk Hohndel at LinuxCon Europe, insisted that “to become a kernel developer, you need to enjoy a certain amount of pain,” but also acknowledged a “metric s—load” of mistakes he wishes he could fix.

    • Video: Linux Kernel Developers Respond to Concerns About Community Culture

      Shortly after a live Q&A with Linux creator Linus Torvalds at LinuxCon and CloudOpen Europe on Wednesday, the kernel developer panel took the stage for a roundtable discussion. LWN Editor and panel moderator Jon Corbet didn’t beat around the bush; he asked the panelists to first respond to systemd developer Lennart Poettering’s controversial post in which he called the open source community “a sick place.” The developers’ responses were varied, but Linaro developer Grant Likely’s thoughts perhaps drew the most audience applause.

    • Linux developers and users should be civil while disagreeing passionately

      I’m not sure how I missed the post below by Lennart Poettering on Google+ back on October 6. Reading it as left me somewhat discombobulated since I wrote about how diverse points of view and passion make Linux stronger a few days ago. Unfortunately, I did not take into account the need for civility even in passionate disagreements, and I think I downplayed how out of hand things have gotten among some Linux developers. My apologies to my readers for not taking the issue seriously enough.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD’s Radeon R9 285 On Linux Offers Good OpenCL Performance

        In complementing this week’s Linux review of the AMD Radeon R9 285 and follow-up articles with some extra GPU scaling tests and Catalyst AI Linux benchmarks, here’s some more OpenCL R9 285 “Tonga” performance numbers under Ubuntu compared to what was shared in the original Linux review.

  • Applications

    • Proprietary

      • Corel AfterShot Pro 2.1

        Corel has updated its AfterShot Pro software to Version 2.1. Available free to registered users, the 2.1 update introduces a number of new features and enhancements including new HDR tools for Mac and Linux, support for more than 17 new raw camera profiles, an improved Highlight Recovery Tool, as well as various performance and stability enhancements. Newly supported cameras include the Canon SX50 HS, the Fujifilm X-T1, X-E1, X-E2, X-Pro1, X-M1, X100S and X20, the Nikon D4s, D3300, 1 V3, 1 J4, Coolpix P330 and Coolpix A, and the Pentax Q, 645Z and K-500.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Install PXE Server On CentOS 7
      • How to create and use Python CGI scripts
      • ffs ssl

        You search “how to set up https” on the Googs and click the first link. It takes you here which tells you how to use StartSSL, which generates the key in your browser. Whoops, your private key is now known to another server on this internet! Why do people even recommend this? It’s the worst of the worst of Javascript crypto.

    • Wine or Emulation

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Qt 5.4 Beta Available

        I am extremely happy to announce that Qt 5.4 Beta is now available for download. There are a lot of new and interesting things in Qt 5.4 and I will try to summarize the most important highlights in this blog post.

      • KDE FRAMEWORKS 5.3 AND KDE PLASMA 5.1 FOR FEDORA ARE READY!

        Fedora KDE SIG is happy to announce that latest version of KDE Frameworks 5 have just reached stable repositories of Fedora and brand new version of KDE Plasma 5 is now available in the our Plasma 5 COPR.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • Gentoo Family

      • For Gentoo Linux Initiates, Iron Penguin May Be Too Heavy

        Gentoo Linux is very easy to use provided you do not progress beyond the live session using the most recent Iron Penguin release. If you actually proceed with installing Gentoo onto a hard drive, prepare for some steep learning curves and lots of manual labor.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Leave No Trace Online or Offline with the Tails 1.2 Linux-Based OS

          Tails is, above all else, a Linux distribution and is based on Debian. It shares some of the characteristics of the Linux base, but it integrates a unique collection of applications that are available for users who want to remain anonymous.

        • Tails 1.2 has been released

          If you have a Tails USB lying on your desk somewhere it’s time to plug it in, boot to it, and upgrade it (with the built in updater of course). Yes, the team behind Tails have released version 1.2 of their incognito liveUSB distribution.

        • Elive 2.3.9 beta released

          The Elive Team is proud to announce the release of the beta version 2.3.9

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Interview: Thomas Voß of Mir

            Mir was big during the space race and it’s a big part of Canonical’s unification strategy. We talk to one of its chief architects at mission control.

          • Best YouTube Players for Ubuntu

            If you’re a geek, nerd, or a programming prodigy, a command line YouTube player will give you plenty of bragging rights. MPS-Youtube is a fabulous player that lets you search and play videos from YouTube, download them, and even view comments all using just your command line. Written in Python, the text interface is used for sifting through the videos. Then, once you’ve chosen the video you want to play, the software then hooks into mplayer or mpv to show you the video. Though this won’t work on a full sans-X11 terminal, it will surely give you the thrills of doing the latest things in a cool old school sort of way.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Raspberry Pi time-lapse camera

      We love the Raspberry Pi camera. It’s a lovely little piece of kit that is as versatile as the Pi and it doesn’t even take up any of the USB slots. We’ve done a bit of time-lapse photography in the past but that was using a proper camera attached to the Pi – now we’re doing it with just the Pi camera and a lot less code thanks to the picamera Python module.

    • HP to shutter webOS cloud services

      The company says it’s given the few owners of webOS devices three years of service since canning the software, but that “The user count has dwindled to the point where it is no longer viable to keep the services running.”

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Tizen Developer Summit Shanghai Device Giveaways – Intel NUC / MinnowBoard MAX / Gear 2
        • Modular smartwatch runs Tizen on Edison

          A startup is prepping a modular “Blocks ” watch that runs Tizen on an Atom-based Intel Edison module, and houses modular components in the watchband links.

          Samsung’s Tizen-based Gear S, Gear 2, and Gear 2 Neo are no longer the only Tizen-based smartwatches on the planet. A startup called Blocks, inspired by the modular smartphone concept from Phonebloks and Google’s related Project Ara , has announced a modular smartwatch that runs Tizen on an Intel Edison module. The Blocks watch houses modular components in each link of the watch wristband, which can be snapped and unsnapped using plug connectors.

      • Android

        • Android Exec Says Google Will Loosen Reins on Watches, TVs and Cars Over Time

          “It’s not some Google-way-or-the-highway kind of thing,” the company’s vice president of engineering Hiroshi Lockheimer said in an interview on Tuesday. His comments came as Google rolled out Android 5.0, a.k.a. Lollipop, which is designed to power a wide range of other devices beyond the usual phones and tablets.

        • Mobile pico projector does surround sound too

          A mobile, Android A/V robot on Kickstarter called the “Keecker” offers surround sound, a pico projector, a panoramic camera, sensors, and 1TB of storage.

        • Will Android and Chrome marry?

          The WSJ reported that “Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s vice president of engineering for its Android mobile-operating system, is now also overseeing the engineering team behind Google’s Chrome operating system.” The paper believes that is a sign that Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president in charge of Android, Chrome and Apps since 2013, plans on merging the two operating systems sooner rather than later.

        • All current Nexuses, including Nexus 4 and 2012 Nexus 7, will get Lollipop

          Google’s official Android Lollipop announcement this morning originally didn’t mention some older Nexus devices—namely, the Nexus 4 and the 2012 Nexus 7. However, Google has confirmed to us that those older devices will indeed be getting Android 5.0, as will the Nexus 5, 2013 Nexus 7, Nexus 10, and the Google Play Edition devices.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source moves from accepted to expected

  • Lessons learned developing Lynis, an open source security auditing tool

    If you’ve been involved with information security for more than a decade, you’ve probably heard of Rootkit Hunter or rkhunter, a software whose primary goal is to discover malware and local exploits on Unix and Linux.

  • Events

    • Videos: LinuxCon Europe 2014

      Here’s Linus with Intel’s Chief Linux and Open Source Technologist, Dirk Hohndel on the next 12 months of the Linux kernel:

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla and Telefónica Partner to Simplify Voice and Video Calls on the Web

        Mozilla is extending its relationship with Telefonica by making it easier than ever to communicate on the Web.

        Telefónica has been an invaluable partner in helping Mozilla develop and bring Firefox OS to market with 12 devices now available in 24 countries. We’re now expanding our relationship, exploring how to simplify communications over the Web by providing people with the first global communications system built directly into a browser.

      • Mozilla’s Firefox Hello Service Brings Skype-like Features to the Browser

        For months now, Mozilla has been experimenting with streaming media and video features for Firefox. The Firefox for Android Beta 33, for example, featured a send-to-device streaming scheme that allowed users to stream videos on a mobile device to a TV or second screen.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • Netherlands receives Undesa award for its approach to e-government

      Undesa’s Global e-Government Forum is one of the UN initiatives to promote e-government. The international meeting was organised for the third consecutive year, the first two having taken place in Seoul, South Korea. The forum promotes smart governance. It focusses on sustainable development, open government and network society. The organisers also aim to get countries exchange ideas and experiences.

    • Dutch Parliament Urges Government to Get More Open Source and Spend Less Money

      The Dutch parliament is pushing for the use of more open source software in the country and is holding the government responsible for the failure to better implement the already existing policies.

    • Dutch Parliament urges increase of open source

      The Dutch government must increase its use of open source software, recommends the the country’s parliament. It wants to make open standards mandatory and use open source when equal to or better than proprietary solutions for all ICT projects over 5 million euro.

    • The Low Country Aims Higher

      The Netherlands, alone, has seen billions of Euros squandered each year due to failed ICT projects. It is so easy to sign a cheque and hope problems will disappear but that abstraction allows a lot of waste such as paying for permission to run computers the government owns outright. By using FLOSS a huge slice of costs is eliminated. Better management will take care of the rest but opening ICT projects to competition surely reduces costs and promotes local businesses boosting GDP and tax-revenue. ICT that is a revenue generator rather than a cost is the pot of gold for governments everywhere. ICT should not be a conveyor-belt of money flowing to M$ and “partners”. That’s not the purpose. Finding, modifying, creating and distributing information as efficiently as possible is the only valid justification for money spend on ICT.

    • Still more open source in Sweden’s Alingsås

      Strengthened by experience, the Swedish municipality of Alingsås is increasingly turning to open source solutions, announced Göran Westerlund, head of the municipal IT department. “Open source is reducing our dependence on specific ICT suppliers”, Westerlund says.

    • Open source central to e-health project Danish Syddjurs

      Open source and HL7, an open standard for healthcare IT solutions, are key elements in a tender for an e-health telemedicine project to be implemented at the Danish municipality of Syddjurs. “By using open source, we aim to encourage the development of new functionalities”, says Frederik Mølgaard Thayssen, IT project leader.

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Massive Growth in Non-Existent Crime

      It is lead news in every outlet of the mainstream media today that there is a massive increase in terrorism – as everyone can plainly see from all the bodies littering our streets.

      I can also tell you that there is a massive increase in the threat of deadly asteroids about to hit Britain and destroy us all. My unimpeachable evidence for the existence of this massive asteroid threat is my own anti-asteroid activity. I and my dedicated team have visited 268 sites this year where we thought an asteroid was about to strike. That represents a 40% increase on our activity last year and therefore the media can say a 40% increase in the asteroid threat.

  • Censorship

    • Journalists turn to Google Groups for content distribution

      The new pooling mechanism will be opened to more journalists after an evaluation period has concluded, it will be interesting to see whether the new system is able to subvert censorship attempts by the current and succeeding administrations.

  • Privacy

    • Tor Browser 4.0 is released

      This release also features an in-browser updater, and a completely reorganized bundle directory structure to make this updater possible. This means that simply extracting a 4.0 Tor Browser over a 3.6.6 Tor Browser will not work. Please also be aware that the security of the updater depends on the specific CA that issued the www.torproject.org HTTPS certificate (Digicert), and so it still must be activated manually through the Help (“?”) “about browser” menu option. Very soon, we will support both strong HTTPS site-specific certificate pinning (ticket #11955) and update package signatures (ticket #13379). Until then, we do not recommend using this updater if you need stronger security and normally verify GPG signatures.

    • F.B.I. Director to Call ‘Dark’ Devices a Hindrance to Crime Solving in a Policy Speech
  • Civil Rights

    • Terrorism Bill: The French Senate Adopts The Law Eroding Liberties

      After two days of debate, the French Senate just passed the “Terrorism” Bill [fr] on its first and only reading. While some senators have courageously fought against the intrusive provisions led by the Minister of Interior, Bernard Cazeneuve, La Quadrature du Net regrets that the truncated1 legislative debate has failed to correct the unsuitable and dangerous provisions [fr] of this text. It will be examined by a Joint Commission in the coming weeks, where it will likely be adopted without any substantial change.

    • MO ALEC Leader Says Right to Work Is Solution to Ferguson

      Yet a leader of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Missouri, House Speaker Tim Jones, says he has the solution to unrest in Ferguson: bust the unions.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • HBO goes online and it doesn’t want net neutrality

      It seems to be the beginning of the end of the cable television in the US. Yesterday entertainment giant HBO announced they will start offering Internet subscription without requiring any cable subscription.

      Today CBS, yet another leading TV network, announced their move to the Internet. The TV network launched a new video on demand and live streaming service for the CBS Television Network, called CBS All Access. The service is available immediately via a web browser, iOS or Android apps.

10.16.14

Another Fresh Blow to Software Patents (and With Them Patent Trolls)

Posted in Law, Patents at 4:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Another new development shows that more burden of proof is to be put on the litigant, thus discouraging the most infamous serial patent aggressors and reducing the incentive to settle with a payment out of court

THERE have been some victories recently against software patents. The patent lawyers have become either silent or rude. Well, the rude and shameless IP Watchdog is apparently upset by Steph, the patent trolls tracker who writes: “I don’t often get in fights on Twitter, but when I do, it’s with IP Watchdog because he’s a bully (only sometimes, but still) or with inventors who feel that any attempt at curbing patent trolls will adversely affect them and their ability to sue people who infringe on their ideas.”

As Pogson pointed out today, software patents are rapidly eroding in the US and last month there was an important development that Cory Doctorow draws attention to only now, spurring these remarks from Mike Masnick who wrote:

Judges Want To Make Life Harder On Patent Trolls: Want Them To Actually Have To Explain What Infringement Happened

I’d missed this one, but Cory Doctorow over at BoingBoing points our attention to the fact that, last month, the Judicial Conference voted to make a little-noticed change in patent lawsuits that should serve to make life more difficult for patent trolls. The details here are more complex than necessary, but the short version is that, under current rules, to file a patent infringement case, the initial complaint can be almost entirely bare bones: basically naming the plaintiff, defendant, patent and saying there’s infringement, but providing no real details on the infringement. That aids patent trolls, who often will file questionable lawsuits without even telling the defendant where the infringement occurs — leading defendants to have to go into the case a bit blind, and making it more appealing to just settle.

Earlier today IDG published an article by Simon Phipps. It relates to the above and days that “patent trolls have one fewer legal loophole to hide behind” (not just classic trolls, but also megatrolls like Microsoft, which often refuses to publicly disclose even patent numbers).

Things just keep getting better on this front.

Links 16/10/2014: New Android, SSL 3.0 Flaw

Posted in News Roundup at 3:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • New platform for open source in SA

    A new organisation wants to promote the use of open-source software in South Africa’s public and private sectors.

    “Not using this software in South Africa is detrimental to our economy and skills development,” says Open Source Software for South Africa (OSSSA) founder Charl Botha.

    Open-source software is software that does not conform to traditional software licence models and can be used and distributed freely.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 33 Has Been Added To The Default Repositories Of Ubuntu 14.04, Ubuntu 12.04 And Derivatives

        And it has been already added to the default repositories of Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr, Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin, being available for both the two systems and their derivatives: Linux Mint 17 Qiana, Linux Mint 13 Maya, Pinguy OS 14.04, Elementary OS 0.3 Freya, Elementary OS 0.2 Luna, Deepin 2014, Peppermint Five, LXLE 14.04, Linux Lite 2.0 and others.

      • Mozilla to Disable SSL 3.0 in Firefox, Heralds “the End of SSL 3.0″

        “Another day, another vulnerability found in a critical piece of Internet infrastructure,” reported Jon Buys here on OStatic this week, as news arrived that Google has found that SSL 3.0 is vulnerable to a man-in-the-middle attack, which means someone could possibly snoop on secure communications between browsers and servers. The report detailing the POODLE vulnerability was published by Google last month, but is making headlines this week.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • OpenStack Juno Brings Big Data to the Cloud

      The 10th milestone release of the open-source cloud platform debuts with 310 new features and 3,200 bug fixes.

    • A cultural shift towards dynamic cloud environments

      Mark Hinkle is on the forefront of all things open source and cloud. He is currently responsible for Citrix efforts around Apache CloudStack, Open Daylight, Xen Project, and XenServer. At the All Things Open Conference, Mark’s Crash Course In Cloud Computing will teach how to pragmatically adopt cloud practices and gain cloud value.

    • Hortonworks Data Platform 2.2 Sharpens Focus on Enterprise Needs

      As the Strata Conference kicked off this week, Hortonworks announced its HDP 2.2 platform with general availability next month. HDP version 2.2 lets organizations adopt a modern data architecture with Hadoop YARN at the core.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • New OpenJDK 7: Update 71 with lots of fixes

      Oracle’s patch & release cycle culminated in two updates of their Java (runtime and development kit) since the last release of OpenJDK for which I provided packages. Today, we can enjoy a new IcedTea and therefore an updated OpenJDK which synchronizes to Oracle’s October security patch release (which offers Java 7 Update 71).

  • BSD

    • Linux-Turned-FreeBSD Distro Comes Up With A New Software License

      While the likes of SprezzOS as the “most beautiful and performant” Linux and OSu as the ultimate operating system have disappeared at the end of the day and are no longer providing comic relief or interesting ambitious debates to Linux users, that other distribution based on Ubuntu and then turned into a FreeBSD distribution is still standing. They’re out with an update today and have introduced their own open-source license.

    • Changes Coming For OpenBSD 5.6

      OpenBSD 5.6 is expected to be released at the start of November and with this release will come a large number of changes.

    • Quick look: PC-BSD 10.0.3

      PC-BSD 10.0.3 is based on FreeBSD 10. This release of PC-BSD includes Cinnamon 2.2.14, Chromium 37.0.2062.94, Nvidia driver 340.24, bug fixes for the AppCafe UI, support for full disk encryption, and a number of other bug fixes and improvements. You can read a full list of changes in the PC-BSD 10.0.3 release notes.

    • FreeBSD 10.1 RC2 Moves the Project Closer to Stable Release

      A new Release Candidate for FreeBSD 10.1, an operating system for x86, ARM, IA-64, PowerPC, PC-98, and UltraSPARC architectures, is now out and ready for testing. The developers are getting really close to the final versions, which should land very soon.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

    • man-pages-3.75 is released

      I’ve released man-pages-3.75. The release tarball is available on kernel.org. The browsable online pages can be found on man7.org. The Git repository for man-pages is available on kernel.org.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Fallout From Munich
    • Munich sticks with Free Software

      On Tuesday, Munich’s first mayor finally reacted to an inquiry by the Green Party (in German) related to rumours regarding a possible switch back to a Windows-based desktop environment. The answer to the inquiry shows that there is no factual basis for the claims made by first mayor and second mayor. An evaluation of the IT infrastructure and -processes is underway. FSFE calls on the city council to include vendor independence as well as interoperability as factors in the investigation, since they were central reasons for Munich to switch to Free Software in the first place.

      [...]

      In this manner, the employee-survey “Great Place to Work” from late 2013, used by Reiter and Schmid in their criticisms towards the Free Software used in the city, included various facets of the IT structure not related to software, ranging from hardware to support and telecommuting. It does not, however, offer any information on a possible relation of the employees’ problems with Free Software. This information is currently unavailable, as Reiter says within the answer.

    • Munich Mayor Still Wants to Find Out If Linux Is Economical

      Munich finished the transition to Linux from Windows and everything seemed to work just fine, at least until the current Mayor made a few comments about the possibility of returning to proprietary software. He has detailed some of his opinions and he appears to be a lot more moderate towards this issue.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Why Hardware Wallets are the Future (And Why They Have to Be Open Source)

      Your computer isn’t secure. Those of you reading this from your fortified Plan 9 Tor Box can stop reading here, but for the rest of you, it’s simply true. Your computer is riddled with security vulnerabilities, and so is your phone. If an attacker wants access to your machine, or if you download even one piece of software that either is or is carrying malware (see: any download from cnet.com or its ilk), you’re in an enormous amount of trouble.

    • The value of an open source dividend

      James Love, one of Managing IP’s 2014 most influential people in IP, explains why paying innovators to share knowledge, data and technology makes sense for business and society

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Khronos Adds GLUS 2.0 To The OpenGL SDK

      GLUS is short for the Graphic Library UtilitieS and is a cross-platform, cross-graphic utility library. The open-source GLUS C library provides hardware and operating system abstractions plus other functionality. GLUS isn’t limited to OpenGL but also targets the OpenGL ES and OpenVG APIs too.

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Fox’s The Five Distorts History On Bush Administration WMD Claims

      The hosts of Fox News’ The Five distorted the history behind the rationale for the U.S. war in Iraq by reshaping an investigative report by the New York Times.

    • Drone Strikes in Afghanistan Are Killing Civilians: They Must Not Remain Secret

      After exhaustive research and interviewing more than 50 sources Unama found 11 civilians were killed in a drone strike. Despite this compelling evidence, Isaf data shows only three civilians died.

    • Use has risen dramatically since 9/11

      In their book, Hill and Rogers dramatically recount a March 2011 drone attack in Pakistan which killed 42 people and injured 14. Though later claimed by U.S. officials to be a meeting of terrorists, what had been targeted was in fact a jirga – a consensual decision-making meeting in which the local community had gathered to discuss a dispute over a local mine.

    • Shenstone: Act of Witness against drones

      As part of the International Week of Action Against Drones, members of Pax Christi and Friends of Sabeel UK joined with staff and students from Queen’s Theological College, Birmingham, and members of Birmingham churches in an ‘Act of Witness’ outside UAV Engines, the Elbit Factory at Shenstone, near Lichfield. The Israeli owned factory manufactures the engines for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) which are used for military purposes. The group regularly meet there to protest against the use of these military drones to kill innocent people. They were also used in Israel’s recent war on Gaza, where the loss of life and devastation have shocked many throughout the world.

    • ‘Drones shouldn’t decide who lives or dies’

      University of Johannesburg law Professor Hennie Strydom on Wednesday advised against the use of programmed drones and robots during conflicts.

      “The concern is that the critical functional use of force is controlled by a computer,” he told reporters in Johannesburg.

    • SA professor warns against drone, robot attacks

      University of Johannesburg law Professor Hennie Strydom on Wednesday advised against the use of programmed drones and robots during conflicts

    • John Oliver, Ben Affleck and the Game of Drones: Part II

      As a talk show host and stand-up comedian, Bill Maher pushes the envelope to stay topical, relevant and interesting. He never issued a blanket fatwa on all Muslims, but correctly pointed out that some-if not most-of the major conflicts in the world are rooted in Islam.

    • Another Attempt to Prostitute Religion in the Service of American Hegemony

      Rather than joining this governmental initiative—which conveniently serves to blur cause-and-effect—America’s clergy and their laity should be forming a nationwide interfaith justice movement to confront the “intolerance, division, and hate” sown by our government in our name. It is our government’s violent imperialistic policies that have sown “hate” and bred militant groups like the Islamic State and blowback violence. The need for such a clergy and laity movement is painfully clear, and long overdue.

    • Comment: If drone strikes continue in Afghanistan, the lack of transparency must not

      Afghanistan is the most drone bombed country in the world. The US has been using its Predator and Reaper drones to kill people in Afghanistan since November 2001.

    • US citizen shot dead in Riyadh

      A gunman has opened fire on two American employees of a US defence contractor, killing one and wounding the other at a petrol station in Saudi Arabia’s capital.

    • War without end: 12 years of US drone strikes in Yemen

      The “Yemen model” is one of perpetual violence. The limits of what can be done in the name of “counterterrorist” action often appear boundless.

    • Yemeni sues Germany over US drone strikes

      A relative of two men killed by a US drone strike in Yemen has brought a court case against the German government, alleging it was complicit in the attack by allowing a US air base on German soil.

    • Yemeni sues German government over US drone strike
    • Drone victims sue German government for facilitating strikes in Yemen

      A Yemeni man, whose nephew and brother-in-law were killed in a 2012 drone strike, has travelled to Germany to sue the government for facilitating drone strikes of the sort in which his relatives died.

    • Yemeni man sues Germany over U.S. drone strikes
    • Yemeni man sues German gov’t over US drone strikes
    • Yemeni man sues German government over base used for US drone strikes that killed 2 relatives
    • Yemeni man sues Germany over deadly drone strike

      A Yemeni man has filed a lawsuit against Berlin for facilitating deadly assassination drone strikes carried out in his country by Washington.

      The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday by Faisal bin Ali Jaber, who claims his brother-in-law, Salim bin Ahmed Ali Jaber, and nephew, Waleed, were killed in a U.S. assassination drone strike in a Yemeni village in August 2012.

    • UK To Fly Reaper Drones Over Iraq To Battle IS

      The drone is being deployed outside Afghanistan for the first time, as the Kurds call for support in the Syrian town of Kobani.

    • Qualifying Child Labour

      Children should be in schools learning to be fit to face the big bad world when they become adults. When they are not studying, they should be playing and discovering that life can be fun too. Extreme poverty however still deprives a great many children from these privileges and pleasures of life, and no effort can be nobler than to try and end this miserable predicament. Two cheers then for the Nobel committee for bringing the focus back to fighting child labour. The last cheer we will hold back for the committee`™s unwarranted political bias in choosing to condemn only the atrocities against children by the Talibans, and not show equal concern or condemnation at the killing, maiming and terrorising of numerous other unnamed children in these same battlefields by Drone raids by the armies of the West fighting the Talibans. Malala richly deserves the award, but we also wish in commending the girl for her bravery in her fight against the savagery of the Talibans, the Nobel committee also had at least a word of condemnation against the Drone raids which have killed and terrorised indiscriminately.

    • Malala Yousafzai, Kailash Satyarthi, and the four Nobel truths
    • In Malala’s hometown not everyone likes her fame

      Ahmed Hayat Yousafzai, a Birmingham-based Pakistani lawyer hailing from Swat, says that Malala’s story appears to be eyewash. “By championing the case of Malala, the West has tried to cover many of its human rights abuses, like killing and maiming scores of children and women in drone attacks in the tribal regions,” he said.

      So far, Yousafzai argues, neither the western powers nor Malala and her advisor father have spoken about hundreds of kids being killed in drone strikes.

      “What to talk of drone victims, they did not even speak about the 15-year old Aitzaz who had saved lives of hundreds of students by stopping a suicide bomber from attacking his school,” he added. Knowing about the prevailing resentment against Malala in Swat, her family members and school management feel uneasy to talk on her behalf. “It really hurts to hear people talking so critical of her.

    • Pakistan, U.S. appear once again to be cooperating on drone strikes

      A series of CIA drone strikes launched last week against Taliban insurgents in Pakistan’s northwest tribal areas provide the clearest demonstration yet that the U.S. intelligence agency and Pakistani security forces are once again cooperating on defeating the insurgents.

    • Bureau project wins bronze at Lovie awards

      Bureau project Where The Drones Strike has won bronze in the ‘Best News Website’ category at the fourth annual Lovie awards.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Swedish energy giant reveals reward wish

      UPDATED: Sweden’s state-owned energy company Vattenfall says it wants 43 billion kronor in compensation from Germany, after nuclear power provided by the firm was phased out by Angela Merkel’s government.

  • Finance

    • Governments are souring on treaties to protect foreign investors

      IF YOU wanted to convince the public that international trade agreements are a way to let multinational companies get rich at the expense of ordinary people, this is what you would do: give foreign firms a special right to apply to a secretive tribunal of highly paid corporate lawyers for compensation whenever a government passes a law to, say, discourage smoking, protect the environment or prevent a nuclear catastrophe. Yet that is precisely what thousands of trade and investment treaties over the past half century have done, through a process known as “investor-state dispute settlement”, or ISDS.

    • International trade ISDS provisions make a mockery of nation’s laws

      One of the public policy paradoxes of the past quarter-century is why the centre-left governments of advanced economies have supported trade policies that undermine the very environmental and labor protections they fight for at home. Foremost among these self-subverting policies have been the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions included in every significant trade deal the United States has signed since Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Under ISDS, foreign investors can sue a nation with which their own country has such treaty arrangements over any rules, regulations or changes in policy that they say harm their financial interests.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Fabrication in BBC Panorama’s ‘Saving Syria’s Children’

      On further viewings, however, this scene in particular is strikingly odd. The young men are quiet and mostly static until spotting the camera upon them, at which point the central figure (Mohammed Asi) raises his arm and the group instantly becomes animated and begins groaning in unison.

      Mohammed Asi begins to sway and lurch, the boy in the black vest suddenly pitches onto his side, the boy in red raises his head and peers quizzically around, while the boy in the white shirt rises effortlessly to his feet. As the camera pulls back a boy in a yellow ‘Super 9′ t-shirt rises from the floor, flailing his head and torso and rolling his eyes as a team of medics sweeps dramatically in.

    • BBC Propaganda

      Please read and consider very carefully this brilliant dissection of the BBC’s propaganda blitz on Syria, at the time when the security establishment were trying to propel us into war against Assad, before they decided it was just as profitable to have a war against Assad’s enemies. For the security establishment and arms industry, any dream will do.

    • Chuck Todd Disqualifies a Senate Candidate

      Bad campaign journalism can be bad in a lot of different ways. It can tell us, based on this or that poll, that there are “top tier” candidates deserving our attention. It can focus on “gaffes” and advertising instead of the issues. It almost always refuses to acknowledge the existence of candidates not affiliated with the two major parties.

    • Fox Attack On Obama Administration For Not Saying “Jihad” Ignores Similar Bush Policy

      Fox News’ Megyn Kelly dishonestly criticized the Obama administration for allegedly endorsing an anti-terror handbook which advises against referring to terrorists as “jihadis,” as it “emboldens them,” failing to mention that the Bush administration made a decision to stop using the word “jihadist” to describe terrorists in 2008.

  • Privacy

    • Tor Weekly News — October 15th, 2014
    • Anonymous Browsing: Open Source Tor Project Router Wins Kickstarter, Now Give One to Every American

      Anonabox is an open source networking device that you plug in to your router or modem that will anonymize all your network traffic through the Tor Project anonymity network. The Kickstarter for Anonnabox has 8,490 backers as of Wed., with $552,620 pledged against a $7,500 goal. It seems people want this product.

    • ‘Hostile to privacy’: Snowden urges internet users to get rid of Dropbox

      Edward Snowden has hit out at Dropbox and other services he says are “hostile to privacy,” urging web users to abandon unencrypted communication and adjust privacy settings to prevent governments from spying on them in increasingly intrusive ways.

      “We are no longer citizens, we no longer have leaders. We’re subjects, and we have rulers,” Snowden told The New Yorker magazine in a comprehensive hour-long interview.

    • UN Report Finds Mass Surveillance Violates International Treaties and Privacy Rights

      The United Nations’ top official for counter-terrorism and human rights (known as the “Special Rapporteur”) issued a formal report to the U.N. General Assembly today that condemns mass electronic surveillance as a clear violation of core privacy rights guaranteed by multiple treaties and conventions. “The hard truth is that the use of mass surveillance technology effectively does away with the right to privacy of communications on the Internet altogether,” the report concluded.

    • Australia’s defence intelligence agency conducted secret programs to help NSA

      Australia’s defence intelligence agency has conducted secretive programs to help the US National Security Agency hack and exploit computer networks, according to documents published by the Intercept.

    • Cognitive Dissonance about the FBI and NSA at 60 Minutes

      60 Minutes, which has been harshly criticized for running puff pieces for the NSA and FBI recently, is at it again. Last night, they ran two unrelated yet completely conflicting segments—one focusing on FBI Director Jim Comey, and the other on New York Times reporter James Risen—and the cognitive dissonance displayed in the back-to-back interviews was remarkable.

    • Here are Snowden’s first emails about the NSA leaks

      Six months before the world knew the National Security Agency’s most prolific leaker of secrets as Edward Joseph Snowden, Laura Poitras knew him as Citizenfour. For months, Poitras communicated with an unknown “senior government employee” under that pseudonym via encrypted emails, as he prepared her to receive an unprecedented leak of classified documents that he would ask her to expose to the world.

    • These Are the Emails Snowden Sent to First Introduce His Epic NSA Leaks
    • GCHQ more dangerous to privacy than NSA – Snowden

      Edward Snowden has warned that Britain’s GCHQ spy agency is a bigger threat to privacy than the NSA, as it uses illegally collected information in criminal prosecutions and, unlike in the US, has relatively few constitutional checks on its activities.

      Speaking by Skype video linkup to a London festival, Snowden also emphasized why it shouldn’t be up to the citizen to justify why they need a right to privacy – something that forms the core of his beliefs and decision to go against the law.

    • NSA Documents Suggest a Close Working Relationship Between NSA, U.S. Companies
    • FBI Director: Encryption Will Lead to a ‘Very Dark Place’

      FBI Director James Comey says the spread of encryption, aided by Apple and Google’s new security measures, will lead to “a very dark place” where police might not be able to stop criminals.

      To avoid that, tech companies need to cooperate and build surveillance-friendly systems when police comes knocking at their door, Comey said on Thursday during a speech in Washington, his first major speech since becoming director last year.

    • New Zealand Cops Raided Home of Reporter Working on Snowden Documents

      Agents from New Zealand’s national police force ransacked the home of a prominent independent journalist earlier this month who was collaborating with The Intercept on stories from the NSA archive furnished by Edward Snowden. The stated purpose of the 10-hour police raid was to identify the source for allegations that the reporter, Nicky Hager, recently published in a book that caused a major political firestorm and led to the resignation of a top government minister.

      But in seizing all the paper files and electronic devices in Hager’s home, the authorities may have also taken source material concerning other unrelated stories that Hager was pursuing. Recognizing the severity of the threat posed to press freedoms from this raid, the Freedom of the Press Foundation today announced a global campaign to raise funds for Hager’s legal defense.

    • Revealed: how Whisper app tracks ‘anonymous’ users

      The company behind Whisper, the social media app that promises users anonymity and claims to be the “the safest place on the internet”, is tracking the location of its users, including some who have specifically asked not to be followed.

      The practice of monitoring the whereabouts of Whisper users – including those who have expressly opted out of geolocation services – will alarm users, who are encouraged to disclose intimate details about their private and professional lives.

    • Banks harvest callers’ voiceprints to fight fraud

      You hear it every time you phone your bank about a lost credit card or an unexpected charge. You may realize your bank is recording you, but did you know it could be taking your biometric data, too?

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • 2015 will be the year you can buy HBO content without a TV subscription

      HBO CEO Richard Plepler told investors attending a Time Warner meeting today that the company will begin offering an online-only subscription for its content in 2015. Unlike the HBO Go service that the company currently offers, a TV subscription wouldn’t be required to access shows under the new plan.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Pirates Become Biggest Political Party in Local Czech Election

        The Czech Pirate Party has booked several surprise wins in the local elections. The party gathered 5.3% of the total vote in the capital city of Prague and became the biggest political party in Mariánské lázně, with 21%. As a result, there is a good chance that the city may soon have a Pirate mayor.

How the Corporate Press Deceives and Sells Microsoft Agenda

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 1:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

News

Summary: Various new examples of media propaganda that distorts or makes up the facts (bias/lies by omission/selection) and where this is all coming from

THE corporate press (or mass media) continues to disappoint in a very major way. It looks like the more one reads it, the less well-informed one becomes. Why? Because the corporate press has clients. These clients are not readers; they are companies to which the readers’ brains are being sold. The business model is selling of agenda. Although counterintuitive at first sight, this observation is not novel; many people have pointed out the same thing in areas other than technology. Today we’ll present some examples from this week alone.

Florian Müller an Expert… Lobbyist

Slashdot was once a grassroots-type Web site. It promoted FOSS. But it grew into something else. Now it’s the very opposite. It seems to be more interested in repeatedly quoting a mass-mailing Microsoft lobbyist (Florian Müller) and even Slashdot‘s front page (plus original content), which is now owned and run by the Microsoft-friendly Dice, gives him a platform. This seems like a joke, but it’s not. Slashdot now offers the platform for people whose role is spreading Microsoft propaganda and bashing FOSS. The only amazing thing is that some people still trust Slashdot just because back in the days it had some credibility (before hiring prolific Microsoft boosters).

Free Software is Pedophilia?

“Slashdot now offers the platform for people whose role is spreading Microsoft propaganda.”Speaking of propaganda, Matt Lee, Free software ideals, and even the FSF were the other day slandered by the Telegraph, which engaged in defamation by associating Free software with pedophilia (the article was corrected only after numerous complaints that I had initiated in social media after a headsup from our reader). The Telegraph was perhaps worrying that Free software people can sue for libel. What the heck is wrong with the press? How low can one stoop?

Microsoft is an Open Source ‘Cloud’ Company?

Then there is the tabloid called ZDNet (owned by CBS, known in part for the Gamergate scandal as of late). It is now offering Microsoft a marketing service, helping an Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish move against Docker (other corporate media did the same thing). Microsoft-friendly sites like these generally try to help Microsoft (the author, Matt Asay, once tried working for Microsoft) and this is clearly part of a scheme to control servers. According to this article by an Australian Microsoft booster, Salesforce, an opponent of Microsoft, has just liaised with this special NSA partner, ensuring that Salesforce offers no security or privacy at all.

Microsoft is Dominant in Servers, According to Microsoft-funded Firms

Watch the latest Forrester propaganda, trying to cast Microsoft as having “three-quarters of the mass-market servers”; complete nonsense. Here is a quote from the aforementioned article from News Corp. (aiding Microsoft’s plot): “Linux is the dominant tech underpinning at giant Web companies, but the server version of Microsoft’s Windows runs about three-quarters of the mass-market servers in use at big companies in the U.S. and Western Europe, according to Forrester Research.”

Complete nonsense. Selective reporting reveals not only bias but also a desire to lie. GNU/Linux has the lion’s share of this market. It is the job of Microsoft-bribed firms like Forrester to distort reality and the Gartner Group, according to Robert Pogson, is also doing that right now by casting GNU/Linux as “others”.

As Pogson puts it: ““Others” is a convenient category to put things in when stuff you don’t care about happens. GNU/Linux is something I care about but not Gartner. They lump GNU/Linux in with all that other stuff that’s not from M$, Apple, or Google but, hey, I can subtract.”

Nokia Dead Not Because of Microsoft or Its Mole Elop?

Finally, revisionism too can be found in the media. Here is AOL rewriting the history of Nokia. As our reader put it: “He’s got to distract from Jolla and from the Nokia board’s involvement in covering up Elop’s contract where Elop was granted tens of millions as a condition for selling Nokia to Microsoft. The paper industry is in decline due to a combination of union busting and actively closing *profitable* paper mills, in addition to competition from questionable logging in Brazil.”

Not the Exception

The above are the types of examples that we see every week, but it’s only now that we decided to gather and give to our readers some examples of these, collected in just the past few days. The problem is systemic.

The corporate press is just too damn hard to trust when it comes to technology because it operates on bribes these days; advertising deals, talking points from firms that are paid by companies, agenda for sale (press releases), and media ownership that comes with all kinds of strings attached. All in all — and not to sound too cynical — this means that one should be cautious, never blindly trusting the corporate media on such matters. Informing readers is not the goal; it may sometimes be a side effect, but only if it aligns with the goal (which is increasing revenue).

When selecting articles for circulation in sites like tuxmachines.org we give equal weighting to blogs and mailing lists because these tend to be more reliable and accurate than some printed papers, authored by people who are clueless on the subjects they cover for a publication whose goal is to serve some hidden interests.

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