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Links 20/3/2018: GStreamer 1.14.0, Freespire 3.0, Endless OS 3.3.13

Posted in News Roundup at 12:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Purchased a PlayStation 3 Between 2006 and 2010? You May Be Entitled to $65

      PS3 owners first qualified to receive compensation from Sony following the settlement of a lawsuit in 2016. That case dealt with the “OtherOS” feature that came with the console when it debuted. With OtherOS, Sony promised a new PlayStation that would operate like a computer, allowing users to partition their hard drive and install third-party operating systems like the open-source Linux software.

  • Server

    • Inspur Unveils Open Source Software Adapted Server at OpenPOWER Summit 2018

      Inspur, a member of the OpenPOWER Foundation, showcased its FP5280G2 server based on OpenPOWER9 that has completed the adaptation of mainstream open source software for cloud computing, big data and AI. It was the first time that this product was introduced in North America. As the initiator of the OpenPOWER Foundation, IBM disclosed more details of POWER9 processors: designed for emerging applications such as AI, cloud computing, and big data, and has 50% to 200% performance improvement compared to POWER8.

    • Updated Oracle Linux 7 update 4 ARM64/aarch64 with uek5 4.14.26-2

      We refreshed the installation media for OL7/ARM64 with the latest uek5 preview build based on upstream stable 4.14.26 and added perf and tuned.

      You can download it from the OTN OL ARM webpage. Ignore the 4.14-14 in the text, that will get updated. We’re also working on updating the Raspberry Pi 3 image to match the same version. Hopefully using grub2 there as well to make it easier to have a single image repo.

    • Oracle Linux 7 For ARM64 Updated, Using Linux 4.14 Kernel

      Oracle has made available updated installation media for Oracle Linux 7 for ARM64.

      With Oracle’s Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel 5 they are using the Linux 4.14 LTS base and that includes for this 64-bit ARM support too. Oracle has made available Oracle Linux 7 for 64-bit ARM with an “Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel 5″ based on the upstream Linux 4.14.26 kernel.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Gets Ported To China’s 32-bit “C-SKY” CPU Architecture

      While the Linux kernel maintainers are currently working on dropping support for some old CPU architectures, a new CPU architecture is looking to receive the mainline treatment.

      Hangzhou C-SKY Microsystems is a Chinese producer of CPU IP licenses and a SoC platform. The company has developed their own 32-bit embedded CPU cores for use within cameras, set-top boxes, digital video recorders, printers, and other appliances / industrial devices. C-SKY is a member of the RISC-V Foundation but their current offerings do not appear based on this ISA.

    • Which Linux Distribution Does Linus Torvalds Use in 2018?

      We know a sizeable amount of his views on Linux distros, thanks to an interview he took long ago in 2007, but who knows – could he have changed his mind?

      In a 2007 interview, Linus professed that he didn’t use Debian because he found it hard to install, a statement I find interesting because he’s the guy who wrote GIT in C.

      Anyway, he buttressed his reason for not using Debian in a later interview from 2014, when he explained that because he is responsible for maintaining his computer and all the computers used by his household, he likes to use an OS with virtually no installation hassle.


      As far as I know, he uses Fedora on most of his computers because of its fairly good support for PowerPC. He mentioned that he used OpenSuse at one point in time and complimented Ubuntu for making Debian accessible to the mass. So most of the flak on the internet about Linus disliking Ubuntu isn’t factual.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Linux Foundation announces open source reference hypervisor project designed for IoT device development

        The Linux Foundation today announced a new embedded reference hypervisor project called ACRN (pronounced “acorn”). With engineering and code contributions from Intel Corporation, the hypervisor was built with real-time and safety-criticality in mind, and optimized to streamline embedded development. This project will provide a framework for industry leaders to build an open source embedded hypervisor specifically for the Internet of Things (IoT).

      • Linux Foundation Announces OpenBMC Project To Create Open-Source BMC Firmware

        Last week Intel announced their open-source sound firmware project while the latest project in the open-source realm comes via the Linux Foundation with the launch of OpenBMC.

        The Linux Foundation is backing the OpenBMC project community with a goal of creating an open-source baseboard management controller (BMC) firmware stack that can be used across motherboards and computing environments.

      • Linux Foundation, Intel launch open source IoT hypervisor

        The Linux Foundation has unveiled plans for a new open source project to provide streamlined embedded hypervisors for IoT devices.

        Called Acrn, the project has been assisted by Intel, which contributed code and engineering. The main thrust of the project is to create small, flexible virtual machines.

        ACRN comprises two main components: the hypervisor and its device model, complete with I/O mediators. The Linux-based hypervisor can run many ‘guest’ operating systems at the same time.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Reverse-Engineering of ARM Mali “Midgard” Now Has A Working NIR Shader Compiler

        Earlier this year work on the “Chai” open-source Mali T700 GPU driver resumed with an aim to get a working Mesa driver for this “Midgard” graphics architecture. There’s still a long battle ahead, but their NIR shader compiler is beginning to work.

        Alyssa Rosenzweig remains the main developer working on this Chai driver effort but with using some remnants done by Luc and Connor during the Lima driver days. Her focus lately has been on assembler and shader support for this reverse-engineered driver for ARM Mali graphics.

      • Wayland 1.15 Beta Released With Weston 4.0 Beta

        The beta releases are available today of Wayland 1.15 and the Weston 4.0 reference compositor.

        Wayland 1.15 is another relatively modest cycle. Wayland 1.15 pulls in libwayland-egl where as before that library was part of Mesa, making some semantics of Wayland more clear in the documentation, improvements to wayland-scanner, and some minor API additions.

      • Mesa 17.3.7 RC2 Issued With Even More Patches

        Last week the release candidate of Mesa 17.3.7 was issued with more than 50 patches queued. That count grew more over the weekend resulting in an additional release candidate.

        Mesa point releases tend to get just one RC and a few days of testing before going gold, but on top of the 50 patches last week another handful of patches were since proposed and queued up for this increasingly large point release. The very latest patches include a RADV Vulkan driver fix by Feral Interactive, and several other RADV and Intel Vulkan fixes.

      • Nouveau NIR Support Appears Almost Baked, NV50 Support Added

        Karol Herbst at Red Hat started off this week by publishing his latest patches around Nouveau NIR support as part of the company’s effort for getting SPIR-V/compute support up and running on this open-source NVIDIA driver.

        Red Hat’s grand vision around open-source GPGPU compute still isn’t entirely clear especially with Nouveau re-clocking not being suitable for delivering high performance at this point, but it must be grand given the number of developers they have working on improving the Linux GPU compute stack at the moment.

      • xf86-input-libinput 0.27.0 Released

        Aside from a few touchpad issues and other minor random issues with select hardware, libinput these days is mostly in great shape for being a generic input handling library that is working out well for both X.Org and Wayland users.

    • Benchmarks

      • Radeon GPUs Are Increasingly Competing With NVIDIA GPUs On Latest RadeonSI/RADV Drivers

        As it’s been a few weeks since last delivering a modest Linux GPU comparison and given the continuously evolving state of the Linux kernel Git tree as well as the Mesa project that houses the RadeonSI OpenGL and RADV Vulkan drivers, here are our latest benchmarks showing the current state of the AMD Radeon open-source Linux graphics driver performance relative to NVIDIA’s long-standing and high-performance but proprietary driver using several different graphics cards.

      • Fresh Benchmarks Of CentOS 7 On Xeon & EPYC With/Without KPTI/Retpolines

        While every few weeks or so we have ended up running benchmarks of the latest Linux Git kernel to see the evolving performance impact of KPTI (Kernel Page Table Isolation) and Retpolines for Meltdown and Spectre V2 mitigation, respectively, a request came in last week from a premium supporter to see some new comparison test runs on CentOS 7 with its older 3.10-evolved kernel.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Applications 18.04 branches created

        Make sure you commit anything you want to end up in the KDE Applications 18.04 release to them :)

      • KDE Connect – State of the union

        We haven’t blogged about KDE Connect in a long time, but that doesn’t mean that we’ve been lazy. Some new people have joined the project and together we have implemented some exciting features. Our last post was about version 1.0, but recently we released version 1.8 of the Android app and 1.2.1 of the desktop component some time ago, which we did not blog about yet. Until now!

      • KMyMoney 5.0.1 released

        The KMyMoney development team is proud to present the first maintenance version 5.0.1 of its open source Personal Finance Manager. Although several members of the development team had been using the new version 5.0.0 in production for some time, a number of bugs and regressions slipped through testing, mainly in areas and features not used by them.

      • Qt Quick without a GPU: i.MX6 ULL

        With the introduction of the Qt Quick software renderer it became possible to use Qt Quick on devices without a GPU. We investigated how viable this option is on a lower end device, particularly the NXP i.MX6 ULL. It turns out that with some (partially not yet integrated) patches developed by KDAB and The Qt Company, the performance is very competitive. Even smooth video playback (with at least half-size VGA resolution) can be done by using the PXP engine on the i.MX6 ULL.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GitLab + Flatpak – GNOME’s full flow

        In this post I will explain how GitLab, CI, Flatpak and GNOME apps come together into a (imho) dream-come-true full flow for GNOME, a proposal to be implemented by all GNOME apps.

      • GNOME 3.28 released & coming to Fedora 28

        Last week, The GNOME project announced the release of GNOME 3.28. This major release of the GNOME desktop is the default desktop environment in the upcoming release of Fedora 28 Workstation. 3.28 includes a wide range of enhancements, including updates to Files (nautilus), Contacts, Calendar, Clocks and the on-screen keyboard. Additionally, the new application Usage is added to “make it easy to diagnose and resolve performance and capacity issues”

      • Shotwell Photo Manager Just Got a Big Performance Boost

        A new version of the Shotwell photo manager and editor is available to download. Shotwell 0.28 “Braunschweig” arrives half a year later than originally planned but hasn’t shirked on improvements or bug fixes during the wait. In all some 60 bugs have been closed since the Shotwell 0.27 release last year…

      • GStreamer Rust bindings 0.11 / plugin writing infrastructure 0.2 release

        Following the GStreamer 1.14 release and the new round of gtk-rs releases, there are also new releases for the GStreamer Rust bindings (0.11) and the plugin writing infrastructure (0.2).

      • GStreamer 1.14.0 Released With WebRTC Support, AV1 Video & Better Rust Bindings

        GStreamer 1.14.0 is now available as the first big feature release of 2018 for this widely-used, open-source multimedia framework.

        GStreamer 1.14 packs in many new features including experimental AV1 video codec support for that royalty-free specification, IPC pipeline improvements, RTSP 2.0 client/server support (Real Time Streaming Protocol 2.0), LAME/mpg123/twolame being promoted to the “good” plugin repository now that the related patents have expired for MP3, improved OpenGL integration, initial WebRTC support for real-time communication, and many other improvements.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Manjaro 17.1.6 Hakoila Plasma – A rollercoaster of Tux

        Wow, there could not be a more bi-polar distro than Manjaro Hakoila. On one hand, it’s the state-of-art, bleeding-edge tech demonstrator with some rather brilliant and unique features, belying its Archy roots. On the other, it’s rife with bugs and problems that are typical of small distros and badly integrated products. The network and smartphone side of things are particularly bad. You cannot excuse pale fonts or the menu error either, and then, if you’ve actually read a review, there were a dozen different issues through my test session.

        That said, Manjaro 17.1.6 is pretty, inviting, elegant, largely robust and stable, fast enough on ancient hardware, it gives you Nvidia support out of the box, it gives you media goodies, it gives you the Microsoft Office access right there on your desktop, and it’s got charm and character that goes beyond the bland copypasta you get elsewhere in the Linux world.

        And then, I got meself thinking. I tried a few small but reasonably brilliant distros recently – Manjaro, MX Linux, Antergos. They all have unique, powerful features, all covering different angles. Imagine if they combined their efforts – MX Linux live session data import and its tools, Antergos software wizard, Manjaro office stuff. What a killer distro we could have then! But that’s an article for a different time.

        Back to Manjaro – I am actually liking this particular edition quite a lot. It’s far from perfect, but then, with some hard work and attention to details, this could be an excellent choice for a desktop system. Perhaps more than any other distro did in recent times. Of course, there’s still a huge amount of effort needed to make this a fully integrated, offline-online Windows competitor, but it’s making steady progress, and I like that. A sure sign of greatness to come. Grade wise, about 7.5/10, just watch out for the buggy parts. And I will extend the testing onto my UEFI-powered Lenovo G50 laptop.

    • New Releases

      • Freespire 3.0.8 Released

        Today we are pleased to announce the release of Freespire 3.0.8, the open source equivalent to Linspire OS, freely available to download and redistribute. Freespire OS 3.0.8 includes several bug fixes, application updates and usability changes requested by our users.

        One important change : KDE fans have requested it and now we have released an ISO featuring the KDE Plasma 5 desktop

        Freespire OS 3.0.8 contains all previous bug fixes and system updates along with the following changes.

      • Endless OS Version 3.3.13

        Improved Chromium behaviour with low memory. The Chromium browser now frees up the memory used by other tabs much more effectively when you’re running very low on memory. This means you have to wait a little longer after you switch to one of these tabs, but keeps the system running more smoothly and helps to prevent crashes.

    • Arch Family

      • What’s New in ArchLabs 2018.03

        ArchLabs 2018.03 is the latest release of Linux distribution based on Arch Linux featuring the Openbox window manager as the primary desktop interface. The project’s latest release ArchLabs 2018.03 brings a few fixes and improvements and improve the user.

        Powered by Linux kernel 4.15 series and based-on latest version of Arch Linux. LUKS and encryption is now working, for those security concious users out there you should be all go on the encryption side. There have been a few installer updates, base-devel is included at install time. Also the mirrorlist is optimised at the same time.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • [Older] openSUSE.Asia Summit 2018: Call for Host

        The openSUSE.Asia organization committee is accepting proposals to host the openSUSE.Asia Summit during the second half of 2018. The openSUSE.Asia Summit is the largest annual openSUSE conference in Asia, attended by contributors and enthusiasts from all over Asia.

      • TidalScale Software-Defined Servers Now Support SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

        TidalScale, the leader in Software-Defined Servers, announced today that working in partnership with SUSE, the world’s first provider of Enterprise Linux, TidalScale has achieved SUSE Ready certification to ensure full compatibility with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. TidalScale’s breakthrough scaling platform allows multiple industry standard servers to be combined into a single Software-Defined Server running a single instance of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • RcppSMC 0.2.1: A few new tricks

        A new release, now at 0.2.1, of the RcppSMC package arrived on CRAN earlier this afternoon (and once again as a very quick pretest-publish within minutes of submission).

      • sbuild-debian-developer-setup(1) (2018-03-19)

        I have heard a number of times that sbuild is too hard to get started with, and hence people don’t use it.

        To reduce hurdles from using/contributing to Debian, I wanted to make sbuild easier to set up.

        sbuild ≥ 0.74.0 provides a Debian package called sbuild-debian-developer-setup. Once installed, run the sbuild-debian-developer-setup(1) command to create a chroot suitable for building packages for Debian unstable.

      • control-archive 1.8.0

        This is the software that maintains the archive of control messages and the newsgroups and active files on ftp.isc.org. I update things in place, but it’s been a while since I made a formal release, and one seemed overdue (particularly since it needed some compatibility tweaks for GnuPG v1).

      • The problem with the Code of Conduct
      • Some problems with Code of Conducts
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Officially Announces Mozilla’s Firefox as a Snap App for Ubuntu Linux

            The Firefox Snap package appears to be maintained by Mozilla, which allows Linux users to test drive the latest features of their Quantum browser on multiple GNU/Linux distributions that support Canonical’s Snappy universal binary format.

            Developed by Canonical, the Snap universal application packaging format for Linux lets Linux users enjoy the most recent release of a software product as soon as it’s released upstream. It’s secure by design and works natively on multiple popular Linux OSes.

          • Mozilla Firefox Quantum available as Snap for Linux

            If you use Linux on the desktop, there is no shortage of great web browsers from which to choose. For instance, popular options like Firefox, Chrome, and Opera are all available. Thankfully, Microsoft Edge is nowhere to be found!

          • Firefox Quantum snap now available on Linux-based devices

            Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, today announced that Mozilla has launched a Firefox snap bringing their latest Quantum browser to multiple Linux distributions, including Ubuntu. Developed by Canonical, snaps are a universal application packaging format for Linux, allowing them to work natively on hundreds of different platforms and multiple distributions.

          • uNav 0.75: A libre GPS navigator for your libre pocket device!

            A new release for your Ubuntu Phone powered by UBports!

          • Ubuntu 18.10 Looking At LZ4-Compressed Initramfs Image By Default

            With Ubuntu 18.10 being the release after an LTS cycle, it’s shaping up to be another big feature period. They have already been discussing Zstd-compressed Debian packages for Ubuntu 18.10 while the latest proposal for this next cycle is on switching from Gzip to LZ4 for the default kernel initramfs image.

            Canonical’s Balint Reczey is going to be adding support for LZ4 compression to initramfs-tools, which should be done in time for the 18.04 release, but for the Ubuntu 18.10 release is where they are looking at making the LZ4-compressed image the default rather than Gzip.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 Will Boot Faster, Thanks to LZ4 Initramfs Compression

            Canonical’s Balint Reczey recently proposed the implementation of LZ4 compression to Ubuntu’s initramfs (initial ramdisk) instead of the older gzip compression used in previous releases of the wildly used operating system. LZ4 is a lossless data compression algorithm that offers extremely fast compression and decompression speed.

            During some initial tests on an old laptop, the developer reports that the initramfs extraction time decreased from approximately 1.2 seconds to about 0.24 seconds. The creation of the initramfs also received a speed boost of 2-3 seconds, decreasing from roughly 24 seconds to about 21 seconds, despite of slightly bigger initramfs files.

          • The Top 10 Advantages Ubuntu Has Over Windows

            Microsoft’s Windows OS currently owns 90% of the market share for desktop computers so the question of what advantages a Linux distro, specifically, Ubuntu, has over Windows might come as a surprise.

            But don’t be fooled, my friends – there are a number of features that make Ubuntu a better OS for your workstation than Windows is.

            Here is my list of the Top 10 Advantages Ubuntu has Over Windows.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • DigitalBits launches open-source blockchain-based marketplace for loyalty points

    Their value — or at least their versatility — could get a boost if The DigitalBits Project is successful. This community endeavor, soon to become a nonprofit foundation based out of the tiny European country of Lichtenstein, is today launching an open-source blockchain-based infrastructure that supports trading loyalty points or rewards or transferring them to other individuals.

  • Aventus Announces Development of Open-Source Protocol Foundation

    Aventus, the blockchain ticketing startup that raised 60,000 Ether via a crowdsale in 2017, has announced the next stage of development for its non-profit foundation. The Aventus Protocol Foundation will serve as an entity tasked with supporting open-source projects built using the Aventus protocol. This encourages the growth of the Aventus ticketing ecosystem while protecting the rights of holders of AVT, the native Aventus token.

  • An Overview of Cryptocurrency Consensus Algorithms

    One of the most important aspects of a decentralized cryptocurrency project is the consensus algorithm it employs. A consensus algorithm is crucial to the implementation of a digital currency because it prevents the double spending problem, a challenge that has historically limited the development of digital currencies until the recent development and adoption of the blockchain ledger method. Because cryptocurrencies are implemented as public, decentralized ledgers that are append-only, they must employ a consensus algorithm to verify that there “is one version of the truth” and that the network cannot be overwhelmed by bad actors.

  • LG Creates Open Source Branch Of webOS
  • LG Releases webOS Open Source Edition To Drive Platform Adoption
  • LG takes webOS open source
  • LG takes its webOS platform open source to step up Samsung rivalry
  • LG looks to broaden webOS more with ‘Open Source Edition’
  • LG open-sources webOS Making It A Global Platform
  • LG makes WebOS open source in effort to expand the operating system’s market presence
  • webOS Goes Open Source
  • LG announces webOS Open Source Edition to bring the platform to more devices
  • LG is taking webOS beyond TVs with ‘Open Source Edition’
  • LG releases webOS Open Source Edition
  • LG webOS Open Source Edition Made Available
  • LG wants to take webOS beyond TVs with ‘Open Source Edition’
  • LG is making its open source webOS operating system er, open source

    Those of you with long memories may recall that webOS is already open source, having originally been designed for tablet computers under the auspices of HP Inc (or Hewlett Packard as it was at the time). Even the unfinished overhaul at the time that LG took it underground is open source.

  • LG launches open source version of webOS

    LG Electronics is moving webOS beyond TVs with the release of webOS Open Source Edition. WebOS is a multitasking operating system that was designed for smart devices and smart TVs.

    Before coming to LG, webOS was launched as Palm OS in 2009. It was acquired by HP in 2010, and then licensed to LG in 2013. Since then, the company has been using the technology for its smart TVs and refrigerators.

    “WebOS has come a long way since then and is now a mature and stable platform ready to move beyond TVs to join the very exclusive group of operating systems that have been successfully commercialization at such a mass level. As we move from an app-based environment to a web-based one, we believe the true potential of webOS has yet to be seen,” said I.P. Park, chief technology officer at LG Electronics.

  • How 11 open source projects got their names

    “So, two open source developers walk into a bar…” Arduino derives its name from one of co-founder Massimo Banzi’s favorite bars in Ivrea, Italy, where the founders of this “hardware and software ecosystem” used to meet. The bar was named for Arduin of Ivrea, who was king of Italy a bit more than 1,000 years ago.

  • Feed the dog and close the door with an open source home automation system

    As voice assistants, smart bulbs, and other devices increasingly become household staples, more people than ever are bringing smart technology into their homes. But the bewildering assortment of products on the market can present challenges: Remembering which app to use and trying to link things together with automation can get complicated quickly. In this article, I’ll show you a few ways I used an open source home automation platform, Home Assistant, to bring all my devices together.

  • Can we build a social network that serves users rather than advertisers?

    Today, open source software is far-reaching and has played a key role driving innovation in our digital economy. The world is undergoing radical change at a rapid pace. People in all parts of the world need a purpose-built, neutral, and transparent online platform to meet the challenges of our time.

    And open principles might just be the way to get us there. What would happen if we married digital innovation with social innovation using open-focused thinking?

  • Digital asset management for an open movie project

    A DAMS will typically provide something like a search interface combined with automatically collected metadata and user-assisted tagging. So, instead of having to remember where you put the file you need, you can find it by remembering things about it, such as when you created it, what part of the project it connects to, what’s included in it, and so forth.

    A good DAMS for 3D assets generally will also support associations between assets, including dependencies. For example, a 3D model asset may incorporate linked 3D models, textures, or other components. A really good system can discover these automatically by examining the links inside the asset file.

  • LG Releases ‘Open Source Edition’ Of webOS Operating System
  • Private Internet Access VPN opens code-y kimono, starting with Chrome extension

    VPN tunneller Private Internet Access (PIA) has begun open sourcing its software.

    Over the next six months, the service promises that all its client-side software will make its way into the hands of the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) community, starting with PIA’s Chrome extension.

    The extension turns off mics, cameras, Adobe’s delightful Flash plug-in, and prevents IP discovery. It also blocks ads and tracking.

    Christel Dahlskjaer, director of outreach at PIA, warned that “our code may not be perfect, and we hope that the wider FOSS community will get involved.”

  • Open sourcing FOSSA’s build analysis in fossa-cli

    Today, FOSSA is open sourcing our dependency analysis infrastructure on GitHub. Now, everyone can participate and have access to the best tools to get dependency data out of any codebase, no matter how complex it is.

  • Events

    • syslog-ng at SCALE 2018

      It is the fourth year that syslog-ng has participated at Southern California Linux Expo or, as better known to many, SCALE ‒ the largest Linux event in the USA. In many ways, it is similar to FOSDEM in Europe, however, SCALE also focuses on users and administrators, not just developers. It was a pretty busy four days for me.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • What we learned about gender identity in Open Source

        To learn more, we launched a Diversity & Inclusion in Open Source survey earlier this year, which sought to better understand how people identify, including gender-identity.

        Our gender spectrum question, was purposely long — to experiment with the value people found in seeing their identity represented in a question. People from over 200 open projects participated. Amazingly, of 17 choices, each was uniquely selected, by a survey participant at least once.

      • Why we participate in support

        Users will not use Firefox if they don’t know how to use it, or if it is not working as expected. Support exists to retain users. If their experience of using Firefox is a bad, we’re here to make it good, so they continue to use Firefox.

      • WebRender newsletter #16
      • A good question, from Twitter

        Why do I pay attention to Internet advertising? Why not just block it and forget about it? By now, web ad revenue per user is so small that it only makes sense if you’re running a platform with billions of users, so sites are busy figuring out other ways to get paid anyway.

      • This Week In Servo 108

        We have been working on adding automated performance tests for the Alexa top pages, and thanks to contributions from the Servo community we are now regularly tracking the performance of the top 10 websites.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • LLVM-MCA Will Analyze Your Machine Code, Help Analyze Potential Performance Issues

      One of the tools merged to LLVM SVN/Git earlier this month for the LLVM 7.0 cycle is LLVM-MCA. The LLVM-MCA tool is a machine code analyzer that estimates how the given machine code would perform on a specific CPU and attempt to report possible bottlenecks.

      The LLVM-MCA analysis tool uses information already used within LLVM about a given CPU family’s scheduler model and other information to try to statically measure how the machine code would carry out on a particular CPU, even going as far as estimating the instructions per cycle and possible resource pressure.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Taking Data Further with Standards

        Imagine reading a book, written by many different authors, each working apart from the others, without guidelines, and published without edits. That book is a difficult read — it’s in 23 different languages, there’s no consistency in character names, and the story gets lost. As a reader, you have an uphill battle to get the information to tell you one cohesive story. Data is a lot like that, and that’s why data standards matter. By establishing common standards for the collection, storage, and control of data and information, data can go farther, be integrated with other data, and make “big data” research and development possible.

        For example, NOAA collects around 20 terabytes of data every day.Through the National Ocean Service, instruments are at work daily gathering physical data in the ocean, from current speed to the movement of schools of fish and much more. Hundreds of government agencies and programs generate this information to fulfill their missions and mandates, but without consistency from agency to agency, the benefits of that data are limited. In addition to federal agencies, there are hundreds more non-federal and academic researchers gathering data every day. Having open, available, comprehensive data standards that are widely implemented facilitates data sharing, and when data is shared, it maximizes the benefits of “big data”— integrated, multi-source data that yields a whole greater than its parts.


  • Snapchat’s UK ad revenue set to overtake Twitter’s next year

    Snapchat’s UK ad revenue growth is forecast to soar from just £21.9m in 2016 to £181.7m next year. Twitter UK will make about £171m in revenues, according to eMarketer, a market research company. The UK currently accounts for about 10% of Snapchat’s global ad revenues.

  • Apple Is Using a Secret Facility to Do Something It’s Never Done Before

    The technology giant is making a significant investment in the development of next-generation MicroLED screens, say the people, who requested anonymity to discuss internal planning. MicroLED screens use different light-emitting compounds than the current OLED displays and promise to make future gadgets slimmer, brighter and less power-hungry.

  • Hardware

    • The Last Barrier To Ultra-Miniaturized Electronics Is Broken, Thanks To A New Type Of Inductor

      In the race for ever-improving technology, there are two related technical capabilities that drive our world forward: speed and size. These are related, as the smaller a device is, the less distance the electrical signal driving your device has to travel. As we’ve been able to cut silicon thinner, print circuit elements smaller, and develop increasingly miniaturized transistors, gains in computing speed-and-power and decreases in device size have gone hand-in-hand. But at the same time these advances have comes in leaps and bounds, one fundamental circuit element — the inductor — has had its design remain exactly the same. Found in everything from televisions to laptops to smartphones to wireless chargers, radios, and transformers, it’s one of the most indispensable electronic components in existence.

  • Security

    • AMD And CTS Labs: A Story Of Failed Stock Manipulation

      We have attempted to contact Jessica Schaefer from Bevel PR, the listed PR firm on the vulnerability disclosure website, only to be greeted by a full voicemail inbox. We attempted to contact both Bevel PR and CTS Labs by email and inquire about the relationship between CTS and Viceroy, and provided them with ample time to respond. They did not respond to our inquiry.

      So, let’s look at Viceroy Research. According to MoneyWeb, Viceroy Research is headed by a 44-year-old British citizen and ex-social worker, John Fraser Perring, in conjunction with two 23-year-old Australian citizens, Gabriel Bernarde and Aidan Lau. I wonder which of these guys is so fast at typing. Viceroy Research was the group responsible for the uncovering of the Steinhoff accounting scandal, about which you can read more here.

      After successfully taking down Steinhoff, it tried to manufacture controversy around Capitec Bank, a fast-growing South African bank. This time it didn’t work out so well. The Capitec stock price dropped shortly and quickly recovered when the South African reserve bank made a statement that Capitec’s business is sound. Just a week ago Viceroy attempted to do the same thing with a German company called ProSieben, also with mixed success, and in alleged breach of German securities laws, according to BaFin (similar to the SEC).

      Now, it appears it is going after AMD, though it looks to be another unsuccessful attack.

      Investor Takeaway

      After the announcement of this news, AMD stock generally traded sideways with slight downward movement, not uncommon for AMD in general. Hopefully this article showed you that CTS’s report is largely nonsense and a fabrication with perhaps a small kernel of truth hidden somewhere in the middle. If the vulnerabilities are confirmed by AMD, they are likely to be easily fixed by software patches. If you are long AMD, stay long. If you are looking for an entry point, this might be a good opportunity to use this fake news to your advantage. AMD is a company with a bright future if it continues to execute well, and we see it hitting $20 per share by the end of 2018.

    • Endgame Launches Open-Source Initiative to Drive Adoption of MITRE ATT&CK™, the Best Model of Attacker Behavior

      Endgame, the leader in unified endpoint protection against targeted attacks, today announced it released a set of open-source tools that allow enterprises to test defenses against modern attacker behaviors. These tools, called red team automation (RTA), directly map to MITRE’s ATT&CK™ matrix, the most comprehensive framework for attacker techniques and tactics. Security teams that lack sufficient time and resources will now have the ability to measure protection capabilities beyond malware-based attacks.

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Security updates for Friday
    • Debian-Based antiX Linux OS Receives New Kernel Patches for Meltdown and Spectre

      The first point release of the Debian-based antiX 17 “Heather Heyer” operating system series arrived this past weekend with a new kernel patched against the Meltdown and Spectre security flaws, as well as the latest software versions.

      antiX 17.1 (Heather Heyer) is now available, powered by the Linux 4.9.87 LTS kernel patched against the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities unearthed in January 2018 and discovered to put billions of devices at risk of attacks. This protects new antiX installations against these type of attacks.

      Based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux 9.4 “Stretch” operating system, antiX 17.1 comes with up-to-date packages from its software repositories, including the LibreOffice 5.2.7 office suite and Mozilla Firefox 52.7.1 ESR web browser. Additionally, this release comes with eudev 3.5 and latest xf86-video-sisimedia-antix release.

    • Update on the Meltdown & Spectre vulnerabilities

      January saw the annoucement of a series of critical vulnerabilities called Spectre and Meltdown. The nature of these issues meant the solutions were complex and required fixing delicate code. The initial fix for Meltdown on x86 was KPTI, which was available almost immediately. Developing mitigations for Spectre was more complex. Other architectures had to look at their vulnerability status as well, and get mitigation in where it was needed. As a bit of time has passed, what is the exposure on Fedora now?

    • SELinux should and does BLOCK access to Docker socket
    • diff -u: Intel Design Flaw Fallout

      Linux patches for these issues are in a state of ongoing development. Security is always the first priority, at the expense of any other feature. Next would probably be the general speed of a running system for the average user. After that, the developers might begin piecing together any features that had been pulled as part of the initial security fix.

      But while this effort goes on, the kernel developers seem fairly angry at Intel, especially when they feel that Intel is not doing enough to fix the problems in future processors.

      In response to one set of patches, for example, Linus Torvalds burst out with, “All of this is pure garbage. Is Intel really planning on making this shit architectural? Has anybody talked to them and told them they are f*cking insane?” He went on, “the IBRS garbage implies that Intel is _not_ planning on doing the right thing for the indirect branch speculation. Honestly, that’s completely unacceptable.”

    • Hackers Can Abuse Plugins for Popular Unix Text Editors to Escalate Privileges

      Advanced Unix Text Editors offers extensibility by allowing users to install third-party plugins for ease of use and to enhance the Text Editors functionalities.

      Server administrators often run text editors with elevated privileges “sudo gedit” to edit root-owned configuration files. If the text editor contains vulnerable third-party plugin it enlarges attack surface.

    • House approves legislation to authorize Homeland Security cyber teams

      House lawmakers on Monday passed legislation that would codify into law the Department of Homeland Security’s cyber incident response teams that help protect federal networks and critical infrastructure from cyberattacks.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • It isn’t Russia that destroyed British sovereignty
    • Why We Need to Remember the Iraq War—As Well as the Global Resistance to It

      Fifteen years ago, on February 15, 2003, the world said “No to War”: Some 10 million to 15 million people, in hundreds of cities and dozens of countries all over the world, embraced the same slogan, made the same demand, in scores of different languages. A war against Iraq was looming, with Washington and London standing virtually alone in their false claims that Baghdad had amassed stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.

    • D’un Type Développé par des Menteurs

      While Boris Johnson may spout off the cuff lies while giving TV interviews, when it comes to any formal document or statement – in parliament, the Security Council, NATO and now the EU – the British government always reverts to this precise formulation “of a type developed by Russia” which attempts to disguise the fact that they have no evidence the material is made in Russia. Many laboratories can produce “novichoks”.

    • As Video Games Are In Presidential Crosshairs, New Study Again Shows They Don’t Effect Behavior

      Violent video games have once again found themselves in the role of scapegoat after a recent spate of gun violence in America. After the Florida school shooting, and in the extended wake of the massacre in Las Vegas, several government representatives at various levels have leveled their ire at violent games, including Trump, who commissioned an insane sit-down to act as moderator between game company executives and those that blame them for all the world’s ills. Amid this deluge of distraction, it would be easy to forget that study after study after study have detailed how bunk the notion is that you can tie real-world violence and violent games is. Not to mention, of course, that there has never been more people playing more violent video games in the history of the world than at this moment right now, and at the same time research shows a declining trend for deviant behavior in teens rather than any sort of upswing.

    • On Being a Dissenting Voice in 2018

      Now it is true that, when I was sacked as Ambassador by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for blowing the whistle on extraordinary rendition and the Blair government’s misuse of intelligence from torture, I went into a terrible depression and voluntarily spent ten days or so in St Thomas Hospital (not a mental illness facility) for treatment. I have never tried to keep this secret, indeed it is a major part of my memoir “Murder in Samarkand”. It is also true, as I have always acknowledged, that I have had other less serious depressive episodes treated at home and been diagnosed as bipolar since I was 20.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Advocating for Change: How Lucy Parsons Labs Defends Transparency in Chicago

      Here at the Electronic Frontier Alliance, we’re lucky to have incredible member organizations engaging in advocacy on our issues across the U.S. One of those groups in Chicago, Lucy Parsons Labs (LPL), has done incredible work taking on a range of civil liberties issues. They’re a dedicated group of advocates volunteering to make their world (and the Windy City) a better, more equitable place.

      We sat down with one of the founders of LPL, Freddy Martinez, to gain a better understanding of the Lab and how they use their collective powers for good.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • New NOAA Report Looks at National Coastal Flood Vulnerability

      A report, spearheaded by sea level experts from NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, looked at existing flood thresholds established by the National Weather Service and found patterns in the thresholds based upon tide range. They were then able to apply that pattern nationwide and find a statistical and consistent way to measure and monitor minor high tide flooding, as well as moderate and major flooding in locations where no threshold exists.

      The report finds that, on average, U.S. coastal infrastructure is vulnerable to minor, moderate, and major flooding at heights of about 0.5, 0.8, and 1.2 meters above the average daily highest tide (Mean Higher High Water). Trends in annual high tide flood frequencies are increasing or accelerating at two-thirds of the roughly 100 locations examined.

    • Climate Legal Paradox: Judges Issue Dueling Rulings for Cities Suing Fossil Fuel Companies

      Five cities and counties in California that are suing fossil fuel companies for damages triggered by climate change are now at the center of a legal paradox created by conflicting decisions from two federal court judges reviewing nearly identical claims.

      The judicial collision course was set Friday when a federal judge in San Francisco ruled that climate change lawsuits by two counties and one city were best adjudicated in California state courts. The ruling came less than a month after another federal court judge ruled that a similar climate case, brought by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, should be tried in federal court.

      The contradictory rulings by the judges—both Democratic appointees who serve in the same San Francisco courthouse just two floors apart—were handed down in lawsuits targeting oil and gas companies, including Exxon, Chevron, BP, ConocoPhilips and Shell, for damages associated with climate change.

  • Finance

    • Weinstein Co. has filed for bankruptcy and will pursue a sale

      Harvey Weinstein’s embattled movie studio — once a premier maker of award-winning films — has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy more than five months after sexual misconduct allegations against its co-founder sent the company spiraling out of control, the company’s board said late Monday night.

      The filing, submitted in Delaware, is the culmination of a long struggle to spare the formerly highflying studio from bankruptcy court. The move to seek protection from creditors owed hundreds of millions of dollars comes after the company tried and failed to sell assets to a group of investors led by billionaire Ron Burkle and former Obama administration official Maria Contreras-Sweet.

    • For WaPo, It’s Never a Bad Time to Slash Programs for Elderly

      It’s hard not to have a certain attachment to the Washington Post‘s longstanding crusade against Social Security and Medicare. After all, it has been pushing for cuts to these programs at least since I came to town in 1992. They did in the high-deficit years of the early 1990s, the boom times of the late 1990s, the housing bubble years of the 2000s and through the Great Recession. The Post calling for cuts to these programs is pretty much as predictable as the sun coming up. So this morning’s call for “reform” (3/19/18) is a bit like the morning coffee, although somewhat less pleasant.

      At the most basic level, you sort of have to love the Post criticizing politicians for not wanting to go on record for cuts to these programs, even when the editorial writers, who don’t have to run for office, are scared to say what they actually want, and instead use the euphemism “reform” when they mean cuts. But the substance is also a bit hard to take.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Trump Attacks Mueller for First Time by Name

      President Trump attacked special counsel Robert Mueller for the first time by name on Twitter over the weekend. On Saturday, he wrote, “The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime.” On Sunday, he wrote, “Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans? Another Dem recently added…does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!” Mueller is a longtime Republican and a former FBI director who was appointed by Republican President George W. Bush.

    • Revealed: Trump’s election consultants filmed saying they use bribes and sex workers to entrap politicians

      Mr Turnbull described how, having obtained damaging material on opponents, Cambridge Analytica can discreetly push it onto social media and the internet.

      He said: “… we just put information into the bloodstream of the [I]nternet, and then, and then watch it grow, give it a little push every now and again… like a remote control. It has to happen without anyone thinking, ‘that’s propaganda’, because the moment you think ‘that’s propaganda’, the next question is, ‘who’s put that out?’.”

      Mr Nix also said: “…Many of our clients don’t want to be seen to be working with a foreign company… so often we set up, if we are working then we can set up fake IDs and websites, we can be students doing research projects attached to a university, we can be tourists, there’s so many options we can look at. I have lots of experience in this.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Cybercrime bill repressive, designed to steer self-censorship among citizens

      The Cybercrime and Cyber-security Bill which seeks to regulate internet conduct in Zimbabwe is very repressive and is being crafted with authoritarian intentions to instil self-censorship among citizens, a study has revealed.

      According to a study done by Zimbabwe Democracy Institute and Media Centre, “the political context of the Cybercrime and Cyber-Security Bill dictates that, in crafting this Bill, the government was driven more by its fear of the citizen power and its desire to protect itself from citizen and civic pressure unveiled by unsuppressed internet freedom than amplifying citizens’ security when exercising their freedoms online.”

      The study found that the bill is repressive because it came about after government the internet has liberated the masses in terms of freedom of expression.

    • SESTA’s Sponsors Falsely Claim That Fixing SESTA’s Worst Problem Harms Hollywood

      Here’s the problem with that. Almost everything stated above is 100% factually wrong. And not just a little bit wrong. It’s so wrong that it raises serious questions about whether Blumenthal understands some fairly fundamental issues in the bill he’s backing. Professor Eric Goldman has a pretty concise explanation of everything that’s wrong with the statement, noting that it — somewhat incredibly — shows that SESTA’s main sponsors don’t even understand the very basic aspects of CDA 230, as they insist on changing the law.

    • Hollywood’s Behind-The-Scenes Support For SESTA Is All About Filtering The Internet

      There’s a lot more in Mullin’s post, but it actually goes much beyond that. Every rock you lift up in looking at where SESTA’s support has come from, you magically find Hollywood people scurrying quietly around. We’ve already noted that much of the initial support for SESTA came from a group whose then board chair was a top lobbyist for News Corp.. And, as we reported last month, after a whole bunch of people we spoke to suggested that much of the support for SESTA was being driven by former top News Corp. lobbyist, Rick Lane, we noticed that a group of people who went around Capitol Hill telling Congress to support SESTA publicly thanked their “partner” Rick Lane for showing them around.

      In other words, it’s not just Hollywood seeing a bill that gets them what it wants and suddenly speaking up in favor of it… this is Hollywood helping to make this bill happen in the first place as part of its ongoing effort to remake the internet away from being a communications medium for everyone, and into a broadcast/gatekeeper dominated medium where it gets to act as the gatekeeper.

      And if you think that Hollywood big shots are above pumping up a bogus moral panic to get their way, you haven’t been paying attention. Remember, for years Hollywood has also pushed the idea that the internet requires filters and censorship for basically any possible reason. Back during the SOPA days, it focused on “counterfeit pharmaceuticals.” Again, not an issue that Hollywood is actually concerned with, but if it helped force filters and stopped user-generated content online, Hollywood was quick to embrace it.

    • A lesson in censorship

      The headline should have read “Citrus County students denied their voice — school officials quell free speech.”

      It is unacceptable that Citrus County school officials prohibited, and even penalized, those students trying to exercise their rights to peacefully assemble and voice their opinions about a situation that directly impacts their daily lives: Guns and schools.

    • Egyptian director cancels play over state censorship

      Egypt’s state censors prohibited the performance of a play just hours before its Sunday premiere in Cairo, the latest episode in authorities’ unrelenting crackdown on free speech. Director Ahmed El Attar cancelled the Sunday and Monday showings of Before The Revolution, a two-actor piece that depicts feelings of oppression and stagnation in Egypt before its 2011 popular uprising, saying that to remove five scenes as required by the censors heavily distorted the piece.

      The play, which had been set to show in a 100-seat theater for six nights, is part of the Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival, the biggest arts event in Cairo’s city center, supported mostly by foreign cultural institutes and embassies as well as UNESCO.

      “The director and playwright El Attar saw that removing five scenes has a negative and strong impact on the dramatic construction and the work of art, draining its artistic and literary content,” the organizers said.

    • Ceremony canceled after Israeli mayor refuses to censor speech
    • Poles fail to censor Israeli speaker, cancel Holocaust memorial ceremony
    • Israeli mayor refuses to deliver remarks in Poland censored under new Holocaust law
    • Poland censors Israeli mayor who sought to cite Polish Holocaust crimes at event
    • Israeli Mayor Cancels Speech In Poland After Being Censored Under Holocaust Law
    • Holocaust memorial ceremony canceled after Poland censors Israeli speech
    • Holocaust Ceremony in Poland Cancelled After Israeli Mayor Refuses Censorship
    • Sentenced to Prison For His Political Views, Sadegh Zibakalam Decries Censorship in Iran
    • Social Media = Social Right? Professor Talks Censorship, Election Influence

      The whistleblower at the center of the ‘Cambridge Analytica’ scandal has had his account suspended by Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. We spoke to mc schraefel, Professor of Computer Science and Human Performance at the University of Southampton about the scandal.

    • Facebook and Sri Lankan government collaborate on social media censorship

      While Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena last Thursday officially removed its bans placed on Facebook on March 7, his government is working closely with the giant corporation to restrict access to the social media platform.

      In a tweet message Sirisena noted that his secretary, Austin Fernando, discussed “with officials of Facebook, who have agreed that its platform will not be used for spreading hate speech and inciting violence [in Sri Lanka].”

      The government imposed the ban on Facebook, and other social media outlets, including Viber and WhatsApp, as part of its national state of emergency on March 6. The draconian measure was in response to anti-Muslim violence unleashed by Sinhala-Buddhist extremist groups in some areas of central Kandy district.

    • Censorship is patronizing. Always has been, always will be: Neil Macdonald

      In the early ’90s, long before the very nature of the internet had mooted the question, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre was pushing the Canadian government to regulate Holocaust denial online.

      Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Centre’s public voice in Los Angeles, laid out a compelling case, at least on the face of it:

      Holocaust denial is meant to encourage hatred of Jews. Canada had already made hate speech a crime. Ernst Zundel, perhaps the world’s best known Holocaust denier at the time, had in fact been charged in Canada with hate speech for publishing a tract titled “Did Six Million Really Die?”

      Why then, asked Cooper, should Holocaust deniers be allowed to preach into Canada via the internet? Holocaust denial, he argued, works. It constitutes a clear threat to Jews.


      This is ridiculous; Richard Spencer, like those who preach humans coexisted with dinosaurs, talks utter drivel. If he belongs in a marketplace, it’s the one that caters to cretins, not students pursuing higher education.

      The antifa response to the free-speechers was just as woolly.

      One woman wrote in demanding to know why the “cognitive safety of white males” trumps the emotional distress that Spencer’s very presence causes people of colour. As though the U.S. Constitution guarantees, along with freedom of expression, the right not to be offended.

      There was the old words-are-weapons logic, leavened with rhetoric about patriarchal hegemony.

    • Overdubbing movies for TV is the only funny type of censorship

      When you have the family in your living room, sometimes you can’t just pop-in a Scorsese movie. I’ve found that most times, movie violence (like Kung-Fu) might be OK in a mixed crowd, but lots of swear words usually won’t (I can’t watch Tarantino with Grandma). I don’t particularly know why it’s language almost universally, but everyone’s got their preferences and a right to not be put on edge by my movie choices.

      When a film gets edited to be broadcast on TV, often times the coarse language is the first to go in an edit, as an overdubbing. Although I dislike censorship in all forms, the practice has led to something I’ve come to find humorous when watching a watered down “R” rated film with my family on TV; the only funny kind of censorship I’ve ever encountered.


      Ultimately, these changes are probably a happy medium for people wanting to still watch “Robocop” while their kids are in the room, but after watching watered-down versions of films like “Bad Boys II,” I think these misfit cuts of favorite films should have their own awards category. After all, watching (Marky) Mark Wahlberg turn all of his fierce, angry expletives into monotone, phoned in adjectives changes the entire tone of his scenes in the best picture winning “The Departed,” and it really becomes a work of art of a different kind. The next time you see a movie edited for TV, you might try to see if it has any noticeable changes. You might have a laugh.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Cops Wanting To Track Movements Of Hundreds Of People Are Turning To Google For Location Records

      Cellphones — and any other devices using Google products that serve up location info — are steady generators of third party records. Conceivably, this puts a wealth of location info only a subpoena’s-length away from the government. It appears Google is pushing back, but that tactic isn’t going to work in every case. The Raleigh PD may have been willing to oblige Google to avoid a fight in court (and the risk of handing over information about how often it approaches third parties for records and what it demands from them), but not every PD making use of Google’s location info stash is going to back down this easily.

      Other warrants obtained by WRAL show local law enforcement has collected phone info and location data on thousands of people while investigating such crimes as arson and sexual battery. Despite having no evidence showing the perpetrators of these crimes even had a cellphone in their possession at the time the incidents occurred, agencies approached Google with judge-approved warrants to collect data on people living in nearby apartment units or visiting local businesses near the crime scene.

    • Matt Hancock has no right to complain about the internet being a “Wild West”

      In recent years, many have warned about the dangers of Facebook knowing so much about everyone’s beliefs, preferences, and attitudes. Clearly Cambridge Analytica, the advertising firm accused of harvesting 50 million Facebook users’ data without their consent, thought they were a match made in – let’s say – purgatory. But let us focus on a particular claim made today by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, Matt Hancock: that the companies are operating in an internet “Wild West” in which the UK government is straining to impose law and order.

    • The Future The FBI Wants: Secure Phones For Criminals, Broken Encryption For Everyone Else

      The old truism is in play again with the FBI’s renewed CryptoWar: if X is outlawed, only criminals will have X. In this case, it’s secure encryption. The FBI may not be trying to get encryption banned, but it does want it weakened. No backdoors, claims FBI director Chris Wray, just holes for the government to use at its pleasure. So, if the FBI gets it way, the only truly secure encryption will be in the hands of criminals… exactly the sort of people the FBI claims it needs weakened encryption to catch.

    • Can a GSoC project beat Cambridge Analytica at their own game?

      A few weeks ago, I proposed a GSoC project on the topic of Firefox and Thunderbird plugins for Free Software Habits.

      At first glance, this topic may seem innocent and mundane. After all, we all know what habits are, don’t we? There are already plugins that help people avoid visiting Facebook too many times in one day, what difference will another one make?

      Yet the success of companies like Facebook and those that prey on their users, like Cambridge Analytica (who are facing the prospect of a search warrant today), is down to habits: in other words, the things that users do over and over again without consciously thinking about it. That is exactly why this plugin is relevant.

    • How Personal Data of 50 Million Facebook Users Was Turned Into A Political Tool?
    • Crowdfunded OpenSCHUFA Project Wants To Reverse-Engineer Germany’s Main Credit-Scoring Algorithm

      We’ve just written about calls for a key legal communications system to be open-sourced as a way of re-building confidence in a project that has been plagued by problems. In many ways, it’s surprising that these moves aren’t more common. Without transparency, there can be little trust that a system is working as claimed. In the past this was just about software, but today there’s another aspect to the problem. As well as the code itself, there are the increasingly-complex algorithms, which the software implements. There is a growing realization that algorithms are ruling important parts of our lives without any public knowledge of how they work or make decisions about us. In Germany, for example, one of the most important algorithms determines a person’s SCHUFA credit rating: the name comes from an abbreviation of its German “Schutzorganisation für Allgemeine Kreditsicherung”, which means “Protection Agency for General Credit Security”.

    • Both Facebook And Cambridge Analytica Threatened To Sue Journalists Over Stories On CA’s Use Of Facebook Data

      I’m going to assume that you weren’t living in an internet-proof cave this weekend, and caught at least some of the stories about Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. The news first kicked off with the announcement of a data protection lawsuit filed against Cambridge Analytica in the UK on Friday evening (we’ll likely have more on that lawsuit soon), followed quickly by an attempt by Facebook to get out ahead of the coming tidal wave by announcing that it was suspending Cambridge Analytica and some associated parties from its platforms, claiming terms of service violations. This was quickly followed on Saturday with two explosive stories. The first, from Carole Cadwalladr at The Guardian, revealing a “whistleblower” from the very early days of Cambridge Analytica (who more or less set up how it works with data profiles) named Christopher Wylie. This was quickly followed up by another story at the NY Times, which was a bit more newsy, providing more details on how Cambridge Analytica got data on about 50 million people out of Facebook.

      Admittedly — much of this isn’t actually new. The Intercept had reported something similar a year ago, though it only said it was 30 million Facebook users, rather than 50 million. And that story built on the work of a 2015 (yes, 2015) story in the Guardian discussing how Cambridge Analytica was using data from “tens of millions” of Facebook users “harvested without permission” in support of Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign.

    • Is Facebook NASDAQ:FB an NSA Agent?

      Edward Snowden tweeted Saturday that Facebook is a “surveillance company” that sells its users’ personal details, weighing in on a scandal involving a private firm that harvested data from the social media giant.

      “Businesses that make money by collecting and selling detailed records of private lives were once plainly described as ‘surveillance companies,’” wrote the former National Security Agency contractor. “Their rebranding as ‘social media’ is the most successful deception since the Department of War became the Department of Defense.”

    • Snowden: Facebook Is a ‘Surveillance Company’ That Exploits User Data

      Facebook’s data policies are exploitative and resemble the work of a “surveillance company,” according to exiled National Security Agency (NSA) leaker Edward Snowden who spoke out in response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

      Snowden criticized the social media network in a series of tweets on Saturday after revelations that Cambridge Analytica had harvested data from 50 million Facebook users back in 2014. Cambridge Analytica has been contracted to work on high-profile projects, including the 2016 election campaign of Donald Trump.

    • Facebook suspends account of Cambridge Analytica whistleblower

      Chris Wylie, the whistleblower who has alleged the knowingly improper use of Facebook data by Cambridge Analytica, says The Social Network™ has suspended his account.

    • New biometric system to boost accuracy of border identity checking

      A new enterprise biometric identification service to be deployed by Australia’s Department of Home Affairs in July will vastly improve Australia’s biometric storage and processing capability, consolidating biometrics collected through visa and detention programs, according to the Federal Government.

    • UK warrant sought to raid controversial data firm’s servers

      Britain’s information commissioner Elizabeth Denham will seek a warrant to examine the databases and servers used by data analytics company Cambridge Analytica, the firm that is alleged to have used data of more than 50 million Facebook subscribers for targeting voters in the US presidential election.

    • Europe’s New Privacy Law Will Change the Web, and More

      On May 25, however, the power balance will shift towards consumers, thanks to a European privacy law that restricts how personal data is collected and handled. The rule, called General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR, focuses on ensuring that users know, understand, and consent to the data collected about them. Under GDPR, pages of fine print won’t suffice. Neither will forcing users to click yes in order to sign up.

      Instead, companies must be clear and concise about their collection and use of personal data like full name, home address, location data, IP address, or the identifier that tracks web and app use on smartphones. Companies have to spell out why the data is being collected and whether it will be used to create profiles of people’s actions and habits. Moreover, consumers will gain the right to access data companies store about them, the right to correct inaccurate information, and the right to limit the use of decisions made by algorithms, among others.

    • This Call May Be Monitored for Tone and Emotion
    • Cambridge Analytica CEO filmed talking about using bribes, sex workers in political work

      Channel 4 reports that over a four-month undercover investigation, it discovered that Cambridge Analytica has secretly worked to influence more than 200 elections all over the world, sometimes using sub-contractors or a web of secretive front companies.

    • Cambridge Analytica: Five things to watch
    • Facebook will hold an emergency meeting to let employees ask questions about Cambridge Analytica

      Facebook has scheduled an open meeting for all employees Tuesday to let them ask questions about the unfolding Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal.

    • Breach leaves Facebook users wondering: how safe is my data?

      In what appeared to be a damage limitation exercise, the social network preempted the stories that appeared in the Observer and the New York Times over the weekend by banning the political strategy company from its platform while it investigated the claims.

    • Why We’re Not Calling the Cambridge Analytica Story a ‘Data Breach’

      Facebook insists that Cambridge Analytica didn’t get information on 50 million Americans because of a ‘data breach.’ It’s right. What really happened is much worse.


      And while the process that Kogan exploited is no longer allowed, Facebook still collects—and then sells—massive amounts of data on its users.

    • Facebook Executive Planning to Leave Company Amid Disinformation Backlash

      Mr. Stamos, who plans to leave Facebook by August, had advocated more disclosure around Russian interference of the platform and some restructuring to better address the issues, but was met with resistance by colleagues, said the current and former employees. In December, Mr. Stamos’s day-to-day responsibilities were reassigned to others, they said.

      Mr. Stamos said he would leave Facebook but was persuaded to stay through August to oversee the transition of his responsibilities and because executives thought his departure would look bad, the people said. He has been overseeing the transfer of his security team to Facebook’s product and infrastructure divisions. His group, which once had 120 people, now has three, the current and former employees said.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Trump Administration’s Multi-Pronged Assault on Immigrants’ Rights

      Right now, President Trump and Congress seek to pass a federal budget that would put the deportation machinery into even higher gear. The administration’s budget request asks taxpayers for $21.5 billion for its immigration and border enforcement agenda, an amount greater than the budgets of all other law enforcement agencies combined. This would mean more agents for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and border patrol agents, more detention beds in private immigration prisons, and the further militarization of border communities. In light of what we are witnessing across America, we should be ending, not enabling, the Trump deportation agenda.

    • Kobach Exposed at Trial

      Kobach utterly failed to present convincing evidence for his claim of rampant voter fraud.

      The federal trial over a law that disenfranchised tens of thousands of voters in Kansas is expected to end tomorrow. For the past two weeks, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has attempted to defend not just his signature legislation, which requires people to show documentary proof of citizenship such as a birth certificate or passport when registering to vote, but to support his claim of rampant voter fraud.

    • Copspeak: When Black Children Suddenly Become ‘Juveniles’

      As FAIR has noted many times before (7/10/16, 1/30/18), one of the primary goals of “Copspeak”—broadly defined as the media internalizing police verbiage to sound Cool and Official—is to dehumanize those officers have detained, harassed or killed.

      One popular iteration of Copspeak is when reporters refer to children or teenagers as “juveniles.” This works to criminalize and dehumanize a distinction—being a child—we would otherwise view in a sympathetic light, by using the dry, scientistic language of an anthropological study. “Police shoot fleeing juvenile” impacts us far less than “police shoot fleeing child” or “police shoot fleeing teenager,” which is why it’s the preferred term of the police, and thus police-aligned local reporters doing their best Copspeak impression.

      Here are a few recent examples, children are referred to as “juveniles” before they’ve been indicted much less found guilty of any crimes…

    • Black Mirror’s Scary “Social Credit Score” Is Becoming A Reality In China

      We have been hearing about a similar system being developed by China, with its first limited run starting in May 2018. If the big data-fueled system becomes full-fledged, the social credit of Chinese citizens would be a significant factor when they would want to avail services and benefits. According to the reports, the initial implementation would impose a ban on train and air travel. And this banning period could go up to a year.

    • Self-driving Uber Car Hits And Kills A Woman Crossing The Street

      On Sunday evening, a self-driving Uber car hit and killed a woman pedestrian who was crossing a road. The incident took place in Tempe, Arizona, which has become a hub for testing self-driving technology.

    • Pedestrian Deaths By Car In Phoenix Area Last Week: 11. But One Was By A Self-Driving Uber

      Despite worries about the reliability and safety of self-driving vehicles, the millions of test miles driven so far have repeatedly shown self-driving cars to be significantly more safe than their human-piloted counterparts. Yet whenever accidents (or near accidents) occur, they tend to be blown completely out of proportion by those terrified of (or financially disrupted by) an automated future.

    • Uber self-driving car kills Arizona woman, realizing worst fears of the new tech

      In a tweet, National Transportation Safety Board officials said they were sending a team to Arizona to investigate the accident.

    • Uber Self-Driving Car Kills Arizona Woman, the First Pedestrian Death By Autonomous Car

      Unlike other testing grounds, such as California, Arizona does not require autonomous car companies to submit disengagement reports, or instances of a vehicle’s operator taking control of the car.

    • Self-Driving Uber Car Kills Arizona Pedestrian

      The Uber vehicle was in autonomous mode with a human safety driver at the wheel when it struck the woman, who was crossing the street outside of a crosswalk, the Tempe police said in a statement. The episode happened on Sunday around 10 p.m. The woman was not publicly identified.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The Cable Industry Is Quietly Securing A Massive Monopoly Over American Broadband

      Cable providers like Comcast and Charter continue to quietly secure a growing monopoly over American broadband. A new report by Leichtman Research notes that the nation’s biggest cable companies added a whopping 83% of all net broadband subscribers last quarter. All told, the nation’s top cable companies (predominately Charter Spectrum and Comcast) added 2.7 million broadband subscribers in 2017, while the nation’s telcos (AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, Frontier) saw a net loss of 625,000 subscribers last year, slightly worse than the 600,000 subscriber net loss they witness in 2016.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Evidence on Polarization in IP

      The abstract doesn’t do justice to the results – the paper is worth a read, with some interesting graphs as well. One of the more interesting findings is that political party has almost no correlation with views on copyright, but relatively strong correlation with views on patenting. This latter result makes me an odd duck, as I lean more (way, in some cases) liberal but have also leaned more pro-patent than many of my colleagues. I think there are reasons for that, but we don’t need to debate them here.

    • Drug-Patent Abuse and the High Cost of Healthcare: Case of the Double-Half Dose-Time Injection

      Fortunately, in May and July 2017, three different panels of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) (with five different Administrative Patent Judges between them), saw through this charade. Armed with the benefit of evidence from experts on both sides of the issue through trial, they agreed with the petitioners that the prior art already knew how to correlate IV dosing regimens to the more convenient arm-shot method, routinely; that a 20 mg dose per week was “nearly equally efficacious when given weekly via arm-injection (subcutaneously); and that the half-life for Humira is between 11.6 and 13.7 days; or at least that it would have been on any skilled doctor’s very-short list of obvious things to try a double-dose, half-as-often regimen, with a reasonable expectation that it would succeed at treating arthritis. The patent was held to be invalid as obvious over the prior art.

    • Texas jury awards $706m in trade secret and breach of contract case

      HouseCanary has been awarded $235.4 million in damages for misappropriation of the trade secrets and fraud claims, and an additional $471.4 million in punitive damages, in a case involving real estate analytics

    • Trademarks

      • Will trade mark law stop Marine Le Pen’s new campaign?

        Last week, Marine Le Pen, leader of the political party National Front (‘Front National’), announced the re-branding of her party, following a defeat in the latest presidential elections in France. A new name, a new team, and a new programme, are all on the cards. The National Front is now to be called ‘Rassemblement national’ (read: National Rally). The objective is to ‘soften’ the image of the National Front, and thereby to distance the party from its tumultuous past (hereand here).

        Ironically, perhaps, this is not the first time that the name ‘National Rally’ has featured as the name of a national party. Indeed, it had already been used by a collaborationist party known as ‘National Popular Rally’ (‘Rassemblement National Populaire’), founded in 1941 by Marcel Déatduring the period of Vichy France (through 1945) (here).

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Streaming Giant 123Movies Announces Shutdown

        Popular pirate streaming site 123movies, also known as 123movieshub and GoMovies, has announced its shutdown. According to a message posted on the site, it will close its doors at the end of the week. At the same time, the operators are now urging their users to respect filmmakers by paying for movies and TV-shows.

      • How The Pirate Bay Helped Spotify Become a Success

        Without The Pirate Bay, Spotify may have never turned into the success it is today. Ten years ago record labels were so desperate to find an answer to the ever-growing piracy problem that they agreed to take a gamble. Now, more than a decade later, Spotify has turned into a billion-dollar company, with pirate roots.

      • Swedish Supreme Court says that painting based on photograph is new and independent creation and hence … non-infringing

        Exhausted after several days of intense work, I (finally) afforded the luxury of watching some TV. Zapping my way through the channels, I stumbled upon something called “Domstolen” (ENG: “The Court”), a reality TV-show in the form of a reportage, based on somewhat recent court cases and judicial developments in Sweden. Just as I was about to zap away to the next channel there appeared a case concerning copyright infringement.

        The case reported is colloquially known as Swedish scapegoats – a case from 2017 that made all the way up to the Swedish Supreme Court, and concerned a copyright dispute between the author of a close-up photograph and the author of a painting that was based on that photograph.

BIO, MDMA and PhRMA Are Pushing the PTAB-Hostile STRONGER Patents Act While IAM and Patently-O Continue to Bash PTAB

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 8:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The only “death squad” (their term) is the patent extremists trying to ‘shoot down’ PTAB and its judges

Death squad

Summary: The patent microcosm, which compares the Board to the above (crude analogy from Judge Rader and other patent extremists), is still trying to kill inter partes reviews (IPRs), in effect overlooking its own hypocrisy on the matter (they don’t want patent justice, they just want to metaphorically ‘shoot down’ the judges)

THE USPTO is improving things with inter partes reviews (IPRs), so it’s rather hard to imagine that anyone other than patent maximalists would wish to interfere.

We were a little stunned to see the STRONGER Patents Act mentioned again yesterday. We have hardly heard anything about it for nearly a year. What the CCIA’s Josh Landau is saying here, along with that corny zombie silhouette, is that “Like A Horror Movie Villain, The STRONGER Patents Act Returns,” but as far as we can see/tell, it is still pretty much dead and not mentioned anywhere except Koch-funded think tanks (they mention it on occasions, usually in tweets). Landau wrote:

Since the STRONGER Patents Act was introduced last year, it’s basically been a dead topic. Maybe that’s because the bill would gut the extremely successful inter partes review procedure and overturn more than a decade of Supreme Court precedent, crippling the ability of small and medium enterprises to develop products without fear. It would even make it legally beneficial to develop products anywhere other than the United States – a sort of R&D inversion scheme, enshrined in statute.

So, given that the STRONGER Patents Act will harm innovators and drive R&D overseas, why are Reps. Stivers (R-OH) and Foster (D-IL) planning to bring the STRONGER Patents Act back and introduce it in the House on Tuesday?


Who Greenlighted This Sequel, Anyway?

So who’s supporting this bill, despite the harm to American innovation?

PhRMA, the pharmaceutical industry lobby. BIO, the biotech version of PhRMA. MDMA, the medical device version of PhRMA. I can’t imagine why they want to make it harder to invalidate the patents they use to keep generic companies off the market.

The Qualcomm-funded Innovation Alliance? InterDigital? Companies that make their money by licensing patents under threat of litigation? I’m sure Qualcomm and InterDigital would be unhappy if they could bar sales of iPhones entirely based on a patent related to a small part of a component that costs $20.

And there’s one other party lurking in the background—litigation finance. Third-party financial companies that underwrite patent litigation on spec, hoping to share in any damages awarded. Stivers and Foster aren’t on the Judiciary Committee, the House committee with jurisdiction over patent issues. They’re on House Financial Services.

And litigation finance companies making money by betting on patent litigation would like to make their business a less risky bet by making it harder to challenge patents and easier to extract royalties that exceed the value of the patent using the threat of injunctions.

A bill that will keep drug prices high by sending research overseas and increase everyone’s prices to reward financial speculators?

That’s a real-life horror story.

At least we know who’s behind it.

Landau is now being cited by Joff Wild (IAM). This new guest post cites CCIA/Patent Progress and starts by saying that “one thing everyone can agree on, surely, is that IPRs have saved companies billions of dollars…”

As Landau points out (above), he “can’t imagine why they want to make it harder to invalidate the patents they use to keep generic companies off the market.”

If justice is what one cares for, PTAB is great. It makes access to justice better.

“Well, maybe not.”

So says IAM’s guest post. It suits IAM’s PTAB-hostile narrative.

“IP Edge managing director Gautham Bodepudi,” Wild continues, “has been doing some calculaitons and, he claims, while some parties do indeed make big savings, overall the results are not particularly impressive. This is Gau’s view, not necessarily ours, so we’d be very keen to hear from anyone who thinks he may have missed something. Anyway, here is what he has to say.”

It’s hardly surprising that a patent trolls’ lobby (IAM) would relay things like that. It also uses the “death squad” canard, in essence equating/comparing a court to a firing line and judges to people who execute. It’s also unsurprising that Patently-O, as of yesterday, cherry-picked a PTAB case because it’s one of those rare cases where CAFC does not fully agree with PTAB. In short, Dell uses an IPR to tackle dubious patents that the USPTO probably oughtn’t have granted. This is what happened next:

In its original decision, the PTAB cancelled claim 3 of Acceleron’s U.S. Patent No. 6,948,021 (inter alia). That holding was based upon an argument first presented by Dell at Oral Arguments (over Acceleron’s procedural objections). The Federal Circuit in 2016 vacated that first PTAB decision — “the Board denied Acceleron its procedural rights by relying in its decision on a factual assertion introduced into the proceeding only at oral argument, after Acceleron could meaningfully respond.”


On appeal again, the Federal Circuit has now affirmed the validity finding — holding that the Board properly ignored Dell’s argument – even though the result is that we confirm the validity of a patent claim that is thought to be invalid. The problem for Dell is that the procedural rules are clear – “No new evidence or arguments may be presented at the Oral Arguments.” (Office Patent Trial Practice Guide, 77 Fed. Reg. 48,756 (Aug. 14, 2012)).

The primary holding here is that the PTAB was not required to allow for any re-briefing of the arguments and evidence.

This is that same old propaganda pattern from Crouch. He likes to pretend that PTAB is some very unfair, biased court. He only covers cases that support such a narrative while discarding the rest. He has done so over a hundred times in the past year alone, probably in an effort to sway the opinion of Justices who are about to conclude Oil States.

35 U.S.C. § 101 is Still Effectively Tackling Software Patents in the US, But Patent Law Firms Lie/Distort to ‘Sell’ These Anyway

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 7:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The arts of being a “good” lawyer

Lying by omission
Reference: Lying by omission

Summary: The assertion that software patents are still worth pursuing in 2018 is based on carefully-constructed spin which mis-frames several court decisions and underplays/downplays/ignores pretty much everything that does not suit the narrative

YESTERDAY morning we wrote about how spin had evolved to convince people to pursue software patents (which even the USPTO — let alone courts — makes harder to attain/obtain).

Facts and marketing blend like water and sand. So it’s hardly surprising that little substance exists in these falsehoods-ridden infomercials.

We habitually cover cases that the patent microcosm prefers not to mention (or never to elaborate on). Such cases aren’t good for ‘business’ (patenting and litigation) as they can discourage ‘sales’ of ‘services’. The other day we took note/stock of several such cases.

Yesterday, Immersion Corp. v Fitbit, Inc. was brought up by a site of the patent microcosm, alluding to this latest outcome in a case initiated by Immersion, a notorious patent aggressor if not troll [1, 2] (it’s not exactly a troll, but it has no concrete products, just licensing).

Judge Koh is once again emerging as a somewhat technical judge who is hard to fool. Seeing what kind of patents Immersion is ‘sporting’, she sided with the defendant, Fitbit, whereupon the maximalists said that “it appears as though the lack of detailed physical components and detailed algorithms is what doomed the ’301 patent.”

Goodbye abstract patents.

Here’s more from that post:

Last week, Judge Koh of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California deemed claims relating to transmission of haptic messages to be directed to an abstract idea and therefore invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

The Plaintiff, Immersion Corp., alleged that Fitbit’s wearable health and fitness devices infringe three of Immersion’s patents, each of which involve “haptic” feedback technology — namely, technology that provides forces, vibrations, or other motion feedback that recreates a sense of touch for a user. Fitbit filed a motion to dismiss contending that the asserted claims of each patent are patent ineligible under § 101. The District Court denied Fitbit’s motion on two of the three patents, but granted the motion with respect to U.S. Patent No. 8,638,301 (the ’301 patent).


The District Court then addressed the patent ineligibility of the ’301 patent, whose claimed invention involves a mobile device transmitting a “haptic message” to another mobile device. The patent describes haptic messages as a useful form of non-linguistic communication that tie physical effects to a message, contrasting with more conventional messaging systems that may provide less or no contextual information associated with received and sent messages. For example, the patent describes a scenario in which one user appends a haptic signal simulating a heartbeat to a message, sends the message to the other user along with the haptic signal, which causes the other user’s phone to vibrate in a manner that simulates the heartbeat pattern.


Given the state of the asserted claims — especially that of claim 27, compared with the other two patents — the District Court’s finding here is relatively unsurprising. Again, it appears as though the lack of detailed physical components and detailed algorithms is what doomed the ’301 patent.

This is a classic example of abstract things that do not merit a patent.

The maximalists have since then turned to other cases, such as this one in which “Zmodo moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim under 35 U.S.C. § 101.”

§ 101 is a recurring theme, but the patent microcosm only really cares when a § 101 challenge is denied (even if it was unsuitably invoked, in cases where the claims are not abstract).

We saw two new examples of that yesterday. Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP came up with that familiar spin pattern that’s intended to help them sell worthless services:

Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank in 2014, there has been an increasing trend in district courts granting pretrial dispositive motions to effect early dismissal of patent infringement cases under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Last month, however, the Federal Circuit issued two patent-friendly decisions that preclude such early dismissal when there are factual disputes that underlie the ultimate legal conclusion of patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

We already wrote about a dozen rebuttals to that; but it doesn’t matter, the patent microcosm knows that prospective clients won’t fact-check and might even get the false impression that something substantial has happened and changed. Knobbe Martens was next to exploit these widely-distorted (by the patent microcosm) decisions in order to help itself sell worthless services. It wrote this yesterday:

In two recent cases, the Federal Circuit addressed the role of factual questions in resolving patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The first case was Berkheimer v. HP Inc. and the second was Aatrix Software v. Green Shades Software.[1] These cases possibly undercut the holdings of previous cases in which the Federal Circuit routinely affirmed judgments invalidating patent claims under § 101 in the early stages of litigation, when factual questions are typically unresolved.[2]

They keep mentioning Aatrix and Berkheimer (which we read), but we doubt they even understand these. They just live in a little echo chamber where name-dropping Aatrix and Berkheimer is like showering pixie dust.

Yesterday Watchtroll wrote: “While the value of patents has been under attack (e.g., with the Supreme Court Alice and Mayo decisions limiting what can be patented and the establishment of IPRs), trade secrets have become a bigger risk with the current rapid changing of jobs by engineers and programmers.”

Those patents are not “under attack”, they should never have been granted in the first place and courts belatedly rectify their ways, especially after Judge Rader left the Federal Circuit (he was pretty much forced to leave after he had been caught doing corrupt things).

Battistelli’s EPO Became Extremely Reliant on China for Distraction and on Endless Supply of Applications (Supply Which Doesn’t Exist)

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 7:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Applications are quickly running out in spite of ‘discounts’ (which reduced revenue and failed to spur much ‘demand’)

EPO applications
Not much ‘growth’ in Europe (as in European Patent Office)

EPO granting machine
China is ranked 38th for patent applications per capita (at the EPO) and accounts only for 5% of applications

Summary: Discussion about the EPO granting machine (or patent-printing machine) and figures the way EPO management would rather the public won’t ever see them; the concept that China means redemption for this patent system is as laughable as always

IF the EPO was a goose that lays golden eggs, those eggs would be the backlog. Pending applications don’t last forever and Battistelli now slaughters the goose, making redundancies quite imminent; Office rumour is, the Office will lay off about quarter of staff (the numbers/estimates heard vary).

“…Office rumour is, the Office will lay off about quarter of staff (the numbers/estimates heard vary).”We don’t wish to depress staff, but realistic expectations prevent disappointment. Earlier this month (and even this week in Twitter) the EPO was spreading false or misleading information which it called results. We responded in the following 4 posts (and limited that to 4 although we could go on and on):

It’s no secret that the EPO typically isolates graphs and figures that help mislead the media (so-called ‘journalists’ who simply repeat EPO PR staff/external agencies); last year, for instance, the EPO isolatd the European nations where there were positive rather than negative figures. We wrote about this many times a year ago, e.g. in the following reactionary posts:

We don’t wish to write as many rebuttals as we wrote last year because much of the deception is identical or at least similar. China, with a relatively small contribution to EPO totals, is still being emphasised everywhere. It’s not hard to see why; the biggest ‘growth’ comes from there (relative growth, not absolute).

“China, with a relatively small contribution to EPO totals, is still being emphasised everywhere. It’s not hard to see why; the biggest ‘growth’ comes from there (relative growth, not absolute).”Yesterday the EPO wrote: “Applications from France up again (+0.5%) in 2017 after a drop in the previous year…”

Pretty pathetic considering the fact that Battistelli gave them a discount. Had he not done that, it would be negative again. Notice how they send a shoutout there to INPI, where a lot of Team Battistelli came from.

What are we seeing at the EPO that actually gives room for hope? Almost nothing. Appeals are being made more expensive in order to discourage repeals/rejections of patents. Especially when it comes to oppositions, not rejections being appealed. Figures pertaining to rejections don’t take fee alterations into account (so year-to-year comparisons are inadequate). The same goes for the number of applications (the prices were lowered to artificially increase ‘growth’, just not in terms of revenue).

“Appeals are being made more expensive in order to discourage repeals/rejections of patents.”Don’t expect any law firms to speak about it. They profit from this turbulence and the increase in so-called ‘production’ typically means more business for them. They also longed for the UPC, knowing that a growing number of lawsuits would help their bottom line (at the expense or everyone else).

Laura Carney and Thomas Zvesper from Marks & Clerk now speak about the Boards, but they will never ever mention the EPO scandals as that might ‘upset’ their monetary supply chain. Yesterday they wrote this self-promotional piece (infomercial as we called it yesterday) about an old case:

In the present decision, the Board had to consider the validity of the priority claim of patent EP1773302. In particular, the Board had to consider whether the granted patent’s priority claim was invalid in view of an earlier document which was the “first application” from which priority should have been claimed. The patent and the application from which priority was claimed were directed to a tablet having, amongst other features, a gelatinous first and second coating, a gap being provided between the two gelatinous coatings of from 3 to 33% of the length of the tablet. However, the patentee had filed an earlier application (US 2005/0152970, D22) which was identical to the granted patent, except that the disclosed gap was 5 to 33%.

“Perhaps Europe could take a lesson from south Asia.”Like we said some weeks ago as well as last month, with an upcoming appeal regarding CRISPR patents we worry that the Boards won’t be able to rule impartially. They themselves complain about it on occasions. Yesterday, as usual, patent maximalists from Managing IP were celebrating CRISPR patents, neglecting to note that these are bunk and usually void in the US (and more recently in Europe as well). “Filing trends include a 194% increase globally between 2013 and 2015,” it said, but filings and grants aren’t the same, never mind actual court rulings (of which they are few that can assess/determine patent eligibility in light of Myriad, Mayo, the EPC and so on).

Perhaps Europe could take a lesson from south Asia. India, for example, successfully resisted the patent maximalists and antagonised many software and pharmaceutical patents. It usually explains (correctly in our view) that when it comes to patents the interest of the people (not very rich people and corporations) should come first.

“As many people expected (Glyn Moody for instance), China now uses US courts to hit American companies over the head, essentially taking the patent aggression abroad, too. Makes one wonder what Chinese firms can do with all these European Patents, with or without a horrific system like UPC in place.”IAM just won’t leave India alone. Jacob Schindler wrote many articles last year in which he shamed India. Coming from the patent trolls’ lobby (IAM), this is more or less expected, albeit it seems like they softened their tone after that. Instead of bashing India like it was some kind of ‘pirate’, IAM now calls India’s policy something “controversial among multinational patent owners.” They kept bullying India, yet the language changed somewhat. Yesterday IAM said: “Litigation developments in Delhi over the last few months have put a spotlight on a somewhat unique feature of India’s patent system: Form 27, which requires patentees to disclose how they commercially exploit their granted rights. Now, it appears that the Patent Office will consider making changes to the form, which has long been controversial among multinational patent owners. Each year, patentees must submit a disclosure to the Indian Patent Office stating whether each patent they own is being “worked” on a commercial scale in India.”

So they realise that a massive pile of fictional patents on fictional things isn’t dedirable. Unlike China?

China officially opened the floodgates to software patents about a year ago (April) and since then we have seen a lot of patent aggression in China. It’s chaotic. “Meanwhile,” IAM noted yesterday, “Chinese tech giant ZTE disposed of seven US assets [patents] in a deal which was executed on 22nd January and recorded on 15th March.”

These are going to patent trolls, which IAM euphemises as “NPE”, as usual. Here’s what remains outside the new paywall:

ZTE and Panasonic have both transferred small packages of patents to a relatively new US NPE called Global Innovation Aggregators, a Delaware registered entity with offices in Pasadena, California. According to the assignment records Panasonic handed over 11 US grants in two separate deals that were recorded on the USPTO’s site earlier this month and executed in late February. Meanwhile Chinese tech giant ZTE disposed of seven US assets in a deal which was executed on 22nd January and recorded on 15th March. For Panasonic it is the latest in a long line of patent divestments which most recently included the transfer…

ZTE is Chinese. As many people expected (Glyn Moody for instance), China now uses US courts to hit American companies over the head, essentially taking the patent aggression abroad, too. Makes one wonder what Chinese firms can do with all these European Patents, with or without a horrific system like UPC in place.

The US International Trade Commission (USITC) Against Comcast, Courtesy of the Intellectual Ventures-Connected Rovi

Posted in America, Patents at 5:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Administrative Law Judge Photos
Reference: Administrative Law Judge Photos

Summary: The USITC/ITC, which mostly serves to impose embargoes (sometimes in shocking defiance of PTAB decisions), is being invoked by a firm connected to the world’s largest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures

WE occasionally mention the ITC in relation to sanctions. The ITC mostly services technology giants in the US, protecting these from foreign competition. A decade ago, for instance, Microsoft used the ITC to embargo imports of rival mice, using nothing but patent allegations rather than claims of counterfeiting (which would be more severe).

Yesterday the Docket Navigator picked a case in which the ITC had gotten involved.

“What we find most interesting in all this is that here, for a change, a large company from the US is being targeted and the instigator is connected to a very notorious patent troll.”“The ALJ [Administrative Law Judge],” it said, “denied respondents’ motion to certify for judicial enforcement its prior art subpoena to two nonparties whom complainants sued for infringement of the same patents in district court because the documents sought were protected attorney work product.”

Days prior to this we found this report about Rovi Corporation, which is connected to the world’s largest patent troll and is suing a lot [1, 2, 3], using the ITC against Comcast. “The US International Trade Commission (USITC) has instituted a section 337 investigation into Comcast over the alleged infringement of Rovi Corporation’s patents,” the report said.

What we find most interesting in all this is that here, for a change, a large company from the US is being targeted and the instigator is connected to a very notorious patent troll. A new form of sanction/extortion?

Tinder/Match Group Uses Software Patents to Sue a Rival, Obviously Choosing to Sue in Texas

Posted in Courtroom, Patents at 5:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Map of Texas

Summary: Software patents are being used for leverage, but only those which were likely granted before Alice and only in courts at districts somewhere around Texas

THE remnant of software patents granted by the USPTO is a massive liability. A lot of lawsuits rely on such patents, which are likely toothless and thus worthless after Alice.

A few days ago it turned out that Tinder had become a patent bully. It’s suing over alleged infringement of software patents (which are likely bunk and void). Maybe it was hoping that the rival will just settle/fold/sell, or even remove features (modifying the platform); eventually came a lawsuit in an expectedly biased court:

Match Group, the online dating company that owns services like Tinder and Match.com, wants to buy Bumble, another popular dating app that lets women make the first move.

But Match may be trying to push the deal along in an unconventional way: A new patent infringement lawsuit filed late Friday in U.S. District court in Waco, Texas.

Match Group is suing Bumble, which was founded by one of Tinder’s co-founders, for infringing on two of its patents, including a design patent for Tinder’s now-famous swipe-to-connect feature, according to the suit.

Assuming that the lawsuit cannot be relocated (venue change), there’s a chance they might get away with it.

“Examiners ought to stop allowing monopolies on algorithms and applicants oughtn’t bother patenting software (because courts don’t really care for these).”In the meantime, Judge Gilstrap is said to have supported a defendant in a patent case in the Eastern District of Texas (EDTX). That’s rare! So rare in fact that Docket Navigator gave it a special mention yesterday. The case is Adjustacam LLC v Amazon.com, Inc., et al and the summary is as follows: “The court awarded defendant its attorney fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 and rejected plaintiff’s argument that defendant was not entitled to attorney fees prior to claim construction.”

That does not mean that the defendant is safe though; the best way to assure one’s safety is to exit EDTX or appeal to the CAFC (which is even more expensive).

A lot of these issues boil down to the granting of software patents, which patent trolls love and judges like Gilstrap uphold in spite of Alice. Yesterday we saw this new outline of recent patents in New Hampshire. Some of them sound like classic algorithms, e.g. “data gathering devices on behalf of a calling secure software application.”

Examiners ought to stop allowing monopolies on algorithms and applicants oughtn’t bother patenting software (because courts don’t really care for these). Such patents are only useful when you can bully small companies outside courts. As long as examiners continue to grant these…


Links 19/3/2018: Linux 4.16 RC6, Atom 1.25, antiX 17.1, GNU Mcron 1.1

Posted in News Roundup at 12:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • If you owned a ‘fat’ PlayStation 3 you could be entitled to $65 from Sony because of Linux option

    Cast your mind back to when Sony released the original PlayStation 3, and you may well remember claims that the console was also a “computer”. The claims were such that Sony suggested that owners could install Linux — which, technically speaking, they could.

    However, installing Linux on a PS3 also posed something of a security issue, and Sony backtracked on the “Other OS” feature, killing it will a firmware update. Unsurprisingly, a lawsuit followed, and the result of this is that you could in line for a pay-out.

  • PlayStation 3 Phat owners have a month left to claim ‘OtherOS’ class action settlement
  • If you bought an original PlayStation 3, you could be $65 richer
  • Original PlayStation 3 Owners Could Be Entitled To A $65 Check From Sony
  • In re Sony PS3 “Other OS” Litigation – www.OtherOSsettlement.com
  • Sony paying up to $65 to people who purchased the original PlayStation 3
  • If one owns an original PlayStation 3, he could be 65 dollars richer
  • PS3 OtherOS settlement claims end next month
  • Desktop

    • Ubuntu-Based Zorin OS Gets Better Support for Windows Apps, Desktop Improvements

      A new maintenance update of the Ubuntu-based Zorin OS GNU/Linux distribution arrived at the end of this week with a bunch of enhancements to its desktop environment, as well as the latest versions of core components and apps.

      Zorin OS 12.3 is here as the latest stable update of the Ubuntu-based operating system with a focus on improving the security, stability, and functionality of Zorin OS, which was always known as one of the most reliable open-source alternatives to Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

      Therefore, probably the most important change of the Zorin OS 12.3 release is the introduction of Wine 3.0, the latest stable version of the compatibility layer for running Windows programs on Linux and UNIX-like systems, which ensures better compatibility with more Windows apps and games on Zorin OS.

    • Microsoft tries forcing Mail users to open links in Edge, and people are freaking out

      Under the new rules, it doesn’t matter which browser you have selected as the default; if you use the basic Mail app within Windows, any link you click will open up Edge.

    • Google picks up another win for G Suite as Airbus grounds Microsoft Office

      With over 130,000 employees, Airbus uses a lot of office productivity software. It recently decided to make a big bet on Google’s G Suite software package after running the company for years on hosted versions of Microsoft Office, according to a report.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 3.18.100
    • Linux 4.4.122
    • Linux 4.9.88
    • Linux 4.15.11
    • Linux 4.14.28
    • More Spectre + Meltdown Updates Heading Into Linux 4.16

      Thomas Gleixner who has been wrangling all of the Spectre and Meltdown related patches for the Linux kernel tree has submitted another pull request of more changes to land for the Linux 4.16 cycle that is nearing the end of its development.

    • Linux 4.16-rc6

      This has been a nice quiet week, so rc6 is pretty tiny. Everything
      looks like we’re on a usual schedule – I’ll make an rc7, but hopefully
      that will be it.

      Mostly driver changes (usb, gpu, sound, scsi, md), but it’s all tiny.
      Some arch fixes (x86 and microblaze, tiny changes to others), and some
      filesystem fixes (a couple of small core vfs fixlets, and some btrfs
      and nfs fixes).

    • Linux 4.16-rc6 Released: Looking Good For Final Release In Two Weeks
    • Linux Foundation

      • Linux Foundation announces open source ACRN hypervisor for the Internet of Things

        ACRN’s small footprint is partly attributable to the fact that it takes a mere 25,000 lines of code for a hypervisor. There’s already involvement from the likes of ADLINK, Aptiv, Intel Corporation, LG Electronics and Neusoft Corporation, and it’s likely that many more names will join this list.

      • Linux Foundation Announces ACRN —Open Source Hypervisor for IoT Devices

        The Linux Foundation announced a new project called ACRN (pronounced “acorn”) that will provide generic code for the creation of hypervisors for IoT devices.

        A hypervisor is computer code for creating and running virtual machines. Project ACRN aims to provide a generic structure for an IoT-specific hypervisor component.

        The Linux Foundation says it built ACRN to be fully-customizable, and as such, the project is comprised of two main components: the hypervisor itself and a device model for interacting with the underlying hardware.

      • Linux Foundation backs new ‘ACRN’ hypervisor for embedded and IoT

        The Linux Foundation has announced a new hypervizor for use in embedded and internet of things scenarios.

        Project ACRN (pronounced “acorn”) will offer a “hypervizor, and its device model complete with rich I/O mediators.”

        There’ll also be “a Linux-based Service OS” and the ability to “run guest operating systems (another Linux instance, an RTOS, Android, or other operating systems) simultaneously”.

      • Linux Foundation LFCS: Ahmed Alkabary

        I always knew about Linux as an alternative to Windows, but never really got to experience it until 2011. I decided to buy a new laptop, and the laptop that stood out for me had Linux pre-installed on it. I remember well the pre-installed distribution was openSUSE. I was hesitant to buy it as I had no experience with Linux whatsoever, but I thought to myself, Well, I can just install windows on it if I don’t like it. Once I booted the system and saw how fast and neat everything was, I thought it is a message from the Linux gods.

        It’s really weird because on my first day I felt that Linux was meant for me not just as an operating system to use, but I felt my life will be centered around Linux from that day.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMDKFD GPUVM Support Updated For Discrete Radeon GPUs, Adds Userptr Support

        Unfortunately the AMDKFD GPUVM support for discrete GPUs isn’t looking like it will make it for the Linux 4.17 kernel cycle.

        This past week brought the AMDKFD updates for DRM-Next, a.k.a. Linux 4.17. While it has much of the discrete GPU support landing that we have long been looking forward to seeing in the mainline kernel in order to run ROCm OpenCL out-of-the-box, unfortunately, the GPUVM support wasn’t part of that pull. The GPUVM support for discrete Radeon GPUs was still being discussed and not ready for pulling.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Dolphin Getting More Improvements For KDE Applications 18.04 & Other KDE Happenings

        KDE contributor Nathaniel Graham is out with another recap of the usability and productivity improvements made this past week by the KDE community.

        The Dolphin file manager has been seeing improvements recently. The latest Dolphin work includes help for installing Konsole if it’s not available when trying to launch the terminal pane, reporting of a symlink’s target fi

      • [Krita] Interview with Jennifer

        When I used Krita for the first time I already knew most of the tools, so it was easy to use. But I needed to learn more, then I watched a video that explained the basic tools and method to paint. I thought then that Krita was a good tool for painting. Today I can tell it’s a great tool for digital artists. My personal opinion: Krita is the best and I really can’t use a different program.

      • Akademy-es 2018 in Valencia – 11-13 May
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Here’s GNOME 3.28 – See What’s New

        The latest version of GNOME 3 has been released today. Version 3.28 contains six months of work and new features by the GNOME community and comes with many improvements and new features.

        One major new feature for this release is automatic downloading of operating systems in Boxes, which takes the work out of creating and running virtual machines – just pick the operating system that you want to create a virtual machine of, and Boxes will now download and install it for you.

        Other highlights include improvements to the Calendar and Contacts applications, the ability to star files and folders in the Files application, and improved support for Thunderbolt 3 and Bluetooth LE devices. GNOME’s default UI font has also been overhauled to be more attractive and easy to read, and the on-screen keyboard has been rewritten to be more reliable and has layouts for a number of different locales.

      • textures and paintables

        With GTK4, we’ve been trying to find better solution for image data. In GTK3 the objects we used for this were pixbufs and Cairo surfaces. But they don’t fit the bill anymore, so now we have GdkTexture and GdkPaintable.

      • Web Engines Hackfest 2014

        Last week I attended the Web Engines Hackfest. The event was sponsored by Igalia (also hosting the event), Adobe and Collabora.

        As usual I spent most of the time working on the WebKitGTK+ GStreamer backend and Sebastian Dröge kindly joined and helped out quite a bit, make sure to read his post about the event!

      • GStreamer’s playbin3 overview for application developers

        Multimedia applications based on GStreamer usually handle playback with the playbin element. I recently added support for playbin3 in WebKit. This post aims to document the changes needed on application side to support this new generation flavour of playbin.

      • GTK+ 4.0 Getting Audio/Video Playback Integration

        The GTK+ 4.0 tool-kit has just landed its GtkMediaStream / GtkMediaFile / GtkVideo / GtkMediaControls widgets for now having native multimedia stream playback support in the tool-kit that in turn is backed by GStreamer / FFmpeg.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Review: ArchMerge 6.4.1

        The distribution I have been asked most frequently to cover so far in 2018 is ArchMerge, an Arch-based project which runs the Xfce desktop environment and can be installed using the Calamares system installer. If the description sounds familiar, it should, as this summary could equally well apply to Archman, SwagArch and one edition of the Revenge OS distribution.

        There are two main features which set ArchMerge apart from its close relatives. First, ArchMerge is available in two flavours. The full featured desktop edition ships with three graphical user interfaces (Xfce, Openbox and i3). A second, minimal flavour is available for people who want to start with a text console and build from the ground up.

        The other point which helps ArchMerge stand out from the crowd of Arch-based distributions is its documentation. Arch Linux is famous for its detailed wiki, and rightfully so. ArchMerge takes a slightly different approach and, instead of supplying detailed pages for virtually every aspect of the distribution, the project supplies quick overviews and tutorials for common tasks and issues. These overviews are each accompanied by a video which shows the user how to perform the task.

        The ArchMerge website places a strong emphasis on learning and the tutorial pages guide visitors through how to install the distribution, how to configure the desktop, how to install additional software and how to set up file synchronizing through Dropbox. There is also a section dedicated to fixing common problems, a sort of FAQ for distribution issues. Since there are videos for the topics covered, we are shown where to go and what each step should look like, rather than just being given a written description.

    • New Releases

      • antiX-17.1 released

        antiX-17.1 (Heather Heyer) released

        This is primarily an upgrade of antiX-17 with a new Meltdown/Spectre patched kernel and a few new applications for users to enjoy.

        As usual we offer the following completely systemd-free flavours for both 32 and 64 bit architecture.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • [Mageia] Weekly roundup 2018, Week 11 and CLT!

        Very small Roundup this week, so there will be space for the CLT report and pics – thanks Marc for writing this up!

        Loads of updates through; as always, you can check for yourself on Mageia Advisories, the Mageia AppDB, PkgSubmit to see the last 48 hours, and Bugzilla to see what’s currently happening.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • GSoC and Outreachy: Mentors don’t need to be Debian Developers

        A frequent response I receive when talking to prospective mentors: “I’m not a Debian Developer yet”.

        As student applications have started coming in, now is the time for any prospective mentors to introduce yourself on the debian-outreach list if you would like to help with any of the listed projects or any topics that have been proposed spontaneously by students without any mentor.

        It doesn’t matter if you are a Debian Developer or not. Furthermore, mentoring in a program like GSoC or Outreachy is a form of volunteering that is recognized just as highly as packaging or any other development activity.

        When an existing developer writes an email advocating your application to become a developer yourself, they can refer to your contribution as a mentor. Many other processes, such as requests for DebConf bursaries, also ask for a list of your contributions and you can mention your mentoring experience there.

      • Derivatives

        • Tails 3.6.1 is out

          This release fixes several security issues and users should upgrade as soon as possible.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • UBports Continues Work On Moving From Ubuntu 15.04 Base To 16.04

            For those still holding out the dream for Ubuntu on phones/tablets, the UBports community continues their work in updating their Ubuntu Touch fork to riding off a 16.04 Xenial base rather than the existing Ubuntu 15.04.

            UBports is working on Ubuntu 16.04 support to eventually replace their 15.04 stable base. Ubuntu 18.04 isn’t being pursued yet due to the Mir changes around Wayland support, and just being a much different target than going from 15.04 to 16.04.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 19 ‘Tara’ Cinnamon will be faster

              Is Linux Mint slow? Hell, no! The operating system is plenty fast. Speed is in the eye of the beholder, however, and the Mint developers apparently thought app-launching seemed slow when using the Cinnamon desktop environment. They didn’t have any proof, but they felt that both Mate and Xfce were faster in this regard.

              Well, rather than allow their feelings to remain unproven, the Mint devs decided to come up with a speed test to see if they were correct. Guess what? They were! Windows build time was four times slower with Cinnamon compared to Metacity, while recovery time was nearly four times slower too. So yes, app-launching on Cinnamon — as of today — is slow comparatively. The big benefit to pinpointing a problem, however, is that it is the first step in solving it. And so, Linux Mint 19 Cinnamon will be faster as a result.

            • Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS Will Ship with a New Default Layout Called “Familiar”

              Ubuntu MATE’s lead developer Martin Wimpress announced that the forthcoming Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system would sport a brand-new default layout for new installations.

              If you plan on installing or reinstalling Ubuntu MATE this spring, the upcoming 18.04 release sports a new default layout called “Familiar.” According to Martin Wimpress, the new layout is based on the Traditional layout with the menu-bar replaced by Brisk Menu, which was used in previous Ubuntu MATE releases.

              The decision to replace the Traditional layout with the Familiar one was taken due to some technical issues when the development team tried to update it for Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver). Traditional will still be available, but not enabled by default, and bears no changes.

              “I experimented with a change to the Traditional layout earlier in the 18.04 development cycle and this was met with some hostility and brought into question my commitment to community opinion because it strayed from something I’d previously communicated, that we would retain the Traditional layout as default,” explains Martin Wimpress.

            • Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS: What’s New?

              Ahead of the Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS release next month you may be wondering what new features and changes the update will bring.

              Well, wonder no more.

              In this post we round up all of the key information about the next release of one Ubuntu’s most popular community flavors.

            • Linux Mint 19 Cinnamon will open apps a lot faster

              The Linux Mint development team plans to launch the next version of the popular Linux distribution Linux Mint in the coming months.

              Linux Mint 19 will be offered in multiple flavors including MATE, Xfce and Cinnamon. If you have used Linux Mint Cinnamon in the past or plan to take it for a test drive in the future, you may benefit from application loading improvements in the upcoming version of Linux Mint.

              A new blog post on the official Linux Mint blog offers some insight. It all began with a perceived feeling; team members noticed that app loading “felt” faster on MATE or Xfce versions of Linux Mint and slower on Cinnamon versions.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google Pixel 2 Portrait Mode Tech Is Now Open Source

    The tech behind the portrait mode on Google Pixel 2 has been made open source by the company. For those who not familiar with it, one of the main draw to the algorithm in the Pixel 2’s camera app is excellent subject isolation without needing additional apparatus such as specialized lens or second camera.

  • Xiaomi releases Oreo kernel source code for the Mi A1

    Xiaomi promised that the Mi A1 would receive Oreo by the end of 2017, and the company hit a buzzer-beater by rolling out Android 8.0 to the Android One device on December 30th. But the kernel source code was nowhere to be found, a violation of the GNU General Public License, version 2 (GPLv2), and an affront to the development and enthusiast community. It’s about two-and-a-half months late, but Xiaomi has finally released the Android 8.0 Oreo source code for the Mi A1.

  • Mi A1 Oreo Kernel source code released by Xiaomi

    Xiaomi’s first Android One phone, the Mi A1 was expected to receive Android 8.0 Oreo update by the end December, and the company did roll out the update to the device under the stipulated time. However, the kernel source for the upgrade was left covered with no access to it for third-party developers. This also violated the GNU General Public License, version 2 (GPLv2) and also hampered the advancement of developers who base their codes on source codes. Thankfully, after a delay of more than two months, Xiaomi has finally released the kernel source code of Android 8.1 for the Xiaomi Mi A1.

  • Events

    • 11th Open Source Day Conference

      On May 23rd, Warsaw will host the 11th edition of Open Source Day. OSD is the largest conference about open source in Poland and CEE region, gathering every year nearly 1000 participants. The programme of the upcoming edition is focused mainly on practical sessions devoted to the most important directions of IT market development. Registration for the event is already open. For the first 600 attendees, participation in the conference is free-of-charge.

      Open Source Day is the biggest event in Poland and CEE region dedicated to open source. Over 6,000 people took part in previous editions, and several thousand followed the event online. Open Source Day is the knowledge exchange platform about open software, as one of the most important trends in the development of modern technologies, enabling creation of high-quality, stable IT solutions, which today are the basis for all branches of the economy.

  • Web Browsers

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


  • Programming/Development

    • 6 common questions about agile development practices for teams

      You’ve probably heard a speaker ask this question at the end of their presentation. This is the most important part of the presentation—after all, you didn’t attend just to hear a lecture but to participate in a conversation and a community.

      Recently I had the opportunity to hear my fellow Red Hatters present a session called “Agile in Practice” to a group of technical students at a local university. During the session, software engineer Tomas Tomecek and agile practitioners Fernando Colleone and Pavel Najman collaborated to explain the foundations of agile methodology and showcase best practices for day-to-day activities.


  • The US Navy’s newest submarine comes with an Xbox controller
  • Elon Musk says The Boring Company’s Loop will prioritize pedestrians, cyclists

    A system of small tunnels could bypass some of the aesthetic concerns that communities might have, but it may not eliminate some of the structural concerns. Of the California High Speed Rail project, the Times wrote: “The cost of environmental reviews jumped from a projected $388 million in 2010 to more than $1 billion. The rail authority found that nobody could be sure what was under the ground in Fresno [a California city through which the bullet train would pass], driving up the cost of relocating sewers, water lines, communications cables, and electrical conduits by hundreds of millions of dollars.”

  • Elon Musk’s Boring Company Is Now All About Public Transit, and It’s Confusing

    Now, Musk seems to have heard the criticism. Well, at least part of it. In a series of Twitter posts on Friday, the CEO announced his company’s work would “prioritize pedestrians and cyclists over cars,” emphasizing public transit over private transportation.

  • Hardware

    • Apple Is Secretly Developing Its Own Screens for the First Time

      The technology giant is making a significant investment in the development of next-generation MicroLED screens, say the people, who requested anonymity to discuss internal planning. MicroLED screens use different light-emitting compounds than the current OLED displays and promise to make future gadgets slimmer, brighter and less power-hungry.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Deadly superbug just got scarier—it can mysteriously thwart last-resort drug

      It’s the first time researchers have seen colistin-heteroresistant germs in the US.

    • 7 Years on, Sailors Exposed to Fukushima Radiation Seek Their Day in Court

      “All of the sudden, this big cloud engulfs us,” Torres said. “It wasn’t white smoke, like you would see from a steam leak,” he explained, but it also wasn’t like the black smoke he saw from the burning oil fields during his deployment in Kuwait in 1991. “It was like something I’d never seen before.”

    • EPA inspector general says Flint water crisis report expected in summer

      A report on how Flint’s water was contaminated and how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency responded isn’t expected to be completed until summer, a spokesman for the EPA Office of Inspector General says.

    • Transnational beer corporation creates water crisis in northern Mexico

      Just in its initial phase, it is calculated that the plant will use 81 percent of the total water currently used by Mexicali’s industries. If Constellation Brands is allowed to operate at full capacity, the company’s Mexicali plant would consume more water than all industries in Mexicali and the neighboring city of Tijuana combined. The company has stated that it plans to stay in Mexicali for at least 50 years, with the plant’s opening date set for 2019 or 2020.

      The water situation in the municipality of Zaragoza, with a population of 8,000, has already reached crisis levels because of the company’s operations. “We have no more water for human consumption,” stated mayor Leoncio Martínez Sánchez. “We are worried because we are being affected by this extraction of 1,200 liters of water per second by this beer manufacturer. It does not make sense that while Constellation Brands has industrial amounts of water to make beer, the municipality does not even have 100 liters for people to drink or use in their homes.”

    • Save water for future generations: Kavinder to people

      Kavinder Gupta said that Water is the most important element in human life and called for a need to find out a comprehensive strategy to save the portable drinking water for the future generations. The Speaker said that there is only 3 percent of portable water available for the people and providing portable drinking water to every household is emerging as a tremendous challenge for both state and central governments.

    • First case in Finland: [Moose] dies due to chronic wasting disease

      CWD is a type of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy like BSE (‘mad cow disease’), but no cases of transmission to humans have been confirmed. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns hunters in areas where the illness has been found not to consume parts of deer and elk that may harbour the disease, including the brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes.

    • ‘We Must Protect the Water’: Indigenous Leaders and Allies Stage Sit-In to Protest Kinder Morgan Pipeline

      Building on the massive march against the expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline that brought 10,000 people to the streets of British Columbia last weekend, Indigenous leaders and their allies staged a sit-in on Saturday at a pipeline construction site on Burnaby Mountain, kicking off a wave of civil disobedience that is set to continue through next week.

  • Security

    • Google Says Android Is as Secure as Apple’s iOS and Wants You to Know That

      Google’s Android security chief David Kleidermacher told CNET today that the Linux-based Android mobile operating system the company develops for a wide range of devices is now as secure as Apple’s iOS.

      Google recently published its “Android Security 2017 Year In Review” report where the company talks about how Android security has matured in the last few years and how it fights to find new ways to protect Android users from malware and all the other nasty stuff you obviously don’t want to have on your mobile phone or tablet.

    • Behind the scenes with the Bitwarden password manager

      Having to remember passwords for web applications, email, banking, and more begat the password manager. And that begat such popular and proprietary services like LastPass and 1Password.

      A little over two years ago, software developer Kyle Spearrin decided the open source world needed its own web-based password manager. His company, 8Bit Solutions, develops and markets an open source alternative to services like LastPass and 1Password called Bitwarden.

      Recently I had the opportunity to ask Spearrin some questions about Bitwarden’s origins, how it secures user information, where he sees Bitwarden going, and more.

    • Episode 88 – Chat with Chris Rosen from IBM about Container Security
    • Feds: Russian [Crackers] Are Attacking U.S. Power Plants

      The targets of these attacks include the country’s electric grid, including its nuclear power system, as well as “commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors,” the statement said.

      The report is damning confirmation of what has for months been suspected: that [crackers] in Russia are capable of infiltrating and compromising vital systems relied on by millions of Americans. According to the new report, the attacks began at least as early as March 2016, thriving on vulnerabilities in these systems’ online operations.

    • Firefox’s Weak Master Password Encryption Can Be Cracked In Just 1 Minute [Ed: If you have physical/remote access to a machine and an account, then you have a lot more power over it than just a list of passwords]

      You might rest assured after setting a Master Password in the Firefox web browser, but it’s not as secure as you think. Last year, Mozilla did a major overhaul of their browser in the form of Firefox Quantum. But the non-profit forgot to fix the security holes that exist in their ‘very fast’ web browser for nine years.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • US moves to soothe Turkey, endangering ties with Kurdish allies

      Beyond quarreling over the Kurds, the US and Turkey have also traded diplomatic volleys in the aftermath of a coup attempt in Turkey in 2016. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stoked anti-American sentiment at home, and American policymakers have explored the possibility of imposing sanctions on Turkey in response to Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian policies.

    • Targeting Midanki dam caused water crisis ,municipality seeks to resolve crisis

      Due to inability of the Water Corporation to cover all of the city’s neighborhoods with water, hundreds of families suffer from lack of water. Some neighborhoods do not reach the water for 5 to 7 days.

    • U.S.-Funded Afghan Military Units Accused Of Child Sexual Abuse, Report Says

      NPR’s David Greene talks to Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont about a new report that details the Pentagon’s refusal to end military aid to Afghan military units who commit “gross human rights abuses.”


      The abuses include the routine enslavement and sexual abuse of underage boys by Afghan military commanders. Senator Patrick Leahy wrote a law requiring the Pentagon to stop funding foreign military groups who commit human rights abuses. But in Afghanistan, that has not happened.

    • Detroit’s Iraqi Christians Voted For Trump Then Faced Deportation

      Assyrian is a term used to represent the now nationless people’s ethnicity, and the term Chaldean commonly represents the group’s affiliation with the Catholic Church. They are sometimes grouped with Arabs, but that’s a distinction Assyrians try to make. While many Assyrians learn to speak Arabic at a young age, their mother tongue is Aramaic, which is similar in sound to Hebrew with its “khh’s” and other difficult throaty tones.

      The ICE detainments of Assyrians began June 11, 2017, but Naoum saw warning signs much earlier. “I rang the alarm bell in May, and people laughed at me,” Naoum says. He noticed Arab immigrants were becoming a larger focus for the Trump administration, which was enacting the immigration ban for majority-Muslim countries; he also noticed Iraq was left off the second ban list and wondered what bargaining chip was used to remove it.

    • Where Are the Syrians Kidnapped by ISIS?

      Amer tells me that the process of identifying DNA in mass graves may take years. In addition to the graves, he informs me, “there are dead bodies still buried under the rubble from the US-led military campaign.” He adds, “Sadly, these families, including mine, can’t do anything but wait.” The only thing they can do now, he says, is to prepare, collect evidence, and preserve it until human-rights organizations can provide further assistance.

    • China and India flex muscles over tiny Maldives

      A Chinese naval combat force that entered the Indian Ocean for the first time in four years may have helped deter an Indian intervention in the Maldives after its pro-China president imposed a state of emergency, according to military and diplomatic sources and analysts.

    • Taliban urge religious scholars to boycott peace conference
    • Teenage girl left for dead for resisting gang rape in Nawabshah

      They said that police had first refused to register the case and lodged it only after the news was flashed in electronic media. Police had not yet arrested the main suspect while influential people of the area were pressurising them to accept compensation money and withdraw the case, they said.

    • Boris Johnson Attempt to Refute My Sources on Porton Down the Most Hilarious Fail

      The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued a statement to refute my report from well-placed FCO sources that the British government continually re-uses the phrase “of a type developed by Russia” because its own scientists refused government pressure to say the nerve agent was made by Russia, and as getting even agreement to “of a type developed by” was bloody, the government has to stick to precisely that rather odd choice of phrase.

    • Craig Murray Radio 5 Interview on Skripal Attack
    • Boris Johnson Issues Completely New Story on “Russian Novichoks”
    • Portonblimp Down – A Tale By Boris Johnson

      If you harbour any doubts at all about the plausibility of Mr Johnson’s story, you are a crazed conspiracy theorist and a traitor. Plus you will never, ever get employed in the BBC or corporate media.

    • McCabe: A War on (or in) the FBI?

      Andrew McCabe’s claim that his firing amounts to a “war on the FBI” doesn’t make sense considering it was the FBI’s own internal affairs office that recommended he be fired, as FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley explains.

    • In #CallForPeace Address, Sanders Takes on Endless War and Global Oligarchy

      “Increasingly, in the United States and around the world, we see an economic and political system in which a small number of multi-billionaires and corporate interests have increased control over the world’s economic life, our political life, and our media,” Sanders said. “Inequality, corruption, oligarchy, and authoritarianism are inseparable. They must be understood as part of the same system, and fought and opposed in the same way.”

    • Cambodia Joins China for Military Drills as US Relations Cool

      Hundreds of Cambodian and Chinese soldiers began a 15-day joint military exercise in central Cambodia this week, involving live-fire rocket launches from helicopters, mock tank battles, and anti-terrorism and emergency relief training. China will reportedly also donate tanks and armored personnel carriers on the occasion.

      The unprecedented show of military cooperation, dubbed “Golden Dragon,” is the latest sign that the long-ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) is relying on Beijing to further shore up its control of the country through growing diplomatic, economic and military support, according to analysts.

      They say increased Chinese military support will also aid the Cambodian army’s balance of power with its neighbors. But some warn that Cambodia’s suspension of planned joint exercises with the U.S. military last year signals Phnom Penh’s growing divide with Washington and its regional allies, as well as other Asian countries that seek to counter China’s aspirations for regional primacy.

    • US Empire on Decline

      US empire is in decline. Reports of the end of the US being the unitary power in world affairs are common, as are predictions of the end of US empire. China surpassed the United States as the world economic leader, according to Purchasing Power Parity Gross National Product, and Russia announced new weapons that can overcome the US’ defense systems.

      What is happening in the United States, in response, is to do more of what has been causing the decline. As the Pentagon outlined in its post-primacy report, the US’ plan is more money, more aggression and more surveillance. Congress voted nearly unanimously to give the Pentagon tens of billions more than it requested. Military spending will now consume 57% of federal discretionary spending, leaving less for basic necessities. The Trump administration’s new nominees to the State Department and CIA are a war hawk and a torturer. And the Democrat’s “Blue Wave” is composed of security state candidates.

      The US is escalating an arms race with Russia and China. This may create the mirror image of President Reagan forcing Russia to spend so much on its military that it aided in the break-up of the Soviet Union. The US economy cannot handle more military spending, worsening austerity when most people in the US are in financial distress.

      This is an urgent situation for all people in the world. In the US, we carry an extra burden as citizens of empire to do what we can to oppose US imperialism. We must be clear that it is time to end wars and other tools of regime change, to become a cooperative member of the world community and to prioritize the needs of people and protection of the planet.

    • Iraq +15: Accumulated Evil of the Whole

      Robert Jackson, the Chief United States Prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals, once denounced aggressive war as “the greatest menace of our time.” With much of Europe laying in smoldering ruin, he said in 1945 that “to initiate a war of aggression … is not only an international crime: it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of whole.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Pruitt: California ‘can’t dictate to the rest of the country’ on fuel emissions

      Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt said that when it comes to determining new federal vehicle emission standards, California doesn’t have the right to lead.

    • Poaching for trophies poses threat to Big Cats

      Uganda is home to three famous Big Cats; the Leopard, Lion, and Cheetah. Two of these are members of the Big Five. Most of them are located in Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth and Kidepo Valley National Park. Unlike the other big cats, the Cheetah is found only in Kidepo Valley. In his speech at the World Wildlife Day celebrations in Kasese, the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities(MTWA) Prof Ephraim Kamuntu indicated that the lion population had declined from more than 1,000 individuals in the 1990’s to the current estimated 420 individuals nationwide. Cheetahs and leopards are under assessment but Dr Akankwasah Barirega, a board member at Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) estimates the leopard and cheetah population at 2500 and less than 100 respectively. Out of the wild, the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC), a rescue, rehabilitation, conservation, and education centre boasts of eight lions, one leopard, and two cheetahs.
      Conservationists are worried about survival of the big cats in the wild. Unless this trend is reversed, the cats could become extinct in Uganda.

    • India lost 40% of its mangroves in the last century. And it’s putting communities at risk

      Mangroves provide excellent nesting and breeding habitats for fish and shellfish, migratory birds and sea turtles, underlining their importance to coastal fishing communities. An estimated 80% of the global fish catch relies on mangrove forests either directly or indirectly, a 2008 paper in the Journal of Sea Research claims.


      Mangroves are also great carbon sinks. They isolate carbon at two to four times the rate of tropical forests like the Amazon and store three to five times more carbon per equivalent area than tropical forests.

    • Greenland is melting

      Greenland is melting. As it melts, it adds roughly 1 millimeter of water per year to global sea levels. And the pace of melting is quickening.

      If all the ice covering the world’s largest island were to thaw, sea levels would rise roughly 6 meters. Scientists don’t know how fast, or how likely, that is to happen. East GRIP is looking for evidence to inform both those questions.

    • Research hints at tipping point in the Atlantic’s currents

      A new study, however, suggests that there’s a tipping point for the Atlantic conveyor that could be reached much sooner. It only relies indirectly on warm temperatures; instead, it is driven by the melting of the Greenland Icecap. And the new research suggests we’ve already gone nearly halfway to the tipping point.

    • Why what we eat is crucial to the climate change question

      Did you know that what’s on your plate plays a larger role in contributing to climate change than the car you drive? When most wealthy people think about their carbon footprint, or their contributions to climate change, they’ll think about where their electricity and heat come from or what they drive. They’ll think about fossil fuels and miles per gallon, about LED lights and mass transit – but not so much about combine harvesters or processed meals or food waste. Few consider the impacts of the food they eat, despite the fact that globally, food systems account for roughly one quarter of all manmade greenhouse gas emissions. That’s more than the entire transportation sector, more than all industrial practices, and roughly the same as the production of electricity and heat.

    • Wanna limit global warming to 1.5°C? Get cracking

      One surprise in the international Paris Agreement on greenhouse gas emissions was the addition of the aspirational goal of limiting global warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius. Nations have long stated that their aim was to avoid exceeding 2-degree warming (though they’ve largely failed to follow through with actions that would make that possible), and so scientists have studied that scenario in great detail. But nobody had been promising to keep this a 1.5-degree world, so the information was lacking.

    • Sea Level Rise in the SF Bay Area Just Got a Lot More Dire

      Sea level rise threatens to wipe out swaths of the Bay’s densely populated coastlines, and a new study out today in Science Advances paints an even more dire scenario: The coastal land is also sinking, making a rising sea that much more precarious. Considering sea level rise alone, models show that, on the low end, 20 square miles could be inundated by 2100. But factor in subsiding land and that estimate jumps to almost 50 square miles. The high end? 165 square miles lost.

    • Almost four environmental defenders a week killed in 2017

      The slaughter of people defending their land or environment continued unabated in 2017, with new research showing almost four people a week were killed worldwide in struggles against mines, plantations, poachers and infrastructure projects.

      The toll of 197 in 2017 – which has risen fourfold since it was first compiled in 2002 – underscores the violence on the frontiers of a global economy driven by expansion and consumption.

    • Climate of Fear

      Now, we are the people of the gulf and of the islands who fear for every ripple on the water, every puff of wind, and every drop of rain. We are the people of the drought who fear for every day without moisture. We are the people of the temperate lands who fear the extremes of heat and cold. We are the people of the tropics who fear the cold, and of the polar landscapes who fear the melting of the ice. We are the people of the burned lands who fear for every wisp of smoke. We are the people of the debris flows who fear for every rivulet and rill. We are the people of the flood lands who fear for every rise in the water; we are the people of the tide who fear its every incoming, and we are the people of the storm who fear its every surge.

    • Ahtium, former Talvivaara Mining, files for bankruptcy

      A state-owned firm, Terrafame, is now running the mine that previously faced bankruptcy under the Talvivaara name. After extensive environmental problems with the company’s production process, the Finnish state stepped in to take over mining operations through Terrafame in 2015.

    • Standing Rock is everywhere: one year later

      In the protection of Mni Woc’oni, it is more than oil pipelines threatening the well-being and future of our water. Near the native territory of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, concentrated animal feeding operations or “CAFOs” are draining and degrading the land and water. As a result, the air is toxic, swamps have dried up, and aquifers, to which the people are supposed to have water rights, are being drained. Residents have mortgaged their homes to fight these threats in court and lost. In other places — in mining spills across South America and Africa and at Fukushima — man has gone too far.

      Water is a source of life, not a resource.

  • Finance

    • Bernie Sanders Wants to Tell the Story That Corporate Media Fails To Tell
    • Twitter is reportedly planning to ban cryptocurrency ads
    • As Brexit Britain heads for the rocks what does Corbyn’s Labour stand for?

      The diminished global status of Britain and our future post-Brexit has been on display in the last few days. The attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia and the possible role of Russian authorities; the visit of the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, and the continued saga of Donald Trump’s unpredictable, erratic Presidency from trade wars to his state visit, all illustrate the challenges a diminished UK will face in the aftermath of Brexit.

      Twenty-one months on from the Brexit vote we have no clear plan or detail from the UK Government. Indeed, the kind of Brexit and Britain which the UK Government represents is nothing more than a sketch and vague principles, much to the increasing consternation of the EU and the remaining 27 nation-states.

      Brexit is full of contradictions, tensions and paradoxes. Can the fabled Tory Party with its reputation for statecraft really be reduced to its current incompetence and divisions? Decades of Tory appeasement of Euroscepticism culminated in David Cameron’s pledge in 2013 to hold an in/out referendum – a pledge he thought he would never have to deliver. His subsequent failed attempts to secure renegotiated terms of EU membership – echoes of Harold Wilson in 1975 – were followed by the subsequent referendum campaign and Brexit triumph.

    • Cable’s confusion – on Brexit imperial “nostalgia” and what it means to be English

      Vince Cable’s swipe at Leave voters ‘nostalgic for a world where passports were blue, faces were white, and the map was coloured imperial pink’ sounds like the latest proof that most Remainers would rather abuse their opponents than engage with them. But, let’s assume for a moment that Vince was on to something. What if Leavers did yearn for an older if irrecoverable, idea of greatness? Why should that be, and why in England in particular?

      It wasn’t Britain that voted Leave. It was England, and above all it was England outside London, that chose to take the UK out of the EU. Within England, it is those who felt most English who gave Leave their strongest support. If it was simple nostalgia for the British empire, then the British would have been Leavers too. But residents of England who identified as British rather than English were strongly in favour of Remain.

      For all its historic resentment of its larger southern neighbour, Scotland was as invested in the British Empire as any part of England. From the financial elites to the active colonialists and administrators to the working classes in the shipyards and the protected textile industries, Scots appear to have as much reason to be nostalgic for Empire as most in England. Yet Scotland voted strongly for Remain, as did Northern Ireland. True, Wales voted narrowly for Leave, but much less than England outside London. London, significantly, also voted Remain.

    • Could Britain’s Labour Party Under Corbyn Hold the Answer to Europe’s Woes?

      For over 40 years, Britain has pushed extreme, free-market policies in the European Union (EU). While the EU has delivered, for Britain, better workers’ rights, cleaner air and water, and more enforceable human rights, Britain has consistently argued against the regulation of big business and big finance and against better social protection.

      While enjoying special privileges and rebates, Britain consistently argued for opt-outs, believing it was an exceptional member of the EU, too good for the rules that apply to everyone else. David Cameron’s pre-referendum negotiations wanted more exemptions, which would have allowed it to crack down on migrants’ rights, protect the City of London’s financial excesses and drive deregulation.


      They urge Corbyn to commit to remaining in the EU if he wins the next election, and working with allies to push a series of dramatic reforms to transform the EU.

    • Northern Irish party donors finally published – but source of DUP Brexit money remains secret

      While all major political donations in the rest of the UK have been public since 2000, yesterday’s data release marks the first modicum of transparency for Northern Irish politics.

      The Electoral Commission’s disclosure comes after a long-awaited change in the law in Northern Ireland – and after additional pressure for transparency was triggered by openDemocracy’s revelation that the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) had taken a controversial £435,000 donation for its Brexit campaign. The source of that money is still a secret, because the UK government reneged on its previous commitment to publish details of donations from January 2014 onwards.

      But the data – which only goes back to July 2017 – does include some interesting details.

    • Donald Trump Is Determined to Privatize the Department of Veterans Affairs

      Aaron Hughes, who was deployed to Kuwait and Iraq in 2003 and 2004, now has a serious, very rare lung condition. But he told In These Times he gets “really outstanding care” at the nearby Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. “The doctors are at the top of their class,” he said.

      Because his condition is so rare, Hughes has been sent to a hospital outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for specific tests. And his taste of the private healthcare system has been sour. “As soon as I went there, all hell broke loose,” he said said, explaining there were problems with sharing records between the two institutions. “With the VA system, when you do tests, it’s all integrated.” Every doctor Hughes sees is aware of all the other treatment he gets, from vision to mental health. The private hospitals, on the other hand, often refuse to send the records back to the VA. “The private sector isn’t about sharing your information,” Hughes explained. “It’s not about healthcare, it’s about ownership of care.”

    • Statistics: Nearly 12% of Finnish residents at risk of “living in poverty”

      One-third of individuals who were at risk of living in poverty in 2016 were young adults between the ages of 18-34.

    • Forget about GDP: it’s time for a wellbeing economy

      GDP doesn’t capture the value of non-monetized or non-marketed work, like housework, raising children, caring for the elderly, or volunteering.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Koch Brothers Get Their Very Own Secretary of State

      After serving for a little more than a year as Donald Trump’s top yes-man at the Central Intelligence Agency, Pompeo is Trump’s pick to replace Rex Tillerson, the administration’s listless placeholder at the Department of State.

    • Caveat Emptor: MSNBC and CNN Use CIA Apologists for False Commentary

      MSNBC prides itself for progressive reporting on national security issues but continues to use apologists for the Central Intelligence Agency in reporting on key intelligence issues. The network’s reliance on former deputy director of the CIA John McLaughlin is an excellent example of the skewed and tailored information that it offers to viewers on matters dealing with CIA. McLaughlin, a former colleague of mine at the CIA who I remember as an amateur magician, regularly pulls the wool over the eyes of such MSNBC veterans as Andrea Mitchell.

      The most recent example took place over the past several days, when McLaughlin made the case for confirmation of Gina Haspel as the first woman to become director of the CIA. McLaughlin and former CIA directors Leon Panetta and John Brennan referred to Haspel as a “seasoned veteran” who had the support of senior CIA leaders. Perhaps MSNBC should acknowledge the fact that Deputy Director McLaughlin was Haspel’s boss during this terrible period in American history.

    • The Mad King

      Now he’s either fired or is in the process of removing the adults. He’s replacing them with a Star Wars cantina of toadies and sycophants who will reflect back at him his own glorious view of himself, and help sell it on TV.

    • ‘Trump Must Be Desperate’: President’s Lawyers File to Move Stormy Daniels Suit to Federal Court, Out of Public View

      “Attorney Charles Harder—best known for representing Hulk Hogan in his lawsuit against Gawker, which resulted in its bankruptcy—is handling the case on the President’s behalf,” CNN reported.

      The moves by the Trump legal team came just a day after it was reported that CBS’s “60 Minutes” interview with Clifford and her attorney will air March 25.

      As Common Dreams reported on Friday, Clifford’s lawyer Michael Avenatti said his client has been physically threatened to remain silent about her alleged affair with Trump.

      “I think it will become apparent to people when they tune in to ’60 minutes’ on March 25 as to the details relating to the threat,” Avenatti added.

    • Former CIA Chief Brennan Running Scared

      This blame game turned out to be a hugely successful effort to divert attention from the content of the emails, which showed in bas relief the dirty tricks the DNC played on Bernie Sanders. The media readily fell in line, and all attention was deflected from the substance of the DNC emails to the question as to why the Russians supposedly “hacked into the DNC and gave the emails to WikiLeaks.”

      This media operation worked like a charm, but even Secretary Clinton’s PR person, Jennifer Palmieri, conceded later that at first it strained credulity that the Russians would be doing what they were being accused of doing.

    • Edward Snowden: “How the Deep State Shapes Presidents”

      When Edward Snowden emerged from the shadowy world of American intelligence contractors five years ago to reveal the NSA’s mass surveillance programs, he immediately became one of the most wanted men on earth. A hero for public opinion, an enemy of the state for governments and secret services. In fact he asked twenty-one countries for protection, mostly European nations, and they completely shut their doors to him. In a newly published book “Women, Whistleblowing, WikiLeaks” by Renata Avila, Sarah Harrison and Angela Richter (Or Books), fresh details of this global manhunt emerge, revealing what was happening behind the scenes as the social networks, reporters and TVs pursued Edward Snowden alongside the US government.

      Yes, because as soon as Snowden handed the top-secret NSA documents to journalists Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill, the United States government immediately charged him, using a draconian law created in 1917: the Espionage Act. “A law which has been around for a hundred years that doesn’t distinguish between leaks to the press in the public interest and selling secrets to foreign enemies for a personal profit”, explains Snowden’s US lawyer, Ben Wizner, to Repubblica, elaborating on the serious impact of this law on journalistic sources: “There is no investigative journalism without unauthorized sources”, says Wizner. Today Snowden lives in exile in Russia, where he only has a temporary residence permit.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • How a Norwegian comment section turned chaos into order—with a simple quiz

      Commenters offered a variety of ideas, which included everything from comment voting to more active moderation. The staff mulled over what they could implement that would be low cost and low impact to its community, and Grut had his own eureka moment while showering before biking to the office: why not a quiz? A WordPress plugin could force users to correctly answer a few multiple-choice questions before the page’s comment field would appear. Once he got to the office, he and fellow staffers spent three hours building the plugin, which Grut reminded the crowd is wholly open source.

    • European Commission’s expert group tackling fake news misses the point

      Monique Goyens, Director General of The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) and appointed expert to the Commission’s fake news group, has voted against the final report which was presented in Brussels today. Monique Goyens deplores that the report does not tackle the root causes of fake news.

    • Deleted, suspended, demoted: Censorship, Silicon Valley-style

      When Google launched almost 20 years ago, its corporate motto was “Don’t be Evil”. And until last year, Facebook’s official mission was to “make the world more open and connected”.

      Things have changed since the two tech giants first came online. Both companies have been accused of working behind the scenes to silence or de-emphasise certain kinds of voices.

      “Censorship has changed completely and dramatically because of the internet and because of particularly these big tech companies which are basically monopolies. They can end your existence online,” says Robert Epstein, research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioural Research & Technology.

    • College Warns Saying “God Bless You” is Islamophobic

      That bit of information is tucked inside the college’s Anti-Oppression Library Guide – an exhaustive collection of words and phrases that could trigger perpetually offended collegiate snowflakes.

      Islamomisia is a fairly new malady that until recently was known as Islamphobia.

    • Is it now a thoughtcrime to hate Islam?

      Few will shed tears over Fransen and Golding. Britain First is an odious group. Its loathing of Muslims is bizarre and obsessive and highly prejudiced. But here’s the question, the question that cuts to the heart of whether or not we want to live in a free society: shouldn’t people have the right to loathe Islam?


      There is a dark irony to what happened yesterday. Fransen and Golding are referred to by many as far right and extremist, and there is little doubt that is true. But I would say that having laws that in some situations allow for the punishment of thought is more extreme, and more worrying.

    • RIP Matt Damon, who Terry Gilliam says has been ‘beaten to death’ by internet mobs

      Decent human being Matt Damon, 47, has supposedly perished in an untimely death brought about by mobs of angry #MeToo supporters, according to director Terry Gilliam. In an interview with AFP, Gilliam boldly shines a spotlight on the horrifying plight of the powerful and popular actor. “I feel sorry for someone like Matt Damon, who is a decent human being,” Gilliam says of those original statements. “He came out and said all men are not rapists, and he got beaten to death. Come on, this is crazy!”

      Despite his wife’s sensible advice to “keep [his] head a bit low” when it comes to saying the least useful thing at the worst possible time, Gilliam continues to spew complaints about the survivors of assault and abuse who have stepped forward as part of the #MeToo movement. After insisting that “people have got to take responsibility for their own selves,” and that “I know enough girls who were in Harvey’s suites who were not victims and walked out,” he simultaneously compares the increasing sense of accountability and intolerance for the endemic problem of sexual abuse and assault to a crazed, pitchfork-wielding mob attacking innocent monsters.

    • Don’t Censor Lil Yachty

      This debate is not only about the censorship of the word “Columbine.” It brings up a larger question of whether or not censorship of any offensive words is acceptable. If we were to allow censorship in this case, it could justify the censorship of other words or phrases that offend, disrespect or make people feel uncomfortable. Censorship of this nature could result in countless works being altered and a society with mechanisms reminiscent of the “thought-police” depicted in George Orwell’s “1984.”

    • China ramps up social media censorship

      The stranglehold on freedom of expression, particularly online, in mainland China is “a potent tool of repression” as digital rights continue to plummet under the government’s control, according to a rights group.

      PEN America released a report on March 13, “Forbidden Feeds,” documenting the rising censorship of social media, which the organization said is ruthlessly enforced and leaves little space for dissent.

      The report found through both extensive interviews and research that under President Xi Jinping the scope and severity of censorship has significantly expanded.

      “We were concerned by how the government’s regulatory power, technological capacity for censorship and willingness to censor increasingly large areas of speech are all expanding in tandem,” James Tager, senior program manager for PEN, told ucanews.com.

    • By banning Russian propaganda, the UK will help Putin in his campaign against press freedom

      The poisoning of Sergey Skripal has led to a sharp deterioration in UK-Russia relations. For now, London’s official moves, such as deporting 23 Russian diplomats and searching planes inbound from Russia, look moderate. But Boris Johnson’s statement on 16 March was likely unexpected for Moscow. The British foreign minister came to the conclusion that Vladimir Putin sanctioned the attack on Skripal too quickly, though the Kremlin has, for now, merely commented that Johnson’s tone was “unacceptable”.

    • “Censorship is the worst it has ever been”

      There are no standards. Thatʹs the biggest problem of the Egyptian censor board. When it comes to censorship, there simply are no rules. Itʹs often left up to one particular censor dealing with a specific movie. And then there are some films, where you just know beforehand, that they wonʹt ever make it to a cinema. Mostly because thereʹs a direct message of dissent against the government. In that respect, itʹs the worse it has ever been. A lot of films are being censored at the moment. I donʹt just mean that certain scenes are cut out. I mean that they arenʹt even shown at all.

    • Orange is the New Black’s Turkish adaptation faces censorship over terror propaganda

      The US TV series Orange is the New Black’s Turkish version, Avlu [the Yard] faces censorship over some of its scenes considered making propaganda on behalf of terror organizations.

      Starring Turkish actress Demet Evgar as the lead character, the new TV series is set to make its debut on March 29.

      Cumhuriyet newspaper reported Monday that Justice Ministry officials has asked the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) to “take necessary measures” against some scenes that allegedly make prison officials look like torturers and prisons like torture centers.

    • Can SESTA Be Fixed?

      It appears that sometime this week (or even possibly today), the Senate is unfortunately likely to vote (perhaps by an overwhelming margin) for SESTA, despite the fact that it’s a terribly drafted bill which no one can explain how it will actually stop sex trafficking. Indeed, it’s a bill that many victims advocates are warning will not just make problems worse, but will put lives in danger. And that’s leaving aside all of the damage it will do to free speech and tons of websites on the internet.

      Much of this could have been avoided if anyone in Congress were actually interested in understanding how the internet worked, and how to write a bill that actually addressed problems around sex trafficking — rather than buying into a false narrative (pushed mainly by Hollywood) that the liability protections of CDA 230 were magically responsible for sex traffickers using the internet. Two academics who are probably the most knowledgeable experts on intermediary liability, Daphne Keller at Stanford and Eric Goldman at Santa Clara University, have each posted thoughts on how to “salvage” SESTA. If Congress were serious, it would listen to them. But that’s a big “if.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • U.K. Alleges Facebook-Linked Data Firm CEO Made False Statements

      Damian Collins, chair of the U.K. Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said he will ask Nix to explain his comments and answer further questions about the company’s connections to the Facebook data. He also plans to ask Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to have a senior executive of the social networking giant answer the panel’s questions.

    • Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook data was a ‘grossly unethical experiment’

      On Friday, Facebook announced that it had suspended Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) and its political data analytics company, Cambridge Analytica, for violating its Terms of Service, by collecting and sharing the personal information of up to 50 million users without their consent. The incident is demonstrative of ways that Facebook’s core business model — delivering individualized ads to users — can be exploited, while raising uncomfortable questions about how such data might have been used to influence the 2016 presidential campaign.

      Cambridge Analytica is owned in part by hedge fund billionaire Richard Mercer, and first aided Senator Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign in 2015, before helping the Trump campaign in 2016. [...]

    • Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Under Pressure Over Data Breach

      “It’s clear these platforms can’t police themselves,’’ Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, said Saturday on Twitter. “They say ‘trust us.’ Mark Zuckerberg needs to testify before Senate Judiciary.’’ Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey also separately launched an investigation.

    • New York professor sues Cambridge Analytica to find out what it knows about him

      Last year, David Carroll, a professor at the New School’s Parsons School of Design, used a British data protection law to ask Cambridge Analytica’s branch in the United Kingdom to provide the data it had gathered on him.

    • NY professor sues Cambridge Analytica

      David Carroll, a professor at the New School’s Parsons School of Design, filed a request on Friday with a British court asking them to order Cambridge Analytica, a data firm used by the Trump campaign, to turn over all the data they’ve collected on the professor, and the source of that data.

    • Self-described whistleblower suspended by Facebook after Cambridge Analytica reports

      On Sunday, Wylie shared a screenshot of an “account disabled” message that he said came from Facebook. He said the company suspended him for revealing something that they had already known for two years.


      Roughly 30 million of the profiles Kogan gave the firm had enough information to create psychographic profiles but only 270,000 people had given permission for their data to be collected.

    • Cambridge Analytica working to stop undercover report on its practices from airing: report

      Reporters for Channel 4 posed as prospective clients and secretly filmed a number of meetings with the firm.

    • Mark Zuckerberg Told to ‘Stop Hiding Behind his Facebook Page’ After Reports of Data Breach

      A British lawmaker accused Facebook on Sunday of misleading officials by downplaying the risk of users’ data being shared without their consent.

    • Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: ‘We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles’ – video

      Christopher Wylie, who worked for data firm Cambridge Analytica, reveals how personal information was taken without authorisation in early 2014 to build a system that could profile individual US voters in order to target them with personalised political advertisements. At the time the company was owned by the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, and headed at the time by Donald Trump’s key adviser, Steve Bannon. Its CEO is Alexander Nix

    • Thanks to the CIA, Issues of the Agency’s Most-Hated Magazine Are Now Online

      Long before Wikileaks was promoting “radical transparency” in the digital age, CounterSpy was publishing a magazine that named CIA station chiefs and exposed covert operations. Now, 23 issues from its 32-issue run have been pulled from the CIA’s own archives and digitized for your perusal. We can neither confirm nor deny that the agency is happy about this.

      CounterSpy started publishing from its headquarters in Washington, DC in 1973. Its staff and contributors were made up of journalists and former intelligence agents who wanted to expose the CIA and other intelligence apparatuses as corrupt organizations. It ran stories about subjects like the CIA’s efforts to undermine labor movements around the world and psychological warfare conducted under COINTELPRO. The spooks at Langley weren’t fans but were certainly readers.

    • Mossad starts funding sociopathic startups aiming to deprive people of liberty

      Mossad has started funding the worst of the worst of IT startups. Normally, a headline such as this would only be seen on very questionable websites, but the source for this story is the Israeli Jerusalem Post itself – and further: the Israeli Mossad are far from the only ones.

    • Raleigh cops are investigating crime by getting Google to reveal the identity of every mobile user within acres of the scene

      Public records requests have revealed that on at least four occasions, the Raleigh-Durham police obtained warrants forcing Google to reveal the identities of every mobile user within acres of a crime scene, sweeping up the personal information of thousands of people in a quest to locate a single perp.

      The warrants came with gag orders that banned Google from disclosing their existence; in their requests for the warrants, local prosecutors say that they don’t even believe that warrants are needed to get this information, but since Google insists, they’re willing to get them.

      The cops insist that this approach balances the public’s Fourth Amendment rights with their need to fight crimes. Only one of the crimes in which police used this dragnet technique has had an arrest; it’s not clear if this arrest was the result of data from Google.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Why Is No One Demanding an Explanation for the Torture of Doyle Hamm?

      While the execution of Eggers itself raises serious constitutional questions, an equally critical question remains, which has neither been asked nor addressed: How can Alabama, without having answered at all for its botched and torturous execution of Doyle Hamm a mere three weeks ago, be permitted to simply move on to execute the next man on its death row? Why is no one demanding an explanation? And why is Alabama not at least publicly explaining that what happened three weeks ago was not a systematic breakdown of its death-penalty system?

    • My story of detention in Yarl’s Wood
    • Tina Fontaine Is Further Proof That Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Need Justice
    • It’s Time to Abolish ICE

      Canon has also defended clients swept up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids, and fought a Kafkaesque deportation system that, at one point, wouldn’t even disclose the location of his client. Now Canon believes ICE should be abolished entirely.

    • Abolishing ICE is the radical idea America needs to be talking about | Will Bunch

      After all the stories and viral videos — the screaming mom dragged away from her horrified young children, the 10-year-old with cerebral palsy who got busted in her ambulance after emergency surgery, the pillars of their local communities who showed for a routine check-up and ended up in detention, the stepped-up raids, and all the arrests in courtrooms, outside schoolhouse doors, and behind churches — Americans are right to wonder if our out-of-control immigration cops have any limits at all.

      Amazingly, they do. When it came out a couple of weeks ago that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was on the brink of deporting the wife of an Army Special Forces veteran — planning to send her back to Honduras, where drug dealers might seek violent revenge for her husband’s past drug-interdiction work there with the U.S. military — the public outcry was so great that even this tone-deaf federal agency backed down, for once.

    • Iran jails woman for removing headscarf in public
    • Saudi Crown Prince Plans Meetings With Apple, Google

      Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman plans to meet top global executives, including the heads of Apple Inc. and Google, during his first trip to the U.S. since becoming heir to the throne of the world’s largest oil exporter, according to a person briefed on the trip’s details.

    • No Dancing, No Swaying: Saudi Pop Concert Comes With Warning

      Many Saudi conservatives are deeply uncomfortable with Prince Mohammed’s reforms, although they have mostly kept quiet, fearing arrest. Many of the online posts about Mr. Hosny’s concert condemned the concert, not the rules governing it.

    • Saudis Said to Use Coercion and Abuse to Seize Billions

      Businessmen once considered giants of the Saudi economy now wear ankle bracelets that track their movements. Princes who led military forces and appeared in glossy magazines are monitored by guards they do not command. Families who flew on private jets cannot gain access to their bank accounts. Even wives and children have been forbidden to travel.

    • Now we know why defense attorneys quit the USS Cole case. They found a microphone.

      Lawyers for the alleged USS Cole bombing mastermind quit the capital case after discovering a microphone in their special client meeting room and were denied the opportunity to either talk about or investigate it, the Miami Herald has learned.


      The court filing is an attempt by prosecutors in the USS Cole case to get the review panel to order a military judge to resume the case. Nashiri, a Saudi, is charged with engineering al-Qaida’s suicide bombing of the warship off the Yemen post of Aden on Oct. 12, 2000. Seventeen U.S. sailors died in the blast, and the prosecutor is seeking a death sentence. Air Force Col. Vance Spath, the judge, abruptly abated the case Feb. 16, saying he wanted a higher court to clarify his authority as a judge in the Guantánamo war court.

    • Telangana: Angry at teen watching porn on mobile, father chops off his hand with butcher’s knife

      According to police, 43-year-old Mohammed Qayyum Qureshi, who is an electrician by profession, was angry at his son Khaled as the latter was addicted to his smartphone.

    • 5 Ways We’re Fighting Crime (And Making Everything Worse)
    • Christian asylum seekers in Sweden face violent attacks, warns Swedish Evangelical Alliance

      They point out: ‘There are many studies focusing on hate crimes against Jews and Muslims in Sweden but few on hate crimes against Christians, even though statistics from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention show that police reports of the latter have risen in recent years.’

    • Illegal Minaret Calls Divide Inhabitants in Sweden’s ‘Most Tolerant Town’

      An Islamic center in the town of Växjö has been reported to the police after it was disclosed that it has been broadcasting prayer calls without permission for several years. The notification is based on a breach of the public order act, and the police are serious about the incident, Swedish Radio reported.

    • A Women’s Rights March in Turkey Has Ended With Tear Gas and Arrests

      Women’s rights marchers in Ankara met with tear gas and arrests Sunday as they gathered for a protest ahead of International Women’s Day later this week.

    • Bangladesh police say writer was attacked as ‘enemy of Islam’

      Saturday’s attack on Zafar Iqbal in the northern city of Sylhet was just the latest in a series of stabbings of secular or atheist authors and bloggers in Muslim-majority Bangladesh.

      Iqbal, a longstanding champion of free speech and secularism, remains in stable condition in hospital where he is being treated for stab wounds to his head.

    • Syrian man in Germany appears on air with blood on his face after killing wife

      In an attempt to justify the crime, Abu Marwan said that his actions were a message to all women who irritate their husbands saying “this is how you’ll end.” The man and his son urged viewers to share the video.

    • Ten men deny sex abuse of care home runaway girls

      Ms Melly told the court: “Frustrated at the lack of coverage… her partner contacted Look North, telling them the abuse was ‘much wider than Rotherham’.”

    • Husband divorces wife on honeymoon for not enough sex

      The couple appealed to a sharia court in Dubai, where the man said his new wife did not allow him to touch her or have sex with her during the honeymoon.

    • In Sweden, Christians Fleeing Persecution Face Violence All Over Again

      More than half of all participants in the survey, 53 percent, reported that they had been attacked violently at least once because of their Christian faith. Almost half, 45 percent, reported that they had received at least one death threat, and 6 percent reported that they had been sexually assaulted.

    • University of Auckland worker fired after trying to force female Muslim student to shake hands

      A University of Auckland academic has been fired after trying to shake a female Muslim student’s hand and then accusing her of sexual discrimination when she refused.

    • #MeToo Behind Bars: When the Sexual Assaulter Holds the Keys to Your Cell

      In January, Strawberry Hampton, a trans woman incarcerated in Illinois, settled a lawsuit about repeated sexual and physical abuse she’d experienced by prison staff in the state’s men’s prisons. What she endured isn’t limited to Illinois prisons, or to men’s prisons. Across the country, thousands of incarcerated people face sexual harassment, abuse and assault, frequently at the hands of staff. In the face of these attacks — and the reality of retaliation — incarcerated people have come forward to file complaints and lawsuits, fighting back against system-wide abuse.

    • Women barred from Sidi Saiyed mosque

      They got a red-carpet welcome last September. Situation changed later with four notice boards put up at the mosque banning women entry. They read, “Lady visitors are not allowed to enter the masjid premises under any circumstances. They should see the site from the water hoj (tank for ablutions) or garden side only.”

    • Egypt struggles to end female genital mutilation

      A 2016 survey by the U.N. Children’s Fund showed that 87 percent of women and girls aged 15-49 in Egypt have undergone the procedure.

    • Delhi: Father slits throat of girl over ‘friendship’ with boy in suspected honour killing
    • Students Aren’t Waiting for March or April. They’re Protesting Now

      Every day since February 21, high-school and middle-school students across the country have protested for stronger gun laws, often by walking out of class.

    • YouTube stopped hiring white men in attempt to boost diversity, lawsuit claims

      YouTube stopped hiring white and Asian men in a blunt attempt to make the company more diverse, a lawsuit claims.

      Arne Wilberg, a former recruiter at the Google-owned video website, said he was fired for speaking out against the company’s practices last year when it cancelled interviews with candidates who were not female, black or Hispanic for technical jobs.

    • United Airlines kills another pet

      Last year the carrier killed nine times as many animals as American and Delta

    • Bad to Worse: Tillerson, Pompeo and Haspel

      With the not-entirely-unexpected departure of United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the brightest light in the Trump administration is now extinguished. Not that the illumination caused by that light was particularly bright, but when one is operating in total darkness, even a small candle is something for which to be grateful.

      The former ExxonMobile executive supported the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action); sought a diplomatic solution with North Korea, and not only tried to delay the move of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, but also skipped visiting Apartheid Israel during a year-end tour of the Middle East. In each of these significant ways, Tillerson differed from his erratic, trigger-happy boss, who brooks no disagreement with his ever-changing thoughts. Add to that the fact that Tillerson was quoted in October as calling Trump a moron, and he basically issued his own pink slip.

    • ‘Testilying’ by Police: A Stubborn Problem

      Police lying persists, even amid an explosion of video evidence that has allowed the public to test officers’ credibility.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Founder of Fan-Made Subtitle Site Lose Copyright Infringement Appeal

        The founder of a site that provided fan-created subtitles has lost his appeal against a conviction for copyright infringement. In 2017 a Swedish court found that the unauthorized distribution of movie subtitles is a crime, sentencing the then 32-year-old to probation and a fine. The Court of Appeal has now largely upheld that earlier verdict.

      • Canadian Pirate Site Blocking Plan Triggers Thousands of Responses

        A group of prominent Canadian ISPs and movie industry companies have asked the local telecom regulator CRTC to establish a local pirate site blocking program. Before making any decisions, CRTC launched a public consultation which has already received thousands of responses. It appears that most people argue against the plan, fearing widespread censorship, but there is support as well.

From PTAB Bashing to Federal Circuit (CAFC) Bashing: How the Patent ‘Industry’ Sells Software Patents

Posted in America, Courtroom, Deception, Patents at 3:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No, the patent microcosm needs no facts, only innuendo!

Judge Reyna

Summary: The latest tactics of the patent microcosm are just about as distasteful as last month’s (or last year’s), with focus shifting to the courts and few broadly-misinterpreted patent cases (mainly Finjan, Berkheimer, and Aatrix)

IN OUR previous post we explained how buzzwords were being used by both the EPO and USPTO to allow some software patents. This isn’t good, but one must remember that a patent being granted by a patent office isn’t the final stop; courts too must examine and rule on the matter, but only if it reaches the courts (i.e. not a settlement out of court or ‘protection’ money).

US courts have become very hostile (albeit understandably and suitably — as per the law — hostile) towards software patents. This really, really upsets patent zealots such as IAM and Watchtroll. They seem to have shifted attention away from PTAB and mostly to CAFC, whose judges they are bashing and credibility/legitimacy they question. It’s disgusting because we recently saw even racial smears against Judge Reyna.

Watchtroll used to bash PTAB almost every day — sometimes several times per day — but gone are those days. Several days ago they wrote about the Zeidman lawsuit over “optimizing software code to run on a modern space processor [...] Zeidman was informed that the funding topic was seeking a software tool or tool suite capable of converting high level software languages like C++ or Matlab into a hardware description language (HDL).”

Watchtroll has always been a loud proponent of software patents; so isn’t it a shame that nobody there (with very rare exceptions) even understands how programming works? The founder got so upset when questioned about it that he blocked me in Twitter. He had made a fool of himself, making contradictory statements and showing that he hasn’t the faintest of clue what computer programs are (he thinks a Web page is a computer program, for instance, not hypertext).

About a week or two late Watchtroll wrote about the ‘car parts’ case and yesterday it mentioned Judge Reyna in the context of a case from last week (not about patent scope). The gist:

SimpleAir, Inc. v. Google LLC, No. 2016-2738, 2018 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 12, 2018) (Before Lourie, Reyna, and Chen, J.) (Opinion for the court, Lourie, J.)

The Federal Circuit vacated a district court order dismissing SimpleAir’s complaint as barred by claim preclusion and the Kessler doctrine, and remanded for further proceedings.

Days earlier a patent maximalism site, Patent Docs, cherry-picked a rarity: reversal on § 101 grounds (Mayo and Alice) at CAFC.

The Federal Circuit affirmed the decision on § 101, reversed denial of JMOL on infringement of the ’685 patent, vacated judgment for damages as a result of its decision on ’685 patent infringement, and remanded for the District Court to recalculate damages, in a decision by Judge Moore joined by Judge Bryson; Judge Hughes dissented.

The majority set forth the now canonical two-prong test for subject matter eligibility under Mayo and Alice: the claims need to be “directed to” a law of nature, natural phenomenon or abstract idea, and there must be “something more” amounting to an “inventive concept” that is not merely “routine, conventional, and well-understood” in the prior art. Here, the majority spends little time on the first prong, accepting without comment that the claimed invention is dependent on the “natural law” that body temperature can be measured from skin temperature at the forehead. The District Court had relied on Diamond v. Diehr, 450 U.S. 175 (1981), for the principle that claims can recite “additional steps” that “transformed the underlying natural laws into inventive methods and useful devices that noninvasively and accurately detect human body temperature.” These steps, which included “(1) moving while laterally scanning (’685 patent claims 7, 14, and 17; ’938 patent claims 17, 24, 33, 60, and 66); (2) obtaining a peak temperature reading (’685 patent claim 7; ’938 patent claims 60 and 66); and (3) obtaining at least three readings per second (’938 patent claims 17, 24, 39, 40, 46, and 49)” were known in the prior art but that was not enough. According to the District Court “simply being known in the art did not suffice to establish that the subject matter was not eligible for patenting” because “a new combination of steps in a process may be patentable even though all the constituents of the combination were well known and in common use before the combination was made,” citing Diehr. The distinction (and in some ways the distinction missing from much of § 101 jurisprudence post-Mayo) is that these methods were used for a different purpose in the prior art, in this case detecting “hot spots” indicative of tumors, fractures, or other injuries (and in at least some testimony, used in horses not humans). In addition, the invention here newly provided a “calculated coefficient for translating measurements taken at the forehead into core body temperature readings” which was not routine, well understood or conventional in the prior art.

Notice how none of these cases can really change anything. So patent lawyers reject reality, manipulate law, and latch onto imaginary things. Here we have boosters from Fenwick & West writing about the ‘vibrations’ case (covered here before). They continue to nitpick decisions and try to warp reality against Alice et al (decisions similar to it), borrowing from very old CAFC rulings, e.g.:

I have not spent too much time trying to determine whether the court here accurately applied the tests mandated by Alice, Mayo and their progeny. My discomfort comes from the specific result (that the claims are not, as a whole directed to patent eligible subject matter) more than the general result (patent invalidity) or the path to it. At bottom, all inventions work because of the physics, math, etc. governing their structure and operation. The claims here seem directed, as a whole, to the manufacture of automotive drive shafts. It seems certain to me that even a few years ago, it would have been unthinkable to challenge such a claim on Section 101 grounds. Was the patent bar really that disconnected from the statute for the past century? Is the sea change brought on by Bilski, Alice and Mayo based not on difficult questions brought on by the nature of information age inventions but instead on a longstanding, fundamental misunderstanding of the statutory statement of what our patent system is intended to protect?

Not to our shock, other patent maximalists still hope to make of Berkheimer something that it isn’t (explanation in [1, 2] among other posts of ours). Patently-O mentioned it again the other day:

The case has good shot at being heard by the whole court. I expect that the court would agree with Judge Moore that underlying factual issues are possible in the eligibility analysis, the exercise is not “a predominately factual one that ‘opens the door in both steps of the Alice inquiry for the introduction of an inexhaustible array of extrinsic evidence, such as prior art, publications, other patents, and expert opinion.’” (HP Petition, quoting Judge Reyna’s dissent in Aatrix).

No cartoon of Judge Reyna this time around, for ‘daring’ to express dissent (in Aatrix). Watchtroll is still bringing up Aatrix. Yes, yet again as an excuse to assert (again!) that there’s another route for avoiding rejection of a software patent. This is nonsensical.

Then that’s that old Finjan case from January — a case in which all patents except one were discarded, causing a great deal of commotion among patent maximalists.

Sara O’Connell (Pillsbury’s Internet & Social Media Law Blog/Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP) recalled this old case, which she pushed out as a “press release” and an ‘article’ (another example of infomercials, like those we referred to earlier today). To quote:

Finjan Inc. owns patents on technology involving computer and network security. Its patents are directed toward behavior-based internet security, addressing a method of “identifying, isolating, and neutralizing” potentially malicious code based on the behavior of that code rather than by scanning and maintaining a list of known viruses and malicious code signatures like so many other providers of internet security software.

Finjan was also mentioned in this other infomercial from a few days ago. To quote:

Patent claims serve to provide notice as to the scope of an invention described in a patent. The claims can be directed to various statutory types, such as an apparatus, article, composition, method, system, or any other patentable subject matter.


CRM claims combine the functionality of method claims with the tangibility of apparatus claims: they recite operations typically provided in a method while being directed to a physical memory having instructions that are executable to cause such operations. Accordingly, whereas it is uncertain whether a method can be “sold,” “offered for sale,” or “imported” for purposes of infringement under § 271, the Federal Circuit has held that CRMs can be. For example, in Finjan v. Secure Computing Corp., the Federal Circuit affirmed that the defendant infringed the plaintiff’s CRM claims because the defendant had “sold” an infringing software product.[14] And while each step of a method must actually be performed in the United States to be infringed, the court in Finjan did not require that the instructions stored in the infringing CRM actually be executed. The court reasoned that, “to infringe a claim that recites capability and not actual operation, an accused device ‘need only be capable of operating’ in the described mode.”[15] Thus, CRM claims can operate like apparatus claims for purposes of an infringement analysis.

It’s worth noting that all they ever mention is Finjan, Berkheimer, and Aatrix (nothing from 2017). But as we pointed out many times before (in more than a dozen articles), none of this triplet can be considered a real challenge to Section 101 and nothing at all last year even came close to that. Nothing has really changed, except the frequency of infomercials that try to ‘poach’ customers; they used to bash PTAB a lot and now they just basically cherry-pick CAFC cases and argue that they can miraculously enforce software patents. They cannot.

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