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03.30.20

IRC Proceedings: Sunday, March 29, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:22 am by Needs Sunlight

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03.29.20

Links 30/3/2020: Linux 5.6, Nitrux 1.2.7, Sparky 2020.03.1

Posted in News Roundup at 11:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • China’s plan to replace Windows with Linux gets closer

        China has been trying to develop an operating system of its own, but it has historically been not so successful so far. Moreover, China also had a couple of bad experiences with other companies, like when ZTE depended on the US for the processor or the infamous Huawei issue. This time, though, China might just have created the right operating system.

    • Server

      • Kubernetes 1.18 Improves Networking and Security for Cloud Native

        The open source Kubernetes platform has become the defacto standard for enabling cloud native application delivery.

        At its core, Kubernetes is a container orchestration platform, with organizations using it both on-premises and across both public and private cloud provides to deploy, schedule and manage container applications workloads. On March 25, Kubernetes 1.18 became generally available, as the second major release of Kubernetes in 2020, following the 1.17 update that came out on Jan.7.

      • Amazon Introduces Bottlerocket, a Linux-Based OS for Container Hosting [Ed: Modified article]

        Amazon has announced a new Linux-based open-source operating system (OS) called Bottlerocket, which is purpose-built to run containers. Bottlerocket is currently in public preview as an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) for customers to experiment with.

        The tech giant designed and optimized Bottlerocket specifically for use as a container host, and it comes with a single-step update mechanism. Furthermore, Bottlerocket only includes essential software to run containers. Jeff Barr, chief evangelist for AWS, stated in a blog post on Bottlerocket…

      • CNCF tools: 5 hot open-source cloud solutions for your application stack

        Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) is an open-source software collective that aims at making the adoption of cloud-native computing universal. CNCF is driven by a community of developers, end-users, and IT service providers that collaborate to create open-source, vendor-neutral tools. CNCF creates tools for projects that help boost the adoption of cloud-native computing. One such tool is Kubernetes that has singlehandedly changed the way workloads are hosted in the cloud. Kubernetes, which started as a project by Google, is now an official part of CNCF’s impressive and ever-growing cloud-native landscape. These projects are usually hosted on GitHub and help enterprises go cloud-native with ease. CNCF projects go through three phases under CNCF; Sandbox, Incubating, and Graduation. Let’s take a close look at five new CNCF tools that you should consider adding to your application stack.

      • Cloud Foundry spreads wings to cover KubeCF

        The Cloud Foundry Foundation has brought KubeCF under its wing as an incubating project, laying out a path for the full Cloud Foundry experience on Kubernetes.

        The announcement coincides with the release of v1.0.1 of KubeCF, which is an open source distribution of the Cloud Foundry Application Runtime (CFAR).

      • Top Container Management Platforms For Developers & Businesses

        Container management platforms are leveraged by developers to launch, test, and secure applications in resource-independent environments. Containers include components of applications, libraries, or collections of source code that can be used or deployed on demand.

        The container management platforms support users designate resources to optimise performance and balance system workloads. Companies utilise container management platforms to streamline container performance and to evade the complexities of system architectures. Given there are tens of container platforms presently available, in this article, we list the top ones that are most widely used, both free and subscription-based for enterprises-

      • Google launches Kubernetes-built ‘Game Servers’ beta for high-scalability cloud gaming backend

        Google today announced the availability of “Game Servers” in beta test mode, a managed service offering using a service called Agones, which is an open-source game server hosting and scaling project built on Kubernetes.

        Using Agones, game developers and publishers can provide critically needed servers for games to maintain great multiplayer experiences. Game developers now increasingly rely on dedicated severs in order to deliver lag-free and high-fidelity gameplay for connecting players, but scaling in these environments can be difficult.

        In order to open up choice and control for developers, Google said its Agones-based Game Servers will make it easier to deploy, manage and scale servers based on demand.

      • Google Teams Up with Solo.io to Extend Istio

        Google and Solo.io are now collaborating to make open source Istio service mesh more extensible by adding support for WebAssembly (WASM), which was created under the auspices of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and provides a portable target for compiling more than 30 high-level languages.

        Solo.io has been working to marry WASM with Envoy, an open source proxy server being developed under the auspices of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). The Istio service mesh is built on top of Envoy, so now Google and Solo.io are working toward providing WASM support for Istio.

      • Portshift Announces Kubei Container Runtime Scanning Software with Launch of its Open Source Initiative

        Portshift, a leader in cloud-native workload protection, today introduced Kubei Open Source container scanning software. Kubei is a unique open source Kubernetes runtime images scanning solution, presented to invite developer collaboration for the hardening of runtime environments. Kubei identifies which pods were built from vulnerable images or contain newly discovered vulnerabilities, then it couples the Kubernetes information with vulnerability data for quick and easy remediation.

      • Container runtime scanning open source software launched by Portshift

        Portshift introduced Kubei Open Source container scanning software. Kubei is a unique open source Kubernetes runtime images scanning solution, presented to invite developer collaboration for the hardening of runtime environments. Kubei identifies which pods were built from vulnerable images or contain newly discovered vulnerabilities, then it couples the Kubernetes information with vulnerability data for quick and easy remediation.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • GNU World Order 347

        Cloud, containers, and **cgmanager** from the **ap** software series.

      • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S13E01 – Thirteen

        This week the band is back together. We’ve been bringing new life into the universe and interconnecting chat systems. Distros are clad in new wallpapers, Raspberry Pi’s are being clustered with MicroK8s and the VR game industry has been revolutionsed.

      • 4 Views on Linux Adoption

        4 Views on Linux Adoption In this video, we will be going over 4 points of view when it comes to Linux Adoption.

    • Kernel Space

      • The Best Features Of The Linux 5.6 Kernel From WireGuard To Y2038 Compatibility To USB4

        The Linux 5.6 stable kernel could be released as soon as tomorrow if Linus Torvalds is comfortable with its current state to avoid having an eighth weekly release candidate. Whether Linux 5.6 ends up being released tomorrow or next weekend, this kernel is bringing many exciting changes.

        We have our Linux 5.6 feature overview that was published at the end of the merge window for those wanting a lengthy look at all of the kernel highlights.

      • Linux 5.6
        So I'll admit to vacillating between doing this 5.6 release and doing
        another -rc.
        
        This has a bit more changes than I'd like, but they are mostly from
        davem's networking fixes pulls, and David feels comfy with them. And I
        looked over the diff, and none of it looks scary. It's just slightly
        more than I'd have preferred at this stage - not doesn't really seem
        worth delaying a release over.
        
        So about half the diff from the final week is network driver fixlets,
        and some minor core networking fixes. Another 20% is tooling - mostly
        bpf and netfilter selftests (but also some perf work).
        
        The rest is "misc" - mostly random drivers (gpio, rdma, input) and DTS
        files. With a smattering of fixes elsewhere (a couple of afs fixes,
        some vm fixes, etc).
        
        The shortlog is appended, nothing really looks all that exciting, and
        most of the discussions I've seen are already about things for the
        next merge window.
        
        Which obviously opens now as of the release, and I'll start doing
        pulls tomorrow. I already have a couple of pull requests in pending in
        my inbox - thank you.
        
        And while I haven't really seen any real sign of kernel development
        being impacted by all the coronavirus activity - I suspect a lot of us
        work from home even normally, and my daughter laughed at me and called
        me a "social distancing champ" the other day - it may be worth just
        mentioning: I think we're all reading the news and slightly
        distracted.  I'm currently going by the assumption that we'll have a
        fairly normal 5.7 release, and there doesn't seem to be any signs
        saying otherwise, but hey, people may have better-than-usual reasons
        for missing the merge window. Let me know if you know of some
        subsystem that ends up being affected.
        
        So we'll play it by ear and see what happens. It's not like the merge
        window is more important than your health, or the health of people
        around you.
        
                          Linus
        
      • Linux 5.6 Kernel Released With WireGuard, USB4, New AMD + Intel Hardware Support

        Linus Torvalds just announced the release of the Linux 5.6 stable kernel a few minutes ago. This also means the Linux 5.7 merge window is now open for business.

      • The 5.6 kernel has been released

        Linus has released the 5.6 kernel.

        Some of the headline features in this release include Arm EOPD support, time namespaces, the BPF dispatcher and batched BPF map operations (both described in this article), the openat2() system call, the WireGuard virtual private network implementation, the flow queue PIE packet scheduler, nearly complete year-2038 support, many new io_uring features, the pidfd_getfd() system call, the ZoneFS filesystem, the ability to implement TCP congestion-control algorithms in BPF, the dma-buf heaps subsystem, and the removal of the /dev/random blocking pool.

        See the LWN merge-window summaries (part 1 and part 2) and the (under construction) KernelNewbies 5.6 page for more details.

      • ‘Social distancing champ’ Linus Torvalds releases Linux 5.6, tells devs to put health before next release

        Linux overseer Linus Torvalds given the world version 5.6 of the Linux kernel, and been given the title “social distancing champ”.

        The latter accolade came from his daughter. But he’s tried to live the values it implies by telling the Linux community not to stress about the pace of kernel development.

        “I haven’t really seen any real sign of kernel development being impacted by all the coronavirus activity – I suspect a lot of us work from home even normally,” he wrote.

        “I’m currently going by the assumption that we’ll have a fairly normal 5.7 release, and there doesn’t seem to be any signs saying otherwise, but hey, people may have better-than-usual reasons for missing the merge window,” he added.

      • AMD Sensor Fusion Hub Laptop Driver Unlikely To Land For Linux 5.7

        While we were hoping to see the AMD Sensor Fusion Hub driver introduced in Linux 5.7 for improving the AMD Ryzen Linux laptop experience, that now looks quite unlikely.

        This driver has been sought after by AMD Linux laptop customers since 2018 for supporting the accelerometer, gyroscopic sensors, and other functionality on modern AMD laptops, similar to the Intel Sensor Hub. Patches for the AMD Sensor Fusion Hub (AMD-SFH) driver for Linux were posted in January and underwent a few rounds of review.

      • Amazon Engineer’s Patch For Flushing L1 Cache On Context Switching Revved

        Earlier this month there was the proposal by a Linux kernel engineer for Amazon to flush the L1 data cache on context switches as another safeguard against the ever increasing CPU vulnerabilities.

        The motivation for flushing the L1d cache on context switches is driven as a result of Intel’s data sampling vulnerabilities and this safeguard would be an opt-in feature for those paranoid about system security. Flushing the L1 cache would ensure the data is not being snooped or leaked following a context switch but with all of the cache flushing could significantly hamper the system performance.

      • HDR Display Support Coming To Some Intel Gen9 Graphics On Linux

        For the very common Intel “Gen9″ graphics found on pretty much all current pre-Icelake hardware that is available through retail channels, high dynamic range (HDR) display support could soon be enabled under Linux for a subset of devices.

      • Graphics Stack

        • RadeonSI Experimenting With Compute-Based Culling For Navi/GFX10

          The RadeonSI Gallium3D driver has been experimenting with compute-based culling for GFX10/Navi hardware.

          Well known open-source AMD OpenGL driver developer Marek Olšák has merged experimental support for compute-based culling. Marek simply noted, “This is an experimental feature that might be used in the future.”

        • Mesa’s Continuous Integration To Begin Seeing Testing Coverage For Wine / DXVK

          In hopefully meaning less regressions moving forward for DXVK with the latest open-source Vulkan drivers, the Mesa continuous integration (CI) infrastructure saw support added for playing DirectX (DXGI) traces with DXVK/Wine.

          Consulting firm Igalia under contract for Valve added support for APITrace with DXGI traces to the Mesa CI.

        • Collabora working on making any DirectX 12 driver able to support open graphics and parallel programming APIs

          DirectX is Microsoft’s proprietary hardware-accelerated graphics API for Windows; OpenGL is a cross-platform graphics API; and OpenCL is a cross-platform framework for parallel programming on CPUs and GPUs. Although there are Windows OpenCL and OpenGL drivers for many GPUs, the extent of support varies, and the DirectX implementation may be better optimised. The mapping layers will be delivered as enhancements to the open-source Mesa 3D project, for which Microsoft will provide a new DirectX 3D 12 (D3D12) backend.

    • Benchmarks

      • Ubuntu 18.04 vs. 20.04 LTS Performance Preview With Intel Xeon Scalable

        There is less than one month to go until the official release of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS “Focal Fossa” but we’ve already begun experimenting with it for weeks across a variety of platforms. For the most part we have found Ubuntu 20.04 slated to offer some nice performance improvements, especially if upgrading from the existing LTS series, Ubuntu 18.04. In this article are our initial benchmarks looking at the Intel Xeon Scalable from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS to the current 20.04 near-final state.

    • Applications

      • 50+ Essential Linux Apps[2020] for your Linux Distro

        Best Linux Apps 2020: Welcome to Tec Robust. This article is going to be a long stretch of best and essential Linux Applications 2020 for your Linux Distribution. It covers applications for Distros such as Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSUSE, CentOS, Elementary OS, Zorin OS, Debian, Kubuntu, and more. Without any more delay, we will get into the article. Equip your Linux with the best applications listed down here.

      • Install Zoom In Linux Based Operating System

        The world is dealing with coronavirus pandemic. Every nation around the globe is asking its people to stay at home and work from home.

        Many companies are already asking their employees to stay at home and work from home to avoid coronavirus infection.

        Well, there are many tools that you might need while working from home and one of those tools is a video conferencing tool. There are many video conferencing tools available on the internet. Some of them are free and some of them not.

      • Navi – An Interactive Commandline Cheatsheet Tool

        A while ago, we posted some good alternatives to Linux man pages. Those tools skips all theoretical part and gives concise Linux command examples. If you are a lazy Linux user who wants some practical examples for a Linux command, they would definitely help. Today, we will see a similar tool named Navi. Navi is an interactive commandline cheatsheet tool written in Rust. Just like Bro pages, Cheat, Tldr tools, Navi also provides a list of examples for a given command, skipping all other comprehensive text parts.

      • ScreenCloud is an open source image capturing tool that can optionally upload images to Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, Imgur

        We have reviewed many screen capturing tools at gHacks including Ksnip, Automatic Screenshotter, Auto Screen Capture, Ashampoo’s Snap 11, or Martin’s favorite program PicPick.

        [...]

        To finalize it, copy and paste the authorization code generated by the cloud service into the box that the program opened for connecting to your account. You may choose the screenshot naming pattern such as Screenshot at %H-%M-%S representing the time (hours, minutes, seconds) when the screenshot was taken. The result will be something like Screenshot at 19-45-00. Select the folder name that the application should save content to, and whether you want it to copy the public link to the clipboard after the uploading process has been completed.

        Hit the save button and you’re all set to use it.

        The application isn’t portable. The lack of a crop tool in ScreenCloud’s editor was a slight let down for me, but this is intended to be a basic screen capturing tool, besides I’m too used to ShareX’s options.

      • BleachBit 3.9.0 Beta

        Designed for Linux and Windows systems, it wipes clean thousands of applications including Firefox, Internet Explorer, Adobe Flash, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, and more. Beyond simply deleting files, BleachBit includes advanced features such as shredding files to prevent recovery, wiping free disk space to hide traces of files deleted by other applications, and vacuuming Firefox to make it faster. Better than free, BleachBit is open source.

      • MP4Tools is an open source set of utilities for merging or splitting video files

        Note: The application kept crashing when the play button was used. But it works just fine when adding split points, and the split process was successful. I’m not sure why it crashed, especially since the preview panel displayed the frames of the split points correctly. A quick search on the program’s SourceForge page revealed a similar issue reported by a user. This suggests that it could be a bug in the latest version.

        [...]

        Both programs in the MP4Tools suite use FFMPEG for encoding videos. MP4Tools is a 32-bit software. It is available for Windows and macOS. Linux users will have to compile it from the source code. It is not a portable application.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine-Staging 5.5 Released With 850+ Patches Atop Wine

        Following Friday’s release of Wine 5.5, Wine-Staging 5.5 is now available as the experimental blend of Wine with some 850+ patches atop the upstream code-base with various features in testing.

        New to Wine-Staging 5.5 is proper handling of long path/file names (greater than 128 characters) that affected some games like Magic: The Gathering Online. Wine-Staging 5.5 also has a fix for Winemenubuilder in properly respecting existing defaults for file-type associations, which stems from a bug report four years ago when Notepad became the default TXT file handler for a user.

    • Games

      • SteamOS Isn’t Dead, Just Sidelined; Valve Has Plans To Go Back To Their Linux-Based OS

        It’s big news for any PC gamer that has been frustrated with Microsoft’s erroneous-laden grip on operating systems for as far back as 1995; with it comes a monumental blow to privacy, not to mention mere control of your PC; updates have a tendency to start when they want to, new OS licenses must be purchased if you change hardware configurations, and applications that Microsoft doesn’t want you using are notoriously finicky to get working.

        Of course, users can simply switch over to Linux if they have had their fill of Microsoft. That switch comes with a slew of changes, however, and dropping reliable applications is a part of the grieving process that must take place when attempting to switch over your OS. Linux does host a plethora of open-source tools that can take the place of past applications; GIMP in lieu of Photoshop, for example. Yet the old applications are never truly replaced 1 for 1; it’s more of a bandage than anything else.

        Even with WINE and other techniques developed over the years to help users with Linux use Windows software, there are plenty of pitfalls and inconveniences that stymie any attempts to maintain Linux over Windows.

      • Lutris 0.5.5 Linux Game Manager Adds Humble Bundle Support, Initial VKD3D Support

        Lutris 0.5.5 is out today as the newest version of this Linux game manager to assist in installing both native and emulated games on Linux. Lutris continues to expand the scope of its “runners” for improving the Linux gaming experience.

        While the version 0.5.5 number may not seem like a big deal, there is actually a lot to find with the Lutris 0.5.5 update. Among the changes with Lutris 0.5.5 are:

        - Initial support for Humble Bundle integration.

      • Try out ‘Critters for Sale’, an exhilarating short horror visual novel with two episodes out now

        The absolutely exhilarating short horror visual novel Critters for Sale, which was originally released the first day of 2019, had its second chapter (“Goat”) available for some time (Jun 2019, actually). Considering how such a hidden gem it is I was going to write about it, but Liam ended up doing it first in this GOL article.

        [...]

        It still maintains the same fever-dream like visuals, game mechanics and layout, consisting on a left HUD with some key information, a central upper section where all the images and animations are displayed, along with some point and click elements, and finally a center lower section where you see the dialogues and options to advance the story in the available directions. However, regarding the premise, now it features other characters and a different setting, but since this is one of those games where the less you know the better, I will only say that although we’re only grasping the surface of the whole mystery, and while the tone of the story still keeps a personal scope, at this point it’s clear that those responsible for the plot’s main threat not only have enough power to influence the entire world, but also directly encompass the whole history of mankind…

      • ‘Discover my Body’ is a 10 minute long free body-horror minigame about transhumanism and social alienation

        Although there isn’t much more context, given the title’s incredibly short length, the plot of Discover my Body takes place twenty years in the future, in a dystopian society where a strange medical procedure was developed to enhance human consciousness, which is being used by people to escape their miseries and existential despair. You play as a medical student who will be examining this process on the character that you’ll be interacting with, and for that purpose, you’ll be assigned a scanner to look for and inspect specific instances of the procedure’s evolution on this patient’s body.

        I must confess that I “hated” this guy for all his deviancy. It’s one of those characters that you would like to stab repeatedly, only to find out that it’s futile, because he would be enjoying the torment. And while you might think that I disliked the game because of this fact… on the contrary! It’s the living proof that the developer got it right. Apparently reminiscent of David Cronemberg’s horror filmography, Discover my Body is a title that with incredibly minimal elements manages to feel nihilistic and repulsive, and while you never get to see it, you won’t help but imagine how horrific and miserable that futuristic world must be, with any remnant of human dignity and decency absolutely obliterated.

      • Get ready to fail with bridge-building physics as ‘Poly Bridge 2′ has been announced

        Poly Bridge from back in 2016 turned out to be quite a hit, and it’s coming back for another run with Poly Bridge 2 being recently announced for release this year.

        Featuring new levels, new game mechanics, a special custom deterministic physics engine along with an apparently soothing soundtrack as you attempt to build bridges and inevitably watch them crumble into nothing as they fall under the weight of various vehicles.

      • Spies & Soldiers is an upcoming asynchronous online low-fantasy strategy game needing testers

        Currently in development by Ghostbat Games, with a release date scheduled currently for sometime around October, Spies & Soldiers looks like a fun two-player head-to-head asynchronous online strategy game.

      • Thorium Entertainment dig up some new late-game content for UnderMine out now

        UnderMine, the action-adventure rogue-lite brimming with secrets from developer Thorium Entertainment and publisher Fandom, has opened a mysterious new area called the Othermine in the latest update.

        The game follows peasants on a journey into the world below, as they search for both fortune and freedom. You dig deeper and deeper in search of treasures, while also dealing with lots of pesky creatures and some pretty huge boss encounters. When one character meets their unfortunate end, the pick-axe is passed onto another and the cycle begins again. It’s a fun mixture of rogue-lite mechanics, dungeon crawling and action.

        With the Othermine open, it adds in a ton of late-game content for players who’ve conquered the first few areas. They say this mode brings “genuine roguelike design and endless replayability”. After reaching the end of the fourth zone and providing the Gatekeeper with a Nether, peasants can enter the Othermine. With no gold and only base stats, you must rely on a randomized assortment of upgrades, relics, curses, blessings, and familiars to overcome this brand new challenge.

      • Wreckfest | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 19.04 | Steam Play

        Wreckfest running through Steam Play (Proton 5.0-4) Runs great, all online. Using a PS4 Controller.

      • Trailer Trashers is a perfect couch multiplayer twin-stick party game out now

        Trailer Trashers is a twin-stick local multiplayer shooter from Sakari Games that released this week, it’s their first Linux game and it turns out it’s the perfect amount of ridiculous. Note: Key from the developer.

        It’s a fast-paced shooter with a couple different modes, my favourite being Shotgun Soccer because it’s just absurd. Bullets in all modes bounce off the walls but in this one you’re trying to push a ball into the opposing goal using your shotgun bullets. It gets quite intense and pretty hilarious.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Raspberry Pi Smart TV: Plasma Bigscreen Project Offers Open-Source UI

          With many people stuck at home, the desire for an at-home media center is greater than ever. But what if you could add an open-source user interface (UI), or ditch the one built into your TV, with the help of Raspberry Pi? With Plasma Bigscreen, a new AI voice and KDE open-source development released this week, it’s possible to use your Raspberry Pi 4 as a center of your media hub.

          “Plasma Bigscreen powers the interface on a single-board computer and uses the Mycroft AI voice assistant to provide a smart TV platform,” it says on KDE.org. “Plasma Bigscreen will deliver not only media-rich applications, but also traditional desktop applications redesigned to fit the Bigscreen experience.

        • Plasma Bigscreen Is A New Smart TV Experience Powered By Raspberry Pi 4 And KDE

          Smart TVs are becoming more and more complete computers, but unfortunately there the experience tends to be a tight walled garden between proprietary platform, services and privacy-infringing features. Features which are very cool, like voice control, but in order to not pose a threat to the user privacy should be on a free software stack and depending less on proprietary cloud platforms where possible.

          Plasma Bigscreen is just entering Beta, and is currently available to download and install on the Raspberry Pi 4. On paper, it looks incredible promising for a few reasons:

        • Mirrors for kdenlive-20.04-beta1-x86_64.appimage
        • Kdenlive 20.04 Beta Released With Continuing To Improve The Open-Source Video Editor

          Open-source video editors over the years have generally fallen well short of the stability and feature set offered by proprietary video editing solutions but in recent years at least there has been some measurable progress to the likes of Kdenlive and OpenShot. Out this weekend for testing is the Kdenlive 20.04 beta.

          Kdenlive 20.04 is being prepared as part of the “KDE Applications” 20.04 milestone for next month. For those wanting to help in spotting any last minute bugs, the Kdenlive 20.04 beta is available. For easy convenience across distributions, the AppImage is available of this first Kdenlive 20.04 beta.

        • Season of KDE 2020 and GSOC

          The first thing that one has to do before beginning to contribute to an organization is to build the code of the application from the source. And if this is the first time a person is building an app then he/she should be ready to do a lot of googling and praying for the CMake to compile successfully.

          Kdenlive works with the help of a lot of dependencies and libraries. For the CMake to compile properly the system should have all these libraries installed in it.

          First things first, I got the Kdenlive source code from the GitLab instance of KDE, invent.kde.org. It is always best to checkout from the master to a new branch to prevent committing incorrect changes and spoiling your whole branch. Then I created a build file and ran the CMake code. This returned a LOT of errors when the required libraries and dependencies were not found in my system. Most of the errors were solved when the following command was executed:

        • This week in KDE: The calm before the storm (of new features)

          This week we worked really hard on a lot of important backend stuff that’s not so user-visible but will pay dividends down the road, such as launching applications using cgroup slices. We also did a ton of work on the Breeze Evolution project, however most of it is still in heavy development and not ready to be announced. It should trickle in during subsequent weeks, but until then, have a look at what did get landed…

        • KDE Developers Wrap Up March By Working On Back-End Improvements

          This week in KDE land there weren’t too many new features introduced but a lot of low-level work to foster future features.

          Some of what did come about over the past week includes:

          - Easier switching of time zones from the clock applet.

          - Support for launching applications in Cgroup slices.

        • RSIBreak 0.12.12 released!

          All of you that are in using a computer for a long time should use it!

        • KDE in app stores

          If you use KDE software, there is a good chance you’re on a Linux distribution and you download the software from your distribution’s repositories. But the fact is you can get KDE software from a number of sources on different platforms. As project coordinator for KDE e.V. helping with KDE Goals, I was tasked to look at app download statistics. Join me in my quest to understand how popular KDE apps are in various app stores.

        • New Icon theme

          Like everyone else, I am also in quarantine, and during this quarantine I got closer to the program that I love, inkscape. I started to make smartphone mockups again, which I published on my Instagram profile (maybe I will also make posts here). But I started a new icon theme , since I have many free hours a day, I have a lot of time to devote to this project.

        • This month in KDE Web: March 2020

          This month KDE web developers worked on updating more websites and some progress was made in a new identity provider and a lot of other exiting stuff and a lot of background work was also done.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • TIL Wayfire Supports Background Window Blur in GTK Apps

          One longstanding complaint I hear about modern day GTK apps is that they don’t like anywhere near as fancy as their macOS, Windows, iOS and even KDE Plasma counterparts.

          And a big reason for that is the lack of blur effect support in Mutter (and GNOME Shell at large, though yes: this is changing).

          Thing is, next-gen window compositors based on the Wayland stack are already capable of doing more than just ‘showing’ windows on the screen.

        • An introduction to GNOME shell extensions

          GNOME has a sleek interface, designed to support your work while being out of your way when possible. These considerations depend on your preferences. Some people want all the graphics and the icons, some wants to minimize distractions while remembering how to run stuff with keyboard shortcuts. A known issue is that GNOME has taken away the application menu that is common in other systems. you can add an extension to add it yourself. You write extensions for GNOME in JavaScript, though there are times when you can link to other languages. Because you use JavaScript, you can also use CSS packages such as Bootstrap.

          What are the extensions changing?

          This may seem like an irrelevant question but as you start troubleshooting, you need to know this. Any extension is actually adding code to the gnome-shell. Due to this, your desktop will crash due to a bad extension so test carefully before trusting any code. It is a good idea to remember this both when you are installing other people’s extensions and when you are coding yourself.

          You can learn how to make an extension quickly if you know JavaScript and you follow the documentation at the GNOME wiki. You can start by using the standard tools which create the required files for you. There are only two required files, though, so creating them yourself is not a big task.

        • Marcus Lundblad: Maps in GNOME 3.36

          There’s been quite a while since the last blog post. Since then 3.36.0 was released, and also the first update for the stable 3.36 branch, 3.36.1 has been released.

          As I’ve written about before one of the main features in 3.36 is the support for trip planning for public transit using third party services, as shown here from Paris…

    • Distributions

      • A Beginners Guide to Linux

        The Linux operating system offers a rich mix of features and security that make it a great free and (mostly) open-source alternative to macOS and Microsoft Windows. Because it’s different “under the hood,” consider some of the big-picture aspects of Linux and how it compares to the other desktop operating systems, before you take the plunge.

      • [Older] 5 Linux Distributions for Windows 7 Users

        While you may not find the same applications or tools on Linux – the user interface is what will make you feel comfortable using the OS.

        So, in this article, I shall mention only the distributions that resemble the look and feel of Windows (to some extent, at least).

        Once, you’re done choosing what you want – you can simply take a look around for the essential applications available on Linux, installing themes, and a lot of similar resources available in our portal.

      • Reviews

        • Arcolinux – Too much, too little

          Walking the Tux road, one system at a time. A short while back, I thought a departure from the proven mainstream dozen distros would do me some fresh good. So I grabbed Solus OS, I tested Peppermint, and now, I’d like to embark on an Arch adventure.

          Previously known as ArchMerge, Arcolinux is a distro that obeys Monty Python’s rule of three. Three shall be the number of versions, and the number of desktop environments shall be three. Not two, not four. ArcoLinux has the main edition plus D and B builds for tinkerers. I opted for the Xfce-clad 19.12 release. Without further ado, let’s see what gives.

          [...]

          I am struggling to reconcile with the polar brilliance of the Linux desktop. Even now, some 15+ years since I started using it, I haven’t gotten used to it. You get something really cool, and then a bunch of random cosmic events that ruin the experience. And this is because most distros aren’t designed with the end user in mind, and they have no product awareness.

          Arcolinux has some interesting points. But this ain’t new, radical or special. You can pick any distro, and it will do something significantly better than others. Then, it will also fail three or five basic things that ordinary folks expect. And most distros have this problem – they do not address the most mundane activities or needs that one wants in a desktop. Arcolinux was fast, it did all right on the connectivity front, but it’s quite rough around the edges, and if you deviate from the dark-theme unicorn, the session loses all traces of fun. Which is not how it’s meant to be. If you want to test something a bit avant-garde, and Arch-based at this, perhaps you want to look at Arcolinux. For me, this is a classic manifestation of a much wider problem in the Linux space, and once again, sadness rules supreme at the end of the short review.

      • New Releases

        • LibreELEC (Leia) 9.2.2 Hotfix

          LibreELEC 9.2.2 (Leia) is a Hotfix release just for the x86_64 Generic (PC, AMD, Intel, NVIDIA …) image.
          It includes a fix for the missing sound at Intel based systems (mainly NUC) due an Linux Kernel bug.
          This is just for the Generic image as the fix only targeting this platform.

        • 4MLinux 33.0 BETA released.

          4MLinux 33.0 BETA is ready for testing. Basically, at this stage of development, 4MLinux BETA has the same features as 4MLinux STABLE, but it provides a huge number of updated packages.

        • Changelog: Nitrux 1.2.7

          Today is the day! — Nitrux 1.2.7 is available to download

          We are pleased to announce the launch of Nitrux 1.2.7. This new version brings together the latest software updates, bug fixes, performance improvements, and ready-to-use hardware support.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

      • Debian Family

        • Debian Calls the Linux World to Help Fight the New Coronavirus

          The idea of the online event is to bring the Linux world together in order to improve the way Debian can help the health industry fight against the new coronavirus, and Debian says anyone can contribute with bug triage, testing, documentation, CI, translations, packaging, and code contributions.

          “You can also contribute directly to the upstream packages, linked from the Debian Med COVID-19 task page at [covid-19-packages]. Note: many biomedical software packages are quite resource limited, even compared to a typical FOSS project. Please be kind to the upstream author/maintainers and realize that they may have limited resources to review your contribution. Triaging open issues and opening pull requests to fix problems is likely to be more useful than nitpicking their coding style,” the Debian developers explain.

        • Debian announces COVID-19 Biohackathon

          The Debian platform has many ‘Pure Blends’ available, which are distributions specifically designed to serve the requirements of a specific topic. For example, there is Ubuntu Studio, a version of Ubuntu, particularly for content creation. Or Fedora Labs.

          The team of Debian Med (medical-related Debian variation) has announced a ‘COVID-19 Biohackathon’ between 5 April and 11 April to help with the pandemic that has depredated the world.

        • Biohackathon: GNU/Linux Debian Join Hands To Fight COVID-19

          According to Telegraph, one-fifth of the world’s population is under lockdown in the fight against the COVID-19. Consequently, almost all domains of technology have come forward to help. Open-source giants like OpenSUSE have also started various initiatives to offer support for medical devices and tools.

          Along the same lines, yesterday, the open-source Debian Med team announced the launch of the online Biohackathon for students. The Med team also requested Debian developers to participate and contribute to improving biomedical free and open-source software.

        • Sparky 2020.03.1

          New iso images of Sparky 2020.03.1 of the (semi-)rolling line have been generated.

        • Sparky Linux 2020.03.1 ISO Images Now Available for Download

          The developing team working on Sparky Linux has just announced that new ISO images for version 2020.03.1 of the (semi-)rolling line are now available for download.

          And of course, there are no breaking changes in this release, but only a minor update for the live and install media for Sparky Linux.

          There are technically three important improvements that are part of this new release, as it follows.

          First and foremost, all packages are now updated from the Debian testing repos dated March 27, 2020, so you’re also getting tons of fixes as part of this release.

          Then, the update fixes an issue that blocked booting Sparky 2020.03 that was previously copied on an USB flash drive. This was a particularly inconvenient bug affecting those who used USB media to boot Sparky Linux, so after updating to this version, everything should be working just as expected.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Smart cards login on Ubuntu

          Smart cards have proliferated and are now everywhere, from work ID badges to credit cards and passports. For example, the United States Federal Government uses smart cards to control access to federal facilities and information systems because they offer an extra layer of security and respond to strict government guidelines. If used in a company, these will provide identity confirmation, verification that data has not been changed, and confidentiality via encryption.

          This whitepaper will provide information on how to configure Ubuntu 18.04 LTS to operate with a smart card to provide multi-factor authentication when logging into the system both locally and remotely. For the purposes of this whitepaper, a PIVKey smart card is used as an example since they are readily accessible and contain a few basic credentials.

        • The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Ubuntu Linux

          Before you install Ubuntu on top of your current operating system, it’s a good idea to try it out first. There are various ways to try Ubuntu, and the following guides will help: [...]

        • [Old] Try Ubuntu before you install it

          Running Ubuntu directly from either a USB stick or a DVD is a quick and easy way to experience how Ubuntu works for you, and how it works with your hardware. Most importantly, it doesn’t alter your computer’s configuration in any way, and a simple restart without the USB stick or DVD is all that’s needed to restore your machine to its previous state.

          With a live Ubuntu, you can do almost anything you can from an installed Ubuntu:

        • Do Ubuntu’s Bespoke Changes Make a Separate GNOME OS More Likely?

          In the second part of his take on “what’s wrong with the free desktop app ecosystem and how we can fix it”, Tobias spotlight’s Ubuntu’s divergence from the upstream defaults as symptom of hurdles placed in front of developers who want to target the GNOME experience.

          With GNOME desktop designers and developers (upstream) and the Linux distros shipping it (downstream) often pulling in different directions the ‘target’ developers should try to aim for is, well, a little less clear.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • ASSIA Joins prpl Foundation to Make a Vendor-Neutral Wi-Fi Management Ecosystem a Reality

        Adaptive Spectrum and Signal Alignment, Inc. (ASSIA®) the market-leading supplier of AI-driven broadband and Wi-Fi optimization software, announced its official involvement in the prpl Foundation, an open-source, community-driven, not-for-profit consortium with a focus on enabling the security and interoperability of embedded devices for the smart society of the future. ASSIA makes it possible for service providers’ Wi-Fi management solutions to work with any Wi-Fi router and middleware solution and interoperate, scale, and evolve with technology and standards.

      • Google polishes platinum Cloud Foundry membership badge as foundation takes KubeCF under its wing

        Cloud Foundry, an open-source foundation dedicated to a cloud-oriented application platform, is now incubating the KubeCF project, and has also welcomed Google upgrading its membership to platinum – the highest level.

        Google has been a member of Cloud Foundry since January 2017, but platinum membership represents a higher level of commitment. Google’s Jennifer Phillips, head of Open Source Programs, is to be on the foundation’s board of directors. The other platinum members are Dell EMC, IBM, SAP, SUSE and VMware.

      • The Apache® Software Foundation Celebrates 21 Years of Open Source Leadership

        The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 350 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced today its 21st Anniversary.

      • The state of open source contribution through the lens of Hacktoberfest

        In 2019, DigitalOcean and the open source community celebrated the sixth annual Hacktoberfest, an inclusive community event that inspires open source participation and maintenance. It was an exciting year with record-breaking numbers of pull requests, participants, and events around the world. From the start, our goal has always been to encourage all types of people, from seasoned developers to total newcomers, to get more involved with open source, all while promoting DigitalOcean’s longstanding values of simplicity, community, and love.

        We recapped Hacktoberfest 2019 on our blog, but in honor of the 22nd anniversary of open source, we decided to dive into the results of our annual participant survey within the context of our seasonal Currents report on the state of open source. This year, we revamped the Hacktoberfest survey to better understand what it means to the community, as well as their involvement with open source projects, key motivators for participating, and more. So how did the community do? Here are some findings.

      • Open source platforms, flexible airframes for new drones

        Multirotor drones excel at vertical lift and hover, while fixed wing drones are great at both distance and wide-open spaces. In February, Auterion Government Solutions and Quantum-Systems announced a two-pronged approach to the rotor- or fixed-wing drone market, with a pair of drones that use the same sensor packages and fuselage to operate as either the Scorpion Trirotor or the Vector fixed wing craft.

        “As we started to develop our tactical UAS Platform, our plan was only to develop a VTOL fixed wing solution (like our Vector),” said Florian Siebel, managing director of Quantum-Systems. “During the development process we decided to build a Tri-Copter Platform as well, as a result of many discussions with law enforcement agencies and Search and Rescue Units.”
        Adapting the fixed-wing fuselage to the tri-copter attachments means the drone can now operate in narrow spaces and harsh conditions. Scorpion, with the rotors, can fly for about 45 minutes, with a cruising speed of zero to 33 mph. Put the fixed wings back on for Vector, and the flight time is now two hours, with a cruising speed of 33 to 44 mph.

      • IEEE Standards Association Launches a Platform for Open Source Collaboration
      • Greg Smith on the strengths and drawbacks of open source software

        There are a lot of tire models available in the world. Most are closed source (or black box), meaning the program code behind them is not available to end users. This is understandable as the code can easily be licensed and its development paid for. Everyone’s got to make a living! This approach, however, makes it much harder to get the best out of the models – if you can’t see their internal workings, it’s harder to maximize their usefulness.

        Other models, such as Magic Formula, are effectively open source, with the equations published in books and journal papers. This means that anyone (if they invest the time) can build and use their own Magic Formula solvers and, in the process, learn the details of how the model works.

        In April 2015, during a session at the 4th International Tire Colloquium at Surrey University, UK, the general idea of open sourcing was discussed. In attendance were various figures from the commercial tire model development community, representatives from car and tire companies who use the models, and a large group of academics involved in more fundamental research. Issues were raised regarding everything from intellectual property concerns and licensing through to technical advances, development strategies and training. Boiling all this down, most discussions centered on one of two approaches.

      • First open-source AI for driverless agricultural vehicles
      • Huawei announced AI Computing Framework MindSpore as Open Source

        During the Huawei 2020 Developer Conference continues online, bringing the latest progress of The Wei Peng and Yan Teng Ecology. According to the agenda of the meeting, the first day of the developer conference (March 27) will focus on Peng Peng, the next day (March 28) will focus on The Teng.

      • New Chinese open-source AI platform launched

        Megvii Technology Limited has announced the launch of a new open-source artificial intelligence platform for developers, Shanghai Daily learned on Thursday.

        Other firms offering such platforms include tech giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Baidu.

      • Open-source AI infrastructure to boost innovation in China

        From smart fever-screening at subway stations to scan-reading diagnosis, artificial intelligence (AI) is on the frontline of China’s battle against the novel coronavirus.

        Behind the smart systems are deep-learning frameworks that emulate the way the human brain learns, like recognizing patterns and coping with ambiguity.

      • Megvii makes deep learning AI framework open-source as China moves to reduce reliance on US platforms
      • Noble.AI Contributes to TensorFlow, Google’s Open-Source AI Library and the Most Popular Deep Learning Framework

        Noble.AI, whose artificial intelligence (AI) software is purpose-built for engineers, scientists, and researchers and enables them to innovate and make discoveries faster, today announced that it had completed contributions to TensorFlow, the world’s most popular open-source framework for deep learning created by Google.

      • Google open-sources framework that reduces AI training costs by up to 80%

        Google researchers recently published a paper describing a framework — SEED RL — that scales AI model training to thousands of machines. They say that it could facilitate training at millions of frames per second on a machine while reducing costs by up to 80%, potentially leveling the playing field for startups that couldn’t previously compete with large AI labs.

      • A case study: Improving patient outcomes with Open Source

        South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) provides the widest range of NHS mental health services in the UK with 52 inpatient wards, outpatient, and community services. As recognition of their digital accomplishments, SLaM have been awarded GDE (Global Digital Exemplar) status.

        Following a two-year pilot of Open-eObs software, the trust had proven the long-term benefits of an open source approach and needed a supplier to further drive their digital ambition.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Karl Dubost: Week notes – 2020 w13 – worklog – everything is broken

            Coronavirus had no impact on my working life for now. The same as usual.

            Mozilla is working well in a distributed team.

            [...]

            We had an issue with the new form design. We switched to 100% of our users on March 16, 2020. but indeed all the bugs received didn’t get the label that they were actually reporting with the new form design. Probably only a third got the new form.

            So that was the state when I fell asleep on Monday night. Mike pushed the bits a bit more during my night and opened.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 6.4.3 Release Candidate Version 1 Released Today!

          LibreOffice 6.4.3 RC1 Released: LibreOffice is one of the best open-source text editors. LibreOffice comes as default application release of Linux OS. LibreOffice is developed by Team Document Foundation. Today they announced that the LibreOffice 6.4.3 RC1 version has been released. As per their calendar, LibreOffice 6.4.3 RC1 has been released exactly on today!. This RC1 version has many bugs fixes and tweaks in essential features.

      • Funding

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Unifont 13.0.01 Released

            Unifont 13.0.01 is now available. This is a major release. Significant changes in this version include the addition of these new scripts in Unicode 13.0.0:
            U+10E80..U+10EBF: Yezidi, by Johnnie Weaver
            U+10FB0..U+10FDF: Chorasmian, by Johnnie Weaver
            U+11900..U+1195F: Dives Akuru, by David Corbett
            U+18B00..U+18CFF: Khitan Small Script, by Johnnie Weaver
            U+1FB00..U+1FBFF: Symbols for Legacy Computing, by Rebecca Bettencourt

        • Licensing/Legal

          • Gresecurity maker finally coughs up $300k to foot open-source pioneer Bruce Perens’ legal bill in row over GPL

            After three years of legal wrangling, the defamation lawsuit brought by Brad Spengler and his company Open Source Security (OSS) against open-source pioneer Bruce Perens has finally concluded.

            It was clear that the end was nigh last month when California’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court ruling against the plaintiffs.

            Spengler and OSS sued Perens for a June 2017 blog post in which Perens ventured the opinion that grsecurity, Open Source Security’s Linux kernel security enhancements, could expose customers to potential liability under the terms of the General Public License (GPL).

            OSS says that customers who exercise their rights to redistribute its software under the GPL will no longer receive software updates – the biz wants to be paid for its work, a problem not really addressed by the GPL. Perens, the creator of the open-source definition, pointed out that section six of the GPLv2 prohibits modifications of the license terms.

          • Elizabeth Warren for President open-sources its 2020 campaign tech
          • Open Source Tools From the Warren for President Tech Team

            In our work, we leaned heavily on open source technology — and want to contribute back to that community. So today we’re taking the important step of open-sourcing some of the most important projects of the Elizabeth Warren campaign for anyone to use.

          • Open Source Fonts Are Love Letters to the Design Community

            Font families can sell for hundreds of dollars. Gotham, a popular typeface used by President Barack Obama’s campaign and many others, costs nearly $1,000 to license a complete set of 66 different styles. But The League of Moveable Type, gives all of its fonts away for free. What’s more, it makes them open source, so that other people can modify the fonts and make their own versions of them.

            And people have. Raleway, designed by Matt McInerney and released in 2010, was expanded from a single weight into a family with nine weights, from “thin” to bold to “black,” each with matching italics, in 2012 by Pablo Impallari, Rodrigo Fuenzalida, and Igino Marini. It’s now one of the most popular font families on Google Fonts, a collection of free fonts hosted by the search giant.

      • Public Services/Government

        • Singapore to open-source national Coronavirus encounter-tracing app and the Bluetooth research behind it

          The app, named TraceTogether and its government is urging citizens to run so that if they encounter a Coronavirus carrier, it’s easier to trace who else may have been exposed to the virus. With that info in hand, health authorities are better-informed about who needs to go into quarantine and can focus their resources on those who most need assistance.

          The app is opt-in and doesn’t track users through space, instead recording who you have encountered. To do so, it requires Bluetooth and location services to be turned on when another phone running the app comes into range exchanges four nuggets of information – a timestamp, Bluetooth signal strength, the phone’s model, and a temporary identifier or device nickname. While location services are required, the app doesn’t track users, instead helping to calculate distances between them.

        • Singapore says it will make its contact tracing tech freely available to developers

          Less than a week after launching an app to track potential exposure to the coronavirus, Singapore is making the technology freely available to developers worldwide.

          The city-state rolled out an app called TraceTogether on March 20 and described it as a supplementary tool for its contact tracing efforts that relied on the recall and memory of infected individuals. Contact tracing is the process of identifying those with close contact with infected patients.

        • Over 600k users installed TraceTogether, app to be made open source

          A mobile application developed by the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) that helps in contact tracing for Covid-19 has been installed by more than 620,000 users since its launch last Friday.

          With a decision to make the technology behind it available to developers around the world, even more people could stand to benefit.

          Developed in collaboration with the Health Ministry (MOH), the TraceTogether mobile app works by exchanging short-distance Bluetooth signals between phones.

        • 620,000 people installed TraceTogether in 3 days, S’pore’s open source contact tracing app

          TraceTogether, a mobile app to support contact tracing efforts developed by the Government Technology Agency (GovTech), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH), was launched on Friday, Mar. 20.

        • The Shield: the open source Israeli Government app which warns of Coronavirus exposure
        • Israel Unveils Open Source App to Warn Users of Coronavirus Cases

          A new Israeli app can instantly tell users if they have crossed paths with someone known to have been infected with the coronavirus.

          On Sunday, the country’s health ministry unveiled the app, called “The Shield”(“HaMagen”, in Hebrew.) The app takes location data from the user’s phone and compares it with the information in Health Ministry servers regarding the location histories of confirmed cases during the 14 days before their diagnosis.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • AidData: Powerful lessons in global development

          As a research lab of the university’s Global Research Institute, AidData facilitates innovative research projects that bring students and faculty together to solve global problems.

        • COVID-19 and Collaborative Projects for Life-Saving

          • Pop-Up Open Source Medical Hardware Projects Won’t Stop Coronavirus, But Might Be Useful Anyway. Here’s why.
          • MIT resuscitates 10-year-old design to create open source respirator

            An MIT design has resulted in the E-Vent respirator-design that can be brought online quickly using available valve bag masks used by EMTs and others in emergency situations to ease breathing problems. The advantage of the design, says the MIT team, is that the masks are approved components. The MIT design automatically squeezes the respirator bag.

          • NYU makes face shield design for healthcare workers that can be built in under a minute available to all

            New York University is among the many academic, private and public institutions doing what it can to address the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) among healthcare workers across the world. The school worked quickly to develop an open-source face-shield design, and is now offering that design freely to any and all in order to help scale manufacturing to meet needs.

            Face shields are a key piece of equipment for front-line healthcare workers operating in close contact with COVID-19 patients. They’re essentially plastic, transparent masks that extend fully to cover a wearer’s face. These are to be used in tandem with N95 and surgical masks, and can protect a healthcare professional from exposure to droplets containing the virus expelled by patients when they cough or sneeze.

          • EPAM Introduces COVID-19 Mask For Medical Professionals Designed By EPAM Continuum
          • ‘It’s one small piece’: Area companies develop open-source design for medical face shields, donate 10,000 to KU Health
          • 3D Printers Being Recruited For Health Care Workers’ PPE

          • In progress: Rapid deployment of open-source, low-cost ventilator design

            One of the most pressing shortages facing hospitals during the Covid-19 emergency is a lack of ventilators. These machines can keep patients breathing when they no longer can on their own, and they can cost around $30,000 each. Now, a rapidly assembled volunteer team of engineers, physicians, computer scientists, and others, centered at MIT, is working to implement a safe, inexpensive alternative for emergency use, which could be built quickly around the world.

          • Hundreds of Volunteers Are Working to Create Open-Source Ventilators to Fight Coronavirus

            oronavirus attacks the lungs. In some cases, your throat and chest may rattle from the effort just to breathe. It’s fast become common knowledge that ventilators can be a life-saving intervention — and that there simply aren’t enough of the machines to meet the growing number of patients. As a last resort, some hospitals are deploying the experimental technique of hooking two patients up to one unit.

          • How You Can Help Fight COVID-19 With This Global Open Source Tool

            Folding@Home, a crowdsourced computing project from scientists at Stanford University lets people across world join computing capabilities of their personal computers to form a crowdsourced supercomputer. Folding@Home then carries out research, mostly on diseases like Cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and now COVID-19. With the coronavirus outbreak, Folding@Home comes as a platform that will allow people across the world to play their part. By lending computing powers from their PCs, people can help scientists speed up their research as they have shifted their focus towards coming up with a cure for the deadly pandemic that has sent the whole world in a lockdown.

          • Thanks to KC’s Dimensional Innovations, you can now download designs for an open source face shield

            The simple, all-plastic shield — created by InStore Design Display and in collaboration with DI, The Center for Design Research at the University of Kansas, and The University of Kansas Health System — consists of two interlocking plastic parts cut from PETG, a clear plastic sheet material, that provides significant durability, chemical resistance and excellent formability for manufacturing.

          • The first medically-reviewed open source PPE design is here!
          • This open source ventilator hackathon could help fight the coronavirus

            Infineon engineers developed a 3D printed lung ventilator to help address the shortage of ventilators due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

            The German federal government held a hackathon called #WirvsVirus (“We against the virus”) where 42,000 people met to find solutions to challenges from the coronavirus. Infineon engineers, led by Mahmoud Ismail who has a doctorate in lung mechanics, submitted a 3D print design and a design for the electronics and algorithms to develop and open-source lung ventilator.

          • UF researchers design low-cost DIY ventilator
          • UF researchers design low-cost DIY ventilator
          • VU engineers and VUMC doctors team up for open-source ventilator design

            As COVID-19 continues to push unprecedented challenges on medical communities, one of the most pressing threats for hospital staff across the country is a dwindling supply of ventilators.

            Now, an interdisciplinary team of Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center faculty is taking on the challenge by way of a fabricated, open-source ventilator design.

            Led on the Vanderbilt side by engineers Kevin Galloway, research assistant professor of mechanical engineering and director of making at the Wond’ry, and Robert Webster, Richard A. Schroeder Professor of Mechanical Engineering, the team is currently on “version two” of the ventilator prototype and hopes to soon move into the final prototype phase before manufacturing.

          • UF researchers designing low-cost, ‘open source’ ventilator made from hardware store items

            A professor of anesthesiology at the University of Florida is building an “open source” ventilator out of common items from hardware stores, in an effort to meet the desperately high demand internationally due to the coronavirus pandemic.

            Decades ago, Dr. Samsun Lampotang helped build a minimal-transport ventilator while he was a mechanical engineering student at UF. That ventilator became a commercial success, the university says.

          • Amid a critical shortage, pandemic ventilator inventor makes his design open source

            John Strupat wants to make his design open source so it can be used by ‘anyone from anywhere’

          • DarwinAI wants to help identify coronavirus in X-rays, but radiologists aren’t convinced

            Canadian startup DarwinAI and researchers from the University of Waterloo are open-sourcing COVID-Net, a convolutional neural network that aims to detect COVID-19 in X-ray imagery. In response to the pandemic, a global community of health care and AI researchers have produced a number of AI systems for identifying COVID-19 in CT scans.

            [...]

            “[Though it is by] no means a production-ready solution, the hope is that the open access COVID-Net, along with the description on constructing the open source COVIDx data set, will be leveraged and built upon by both researchers and citizen data scientists alike to accelerate the development of highly accurate yet practical deep learning solutions for detecting COVID-19 cases and accelerate treatment of those who need it the most,” the paper reads.

          • 3D Printing for COVID-19, Part Three: Open Source Ventilators

            Since the initial news flurry about how a network of Italian 3D printing users came to the rescue of a hospital on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak in Northern Italy, a number of new stories have come out about how additive manufacturing (AM) is or could be used to help medical workers. Here we will break down just some of the news that has made headlines recently.

            Due to the overall inundation faced by medical workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak, the store of medical supplies doesn’t meet the demand. As most readers will know at this point, the two biggest medical items currently lacking (aside from medications and COVID-19 tests) are ventilators and masks. In part this lack of supply can be attributed to bureaucratic mismanagement, but even in locations that are well prepared for such an outbreak, there just aren’t enough masks and ventilators to go around.

          • Agencies Release Free COVID-19 Open-Source Assets

            Agencies are lending their talents and resources to help make a difference in the COVID-19 pandemic with the release of open source assets.

            MullenLowe is launching a public-facing version of its proprietary conversation-analysis tool, Speedbag, to help industry professionals navigate this new landscape.
            The tool parses the social conversation around COVID-19 as it relates to key sectors (including alcohol, automotive, construction, finance, grocery, health and wellness, healthcare, the US military, QSR, technology and travel). New categories are being added on an ongoing basis.

          • Engineers Made a DIY Face Shield. Now It’s Helping Doctors

            EARLY LAST WEEK, Lennon Rodgers, director of the Engineering Design Innovation Lab at University of Wisconsin-Madison, got an urgent email from the university’s hospital. Could his lab make 1,000 face shields to protect staff testing and treating Covid-19 patients? The hospital’s usual suppliers were out of stock, due to the spike in demand prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

            After putting his kids to bed, Rodgers went to Home Depot and a local craft store and grabbed supplies, including transparent plastic and a couple of foam mannequin heads. Then he made a hasty prototype at the UW maker space by adapting a construction visor and presented it to his wife, an anesthesiologist. “I was really proud of it, but she put it on and said ‘This is way too heavy,’” Rodgers recalls.

          • Coronavirus outbreak: MIT team working on an open-source, low-cost design of ventilators

            COVID-19: The team, which consists of only volunteers, has been working without any funding and is working anonymously so that people do not call them with inquiries about the project.

          • Coronavirus: University of Florida researchers design ventilator from hardware store items

            Here’s a new project for do-it-yourself lovers. It could save someone’s life.

            A professor of anesthesiology at the University of Florida is building an open-source ventilator out of items consumers can buy from hardware stores as a way to meet the demand for ventilators since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, WCJB reported. The cost? Anywhere from $125 to $150.

          • 10 Covid-busting designs: spraying drones, fever helmets and anti-virus snoods

            Designers, engineers and programmers have heard the klaxon call. The last few weeks have seen a wave of ingenuity unleashed, with both garden-shed tinkerers and high-tech manufacturers scrambling to develop things that will combat the spread of Covid-19.

            Many of their innovations raise as many questions as they answer, though. Could 3D printing now finally come into its own, with access to open-source, downloadable designs for medical parts? If so, will intellectual property infringements be waived, or will altruistic hacktivists still face costly lawsuits? Could mobile phone tracking map the spread of infection like never before, keeping people away from virus hotspots? If so, might governments use the pandemic as an excuse to ramp up surveillance measures post-crisis?

          • Kerala uses open source public utility to fight COVID-19

            The otherwise serene, calm and beautiful southern state of Kerala known for its palm-lined beaches and backwaters, has grabbed the headlines for some not so healthy news off late. The state popularly called God’s own country is the worst hit state by the Novel Coronavirus in India, reporting 95 cases till 24.03.2020 at 08:45 AM (as per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare). It is estimated that 50% of Kerala’s population (about 16.5 million) may catch the corona virus at some stage.

          • CURA: an open-source design for emergency COVID-19 hospitals

            In the last weeks, hospitals in the countries most affected by COVID-19, from China to Italy, Spain to the USA, have been struggling to increase their ICU capacity to admit a growing number of patients with severe respiratory diseases, in need of ventilators. Whatever the evolution of this pandemic, it is expected that more ICUs will be needed internationally in the next few months. CURA aims to improve the efficiency of existing solutions in the design of field hospitals, tailoring them to the current pandemic.

          • CURA is the open-source project that reuses containers to house medical units

            Guided by Carlo Ratti, an interdisciplinary team of researchers in continuous expansion provide a not-profit alterative to the tents currently used in field hospitals during the medical emergency.

          • Open-source CURA to turn shipping containers into emergency COVID-19 units

            Hospitals overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic could find a much-needed capacity lifeline in retrofitted shipping containers. An international task force, comprised of designers, engineers, medical professionals and military experts, has unveiled designs to convert shipping containers into plug-in Intensive-Care Pods as part of an open-source design dubbed CURA (Connected Units for Respiratory Ailments). The first CURA biocontainment pod prototype is currently being built in Milan, Italy.

          • Squint/Opera presents CURA: an open-source design for emergency COVID-19 hospitals

            Squint/Opera, the creative digital studio and consultancy, presents CURA (Connected Units for Respiratory Ailments), an open-source design for emergency coronavirus (COVID-19) hospitals.

            [...]

            The idea is to create extra space for hospitals and medical facilities which are under pressure due to the pandemic. The use of shipping containers means that they are fast to mount and safe to use as isolation wards. CURA could be quickly deployed to cities around the world, allowing medical professionals to respond fast to the spread of the virus despite lack of hospital space.

          • Researchers use open-source software to improve COVID-19 screening with AI

            Researchers at the University of Waterloo have partnered with an artificial intelligence (AI) startup on a project that aims to use AI to improve COVID-19 screening.

            The Waterloo research team publicly released AI software that can better detect infections from chest x-rays and is looking to enlist expertise from around the world to aid in the project.

          • Ireland: Researchers Create Open-Source 3D Printer for Neurophysiology

            Researchers Thomas Campbell and James F.X. Jones, both of the School of Medicine, University College Dublin, Ireland, have a created a new 3D printer for the medical field, detailing their work in the recently published ‘Design and implementation of a low cost, modular, adaptable and open-source XYZ positioning system for neurophysiology.’

            [...]

            With the integration of the Raspberry Pi 3, the authors were also able to incorporate the Open Computer Vision Library (OpenCV) stating that feature is what makes the system unique in comparison to other XYZ positioning systems. The open-source machine learning software library is used with automated movement, and the creators expect it to transform the exploration of mechanotransduction, the method for sensory neurons to change a mechanical stimulus to an electrical signal.

          • An open-source respirator for 40 Euros – from a 3D printer

            Ventilaid is an unusual project straight out of Poland and just in time for the COVID crisis19: a team of engineers has developed and made available free of charge on the Internet a breathing apparatus that can be printed with a 3D printer for the modest sum of 40 euros.

            The project uses inexpensive and widely available components – it could save the lives of thousands of people in places where access to such devices is difficult. The beta version of the device is ready to be deployed, while work on a second prototype is almost complete. At this stage, the support of specialists like doctors and engineers is necessary. Those who want to help can apply directly via the project’s website.

          • Hospitals turn to crowdsourcing and 3D printing amid equipment shortages

            Earlier this month, the CEO of an Italian 3D-printing startup learned that a hospital near the center of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy was running short on a small but crucial component: the valves that connect respirators to oxygen masks.

            The company that makes the valves couldn’t keep up with the demand, and doctors were in search of a solution.

            “When we heard about the shortage, we got in touch with the hospital immediately. We printed some prototypes. The hospital tested them and told us they worked,” the CEO, Cristian Fracassi, told Reuters. “So we printed 100 valves, and I delivered them personally.”

          • MIT Ventilator Designed With Common Manual Resuscitator; Submitted For FDA Testing

            In many parts of the world the COVID-19 pandemic is causing shortages in hospital space, staff, medical supplies, and equipment. Severe cases may require breathing support, but there are only so many ventilators available. With that in mind, MIT is working on FDA approval of an emergency ventilator system (E-Vent). They have submitted the design to the FDA for fast track review. The project is open source, so once they have approval the team will release all the data needed to replicate it.

          • Techie collective to whip together official WHO-backed COVID-19 app within a week to meet ‘urgent, global need’

            The app, aimed at “location-based containment, triage & response”, is described here. People involved include US-based Dr Daniel Kraft, who describes himself as a “physician/scientist and innovator”; Bruno Bowden, ex-Google; and Dean Hachamovitch, formerly general manager for Internet Explorer. Three WHO representatives – Peter Singer (special advisor), Ray Chambers (global ambassador) and Sameer Pujari (digital health and innovation) – are also listed on the team, which calls itself the COVID App Collective.

          • COVID-19 response: North Junior High teacher uses 3D printer to make N95 masks

            When health care workers sounded the alarm about a serious shortage of N95 masks to fight the novel coronavirus pandemic, people across the state and country started sewing handmade medical masks.

            A St. Cloud school district teacher has also taken up the initiative but in a more high-tech way: printing face masks on a 3D printer.

            “I have the materials. I have a little bit of knowledge. I thought, can I attempt this?” said Rick Wilson, who teaches engineering and technology at North Junior High. “And (the district was) great about it.”

          • Coronavirus: Turning windscreen wiper motors into emergency ventilators

            A group of Spanish innovators is attempting to alleviate the Covid-19 ventilator crisis by developing an ultra-simple machine that uses a car windscreen-wiper motor to turn a manual resuscitation bag into automated breathing aid.

            The machine can be made in four hours by an untrained person, using simple materials such as wood, acrylic or aluminium. “You don’t need special tools. All you need is a saw,” says Lluís Rovira Leranoz, a Barcelona-based robotics maker at prototyping company Protofy, one of the leads on the OxyGEN project.

          • Anomali Offers Open Source Threat Intelligence to Fight COVID-19-themed Cyber Attacks

            In response to the growing threat of Coronavirus (COVID-19)-themed cyberattacks, Anomali, a leader in intelligence-driven cybersecurity solutions, today publicly released over 6,000 open source Indicators of Compromise (IOCs) that were collected, curated, and validated by Anomali researchers. In addition, Anomali has also released a related Threat Bulletin providing a narrative description of the attacks being seen. This actionable threat intelligence, which identifies COVID-19-related threats and the malicious actors looking to capitalize on the pandemic, is available now for organizations to immediately feed into their cybersecurity technologies to rapidly and proactively block the identified threats.

          • Lynn student facilitates open-source community to combat COVID-19

            As the World Health Organization named COVID-19 a pandemic, the global need for medical equipment and fast, effective supply chain management became apparent.

            That’s when Ja’dan Johnson, Lynn University class of 2021 and Watson Scholar, joined MegaBots Founder Gui Cavalcanti to create Open Source COVID-19 Medical Supplies (OSCMS).

            OSCMS launched as a Facebook group March 12 and grew to a community of over 40,000 in less than two weeks. The group’s mission is to mobilize makers and fabricators around the world to generate open-source plans, build a library of medical supply requirements and designs, and create distributable plans for organizing effective local responses to medical supply chain interruption.

          • A 3D-printed ventilator prototype from an open-source project

            A 3D-printed #ventilator prototype from an open-source project

            https://www.domusweb.it/en/news/2020/03/20/open-source-project-to-build-a-medical-ventilator-autonomously.html

            A research group including the Irish Colin Keogh and Gui Calavanti, CEO and co-founder of Breeze Automation, studied in less than a week the prototype of a ventilator made by 3D parts and other easily available low-cost materials. The project is open-source. The research team is also focusing on other projects for the rapid and cost-effective manufacture of products required for this health emergency, such as masks or other equipment needed by medical personnel.

          • Respirators From 3D Printers: How The Spanish Maker Community Fights Covid-19 From Their Living Rooms

            As hospitals prepare to take in more patients with the coronavirus, they are in acute need of life-saving equipment: ventilators that help patients breathe, face masks and protective gear. The problem is, there aren’t enough of them. And there’s not enough manufacturing capacity to easily hike up production.

            This is where the do-it-yourself (DIY) community in Spain comes in: Under the name Coronavirus Makers, over the last few weeks, thousands of citizens have been connecting online to fight against the shortage of life-saving equipment. From their living rooms and basements, they tinker with ideas and designs, share them, build prototypes and print them out with 3-D printers.

            Ashoka Fellow David Cuartielles and César García, both innovators in the open source space, are helping to curate the Coronavirus Makers Forum that they set up on March 13 as the crisis was getting worse. The Forum takes a bird’s eye view of all the community’s activities, connects members, extracts insights, and builds bridges to health care institutions and experts — to speed up solutions that could save lives.

          • Could a bunch of internet denizens give us more ventilators?
          • COVID-19 Data: Will the Open Source Community Succeed Where the Federal Government Failed?
          • Open Source Face Shield to Help Block COVID-19

            While face masks that block particles from coming into the lungs via the nose and mouth are important to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the eyes and the rest of the face can also be a pathway for the disease to find its way into the body.

            There are now a number of projects around the world, big and small, manufacturing breathing masks as fast as they can. A group of designers and engineers in New York City with access to a machine shop has designed a face shield that can be quickly, cheaply, and easily manufactured using simple tools and supplies available in local hardware stores.

            Details are posted online on how to build new masks, including design files, and you can also help the organization by joining their distribution efforts. All at this link…

        • Open Access/Content

      • Programming/Development

        • Introducing micro.sth

          Many developers turn their noses up at PHP, but I have a soft spot for it. For me, it’s the most approachable programming language by far. It feels intuitive in a way no other languages do, and it makes it possible to cobble together a working application with just a handful of lines of code. So whenever I can’t find a tool for a specific job, I try to build one myself.

          The latest project of mine is a case in point. I was looking for a simple application for keeping a photographic diary, and I was sure that I’d be able to find an open-source tool for that. I searched high and low, but I came back empty-handed. Sure, there are plenty of static website generators, but I’d prefer something that doesn’t require me to perform the write-generate-upload dance every time I want to post a quick update. And I need something that I can use not only to maintain a simple diary, but also store notes, manage tasks, and draft articles — all this without getting bogged down by configuring templates, defining categories, and tweaking settings. And because I want most of my content to be private, I should be able to protect access to it with a password.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: RProtoBuf 0.4.17: Robustified

          A new release 0.4.17 of RProtoBuf is now on CRAN. RProtoBuf provides R with bindings for the Google Protocol Buffers (“ProtoBuf”) data encoding and serialization library used and released by Google, and deployed very widely in numerous projects as a language and operating-system agnostic protocol.

          This release contains small polishes related to the release 0.4.16 which added JSON support for messages, and switched to ByteSizeLong. This release now makes sure JSON functionality is only tested where available (on version 3 of the Protocol Buffers library), and that ByteSizeLong is only called where available (version 3.6.0 or later). Of course, older versions build as before and remain fully supported.

        • Git 2.26 fetches faster by default

          With the recent release of Git 2.26, the open source distributed version control system uses version 2 of Git’s network fetch protocol by default.

          This protocol, introduced in 2018, addresses a problem with the old protocol, whereby a server would immediately list all of the branches, tags, and other references in the repository before the client could send anything. Use of the old protocol could mean sending megabytes of extra data for some repositories, even when the client only wanted to know about the master branch.

          [...]

          New config options, including the ability to use wildcards when matching credential URLs. Git config options can be set for all connections or only connections to specific URLs.

        • IoT Adoption Survey Reveals Open Source Rules

          The Eclipse Foundation’s IoT Working Group has issued a report that reveals that for commercial organizations the IoT is real and adoption is growing, albeit with a degree of caution. As far as IoT is concerned, the open source model clearly dominates.

          Conducted online between October and December 2019, with 366 respondents, the IoT Commercial Adoption Survey was the first exercise of its kind. Its aim was gain a better understanding of the IoT industry landscape by identifying the requirements, priorities, and challenges faced by organizations that are deploying and using commercial IoT solutions. It can be seen as the counterpart of the IoT Developer Survey, which since 2015 has been an annual exercise reporting on the programming languages, platforms, infrastructure and tools used for building IoT solutions.

        • What happens when the maintainer of a JS library downloaded 26m times a week goes to prison for killing someone with a motorbike? Core-js just found out

          In November 2019, Denis Pushkarev, maintainer of the popular core-js library, lost an appeal to overturn an 18-month prison sentence imposed for driving his motorcycle into two pedestrians, killing one of them.

          As a result, he’s expected to be unavailable to update core-js, a situation that has project contributors and other developers concerned about the fate of his code library.

        • [Old] When to assume neural networks can solve a problem

          The question: “What are the problems we should assume can be solved with machine learning?”, or even narrower and more focused on current developments “What are the problems we should assume a neural network is able to solve?”, is one I haven’t seen addressed much.

          There are theories like PAC learning and AIX which at a glance seem to revolve around this, as it pertains to machine learning in general, but if actually applied in practice won’t yield any meaningful answers.

          However, when someone asks me this question about a specific problem, I can often give a fairly reasonable confidence answer provided I can take a look at the data.

          Thus, I thought it might be helpful to lay down the heuristic that generate such answers. I by no means claim these are precise or evidence based in the scientific sense, but I think they might be helpful, maybe even a good start point for further discussion on the subject.

        • Uber Open Sources Piranha Stale Code Remover

          Uber has released an open source version of Piranha, a tool that scans source code to delete code related to stale, or obsolete, feature flags.

          Piranha is run at Uber in an ongoing pipeline for its Android and iOS codebases and has been used to remove around two thousand stale feature flags and their related code. Uber says it has led to a cleaner, safer, more performant, and more maintainable code base.

        • Piranha Is An Open Source Tool That Automatically Deletes Obsolete Code
        • Perl/Raku

        • Python

          • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (ccxxi) stackoverflow python report
          • Python: Is And ==

            In Python, == compares the value of two variables and returns True as long as the values are equal.

          • Python File I/O

            Start writing here..In this article, you’ll learn about Python file operations. More specifically, opening a file, reading from it, writing into it, closing it and various file methods you should be aware of.
            What is a file?
            File is a named location on disk to store related information. It is used to permanently store data in a non-volatile memory (e.g. hard disk).

            Since, random access memory (RAM) is volatile which loses its data when computer is turned off, we use files for future use of the data.

          • Python: Pros and Cons of Lambda

            lambda is a keyword in Python, we use it to create an anonymous function. So we also call lambda functions as anonymous functions.

          • Learning pandas by Exploring COVID-19 Data

            The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control provides daily-updated worldwide COVID-19 data that is easy to download in JSON, CSV or XML formats. In this tutorial, we will use the pandas data analysis tool on the comma-separated values (CSV) data to learn some of the basic pandas commands and explore what is contained within the data set.

        • Java

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Using a 40‐year Old Markup Language on the Web

        Historically, troff has been a widely used typesetting language that looks back at a long history.[0] Today’s arguably biggest use of troff are man pages. Man pages come actually in two flavors: ‐man and ‐mdoc macros. The ‐man macros are the ones originally used to typeset the first volume of the UNIX manuals back in the 1970s.[1] In the 80s, the ‐mdoc macros were developed on BSD. The major difference between the two is how much semantic input they allow. ‐man is purely presentational. ‐mdoc is highly semantic; for example, .Pa is a macro to indicate a path. GNU and the entire Linux ecosystem seem strangely attached to the ‐man macros. Furthermore, most “anything to man page” converters output ‐man because they cannot possibly infer the ‐mdoc macros from presentational markup; this is e.g. the case with Mark‐ down. Meanwhile, every BSD, illumos and macOS have moved to ‐mdoc. For more details, see: Kristaps Dzonsons, “Fixing on a Standard Language for UNIX Manuals,” ;login: 34(5), pp. 19‐23, USENIX, Berkeley, CA (October 2009).

  • Leftovers

    • Education

      • Advice from a home-school veteran: Ditch the schedule and let your kids play

        I feel for all these parents now, thrust into a home-schooling world they didn’t choose for themselves, while trying, in many cases, to work from home at the same time. I hope they learn to ditch those whiteboard schedules and stop trying to replicate school. I hope they take this opportunity to give kids what they could use more of: independence, time for play. If schools are assigning work, I hope families can get through it quickly so there’s time for stories. For games. For art. Time for those kids to pursue whatever sets them gleaming.

        For my children, the strategy of relaxing worked. My oldest, that kid who made ridiculous movies about elves? He’s now a cinematographer in Brooklyn — one of his recent projects was the Netflix documentary “Fyre.” The girl who narrated her own cooking shows now works for a nonprofit as a food educator in — when they’re open — New York City public schools. And my youngest, who binged on comics and atlases, is (presumably) off to college this fall, planning to study international relations — and comedy.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Russian [Attackers] Exploited Windows Flaws in Attacks on European Firms

            Analysis of the infrastructure used by the [attackers] led to the discovery of an executable named comahawk.exe that incorporated two local privilege escalation exploits targeting Windows.

            The vulnerabilities, tracked as CVE-2019-1405 and CVE-2019-1322, were patched by Microsoft in November 2019 and October 2019, respectively. Microsoft’s advisories for both these flaws say “exploitation [is] less likely”

            In mid-November 2019, NCC Group, whose researchers reported the vulnerabilities to Microsoft, published a blog post describing the weaknesses. Shortly after, someone made public an exploit named COMahawk that weaponizes CVE-2019-1405 and CVE-2019-1322.

          • Global insurer Chubb hit by Maze ransomware: claim [iophk: Windows TCO]

            According to its own website, Chubb had more than US$177 billion (A$291 billion) in assets and reported US$40 billion of gross premiums in 2019. The company says it has offices in Zurich, New York, London, Paris and other locations, and has more than 30,000 employees.

            iTWire contacted Chubb’s Australian office for comment. A spokesperson responded: “We are currently investigating a computer security incident that may involve unauthorised access to data held by a third-party service provider.

          • Operation Poisoned News: Hong Kong Users Targeted With Mobile Malware via Local News Links

            A recently discovered watering hole attack has been targeting iOS users in Hong Kong. The campaign uses links posted on multiple forums that supposedly lead to various news stories. While these links lead users to the actual news sites, they also use a hidden iframe to load and execute malicious code. The malicious code contains exploits that target vulnerabilities present in iOS 12.1 and 12.2. Users that click on these links with at-risk devices will download a new iOS malware variant, which we have called lightSpy (detected as IOS_LightSpy.A).

          • Surviving the Frequency of Open Source Vulnerabilities

            One hurdle in any roll-your-own Linux platform development project is getting the necessary tools to build system software, application software, and the Linux kernel for your target embedded device. Many developers use a set of tools based on the GNU Compiler Collection, which requires two other software packages: a C library used by the compiler; and a set of tools required to create executable programs and associated libraries for your target device. The end result is a toolchain.

            [...]

            In preference to working on features or product differentiation, developers often spend valuable time supporting, maintaining, and updating a cross-compilation environment, Linux kernel, and root file system. All of which, requires a significant investment of personnel and wide range of expertise.

          • Netgate® Extends Free pfSense® Support and Lowers pfSense Support Subscription Pricing to Aid in COVID-19 Relief

            Free zero-to-ping support, free VPN configuration and connection support, free direct assistance for first responder | front line healthcare agencies, and reduced pfSense TAC support subscription prices all introduced

          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

            • How the hackers are using Open Source Libraries to their advantage [Ed: Conflating hackers with crackers]

              Ben Porter, Chief Product Officer at Instaclustr, writes about how the potential of Open Source Libraries must be balanced with the growing risk of library jacking by hackers.

            • Three Cases Where the Open Source Model Didn’t Work [Ed: Lots of anti-GPL FUD and not taking any account of Microsoft crimes, monopoly abuse, bribes and blackmail]

              So, why didn’t the open source model work in these three cases?

              The main reason is that in all of these cases, data structure specs and the description of algorithms are not the most important piece of the picture.

              The root of the problem is in the variety of real-life situations where bugs and failures may occur and lead to a data-loss situations, which is a total no-go in the real world.

              The open source community is successful, though it has been in create open source programs and platforms, is still no guarantee of industrial-grade software development(3). The core to success in developing a highly reliable solution is a carefully nurtured auto-test environment. This assures a careful track record and in-depth analysis for every failure, as well as effective work-flow, making sure any given bug or failure never repeats. It’s obvious that building such an environment can take years, if not decades, and the main thing here is not to know how something should work according to specs, but to know how and where exactly it fails. In other words, the main problem is not the resources needed to develop the code, the main problem is time needed to build up a reliable test-coverage that will provide a sufficient barrier for data-loss bugs.

              Another problem with open source is that it is usually accompanied by a GPL license. This limits the contribution to such projects almost solely to the open source community itself. One of the major requirements of the GPL license is to disclose changes to source code in case of further distribution, making it pointless for commercial players to participate.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Coronavirus: Under surveillance and confined at home in Taiwan

              I did not expect two police officers to come knocking at my door at 08:15 when I was still asleep in my bed on Sunday morning.

              My phone briefly ran out of battery at 07:30, and in less than an hour, four different local administrative units had called. A patrol was dispatched to check my whereabouts. A text was sent notifying that the government had lost track of me, and warned me of potential arrest if I had broken quarantine.

            • COVID-19 and Social Media Content Moderation

              Content moderation during this pandemic is an exaggerated version of content moderation all the time: Platforms are balancing various interests when they write their rules, and they are making consequential choices about error preference when they enforce them. Platforms’ uncharacteristic (if still too limited) transparency around these choices in the context of the pandemic should be welcomed—but needs to be expanded on in the future. These kinds of choices should not be made in the shadows. Most importantly, platforms should be forced to earn the kudos they are getting for their handling of the pandemic by preserving data about what they are doing and opening it up for research instead of selective disclosure.

              One thing is certain: With enormous numbers of people locked inside, spending more time online and hungry for information, the actions taken by platforms will have significant consequences. They may well emerge from this more powerful than ever. Right now the public is asking tech platforms to step up, but we also need to keep thinking about how to rein them in.

            • Your Bosses Are Trying to Spy on You Now More Than Ever

              Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, more employees are working from their homes, more than ever before. But does that mean managers and business leaders let up with their bizarre, over-reaching workplace surveillance? Not a chance.

              In an office, surveillance tech can be justified a little bit: It’s defensible for an employer to not want workers using company computers for personal business. Surveillance software also be used for cybersecurity. But now? Bloomberg reports that workplace-surveillance software is flying off shelves and being forced on people working in their own homes — a massive breach of trust and privacy.

            • Why cellphone tracking is the wrong way to try and contain COVID-19 at this point

              And even without these issues around implementation, there is no clear evidence that the use of contact tracing or tracking financing information such as purchases through mobile phones is sufficient to enforce physical distancing. Even with its substantial surveillance infrastructure, China had to force people to scan a QR code whenever they left or entered a building, public transit, or street.

            • [Old] EPIC Files Complaint with FTC about Zoom

              According to EPIC, Zoom intentionally designed its web conferencing service to bypass browser security settings and remotely enable a user’s web camera without the knowledge or consent of the user.

            • Video Calling Prompts Privacy Concerns as Pandemic Drives Work, Education Online

              As it stands now, Zoom’s privacy policy says that it may collect personal information, such as payment data and a device’s IP address, from anyone who interacts with its products, while also collecting information about recorded meetings that take place in a video conference. The company also includes a feature, called “attention tracking,” which administrators can turn off as requested, that informs meeting hosts whenever someone has clicked out of the main video call webpage for more than 30 seconds.

              Boyles said she’s concerned about having conversations with students about personal matters, including livelihood and mental health, through online platforms that may not be compliant with the federal standard.

            • Yeah, that Zoom app you’re trusting with work chatter? It lives with ‘vampires feeding on the blood of human data’

              As the global coronavirus pandemic pushes the popularity of videoconferencing app Zoom to new heights, one web veteran has sounded the alarm over its “creepily chummy” relationship with tracking-based advertisers.

              Doc Searls, co-author of the influential internet marketing book The Cluetrain Manifesto last century, today warned [cached] Zoom not only has the right to extract data from its users and their meetings, it can work with Google and other ad networks to turn this personal information into targeted ads that follow them across the web.

              This personal info includes, and is not limited to, names, addresses and any other identifying data, job titles and employers, Facebook profiles, and device specifications. Crucially, it also includes “the content contained in cloud recordings, and instant messages, files, whiteboards … shared while using the service.”

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Trump’s Narcoterrorism Indictment of Maduro Already Backfires

        The indictments are another brick in the foundation for a pretext for either a direct U.S. military invasion or a proxy war.

      • Experts: $1 Billion Cut in US Aid to Afghanistan Will Have Serious Implications

        “A $1 billion cut in U.S. aid would be a significant blow to the country. Afghanistan’s GDP is only about $20 billion per year, and much of that comes from international donations,” Johnathan Schroden, an expert on Afghanistan and director of Stability and Development Program at Washington-based think tank Center for Naval Analysis (CAN), told VOA.

      • Death by Drone: America’s Vicious Legacy in Afghanistan

        rdinary Afghans say it has happened to them many times and never—not once—has it made news anywhere outside Afghanistan. Last November, an American Reaper drone targeted a group of villagers in the mountainous area of Afghanistan’s southeastern province of Paktia and killed seven of them. Paktia has long been home to Taliban militants, but local residents say all the victims were civilians, including three women and one child. They had gone to the remote area to graze their cattle and collect wood. Suddenly, they were dead.

        “Nobody wants to listen to us. I doubt that the murderers will face justice one day. God is our only hope,” said Mohammad Anwar, a resident of Zazai Aryub, a district in Paktia. The perpetrators he is talking about are sitting far away in one of the many U.S. military bases where drone operators are working from.

        According to Anwar, who is related to the victims, some families lost their male breadwinners, as often happens after such attacks. “They are desperate. Their future is very uncertain,” he told Foreign Policy in a phone conversation.

        And now it is more uncertain than ever, even after 18 and a half years of war. The newly signed U.S.-Taliban truce contains secret annexes that reportedly will give the Taliban information allowing the Islamist insurgent group to prevent attacks during the U.S. withdrawal. But the Afghan national government and its officials have been cut out of the deal—though it calls for peace talks between various Afghan factions—and even more so, ordinary Afghans, who have no recourse to justice and don’t know whether the drone strikes will let up.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Google Bans Infowars Android App Over Coronavirus Claims

        Google confirmed to WIRED that it removed the app on Friday. The app had more than 100,000 downloads according to Google Play’s published metrics, and was rated “E10+,” meaning safe for all users 10 and older. The Infowars app sold products like supplements and protein powder, broadcast The Alex Jones Show live, and posted videos and articles from Jones and others.

      • Google has banned the Infowars Android app over false coronavirus claims

        The app was apparently removed because of a video posted by radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones that, according to Wired, “disputed the need for social distancing, shelter in place, and quarantine efforts meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.” Before it was removed, the app had more than 100,000 downloads, Wired reports.

      • 132 Websites Are Pushing Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories, Says NewsGuard Misinformation Monitor

        NewsGuard’s Coronavirus Misinformation Tracking Center has found 132 sites — 82% of which NewsGuard had identified as unreliable prior to the coronavirus outbreak — that are publishing false claims about the coronavirus. What’s in it for them? Money.

    • Environment

      • Trump Suspends Enforcement of EPA Laws, Because ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided to suspend its enforcement of environmental laws indefinitely in light of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, as The Guardian reports. The move sends a clear signal: pollute with impunity.

        “This temporary policy is designed to provide enforcement discretion under the current, extraordinary conditions, while ensuring facility operations continue to protect human health and the environment,” EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler wrote in an announcement.

      • Air pollution drops as Europeans stay at home

        The ESA observations by the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite show clear declines in pollution. The measurements were taken over 10 days to even out changes in the weather, which affect the concentration of nitrogen dioxide.

        Data from the European Environmental Agency paint a similar picture. The average concentrations of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) in the air in the Italian province of Bergamo, which has been completely paralyzed by the outbreak, were 47% lower last week than during the same week last year, the environmental agency said. The NO2 levels in Rome were 26% to 35% lower than in 2019, the environmental agency said.

        Much of the NO2 pollution comes from car exhausts, which is why the strict controls on citizens movements led to such dramatic declines.

      • Plan to divert Chihuahua’s water to US aborted after protests escalate

        The National Water Commission (Conagua) announced on Thursday that it would not divert additional water from a dam in Chihuahua to settle a 220-million-cubic-meter “water debt” with the United States after protests against the diversion turned violent.

        Conagua said in a Twitter post Thursday afternoon that it had taken the decision to stop the additional water diversion from the La Boquilla dam due to farmers’ rejection of the move, whose aim was to comply with the 1944 bilateral water treaty between Mexico and the United States.

      • Overpopulation

        • Condom Shortage Looms After Coronavirus Lockdown Shuts World’s Top Producer

          A global shortage of condoms is looming, the world’s biggest producer said, after a coronavirus lockdown forced it to shut down production.

          Malaysia’s Karex Bhd makes one in every five condoms globally. It has not produced a single condom from its three Malaysian factories for more than a week due to a lockdown imposed by the government to halt the spread of the virus.

    • Finance

      • Trump and His Allies Have Decided to Preserve Capitalism at Any Cost

        Pastor Tony Spell of Baton Rouge knows what you can do with your social distancing. “The virus, we believe, is politically motivated,” said Spell regarding the 1,170 people who attended services at his Life Tabernacle Church on Sunday. They came on 27 buses from five parishes, and will do so again, because “it’s not a concern,” according to Spell.

      • ‘Unacceptable’: Dems Fume After Trump Announces Plan to Refuse Congressional Oversight of Corporate Bailout Funds

        “This is a frightening amount of public money to have given a corrupt admininistration with zero accountability.”

      • On Strike Now for Three Years, Spectrum Workers Are Demanding Public Ownership

        Cable technician Troy Walcott, along with 1,800 of his fellow members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 3, has been striking for three years, and there’s still no end in sight.

      • ‘Far More to Do,’ Say Progressives After House Approves and Trump Signs Corporate-Friendly Coronavirus Relief Act

        “The clock has already started on a fourth bill and we expect and demand that House Democrats fight to ensure that the needs of all communities are met.”

      • Our Economy Is a Sick Beast: The Corporate Debt Crisis Explained

        This time, any industry bailouts must place corporate investment under public control.

      • Cuomo Puts Private Equity Vulture in Charge of Coronavirus Economic Recovery

        New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced at a press conference on Monday, March 23 that he was charging his former high-level aides William Mulrow and Steven M. Cohen with rebuilding New York’s economy in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Cuomo’s former aides have deep ties to Wall Street: Mulrow is a senior advisory director at the private equity giant Blackstone Group and Cohen is chief administrative officer of MacAndrews & Forbes, the conglomerate owned by billionaire Cuomo donor Ronald Perelman.

      • Covid-19: UK Withdrawal from the EU Single Market Must Be Postponed to 2023

        The enormous economic impact of the reaction to Covid-19 is plain for all to see. The effect on economies – which had barely recovered to 2008 levels after the great Banker Theft crisis – is enormous. You cannot just close down businesses and expect them all to restart three months later. Plus the hit to personal finances is going to result in a huge and lasting reduction in consumer demand, exaggerated by what I predict will be a much higher propensity to save against future disaster. Even optimistic economists are expecting a 15% drop in GDP and slow recovery. At recent levels it is going to take some seven years of compound economic growth to recover that.

      • Is Wall Street Killing Grandma?

        As we scramble to locate hospital beds and life-saving equipment during this pandemic, remember that we are fighting two diseases.

      • Shhhhh! The Revolutionary SEC Law That Venture Capitalists and Startups Don’t Use!

        Rule 506(c), to date, is mostly used by real estate funds. Even SEC does not understand why VCs and startups do not use it more. The Director of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, Keith Higgins, said “one wonders why the new Rule 506(c) exemption has not caught on more widely with issuers who have long clamored for the general solicitation ban to be lifted.” There is the additional requirement of validation, with its increased paperwork load on prospective investors, but the effect of this is reduced by using third party validation companies that shield those documents from view, even by the fund that requested validation.

        I first encountered rule 506(c) after I had been a partner at OSS Capital for a year. I had felt constrained by the restrictions on speech that fund has under rule 506(b). When I started to found a separate company, the business incubator or “venture studio” Incubator.Fund, I resolved to use rule 506(c), and not simply for the free speech advantages. I have dedicated most of my life to charity, as one of the founders of the Open Source movement in software, and did not have a personal network, a phone book full of moneybags to raise funds from privately, as rule 506(b) assumes. The ability to advertise, using rule 506(c), allows me to reach far beyond my personal network.

      • FTC Punishes ‘Detox’ Tea Maker Teami, With a Slap on the Wrist for Influencers Including Cardi B

        the FTC, Teami promoted “deceptive health claims” and arranged for “endorsements by well-known social media influencers who did not adequately disclose that they were being paid to promote its products.” While some influencers did provide adequate disclosures, at least 10, including rapper Cardi B and singer Jordin Sparks, did not and have received warning letters from the government regulator.

        This action marks the first time the FTC has brought legal action against an advertiser using Instagram to promote unsubstantiated health claims, the agency said in a press call Friday morning.

      • COVID-19: The Craziest Things About America Highlighted by this Virus

        The corporate cronyism of America’s political system has been highlighted with a massive kleptocratic bailout, writes Caitlin Johnstone in this summary of U.S. haywire responses to the crisis.

      • How to manage a business without a headquarters

        “Weirdly, things haven’t changed much,” says Kyle Mathews as he sprays disinfectant on his hands. At least at work. His startup, Gatsby, helps websites manage content in the cloud. It has no headquarters and its 50-odd employees straddle the world, from Mr Mathews’s home in Berkeley, California, to Siberia.

        Such “fully distributed” firms were on the rise before covid-19. As national lockdowns spread, conventional ones are forced into similar arrangements. Those that have grown up this way offer lessons.

        Distributed organisations are as old as the internet. Its first users 50 years ago realised how much can be done by swapping emails and digital files. These exchanges led to the development of “open source” software, jointly written by groups of strangers often geographically distant.

        Today most distributed startups have open-source roots. Gatsby is one. Nearly all 1,200 employees of another, Automattic, best known for WordPress, software to build websites, work from home. GitHub, which hosts millions of open-source projects (and was acquired by Microsoft in 2018), may be the world’s biggest distributed enterprise. Two-thirds of its 2,000 staff work remotely. Most firms that build blockchains, a type of distributed database, are by their nature dispersed.

      • Open Application Network partners with Bloq for blockchain infrastructure

        In December 2020, blockchain infrastructure provider Nodesmith announced it would be winding down its support for a number of blockchain networks, including the OAN. Bloq is now working with Nodesmith to ensure infrastructure continuity for The Open Application Network (OAN) via the BloqCloud platform.

      • XRP is a ‘Decentralized, Open-Source Digital Asset’, Ripple SVP Marcus Treacher Rebukes Critics

        Ripple has been criticized for being centralized for years now. In fact, many critics have gone as far as calling XRP a fake cryptocurrency because even though XRP does use the blockchain technology, all existing coins were pre-mined at the beginning. The majority of XRP tokens are still in the hands of the Ripple creators and the company itself.

        Back in 2018, David Schwartz, the Chief Technology Officer of Ripple Labs wrote and published an article titled ‘The Inherently Decentralized Nature of XRP Ledger’ explaining why XRP is far more decentralized than other cryptocurrencies.

        Unfortunately, blockchain experts seem to agree that XRP is not really decentralized, in fact, Matt McKibbin, the founder of Decentranet told CCN that the digital asset is wholly centralized.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Donald Trump Meets the Easter Bunny

        The president has amazingly declared that the people in the United States will be able to resume all their normal activities after Easter, thanks to him.

      • Can Coronavirus Be a Catalyst for Thinking Globally?

        In an age of pandemics and climate crisis, countries’ health, environmental, and development policies are globally important.

      • Media Silent as Poll Workers Contract Covid-19 at Primaries That DNC, Biden Campaign Claimed Were Safe
      • Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America’s Elections

        In advance of the 2020 Presidential election, KILL CHAIN: THE CYBER WAR ON AMERICA’S ELECTIONS, debuting THURSDAY, MARCH 26 (9:00-10:35 p.m. ET/PT), takes a deep dive into the weaknesses of today’s election technology, investigating the startling vulnerabilities in America’s voting systems and the alarming risks they pose to our democracy. From filmmakers Simon Ardizzone, Russell Michaels and Sarah Teale, the team behind HBO’s 2006 Emmy (R)-nominated documentary “Hacking Democracy,” and producer Michael Hirschorn, KILL CHAIN follows Finnish hacker and cyber security expert Harri Hursti as he travels around the world and across the U.S. to show how our election systems remain dangerously unprotected.

      • The Problem With China’s Victory Lap

        By then, the pandemic was on its way to wreaking havoc on the U.S. economy and its citizens’ way of life—not least because of the actions of Xi Jinping’s own government. Yet in February, Trump again praised for Xi on Twitter, writing that “he is strong, sharp and powerfully focused on leading the counterattack on the Coronavirus … Great discipline is taking place in China, as President Xi strongly leads what will be a very successful operation.”

      • This Is What an Opposition Party Is Supposed to Sound Like

        Employing a combination of moral outrage and devastating sarcasm, the Vermont senator shamed Republicans in a Wednesday Senate floor speech that ripped into them for prioritizing corporate bailouts while objecting to providing a measure of security for low-wage workers who have lost their jobs as much of the American economy has ground to a near halt.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Barbaric Decisions: Coronavirus, Refusing Bail And Julian Assange

        The ruling angered Doctors for Assange, comprising a list of some 200 physicians scattered across the globe. “Despite our prior unequivocal statement that Mr Assange is at increased risk of serious illness and death were he to contract coronavirus and the evidence of medical experts,” their March 27 statement reads, “Baraitser dismissed the risk, citing UK guidelines for prisons in responding to the global pandemic.” The group cited Baraister’s own solemn words deferring to the wisdom of the UK prison authorities. “I have no reason not to trust this advice as both evidence-based and reliable and appropriate.”

        The medical practitioners took firm issue with the steadfast refusal of the judge to accept the medical side of the equation. Not only was he at “increased risk of contracting and dying from the novel disease coronavirus (COVID-19)”, declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, he was also more vulnerable because of the torments of psychological torture and a “history of medical neglect … fragile health, and chronic lung disease.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • ‘Truly a Civil Rights Hero’: Rev. Joseph Lowery Dead at 98

        “We’ve come too far, marched too long, prayed too hard, wept too bitterly, bled too profusely and died too young, to let anybody turn back the clock on our journey to justice,” Lowery said in 2013.

      • Coronavirus makes even finding water to help the needy a struggle in Detroit

        Despite city efforts to restore service to those whose service has been disconnected for non-payment, hundreds — if not thousands — of residents remain in homes without running water, even though hand-washing is vital to slowing the pandemic.

        Detroit has shut off water to more than 141,000 accounts since an aggressive collections campaign began in 2014 in an effort to improve its finances. Last year alone, crews cut service to more than 23,000 homes.

        That’s left many vulnerable to the pandemic, said activists, who spent more than two weeks making phone calls before obtaining pallets of water bottles from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy and local merchants.

      • Australian MP Joins Armenian-Assyrian-Greek Initiative for Genocide Recognition

        Member of Parliament and Chair of the Australian House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities, John Alexander has signed an Affirmation of Support joining the Joint Justice Initiative launched by the Armenian-Australian, Assyrian-Australian and Greek-Australian communities.

        The Joint Justice Initiative was launched in Canberra last month with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC-AU), Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA) and Australian Hellenic Council (AHC), and calls for national recognition of the 1915 Genocide committed by the Ottoman Empire against its Christian Armenian, Assyrian and Greek populations.

      • Six shot dead over marital dispute

        Reportedly, a woman belonging to the family of the attackers had eloped with a man from Muhammad Ayub Lashari’s family, leading to a dispute between the two families. The former demanded that the woman and Lashari should be handed over to them but the latter refused. The two sides, reportedly, had held several rounds of negotiations before the incident took place.

      • Teen whose death may be linked to coronavirus denied care for not having health insurance, mayor says

        Parris said the teen went to an urgent care March 18.

        “He did not have insurance, so they did not treat him,” Parris said, adding the boy was sent to a hospital.

        En route, he went into cardiac arrest, according to the mayor. When the teen got to the hospital, he was revived and kept alive for six hours. But, it was too late, the mayor said.

      • Lancaster Teen Who Died Of Possible COVID-19 Complications Lacked Insurance, Delaying Treatment

        A 17-year-old boy in Lancaster, whose death was said to be from COVID-19 but is now being investigated by federal health authorities, sought treatment at an urgent care center but was turned away due to lack of insurance, according to the city’s mayor.

      • Bernie Sanders Leads Probe Into How Amazon Treats Workers During Pandemic

        In a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Representative Ilhan Omar and Senator Bernie Sanders asked the world’s richest man what he was doing to protect his workers in warehouses across the country, at least ten of which already have confirmed cases of coronavirus:

      • Computing Under Quarantine

        Under the current climate of lock-ins, self-isolation, shelter-in-place policies, and quarantine, it is becoming evident to more people the integral role computers play in our lives. Students are learning entirely online, those who can are working from home, and our personal relationships are being carried largely by technology like video chats, online games, and group messages. When these things have become our only means of socializing with those outside our homes, we begin to realize how important they are and the inequity inherent to many technologies.

        Someone was telling me how a neighbor doesn’t have a printer, so they are printing off school assignments for their neighbor. People I know are sharing internet connections with people in their buildings, when possible, to help save on costs with people losing jobs. I worry now even more about people who have limited access to home devices or poor internet connections.

        As we are forced into our homes and are increasingly limited in the resources we have available, we find ourselves potentially unable to easily fill material needs and desires. In my neighborhood, it’s hard to find flour. A friend cannot find yeast. A coworker couldn’t find eggs. Someone else is without dish soap. Supply chains are not designed to meet with the demand currently being exerted on the system.

      • China’s ‘success’ in stopping pandemic a ‘sheer fabrication,’ says US China expert

        Mosher is a celebrated international scholar who became in 1979 the first American research student to conduct anthropological research in China after the Cultural Revolution. He exposed the forced abortions of women due to the CPC’s “one-child policy” and as a result, was barred from entering China again.

        Mosher was also expelled from the PhD program of Stanford University, which became a controversy in the academic world. Critics said Stanford bowed down to Chinese pressure, but the university denied this and said Mosher was dropped because he violated research ethics and compromised the safety of his sources in China.

        Those sources may have aided Mosher in contesting CPC’s claim of defeating the COVID-19 pandemic.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Monopolies

      • If once is a misfortune and twice is careless, three times is…? Genentech loses UK SPC for Lucentis due to costly procedural error

        In the field of patents, an unintentional failure to pay the right fees at the right time can be a very costly mistake. The costs of a mistake are potentially even more significant for Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPC). SPCs provide extra years of patent protection (up to 5 years) based on a marketing authorisation for a clinical product. With a bulk of sales happening during the life of SPCs, SPCs can thus be very valuable to a patentee. A recent case before the UK High Court considered the consequences of underpaying the annuity fees for a UK SPC ([2020] EWHC 572 (Pat)). The UK is unique in requiring these fees to be paid as a lump sum at the start of the SPC term (Rule 116, Patents Rules). Unfortunately for the patentee, it seems there is little that can be done to rectify the mistake of underpayment.

      • Patents

        • CARES Act Text – PTO Related Deadlines
        • Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the USPTO

          The $2 trillion stimulus and economic rescue bill known as the CARES Act is moving forward in the Senate. Although not generally a key aspect of the legislation, the current proposal on the table includes temporary authority for the USPTO Director to “toll, waive, adjust, or modify, any timing deadline” established by the patent or trademark laws or by prior PTO regulation.

          [...]

          Dir. Iancu has privately indicated a need for the legislation, but has not stated publicly what if he would make any immediate actions or whether he would delegate his authority to the PTAB to make these determinations.

          My reading of the proposal is that it provides authority to the USPTO Director but does not place any requirement on the Director to act. Thus, a particular party who experiences problems with filing or meeting other deadlines will not have a claim under the statute.

          All of the deadlines are easy for the PTO Director to adjust with the one exception being the original filing date. In addition, international obligations may create some problems with adjusting PCT-related dates — although WIPO and the big-five are working through potential arrangements as we sit here today.

        • The President of The Community Plant Variety Office decides on an extension to deadlines due to COVID-19

          Yesterday, the 24th of March, the President of the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO) took a “Decision concerning the extension of time limits” that fall in the period 17 March – 3 May included, until 4 May 2020 for parties to proceedings before the Office and the Board of Appeal.

        • Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Patent Offices and Federal Courts — March 26 UPDATE

          On March 11, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom declared that the COVID-19 outbreak “can be characterized as a pandemic,” cautioning that the WHO has “rung the alarm bell loud and clear.” At the time of the announcement, the WHO noted that there were 118,000 cases reported globally. In the fifteen days since the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic, the number of global cases has almost quadrupled, with the WHO reporting in its latest situation report that as of March 26 there have been 462,684 cases. The Director-General also stated that “[t]his is not just a public health crisis, it is a crisis that will touch every sector – so every sector and every individual must be involved in the fight.” The WHO’s March 11 declaration — and global developments since then — raise the question of how the pandemic is affecting the patent community.

        • Kaken Pharmaceutical Co. v. Iancu (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          Ever since the Supreme Court’s decision in Dickinson v. Zurko, patent applicants (and with the advent of inter partes review proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, patentees) have found it difficult to overcome Patent Office determinations of obviousness, due to the deference to factual issues the Zurko case imposed on the Federal Circuit in reviewing PTO decisions. But one Achilles’ heel to these difficulties arises over how the PTO construes claims, which remains subject to de novo review (because all the evidence before the Patent Office is inherently intrinsic evidence). And when the Office (through the PTAB) makes an error in construing a claim, the Federal Circuit remains ready to pounce, which was the basis for the Court overturning the PTAB’s invalidation on obviousness grounds of Kaken Pharmaceutical’s claims in the recent Kaken Pharmaceutical Co. v. Iancu decision.

          The case arose in an IPR over all the claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,214,506, which are directed to methods for topically treating fungal infections in human nails. The Board initiated the IPR on petition by Acrux Ltd. and Acrux DDS Pty. Ltd. (who are not party to the appeal), and found all claims of the ’506 patent to be unpatentable as obvious.

        • Respect for Judgment: Challenging the Federal Circuit’s Unique Finality Rule

          My Civil Procedure class at Mizzou is now “Online Civil Procedure.” The final topic in the course will be “respect for judgments.” A basic setup of our legal system is to offer substantial justice — giving all parties due process including an opportunity to be heard and judged by an impartial tribunal. Once that process is complete, the result is then seen as final and further challenges regarding the same issues or claims are precluded.

          In patent law, the sense of finality and respect for judgment has been substantially complicated with the rise of AIA trials.

          A case-in-point is Chrimar Systems v. Ale USA (Supreme Court 2020). Chrimar is typical of many contemporary cases because it involves parallel district court and PTAB litigation.

        • Fote v. Iancu: R.36 Decisions and the Reasons for Judgment

          We know that a district court judge deciding an issue on the merits must expressly the legal and factual basis for their decision. The rules of appellate procedure don’t provide the same requirement for appellate decisions. However, the Federal Circuit’s local rules suggest that it will issue no-judgments affirmance only when an “opinion would have no precedential value” and the lower tribunal decision is properly affirmed. Fed. Cir. Rules of Practice R. 36.

        • A Follow-up on CyWee and ZTE v. LG and the Public

          A few weeks ago, I covered a PTAB case that illustrates why the PTO’s proposed rule on who bears the burden on amended claims in IPRs is fatally flawed. In that case, ZTE challenged a CyWee patent and LG joined the ZTE petition. But CyWee filed an amended claim that ZTE wasn’t concerned by. ZTE chose not to oppose this amendment, which makes sense—but it’s also actively refusing to allow LG to step in to oppose the amendment. LG argued that they should be allowed to step in, and that the only reason ZTE was blocking them was because of some type of side arrangement between ZTE and CyWee.

          The PTAB panel in the case decided that LG would not be permitted to oppose, claiming the public benefits when a new claim is proposed at the PTAB and no one is permitted to oppose it. They also refused to inquire (or allow LG to inquire) into whether there was a side agreement of the type LG alleged.

          [...]

          It’s also not unthinkable, given evidence filed alongside the request for rehearing. LG asked ZTE whether it was representing that it had no written or oral agreement with CyWee. In response, ZTE’s lawyer said “I make no representations one way or another.” If there was no such agreement, ZTE’s lawyer could have saved his client time and money by stating that there was no such agreement. A refusal to represent that no such agreement exists suggests that, in fact, there is such an agreement.

          That’s relatively anodyne compared to the words out of Michael Shore’s mouth. Unsolicited, Shore contacted LG’s lawyers after the PTAB’s decision to say, “Get ready for the district court case, buddy.”

          [...]

          All of this leads back to one main problem—the PTO’s proposal to place the burden for amendments on the petitioner, rather than the patent owner. This case is exceptional because there’s a joined petitioner who would step in—in the average case, if the petitioner didn’t care to oppose an amendment, there’d be no active party bearing the burden and amended claims would effectively sail through unopposed.

          That’s why CCIA suggested to the PTO that it should place the burden on the party where ordinary legal principles suggest it should go—on the party requesting relief, the patent owner. The Board should rehear this case and reverse itself, but more importantly, the Director should revisit the PTO’s proposed rule and determine that a rule placing the burden on the petitioner is inappropriate.

        • European Union: EPO, EUIPO And UK IPO Advice In Relation To Coronavirus Outbreak

          The European Patent Office (EPO), European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) have published advice on measures being taken in view of the world-wide coronavirus outbreak.

          [...]

          The disruptions due to COVID-19 in Germany qualify as a “general dislocation” under Rule 134(2) EPC in a country where the EPO is located, and so the EPO has issued a notice stating that “periods” expiring on or after 15 March 2020 are extended until 17 April 2020 for all parties and their representatives. In accordance with Article 150(2) EPC, this extension applies also for international applications under the PCT.

        • The Impact of COVID-19 on the European Patent Office

          This is the third part of our three-part series on the impact of the COVID-19 on patent offices around the world (Part 1 was on the USPTO and Part 2 was on the Chinese Patent Office). We focus today on the European Patent Office (EPO), which is the regional patent organization for filing and prosecuting European patent applications. While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect Europe, the EPO has taken some steps to ease pressure on Applicants and on the Office. The EPO has made a number of announcements regarding coronavirus-related impacts, which are summarized below.

        • Claiming a Super-Augmenting a Persona to Manifest a Pan-Environment Super-Cyborg

          This pro se petition to the Supreme Court has a number of major problems, but does ask one interesting question:

          Whether 35 U.S.C. §112 [the enablement doctrine] is satisfied when the specification of a patent application is enabling to an interdisciplinary team of two or three persons, working in cooperation?

        • Does the requirement for a “technical contribution” in a novel selection survive? (if selecting from convergent lists) (T 1621/16)

          The EPO has famously strict requirements with respect to support for amendments. An important principle in the prosecution of patent applications is that any amendments the applicant makes to the application must have basis or support in the application as filed. The EPO is particularly strict with regards to amendments based on the combination of features from different parts of a patent specification. A recently published decision from the Boards of Appeal (T 1621/16) clarified the criteria for assessing whether a selection from multiple “convergent lists” (i.e. lists with features of increasing preference) is supported.

          The Board of Appeal found that the selection from convergent lists is different in principle from a selection from a normal, non-convergent lists. However, to have basis in the application as filed, the Board reasoned that the selection from multiple convergent lists must not be identified with a previously undisclosed technical feature and must be supported by a pointer elsewhere in the specification. Importantly, basis and novelty are inextricably linked. In particular, the same test for “disclosure” is used. Therefore, if applied by other Boards of Appeal, this decision also has implications for the assessment of novelty of selection inventions from multiple convergent lists.

          [...]

          The principles of basis and novelty are inextricably linked. The test for novelty and added matter apply the same Gold Standard test that a disclosure must be clearly and unambiguously derivable (Case Law of the Board of Appeal, II.E.1.2.1). The recent Board of Appeal decision on the selection from convergent lists therefore has implications for the novelty of inventions in view of prior art disclosing converging lists. Applying the Board of Appeal’s reasoning in T 1621/16, the selection of multiple features from converging lists in the prior art would be novel if the selection was associated with a previously undisclosed technical feature. The question remains whether the identification of a previously undisclosed technical feature of the selection would also be necessary for novelty.

          The novelty requirement that a selection invention must relate to a “technical contribution” has otherwise fallen out of favour with the Boards of Appeal. Such a requirement is now broadly considered to be more properly associated with an assessment of inventive step rather than novelty. There have been recent calls to refer the issue of whether the requirement is necessary to the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA). It will therefore be interesting to see whether the reasoning of T 1621/16 is applied by other Boards. If nothing else, the case is a reminder that the Boards of Appeal may not yet have reached a consensus on the appropriate criteria for assessing the novelty of selection inventions.

        • Oral Arguments at the Federal Circuit (via Telephone)

          The Federal Circuit is set to start holding oral arguments again for the week of April 6, 2020. The arguments not be in-person but rather conducted via telephone (audio only). The currently conceived setup won’t allow non-parties to listen-in on the conversation but the court is recording oral arguments and has indicated that it “will continue to release same-day audio for all arguments.” Additionally, a substantial number of scheduled arguments have been cancelled with a notice that:

          The panel of judges that will decide this appeal has determined that oral argument is unnecessary. See Fed. R. App. P. 34(a)(2)(C).

        • Software Patents

          • Europe stands several times more to lose than to gain from condoning Nokia’s refusal to license automotive suppliers

            Antitrust enforcement should simply be a question of legal merits. But the industrial-policy argument that some forces within the European Commission make in Nokia’s (and, by extension, Ericsson’s) favor just doesn’t withstand even superficial scrutiny.

            [...]

            Europe’s automotive industry dwarfs Nokia and Ericsson with respect to investment in research and development. According to ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers Association), “EU automotive investment in R&D has increased by 6.7% to reach €57.4 billion annually.” Macrotrends says “Ericsson research and development expenses for the twelve months ending December 31, 2019 were $4.107B, a 8.3% decline year-over-year.” Statista shows that Nokia’s R&D spend is also in decline, down to €4.41 billion. Here’s a column chart (click on the image to enlarge):

          • Facebook, Inc. v. Windy City Innovations, LLC (Fed. Cir. 2020)

            It’s often said that hard cases make bad law. And that is what had happened here: faced with an unreasonable number of potentially asserted claims in litigation, and a Plaintiff not required to identify which of those claims it would actually assert within the filing limit (one-year) between being served with a complaint and filing to initiate an inter partes review (IPR) proceeding, Facebook played the novel gambit of trying to join its own IPR to attack the claims actually asserted against it. At the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, it actually worked (with a little assistance from the USPTO Director). But the Federal Circuit held otherwise, finding that joinder was only permitted for other parties who were seeking review of the same issues, not for the same party seeking to change the scope of the review. Thus, it vacated the PTAB’s decision on the late-added claims, despite otherwise affirming the PTAB’s decision on the merits of the claims.

            The dispute between Facebook and Windy City began on June 2, 2015, when Windy City sued Facebook for infringement of four patents in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. Those four patents, U.S. Patent Nos. 8,458,245; 8,694,657; 8,473,552; and 8,407,356, have 58, 671(!), 64, and 37 claims, respectively. The Complaint did not identify which of those 830 claims Facebook allegedly infringed. Facebook was served with the Complaint the day after it was filed, and moved to dismiss it on July 24, 2015, arguing that the Complaint was deficient because it did not identify the allegedly infringed claims. Facebook then filed a motion to transfer the case to the Northern District of California on August 25, 2015.

            [...]

            In addition to the panel opinion, the Federal Circuit included additional views to address the POP’s decision in Proppant, which issued after primary briefing in the appeal, and whether deference would be appropriate. Facebook had earlier suggested the Federal Circuit should defer under Chevron, but the Federal Circuit had never done so with a nonprecedential Board decision (and expressly refused to do so here). But Proppant was precedential, which caused the Federal Circuit to look more closely. Proppant suggested that the Director had discretion to allow same-party joinder, but would only exercise that discretion where fairness requires it and would alleviate unfairness to a party.

            The Federal Circuit again rejected that deference for a number of reasons. First, it found the statute unambiguous, which preempts Chevron deference. Second, although the AIA gave the Director rulemaking authority in relation to the procedures for joinder in IPRs (and therefore deference would be most appropriate), it found that was different from interpreting the statute itself. The panel found that there was no deference indicated for statutory interpretation, just filling in the interstices of the statute. Finally, the Federal Circuit found that there were other ways to alleviate the potential unfairness to parties (including patent local rules, which normally would call for early disclosure of asserted claims) that would cause less disruption to the statutory scheme. Thus, it rejected the Proppant decision.

          • Customer Suit Exception and Stays for Judicial Economy

            Sprouts is a supermarket chain sued by Motion Offense, LLC in W.D.Tex. for infringing its patents, US10013158 & US10021052 (processing and sharing a “data object”). The basic allegation in the case is that Sprouts’ is infringing the patents by using Dropbox. After hearing that its customers were being sued, Dropbox itself brought a declaratory judgment action in D.Del. against Motion Offense seeking a non-infringement declaration.

            [...]

            In patent cases, courts have recognized a customer suit exception to the first to file rule in a situation where there are parallel lawsuits involving (1) the prime manufacturer/originator of an infringing product/service and also (2) customers of the prime manufacturer. Even if the customers were sued first, courts have found it proper and appropriate to stay those cases pending outcome of the big one against the prime manufacturer. Other approaches abound — including synchronizing motion practice and partial joinder. The guiding principles for all of these approaches is “efficiency and judicial economy” Tegic Commc’ns Corp. v. Bd. of Regents of Univ. of Texas Sys., 458 F.3d 1335 (Fed. Cir. 2006). As stated by Rule 1 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: The rules “should be construed, administered, and employed by the court and the parties to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding.”

          • Rakuten joins open access research group to fast track open source network technology

            Japanese mobile network operator, Rakuten, has formally joined the Open Invention Network, in a bid to speed up research and development of open source mobile network technologies.

            The Open Invention Network is committed to facilitating freedom of action for its community members and users of Linux or open source software. The OIN already has 3,100 members from across the global telecoms community.

            [...]

            Rakuten is currently Japan’s smallest mobile network operator, but will look to grow its subscriber base rapidly as it scales up its 5G offering throughout the year.

          • Japanese operator Rakuten joins open source research group to fast track R&D
      • Trademarks

        • China says ‘No’ to the malicious filing of Coronavirus-related trade marks

          Recently, this provision has been used to refuse registration of Coronavirus pandemic-related trade mark applications.

          [...]

          A brief note here: Huoshenshan Hospital (火神山医院, Vulcan Mountain Hospital) and Leishenshan Hospital (雷神山医院, Thor Mountain Hospital) are both urgent makeshift medical facilities in Wuhan, set up specifically to tackle Coronavirus. It took around ten days from the beginning of construction to the admittance of the first patients (BBC report and Telegraph footage). These two field hospitals are quite special to Chinese people, not only because they saved thousands of lives but also because their whole construction processes were livestreamed in real time, round the clock. Tens of millions of people watched the livestreaming (partly because cities were on ‘lockdown’ and people were quarantined at home), and they became so familiar with the construction vehicles at the site that they gave them nicknames, e.g. ‘The Cement King’.

          Dr Li Wenliang (李文亮) is doctor who first warned about the epidemic outbreak. He died, aged 33, in Wuhan after contracting Coronavirus. Needless to say, he will be remembered by many of us. As Professor Dr Jie Qiao said to The Lancet: ‘I deeply mourn for all the medical practitioners passing away in the struggle against this emerging infectious disease, especially Dr Li Wenliang, as one of the whistle-blowers dedicating his young life in the front line. We were encouraged by his dedication to patients and we will continue to fight against the virus to comfort the dead with the final victory.’

        • Are lemmings a threat to the Disney+ brand?

          Ask a Kat reader what comes to his mind when hearing the word “lemming”, and he will probably say: “Aren’t they the rodents [Merpel says, “technically they are voles"] that live in the frozen north and who every so often commit mass suicide by hurtling themselves over a cliff into the wide ocean”. This image of lemmings is now a mainstream metaphor, where accusing a group of “lemming- like behavior” is a way of describing impulsive, herd-like behavior, even mass hysteria, usually ending in a mass disaster.

          The only problem is—it ain’t so. As Alaska state wildlife biologist Thomas McDonough categorically stated in an article published back in 2003 by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, “It’s a complete urban legend” [Merpel says, “Or the wildlife equivalent”], confusing dispersal with migration. If lemmings over-breed, some may, moving as a group, seek an alternative food supply which may, in certain circumstances, lead some of them to venture into the open sea. But acts of intentional mass suicide, vole-style-not a chance.

      • Copyrights

        • Stairway to Heaven: The impact of Zeppelin on Katy Perry’s copyright infringement case – overturned

          The Katy Perry decision for copyright infringement and $2.8M in damages [Katposts here and here] has been overturned. This judgement, made on the 16th March, comes in the wake of the decision on 9th March that Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ did not infringe the copyright of the song ‘Taurus’, [Kat post here].

          [...]

          At trial, the plaintiffs argued that there were “five or six” protectable elements in their ostinato; length (8 notes), rhythm, melodic content, melodic shape, timbre or quality and colour of the sound, and the placement. Although in their opposition papers they extended this to nine elements. The defendants argued that none of these elements were individually protectable and the court agreed. Highlighting that the plaintiff’s evidence from their expert musicologist was that any single one of those elements would not have been enough, but it was the combination of them that supported his conclusion. Therefore, the plaintiff’s burden to prove the protectable elements of their ostinato was not met.

          Furthermore, the evidence of the musicologist [for the plaintiff, apparently] was that several of the elements where unoriginal to such an extent that the choices were tendencies in popular music “the way that the ostinato resolves is not so much original so much as it is necessary.” The court demonstrated that, as a matter of law, the courts have routinely denied copyright protection for such commonplace elements. As such, pursuant to the extrinsic test, the individual elements of the ostinato were deemed not to be protectable by copyright. [In line with Zeppelin, where the court specifically stated that descending chromatic scale, arpeggios, and other common elements are not protected by copyright, which at the time seemed at odds with the KP case].

        • Allen v. Cooper – U.S. States Have Sovereign Immunity from Copyright Damages

          Last month, this Kat posited my observations and predictions regarding a case before the U.S. Supreme Court about state sovereign immunity in copyright, Allen v. Cooper. Today, the Supreme Court issued a disappointing ruling; all 9 justices concurred that Florida Prepaid (a similar Supreme Court case in the patent context) is binding precedent. As a result, the Court unanimously ruled that Congress did not validly abrogate state sovereign immunity through the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act (CRCA) under neither Article 1 of the Constitution nor under Section 5 of the 14th Amendment.

        • Led Zeppelin ruling should ease burden on copyright defendants

          Lawyers say the Ninth Circuit‘s decision to get rid of the inverse ratio rule will affect all copyright-intensive industries and clear up sloppy analysis

        • [Guest post] ‘Upload filters’ and human rights: implementing Article 17 of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market

          The EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (the CDSM Directive) requires the European Commission, in cooperation with copyright holders, services, user groups and others, to meet up to discuss potential practical solutions for the implementation of Article 17 therein (the provision concerning online content sharing service providers (OCSSPs)’ obligations in relation to the making available of user uploaded content (UUC), also known in jargon as the ‘value gap’ provision).

          Article 17 also requires OCSSPs to enter into licensing agreements with rightholders for the making available of copyright content uploaded by users of their service. If a licence is not concluded, these services must make ‘best efforts’ to prevent the making available of infringing content.

        • Publishers Sign Onto a Coronavirus ‘Education Continuity License’

          Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), based in Danvers, Massachusetts, has released a statement today announcing what it calls an “education continuity license” intended “to enable creative approaches to remote teaching and distance learning made necessary by the pandemic.”

          In its statement, the company says that responsible educators in parts of the United States have asked about their need to use copyrighted content and materials “in innovative new ways to support distance learning.”

          In response, CCC says it’s coordinating with rights holders “to authorize the use of their materials at no cost by educators as required by the pandemic during this time of emergency.”

          Copyright Clearance Center stipulates that it isn’t delivering educational materials or content to educators. Instead, it’s offering a new license that will authorize American school districts, educators, parents, and others to make immediate additional uses of materials that they have previously lawfully acquired (italics ours). CCC also says that it will not collect any fees from this “education continuity license” from any party, nor will it charge for its own services in administering the contract.

        • YouTube Refuses to Process DMCA Counternotice for ‘Creepy Bugs’ Cartoon

          An artist who uploaded a parody cartoon to YouTube and received a strike against his channel following a Warner Bros. complaint has been denied the opportunity to fight his corner. MeatCanyon uploaded a cartoon featuring a creepy ‘Bugs Bunny’ and later appealed using a DMCA counternotice. YouTube, however, refused to pass the notice on and dismissed the claim.

        • MPAA and RIAA’s Megaupload Lawsuits Remain on Hold

          A federal court in Virginia has granted Megaupload’s request to place the cases filed by the RIAA and MPAA on hold for another six months. The lawsuits have been frozen for years now and are not expected to start anytime soon, as there’s no progress in the criminal case against the defunct file-sharing service.

The Fall of the UPC – Part IX: Campinos Opens His Mouth One Week Later (and It’s That Hilarious Delusion Again)

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 8:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The funny thing? Even Team UPC isn’t buying the spiel of António Campinos, deputy clown of wannabe UPC chief.

Reichstag in Berlin

Summary: Team Campinos said nothing whatsoever about the decision of the FCC until one week later, whereupon Campinos leveraged some words from Christine Lambrecht to mislead everybody in the EPO’s official “news” section

THE European Patent Office (EPO) is definitely and undoubtedly a constant source of fury but also an occasional, part-time source of entertainment and amusement because amid all the scandals there are cover-up attempts and hollow face-saving ambitions that verge on black comedy. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but humour is the best medicine when corruption is neither pretty nor funny.

In the previous part (part 8) we covered Team UPC’s shameless spin. It painted the UPC’s death as “life” and bad news (to them) as “actually good news in disguise” or something along those lines. Psychologists and psychiatrists leverage if not ‘prescribe’ such methods.

“Psychologists and psychiatrists leverage if not ‘prescribe’ such methods.”Over at Bristows, the latest blog post is Gregory Bacon’s spin that says: “Although the complaint regarding the Bundestag majority was held to be admissible, that was only by the narrowest majority of the Senate’s eight Justices, i.e. five votes to three.”

Like athletes who say, “I lost only by two seconds.”

Courts don’t work that way. The decision doesn’t come with a “score”.

“Yeah, Johnny, I lost the case, but some people in the jury liked me… see you when I get out of prison!”

It is definitely worth noting that the EPO (management, President, Vice Presidents) waited silently for whole week and abstained from saying anything at all about this blow in the FCC (Team UPC keeps breaking the law) until some lying politician opened the mouth and was possible to quote selectively. EPO management never looked this desperate.

“It is definitely worth noting that the EPO (management, President, Vice Presidents) waited silently for whole week and abstained from saying anything at all about this blow in the FCC…”For those who missed it (this did not receive much publicity), in the German language Christine Lambrecht wrote this little page and the EPO jumped all over it, tweeting the sheer spin of Campinos (warning: epo.org link) as though it is “news”. To quote:

The European Patent Office (EPO) strongly welcomes the announcement of the German government to continue its support for the introduction of the Unitary Patent system in Europe.

In a statement made yesterday on the country’s ratification of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement, German Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection Christine Lambrecht expressed her intention to “carefully evaluate the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court and examine possibilities to remedy the identified lack of form still in the current legislative period.”

The EPO’s official “news” section has increasingly become a platform of propaganda. For a whole week nothing at all was said about the FCC’s decision. And now this from Christine Lambrecht?

They don’t even pretend to be objective. The above is a bunch of nonsense (quotes) from Campinos. He’s ‘pulling a Battistelli’ again. He’s neither honest nor good. He’s a charlatan and a fraud.

Even biased lawyers who run IP Kat (not the old site called IP Kat; it changed) have just reiterated the nature of this decision, saying “this decision will set the UPC back 5 years!”

“They don’t even pretend to be objective.”Magdaleen Jooste wrote: “The German constitutional court upholds complaint against UPC Agreement and implementing act! Read the decision here. It is reported that this decision will set the UPC back 5 years! The main reason for the decision was that the act by which Germany was to ratify the UPC Agreement, was not passed with the required parliamentary majority. Léon Dijkman provided a detailed analysis of the decision by the German constitutional court.”

We probably won’t quote many comments from that blog anymore; IP Kat censors many comments, ‘sanitising’ views it does not agree with because they don’t share the agenda of today’s IP Kat editors.

Anyway, the above “news” from the EPO site makes it rather clear that the “clean” EPO management (Campinos and his mates from EUIPO) is still looking to break the law and violate countless constitutions. It cherry-picks polticians that it selectively cites like a one-party military-turned-state North Korea.

If this does not repulse patent examiners, we wonder what will…

My friend Benjamin Henrion translated Lambrecht as saying: “I will continue to work to ensure that we can provide the European innovative industry with a single European patent with a European patent court.”

You cannot.

“Anyway, Lambrecht may wear something that says “Europe” on her lapel or sleeve. She might also wave a bunch of yellow-blue flags, but clearly Lambrecht misses the point. What Europe needs is a lot more than shallow rhetoric — the type of thing EPO staff has grown tired of.”“Well, Chinese and American industries as well,” Henrion remarked, for “2/3 of patents in Europe are given to them…”

“Most of their “clients” aren’t European. It’s a class (monopoly) thing, not a regional thing,” I told him

Just because the “E” in EPO says “European” doesn’t mean it works for Europe and for Europeans. It employs many, sure, but whose agenda does their work serve? Usually very rich people’s. No, not rich Europeans. Just rich people. Corporations. Multinationals. Monsanto, Exxon, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon…

Huawei untrustworthy? Serving the Chinese military? Danger to Europe? Guess who receives the most European Patents…

Anyway, Lambrecht may wear something that says “Europe” on her lapel or sleeve. She might also wave a bunch of yellow-blue flags, but clearly Lambrecht misses the point. What Europe needs is a lot more than shallow rhetoric — the type of thing EPO staff has grown tired of. Trampling on workers — and on all people — in the name of “unity” won’t make people more united; it might unite them against those who misuse those shiny labels in the service of goals that crush human rights.

Team UPC megaphones absolutely adore Lambrecht for what she said. JUVE is among them. JUVE reinvented itself as lying propaganda and we’ll say a lot more about JUVE’s role in UPC lobbying later in this ongoing series. As Henrion put it: “German Ministry of Justice keeps pushing for the UPC, JUVE interprets it as “Bundestag will vote again” https://www.bmjv.de/SharedDocs/Pressemitteilungen/DE/2020/032620_Patentreform.html … https://www.juve-patent.com/news-and-stories/legal-commentary/german-government-announces-intention-to-move-forward-with-upc/ … This is not possible as Rules of Procedure are not made by parliament(s).”

“We’ll have a lot more to say about JUVE’s poor coverage later in this series.”True, it is not possible. If anything, this serves to show that the German Ministry of Justice does not understand the law. Yes, the irony. One might expect this from Donald Trump’s USDOJ, not Germany’s Ministry of Justice.

JUVE’s editor tweeted: “UPC latest: just six days after the judgment of the German Constitutional Court, the German government announces its intention to move forward with the Unified Patent Court.”

Did you fact-check, JUVE?

We’ll have a lot more to say about JUVE’s poor coverage later in this series.

What’s being suggested here is illegal and there would be further complaints against overt corruption. This, we might add, might be expected from Donald Trump. Are his grandfather’s relatives still in Germany and getting involved in such reckless politics based upon will and dogma rather than underlying laws and a constitution? Does the FCC have its authority diminished to mere “advisory”?

It’s not only us pointing this out by the way; “Kluwer Patent blogger” (oftentimes Bristows) published “Despite FCC ruling, Germany wants to push ahead with Unitary Patent system” and tweeted this bunch of nonsense only to be blasted in the comments, as usual. Immediately one person wrote: “And don’t forget the Rules of Procedure made by an administrative committee, which is contrary to the caselaw of the FCC, and caselaw of the ECHR on art6.”

“Even Team UPC boosters don’t quite buy the laughable spiel of Campinos and Christine Lambrecht; nor should they if they choose to become grown-ups and realistic rather than jingoistic self-serving liars.”“Concerned observer” wrote: “From the Ministry that brought you the late night shenanigans that ultimately killed the law approving the UPCA we are now served up a new strategy that has all the makings of another farce.

“Why prolong the agony and uncertainty? Why not state the obvious and acknowledge that, at the very least, the first step that will need to be taken is renegotiation and amendment of the UPCA? What is to be gained by not admitting that it will take more than just another vote in the Bundestag?

“Deeply disappointing.”

A vocal UPC booster in Munich quoted: “So a simple re-run of the previous approval law with the same UPCA text will not work. It would most probably also be contrary to EU law if Germany were to ratify an agreement that transfers sovereign rights (part of its jurisdiction)to an international court that is currently/2 https://twitter.com/kluwerblogger/status/1243477267629641728 [] partly located outside the EU and in a state which has explicitly declared that it is not minded to follow EU law and does not want to be subject to the jurisdiction of the CJEU.“

Even Team UPC boosters don’t quite buy the laughable spiel of Campinos and Christine Lambrecht; nor should they if they choose to become grown-ups and realistic rather than jingoistic self-serving liars. No, UPC isn’t for “SMEs” and it was never designed for them, either. The exact opposite is true.

Pretending EPO Corruption Stopped Under António Campinos When It is in Fact a Lot Worse in Several Respects/Aspects (Than It Was Under Benoît Battistelli)

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 6:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Focus on presidential composure/temper misses the point when about 85% of workers want to go on strike

Berlin Alexanderplatz

Summary: Germany’s eagerness to keep Europe’s central patent office in Munich (and to a lesser degree in Berlin) means that politicians in the capital and in Bavaria turn a blind eye to abuses, corruption and even serious crimes; this won’t help Germany’s image in the long run

THE European Patent Office’s (EPO) corruption under António Campinos has been documented here since 2018 and as recently as this month. There’s no concrete reason to believe — only shallow PR ploys to swallow — that he’s better than Battistelli. He’s a continuation of Battistelli and further regression along the very same lines. The agenda or the goal is the same; it has nothing whatsoever to do with innovation or competitiveness.

“The agenda or the goal is the same; it has nothing whatsoever to do with innovation or competitiveness.”In our next post we’ll highlight the latest nonsense from Campinos. It’s about the UPC. SUEPO cited only The Register rather than some law firms on this matter. Rightly so! SUEPO has also, as it promised it would, produced these two English translations [PDF] of German Bundestag discussions [PDF]. We’d like to reprint these in HTML form below (the English version; there’s also French and the originals are both in German). From the document with the questions:

German Bundestag
19th Legislative Period

Printing Material 19/17383
02/25/2020

Brief Inquiry

of members of parliament Roman Müller-Böhm, Stephan Thomae, Grigorios Aggelidis, Renata Alt, Nicole Bauer, Jens Beeck, Dr. Jens Brandenburg (Rhein-Neckar), Sandra Bubendorfer-Licht, Dr. Marco Buschmann, Britta Katharina Dassler, Hartmut Ebbing, Dr. Marcus Faber, Daniel Föst, Otto Fricke, Thomas Hacker, Peter Heidt, Katrin Helling-Plahr, Markus Herbrand, Torsten Herbst, Katja Hessel, Manuel Höferlin, Reinhard Houben, Ulla Ihnen, Olaf in der Beek, Dr. Marcel Klinge, Daniela Kluckert, Pascal Kober, Carina Konrad, Konstantin Kuhle, Ulrich Lechte, Dr. Martin Neumann, Dr. Wieland Schinnenburg, Matthias Seestern-Pauly, Frank Sitta, Dr. Hermann Otto Solms, Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Katja Suding, Michael Theurer, Dr. Florian Toncar, Gerald Ullrich, Sandra Weeser, Nicole Westig, Katharina Willkomm, and the parliamentary party FDP

Position and Procedure of the European Parliament

[Material omitted which the reply reproduced]

We ask the federal government…

[Questions omitted which the reply below quoted]

Berlin, 30th January 2020

Christian Lindner and parliamentary party

Berlin, 30 th January 2020

Christian Lindner and parliamentary party

____
General Production: H. Heenemann GmbH & Co. KG, Printing and Offset Office, Bessemerstraße 83–91, 12103 Berlin,
www.heenemann-druck.de

Distribution: Bundesanzeiger Verlag GmbH, PO Box 10 05 34, 50445 Cologne, Telephone (02 21) 97 66 83 40, Fax (02 21) 97 66 83 44, www.betrifft-gesetze.de
ISSN 0722-8333

To avoid repetition we’ve cut out the introduction and questions above, leaving them in tact below, instead.

The responses (to the questions listed below) are really quite the extraordinary ‘coverup’ with ridiculous excuses and dismissive revisionism. Here it goes:

German Bundestag
19th Legislative Period

Printing Material 19/17809
03/11/2020

Reply
of the federal government

regarding the brief inquiry of member of parliament Roman Müller-Böhm, Stephan Thomae, Grigorios Aggelidis, other members of parliament, and parliamentary party FDP

– Printing Material 19/17383 –

Position and Procedure of the European Parliament

Preliminary Note of the Inquirer

The European Patent Office (EPO) is the executive body of the European Patent Organization (EPOrg) with headquarters in Munich and has the function to check patent applications and to grant European patents. The EPO was created by international agreement and is a multinational institution with the status of a legal entity (https://www.epo.org/ about-us/foundation_de.html). It was agreed that the EPO will have legal immunity and that only the special rights created by the member countries is legally binding for the EPO (cf. Article 8 of the European Patent Agreement). The competence for legally binding decisions rests with the member countries of the organization in the course of a corresponding conference (https://www.epo.org/about-us/governance_de.html).

In the recent past, the EPO was confronted with widespread criticism. This varied from the announced use of financial means, to the quality standards of patents, to the treatment of employees, and to insufficient independence of the complaint’s offices (https://suepo.org/public/ex18052cdp.pdf, p. 4 and 5). A group of 924 employees criticized that the accelerated procedure during the evaluation of patents would be performed at the expense of quality. In their opinion, this is due to the requirements regarding productivity of the employees of the old management. Correspondingly, the international union within the EPO, the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO), especially criticized that the introduced scoring system would incentivize the examiners to produce masses of patents with low quality (https://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Europaeisches-Patentamt-Patentpruefer-rebellieren-gegen-Qualitaetsverluste-3997082.html).

Besides that, the Federal Audit Office last year criticized the decision by the EPO that the assets of the office are supposed to be used in a financially speculative way (https://www.wiwo.de/politik/europa/rechnungshof-scharfe-kritik-an-finanzgebaren-des-europaeischen-patentamts/22722052.html). In the view of the Federal Audit Office, this is not necessary and may entail higher risks. Additionally, it is objected that through the investment transactions of the EPO, a “shadow budget” is managed in an international agency with public funds that is not covered by the international constitutive act of the member countries and violates democratic principles
______

The reply was transmitted on behalf of the federal government by writing through the federal ministry of justice and consumer protection dated 10th of March 2020.
Additionally, the printing material contains – in small font – the question text.


(Petra Sorge, Die unheimliche Wette, WirtschaftsWoche vom 22. Juni 2018, S. 35). This continues in a general criticism regarding the state of labor and the legal controls of the EPO (http://www.deutschlandfunk.de/europaeisches-patentamt-deutsches-arbeitsrecht-gilt-hier.724.de.html/?dram:article_id=347579).

Moreover, employee policy was criticized for some time. Employees of the EPO mostly appeared anonymously towards the press, according to their own statements due to fear of sanctions (Petra Sorge, Die unheimliche Wette, WirtschaftsWoche vom 22. Juni 2018, S. 36). Besides that, the right to strike for employees were limited by internal regulations and sick employees were ordered to stay home. Furthermore, measures against critical employees were introduced, such as key logger. There is also talk about an EPO internal investigation unit for employee matters (Petra Sorge, Wo kein Richter …, Cicero vom 3. Mai 2018). The former judge at the Federal Constitutional Court, Dr. Siegfried Broß, says that there are substantial deficits concerning the employment status of the employees. There are employee representatives, but they do not have any constitutive participation rights. Instead, they could only issue recommendations to which the president is not bound (https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/europaeisches-patentamt-deutsches-arbeitsrecht-gilt-hier.724.de.html?dram:article_id=347579).

The Federal Republic of Germany, as member country of the EPO, has a joint responsibility for the EPOrg. With the changed conditions caused by the change within management as of 1st July 2018 (https://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Europaeisches-Patentamt-Chef-Battistelli-tritt-ab-Campinos-tritt-an-3857253.html) and in light of the previous events regarding the EPOrg, according to the inquirer, the question arises, whether and to what extent from the perspective of the federal government, the situation at the EPOrg has changed with the new management.

1. Did the federal government have knowledge about the published accusation in the press of a loss in quality during the patent application examination and the granting of patents as compared to the previous management of the EPO, and how does the federal government assess it?

For the federal government, the quality of the patent assessment by the European Patent Office (EPO) is an important issue. Quality management and quality control must be secured sustainably within the workflow of the EPO. The federal government therefore welcomes the goals, the new president of the EPO has set himself in his strategy plan for 2019 to 2023. The achievement of these goals will be evaluated by the federal government on the basis of annual quality reports performed by the president of the EPO.

2. Did the federal government have knowledge about the published accusations in the press of the “shadow budget” and the financial risk management as compared to the former management of the EPO, and how does the federal government evaluate it?

The cited press reports are known to the federal government. The EPO issues a budget annually, in which also financial investments are considered and explained transparently. A so-called shadow budget does not exist. An appropriate risk management is in place.

Germany had voted against the new investment guideline for the management of cash funds during the 156th meeting of the supervisory board dated 27th/28th of July 2018 on the basis of the statement issued by the Federal Audit Office.


3. According to the federal government, are there deficits in terms of financial management and the treatment of employees at the EPO?

a) If so, what measures would the federal government assume then?
b) If no and from the point of view of the federal government, are the existing rules at the EPO regarding financial management and treatment of employees sufficient?

According to the federal government, there are no deficits as regards financial management at the EPO. The federal government welcomes that the new president of the EPO wants to improve the social climate and treatment of employees, and has introduced initial measures in the course of the strategy plan 2019 to 2023.

4. Did the federal government have knowledge about the published accusation in the press of a violation of rights of employees caused by surveillance and curtailing of labor laws as compared to the former management of the EPO, and how does the federal government assess this?

5. According to the federal government, were there any complaints filed with police with respect to the EPO?

6. Did the federal government have knowledge about the published accusation in the press of employee surveillance by internal investigation groups of the former EPO management, and how does the federal government assess this?

7. Did the federal government have knowledge about the published accusation in the press of a curtailing outsourcing of the complaint’s office under the former EPO management (Petra Sorge, Wo kein Richter …, Cicero vom 3. Mai 2018), and how does the federal government assess this?

Questions 4 to 7 are answered together.

The questions involve confidential disciplinary procedures to which the federal government does not take position. This also applies to the procedures before the internal complaint’s offices.

8. In the view of the federal government, is there a “legal” control that was itself instituted by the EPO, (Petra Sorge, Wo kein Richter …, Cicero vom 3. Mai 2018) which itself ensures an effective legal protection?

9. In the view of the federal government, is the current of the complaint’s offices task as an authority, without being bound to restrictions, sufficiently met?


10. In the view of the federal government, is there a necessity to change the “legal” control system at the EPO?

a) If so, how should it be restructured in the view of the federal government?
b) If no, is it the opinion of the federal government that a legal control at the EPA is sufficient?

Questions 8 to 10 will be answered together.

It is the view of the federal government that an effective legal protection exists against decisions by the EPO. The federal government does not see any need for reform at the moment.

The European Patent Organization (EPOrg) was granted immunity by the national jurisdictions of the member countries as an international organization in the course of its official activity. This corresponds to a normal approach in all international organizations. Consequently, international organizations are not bound to national jurisdictions.

The EPO is a body of the EPOrg (cf. Article 4, Section 2a) of the European Patent Agreement (EPA). The employees of the EPO have the right for an appropriate legal protection before international courts (Administrative court of the International Labor Organization (ILOAT)) (cf. Article 13, Section 1 EPA).

For disputes that affect patent decisions of the EPO, the independent complaint’s offices are responsible. The employees of the complaint’s offices are not bound to instructions during their decision making and are only subjected to the European Patent Agreement (cf. Article 23, Section 3 EPA).

At the 148th meeting of the supervisory body of the European Patent Organization dated 29th/30th of June 2016, the supervisory body approved a comprehensive reform of the complaint’s offices, which further strengthened the autonomy of the complaint’s offices. The reform is effective as of 1st of July 2016.

11. How does the federal government assess the impact of the legal independence of the EPO from national and European law as regards the collaboration of the EPO with the EU member states to solve the criticism towards the EPO?

The immunity granted to the EPA complies with the normal approach at international organizations. It influences the objective collaboration between the EPA and their member states just as little as with other international organizations.

12. Is the federal government in dialogue with the EPO regarding the accusation or several accusations, and if so, how?

a) If so, what results have been achieved so far?
b) If so, what goals does the federal government pursue with a dialogue?

The federal government is in a continuing dialogue with the EPO as regards different issues. Important issues for the federal government are especially patent quality, social climate, and long-term financial stability.


13. In view of the federal government, has the situation as regards the accusation or several accusations improved with the new management?

The federal government especially welcomes the measure that the new EPO president took to improve social climate. This also includes discussions with individual employees as well as regular dialogues with stakeholders. The federal government also supports the intended measures for a further improvement in all other areas as outlined in the strategy plan for 2019 to 2023 by the EPO president.

14. Does the federal government plan to take political as well as legal actions, should the accusations against the EPO continue under the new management, and if so, what?

The federal government has no reason to believe that the accusations against the EPO will continue under the new management.

______

General Production: H. Heenemann GmbH & Co. KG, Printing and Offset Office, Bessemerstraße 83–91, 12103 Berlin, www.heenemann-druck.de

Distribution: Bundesanzeiger Verlag GmbH, PO Box 10 05 34, 50445 Cologne, Telephone (02 21) 97 66 83 40, Fax (02 21) 97 66 83 44, www.betrifft-gesetze.de
ISSN 0722-8333

We don’t plan to — as we lack time for it at this moment — examine each and every fallacy in the reply. There’s a load of whitewashing lies and embellishments. But let’s consider just the past few days’ EPO abuses, highlighting the fact that nothing is really changing and nothing has changed. They want us to believe that a little presidential shuffle — with the previous president’s mate put in power — solved everything.

Let’s focus on technical abuses and deviation from (i.e. violation of) the underlying laws. This is a topic we had covered for a number of years before we started focusing on big EPO scandals (in the middle of 2014). I’ve observed these issues for nearly 20 years, primarily as a coder.

“I’ve observed these issues for nearly 20 years, primarily as a coder.”As recently as days ago the EPO started advertising this thing called “DigitalisationIndex”. Earlier this past they started misusing terms like “digital technologies” quite a lot; we took note of that several times. They’re looking to justify granting illegal software patents (European Patents on algorithms) under the guise of “Digitalisation”.

Their apparently first tweet on this said: “#Digitalisation is triggering patenting growth. What regions do patent applications in this field come from? Check out this analysis of our latest patent statistics to find out: https://bit.ly/DigitalisationIndex … ”

“Hey hi” (AI) and “4IR” are among the latest buzzwords EPO uses to grant illegal patents on abstract ideas (“ICT” and “CII” are considered too old and not sufficiently exciting). The EPO is run by a bunch of people who choose buzzwords over substance, partly because — as their professional background reveals — they’re simply not technical. It corrodes the image of the EU as some of these people come from EU jobs, notably EUIPO, and the EU actively participates in this promotion of patents on algorithms. In other words, EU officials too are increasingly playing a role in the violation of the EPC. German government officials don’t seem to mind as long as that generates activities on German soil. But that’s a problem. Is lawfulness being compromised for raw profits that are temporary and ruinous to one’s credibility? Also, at whose expense does this activity take place? Europe has far more to it than a bunch of patent litigation lawyers. Earlier today I chatted with somebody about the devastating effect of this patent regime on the European automobile industry. That somebody writes many blog posts on this subject and he’s German.

“Is lawfulness being compromised for raw profits that are temporary and ruinous to one’s credibility? Also, at whose expense does this activity take place?”The corresponding new page (warning: epo.org link) is tied to the so-called 'results' and it provides excuses for lowering the bar, notably buzzwords: “As the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) materialises, it’s not just our factories that are getting smarter – it’s our hospitals, homes, appliances, cars, and wearable devices too. In 2019, digital communication became the new leading field of patent applications at the EPO while computer technology was the second fastest growing. These two technical fields are enabling 4IR by providing the tools for turning technical applications in other fields into smart devices. They are also powering further developments in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G.”

Who wrote this? A technical person or a marketing professional? Likely the latter.

Speaking of marketing, check out this truly shallow EPO ‘news’ from Friday (warning: epo.org link), accompanied by a tweet with the hashtag #EarthHour (greenwashing).

“You only do this because COVID-19 shut you down,” I responded. “Quit the greenwashing…”

“A lot of actual EPO news gets lost in a sea of puff pieces.”Maybe this “news” was designed to distract from the other “news” published on the same day. It was a Campinos lie, which we’ll deal with in our next post.

A lot of actual EPO news gets lost in a sea of puff pieces. Even 3 weeks later some sites are still reprinting EPO press releases as though they’re “news” or “reporting”. The EPO posted this new page (warning: epo.org link) on the same day (“Notice concerning the electronic authentication of decisions and other documents relevant to the decision-making process”) and promoted it in Twitter, in effect overwhelming the site with enough distraction and obfuscation — a subject we shall deal with in our next post.

The EPO’s “decision-making process” is notoriously bad and it is the subject of several ongoing complaints in the German constitutional court. Not only is oversight lacking; judges and examiners are moreover being bullied, so they cannot uphold the EPC (which was supposed to strictly govern the Office).

“…the EPO is making it harder to appeal. It’s going to get vastly more expensive.”And speaking of decision-making process deficit, Emma Foster (Marks & Clerk) reminds us that, effective next week, the EPO is making it harder to appeal. It’s going to get vastly more expensive. This is what she published just before the weekend: “The European Patent Office (EPO) usually reviews its fee structure every two years. In line with this, the EPO has announced that fees will increase from 1 April 2020. We have summarised the fee increases for many frequently paid fees in the table below, most of which are in the region of 4%.

“However, the appeal fee has increased substantially from €2255 to €2705, which equates to an increase of around 20%. The EPO will continue to offer a reduced appeal fee to a) small and medium-sized enterprises; (b) natural persons; and (c) non-profit organisations, universities or public research organisations (i.e. appellants as defined in Rule 6(4) and (5) EPC). The appeal fee for these appellants will soon be €1955, which represents around a 4% increase to the current fee.”

“Even if the EPO committed mass murder in broad daylight, the government would likely help the Office come up with excuses for it.”Before Campinos raised the costs Battistelli had done the same, especially when it comes to ‘transactions’ (Battistelli might call them “products”) that challenge the Office and can serve to expose the collapse of patent quality.

Sadly, judging by the replies at the top, this doesn’t concern or bother the ruling politicians in Germany. Even if the EPO committed mass murder in broad daylight, the government would likely help the Office come up with excuses for it. Heck, in this age of Coronavirus they might even send complainants to 'quarantine' in Haar. Messengers of truth are “poison kitchen” to the EPO’s management.

IRC Proceedings: Saturday, March 28, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:03 am by Needs Sunlight

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

03.28.20

Links 28/3/2020: Wine 5.5 Released, EasyPup 2.2.14, WordPress 5.4 RC5 and End of Truthdig

Posted in News Roundup at 11:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • SMLR 321: Stay 127.0.0.1

        Tony Bemus, Tom Lawrence, Phil Porada and Jay LaCroix

      • 2020-03-27 | Linux Headlines

        Ardour and Ubuntu Flavors call for testing of their upcoming major releases, Google aims to ease the burden of developing for ARM on x86, and Blender gains a new Corporate Gold-level sponsor.

    • Kernel Space

      • Some Of The Features To Look Forward To With Linux 5.7

        With the Linux 5.7 cycle kicking off in April with its merge window opening upon the release of Linux 5.6, here is a look at some of the changes and new features that have been on our radar for this next version of the Linux kernel.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Collabora & Microsoft to Bring OpenCL 1.2 and OpenGL 3.3 to DirectX 12 enabled Windows Devices

          But the company has also been working with Microsoft in order to provide an OpenCL 1.2 & OpenGL 3.3 translation layer for Windows devices compatible with DirectX 12.

        • AMDVLK 2020.Q1.4 Vulkan Driver Brings Direct Display Improvements

          AMDVLK 2020.Q1.4 is out today as the fourth and last open-source AMD Radeon Vulkan driver code drop of the quarter.

          AMDVLK 2020.Q1.4 simply notes that the immediate and mailbox modes have been enabled for the Vulkan direct display functionality. AMD has supported the VK_EXT_direct_mode_display direct mode display extension back to 2018. Vulkan’s direct display mode is for taking exclusive control of display(s) and geared for VR HMD use-cases. What’s new now is supporting the immediate and mailbox swapchain presentation modes under the direct display functionality.

    • Applications

      • Best Video Editor for Ubuntu

        The recent growth of the Internet has completely revolutionized the world, and to such an extent its influence has increased that it has even crept into our day to day lives. This rapid evolution has led to it becoming one of the key drivers behind the changes taking place in technology and has brought forward the development of so many important tools, that have impacted our daily lives greatly.This, in turn, has led to Mass Media becoming a key figure in modern culture which has become deeply embedded into our lives, changing the way we perceive the world. With the influence of media becoming widespread, it has thus led to an emergence of competitors in the industry.

        To keep on staying relevant and being ahead of others, one thus needs to be aware of the best video editors out there that can significantly improve the quality of the work being done. So, today we’ll be comparing some of the best video editors out there that are available for Ubuntu and how they mainly differentiate from one another.

      • Development update: 6.0-pre1 now ready for testing

        Well folks, we’ve done it. After two and a half years of development that has both excluded a few hoped-for features and also expanded to include many things not originally envisaged, we’re ready for people to start testing version 6.0-pre1. Please note: this is NOT the release of 6.0 – we’re now entering a testing phase that will continue through several “-preN” versions until we’re confident that it’s ready for release.

        The nightly version is now (as ever) available at nightly.ardour.org. If you’re a subscriber (or paid US$45 or more for a pre-built version of 5.x), you can download the fully functional version. Others can get the free/demo version which periodically goes silent. Obviously, since this is a nightly version, it will be updated most days to reflect any new development work and fixes as we move towards the actual release of 6.0.

      • Ardour 6.0 Digital Audio Workstation Sees First Pre-Release

        Following two and a half years of development, the first pre-release of the forthcoming Ardour 6.0 digital audio workstation is now available for testing.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine 5.5 Released With Expanded UCRTBase C Runtime Usage, Usual Assortment Of Fixes

        Wine 5.5 is out as the latest bi-weekly Wine development snapshot for running your favorite Windows games and applications on Linux and other platforms.

      • Wine Announcement
        The Wine development release 5.5 is now available.
        
        What's new in this release (see below for details):
          - Builtin libraries use the new UCRTBase C runtime.
          - Compatibility mode used when reporting Windows version.
          - Better support for debug information in PE files.
          - Support for linguistic case mappings.
          - More attributes supported in WebServices.
          - Various bug fixes.
        
        The source is available from the following locations:
        
        https://dl.winehq.org/wine/source/5.x/wine-5.5.tar.xz
        
        
        http://mirrors.ibiblio.org/wine/source/5.x/wine-5.5.tar.xz
        
        Binary packages for various distributions will be available from:
        
        https://www.winehq.org/download
        
        You will find documentation on https://www.winehq.org/documentation
        
        You can also get the current source directly from the git
        repository. Check https://www.winehq.org/git for details.
        
        Wine is available thanks to the work of many people. See the file
        AUTHORS in the distribution for the complete list.
        
      • Wine 5.5 development release out with new features and fixes

        As expected on their biweekly development cycle, the Wine hackers released the latest development version with Wine 5.5 out now with new features and fixes.

        Quick reminder: Wine is the software that can help run Windows games and applications on Linux.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Plasma BigScreen — A Brand New Free Linux Desktop For Smart TVs

          one are the days when televisions were only used for broadcasting programs by third parties. Now, anyone can turn their normal TV screen into a smart TV, running web applications or streaming videos — thanks to various TV software that ease the task along with voice command support.

          In addition to the same, KDE has launched Plasma Bigscreen — a new free and open-source desktop environment for big TV screens. The Plasma BigScreen is powered by KDE Plasma and Mycroft AI’s voice assistant technology to enhance the user experience on smart TV platforms.

        • Plasma Bigscreen: KDE Announced Plasma for TV

          Plasma Bigscreen is KDE’s interface for big TV screens which is announced based on KDE Neon image. Plasma Bigscreen is suitable for single board computers and large TV screens. KDE says that Plasma Bigscreen will provide media-rich applications suitable for TV and also the traditional KDE Plasma desktop applications.

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • It’s Official But Sad: TrueOS Is Over As Once The Best Desktop BSD OS

          It’s been on life support for a while but to much sadness, TrueOS indeed is no longer being maintained as the once very promising downstream of FreeBSD that for a while offered arguably the best out-of-the-box BSD desktop experience.

          TrueOS, formerly known as PC-BSD, is dead. Kris Moore, the VP of Engineering at iXsystems, confirmed earlier this month on their forums that work has ceased on the operating system.

        • OpenBSD -current – Frequent asked questions

          Hello, as there are so many questions about OpenBSD -current on IRC, Mastodon or reddit I’m writing this FAQ in hope it will help people.

          The official FAQ already contains answers about -current like Following -current and using snapshots and Building the system from sources.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Reasons to Give openSUSE a Try

          For some reason, all the light goes these days toward distributions like Ubuntu, Mint, Manjaro, Solus… And the other similar ones. But despite being an excellent Linux distribution in itself, openSUSE rarely receives attention in the Linux press and its userbase doesn’t sound to be comparable to other famous Linux distributions.

          This perhaps could be because people don’t know about the features of openSUSE? Or they fear trying it because of some reason. In any case, we’ll introduce you to the distribution and its features, and why you should give it a try.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • RHEL9 Likely To Drop Older x86_64 CPUs, Fedora Can Better Prepare With “Enterprise Linux Next”

          Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9 will likely see support for older x86_64 CPUs eliminated to focus on more modern x86_64 Intel/AMD families. With that, Red Hat developers working on Fedora have been working on an “Enterprise Linux Next” proposal to not only vet such x86_64 build changes but also to provide a feedback workflow for other changes.

          Brought up last month already was an extra buildroot for testing x86_64 microarchitecture updates on Fedora. Currently, Fedora and RHEL support x86_64 CPUs going back to the original AMD K8 CPUs but with RHEL9 some middle-ground will likely be pursued of aiming to support more recent x86_64 families and newer instruction set extensions by default while still supporting a diverse enough range of hardware to be in production use-cases during RHEL9′s life-cycle.

      • Debian Family

        • Call for testing: 4.5~rc1

          Tails 4.5, scheduled for April 7, will be the first version of Tails to support Secure Boot.

          You can help Tails by testing the release candidate for Tails 4.5 now.

        • Debian To Take On COVID-19 With A Biohackathon

          Debian developers are wanting to do their part to take on the global coronavirus pandemic by hosting a COVID-19 Biohackathon.

          This virtual event organized by Debian developers is taking place from 5 to 11 April. Their hope with this biohackathon is to “improve biomedical FOSS and the tools/libraries that support those projects.”

          Among the work they hope to see realized from this hackathon are addressing various bugs, contributing to upstream biomedical open-source software, and related work.

        • EasyPup 2.2.14 released

          Hot on the heals of EasyOS 2.2.14, EasyPup is released, for those who want a more traditional puppy. The apps and user interface is pretty much the same as EasyOS, but the underlying infrastructure is different.

        • antiX-19.2 (Hannie Schaft) bug-fix/upgrade isos available

          All new isos are bug-fix/upgrades/improvements of antiX-19 sysvinit series.

          BONUS: We now offer versions running the runit init system as well.

          No need to download if using antiX-19(.x).

          antiX-19.2 (Hannie Schaft) is based on Debian Buster and is fully systemd-free.

          As usual we offer the following systemd-free flavours for both 32 and 64 bit architecture, running sysvinit or runit.

          antiX-full (c1.1GB) – 4 windows managers – IceWM (default), fluxbox, jwm and herbstluftwm plus full libreoffice suite.

          antiX-base (c700MB so fits on a cd) – 4 windows managers – IceWM (default), fluxbox, jwm and herbstluftwm.

          antiX-core (c350MB) – no X, cli-installer without UEFI support nor encryption, but should support most wireless.

          antiX-net (c140MB)- no X, cli-installer without UEFI support nor encryption. Just enough to get you connected (wired) and ready to build.

          The 32 bit version uses a non-pae kernel.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint vs. Ubuntu – which is best for you?

          Which is the best Linux distro for you? In this article, we will present to you key differences between the two most popular Linux distros and let you decide. Ubuntu is released and maintained by a company called Canonical, while Linux Mint is community-driven. Which model will sustain? Read on to find more.

          When you come into the Linux world, there are hundreds of options. Although, two names come up for every beginner and in the mind of every experienced person – Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

          The conundrum is that which one among them? The best solution is to try both of them out, and then choose whatever seems to work the best for your needs. But here, we’re giving you some distinctions between the both that might make it easier for you to make a choice.

        • Official Ubuntu Flavors Urges Devs To Join ‘Ubuntu Testing Week’

          A large family of Ubuntu Linux desktops is ready to join Ubuntu testing week starting on April 02, 2020. On this occasion, all seven Ubuntu flavors will release their beta version for public testing before the official final stable release.

          In the wake of this event, Ubuntu flavors has requested the community to participate and help them find any bugs. With all the help, they would be able to fix all possible issues in the upcoming week before the final release.

          [...]

          Ubuntu releases the ISO image every day which you can find from the daily build repository here. Though Ubuntu testing week will officially begin next week, you can start testing and reporting bugs today.

          If you don’t know where to start, join the Ubuntu community and follow the ISO tracker where you can find test cases for all variants.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Contribute to open source healthcare projects for COVID-19

        Many of those that are familiar with the maker movement, including me, believe there is a significant opportunity to apply open source design principles and mass-scale collaborative distributed manufacturing technologies (like open source 3D printing) to at least partially overcome medical supply shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic. Already, an Italian hospital saved COVID-19 patients’ lives by 3D printing valves for reanimation devices.

        However, those designs were not open source, and hospitals still need to file paperwork to get to the STLs, needlessly wasting time, restricting the number of volunteers that could print the valves, and perhaps leading to unnecessary deaths. Far more beneficial would be a free source of vetted digital designs that anyone with access to equipment could fabricate for their local hospitals. Ideally, these designs would follow good open source design procedures. We are well aware of risks and shortcomings to this approach, and that those used to the standard model may not understand how fast technological development is in the open source community.

      • Open source fights against COVID-19, Google’s new security tool written in Python, and more open source news

        When COVID-19 started its march around the world, open source stepped up to try to help stop it. That includes using open data to create tracking dashboards and apps, designing ventilators, and developing protective gear.

        Scientists at the University of Waterloo in Canada have teamed with artificial intelligence firm DarwinAI to create an open source tool “to identify signs of Covid-19 in chest x-rays.” Called COVID-Net, it’s neural network “that is particularly good at recognizing images.” The dataset the researchers are using is available on GitHub, which includes a link the software.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • What If C++ Abandoned Backward Compatibility?

            Some C++ luminaries have submitted an intriguing paper to the C++ standards committee. The paper presents an ambitious vision to evolve C++ in the direction of safety and simplicity. To achieve this, the authors believe it is worthwhile to give up backwards source and binary compatibility, and focus on reducing the cost of migration (e.g. by investing in tool support), while accepting that the cost of each migration will be nonzero. They’re also willing to give up the standard linking model and require whole-toolchain upgrades for each new version of C++.

            I think this paper reveals a split in the C++ community. I think the proposal makes very good sense for organizations like Google with large legacy C++ codebases that they intend to continue investing in heavily for a long period of time. (I would include Mozilla in that set of organizations.) The long-term gains from improving C++ incompatibly will eventually outweigh the ongoing migration costs, especially because they’re already adept at large-scale systematic changes to their code (e.g. thanks to gargantuan monorepo, massive-scale static and dynamic checking, and risk-mitigating deployment systems). Lots of existing C++ software really needs those safety improvements.

          • Kiwi TCMS: Kiwi TCMS is Open Source Seed Award winner

            Kiwi TCMS is the proud winner of a $10,000 award from Mozilla, Indeed, Open Collective, Ford Foundation & Simply Secure. Read below for the full story!

            At the end of January Zahari alerted our team about the Open Source Speed Dating FOSDEM 2020 event and Alex was very swift in filing the application form. Just as we landed in Brussels, ready to host Testing and Automation devroom and the Open Source Test Management stand, we got the news – Kiwi TCMS has been selected as a participant.

            What followed was a very hasty day of preparing a 5 min pitch and rehearsing it as much as possible so we can be ready to present our project. Alex prepared the pitch and made final review and polishing together with Anton. For the record everything was written down on paper, including important facts about the project and schedule – when and where is our slot, how is Alex going to get there, when does he need to leave to be on time, etc. We believe that preparation was key here and that’s why our team always tries to be prepared when we participate at events! It was as good as it can get, no more changes!

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • New integration test framework in Collabora Online.

          At Collabora, we invest a lot of hard work to make LibreOffice’s features available in an online environment. Recently we greatly improved the Collabora Online mobile UI, so it’s more smooth to use it from a mobile device. While putting more and more work into the software, trying to support more and more different platforms, we need also to spend time improving the test frameworks we use for automatic testing. These test frameworks make sure that while we enrich the software with new features, the software remains stable during the continuous development process.

      • CMS

        • WordPress 5.4 RC5

          The fifth release candidate for WordPress 5.4 is live!

          WordPress 5.4 is currently scheduled to land on March 31 2020, and we need your help to get there—if you haven’t tried 5.4 yet, now is the time!

          You can test the WordPress 5.4 release candidate in two ways:

        • Best Performance WordPress with Google Cloud CDN and Load Balancing

          Best Performance WordPress with Google Cloud CDN and Load Balancing. Learn how to setup your WordPress application to handle high traffic with auto-scaling capabilities on Google Cloud Platform using HTTP(S) Layer 7 Load Balancing.

          In this guide you will install WordPress, configure your website to use Google Cloud Storage for media files, setup instance template, auto-scaling group to manage live traffic. You will also configure Google Cloud CDN for your website.

      • Funding

        • Intel Ramping Up Their Investment In Blender Open-Source 3D Modeling Software

          Intel Software has increased their developer funding provided to Blender, the leading open-source, cross-platform 3D modeling software.

          Intel now joins the likes of Ubisoft, Tangent Labs, and others as being a Corporate Gold sponsor to Blender. The Corporate Gold level means Intel’s software division is now contributing at least €30K per year to fund the Blender open-source development.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

        • Licensing/Legal

          • Cyber Warranties: Market Fix or Marketing Trick?

            Theoretical work suggests both the breadth of the warranty and the price of a product determine whether the warranty functions as a quality signal. Our analysis has not touched upon the price of these products. It could be that firms with ineffective products pass the cost of the warranty on to buyers via higher prices. Future studies could analyze warranties and price together to probe this issue.

            In conclusion, cyber warranties—particularly cyber-product warranties—do not transfer enough risk to be a market fix as imagined in Woods.5 But this does not mean they are pure marketing tricks either. The most valuable feature of warranties is in preventing vendors from exaggerating what their products can do. Consumers who read the fine print can place greater trust in marketing claims so long as the functionality is covered by a cyber-incident warranty.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Access/Content

          • Dr. Lucie Guibault on What Scientists Should Know About Open Access

            These actions are not surprising given the urgency of the current situation. In our previous post, “Now Is the Time for Open Access Policies—Here’s Why” we explain that rapid and unrestricted access to scientific research and educational materials is necessary to overcome this crisis. However, while we applaud the recent moves by organizations, publishers, and governments to open access to scientific research related to COVID-19, we believe the same level of sharing should be applied to all scientific research. Not only for the public good but also for the good of science. Science can only function properly if results, data, and insights are made openly available. “Universality is a fundamental principle of science,” explains the open access consortium cOAlition S, “only results that can be discussed, challenged, and, where appropriate, tested and reproduced by others qualify as scientific.”

      • Programming/Development

        • OpenBSD’s ‘spinning’ CPU time category

          Unix systems have long had a basic breakdown of what your CPU (or CPUs) was spending its time doing. The traditional division is user time, system time, idle time, and ‘nice’ time (which is user time for tasks that have their scheduling priority lowered through nice(1) or the equivalent), and then often ‘interrupt’ time, for how much time the system spent in interrupt handling. Some Unixes have added ‘iowait’, which is traditionally defined as ‘the system was idle but one or more processes were waiting for IO to complete’. OpenBSD doesn’t have iowait, but current versions have a new time category, ‘spinning’.

        • FOSDEM 2020 Conference Recap

          For the third year in a row, I attended FOSDEM, an amazing open source conference in Brussels, Belgium. Taking place, February 1-2, the event is a totally volunteer run conference geared towards promoting the widespread use of free and open source software. The Foundation has sponsored and organized a FreeBSD table there for a few years now.

        • POCL 1.5-RC1 Released As The Portable OpenCL Implementation For CPUs + Other Targets

          POCL 1.5 is on the way for release in April as the first feature update to this Portable OpenCL implementation since the previous release last September.

          POCL for those that don’t know about it is a portable OpenCL implementation that can be run on CPUs of various architectures. Beyond that, this OpenCL 1.2~2.0 implementation has also gained support for running OpenCL on NVIDIA GPUs over CUDA, on AMD GPUs via HSA, and other accelerator targets thanks to building off LLVM’s Clang.

        • Python

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Antitrust Regulators Turn Attention to Standards Organizations

        It’s well recognized by courts and regulators in many countries that standard setting among competitors can be procompetitive and good for consumers. As noted by the 5th Circuit Court in 1988, “it has long been recognized that the establishment and monitoring of trade standards is a legitimate and beneficial function of trade associations . . . [and] a trade association is not by its nature a ‘walking conspiracy’, its every denial of some benefit amounting to an unreasonable restraint of trade.”(1)

        But regulatory sands can shift, and especially at a time when broad and dramatic changes (political and otherwise) seem to be the rule rather than the exception, it makes sense for collaborative organizations to keep vigilant, and to review their policies and procedures on a regular basis to help ensure antitrust compliance.

        In my recent blog regarding Antitrust Laws and Open Collaboration, I briefly mentioned recent U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations into standards organizations. There were two, in particular, both focusing on internal policies and the importance of avoiding rules that might potentially disadvantage consumers or competitors. In this blog entry, we’ll take a deeper look at the specific types of conduct that concerned the regulators, and how the standards organizations under examination were eventually able to address those concerns.

  • Leftovers

    • Somebody Else’s World: An Interview with Kelly Reichardt

      Kelly Reichardt has slowly been building a reputation in American independent cinema as one of the most rigorous and profound working filmmakers in a rapidly receding artistic landscape. Her first film, River of Grass (1994), starring her producer and horror director Larry Fessenden, is a crafty and incisive feminist subversion of the “Lovers on the Run” subgenre. While Grass went fairly unnoticed in the indie glut of the mid-90s, Reichardt’s second film Old Joy (2006), an exploration of masculine anxiety, was a critical hit landing on many year-end “best of” lists. Since then, Reichardt has been working consistently, often collaborating with writer Jonathan Raymond and operating completely free of the studio system. Her films tend to be minimal in dialogue and action, yet these quiet moments contain volumes about what it means to live in the margins of America. Her new film, First Cow, is another collaboration with Raymond from his novel The Half Life and will be released in March, 2020 by A24. When she isn’t directing, Reichardt teaches film at Bard College in New York.

    • Education

      • When the State Shifted to E-learning, This Rural School Superintendent Shifted to the Copy Machine

        The Sunday afternoon before he sent the 850 students in his sprawling rural school district home because of the coronavirus outbreak, Superintendent Larry Lovel shared a picture on Twitter of a decade-old copy machine printing out enough worksheets to help keep them occupied for the expected two-week shutdown.

        But now the state’s school closures are expected to extend much longer, perhaps to the end of the school year, and that creates an ongoing dilemma for Trico District 176 and its families, one that reflects a much larger issue of equity that has been magnified by the coronavirus crisis.

      • Not All Schools Can #KeepLearning

        To encourage learning while schools are shut down, Illinois education officials have gathered online tools for educators and promoted the hashtag #keeplearning.

        Some students in Illinois, however, won’t be able to watch their teacher conduct live science experiments or download a story time video. They don’t have a computer or high-speed internet at home, or a cellphone data plan that would support it.

      • Half of academics leaving UK are EU citizens

        The figures, for the year to December 2018, show that more than 1,000 EU citizens working as academics left a UK university to go abroad, 550 of whom went to work in an institution in another country.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • An Age of Intoxication: Pick Your Poison

        Humans have been getting pissed, pilled or puffed with intoxicants for ages. You could argue that Eve got the ball rolling, and that the forbidden fruit was Dad’s stash, and, hell, if you pushed it, you could see how all of history is her hallucination.  We’ve all had our ‘altar-ed’ moments of holy sees on hooch or hash, all alone or at a ‘college’ bash. No one sums up the venal virtues of imbibing better than Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend: C’mere, he says, and you’d better.

      • The Covid-19 Opportunity

        As I write this we are into the second week of social distancing, in reaction to the pandemic, as is almost everyone I know. We are all worried about family, friends, and community. Where I live, in upstate New York, my local hospital is bracing to accommodate an expected wave of infected patients, and our local businesses are pulling back, when they are not closing. Nothing this disruptive has happened, at least since World War II.

      • The Propaganda Virus: Is Anyone Immune?

        I haven’t eaten fast food chicken since 2001, or a fast food burger since 1995. Giving these things up was part of an ongoing process of cleaning up my diet in terms of both health and ethics, and I haven’t missed either of them. Yet regularly, when I catch a whiff of KFC or McDonalds, I’ll experience a momentary pang of desire, even though I’m sure I’d get sick if I actually consumed any of that crap at this point. The reason for this is simple: many aromas released by fast food restaurants are scientifically developed in laboratories for the purpose of triggering physiological responses.

      • Why the Coronavirus Pandemic Poses Fundamental Challenges to All Societies

        The COVID-19 pandemic is now moving at a speed that the world had not anticipated a few weeks back. It reached its first 100,000 infected in 67 days, then doubled to 200,000 within the next 11 days, and now it has doubled again, reaching 400,000 by March 24. Europe, particularly the core European Union countries—Italy, Spain, France, and Germany—is the new epicenter of the COVID-19 epidemic. China, followed by South Korea, managed to contain their outbreaks; the European countries did not.

      • To Survive the Coronavirus, Americans Should Learn From Mexicans

        During the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis in the U.S. (and beyond), it behooves Americans to learn from individuals of Mexican origin in el norte about the art of survival in a time of crisis. (For this short essay, I’ll refer to individuals of Mexican origin in the U.S.—citizens, residents, immigrants, etc.—as “Mexicans in el norte.”)

      • Gaza Has Been Under Siege for Years. Covid-19 Could Be Catastrophic

        When people began posting the following note on their Facebook wall, I immediately felt an intense sense of unease.

        [...]

        For the past few weeks we have been inundated with information about the preparedness of health care systems and how they affect mortality rates. Giving South Korea as an example, experts suggest that testing for Covid-19 is essential for saving lives, comparing that country favorably with Italy and Spain. Yet in Gaza, there are currently very few test kits (about 200), and, according to Ghada Majadli of Physicians for Human Rights, Israel, as of March 23, only 99 people have been tested.

      • COVID-19, the Exponential Function and Human the Survival

        It’s time for us all to understand the Exponential Function.

      • The Coronavirus and the Real Threats to American Safety and Freedom

        Americans are facing “A Spring Unlike Any Before.” So warned a front-page headline in the March 13th New York Times.

      • Letter From Catalonia: Alarming Measures

        I’m in a small city in Catalonia called Olot, not far from the Pyrenees. I came here because I knew the coronavirus lockdown would be much rougher in Barcelona. Still, people walk around with masks and keep social distances, barely going out. There are three of us in a two-bedroom apartment. We read the news with a sort of automatic horror and try – using social networks and videochats – to keep our social contacts, our work, and even our militancy going. It’s an uphill path, and we are surely slipping. 

      • A second US Dust Bowl would hit world food stocks

        When the US Great Plains are hit again by sustained drought, the world’s food stocks will feel the heat.

      • Fear and Loathing in Coronaville Volume 1: Dispatches From a Terrified Heartland

        Being a certifiable agoraphobic basket case, you would think someone like me would be almost preternaturally suited for the stone blind isolation of fever fucked pandamania. And you would be completely fucking wrong. I spent six years in self-imposed isolation as a twenty-something shut in. I spent another six desperately clawing my way out of that hole and slowly building what has only just begun to resemble a life, and in less than six days, covid-19 has torn this intricately constructed matrix of groups, volunteer jobs and therapy down to the ground and reduced me to the shambled debris of ground zero. I’m a little bit pissed, but mostly I’m just fucking scared. If I’m going to write about something like this, I’m going to write about it with the naked ferocity that defines my writing. A strange, vaguely haunted cobweb of Gonzo muckraking and navel-gazing confessionals that I’ve come to refer to as Emo-Gonzo. I am the genderfucked bastard bitch of Hunter Thompson and Sylvia Plath, humped together in the dizzy oven of some bored press junket cafeteria, and today, this is my story. George Romero eat your heart out.

      • In the Grip of Disease

        Even more than war, the corona virus pandemic is causing chaos. It is threatening the people of the United Kingdom as well as human beings all over the world. The virus is invisible. It can be everywhere and nowhere.

      • A New Threat to California’s Rivers:  Will the Rush to Develop Our Newest Water Source Destroy More Streams?

        The first plans implementing California’s landmark groundwater law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act or SGMA, have been submitted to the California Department of Water Resources.  They are for portions of the state where groundwater is “critically over-drafted,” a situation the plans are supposed to reverse. Some of the plans call for diverting flood and seasonally high streamflows to groundwater storage as a means to comply with SGMA while allowing the maximum amount of irrigated and animal agriculture to continue.

      • Wash Your Hands…If You Have Water

        In 2014, the Detroit Water and Sewage Department began what the ACLU called “the largest residential water shutoff in U.S. history,” cutting off more than 20,000 residents it claimed hadn’t paid their bills — although many of them had, according to the ACLU.

        Payment or not, there’s no excuse for shutting off the water. The United Nations declared that Detroit was violating human rights by turning the water off without a care for health needs.

        Now, six years later, Detroiters may finally be getting some relief. Local organizers have been fighting the city’s aggressive shutoff program this entire time, but their demands became even more urgent in the face of coronavirus.

        The People’s Water Board, a coalition of groups in Detroit advocating for the protection, access, and conservation of water, petitioned Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to declare a moratorium on shutoffs, pointing out that the state had particular reason to fear the pandemic thanks to lack of water access.

        “It should not take an outbreak to realize that lack of water and sanitation poses a danger to the public health of those impacted by shutoffs, and everyone in our state,” they wrote.

        After these appeals, Detroit announced the Coronavirus Water Restart Plan to reconnect thousands of Detroit households without water, or facing a potential shutoff, for $25 a month for the duration of the crisis.

      • Mary Grant on Water & Covid-19, David Cay Johnston on the Last Bailout

        This week on CounterSpin: No directive has been more repeated during the Covid-19 pandemic than “wash your hands”—a simple act, but a powerful intervention to stop the spread of disease. But: What if you can’t? That’s the reality faced by millions of Americans who have their water shut off because they’re not able to pay for it. Along with many other things, Covid-19 has underscored the individual and communal harms of a water affordability crisis in this country that usually remains hidden. We’ll hear about the problem and responses to it from Mary Grant, Public Water for All campaign director at Food & Water Watch.

      • Could the Death of the National Security State be a Silver Lining of COVID-19?

        Could something good come from the catastrophe of COVID-19? Might the epic insecurity of a plague teach us something about national security?

      • Russian health agency says one in five Russians infected with coronavirus caught it through community spread

        Twenty percent of SARS-CoV-2 infections in Russia occurred because somebody already in the country passed the novel coronavirus on to somebody else, said Dr. Anna Popova, who leads Russia’s Federal Service for Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor).

      • “I Will Not Kill My Mother for Your Stock Portfolio”
      • Life and Death in the Epicenter

        When it comes to warding off COVID-19, I’ve been ahead of the curve. Last October, after a bout with acute bronchitis that lasted most of the month, I resolved never to go through such an ordeal again. I started using hand sanitizer and avoided touching my face. Like my glaucoma, it is a geriatric illness. When I checked the New York Times archives for tips on dealing with bronchitis, I was shocked to discover how many well-known and powerful geezers came down with it: Konrad Adenauer, Boris Yeltsin, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Paul Robeson. None died from bronchitis, but around half were hospitalized, a routine treatment for powerful heads of state (except for Robeson.)

      • The Trump Administration Is Leaving the Nation’s Emergency Backup Hospital System on the Sidelines

        The Trump administration is leaving untapped reinforcements and supplies from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, even as many hospitals are struggling with a crush of coronavirus patients.

        The VA serves 9 million veterans through 170 hospitals and more than 1,000 clinics, but it’s also legally designated as the country’s backup health system in an emergency. As part of the National Disaster Medical System, the VA has deployed doctors and equipment to disasters and emergencies in recent instances such as Hurricane Maria and the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. The VA system has 13,000 acute care beds, including 1,800 intensive care unit beds.

      • This VA Hospital Cited “Misleading” Data to Restrict Mask Use for Health Care Workers

        Hospital employees across the country have been blocked from wearing surgical masks in certain situations to protect against infection by the new coronavirus — including those they bring to work themselves.

        Workers at the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, have been told not to wear face masks unless they have lingering respiratory symptoms after an illness, are under surveillance following COVID-19 exposure or are treating patients showing signs of COVID-19.

      • Russia’s Karelia shuts down all public transport as Grozny stops letting in travelers without residency papers

        The government of Karelia, the federal subject that makes up Russia’s northwest corner, has ordered a stop to all public transport due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Artur Parfenchikov announced the shutdown in a video message to the republic’s population. From March 29 through April 4, only taxis will be available in Karelia, the governor said, emphasizing that this is an unprecedented measure.

      • Lutz Alone

        Most musical instruments can be grabbed and taken along in the retreat into self-isolation—from the kazoo in the pocket to the violin slung over the shoulder. Others are more unwieldy. The tuba hardly counts as hand luggage. But none is more unwieldy than the organ.

      • Russia’s ‘non-business days’ next week to fight coronavirus don’t apply to people who can work from home, says the Kremlin

        Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Friday that Russians able to work from home should do so next week, when Vladimir Putin has declared a “non-work week” to curb the spread of coronavirus.

      • Russia’s number of confirmed COVID-19 cases passes 1,000

        As of March 27, Russia now has 1,036 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Doctors recorded another 196 cases in the past day, including 157 infections in Moscow, where 703 people have been diagnosed with the disease. For the first time, coronavirus has also spread to the Russian regions of Mordovia and Dagestan.

      • Russians book up Black Sea hotels following Putin’s paid leave announcement, prompting regional governor to forbid checking in

        Krasnodar Krai Governor Veniamin Kondratyev has ordered all hotel room reservations and check-ins to be suspended from March 28 to April 5. The temporary ban also applies to resorts and sanitoriums, according to a document published on the website of the governor’s administration.

      • Prezdemic: Lines written in Quarantine

        My interest in staying home is not you but me
        You are a possible contagion source and an end to me
        But I can also easily see you back at work for the economy
        Covid-19 erased with a sagacious presidential word
        Don’t mind that Fauci behind the screen out of camera range
        He’s of the same scientist fold that clamors about climate change
        And you on bus or subway to work to expand my dividend?
        Remember you took this risk thinking of me and not your end
        What a small price to be paid by The Old beginning that day
        April 12th chosen by our president prophesying it beautiful
        So perfect when the market returns to its patriotic bullish play
        So what if our Leader at center stage repeats absurdities
        Spewing from gut to mouth sure signs of his instabilities
        He polls high as our champion in this pandemic
        A regular old flu he declares causes no more than a slight emetic
        All the missteps, delays, and failures he can again offer Obama to blame

      • 340,000 coronavirus test kits sold to Spain by China defective

        As China seeks to position itself as the savior of the world during the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, using verbs such as “supplied” and “delivered” to give the impression that the totalitarian regime donated testing kits and medical supplies, another report has surfaced of a country dealing with defective Chinese products.

        The Spanish Society of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology (SEIMC) on its website announced that nose swab kits produced by Shenzhen Bioeasy Biotechnology are accurate just 30 percent of the time, in contrast to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) standard of 80 percent.

      • ‘God Knows How Many People We Infected’: New Rules Aim to Get Exposed Passengers Home

        Four people died on the Zandaam cruise ship after it was turned away in Chile. The United States is easing protocols to help speed cruise passengers home. But can that be done safely?

      • They Didn’t Have Coronavirus Symptoms Until After They Gave Birth. Then They Tested Positive.

        The 38-year-old mother had experienced a complicated pregnancy, made riskier by Type 2 diabetes and a liver condition that causes bile to build up in the blood. On March 19, in her 37th week, she went to Columbia University Medical Center in New York City to be induced. Neither she nor her husband reported any of the worrisome symptoms that health care providers are watching for to screen for COVID-19, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat. In fact, the woman’s temperature was slightly below normal, at 98.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

        Then, while the woman was in labor, her temperature climbed to 101.3. Suspecting that she had developed a potentially dangerous bacterial infection called chorioamnionitis, her care team gave her antibiotics and acetaminophen, which seemed to stabilize her. But labor was progressing slowly, and doctors decided to perform a cesarean section. As they were stitching up their patient, she began to hemorrhage uncontrollably. The team raced to intubate her, but her breathing rapidly worsened. When doctors finally had her condition under control, they decided to evaluate her for COVID-19. She tested positive.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Malicious JavaScript Dropping Payload in the Registry

          When we speak about “fileless” malware, it means that the malware does not use the standard filesystem to store temporary files or payloads. But they need to write data somewhere in the system for persistence or during the infection phase. If the filesystem is not used, the classic way to store data is to use the registry. Here is an example of a malicious JavaScript code that uses a temporary registry key to drop its payload (but it also drops files in a classic way).

          The malware was delivered via a Microsoft Word document [...]

        • Experts see over 600 percent spike in malicious emails during coronavirus crisis

          The researchers saw a 667 percent increase in malicious phishing emails that were using the coronavirus. These types of emails try to lure individuals to click on dangerous links or download attachments that typically include computer viruses.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • How much power and influence do Open Source foundations have?

              “I finally switched over to Linux full time. Yay! How much power and influence do open source foundations have and how much does it affect me as a consumer of open source software?” – Evan First off, welcome to Club Linux, Evan! You’ll find the waters here to be, overall, warm and relaxing. As for the question of how much influence various foundations actually have in the Open Source, Free Software, and Linux world… well… that’s a tricky question that will take us, meandering, through the wilderness.

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

            • The Warren Campaign Is Gone—but Its Tech May Live On [Ed: Warren chose Microsoft as staffers for her campaign, so no wonder all her work is now being outsourced to a proprietary prison of Microsoft (GitHub)]

              BEFORE IT ENDED earlier this month, Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign developed a reputation for two things: detailed plans to solve concrete problems and a robust ground game. Those attributes came together on the campaign’s tech team, which built a grassroots organizing machine on the backend. That wasn’t enough to win Warren the nomination, but veterans from the team are trying to make sure their work wasn’t all for naught. They’re making seven in-house software projects available to everyone for free on GitHub, the most popular destination for open-source software on the web, in the hope that other Democratic campaigns can build on what they developed during the campaign.

              “We believe we’ll be the biggest open-sourcing of political tech that has happened,” said Mike Conlow, who was the campaign’s chief technology strategist. Few political campaigns are big and well-funded enough to develop their own software. Fewer still make that software open source.

              The tools themselves are not exactly revolutionary; they’re more in the vein of filling in gaps in commercially available political tech. In its early days, the campaign relied on off-the-shelf software. But as the tech team grew to nearly 20 people, it was able to take on software projects of its own. “We were focused on choosing projects where we didn’t think there was an adequate vendor tool out there on the market,” Conlow added. Campaign organizers noticed, for example, that the onboarding process for new volunteers could use more of a personal touch than the system they were using provided. When a new volunteer signed up, they would only receive an automated message. So the team built a tool, which they called Switchboard, that made it easy for organizers to personally reach out to volunteers as soon as they signed up.

        • Security

          • The Keyring Concept in Ubuntu: What is It and How to Use it?

            It keeps on popping up several times before disappearing if you keep on clicking cancel. You may wonder why do you keep seeing this keyring message all the time?

            Let me tell you something. It’s not an error. It’s a security feature.

          • This developer is working to improve bitcoin’s build system in a bid to stop ‘rampant’ phishing attacks
          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • How Much Data Does Clearview Gather On People? The Answer (Sadly) Will Not Surprise You.

              Clearview’s facial recognition app links to a database of 4 billion pictures. And those photos are linked to all the data that got scraped up with them, culled (without permission) from sites like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn… pretty much anywhere people post photos and personal information.

            • EFF Asks California AG to Close Loopholes, Respect “Do Not Track” With Regulations

              Today, EFF once again joined a coalition of privacy advocates filing comments with the California Attorney General (AG) on the latest proposed regulations for the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The CCPA was passed in June 2018 and took effect on January 1, 2020. Later this year, the AG will finalize regulations that dictate how exactly the law will be enforced.

              While the first set of proposed regulations were (as we wrote at the time) a “good step forward” that could have gone further, the first revision to those regulations—published earlier this year—was largely a step backwards for privacy. Two weeks ago, the AG released a second set of revisions to the draft regulations, available here. [.pdf] With the enforcement deadline approaching, the public is running out of chances to weigh in on the rulemaking process. Some of the worst features of the regulations have been cut, but this round of modifications still falls short of a user-friendly implementation of CCPA. In fact, some new provisions added this round threaten to undermine the intent of the law.

            • EFF, ACLU & CDT Argue Five Months of Warrantless Covert 24/7 Video Surveillance Violates Fourth Amendment

              Should the fact that your neighbors can see the outside of your house mean the police can use a camera to record everything that happens there for more than five months? We don’t think so either. That’s why we joined ACLU, ACLU of Massachusetts, and the Center for Democracy & Technology in filing an amicus brief last week in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court arguing the Fourth Amendment and Massachusetts’s state equivalent protect us from warrantless video surveillance of our homes.

              In Commonwealth v. Mora, Massachusetts State Police secretly installed several cameras high up on utility poles in front of Nelson Mora and Randy Suarez’s homes. These “pole cameras” allowed officers to watch video feeds of the two homes (and by extension everyone going in and out of the homes) in real time, remotely control angle and zoom functions, and zoom in close enough to read license plates. Officers recorded the footage over a period of several months, which allowed them to go back, search through, and review footage at their convenience. They never got a warrant to install the cameras, and the extended surveillance was not subject to any court oversight.  

            • Taiwan is using a phone location “electronic fence” to help police track quarantined individuals

              The government in Taiwan has rolled out an “electronic fence” to keep quarantined individuals in their homes. The “electronic fence” uses mobile phone data to notify police if the cell phones of any people under mandatory quarantine leave their home areas. Travelers returning from abroad are subject to a mandatory quarantine so the electronic fence is being used on both Taiwanese citizens and non-citizens. If caught, quarantine dodgers are subject to a 1,000,000 NTD fine, which equates to around $33,000 USD – such a fine has already been levied at least once. Jyan Hong-wei, the head of Taiwan’s Department of Cyber Security, explained to Reuters:

            • Telecoms across Europe are sharing phone location data with governments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic

              A telecommunications lobbying group, the GSMA, has confirmed that several telecom companies in Europe are providing mobile phone location data with the European Union as a way to track the spread of COVID-19. According to Reuters and other media sources, these are the telecommunications companies that are working with the European Union to provide “anonymized” data sets:

            • Detecting Privacy Badger’s Canvas FP detection

              Privacy badger injects fingerprinting.js, along with several other context scripts, as specified in its manifest.json, to all the frames (“all_frames“: true) of all the pages (“matches”: [ “” ]) visited by the user, before any other script in the page has executed (“run_at“: “document_start“).

              Content script have access to their frame DOM, but a separate JavaScript context. Because the goal of the script requires to monitors things that happen in the page JS context (canvas manipulation and serialization), this content script injects another, self removing script into the frame DOM, which executes in its JS context.

              This script hooks into several canvas related APIs, including fillText (manipulation) and toDataURL (serialization). I wrote about JS hooking before, in the context of spoofing viewabiliy measurements. Whenever once of these APIs gets called, Privacy Badger hook is figuring out the caller script URL form within the call stack.

            • Zoom iOS app quietly sending data to Facebook, even if you have no account [Update: Fixed]

              The Zoom iOS app is sharing data with Facebook, without declaring it in the privacy policy. This happens whether or not you have a Facebook account.

              Data shared with Facebook includes your iPhone or iPad model, your time-zone, city, phone carrier and a unique identifier which can be used for ad-targeting …

            • Zoom iOS App Sends Data to Facebook Even if You Don’t Have a Facebook Account

              As people work and socialize from home, video conferencing software Zoom has exploded in popularity. What the company and its privacy policy don’t make clear is that the iOS version of the Zoom app is sending some analytics data to Facebook, even if Zoom users don’t have a Facebook account, according to a Motherboard analysis of the app.

              This sort of data transfer is not uncommon, especially for Facebook; plenty of apps use Facebook’s software development kits (SDK) as a means to implement features into their apps more easily, which also has the effect of sending information to Facebook. But Zoom users may not be aware it is happening, nor understand that when they use one product, they may be providing data to another service altogether.

            • Snowden warns: The surveillance states we’re creating now will outlast the coronavirus

              Supporters of the draconian measures argue that normal rules are not enough during a pandemic and that the long-term risks can be addressed once the outbreak is contained. But a brief suspension of civil liberties can quickly be extended.

              Security services will soon find new uses for the tech. And when the crisis passes, governments can impose new laws that make the emergency rules permanent and exploit them to crack down on dissent and political opposition.

            • Business in the time of COVID-19: US Cybersecurity and Privacy Issues for You to Consider

              The CDC is working with Palantir and Google, among others, to model the spread of the virus using data scraped from public social media. A task force has also been developed that is working in conjunction with the government, and includes several companies from the technology sector.

              Data analytics company Palantir is working with the CDC to track COVID-19 through the use of data mapping and integration. The CDC previously worked with Palantir during the 2010 cholera outbreak in Haiti to monitor communications within the populace and track the spread of the disease. Similarly, the facial-recognition firm Clearview AI may potentially collaborate with state authorities to use facial-recognition technology to track infected individuals. Clearview reportedly developed its facial recognition algorithm using approximately 3 billion images scraped without permission from various websites. The company hopes to contribute to a greater understanding of “contact tracing”, the term given to the practice of identifying individuals that infected individuals may have been in contact with.

              The government is also in active talks with technology companies about using location data gleaned from cell phones to track the proliferation of the virus and to track whether Americans are adhering to social distancing protocols. As currently developed, the plan would involve the technology companies sending collected anonymous and aggregated geolocation and facial recognition data from their apps to the federal government as a means to map the presence of the virus. At this time, Google has indicated that the plan would not involve sharing an individual’s movement or individual location. The data could be used to demonstrate the impact of social distancing and spread of COVID-19, similar to the way Google is able to show store traffic or traffic patterns. The assumption is that the spikes in aggregated geolocation data could help the government track COVID-19, while detecting, disrupting, and discouraging gatherings that could result in a dramatic transmission of the virus between infected and non-infected populations.

            • Court appearing through WhatsApp

              A day later, that is today, the person’s conditional freedom plea was heard by a magistrate of the District Court of Black River (Bambous), through WhatsApp and the decision to allow bail was given through same. While court cases heard through video conferencing is not a new thing in Mauritius, it is definitely a first that a common online messaging tool such as WhatsApp has been used to hear a court plea.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • We Just Barely Averted a Gigantic Pandemic Grift by Big Pharma

        The first reports on Monday of Gilead receiving orphan status were neutral. Politico reported simply that “Gilead’s antiviral gets a rare disease nod ensuring 7 years of market exclusivity,” with no editorialization. The Washington Post said gently that it might “seem inappropriate given the rapidly expanding threat of the outbreak” but then quoted an analyst calling it “pretty standard.”

        A separate article in US News and World Report reveals that the analyst quoted in the Washington Post is a financial analyst at an investment bank and asset management firm called Piper Sandler. In that article, the Wall Street analyst further defended Gilead’s procurement of orphan drug status: “It says nothing about profiting off of the pandemic, but it does provide protection if remdesivir turns into a business in subsequent years.”

        The media coverage of the orphan drug classification was neutral or at most lightly critical — until Lerner and Fang’s article was published on Monday evening in the Intercept. Outrage on social media soon followed. On Tuesday, several more critical news stories followed in the left and mainstream press.

      • Truthdig staff laid off amid work stoppage

        Readers of the progressive news site Truthdig may have seen a cheerless message posted to the homepage this week. “Truthdig is going on a hiatus,” the website states. “Our archives of 15 years of award-winning independent journalism are available for free. Be well, stay safe and look out for each other.”

        What a “hiatus” means is unclear, even to the news site’s former employees. On Wednesday, letters of termination arrived in the inboxes of the site’s small staff amid a work stoppage and global pandemic. [Editor's note: Salon occasionally reprints articles from Truthdig through an informal republishing agreement.]

      • Statement From Striking Truthdig Workers

        On Wednesday night, amid reports that much of the country was going into quarantine indefinitely, Truthdig’s staff received an email with the subject line “Re: Truthdig.” The email was to inform us that Truthdig LLC was being dissolved and that our positions at the publication had been terminated. Chris Hedges, the site’s most widely read columnist, was among those fired, despite the fact that he raised grant money to cover his own salary.

      • Letter from Truthdig’s Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer to the Publisher Zuade Kaufman

        I want to register my strongest possible disagreement with your unilateral decisions to bar me from the Truthdig site, close the site, and discharge Truthdig’s employees. Each of your actions represents a violation of Truthdig’s Operating Agreement, which requires that you and I agree on actions such as those you have taken on your own. To make myself clear, you have not consulted me, and I disagree.

        Although you claim that your actions have been required by Truthdig’s shaky financial situation, it appears that you have not taken into account funds that have been raised from third parties to support Truthdig. My understanding is that those funds are sufficient to continue Truthdig’s operations, although perhaps at a reduced level. I do not understand how you believe that you can unilaterally determine how those funds should be used going forward. Likewise, I am sure you understand that the Senate agreed today on a financial bailout package that could provide funding to maintain Truthdig’s operations at some level. The combination of potential funding and the need for Truthdig’s voice at this critical time in our nation’s history makes your actions incomprehensible and indefensible.

        Additionally, I am very concerned that you have given Truthdig’s employees powerful ammunition to use against Truthdig. They will be able to argue that you both closed the site and terminated them from employment in retaliation for their protected collective activities in going on strike and for filing complaints with the National Labor Relations Board and State Labor Commissioner. Your actions have greatly contributed to the potential success of their claims with the NLRB and with the Labor Commissioner.

    • Environment

      • Citing virus, EPA has stopped enforcing environmental laws

        The move was the latest, and one of the broadest, regulation-easing moves by the EPA, which is seeking to roll back dozens of regulations as part of President Donald Trump’s purge of rules that the administration sees as unfriendly to business. Civil and criminal enforcement of polluters under the administration has fallen sharply.

        Former Obama-era EPA chief Gina McCarthy, now president of the Natural Resources Defence Council, called the announcement “an open license to pollute.”

      • Citing Coronavirus, EPA Suspends Environmental Rules Indefinitely

        The Environmental Protection Agency, headed by former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, announced on Thursday a sweeping and indefinite suspension of environmental rules amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic, a move green groups warned gives the fossil fuel industry a “green light to pollute with impunity.”

      • 2 800 soldiers deployed for coronavirus lockdown

        President Cyril Ramaphosa has authorised the deployment of 2 820 members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to help contain the COVID-19 coronavirus.

        This is according to a letter sent by President Cyril Ramaphosa to the speaker of the National Assembly on Wednesday, informing Parliament of the deployment of the SANDF, who are assisting the police in enforcing the 21-day lockdown effective midnight Thursday.

      • Coronavirus Spring

        It’s Spring, and nature is blooming. Coronavirus has done (temporarily, at least) what no Paris Agreement, Green New Deal, man, woman or even that scrappy teen, Greta Thunberg (who may have also contracted COVID-19), could do. It has shut down a huge amount of the industrial, transportation and pollution-belching business activity that is destroying life on earth.

      • Energy

        • Yet Another Study Confirms: Electric Cars Reduce Climate Pollution

          The team of European researchers behind the new study build on recent similar findings by the research group Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Each of these studies have taken a worldwide look at the life cycle emissions from EVs that are charged by a variety of forms of electricity generation, from the cleanest to the dirtiest of grids. The new study again dispels the myth that electric cars are more polluting than gas-powered cars because they are charged by coal-fired electricity.

        • Exxon May Crush Bailout Hopes for Suffering Fracking Companies

          But that’s not the same message across the entire oil and gas industry.

        • Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Prevails as Federal Judge Strikes Down DAPL Permits

          A federal court today granted a request by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to strike down federal permits for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.

          The Court found the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the National Environmental Policy Act when it affirmed federal permits for the pipeline originally issued in 2016. Specifically, the Court found significant unresolved concerns about the potential impacts of oil spills and the likelihood that one could take place.

        • Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Wins a Victory in Dakota Access Pipeline Case

          The ruling by United States District Judge James E. Boasberg found that the pipeline’s “effects on the quality of the human environment are likely to be highly controversial” and that the federal government had not done an adequate job of studying the risks of a major spill or whether the pipeline’s leak detection system was adequate.

          He ordered the United States Army Corps of Engineers, which granted the permits for the pipeline, to conduct a more extensive environmental impact statement.

        • Judge Orders Environmental Review Of Controversial Dakota Access Pipeline

          Nearly three years after crude oil started to flow through the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, a federal judge has ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a full environmental review.

          It’s a major victory for the Native American tribes and environmental groups who have been fighting against the project for years.

          U.S. District Judge James Boasberg has not decided whether oil can still flow in the meantime. But his opinion Wednesday requests that the two sides submit briefings next month for and against keeping the oil moving, potentially opening the door for the judge to shut it down.

        • Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Prevails as Federal Judge Strikes Down DAPL Permits

          The Court ordered the Corps to prepare a full environmental impact statement on the pipeline, something that the Tribe has sought from the beginning of this controversy. The Court asked the parties to submit additional briefing on the question of whether to shut down the pipeline in the interim.

          “After years of commitment to defending our water and earth, we welcome this news of a significant legal win,” said Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Mike Faith. “It’s humbling to see how actions we took four years ago to defend our ancestral homeland continue to inspire national conversations about how our choices ultimately affect this planet. Perhaps in the wake of this court ruling the federal government will begin to catch on, too, starting by actually listening to us when we voice our concerns.”

          “This validates everything the Tribe has been saying all along about the risk of oil spills to the people of Standing Rock,” said Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman. “The Obama administration had it right when it moved to deny the permits in 2016, and this is the second time the Court has ruled that the government ran afoul of environmental laws when it permitted this pipeline. We will continue to see this through until DAPL has finally been shut down.”

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • A Message For America from Brazil’s First Indigenous Congresswoman

          Last year, we all watched in horror as the Amazon rainforest burned at an unprecedented rate. We cannot afford to lose it, especially amid a climate emergency. It’s vast greenery releases oxygen and stores carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping gas that causes of global warming. The death of the Amazon would mean the end of life on Earth.

      • Overpopulation

        • Hong Kong epidemiologist warns pandemic’s end may not be straightforward

          The number of new cases of the coronavirus has been falling in countries such as China and South Korea that experienced the outbreak early on. Still, epidemiologists are worried about second — and even third — waves of COVID-19.

          Dr. Gabriel Leung is an infectious disease epidemiologist and the dean of medicine at The University of Hong Kong. He’s also the founding director of the WHO’s Collaborating Center for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Control. He spoke to The World’s host Marco Werman about how the pandemic might end.

        • Trumped: pandemic to cost America $5 trillion … or more

          We need the government to act or we could fall into a depression rivalling the 1930s.

          An 18-month crisis is widely expected. The Trump administration plan is for 18 months. That implies $5 trillion based on my calculations.

          The ultimate cost of this novel virus is likely to be north of $7 trillion, assuming this pandemic endures for two years, as German public health officials warn.

        • Africa’s population will double by 2050

          As a result, some doomsayers are dusting off the theories of Thomas Malthus, who argued in 1798 that a growing human population would starve because it would outstrip the supply of food. Among these is Malcolm Potts, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who argued in a paper in 2013 that “the Sahel could become the first part of planet Earth that suffers large-scale starvation and escalating conflict as a growing human population outruns diminishing natural resources.”

          Yet demographic forecasts of coming decades diverge in a way that could be crucial. The UN expects Africa’s population to double again between 2050 and 2100, to 4.3bn people, or 39% of the world’s total and that fertility rates (the average number of children that women will have over their lives) will fall slowly. It reckons that the rate, which has dropped to about 4.4 from 6.7 in 1980, will take another 30 years to fall below three. But that underestimates the impact of a big jump in the number of girls who are now going to school across large parts of the continent, argues Wolfgang Lutz, a demographer at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis near Vienna. It also highlights the urgency of getting even more of them into school.

        • The disconcerting association between overpopulation and the COVID-19 crisis

          We all have a clear notion of how the present coronavirus epidemic unfolded and its proximate causes. The zoonotic nature of the virus is widely accepted. The social mechanisms of the illness’s rapid transmission also are well understood. But it seems that we have not really apprehended the role that overcrowding and population density play as critical indirect drivers in the pandemic pathology. There are two main factors at play.

          [...]

          The second way growing population density drives the coronavirus pandemic involves the way the virus is transmitted. Epidemiologists have long relied on the reproduction number — or in technical jargon: R0 – (R naught) to design strategies for confronting infectious disease. R0 is defined as the number of cases, on average, an infected person causes during their infectious period. If that number falls below 1, the epidemic wanes. A disease with a high R0 spreads quickly.

          Measles is a particularly contagious illness — with an R0 of 12 to 18. Estimates for the infectiousness of COVID-19 are lower and have been reported to span 1.4 -3.8. It is well to consider the reasons behind these broad ranges.

          Many factors determining R0 are beyond our control. These include the infectiousness of the agent; its incubation period; and mode of transmission. One critical factor, however, is not built-in biologically: population density. When people live in dispersed rural environments, there is less human interaction and lower transmission.

        • Letter to the editor: Covid-19 & overpopulation

          Overpopulation results in polluted water, air pollution, deforestation, rising crime rates, loss of wildlife leading to mass extinctions, widespread food shortages, vanishing fish in the oceans, regional conflicts and war, and proliferation of infectious diseases, super bugs and airborne diseases, along with diminishing capacity to treat them, and overwhelmed hospitals.

    • Finance

      • Instead of COVID-19 Hazard Pay, Spectrum Is Giving Its Repair Techs $25 Gift Cards To Closed Restaurants

        Despite its obvious reputational problems, Comcast has actually been stepping up for its workers during the COVID-19 crisis, paying its employees hazard pay, allowing unnecessary personnel to work at home, and closing at least some of its retail locations.

      • What 9/11 Can Teach Us About Responding to COVID-19

        On the morning of September 11, 2001, my colleagues and I handed out water on Lower Broadway. We were lawyers who served some of the poorest communities in New York, but quenching the thirst of stunned victims proved to be the best thing we could do at the time.

        [...]

        In the wake of 9/11, millions of generous Americans supported the September 11th Fund, which was administered by the New York Community Trust and the United Way of New York City. Not only did that fund assist families who had lost loved ones, but also individuals who were left in economic ruin that day.

        A similar philanthropic effort, coordinated by charities across the country, will be needed in the current pandemic, and we should get a fundraising initiative underway immediately. Prominent philanthropies like the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations could provide critical infrastructure support to local foundations that are closer to the need.

        Third, nonprofits are going to get hammered, twice. They are going to face increased need for their services, while losing support from donors precisely when those services are needed most. Across the country, nonprofits are already having to cancel and postpone fundraising events.

        Emergency relief for frontline non-profit organizations responding to community needs must begin to flow immediately, before it is too late. Anyone making regular gifts to nonprofits should continue for as long as possible. And any philanthropic effort to support the direct victims of the virus should also provide financial support to the non-profits that will serve them.

        Finally, we need to cooperate across sectors. One of the most important successes of the 9/11 response was that the government, non-profit, philanthropic, and private sectors all worked together.

        Survivors were able to go to centers to meet with a wide range of service providers from public and nonprofit entities. Volunteers from private sector businesses provided critical assistance as well, and foundations supported such efforts. This kind of cooperation will again be critical, though such “centers” will have to be virtual.

        The full impacts of the pandemic can’t be known yet — but we’ve been here before in some ways.

      • Coronavirus and the Collapse of Our Imaginations

        Right now, millions of people throughout North America and Europe are living through an unprecedented situation and making unprecedented demands. Formerly meek white-collar workers content to schlep to and from the office every day are demanding the right to telecommute. Blue-collar workers told they are essential are demanding raises- here in Washington, our grocery workers just secured two dollars an hour through their union. And workers across trades and professions and political persuasions, finding themselves laid off, are demanding the right to a living, whether or not the economy currently requires their services. To say we have arrived at a revolutionary moment is perhaps an understatement.

      • Seven Rules for the Boeing Bailout

        Call it the “Boeing bailout.” As the world struggles with the pandemic, Boeing should be seen as the vector for a parallel epidemic. It’s Patient Zero in an epidemic of corporate failure. As we change the way we live our lives, corporations like Boeing should change the way they are run. Corporate mismanagement made this crisis worse and, if it doesn’t change, will make the recovery more difficult.

      • Governments Say “Stay at Home,” But Thousands Don’t Have a Home

        In December, she moved into The Sophia Way, an all-women’s homeless shelter in Bellevue, Washington, near Seattle and roughly 6 miles from the suburban nursing home that was the site of the first known COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

      • Corona in Germany: Hording and Authoritarianism

        By 26 March 2020, what the world calls “Coronavirus” and the USA calls “Covid-19” had affected 197 countries and territories with almost 20,000 deaths globally. While 20,000 looks like rather an insignificant number given the 7.8 billion people on planet earth, a highly reputable source – worldometer – noted on that day the ranking of deaths as follows: Italy: 7,500; Spain: 3,700; China: 3,300; Iran: 2,100; France 3,00; USA 950; UK 470; the Netherlands: 360; and Germany: 210. Despite being known to have authoritarian personalities, follow their government supposedly based on strict toilet training as infants and a seemingly uncontrollable urge to inspect their own bowl movements, Germans were showing some very common European behaviors during the corona virus crisis. While Bavaria has closed its borders, Germany’s most populated state of North Rhine-Westphalia has started to fine people. Meeting more than two other people in public incurs a fine of € 200.-; having a public BBQ: € 200.- and any gathering of more then ten people: a fine or up to five years imprisonment.

      • COVID-19: Health or Wealth?

        Can the pandemic be separated from the economy? As the pandemic continues in Europe and the United States but seems to be subsiding in Asia, more and more questions are being raised about how to relaunch the economy. The importance of public health is being opposed to opening for business. The battle in the U.S. Senate over how trillions will be spent is indicative of two economic problems: Should businesses function in spite of the virus? How should money be spent to relaunch – from the top down or bottom up?

      • The Covid-19 Bailout: Another Failed Opportunity at Structural Change

        The Covid-19 bailout is yet another opportunity at a structural transformation of the American state, economy, and society that will be lost.  Instead, it will be another short-term patch that will fail to alter the trajectory of Neo-liberal capitalism in America, if not across the globe.

      • Trump White House Objects to $1 Billion Price Tag for 80,000 Ventilators

        President Donald Trump is expected as early as the end of this week to sign legislation that would establish a $4.5 trillion bailout fund for large corporations, but the prospect of spending around a billion dollars for the production of tens of thousands of much-needed ventilators amid the coronavirus crisis is apparently a bridge too far for the White House.

      • The End of the Parasite Paradigm

        Politicians like Lindsey Graham have been worried that some individuals might get a few cents extra during this crisis if the relief bills are too “generous”. The concern does not extend to corporations that bloat and have essentially no stipulations put upon them from the trough of taxpayer largess. This is the clearest indication that our present-day system is nothing but a false social construct in place simply to ensure a modern- day feudalism. It’s never been about any kind of fiscal responsibility; it’s about making sure there are those who are desperate and scared –so they will keep offering themselves up to a system that chews them up daily (even before COVID19). This, all to ensure those at the top don’t even have to do one honest day of work. It’s also the societal normalization of a lack of empathy.

      • Stimulus Bill Allows Federal Reserve to Conduct Meetings in Secret; Gives Fed $454 Billion Slush Fund for Wall Street Bailouts

        The U.S. Senate voted 96-0 late yesterday on a massive bailout of Wall Street banks versus a short-term survival plan for American workers thrown out of their jobs – and potentially their homes. The text of the final bill was breathtaking in the breadth of new powers it bestowed on the Federal Reserve, including the Fed’s ability to conduct secret meetings with no minutes provided to the American people. The House of Representatives has yet to vote on the bill.

      • Bailouts for the Rich, the Virus for the Rest of Us

        For the second time in a generation, the President and Congress are creating an economy under the guise of ‘saving the economy.’ Through bailouts for the executives of corporations and institutions whose coffers have been emptied for their own personal enrichment, a corporate kleptocracy is having its class power secured. And through token payments and pandemic profiteering for the masses, the American precariat is being deepened and broadened to solidify its place as desperate and expendable.

      • How to Beat Coronavirus Capitalism
      • How the Rich and Powerful Profit From Crises Like Coronavirus

        The “Trump, Inc.” podcast has long explored how people have tried to benefit through their proximity to the Oval Office. Our podcast with WNYC is going to continue digging into that as the Trump administration is tasked with rolling out more than $2 trillion in bailout money.

        We spoke to two people this week to help us understand the stakes. “Some policymakers sitting in the Treasury Department or some other government agency have this awesome power to say, ‘You get the money, you go out of business,’” said Neil Barofsky, who served as the government’s watchdog for the 2008 bank bailout. “One of the most important things we can do is make sure that power is exercised fairly, consistently and, most importantly, consistent with the policy goals that underlie this extraordinary outpouring of taxpayer money.”

      • How Corporate Media ‘Factchecked’ Biden’s Calls for Social Security Cuts Into Oblivion

        Throughout this election cycle, FAIR has documented how corporate media view it as their mission to protect the status quo and corporate profits by lauding centrist and right-wing Democrats like Joe Biden, as well as serving as an anti-Bernie Sanders attack machine. It seems the latest tactic in corporate media’s  crusade to undermine the Sanders campaign—and the progressive movement supporting him—is to bleed them dry with disingenuous “factchecks,” serving as a form of death by a thousand nuances.

      • [Old] Strategy Letter V

        A complement is a product that you usually buy together with another product. Gas and cars are complements. Computer hardware is a classic complement of computer operating systems. And babysitters are a complement of dinner at fine restaurants. In a small town, when the local five star restaurant has a two-for-one Valentine’s day special, the local babysitters double their rates. (Actually, the nine-year-olds get roped into early service.)

        All else being equal, demand for a product increases when the prices of its complements decrease.

        Let me repeat that because you might have dozed off, and it’s important. Demand for a product increases when the prices of its complements decrease. For example, if flights to Miami become cheaper, demand for hotel rooms in Miami goes up — because more people are flying to Miami and need a room. When computers become cheaper, more people buy them, and they all need operating systems, so demand for operating systems goes up, which means the price of operating systems can go up.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Sobering Realities of the American Dystopia

        I write this update to you against the sobering realities of the coronavirus crisis, a profound U.S. leadership crisis and the reality that 2020 is closing down early across our society.

      • DOJ Seeks to Exploit Coronavirus Emergency to Detain People Indefinitely

        Throughout U.S. history, presidents have exploited national emergencies to exceed their constitutional powers. Abraham Lincoln illegally suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War. Franklin D. Roosevelt confined people of Japanese descent in internment camps during World War II. And George W. Bush used his post-9/11 “war on terror” to launch two illegal wars, mount a program of torture, conduct extensive unlawful surveillance and illegally detain people.

      • Fireside Chatterer Andrew Cuomo for President

        Prompted by Donald Trump’s shamefully bombastic behavior and attitude during all his press conferences, and especially during his recent COVID-19 White House press conferences, and their juxtaposition to NY Governor Andrew Cuomo’s honest, calm, and painfully truthful yet reassuring press conferences, last week I told a former colleague and neighbor “I wish I were old enough to have heard FDR’s ‘fireside chats.’”

      • The Only Oxygen Cylinder Factory in Europe is Shut down and Macron Refuses to Nationalize It

        Although no information is circulating about the stock of oxygen cylinders in France, which are very useful in these times of acute health crisis and which Italy cruelly lacks, the only factory capable of producing them in Europe remains closed. The employees of Luxfer’s oxygen cylinder factory in Gerzat (a town located in the northern suburbs of Clermont-Ferrand in France) are calling for the “total and definitive” nationalization of the factory and the immediate restart of production in order to deal with the current health crisis and to be able to alleviate the demands in France and other countries. After years of neoliberal decadence that mistreated the public hospital, resulting in the exhaustion of staff, reduced budgets, a decrease in the number of hospital beds, a decrease in the stock of masks and, ultimately, catastrophic management of the current crisis, will the French government persist in not intervening to regain control of this factory, which is essential for curing patients suffering from covid19?

      • Rep. Omar Blasts Trump’s “American Exceptionalism” as US Leads in COVID-19 Cases

        As much of the United States is under lockdown, the House votes today on a $2 trillion emergency relief package to address the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. It will generate payments to most Americans and includes protections for workers, but it is also a massive bailout for a number of industries and corporations, and the vote comes as a record 3.28 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits. We speak with Congressmember Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, the first Somali American elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and one of the first Muslim women in Congress, about the bill, Trump’s response to the pandemic, how she has joined calls for student debt relief and to release immigrants and prisoners facing infection, and the challenges African countries face in responding to the coronavirus.

      • The Pope is Wrong on Argentina

        When Jorge Mario Bergoglio became the new Pope after the resignation of his German predecessor, a wave of euphoria shook Argentina. He was not only the first Latin American Pope but also a beloved member of the Argentine Catholic Church. Bergoglio was well-known and respected because of his work as cardinal. At present, however, his indirect participation in Argentina’s politics has tarnished his image to some extent.

      • Politics, Pandemics and Trumpism

        In typical “free market” fashion, Trump told us that he was working with the private sector to solve the problem. While this might be somewhat comprehensible in terms of speedy distribution, given the already existing infrastructure of corporations like Google and Walgreens, it turns out that this is not even true. Meanwhile, many residents act as if the apocalypse is upon us as they ravage grocery stores, hoarding everything from beans to the aforementioned toilet paper. The selfish American is represented by the nation’s president and his supporters, throwing common sense that demands solidarity and helpfulness into the dump.

      • Russia-gate: the Dead But Undead

        Attention all Russia-gaters! Under the cover of pandemic, the US finally dropped charges against those dastardly Russian meme-bombers!

      • We Need Universal Mail-In Ballots for the 2020 Election

        We’re all now party to the most critical election protection debate in U.S. history, one that has entered the proposed Senate coronavirus stimulus package to the tune of $400 million, which may be just a fraction of what’s really needed.

      • Don’t Just Blame Trump for the COVID-19 Crisis: the U.S. Has Been Becoming a Failed State for Some Time

        The prologue of our book, United States of Distraction, begins with that epigraph, and it is quite fitting for our times. Much like we argued then about understanding Donald Trump’s electoral victory, the only proper way to comprehend and address the complexities of the COVID-19 pandemic is to look at how we got here—through a spate of neoliberal policies that put profits over people for decades. No doubt, we are sickened by the fear and suffering this current pandemic has wrought. However, where commentators and critics are invested in a short-term blame game, we are more concerned with developing solutions to the current challenges we face, and to build on those systemically, making it less likely we have to confront such a crisis in the future. Part of that requires assessing our historical responsibilities, where we must address the failure of the neoliberal experiment over the past half century that has brought us to where we are today.

      • God’s Vengeance: the Christian Right and the Coronavirus

        Steven Andrew is pastor of the USA Christian Church in San Jose (CA) who warns, “Obeying God protects the USA from diseases, such as the coronavirus.” He goes on, Bible thumping, “Our safety is at stake since national disobedience of God’s laws brings danger and diseases, such as coronavirus, but obeying God brings covenant protection. … God protects the USA from danger as the country repents of LGBT, false gods, abortion and other sins.”

      • Neither Biden Nor Trump: Imagine Cuomo

        The Trump presidency is mainly about enriching and glorifying Donald Trump. To that end, and in accord with his attitudes and dispositions, he has set about making America hate again – or, more precisely, a whole lot more than in the recent past. Thus, he has taken to calling the global pandemic caused by the covid-19 virus “the “Chinese flu.”

      • Misinformation and the Coronavirus: On the Dangers of Depoliticization and Social Media

        Bill Gates created the coronavirus. China secretly developed it in a lab as a biological weapon. A cure exists and the government controls it, but won’t release it to the public. The virus is no more dangerous than the seasonal flu. Coronavirus is a “fake news” hoax manufactured by the news. You can use hand dryers to kill the virus, vitamin C, or lemon juice. The country is going to be quarantined under martial law, and the government will shut down all grocery stores so that no one can buy food. All of these claims are examples of conspiracies associated with coronavirus that have been perpetrated by social media.

      • What’s going to be open in Moscow next week, at a glance
      • COVID-19 vs. the Constitution Kremlin sources explain how the coronavirus pandemic is throwing off Putin’s political strategy for 2020 and what his team is doing about it

        The coronavirus pandemic has hit the pause button on most political processes in Russia. The presidential administration’s domestic politics team has suspended its campaign to shape the national vote on Vladimir Putin’s proposed constitutional amendments, switching gears to focus entirely on fighting COVID-19. While Putin’s chances at two more terms hang in the balance as a result, gubernatorial appointments are also up in the air. The Kremlin had been planning to put several regional governors who are up for election to the test by watching their performance in the constitutional referendum. Now that Putin has postponed the plebiscite, which was scheduled for April 22, the Kremlin may have weeks or months to wait before tailoring its regional political strategy. Andrey Pertsev surveyed the effects of the new coronavirus on Russian politics so far.

      • US Government Sites Give Bad Security Advice

        The text I have a beef with is the bit on the right, beneath the “This site is secure” statement. Specifically, it says, “The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website….”

        Here’s the deal: The https:// part of an address (also called “Secure Sockets Layer” or SSL) merely signifies the data being transmitted back and forth between your browser and the site is encrypted and cannot be read by third parties.

        However, the presence of “https://” or a padlock in the browser address bar does not mean the site is legitimate, nor is it any proof the site has been security-hardened against intrusion from hackers.

      • U.N. Security Council Paralyzed as Contagion Rages

        The United Nations Security Council is watching the greatest global health crisis in a century unfold from the sidelines, quarreling over the wisdom of working online, batting down proposals to help organize the response to the pandemic, and largely ignoring the U.N. secretary-general’s appeal for a global cease-fire.

        The paralysis comes at a time when the United States is pressing the 15-nation council to adopt a resolution that would largely blame China for unleashing the pathogen on the world. The initiative—which appears to be part of a broader U.S. strategy to deflect responsibility for its own sluggish response to the spread of the virus—is certain to be blocked by China, which wields veto power.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Someone Convinced Google To Delist Our Entire Right To Be Forgotten Tag In The EU For Searches On Their Name

        We received notification this week that Google has delisted our entire right to be forgotten tag page, based on (of course) a right to be forgotten request under the GDPR in the EU. To be clear, this only applies when someone searches the name in question — which was not shared with us. I am… perplexed about this. I understand that some people may not want us talking about their ongoing efforts to rewrite history and hide their past. However, you would think that if these articles don’t actually talk about their historical scams that are very much a part of the public record, and instead focus on their very current and ongoing abuse of the “right to be forgotten” process, they should be allowed to remain up.

      • Anti-Vaxxer Sues Facebook, In The Middle Of A Pandemic, For ‘In Excess’ Of $5 Billion For Shutting Down His Account

        When I write about this new lawsuit, filed on behalf of “retired MMA fighter” Nick Catone, against Facebook for removing his account over his anti-vaccine posts, you may expect that it was filed pro se. However, somewhat shockingly, there’s an actual lawyer, James Mermigis, who filed this dumpster fire of an awful complaint. Mermigis does not appear to have any experience in internet law, and boy does it show. His various profiles online list his experience in divorce law, real estate law, and personal injury law. His own Twitter feed is basically all just wacky anti-vax nonsense, and, late last year, he was quoted as representing people trying to block a NY law removing a religious exemption for vaccines. We’ve gone over this many times before, but spewing junk science and angry rants that are literally putting tons of people in danger is no way to go through life, and it’s certainly no way to file a lawsuit. Especially not in the midst of a pandemic where a vaccine sure would be nice.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Judge Allows PEN America’s Lawsuit Against Donald Trump Over Retaliation Against The Media To Proceed

        We’ve written a few times about the White House’s unconstitutional retaliation against journalists it did not like, such as Jim Acosta and Brian Karem. PEN America, a key group fighting for free speech rights for journalists and writers, has now been allowed to proceed in its lawsuit against the President over his campaign of retaliation against journalists. PEN America had sued back in 2018, asking for declaratory and injunctive relief (basically the court telling the Trump White House to knock it off) against a variety of forms of retaliation he had done or threatened against the press.

      • Dissenter Weekly: Judge Keeps Assange Jailed As COVID-19 Pandemic Intensifies—Plus, Amazon Workers Speak Out

        On this edition of the “Dissenter Weekly,” host and Shadowproof editor Kevin Gosztola highlights a British magistrate court judge’s decision to deny WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange bail during the coronavirus pandemic.

        Assange’s attorneys applied for bail because they believe he faces “imminent danger.” He suffers from a chronic lung condition, which makes him especially vulnerable to a virus that severely affects anyone with respiratory ailments.

      • Iraqi security forces seize journalist’s belongings for allegedly violating COVID-19 curfew

        “Since Kirkuk was seized by the Iraqi Army in October 2017, it has become very difficult to work here as a Kurdish journalist. We are constantly harassed and, unlike Arabic outlets, we are not invited to cover government events,” Shakur told CPJ.

      • Truth Matters: Why Journalists Need Encryption Now More Than Ever

        In a period that has seen various governments and law enforcement representatives propose laws that would weaken it, the pandemic is an important reminder of the role encryption plays to protect both journalists, their sources, and general news integrity.

        End-to-end (E2E) encryption is a tool that keeps digital communications private by scrambling content so that only the sender and receiver have the keys to unscramble and read it.

        This is crucial for journalists.

      • Kurdish journalists demand release of their colleagues

        Journalist Seyit Evren reminded that almost none of the hostage journalists had any other “crime” than reporting. “The aim of these journalists was to inform the society correctly, to tell the truth and to expose the lies. Although some of them were arrested several times, they did not stop writing or telling the truth. For this reason, they were thrown into prisons even without an indictment being prepared. Despite the danger of the virus outbreak, the government is determined to keep journalists in prisons. In fact, the AKP seems to be using this epidemic as an opportunity to get rid of journalists. Erdogan and AKP are afraid of journalists who are telling the truth. As a journalist, I want my journalist friends to be released immediately. Therefore, I invite the whole society to be sensitive and to demand their freedom.”

        Journalist Vedat Kurşun reminded that Turkey under the AKP has become the biggest prison in the world for journalists. “This shows how frightened the AKP is of journalists. Political prisoners and journalists must be released immediately and unconditionally. We call on people to put pressure on Turkey to ensure the release of journalists.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • “Shelter in Place” Is Putting Domestic Violence Survivors in a Dire Situation

        As schools shut, public spaces close, and all but essential workers are ordered to stay indoors under shelter-in-place orders across the U.S. and globe, domestic violence services are scrambling to help vulnerable people navigate home lives that they say are increasingly unsafe during the pandemic. What happens when you’re trapped at home with your abuser? “This is really a dire situation for a lot of victims across the country,” says Katie Ray-Jones, chief executive officer of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and loveisrespect.

      • Incarcerated Anti-Fascists Report Targeted Beatings by Guards

        The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is targeting Eric King, an unapologetically vocal anti-fascist, yogi and poet who has been incarcerated since September 2014, for his political beliefs. King was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison after being charged with attempting to set fire to a government official’s empty office building in support of the Ferguson, Missouri, uprising in 2014.

      • In a 10-Day Span, ICE Flew This Detainee Across the Country — Nine Times

        Less than two weeks ago, the Trump administration urged Americans to avoid nonessential travel to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Major airlines slashed their routes. All the while, Sirous Asgari took nine different flights around the country.

        None of them was by choice.

      • Episode 73: The Biggest Marijuana Dispensary with Vanessa Martinez – Along The Line Podcast

        Along the Line, is a member of the Demcast network, brought to you by the Media Freedom Foundation. On today’s episode hosts Nicholas Baham III (Dr. Dreadlocks), Janice Domingo,  and Nolan Higdon discuss marijuana from the biggest dispensary in the world. ATL’s  Creative Director is Dylan Lazaga.  Mickey Huff is ATL’s producer. ATL’s engineer is Janice Domingo. Adam Armstrong is ATL’s webmaster.

      • People With Intellectual Disabilities May Be Denied Lifesaving Care Under These Plans as Coronavirus Spreads

        Advocates for people with intellectual disabilities are concerned that those with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism and other such conditions will be denied access to lifesaving medical treatment as the COVID-19 outbreak spreads across the country.

        Several disability advocacy organizations filed complaints this week with the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, asking the federal government to clarify provisions of the disaster preparedness plans for the states of Washington and Alabama.

      • Now More Than Ever, Prisoners Should Have Some Access to Social Media

        COVID-19 has trapped many of us in our homes, isolating us from family and friends and limiting our movements. But there are few people who feel the isolating impacts of COVID-19 more acutely than those who are actually incarcerated in jails and prisons across the country. As Jerry Metcalf, an inmate in Michigan, wrote for the Marshall Project’s “Life on the Inside” series:

        Metcalf’s is an important perspective to have, but, unfortunately, it is increasingly difficult to hear from inmates like him. That’s because prison systems are making it harder for the public to hear from incarcerated people through excessive restrictions on the ways prisoners can express themselves over the Internet.

      • “I’m going against my doctor’s orders”: The story behind your coronavirus-era takeaways

        But their working conditions are putting them in a difficult – and potentially dangerous – position. Most are classed as contractors rather than employees, which means they receive fewer rights from the companies they work for.

        “For food delivery, almost universally, these couriers are not classed as employees so that means they’re not entitled to statutory sick pay,” says Dr Jason Moyer-Lee, general secretary of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, which represents such workers. This union is legally challenging the government to extend statutory sick pay to such workers, and raise its level to full pay.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Verizon Is The Only US Wireless Carrier Charging Extra For 5G

        By now we’ve established that while fifth-generation (5G) wireless will result in faster, more resilient networks, the technology has been over-hyped to an almost comical degree. Yes, faster, lower latency networks are a good thing, but 5G is not as paradigm-rattling as most wireless carriers and hardware vendors have led many in the press to believe. 5G is more of a useful evolution than a revolution, but it has become the equivalent of magic pixie dust in tech policy circles, wherein if you simply say “it will lead to faster deployment of 5G!” you’ll immediately add gravitas to your otherwise underwhelming K Street policy pitch.

      • Members of Congress Once Again Urge ICANN to Save Dot Org

        As the proposed sale of the .ORG domain registry to private equity firm Ethos Capital plays out, we see more and more why this sale was rushed through: the longer we have to look at it, the more questions we all have, and the fewer answers we get. For the second time, some of the people questioning the wisdom of this sale are members of the U.S. Congress.

        On March 18, Senators Elizabeth Warren, Ron Wyden, Richard Blumenthal, Edward Markey, and Representative Anna Eshoo sent a new letter [.pdf]  to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), urging, for the second time, that ICANN reject the “private equity takeover of the .ORG registry.”

      • Can the Internet survive covid-19? Will we start having outages?

        “Can the Internet survive covid-19? Will we start having outages? As fragile as the Internet is, it wouldn’t surprise me.” – Logen This is an outstanding question. Let’s sit back, just for a moment, and consider how the Internet really operates. Starting at our home and working… outward. In my home, I have a computer. Which requires fairly infrequent (but not non-existent) levels of maintencence to keep running.

      • Internet Stability in Times of Corona

        Now, in the last few weeks the world has changed quite a bit: a large part of the world is in social quarantine, works from home or is even in complete lockdown due to the Corona pandemic. We are interested to see effects of this in the data collected by RIS. The specific signal that we looked at shows re-configuration activities such as: IP prefixes announcements, withdrawals or changes in origin. One might think that network operators would make fewer changes to their networks or that they have restricted access to data centers which would reduce the number of networks where we see any re-configuration activities.

        To my surprise there is no such signal visible as of writing of this post. The red line in Figure 1 below shows the number of networks (ASes) for which we see any kind of changes in terms of the IPv4 prefixes they announce. In Figure 2 this signal is split out in networks that have specific types of changes (prefixes added, prefixes removed, and origins changed). In both these graphs there is no visible decrease in the number of networks with these types of changes on the right-end of the graph. These were the weeks where more and more countries took social distancing measures to combat Corona spread.

      • It Isn’t Just You: The Internet Is Actually Super-Slow Lately

        According to a new report by Broadband Now, a consumer advocate website that compares U.S. [Internet] service providers (ISPs), many cities are experiencing [Internet] slowdowns during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

        Out of the country’s 200 most populous cities, 88 “have experienced some degree of network degradation over the past week compared to the 10 weeks prior,” according to the report. Three cities “experienced significant degradations, falling out of their ten-week range by more than 40 percent.” Most cities, however, didn’t find their speeds deviate by more than 20 percent.

    • Monopolies

      • Copyrights

        • Please Don’t Sue LeVar Burton for Reading Soothing Stories to Scared Children

          LeVar Burton, the iconic host of the 80′s PBS show for 23 seasons, is trying to figure out how to start a live-streaming storytime online, for children (and adults) stuck inside during the coronavirus isolation and quarantine. To do that, however, he needs to find stories that he won’t get sued for reading.

          On Wednesday, Burton tweeted that he’s considering doing a live-streamed reading of his podcast, LeVar Burton Reads, where he narrates short stories. “I figured that during this difficult time I could contribute by reading aloud to folks who could use some diversion for themselves and their families,” he wrote.

          But he said he’s running into some difficulty finding works he’s even allowed to read. Copyright law is vague about whether reading works live, online, is allowed or not.

        • Anti-Piracy Campaign Against YouTube-Rippers Has Very Little Effect

          In recent months the RIAA has tried its best to remove YouTube-rippers from Google’s search results. While the search engine has deleted thousands of URLs, these actions have very little effect. The targeted sites remain the top results for the top keywords while traffic to the sites, including that from search engines, remains stable as well.

        • Bad Boys For Life Leads Wave of Early Movie Releases Flooding Pirate Sites

          As cinemas around the globe continue their shutdowns in response to the coronavirus pandemic, a number of movies are now enjoying early digital releases. Of course, many of these are also hitting pirate sites, with Bad Boys For Life, Bloodshot and The Gentlemen currently proving most popular with downloaders.

        • Copyright Is Broken: COVID-19 Pandemic Revealing Just How Messed Up Our Permission-Based Culture Is

          Like large parts of the world right now, I’m stuck at home these days, and figuring out how to work and be a distance learning proctor to children. A week and a half into this forced educational experiment, my kid’s kindergarten teacher decided to post a (private) video of her reading a children’s book to the students. Why did it take so long before reading time arrived to distance learning? Copyright, of course. She needed to wait for permission from Random House, apparently, and that also meant that in posting the video to the distance learning platform the school is using, she noted in both text, and prior to reading, “with permission from Random House.”

IRC Proceedings: Friday, March 27, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:56 am by Needs Sunlight

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

03.27.20

The Fall of the UPC – Part VIII: Team UPC Celebrates Death, Not Life

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 5:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Any dying wish? UPC by next year? Not gonna happen, buddy

Summary: Team UPC plays psychological games now; it is trying to twist or spin its defeat as good news and something to be almost celebrated; it is really as illogical (and pathetic) as that sounds

TEAM UPC is beyond insane. It’s clinically insane. It’s devoid of sanity and reality. That’s the impression one can get by looking at responses to the FCC’s decision, which was handed down last Friday.

In this part we wish to tackle one particular pattern we’ve come across and may come across again in days or weeks to come.

Team UPC didn’t take the decision too well and ad hominem tactics are adopted again, as we’ll note in future parts. It’s not even the first time.

“The UPC itself was a blow to Europe. Team UPC had to lie and cheat a lot to get it as far as it has gotten.”Despite much evidence that European businesses do not want the UPC (lawyers have lied on ‘their behalf’) days ago we saw this is a Big Lie from LexisNexis (in an upcoming ‘webinar’): “How the Collapse of the UPC is a damaging blow to Europe”

No. It is not. The UPC itself was a blow to Europe. Team UPC had to lie and cheat a lot to get it as far as it has gotten. Then, judges (or Justices) assessed the evidence of the lying and cheating, whereupon they did the right thing.

LexisNexis may be a bunch of self-serving liars, but as noted in past years "Reed Tech (a LexisNexis company) ... is the government contractor that carries out the printing of US patents."

It’s just part of the patent ‘printing machine’, even literally.

But that’s just where the ‘fun’ begins…

Move over, LexisNexis, Christian Liedtke over at Watchtroll does necrophilia. “Death at a Funeral – or Birth? Why the German Court’s Decision on the UPC May Not be the End” (say what?)

This was the headline.

Wishful thinking again.

“Team UPC spins the death of something it has long lobbied for as a good thing.”Christian Liedtke says “the coffin to be far from shut. Instead, the UPC may have been given a second lease on life…”

Oh…

OK.

So when something dies it is actually “given a second lease on life…”

Interesting spin you got there, Mr. Liedtke.

I see.

So when something dies it actually comes to life. What are you, a karma or zombie enthusiast?

Team UPC spins the death of something it has long lobbied for — at very great and considerable expense — as a good thing.

If it is, indeed, a “lease on life,” then why are you all bemoaning last week’s decision?

“So even the negative (to them) is suddenly a positive?”After all… “lease on life,” you know?

That’s like a mother saying, “good riddance to my dead kid” because “now I’m going to get pregnant again…”

But Mr. Liedtke wasn’t alone. Oh no…

Charlotte Kilpatrick has just just published “UPC: defeat could be opportunity for growth” (so now they’ll go about flaunting and bragging about how their defeat is actually a Good Thing™).

“Recent setbacks from the UK and Germany could be a starting point for needed reforms, according to in-house counsel,” the summary says.

So even the negative (to them) is suddenly a positive? Make up your minds, will you?

That’s like a failing presidential candidate saying, “it is good that I lost because I learned some lessons and next time I can do better…”

Or, “it’s good at I failed at the sporting event because it gives me something to strive for.”

“Team UPC, please do not bring booze to the funeral. You’re obviously too drunk already.”This infantile kind of thinking is just so typical of Team UPC.

To quote these delusional ones: “Those who have gone into full mourning over this decision, calling it the death knell of the UPC, may find the coffin to be far from shut. Instead, the UPC may have been given a second lease on life, and those with substantive concerns about the UPC may end up wearing the black ribbon in the long run.”

What? No further comment needed. Team UPC, please do not bring booze to the funeral. You’re obviously too drunk already.

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