EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

04.20.18

Links 20/4/2018: Atom 1.26, MySQL 8.0

Posted in News Roundup at 3:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Calamares Pinebook

      But there is an under-appreciated bit regarding images for an ARM laptop — or pre-installed Linux distro’s in general. And that’s the first-run experience. The Netrunner Pinebook image is delivered so that it boots to the Plasma 5 desktop, no passwords asked, etc. The user is called “live”, the password is “live”, and nothing is personalized. It’s possible, though not particularly secure, to use the laptop this way in a truly disposable fashion. A first-run application helps finalize the configuration of the device by creating a named user, among other things.

      One of the under-documented features of Calamares is that it can operate as a first-run application as well as a system installer. This is called “OEM Mode“, because it’s of greatest interest to OEMs .. but also to distro’s that ship an image for users to flash onto (micro)SD card for use in a device.

  • Server

    • Failure to automate: 3 ways it costs you

      When I ask IT leaders what they see as the biggest benefit to automation, “savings” is often the first word out of their mouths. They’re under pressure to make their departments run as efficiently as possible and see automation as a way to help them do so.

      Cost savings are certainly a benefit of automation, but I’d argue that IT leaders who pursue automation for cost-savings alone are missing the bigger picture of how it can help their businesses.

      The true value of automation doesn’t lie in bringing down expenses, but rather in enabling IT teams to scale their businesses.

    • Docker Enterprise Edition 2.0 Launches With Secured Kubernetes

      After months of development effort, Kubernetes is now fully supported in the stable release of the Docker Enterprise Edition.

      Docker Inc. officially announced Docker EE 2.0 on April 17, adding features that have been in development in the Docker Community Edition (CE) as well as enhanced enterprise grade capabilities. Docker first announced its intention to support Kubernetes in October 2017. With Docker EE 2.0, Docker is providing a secured configuration of Kubernetes for container orchestration.

      “Docker EE 2.0 brings the promise of choice,” Docker Chief Operating Officer Scott Johnston told eWEEK. “We have been investing heavily in security in the last few years, and you’ll see that in our Kubernetes integration as well.”

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.16.3
    • Linux 4.15.18
    • Linux 4.14.35
    • V3D DRM Driver Steps Towards Mainline Kernel, Renamed From VC5

      The Broadcom VC5 driver stack is being renamed to V3D and developer Eric Anholt is looking at merging it into the mainline Linux kernel.

      The VC5 DRM/KMS and Mesa code has been for supporting the next-generation Broadcom VideoCore 5 graphics hardware that’s only now beginning to appear in some devices, well, it seems one device so far. Though as I pointed out a few months back, there’s already “VC6″ activity going on too as the apparent successor to VC5 already being in development.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Azure Sphere Makes Microsoft an Arm Linux Player for IoT [Ed: Microsoft marketing at LF (only runs on/with Windows and Visual Studio etc.)]
      • Keynotes Announced for Automotive Linux Summit & OS Summit Japan [Ed: “Senior Software Engineer, Microsoft” in there; LF has once again let Microsoft infiltrate Linux events; in the words of Microsoft’s chief evangelist, “I’ve killed at least two Mac conferences. […] by injecting Microsoft content into the conference, the conference got shut down. The guy who ran it said, why am I doing this?”]

        Automotive Linux Summit connects those driving innovation in automotive Linux from the developer community with the vendors and users providing and using the code, in order to propel the future of embedded devices in the automotive arena.

      • OPNFV: driving the network towards open source “Tip to Top”

        Heather provides an update on the current status of OPNFV. How is its work continuing and how is it pursuing the overall mission? Heather says much of its work is really ‘devops’ and it’s working on a continuous integration basis with the other open source bodies. That work continues as more bodies join forces with the Linux Foundation. Most recently OPNFV has signed a partnership agreement with the open compute project. Heather says the overall OPNFV objective is to work towards open source ‘Tip to top’ and all built by the community in ‘open source’. “When we started, OPNFV was very VM oriented (virtual machine), but now the open source movement is looking more to cloud native and containerisation as the way forward,” she says. The body has also launched a C-RAN project to ensure that NFV will be ready to underpin 5G networks as they emerge.

    • Benchmarks

      • AMD Ryzen 5 2600X + Ryzen 7 2700X Linux Benchmarks

        The embargo on the Ryzen 5 2600X and Ryzen 7 2700X processors has expired now that these Ryzen+ CPUs are beginning to ship today. We can now talk about the Linux support and the initial performance figures for these upgraded Zen desktop CPUs.

      • 20-Way NVIDIA GeForce / AMD Radeon GPU Comparison For Rise of The Tomb Raider On Vulkan/Linux

        Today Feral Interactive released their much anticipated Linux port of Rise of the Tomb Raider, the game that was released for Windows in January of 2016 and then released for macOS last week. Feral’s Mac port was relying upon the Apple Metal API while the Linux port is now their second game (after F1 2017) exclusively relying upon the Vulkan graphics/compute API rather than OpenGL. This morning I posted the initial Radeon results using the RADV driver while here is the NVIDIA GeForce vs. AMD Radeon graphics card comparison on Ubuntu Linux using twenty different graphics cards.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Applications Open Source Software Suite Gets First Major Release in 2018

        More than four months in the making, the final KDE Applications 18.04 release is finally here, and it already started appearing in the stable software repositories of popular GNU/Linux distributions, such as Arch Linux. It’s KDE Applications’ first major release in 2018 and comes with numerous enhancements and new features.

        Prominent new features in KDE Applications 18.04 include various improvements to the panels, menus, and folder view of the Dolphin file manager, along with the ability to sort and organize images by date, drag-and-drop optimizations, a new keyboard shortcut to open the Filter Bar, and better HiDPI support.

      • KDE Applications 18.04 Brings Dolphin Improvements, JuK Wayland Support

        The KDE community has announced the release today of KDE Applications 18.04 as the first major update to the open-source KDE application set for 2018.

      • Plasma Startup

        Startup is one of the rougher aspects of the Plasma experience and therefore something we’ve put some time into fixing

        [...]

        The most important part of any speed work is correctly analysing it.
        systemd-bootchart is nearly perfect for this job, but it’s filled with a lot of system noise.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Nix This Innovative OS for Its Uninviting Complexity

        I had to keep reminding myself that I was not dealing with an extreme case of Arch Linux instead of GNU/Linux. NixOS is more demanding and definitely not a distro for users with anything less than advanced skills.

        To say NixOS comes with a steep learning curve and lots of hands-on overhead is putting it mildly. If you are a typical Linux user who lacks sysadmin training, avoid NixOS like a malware attack hiding in plain sight.

    • New Releases

      • ExTiX 18.4 – “The Ultimate Linux System” – with LXQt 0.12.0, Refracta Tools, Calamares Installer and kernel 4.16.2-exton – Build 180419

        I have made a new version of ExTiX – The Ultimate Linux System. I call it ExTiX 18.4 LXQt Live DVD. (The previous version was 17.8 from 171012).

      • ExTiX, the Ultimate Linux Operating System, Is Now Based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

        ExTiX is dubbed the “Ultimate Linux System,” and it’s been updated earlier today by developer Arne Exton to version 18.4, based on Canonical’s upcoming Ubuntu 18.04 LTS operating system. However, ExTiX is using the lightweight and modern LXQt 0.12.0 as default desktop environment instead of GNOME, and it’s powered by the latest Linux 4.16.2 kernel.

        “After removing GNOME I have installed LXQt 0.12.0,” said Arne Exton in today’s announcement. “Programs won’t crash or anything like that. And I haven’t discovered any bugs to report. While running ExTiX LXQt 18.4 live or from the hard drive you can use Refracta tools (pre-installed) to create your own live installable Ubuntu system. A ten-year child can do it.”

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • openSUSE Heroes loves Let’s Encrypt™ – Expect certificate exchange

        openSUSE loves Let’s Encrypt™

        Maybe some of you noticed, that our certificate *.opensuse.org on many of services will expire soon (on 2018-04-23).

        As we noticed that – as well – we decided to put a bit of work into this topic and we will use Let’s Encrypt certificates for the encrypted services of the openSUSE community.

        This is just a short notice / announcement for all of you, that we are working on this topic at the moment. We will announce, together with the deployment of the new certificate, the regarding hashes and maybe some further information on our way of implementing things.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Introducing the Vault Operator

        Today, Red Hat is pleased to announce a new open source project, the Vault Operator. In keeping with earlier projects, including the etcd Operator and the Prometheus Operator, the Vault Operator aims to make it easier to install, manage, and maintain instances of Vault – a tool designed for storing, managing, and controlling access to secrets, such as tokens, passwords, certificates, and API keys – on Kubernetes clusters.

        We are supporters of Vault, for important reasons. Authentication is fundamental to modern applications. As application design shifts from monolithic to distributed architectures, the various components of an application must communicate with each other over a network in ways that are designed to be trusted and secure. This typically requires authentication, which in turn requires credentials, or secrets. The problem is that there is no de facto way to centrally locate and manage these secrets.

      • Expanding architectural choices to better arm Red Hat Enterprise Linux developers

        Red Hat Enterprise Linux continues to deliver the best possible experience for enterprise system administrators and developers, as well as provide a solid foundation for moving workloads into both public and private clouds. One of the ways to enable such ubiquity is Red Hat’s multi-architecture initiative, which focuses on bringing Red Hat’s software portfolio to different hardware architectures.

        Last week, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5 went live. It brought forward several improvements relevant to developers and system administrators such as advanced GUI system management via the Cockpit console, which should help new Linux administrators, developers, and Windows users to perform expert tasks without having to get into the command line.

      • Altran and Red Hat latest to join 5TONIC 5G Innovation Lab

        Two more companies have joined the specialist 5G mobile research and innovation laboratory in Spain called 5TONIC. Altran and Red Hat are the latest companies to become members of the 5TONIC initiative joining existing companies such as Telefónica, Intel and Ericsson.

        Hosted by its co-founder – research organisation IMDEA Networks Institute – on its campus in Madrid, and chaired by Telefónica, the 5TONIC laboratory has been designed to provide a vehicle for member companies to “co-create” and test breakthrough 5G services and solutions – focused on collaborating with other industries.

      • Surescripts speeds DevOps work with Red Hat Ansible Automation
      • An API Journey: From Idea to Deployment the Agile Way–Part II
      • Moving Production Workloads to OpenShift Online
      • Red Hat Executive Briefing Center named a World Class Center by the Association of Briefing Program Managers
      • How to engage with Technical Account Managers at Red Hat Summit 2018
      • Finance

    • Debian Family

      • 15.010958904109589041

        And yes! On April 15, I passed the 15-year-mark as a Debian Developer.

      • 10 years + 1 day

        yesterday 10 years ago I became a Debian Developer.

      • Diversity Update

        Which brings us to a panel for the upcoming Debconf in Taiwan. There is a suggestion to have a Gender Forum at the Openday. I’m still not completely sure what it should cover or what is expected for it and I guess it’s still open for suggestions. There will be a plan, let’s see to make it diverse and great!

        I won’t promise to send the next update sooner, but I’ll try to get back into it. Right now I’m also working on a (German language) submission for a non-binary YouTube project and it would be great to see that thing lift off. I’ll be more verbose on that front.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Meet Bo, an Ubuntu-Powered Social Robot with AI Capabilities

            Meet Bo, a social robot with AI (Artificial Intelligence) capabilities, powered by Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux operating system and optimized to welcome customers, as well as to help them navigate to find products and areas in your organization.

            Bo was already used by several well-known brands like Etisalat and BT in a bunch of scenarios, including hospitality and retail scenarios, and it’s being tested in large shopping centers in the United Kingdom, such as Lakeside.

          • The Unique Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 Beta 2

            It is the most unique among the Official Flavors in the 18.04. It’s the only to bring Chromium browser, and it gives you the unique Budgie Desktop experiences. It is really a good place for everyone who wants new, distinct desktop experience with modern version of software and broad space to explore. And ultimately it is still available for 32 bit, which has been abandoned by Ubuntu original. We will wait until the planned release on April 26.

          • gksu Removed From Ubuntu, Here’s The Recommended Replacement

            gksu is used to allow elevating your permissions when running graphical applications, for example in case you want to run a graphical text editor as root to edit a system file, or to be able to remove or add a file to a system folder.

          • Welcome To The (Ubuntu) Bionic Age: Behind communitheme: interviewing Frederik

            My name is Frederik, I live in Germany and I am working as a java software developer in my daily job.

            I am using Ubuntu since 5 years and quickly started to report bugs and issues when they jumped into my face. Apart from that, I like good music, and beautiful software. I also make my own music in my free time.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source crucial to Orange as it prepares for ONAP deployment

    Orange has long played a key part in the testing and adoption of ONAP, dating back to when its ECOMP predecessor was created by AT&T as a platform for managing a software-defined network. The move to open source and its development as the ONAP project has made the platform a key component of the new telco open networking movement. But why should other telcos look to ONAP as they embark on their network transformation strategies, and how does it help enable the automated network that will lead to new business opportunities?

  • Events

    • Lessons from OpenStack Telemetry: Deflation

      At some point, the rules relaxed on new projects addition with the Big Tent initiative, allowing us to rename ourselves to the OpenStack Telemetry team and splitting Ceilometer into several subprojects: Aodh (alarm evaluation functionality) and Panko (events storage). Gnocchi was able to join the OpenStack Telemetry party for its first anniversary.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Dev-tools in 2018

        This is a bit late (how is it the middle of April already?!), but the dev-tools team has lots of exciting plans for 2018 and I want to talk about them!

        [...]

        We’re creating two new teams – Rustdoc, and IDEs and editors – and going to work more closely with the Cargo team. We’re also spinning up a bunch of working groups. These are more focused, less formal teams, they are dedicated to a single tool or task, rather than to strategy and decision making. Primarily they are a way to let people working on a tool work more effectively. The dev-tools team will continue to coordinate work and keep track of the big picture.

      • Nonny de la Peña & the Power of Immersive Storytelling

        This week, we’re highlighting VR’s groundbreaking potential to take audiences inside stories with a four part video series. There aren’t many examples of creators doing that more effectively and powerfully than Nonny de la Peña.

        Nonny de la Peña is a former correspondent for Newsweek, the New York Times and other major outlets. For more than a decade now, de la Peña has been focused on merging her passion for documentary filmmaking with a deep-seeded expertise in VR. She essentially invented the field of “immersive journalism” through her company, Emblematic Group.

  • Databases

    • MySQL 8.0 Released With Many Improvements, Faster Performance

      It’s a busy day in the software and hardware space today as well as a busy week for Oracle with several big releases this week. The latest is the general availability of the long-awaited MySQL 8.0 update.

      MySQL 8.0 is a very significant update over the MySQL 5.7 series. MySQL 8.0 features a transactional data dictionary, a new document store with NoSQL support, and up to twice as fast MySQL database performance compared to version 5.7.

    • MySQL 8.0: Up to 2x Faster
    • MySQL 8.0 released

      MySQL 8.0.11 GA (General Availability) is out today—for those not used to Oracle’s idiosyncratic versioning, this essentially means “MySQL 8.0 is released” (8.0.1 and so forth were various stages of alpha and beta). This marks the end of three years of development, of which I’ve been on board for two or so of them.

    • Help Canonical Test GNOME Patches, Android Apps Illegally Tracking Kids, MySQL 8.0 Released and More

      MySQL 8.0 has been released. This new version “includes significant performance, security and developer productivity improvements enabling the next generation of web, mobile, embedded and Cloud applications.” MySQL 8.0 features include MySQL document store, transactional data dictionary, SQL roles, default to utf8mb4 and more. See the white paper for all the details.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Collabora Online 3.2 released

      Collabora Productivity, the driving force behind putting LibreOffice in the Cloud, is excited to announce a new release of its flagship enterprise-ready cloud document suite – Collabora Online 3.2, with new features and multiple improvements.

    • Collabora Online 3.2 Brings More Powerful Features to LibreOffice in the Cloud

      Michael Meeks of the Collabora Productivity has the pleasure of informing Softpedia today on the availability of Collabora Online 3.2, the second point release of the Collabora Online 3 series that promises yet another layer of new features and improvements to the enterprise-ready, cloud-based office suite.

      Based on the LibreOffice 6.1 open-source office suite, Collabora Online 3.2 introduces support for creating and inserting charts into Writer and Impress documents, and the ability to validate data in Calc, which might come in handy for engineers who want to do a final assembly inspection on their tablets, as well as to collaborate with their colleagues to ensure all tests are passed by a complete product.

    • Oracle demands dev tear down iOS app that has ‘JavaScript’ in its name

      Oracle, claims developer Zhongmin Steven Guo, has demanded that Apple remove an app he created because it contains the trademarked term “JavaScript.”

      The app in question, published by Guo’s Tyanya Software LLC – which appears to be more a liability shield than a thriving software business – is titled “HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, HTML, Snippet Editor.”

      The name, Guo explains in a Hacker News comment, was chosen in an effort to “game the App Store ranking by adding all the keywords to the app name.”

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup time: April 20th starting at 12:00 p.m. EDT/16:00 UTC

      Help improve the Free Software Directory by adding new entries and updating existing ones. Every Friday we meet on IRC in the #fsf channel on irc.freenode.org.

      Tens of thousands of people visit directory.fsf.org each month to discover free software. Each entry in the Directory contains a wealth of useful information, from basic category and descriptions, to providing detailed info about version control, IRC channels, documentation, and licensing info that has been carefully checked by FSF staff and trained volunteers.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Researchers deliver open-source simulator for cyber physical systems

      Cyber physical systems (CPS) are attracting more attention than ever thanks to the rapid development of the Internet of Things (IoT) and its combination with artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and the cloud. These interacting networks of physical and computational components will provide the foundation of critical infrastructure, form the basis of ‘smart’ services, and improve the quality of life in areas ranging from energy and environment to transportation and healthcare.

      CPS technologies are already transforming the way people interact with engineered systems in the ‘real’ or ‘physical’ world, just as the internet has transformed the way people interact with information. Yet, due to their complexity, the developers of CPS face a major problem: the lack of simulation tools and models for their design and analysis.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Creators face an evolving challenge protecting IP

      The GNU General Public License, under which the operating system Linux and much open-source software is shared, is another example of copyleft.

      Open-source software, where programs are worked on together by loosely connected developer communities rather than traditional software houses, show one way IP can be shared without stifling innovation. Linux, the mobile operating system Android and the database system MySQL have all achieved widespread adoption, and are continually innovating despite, or perhaps because of, being open source.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Emerging Tech Speaker Series Talk with Rian Wanstreet

      This is an opportunity for the open source community, as alternative technologies and platforms are being developed which provide farmers the ability to farm outside of walled gardens. From open source seed initiatives, to open farm technologies, to data platform cooperatives, there is a small, but growing, collaborative movement that recognizes that farmers are at a critical moment: they can help to establish tools that advance freedom, or accept machines that foster dependencies.

    • Williamson Schools to develop open source social studies curriculum

      The open source science curriculum saved the district about $3.3 million. An open source social studies curriculum may post similar savings, with estimates at about $3.5-4 million, Gaddis said.

    • Open Data

      • Large Open-Source Data Set Released to Help Train Algorithms Spot Malware

        For the first time, a large dataset has been released by a security firm to help AI research and training of machine learning models that statically detect malware. The data set released by cybersecurity firm Endgame is called EMBER is a collection of more than a million representations of benign and malicious Windows-portable executable files. Hyrum Anderson, Endgame’s technical director of data science who worked on EMBER, says: “This dataset fills a void in the information security machine learning community: a benign/malicious dataset that is large, open and general enough to cover several interesting use cases. … [We] hope that the dataset, code and baseline model provided by EMBER will help invigorate machine learning research for malware detection, in much the same way that benchmark datasets have advanced computer vision research.”

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Open Source Innovation Could Put a 3D Bioprinter in Your Living Room

        3D bioprinting traditionally requires high-level expertise, proprietary technology and a five-figure investment. A team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University setout to change all that. In a paper published earlier this month in HardwareX, the group released the design of a fully functional 3D bioprinter it built by altering a widely available desktop 3D machine. The team’s innovation could be a game changer in terms of the overall accessibility of bioprinting.

      • 3D Printing the SynDaver Open-Source Healthcare Mannequin

        As desktop 3D printers become more robust, reliable, and feature-rich, we are seeing a definite shift in professional use-cases from prototyping to producing final products.

      • Unlock & Talk: Open Source Bootloader & Modem

        Since [Tom Nardi] introduced Hackaday readers to postmarketOS, the team has made progress on compiling a standard bootloader for MediaTek System-on-Chip (SoC) processors. Many Android phones use the MIT-licensed Little Kernel as the base of their bootloader and then apply custom closed-source modifications. [McBitter] has worked to eliminate this closed-source code by porting Little Kernel to the MT6735P used in the Coolpad Modena 2. By understanding the modifications MediaTek used for this particular SoC, the postmarketOS team hopes to use their modified, open-source Little Kernel bootloader with other MediaTek-based devices. While progress has been difficult and attempts at using emulators to probe bootloader memory have failed, [McBitter] was able to decode the DRAM configuration settings by searching for a leaked portion of the configuration strings. Now that he can set up the DRAM, there should be few barriers to running Little Kernel.

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • D.C. lawmaker who said Jews control the weather visits Holocaust Museum but leaves early

    “There’s nothing more powerful than visiting the Holocaust museum for understanding the culture of the Jewish community, and our concerns about anti-Semitism,” Glazer told an uninvited reporter who shadowed the tour.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Charles Gore, Founder Of World Hepatitis Alliance, To Head Medicines Patent Pool

      The Medicines Patent Pool announced today that it has appointed Charles Gore as new executive director. Gore is founder and former president of the World Hepatitis Alliance.

      [...]

      Also to be released by the MPP are the findings of its feasibility study on the potential expansion of its model to include patented medicines which are on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines.

      Gore, from the United Kingdom (as was Perry), was a former hepatitis C patient. In a 2010 post on the World Hepatitis Alliance website, he recounted his struggle with the illness first diagnosed in 1995.

      Gore was selected by the MPP Governance Board, headed by Marie-Paule Kieny, a French researcher and former senior official at the World Health Assembly.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • War Fever

      What happens when an unthinkable war meets an unbeatable case of war fever? Thanks to Russia-gate, unsubstantiated reports about the use of poison gas in Syria, and a slew of similar factoids and pseudo-scandals, the world may soon find out.

      In saner times, including during the Cold War at even its most heated, political leaders knew not to push a conflict with a rival nuclear power too far. After all, what was the point of getting into a fight in which everyone would lose?

    • Public Radio’s McCarthyite Smear of Black Activists Shows Danger of Russia Panic

      For over a year, outlets from FAIR (8/24/16) to TruthDig (1/7/17) to The Nation (8/7/17) to The Intercept (2/12/18) have been warning about the pitfalls of nonstop Russia Is Everywhere and Out to Get Us coverage. The Russians are “stoking discord” and “sowing unrest” and infiltrating online and real-life spaces with memes and rallies and disinformation, corporate media tell us. Did you share Russian disinfo? Twitter and Facebook will let you know. Did you buy into Russian “fake news”? CNN wants to find out. Russia is everywhere, and it’s important the media not only report this fact, but do so over and over and over again, until one is looking for the Russian menace in every interaction.

      This narrative, fueled by center-left outlets like MSNBC, Center for American Progress and Mother Jones, has reached its inevitable, sleazy nadir: the smearing of a black activist by an NPR affiliate for the crime of going on a Russian government–funded radio station a handful of times.

      Reporter Johnny Kauffman at WABE (4/18/18), an NPR affiliate in Atlanta, did a profile on black activists Anoa Changa and Eugene Puryear. But instead of using this opportunity to highlight the causes they’re fighting for, or the injustices that brought them to become activists, WABE used its considerable resources and influence to talk about, you guessed, Russian influence…

    • Of Animals and Monsters and Missiles over Damascus

      Alas, the world has always been, and still is, full of “monsters” and “animals.” And, since we are throwing around such epithets, we might as well give a couple of close-to-home examples of those qualifying behaviors.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Assange had ‘physical proof’ Russians didn’t hack DNC, Rohrabacher says

      Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican, left a meeting with Julian Assange believing the WikiLeaks publisher had “physical proof” Russia didn’t supply his website with leaked Democratic National Committee emails it released during the 2016 U.S. presidential race.

      Mr. Rohrabacher made the comment in a interview with Breitbart Radio published online Thursday in which he spoke about his August 2017 visit to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

      Mr. Assange took up refuge in the diplomatic compound in 2012, and in 2016 his website began publishing sensitive DNC emails allegedly sourced by Russian state-sponsored hackers as part of an effort meant to help President Trump’s election campaign.

    • Assange has ‘physical proof’ Russia didn’t hack DNC – Congressman

      Russia did not provide WikiLeaks with Democratic National Committee emails during the 2016 US presidential campaign and Julian Assange has physical evidence to prove it, says a Republican congressman who met with him.

    • Rohrabacher: Assange had ‘physical proof’ Russians didn’t hack DNC

      Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican, left a meeting with Julian Assange believing the WikiLeaks publisher had “physical proof” Russia didn’t supply his website with leaked Democratic National Committee emails it released during the 2016 U.S. presidential race.

  • Finance

    • Florida Moves to Shut Down For-Profit Residence After Finding Horrific Abuse and Neglect

      After another patient died under suspicious circumstances and reports surfaced of more instances of abuse and neglect, Florida regulators moved this week to shutter a for-profit school and residential campus for children and adults with severe developmental disabilities.

      The action Tuesday by Florida’s Agency for Persons with Disabilities came after years of complaints that patients at the Carlton Palms Educational Center were violently mistreated by staff and subjected to physical restraints known as “wrap mats,” which resemble full-body straitjackets.

      Carlton Palms and its owner’s other facilities were the subject of a ProPublica investigation two years ago that chronicled the deaths of three teenaged patients, patterns of abuse and neglect, and company executives’ often-successful efforts to stave off regulation.

    • Canadian opposition to Nafta’s chapter 11 gives Trudeau leeway

      Canadians urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to concede on a U.S. demand in Nafta negotiations around investor disputes, while holding firm on calls for more environmental and labor protection.

      The most frequent advice the government heard in public consultations before North American Free Trade Agreement talks opened in August was to eliminate Chapter 11, the part of the pact that deals with investor-state dispute settlement, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg News through a freedom of information request. The government began the consultation process last year by asking for written submissions from the public after the U.S. gave notice it wanted to renegotiate the 24-year-old agreement.

      [...]

      Some of Trudeau’s other progressive ideas for Nafta aren’t very popular. While 29 submissions wanted environmental protection and another 21 sought better labor rules, there was far less support for Trudeau’s call for chapters on gender and indigenous rights.

      Priorities expressed during the consultations also included modernizing Nafta for the digital age, boosting labor and environment protections, cutting red tape and ensuring a free market in government procurement, according to the 1,400 pages of documents, which also showed support for adding restrictions, such as tougher rules against exports of water and energy and to bar tobacco companies from suing governments.

    • A Developers Aims to Bring Bitcoin Payments for Retail By Integrating Lightning Network With NFC Technology

      One of the key areas where Bitcoin developers are working with all efforts is solving the scalability issue of the Bitcoin network. Lightning Network is the widely proposed solution in solving Bitcoin’s capability issue that allows for transactions to be taken off the Bitcoin blockchain thereby freeing up huge space in the Bitcoin network.

      While that developers have been actively working on the Lightning Network, they are also experimenting with other designs that make the payment system easier to use. Developer Igor Costa has recently submitted a proposal to standardize a way of connecting the Lightning Network with the Near-Field-Communication (NFC) technology. The developer claims that it could make the transactions seeds very fast making Bitcoin available for everyday retail payments.

      NFC is currently one of the widely used technology for contactless payments that lets the user pay for the item just by holding the smartphone a few inches away from the device it is paying to. NFC-based payments have become widely popular across Asia and Europe and can be made using not only smartphones but also using chips embedded in the payment cards.

    • What’s the Difference Between Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, and Others?

      Despite their names, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, Bitcoin Diamond, Bitcoin Private, and others are not the same thing as Bitcoin. They’re based on Bitcoin, and are piggybacking on its name, but they’re different things. Here’s how to know which Bitcoin variant is which.

      Bitcoin is a decentralized cryptocurrency based on open source code. Anyone can take the code, modify it, and release their own version. That’s exactly how these other coins were created.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The UK Refused To Raid A Company Suspected Of Money Laundering, Citing Its Tory Donations

      The British government refused to assist a French investigation into suspected money laundering and tax fraud by the UK telecoms giant Lycamobile – citing the fact that the company is the “biggest corporate donor to the Conservative party” and gives money to a trust founded by Prince Charles.

      French prosecutors launched a major probe into the firm and arrested 19 people accused of using its accounts to launder money from organised criminal networks two years ago, after BuzzFeed News revealed its suspicious financial activities in the UK. But the Conservatives continued taking Lycamobile’s money – and it can now be revealed that the British authorities stonewalled a formal request from French prosecutors to carry out raids in London as part of the ongoing investigation.

      Confidential correspondence between British government officials and their French counterparts, shown to BuzzFeed News by a source in the UK, reveals that the French wanted British authorities to raid Lycamobile’s London headquarters last year and seize evidence as part of their investigation into money laundering and tax fraud by the company.

      In an official response dated 30 March 2017, a government official noted that Lycamobile is “a large multinational company” with “vast assets at their disposal” and would be “extremely unlikely to agree to having their premises searched”.

    • NYT: Don’t Be Progressive, Be a ‘Liberal’

      A New York Times op-ed by political scientist (and former Bob Kerrey aide) Greg Weiner (7/13/18) may well be the New York Times–iest op-ed ever.

      Its ostensible subject is why Democrats should call themselves “liberals” and not “progressives.” But in making that case, it hits most of the main points of the New York Times‘ ideology—one that has guided the paper since the late 19th century.

      First and foremost, it’s a defense of the status quo. “The basic premise of liberal politics,” Weiner writes, “is the capacity of government to do good, especially in ameliorating economic ills.” But not too much good, mind you: “A liberal can believe that government can do more good or less,” he stresses. Weiner draws a contrast with progressives: “Where liberalism seeks to ameliorate economic ills, progressivism’s goal is to eradicate them.”

      So Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society is cited negatively as an example of “a progressive effort to remake society by eradicating poverty’s causes”—in the process supporting “community action” and financing the “political activism”—presented without explanation as a self-evident evil. The explanation, presumably, is that the poor should remain passive as they remain poor, gratefully accepting the handouts that “alleviate” their plight, as “cutting checks,” as Weiner puts it, is “something government does competently.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • NSA reveals how it beats 0-days

      In the ongoing cat-and-mouse game between nation states and attackers, anyone with something to protect has less time than ever to shore up their defenses.

      At this week’s RSA conference in San Francisco, Dave Hogue, technical director of the US National Security Agency (NSA), reviewed the organization’s best practices for defense – one of which is to “harden to best practices,” as the NSA often sees attacks against their systems within 24 hours of a new vulnerability being disclosed or discovered in the wild.

    • Mosque shooter’s search history shouldn’t be a cause for online censorship: expert

      Alexandre Bissonnette had scoured Twitter for right-wing commentators, conspiracy theorists, and white supremacists in the weeks before he killed six men inside a Quebec City mosque.

      The revelation at his sentencing hearing this week has raised questions about whether Canada is tough enough on online hate speech.

    • Facebook Is Using Dark Patterns To Undermine EU Privacy Rules

      GDPR, a new European privacy law, means users must explicitly give permission for most data collection. Facebook would like you to give them that permission.

      Lucky for Facebook they’re very good at getting people to do what they want. We talked last week about how tech companies use Dark Patterns to trick you, designing things to subtly push people into doing what benefits them.

    • A Tale of Two Poorly Designed Cross-Border Data Access Regimes

      On Tuesday, the European Commission published two legislative proposals that could further cement an unfortunate trend towards privacy erosion in cross-border state investigati­ons. Building on a foundation first established by the recently enacted U.S. CLOUD Act, these proposals compel tech companies and service providers to ignore critical privacy obligations in order to facilitate easy access when facing data requests from foreign governments. These initiatives collectively signal the increasing willingness of states to sacrifice privacy as a way of addressing pragmatic challenges in cross-border access that could be better solved with more training and streamlined processes.

    • New York Judge Makes the Wrong Call on Stingray Secrecy

      A New York judge has ruled that the public and the judiciary shouldn’t second-guess the police when it comes to secret snooping on the public with intrusive surveillance technologies.

      He couldn’t be more wrong.

      A core part of EFF’s mission is questioning the decisions of our law enforcement and intelligence agencies over digital surveillance. We’ve seen too many cases where police have abused databases, hidden the use of invasive technologies, targeted people exercising their First Amendment rights, disparately burdened immigrants and people of color, and captured massive amounts of unnecessary information on innocent people.

      We’re outraged about New York Judge Shlomo Hager’s recent ruling against the New York Civil Liberties Union in a public records case. The judge upheld the New York Police Department’s decision to withhold records about its purchases of cell-site simulator equipment (colloquially known as Stingrays), including the names of surveillance products and how much they cost taxpayers.

    • Hearing Monday in Groundbreaking Lawsuit Over Border Searches of Laptops and Smartphones

      EFF and ACLU Fight Government’s Move to Dismiss Case

      Boston – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will appear in federal court in Boston Monday, fighting the U.S. government’s attempts to block their lawsuit over illegal laptop and smartphone searches at the country’s borders.

      The case, Alasaad v. Nielsen, was filed last fall on behalf of 10 U.S. citizens and one lawful permanent resident who had their digital devices searched without a warrant. The lawsuit challenges the government’s fast-growing practice of searching travelers’ electronics at airports and other border crossings—often confiscating the items for weeks or months at a time—without any individualized suspicion that a traveler has done anything wrong.

    • France Testing Out Special Encrypted Messenger For Gov’t Officials As It Still Seeks To Backdoor Everyone Else’s Encryption

      The French government has been pushing for a stupid “backdoors” policy in encryption for quite some time. A couple years ago, following various terrorist attacks, there was talk of requiring backdoors to encrypted communications, and there was even a bill proposed that would jail execs who refused to decrypt data. Current President Emmanuel Macron has come out in favor of backdoors as well, even as he’s a heavy user of Telegram (which isn’t considered particularly secure encryption in the first place).

    • No boundaries for Facebook data: third-party trackers abuse Facebook Login

      So far in the No boundaries series, we’ve uncovered how web trackers exfiltrate identifying information from web pages, browser password managers, and form inputs.

    • ‘Facebook Login’ Feature Abused By Third-Party Trackers To Steal Data

      A new investigation reports that Facebook’s Login feature can be used to steal user information when you sign into third-party websites using your Facebook ID. This loophole allows many advertising and analytics services to harvest data for ad-targeting.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Chicago’s Gang Database Is Full of Errors — And Records We Have Prove It

      During January 1984, the Chicago Police Department labeled more than 700 people as suspected gang members following arrests for various crimes.

      One was in his early 30s and identified as a member of the Black P Stones.

      By last fall, nearly 34 years later, that individual was 77 — and still in what police commonly refer to as the department’s “gang database.”

      In fact, the 77-year-old was one of 163 people in their 70s or 80s in the database, which now includes information about 128,000 people and counting, according to records I obtained through a series of requests under the state Freedom of Information Act.

    • In Its Zeal to Deport Immigrants, the Justice Department Scraps Due Process

      In the past month, the Department of Justice has issued a series of stunningly senseless, wasteful, and cruel immigration policies. It ended a program to notify immigrants of their rights in deportation cases. It set an arbitrary and unreasonable quota for immigration judges. It enabled judges to make asylum decisions without a hearing. And it doubled down on a failed “zero tolerance” policy that aims to prosecute everyone accused of crossing the border without authorization.

    • Unsealed Warrant Shows FBI Investigated Michael Hayden For Leaking Info To Journalists

      And it is a very thin lead. All that’s included in the warrant affidavit [PDF] is the fact that Hayden engaged in email conversations with two unnamed reporters a total of 30 times in 18 months. Given his position, it’s surprising it didn’t happen more often. Officials are always contacted by reporters when writing about subjects/programs/etc. they oversee. In the affidavit, the special agent notes many of these contacts were to “confirm quotes” to be used in published articles and books.

      The inquiry here apparently centered on news of the Stuxnet virus and the US’s involvement in the cyberattack. The only quote about Stuxnet attributed to Hayden was fairly innocuous, stating only that this was the first time a cyberattack had been used to “effect physical destruction.”

    • On the Criminal Referral of Comey, Clinton et al: Will the Constitution Hold and the Media Continue to Suppress the Story?

      Ray McGovern reports on a major development in the Russia-gate story that has been ignored by corporate media: a criminal referral to the DOJ against Hillary Clinton, James Comey and others, exposing yet again how established media suppresses news it doesn’t like–about as egregious an example of unethical journalism as there is.

    • The War On Whistleblowers Claims Another Casualty

      Another whistleblower will be going to jail. Thanks to the application of the Espionage Act, former FBI special agent Terry Albury wasn’t able to defend his leaking of FBI internal documents to journalists (most likely The Intercept) by claiming he leaked to expose noxious FBI tactics and behavior. Defenses predicated on public interest aren’t allowed in Espionage Act trials, meaning Albury’s decision to plead guilty is there to limit the number of years he’ll spend incarcerated, rather than an indication his leaks were meant to harm the government.

      Albury’s attorneys released this statement to the Columbia Journalism Review shortly after his court hearing.

    • Court’s Ruling Holding Kobach in Contempt Is Well-Deserved

      The time is up for Kobach to follow the law.

      In a scathing decision issued on Wednesday evening, a federal judge held Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in contempt for repeatedly and willfully disobeying court orders that he comply with federal voting rights law.

      The contempt ruling by Chief Judge Julie Robinson, who was appointed by George W. Bush, follows years of attempts by Kobach to evade, undermine, or ignore the court’s directive that he register and notify all eligible voters in accordance with the National Voter Registration Act. The judge lambasted Kobach for his “history of noncompliance and disrespect for the Court’s decisions in this case.”

    • FBI Whistleblower Convicted of Leaking Documents in “Act of Conscience”

      In Minnesota, an FBI whistleblower who leaked classified information about how the bureau aggressively targets potential informants pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of unauthorized disclosure. Terry J. Albury, who was the only African-American agent at the FBI’s field office in Minneapolis, called his leaks an “an act of conscience” aimed at calling out racism at the bureau. He faces up to 10 years in prison, but is likely to receive less than 5 under a plea deal.

    • ‘We Need to Change the Rules for When Police Can Shoot’

      Janine Jackson: Amy Hughes was not suspected of a crime. She was standing still, outside of her home in Tucson, holding a kitchen knife by her side. Three police officers, responding to a “check welfare” call about a woman hacking at a tree, arrived and saw Hughes’ roommate, Sharon Chadwick, in the yard, and Hughes some six feet away from her. An officer yelled at Hughes to drop the knife. It’s not clear whether she heard.

      Neither two of the three officers called to the scene, nor Chadwick herself, felt that Hughes was threatening. The third cop, Andrew Kisela, felt differently, and without warning shot Hughes four times through a chain-link fence. She survived, and did not go quietly, suing for the violation of her Fourth Amendment rights. The Supreme Court, however, has just ruled that Kisela can’t be sued, that he’s covered by something called “qualified immunity.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • A Little Help for Our Friends

      In periods like this one, when governments seem to ignore the will of the people as easily as companies violate their users’ trust, it’s important to draw strength from your friends. EFF is glad to have allies in the online freedom movement like the Internet Archive. Right now, donations to the Archive will be matched automatically by the Pineapple Fund.

      Founded 21 years ago by Brewster Kahle, the Internet Archive’s mission is to provide free and universal access to knowledge through its vast digital library. Their work has helped capture the massive—yet now too often ephemeral—proliferation of human creativity and knowledge online. Popular tools like the Wayback Machine have allowed people to do things like view deleted and altered webpages and recover public statements to hold officials accountable.

      EFF and the Internet Archive have stood together in a number of digital civil liberties cases. We fought back when the Archive became the recipient of a National Security Letter, a tool often used by the FBI to force Internet providers and telecommunications companies to turn over the names, addresses, and other records about their customers, and frequently accompanied by a gag order. EFF and the Archive have worked together to fight threats to free expression, online innovation, and the free flow of information on the Internet on numerous occasions. We have even collaborated on community gatherings like EFF’s own Pwning Tomorrow speculative fiction launch and the recent Barlow Symposium exploring EFF co-founder John Perry Barlow’s philosophy of the Internet.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • How China became a leader in intellectual property

      As the tit-for-tat trade war between China and the United States escalates, you might be forgiven for assuming that intellectual property (IP) rights and protections barely exist in China. Yet, despite its reputation as an inveterate bootlegger, trademark squatter and state sponsor of corporate espionage, China is on course to becoming an IP powerhouse.

      “Over the past decade, China has demonstrated serious resolve to enforce an effective IP rights regime, and to bring the system in line with other developed systems in the US and Europe,” says Xingye Huang, associate at trademark and patent attorneys Abel & Imray. Indeed, China is on track to achieving its 2020 strategic goal laid out in 2008 of attaining a comparatively high level in terms of the creation, utilisation, protection and administration of IP rights.

      [...]

      According to the latest figures from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) from 2015, China filed the most patents of any country worldwide. In 2017, Chinese companies registered more than 1.3 million patents,

    • ABA Provides Guidance on Required Disclosure of Attorney Errors

      On April 17th, the American Bar Association provided a formal opinion regarding the requirement that attorneys disclose errors to clients. Its opinion was based on Rule 1.4 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which governs communications with clients. The ABA concluded that attorneys have a duty to disclose material errors to clients, but no duty to disclose errors to former clients. In this context, an error is material if a disinterested attorney would believe that the error would likely cause harm or prejudice to the client, or that the error would reasonably cause a client to consider terminating the practitioner’s representation — even if there would be no prejudice to the client.

    • Public interest in Plant Variety Rights. How high is the bar for the grant of a compulsory license?

      On 16 March 2017, the Office received an application for a compulsory licence by Pixley Berries (Juice) Limited ( “the applicant”) pursuant to Article 29 of Council Regulation (EC) No 2100/94 of 27 July 1994 on Community plant variety rights (Basic Regulation) (the Council Regulation (EC) No 2100/94 of 27 July 1994),.

    • Invention Disclosure to In-House Counsel Privileged

      Is an invention disclosure submitted by an inventor to an in-house attorney for procurement of a patent covered by attorney-client privilege? The Central District of California held in The California Institute of Technology v. Broadcom Limited, et al., No. CV 16-3714-GW (C.D. Cal. Mar. 19, 2018) that invention disclosures sent to in-house attorneys are covered by attorney-client privilege.

    • Coffin Patent Lives on after IPR

      The Federal Circuit agreed with the Patent Trial & Appeal Board that the claim language “form a casket body” was a structural limitation, not an intended use, and affirmed the final written decision of PTAB finding that the inter parte review petitioner failed to demonstrate that the claims were unpatentable. Matthews International Corp. v. Vandor Corp. (Fed. Cir., decided March 27, 2018).

    • Women have worse outcomes in virtually all respects when it comes to securing US patent rights, study finds

      Not only do women inventors submit far fewer US patent applications than men, but they also have much greater difficulty in obtaining and maintaining rights, a new study has revealed. The first-of-its-kind research found that female applicants are more likely to have their applications rejected and less likely to appeal these rejections. Women also had fewer claims allowed on average, while their granted patents received fewer citations and were less likely to be maintained.

      [...]

      Women with rarer names were significantly less disadvantaged than those with common names when it came to having their applications accepted. Future applicants also cited the patents of women with common names 30% less often than the patents of men with common names; in contrast, women with rare names had their patents cited 20% more than the patents of men with rare names.

    • India moves towards Form 27 reform

      India’s Patent Office is gathering input on reforming Form 27. IP practitioners hope changes to the burdensome statement regarding the working of the patented invention will come this year

    • Trademarks

      • Last Minute Trademark Infringement Claims Do Not “Ferryboat” Pendent Venue for Patent Infringement Claims

        The court granted one defendant’s alternative motion to transfer plaintiff’s claims against it for improper venue and rejected plaintiff’s attempt to establish pendent venue by asserting trademark claims in its amended complaint.

      • Caymus Vineyard Sues Caymus Builders Because It Built Some Buildings For Its Wine Business

        Look, trademark law can be confusing. If you’re not spending some significant portion of your life either practicing trademark law or writing about trademark law, you might misunderstand how it works. In particular, the requirement for entities to be in the same business or market often times trips people up, with them either not realizing that this provision exists for there to be trademark infringement in most cases, or else not understanding exactly what it means to be competing in the same marketplace.

      • Napa’s Caymus Vineyards sues Sonoma’s Caymus companies for trademark infringement

        The name “Caymus” has become familiar to Sonomans under a different context than the name holds in neighboring Napa Valley.

        And that, says Caymus Vineyards in Napa, is grounds for a lawsuit.

        According to a filing in San Francisco’s U.S. District Court, dated March 2, Sonoma’s Caymus Capital is being sued, along with other related parties, by Caymus Vineyards of Napa.

        The suit cites the defendants’ “unauthorized and unlawful use of Plaintiff’s famous, incontestable federal trademark registration for the mark ‘Caymus’ and Plaintiff’s corporate and trade name ‘Caymus Vineyards.’”

    • Copyrights

      • German FCJ declares AdBlock Plus legal

        Germany’s Federal Court of Justice has today decided in a year-long dispute between the German news publisher Axel-Springer-Verlag and Eyeo, the Cologne-based company behind AdBlock Plus.

      • Dear Canada: Accessing Publicly Available Information on the Internet Is Not a Crime

        Canadian authorities should drop charges against a 19-year-old Canadian accused of “unauthorized use of a computer service” for downloading thousands of public records hosted and available to all on a government website. The whole episode is an embarrassing overreach that chills the right of access to public records and threatens important security research.

        At the heart of the incident, as reported by CBC news this week, is the Nova Scotian government’s embarrassment over its own failure to protect the sensitive data of 250 people who used the province’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to request their own government files. These documents were hosted on the government web server that also hosted public records containing no personal information. Every request hosted on the server contained very similar URLs, which differed only in a single document ID number at the end of the URL. The teenager took a known ID number, and then, by modifying the URL, retrieved and stored all of the FOIA documents available on the Nova Scotia FOIA website.

      • Publisher Helps To Keep Sci-Hub In The Public Eye By Trying To Bully It Into Submission Using Ineffectual Legal Remedies

        As Techdirt has pointed out a number of times, attacking the huge free online repository of academic papers, Sci-Hub, is wrong from a number of viewpoints. It’s wrong because Sci-Hub is not a site aiming to profit from the labor of others, but is simply trying to make knowledge accessible to everyone. That’s also what academic publishers like to claim they are doing, except that strangely many of the largest end up with profit margins of 30%-40%, and the papers aren’t accessible to all, just to those rich enough to pay the “egregious price increases” that roll in every year. It’s wrong because most of the research published was paid for by the public through their taxes, who surely ought to be able to access it from convenient repositories that are as easy to use as Sci-Hub. It’s also provided free of charge for publishers to repackage, often with few changes. And yet the latter want people to pay again, typically $30 for a single article.

      • Of Course The RIAA Would Find A Way To Screw Over The Public In ‘Modernizing’ Copyright

        I haven’t had a chance to write much about the latest attempt to update copyright law in the US, under the title of the “Music Modernization Act,” but in part that was because Congress did something amazing: it came up with a decent solution to modernizing some outdated aspects of copyright law, that almost everyone agreed were pretty decent ideas for improvement. The crux of the bill was making music licensing easier and much clearer, which is very much needed, giving what a complete shit show music licensing is today.

        There was a chance to have this actually create a nice solution that would help artists, help online music services and generally make more works available to the public. It was a good thing. But… leave it to the RIAA to fuck up a good thing. You see, with there being pretty much universal support for the Music Modernization Act, the RIAA stepped in and pushed for it to be combined with a different copyright reform, known as the “CLASSICS Act.”

04.19.18

Links 19/4/2018: Mesa 17.3.9 and 18.0.1, Trisquel 8.0 LTS Flidas, Elections for openSUSE Board

Posted in News Roundup at 9:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open-source library for improving security of AI systems

    Attacks against neural networks have recently been flagged as one of the biggest dangers in our modern world where AI systems are increasingly getting embedded in many technologies we use and depend on daily.

    Adversaries can sometimes tamper with them even if they don’t know much about them, and “breaking” the system could result in very dangerous consequences.

    [...]

    The library is written in Python, as it is the most commonly used programming language for developing, testing and deploying Deep Neural Networks.

  • IBM launches open-source library for securing AI systems

    On Tuesday at the RSA conference in San Francisco, IBM announced the launch of the Adversarial Robustness Toolbox to support developers and users of AI that may become the victims of attacks against AI systems including Deep Neural Networks (DNNs).

    According to the tech giant, threat actors may be able to exploit weaknesses in AI systems through very subtle means. Simple, small, and often undetectable alterations in content including images, video, and audio recordings can be crafted to confuse AI systems, even without a deep knowledge of the AI or DNN a cyberattack is targeting.

  • IBM releases new toolbox to protect AI from adversarial attacks

    IBM is releasing an open-source software library to combat against adversarial attacks in deep neural networks (DNNs). DNNs are machine learning models that are capable of recognizing patterns.

  • Build a serverless framework at home: Go on, bit of open sourcey hijinx won’t hurt

    First unveiled at SpringOne Platform in December, riff is still an early project. It emerged from the Spring Cloud Data Flow, a data integration project to run Java code as microservices created under Pivotal’s open source Java-focused Spring framework.

    “Riff is the next step in that evolution,” says Jürgen Leschner, a riff organiser who works at Pivotal. Instead of running microservices that persist in containers, serverless models hide the containers from the developers and operations teams entirely. Instead, when a developer calls a software function, the container orchestration system (in riff’s case, Kubernetes) spins one up and then kills it off silently.

    [...]

    The benefits of open source serverless

    What do these open source serverless options bring to the party? Unless you’re using them to slurp services on the AWS platform and minimise container fees by weeding out idle compute power, why bother?

    Efficiency for developers is one driver, says Leschner. “Developers don’t have to worry about building the connectors and boilerplate stuff into their code. They can package a simpler project and the boilerplate is already in the platform.”

  • How will the GDPR impact open source communities?

    The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was approved by the EU Parliament on April 14, 2016, and will be enforced beginning May 25, 2018. The GDPR replaces the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC which was designed “to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens data privacy and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy.”

    The aim of the GDPR is to protect the personal data of individuals in the EU in an increasingly data-driven world.

  • 3 tips for organizing your open source project’s workflow on GitHub

    Managing an open source project is challenging work, and the challenges grow as a project grows. Eventually, a project may need to meet different requirements and span multiple repositories. These problems aren’t technical, but they are important to solve to scale a technical project. Business process management methodologies such as agile and kanban bring a method to the madness. Developers and managers can make realistic decisions for estimating deadlines and team bandwidth with an organized development focus.

  • Prospects for free software in cars

    Car manufacturers, like most companies, navigate a narrow lane between the benefits of using free and open-source software and the perceived or real importance of hiding their trade secrets. Many are using free software in some of the myriad software components that make up a modern car, and even work in consortia to develop free software. At the recent LibrePlanet conference, free-software advocate Jeremiah Foster covered progress in the automotive sector and made an impassioned case for more free software in their embedded systems. Foster has worked in automotive free software for many years and has played a leading role in the GENIVI Alliance, which is dedicated to incorporating free software into in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems. He is currently the community manager for the GENIVI Alliance.

    First, Foster talked about the importance of software in modern vehicles. He pointed out that software increasingly becomes the differentiator used to market cars. Horsepower no longer sells these vehicles, Foster says—features do. He claims that some companies even sell the car at cost (the old “razor/blades” or “printer/ink” business model) and make their money on aftermarket apps and features. Companies are finding it effective to get hardware from other manufacturers while improving the user experience through their software. Some of these features contribute to safety (such as alerts that help you drive within the lane or parallel park), and some may be critical, such dashboard icons that warn the driver of electrical system problems or low brake fluid.

  • Productising open source integration

    We asked Lumina Networks’ CEO Andrew Coward, how companies can make best use of open source. “Open source is not a spectator sport,” says Andrew. “Sitting around and waiting for somebody to show up and deliver the equivalent of your existing vendor’s offering is not the right approach. So we work best when our customers are very engaged. And really, it’s all about how you automate things.”

  • Riot: A Distributed Way of Having IRC and VOIP Client and Home Server

    Riot is a free and open source decentralized instant messaging application that can be considered an alternative to Slack. We take a look at features of Riot, installation procedure and usage.

    It’s surprising that many Linux users and open source projects use a proprietary messaging service like Slack. Even we at It’s FOSS use Slack for our internal communication which I don’t like. This is why I came up with the proposal of using an open source alternative to Slack, called Riot.

  • Announcing the 2018 Fractal Hackfest

    For the past few months, I’ve been contributing to a new group messaging app called Fractal. Its aim is to be so good that we can maybe, eventually, finally replace IRC as the primary communication channel for GNOME development.

  • Events

    • Rust loves GNOME Hackfest: Day 1

      This is a report of the first day of the Rust loves GNOME Hackfest that we are having in Madrid at the moment. During the first day we had a round of introductions and starting outlining the state of the art.

    • Madrid GNOME+Rust Hackfest, part 1

      I’m in Madrid since Monday, at the third GNOME+Rust hackfest! The OpenShine folks are kindly letting us use their offices, on the seventh floor of a building by the Cuatro Caminos roundabout.

      I am very, very thankful that this time everyone seems to be working on developing gnome-class. It’s a difficult project for me, and more brainpower is definitely welcome — all the indirection, type conversion, GObject obscurity, and procedural macro shenanigans definitely take a toll on oneself.

    • Five days left

      I use to joke that the last week before foss-north is the worst – everything is done, all that is left is the stress.

    • KubeCon + CloudnativeCon Europe 2018

      The Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s flagship conference will be taking place in Copenhagen from May 2-4. It will cover Kubernetes, Prometheus OpenTracing, Fluentd, Linkerd, gRPC, CoreDNS, and other key technologies in cloud native computing.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • No-Judgment Digital Definitions: App vs Web App

        Just when you think you’ve got a handle on this web stuff, things change. The latest mixup? Apps vs Web Apps. An app should be an app no matter what, but there is a difference between the two. Let’s find out what it is.

      • Friend of Add-ons: Viswaprasath Ks

        Please meet our newest Friend of Add-ons, Viswaprasanth Ks! Viswa began contributing to Mozilla in January 2013, when he met regional community members while participating in a Firefox OS hackathon in Bangalore, India. Since then, he has been a member of the Firefox Student Ambassador Board, a Sr. Firefox OS app reviewer, and a Mozilla Rep and Tech Speaker.

        In early 2017, Viswa began developing extensions for Firefox using the WebExtensions API. From the start, Viswa wanted to invite his community to learn this framework and create extensions with him. At community events, he would speak about extension development and help participants build their first extensions. These presentations served as a starting point for creating the Activate campaign “Build Your Own Extension.” Viswa quickly became a leader in developing the campaign and testing iterations with a variety of different audiences. In late 2017, he collaborated with community members Santosh Viswanatham and Trishul Goel to re-launch the campaign with a new event flow and more learning resources for new developers.

      • Virtual Reality at the Intersection of Art & Technology

        This is the second video in our four part series around creators, virtual reality, and the open web. As we laid out in the opening post of this series, virtual reality is more than a technology, and it is far more than mere eye-candy. VR is an immensely powerful tool that is honed and developed every day. In the hands of a creator, that tool has the potential to transport audiences into new worlds and provide new perspectives.

      • Hello wasm-pack!

        As Lin Clark emphasizes in her article about Rust and WebAssembly: the goal of WebAssembly is not to replace JavaScript, but to be an awesome tool to use with JavaScript. Lots of amazing work has been done to simplify crossing the language boundary between JavaScript and WebAssembly, and you can read all about that in Alex Crichton’s post on wasm-bindgen. This post focuses on a different type of JavaScript/Rust integration: package ecosystem and developer workflows.

      • Firefox Performance Update #6

        These updates are going to shift format slightly. I’m going to start by highlighting the status of some of the projects the Firefox Performance Team (the front-end team working to make Firefox snappy AF), and then go into the grab-bag list of improvements that we’ve seen landing in the tree.

      • Announcing cargo src (beta)

        cargo src is a new tool for exploring your Rust code. It is a cargo plugin which runs locally and lets you navigate your project in a web browser. It has syntax highlighting, jump to definition, type on hover, semantic search, find uses, find impls, and more.

      • Things Gateway – Series 2, Episode 1
      • Firefox Data engineering newsletter Q1 / 2018

        As the Firefox data engineering teams we provide core tools for using data to other teams. This spans from collection through Firefox Telemetry, storage & processing in our Data Platform to making data available in Data Tools.

        [...]

        Most centrally, the Telemetry portal is now the main entry point to our tools, documentation and other resources. When working with Firefox data you will find all the important tools linked from there.

      • Working for Good: Metalwood Salvage of Portland

        The web should be open to everyone, a place for unbridled innovation, education, and creative expression. That’s why Firefox fights for Net Neutrality, promotes online privacy rights, and supports open-source tech around the globe. We strive to make the online community a better place. We also know people everywhere work tirelessly to improve their own communities. In this series, we’re profiling businesses that work to make the world better—and use Firefox to support a healthy, open, and safe internet.

      • It’s time to give Firefox a fresh chance

        After spending some quality time comparing the actual experience of using Chrome, Safari, and Firefox across a variety of websites, I’m confident in saying browser benchmarks are profoundly uninformative. The truth is that performance differences are not substantial enough to be noticed. If anything, you’re most likely to clash with “only works in Chrome” incompatibilities, but that’s kind of the whole reason for me to avoid Chrome: someone has to keep using the alternatives so as to give them a reason to exist.

  • BSD

    • LLVM Is Playing A Big Role With Vulkan/SPIR-V Compilers

      The usage of LLVM as part of the graphics driver stack continues to be picked up now especially in the Vulkan/SPIR-V world.

      With the new NVIDIA 396 driver series there is their new “NVVM” compiler stack for SPIR-V, the IR used by Vulkan and OpenCL and now can be consumed by OpenGL 4.6 too.

    • OpenBSD on my fanless desktop computer

      I’ve been using OpenBSD on servers for years as a web developer, but never had a chance to dive in to system administration before. If you appreciate the simplicity of OpenBSD and you have to give it a try on your desktop.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • ‘No Company Is So Important Its Existence Justifies Setting Up a Police State’

      You’re talking about very — about specific manifestations, and in some cases in ways that presuppose a weak solution.

      What is data privacy? The term implies that if a company collects data about you, it should somehow protect that data. But I don’t think that’s the issue. I think the problem is that it collects data about you period. We shouldn’t let them do that.

      I won’t let them collect data about me. I refuse to use the ones that would know who I am. There are unfortunately some areas where I can’t avoid that. I can’t avoid even for a domestic flight giving the information of who I am. That’s wrong. You shouldn’t have to identify yourself if you’re not crossing a border and having your passport checked.

      With prescriptions, pharmacies sell the information about who gets what sort of prescription. There are companies that find this out about people. But they don’t get much of a chance to show me ads because I don’t use any sites in a way that lets them know who I am and show ads accordingly.

      So I think the problem is fundamental. Companies are collecting data about people. We shouldn’t let them do that. The data that is collected will be abused. That’s not an absolute certainty, but it’s a practical, extreme likelihood, which is enough to make collection a problem.

      A database about people can be misused in four ways. First, the organization that collects the data can misuse the data. Second, rogue employees can misuse the data. Third, unrelated parties can steal the data and misuse it. That happens frequently, too. And fourth, the state can collect the data and do really horrible things with it, like put people in prison camps. Which is what happened famously in World War II in the United States. And the data can also enable, as it did in World War II, Nazis to find Jews to kill.

      In China, for example, any data can be misused horribly. But in the U.S. also, you’re looking at a CIA torturer being nominated to head the CIA, and we can’t assume that she will be rejected. So when you put this together with the state spying that Snowden told us about, and with the Patriot Act that allows the FBI to take almost any database of personal data without even talking to a court. And what you see is, for companies to have data about you is dangerous.

      And I’m not interested in discussing the privacy policies that these companies have. First of all, privacy policies are written so that they appear to promise you some sort of respect for privacy, while in fact having such loopholes that the company can do anything at all. But second, the privacy policy of the company doesn’t do anything to stop the FBI from taking all that data every week. Anytime anybody starts collecting some data, if the FBI thinks it’s interesting, it will grab that data.

      And we also know that the FBI and other such agencies are inclined to label protesters as terrorists. So that way they can use laws that were ostensibly adopted to protect us from terrorists to threaten a much larger number of us than any terrorist could.

    • Numerical Analysis Software Global Market Analysis & Forecast: Analytica, Matlab, GNU Octave, Plotly, FlexPro
  • Public Services/Government

    • German government moves to open source private cloud

      The German federal government is moving to an open source, self-hosted cloud platform from Nextcloud for file sync and sharing and collaboration, in order to protect the data of its citizens.

      The Federal Information Technology Center (ITZBund), which takes care of IT services for the entire federal government, has been running a pilot of 5000 users with Nextcloud since October 2016 and after a successful tender this will now be rolled out everywhere.

    • German government chooses Nextcloud for open-source files

      Nextcloud has revealed its new three-year contract which will consist of supplying the German federal government with its private, on-premises cloud platform.

    • Open source’s big German win: 300,000 users shift to Nextcloud for file sharing

      The German federal government has chosen local private cloud and open-source file-sync operator Nextcloud as its collaboration and file-sharing platform for 300,000 government users.

      Nextcloud arrived on Germany’s tech scene in 2016 after Frank Karlitschek, co-founder of the open source infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud program OwnCloud, forked the software to create a more open-source model.

    • German Government Chooses Open Source For Its Federal Cloud Solution

      It’s not hidden that apart from costing tons of money, the use of proprietary software also brings along hidden security caveats. These are the two primary reasons why the usage of open source software is being pushed in public agencies all around the world, especially in European countries.

    • Israeli Government Is Open Sourcing Its Software Code

      Just yesterday, we told you about German government’s decision to go ahead with an open source solution for creating its private cloud. The government announced a partnership with Nextcloud, which is a popular open source solutions provider.

      In another encouraging development for the open source enthusiasts, the Israeli government has decided to open source its software code. As a result, the released code will be available to public and free to reuse.

  • Programming/Development

    • A Taxonomy of Tech Debt

      Hi there. I’m Bill “LtRandolph” Clark, and I’m the engineering manager for the Champions team on LoL. I’ve worked on several different teams on League over the past years, but one focus has been consistent: I’m obsessed with tech debt. I want to find it, I want to understand it, and where possible, I want to fix it.

      When engineers talk about any existing piece of technology – for example League of Legends patch 8.4 – we often talk about tech debt. I define tech debt as code or data that future developers will pay a cost for. Countless blog posts, articles, and definitions have been written about this scourge of software development. This post will focus on types of tech debt I’ve seen during my time working at Riot, and a model for discussing it that we’re starting to use internally. If you only take away one lesson from this article, I hope you remember the “contagion” metric discussed below.

    • 6 Python datetime libraries

      Once upon a time, one of us (Lacey) had spent more than an hour staring at the table in the Python docs that describes date and time formatting strings. I was having a hard time understanding one specific piece of the puzzle as I was trying to write the code to translate a datetime string from an API into a Python datetime object, so I asked for help.

    • Is DevOps compatible with part-time community teams?
    • Intel Opens Up nGraph Source Code For DNN Model Compiler

      Intel tonight announced they are open-sourcing their nGraph compiler code, which serves as a framework-neutral deep neural network model compiler.

      Intel claims with nGraph and Xeon Scalable hardware that researchers can obtain up to 10x performance improvements over previous TensorFlow integrations, as one example. Besides TensorFlow, nGraph also supports PyTorch, MXNet, Neon, Caffe2, and CNTK while also planning to support other frameworks moving forward.

    • Why it’s finally time to give up on the name JavaScript

      An iOS developer has apparently received a cease and desist notice from Oracle over the use of the word “JavaScript” in the title of their app. The developer, Tyanya Software, shared the notice on perennial internet soapbox Reddit to seek advice on how to fight the order.

      [...]

      If user reviews are any indication, the app is not even particularly good, with reviewers stating things such as “Not ready for production,” “Does not work as advertised,” and “Waste of money, don’t buy this.” The last update to the app was in 2014, which the changelog notes was only an upgrade to add support for iOS 8. The app developer is at least honest about the intent behind the unwieldy name for the app, saying in a Reddit comment that “we game the App Store ranking by adding all the keywords to the app name.”

      While Oracle has a duty to protect their trademarks, this type of legal bludgeoning underscores a historical problem that has been left unaddressed for too long: JavaScript is a terrible name for the thing being described.

      It has nothing to do with Java, an actual product developed by Sun (now owned by Oracle). JavaScript was developed at Mozilla, and the name was changed during beta releases of Netscape Navigator 2.0 from “LiveScript” to “JavaScript.” It has, for some time, caused confusion among casual web users about the difference between Java and JavaScript. Given that ECMAScript is also a trademarked term, it seems best to revert to calling the language “LiveScript” to undercut trademark-related legal posturing.

      [...]

      Oracle declined to comment on this story.

    • New PyPI launched

      The new PyPI has been launched. Browser traffic and API calls (including “pip install”) have been redirected from the old pypi.python.org to the new site. The old PyPI will shut down on April 30. LWN covered the new PyPI last week.

    • Pip 10.0 has been released

      The release of pip 10.0 has been announced. Some highlights of this release include the removal of Python 2.6 support, limited PEP 518 support (with more to come), a new “pip config” command, and other improvements.

    • Understanding metrics and monitoring with Python
    • A new package index for Python

      The Python Package Index (PyPI) is the principal repository of libraries for the Python programming language, serving more than 170 million downloads each week. Fifteen years after PyPI launched, a new edition is in beta at pypi.org, with features like better search, a refreshed layout, and Markdown README files (and with some old features removed, like viewing GPG package signatures). Starting April 16, users visiting the site or running pip install will be seamlessly redirected to the new site. Two weeks after that, the legacy site is expected to be shut down and the team will turn toward new features; in the meantime, it is worth a look at what the new PyPI brings to the table.

    • Spyder – The Scientific Python IDE for Data Science

      I don’t know how many of our readers are research scientists, data analysts, etc. but today, we introduce an IDE that is ideal for Python development and it goes by the name of Spyder.

      Spyder is an Open Source IDE written in Python for Python development with a focus on research, data analysis, and scientific package creation. It boasts a well-planned User Interface with interactive options, customizable layouts, and toggle-able sections.

      Its features include a multi-language editor with automatic code completion, real-time code analysis, go-to definitions, etc. It also contains a history log, developer tools, a documentation viewer, a variable explorer, and an interactive console, among other perks.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Rampage may stoke CRISPR fears, but scientists say it could be educational, too

      “In a sense, it’s flattering that Hollywood is interested in CRISPR technology enough to make it the premise of a movie,” Liu says. It’s even more flattering for scientists who are fans of the people in those movies. “If The Rock is really interested in learning more about CRISPR, you can tell him to reach out to me,” Liu adds. “I’m happy to give him a CRISPR lecture.”

  • Hardware

    • Facebook Is Working To Build Its Own Chips For Its Hardware Projects

      Facebook is following the footsteps of its fellow tech giants and planning to build its own chips. This move comes in the wake of recent efforts from Google, Apple, and Amazon reduce their reliance on Intel and Qualcomm.

    • Facebook is building a team to design its own chips
    • Facebook Is Forming a Team to Design Its Own Chips

      The postings didn’t make it clear what kind of use Facebook wants to put the chips to other than the broad umbrella of artificial intelligence. A job listing references “expertise to build custom solutions targeted at multiple verticals including AI/ML,” indicating that the chip work could focus on a processor for artificial intelligence tasks.

    • Digital remains should be treated like physical ones [iophk: “unlike most physical artifacts, storage devices lose data quickly without active maintenance up to and including regular migrations: magnetic loses in a matter of years, SSD loses in a matter of months”]

      To date, there has been little effort to build frameworks that ensure ethical usage of our internet activity for commercial purposes. However, new research from the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) suggests that the guidelines used to manage human remains in archaeological exhibitions could be used as a framework to regulate the growing DAI industry, and make the commercial use of digital remains more ethical.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Goldman Sachs Analyst Asks Whether Curing Patients Is A Sustainable Business Model

      Pharma companies generally like to give the impression that their business is a win-win kind of thing: you get better, they get sales. But sometimes the mask slips, and the real strategy that lies behind the benevolent exterior is revealed. For example, back in 2014 we wrote about the CEO of Bayer, one of the biggest drug companies in the world, openly admitting it developed medicines for rich patients in the West that can pay high prices, not for those in places like India that need them just as much, but can’t afford them.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • A 10-Minute Trial, a Death Sentence: Iraqi Justice for ISIS Suspects

      Iraq is ramping up prosecutions of thousands of people accused of supporting the Islamic State, handing death sentences to workers, wives and fighters.

    • Return to Ward 17: Making peace with lost comrades

      I was the Iraq bureau chief for Reuters when Namir, 22, and Saeed, 40, were shot dead by a U.S. Apache helicopter on the streets of Baghdad on July 12, 2007, along with 10 other people. The attack grabbed global attention when WikiLeaks released classified U.S. military footage of the incident in 2010. The video, titled “Collateral Murder,” was viewed millions of times.

      I had planned to be in Iraq for the 10th anniversary, to apologise to Namir and Saeed’s families. Instead, unable to cope as the day approached, I was admitted to the Psychological Trauma Recovery Services inpatient unit at Melbourne’s Austin Health. It was my second admission to the facility, known as Ward 17, in less than a year.

    • Belgium Illegally Shipped 96 Tonnes of Sarin Precursor to Syria

      Knack and Syrian Archive reveal today that Belgian companies have violated EU sanctions against Syria, according to the summons of an upcoming lawsuit.

      Based on information found through the UN Comtrade database, freedom of information requests, and confirmed by the Belgian Customs, we can reveal that a criminal case regarding exports of chemicals to Syria has been opened in Antwerp Criminal Court. This case is brought by the Belgian Customs against three Flemish companies, one managing director and one manager, according to court press judge Roland Cassiers citing the summons.

      Since EU sanctions from September 2013 made export licences compulsory for the export of isopropanol to Syria in concentrations of 95% or higher, Syrian Archive and Knack can report that Belgian companies exported 96 tonnes of isopropanol, a sarin precursor, to Syria between 2014 and 2016.

    • How Social Media Built the Case for Trump’s Strike on Syria

      Social media has emerged as a key battleground in the U.S. and Russian media campaign to promote their sharply divergent accounts of chemical weapons in Syria.

      The intelligence assessments presented over the weekend by the United States and France to justify missiles strikes against Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons in a Damascus suburb relied to an unusual degree on information gleaned from open source material and social media. Russia, meanwhile, is mustering an army of internet trolls to shift blame for the chemical weapons attack.

    • ‘We are watching you’: Political killings shake Mexico election

      Magda Rubio had just launched her campaign for mayor of a small city in northern Mexico, when a chilling voice came through her cell phone. “Drop out,” the caller warned, “or be killed.”

    • Turkey’s anti-war protesters detained: ‘Everything is a crime’

      “It was 04:00 when the police came beating at my door. ‘Open up! Open up!’ they were shouting,” recalls Denizhan Eren, a 23-year-old college student.

      “As soon as I opened the door, they yelled ‘Lie down!’ They had huge guns and they were wearing balaclavas.”

      Denizhan is one of a number of students from Turkey’s prestigious Bogazici University who have been detained in Istanbul in recent weeks.

      In total 31 students have been detained. While 10 have been freed, eight have been released pending trial and another 13 students are still being held in pre-trial detention.

    • This is the First War Since the Iraq Invasion Where the World Hasn’t Heard From Julian Assange

      In the spring of 2003 when the US and UK commenced their illegal invasion of Iraq, there was no Wikileaks, a free man called Julian Assange was someone no one had heard of, alt-media did not exist and nor did social media as it is understood today.

      In a short 15 years a lot has changed. Independent online media has become a global force and social media allows people to share information and opinions with an ease, scope and impact that was previously unthinkable. News channels like CGTV, RT, Press-TV and Telesur have changed both the online, cable and satellite tv landscape and perhaps most importantly, since 2006 Julian Assange’s Wikileaks has brought to light, information that was never intended to see the light of day – all of which has exposed the lies, manipulation and violence behind the governments taking the world to illegal war after illegal war.

    • Out of 26 Major Editorials on Trump’s Syria Strikes, Zero Opposed

      A survey by FAIR of the top 100 papers in the US by circulation found not a single editorial board opposed to Trump’s April 13 airstrikes on Syria. Twenty supported the strikes, while six were ambiguous as to whether or not the bombing was advisable. The remaining 74 issued no opinion about Trump’s latest escalation of the Syrian war.

      This is fairly consistent with editorial support for Trump’s April 2017 airstrikes against the Syrian government, which saw only one editorial out of 47 oppose the bombing (FAIR.org, 4/11/17). The single paper of dissent from last year, the Houston Chronicle, didn’t publish an editorial on last week’s bombing.

      Seven of the top 10 newspapers by circulation—USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, New York Post, Chicago Tribune, Newsday and Washington Post—supported the airstrikes. The New York Daily News and San Jose Mercury News offered no opinion, while the New York Times (4/13/18) was ambiguous—mostly lamenting the lack of congressional approval, but not saying that this meant the strikes were illegal or unwise. “Legislation should…set limits on a president’s ability to wage war against states like Syria,” is the Times’ conclusion. A complete list of editorials on the airstrikes can be viewed here.

    • How The Health Community Is Failing Julian Assange, The Victims Of The Douma Attacks, And Three Women Struggling To Feed Their Kids

      Around the world, people are getting sicker, and more and more are dying from entirely preventable causes. We have the answers to why, we just don’t have the will to stop it. In the first of a two part series, Dr Lissa Johnson looks at the greatest cause of global illness and death.

      The Lancet recently published an article identifying the single most important action that health professionals can take to promote “health for all”. The article’s recommendations draw on the findings of the World Health Assembly (WHA), the decision-making body of the World Health Organisation (WHO), which has pinpointed the most pervasive cause of ill-health worldwide.

      However, scarcely a mainstream health professional in the Western world has heeded the advice of The Lancet or the WHA, which is curious. The Lancet is described by its publisher as the world’s leading independent medical journal. The paper’s author, David McCoy, is Professor of Global Public Health at Queen Mary University London, ranked as one of the top universities in the UK. The WHA is widely regarded as the highest health policy-setting body in the world.

    • Special Operations Forces Aiming to Expand

      The 2019 budget request for U.S. Special Operations Command — $13.6 billion — is 10% higher than the 2018 level and is the largest budget request ever submitted by US SOCOM.

      U.S. special operations forces, which are currently deployed in 90 countries, have more than doubled in size from 33,000 personnel in 2001 to around 70,000 personnel in early 2018. Next year’s budget, if approved, would make them larger still.

    • Senior Civil Servants Still Deeply Sceptical of Russian Responsibility for Skripal Poisoning

      Well-placed FCO sources tell me it remains the case that senior civil servants in both the FCO and Home Office remain very sceptical of Russian guilt in the Skripal case. It remains the case that Porton Down scientists have identified the chemical as a “novichok-style” nerve agent but still cannot tie its production to Russia – there are many other possibilities. The effort to identify the actual perpetrator is making no headway, with the police having eliminated by alibi the Russian air passenger on the same flight as Julia Skripal identified as suspicious by MI5 purely on grounds of the brevity of their stay.

    • What is the U.S. Fighting for in Syria?

      The Trump administration delivered several dozen military strikes against Syria purportedly aimed at chemical production and storage facilities. It was an act the international community feared might lead to overt war in Syria between the US, Iran and Russia, but it came off a bit better: the strike seems to have been carefully calibrated, involved care to avoid casualties and seemed largely symbolic in nature. The strikes did not meaningfully change facts on the ground.

      What sense can we make out of all these strategic events in Syria? We encounter a baffling array of players: Syrian troops, Syrian insurgents, jihadis of varying ideologies, Iranians, Russians, Americans, Israelis, Turks, Saudis, Qataris, Emiratis, Shi’ite militias, Iraqis, Kurds, Hizballah—all locked in a deadly dance. But as complex as it may be, this seven-year bloody conflict still continues to pose the very same long-term fundamental questions to US policy in Syria and the region. These questions demand an answer.

    • “I Really Did Kill Those Babies”

      Genene Jones, a Texas nurse long suspected of more than a dozen child murders decades ago but convicted of only one, allegedly confessed. The newly uncovered evidence emerged in a hearing today in which Jones attempted to have five murder charges against her dismissed.

    • Ukraine’s NATO Bid Risks Even Worse U.S.-Russia Ties

      It’s been four years since the hectic “Euromaidan” protest movement culminated in a coup that deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Though civil war grinds on in the eastern half of the country, Ukraine has wandered in and out of American news cycles since the dramatic change of government in Kiev.

      But a more recent development has implications that are rarely explored in American media, despite what it could mean for broader U.S. international relations. Ukraine is vying to take its place as NATO’s newest member state, a move that could seriously escalate tensions between Washington and Moscow beyond their current high point.

      “It’s safe to say that Russia would be, and has been, opposed to NATO membership for Ukraine,” James Carden, former advisor to the State Department’s U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, said in an email exchange.

      Neighboring states such as Ukraine and Georgia, Carden added, “are red lines for Russia and we should take them at their word.”

    • Four Lessons From the Strike on Syria

      The lessons from last weekend’s strike on Syria by the United States of America and two of its allies do not bode well for the future of democracy or the future of peace, says Inder Comar.

      [...]

      Checks and balances are swept away. And the strike now sets further precedent for unilateral executive authority to attack or invade another country based. It is one person, and one person alone, who commands American military might, without scrutiny or later accountability.

    • ‘Absolutely Earth-Shaking’: North and South Korea Reportedly in Talks to Officially End Korean War

      Technically, North and South Korea are still at war, and have been for more than six decades—but an “absolutely earth-shaking” new report on Tuesday indicates the conflict may soon be coming to an end.

      Citing an anonymous South Korean diplomatic official, Munhwa Ilbo—a South Korean daily newspaper—reported that the neighboring countries are hashing out a statement that could officially bring the war to an end later this month, when North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are set to meet in person for the first time.

    • North and South Korea reportedly set to announce official end to war

      North and South Korea are in talks to announce a permanent end to the officially declared military conflict between the two countries, daily newspaper Munhwa Ilbo reported Tuesday, citing an unnamed South Korean official.

      Ahead of a summit next week between North Korean premier Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, lawmakers from the neighboring states were thought to be negotiating the details of a joint statement that could outline an end to the confrontation.

      Kim and Moon could also discuss returning the heavily fortified demilitarized zone separating them to its original state, the newspaper said.

      [...]

      Pyongyang and Seoul have technically been at war since the 1950-1953 Korean conflict ended with a truce — and not a peace treaty. Geopolitical tensions have occasionally flared up since the armistice, although to date both countries have managed to avoid another devastating conflict.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Puerto Rico Hit With Island-Wide Blackout

      Today’s outage marks the first time since the island has suffered a total electrical failure since the Category 4 storm hit on September 20 – leaving many of Puerto Rico’s 40,000 electric customers without reliable power.

    • Why Can’t We Fix Puerto Rico’s Power Grid?

      How’d they get that way? As an invaluable article in IEEE Spectrum points out, tax incentives in the 1970s induced mainland US companies to build factories in the southern part of the island, so Prepa built generating facilities there. In 1996 the tax break expired and the factories left. So today, 70 percent of Puerto Rico’s population lives in the north, around San Juan, and 70 percent of the power generation is in the south. A fragile grid connects the two via tough, mountainous terrain. Scattered rural populations have always had a tenuous connection to that grid. Meanwhile Prepa, hamstrung by billions of dollars of debt, austerity measures, and possible corruption slacked off on maintenance. Hurricane Maria sliced Puerto Rico’s broken-down grid in half.

  • Finance

    • ‘Big bitcoin heist’ suspect escapes prison and flees Iceland ‘on PM’s plane’

      “Prison breaks in Iceland usually mean someone just fled to get drunk,” he said. “The underworlds are tiny and it is extremely difficult to hide, let alone flee the country.”

    • ATMs go dry nationwide; government says needs three days to fix problem
    • Officials: Sharing Economy Booming In China; Success And Challenges Of New Business Models

      The sharing economy is booming, disrupting conventional ways of doing business, creating new jobs, and new headaches for policymakers. China is promoting the sharing economy as a national strategy, as explained during the annual United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) electronic commerce event this week, and illustrated by DiDi Chuxing, a leading Chinese mobile-based transportation platform.

    • Panel: E-Commerce Crucial For Development, Some Eager To Negotiate At WTO
    • Censorship-free social network Memo is built on Bitcoin Cash

      Memo, an on-chain social network developed on the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) blockchain, has launched in alpha testing this week. Developed on the Bitcoin BCH network, the application allows the recording and storage of data on the blockchain through its front-end protocol, tied to individual BCH addresses and keys.

      Using OP_RETURN transactions, users can tether specific information to their profile, in the makings of what could be one of the first social networks for BCH. According to the developer behind Memo, the application aims to create an ‘uncensorable’ way to store data and transactional information, contrary to the model used by online social networks.

    • That’s Not My Brexit!

      That’s not my Brexit…

      …the promised Free Trade Agreements are all too far away.

      That’s my Brexit!

      That one there.

      The one which cannot actually happen.

    • Bitcoin boosted as IMF boss Christine Lagarde praises cryptocurrency and suggests it could transform the way people save and invest

      Bitcoin has received an unexpected boost from Christine Lagarde, after the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) detailed the global benefits of cryptocurrency.

      Ms Lagarde wrote in a blogpost that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin could enable fast and inexpensive transactions, while the underlying blockchain technology could make financial markets safer.

      The price of the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency returned above $8,000 following the publication of Ms Lagarde’s comments, though it is unclear if the gains are directly attributable to the news.

    • Death By a Thousand Tax Cuts

      Every year at this time, US taxpayers (who bother to read news) are treated to a parade of stories about taxes and tax policy. We learn about the citizens who work multiple jobs and pay their taxes, while falling farther and farther behind in an economy that clearly exists to redistribute wealth upwards. We also learn about corporations, the real “welfare queens,” which have used the courts and legislatures to legally avoid paying their fair share of taxes, while demanding subsidies, tax breaks, and the dismantling of labor unions.

      Under the current administration, we are witnessing the deathblows to the economic and social policies of the New Deal, FDR’s plan to save capitalism after the Crash of 29, which created the greatest economic expansion in the world, and with it the largest expansion of civil rights in US history. Tax policy was a core element of this transformation. After a false start or two, the New Deal became wildly successful. Besides the implementation of Social Security through a payroll tax structure, he raised taxes on the highest brackets and decreased or eliminated them on the lowest. He also adopted new monetary policy; FDR moved the US to fiat currency and running deficits. It worked for a long time.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Cuba: President Raúl Castro Stepping Down from Power

      In Cuba, the National Assembly is meeting today to elect a successor for President Raúl Castro, who has announced he’s stepping down this week. The Assembly is widely expected to choose the current vice president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, to be Cuba’s next leader. Raúl Castro is the younger brother of Fidel Castro, who led Cuba for decades following the 1959 revolution. The transition will mark the first time in more than six decades that Cuba will be led by someone outside the Castro family.

    • Comedian Randy Credico says Trump adviser Roger Stone threatened his dog

      New York City comic and ex-radio host Randy Credico says that longtime Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone sent him “scary,” obscenity-filled emails — including one threatening his dog — after he went public disputing Stone’s claim that Credico was his “backchannel” to WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential campaign.

      In a new interview on the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery,” Credico shared with co-hosts Daniel Klaidman and Michael Isikoff email messages he said he had received from Stone in just the last few days.

    • Trump’s Legal Worries Grow as Judge Rejects Effort for President to Review Docs Seized in FBI Raid

      In a potentially major setback for President Trump, a federal judge has rejected efforts from the president to be given first access to documents seized by the FBI last week during raids on the properties of Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, who is being investigated for possible bank and wire fraud. Monday’s court hearing pitted the president against his own Justice Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas McKay urged the judge to reject the president’s request. McKay said, “Just because he has a powerful client doesn’t mean he should get special treatment.” The FBI seized 10 boxes of documents and as many as a dozen electronic devices from Cohen. According to press accounts, the Trump administration now views the probe into Cohen as a more serious threat to the president than special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Meanwhile, on Monday, Cohen’s attorneys were forced to reveal Fox News host Sean Hannity was also one of Cohen’s other legal clients. Just last week, Hannity slammed the FBI for raiding Cohen’s office and home, but he never disclosed his ties to Cohen. We speak to Marcy Wheeler, independent journalist who covers national security and civil liberties. She runs the website EmptyWheel.net.

    • The Chinese Communist Party Is Setting Up Cells at Universities Across America

      In July 2017, a group of nine Chinese students and faculty from Huazhong University of Science and Technology participating in a summer program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) formed a Chinese Communist Party branch on the third floor of Hopkins Hall, a campus dormitory.

      [...]

      After the students’ arrival in Illinois, their home university asked the group to set up a temporary party branch and requested that the students hold a viewing party to watch the 19th party plenum in October, the major party planning conference held every five years. (The plenum was the subject of a major global propaganda push, with Chinese embassies and consulates reaching out to Chinese community organizations around the world, asking them to organize events for their members.)

    • British Democracy is Dysfunctional

      A significant proportion of Labour MPs are actively seeking to cause their own party to do badly in forthcoming local elections, with the aim of damaging the leader of that party. To that end they have attacked Jeremy Corbyn relentlessly in a six week crescendo, in parliament and in the entirely neo-liberal owned corporate media, over the Skripal case, over Syria, and over crazy allegations of anti-semitism, again and again and again.

      [...]

      That it is “undemocratic” for party members to select their candidates freely at each election, and it is “democratic” for MP’s to have the guaranteed candidacy for forty years irrespective of their behaviour, is a nonsensical argument, but one to which the neo-liberal media fiercely clings as axiomatic. Meanwhile in the SNP, all MPs have to put themselves forward to party members equally with other candidates for selection at every election. This seems perfectly normal. Indeed every serious democratic system elects people for a fixed term. Labour members do not elect their constituency chairman for life, so why should they elect their parliamentary candidate for life? Why do we keep having general elections rather than voters elect the MP for life?

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Inverting The Expected Order Of Things, German Court Orders Facebook To Reinstate ‘Offensive’ Content

      Germany’s ridiculous hate speech law continues to wreak havoc in the stupidest ways possible. Giving social media companies 24 hours to remove poorly-defined “offensive” content has resulted in proactive removals targeting anything marginally questionable. Official complaints aren’t much better. Government demands for removal have been no less idiotic than proactive deletions by Facebook and Twitter.

      It’s a bad law. The only way bad laws can be followed is badly. Facebook is dealing with something new, thanks to its adherence to its own content policies. It’s an argument over deleted content, but the push/pull tension has been reversed.

    • Russia’s Telegram Ban Is a Fiasco, and It’s Rendering Millions of IP Addresses Inaccessible

      Consequently, when Roskomnadzor blocked 15.8 million Amazon- and Google-owned IPs it also knocked banking services and retail shopping platforms offline.

      That shows the lengths to which the government censors are willing to go to block access to the app, which has refused to cave to the demands of state intelligence officials even after a court approved a ban on the service.

    • Telegram Founder Pledges Millions in Bitcoin For VPNs and “Digital Resistance”

      A massive wave of action to block messaging service Telegram resulted in widespread collateral damage yesterday after Russian authorities ordered millions of IP addresses blocked across the country. But the efforts have only lit a fire under Telegram founder Pavel Durov, who has pledged to donate millions of dollars in bitcoin to VPN providers as part of his “Digital Resistance”.

    • Russia’s Encryption War: 1.8m Google & Amazon IPs Blocked to Silence Telegram

      Russian authorities are attempting to crush messaging platform Telegram. After refusing to hand over its encryption keys so that users can be spied on, last week a court ordered the service to be blocked. Yesterday broad action was taken, with ISPs blocking more than 1.8 million Telegram-utilized IP addresses belonging to Google and Amazon.

    • In Trying To Ban Telegram, Russia Breaks The Internet

      Russia’s war on encryption and privacy has reached an entirely new level of ridiculous. We’ve noted for a while how Putin’s government has been escalating its war on encrypted services and VPNs in the misguided hope of keeping citizens from dodging government surveillance. But things escalated dramatically when the Russian government demanded that encrypted messaging app Telegram hand over its encryption keys to the FSB. After Telegram refused, a Russian court banned the app entirely last Friday, and the Russian government began trying to actually implement it this week.

      It’s not going particularly well.

      Telegram tried to mitigate the ban by moving some of its essential infrastructure to third-party cloud services. But Russian telecom regulator Roskomnadzor responded by blocking upwards of 16 million IP addresses, many belonging to Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud.

    • Facebook blocking fake news is censorship? Hell yeah!

      Diehard supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte or so-called DDS have raised their concerns about Facebook’s recent initiative to partner with fact-checkers and prohibit fake news (as verified by the fact-checkers) from being posted or shared on its social media platform. Some DDS bloggers and even some members of mainstream media have called the initiative censorship.

      But is it really?

      Censorship, according to Wikipedia, is the suppression of speech or information. The basis could be many things but usually it is for content that is found objectionable or harmful by the government or the community.

    • A Google update just created a big problem for anti-censorship tools

      App developers won’t be able to use Google to get around internet censorship anymore. The Google App Engine is discontinuing a practice called domain-fronting, which let services use Google’s network to get around state-level internet blocks.

      A recent change in Google’s network architecture means the trick no longer works. First spotted by Tor developers on April 13th, the change has been rolling out across Google services and threatens to disrupt services for a number of anti-censorship tools, including Signal, GreatFire.org and Psiphon’s VPN services.

    • Pakistani journalists condemn ongoing censorship

      Prominent journalists, editors, columnists and media persons on Wednesday issued a joint-statement to express their concerns and condemn “the ongoing curbs on freedom of expression in Pakistan”.

      The statement was endorsed by prominent journalists and editors including Daily Times Editor Raza Rumi, Daily Times correspondent Marvi Sirmed, BBC Urdu Editor Haroon Rashid, columnist and TV anchor Hamid Mir, columnist Ibn Abdur Rehman, journalist Ahmed Noorani among several others.

    • Journalists sign declaration condemning ongoing censorship fiasco

      Over fifty working journalists, editors, columnists, media persons and media freedom organisation representatives on Wednesday expressed serious concern over the ongoing curbs on freedom of expression in the country.

      Condemning the ongoing censorship fiasco in a declaration, the journalists said that beginning with a crackdown against selected media groups and banning the broadcast of various channels, there was now an enhanced pressure on media houses to refrain from covering certain rights-based movements.

    • Censorship for social media

      New developments need new policies. We have some or the other kind of censorship in all media today, be it newspapers, television news, movies and even posters and billboards on the road. There is a valid and well thought out reason behind it. Most of the people believe what gets reported without putting any second thoughts on it. So it is possible that people’s reactions are directed in a certain way by the media and that is exactly the reason why censorship exists.

      Now look at social media. The reach of social media is more than any other form of media today. But, there is no censorship. Anybody is allowed to post anything whether it is true or false, good or bad. No controls exist, no questions are asked and there is zero accountability. Are we surprised then by what happened in the Cambridge Analytica case? The way people reacted to the Kathua and Asifa rape cases in India? Weren’t these bound to happen?

    • Anti-abortion extremists keep crying censorship to raise money

      If there’s one thing Republicans love more than pretending they’re being victimized by liberal elites, it’s raising money off this inaccurate claim — a tendency demonstrated clearly during recent congressional hearings on the activities of Facebook. During these hearings, Republican members of Congress elevated various overinflated right-wing grievances against social media companies (such as claims of anti-abortion censorship and anti-Christian bias) in order to pressure the platform into allowing greater promotion of inflammatory or inaccurate content. In particular, they seized on pro-Trump YouTubers Diamond and Silk, who have actively lied about Facebook censoring them and then used the attention to raise money. As close watchers of the anti-abortion movement know, this tactic of crying censorship to garner attention and raise funds is a favorite of anti-choice actors. Here are a few that have recently employed this practice:

    • It’s Time to Tackle GAFAM and Their World

      Last Monday, we launched our class action campaign against GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft). Until May 25th (the day complaints will be brought to the CNIL – the French Data Protection Authority), anyone living in France can join us on gafam.laquadrature.net. These first steps will, over the long term, pave the way to steadily counter the world they are trying to force on us.

    • What censorship?

      Michael Briguglio sought to belittle the Front Against Censorship by calling it a “front for censorship” in an article bearing the same title (April 16).

      For starters, Briguglio might not be aware that the Front Against Censorship resisted the Media and Defamation Bill when it was first introduced and that it was the Front which negotiated the substantial changes that turned this Bill into one of the most liberal statutes in Europe.

      Thanks to the Front’s efforts, criminal libel was removed, the proposed doubling of damages for civil libel was scrapped, garnishees are no longer possible and the final nail in the coffin of the artistic censorship regime was hammered with the removal of obscene libel.

    • Baltic translations for Fox TV undergo Russian censorship

      The Latvian National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP) has been informed about this but does not see a reason to intervene in this situation.

      NEPLP spokesman Kalvis Gavars told LETA that Fox is a TV channel in Spain’s jurisdiction and its programs are rebroadcast in Latvia’s territory, which means that the translation issues have to be dealt with between the holder of the programs’ rights and the translators, while the quality of the translations is outside the National Electronic Mass Media Council’s area of competence.

      [...]

      Anda Rozukalne, a media expert and associate professor at Riga Stradins University, said that Russia uses any channels and tools, including translation, to distort information wherever it can.

      She admitted, however, that under the current regulation NEPLP is unable to reverse an intermediary’s requirements regarding the TV channel’s content.

    • China Shuts Down Bytedance’s Parody Website

      Chinese authorities have permanently shut down jokes and parody application Neihan Duanzhi. The operation is part of the Toutiao news aggregation group, that is backed by Bytedance Technology.

      Zhang Yiming, Toutiao’s CEO published a letter of apology. He said that he was “sincerely sorry for publishing a product that collided with core Socialist values.” The app had some 17 million users, and was alleged to have carried material that was vulgar or pornographic.

    • Widening net of China censors puts tech on notice

      The widening net of Chinese censors have put tech on notice. Jokes and gay content are disappearing from the web. It’s a fresh sign that Beijing is policing beyond political discourse. For the $26 billion microblog Weibo and peers, appeasing both users and regulators will get harder.

    • Chinese social network backtracks on gay censorship after massive protest
    • It’s Still (Just About) OK to Be Gay in China
    • China’s Weibo site backtracks on gay censorship after outcry
    • Homosexuality Not an Illness, Chinese Say
    • China Approves First Gay Romance For Theatrical Release
    • Following Questionable Election, Honduran Government Debuts New Censorship Law
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Privacy as an Afterthought: ICANN’s Response to the GDPR

      Almost three years ago, the global domain name authority ICANN chartered a working group to consider how to build a replacement for the WHOIS database, a publicly-accessible record of registered domain names. Because it includes the personal information of millions of domain name registrants with no built-in protections for their privacy, the legacy WHOIS system exposes registrants to the risk that their information will be misused by spammers, identity thieves, doxxers, and censors.

      But at the same time, the public availability of the information contained in the WHOIS database has become taken for granted, not only by its regular users, but by a secondary industry that repackages and sells access to its data, providing services like bulk searches and reverse lookups for clients as diverse as marketers, anti-abuse experts, trademark attorneys, and law enforcement authorities.

      The working group tasked with replacing this outdated system, formally known as the Next Generation gTLD RDS to Replace WHOIS PDP Working Group did not get far. Despite holding 90 minute weekly working meetings for more than two years, deep divisions within the group have resulted in glacial progress, even as the urgency of its work has increased. A key privacy advocate within that Working Group, EFF Pioneer Award winner Stephanie Perrin, ended up resigning from the group in frustration this March, saying “I believe this process is fundamentally flawed and does not reflect well on the multi-stakeholder model.”

    • NSA grant will fund UNG summer camp for future cyber warriors

      Thanks to a $94,000 grant from the National Security Agency’s (NSA) GenCyber program, the National Cyber Warrior Academy (NCWA) at the University of North Georgia (UNG) will again host area high school students whose career interests lie in cyber operations or security.

    • Second Cambridge Analytica whistleblower says ‘sex compass’ app gathered more Facebook data beyond the 87 million we already knew about

      The 87 million Facebook accounts harvested by Cambridge Analytica (CA) in a massive data breach were probably just the tip of the iceberg.

      That’s the written testimony CA’s former Business Development Director Brittany Kaiser gave to Britain’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMSC) on Tuesday.
      She told British lawmakers, who are conducting an inquiry into fake news and the Facebook data scandal, that CA used numerous questionnaires to gather data.

      These quizzes, Kaiser said, were in addition to the now infamous Thisisyourdigitallife personality quiz CA conducted with University of Cambridge psychology professor Aleksandr Kogan’s firm Global Science Research to harvest information from 87 million Facebook accounts.

    • Facebook Data Leak “Much Greater Than 87 Million,” New Whistleblower Reveals

      While numerous concerns had been raised over the uninformed data collection of over 87 million Facebook users, the actual number of people affected may be far more.

      The CA data breach came to light when the company’s former director of research Christopher Wylie took charge and went into Edward Snowden-mode to break the news. It resulted in Facebook losing loads of money and its CEO testifying before the US Congress.

    • Inside Cambridge Analytica’s Virtual Currency Plans

      The embattled political data firm Cambridge Analytica quietly sought to develop its own virtual currency in recent months through a so-called initial coin offering, a novel fund-raising method that has come under growing scrutiny by financial regulators around the world.

      The offering was part of a broader, but still very private push that the firm was making into the nascent world of cryptocurrencies over the last year.

      Much like its acquisition of Facebook data to build psychological profiles of voters, the new business line pushed the firm into murky ethical and legal situations. Documents and emails obtained by The New York Times show that Cambridge Analytica’s efforts to help promote another group’s digital token, the Dragon Coin, associated the firm with a famous gangster in Macau who has gone by the nickname Broken Tooth.

    • Cambridge Analytica Planned Its Own Cryptocurrency For Selling Your Data

      A lot of bad things happening today on the web are tied to a single name: Cambridge Analytica. The firm–and Facebook–was first criticised for obtaining and using data of 87 million users to build psychological profiles for political campaigns.

      Just recently, the company’s former employee Brittany Kaiser, who’s the latest whistleblower in town, revealed that the Facebook data leak might be far more in numbers.

    • Russia’s Telegram ban is a big, convoluted mess

      If you want to know the reason I’m not on WhatsApp with its other 1.5 billion users, the answer is Telegram. To people unfamiliar with it, I like to describe Telegram as simply WhatsApp without any of the icky data sharing with Facebook. It has been my favorite, most reliable messaging client, and its platform-agnostic design means I can access my messages across iPhones, Android devices, and desktop browsers. I’m a big fan of Telegram, which is part of why its present ban in its native Russia troubles me.

      Telegram got its start, and its initial funding, under the premise of providing a messaging tool that was shielded from the inquisitive glare of Russian spy agencies. Its effectiveness in pursuing that original goal has been demonstrated this month with the ruling by a Russian court that Telegram should be banned in the country, owing to the app’s makers refusing to hand over encryption keys to the Russian government.

    • Google, card lobby want Aadhaar to fail: UIDAI to Supreme Court

      Appearing for the Unique Identity Authority of India, senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi told a CJI-headed Constitution bench that a campaign had been unleashed that Aadhaar should’ve been like smart cards, a Europe-based commercial venture. “If Aadhaar succeeds, smart cards will be out of business. Google does not want it. Smart card lobby does not want Aadhaar to succeed. That’s why these allegations are being made,” he said.

    • I was wrong. Too much technology is ruining lives
    • Oblivious DNS could protect your internet traffic against snooping

      The Princeton team developed what it calls Oblivious DNS (ODNS), which protects user data not only by encrypting it, but also by separating what different nodes in the DNS chain are aware of, making it much harder, if not impossible, to snoop on users.

      And they’ve done it all without requiring a single change to the structure of DNS.

    • Facebook admits tracking users and non-users off-site

      In a blog post, Facebook’s product management director, David Baser, wrote that the company tracked users and non-users across websites and apps for three main reasons: [...]

    • Facebook Is Steering Users Away From Privacy Protections
    • A flaw-by-flaw guide to Facebook’s new GDPR privacy changes

      Facebook is about to start pushing European users to speed through giving consent for its new GDPR privacy law compliance changes. It will ask people to review how Facebook applies data from the web to target them with ads, and surface the sensitive profile info they share. Facebook will also allow European and Canadian users to turn on facial recognition after six years of the feature being blocked there. But with a design that encourages rapidly hitting the “Agree” button, a lack of granular controls, a laughably cheatable parental consent request for teens and an aesthetic overhaul of Download Your Information that doesn’t make it any easier to switch social networks, Facebook shows it’s still hungry for your data.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Facebook among tech firms to sign ‘digital Geneva convention’

      Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft, has been the driving force behind the accord. He has argued for months that the tech industry needs “a digital Geneva convention that will commit governments to protecting civilians from nation-state attacks in times of peace”.

    • Who Killed Journalist Tyron Browne?

      According to the PUL, the killing of Tyron has increased the level of fear in the journalism community in Liberia and has further strengthened the case for self-censorship in the traditional journalism sphere in Liberia.

    • In the line of fire

      But the record of Commonwealth countries concerning the rising number of killings of journalists points to a failure by authorities in some member states to protect the lives of journalists targeted for their work. UN statistics show that in all but a few cases the killers are shielded from facing justice by a climate of judicial impunity. Where is the ‘rule of law’ in that?

    • Passenger says Uber driver locked the doors, tried to take her to hotel

      “Hey @Uber your driver was taking me to the airport. He said he was going to ‘take me to a hotel’ and got off the highway. We got to a stop light. I started yelling ‘let me out of the f—ing car’ and he wouldn’t unlock the doors,” she tweeted.

      [...]

      Leong called another Uber to take her to the airport.

    • The Trump Administration Is Trying to Forcibly Send a Detained US Citizen to Another Country

      For more than seven months, the Trump administration has been unlawfully detaining an American citizen in Iraq. Rather than charge him with a crime or set him free, the government wants to transfer him, involuntarily, to a third country. The ACLU is going to court on Thursday to stop the transfer and fight the government’s dangerous claims that it has the authority to violate an American’s constitutional rights.

      The Trump administration claims that the citizen, who was detained in September by Kurdish forces in Syria and transferred to U.S. custody, is a fighter for ISIS — an allegation he denies. The ACLU began representing him in January after a federal court ordered the government to allow us unmonitored access to him. This came after the government insisted, over several months, that it did not need to respect the man’s wishes to challenge his detention or to speak with a lawyer.

    • “Motivated by justice”: defending the world’s courageous people

      Julian first reached out to myself and a colleague of mine, the Australian human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson, in around September 2010. This was just before WikiLeaks was about to publish the Iraq war logs. Julian was in London, preparing that release, which came several months later, at the end of November. He was working with the Guardian and a group of other international newspapers.

      It was around the time when there was concern about what might happen in Sweden, where there was an open investigation into sexual allegations that had previously being dropped. It now seemed that Julian might have to answer those allegations. So, Julian required assistance and advice. It was also the time, of course, that Chelsea Manning was arrested, and a US criminal investigation in grand jury had been announced.

    • Bundestag warns it would be illegal for Spain to have spied on Puigdemont

      The Bundestag, the German federal parliament, in response to a question from deputy Andrej Hunko (Die Linke), has warned that if the CNI (Spanish security service) spied on president Carles Puigdemont in Germany, that would have been illegal. A legal report from the chamber makes this clear and warns that it could have consequences.

      “Action by sovereign authorities without the consent from the German state entails several legal consequences: foreign secret service operations against the Federal Republic are punishable in accordance with § 99 of the Criminal Code. Spying on foreigners in the Federal Republic fulfils this criteria. The unauthorised collection of data can fulfil the criteria of a misdemeanour or felony according to the Federal Data Protection Act,” the report says.

    • This Law Makes It Nearly Impossible to Police the NYPD

      Leaked NYPD documents provide a necessary window into the secret world of how the department deals with abusive officers.

      This week, Buzzfeed released a trove of leaked records for 1,800 New York Police Department employees who were charged with misconduct between 2011 and 2015. These records do not make for easy reading, but they are undoubtedly in the public interest.

      For instance, the public has a clear interest in knowing that at least 319 NYPD employees were allowed to keep their jobs, even after committing offenses that NYPD leaders have always assured us were fireable. Those pushing for more police in schools in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, might want to know that three school safety officers found guilty of using excessive force against students were punished with just five lost vacation days. And anyone concerned about false information leading to wrongful convictions might like to know that more than 100 employees accused of “lying on official reports, under oath, or during an internal affairs investigation” were punished with as little as a few days of lost vacation.

      Much of this information would have been made publicly available up until recently. But in 2016 the NYPD suddenly decided, after decades of posting so-called police “personnel orders,” that doing so violated section 50-a of the New York State Civil Rights Law, which limits the release of certain police personnel records. The law says that personnel records used to evaluate an officer’s performance toward continued employment or promotion are confidential, and it’s constantly and increasingly used as a tool by the police establishment to thwart police accountability and transparency statewide.

    • In 5-4 Vote, Supreme Court Strikes Down Law Mandating Deportation for Some Crimes

      In a victory for the immigrant rights movement, the Supreme Court has struck down a law requiring the mandatory deportation of lawful permanent residents who are convicted of some crimes, saying the law was unconstitutionally vague. Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch sided with the liberal justices, writing, “Vague laws invite arbitrary power.” The case centered on a Filipino man named James Garcia Dimaya, who had been a lawful permanent resident of the United States since 1992. After being convicted of residential burglary, the Obama administration sought to deport him for having committed an “aggravated felony” under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Tuesday’s Supreme Court ruling will mean that lower-level offenses are less likely to trigger the automatic deportation of lawful permanent residents.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Former FCC Broadband Advisory Panel Chair Arrested For Fraud

      For a few months now we’ve been noting how a “broadband deployment advisory panel” (BDAC) the FCC created to “solve the digital divide” has been plagued by scandal, resignation, and accusations of corruption. The panel was created last year to purportedly advise the Trump FCC on the best approach(es) to improving broadband cost and availability. But it didn’t take long for reports to emerge that the panel was little more than a who’s who of entrenched telecom industry interests, and since its creation its been plagued by a steady stream of disgruntled departures.

    • Another Survey Shows Massive Bipartisan Opposition To Net Neutrality Repeal

      While giant ISPs like Comcast (and the politicians and regulators paid to love them) have been very successful framing net neutrality as a partisan issue to sow dissent and stall policy progress and consensus, the reality is that net neutrality continues to have overwhelming, bipartisan support. Survey after survey have shown that the overwhelming majority of Americans support net neutrality, and for most people preventing natural monopolies from being bullies (at least until somebody has the courage to embrace policies that encourage broadband competition) is a no brainer.

      This week another survey highlighted how opposition to Ajit Pai and the Trump FCC’s net neutrality repeal is overwhelming. According to a new study out of the University of Maryland (pdf), 86% of the country opposes the FCC’s decision to roll back net neutrality protections at ISP lobbyist behest. And again that opposition is bipartisan, with 82% of Republicans and 90% of Democrats opposing the FCC’s obnoxiously-named “restoring internet freedom” repeal.

  • DRM

    • Meet the latest DRM Drones

      The latest round of opposition comments in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) exemption process shows which government entities oppose user freedom.

      Back during the last round of the DMCA anti-circumvention exemptions process, we wrote about the DRM Drones who were opposing exemptions. These companies, along with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), were trying to stifle the work of activists working to claw back a bit of freedom in the face of the DMCA’s draconian provisions. A few years later, and it’s a new round of the exemptions process, with perhaps some new faces, but the same old problem.

      As we’ve often said, Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) is not about copyright, it’s about control. And these opposition comments truly demonstrate that that is the case. The DMCA is allegedly meant to aid in copyright enforcement, but goes about its task in the worst way possible, creating legal penalties for circumventing DRM. By itself, DRM is harmful to users, who all have the right to control their own computing. Adding legal penalties only compounds the harm of DRM. Even if DRM were an effective tool for enforcing copyright (and if copyright were not already extremely excessive), it is unethical to place such onerous control over users.

      So what does the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for that matter, care about enforcing copyright? The reality is that they don’t, but they realize the nefarious power of DRM to lock down and control users for any purpose, using copyright as an excuse. Like the EPA, the FDA and the FAA are also trying to use DRM to enforce the laws and regulations they are tasked with upholding. The cause the FDA and FAA have chosen to champion is the ability to force users to buy particular feedstock for 3D printers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Cost remains top priority and concern for most patent owners in Taiwan [Ed: Microsoft feeds these NPEs]

      She specifically mentioned Microsoft’s Azure IP protection platform as providing a good potential option when the company faces NPE assertions and needs to counter. She also suggested that her firm has a similar partnership with ITRI, a government backed R&D lab.

      [...]

      TSMC, the world’s largest chip foundry, seems to be an exception that proves the rule when it comes to tight patent budgets in Taiwan. Donald McKenna, director of R&D legal division, stated that as the biggest player in its market, TSMC does not have to watch its portfolio spend as cautiously as some others. This is in part because in a cutthroat market, patents are seen as a key ingredient to keeping TSMC competitive. It is no surprise, then, to see TSMC appear once again in the top 10 recipients of US patent grants. McKenna says this strategy underlines TSMC top management’s solid grasp of IP value.

    • The Navy is Accused of Hacking $ 600 Million in Software

      The US Navy faces two processes: one for installing software without a license and another for using ship designs with patents.

      [...]

      In parallel, the US Navy was also denounced by the FastShip company, which claims more than 6.5 million dollars in damages for using the helmet design patented by this firm without paying any kind of rights.

      This second case has had tragic experiences for this company, which patented a new design for the hull of ships that increased its buoyancy and reduced friction with water, which in addition to the US Navy says that its intellectual property was also stolen by Lockheed Martin, one of the main military contractors of the United States.

    • IP rights – what does the future hold after Brexit?

      There are no provisions relating to patents, which is unsurprising as the existing European patent system is not administered by the European Union. The European Patent Office (EPO) is a separate international body; therefore, UK patent protection will continue to be available through the EPO regardless of how Brexit proceeds.

    • TIPO introduces new hearing system for invalidation proceedings

      TIPO expects at least 10 hearings to be held this year to help determine whether the Patent Act should be amended (ie, the number of invalidation cases filed for hearings this year may affect the duration of the pilot programme and any future amendments to the Patent Act).

      According to the director of TIPO Patent Division III, with inquiries to suitable patent invalidation case parties docketed, no hearings have yet been scheduled as they require the consent of both parties.

    • Trademarks

      • Mexico amends its trade mark opposition system

        Legislation that amends Mexico’s trade mark opposition system is expected to improve the still-new system but Mexico’s IP practitioners say many issues remain, reports Ellie Mertens

        Legislation that amended Mexico’s trade mark opposition system passed Congress on April 3, and is on schedule to come into force in June.

      • What makes a family? Bridgestone opposition two tyred, fell flat

        In respect of families of marks, the Bridgestone decision tells us that mere evidence of use is insufficient. First, use must be made of trade marks sharing common elements, which consumers may regard as belonging to a family. On the facts of this case, the evidence of use – where there were only two marks – was insufficient to substantiate the existence of a family. Second, over and above demonstrating use, the evidence must show that the common elements take consumers home to the same source. The opponents in this case had failed to identify themselves to consumers as constituting a single source. At the end of the day, it is the average consumer who will decide whether there exists a family of marks in the marketplace, and steps should be taken to educate the public of such matters.

    • Copyrights

      • Facebook is testing a way to let people watch video premieres in Facebook Live
      • Facebook lets creators turn video premieres into live events

        The initial testers include an unspecified mix of creators, publishers and shows, but the feature should be available “more broadly” in the near future.

      • Hollywood Studios Get ISP Blocking Order Against Rarbg in India

        Hollywood continues to expand its blocking efforts around the globe. Most recently, several major studios including Disney Enterprises and Warner Bros obtained a blocking order against the popular torrent site Rarbg in India. More than twenty ISPs must block the site, while the Government is instructed to help enforce the measures.

      • There Are Several Good Reasons To End Entertainment Industry Subsidies, But Blasphemy Isn’t One Of Them

        There are a lot of arguments to be made against subsidizing movie/TV studios. The best argument is this: the payouts to visiting studios rarely pay off for local taxpayers. Politicians love the side benefits — rubbing elbows with producers, actors, and other studio personnel — but there’s nothing to be gained financially by paying a studio to film in your town. In one case, a city was promised 3,600 additional jobs. In reality, only 200 jobs materialized, all but 14 of those temporary construction work.

        Then there’s the argument against using public funding to prop up an out-of-town industry. If there are extra tax dollars around, they’re better spent locally, where they’ll do the most good. Subsidizing businesses is always problematic. It skews incentives and allows governments to play favorites using the public’s money.

        But the worst argument someone can make against subsidies is this one: subsidies should be content-based. Two members of the clergy and a state politician are bent out of shape because a subsidized TV series shoot resulted in the depiction of a historical figure in compromising positions.

      • Stupid Copyright: MLB Shuts Down Twitter Account Of Guy Who Shared Cool MLB Gifs

        Another day, another story of copyright gone stupid. This time it involves Major League Baseball, which is no stranger to stupid copyright arguments. Going back fifteen years, we wrote about Major League Baseball claiming that other websites couldn’t even describe professional baseball games. There was a legal fight over this and MLB lost. A decade ago, MLB was shutting down fan pages for doing crazy things like “using a logo” of their favorite sports team. And, of course, like all major professional sports leagues, MLB has long engaged in copyfraud by claiming that “any account of this game, without the express written consent of Major League Baseball is prohibited”, which is just false. MLB has also made up ridiculous rules about how much reporters can post online at times, restricting things that they have no right to actually restrict.

        The latest seems particularly stupid. Following on some sort of silly spat in which a guy named Kevin Clancy at Barstool Sports (the same brainiacs who wanted to sue the NFL for having sorta, not really, similar merchandise) got pissed off at a popular Twitter account called @PitchingNinja run by a guy named Rob Friedman, who would tweet out GIFs and videos of interesting pitches from MLB games. Apparently, the dudebro Clancy from Barstool sports pointed out that Friedman was violating the made up rules that MLB has on how much someone is allowed to share on social media, leading a ton of Clancy’s fans to “report” Friedman. Twitter shut down Friedman’s account — leading said dudebro, Clancy, to celebrate.

      • Pirate Party Urges Swedish Govt to Stop ‘Copyright Troll’ Invasion

        The Swedish Pirate Party is calling on Justice Minister Morgan Johansson to put a halt to the wave of threatening piracy letters that have swept the country in recent months. The party likens the so-called copyright trolling campaigns to extortion and wants local courts to raise the evidence bar.

The Patent Microcosm, Patent Trolls and Their Pressure Groups Incite a USPTO Director Against the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and Section 101/Alice

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 6:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Trying to make it sound like patent maximalism is a patriotic duty

A tractor's oil pressure guage

Summary: As one might expect, the patent extremists continue their witch-hunt and constant manipulation of USPTO officials, whom they hope to compel to become patent extremists themselves (otherwise those officials are defamed, typically until they’re fired or decide to resign)

THE US Supreme Court, SCOTUS, won’t stop PTAB (based on Oil States predictions) and it stands firmly behind Alice. So the patent extremists now lean hard on the USPTO, in particular its new Director, who himself came from the patent microcosm.

We wish to remind readers that patent lawyers make a living out of intimidation; they are bullying, threatening and suing people. They’re quite often sociopaths, so their attitude towards USPTO officials (or publishers like me whom they SLAPP) is consistent with their occupation. It’s just what they’re trained to do; colleagues and classmates of theirs are largely the same.

“We wish to remind readers that patent lawyers make a living out of intimidation; they are bullying, threatening and suing people.”“No Oil States Decision Today from the Supreme Court,” one patent maximalist bemoaned a couple of days ago as if there’s a chance they’ll get their way (abolishing PTAB or its IPRs). Watch this anti-PTAB site doing its marketing. These people are attempting to make a business by dancing on a grave.

A couple of days ago CCIA wrote about yesterday’s hearing, in which Director Iancu faced some grilling over the sanity of the patent system. To quote the CCIA (which generally represents technology companies):

Tomorrow, members of the Judiciary Committee will have the opportunity to point out to Director Iancu that predictability, stability, and positivity are in fact already here, in large part due to the implementation of IPR and § 101. Instead, the Director’s focus should be on improving examination and on continuing to implement successful Congressionally-created programs such as IPR.

[...]

Director Iancu made a reasonable point in his speech—all too often, the discussion gets lost in the flaws of the patent system and fails to identify its successes. As a patent attorney, hearing inventors discuss some of the truly creative and novel ideas they came up with is a joy, and their creations contribute to a better society. A full discussion of the patent system must include recognition of the successes represented by these new innovations. As Director Iancu is fond of saying, the cure for cancer will almost certainly pass through the doors of the USPTO someday.

But at the same time, in order to make sure that innovation continues, in order to make sure that that cure for cancer can be created to pass through those doors, we need to identify the areas where the Office must improve. We can’t focus on the positive aspects of the system to the exclusion of the negatives. Only this week, it became apparent that one out of every twelve inventions created by a woman won’t receive a patent when it would have if a man had created it. There are a series of longstanding issues, highlighted by the GAO’s 2016 report, identifying ways in which poor quality patents can harm innovation and suggesting steps the PTO could take to address quality, steps which—to a large degree—have not been implemented. In order to make sure the patent system continues to be successful, we must always seek to improve it, and that is achieved by identifying and fixing its flaws.

More specifically, one positive aspect of the patent system that deserves recognition is the inter partes review process itself. Far from the “death squad” critics describe, IPR is a fair process with results that have been overwhelmingly upheld on appeal. Most patents—even litigated patents—will never face an IPR petition. And of those that do, the majority—58%—will remain completely unchanged, with an additional 5% upheld in part.3

Ensuring the success of the patent system requires acknowledging its flaws and seeking to fix them. A focus on positivity, without that balance, would ignore flaws that harm innovation.

Engine, which represents interests similar to those of CCIA, cited “STRONGER Patents Act Makes Startups Weaker” and wrote: “At @senjudiciary hearing, @USPTO Director says he is meeting with stakeholders to discuss @ChrisCoons’s #STRONGERAct. This bill is terrible for #startups. Join us in STRONGLY opposing this bill.”

This bill is probably going nowhere (same as a year ago) and we barely heard anything about it for nearly a month. But it’s better to be prudent and respond to Coons. He is in effect fronting for the patent extremists.

“Notice how software patents are being named/referred to (by buzzwords like “AI” that nontechnical politicians neither understand nor care for).”The patent trolls’ lobby, IAM, wrote: “Sen Coons at Iancu hearing – “The legislative branch has an obligation to act on 101″ [] Sen Harris asks Director Iancu to commit to issuing updated 101 guidance within 90 days (specifically how it applies to AI)… Iancu agrees to compromise to provide Committee with update on PTO’s 101 progress [] That request from Sen Harris came after v interesting back and forth on software patentability and specifically the algorithms that underpin AI…”

Notice how software patents are being named/referred to (by buzzwords like “AI” that nontechnical politicians neither understand nor care for).

Later came the obligatory cherry-picking of quotes from Watchtroll (the patent extremists link to it [1, 2]), titled to quote Director Iancu as saying that Section 101 is an issue “we must all address” (the word “address” does not mean very much, it is vague).

Section 101 is absolutely fine, but Iancu was surrounded (or hounded like a hostage) by propaganda from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This is how Watchtroll started his screed:

Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) lead off for the Democrats after Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) made a brief opening statement. Coons rather quickly moved his remarks toward the recent report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which now ranks the U.S. patent system 12th in the world. “One cause is the impact of the new post grant proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board,” Coons said. “The current review system is systematically biased against patent owners based on statistics from its first five years.”

Dennis Crouch, another patent maximalist, gave a long transcript. Senator Coons is basically staging a coup for patent trolls. He is trying to get rid of PTAB and incite Iancu against it, as well as against Section 101. From Crouch’s introduction:

New USPTO Director Andrei Iancu testified in Congress on April 18 for the first time in his new official capacity — this time before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Director must certainly be a visionary — as the chief guide of U.S. intellectual property policy. At the same time, the Director is head of a multi-billion-dollar agency with 12,000+ employees.

Although not speaking for the Senate as a whole, Senator Coons kicked-off the hearing with a statement that AIA Trials: “The current review system is systematically biased against patent owners.” From Senator Coon’s perspective, the AIA was designed to give the USPTO Director authority to “fine-tune” the AIA trial proceedings without further congressional actions — and that Director Iancu should take this opportunity to correct the imbalance.

One key statement from Director Iancu is that he is ready to work with Congress on legislative solutions to the “uncertainty” created by Supreme Court 101 jurisprudence.

A lot of pressure is on Iancu; the patent maximalists won’t leave him alone. There’s also a case from about a fortnight ago, Knowles Elecs. LLC v Iancu. Joseph Robinson and Robert Schaffer from Watchtroll brought it up one day before the hearing and said:

Knowles Elecs. LLC v. Iancu, No. 2016-1954, 2018 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 6, 2018) (Before Newman, Clevenger, and Wallach, J.) (Opinion for the court, Wallach, J.) (Dissenting opinion, Newman, J.).

Knowles appealed the inter partes reexamination decision of the Board, which affirmed an examiner’s finding that certain claims were anticipated while other claims would have been obvious over various prior art references. The third-party requester declined to defend the judgment in its favor. The Director of the USPTO intervened to defend the Board’s decision, pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 143. On appeal, the Court permitted the Director to intervene and affirmed the Board’s decision.

Watchtroll’s obsession with brainwashing Iancu is a problem because that site already bullied Michelle Lee, having unsuccessfully attempted to lobby her (beforehand). Watchtroll still claims to be reading Iancu’s mind and tries to influence him (IAM tries to make him IAMcu). In another couple of new posts Watchtroll brought up Drew Hirshfeld. It’s like they follow him around (Hirshfeld is mentioned there too, alongside Iancu, and there’s this followup post about him).

“They’re malicious lobbyists who even tried to install a corrupt judge at the top of the USPTO.”Expect sites like Watchtroll and IAM to neverendingly harass the Director of the USPTO (no matter who that happens to be) until they get their way. They’re malicious lobbyists who even tried to install a corrupt judge at the top of the USPTO.

Iancu is the prime target of bullies. He’s hopefully able to see that.

Microsoft’s Lobbying for FRAND Pays Off as Microsoft-Connected Patent Troll Conversant (Formerly MOSAID) Goes After Android OEMs in Europe

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents, RAND, Samsung at 4:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Royalty stacking until free/libre platforms become very expensive

Coin stacking

Summary: The FRAND (or SEP) lobby seems to have caused a lot of monopolistic patent lawsuits; this mostly affects Linux-powered platforms such as Android, Tizen and webOS and there are new legal actions from Microsoft-connected patent trolls

EARLIER THIS week we wrote a couple of short articles that alluded to Samsung’s small victory over Huawei. For those who don’t know, Huawei is a highly government (or regime) connected entity, more so than a corporation as is known in Western democracies. Huawei nowadays uses patents in an effort to embargo the competition, but that hasn’t been particularly successful outside China (where government connections help). The Asian giants almost always use Android; this includes Huawei and Samsung, which also has the Linux-based Tizen (LG has the Linux-based webOS). As one site put it yesterday:

Back in January, we updated you on the Huawei vs. Samsung patent infringement lawsuit. The big news was that a Chinese court found in favor of Huawei in that dispute.

The patent infringement had to do with Samsung using Huawei’s cellular technology and software patents in various Samsung devices, without paying Huawei the necessary licensing fees. Samsung denied any wrongdoing (as usual), but the court said that Huawei’s patents were indeed infringed upon, and Samsung would have to pay a fine and halt Chinese production and sales of the infringing devices.

Docket Navigator also wrote about Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. et al v Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. et al, showing that the US patent system/law suddenly becomes friendlier (to engineers, not lawyers) than China’s. To quote:

The court granted defendant Samsung’s motion for an antisuit injunction prohibiting plaintiff Huawei from enforcing injunction orders issued by a Chinese court and found that the Chinese injunction orders would frustrate domestic policies.

Boasting a new Samsung patent that we criticised the other day, this one new article says, “Samsung May Use Top Notch in Their Future Phones, New Patent Spotted in China” (so Samsung remains in China in the long run).

LG has already been driven out of China, or least partially. Patent lawsuits accomplished that.

As for Samsung, as we said and showed some days ago, it’s a top target for patent trolls. PACid, for example, is a patent troll whose latest action (against Samsung) belatedly got the attention of Watchtroll.

What we’ve only just noticed (this morning) is this update about MOSAID (now known as “Conversant”) with its litigation campaign in Europe. This Microsoft-connected (and Microsoft-armed) patent troll is still actively harassing companies with litigation in London. It’s nowadays going after Huawei and ZTE. To quote:

Does the English Court have jurisdiction to grant relief in the form of a global FRAND licence in relation to a claim for infringement of UK patents, where UK sales account for only 1% or less of worldwide sales on which royalties are claimed? This was the subject of the decision of Carr J. in the Patents Court on Monday in Conversant Wireless Licensing S.A.R.L v Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd, ZTE Corporation and Ors [2018] EWHC 808 (Pat). The answer – on the facts of this case as explained below – was “yes”.

[...]

Conversant commenced proceedings in July 2017, claiming that the Defendants were infringing 4 EP(UK) patents, and sought a determination of FRAND terms for its global SEP portfolio. Conversant’s global portfolio of patents includes SEPS in over 40 countries.

[...]

It was common ground that Art 24(4) (validity of IP rights) and 27 (court first seised) of the Recast Brussels Regulation would require the English Court to declare of its own motion that it had no jurisdiction to adjudicate upon cases concerning the validity of (non-UK) European patents. The Court also assumed that the English Court had no jurisdiction to adjudicate upon cases in which the dispute concerned validity of non-European patents. The Defendants however maintained that Conversant’s claims are in substance claims for infringement of foreign patents – which therefore depend on the validity of foreign patents, which the English Court has no jurisdiction over.

Although Huawei did not formally challenge jurisdiction in Unwired Planet [2017] EWHC 711 (Pat), it did rely upon some jurisdictional arguments to support its argument that a global licence was not FRAND, including that a worldwide FRAND determination in the English Court would undermine existing infringement and validity proceedings in Germany. Carr J. referred to the “simple” and “compelling” analysis of the judge in that case, where it was held that the Brussels Regulation and CJEU case law has nothing to do with what the terms of a FRAND licence should be.

What’s noteworthy about the case is: 1) it’s happening in Europe and 2) there’s a Microsoft connection. Microsoft was never able to blackmail Huawei over its Linux use, but later it managed to do this through Nokia, which also passed (at Microsoft’s instructions) patents to MOSAID (the same troll as above, owing to a rename/rebrand).

Microsoft might think it’s pretty clever by telling us that it “loves Linux” or “uses Linux”. But we’re not stupid enough to not see where patents come from.

To Understand Why People Say That Lawyers are Liars Look No Further Than Misleading Promotion of Software Patents

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

Lawyers are Liars
Credit: Book cover by Mark Kohler

Summary: Some of the latest misleading claims from the patent microcosm, which is only interested in lots and lots of patents (its bread and butter is monopolies after all) irrespective of their merit, quality, and desirability

THE happenings at the USPTO have been particularly noteworthy this past week. We’ll say a lot about it over the weekend because we prefer to cover EPO scandals as a matter of priority. One aspect we can’t quite wait until the weekend to cover is the lobbying and pressure put on Andrei Iancu. We’ll cover this in the post after our next post. This post will focus on software patents and the next one on litigation.

The patent maximalists are fuming. They have become rather nasty and unpleasant. Some sent me threats by post. Yesterday, for example, Watchtroll (Gene Quinn and Steve Brachmann) reran the “China!” scaremongering. “Increases in Innovation, Patent Boom Leads to Development in China,” says Watchtroll’s headline. But patents have nothing to do with it, it’s just typical Watchtrollism; it’s watching after patent trolls’ interests by promoting patent maximalism. We already did a lot of articles debunking this “China!” nonsense. It’s growing in influence not owing to patents but in spite of patents. China even permits software patents now; does that make China a software powerhouse? Not by a long shot! It’s India, where such patents are banned, which takes the jackpot.

“It’s growing in influence not owing to patents but in spite of patents. China even permits software patents now; does that make China a software powerhouse? Not by a long shot! It’s India, where such patents are banned, which takes the jackpot.”In our view, patent maximalism is a flawed mindset and a ‘brain virus’; one lawyer typically poisons the minds of others with patent maximalism. It has become like a faith and a religion; they’re unable to see facts and instead saturate their minds with more of their nonsense, typically in exclusionary echo chambers that exclude people not like them. These are supposedly well-educated individuals, but greed outweighs the wits and they know they can make more money with patent maximalism (more litigation, draining money out of practising companies). Referring to patents correctly as “monopoly”, this article from yesterday spoke about Lexaria; “Investors benefit from both a legal monopoly and the opportunity to generate royalty,” it said. Yeah, some “opportunity” — the opportunity or the chance to sue everybody. Good for lawyers, not necessarily for investors (especially not investors of the accused/defendants).

This morning an article from Texas turned up to remind us of the $502 million verdict against Apple. We wrote about it earlier this week and last week too. Investors of Apple certainly don’t benefit from this patent troll, VirnetX, suing Apple in such notorious courts. Does that mean that these investors will urge Apple to stop software patents? They would be wise to. Courts and judges that oversee Apple cases appear to think so too.

“Mathematics (geometry) and software. That’s all it boils down. Why would examiners permit that?”But Apple is actively pursuing software patents. Classic computer vision in this new example. It uses the buzzword "AR" to achieve this in spite of Alice etc. “Software giant Apple has filed a patent,” it says, “dubbed “adaptive vehicle augmented reality (AR) display using stereographic imagery”.”

Mathematics (geometry) and software. That’s all it boils down. Why would examiners permit that?

Here is another new example, this time from Mastercard, which is pursuing blockchain patents. To quote:

Blockchain technology is gaining traction amongst mainstream financial service providers as the technology guarantees security, decentralization, cheaper transaction fees and faster ways of sending funds across the globe. Mastercard has also not been left behind in these developments. This is after it was rumored as being one of the payment card providers that refused to support Litecoin (LTC) and its Litepay project.

Mastercard has filed a blockchain system patent to store and verify identity data. The patent application was published on the 12th of April this year. In the abstract of the patent application, the team at Mastercard describes the patent in its intricacies. The team states that traditionally, proof of identy had been provided via government identification, credit cards and business cards and that such proof may be inaccurate or fabricated through fraud. They propose that there is a need for a technical solution to provide for the immutable storage of identity and credential data in a secure and verifiable manner.

Why would that be allowed? These are clearly software patents, which are a disgrace and a distraction. Virtually every software developer rejects them. “Help abolish them for good to make life better for programmers” is what I told this booster of them, but she has not replied. These people just don’t seem to care about quality, only quantity. How about yesterday’s example of Futuri? It’s a firm which “plans to license the IP to be incorporated into other companies’ apps or software.” [1, 2]

“Unfortunately, even though courts repeatedly reject software patents the patent microcosm continues to give bad advice to clients.”Here’s another new example [1, 2] that says “PDCflow announces partnership with US Patent owner Zukunftware, LLC for management and licensing of newly patented technology.”

Unfortunately, even though courts repeatedly reject software patents the patent microcosm continues to give bad advice to clients. Here we have Jonathon P. Western and Steven M. Jensen (from Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.) suggesting a trick for pursuing patents that are now worthless. Yes, software patents are dead in the US (high courts always reject them). Western and Jensen say:

Software patents are generally directed to a sequence of steps or rules, i.e., an algorithm, performed by a computer programmed to carry out the algorithm.

Under Alice that is patently unpatentable. So why bother?

Stuart Meyer, writing for Fenwick & West (greedy patent lawyers and lobbyists for software patents), does try to find new ways/semantic tricks to undermine SCOTUS (Mayo and Alice) and patent software anyway. Yesterday he obsessed over another pair of words: “Directed To” (similar to “as such” or “per se”).

To quote:

It bears noting that although the overall test is often referred to as the Mayo/Alice test, Mayo did not actually use this term at all. That said, Mayo certainly addressed the concept. Justice Breyer, delivering the opinion for a unanimous Court, said “Prometheus’ patents set forth laws of nature….” Similarly, “And so a patent that simply describes that relation sets forth a natural law.” The opinion discussed Einstein and Archimedes to establish that, “A patent, for example, could not simply recite a law of nature and then add the instruction ‘apply the law.’” (emphasis in all three mine)

[...]

Let’s circle back now to our discussion of what the dictionaries said and whether “directed to” is non-exclusive (i.e., the aim can be toward multiple targets) as opposed to the suggestion that “directed at” means only one target. The most current Supreme Court authority (Alice) says the test is whether the claim is directed to patent-ineligible material. So if “directed to” allows multiple targets, it seems that only one such target needs to be non-statutory to potentially doom the patent. But if that’s the case, then it seems insufficient for the court in cases such as Vanda and Enfish to identify a statutory target, since that still leaves open the possibility of other, non-statutory targets. In reality, it seems clear that neither the Supreme Court, nor the Federal Circuit, has really thought about this distinction. The fact remains that very subtle differences in how one thinks about the phrase “directed to” can be outcome-determinative, and we’ve not been provided with sufficient guidance as to how that phrase should be interpreted. The conclusion is the same as in my last post: such uncertainly allows result-oriented opinions that cannot readily lead to any meaningful settling of this fundamental issue. We should demand clarification from either the courts or Congress, since the viability of so many patents depends on what this phrase is understood to mean.

This misconception that because one can fool examiners or trick them into granting makes a patent worth pursuing ought to stop; what typically happens after that is inaction (no assertion, i.e. no RoI) or invalidation (by PTAB or courts). Law firms profit not only from pursuing bogus patents but also disputes over these.

When News About the EPO is Dominated by Sponsored ‘Reports’ and Press Releases Because Publishers Are Afraid of (or Bribed by) the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EPO sent Fieldfisher, which seeks to profit from the UPC, to bully us several times

Fieldfisher and UPC
SLAPP action: In their own words

Summary: The lack of curiosity and genuine journalism in Europe may mean that serious abuses (if not corruption) will go unreported

THE EPO scandals will hopefully be covered here as often as they used to be. We’ve slowed down a bit in recent months even though there’s no lack of material to cover. What’s disheartening, however, is seeing how the media no longer writes about EPO scandals. Almost never!

“What’s disheartening, however, is seeing how the media no longer writes about EPO scandals.”
Yesterday we found nothing but this press release about a patent grant, the EPO was mentioned in this sponsored ‘report’ about Asia, and there was another one about Brexit. “UK patent protection will continue to be available through the EPO regardless of how Brexit proceeds,” it says, but nobody ever doubted that (that’s just a talking point of Team UPC in the UK). From the press release:

Provectus Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. (OTCQB: PVCT, www.provectusbio.com) (“Provectus” or the “Company”), a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing PV-10 as the first small molecule oncolytic immunotherapy for solid tumor cancers, today announced that the Japan Patent Office (JPO) had granted and the European Patent Office (EPO) had allowed the Company’s patent application for the combination of PV-10 with systemic immunomodulatory therapy (i.e., immune checkpoint inhibition). Pfizer, Inc. is a co-assignee on the award and allowance.

Shiri Burema and Rene van Duijvenbode (NLO), in this final sponsored ‘report’ at IAM, talk about oppositions at the EPO — something that staff is unable to do under the current regime, due to overload. Here’s their introduction:

The third and fourth installments of our European Patent Office (EPO) opposition series discussed the performance of private patent firms. This highlighted cases where (external) professional representation in opposition was sought by a patentee or an opponent (often a company) (for further details please see “EPO opposition: private practice patent firm’s engagement” and “EPO opposition: private practice patent firm’s core technologies”). However, some EPO oppositions are handled by companies on thier own through in-house patent attorneys (ie, sidestepping the need for external representation).

The fifth and final installment in our series highlights the share, performance and technological expertise of representation by in-house patent attorneys in 2016 EPO oppositions.

Firms like NLO (the authors’) make money from oppositions. In other words, bad quality of patents may mean additional work (and income) for them. Examiners might not like to admit this, but in many ways their interests are opposite of the patent microcosm’s. That includes thugs from Fieldfisher.

The Boards of Appeal at the European Patent Organisation (EPO) Complain That They Are Understaffed, Not Just Lacking the Independence They Depend on

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Office still controls and sometimes punishes judges

A shocked Battistelli

Summary: The Boards of Appeal have released a report and once again they openly complain that they’re unable to do their job properly, i.e. patent quality cannot be assured

THE management of the EPO has, in our humble assessment, destroyed the EPO. It’s broken beyond repair. It may never recover. Even leadership has been compromised as it’s now succession-based, with Battistelli choosing his successor. Not to mention all the toxic people he brought in after he had seized power. It’s grotesque, yet that’s where we are today. To be most frank, I do not think EPO will ever recover, not even with reporting that exposes the corruption. It’ll like abuse is just far too deeply embedded in the Organisation now, not just the Office. Oversight has been obliterated. Assumptions of goodwill (e.g. given huge budget with endless power and minimal oversight) might seem OK in theory. When you put a thug in charge, as happened about a decade ago, it will inevitably go bonkers. Even the media, which is supposed to cover such abuses, is being bribed by the Organisation. It’s not a very obvious bribe, but it still is a ‘soft’ bribe (we covered that subject a decade ago) and it has more or less the same effects. Academia too has been compromised. EPO budget, instead of improving the integrity of the EPO, has helped the EPO poison everything. Judges are being bullied, bloggers like myself habitually receive legal threats, votes are allegedly being ‘bought’, and my site (Techrights) has been blocked/banned by the EPO for over 3 years not because of falsehoods but because it helped expose EPO abuses.

What gives?

“Judges are being bullied, bloggers like myself habitually receive legal threats, votes are allegedly being ‘bought’, and my site (Techrights) has been blocked/banned by the EPO for over 3 years not because of falsehoods but because it helped expose EPO abuses.”Where are so-called ‘news’ sites about patents? Do they not care? Not even European sites? The systems they rely on (for coverage) are rotting away. Look at IAM! Benoît Battistelli is joined by the hip to it. This patent trolls’ lobby, IAM, has given a keynote talk to him (Palace Hotel in San Francisco) — one in which he will promote software patents. Joff Wild wrote about this yesterday. Another keynote will be delivered by Andrei Iancu (Director of USPTO) as he will be there too. The EPO is nowadays promoting software patents even in the US, as we noted two days ago. The EPO did this again yesterday. Such software patents advocacy from the EPO (in Seattle) should make one question the EPO’s motivations. Is anyone at all keeping an eye on the EPO’s behaviour? It definitely doesn’t seem so.

Yesterday, Graham McGlashan from Marks & Clerk wrote: “The European Patent Office (EPO) will potentially allow a patent if the claimed subject matter is novel and inventive and provides a technical contribution in a technical field – even if the invention is computer-implemented.”

This should not be happening. But who can hold them accountable? The Boards of Appeal have been marginalised and judges are afraid.

“The Boards of Appeal have been marginalised and judges are afraid.”“Maybe instead of raiding booths over patent allegations,” I told IAM, “they should raid events like IAM IPBC to arrest corrupt officials.”

The Boards of Appeal have already complained about the management. Just recall what they wrote about Battistelli. Recall what we wrote yesterday about the imminent scandal in France. A lot of EPO insiders have been speaking about this for quite some time.

The Boards of Appeal were mentioned again yesterday by the EPO. There was a white-washing tweet about it, just one of many that they post every day this month. “The Boards of Appeal are no longer independent,” I told them. “Corrupt management at the EPO rendered them incapable of operating.”

The EPO tweeted this shortly after it had published this new page [promoted via Twitter] in which it said: (warning: epo.org link)

The first Annual report of the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office since the introduction of a comprehensive set of reforms has been published.

In June 2016, the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation has adopted a set of reforms to strengthen efficiency and the perception of independence of the Boards of Appeal.

This has since then been covered by only two sites, IPPro Patents and World Intellectual Property Review (WIPR).

From IPPro Patents:

More manpower is needed at the European Patent Office to ensure the “proper functioning of the appeal system under the European Patent Convention”, according to a report from the office.

The report, which looks at the EPO’s Boards of Appeal and provides detailed statistics on its proceedings, said that more manpower was “essential to the patent litigation system in Europe”.

In terms of conduct, the Boards of Appeal increased their performance in 2017, while maintaining high quality, according to the report.

[...]

The source added: “For the moment, this is nothing else but another official statement delivered under the mandate of EPO president Benoît Battistelli, whose actions at the address of Directorate General 3 can be globally assessed as a very negative one.”

“We hope that new president-elect, António Campinos, will grasp the real nature of the situation inherited from Battistelli and that he will take the right decisions for the benefit of the EPO and all its stakeholders.”

“Words are fine, but at the EPO, staff prefer to judge based on facts.”

Understaffing and bullying (collectively punishing them) meant lower quality of patents and no oversight. No patent justice left?

Here is what WIPR wrote:

Significantly more manpower will be necessary in the coming years to ensure the proper functioning of the European Patent Office’s (EPO) appeal system, a report has said.

In an annual report, released today, the EPO’s Boards of Appeal said that although the boards managed to improve their performance and maintain quality last year, additional resources in the workforce and facilities will be necessary to ensure the proper functioning of the appeal system in the future.

The report added that, in light of the steady increase in the number of appeals filed, improving working methods and efficiency by a target of 32% will not be enough to deal with the stock of almost 9,000 cases “in a timely manner and at the same time secure the high quality that users rightfully expect from a judicial authority whose decisions are final”.

SUEPO has not yet taken note of these articles, perhaps realising that these aren’t particularly good (in our humble opinion) because they soft-peddle on the scandals.

“There are many reasons to believe Campinos will just be a ‘faceplate’ change, not constituting any substantial change in policy.”Do not expect António Campinos to change things for the better. It’s all talk and pretense (the Battistelli way).

There are many reasons to believe Campinos will just be a ‘faceplate’ change, not constituting any substantial change in policy. We’ll say a lot more about it in July. Staff should not be misled by this stunt or build up hopes of a turnaround; it just won’t happen and according to the new JUVE survey, only 1 in 7 respondents (to a survey) thought Campinos was a positive thing.

04.18.18

Links 18/4/2018: New Fedora 27 ISOs, Nextcloud Wins German Government Contract

Posted in News Roundup at 4:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Launching Netrunner 18.03 for the Pinebook

      The team over at Netrunner have just announced the launch of Netrunner 18.03 Idolon for the Pinebook. This is the direct result of a year of collaboration between the Netrunner, Pine and KDE Communities in a effort to drive down memory consumption, fix glitches in the graphics stack and enabling accelerated video decode, all of which has resulted in a product that showcases the coming together of the amazing software from KDE and some brilliant hardware engineering from the folks over at Pine.

      It’s been quite a journey for my colleagues and I at Blue Systems in putting together this product. We have had to delve into areas where we originally did not have the expertise to fix bugs and constantly push the boundaries of our abilities. This was especially challenging in the ARM world since there are parts of the stack that were proprietary, meaning we cannot debug those parts, leading to many frustrating evenings having been spent on trying to reverse engineer buggy behaviour.

  • Server

    • Docker Enterprise Edition 2.0 Launches With Secured Kubernetes

      After months of development effort, Kubernetes is now fully supported in the stable release of the Docker Enterprise Edition.

      Docker Inc. officially announced Docker EE 2.0 on April 17, adding features that have been in development in the Docker Community Edition (CE) as well as enhanced enterprise grade capabilities. Docker first announced its intention to support Kubernetes in October 2017. With Docker EE 2.0, Docker is providing a secured configuration of Kubernetes for container orchestration.

      “Docker EE 2.0 brings the promise of choice,” Docker Chief Operating Officer Scott Johnston told eWEEK. “We have been investing heavily in security in the last few years, and you’ll see that in our Kubernetes integration as well.”

    • The Agony and the Ecstasy of Cloud Billing [Ed: There’s no such thing as "cloud". In this particular context it just means server space rental.]

      Back in the mists of antiquity when I started reading Linux Journal, figuring out what an infrastructure was going to cost was (although still obnoxious in some ways) straightforward. You’d sign leases with colocation providers, buy hardware that you’d depreciate on a schedule and strike a deal in blood with a bandwidth provider, and you were more or less set until something significant happened to your scale.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • 5 Things to understand before switching to Linux – For The Record

      1 – Linux isn’t Windows. There is no magical company to go to,things will behave differently. If you expect a parity experience, you’re going to be disappointed. Software types, source of software or installing a new driver.

      2 – Linux does what it’s told to. Something isn’t working? Odds are, it’s just not working as expected it means you need to adjust a configuration or rethink the tools used to interact with Linux. This includes hardware not appearing to work, audio and video.

      3 – Linux applications may work differently than legacy applications. MS Word vs LibreOffice, Photoshop vs GIMP, exe installers vs repositories.

      4 – Linux offers choice. Different distros, desktop environments and methods of application installation.

    • EzeeLinux Show 18.16 | Facebook, Time Out & Finding Configuration Files

      Guest appearance on “Time Out” with Kevin Gallagher: We talk a bit about Facebook’s latest controversy, talk about Kevin Gallagher’s “Time Out” show and take a look at where configuration files are stored on Linux systems.

  • Kernel Space

    • Detailing The Idle Loop Ordering Problem & The Power Improvement In Linux 4.17

      Of the many great features/changes for Linux 4.17, one of the most exciting to us is the idle power efficiency and performance-per-Watt improvements on some systems thanks to a rework to the kernel’s idle loop handling. Rafael Wysocki and Thomas Ilsche as two of the developers working on this big code change presented on their work today for this CPU idle loop ordering problem and its resolution.

    • Linux 4.17 development underway

      Linus Torvalds has started the development cycle of the Linux 4.17 kernel series, according to a report by Softpedia.

      The first Release Candidate build has been released, and comes two weeks after the launch of Linux 4.16.

      “Public testers can start downloading, compiling, and installing the upcoming Linux 4.17 kernel,” stated the report.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Linux Foundation seeks to harmonise open source and standards development

        A year ago The Linux Foundation created its ‘Harmonisation 1.0′ initiative, focusing on collaboration between projects and with standards bodies. It brought together a set of open source projects, which together form the basis of the modern telecoms systems. Open source creates three values for telcos: speed to services, vendor collaboration, and cost reductions. The LF is also creating a framework between open source and standards communities; for example, this year it announced an agreement with the TM Forum, focused on the APIs that work between the two communities.

      • Making the Most Out of Microservices with Service Mesh

        In this article, we talk with Andrew Jenkins, Lead Architect at Aspen Mesh, about moving from monolithic apps to microservices and cut through some of the hype around service mesh for managing microservice architectures. For more on service mesh, consider attending KubeCon + CloudNativeCon EU, May 2-4, 2018 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

      • Cloud Foundry for Developers: Definitions

        In the first article in our series on the Cloud Foundry for Developers training course, we explained what Cloud Foundry is and how it’s used. We continue our journey here with a look at some basic terms. Understanding the terminology is the key to not being in a constant state of bewilderment, so here are the most important terms and concepts to know for Cloud Foundry.

      • What’s the Value of CI/CD?
    • Graphics Stack

      • Broadcom VC5 DRM Driver Might Soon Be On Its Way To The Mainline Linux Kernel

        Eric Anholt believes he is getting quite close to the stage of merging the Broadcom VC5 DRM driver into the mainline Linux kernel tree.

        As part of the VC5 open-source driver stack for supporting the next-gen Broadcom VideoCore 5 graphics hardware, there’s been the VC5 Gallium3D driver that is already in mainline Mesa for OpenGL support and the VC5 DRM driver that has been outside of the kernel tree up until now. (There’s also been the also out-of-tree experimental work on VC5 Vulkan support via BCMV, etc.)

      • NVIDIA 396.18.02 Vulkan Linux Beta Brings Better Shader Performance

        Last week NVIDIA released their first 396 Linux driver beta that most notably introduces their new “NVVM” Vulkan SPIR-V compiler. Coming out today is a new Vulkan beta update with some continued enhancements.

      • AMDVLK Driver Updated With Latest XGL/PAL Fixes

        AMD kicked off the start of a new week by doing fresh code drops of the PAL and XGL code-bases used to form the AMDVLK open-source Radeon Vulkan Linux driver.

        On the XGL side this latest code drop of around one thousand lines of code reduces the number of malloc/free calls, support for INT64 atomic operations within LLPC (the LLVM Pipeline Compiler), other tweaks to LLPC, more barriers in the render pass clear, adding FMASK shadow table support, and other changes.

      • X.Org 2018 Elections Yield 54% Voter Turnout, Select Four New Board Members

        The 2018 X.Org Board of Directors elections are over with 49 of the 91 X.Org registered members having casted a ballot.

        The new X.Org Board of Directors members are Bryce Harrington (Samsung OSG, formerly Canonical), Eric Anholt (Broadcom, formerly Intel), Keith Packard (HPE / Valve, formerly Intel), and Harry Wentland (AMD).

    • Benchmarks

      • P-State/CPUFreq CPU Frequency Scaling Tests For Radeon/NVIDIA Gaming With Linux 4.16

        With last week’s release of Feral GameMode as a system tool to optimize Linux gaming performance, which at this point just toggles the CPU frequency scaling driver’s governor to the “performance” mode, reignited the CPU governor debate, here are some fresh Linux gaming benchmarks. Tests were done with both the CPUFreq and P-State scaling drivers on Linux 4.16 while testing the various governor options and using both AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards.

        This comparison shows how a GeForce GTX 1080 and Radeon RX Vega 64 perform under the different CPU frequency scaling driver/governor options on the Linux 4.16 stable kernel. Tests were done with an Intel Core i7 8700K running at stock speeds throughout the entire benchmarking process.

  • Applications

    • Tuptime – Tool to Display Uptime History of Linux System

      The primary task of the system administrators is monitoring and examine Linux system and how long its been promenade. This article demonstrates use of Tuptime tool that help’s System Administrators to analyse how long Linux machine is up and running.

      Tuptime tool counts accidental system restarts and not just only uptime of system. When tuptime is installed on system it registers first boot time after installation. Once the first boot time is registered from there onwards it checks for system tuptime and downtime and represents it in Percentage (%). Tuptime also registers current tuptime of system from last restart. Reports Largest Running system Time, Shortest Running System Time & Average of both.

    • dutree – A CLI Tool to Analyze Disk Usage in Coloured Output

      dutree is a free open-source, fast command-line tool for analyzing disk usage, written in Rust programming language. It is developed from durep (disk usage reporter) and tree (list directory content in tree-like format) command line tools. dutree therefore reports disk usage in a tree-like format.

    • gotop – A Tool to Monitor System Activity in Linux

      Every Linux administrator has it’s own preferences on how to monitor processes in terminal. And you probably know about tools like top and htop. These are tools for process monitoring in terminal without any visualization. And you probably know about gtop and vtop which are also process monitoring terminal tools, but with visualization. In this article, we are going to install and use another terminal based graphical activity monitor called gotop. Unlike the two mentioned above, gotop is written in Go.

    • Nginx 1.14 Web Server Released

      Nginx 1.14.0 is now available as the latest open-source stable release of this popular web server alternative to Apache.

    • A look at Mixxx in GNU/Linux

      Most people tend to think of DJ’s using Macbooks alongside their equipment when picturing a DJ who uses a laptop in today’s world, but little do most realize that GNU/Linux systems can hold their own as well.

      As a part-time dabbler in electronic music production (read: I mix tunes for my own amusement, and a couple uploaded here and there) I have a few programs that I bounce around from depending on the purpose I need, but generally speaking I don’t really muck around a lot with things, and I tend to prefer to just simply mix two songs together live and on the fly, record it, and win.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Retro-inspired racer Horizon Chase Turbo announced with Linux support

        Aquiris Game Studio, developer of FPS Ballistic Overkill has announced their retro-inspired racing game Horizon Chase Turbo [Official Site].

        It’s actually a revamp of an older title of their’s named Horizon Chase World Tour, only this time it’s not locked to mobile platforms and it will be getting a Linux version too! Honestly, it looks like a really fantastic attempt to bring out a classic-style racing game for a new generation of players.

      • RUINER officially released for Linux on Steam, coming to GOG soon

        RUINER, the absolutely brutal and damn fun action game is now out of beta and officially available on Steam, with a GOG release to follow. I have it confirmed from my GOG contacts it will land soonish, but if you doubt my own word, the developer said so on the Steam forum as well.

        I already wrote some thoughts up on the game here, so I won’t reiterate too much. As it stands, it’s an excellent action game full of character customisation with tons of perks you can activate and deactivate any time, brutal take-downs and plenty of blood.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Amarok – A Powerful Cross Platform Music Player

        Amarok is a cross-platform, free, and Open Source music player written in Qt (C++). It was first released on June 23, 2003, and even though it is part of the KDE project, Amarok is released as a software independent of the central KDE Software Compilation release cycle.

        It features a clean, responsive, and customizable User Interface along with Last.fm support, Jamendo service, Dynamic playlists, context view, PopUp dropper, bookmarking, file tracking, multi-language support, and smooth fade-out settings, among many other options.

      • CMake 3.11 in FreeBSD

        The latest release of CMake has landed in FreeBSD. Prior to release we had good contact with KitWare via the bug tracker so there were few surprises left in the actual release. There were still a few last-minute fixes left, in KDE applications no less.

      • KDE Connect: more album art & bluetooth coming soon

        Secondly, I’ve been working a bit on KDE Connect’s bluetooth support. The code was mostly working already, but the remaining stuff is (of course) the hardest part! Nevertheless, more and more parts start working, so I assume it’ll come your way in a couple of months. I’ll post an update when it’s ready for testing.

      • New in Qt 3D 5.11: Generalized Ray Casting

        The 5.11 release of Qt 3D is mostly about speed and stability but it also introduces a number of new features.

        One of them is generalized ray casting which can be used to find objects intersecting a 3d ray.

      • Qt 5.11 Bringing Generalized Ray Casting Support For 3D Module

        The Qt 3D ray-casting support is to be used for finding objects intersecting a 3D ray. This generalized ray-casting support is expected to be useful for applications making use of secondary controllers and VR environments among other possible use-cases where you would want to see what objects intersect with an arbitrary ray.

        For Qt developers wanting to learn more about this generalized ray-casting support coming to Qt 3D, the folks at the KDAB consulting firm have put out a lengthy blog post detailing this new feature for the upcoming Qt 5.11 release.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 11 “Bullseye” & Debian 12 “Bookworm” Are Coming After Debian 10 “Buster”

        While we’re waiting for the Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system series to be released, it looks like the Debian Release Team announced the codenames for the next two upcoming releases.

        Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” is already halfway through its development cycle, and the release team recently published an update to inform users and developers about the release dates of various upcoming milestones, such as Transition Freeze on 12 January 2019, Soft Freeze on 12 February 2019, and Full Freeze on 12 March 2019, as well as the approximate final release date.

      • TeX Live 2018 for Debian

        TeX Live 2018 has hit Debian/unstable today. The packages are based on what will be (most likely, baring any late desasters) on the TeX Live DVD which is going to press this week. This brings the newest and shiniest version of TeX Live to Debian. There have

      • alioth deprecation – next steps

        As you should be aware, alioth.debian.org will be decommissioned with the EOL of wheezy, which is at the end of May. The replacement for the main part of alioth, git, is alive and out of beta, you know it as salsa.debian.org. If you did not move your git repository yet, hurry up, time is running out.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Server development summary – 17 April 2018

            The purpose of this communication is to provide a status update and highlights for any interesting subjects from the Ubuntu Server Team.

          • MAAS 2.4.0 beta 2 released!

            I’m happy to announce that MAAS 2.4.0 beta 2 is now released and is available for Ubuntu Bionic.

          • LXD weekly status #43

            This week’s focus was on bugfixes with a good number of clustering related fixes and improvements as well as some tweaks and fixes to other recently added features.

            On the feature development front, the current focus is on improving the database tooling in LXD and adding a new backup feature to the API to implement container export/import.

          • The Enjoyable Ubuntu MATE 18.04 Beta 2

            It’s beautiful, it’s lovely, it’s amusing, it’s Ubuntu MATE 18.04 beta 2. It is an LTS version which will be supported for 3 years. It’s more just-work now with a set of different appearances for Windows users (“Redmond”), for Mac OS X users (“Cupertino”), for Unity 7 users (“Mutiny”), and of course for long time Ubuntu MATE users themselves (“Traditional”). It comes with special Welcome program to introduce Ubuntu MATE for any new user, it comes with same experience like previous versions but latest applications (LibreOffice 6.0, Firefox 59, MATE Desktop 1.20) and enhancements, it needs only mid-level specs. with around 640MiB of RAM, and those all made Ubuntu MATE beta 2 really enjoyable. This short review will help you expecting what you will get on Ubuntu MATE final release later on April 26. Enjoy!

          • Ubuntu 18.04 Beta – The good, the bad and mostly ugly

            In about two weeks, Canonical will release its next LTS, 18.04 Bionic Beaver. What makes it special is that it’s going to be running a Gnome 3 desktop instead of Unity, a sort of full-circle reversal of direction and strategy, and that means … uncertainty. With Trusty Tahr being the only production Linux system in my setup, I am quite intrigued and concerned, because I need to choose my next LTS carefully.

            So far, the prospect isn’t encouraging, given the more-than-lukewarm performance by Aardvark. There’s a lot of hope in the Plasma spin, given the stellar performance of the Plasma desktop recently, but that’s still a big unknown, especially since Kubuntu 17.10 was a regression compared to the most magnificent and awesome Zesty Zapus. Therefore, I decided to check this beta, to see what gives ahead of the official release. Normally, I don’t like testing unfinished products, but this be an extraordinary occasion. Let’s do it.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • You Can Now Create Your Own Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Live System with Pinguy Builder

              Pinguy Builder, the open-source and free graphical utility that lets the developers of the Ubuntu-based Pinguy OS distro build their operating system, has been recently updated with support for Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus), Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark), and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) support.

              Pinguy Builder is a fork of the well known Remastersys tool that’s no longer maintained. It contains all the scripts needed to create a live ISO image of any of the supported Ubuntu Linux releases in a few minutes and without too much hassle. Also, it can be used to backup your Ubuntu system.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Hardware

    • U.S. Moves to Block Sales by Chinese Telecom Equipment Makers

      The United States undercut China’s technology ambitions on Tuesday, advancing a new rule that would limit the ability of Chinese telecommunications companies to sell their products in this country.

      The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to move forward with a plan that would prevent federally subsidized telecommunications carriers from using suppliers deemed to pose a risk to American national security. The decision takes direct aim at Huawei, which makes telecommunications network equipment and smartphones, and its main Chinese rival, ZTE, sending a message that the government doesn’t trust them.

      A day earlier, the government barred ZTE from using components made in the United States, saying the company had failed to punish employees who violated American sanctions against North Korea and Iran.

    • Huawei, Failing to Crack U.S. Market, Signals a Change in Tactics

      In a grand hotel ballroom on Tuesday, Huawei executives laid out a soaring vision for the future. The Chinese electronics giant, already the world’s biggest supplier of the equipment that powers the wireless age, now wants to provide the digital backbone for artificial intelligence, the internet of things and other transformative technologies.

      But that future is increasingly looking as if it will not include the United States.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Carlos Correa Named Head Of Intergovernmental South Centre

      Prof. Carlos Correa of Argentina, an influential academic whose analyses of patents and medicines access have informed debates and challenged the status quo for decades, has been named the next executive director of the South Centre. He will take over for Martin Khor, who will be retiring after nine years at the helm. Separately, former South African President Thabo Mbeki was named chair of the Board.

    • Patents On Delivery Devices Can Extend Drug Patent Protection For Years, Study Finds

      The number of patents for drug delivery devices has shot up in recent years, and has had the effect of significantly extending the protection enjoyed by patented pharmaceuticals, delaying cheaper versions of the drugs and leading to higher prices, a recent paper found. And in a Q&A below, one of the authors raises an issue for policymakers.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • McAfee’s Upgraded Cloud Security Protects Containers [Ed: Looks like marketing/spam from ECT]
    • 55 Infosec Professionals Sign Letter Opposing Georgia’s Computer Crime Bill

      In a letter to Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, 55 cybersecurity professionals from around the country are calling for a veto for S.B. 315, a state bill that would give prosecutors new power to target independent security researchers.

      This isn’t just a matter of solidarity among those in the profession. Georgia represents our nation’s third largest information security sector. The signers have clients, partners, and offices in Georgia. They attend conferences in Georgia. They teach and study in Georgia or recruit students from Georgia. And they all agree that S.B. 315, which would create a new crime of “unauthorized access,” would do more harm than good.

    • Has a Russian intelligence agent hacked your wifi? [iophk: "AV is not relevant; there are two main ways to avoid malware" : *BSD and */Linux"]

      In short, a global, invisible, low-level conflict is taking place across the internet and it is possible that your router has been conscripted as a foot soldier. Maybe it is worth getting your firewall and antivirus checked out after all.

    • U.S. & U.K. Issue Joint Warning About Risks of Russian Cyberattacks
    • Demonstrating Tamper Detection with Heads

      We are excited about the future of Heads on Librem laptops and the extra level of protection it can give customers. As a result we’ve both been writing about it a lot publicly and working on it a lot privately. What I’ve realized when I’ve talked to people about Heads and given demos, is that many people have never seen a tamper-evident boot process before. All of the concepts around tamper-evident boot are pretty abstract and it can be difficult to fully grasp how it protects you if you’ve never seen it work.

      We have created a short demo that walks through a normal Heads boot process and demonstrates tamper detection. In the interest of keeping the demo short I only briefly described what was happening. In this post I will elaborate on what you are seeing in the video.

    • Stop Using Six Digit Numeric iPhone Passcodes Right Now
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Russian reporter Borodin dead after mystery fall

      In recent weeks, the journalist had written about Russian mercenaries known as the “Wagner Group” who were reportedly killed in Syria on 7 February in a confrontation with US forces.

    • The search for truth in the rubble of Douma – and one doctor’s doubts over the chemical attack

      This is the story of a town called Douma, a ravaged, stinking place of smashed apartment blocks – and of an underground clinic whose images of suffering allowed three of the Western world’s most powerful nations to bomb Syria last week. There’s even a friendly doctor in a green coat who, when I track him down in the very same clinic, cheerfully tells me that the “gas” videotape which horrified the world – despite all the doubters – is perfectly genuine.

      War stories, however, have a habit of growing darker. For the same 58-year old senior Syrian doctor then adds something profoundly uncomfortable: the patients, he says, were overcome not by gas but by oxygen starvation in the rubbish-filled tunnels and basements in which they lived, on a night of wind and heavy shelling that stirred up a dust storm.

    • CIA Director Pompeo met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over Easter weekend

      CIA Director Mike Pompeo made a top-secret visit to North Korea over Easter weekend as an envoy for President Trump to meet with that country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, according to two people with direct knowledge of the trip.

      The extraordinary meeting between one of Trump’s most trusted emissaries and the authoritarian head of a rogue state was part of an effort to lay the groundwork for direct talks between Trump and Kim about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, according to the two people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the highly classified nature of the talks.

    • Blowing up Lack of ‘Evidence’ in Syria Chemical Attack

      Just a few hours before the arrival in Syria of UN chemical weapons inspectors to investigate the use of chemicals in Duma, a Damascus suburb where last week 42 persons were reportedly killed, the attack against Syrian government chemical facilities by the U.S. and its British and French allies with neither U.N. nor Congressional authorization is a bit suspicious–to put it mildly.

      For the three Western nations to to bomb before the international inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) could check the bodies of those killed for chemicals, take soil samples, talk to survivors and compare the results with what is in the Syrian government chemical facilities is bewildering– unless the U.S., UK and France knew the UN inspectors were going to find NOTHING to substantiate their assessment. Without any evidence, but with merely a “high possibility”, the three countries were going to attack Syria anyway.

    • An Alternative Explanation to the Skripal Mystery

      For weeks, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson have insisted that there is “no alternative explanation” to Russian government responsibility for the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury last month.

      But in fact the British government is well aware that such an alternative explanation does exist. It is based on the well-documented fact that the “Novichok” nerve agent synthesized by Soviet scientist in the 1980s had been sold by the scientist–who led the development of the nerve agent– to individuals linked to Russian criminal organizations as long ago as 1994 and was used to kill a Russian banker in 1995.

      The connection between the Novichok nerve agent and a previous murder linked to the murky Russian criminal underworld would account for the facts of the Salisbury poisoning far better than the official line that it was a Russian government assassination attempt.

      The credibility of the May government’s attempt to blame it on Russian President Vladimir Putin has suffered because of Yulia Skripal’s relatively rapid recovery, the apparent improvement of Sergei Skripal’s condition and a medical specialist’s statement that the Skripals had exhibited no symptoms of nerve agent poisoning.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Watchdog Rules EPA Broke Law with $43,000 Soundproof Phone Booth

      The Government Accountability Office has ruled the Environmental Protection Agency broke the law by spending $43,000 to install a soundproof phone booth for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. It’s the latest ethics scandal to hit Pruitt, who is also facing scrutiny over revelations the EPA has spent $3 million on his security detail. The EPA first claimed the spending was justified due to death threats against Pruitt, but then admitted, in response to a FOIA request, that there are no records of death threats against Pruitt.

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • FBI Raiding NSA Employee’s Home Revealing Over 4 Million ‘Dick Pics’ Is Fake News

      The Federal Bureau of Investigation raiding a National Security Agency employee’s home revealing over 4 Million “dick pictures” is fake news. There is no truth to a report that a NSA employee’s home had been involved in a FBI raid with the government agency seizing over 4 million “dick pics” not belonging to him but rather other men on his computers. If the story sounds wild and crazy that is because it is just that as it is false.

    • The Company Michael Cohen Kept — “Trump, Inc.” Podcast

      Long before Donald Trump’s attorney paid Stormy Daniels or had his office raided by the FBI, a pattern was established: The associates of Michael Cohen have often been disciplined, disbarred, accused or convicted of crimes.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Covering up of half-naked warrior statue for Islamic conference in Italy criticised as cultural censorship

      The covering up of a marble statue of a muscular, half-naked Greek warrior for a conference on Islam in Italy has drawn accusations of overly-zealous cultural censorship.

      The reclining statue of Epaminondas, a fourth century BC general who fought for the liberation of the Greek city-state of Thebes, was draped in a red satin sheet to spare the sensibilities of Muslim delegates.

      Conservative politicians seized on the case, claiming it was an example of Italy going too far to accommodate the feelings of immigrant communities.

    • Telegram Founder Pledges Millions to Fight Russian ‘Political Censorship’

      Pavel Durov, the founder of the popular Telegram messaging service, has pledged millions of dollars to fund tools that would allow users to sidestep new Internet restrictions imposed by the Russian government.

      Russian Internet providers began to block access to Telegram on Monday following a court decision last week ruling to block the app over its refusal to provide the security services with keys to decrypt private conversations. The number of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses that have been blocked in Russia since the move has ballooned to 17 million by mid-Tuesday, from 2 million earlier in the day.

    • Theaters In Saudi Arabia To Show Movies – But Not Without Censorship

      Saudi Arabia is lifting the ban on movies shown in theaters — but moviegoers can likely expect censored versions.

      The showing of “Black Panther” breaks a 35-year prohibition of motion pictures in the country. And while “Black Panther” has already celebrated international success, the film may have fewer difficulties adapting to strict guidelines than other films, such as “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

      Last year, Saudi Arabia announced that movies shown there can’t contradict “Sharia Laws and moral values in the Kingdom.”

      And while the country has yet to issue a public list of what exactly the film restrictions will look like, we can gain clues from looking at patterns in the region.

    • Censorship Gaining Foothold In Pakistan

      Censorship appears to be increasingly gripping Pakistani media as journalists, watchdogs, and media organizations blame attempts by the country’s powerful military to silence critics and prevent the coverage of protests that criticize its policies and actions.

      This week, several leading newspapers either refused to publish articles on the Pashtuns’ protests or deleted stories they had already published. Organized under the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) or Pashtun Protection Movement, members of Pakistan’s second-largest ethnic group have rallied to demand security and rights.

      This month, Geo TV — Pakistan’s leading television news channel — was prevented from reaching audiences through cable networks. On April 16, a provincial court ordered a government regulator to ensure that “anti-judiciary” speeches of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz were prevented from being aired on television. The two have campaigned against the military’s attempted to micromanage politics in the country.

    • #Metoo in China: fledgling movement in universities fights censorship

      Peking University, China’s top academic institution, admitted this month that 20 years ago a professor had been involved in “inappropriate student-teacher relations” with a female student. Former classmates of that student, Gao Yan, a star pupil studying Chinese literature, say she was raped and that the assault pushed her to commit suicide less than a year later.

      The university said in a statement on 6 April that at the time they concluded the professor, Shen Yang, had “handled the situation very imprudently” and he was given an administrative warning and demerit in the summer of 1998, about four months after Gao’s suicide. Shen has denied the allegations by Gao’s classmates, calling them “total nonsense”.

      For one student, that wasn’t enough. Deng Yuhao, an undergraduate at Peking University studying maths, posted a statement on WeChat on 7 April calling for students and teachers to pressure the university to release more details of their investigation. His article was viewed or shared more than a million times.

    • How Government Pressure Has Turned Transparency Reports From Free Speech Celebrations To Censorship Celebrations

      For many years now, various internet companies have released Transparency Reports. The practice was started by Google years back (oddly, Google itself fails me in finding its original trasnparency report). Soon many other internet companies followed suit, and, while it took them a while, the telcos eventually joined in as well.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • From USENET to Facebook: The second time as farce

      I want to think about what we can learn from the forerunners of modern social networks—specifically about USENET, the proto-internet of the 1980s and 90s. (The same observations probably apply to BBSs, though I’m less familiar with them.) USENET was a decentralized and unmanaged system that allowed Unix users to exchange “posts” by sending them to hundreds of newsgroups. It started in the early 80s, peaked sometime around 1995, and arguably ended as tragedy (though it went out with a whimper, not a bang).

      As a no-holds-barred Wild West sort of social network, USENET was filled with everything we rightly complain about today. It was easy to troll and be abusive; all too many participants did it for fun. Most groups were eventually flooded by spam, long before spam became a problem for email. Much of that spam distributed pornography or pirated software (“warez”). You could certainly find newsgroups in which to express your inner neo-Nazi or white supremacist self. Fake news? We had that; we had malicious answers to technical questions that would get new users to trash their systems. And yes, there were bots; that technology isn’t as new as we’d like to think.

      But there was a big divide on USENET between moderated and unmoderated newsgroups. Posts to moderated newsgroups had to be approved by a human moderator before they were pushed to the rest of the network. Moderated groups were much less prone to abuse. They weren’t immune, certainly, but moderated groups remained virtual places where discussion was mostly civilized, and where you could get questions answered. Unmoderated newsgroups were always spam-filled and frequently abusive, and the alt.* newsgroups, which could be created by anyone, for any reason, matched anything we have now for bad behavior.

    • Congressmembers Raise Doubts About the “Going Dark” Problem

      In the wake of a damning report by the DOJ Office of Inspector General (OIG), Congress is asking questions about the FBI’s handling of the locked iPhone in the San Bernardino case and its repeated claims that widespread encryption is leading to a “Going Dark” problem. For years, DOJ and FBI officials have claimed that encryption is thwarting law enforcement and intelligence operations, pointing to large numbers of encrypted phones that the government allegedly cannot access as part of its investigations. In the San Bernardino case specifically, the FBI maintained that only Apple could assist with unlocking the shooter’s phone.

      But the OIG report revealed that the Bureau had other resources at its disposal, and on Friday members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray that included several questions to put the FBI’s talking points to the test. Not mincing words, committee members write that they have “concerns that the FBI has not been forthcoming about the extent of the ‘Going Dark’ problem.”

      In court filings, testimony to Congress, and in public comments by then-FBI Director James Comey and others, the agency claimed that it had no possible way of accessing the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone. But the letter, signed by 10 representatives from both parties, notes that the OIG report “undermines statements that the FBI made during the litigation and consistently since then, that only the device manufacturer could provide a solution.” The letter also echoes EFF’s concerns that the FBI saw the litigation as a test case: “Perhaps most disturbingly, statements made by the Chief of the Cryptographic and Electronic Analysis Unit appear to indicate that the FBI was more interested in forcing Apple to comply than getting into the device.”

    • Tell the Government to protect porn privacy

      Last Monday, the BBFC released a public consultation calling for people’s views on the guidance they plan to issue to age verification providers.

      Under the Digital Economy Act, websites will soon have to ensure that all UK users are above the age of 18 before allowing them to view pornographic content. As the age verification regulator, it is the BBFC’s job to dictate how these age verification systems should work.

      We have written in the past about the dangers of age verification – highlighting the lack of a focus by the Government on the potential privacy concerns. That was back in 2016, and this consultation paper proves that not much has changed since then. The Government have proved their lack of interest in user privacy by appointing the BBFC an especially narrow role that allows them only to issue guidance on how tools should work practically, and does not allow them to outline any requirements for tools to meet certain privacy standards.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Waiting While Black in Philadelphia Can Get You Arrested

      Late last week, two Black men in Philadelphia were doing what people do every day in this city — they waited in a coffee shop to meet an associate. While they were engaged in this mundane activity, they were removed from the Starbucks cafe at 18th and Spruce Streets in handcuffs by Philadelphia police officers.

      This is another example of the kind of daily indignities that African-Americans face every day in Philadelphia and around the country. We can’t even wait in a coffee shop for a friend without the possibility that someone will call the police. Two days after the news broke of the incident, I’m angrier now than I was when I first heard about it.

    • If Trump Is So Worried About Protecting Attorney-Client Privilege, He Should End The NSA’s Bulk Surveillance (And CPB Device Seizures)

      Attorney-client privilege is indeed a serious thing. It is inherently woven into the Sixth Amendment’s right to counsel. That right to counsel is a right to effective counsel. Effective counsel depends on candor by the client. That candor in turn depends on clients being confident that their communications seeking counsel will be confidential. If, however, a client has to fear the government obtaining those communications then their ability to speak openly with their lawyer will be chilled. But without that openness, their lawyers will not be able to effectively advocate for them. Thus the Sixth Amendment requires that attorney-client communications – those communications made in the furtherance of seeking legal counsel – be privileged from government (or other third party) view.

      The problem is, it doesn’t take a raid of a home or office to undermine the privilege. Bulk surveillance invades the sphere of privacy these lawyer-client communications depend on, and, worse, it does so indiscriminately. Whether it involves shunting a copy of all of AT&T’s internet traffic to the NSA, or warrantlessly obtaining everyone’s Verizon Wireless phone call records, while, sure, it catches records of plenty of communications made to non-lawyers (which itself is plenty troubling), it also inherently catches revealing information about communications made to and from lawyers and their clients. Meanwhile the seizures and searches of communications devices such as cell phones and laptops raises similar Constitutional problems. Doing so gives the government access to all records of all communications stored on these devices, including those privileged ones that should have been expressly kept from it.

    • Who Should Review Michael Cohen’s Files Under the Fourth Amendment?

      Lots of lawyers are arguing over who should review the documents seized from Trump’s lawyer. The decision will affect us all.

      Since the search last week of the office, home, hotel room, and safe deposit box of Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal attorney, lots of lawyers have been squaring off about an important legal issue that rarely gets banner-headline billing: How does the government, armed with a warrant for a criminal suspect’s digital files, go about sorting through those files in a way that ensures that constitutional and legal rights are not violated?

      The risks of wrongful privacy invasions are too great to leave to the prosecutors when the government seizes digital data. Such files should be reviewed in the first instance by a neutral party, or “special master,” appointed by and answerable to the court, to ensure that the prosecutors and investigators get the evidence they are authorized to look for. They should not be allowed to roam widely through digital files that may contain terrabytes of private information.

      Cohen has claimed that because he is an attorney — for Trump and others — some of the seized files may be entirely off-limits to the government because they are protected by the attorney–client privilege. President Trump’s lawyers have made similar arguments. Both have asked the court to allow their legal teams to have the first cut at the seized files in order to review them for privilege, and then to produce the remainder to the government or a special master. The government has countered that the court should allow a so-called “taint team,” made up of prosecutors who are not assigned to the case and who are technically walled off from those working on the case, to do the sorting. The court is now considering the parties’ arguments and is expected to rule quickly.

    • Pardons No Substitute for Reform in Myanmar

      The Myanmar government has ordered the release of three dozen political prisoners, a welcome step that still leaves scores in detention or on trial on politically motivated charges, according to local monitors. Real reform in Myanmar will require stripping away the architecture of repression and ending prosecutions of the government’s critics.

      Yesterday, newly elected President Win Myint followed the tradition of releasing prisoners on the first day of the Myanmar New Year by announcing the release of more than 8,500 prisoners, including 36 political prisoners. These releases are commonly referred to as “amnesties” but are, in reality, pardons, which do not absolve those released of their crimes or the legal consequences.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Ajit Pai’s ex-broadband advisor arrested on charge of forging fiber contracts

      Elizabeth Pierce is accused of “forg[ing] guaranteed revenue contracts to fraudulently induce investors to invest more than $250 million in a fiber optic cable network in Alaska,” according to a press release issued last week by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

    • Comcast To Sell Netflix Subscriptions In False Belief This Will Slow Cord Cutting

      As we’ve noted previously, Comcast has enjoyed a little more resilience to the cord cutting threat than satellite TV and telco TV providers–thanks to its growing monopoly over broadband. As DSL users frustrated by lagging telco upgrades switch to cable to get faster speeds, they’re often forced to sign up for cable and TV bundles they may not want (since standalone broadband is often priced prohibitively by intent). Of course that doesn’t mean these users or stick around (or that they even actively use the cable subscription they pay for), but it has helped Comcast all the same.

      There are some indications that advantage isn’t helping as much now that we’re seeing so many streaming services come to market. At least one Wall Street research firm predicts that Comcast’s cord cutting defections will double this year, though those totals still remain modest (400,000) compared to the company’s total number of pay TV (22.4 million) and broadband (25.5 million) subscribers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • What will become of Australia’s innovation patent system?

      Abolition of Australia’s innovation patent system is still possible but potential options to improve it are also not ruled out

      Following the Australia’s Productivity Commission’s inquiry into IP arrangements last year and the government’s consultation on innovation patents, IP Australia has decided to undertake further industry consultation targeted at better understanding the needs of innovative SMEs before deciding…

    • Supreme Court predicted to rule in favour of patent owners over damages abroad in case that could have major ramifications

      For many observers of US patent law the current Supreme Court term essentially boils down to one case. But as we wait for the ruling in Oil States on the constitutionality of inter partes review, the justices had another case to hear yesterday on the extraterritoriality of damages law. In Western Geco v Ion Geophysical Corp, the patent owner Western Geco, sued Ion in district court over components that Ion manufactured in the US but then shipped abroad for assembly.

    • Premaitha’s strike out gamble fails before Carr J in new Illumnia patent battle

      Interim decisions are always full of interesting tidbits. Nothing was more juicy than last month’s decision from Mr Justice Carr in Illumnia v Premaitha [2018] EWHC 615 (Pat) in which he dealt with two applications brought by the defendants for (i) strike out of Illumina’s claim on the basis of abuse of process, and (ii) summary judgment against Illumina on the basis of issue estoppel. Although shackled by time in reporting on the decision, the AmeriKat asked a new IP kitten, Constance Crawford (Bristows) to get her paws wet in her first Kat post.

    • Copyrights


      • Pirate Site-Blocking? Music Biz Wants App Blocking Too

        With thousands of websites blocked all around the world on copyright grounds, pirates are continuing to innovate. The rise of apps designed to provide free content represents a fairly recent development but one the entertainment industries are keen to stem. The CEO of Warner Music Russia now says his company has infringing apps firmly on the anti-piracy agenda.

        In some way, shape or form, Internet piracy has always been carried out through some kind of application. Whether that’s a peer-to-peer client utilizing BitTorrent or eD2K, or a Usenet or FTP tool taking things back to their roots, software has always played a crucial role.

      • The Music Industry Now Wants To Creep Past Site-Blocking Into App-Blocking

        With site-blocking now fully en vogue in much of the world as the preferred draconian solution to copyright infringement, one point we’ve made over and over again is that even this extreme measure has no hope of fully satisfying the entertainment industries. Once thought something of a nuclear option, the full censorship of websites will now serve as a mere stepping stone to the censorship of all kinds of other platforms that might sometimes be used for piracy. It was always going to be this way, from the very moment that world governments creaked open this door.

        And it appears it isn’t taking long for the entertainment industries to want to take that next step, either. As the debate about Kodi addons rages, and as governments begin to clamp down on the platform at the request of the entertainment industry, several industry players at an IP forum event in Russia have started announcing plans to push for app-blocking as the next step.

      • 19-Year-Old Canadian Facing Criminal Charges For Downloading Publicly-Accessible Documents

        A 19-year-old Canadian is being criminally-charged for accessing a website. The Nova Scotian government’s Freedom of Information portal (FOIPOP) served up documents it shouldn’t have and now prosecutors are thinking about adding charges on top of the ten-year sentence the teen could already be facing. (via Databreaches.net)

        Journalists first spotted the problem April 5th, when the FOI portal was taken offline. The Internal Services Minister, Patricia Arab, refused to provide details about the portal’s sudden unavailability. It wasn’t until the following week that the press was given more information and those affected notified.

      • ‘Scraping’ is Just Automated Access, and Everyone Does It

        For tech lawyers, one of the hottest questions this year is: can companies use the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)—an imprecise and outdated criminal anti-“hacking” statute intended to target computer break-ins—to block their competitors from accessing publicly available information on their websites? The answer to this question has wide-ranging implications for everyone: it could impact the public’s ability to meaningfully access publicly available information on the open web. This will impede investigative journalism and research. And in a world of algorithms and artificial intelligence, lack of access to data is a barrier to product innovation, and blocking access to data means blocking any chance for meaningful competition.

        The CFAA was enacted in 1986, when there were only about 2,000 computers connected to the Internet. The law makes it a crime to access a computer connected to the Internet “without authorization” but fails to explain what this means. It was passed with the aim of outlawing computer break-ins, but has since metastasized in some jurisdictions into a tool to enforce computer use policies, like terms of service, which no one reads.

        Efforts to use the CFAA to threaten competitors increased in 2016 following the Ninth Circuit’s poorly reasoned Facebook v. Power Ventures decision. The case involved a dispute between Facebook and a social media aggregator, which Facebook users had voluntarily signed up for. Facebook did not want its users engaging with this service, so it sent Power Ventures a cease and desist letter and tried to block Power Ventures’ IP address. The Ninth Circuit found that Power Ventures had violated the CFAA after continuing to provide its services after receipt of the cease and desist letter and having one of its IP address blocked.

      • Teen charged in Nova Scotia government breach says he had ‘no malicious intent’ [iophk: "technically the site actually did publish these documents; this is just harassment of the kid"]

        The teen has been charged with “unauthorized use of a computer,” which carries a possible 10-year prison sentence, for downloading approximately 7,000 freedom-of-information releases.

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

Further Recent Posts

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts