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10.17.18

Links 17/10/2018: Elementary OS 5.0 “Juno” Released, MongoDB’s Server Side Public Licence

Posted in News Roundup at 11:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Hedera Hashgraph Distributed Ledger Technology Shares New Open-Source SDK [Ed: Hedera needs to delete GitHub, however, as the new head of GitHub killed Java projects like Hedera’s]

    Hedera Hashgraph, one of the DApp facilitators within the blockchain industry recently announced that it has released its Software Development Kit (SDK) in Java.

  • Service Providers Should Adapt to Open Source World

    Finding differing opinions on open source with the telecom industry isn’t hard to do, especially where orchestration is concerned. That’s why a panel discussion on open source and MANO at the Light Reading NFV-Carrier SDN event in Denver seemed an odd place to find such outspoken agreement on that topic, but there it was.

    Four smart guys, none shy with their opinions, all seemed to agree on key points around open source, the need for standards, the role of vendors and the lack of internal software skills. But they also agreed that telecom service providers are struggling a bit to understand how to proceed in an open source world and still need some fundamental internal changes.

  • Renaming the Bro Project

    More than 20 years ago I chose the name “Bro” as “an Orwellian reminder that monitoring comes hand in hand with the potential for privacy violations”, as the original Bro paper put it. Today that warning is needed more than ever … but it’s clear that now the name “Bro” is alas much more of a distraction than a reminder.

    On the Leadership Team of the Bro Project, we heard clear concerns from the Bro community that the name “Bro” has taken on strongly negative connotations, such as “Bro culture”. These send a sharp, anti-inclusive – and wholly unintended and undesirable – message to those who might use Bro. The problems were significant enough that during BroCon community sessions, several people have mentioned substantial difficulties in getting their upper management to even consider using open-source software with such a seemingly ill-chosen, off-putting name.

  • We already have nice things, and other reasons not to write in-house ops tools

    When I was an ops consultant, I had the “great fortune” of seeing the dark underbelly of many companies in a relatively short period of time. Such fortune was exceptionally pronounced on one client engagement where I became the maintainer of an in-house deployment tool that had bloated to touch nearly every piece of infrastructure—despite lacking documentation and testing. Dismayed at the impossible task of maintaining this beast while tackling the real work of improving the product, I began reviewing my old client projects and probing my ops community for their strategies. What I found was an epidemic of “not invented here” (NIH) syndrome and a lack of collaboration with the broader community.

  • Open Source Program Benefits Survey Results

    There are many organizations out there, from companies like Red Hat to internet scale giants like Google and Facebook that have established an open source programs office (OSPO). The TODO Group, a network of open source program managers, recently performed the first ever annual survey of corporate open source programs and revealed some interesting findings on the actual benefits of open source programs.

  • Web Browsers

    • Browsing the web with Min, a minimalist open source web browser

      Does the world need another web browser? Even though the days of having a multiplicity of browsers to choose from are long gone, there still are folks out there developing new applications that help us use the web.

      One of those new-fangled browsers is Min. As its name suggests (well, suggests to me, anyway), Min is a minimalist browser. That doesn’t mean it’s deficient in any significant way, and its open source, Apache 2.0 license piques my interest.

    • Chrome

      • CTL’s New CBX1 Chromebox is a Powerhouse at a Great Price

        Chromeboxes are really great desktops for users who have moved their workflow into a web browser, especially at lower prices. You don’t need higher specs inside a Chromebox for it to work well, but it can help.

        For those who want a supercharged Chromebox on the cheap, Oregon-based CTL has just the thing for you. Its new Chromebox—the CBX1—has all the high-end parts you could want, at a comparatively low price.

      • How to Install Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) in Chrome

        Chrome 70, available now, lets you install “Progressive Web Apps,” or PWAs, on Windows. When you visit a website with a PWA, like Twitter or Spotify, you can now “install” it to make it behave more like a normal desktop application.

      • How to Stop Chrome From Automatically Signing You Into the Browser

        With Chrome 69, Google began automatically signing you into the Chrome browser whenever you signed into a Google website like Gmail. Chrome 70, available now, has a hidden option to disable this feature.

        We don’t think most Chrome users will care about this. But, if you do care, Google now gives you a choice. And that’s good news.

      • Chrome 70 released with Windows web app support and option to disable controversial login

        Chrome 70, the latest version of Google’s browser, is rolling out now on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. The update sees Google reverse some of the controversial changes it made with the last version, by allowing users to stop the browser from automatically signing into their Google account after logging into one of the search giant’s apps. Chrome 70 also brings support for Progressive Web Apps, or PWAs, on Windows.

      • elementary OS Juno Released, Plasma 5.14.1 Is Out, Chrome 70 Now Available, Docker Raises New Funding and New Badges for Firefox Users

        Chrome 70 is now available. This release removes the controversial change from the last version, and now allows users to stop the browser from automatically signing in to their Google accounts after logging in to one of its apps, The Verge reports. You still need to opt-out and specifically change this setting, however. Other changes include support for progressive web apps on Windows. See the “New in Chrome 70″ post for more information on this release.

      • Chrome 70 Now Officially Available With AV1 Video Decode, Opus In MP4 & Much More

        Google’s Chrome/Chromium 70 web-browser made it out today for Linux users as well as all other key supported platforms.

        Chrome 70 is notable for shipping with preliminary AV1 video decoding support granted rather limited and only CPU-based decoding at this stage after the AV1 video decode support was dropped from Chrome 69.

      • Raptor Computing Systems Is Working On Bringing Up Chrome’s POWER Support

        With Raptor Computing Systems’ Talos II Lite and especially the forthcoming Blackbird positioning the POWER architecture in a prime spot for use by libre Linux users who want a system that’s open-source down to the firmware, they’ve been trying to make sure the Linux desktop stack is in order. The latest area they’ve been working on is browser coverage.

        At the moment for 64-bit POWER little-endian (PPC64LE), there isn’t a modern browser with JavaScript JIT support available upstream… Obviously that is a problem for more Linux desktop users in 2018. But fortunately Raptor has been committing resources to changing that. They have gotten a patched version of Chrome working well on their POWER9 hardware complete with JIT support.

    • Mozilla

      • Going from New Laptop to Productive Mozillian

        My old laptop had so many great stickers on it I didn’t want to say goodbye. So I put off my hardware refresh cycle from the recommended 2 years to almost 3.

        To speak the truth it wasn’t only the stickers that made me wary of switching. I had a workflow that worked. The system wasn’t slow. It was only three years old.

        But then Windows started crashing on me during video calls. And my Firefox build times became long enough that I ported changes to my Linux desktop before building them. It was time to move on.

      • Show your support for Firefox with new badges

        Firefox is only as strong as its passionate users. Because we’re independent, people need to make a conscious choice to use a non-default browser on their system. We’re most successful when happy users tell others about an alternative worth trying.

      • At MozFest, Spend 7 Days Exploring Internet Health

        Workshops that teach you how to detect misinformation and mobile trackers. A series of art installations that turn online data into artwork. A panel about the unintended consequences of AI, featuring a former YouTube engineer and a former FBI agent. And a conversation with the inventor of the web.

        These are just a handful of the experiences at this year’s MozFest, Mozilla’s annual festival for, by, and about people who love the internet. From October 22-28 at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and Ravensbourne University in central London, more than 2,500 developers, designers, activists, and artists from dozens of countries will gather to explore privacy, security, openness, and inclusion online.

      • Using requestIdleCallback for long running computations

        One of the ways developers have tipically tried to keep a smooth web application, without interfering with the browser’s animation and response to input, is to use a Web Worker for long running computations. For example, in the Prism.js (a library for syntax highlighting) API there’s an async parameter to choose “Whether to use Web Workers to improve performance and avoid blocking the UI when highlighting very large chunks of code”.

      • These Weeks In Servo 115

        In the past three weeks, we merged 181 PRs in the Servo organization’s repositories.

        Our Windows nightlies have been broken for several months for a number of reasons, and we have now fixed all of the known breakage. If you’re a Windows user, give our latest builds a try! You can visit arbitrary URLs by pressing Ctr+L.

        The Android Components project added a component to use Servo in any Android app.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • DragonFlyBSD Continues Squeezing More Performance Out Of AMD’s Threadripper 2990WX

      DragonFlyBSD 5.4 should be a really great release if you are a BSD user and have an AMD Threadripper 2 box, particularly the flagship Threadripper 2990WX 32-core / 64-thread processor.

      The project leader of this long ago fork from FreeBSD, Matthew Dillon, has been quite outspoken about the Threadripper 2990WX since he purchased one earlier this summer. This prolific BSD developer has been praising the performance out of the Threadripper 2990WX since he got the system working on the current DragonFlyBSD 5.3 development builds.

      Since getting DragonFlyBSD running on the Threadripper 2 hardware in August, he’s routinely been making performance tuning optimizations to DragonFly’s kernel to benefit the 2990WX given its NUMA design.

    • Absolute FreeBSD now shipping!

      Grab an ebook/print bundle direct from No Starch Press. NSP coupon code ILUVMICHAEL gives you 30% off any NSP purchase and puts a few extra bucks in my pocket, so that’s cool. And there’s Amazon. There’s always Amazon, the company we all love to loathe.

    • LLVM Still Proceeding With Their Code Relicensing

      It’s been three years since the original draft proposal for relicensing the LLVM compiler code was sent out and while there hasn’t been a lot to report on recently about the effort, they are making progress and proceeding.

      Since 2015 LLVM developers have been discussing relicensing to an Apache 2.0 license to help motivate new contributors, protect users of LLVM code, better protect existing contributors, ensure that LLVM run-time libraries can be used by both other open-source and proprietary compilers.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Automotive Software Governance and Copyleft

      The Software Freedom Law Center is proud to make available a whitepaper by Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical, Ltd., and Eben Moglen, Founding Director of the Software Freedom Law Center and Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. The whitepaper shows how new capabilities in the free and open source software stack enable highly regulated and sensitive industrial concerns to take advantage of the full spectrum of modern copyleft software.

      Software embedded in physical devices now determines how almost everything – from coffee pots and rice cookers to oil tankers and passenger airplanes – works. Safety and security, efficiency and repairability, fitness for purpose and adaptability to new conditions of all the physical products that we make and use now depend on our methods for developing, debugging, maintaining, securing and servicing the software embedded in them.

    • SFLC: Automotive Software Governance and Copyleft

      The Software Freedom Law Center has announced the availability of a whitepaper [PDF] about automotive software and copyleft, written by Mark Shuttleworth and Eben Moglen. At its core, it’s an advertisement for Ubuntu and Snap, but it does look at some of the issues involved.

    • Bradley M. Kuhn: Toward Community-Oriented, Public & Transparent Copyleft Policy Planning

      More than 15 years ago, Free, Libre, and Open Source Software (FLOSS) community activists successfully argued that licensing proliferation was a serious threat to the viability of FLOSS. We convinced companies to end the era of “vanity” licenses. Different charities — from the Open Source Initiative (OSI) to the Free Software Foundation (FSF) to the Apache Software Foundation — all agreed we were better off with fewer FLOSS licenses. We de-facto instituted what my colleague Richard Fontana once called the “Rule of Three” — assuring that any potential FLOSS license should be met with suspicion unless (a) the OSI declares that it meets their Open Source Definition, (b) the FSF declares that it meets their Free Software Definition, and (c) the Debian Project declares that it meets their Debian Free Software Guidelines. The work for those organizations quelled license proliferation from radioactive threat to safe background noise. Everyone thought the problem was solved. Pointless license drafting had become a rare practice, and updated versions of established licenses were handled with public engagement and close discussion with the OSI and other license evaluation experts.

      Sadly, the age of license proliferation has returned. It’s harder to stop this time, because this isn’t merely about corporate vanity licenses. Companies now have complex FLOSS policy agendas, and those agendas are not to guarantee software freedom for all. While it is annoying that our community must again confront an old threat, we are fortunate the problem is not hidden: companies proposing their own licenses are now straightforward about their new FLOSS licenses’ purposes: to maximize profits.

      Open-in-name-only licenses are now common, but seem like FLOSS licenses only to the most casual of readers. We’ve succeeded in convincing everyone to “check the OSI license list before you buy”. We can therefore easily dismiss licenses like Common Clause merely by stating they are non-free/non-open-source and urging the community to avoid them. But, the next stage of tactics have begun, and they are harder to combat. What happens when for-profit companies promulgate their own hyper-aggressive (quasi-)copyleft licenses that seek to pursue the key policy goal of “selling proprietary licenses” over “defending software freedom”? We’re about to find out, because, yesterday, MongoDB declared themselves the arbiter of what “strong copyleft” means.

    • Fed up with cloud giants ripping off its database, MongoDB forks new open-source license

      After Redis Labs relicensed the modules it developed to complement its open-source database, from AGPL to Apache v2.0 with a Commons Clause, the free-software community expressed dismay.

      And, inevitably, some responded by forking the affected code.

      Today, the maker of another open source database, MongoDB, plans to introduce a license of its own to deal with the issue cited by Redis: cloud service providers that sell hosted versions of open-source programs – such as Redis and MongoDB database servers – without offering anything in return.

      “Once an open source project becomes interesting or popular, it becomes too easy for the cloud vendors to capture all the value and give nothing back to the community,” said Dev Ittycheria, CEO of MongoDB, in a phone interview with The Register.

      Ittycheria pointed to cloud service providers such as Alibaba, Tencent, and Yandex. Those companies, he claims, are testing the boundaries of the AGPL by benefiting from the work of others while failing to share their code.

    • MongoDB switches up its open-source license

      MongoDB is a bit miffed that some cloud providers — especially in Asia — are taking its open-source code and offering a hosted commercial version of its database to their users without playing by the open-source rules. To combat this, MongoDB today announced it has issued a new software license, the Server Side Public License (SSPL), that will apply to all new releases of its MongoDB Community Server, as well as all patch fixes for prior versions.

      Previously, MongoDB used the GNU AGPLv3 license, but it has now submitted the SSPL for approval from the Open Source Initiative.

    • MongoDB license could push open source deeper into cloud: Is this what industry needs?

      Things just got serious in open source land. Despite the occasional Commons Clause or Fair Source licensing attempt to change the meaning of the words “open source” to include “the right for a private company to make money from its open source efforts,” we’ve stuck to the Open Source Definition, and it has served us well. Open source communities have become the center of the innovation universe, giving us exceptional code like Linux, Kubernetes, Apache Kafka, and more.

    • It’s MongoDB’s turn to change its open source license

      The old maxim that the nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from could well apply to open source licensing. While now nearing a couple years old, the last WhiteSource Software survey of the top 10 open source licenses found close competition between the GPL, MIT, and Apache licenses. While the commercial-friendly Apache license has dominated the world of big data platforms and AI frameworks, MIT and GPL (which has “copyleft” provisions requiring developers to contribute back all modifications and enhancements) continues to be popular. GPL and variants such as the AGPL have been popular amongst vendors that seek to control their own open source projects, like MongoDB.

    • Matthew Garrett: Initial thoughts on MongoDB’s new Server Side Public License

      MongoDB just announced that they were relicensing under their new Server Side Public License. This is basically the Affero GPL except with section 13 largely replaced with new text, as follows:

      “If you make the functionality of the Program or a modified version available to third parties as a service, you must make the Service Source Code available via network download to everyone at no charge, under the terms of this License. Making the functionality of the Program or modified version available to third parties as a service includes, without limitation, enabling third parties to interact with the functionality of the Program or modified version remotely through a computer network, offering a service the value of which entirely or primarily derives from the value of the Program or modified version, or offering a service that accomplishes for users the primary purpose of the Software or modified version.

      “Service Source Code” means the Corresponding Source for the Program or the modified version, and the Corresponding Source for all programs that you use to make the Program or modified version available as a service, including, without limitation, management software, user interfaces, application program interfaces, automation software, monitoring software, backup software, storage software and hosting software, all such that a user could run an instance of the service using the Service Source Code you make available.”

      MongoDB admit that this license is not currently open source in the sense of being approved by the Open Source Initiative, but say:”We believe that the SSPL meets the standards for an open source license and are working to have it approved by the OSI.”

      At the broadest level, AGPL requires you to distribute the source code to the AGPLed work[1] while the SSPL requires you to distribute the source code to everything involved in providing the service. Having a license place requirements around things that aren’t derived works of the covered code is unusual but not entirely unheard of – the GPL requires you to provide build scripts even if they’re not strictly derived works, and you could probably make an argument that the anti-Tivoisation provisions of GPL3 fall into this category.

    • MongoDB issues new open source license

      MongoDB has submitted the SSPL, which is replacing the previous GNU APGLv3 license, for approval from the Open Source Initiative.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Arm Launches Mbed Linux and Extends Pelion IoT Service

        Politics and international relations may be fraught with acrimony these days, but the tech world seems a bit friendlier of late. Last week Microsoft joined the Open Invention Network and agreed to grant a royalty-free, unrestricted license of its 60,000-patent portfolio to other OIN members, thereby enabling Android and Linux device manufacturers to avoid exorbitant patent payments. This week, Arm and Intel kept up the happy talk by agreeing to a partnership involving IoT device provisioning.

        Arm’s recently announced Pelion IoT Platform will align with Intel’s Secure Device Onboard (SDO) provisioning technology to make it easier for IoT vendors and customers to onboard both x86 and Arm-based devices using a common Peleon platform. Arm also announced Pelion related partnerships with myDevices and Arduino (see farther below).

      • Arm doodles server, comms CPUs in public before they leak out in open-source code…

        Japanese chip designer Arm has lightly sketched out in public its future processor designs that are aimed at powering internet servers and infrastructure.

        Think CPU cores, chip interconnects, memory subsystems, and so on, for semiconductor manufacturers to use in silicon brains for data center systems, edge devices, and networking and telecommunications gear. Arm really wants to nuzzle its way into server and telecoms racks, tiptoeing past Intel Xeons and AMD Epycs, and so here’s the intellectual property it hopes will do the trick.

        And we’re not joking when we’re say lightly sketched: the biz has only shown off a roadmap of codenames and process nodes. Arm is going public with these plans partly because source code supporting these future chip designs will soon be trickling into the Linux kernel and other open-source projects referencing said codenames, so it may as well spill some beans now to head off speculation.

  • Programming/Development

    • How to Use Git Version Control System in Linux [Comprehensive Guide]

      Version Control (revision control or source control) is a way of recording changes to a file or collection of files over time so that you can recall specific versions later. A version control system (or VCS in short) is a tool that records changes to files on a filesystem.

      There are many version control systems out there, but Git is currently the most popular and frequently used, especially for source code management. Version control can actually be used for nearly any type of file on a computer, not only source code.

    • 5 Things Your Team Should Do to Make Pull Requests Less Painful

      A user story is a short description of a unit of work that needs doing. It’s normally told from the perspective of the user, hence the name. The journey towards a good pull request starts with a well-written user story. It should be scoped to a single thing that a user can do in the system being built.

    • More GitHub workflow automation

      The more you use computers, the more you see the potentials for automating everything. Who doesn’t love that? By building Mergify those last months, we’ve decided it was time bring more automation to the development workflow.

    • Automating upstream releases with release-bot

      Good news: We have developed a tool called release-bot that automates the process. All you need to do is file an issue into your upstream repository and release-bot takes care of the rest. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First, let’s look at what needs to be set up for this automation to happen. I’ve chosen the meta-test-family upstream repository as an example.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Doc charged with involuntary manslaughter in Flint crisis wins top health award

      Health officials in Michigan this week honored Dr. Eden Wells with the state’s top award for an eminent career in public health—despite that Wells is currently facing several charges in connection with the Flint water crisis, including involuntary manslaughter.

    • Finnish hospitals see more babies born to mothers with FGM

      It was only last year that Finland’s National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) began recording births by circumcised women in Finland, and other major hospitals have also failed to keep detailed records. [...]

    • ‘The world is against them’: new era of cancer lawsuits threaten Monsanto

      The Johnson v Monsanto trial was groundbreaking before it even began, because a judge allowed the plaintiff’s attorneys to present research and expert testimony on glyphosate and health risks – scientific evidence that the jury ultimately found credible and compelling.

    • Antimicrobial Resistance At The World Investment Forum: UNCTAD, WHO Join Forces

      The third panel gathers governments and civil society, he said, and will look into the need for antibiotic stewardship. For example, he said, a representative of the Swedish Public Health Agency will talk about its strategy to incentivise companies to keep existing antibiotics on the market despite their low prices.

      UNCTAD and WHO are expecting a good debate and some clarification of how stakeholders see the needs for the future, Spennemann said. The two UN organisations seek to informally bring together small companies, and potentially interested investors, and launch an informal debate.

  • Security

    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #181

      Another brief reminder that another Reproducible Builds summit will be taking place between 11th—13th December 2018 in Mozilla’s offices in Paris. If you are interested in attending please send an email to holger@layer-acht.org. More details can also be found on the corresponding event page of our website.

    • A mysterious grey-hat is patching people’s outdated MikroTik routers

      A Russian-speaking grey-hat hacker is breaking into people’s MikroTik routers and patching devices so they can’t be abused by cryptojackers, botnet herders, or other cyber-criminals, ZDNet has learned.

      The hacker, who goes by the name of Alexey and says he works as a server administrator, claims to have disinfected over 100,000 MikroTik routers already.

    • Chrome, Edge, IE, Firefox, and Safari to disable TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1 in 2020

      Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla announced plans today to disable Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.0 and 1.1 support in their respective browsers in the first half of 2020.

    • Canonical Announces Partnership with Eurotech, the Big Four to End Support of TLS 1.0 and 1.1, Sony Using Blockchain for DRM, NETWAYS Web Services Launches IaaS OpenStack, Grey Hat Patching MikroTik Routers and Paul Allen Dies at 65

      Apple, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla all announce the end of support for TLS 1.0 and 1.1 standards starting in 2020, ZDNet reports. Chrome and Firefox already support TLS 1.3, and Microsoft and Apple will soon follow suit.

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • libssh 0.8.4 and 0.7.6 security and bugfix release

      libssh versions 0.6 and above have an authentication bypass vulnerability in the server code. By presenting the server an SSH2_MSG_USERAUTH_SUCCESS message in place of the SSH2_MSG_USERAUTH_REQUEST message which the server would expect to initiate authentication, the attacker could successfully authentciate without any credentials.

    • Trivial authentication bypass in libssh leaves servers wide open

      There’s a four-year-old bug in the Secure Shell implementation known as libssh that makes it trivial for just about anyone to gain unfettered administrative control of a vulnerable server. While the authentication-bypass flaw represents a major security hole that should be patched immediately, it wasn’t immediately clear what sites or devices were vulnerable since neither the widely used OpenSSH nor Github’s implementation of libssh was affected.

    • A Cybersecurity Weak Link: Linux and IoT [Ed: Blaming "Linux" for companies that put default passwords on all their products? Windows has back doors.]
    • Undetectably bypass voting machines’ anti-tamper mechanism with a bit of a soda-can

      But University of Michigan grad student Matt Bernhard has demonstrated that he can bypass the tamper-evident seals in seconds, using a shim made from a slice of a soda can. The bypass is undetectable and doesn’t damage the seal, which can be resecured after an attacker gains access to the system.

    • Security Seals Used to Protect Voting Machines Can Be Easily Opened With Shim Crafted from a Soda Can

      Bernhard, who is an expert witness for election integrity activists in a lawsuit filed in Georgia to force officials to get rid of paperless voting machines used in that state, said the issue of security ties and seals came up in the lawsuit earlier this year when Fulton County Elections Director Richard Barron told the court that his Georgia county relies on tamper-evident metal and plastic ties to seal voting machines and prevent anyone with physical access to the machines from subverting them while they sit in polling places days before an election.

      [...]

      He noted that defeating ties and seals in non-tamper-evident ways isn’t the only method to wreak havoc on an election in Michigan. The state has a unique law that prohibits ballots from being used in a recount if the number of voters doesn’t match the number of ballots cast at a precinct or if the seal on a ballot box is broken or has a different serial number than what it should have. Someone who wanted to wreak havoc on an election or alter an election outcome in Michigan could purposely tamper with ballot box seals in a way that is evident or simply replace them with a seal bearing a different serial number in order to get ballots excluded from a recount. The law came into sharp relief after the 2016 presidential election when Green Party candidate Jill Stein sought to get a statewide recount in Michigan and two other critical swing states and found that some precincts in Wayne County couldn’t be recounted because the number of voters who signed the poll books—which get certified with a seal signed by officials—didn’t match the number of ballots scanned on the voting machines.

    • Facebook’s ex-security chief will start a new center to bring Washington and Silicon Valley together
    • Most government domains adopt program to prevent sending of fake emails

      The Department of Homeland Security announced last October that all federal agencies had until Oct. 16, 2018, to adopt the email authentication process, known as domain-based message authentication, reporting and conformance (DMARC), which blocks fake or spoofed emails being sent from a government domain.

    • 21-year-old who created powerful RAT software sentenced to 30 months

      When Grubbs was first charged, he claimed LuminosityLink was a legitimate tool for system administrators, and he never intended for it to be used maliciously. He reversed course in a plea agreement he signed in July 2017. In that document, he admitted for the first time that he knew some customers were using the software to control computers without owners’ knowledge or permission. Grubbs also admitted emphasizing a wealth of malicious features in marketing materials that promoted the software.

    • What To Do If Your Account Was Caught in the Facebook Breach

      Keeping up with Facebook privacy scandals is basically a full-time job these days. Two weeks ago, it announced a massive breach with scant details. Then, this past Friday, Facebook released more information, revising earlier estimates about the number of affected users and outlining exactly what types of user data were accessed. Here are the key details you need to know, as well as recommendations about what to do if your account was affected.

      30 Million Accounts Affected

      The number of users whose access tokens were stolen is lower than Facebook originally estimated. When Facebook first announced this incident, it stated that attackers may have been able to steal access tokens—digital “keys” that control your login information and keep you logged in—from 50 to 90 million accounts. Since then, further investigation has revised that number down to 30 million accounts.

      The attackers were able to access an incredibly broad array of information from those accounts. The 30 million compromised accounts fall into three main categories. For 15 million users, attackers access names and phone numbers, emails, or both (depending on what people had listed).

    • GNU Binutils read_reloc Function Denial of Service Vulnerability [CVE-2018-18309]
  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • A court ruling knocks another hole in Swiss banking secrecy

      DURING his decade-long legal battle with the Swiss authorities, Rudolf Elmer, a bank whistleblower, endured 48 prosecutorial interrogations, spent six months in solitary confinement and faced 70 court rulings. None, though, was more important than the decision by Switzerland’s supreme court on October 10th, which set strict limits on the country’s famous bank-secrecy laws.

      Mr Elmer had leaked data from Julius Bär after being sacked by the Cayman Islands affiliate of the Zurich-based bank. The court, dismissing an appeal by prosecutors, ruled that because he was employed by the Cayman outfit, not its parent, he was not bound by Swiss secrecy law when he handed data to WikiLeaks in 2008. The 3-2 ruling followed a rare public debate among the judges, held in only 0.3% of supreme-court cases, underlining the national importance of the issue.

    • Pacifica stands with Wikileaks and Julian Assange

      If you’re opposed to war, how can you not love Julian Assange? Peace has been his overarching goal ever since he hacked into Pentagon computers at age 17, and he still has hope. In 2011, he told RT:

      “Nearly every war that has started in the past 50 years has been the result of media lies. The media could have stopped it. If they hadn’t reprinted government propaganda, they could’ve stopped it. But what does that mean?

      “That means basically that populations don’t like wars. And populations have to be fooled into war. Populations don’t willingly and with open eyes go into war. So if we have a good media environment, then we’ll also have a peaceful environment.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Devastating UN Report: CO2 Emissions Must Go to Zero By 2050 to Avoid Worst Effects of Climate Change

      Carbon dioxide emissions must reach net zero by 2050 in order to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius according to the “1.5 Degree Report,” compiled by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a coalition of climate scientists working for the United Nations. For perspective, we emitted over 32 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide last year (a gigatonne is one billion metric tonnes.) The report also claims that national pledges from the 2015 Paris Climate Accord are not enough to meet these targets.

    • Coal Is Killing the Planet. Trump Loves It.

      Scientists issued a new alarm on the devastating impacts of continued burning of fossil fuels. But the Trump E.P.A. keeps propping up coal.

    • Why Catastrophic Climate Change is Probably Inevitable Now

      So now let’s connect all the dots. Capitalism didn’t just rape the planet laughing, and cause climate change that way. It did something which history will think of as even more astonishing. By quite predictably imploding into fascism at precisely the moment when the world needed cooperation, it made it impossible, more or less, for the fight against climate change to gather strength, pace, and force. It wasn’t just the environmental costs of capitalism which melted down the planet — it was the social costs, too, which, by wrecking global democracy, international law, cooperation, the idea that nations should work together, made a fractured, broken world which no longer had the capability to act jointly to prevent the rising floodwaters and the burning summers.

    • Denmark to label food according to effect on climate

      Food products will be marked with stickers showing their environmental impact, according to a proposal expected to be included in a new climate package to be presented by the government this week.

    • We must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero or face more floods

      Even 1.5C of warming would have brutal consequences, according to the report. Poor people, in particular, would suffer as the threat of food and water shortages increase in some parts of the world.

      But the report makes clear that allowing warming to reach 2C would create risks that any reasonable person would regard as deeply dangerous.

    • A major climate report will slam the door on wishful thinking

      According to the drafts, the report finds that it would take a massive global effort, far more aggressive than any we’ve seen to date, to keep warming in line with 1.5°C — in part because we are already en route to 3°C of warming. And even if we hit the 1.5°C goal, the planet will still face massive, devastating changes. So it’s pretty grim.

    • Earth’s climate monsters could be unleashed as temperatures rise

      As a UN panel prepares a report on 1.5C global warming, researchers warn of the risks of ignoring ‘feedback’ effects

  • Finance

    • Budget Deficit Jumps Nearly 17% in 2018

      The federal budget deficit swelled to $779 billion in fiscal year 2018, the Treasury Department said on Monday, driven in large part by a sharp decline in corporate tax revenues after the Trump tax cuts took effect.

      The deficit rose nearly 17 percent year over year, from $666 billion in 2017. It is now on pace to top $1 trillion a year before the next presidential election, according to forecasts from the Trump administration and outside analysts. The deficit for the 2018 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, was the largest since 2012, when the economy and federal revenues were still recovering from the depths of the recession.

      Administration officials attributed the deficit’s rise to greater federal spending, including the military and domestic budget increases that President Trump approved this year, not the $1.5 trillion tax cut.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Peter Thiel associate named as ambassador to Sweden
    • Taibbi: Why Aren’t We Talking More About Trump’s Nihilism?

      Now comes this Linda Blair-style head turn. The NHTSA report deftly leaps past standard wing-nut climate denial and lands on a new nihilistic construct, in which action is useless precisely because climate change exists and is caused by fossil fuels.

      The more you read of this impact statement, the weirder it seems. After the document lays out its argument for doing nothing, it runs a series of bar graphs comparing the impact of various action plans with scenarios in which the entire world did nothing (labeled the “no action” alternative).

    • The Trump administration knows the planet is going to boil. It doesn’t care

      The news in that statement is that administration officials serenely contemplate that 4C rise (twice the last-ditch target set at the Paris climate talks). Were the world to actually warm that much, it would be a literal hell, unable to maintain civilizations as we have known them. But that’s now our policy, and it apparently rules out any of the actions that might, in fact, limit that warming. You might as well argue that because you’re going to die eventually, there’s no reason not to smoke a carton of cigarettes a day.

      Meanwhile, reporters also discovered that the administration has set up what can only be described as a concentration camp near the Mexican border for detained migrant children, spiriting them under cover of darkness from the foster homes and small shelters across the nation where they had been staying.

    • Voter Purges: What Georgians Heading to the Polls Need to Know

      Charges of voter suppression have been levied in the governor’s race in Georgia in recent weeks, pitting the secretary of state and GOP candidate Brian Kemp against critics, including his Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams, who say that he’s using his perch as the chief election official to benefit his own candidacy.

      The race, which the Cook Political Report currently lists as a toss-up, has received national attention. The controversy has raised questions about whether some Georgians will be turned away at the polls.

      Here’s what’s happened so far, and what voters need to know.

      In 2017, Georgia passed a new “exact match” law, supported by Kemp, which requires that voter registration applications precisely match information on file with the Georgia Department of Driver Services or the Social Security Administration.

    • Voter Registration Around Austin Smashed Records. That May Be a Problem.

      Travis County, Texas — the home of Austin — has experienced a massive spike in voter registrations this cycle, which officials there attribute to the heightened interest in the state’s competitive Senate race. The county received around 35,000 registrations on the final day to submit them — that’s 10,000 more than on the same day in 2016.

      While the increase in voter participation is good news, the recent surge is complicated by the fact that the registrations were submitted on paper. Texas is one of only 13 states not to have online voter registration. About a dozen county employees are now sifting through thousands of applications, verifying them and entering them into the state’s voter rolls by hand.

      Of the 35,000 registrations received on Oct. 9, 25,000 have yet to be processed. Early voting starts Monday. County officials recognize that the haste required to process that many applications is likely to lead at least some voters to experience problems at the polls.

    • Washington Post Saudi Link; Assange Has Partial Wi-Fi; Harvard Lawsuit

      Lazare joins us to discuss a recent Intercept article, “The Washington Post, as it Shames Others, Continues to Pay and Publish Undisclosed Saudi Lobbyists and Other Regime Propagandists,” by Glenn Greenwald. It questions the Washington Post grieving one of its journalists while at the same time continuing ties with the Saudi regime: “In the wake of the disappearance and likely murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, some of the most fervent and righteous voices demanding that others sever their ties with the Saudi regime have, understandably, come from his colleagues at that paper… addressing unnamed hypothetical Washington luminaries who continue to take money to do work for the despots in Riyadh, particularly Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, or ‘MbS’ as he has been affectionately known in the Western press.” But Greenwald says Post writers should ask those question of themselves, given the paper’s history of favorable reporting on Saudi Arabia’s government. What do we make of these headlines?

    • Pump and Trump

      Donald Trump claims he only licensed his name for real estate projects developed by others. But an investigation of a dozen Trump deals shows deep family involvement in projects that often involved deceptive practices.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Jokes can spark threats

      I feel that as a woman, people will give you hell just because they can. If it is very nasty, I tend to ignore it. Somedays, when I am in a really bad mood, I may give it back to them in the same vein though. When asked which video of hers received a lot of flak, Saadiya recounts, “There was a video of mine on Muslims; nothing derogatory, I was just making fun of my own people. That ticked off a lot of Muslims. I also speak of topics that are hardcore feministic and this doesn’t go down well with a lot of people.

      “The threats range from I should get raped or killed to asking me to put out my address if I was that brave because they wanted to teach me a lesson. A lot of these people don’t even understand jokes, sarcasm or satire. They pick some words, form their own ideas and get offended. Now how is this my fault?”

    • Stand up for journalists and the free press by opposing the Future Investment Initiative!
    • Political correctness: an elite ideology

      So if it is not ethnic minorities clamouring for PC censorship, who is? The Hidden Tribes researchers identified a section of society which it labelled ‘progressive activists’. This group includes those most wedded to political correctness: only 30 per cent see it as a problem. It is characterised as being young, cosmopolitan and liberal. But it makes up just eight per cent of the US population. They are also disproportionately white: 80 per cent of the ‘progressive activists’ surveyed were white compared with 69 per cent of those surveyed overall. They are also overwhelmingly better-off: so-called progressive activists are three times as likely to have a postgraduate education and twice as likely to be earning over $100,000 a year.

    • Google CEO speaks out about controversial Chinese search engine plans

      He was also quick to defend the project, which human rights groups have suggested will likely to be complicit in human rights violations and would allow for far more detailed tracking and profiling of people’s behaviour.

    • Lawsuit Seeking to Unmask Contributors to ‘Shitty Media Men’ List Would Violate Anonymous Speakers’ First Amendment Rights

      A lawsuit filed in New York federal court last week against the creator of the “Shitty Media Men” list and its anonymous contributors exemplifies how individuals often misuse the court system to unmask anonymous speakers and chill their speech. That’s why we’re watching this case closely, and we’re prepared to advocate for the First Amendment rights of the list’s anonymous contributors.

      On paper, the lawsuit is a defamation case brought by the writer Stephen Elliott, who was named on the list. The Shitty Media Men list was a Google spreadsheet shared via link and made editable by anyone, making it particularly easy for anonymous speakers to share their experiences with men identified on the list. But a review of the complaint suggests that the lawsuit is focused more broadly on retaliating against the list’s creator, Moira Donegan, and publicly identifying those who contributed to it.

      For example, after naming several anonymous defendants as Jane Does, the complaint stresses that “Plaintiff will know, through initial discovery, the names, email addresses, pseudonyms and/or ‘Internet handles’ used by Jane Doe Defendants to create the List, enter information into the List, circulate the List, and otherwise publish information in the List or publicize the List.”

      In other words, Elliott wants to obtain identifying information about anyone and everyone who contributed to, distributed, or called attention to the list, not just those who provided information about Elliot specifically.

      The First Amendment, however, protects anonymous speakers like the contributors to the Shitty Media Men list, who were trying to raise awareness about what they see as a pervasive problem: predatory men in media. As the Supreme Court has ruled, anonymity is a historic and essential way of speaking on matters of public concern—it is a “shield against the tyranny of the majority.”

    • Will Donald Trump Support A Federal Anti-SLAPP Law Now That It’s Helped Him Win Stormy Daniels’ Defamation Suit?

      And it’s that tweet that Daniels/Avenatti sued over. Again, this was clearly going nowhere. That tweet is not at all defamatory under the 1st Amendment. In his defense, Trump, who was represented by Charles Harder*, filed an anti-SLAPP motion, arguing that Trump was protected under Texas’ anti-SLAPP law, that the case should be dismissed, and that Trump should be awarded attorneys’ fees. And the court easily agreed.

      [...]

      He and Daniels will almost certainly lose this appeal and Trump will almost certainly win. But the real question is whether or not this helps Trump recognize the value of strong anti-SLAPP laws. It seems like now would be a good time for Congress to finally move on the federal anti-SLAPP law, while reminding Trump that it may have just saved him a bunch of money…

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Massachusetts Supreme Court Looking To Define Where The Fifth Amendment Ends And Compelled Decryption Begins

      Another case attempting to define the contours of the Fifth Amendment as it pertains to cellphones and passwords has arrived in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The case involves sex trafficking allegations and a phone seized from the defendant at the time of his arrest. Testimony from a person who said she was trafficked suggested the phone seized belonged to the defendant Dennis Lee Jones. The state sought to compel Jones to unlock the seized phone, but this motion was denied by the trial court, resulting in the state’s appeal.

      While the lower court did express some concern that unlocking devices can result in the production of evidence to be used against the person unlocking it, the standard for compelled password production has nothing to do with the eventual recovery of evidence. All the state* needs to reach is a reasonable certainty the defendant knows the password to the seized device. This is called a “foregone conclusion” — the defendant “telling” the state what it already “knows:” that the phone belongs to him and he can unlock it. The potential evidence held inside the phone may eventually be used against the defendant, but the Fifth Amendment question isn’t about this evidence, but rather the simple act of producing a password, which isn’t considered testimonial if the government can tie the phone to the accused.

    • Report: Your Browser’s “Do Not Track” Isn’t Respected by Twitter, Facebook and Other Major Players

      Right now, if you head to the privacy settings of your browser, there is a feature called “Do Not Track.” If you don’t know what that is, it’s basically a feature that sends a message to every website you visit asking them to not track your digital footprint.

      Websites use tracking to study your behavior and serve you ads accordingly to boost online sales revenue. We often fall for it, one minute you are looking at an expensive Jacket you want but you can’t afford it, the next minute you visit Facebook and there it is again, 20% off. And more often than not we end up buying the products.

    • Canadian Privacy Commissioner Goes To Court To Determine If Canada Can Force Google To Delete History

      Canada has been stumbling towards an EU-style “right to be forgotten” (RTBF) for quite some time now. There was a big case last year that not only said Google can be forced to remove links to certain information, but that it could be forced to do so globally (i.e., outside of just Canada). That was as a result of a specific lawsuit about specific information, but this year, a bigger exploration of the RTBF concept has been underway, as some have argued that Canada’s PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act) meant that Google should be forced to “de-link” articles on certain people’s name searches upon request (just like the EU’s RTBF).

      A report from the Canadian Privacy Commissioner earlier this year argued that PIPEDA already provided such a right and the Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien has been stumping for this ever since. Google has — for obvious reasons — been expressing its position that this is ridiculous, saying that PIPEDA does not apply to de-linking individuals’ names from news articles, and further argued that requiring such a result would be unconstitutional.

    • The ‘Donald Daters’ Trump Dating App Exposed Its Users’ Data

      Alderson pointed Motherboard to the apparently misconfigured database which contains the Donald Daters user information. To verify the data did come from Donald Daters, Motherboard created an account on the app, searched for users mentioned in the exposed data, found these through the app itself, and confirmed the profile photos and names matched up.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Checkpoint Nation

      Increasingly, Padilla’s description applies to CBP as well. It turns out that the legal definition of “the border” is troublingly broad. Some 200 million people — nearly two-thirds of all Americans — live within the “border zone,” which is defined by the Justice Department as the area up to 100 air miles from any U.S. land or coastal boundary. Nine of the country’s 10 largest cities lie within the zone. It touches 38 states and encompasses all of Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Rhode Island.

    • Innocent man ‘intimately searched’ and ‘called a paedo’ by police in brutal arrest paid £35k damages

      The force confirmed it had settled the case without liability, meaning it made no formal admission of wrong-doing, although the settlement including a letter of apology.

    • China disappearances show Beijing sets its own rules

      The recent disappearances of two high-profile Chinese citizens have once again focused international attention on China’s legal system and its use of secret detentions.

    • The Spirit of 1968 Lives on Today in Athletes like Colin Kaepernick

      Tommie Smith and John Carlos staged a stunning protest at the ’68 Summer Olympics. Fifty years later, rampant racial discrimination remains.

      In 1968, rage over the United States’ treatment of Black America was boiling over. It culminated that year in a protest at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City that shocked the world. But perhaps the lid blowing off the kettle shouldn’t have been so surprising.

      In May of 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. admitted that his “dream” of 1963 had “turned into a nightmare.” The uprisings later that summer reflected long-festering racial inequality. And as 1968 dawned, poverty was rampant in Black America.

      In Memphis, striking sanitation workers made about a dollar an hour. The Kerner Report, which was released in March of 1968, sounded ominous:

      “What white Americans have never fully understood — but what the Negro can never forget — is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it, and white society condones it.”

      Less than one month later, King was shot down in Memphis supporting those very sanitation workers.

      1968 also saw continued protests over the Vietnam War, the assassination of Robert Kennedy, and the live broadcast across the nation of the Chicago Police beating demonstrators at the Democratic National Convention. As the 1968 Olympics Games began, track athletes John Carlos and Tommie Smith made a decision. Something had to be said to the world about the promise of America going up in smoke.

    • Police Reform Is Coming to New York City, but Will the NYPD Follow the Law?

      Police reform legislation will go into effect this week in New York City, but the law depends on the NYPD acting in good faith.

      In December 2017, the New York City Council passed two police reform measures, collectively known as the Right to Know Act, which aimed to improve communication and transparency during police stops and searches. On Friday, both bills will take full effect, and the New York Police Department will be tasked with implementing the council’s mandate to become more transparent and accountable. But there are good reasons to be skeptical that the NYPD will implement the law faithfully.

      The first measure requires the NYPD to develop a policy that instructs officers to let people know when they have the right to refuse to be searched. Under the consent-to-search law, if an officer wants to search someone, her home, her vehicle, or her property without a warrant or a legally recognized exception under the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement, the officer must ask if the person voluntarily agrees to be searched.

      The law also requires the officer to explain that no search will happen if the individual stopped says no, and it requires the officer to double check that the person stopped understands that explanation. If the person has limited English proficiency, the officer must use interpretation services so that the person understands what’s being asked of her.

      If the officer has a body-worn camera, the encounter will be recorded, and the officer will be required to let the person know how to request a copy of that footage. The NYPD will also have to start keeping track of these encounters and publicly report how many searches are happening and, perhaps most importantly, the demographics of the people being asked to let an officer search them.

    • Facebook’s Latest Fake News ‘Purge’ Terminates Several Accounts Known For Their Criticism Of Law Enforcement

      Moderating at scale is a nightmare. Anything you do will be wrong. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to criticism. Just be aware every move you make will cause unintended collateral damage. Making everyone happy is impossible. Making everyone angry is inevitable.

      [...]

      Maybe so, but the vanishing of a handful of cop accountability-focused pages isn’t exactly what comes to mind when someone’s talking about Russian interference. Encouraging platforms to engage in further moderation may seem innocuous, but the reality of the situation is there is constant pressure — applied by people like Senator Warner — for platforms to do more, more, more because some speech they don’t care for can still be found on the internet.

      The more politicians push for action, the more collateral damage they will cause. They may feel there’s no Constitutional problem since they’re not directly mandating moderation efforts. But they are harming free speech, if only indirectly at this point.

    • How America Systematically Fails Survivors of Sexual Violence

      #MeToo exposed the widespread silencing and dismissal of survivors and the need for our institutions to do better.

      Before there was Christine Blasey Ford, there was Recy Taylor, an African-American woman who was raped by six white men in 1944 and fought for justice with the help of Rosa Parks. And in between the two of them, there was Anita Hill, Tarana Burke, Alyssa Milano, Lupita Nyong’o, Tanya Selveratnam, Aly Raisman, and many, many more.

      For centuries, women have experienced violence and harassment, and many have spoken out. #MeToo brought us to a new phase in building the movement to end gender-based violence, magnifying and connecting thousands of voices as they shared their stories. Despite women’s achievement of formal equality, #MeToo exposed how common such violence is, the widespread silencing and dismissal of survivors, and the myriad ways violence undermines survivors’ security, dignity, and opportunities.

      The President and Senate Judiciary Committee are far from the only powerful people and institutions that limit investigations, disbelieve survivors, and fault people for coming forward. Discrimination against survivors infiltrates all aspects of life, including the responses of law enforcement, employers, housing providers, and schools, to name a few. Speaking out about violence is a crucial step. But law enforcement, employers, housing providers, and schools must also step up and acknowledge how their policies and practices contribute to violence.

      “Why didn’t you report?” is the refrain so many survivors face when they disclose violence for the first time. But too often, police dismiss survivors who go to law enforcement. This attitude results in governments’ decisions not to test thousands of rape kits in cities like Detroit, Albuquerque, and Washington DC, based on officers’ assumptions that there was no sexual assault. It also explains why one in three survivors feel less safe after contacting police.

    • From Canada to Argentina, Security Researchers Have Rights—Our New Report

      EFF is introducing a new Coders’ Rights project to connect the work of security research with the fundamental rights of its practitioners throughout the Americas. The project seeks to support the right of free expression that lies at the heart of researchers’ creations and use of computer code to examine computer systems, and relay their discoveries among their peers and to the wider public.

      To kick off the project, EFF published a whitepaper today, “Protecting Security Researchers’ Rights in the Americas” (PDF), to provide the legal and policy basis for our work, outlining human rights standards that lawmakers, judges, and most particularly the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, should use to protect the fundamental rights of security researchers.

      We started this project because hackers and security researchers have never been more important to the security of the Internet. By identifying and disclosing vulnerabilities, hackers are able to improve security for every user who depends on information systems for their daily life and work.

    • For Wearing Tampon, Virginia Woman Says She’s Barred From Prison Visits

      A Virginia woman says state prison officials terminated a visit with her husband and accused her of attempting to smuggle drugs with a tampon days after the state suspended a policy that would have banned women from wearing the feminine hygiene product to visits.

      Weeks later, according to the woman, her visits were unofficially suspended indefinitely as officials continue to investigate the package.

      The woman, who asked not to be named out of fear of retaliation from prison officials, said a Virginia Department of Corrections (DOC) administrator told her she was one of several women who had their visits terminated that day (although a friend who was in the visitation room with her said she did not see anyone else dismissed). She told Shadowproof she felt like she was targeted because she was on her period.

      The Virginia DOC did not return requests for comment on the alleged incident and visitation privileges. It posted a vague tweet on October 3 about drugs being found in the bathroom of one of its facilities but a spokeswoman did not disclose further details on the statement.

      The confrontation marked the latest incident in which officials used contraband to exert their power over incarcerated women and visitors’ periods.

    • FBI Releases Guidelines On Impersonating Journalists, Seems Unworried About Its Impact On Actual Journalists

      The FBI’s impersonation of journalists raised questions about its investigative activities, none of which the FBI felt like addressing. An Inspector General’s investigation of FBI investigations using this tactic found that it was generally a bad idea, but not an illegal or unconstitutional one. Prior to the investigation, the FBI apparently had no clear policies governing this form of impersonation, which it used to snare a school-bombing suspect.

      Following the report, a policy was put in place that added some additional layers of oversight but didn’t indicate the obvious downside of impersonating journalists: that the people the FBI wants to investigate are going to do a lot less talking to anyone they don’t know, which includes journalists attempting to document newsworthy events that might contain criminal activity.

      The FBI blew it with one of its other impersonation efforts. As Camille Fassett reports for the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a more recent effort may have put a serious damper on its fake news(person) efforts.

    • 16-year-old gets 4.5 years in prison for kissing 13-year-old

      The case concerns the 16-year-old A.K. and 13-year-old S.Ö. who have hugged and kissed each other on the school premises of the latter. The incident however was taken to the judiciary when a schoolmate of the 13-year old S.Ö. (known with initials A.Ş) took the video of the two kissing and shared it with friends. Once the relevant video was seen by the school management, a lawsuit was opened at the Antalya 6th Heavy Penalty Court against the middle schooler A.Ş. for “using children in the production of inappropriate images” and the high schooler A.K. for “sexual assault.”

    • Australians should sign Muslim peace contract or be executed, witness tells court

      He was questioned about his support for Islamic State, the caliphate and Sharia Law, which he believed should be implemented in Australia for all Muslims and non-Muslims.

      “They would have to sign a contract to live with, amongst Muslims in peace,” he said.

      “Whoever does not sign the contract either leaves the country or is executed.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Comcast complains it will make less money under Calif. net neutrality law

      Comcast submitted its filing on October 3 as part of the broadband industry lawsuit that seeks to overturn California’s net neutrality law (SB 822), which is slated to take effect on January 1, 2019 unless the court grants a stay halting implementation. Comcast’s filing is meant to support the industry’s request for an injunction that would halt enforcement of the law while litigation is pending.

    • 99.7% Of Original Comments Opposed FCC Repeal Of Net Neutrality

      A new study has once again confirmed that the vast, vast majority of the public opposed the FCC’s ham-fisted repeal of net neutrality.

      Like most government proceedings, the FCC’s net neutrality killing order’s public comment period was filled will all manner of comments (both in favor and against) generated by automatic letter-writing campaigns. Like most government proceedings in the post-truth era, the net neutrality repeal was also plagued by a lot of shady gamesmanship by companies trying to disguise the fact that the government was simply kissing the ass of giant, unpopular telecom monopolies. But what happens if you eliminated all of the letter-writing campaign and bogus bot-comments?

      A new report from Stanford University (pdf) did just that. It eliminated all automated or form-generated comments and found just 800,000 Americans willing to take the time to put their own, original thoughts on the net neutrality repeal into words.

    • 99.7 Percent of Unique FCC Comments Favored Net Neutrality

      After removing all duplicate and fake comments filed with the Federal Communications Commission last year, a Stanford researcher has found that 99.7 percent of public comments—about 800,000 in all—were pro-net neutrality.

    • DOJ Continues To Point Out A Mega-Merged AT&T Will Jack Up Prices On Everybody

      AT&T recently defeated the DOJ’s challenge to their $86 billion merger with Time Warner thanks to a comically narrow reading of the markets by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon. At no point in his 172-page ruling (which approved the deal without a single condition) did Leon show the faintest understanding that AT&T intends to use vertical integration synergistically with the death of net neutrality to dominate smaller competitors.

      In fact, net neutrality was never even mentioned by the DOJ at the multi-week trial. Likely in part because the DOJ didn’t want to highlight how the Trump FCC was screwing everybody over with one hand, while the Trump DOJ was allegedly suing AT&T to “protect consumers” with the other (some argue that Trump’s disdain for CNN and adoration of Rupert Murdoch were the more likely motivators). But if you ignore the fact that AT&T plans to use its monopoly over many broadband markets (from residential to cellular tower backhaul) combined with the death of net neutrality to make life difficult for consumers and competitors alike, you’re not paying any attention to history or to AT&T’s repeated nods in that general direction.

  • DRM

    • Security Updates Are Even Breaking Your Printer (On Purpose)

      Printer manufacturers hate third-party ink cartridges. They want you buying the expensive, official ones. Epson and HP have issued sneaky “updates” that break these cheaper cartridges, forcing you to buy the expensive ones.

      HP pioneered this technique back in 2016, rolling out a “security update” to its OfficeJet and OfficeJet Pro printers that activated a helpful new feature—helpful for HP’s bottom line, at least. Now, before printing, the printer would verify you’re using new HP ink cartridges. If you’re using a competitor’s ink cartridge or a refilled HP ink cartridge, printing would stop. After some flaming in the press, HP sort-of apologized, but not really.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Microsoft’s Peace Treaty With the ‘Linux System’

      “The only reason you don’t sign the OIN license is because you want to reserve the right to sue on core Linux,” he said.

      Taking Microsoft on as a member creates something of a public relations problem for OIN, which is not without detractors in the open source community. The opposition primarily centers on the widespread belief in open source circles that software shouldn’t be patentable, mostly because software is already covered under copyright law. In a recent article on Microsoft’s joining OIN, Roy Schestowitz, publisher of the software patent-focused Techrights website, called OIN “an IBM-centric group that favors software patents” and has said the organization’s model works against patent reform because it supports the legitimacy of patents.

      “We don’t feel that we’re legitimizing them,” Bergelt said. “We’re recognizing that they exist. It’s a matter of pragmatism to say that whether we believe they should exist or shouldn’t exist doesn’t matter — they do exist. My view is we’re recognizing reality and dealing with it in a determined way, and I disagree with those who believe it’s a validation.”

    • Germany: Feuerfeste Zustellung einer Gießpfanne, Federal Court of Justice of Germany, X ZR 44/16, 13 March 2018

      The Federal Court of Justice held that the purpose of determining the technical problem (objective) in invalidity proceedings is to locate the starting point of skilled efforts to enrich the state of the art without knowledge of the invention, in order to assess, in the subsequent and separate examination of patentability, whether or not the solution proposed for this purpose was rendered obvious by the state of the art. Accordingly, it does not have the function to make a preliminary decision on the question of patentability. Therefore, it is neither permissible to take into account elements belonging to the solution according to the patent in the formulation of the problem nor may it be assumed without further ado that it was appropriate for the person skilled in the art to deal with a particular problem.

    • Why would the Federal Trade Commission snatch defeat from the jaws of victory over Qualcomm?

      This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post on Judge Lucy H. Koh’s decision to deny a joint administrative motion by the Federal Trade Commission and Qualcomm asking her not to rule on a motion for partial summary judgment on the obligation to extend standard-essential patent (SEP) licenses on FRAND terms to rival chipset makers (such as Intel).

      I didn’t want to jump to conclusions from a case management decision, but in purely probabilistic terms it’s a fact that Judge Koh’s order increases the likelihood of summary judgment being granted. There’s no harder-working judge than her, and she wouldn’t have decided to cancel the hearing and take this motion (as well as several other, less important motions) under submission if there had been any questions left to ask. However, if she had been inclined to deny the actual motion, she might just have given the parties four weeks to work out a settlement–the sole remaining plausible explanation would be that she wanted to make it clear her court is nobody’s tool, much less a restaurant that serves litigation à la carte where you can put one motion on hold while letting the process continue on the same schedule in all other respects.

      This antitrust litigation has been going very, very well for the FTC for a long time. It wouldn’t make sense to let Qualcomm off the hook now that there is a near-term opportunity (with respect to the summary judgment motion, “near-term” is actually a gross understatement) to restore fair competition in the market for baseband chipsets and with respect to cellular SEP licensing.

      There’s probably a lot of fighting going on in DC behind the scenes, inside and outside the FTC. Prior to the latest twist I had already tried to find out about where the current five commissioners stand on FRAND, but haven’t found any information that would enable me to predict the outcome of a vote on a hypothetical settlement proposal tantamount to the agency’s surrender. In the past, the positions of Commissioners Maureen Ohlhausen and Joshua D. Wright were well-known (I mentioned Mrs. Ohlhausen on several occasions, and in 2013 I dedicated a blog post to Mr. Wright’s stance), but they aren’t in office anymore. So I extended my search for clues to high-ranking FTC officials. It turns out that two of them–Alden Abbott (the FTC’s General Counsel) and Bruce H. Kobayashi–have a certain proximity to Qualcomm and are sympathetic to Qualcomm’s unFRANDly positions to a degree that is clearly a minority opinion in the legal community. While I don’t have the slightest indication of any impropriety, there is a conspicuous lack of impartiality.

    • Copyrights

      • 9th Circuit Led Zeppelin ruling introduces new copyright infringement framework

        The Ninth Circuit’s Stairway to Heaven decision on September 28 offers a better application of the inverse ratio rule, according to one observer

        The Ninth Circuit recently vacated in part the district court’s judgement that Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven did not infringe Spirit’s 1960s instrumental track Taurus.

      • Art, AI & Infringement: A Copyright Conundrum

        The trademark claim rests solely on the name of the file including Chamandy’s full name. It’s a silly argument for trademark infringement as the whole point of including the name is to weigh the new art piece against her specific work, which necessarily involves anyone viewing these pieces being informed that they are not the work of the original author. The whole purpose of the validation process is to show what differentiation remains between the new piece and the human-made example. That’s not trademark infringement. It’s not really even close.

        As for the copyright portion of this, it’s important that you not be fooled by the percentage the machine setup notes in the validation process. You might think that an 85% match would mean the two images are very similar and would share a ton of features that would link the two in the viewer’s mind. That’s not even close to being the case, as you can see just how different the two images are below.

      • Can’t Wish Away The Mistakes In The Original ‘Stairway To Heaven’ Verdict

        Last time, I explained why I thought the Ninth Circuit’s recent vacating and remanding of the jury verdict in Led Zeppelin’s favor was, long-term, a good thing for copyright law (even if I kind of liked the verdict and am genuinely sorry for Led Zeppelin). The reason is that the reversal gave one panel of the Ninth Circuit an opportunity to try to fix the Ninth Circuit’s unhelpful legal framework for determining copyright infringement.

        But that isn’t why the panel reversed. While the panel did make some suggestions about how to present the “inverse-ratio” rule to the jury, the way it was presented to the original jury isn’t what merited reversal. What merited reversal was the lack of another jury instruction about a basic and uncontroversial principle of copyright law that the parties agreed should have been there in some form. In short, the case is being reversed — and the Ninth Circuit is getting a chance to fix its own weird copyright law — because of what appears to have been a brain fart.

      • Vodlocker Hammers Streaming Sites with JavaScript-based DDoS

        Vodlocker.to offers a handy video embed tool which several smaller pirate streaming sites have grown to rely on. Starting recently, however, the site also appears to have become the source of a rather nasty JavaScript-based DDoS campaign, which uses the unwitting viewers of these embedded videos to take out several pirate streaming sites.

      • Court Orders Swedish ISP Telia to Block The Pirate Bay & FMovies

        Sweden’s Patent and Market Court has ordered a local ISP to block access to several large torrent and streaming platforms. The interim ruling, which comes into force at the end of October, requires Telia to block The Pirate Bay, Dreamfilm, FMovies, and NyaFilmer following a complaint from Hollywood and local studios.

      • High Court overturns ruling of breach of privacy in Kim Dotcom case

        At the four-day appeal hearing last month, the lawyer for the Attorney-General, Victoria Casey told the High Court at Wellington the transfer of the requests was “orthodox and sensible”, and that the Tribunal had taken the wrong approach to deciding whether the requests were vexatious.

      • Kim Dotcom loses court battle over information requests

Improving US Patent Quality Through Reassessments of Patents and Courts’ Transparency

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 3:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Transparency in CD

Summary: Transparency in US courts and more public participation in the patent process (examination, litigation etc.) would help demonstrate that many patents are being granted — and sometimes asserted — that are totally bunk, bogus, fake

THE new leadership is oftentimes frustrating if now downright depressing; they put the so-called ‘swamp’ in charge. A new event about patents issued the following nonsensical tweet: “A new twist has recently entered the debate about how #patents and #opensource interact and whether the two principles are compatible with each other or not.”

“So stop granting software patents; the principal problem would be solved.”They’re obviously not compatible, but the sponsors would pay for us to believe otherwise. The event took place yesterday and attending as well as speaking was Director Iancu, who said, according to third-party accounts: “lack of predictability on Section 101 limits investment in innovation. [] gets specific: “Step 1 of Alice-Mayo test must be a ‘category’ analysis not a claim analysis. If the matter is sometimes patentable then it is not a subject matter Section 101 problem.”

So stop granting software patents; the principal problem would be solved. We’ll probably say more in the weekend (once all the patent maximalists are done boosting him).

Totally meaningless is the message above (lots of mythology embedded in it, pure fiction from the patent microcosm). He just wants to find ways to defy the courts, ignore caselaw, and grant software patents anyway.

Last night Josh Landau (CCIA) spoke about history and noted that “[w]hile the PTO no longer operates under a registration system, that situation still exists today. The PTO—unlike many other patent offices around the world—is unable to permanently refuse a patent application.”

Here are some key bits:

Setting aside the apparent fact that the vast majority of patents back then were on old ideas—a problem that continues to exist, given the significant number of invalid patents issued by the PTO—there’s another lesson to be had from this diary entry.

Dr. Thornton was operating under the registration system, during which patents were not examined but were simply granted. As Adams emphasized, the problem of an inability to refuse a patent leads to the existence of patents on old technology, imposing significant harms on the public who become unable to utilize the prior technology that they should have had the right to employ.2

While the PTO no longer operates under a registration system, that situation still exists today. The PTO—unlike many other patent offices around the world—is unable to permanently refuse a patent application. All they can do is temporarily reject it and wait for the applicant to decide if they want to keep going with prosecution. Unsurprisingly, in a system where it’s impossible to permanently get rid of an application, a large number of them eventually become patents. When correcting for procedures like continuations, the percentage of patent applications that are issued has risen, approaching nearly 100% last year—a proportion not reached since the turn of the millennium.

[...]

It’s unfortunate that the PTO and policymakers continue to fail to learn from these mistakes—particularly when the first Commissioner for Patents identified the issue over 200 years ago.

This means that we increasingly need to rely on courts and tribunals, not examiners.

In spite of fee hikes and other attempts — more recently by Iancu — to sabotage the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) this tribunal is still attracting many inter partes reviews (IPRs), abolishing software patents by the hundreds each month, owing to to 35 U.S.C. § 101, inspired by SCOTUS and embraced by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Michael Loney graphed/charted the numbers yesterday and said:

2018 is on course to have the lowest petition filing rate since 2013. The third quarter included the impact of SAS on institution decisions, an update to the AIA Trial Practice Guide, the departure of the PTAB chief judge and the creation of a Precedential Opinion Panel

Sometimes there are appeals and these typically swiftly affirm the Board’s decisions.

As we noted here before, the EFF’s Daniel Nazer and his colleageus had been asking the Federal Circuit for greater transparency in patent lawsuits, affairs, lobbying etc. (without time delays as before).

The final outcome is positive, as Nazer noted some hours ago. To quote:

In a victory for transparency, the Federal Circuit has changed its policies to give the public immediate access to briefs. Previously, the court had marked submitted briefs as “tendered” and withheld them from the public pending review by the Clerk’s Office. That process sometimes took a number of days. EFF wrote a letter [PDF] asking the court to make briefs available as soon as they are filed. The court has published new procedures [PDF] that will allow immediate access to submitted briefs.

Regular readers might note that this is the second time we have announced this modest victory. Unfortunately, our earlier blog post was wrong and arose out of a miscommunication with the court (the Clerk’s Office informed us of our mistake and we corrected that post). This time, the new policy clearly provides for briefs to be immediately available to the public.

We certainly hope that CAFC, by affirming decisions of PTAB, can undermine Iancu’s agenda of weakening PTAB and broadening patent scope in defiance of the Supreme Court. Iancu appears to have adopted lawlessness, just like his boss who appointed him after he had worked for him. The EFF is rightly upset about it.

Ask OIN How It Intends to Deal With Microsoft Proxies Such as Patent Trolls

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 1:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft does not need to sue GNU/Linux (and hasn’t done so in quite a while); there are ‘tentacles’ for enforcement…

Bill and Nathan
The "Microsoft spinoff" Intellectual Ventures is still managed by the same man. Credit: Reuters

Summary: OIN continues to miss the key point (or intentionally avoid speaking about it); Microsoft is still selling ‘protection’ from the very same patent trolls that it is funding, arming, and sometimes even instructing (who to pass patents to and sue)

WE HAD been writing about Microsoft’s attacks — especially by means of patents — and ‘defensive’ aggregators (DPAs) long before the Open Invention Network (OIN) added Microsoft as a member (or even LOT Network). We wrote many articles about why OIN wasn’t the solution, except perhaps to large companies such as Red Hat and IBM (which already cross-licenses with Microsoft anyway). We foresaw Microsoft joining as a member and clarified that it would not mean very much. OIN cannot really tackle some of the key problems. Even if Microsoft threw away all of its patents (voiding everything) — however unlikely that is — that would still leave many patents out there that it gave to patent trolls such as MOSAID (now known as Conversant). For well over a decade Microsoft has ‘polluted’ several spaces/domains with trolls, flooding them with risks that help Microsoft sell “Azure IP Advantage” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21] (or previously Novell/SUSE Linux with the ‘Microsoft tax’ for what they back them marketed as “intellectual property peace of mind”).

“For well over a decade Microsoft has ‘polluted’ several spaces/domains with trolls, flooding them with risks that help Microsoft sell “Azure IP Advantage”…”OIN’s response to my views (just mentioned in Hall’s new article with the words “Peace Treaty” in the headline) dodges the issue of patent trolls, including Microsoft-connected ones. There’s nothing they can do about these and occasionally they admit so, too. With lots of USPTO-granted software patents out there (OIN expresses no interest in actually challenging those) there’s going to be trouble.

I must say that not a single person has yet pointed out inaccuracies or errors in my articles/views on this matter. Nobody. I saw a lot of people agreeing; curiously enough, some key Microsoft employees blocked me in Twitter pro-actively (even though I never even spoke to them or about them). How curious. It’s like they’re afraid of actually dealing with the facts and debate matters. Ears wide shut.

Mitchel Lewis, who blogs about technology [1, 2], recently approached me for “a chat about Microsoft [...] Specifically with regard to patent trolling. I’m writing an article about the influence of Bill Gates Sr. and his law firm KL Gates with regard to the predatory design and nature of Microsoft…”

“I’m an open book man,” he said. “Another project that I have on the back-burner is focused on how Microsoft influences and suppresses the media.”

Here is what we wrote to me about OIN and patent trolls:

Truth be told, I just stumbled upon that site today so I will be spending a bit of time there over the next few weeks. Based on what I’ve read so far though, thanks for pointing out how Microsoft funds patent trolls; this was news to me. But it also seems like an eerily similar tactic leveraged by Peter Thiel, and presumably others, when he enacted his revenge on Gawker by funding Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit. In turn, this makes me wonder if media outlets dance around topics that make Microsoft and other large entities look bad for fear of indirect retaliation such as this.

I’ve been so focused on other crude aspects of Microsoft that I seem to have neglected to realize just how potent of a troll they are in the realm of patent law, among other things. Only after realizing that they’ve been trolling the Linux world for years, to the point of being one of necessitating factors of OIN’s formation, did I begin to consider just how much of their business is dependent on subverting their competition, Linux or otherwise, through their patents.

Needless to say, please feel free to use and re-appropriate anything that I’ve written to use as well as cite at your discretion. I maintain the stance that there are not enough people writing about how destructive Microsoft is in this day and am just glad to see others writing about it.

OIN may never be able to explain how it intends to tackle Microsoft’s satellites, such as Intellectual Ventures, Finjan, and Acacia, which as noted only earlier this week still attacks other OIN members for their products that compete with Microsoft’s.

10.16.18

Links 1610/2018: Linux 4.19 RC8, Xfce Screensaver 0.1.0 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 11:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Chrome OS Stable Channel Gets Linux Apps

      After months of user testing in developer and beta channels, the Crostini project at Google finally delivered the goods, Linux apps for most users of Chromebooks in the stable channel—definitely worth the wait. While this still is aimed primarily at developers using Chromebooks, I think there’s a good chance these Linux apps will be used and enjoyed by the general public using Chromebooks as well. There’s still a bit of a learning curve to overcome before that possibility is realized, but if you already are a user of any Linux distro, it will feel very familiar. Here’s an overview of how to install it and what to expect afterward.

      After getting the update to version 69, go to Settings and scroll down a bit, and you’ll see the option to turn on Linux apps. Figure 1 shows this first step. Note that this isn’t available on all Chromebooks; if you’re using an older one, you’ll have to wait a while before this function is available. If you don’t see the option to turn on Linux apps, your Chromebook currently lacks that functionality. But, if you have a Chromebook produced in the past two years, you probably will see the option.

    • Update KB4468550 Fixes Audio Issues Caused In Windows 10 October Patch [Ed: Alternative (better) headline is, Microsoft admits breaking your machine]

      If your Windows is updated to the latest Windows 10 October 2018 update then there are chances that you might be facing audio problems , something along the lines of “No Audio Output Device is installed”.

      The October 2018 patch caused this issue on many machines running Windows 10 version 1803 or above. Many users tweeted about this problem almost instantly as it was happening on such a wide scale when they realized that they Windows has stopped giving them audio when they start playing games, or launch a video player all while the sounds on their browser as well as the system sounds were working perfectly fine.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.19-rc8

      As mentioned last week, here’s a -rc8 release as it seems needed.

      There were a lot of “little” pull requests this week, semi-normal for
      this late in the cycle, but a lot of them were “fix up the previous fix
      I just sent” which implies that people are having a few issues still.

      I also know of at least one “bad” bug that finally has a proposed fix,
      so that should hopefully get merged this week. And there are some
      outstanding USB fixes I know of that have not yet landed in the tree (I
      blame me for that…)

      Anyway, the full shortlog is below, lots of tiny things all over the
      tree. Please go and test and ensure that all works well for you.
      Hopefully this should be the last -rc release.

    • Linux 4.19-rc8 Released With A Lot Of “Tiny Things”
    • Linux’s Qualcomm Ath10k Driver Getting WoWLAN, WCN3990 Support

      The Qualcomm/Atheros “Ath10k” Linux driver coming up in the Linux 4.20~5.0 kernel merge window is picking up two prominent features.

      First up, the Ath10k driver is finally having WoWLAN support — Wake on Wireless LAN. WoWLAN has been supported by the kernel for years and more recently is getting picked up by Linux networking user-space configuration utilities. Ath10k is becoming the latest Linux wireless driver supporting WoWLAN (WIPHY_WOWLAN_NET_DETECT) for automatically waking up the system when within range of an a known SSID.

    • FUSE File-Systems Pick Up Another Performance Boost With Symlink Caching

      FUSE file-systems in user-space are set to be running faster with the upcoming Linux 4.20~5.0 kernel thanks to several performance optimizations.

      The FUSE kernel code for this next Linux kernel cycle already has a hash table optimization and separately is copy file range support for efficient file copy operations. Staged today into the FUSE tree for the next cycle was yet another performance-boosting patch.

    • Another Change Proposed For Linux’s Code of Conduct

      With the Linux 4.19-rc8 kernel release overnight, one change not to be found in this latest Linux 4.19 release candidate are any alterations to the new Code of Conduct. The latest proposal forbids discussing off-topic matters while protecting any sentient being in the universe.

      While some immediate changes to the Linux kernel Code of Conduct have been talked about by upstream kernel developers, for 4.19-rc8 there are no changes yet. We’ll presumably see some basic changes land this week ahead of Linux 4.19.0 expected next Sunday as not to have an unenforceable or flawed CoC found in a released kernel version.

    • Linux v4.18: Performance Goodies

      Linux v4.18 has been out a two months now; making this post a bit late, but still in time before the next release. Also so much drama in the CoC to care about performance topics :P As always comes with a series of performance enhancements and optimizations across subsystems.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Automotive Grade Linux Enables Telematics and Instrument Cluster Applications with Latest UCB 6.0 Release

        Developed through a joint effort by dozens of member companies, the AGL Unified Code Base (UCB) is an open source software platform that can serve as the de facto industry standard for infotainment, telematics and instrument cluster applications. Sharing a single software platform across the industry reduces fragmentation and accelerates time-to-market by encouraging the growth of a global ecosystem of developers and application providers that can build a product once and have it work for multiple automakers.

        [...]

        The AGL UCB 6.0 includes an operating system, middleware and application framework. Key features include: [...]

    • Graphics Stack

      • CodeXL 2.6 is released!

        For current users of CodeXL, this new release may look and feel a little different. The AMD Developer Tools team has been busy working on many new tools, some of which replicate functionality found in older versions of CodeXL. Thus, to limit confusion for our users, we have removed several major components from CodeXL.

      • AMD CodeXL 2.6 Advances GPU Profiling, Static Analysis & GPU Debugging

        But what is found within CodeXL 2.6 for GPU developers are the GPU profiling features, static analysis features, and GPU debugging features.

      • [ANNOUNCE] xorg-server 1.20.2

        Lots of bugfixes all over the map. Thanks to all for testing and patches!

      • X.Org Server 1.20.2 Released With A Bunch Of Bug Fixes

        It’s almost been a half-year already since the release of the long delayed X.Org Server 1.20, but with no signs of X.Org Server 1.21 releasing soon, xorg-server 1.20.2 was announced today as the latest stable point release.

      • FreeDesktop.org Might Formally Join Forces With The X.Org Foundation

        FreeDesktop.org is already effectively part of X.Org given the loose structure of FreeDesktop.org, the key members/administrators being part of both projects, and FreeDesktop.org long being the de facto hosting platform from the X.Org Server to Mesa and much more. But now they may be officially joining forces.

        As a formality, the X.Org Foundation is seeking to change their foundation’s by-laws to reflect that the X.Org Foundation shall also “Support free and open source projects through the freedesktop.org infrastructure. For projects outside the scope [of the X.Org Foundation] support extends to project hosting only.”

      • Experimental Patches For Using SIMD32 Fragment Shaders With Intel’s Linux Driver

        Existing Intel graphics hardware already supports SIMD32 fragment shaders and the Intel open-source Linux graphics driver has supported this mode for months, but it hasn’t been enabled. That though is in the process of changing.

        Since June the Intel Mesa driver’s fragment shader code has supported the SIMD32 mode supported by the past number of generations of Intel graphics hardware, but it hasn’t actually been turned on. That enabling wasn’t done over not having the heuristics in place for determining when to enable it over the other code paths.

    • Benchmarks

      • Windows 10 October 2018 Update Performance Against Ubuntu 18.10, Fedora 29

        As the latest of our benchmarks using the newly re-released Microsoft Windows 10 October 2018 Update, here are benchmarks of this latest Windows 10 build against seven different Linux distributions on the same hardware for checking out the current performance of these operating systems.

        For this latest Linux OS benchmarking comparison against Windows, the following platforms were tested:

        - The Windows 10 April 2018 release as the previous major milestone of Windows 10.

        - The newest Windows 10 October 2018 build as the latest Windows 10 build from Microsoft.

        - OpenSUSE Tumbleweed as the openSUSE rolling-release distribution that as of testing was on the Linux 4.18.12 kernel, KDE Plasma 5.14, Mesa 18.1.7, and GCC 8.2.1 atop an XFS home file-system with Btrfs root file-system (the default partitioning scheme).

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Xfce Screensaver 0.1.0 Released

      I am pleased to announce the release of Xfce Screensaver (xfce4-screensaver) 0.1.0! This is an early release targeted to testers and translators. Bugs and patches welcome!

    • Xfce4-Screensaver Has Its First Release – Fork Of MATE Screensaver, Forked From GNOME

      As a new alternative over XScreenSaver or using other desktop environments’ screensaver functionality, xfce4-screensaver has out its first release albeit of alpha quality.

      The xfce4-screensaver project made its preliminary (v0.1.0) release today that is described of alpha quality intended for testers and translators. This new screensaver option for Xfce users is forked from the MATE Screensaver code, which in turn was forked from the GNOME Screensaver.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma 5.14 – Phasers on stun

        Linux is much like the stock market. Moments of happiness broken by crises. Or is the other way around? Never mind. Today shall hopefully be a day of joy, for I am about to test Plasma 5.14, the latest version of this neat desktop environment. Recently, I’ve had a nice streak of good energy with Linux, mostly thanks to my experience with Slimbook Pro2, which I configured with Kubuntu Beaver. Let’s see if we can keep the momentum.

        Now, before we begin, there are more good news woven into this announcement. As you can imagine, you do need some kind of demonstrator to test the new desktop. Usually, it’s KDE neon, which offers a clean, lean, mean KDE-focused testing environment. You can boot into the live session, try the desktop, and if you like it, you can even install it. Indeed, neon is an integral part of my eight-boot setup on the Lenovo G50 machine. But what makes things really interesting is that neon has also switched to the latest Ubuntu LTS base. It now comes aligned to the 18.04 family, adorned with this brand new Plasma. Proceed.

      • Release of KDE Frameworks 5.51.0

        KDE Frameworks are 70 addon libraries to Qt which provide a wide variety of commonly needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms. For an introduction see the Frameworks 5.0 release announcement.

        This release is part of a series of planned monthly releases making improvements available to developers in a quick and predictable manner.

      • KDE Frameworks 5.51 Released
      • KDE e.V. receives a sizeable donation from Handshake Foundation

        Of the total donation amount, 100,000 USD will be specifically allocated to pursue the development of the Calligra office suite.

        “Handshake is pleased to be able to support KDE’s international community of dedicated volunteers and their continued commitment to a free desktop environment with the current release of KDE Plasma 5 and the Calligra office suite”, says Rob Myers from the Handshake Foundation.

        The fruits of this contribution will soon become visible and available to everyone. Meanwhile, don’t hesitate to join the KDE Community and be part of our mission to help everyone protect their privacy and control their digital lives with Free Software.

      • KDE e.V Receives Generous Handshake Donation, Ubuntu Touch OTA-5 Is Out, Geoclue 2.5 Now Available and Asking for Help, New Code of Conduct Proposal and Internet Freedom Festival

        KDE e.V. announces it received a $300,000 USD donation from the Handshake Foundation. According to the KDE blog post, it plans to use $100,000 USD of the donation specifically toward development of the Calligra office suite. Also, KDE celebrated its 22nd anniversary yesterday—Happy Birthday KDE!

      • digiKam Recipes 18.10.15 Released

        It’s time for another digiKam Recipes update. The most visible change in this update is the new book cover. All screenshots were also updated to reflect changes in the current version of digiKam.

      • [Krita] Interview with Sira Argia

        2014 is the year that I first started to try Linux on my laptop, and then I knew that Windows programs don’t run perfectly on Linux even using “wine”. My curiosity about Linux and the alternative programs led me to Krita. The more time I spent with Linux, the more I fell in love with it. And finally I thought that “I’ll choose Linux as a single OS on my laptop and Krita as a digital painting program for work someday after I get my first graphic tablet.”

      • And so the [Krita] Fundraiser Ends

        Yesterday was the last day of the developers sprint^Wmarathon, and the last day of the fundraiser. We’re all good and knackered here, but the fundraiser ended at a very respectable 26,426 euros! That’s really awesome, thanks everybody!

      • Sizeable donation from Handshake Foundation

        We’re glad to announce that we received donation of 100,000 USD, which is part of 300,000 USD offered to our KDE organization. Quite appropriate for a birthday present, as the KDE project just turned 22 this last weekend! It’s true recognition for KDE as one of the world’s largest open source project.

      • Qt 5.12 beta2 released

        We have published Qt 5.12 beta2 today. As earlier you can get it via online installer. Delta to beta1 attached.

      • Qt 5.12 Beta 2 Brings Many Fixes

        Just two weeks after the Qt 5.12 beta release, a second beta is now available for testing of this forthcoming tool-kit update.

        The Qt 5.12 Beta 2 update is made up of bug fixes with changes ranging from build fixes for different platforms to disabling mouse tracking by default within the QtWebGLPlugin to fixed Ozone platform detection. There are more than 200 changes to Qt 5.12 that have been queued over the past two weeks.

        The complete list of the 200+ changes that are mostly fixes in Qt 5.12 Beta 2 can be found via today’s release announcement with the attached change-log.

      • Krita at the University of La Plata

        Sebastian Labi ha sido invitado para presentar Krita en el Laboratorio de herramientas de software libre de la Universidad de La Plata. Hablará sobre ilustración digital y usará Krita para dar una demostración de cómo usar Krita para el campo de la Ilustración Digital.

        El SLAD- FBA (Software libre para Arte y diseño) es una nueva unidad de de investigación y formación en la Facultad de Bellas Artes que promueve el conocimiento y uso del software libre en la capacitación académica de la Universidad de La Plata.

      • LaKademy 2018 – Third and Fourth Days (October 13th and 14th)

        The third day of LaKademy 2018 was my last day participating on the event.

        During October 13th, we started the day with a promo reunion. This reunion was done to discuss about some plans and actions for the Latin American KDE community over the next year. Some decisions were made and topics were discussed involving KDE participation in some events, promotion of our own events in Latin America, including LaKademy 2019 and Kafé com Qt, and some details in general about our community.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Restyling apps at scale

        Over the past few months we’ve had a lively debate about “theming” in GNOME, and how it affects our ecosystem. In this discussion I’ve found that there is a divide between people who design and/or develop apps, and people who don’t. I have yet to see an app developer who thinks the current approach to “theming” can work, while many people who aren’t app developers are arguing that it can.

        After a few long discussions I started to realize that part of the reason why there’s so little agreement and so much drama around this issue is that we don’t agree what the problem is. Those who don’t work on apps often can’t see the issues with theming and think we want to remove things for no reason, while those who do are very frustrated that the other side doesn’t want to acknowledge how broken everything is.

      • Geoclue 2.5 & repeating call for help

        Also, while I’m at it, I wanted to highlight the “call for help” at the end of that post by repeating it here again. I apologize of repeating to those who already read it but a friend pointed out that it’s likely going to be missed by many folks:
        The future of Mozilla Location Service
        When Mozilla announced their location service in late 2013, Geoclue became one of its first users as it was our only hope for a reliable WiFi-geolocation source. We couldn’t use Google’s service as their ToC don’t allow it to be used in an open source project (I recall some clause that it can only be used with Google Maps and not any other Map software). Mozilla Location Service (MLS) was a huge success in terms of people contributing WiFi data to it. I’ve been to quite a few places around Europe and North America in the last few years and I haven’t been to any location, that is not already covered by MLS.

      • Making a first contribution in Outreachy usability testing

        If you want to join us in GNOME usability testing as part of the upcoming cycle in Outreachy, you’ll need to make a first contribution as part of your application process. Every project in Outreachy asks for a first contribution; this is a requirement in Outreachy.

        Don’t make too big of a deal about your first contribution in usability testing. We don’t expect interns to know much about usability testing as they enter the internship. Throughout the internship, you’ll learn about usability testing. So for this first contribution, we set a low bar.

  • Distributions

    • Kali Linux: What You Must Know Before Using it

      Kali Linux is the industry’s leading Linux distribution in penetration testing and ethical hacking. It is a distribution that comes shipped with tons and tons of hacking and penetration tools and software by default, and is widely recognized in all parts of the world, even among Windows users who may not even know what Linux is.

      Because of the latter, many people are trying to get alone with Kali Linux although they don’t even understand the basics of a Linux system. The reasons may vary from having fun, faking being a hacker to impress a girlfriend or simply trying to hack the neighbors’ WiFi network to get a free Internet, all of which is a bad thing to do if you are planning to use Kali Linux.

    • Install, install, install! The dance of panic!

      3. PicarOS Diego. My daughter’s desktop dual-boots Mageia and PicarOS Diego, a great MiniNo GalpON respin for children. Since the game she likes is neither running with WINE on Mageia 6.1 nor with Windows Vista, I tried to run it on WINE in PicarOS. The packages were old, so I updated the system. Big mistake! In the end, I was left with an up-to-date MiniNo that removed all the special tweaks for children and, to add insult to injury, the game would not run at all!

    • Reviews

      • Kali Linux for Vagrant: Hands-on

        I recently saw the announcement for Kali Linux on Vagrant. I have been a huge fan of Kali Linux for a very long time, and I am interested in virtualization (and currently using VirtualBox in an educational environment), so this was a very interesting combination to me. I have now installed it on a few of my systems, and so far I am quite impressed with it.

        The logical place to start is with a brief overview of Vagrant itself. What is Vagrant? According to their web page:

        Vagrant is a tool for building and managing virtual machine environments in a single workflow

        What Vagrant actually does is provide a way of automating the building of virtualized development environments using a variety of the most popular providers, such as VirtualBox, VMware, AWS and others. It not only handles the initial setup of the virtual machine, it can also provision the virtual machine based on your specifications, so it provides a consistent environment which can be shared and distributed to others.

    • New Releases

      • IPFire 2.21 – Core Update 124 released

        …this is the official release announcement for IPFire 2.21 – Core Update 124. It brings new features and immensely improves security and performance of the whole system.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical collaborates with Eurotech on edge computing solutions

            Coinciding with IoT World Solutions Congress in Barcelona this week, Canonical is pleased to announce a dual-pronged technological partnership with Eurotech to help organisations advance their internet of things enablement. Eurotech is a long time leader in embedded computing hardware as well as providing software solutions to aid enterprises to deliver their IoT projects either end to end or by providing intervening building blocks.

            As part of the partnership, Canonical has published a Snap for the Eclipse Kura project – the popular, open-source Java-based IoT edge framework. Having Kura available as a Snap – the universal Linux application packaging format – will enable a wider availability of Linux users across multiple distributions to take advantage of the framework and ensure it is supported on more hardware. Snap support will also extend on Eurotech’s commercially supported version; the Everywhere Software Framework (ESF). By installing Kura as a Snap on a device, users will benefit with automatic updates to ensure they are always working from the latest version while with the reassurance of a secure, confined environment.

          • Self-containing dependencies LogMeIn to publish their first Snap
          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 549

            Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 549 for the week of October 7 – 13, 2018.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • New FIDO2 Security Key Will Be Open Source

    A new security key solution is poised to further extend the reach of the FIDO Alliance’s new FIDO2 authentication standard.

    Called “Solo”, the security key is currently in the works from San Francisco-based SoloKeys, which currently has a Kickstarter campaign underway to support the product. Like other prominent security key solutions, Solo is designed to plug into a computer or laptop’s USB port, allowing the user to confirm with an authenticating service that they are physically present at the device by pressing a button on the key.

  • IOTA (MIOTA) – Biilabs launches GDPR compliant open-source implementation of TangleID

    The rise of IOTA as a top DLT continues. Earlier this year, the city of Taipei announced that they were using the IOTA tangle in implementing their smart city project. The project has largely been a success in implementing a decentralized digital identity system that runs on the IOTA tangle. That’s a major plus towards the growth of the IOTA ecosystem, and gives a huge intrinsic value to the IOTA coin. However, the best news is that this system is now open source. This means that it can be applied to any other city all across the world.

  • Open Source Healthcare Journal Preview at the Connected Health Conference in Boston

    The debut issue of the Open Source Healthcare Journal, a magazine advocating innovative open-source solutions in health, will be available for preview by over 2,000 technology innovators and healthcare providers at the Connected Health Conference at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston, October 17-19. The Open Source Healthcare Journal’s forward-looking point of view is the perfect match for the industry-leading conference, known for provocative discussions on the future of tech-enabled health. The first issue of the journal — published by GoInvo, a healthcare design studio located in Arlington, Massachusetts — features a Q&A with digital health leader and best-selling author Eric Topol, MD as well as articles by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn of HealthcareDIY and Juhan Sonin of MIT and GoInvo.

  • Hedera Hashgraph releases open source SDK

    Hedera Hashgraph, the public distributed ledger that enables globally decentralized applications recently announced the public release of the Hedera SDK in Java.

    The SDK is open source under an Apache 2 license. With the SDK, developers can now begin to develop Hedera-based applications for use on the Hedera platform.

  • 4 [free] open-source network monitoring tools

    Just as with commercial, for-pay monitoring software, there are open-source options that have varying features, and the goal of an enterprise is to find the best fit for its environment.

    That’s where this downloadable PDF package of reviews can help. It evaluates four popular free, open-source network-monitoring platforms – Icinga, Nagios, Observium and Zabbix – highlighting pros and cons and giving enough context that this bundle can serve as a guide for IT pros seeking advice.

  • Open Source MANO Needs a Reality Check

    So what’s next? Another ONAP update is due soon (in November, dubbed Dublin) but that will only cover up some of the cracks.

    But you know what — that’s OK! No one actually expects an open source development comprising millions of lines of code to be made useful in a blink of an eye, or even a few months. Iterative progress and a very clear indication of the state of documentation, exactly which modules might be ready to be either used by an operator’s team or considered for “industrialization” by a vendor and even highlighting areas where more community activity would all be useful and not at all damaging: Promoting ONAP as “ready to deploy” currently invites suspicion, because that suggests 100% readiness and that’s very far from reality.

  • Is Open Source the Right Approach for NFV Orchestration?

    Once upon a time there was a maharaja who decided to raise a baby elephant as a pet (stick with me…). As the elephant grew, it became more and more expensive to feed and created such a mess that eventually the maharaja told his courtiers that he was gifting them the elephant out of the generosity of his heart. In return they would have to look after the elephant and bring it back to him when it was a bit more mature and stable enough for him to ride.

    Some might say that, in the context of NFV MANO (management and orchestration), the elephant is Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) and the maharaja is AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). But that would be unfair. In reality there are two maharajas — AT&T and China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL) — and two elephants that have been merged into a six-legged Loxodonta with two tails and three tusks. (See MANO Marriage: ECOMP, OPEN-O Converge as ONAP.)

  • Nuclear Reactor Startup Transatomic Power going Open Source after Closure

    It seldom happens that certain circumstances do not allow one idea to prosper as planned. But Open Source can solve that issue, once the idea is shared with the world. Others can take on that work, build upon and keep improving it.

    This recently happened with Transatomic Power (founded by Mark Massie and Dr. Leslie Dewan in April 2011), a Nuclear Startup that introduced a brand new design of its own Nuclear Reactor that is a lot more efficient than conventional ones.

    As they haven’t been able to build it within their targeted timeframe, they announced suspending operations on September 25, 2018. But declaring their designs Open Source is certainly going to help change things for the better.

  • Events

    • Hacktoberfest 2018 – Celebrate Open Source!

      Hacktoberfest is an annual event sponsored by DigitalOcean in partnership with GitHub and Twilio and while “Hacktoberfest” might sound or give the impression of something doable only by very experienced hacker programmers, in essence, it’s just a wrapper around having to submit 5 Pull Requests to any Github hosted repository and earn some swag in return.

    • Mangaluru: Sahyadri Open Source Community holds Hacktoberfest HackNight

      Sahyadri Open Source Community (SOSC) at Sahyadri hosted Hacktoberfest HackNight in association with K-Tech Innovation Hub on October 13 and 14 at Sahyadri to celebrate the month of open source with Hacktoberfest.

      The event was inaugurated by Shashank Krishna, Padma Shri 2019 (nominee) and director of Katmai Infotechnology Pvt Ltd, Bengaluru, followed by interaction with students regarding Smart India Hackathon. Dr R Srinivasa Rao Kunte, principal of Sahyadri College of Engineering and management, Prakhyath Rai, faculty coordinator, asst professor of Information Science, and Arjun Suvarna, chairperson of Sahyadri Open Source Community, addressed the crowd.

    • Announcing Linux Autumn 2018

      Linux Autumn is an annual meeting of Free Software and Linux enthusiast from Poland organized since 2003 which means this year it will be its 16th time. This year it will be organized in Ustroń in the southern Poland from 9 to 11 November. The town is the same as the last year but in a different hotel.

      As the place is located near the Czech and Slovak border we would like to invite more people, both speakers and attendees, from other countries. We are aware of strong presence of Fedora contributors in Brno and other nearby cities just across the border.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Play Your Favorite Old Web Games Now, Chrome 71 May Break Them

        hen Google rolled out Chrome 66 earlier this May, it offered a tweak that pleased almost everyone by muting sites that would play sound automatically. Unfortunately, it also ended up breaking several projects’ audio.

        This meant that a variety of different media, from popular web games to some of Google’s own projects effectively had their audio broken beyond repair. Users were understandably upset, and in response to an overwhelming amount of backlash, Google retained the browser alteration that blocked autoplaying video and audio, but decided to push back the feature’s application for games and web apps to Chrome 71, which is set to debut in December.

    • Mozilla

      • Apply to Join the Featured Extensions Advisory Board

        Do you love extensions? Do you have a keen sense of what makes a great extension? Want to help users discover extensions that will improve how they experience the web? If so, please consider applying to join our Featured Extensions Community Board!

        Board members nominate and select new featured extensions each month to help millions of users find top-quality extensions to customize their Firefox browsers. Click here to learn more about the duties of the Featured Extension Advisory Board. The current board is currently wrapping up their six-month tour of duty and we are now assembling a new board of talented contributors for the months January – June, 2019.

        Extension developers, designers, advocates, and fans are all invited to apply to join the board. Priority will be given to applicants who have not served on the board before, followed by those from previous boards, and finally from the outgoing board.

      • Mozilla VR Blog: How XR Environments Shape User Behavior

        In previous research, The Extended Mind has documented how a 3D space automatically signals to people the rules of behavior. One of the key findings of that research is that when there is synchrony in the design of a space, it helps communicate behavioral norms to visitors. That means that when there is complementarity among content, affordances, and avatars, it helps people learn how to act. One example would be creating a gym environment (content), with weights (affordances), but only letting avatars dress in tuxedos and evening gowns. The contraction of people’s appearances could demotivate weight-lifting (the desired behavior).

        This article shares learnings from the Hubs by Mozilla user research on how the different locations that they visited impacted participant’s behavior. Briefly, the researchers observed five pairs of participants in multiple 3D environments and watched as they navigated new ways of interacting with one another. In this particular study, participants visited a medieval fantasy world, a meeting room, an atrium, and a rooftop bunker.

      • Removing Old Versions of TLS

        In March of 2020, Firefox will disable support for TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1.

        On the Internet, 20 years is an eternity. TLS 1.0 will be 20 years old in January 2019. In that time, TLS has protected billions – and probably trillions – of connections from eavesdropping and attack.

        In that time, we have collectively learned a lot about what it takes to design and build a security protocol.

        Though we are not aware of specific problems with TLS 1.0 that require immediate action, several aspects of the design are neither as strong or as robust as we would like given the nature of the Internet today. Most importantly, TLS 1.0 does not support modern cryptographic algorithms.

      • Wladimir Palant: So Google is now claiming: “no one (including Google) can access your data”

        A few days ago Google announced ensuring privacy for your Android data backups. The essence is that your lockscreen PIN/pattern/passcode is used to encrypt your data and nobody should be able to decrypt it without knowing that passcode. Hey, that’s including Google themselves! Sounds good? Past experience indicates that such claims should not always be taken at face value. And in fact, this story raises some red flags for me.

        The trouble is, whatever you use on your phone’s lockscreen is likely not very secure. It doesn’t have to be, because the phone will lock up after a bunch of failed attempts. So everybody goes with a passcode that is easy to type but probably not too hard to guess. Can you derive an encryption key from that passcode? Sure! Will this encryption be unbreakable? Most definitely not. With passwords being that simple, anybody getting their hands on encrypted data will be able to guess the password and decrypt the data within a very short time. That will even be the case for a well-chosen key derivation algorithm (and we don’t know yet which algorithm Google chose to use here).

      • Rabimba: Voting impartially for fun and profit a.k.a Mozilla Reps Council Voting

        I am part of a program called Mozilla Reps. Though I am involved as a volunteer contributor with Mozilla for quite some time now, I am relatively new to the Mozilla Reps program and hardly know anything about the program apart from my scope of work in it.
        Apparently, this is the Election time for voting the nominated candidates for the Council who will spearhead the program for the next session. Since I am new to the program reading about everyone’s election campaign and hearing about what they will do for the program was not giving me any clear motivation to vote for anyone specific. Though this wasn’t anything super important, I still thought since I have a bit of time in my hand why not do something interesting about it.

      • FirefoxOS, A keyboard and prediction: Story of my first contribution

        This was at IBM, New York where I was interning and working on the TJ Watson project. I returned back to my desk, turned on my dual monitors, started reading some blogs and engaging on Mozilla IRC (a new found and pretty short lived hobby). Just a few days before that, FirefoxOS was launched in India in the form of an Intex phone with a $35 price tag. It was making waves all around, because of its hefty price and poor performance . The OS struggle was showing up in the super low cost hardware. I was personally furious about some of the shortcomings, primarily the keyboard which at that time didn’t support prediction in any language other than English and also did not learn new words. Coincidentally, I came upon Dietrich Ayala in the FirefoxOS IRC channel, who at that time was a Platform Engineer at Mozilla. To my surprise he agreed with many of my complaints and asked me if I want to contribute my ideas. I very much wanted to, but then again, I had no idea how. The idea of contributing to the codebase of something like FirefoxOS terrified me. He suggested I first send a proposal and then proceed from there. With my busy work schedule at IBM, this discussion slipped my mind and did not fully boil in my head until I returned home from my internship.

      • Quality Speakings

        Unfortunately my suite of annoying verbal tics – um right um right um, which I continue to treat like Victor Borge’s phonetic punctuation – are on full display here, but I guess we’ll have to live with that. Here’s a talk I gave at the GTA Linux User Group on “The State Of Mozilla”, split into the main talk and the Q&A sections. I could probably have cut a quarter of that talk out by just managing those twitches better, but I guess that’s a project for 2019.

      • Encryption bill will cause ‘significant risk’ to Internet: Mozilla

        Any measure that permits a government to lay down specifications for the design of Internet systems would cause significant risk to the security, stability and trust of such systems, the Mozilla Foundation has said in a submission about Australia’s proposed encryption bill.

      • Mozilla warns decryption laws will break open source

        Mozilla is worried that Australia’s proposed decryption laws will break the principles and licensing terms of open source software.

        The foundation said in a submission [pdf] to the government that being forced to secretly create vulnerabilities in an open source product would be extremely difficult.

        “For an open source organisation, which would need to close portions of its source code and/or release builds that are not made from its publicly released code bases, this is at odds with the core principles of open source, user expectations, and potentially contractual license obligations,” Mozilla said.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Nginx Updates Web Server Application Platform

      Nginx Inc. held its annual customer conference on Oct. 9-10, announcing a series of updates to its namesake Application Platform.

      While Nginx was originally best known for the open source nginx web server, Nginx Inc. has expanded in recent years to enable a larger set of web application capabilities, with a series of different products.

      Nginx first announced its Application Platform in September 2017, which includes the Nginx Plus Application service combined with the Nginx Controller management and Nginx Unit application server.

    • Container-native, it’s now ‘a thing’

      San Francisco headquartered software analytics company New Relic has acquired Belgian container and microservices monitoring firm CoScale.

      Neither firm is essentially open source in its core approach, but the technologies being interplayed here essentially are.

      CoScale’s expertise is in monitoring container and microservices environments, with a special focus on Kubernetes — the open source container orchestration system for automating deployment, scaling and management of containerized applications originally designed by Google.

    • Open source tool simplifies Kubernetes on AWS

      AWS Service Operator relies on the Kubernetes controller pattern, which packages various basic tasks, integrates disparate components and keeps an application in a desired state. This information is stored on a single API server for the Kubernetes and AWS assets, with AWS services defined as custom resources, and a user can potentially deploy the entire lifecycle process through a single YAML manifest.

      [...]

      Etc.io, a Dallas-based consulting firm, doesn’t use any AWS container services at scale, and relies primarily on Google Container Engine. AWS Service Operator could make it more convenient to use Kubernetes on AWS, but it doesn’t help organizations that want to move to a microservices architecture that doesn’t rely on a single vendor, said E.T. Cook, managing partner at Etc.io.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • DragonFlyBSD Lands Another NUMA Optimization Helping AMD Threadripper 2 CPUs

      DragonFlyBSD lead developer Matthew Dillon has been quite impressed with AMD’s Threadripper 2 processors particularly the Threadripper 2990WX with 32-cores / 64-threads. Dillon has made various optimizations to DragonFly for helping out this processor in past months and overnight he made another significant improvement.

    • Fosdem 2019: BSD devroom CfP

      The Fosdem is a free event for software hackers to meet, share ideas and collaborate. Every year 8000+ open source developers from all the world gather at the event in Brussels, Belgium. During the Fosdem, developer rooms (devrooms) are assigned to self organized open source groups and projects to meet together and showcase their projects.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Guile 2.9.1 beta released JIT native code generation to speed up all Guile programs

      GNU released Guile 2.9.1 beta of the extension language for the GNU project. It is the first pre-release leading up to the 3.0 release series.

      In comparison to the current stable series, 2.2.x, Guile 2.9.1 brings support for just-in-time native code generation to speed up all Guile programs.

    • [FSF] Introducing our new associate member forum!

      I’m excited to share that we’ve launched a new forum for our associate members. We hope that you find this forum to be a great place to share your experiences and perspectives surrounding free software and to forge new bonds with the free software community. If you’re a member of the FSF, head on over to https://forum.members.fsf.org to get started. You’ll be able to log in using the Central Authentication Service (CAS) account that you used to create your membership. (Until we get WebLabels working for the site, you’ll have to whitelist its JavaScript in order to log in and use it, but rest assured that all of the JavaScript is free software, and a link to all source code can be found in the footer of the site.) Participation in this forum is just one of many benefits of being an FSF member – if you’re not a member yet, we encourage you to join today, for as little as $10 per month, or $5 per month for students.

      The purpose of this member forum is to provide a space where members can meet, communicate, and collaborate with each other about free software, using free software. While there are other places on the Internet to talk about free software, this forum is unique in that it is focused on the common interests of FSF members, who care very much about using, promoting, and creating free software.

      The forum software we chose to use is Discourse.

    • GCC Is Preparing To End Support For Solaris 10

      Solaris 10, what may will argue as the last “good” Solaris operating system release before Sun Microsystems fell under control of Oracle, may soon see its support deprecated by the GCC compiler stack.

      With upstream Solaris 10 soon reaching its end of life and an increasing number of failures/issues coming up when testing the GNU Compiler Collection on Solaris 10, the GNU toolchain developers are looking at obsoleting that support.

  • Programming/Development

    • uTidylib 0.4

      Two years ago, I’ve taken over uTidylib maintainership. Two years has passed without any bigger contribution, but today there is a new version with support for recent html-tidy and Python 3.

    • Rewrote summain from Python to Rust

      I’ve been learning Rust lately. As part of that, I rewrote my summain program from Python to Rust (see summainrs). It’s not quite a 1:1 rewrite: the Python version outputs RFC822-style records, the Rust one uses YAML. The Rust version is my first attempt at using multithreading, something I never added to the Python version.

    • Which programming language for work? For the weekend?

      Our writer community grows each month as new, interesting folks write for us and join in on the fun of sharing their expertise and experiences in open source technology. So, it’s no surprise that they are brimming with fascinating information. It’s just asking the right question to release it.

      Recently, I asked: What programming languages do you use at work, and which ones do you use on the weekend?

    • Go command and packages cheat sheet

      Of the many things the go executable can do, most people know only go run and go build. And, of the many packages in the standard Go library, most people know only the fmt package. This cheat sheet will list many uses of the go executable and the most important packages in the Go standard library.

    • piwheels: Speedy Python package installation for the Raspberry Pi

      One of the great things about the Python programming language is PyPI, the Python Package Index, where third-party libraries are hosted, available for anyone to install and gain access to pre-existing functionality without starting from scratch. These libraries are handy utilities, written by members of the community, that aren’t found within the Python standard library. But they work in much the same way—you import them into your code and have access to functions and classes you didn’t write yourself.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • “Fixed mindsets” might be why we don’t understand statistics

      Roughly 96 percent of the general population struggles with solving problems relating to statistics and probability. Yet being a well-informed citizen in the 21st century requires us to be able to engage competently with these kinds of tasks, even if we don’t encounter them in a professional setting. “As soon as you pick up a newspaper, you’re confronted with so many numbers and statistics that you need to interpret correctly,” says co-author Patrick Weber, a graduate student in math education at the University of Regensburg in Germany. Most of us fall far short of the mark.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Elon Musk cuts almost $500K check to bring clean water to Flint, Michigan schools
    • “The People’s Prescription”: New Report Calls For Value Creation Instead Of Value Extraction In Pharmaceutical R&D

      “This report maps the fault lines of this system and sets out principles for a new model,” it states. “While it suggests quick fixes that policymakers can implement in the short term, it crucially proposes concrete policy actions that can be taken in the long term to actively shape and co-create a health system that delivers real public value.”

      The report is structured into two sections. The first is “DIAGNOSIS,” with chapters on “Problems with the current health innovation system,” and “Principles for a health innovation model that delivers public value.” The second section, “REMEDIES,” includes chapters on “Immediate policy actions: Getting better prices today,” and “Transformative proposals: Re-imagining our health innovation system to deliver public value.”

      [...]

      “A pharmaceutical industry that makes billions in profits without providing the affordable medicines that people need is one of the scandals of our time,” Heidi Chow, senior campaigns manager at Global Justice Now, said in the report press release.

      “Until governments follow the recommendations in this report and set about creating a pharmaceutical system that puts patients and public health at its core, our health and our health systems will continue to suffer as pharmaceutical profits continue to soar,” Diarmaid McDonald, lead organiser from Just Treatment, also said in the release.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Tech companies need to work with US military, says Amazon boss Jeff Bezos

      Speaking at the Wired25 conference in San Francisco, Mr Bezos said he would continue to work with defence agencies even if it was unpopular among his own staff, because the US “needs to be defended”.

    • Jamal Khashoggi’s ‘Disappearance’ Highlights Growing Threat to Journalists

      Forty-eight journalists have been killed so far this year, according to a VOA tally, adding to the thousand killed in the past decade-and-half.

    • Intimidation, detention, even murder: World is full of many potential Jamal Khashoggis

      Badawi was arrested in Jeddah in 2012 for “insulting Islam through electronic channels.” He was a blogger and, according to his wife, a humanitarian and free thinker. In 2013, he was convicted of several charges, including apostasy, and sentenced to 7 years and 600 lashes, a form of punishment with a whip or stick the United Nations says is cruel and inhumane. A year later, the prison term was increased to 10 years and 1,000 lashes. Badawi suffers from hypertension and Haidar, who was granted asylum in Canada with her three children, said her husband’s health is deteriorating. “I hope President Trump can help release my husband,” she said when asked whether Khashoggi’s case would bring new scrutiny of Badawi’s plight. One of Badawi’s alleged crimes was to mock Saudi Arabia’s prohibition against celebrating Valentine’s Day.

    • Deaths of high-profile Iraqi women spark fear of conservative backlash

      Yet it was also shockingly distinctive; the body slumped in the car seat was not a politician, official, insurgent or warlord. She was a former beauty queen; a young woman with both profile and attitude, one of four high-profile Iraqi women to have been killed across the country in quick succession.

      The four were unknown to each other, but their lives – recently at least – had shared common themes. All had a public presence and a voice that had unsettled elements of Iraqi society, which has retained rigid views on how women should behave, even as relative freedoms have crept into a still conservative culture.

    • Woman says she was tased by police while bleeding out from gunshots

      According to the Wayne Circuit Court lawsuit, Rebecca Sevilla of Britton was driven to a Motel 6 in Southgate by her husband on June 17, 2017. In the parking lot, her husband shot her three times — in the stomach, chest and head — and then killed himself.

      Police responding to the scene determined that the husband committed suicide and saw Sevilla “sitting upright, bleeding from gunshot wounds to her body and head,” according to the lawsuit.

      It goes on to assert that officers “began yelling verbal commands to” Sevilla, who “was unable to (respond]) as a result of her injuries.”

    • Kashmir rebels hiding in mosque shot

      “Pertinently, the terrorists fired on a search party from a nearby mosque and subsequently the area was cordoned off. The local Auqaf committee was engaged to convince the terrorists to come out. Security forces also appealed to the terrorists to come out,” the police spokesperson said.

    • Silicon Valley’s Saudi Arabia Problem

      Long before the dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi vanished, the kingdom has sought influence in the West — perhaps intended, in part, to make us forget what it is. A medieval theocracy that still beheads by sword, doubling as a modern nation with malls (including a planned mall offering indoor skiing), Saudi Arabia has been called “an ISIS that made it.” Remarkably, the country has avoided pariah status in the United States thanks to our thirst for oil, Riyadh’s carefully cultivated ties with Washington, its big arms purchases, and the two countries’ shared interest in counterterrorism. But lately the Saudis have been growing their circle of American enablers, pouring billions into Silicon Valley technology companies.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Finance

    • Bitcoin must die

      If Bitcoin were to cease trading tomorrow, 0.5% of the world’s electricity demand would simply disappear. This is roughly equivalent to the output of ten coal-fired power plants, emitting 50 million tonnes of CO2 per year – which would cover one year’s worth of the carbon emission cuts required to limit temperature rises this century to 2C. It is not a solution by itself, but it would be a good year’s work.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Facebook to show who buys British political ads in a bid to tackle election meddling

      Facebook will also include new features on its website to show who has paid for adverts and begin an archive of all political ads that are purchased on the site in an effort to clamp down on election fraud.

    • Judge dismisses Stormy Daniels’ defamation case against Trump

      She filed the case after the president tweeted that she had invented a story about being threatened for speaking out about the alleged affair.

      But the judge ruled that the tweet was protected by the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech.

      Stormy Daniels was also ordered to pay Mr Trump’s legal fees, although the amount is yet to be determined. Her lawyer said she would appeal against the decision.

    • High rate of absentee ballots thrown out in Gwinnett

      Nearly one in 10 vote-by-mail ballots have been rejected by Gwinnett County election officials, alarming voting rights groups.

      Gwinnett is throwing out far more absentee ballots than any other county in Georgia, according to records from the Secretary of State’s Office. Ballots were discarded because of allegedly mismatched signatures, incomplete forms or missing residential addresses.

      The county rejected 390 absentee ballots through Sunday, which represents 8.5 percent of all mailed ballots received in Gwinnett so far, according to state figures. Across Georgia, less than 2 percent of absentee ballots have been rejected. Gwinnett accounts for about 37 percent of all rejected ballots in Georgia.

      “They’re putting an extra burden on someone to come back in to get another absentee ballot. That’s unheard of,” said Helen Butler, executive director for the Coalition for the Peoples’ Agenda, a civil rights group.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Aasia Bibi’s family fears for safety if court sets her free

      But in any case they feared for their future living in Pakistan under the blasphemy laws, they told AFP.

    • Family Of Pak Christian First To Face Death For Blasphemy Holds Out Hope

      Her family said that if Bibi is released, it would be difficult to stay in her homeland.

    • ‘Missing, Sex Trafficked’ Children Neither Missing, Nor Victims Of Sex Trafficking

      For quite some time we’ve highlighted the horrible laws being pushed by aggressively misrepresenting the size of the problem of sex trafficking — and especially sex trafficking of children. This is not to say that it never happens. Nor is it to suggest that the crime of sex trafficking, especially of minors, is not horrific and hugely problematic. But we shouldn’t overreact to false information. A year ago, we looked at some of the numbers being presented in favor of passing FOSTA, and found they were almost entirely bullshit. This included Rep. Ann Wagner’s (who is the leading pusher of bad laws around “sex trafficking”) claim child sex trafficking alone was a $9.5 billion industry. As we noted, this number came from a bizarre nonsensical extrapolation of a very misleading and confused report by ICE that covered issues of smuggling (not just sex trafficking). Other stats — such as the supposed number of kids “lured” into sex trafficking — showed even more extrapolation, while police were finding very, very few actual cases of this happening.

      [...]

      So, remember, the headline screamed that 123 missing children were found in a sex trafficking “operation.” Now it seems that most of them were “found” at home with their parents, and only three of them might have been victims of sex trafficking. These seem like important details, especially when you have election officials like Rep. Ann Wagner pushing a vast surveillance bill on the basis of the problem of sex trafficking. Pushing bogus information like over a hundred missing kids being engaged in sex trafficking only helps build that narrative — one that appears to actually be much, much more limited than the media or lying politicians will let you know about.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Vizio Customers Get A Pittance In Settlement Over Snooping Televisions

      As we frequently note, most of the “smart” products you buy are anything but intelligent when it comes to your privacy and security. Whether it’s your refrigerator leaking your gmail credentials or your new webcam being hacked in mere minutes for use in massive new DDoS attacks, the so-called “smart” home is actually often dumb as nails and potentially hazardous. So-called smart-televisions have been particularly problematic, whether that has involved companies failing to encrypt sensitive data, or removing features if you refuse to have your daily viewing habits measured and monetized.

      Last year Vizio joined this not-so-distinguished club when it was discovered that the company’s TVs had been spying on users for the last several years, starting back in 2014. Vizio’s $2.2 million settlement with the FTC indicates that the company at no time thought it might be a good idea to inform customers this was happening. The snooping was part of a supposed “Smart Interactivity” feature deployed in 2014 that claimed to provide users with programming recommendations, but never actually did so. Its sole purpose was to hoover up your data and help Vizio sell it, without your express consent.

    • On Election Day, the Voters of New Hampshire Can Protect Their Privacy in the Digital Age

      Ballot question 2 seeks to guarantee that residents’ right to privacy in their “private or personal information is natural, essential, and inherent.”

      “Live free or die.”

      As reflected in its official state motto, no state has unequivocally embraced the principles of liberty and privacy more than the state of New Hampshire. These ideals make up the core of the state’s philosophical DNA. It is therefore surprising that New Hampshire is conspicuously missing from the list of the 10 diverse states that have explicitly enshrined the right to privacy in their constitutions. But on Election Day, Granite State voters will have a chance to remedy that oversight.

      Earlier this year, the New Hampshire Legislature passed by a necessary two-thirds vote a proposed amendment to the state constitution guaranteeing the right to privacy in the digital age. Now it’s up to voters to enshrine that natural right. New Hampshire’s ballot Question 2 (Q2) would do just that by adding simple but mighty language to the constitution: “An individual’s right to live free from governmental intrusion in private or personal information is natural, essential, and inherent.”

    • Already facing an uphill misinformation fight, Facebook loses to scammers, too

      The scam pages share a variety of common characteristics, and in many cases they use the same profile pictures. This type of scam should be easy for a site as sophisticated and well-resourced as Facebook to uproot. But four days after Abrams began reporting it, the campaign remained active, with the exception of 11 profiles Ars reported to PR representatives.

      The Facebook representatives have yet to explain why the security department is having such a hard time dismantling the campaign. People who use the site should remain alert.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Pakistan’s Ahmadis fearful as leaders bow to extremists

      Pakistan’s embattled Ahmadiyya minority enjoyed a brief moment of hope earlier this month when one of its own, a U.S.-based Princeton economist, was appointed to an economic advisory council.

      But the backlash from Islamic hard-liners, which led newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan to quickly rescind the appointment under political pressure, has only underscored the Ahmadis’ fraught position in the conservative, Muslim-majority country.

    • What Will It Take To Wake Up America?
    • Christian Man Beaten Nearly to Death, Body Burned on His Muslim Mother’s Orders for Choosing Jesus

      His mother left, warning that he will “pay the price” for his decision. Abdel was kidnapped by a Muslim gang two months later and beaten nearly to the point of death, with cigarettes burned to his body.

    • NYC Prosecutors Accidentally Admit They Use Bail To Deprive Presumably-Innocent People Of Their Freedom

      New York City’s prosecutors just admitted they use the bail system to punish people for being accused of criminal acts. It’s not there to serve its intended purpose: to ensure the return of charged individuals to court, where they’re presumed innocent until proven guilty.

      The bail system isn’t supposed to keep people locked up. But that’s the way it’s been used for years. Prosecutors often ask for excessive bail amounts. Judges often grant them. The argument made for high bail amounts — which ensure only the most well-to-do can remain free while awaiting trial — is that arrested people are flight risks and/or more inherently dangerous than all the people the police haven’t gotten around to arresting yet.

      The stats don’t back up the parade of horribles offered by prosecutors at bail hearings. People have done the math. And this excellent article by the Boston Review compiles the damning numbers.

    • In the Name of Public Safety

      New York City’s district attorneys are on edge. Beginning this week and extending through the month of October, as many as 500 women and teenagers currently imprisoned on Rikers Island and juvenile jail facilities will walk free when volunteers pay their bail. This Mass Bail Out Action, which is sponsored by RFK Human Rights and a network of grassroots groups, is hoping to post bail for every woman, sixteen- and seventeen- year-old currently sitting in jail in New York City because she or he cannot afford bail. The effort is similar to the powerful work of community bail funds and the recent National Bail Out projects, in which grassroots groups throughout the country have engaged in mass bailouts of black people incarcerated pretrial because of their poverty. The Mass Bail Out volunteers hope to bring urgency both to the effort to close Rikers Island (which the City has said it plans to close within ten years) and the push to eliminate the use of money bail nationwide. They are engaging in a profound act of resistance even as officials such as the DAs insist that freeing these incarcerated people will threaten the “public safety.” New York’s officials have strongly resisted the Mass Bail Out and are “scrambling to prepare,” according to the New York Times. If released from jail, their story goes, these women and teenagers will engage in violence, re-offend, or as Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark warned, “end up being a victim of violence themselves,” especially if they are mentally ill or homeless.

      [...]

      Much like the famed “Willie Horton effect,” when we focus on sporadic acts of violent crime we overreact with excessive punishment and obscure the everyday mass violence that pre-trial incarceration does to millions of ordinary people—and their families. In the case of bail, this punitiveness is especially pernicious because it pretends to be a neutral financial calculation: if only this person had enough money, they could be free and would not be a threat to the public.

      The Mass Bail Out forces us to confront the ways in which pretrial incarceration is itself a public safety threat. Placing women and minors (or anyone, for that matter) in jail exposes them to violence and misery. It exposes their families and neighborhoods to loss of income, stability, and the everyday companionship of a parent, spouse, sister, brother, neighbor, or coworker. When volunteers post bail for women and minors detained at Rikers Island, they will demonstrate that they, as members of the local community, actually feel safer knowing that a woman or teen has left the violence of jail and returned home to go to school, earn money at their job, raise their children, and participate in their own defense, while waiting for trial or other resolution of their case. Individual freedom is a part of public safety, too.

    • More Than Me CEO Katie Meyler Temporarily Steps Down

      Katie Meyler, the founder of More Than Me, temporarily stepped down from her position as the American charity’s chief executive officer pending the results of a Liberian panel’s review of an investigation published by ProPublica and Time magazine last Thursday. The focus of the article was the rapes of girls by a senior employee of the charity Meyler created to protect them from sexual exploitation.

      “In reviewing the allegations as published by ProPublica and TIME, we uncovered several statements that were either inconsistent with the information provided to us by More Than Me leadership or that were new information,” the charity’s Liberian advisory board said in a statement.

    • Protest Song Of The Week: ‘American Dream’ By J.S. Ondara

      As Ondara told NPR Music, “The video follows a man, as he sets upon a journey to purchase a weapon. While on his way, we get a glimpse of the world around him through his eyes, which gives us some insight into his state of mind.”

      “Ultimately, the video explores the turbulent times in the country, socially and politically, thereby throwing a shade of irony to the popular notion of ‘The American Dream.’”

      The video also references Dylan’s classic protest anthem “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” with the lyric, “Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command,” inscribed on a sheet of paper.

      During the 1960s, Dylan wrote several timeless socially conscious tunes. With “American Dream,” Ondara offers his Dylanesque reflection on America.

    • A Decade’s Worth Of Meth Convictions Overturned Due To Drug Lab Employee’s Misconduct

      Massachusetts prosecutors are seeing a bunch more Drug War wins turned into losses by drug lab misconduct. Annie Dookhan, a drug lab technician, falsified countless tests, ultimately resulting in the overturning of more than 20,000 convictions. Dookhan was valued for her productivity, but no one above her bothered to wonder why she was able to process samples so quickly. Turns out tests go much faster when you don’t actually perform the tests.

      If that were it, it would have been more than enough indication the nation’s crime labs need more oversight and auditing. But it isn’t. Another tech at another Massachusetts drug lab is erasing thousands of convictions. Chemist Sonja Farak, an 11-year veteran of the Amherst drug lab, apparently spent much of that time using the substances she was supposed to be testing, turning in falsified test results that landed people behind bars.

      The Farak investigation uncovered the drug lab’s lack of standards, which included more than allowing an employee to use drugs while on the clock for at least eight of the eleven years she was employed. There’s no way of telling how many drug tests might be tainted, not just by employee malfeasance, but by a lack of best practices, like running blanks through testing equipment to ensure new tests weren’t tainted by residue left behind by previous tests.

      The total number of convictions expected to be thrown out due to Farak’s abuse is currently sitting at 7,690 cases. But this won’t be the final total. Zach Huffman of Courthouse News Service reports an entire decade’s-worth of convictions is being examined.

    • DOJ, Trump Decide The Federal Government Needs To Give Chicago The Police Department It Doesn’t Want

      In a move that’s tone deaf if nothing else, the DOJ is going to court to block a consent decree put in place to overhaul Chicago’s unconstitutional policing. This announcement comes days after a jury convicted Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke of second-degree murder for killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. He was also convicted of 16 counts of aggravated battery — one count for each bullet he fired at the teen as the teen walked away from him.

      This also follows more tone-deafness from the “law and order” presidency. Trump’s speech to a law enforcement convention contained several comments about Chicago and its perceived police problem. But the problem Trump sees is police not policing hard enough. Trump wants stop-and-frisk brought back — one of the key modifications contained in the consent decree.

    • Charlottesville’s Other Jim Crow Legacy: Separate and Unequal Education

      High school seniors Zyahna Bryant and Trinity Hughes have been friends since they were 6 years old, raised by blue-collar families in this affluent college town. They played on the same T-ball and softball teams and were in the same church group.

      But like many African-American children in Charlottesville, Trinity lived on the south side of town and went to a predominantly black neighborhood elementary school. Zyahna lived across the train tracks on the north side and was zoned to a mostly white school, near the University of Virginia campus, that boasts the city’s highest reading scores.

      [...]

      “I know what I’m capable of and what I can do,” Trinity said, “but the counselors and teachers, they don’t really care about that.”

      For every student like Zyahna in Charlottesville’s schools, there are scores like Trinity, caught in one of the widest educational disparities in the United States. Charlottesville’s racial inequities mirror college towns across the country, from Berkeley, California, to Evanston, Illinois. But they also match the wider world of education, which is grappling with racial gaps — in areas from gifted programs to school discipline — that can undercut the effort to equitably prepare students for college in a competitive economy.

    • Is There Racial Inequality at Your School?

      Based on civil rights data released by the U.S. Department of Education, ProPublica has built an interactive database to examine racial disparities in educational opportunities and school discipline. Look up more than 96,000 individual public and charter schools and 17,000 districts to see how they compare with their counterparts.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • 5G Got me Fired

      More importantly today’s readers need to be a little more than cautious when believing anything. Native advertising is a most insidious concept and should be rejected by every publisher. Instead it is welcomed by the broadcasting networks and most of the major newspapers including the New York Times. Are the writers saying nice things or are they paid to say nice things?

    • Wall Street Quietly Warns That 5G Wireless Is Being Aggressively Over-hyped

      As hardware vendors and cellular carriers prepare deployment of fifth-generation wireless networks, you may have noticed that the hype has gotten a little out of control. Claims that 5G will magically revolutionize the broadband sector sound nice and all, but as we’ve noted repeatedly, 5G is really more of a modest evolution in existing networks, not some kind of revolutionary panacea that’s going to change everything. Still, claims that 5G will somehow usher in amazing smart cities or somehow result in a four day work week for everyone (what?) get far more traction than they probably deserve.

      Alongside the generalized hype, carriers are pushing another narrative: that 5G wireless is so incredible, it’s going to fix all of the telecom sector’s biggest problems by delivering a massive new wave of competition. This competition will be so amazing that net neutrality will apparently be made irrelevant. It’s largely bunk originating with telecom industry marketing departments, dutifully swallowed and regurgitated by an unskeptical press.

  • DRM

    • Epson ‘Security Update’ Bricks Third-Party Ink Refills, Opens Up Possibility Of A Competitive Trades Investigation

      It’s no secret the printer business relies on hefty ink refill markups. The printers are disposable, often cheaper than the ink they come packaged with. But customers aren’t usually willing to toss out a printer when it runs out of ink, even if refilling it costs more than replacing it.

      And good for them! I mean, at least in an environmental sense. Let’s not toss a bunch more non-decomposables into the nearest landfill the moment they refuse do anything until their inkwells are filled. But this does nothing for consumers, forcing them to become unwilling adherents to the sunk cost fallacy, especially after they’ve paid for a couple of ink refills.

      Printer companies know their system is ripoff. They know their customers know it’s a ripoff. That’s why they engage in shady tactics to ensure this steady stream of revenue doesn’t dry up. For years, third parties have offered compatible ink refills. And for years, printer companies have been lying to customers to lock these competitors out of the market.

      A couple of years back, HP pushed out a firmware update that made it impossible to use third-party refills. It didn’t tell customers the update would do this. It just sent out the DRMbomb and triggered it remotely, saying things about “security” and “protecting customers,” even as it eliminated their refill options.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Damages may be considered proven when the facts speak for themselves

      A recurring topic of discussion in patent infringement proceedings in Spain is the degree of evidence required to prove the damage caused by acts of patent infringement. According to a line of case law handed down by the Supreme Court, the existence of the damage may be proved by demonstrating the existence of the unlawful act in cases where such damage is the logical consequence of the unlawful act considered. In such circumstances, the facts speak for themselves (“res ipsa loquitur“).

      The Barcelona Court of Appeal (Section 15), in a judgment handed down on 26 July 2018, used the following arguments to justify the applicability of this principle:

      “60. Case law has specified that the existence of losses or profits not obtained as a result of the infringing act must, in all cases, be proven, albeit “not with greater rigour or restrictive criteria than any which constitutes the basis of a claim” (Supreme Court judgments of 2 March 2001 and 7 July 2005). However, demanding this proof is compatible with the possibility of establishing their “ex re ipsa” existence, with it being sufficient to prove the unlawful act in those cases where its connection to the alleged damage allows it to be considered that, according to the rules of logic, the latter is a necessary, logical and inevitable consequence of the illicit action.

      Consequently, it is stated that there are times when the facts speak

    • FTC and Qualcomm trying to settle antitrust matter by November 14, but Judge Koh may rule on chipset licensing anytime

      Judge Koh gave this administrative motion short shrift: she denied it quickly, without any further explanation.

      Since my first commentary on the motion, I’ve always felt that nothing would make a settlement more likely at this stage than an order granting the motion and reminding Qualcomm of obligations it entered into when it made FRAND licensing declarations to two U.S. standard-development organizations, TIA and ATIS. Yesterday’s administrative motion validates that assessment: while the FTC and Qualcomm have presumably talked about settlement on numerous occasions (even if just calling someone to find out whether the other party’s position has changed), the current situation is unique. The importance of SEP licenses to competitors couldn’t be made clearer than by a motion that says the parties don’t have a problem with decisions on any other pending motion but this one. This motion unsurprisingly appears to scare the living daylights out of Qualcomm.

    • Supernus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. TWi Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2018)

      Last month, in Supernus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. TWi Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the Federal Circuit affirmed a decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey finding that U.S. Patent Nos. 7,722,898; 7,910,131; and 8,821,930 were not invalid and would be infringed by Defendants-Appellants TWi Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and TWi International LLC, DBA TWi Pharmaceuticals. The ’898, ’131, and ’930 patents are owned by Plaintiff-Appellee Supernus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

      Seeking approval to market generic versions of Oxtellar XR®, an oxcarbazepine extended-release tablet for treatment of partial epilepsy seizures in adults and children over the age of six, TWi filed an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) with the FDA. In response to that filing, Supernus brought an action for infringement of the ’898, ’131, and ’930 patents, and TWi counterclaimed for invalidity.

    • United Kingdom: Saab Seaeye Limited v Atlas Elektronik GmbH & anr, Court of Appeal of England and Wales, Civil Division, [2017] EWCA Civ 2175, 19 December 2017

      In a case concerning two patents in the field of underwater mine clearance, the Court of Appeal upheld the Patents Court’s decision that claims 1 and 2 of the 576 Patent were invalid for obviousness, but allowed the appeal in relation to the validity of the 861 Patent, finding that the claims in question were invalid for obviousness.

    • Trademarks

      • Museum of Modern Art Wins Injunction Against MOMACHA On Merits of Trademark Infringement, Dilution Claims

        U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton recently issued an opinion granting an injunction requested by New York City’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). The injunction prevents the operator of an art gallery and café located in close proximity to a MoMA Design Store in New York’s SoHo neighborhood from using a pair of marks that infringe upon MoMA’s own marks. The marks in question in this case are ‘MOMA’ and ‘MOMACHA,’ both of which were filed by MOMACHA, the SoHo café that began operating in April of this year.

        The marks were filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for use in commerce with beverages and restaurant and café services. Although MOMACHA has changed the font used in its original logo, that logo uses a font that “greatly resembles ITC Franklin Gothic Heavy,” a font which served as the basis for a MoMA logo first designed in 2003. MOMACHA continued its use of its old logo on its coffee cups and on its social media accounts.

      • Argos goes to the Court of Appeal but leaves empty handed

        Can a US corporation selling construction software only in the Americas under the name ARGOS be sued for infringement of a registered trade mark by a UK based consumer goods retailer who trades mainly in the UK and Ireland under the same name?

        This question is posed by Floyd LJ in the introduction to the Court of Appeal decision on the Argos Ltd v Argos Systems Inc [2018] EWCA Civ 2211. The formulation of the question may make it easy to guess the Court of Appeal’s ultimate decision.

    • Copyrights

      • NCC sues COSON for operating without approval

        The Nigerian Copyright Commission has filed a criminal charge against the Copyright Society of Nigeria, its Chairman, Chief Tony Okoroji, and principal officers for carrying out the duties of a collecting society without the approval of the Nigerian Copyright Commission.

        The NCC, in a statement signed by its Director-General, Afam Ezekude, and made available to our correspondent on Tuesday, said, “In Charge No FHC/L/338C/18, filed on October 8, 2018 at the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court, the accused persons were alleged to have performed the duties of a collecting Society by demanding and collecting royalties from Noah’s Ark of 9 Sowemimo Street, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos.”

      • African Nations Rife With Illegitimate Collection Societies: Nigeria Files Criminal Complaint Against COSON

        You may recall that we have discussed the complete chaos that is copyright collection societies in Kenya over the past few years. At issue in Kenya is that the country has multiple collection societies, which are overseen by a government sanctioned body that can request to look at their books to make sure artists are being paid appropriately, and officially licenses the collection societies themselves. Some of those collection groups have apparently not felt the need to respond to requests for oversight, leading the government to pull or not renew their licenses. Instead of being the end of the story, a number of those collection societies continue to threaten people and collect royalties anyway, acting essentially as an illegal extortion outfit.

        Kenya is not the only African nation going through this, it seems. Across the continent on the opposite coast, the Nigerian Copyright Commission has been going through similar issues, specifically with a collection group called COSON.

      • Stairway To Heaven Is Not Blurred Lines

        A few weeks ago, we wrote about the 9th Circuit overturning the district court’s ruling in a copyright case questioning whether the song “Stairway to Heaven” had infringed on the song “Taurus” by Spirit. We were less than pleased with this result, as we felt the original ruling was correct. Copyright lawyer Rick Sanders disagreed with part of our analysis and made some really great points in a two part blog post series, which he’s graciously allowed us to repost in slightly edited form here. Part II will be published tomorrow.

        Yes, the new 9th Circuit surprising reversal of the jury verdict looks like “Blurred Lines” all over again — only in reverse. Whereas in “Blurred Lines,” the jury reached the “wrong” conclusion, and the Ninth Circuit refused to fix the jury’s mistake, here it looks like the jury reached the “right” conclusion,” and the Ninth Circuit is screwing up the jury’s work. Techdirt all but said so, in an article 9th Cir Never Misses a Chance to Mess Up Copyright Law: Reopens Led Zeppelin ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Case.

        I’m pleased to report that, far from taking this opportunity to further screw up copyright law, as Techdirt fears, the panel of judges is attempting to improve copyright law by replacing the Ninth Circuit’s (very bad) framework for copyright infringement with a much better one. Indeed, the “Stairway to Heaven” opinion may be seen as a rebuke to the “Blurred Lines” opinion. The pity is that Led Zeppelin must bear this burden by having to do the trial all over again.

        The reason the “Stairway to Heaven” has to do with our old, misunderstood frenemy, the “Inverse-Ratio rule,” which is only tangentially related to why the case is being sent back for a second trial. I blogged extensively about the “inverse-ratio” rule in connection with the “Blurred Lines” case, and how the Ninth Circuit (correctly) amended its opinion to excise (its terrible) discussion of the rule. But here’s the deal: the inverse-ratio rule provides that the more similarity there is between the two works, the less proof of access you need, and vice-versa. It is highly beneficial when applied to the right legal framework for copyright. It is a perverse disaster when applied to the wrong legal framework.

      • Legal Search Engine with Pirate Keywords Confuses ‘Web Sheriff’

        Last year the film industry launched a legal search engine that targets ‘pirates’ specifically. The site is set up in such a way, that it draws people who search for pirate related terms. However, this also appears to have confused the “Web Sheriff,” who targeted the site’s URLs with takedown notices.

      • You’re About to Drown in Streaming Subscriptions

        But while tailored, a la carte services have long been the promise of streaming TV, it’s starting to look more like a series of pricey buffets. Competing megacorporations are all pumping billions into original content, much of it designed for mass appeal. (Apple has reportedly mandated no “gratuitous sex, profanity or violence” on its incoming streaming service.) And even if each also produces more experimental or idiosyncratic options, you’ll be hard pressed to access all or even most of them. The show that scratches your itch won’t necessarily be on a platform you can afford to pay for.

      • GTA ‘Cheat’ Developers Have Homes Searched and Assets Frozen

        Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive Software are taking a clear stand against cheat developers. An Australian Federal court has granted search and seizure orders against several people who are believed to be connected to the cheating software “Infamous.”

      • Japan Plans to Criminalize Pirate Link Sites, Up to Five Years in Jail for Operators

        Sites that link to copyright-infringing content aren’t currently illegal under Japanese law but efforts are underway to close the loophole. The government is considering prison terms of up to five years for site operators who knowingly link to pirated content and refuse to respond to takedowns requests.

Judge-Bashing Tactics, Undermining PTAB, and Iancu’s Warpath for the Litigation and Insurance ‘Industries’

Posted in America, Courtroom, Law, Patents at 6:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The existing USPTO’s management feels like it doesn’t care about justice (facts), technology and science, only about legal bills

Trump and Iancu

Summary: Many inter partes reviews (IPRs) at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) leverage 35 U.S.C. § 101 against software patents; instead of putting an end to such patents Director Iancu decides to just serve the ‘industry’ he came from (a meta-industry where his firm had worked for Donald Trump)

THE USPTO under the new leadership (Director) deviates further and further away from Federal Circuit (CAFC) rulings and SCOTUS caselaw. The Office does so at its own peril, however, as the certainty associated with US patents will be further reduced. More and more granted patents will be presumed invalid. Is the leadership/Director OK with that?

This post binds together last week’s stories about court cases and Office policies. What we hope to show is a divergence from the law; the Office just cares about granting patents, not defending their value by limiting their scope.

We begin with this affirmation by CAFC — one in which a U.S. District Court was supported by CAFC. The divergence between the courts is being lowered over time. CAFC learned to obey SCOTUS and U.S. District Courts have, in turn, become more like CAFC. This is a good thing as it’s indicative of correct or at least consistent judgment. The same cannot be said about the Office because far too many patents these days are later discovered/unmasked as fake patents.

Yesterday Kluwer Patent Blog wrote about a British court “finding that the claims in question were invalid for obviousness.” It’s not just a US issue.

A couple of days ago Steve Brachmann and Gene Quinn (Watchtroll) wrote about Swildens and his successful challenge to a patent. They recalled a month-old report:

On September 12th, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a final office action in an ex parte reexamination of a patent owned by Google self-driving car development subsidiary Waymo. As a result of the reexamination, Waymo stands to lose 53 of 56 claims, including all 20 of the patent claims originally issued. The patent in question had been asserted as part of the company’s well-known infringement suit filed against Uber.

The patent at the center of this reexamination is U.S. Patent No. 9368936, titled Laser Diode Firing System. Issued to Google in June 2016, it claims an apparatus including a voltage source, an inductor coupled to the voltage source and configured to store energy in a magnetic field, a diode coupled to the voltage source via the conductor, a transistor that can be turned on or off by a control signal, a light emitting element coupled to the transistor and a capacitor coupled to charging and discharge paths where the charging path includes the inductor and the diode and the discharge path includes the transistor and the light emitting element. The invention provides a laser diode firing circuit for a light detection and ranging (LIDAR) device where the emission and charging operations of the firing circuit can be controlled by operation of a single transistor.

The reexamination of the ‘936 patent was requested in August 2017 by an engineer named Eric Swildens who, according to news reports, has no connection to either Uber or Waymo but became interested in the potential invalidity of the patent after it was asserted in Waymo’s case against Uber. The reexam requested by Swildens has to date been able to knock out all 20 claims of the claims originally issued in the patent, with only three amended claims that were added to the patent during the reexam proceeding being found to be patentable by the reexamination examiner.

Long story short, this patent should never have been granted. Watchtroll can (and will) whine all it wants, but a lot of US patents get granted in a rush/haste, only to be thrown out as soon as they reach courts (or PTAB).

Jeffrey Killian recently complained about “Patent Uncertainty”. He wrote about it on October 9th at Watchtroll. The problem is that the USPTO granted far too many bogus patents. The problem isn’t the courts and it’s certainly not PTAB, which actually restores some much-needed sanity. Of course these patent maximalists blame courts rather than greed, but one must bear in mind how they make a living.

On the “blocking patent” doctrine, Watchtroll is smearing the courts again. Complaining about CAFC twice in two days [1, 2]. This is unwise a thing to do as it threatens their interests. It undermines the courts’ support or trust in law firms. Hans Sauer and Melissa Brand, then just Melissa Brand, basically insinuate that courts lack logic and even use a “Gremlin” caricature. Stay classy, folks…

It should be noted that a patent troll CEO, William Merritt (President and CEO of InterDigital), was writing for Watchtroll last week. This is why it deserves to be called Watchtroll. It’s like a megaphone of the trolling ‘industry’…

Moving on a bit, PTAB is doing so well that patent maximalists are screaming on the phone with lawyers willing to waste their money. “Today’s new patent complaints,” wrote one PTAB proponent, are “usual glut of NPE [troll] suits, sprinkle of operating companies… and a corp suing Iancu/the PTO for a DJ that IPR is unconstitutional (incl under 7A.) Interesting tactic, given that they already lost on appeal to CAFC and SCOTUS disagreed on the 7A q.”

PTAB generally helps techies or geeks. It doesn’t help parasitic lawyers. Whose side should we be on? Decisions, decisions…

HTIA, which represents technology firms, wrote some days ago: “Let’s debunk myths: #Patent reform has not harmed #innovation. The 300 U.S. companies who have invested the most in R&D have increased R&D spending by 44% since 2012.”

This links to an older article, but it’s still very much relevant. PTAB guides the hands of examiners, moving the hands away from software patents. PTAB often overturns examiners’ decision to the detriment of software patent applicants, but patent maximalists latch onto the rare exception rather than the norm. Here is one such exception:

The examiner originally rejected the claims as improperly directed toward an abstract idea. On appeal, however, the PTAB has reversed finding that “dwell time” is a uniquely “internet-centric challenge” and the claimed solution is “is necessarily rooted in computer technology in order to overcome a problem specifically arising in the realm of computer networks.” quoting DDR Holdings. The PTAB particularly noted that “dwell time” is not merely “some business practice known from the pre-Internet world” that was claimed by simply saying “perform it on the Internet.”

The classic “on the Internet” trick; don’t they just say “on the cloud” these days?

Linda Panszczyk wrote about CAFC asking PTAB to have another go assessing a patent (reversals are rare, they don’t overturn invalidations much). This is from last week’s short post:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has vacated and remanded a Patent Trial and Appeal Board decision that a reference guide qualified as a printed publication, in a case involving reexamination of medical device patents relating to access ports, asking for the Board to clarify its findings on this matter.

They’re doing the work examiners should have done in the first place.

“The classic “on the Internet” trick; don’t they just say “on the cloud” these days?”Director Iancu cannot gut PTAB, especially not after Oil States; but the head of PTAB (a judge) was recently removed (or departed) and the latest act of sabotage from Iancu seems like a gross case of bypassing courts. As Josh Rich put it:

Under a new PTO administrative rule published today, the PTAB will apply the same claim construction standards in IPRs, PGRs, and CBMs filed on November 13, 2018 or later as would apply in litigation. 83 Fed. Reg. 51340 (Oct. 11, 2018). The PTAB will also consider claim construction decisions from litigation (whether from courts or the U.S. International Trade Commission) in construing claims in AIA proceedings. The new rule abandons the PTO’s former approach of using the broadest reasonable interpretation (“BRI”) in claim construction, and thereby reflects a continuing move from considering AIA proceedings analogous to prosecution to considering them analogous — or part of — the litigation process.

Currently, the PTAB uses the BRI to construe claims in the vast majority of AIA proceedings, the only exceptions being in cases where the patent has expired or is expiring imminently.[1] In doing so, it has treated the AIA proceedings as analogous to a continuation of prosecution (in which claims are given their broadest reasonable interpretation throughout the process). That approach makes sense in the historical context of AIA proceedings, given that it allows the PTO to use the same approach across almost all cases before it, AIA proceedings are to supplement — not reargue — issues that were presented during pre-issuance prosecution, and AIA proceedings share many similarities with prosecution (including limited ability to address the counterparty’s claim construction arguments). Furthermore, the ability to amend claims during such proceedings provides a “safety valve” for an inopportune, overbroad claim construction.

Dennis Crouch wrote about the Phillips standard:

The USPTO’s Final Rule Package on Inter Partes Review Claim Construction is set to publish in the Federal Register on October 11, 2018. Up to now, the PTAB has been using the USPTO “broadest reasonable interpretation” standard to interpret challenged patent claims. Under the new rule, the PTAB will now rely upon the PHOSITA standard more traditionally used for issued patents as articulated by in Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (en banc) and further developed in later cases. This new rule will apply in IPR, PGR, and CBM proceedings. The new rule also indicates that prior claim constructions by a court or USITC “will be considered.” This final rule is essentially unchanged from the proposed rule found in the May 2018 NPRM. Timing: The new claim construction applies to cases involving “petitions filed on or after the effective date of the final rule, which is November 13, 2018.”

Watchtroll’s founder said about this Phillips standard that Iancu’s office “has published a final rule in the Federal Register changing the claim construction standard applied during inter partes review (IPR), post-grant review (PGR), and covered business method (CBM) review proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).”

Here is what another patent maximalist said:

The final rule changes the claim construction standard used by the PTAB to the Phillips standard used in district courts. Practitioners predict a surge in filing before it becomes effective in November

The USPTO has published a final rule changing the claim construction standard applied during inter partes review (IPR), post-grant review (PGR), and covered business method patents (CBM) proceedings before the PTAB.

So the filings are expected to temporarily go up again, just like they did before fee hikes. Office Director seem to be missing the point that keeping PTAB affordable and accessible is actually a priority; all they care about is masking the decline in quality — same thing which the EPO has been doing.

Over at Lexology, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP’s Bill T. Storey took note of the Office becoming more of a patent maximalists’ office under Iancu when he said:

On July 1, 2018, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) began a 3-year pilot program known as The PCT Collaborative Search and Examination Pilot (CS&E) Program, to streamline examination and search procedures for patent examiners in multiple countries. The program is a coordinated effort with patent offices from around the world, together known as the IP5 offices. Specifically, participating International Search Authority (ISA) members include the USPTO, European Patent Office (EPO), Japan Patent Office (JPO), Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), and State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (SIPO). This program is a continuation of two previous programs launched in 2010 and 2011, respectively, involving the USPTO, EPO and KIPO that laid the groundwork for this expanded program aimed at testing user interest, operational and quality standards, and the electronic platform.

Currently, upon filing a PCT application, applicants designate one of the IP5 offices to provide an international search report (ISR) and written opinion. However, upon reaching the national stage as applicants pursue applications in individual countries, applicants can be presented with country-specific search reports involving entirely new art depending on varying search criteria. This can place a burden on applicants and hinder cohesive world-wide prosecution strategies. The CS&E program addresses this issue by coordinating searches from each office, thereby providing a higher quality work product which is more likely to comprehensively identify and consider world-wide art. The CS&E program provides the advantages of having the searching performed by multiple examiners with different language capabilities and an increased predictability of outcome. Importantly, at this time the CS&E program requires no extra cost.

It’s worth noting that nobody but a vocal group of trolls' attorneys actually complained about PTAB. One of them wrote: “Amazingly Ebay wins rare 101 #patent appeal because “dwell time, which is an Internet-centric challenge” is not just directed to an abstract idea https://e-foia.uspto.gov/Foia/RetrievePdf?system=BPAI&flNm=fd2017003747-09-26-2018-1 … Once again, proves how handy it is to have the right panel of judges!”

More of that judge-bashing, as usual…

They spent years pushing the fiction that PTAB is “stacked” or corrupt or whatever. Iancu now uses these smears of theirs to frame PTAB as “controversial” with perception issues. Whose? Iancu seems to believe that the USPTO exists for patent law firms rather than for science and technology. Having come from the law firm that worked for Trump, this is hardly surprising.

Not only do firms sell “lawsuits as a service”; nowadays they also sell insurance policies. Watch what Pillsbury (Policyholder Pulse blog) wrote last week; the insurance ‘industry’ now exploits the demise of low-quality patents that are being invalidated:

To help fill this patent coverage gap, some insurers have recently begun offering more comprehensive and cost-effective intellectual property policies specifically tailored to address the risk of patent (and other intellectual property) claims.

[...]

The patent landscape continues to evolve in the wake of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act and the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank, which established a more exacting patentability standard for software patents and has opened the door to more motions to dismiss for lawsuits asserting those patents. Nonetheless, patent lawsuits remain prevalent and costly. A well-negotiated patent policy can help close a critical coverage gap, and may even prove critical to your company’s continued viability in the face of such suits.

So when there are lots of patent lawsuits they sell insurance to defendants and when many patent lawsuits fall through they sell insurance to the plaintiffs. Some ‘industry’, eh?

‘Cloud’, ‘AI’ and Other Buzzwords as Excuses for Granting Fake Patents on Software

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 5:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cloud on beach

Summary: With resurgence of rather meaningless terms like so-called ‘clouds’ (servers/hosting) and ‘AI’ (typically anything in code which does something clever, including management of patents) the debate is being shifted away from 35 U.S.C. § 101 (Section 101); but courts would still see past such façade

THE EPO and USPTO both have a bad new habit that they spread to other patent offices, such as KIPO in Korea. They use or misuse buzzwords. They try to make things outside patent scope seem so innovative that somehow this supposed innovation defies the rules (scope). Sometimes that manages to impress or at least confuse examiners and judges.

“So let’s start with this assumption that patent maximalists have come to accept Section 101/Alice renders software patents worthless and even overzealous, very large law firms (Finnegan is one of the biggest) insist that patenting has gone too far for practical purposes. Where do they go from here? Buzzwords.”It’s hard to patent software. So it’s not hard to see why patent maximalists would pursue such tricks. As recently as Sunday Watchtroll published this rant about Section 101/Alice — the basis (or legal framework) upon which most software patents become void. “This has prompted many to cast a grim prospect for the software patent industry,” Babak Nouri (at Watchtroll) wrote less than a couple of days ago, as if the patents themselves are the industry…

“A Realistic Perspective on post-Alice Software Patent Eligibility” is the headline and here’s a snide remark directed at the law itself: “Much of the havoc wrought in the software patent system by the landmark decision Alice v. CLS Bank International, 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014) stems from the unworkable two-part patent eligibility test based on vaguely defined and nebulous Abstract idea and significantly more constructs. The High court’s reluctance or perhaps inability to precisely define these standards and the perceived lack of discernible consistency by the patent community in the way these standards have been applied in the compendious jumble of case law, has perpetuated a sense of uncertainty. This has prompted many to cast a grim prospect for the software patent industry.”

Who said this so-called ‘industry’ (it’s not even an industry) deserved to exist in the first place? Let coders write code. Most of them never dealt with lawyers and aren’t interested in lawsuits. It’s the lawsuits ‘industry’ looking to cause trouble.

A few days ago Elliot C. Cook and Jeffrey A Berkowitz (Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP) published “Successful Companies Don’t Just Patent Everything—They Make And Follow A Strategy”.

You can’t patent everything anyway. Sooner or later, as in the US with its courts, you realise that the lion’s share of your patents are fake, worthless, toothless. Or in their words: “In both of the above illustrations, the companies failed to develop and implement a patent strategy. Emerging companies should concentrate on building a patent monopoly covering the most commercially important aspects of their new technologies while making efficient use of their patent dollars and the precious time of their key inventors. In short, when companies formulate their business strategy, patents should play an integral role. Patenting too sparingly or recklessly is not strategic and is not a way to generate company value.”

So even a law firm that promotes software patents quite actively admits these downsides. In some cases, as in this new example of Swisscom and ASSIA, companies just cross-license and move on (wireless for the most part in this particular case/agreement, not algorithms).

So let’s start with this assumption that patent maximalists have come to accept Section 101/Alice renders software patents worthless and even overzealous, very large law firms (Finnegan is one of the biggest) insist that patenting has gone too far for practical purposes. Where do they go from here? Buzzwords. We already wrote dozens of articles to that effect and over the past week we saw several new examples.

Japanese blogger Satoshi Watanabe wrote about patent trolls or feeding a patent troll in Japan for blackmail purposes. “Patent utilization” is what he (or they) use as the newest euphemism (rather than enforcement, monetisation, assertion and so on). He also alludes to “artificial intelligence (AI)-based” at the end:

“Patent utilization” has been a buzz word in Japanese IP industry. There seems to be an increasing number of companies thinking that they should make effective use of patents that haven’t been used by themselves; i.e. monetize such patents by selling or licensing them to others. Actually, a client of ours has asked me what salable or licensable patents are like.

First of all, you may need to know when a patent transaction occurs.

[...]

It’s hoped that artificial intelligence (AI)-based solution will be developed.

That last part refers to how patents are managed, but it’s part of a recent (past year) trend. They keep bringing up “AI”. Some so-called ‘IP’ lawyers admitted to me that they don’t even really understand what it means, yet they keep using the term. It’s like a fashion.

How about this new article (4 days old) that speaks of “machine learning-base [sic] anomaly detection” in relation to new Anodot patents? George Leopold wrote about these bogus software patents being granted in the US. It’s incredibly hard to believe/imagine patent courts tolerating such abstract/mathematical methods being patented as a monopoly.

To quote from the article:

Anodot, which focuses on using machine learning techniques to spot anomalies in time-series data, announced a pair of U.S. patent awards this week covering its autonomous analytics framework.

The analytics vendor said Thursday (Oct. 11) it has been granted two U.S. patents for algorithms that allow users to apply machine learning-base anomaly detection. The algorithms are designed specifically to quickly identify the source of anomalies in large data sets, then perform root-cause analysis. The approach is promoted as faster than traditional business intelligence tools or dashboards.

[...]

Anodot was launched in 2014 when its co-founders realized there was an unmet need for fast and accurate time-series analysis.

Those are software patents. It’s algorithms, but they dress it all up in innovation- and novelty-sounding terms. Why did the USPTO grant such software patents? How about this new application from Apple? A lot of press about it this past week (dozens of articles), as is typical for Apple. But Apple will never sue with this patent/s, so we won’t see the courts lecturing Apple on why it’s patent-ineligible. If it ever gets granted in the first place…

Well, the patent office got its money anyway… and Apple got puff pieces about how it’s presumably combating spam.

In other ‘news’, this time from JD Supra (a press release), patent law firms (Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox P.L.L.C. in this case) still try to figure out how to get bogus patents on software and nature, even if courts will reject these. From The Current State of Patent-Eligible Subject Matter:

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s Mayo and Alice decisions, uncertainty has surrounded what inventions are patent eligible in the United States. In Mayo and Alice, the Supreme Court developed a two-step test to determine patent eligibility. Step one determines if the invention is directed to a law of nature, natural phenomenon, or abstract idea. If so, the second step determines if there is an inventive concept sufficient to ensure the patent amounts to significantly more than the ineligible concept itself.[i] While this test has led to uncertainty in what inventions remain patent eligible, post-Mayo/Alice case law has begun to shed light on what is patent eligible in the United States. The current state of patent eligibility in the technology areas most impacted by the Mayo/Alice two-step are outlined below.

[...]

Software and Business Method Claims

Software and business method patents have faced significant challenges since the Mayo/Alice decisions. Software claims, are not per se ineligible, however software claims that merely gather, analyze, and output data are patent ineligible.[xii] Software claims can be patent eligible when they are directed to an improvement in the way computers operate.[xiii] Additionally, claims which recite specific limitations to overcome deficits or problems in the prior art have been found patent eligible.[xiv] Based on these holdings, to be patent eligible software claims must recite specific steps to obtain a desired result rather than recite merely the result itself.[xv]

After Alice and In Re Bilski we can pretty much assume things have changed profoundly. Sure, the patent office might still grant such patents. But what matters a lot more is whether those will be enforceable in court at any point before their expiry. The culture of patent embargoes and patent maximalism needs to end at the patent office too in order to preserve any presumption of patent validity. The USPTO continues to assess its performance using the wrong yardstick, e.g. number of patents granted. Patent maximalists are meanwhile pushing the lunacy which is computer-generated patents (we put the following articles in our daily links last week). Here’s what Law 360 and IAM are suggesting:

  • 4 Ways Advances In AI Could Challenge Patent Law

    Advances in artificial intelligence raise intriguing patent law questions, including whether AI breakthroughs are patent-eligible and whether AI that creates something can be an “inventor” entitled to a patent.

  • Artificial intelligence: a game changer for the patent system

    With the advent of powerful computers and the availability of unlimited storage capabilities, artificial intelligence (AI) has made its way into mainstream applications – heralding the fourth industrial revolution. While the notion of what ‘artificial intelligence’ means has undergone significant change since its introduction in 1956, today’s typical AI is broadly conceived to “perceive its environment and take actions that maximise its chance of successfully achieving its goals”. This may involve reinforcement learning, where goals can be set explicitly or implicitly by rewarding some types of behaviour and punishing others, or by a fitness function allowing for mutation and preferential replication of high-scoring AI systems in an evolutionary system. AI may be implemented in self-optimising software or hardware that regularly requires vast data amounts (known as ‘big data’) for training response behaviour.

So what they’re basically saying is, let a bunch of machines manage the patent system; as if that’s going to make matters any better…

Published a few days ago in the The National Law Review and another publication was this article of Christina Sperry (Mintz) and the litigation industry; under “Subject Matter Eligibility Under 35 U.S.C. § 101″ they admit that “AI” patents are just bogus software patents but promote these fake patents anyway. To quote the relevant part:

Subject matter eligibility for patent under 35 U.S.C. § 101 has been a particularly hot topic since the 2014 Supreme Court decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l. Section 101 patent eligibility has particular relevance to AI and digital health since they often involve computers and/or data processing whose mere presence, reference, or implication in claims frequently give rise to subject matter eligibility questions during patent prosecution as well as during litigation after patent issuance.

The breadth and gravity of current § 101 issues has been explored elsewhere and is beyond the scope of this article. In general, Alice and subsequent lower court decisions have made it more difficult to get patents issued with claims involving computers and/or data processing. It is therefore important to consider potential patent eligibility concerns under § 101 during the patent application drafting process in order to preemptively address these concerns as much as possible before the application faces any challenges during prosecution or during litigation as an issued patent.

To be quite frank, the abundance and overuse of the term “AI” by patent lawyers is a cause for concern. The only more worrying thing is seeing administrators at the EPO and USPTO adopting the term as well; they use that as a sort of synonym for software patents and we’re asked to believe that they grant such patents for the betterment of society or manage patents using “AI” (they just mean things like search and inferences) to expand human understanding rather than make staff redundant, only to be replaced by vastly inferior performance.

10.15.18

Corporate Media’s Failure to Cover Patents Properly and Our New Hosting Woes

Posted in Europe, Patents, Site News at 3:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We can’t let these people get their way with patent maximalism and UPC

The three Frenchmen

Summary: A status update about EPO affairs and our Web host’s plan to shut down (as a whole) very soon, leaving us orphaned or having to pay heavy bills

OUR USPTO coverage reached an unexpected halt last night at around 6PM. Our host is shutting down soon. He’s an old friend of mine who hosted the site as a favour for nearly a decade. Speaking to alternative hosts, it seems likely that our hosting costs would at least quadruple. It’s a painful experience. I barely slept; it’s hard to fall asleep. Certain readers, some of whom connected in one way or another to the EPO, expressed concern about the downtime (almost half a day). The problem is far broader than a downtime, caused by a routing issue among other things.

“This is scary and dangerous to the prospects of science and technology in Europe. It’s like patents take priority over facts. It should never be like this.”Techright is turning 12 in a few weeks. I’ve dedicated most of my adult life to this site. I’m not asking for sympathy, I just want to reaffirm and reassure to readers that the site has always been financially independent. That’s never going to change.

I can envision some readers asking questions like, what about “the cloud”? As if sending one’s blog to some private company can assure independence… there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary. There are many ways in which a centralised blogging platform censors those who participate, with a broadening brush by which they sweep away particular voices.

“The possibility of a deferred examination could therefore further improve the attractiveness of the French patent.”
      –Grégoire Desrousseaux and Thierry Lautier
Florian Müller‘s latest two articles, The new smartphone patents battlemap (infographic featuring Apple, Huawei, Intel, Qualcomm, Samsung) and Patent exhaustion keeps Qualcomm on the run from Apple’s claims and motions,” are as usual hosted by Google. Just before the weekend he wrote about a notorious European Patent of Qualcomm. He’s very supportive of our work covering the EPO (we’ve published nearly 3,000 articles about the EPO alone).

“Your server does not respond.”
      –Anonymous
Like we’ve said here several times since September, publishers are struggling, even the patent maximalists’. IAM, for example, went sort of ‘dark’, i.e. everything behind paywall, except pure commercials and intentional propaganda. As an example of the latter, see what turned up in Google News yesterday. IAM wrote this:

‘No deal’ Brexit may mean no UPC, says UK government – The United Kingdom government released a notice on the likely implications for patents in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Relevant EU legislation, such as that relating to Supplementary Protection Certificates for drugs, compulsory licences and the patenting of biotechnology innovations, will be retained in UK law under the EU Withdrawal Act 2018 in such a scenario, it reassures rights holders. Such legislation will form the basis of an independent UK patent regime in which existing rights and licences will automatically remain in force. No such certainty is provided regarding the prospective Unified Patent Court (UPC), however. If the pan-European court is fully ratified, but the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the country would not necessarily be part of the UPC or the unitary patent system, the government admitted. However, any unitary patents that exist at the point of the UK’s departure will automatically give rise to patent protection within the UK.

This repeated the two famous lies. Also published yesterday was this short blog post from Kluwer Patent Blog (they barely publish in long form anymore). It’s akin to the “shoot with patents first, ask questions later” attitude of UPC. Adrian Crespo wrote that (in Spain at least) “a defendant wishing to object to an injunction for invalidity reasons must put forth “very clear and evident indicia” of invalidity. For that reason, the Court of Appeal focused on a relatively straightforward objection on grounds of added matter.”

This is scary and dangerous to the prospects of science and technology in Europe. It’s like patents take priority over facts. It should never be like this.

Meanwhile, over at Mondaq, a French law firm that habitually promotes itself over there speaks of the EPO and INPI. Grégoire Desrousseaux and Thierry Lautier (August & Debouzy) compare one terrible patent office to another:

Incidentally, this would also allow the INPI to “smooth” the number of examination requests it will receive in the medium term, which would facilitate the implementation of the strengthened substantive examination and the opposition procedure, while maintaining sufficiently short deadlines (which is a decisive parameter for the attractiveness of the French system).

The possibility of a deferred examination could therefore further improve the attractiveness of the French patent.

It is widely known that INPI doesn’t really assess quality of patent applications; they’re presumed valid. Imagine what the UPC would look like if the French-led UPC ever went ahead, possibly with Battistelli as its chief. France has been reserved a leadership position, the EPO promotes this, its current President is French and in two decades it’s like France clings onto power at the EPO for 16 years.

We are open to ideas as to how sponsor the hosting costs for the server; I don’t wish to be paid for my writings about the EPO (by anyone), but the costs of underlying infrastructure may need coverage. I spend over 80 hours per week on the sites (not including my daytime job). Things aren’t sustainable and we need to keep watching the affairs of the EPO and patent scope in general. There’s too much at stake.

Links 15/10/2018: Testing Ubuntu 18.10 Release Candidates, KaOS 2018.10 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 2:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Don’t Click “Check for Updates” Unless You Want Unstable Windows 10 Updates

      As Microsoft revealed, only people who clicked “Check for Updates” got bitten by Windows 10’s file deletion bug. When you click the “Check for Updates” button, Microsoft gives you updates early, skipping a normal part of the testing process.

    • How to Fix Your PC’s Sound if Windows Update Just Broke It

      Windows Update keeps breaking things. Earlier this week, Microsoft released a buggy Intel audio driver that broke the sound on some PCs. If your PC suddenly can’t play audio, here’s how to fix it.

      Bleeping Computer brought this to our attention, but the official details come straight from Matthew van Eerde, a Senior Software Engineer on Microsoft’s Windows team.

    • Windows 10 Audio Not Working After Installing Latest Windows Updates

      Lot’s of reports are coming in that Windows 10 users are finding that their audio is no longer working on their computer after installing the latest Windows updates.

      Windows Updates have become a complete mess lately, with the latest October 2018 Update deleting user’s files, Patch Tuesday updates causing crashes because of incompatible keyboard drivers, and now users are finding that their audio drivers are broken.

  • Server

    • Cloud Foundry Goes All-In With Kubernetes

      Further proof probably isn’t needed to confirm that Kubernetes has become the de facto standard when it comes to container orchestration, but if you need more, the Cloud Foundry Foundation announced this week that it has taken on two new Kubernetes-focused projects.

    • Xen & Databases

      I’m running PostgreSQL and MySQL on my server that both serve different databases to WordPress, Drupal, Piwigo, Friendica, Mastodon, whatever…

      In the past the databases where colocated in my mailserver VM whereas the webserver was running on a different VM. Somewhen I moved the databases from domU to dom0, maybe because I thought that the databases would be faster running on direct disk I/O in the dom0 environment, but can’t remember the exact rasons anymore.

      However, in the meantime the size of the databases grew and the number of the VMs did, too. MySQL and PostgreSQL are both configured/optimized to run with 16 GB of memory in dom0, but in the last months I experienced high disk I/O especially for MySQL and slow I/O performance in all the domU VMs because of that.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.18.14
    • Linux 4.14.76
    • Linux 4.9.133
    • Linux 4.4.161
    • Linux 3.18.124
    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA 396.54.09 Vulkan Driver Released With Transform Feedback, Intel ANV Gets TF Too

        Today is certainly a very exciting day in the Vulkan space.

        Following the release of Vulkan 1.1.88 that brings initial support for the much anticipated transform feedback support, to help projects like DXVK and VKD3D for mapping Direct3D (or even OpenGL) atop Vulkan, there has been a slew of driver updates.

      • anv: Add a NIR cache

        This patch series adds a simple NIR shader cache that sits right after spirv_to_nir and brw_preprocess_nir and before linking. This should help alleviate some of the added overhead of link-time optimization since most of the NIR-level optimization is now cached prior to linking.

      • Intel’s Vulkan Driver Is Working On A NIR Cache

        As a possible performance win, Jason Ekstrand as the lead developer of the Intel ANV open-source Vulkan driver has been developing a NIR cache.

      • Vulkan Cracks 2,500 Projects On GitHub

        After cracking 2,000 projects referencing Vulkan on GitHub earlier this year, this week it passed the milestone of having more than 2,500 projects.

        Granted, some of these projects referencing Vulkan are still in their primitive stages, but of the 2,500+ projects are a lot of interesting Vulkan-using projects from RenderDoc to countless game engine initiatives, various code samples, the AMDVLK driver stack, and countless innovative efforts like GLOVE for OpenGL over Vulkan to Kazan for a Rust-written CPU-based Vulkan implementation and a heck of a lot more.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma and KDE neon Team Visit Deployments in Catalunya

        Last week developers from the KDE neon and Plasma teams visited Barcelona. We were there to meet with some KDE software projects we had heard about in the Catalan government and schools. Aleix Pol lives locally and works on Plasma and Discover. He invited Plasma release manager and KDE neon developer Jonathan Riddell, KDE neon continuous integration master Harald Sitter, and hardware enablement guru Rohan Garg to meet the teams evaluating our software and supporting our users.

        We first met Pablo who runs the Linkat project for the Catalan government. Linkat is a Linux distribution they offer to schools, and it currently runs lightweight, simple desktop environments. As Plasma 5 now tends to use as little or less memory and resources than many lightweight Linux desktops, the Linkat team is interested in trying it. We met with the officials from the education department and discussed accessibility needs, looking at Mycroft for voice control and integrating with phones using KDE Connect.

      • KF5 Static Builds

        Static linking has long gone out of fashion, at least on the average Linux desktop distribution. There are however good reasons to still (or again) support this for our frameworks. One is the rise of application bundles (Flatpak, Android APK, AppImage, etc).

        Bundles often only contain a single executable, so there is no benefit of sharing a library (at least in most bundle formats, Flatpak is a bit different there). Still we need to ship everything the shared libraries provide, no matter if we need it or not.

        Static linking is of course not the magic solution to this, but it’s a fairly generic way of allowing the compiler to drop unused code, reducing the application size. As application bundles are usually updated as a whole, we also don’t benefit from the ability to update shared libraries independently, unlike with a conventional distribution.

        Besides application bundles, there are also single process embedded applications that can benefit from static linking, so this is relevant for the effort of bringing KF5 to Yocto. In particular on lower powered embedded devices the startup overhead of dynamic linking can be noticeable.

      • Celebrating KDE’s 22nd Birthday with Some Inspiring Facts from its Glorious Past!

        Wishing A Very Happy Birthday to KDE! Let us Celebrate this moment by looking back into its Glorious history with some Inspiring Facts on this legendary and much-loved Desktop Environment!

      • Please help test our initial Cosmic 18.10 RC ISOs

        The Ubuntu release team have announced a 1st test ISO RC build for all 18.10 flavours.

        Please help us test these and subsequent RC builds, so that we can have an amazing and well tested release in the coming week.

      • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 40

        I’d like to specially highlight one very important fix this week: external hard drives are now safely powered off when unmounted. The fix is in KDE Frameworks 5.52, which will be released in approximately three weeks, and I’d like to give a big thanks to Stefan Brüns who fixed it!

        Speaking of Stefan, he and Igor Poboiko have been doing an absolutely smashing job fixing Baloo over the past two weeks. A lot of their work is hard to blog about because it’s not immediately user-facing (though I’ve included as much as possible below), but between the two of them, they’ve made an enormous number of improvements to Baloo that should make it work faster and more smoothly in a lot of subtle ways.

        But obviously that’s not all; take a look at the rest of the week’s work:

      • LaKademy 2018 – Second Day (October 12th)

        During the second day of LaKademy I was more focused on resolution of bugs in the code that I implemented during the first day for KDE Partition Manager. During the afternoon, I decided to start RAID resizing and discussed with Andrius Stikonas on calamares IRC channel about some RAID functionalities related to resizing disks and about bugs on both LVM and RAID. I also talked with some KDE coders here in LaKademy about Qt and C++, learning more about it.

      • KaOS 2018.10

        Plasma 5.14.0 was announced just a few days ago and is already included in this ISO. Highlights of this version include a new Display Configuration widget for screen management which is useful for presentations, the Audio Volume widget now has a built-in speaker test feature moved from Phonon settings, Plasma now warns on logout when other users are logged in, fixed non-centered task switchers on Wayland and the Kickoff application menu now switches tabs instantly on hover.

        A new Glibc 2.27/GCC 7.3.1 based toolchain is among the many changes to the base of the system. Updates to Boost, ICU, x265, Protobuf, Net-SNMP, Qt required the rebuild of a large percentage of the KaOS repositories.

      • KaOS 2018.10 Released With KDE Plasma 5.14 Desktop, Wayland 1.16
      • Support KDE via AmazonSmile

        For quite some time, the KDE e.V. – KDE’s non-profit organization – is listed in the AmazonSmile program.

      • The Last Day of the Krita Sprint and the Last Day of the Krita Fundraiser

        We fully intended to make a post every day to keep everyone posted on what’s happening here in sunny Deventer, the Netherlands.

      • Who is Hiring?

        Just as quick info: For some time, there is a sticky thread on r/cpp about who is hiring C++ developers. This thread gets cleaned quarterly, so all the open jobs listed there are likely still open.

      • KDE chalks up another year with cash to back community

        The KDE Project, a group that puts out a desktop environment that is used by numerous GNU/Linux distributions, has received two big donations that will enable it to do more to support the community, according to the president of the project, Lydia Pintscher.

        In a Twitter thread to mark the 22nd birthday of the project — which came to life on 14 October 1996 — Pintscher said over the past year the project had rallied behind the three goals that it cared about: privacy, onboarding and usability and productivity.

        KDE was started by German software developer Matthias Ettrich with the aim of providing GNU/Linux users with all the functionality that Windows had at the time.

      • Screen reader accessibility for the Plasma desktop

        It’s been rather quiet when it comes to accessibility in KDE land for a while. But I’m very happy to see some movement and fresh energy, moving in a good direction.

        If you’re curious about making our software available to more users, improving it for everyone (for example keyboard usability), now is the time to join. We are talking on the accessibility mailing list. It’s still to early to say what the exact plan will look like, but there will be progress. Thanks to the last Randa meeting, we reached the point where a few things in Plasma do work with a screen reader, enough to let a few brave souls experiment with it. Now we’ll have to structure what needs improvements, I could imaging defining some workflows.

      • KDE Will Now Safely Spin Down External Hard Drives When Unmounting

        Fixing a seven year old bug since the KDE4 days, KDE will now spin down external hard drives unmounting the drives to help stave off possible data loss / corruption.

        KDE has unmounted external hard drives but not caused these drivers to stop spinning — basically, powering off the drive. In some cases this lack of powering down the external HDDs could cause problems as outlined by this 2011 bug report requesting said functionality. Most other Linux distributions out there have powered down external drives when ejecting/unmounting except for KDE.

        Beginning with the upcoming KDE Frameworks 5.52, the UDisks2 call is in place to power down the drive on removal, if the drive supports this behavior.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • A Clean GTK Theme Specially Designed for Laptop and Desktop

        The search for cool and new themes never stops. While digging through the thousands of themes in websites, search results – I found this cool and simple GTK theme – Stylish. Stylish is designed for GTK 3, GTK 2 and GNOME Shell. It comes with 6 base types of combinations with 4 color variants.

      • Linux Smartphone Librem 5 Will Ship With GNOME 3.32

        Last month, Purism announced that its Librem 5 Linux smartphone will ship in April 2019; earlier, it was scheduled to arrive in January 2019.

        It seems that the developers will now get sufficient time to ship their phone with GNOME 3.32. In a blog post, the project urged the app developers to “use libhandy 0.0.4 and up, use GTK+ 3.24.1 and up and target GNOME 3.32!”

      • Redesign of the invite dialog in Fractal (part 1)

        This month, I’ve had some time to work on the redesign of the invite dialog in Fractal. There is a dialog used for inviting users in a room you are in or inviting a user to start a direct chat with them. In this dialog, you can search for users by usernames. The result of this search is shown in a list below the search entry and you can click on the GtkListBox‘s rows to select users (in the case of direct chat invitations, the latest selected user will be the only one selected) and you can then click on the button “Invite” to send invitations to all selected users.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Review: Reborn OS 2018.09.09 and Nitrux 1.0.15

        This month I spent some time digging through the waiting list and trimming projects that have not survived the harsh and demanding growing period of their first year of existence. Among them I found a project which seemed simple on the surface, an Antergos-based distribution offering even more install-time options than its parent. What caught my attention was the specific list of extra options: 15 desktop environments to choose from, able to run Android apps through the Anbox compatibility software, optional Flatpak support, and the Mycroft desktop assistant. All of this on a rolling release base provided by Arch Linux.

        The distribution is called Reborn OS and I downloaded what was, at the time, the latest build. Reborn is available as a 64-bit build only. The ISO I downloaded was 1.5GB in size and, booting from this ISO brought up the Budgie desktop environment. At the top of the desktop is a panel with the application menu, a couple of quick-launch buttons and a system tray. The Budgie desktop seemed to respond well once it finished loading and I was eager to get started.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian dev forks Redis modules that are under Commons Clause licence

        Debian GNU/Linux developer Chris Lamb is taking the fight to those pushing the Commons Clause, a non-free licence, by setting up a two-man team to fork modules that add functionality to the in-memory database Redis, after the company that makes Redis put the modules under this licence and started to charge for them. Lamb is the current leader of the project but said he was doing this in a private capacity.

        The Commons Clause licence prevents anyone from selling software, something which all licences that qualifiy as open source do not prohibit. It is specifically aimed at companies like Amazon which make use of free and open source software but pay nothing for it.

        Lamb told iTWire: “…the short version is that with the recent licensing changes to several Redis Labs modules making them no longer free and open source, GNU/Linux distributions such as Debian and Fedora are no longer able to ship Redis Labs’ versions of the affected modules to their users.”

      • Shutter removed from Debian & Ubuntu

        This week, the popular screenshot app Shutter was removed from Debian Unstable & Ubuntu 18.10. (It had already been removed from Debian “Buster” 6 months ago and some of its “optional” dependencies had already been removed from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS).

        Shutter will need to be ported to gtk3 before it can return to Debian. (Ideally, it would support Wayland desktops too but that’s not a blocker for inclusion in Debian.)

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • UBports Foundation releases Linux-based Ubuntu Touch OTA-5

            Ubuntu Touch never lit the world on fire as many Linux fans had hoped, but to be honest, most mainstream consumers didn’t even know it existed. So when Canonical canceled it, not many people cared. Luckily, since the project was open source, it was easy for another organization — in this case, UBports — to grab the torch and run with it.

            Back in August, UBports surprised many with the Ubuntu Touch OTA-4 release, which breathed new life into tablets and smartphones that ran the Linux distro. Now, OTA-5 is here to take it up yet another notch. The new version gets a new web browser called Morph which is based on QtWebEngine. Best of all, OTA-5 gets improved adaptive scaling for a better experience regardless of screen size. From a superficial standpoint, there are new wallpapers based on community submitted artwork.

          • You Can Help Ubuntu This Weekend Test The Near-Final Cosmic Cuttlefish

            If all goes well, the Ubuntu 18.10 “Cosmic Cuttlefish” release will happen on 18 October but for that to happen they could use your help this weekend testing their release candidate spins.

            Running a few days behind with ideally their RC builds should have been spinning on Thursday (11 October) but instead being announced on Saturday (13 October), there are non-final but test-friendly Cosmic RC builds now coming out for all Ubuntu 18.10 flavors.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • GNU/Linux Review: Xubuntu 18.04 LTS

              Xubuntu 18.04 LTS is an official flavor of Ubuntu Bionic Beaver which uses XFCE Desktop Environment. In this release, it’s still as lightweight as before (~350MB of RAM at idle time), with user-friendliness you can expect as always. Yes, it still supports 32-bit so you don’t have to buy new computer to upgrade or install it; for the next 3 years. It supports Snappy out of the box with GNOME Software integration. It brings Firefox 59, LibreOffice 6.0, and XFCE 4.12 for us, in only 1.3GB sized ISO image file. And yeah, in this review, I show you that Compiz works here with 3D Cube and stuffs we really missed from our old Ubuntu era.

            • Help test Lubuntu 18.10 Release Candidates!

              Please, help us test Lubuntu Release Candidates. You can find the link to the dailies on our downloads page. When you’re done, so we know you tested, please get an Ubuntu SSO account (if you don’t have one already) and report the result on iso.qa.ubuntu.com. This means you, i386 testers. It’s your time to shine!

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Spritely: towards secure social spaces as virtual worlds

    If you follow me on the fediverse, maybe you already know. I’ve sent an announcement to my work that I am switching to doing a project named Spritely on my own full time. (Actually I’m still going to be doing some contracting with my old job, so I’ll still have some income, but I’ll be putting a full 40 hours a week into Spritely.)

    tl;dr: I’m working on building the next generation of the fediverse as a distributed game. You can support this work if you so wish.

  • The demise of G+ and return to blogging (w/ mastodon integration)

    I’m back to blogging, after shutting down my wordpress.com hosted blog in spring. This time, fully privacy aware, self hosted, and integrated with mastodon.

    Let’s talk details: In spring, I shutdown my wordpress.com hosted blog, due to concerns about GDPR implications with comment hosting and ads and stuff. I’d like to apologize for using that, back when I did this (in 2007), it was the easiest way to get into blogging. Please forgive me for subjecting you to that!

    Recently, Google announced the end of Google+. As some of you might know, I posted a lot of medium-long posts there, rather than doing blog posts; especially after I disabled the wordpress site.

  • Web Browsers

    • Brave Browser Team Up With Tor

      TOR [sic] or The Onion Router uses technology that separates your computer from the website you’re viewing by routing the network traffic through 3 seperate servers before it reaches your computer. That being said Brave Core Beta hasn’t been fully tested yet so “users should not rely on it for serious use just yet,” Brave said.

    • Mozilla

      • Your RSS is grass: Mozilla euthanizes feed reader, Atom code in Firefox browser, claims it’s old and unloved

        When Firefox 64 arrives in December, support for RSS, the once celebrated content syndication scheme, and its sibling, Atom, will be missing.

        “After considering the maintenance, performance and security costs of the feed preview and subscription features in Firefox, we’ve concluded that it is no longer sustainable to keep feed support in the core of the product,” said Gijs Kruitbosch, a software engineer who works on Firefox at Mozilla, in a blog post on Thursday.

        RSS – which stands for Rich Site Summary, RDF Site Summary, or Really Simple Syndication, as you see fit – is an XML-based format for publishing and subscribing to web content feeds. It dates back to 1999 and for a time was rather popular, but been disappearing from a variety of applications and services since then.

        Mozilla appears to have gotten the wrecking ball rolling in 2011 when it removed the RSS button from Firefox. The explanation then was the same as it is now: It’s just not very popular.

      • Cameron Kaiser: It’s baaaaa-aaack: TenFourFox Intel

        It’s back! It’s undead! It’s ugly! It’s possibly functional! It’s totally unsupported! It’s … TenFourFox for Intel Macs!

        Years ago as readers of this blog will recall, Claudio Leite built TenFourFox 17.0.2 for Intel, which the update check-in server shows some determined users are still running to this day on 10.5 and even 10.4 despite various problems such as issue 209. However, he didn’t have time to maintain it, and a newer version was never built, though a few people since then have made various attempts and submitted some patches.

        One of these attempts is now far enough along to the point where I’m permitted to announce its existence. Riccardo Mottola has done substantial work on getting TenFourFox to build and run again on old Intel Macs with a focus on 32-bit compatibility, and his patches have been silently lurking in the source code repository for some time. Along with Ken Cunningham’s additional work, who now also has a MacPorts portfile so you can build it yourself (PowerPC support in the portfile is coming, though you can still use the official instructions, of course), enough functions in the new Intel build that it can be used for basic tasks.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Lands More Qt5 Integration Improvements, LXQt Support

      Recently there’s been more improvements for LibreOffice with its Qt5 integration to allow this open-source office suite to jive better with Qt5-based desktops like KDE Plasma and now LXQt.

      On and off throughout the year we have seen a lot of improvements to the Qt5/KDE5 interface plug-in with LibreOffice. In the update shared earlier this month was initial accessibility support as well as Qt5 clipboard support. Since then, more code has been merged.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Summary of Seven Days

      Microsoft and the patents (Oct 10). Megatotoro shared this article with me. I was confused. Either Microsoft is changing its position or it is a masked move that, in reality, does not help Linux at all. Which one will be, I wonder?

  • Programming/Development

    • RcppNLoptExample 0.0.1: Use NLopt from C/C++

      A new package of ours, RcppNLoptExample, arrived on CRAN yesterday after a somewhat longer-than-usual wait for new packages as CRAN seems really busy these days. As always, a big and very grateful Thank You! for all they do to keep this community humming.

    • PyGotham 2018 Talk Resources

      At PyGotham in 2018, I gave a talk called “The Black Magic of Python Wheels”. I based this talk on my two years of work on auditwheel and the manylinux platform, hoping to share some dark details of how the proverbial sausage is made.

    • Introducing Litestats
    • Software developers today, by the numbers: 4 takeaways

      The firm surveyed 20,500 professional software developers around the globe during Q2 of this year; its ongoing tracking of developer experiences and attitudes typically includes more than 40,000 devs each year. The most recent survey reveals or reinforces several key storylines about the modern software developer’s day-to-day job and future career path.

    • GCC9 Lands Initial C++ Networking TS Implementation

      The GCC9 compiler code as of Friday has an initial implementation of the C++ networking technical specification.

      Currently in working draft form, one of the experimental C++ features is an extension for standardizing network handling. The C++ Networking TS adds support to the programming language and C++ standard library for operations around sockets, timers, buffer manager, host name resolution, and Internet protocols.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Universal Basic Income Is Silicon Valley’s Latest Scam

      In 2016, I was invited to Uber’s headquarters (then in San Francisco) to talk about the failings of the digital economy and what could be done about it. Silicon Valley firms are the only corporations I know that ask for private talks for free. They don’t even cover cab fare. Like Google and Facebook, Uber figures that the chance to address their developers and executives offers intellectuals the rare privilege of influencing the digital future or, maybe more crassly, getting their books mentioned on the company blog.

      For authors of business how-to books, it makes perfect sense. Who wouldn’t want to brag that Google is taking their business advice? For me, it was a little different. Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus was about the inequity embedded in the digital economy: how the growth of digital startups was draining the real economy and making it harder for people to participate in creating value, make any money, or keep up with rising rents.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Alleged murders of Khashoggi, Kim show some nations kill with impunity

      Hands doused with nerve agent, radioactive tea, a poison dart hidden in an umbrella.
      The alleged killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in his country’s Istanbul consulate — if found to be true — is only the latest in a series of blatant assassinations carried out by a nation state on foreign soil.
      A source familiar with the investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance said the Turkish authorities have evidence showing he was killed inside the consulate. Riyadh has so-far firmly denied any involvement in the journalist’s disappearance and claims he left the consulate unharmed.

      But while the Saudis have faced some fallout for the apparent disappearing, if not outright murdering, of one of their citizens in a foreign country — some investors and media figures have pulled out of deals and conferences in the Kingdom — the wealth and power of the regime is such that even if Khashoggi’s assassination is confirmed, repercussions will likely be short lived.

    • Tech Backs Away From Saudis After Journalist’s Alleged Murder

      Mohammed’s tech connections have much deeper roots, however. The Saudi government’s sovereign wealth fund, Public Investment Fund (PIF), has invested, directly and indirectly, in many top tier tech firms, which have remained silent on the controversy so far.

    • Trump just literally put a price tag on Jamal Khashoggi’s life

      Trump’s comments just made one thing extremely clear: He cares much more about getting American companies paid than defending human rights. What’s more, he doesn’t care that much about Khashoggi — who heavily criticized the crown prince in the Washington Post — because he is merely a US resident, not citizen.

    • Turkey has ‘shocking’ audio and visual evidence of Saudi journalist’s murder

      The audio recording in particular provided “persuasive and gruesome evidence” that a Saudi team dispatched to Istanbul was responsible for Khashoggi’s death, the Post reported.

      “You can hear his voice and the voices of men speaking Arabic,” one person with knowledge of the recording told the Post. “You can hear how he was interrogated, tortured and then murdered.”

    • EXCLUSIVE: Jamal Khashoggi ‘dragged from consulate office, killed and dismembered’

      “We know when Jamal was killed, in which room he was killed and where the body was taken to be dismembered. If the forensic team are allowed in, they know exactly where to go,” he said.

    • Michelle Obama: George W. Bush is ‘my partner in crime’ and ‘I love him to death’

      Former first lady Michelle Obama said Thursday that ex-President George W. Bush has become her “partner in crime” after years of sitting together at official events.

      “President Bush and I are forever seatmates because of protocol – that’s how we sit at all the official functions,” Obama said on NBC’s “Today” show. “So he is my partner in crime at every major thing where all the formers gather.”

      “I love him to death,” Obama added. “He’s a wonderful man. He’s a funny man.”

    • Politician Kills Himself While in Custody for Drone Attack on Maduro – Caracas
    • Five painful instances the CIA deprived Africa of its promising leaders

      It is no secret that the West has had a hand in turmoils and conflicts in Africa. From slavery to colonisation, these western countries have put African countries in dire straits in terms of economic, political, and social development.

      These interference has also been seen as far back as the 1950s when most African countries were agitating for independence and later after they gained independence.

      America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been documented to have interfered with Africa’s post-independence government formation and establishment, either by helping depose promising leaders or installing brutal dictators, or both. In most cases, it was successful and in others, they were not.

    • From ‘torture centers’ and ‘CIA jets’, to Salman and Zayed’s murder of Jamal Khashoggi… Stop these two evil men!

      Immediately after the invasion of Iraq, CIA-affiliated “torture centers” were established in dozens of countries across the world. These were slave camps that were formed with secret agreements and spread from South Asia to Africa and the deserts of the Middle East. Action was taken in the name of fighting terrorism and hundreds of people from around the world were abducted and brought to these camps. Then, no news could be received from any of these people. None of them were able to leave those centers alive.

      [...]

      I believe I am the first person who disclosed the “torture centers” and discussed them. As a matter of fact, when the tankers in the Pacific were being smuggled by “pirates,” I was the first person to write, “No, it is the CIA smuggling them, these ships are being used as prisons, they roam in open seas, where there is no international law, as torture centers and prisons.” I was also one of the few who provided the most information to the world about the “CIA’s torture jets.” I remember, I had encountered very heavy attacks and threats for writing and discussing these matters.

    • Times: Jihadis are back in Kosovo – “caliphate is not dead”

      It states that according to what is known to authorities in Pristina, since 2012, 348 adults had gone from Kosovo to Syria to join Islamic State.

      The newspaper says that “many have died there, but many have returned,” and that “in the absence of a coherent program of de-radicalization, (Islamist) prisoners get out of jail and remain loyal to Islamic State.”

      Among those who are now free is Fitim Lladrovci, who, as a 24-year-old, watched a Syrian man get tied up to a stake and blown up with a missile launcher. It is alleged that the killer was Lavdrim Muhaxheri, “a notorious Kosovo Albanian who was flagged as an international terrorist threat before he was killed with a drone.”

      The Times writes that Kosovo Albanians have also participated in several recent terrorist attacks and that “six Kosovo Albanians, men and women, were arrested in June last year in Kosovo and in Germany for participating in two conspiracies targeting NATO troops in Kosovo and civilians in Belgium and France,” and recalls that “a month earlier eight people were arrested in Kosovo over a plot aimed at killing Israeli footballers.”

    • Indictment Reveals ISIS-Backed Plans for Kosovo Attacks

      Bujar Behrami, alias Abu Musab El-Albani – one of six Kosovo nationals indicted for terrorism by the Kosovo Prosecution last Saturday – has been the only one to tell investigators so far about the group’s alleged plans to bomb Orthodox churches and clubs in Serb-majority areas, and recruit suicide bombers in Kosovo.

      His statement made to police, earlier in September 2018, reveals details about the group’s modus operandi, finances, recruitment and explosives procurement.

      Behrami, Resim Kastrati, known as PC Habibi, Gramos Shabani, Albert Ademaj, Leotrim Musliu and Edona Haliti are all indicted with planning attacks and suicide bombings in Kosovo, France and Belgium from December 2017 to June 2018.

      Behrami stated that everything began in September and October 2016 when, through his Telegram account “Abu Musab”, he started communicating with a person known as “A1″ in Syria.

    • The CIA Finger in Brasil’s Election

      The growth of Bolsonarian fascism in the final stretch of the election campaign, turbo charged by an avalanche of fake news disseminated on the internet, is not surprising. It is an old tactic developed by American and British intelligence agencies, with the goal of manipulating public opinion and influencing political processes and elections. It was used in the Ukraine, in the Arab Spring and in Brazil during 2013.

      There is science behind this manipulation.

      Some people think that elections are won or lost only in rigorously rational debates about policies and proposals. But things don’t really work that way. In reality, as Emory University Psychology Professor Drew Weston says in his book “The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation”, feelings are commonly more decisive in defining the vote.

      Weston says that, based on recent studies in neuroscience on the theme, contrary to what is commonly understood, the human brain makes decisions mainly based on emotions. The voters strongly base their choices on emotional perceptions about parties and candidates. Rational analysis and empirical data normally plays a secondary role in this process.

    • The CIA, Asleep at the Wheel

      Not only does the CIA undermine democracy and sow chaos abroad — according to a new book, the agency deliberately held back information about future 9/11 hijackers in the US.

      [...]

      The book’s central, if still speculative, conceit is simple: that in the process of attempting to “flip” members of Al Qaeda (most notably, September 11 hijacker Khalid al Mindhar), the CIA deliberately prevented domestic authorities from learning about the presence of future 9/11 hijackers in the US, resulting in the worst attack on US soil since Pearl Harbor. Because such an alleged operation would have involved hijackers in the country, it would have been illegal, violating the CIA’s ban on domestic operations.

      It’s a tale that might at first glance seem plucked from the wildest reaches of the conspiracy-minded web. But when the one wearing the tinfoil hat is former Bush and Clinton chief counterterrorism advisor Richard Clarke — a longtime national security bureaucrat who came up with the concept of of extraordinary renditions — it demands more consideration than your average piece of twine-and-thumbtack speculation.

      As the authors note, the reader will find the allegations laid out in the book as credible as they find its chief sources. These include John Kiriakou, the former CIA officer who remains the only person to go to jail for the Bush-era torture program (not, in his case, for playing a role in it, but for talking to the press about it); former NSA official and whistleblower Thomas Drake, financially ruined by a government investigation into his alleged unauthorized disclosures; Larry Wilkerson, the chief of staff to former secretary of state Colin Powell; Mark Rossini, a former counter-terror agent with the FBI who was eventually ousted for leaking documents to his girlfriend; Clarke himself; and several others.

    • Yemen’s Navy Uses New Missile to Destroy Saudi Military Vessel Near Hajjah

      Yemen’s navy targeted a military vessel belonging to Saudi Arabia off of the northwestern coast of Hajjah on Wednesday, reportedly killing all aboard the vessel. The boat, which was in the Medi port, was carrying out attacks on the residential districts of Heiran and Medi in Hajjah when it was hit, according to a statement from Yemen’s navy.

      A source in Yemen’s navy confirmed to MintPress News that it targeted the Saudi vessel with a new type of domestically-manufactured missile, but did not name the missile.

    • Yemeni combat drone targets Saudi mercenaries in Hudaydah: Report
    • Students denounce CIA partnership with University of Illinois Chicago

      Opposition is growing among students on the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) campus to the school’s recently announced partnership with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The partnership was agreed to in February as part of the CIA’s “Signature Schools Program,” which includes a handful of other colleges around the country.

      The partnership was arranged completely behind the backs of the students. At no point during the negotiations was input sought from any member of the student body, nor were they alerted that the partnership was being considered.

      Since agreeing to the program, the university has provided little information to students about what the partnership entails. The university denied a request by the UIC chapter of the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) to make public the “memorandum of understanding” (MOU) between the CIA and the university.

      The IYSSE at UIC is waging a campaign against the collaboration of UIC with the CIA, working to make the partnership known to students and organizing opposition to its continuation.

    • Did the CIA Play a Role in the Crack Epidemic of the 1980s in Los Angeles?

      Gary Webb wrote the three-part exposé called “Dark Alliance”, for the San Jose Mercury News in California, in August 1996. Webb had anonymous sources (he eventually named one in a later book) who had been involved in the Nicaraguan drug ring to back his allegations up.

      Some of Webb’s sources would later speak out in a 2015 documentary called “Freeway: Crack in the System” which was about Rick “Freeway” Ross who created a crack empire in the 1980s. Ross was a central character in Webb’s Dark Alliance allegations.

      According to Webb in the 1980s, when the CIA exerted a certain level of control over Contra groups such as the Nicaraguan Democratic Force (FDN), the agency as well as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) granted amnesty to and financially backed important Contra supporters and fundraisers who were known to the U.S. Government as cocaine smugglers.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The CIA Word of the Day: Papyrophile

      Cruising through the Central Intelligence Agency’s CREST Archive, one will find, among other things, that, whatever its other faults, the Agency has some respect for the English language and the finer elements of grammar and editing. Another document pulled from their stockpile pokes some fun at the organization’s compulsive collection of records – its accuracy itself manifested by the millions of pages, now available digitally, that they kept for decades.

      The record, from October 1958, is a summation of an article, “A Taste for Paper” that the writer felt “eloquently caricatured many Organization employees.” It describes three types of paperlovers: the lover of other people’s paper; the lover of his fellow man, who peppers him with paper; and the lover of his own paper. All of these types fell into the fun folder labeled, “Papyrophile.”

    • Help crowdsource the CIA’s official contact list

      The Central Intelligence Agency’s declassified archives include a list of their official contacts at each executive branch agency in 1975, broken up by Agency component. This presents an all too rare map for future FOIA requests, one that’s especially useful in the instances where the Agency included the reasons for the contacts.

      By helping us compile a list of the Agency’s contacts throughout the government, you can help us dive into records on the Agency’s liaisons and help us find CIA-related activities that other parts of the government took part in.

    • Assange will eventually need to leave our embassy in London – Ecuador President

      Assange will eventually need to leave our embassy in London – Ecuador President WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is a step closer to being evicted from the Ecuadorian embassy in London after President Lenin Moreno said the whistleblower are required to “eventually” leave the facility.

      “Yes, indeed yes, but his departure should come about through dialogue,” the Ecuadorian president said on Friday answering a reporter’s question on whether Assange will eventually need to leave.

      “For a person to remain confined like that for so long is tantamount to human rights violation,” Moreno said. He additional that Ecuador wants to make sure that nothing “poses danger” to the whistleblower‘s life.

    • Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno’s Assault on Human Rights and Judicial Independence

      Oswaldo Ruiz-Chiriboga, is an Ecuadorian legal scholar who teaches human rights and constitutional law at the Central European University in Hungary. He talked to Joe Emersberger about Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno’s assault on human rights and judicial independence. Most of Moreno’s attacks abuses stem from a referendum of February, 2018 that was called by decree and without approval by the Constitution Court as required by the constitution. One of the seven referendum questions allowed Moreno to create a handpicked body – a so called “transitory CPCCS” – that has been empowered to make sweeping changes to the judiciary and other authorities. Among other acts, the “transitory CPCCS” recently fired all the members of the Constitutional Court. The relevance of this to the persecution of former President Rafael Correa is explained. The impunity with which Moreno has trampled the rights of Julian Assange is also discussed.

      JOE EMERSBERGER: In 2008, a year after Rafael Correa first took office in Ecuador, a constituent assembly was elected to write a new constitution. Correa and his allies, riding high in the polls, won most of the seats in that assembly. The constitution that the constituent assembly drafted was then approved by voters in another referendum in 2008. In 2009, a National Assembly was elected which replaced the Congress under the previous constitution. Correa also stood for reelection even though he had just taken office in 2007. One of things that came out of this whole process that restructured Ecuador’s political system was a Citizens Participation Council (CPCCS in its Spanish acronym) that oversees the selection of various unelected authorities like the judicial council. Basically it oversees “merit based” contests for these positions that are open to the public. Could you explain more about the CPCCS? Are there other countries that have a system like this?

      OSWALDO RUIZ-CHIRIBOGA: This is a novelty in the region and maybe the word. The state is usually organized in three traditional branches: the judiciary, the legislature and the executive. The 2008 constitution of Ecuador includes two other branches of government. One of them was the electoral branch. The other one was the transparency branch. The CPCCS is part of the transparency branch. The idea was to have a separate branch that appoints – after a procedure based on merit – authorities that are not elected by popular vote – high level authorities like the state prosecutor, Ombudsperson, and the members of the National Electoral Council. It was very good idea considering that in the past we didn’t have anything like that. What happened before was that the state was divided up like a pie. A piece of pie was given to one political party, another piece to another political party and everyone was happy, except the people. They parceled out the state among themselves in that way. The 2008 constitution (that was widely supported by social and political movements but also by the electorate) created this new branch to quash those awful practices from the past. But what we tried to avoid is now coming back to haunt us. This “transitory” CPCCS [created by Moreno] is once again giving away the country to different political parties and political actors from the right mostly, but also from the left – from the “old left” let’s call it – that in Ecuador has always been instrumental to the right. The exception to that was Rafael Correa, the only one in my view who managed to accomplish the most important goals of the left in the region had.

    • Julian Assange to regain internet access at embassy base – reports

      Ecuador has partly restored Julian Assange’s communications with the outside world from its London embassy where the WikiLeaks founder has been living for over six years, according to reports.

      The Ecuadorian government suspended access in March because it said Assange had breached “a written commitment made to the government at the end of 2017 not to issue messages that might interfere with other states”.

      On Sunday, the Press Association reported that Ecuador had partly restored Assange’s access to the internet, mobile phones and visits at the embassy, which had been restricted to members of his legal team.

    • Ecuador partly restores Assange’s internet
    • Julian Assange’s communications partly restored by Ecuadorian government
    • Julian Assange’s communications partly restored by Ecuadorian government

      The statement continued: “Mr Assange had critically reported on the Trump administration’s involvement in Yemen and Spanish police brutality. High level representations were made by the Trump administration and the Spanish government over Mr Assange, who was given political refugee status by Ecuador in 2012 over US attempts to prosecute him.

    • Julian Assange’s communications partly restored by Ecuadorian government

      The Ecuadorian government has decided to partly restore communications for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

      They were cut in March, denying him access to the internet or phones and limiting visitors to members of his legal team.

      He has been living inside Ecuador’s embassy in London for over six years.

      The Ecuadorian government said in March it had acted because Mr Assange had breached “a written commitment made to the government at the end of 2017 not to issue messages that might interfere with other states”.

    • Assange gets his internet back: Ecuador ‘removes isolation regime’ imposed on WikiLeaks founder seven months ago for criticising the country’s friends from his embassy bolthole
    • WikiLeaks says Julian Assange regaining some access to outside world after embassy crackdown

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange reportedly has regained some of his ability to communicate with the outside world months after the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he resides limited his access.

      The secrets-leaking organization declared Sunday that Ecuador had rolled back Assange’s isolation after a meeting between two senior United Nations officials and Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno.

      The isolation began in March, after the Ecuadorian government claimed Assange had run afoul of “a written commitment made to the government at the end of 2017 not to issue messages that might interfere with other states.”

    • Ecuador partly restores internet access for WikiLeaks founder Assange

      Ecuador has restored partial internet access to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who took refuge in the country’s London Embassy more than six years ago, WikiLeaks and an Assange lawyer said separately on Sunday.

      [...]

      Assange took refuge in Ecuador’s London Embassy after British courts ordered his extradition to Sweden to face questioning in a sexual molestation case. That case has since been dropped. But friends and supporters say Assange now fears he could be arrested and eventually extradited to the United States if he leaves the embassy. WikiLeaks, which published U.S. diplomatic and military secrets when Assange ran the operation, faces a U.S. grand jury investigation.

      “The main issue, the requirement for the UK to give an undertaking that Julian would not be extradited to the U.S., remains unresolved,” Barns told Reuters.

    • Former Ecuadorian ambassador to UK speaks on Julian Assange
    • Ecuador restores Assange’s communications after 7-month blackout – WikiLeaks

      The Ecuadorian government has lifted restrictions on WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange’s communications with the outside world, allowing visitors to his embassy hideout and restoring internet access it cut off in March.

      It was reported on Sunday that Ecuador moved to restore Assange’s access to the Internet, cell phone communications and permitted him to receive visitors other than his legal team.

    • Julian Assange ‘communications restored’ to outside world after embassy BLACKOUT

      In March, Assange’s internet access was cut off, phone jammers were installed and visitors were banned from seeing him after Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno described Assange as a “hacker” and “stone in the shoe” who is a problem he “inherited” from his country’s previous Premier.

    • Julian Assange’s communications partly restored by Ecuadorian government

      Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief, added: “It is positive that through UN intervention Ecuador has partly ended the isolation of Mr Assange although it is of grave concern that his freedom to express his opinions is still limited.

      “The UN has already declared Mr Assange a victim of arbitrary detention. This unacceptable situation must end.

      “The UK government must abide by the UN’s ruling and guarantee that he can leave the Ecuadorian embassy without the threat of extradition to the United States.”

    • Ecuador partly restores Assange’s internet

      The Ecuadorian government has decided to partly restore communications for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

      They were cut in March, denying the Australian access to the internet or phones and limiting visitors to members of his legal team.

      He has been living inside Ecuador’s embassy in London for more than six years.

      The Ecuadorian government said in March it had acted because Assange had breached “a written commitment made to the government at the end of 2017 not to issue messages that might interfere with other states”.

      WikiLeaks said in a statement: “Ecuador has told WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange that it will remove the isolation regime imposed on him following meetings between two senior UN officials and Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno on Friday.”

    • Julian Assange’s communications partly restored by Ecuadorian government

      Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief, added: “It is positive that through UN intervention Ecuador has partly ended the isolation of Mr Assange although it is of grave concern that his freedom to express his opinions is still limited.

      “The UN has already declared Mr Assange a victim of arbitrary detention. This unacceptable situation must end.

      “The UK government must abide by the UN’s ruling and guarantee that he can leave the Ecuadorian embassy without the threat of extradition to the United States.”

      Mr Assange has been granted political asylum by Ecuador but believes he will be arrested if he leaves the embassy and extradited to the United States for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks.

    • Assange’s communications to be partly restored by Ecuador govt

      The Ecuadorian government will partially restore communications for Julian Assange at the country’s embassy in London, Wikileaks said.

      The Wikileaks founder, who has been holed up at the embassy since 2012, was stopped from using the internet or a mobile phone to communicate with the outside world in March.

      “Ecuador has told WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange that it will remove the isolation regime imposed on him following meetings between two senior UN officials and Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno on Friday,” Wikileaks said in a statement on Sunday.

    • WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Back Online as Ecuador Restores Partial Internet Access
    • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is BACK ONLINE after 7-month communications BAN

      The Ecuadorian government revoked his internet and phone access in March after he breached an agreement “not to issue messages that might interfere with other states”.

      Only members of his legal team have been allowed to visit during this period.

      However, Wikileaks yesterday announced that his “isolation regime” was over after talks between UN officials and Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno on Friday.

    • Wikileaks spills AWS Sydney data centre locations

      Julian Assange’s Wikileaks website has published a document that reveals the locations of data centres housing cloud giant Amazon Web Services, circa 2015.

      The document provides the exact address of facilities around the world, including Australia.

      Eight data centres in Sydney are listed in the document, with six being colo sites, and two sites operated by AWS itself. Wikileaks has published the full addresses, and names and phone numbers of contact people at the facilities.

      The two AWS data centres are SYD51 in Eastern Creek and SYD52 in Smeaton Grange towards Campbelltown.

    • The CIA and the State Department conspired to exploit a bureaucratic loophole to keep records hidden

      In 1955, the Central Intelligence Agency’s Psychological and Paramilitary Operations Staff made some inquiries through their point of contact at the State Department about the storage and accessibility of records concerning CIA operations. When they didn’t receive the answer they wanted, an informal suggestion led to a formal policy to circumvent those requirements by manipulating technicalities and appearances, and in some cases ignoring the records even existed.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Man-eating tiger hunted by Indian authorities using Calvin Klein cologne after ‘killing 13 people’

      Forest rangers in a wet and bushy patch of central India have been chasing a cunning female tiger suspected of killing 13 people for the past six months.

      They have thrown just about everything they have at the tigress: hundreds of foot soldiers to comb the jungle, bulldozers to clear it, sharpshooters, jeeps, camera traps, a thermal imagery drone and five Indian elephants in hopes of surrounding the tigress so the veterinarians riding the elephants can dart her.

  • Finance

    • From Bulldog to Lapdog: Rather Than Liberation, Brexit has Ensured Thralldom

      Britain’s reputation as a country of consequence is long overdue revision. It clings to the global core — as liberals cling to their failing institutions — by flaunting leaky WMDs, acting as the US’s representative within the EU, and being one of the world’s most corrupt financial centres. The last of those is so extreme that the Mafia expert Roberto Saviano has claimed it is numero uno in this shady running.

      What do I mean by corruption? I mean that there is no control of the flow of money — not necessarily into London, but into Gibraltar, Malta and Jersey — these are all the doors through which Great Britain brings money in without any control. Panama used to be the money laundering capital — now it’s London.

      Academia has offered the more palatable “financial engineering” to describe the British condition.

      Since Thatcher, the government has focused its efforts on manipulation of this sort. Because of which, the City of London, our Little Colombia, dominates political considerations. There they are in their unsightly towers, speculating with your savings in a process detached from proportion or decency, only breaking their bubble to make calls to the Albanian mob and Análise. And when this incomprehensible theatre collapses in upon itself, as it always does, taxpayers in the real but marginal, politically insignificant economy are informed that they have to pick up Gekko’s tab.

      It has been well documented by Wallerstein that the global economy ensures most nation states are consigned to production, i.e. creating most of the wealth. These “peripheral” countries are characterized by their workcamps and sweatshops (and cheap vacations). Worker rights are kept at an absolute minimum, and, though their states have been pruned of much else, they have retained the violent means to keep it this way.As this happens, as if by an invisible hand, corporations make an absolute killing.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Facebook Accused of ‘Full-Frontal Suppression of Dissent’ After Independent Media Swept Up in Mass Purge

      After Facebook announced on Thursday that it shut down and removed hundreds of pages and accounts that it vaguely accused of spreading “spam” and engaging in “inauthentic behavior,” some of the individuals and organizations caught up in the social media behemoth’s dragnet disputed accusations that they were violating the platform’s rules and raised alarm that Facebook is using its enormous power to silence independent political perspectives that run counter to the corporate media’s dominant narratives.

      While it is reasonable to assume that some of the more than 800 total pages and accounts shut down by Facebook were engaged in overtly fraudulent behavior—such as the use of fake accounts and bots to generate ad revenue—numerous independent media outlets that cover a wide array of issues say they were swept up in the massive purge despite never using such tactics.

    • The Online Censors: Facebook’s Long History of Closing Down Free Speech
    • ‘Land of censorship & home of the fake’: Alternative voices on Facebook and Twitter’s crackdown
    • Facebook Purges US-Based Independent Media For Political Disinformation
    • Facebook carries out massive purge of oppositional pages

      On Thursday, Facebook removed some of the most popular oppositional pages and accounts on the world’s largest social media network, in a massive and unconstitutional assault on freedom of expression.

      With no public notice or accounting, over 800 pages and accounts have been summarily removed from the [I]nternet. The removed pages include Police the Police, with a following of over 1.9 million, Cop Block, with a following of 1.7 million, and Filming Cops, with a following of 1.5 million. Other pages targeted include Anti-Media, with 2.1 million followers, Reverb Press, with 800,000 followers, Counter Current News, 500,000 followers, and Resistance, 240,000 followers.

      Right-wing publications, including Right Wing News, were also removed.

    • Facebook: Most political [astrotrufers] are American, not Russian

      That suggests Americans are now copying the success of Russia’s election interference programme to run their own partisan campaigns, whether for ideology or simply for money.

    • Facebook Tackles Rising Threat: Americans Aping Russian Schemes to Deceive

      Politics has always involved shadings of the truth via whisper campaigns, direct-mail operations and negative ads bordering on untrue. What is different this time is how domestic sites are emulating the Russian strategy of 2016 by aggressively creating networks of Facebook pages and accounts — many of them fake — that make it appear as if the ideas they are promoting enjoy widespread popularity, researchers said. The activity is also happening on Twitter, they said.

    • Free Speech in the Age of Algorithmic Megaphones

      Our political conversations are happening on an infrastructure built for viral advertising, and we are only beginning to adapt.

    • Nicola and Independence

      I dislike the political class now attached to the SNP in just the same way that I distrust the professional political class in every political party. The horrible Alex Bell should be a serious warning of the kind of false hypocrites that a salary will attract “to the cause”. Seeing MPs I knew as just punters campaigning in 2014, now walking proudly before power dressed entourages of paid staff, was a strangely unpleasant experience.

      My major concern is that the SNP’s foreign policy and defence teams at Westminster appear to have been entirely captured by the UK establishment and indeed the security services. They have been willing and instant amplifiers of the Tories’ Russophobia.

    • What Kavanaugh Tells Us about the Midterms

      The real plan was always to force the confirmation into the mold Democrats think will win them the House, the same gambit they thought would deliver a landslide in 2016. And so Kavanaugh’s complex judicial record was discarded in favor of Clinton-esque, er, progressive, talking points: the election, um, sorry, the confirmation is all about respect for women, fighting misogyny, defeating privilege, too many White Men, Trump is evil, we can’t have an accused rapist in the White House, sorry, on the Supreme Court! Disqualification via demonization. The Kavanaugh hearings were an updated version of what was supposed to be the 2016 game-changer, the “pussy grabbing tape.” The Dems would give America another shot at having had it with the patriarchy.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • ‘We Had NPR Refusing to Run Our Ads’: Movie About Abortionist Kermit Gosnell Facing Backlash, Censorship

      The groundbreaking movie, “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer,” highlights a true-life horror story that went almost ignored by politicians and the mainstream media.

      CBN News, however, followed the story from the crime scene to the courthouse.

    • Zen Studios Comments On Censorship In Pinball FX3 DLC

      It seems a lot of owners who purchased the additional downloadable content for Pinball FX3 noticed that the Medieval Madness, Fish Tales, and Junk Yard tables have been censored in someway with removal of pieces of the original artwork such as the covering up of some scantily clad women and bloody swords, etc. ArsTechnica covered this earlier in the week and have since had a statement from Zen Studios VP of Publishing Mel Kirk who explained that the censorship took place to enable them to keep the family friendly rating, as Mel says that it’s ultimately a family series of games.

    • ‘Pinball FX3′ Fans Notice Williams’ Pinball Pack Censorship, Zen Studios Responds

      Last month, we reported the news that Zen Studios was expanding its Pinball FX3 line-up with actual pinball tables from Williams/Bally. Well, it launched last week, and fans of the game loved it — but also noticed a little something with the translation of the tables.

    • Censorship not behind changes Student Media changes
    • Center To Host Conversation About Art And Censorship
    • Art & Censorship to be Focus of Falmouth Art Center Conversation

      A community conversation will be held later this month at the Falmouth Art Center to discuss Art and Censorship.

      The public is invited to the forum on October 24 at 6 p.m.

      The conversation is in response to growing concern over a recent incident in which artist Salley Mavor was asked to remove political content from a show that was to be displayed at Highfield Hall and Gardens in Falmouth.

      The incident has led to a discussion in town about the roles of artists, art nonprofits and gallery space.

    • New Tactics of Intimidation are Forcing Self-Censorship

      Pakistan has long been a dangerous country for journalists who report on issues like extremism, militancy, religious fundamentalism, or military interference in politics. A country with a history of military coups has recently witnessed an unprecedented period of civilian rule. But journalists say the 10 years of democracy has not strengthened freedom of the press. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports that new tactics of intimidation are forcing editors and reporters to self-censor.

    • Media prize a ‘defeat’ for Australian refugee censorship, says author

      A refugee journalist detained on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island says winning an Italian award for investigative journalism could end censorship of offshore detention in the Australian media.

      Behrouz Boochani, who has made a documentary and written a book during his five years in exile, has won the Anna Politkovskaya Prize for Press Freedom from the Italian magazine Internazionale.

      Boochani regularly contributes to The Guardian and the Saturday Paper in Australia but said other publications supported the Australian government’s efforts to restrict information about its offshore detention regime.

    • Palestinians decry US ‘act of censorship’

      Palestinian representatives on Wednesday vowed not to stay silent as they closed their mission in Washington on orders of President Donald Trump.

      “This is an attempt to shut down your voice; this is an act of censorship,” said Hakam Takash, a diplomat at the Palestine Liberation Organisation’s Washington office which had been set up in 1994 after the Oslo peace accords.

      “This is a new beginning, not just in Palestinian-American relations but in the work of this community,” he told a ceremony as the office symbolically took down a plaque on the Washington building.

    • Telecoms Lawyer Weighs Options in Internet Censorship, Regulation

      Telecoms lawyer and President, Nigerian Bar Association, Paul Usoro has weighed the advantages and disadvantages of calls for censorship and regulation of the internet.

      Usoro, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who spoke at the workshop for judges on legal issues in telecommunications, organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in Lagos, said the global community views internet censorship from various perspectives and country’s varying degrees of censorship. He listed two global school of thoughts on internet censorship and regulation. He said they include the school of thought that posits that access to internet should be a basic right and that freedom of expression and the press should be allowed on the internet. The second school of thought believes that there should be some form of censorship and regulation for the overriding good of the society.

    • Ethiopia: Censorship Over for Theaters, Films – Producers Rejoice

      The censorship order has been lifted as it contradicts an article in Ethiopia’s constitution

      The Addis Abeba Bureau of Culture & Tourism lifted censorship of film and theatre productions effective October 5, 2018, stating that it is “conceding to the constitution”.

      The censorship was lifted as it contradicts Ethiopia’s constitution, which states that the freedom of the press, mass media and artistic creativity are “guaranteed” by Article 29 of the constitution, according to a new circular issued by Nebiyu Baye. Nebiyu, who replaced Gebretsadik Hagos, served as an assistant professor of theatre and film at Addis Abeba University and as head of the National Theater before moving to the culture & tourism office.

    • Censoring the Internet

      We browse through the internet constantly and not often are we blocked or restricted from accessing websites or certain content. However, that is not the case in many countries. According to Justin Pelletier, a professor and business director at the Center for Cybersecurity, internet censorship is the concept of limiting the flow of information in order to better protect the population or, in most cases, to protect the country’s interests.

      [...]

      The article continues to describe Google’s censorship troubles when in 2009, China decided to censor the internet even more, blocking YouTube and requiring Google to censor even more search terms. At this point, Google decided to shut down their service in China, but the restrictions still stand for Chinese citizens.

      Restrictions like these are not only present in China. In fact, many countries around the world limit what their citizens can view on the Internet. North Korea is one of the most heavily censored countries in the world as all media is state-owned and the Central Korean News Agency is the only news agency in the country. Another country that blacklists websites and media that criticize the government is Russia; their “single register” contains URLs, domain names and IP addresses that are blocked by the state.

    • ‘Liberated’ Words: Iranian-Born Poet Swept From Censors’ Office To Nobel Jury

      Words are everything to Iranian-born poet Jila Mossaed, who says she is obsessed with their “mysterious hidden powers.”

      “I breathe through words,” said the 70-year-old naturalized Swede, who has written books and poetry collections in Persian and Swedish.

      Her dedication to her art has now secured Mossaed election to the most prominent cultural institution in her adopted country and around the world — the Swedish Academy that has awarded the Nobel Prize for literature since 1901.

      Mossaed, whose writings are rich in symbolism and frequently evoke loss and longing, is thought to be the first immigrant to hold one of the centuries-old Swedish Academy’s 18 lifetime seats.

      She replaces Swedish author Kerstin Ekman, who ended her involvement with the Academy in 1989 over its refusal to condemn a religious fatwa issued by the late Iranian cleric and revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini against British author Salman Rushdie for his novel The Satanic Verses.

    • Journalism for democracy: Caught between bullets and censorship in Latin America

      The murder of journalists and changing forms of censorship show that freedom of expression and information are still under siege in Latin America, particularly in the countries with the greatest social upheaval and political polarization.

      Journalism “maintains a central role in the work for democracy in the region, although it suffers persecution of the media, journalists and political and social activists, which goes against hemispheric human rights agreements,” said Edison Lanza of Uruguay, special rapporteur for freedom of expression at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

    • M.I.A. says she’s quitting music for now, blames censorship

      Sri Lankan musician sits down for an illuminating chat in support of her new documentary

    • MIA hints at quitting music because of censorship
    • M.I.A. Says Industry Censorship Makes Her Not Want to Release Music: ‘I Have to Find Another Way’

      The singer recently had an interview with The House of Strombo, where she expressed she’s “not motivated” to release music. “For me, I have to find another way,” she explained.

      “I have been pushed out for five years or something, and I haven’t been able to successfully release a record at all within this system…Or get my voice heard in terms of the Tamil plight, or get credit for anything I did,” she continued, noting that people would rather hear an anti-Trump anthem than an exposure tune on Tamil women being raped by Sri Lankan army men. “That’s been completely erased. And people know, but no one is allowed to say it.”

      The interview follows the release of Mantagi/Maya/Mia, the in-depth documentary of her life, journey and career. Listen to the full episode below.

    • M.I.A says she’s quitting music for now, blaming censorship: “I have to find another way”

      M.I.A. has said that she is no longer “motivated” to release new music, blaming censorship from the music industry.

      Following the release of her documentary, Matangi / Maya / M.I.A. last month, M.I.A made the comments in an interview for The House of Strombo. M.I.A added that she needs to focus on another means of releasing music: “for me, I have to find another way.”

    • M.I.A. says she’s no longer motivated to make music due to censorship

      Acclaimed English musician M.I.A. says she’s no longer motivated to make music, noting that she’s sick of being censored for speaking her mind.

      Over the years, M.I.A. has been the subject of quite a few controversies. Most notably, there was her infamous hand gesture during the 2012 Superbowl, but there have also been a number of minor controversies as well, which has seen a few of her music videos removed from the web.

    • M.I.A. says that she’s temporarily quitting music due to censorship

      M.I.A. has announced that she is temporarily withdrawing from the music industry, blaming “censorship”. The revelation comes in an interview published on House of Strombo in support of recent documentary Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.

      In the video interview, the artist stated she feels censored by the media due to her political views. Consequently, she’s no longer “motivated” to make music: “I have been pushed out for five years or something, and I haven’t been able to successfully release a record at all within this system.”

      The former Crack Magazine cover star goes on to address the music industry’s rejection of her outsider views claiming: “If I want to be bigger, I kind of have to say nothing.”

    • AARP Sides With Actors Union, Seeks To Reinstate IMDb Age Censorship Law

      Siding with the Screen Actors Guild, the nonprofit AARP is asking a federal appeals court to reinstate a California law that requires IMDb.com to hide actors’ ages at their request.

      The AARP argues both that the California law marks a legitimate attempt to combat age discrimination in the entertainment industry and that people have the right to keep their ages private.

      “The resolution of the issues in this case will have a significant impact on a variety of older people who wish to be considered for, and obtain work, in their chosen profession,” the AARP writes in a friend-of-the-court brief submitted last week to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Alliance of Retired Americans and Communication Workers of America also signed on to the friend-of-the-court brief.

      The law (AB 1687) requires providers of “commercial online entertainment employment” services — a description that applies to Amazon’s IMDb.com — to remove information about paying subscribers’ ages upon their request. Supporters of the law say it helps combat illegal age discrimination.

    • Facebook and Twitter Beware — Censorship-Resistant Social Media Is Here

      Over the past few months, Bitcoin Cash developers have been creating applications that are similar to social media and forum platforms like Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter. Anyone in the world can use these Bitcoin Cash-powered applications such as Memo, Blockpress, Keyport, and Matter which offer censorship-resistant versions of these social media giants.

      [...]

      Memo.cash is a platform that is comparable to Twitter, but posts cannot be selectively removed by anyone as they are all stored onchain. Memo allows users to post text, animations, pictures, URLs, and videos while also setting a custom profile. Much like Twitter, there is a cap of how many characters can be used per post as Memo only allows 217 characters at a time. A feature that sets Memo apart from Twitter and other social media platforms is the ability to tip posts using BCH. This allows content creators to reap the benefits of their work rather than giant corporate entities.

    • On Tech Censorship Concerns, Sanders Video Encourages Followers: ‘Laugh in Their Face’

      This week U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) posted a video on Twitter featuring a call for his followers to scoff at those who raise concerns about Big Tech’s conservative viewpoint suppression problem. In the piece, just over 90 seconds in length, a senior Sanders advisor dismisses out of hand that there is any evidence of censorship, argues that Facebook and Google help conservatives, and indicates the only appropriate response to those with viewpoint suppression concerns is to “laugh in their face.”

      The Sanders video features clips from President Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.). Notably, the day before Sanders’ video, Scalise tweeted, “Silicon Valley’s bias against conservatives is very real and on display every day. It’s time they start acknowledging it and being honest with the American people about where they stand.”

    • Censorship crackdown? Top 10 alt-media pages newly banned by Facebook & Twitter
    • Event to celebrate Mexican independent publishing amid struggles of censorship

      Vivid art blown up onto the Fowler Museum’s walls will represent the radical opinions found in independently published Mexican art books.

      Fowler will hold the Artbook Pop-Up, which is part of a three-day event called Radical Publishing Weekend, and will include a pop-up shop and discussion panel. Event visitors will be introduced to the Mexican independent publishing movement that has shifted to the international stage through events such as book fairs in major cities. Visitors will be able to purchase some of the independently produced art books, and can participate in a panel discussion with publishers.

      This lively culture in Mexico extends to political work, especially art – something relevant to the lives of young students, said Sebastian Clough, the director of exhibitions at the Fowler and the curator of the event.

    • Concerned about censorship, Aurora artists find creative ways to fight City Hall
    • Conservative activists criticize DePaul over denying event
    • Conservative activists criticize DePaul over denying event

      Two conservative activists are criticizing DePaul University after the Chicago school denied a request for an on-campus event.

      The Chicago Tribune reports Thursday Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens of Turning Point USA tweeted accusations of censorship and suppression. University officials have not commented on the reasons for denying the group that promotes conservatism among students.

    • Conservative activists accuse DePaul of censorship after university bars them from holding event on campus
    • New Samizdat: RT brings you a new censorship buster

      If the establishment media were truly balanced, social media’s purge of alternative news outlets would be a front-page splash. The fact it isn’t proves that those who shout loudest about “free speech” may be its greatest enemies.

      Sadly, RT saw something like this coming. And for that reason, we have developed a new site to promote the free exchange of information and views. The fact it launches on the same weekend that US social media giants Facebook and Twitter clamped down on dissent is merely a coincidence.

    • Misconceptions of Online Censorship

      If you’ve ever vocalized a concern of censorship on social media, chances are you’ve been told “but they’re private companies, they can do whatever they want.” Responses like this miss the point of concern. Many political terms (equality, for example) have nuance depending on context. Regarding censorship, there’s the kind that violates your rights, and there’s the kind that doesn’t. The former is much more serious, but that doesn’t mean the latter isn’t a problem.

      Everyone has a right to say what they want, but they do not have a right to be heard. They also do not have a right to a platform (online or offline) besides what they can provide for themselves. What this means is that it is not a violation of my rights if an organization denies me use of their platform, because they can do what they want with their property. It is only a violation of my rights if I am given a platform (or provide one for myself), and others forcefully try to shut it down. Even if what I’m saying is atrocious, I still have a right to speak.

    • Logan Paul is being blamed by Google for increase in internet censorship

      Paul faced massive criticism after the video went live, and has since uploaded multiple apology videos and hired an additional manager to monitor his content.

      While YouTube pulled Paul from its premium advertising program and deleted the video in question, Paul remains a massive presence on the platform, and will even engage in a boxing rematch with fellow YouTuber Olajide ‘KSI’ Olatunji in summer of 2019.

    • Colorado Association of Libraries blasts pornography lawsuit as censorship crusade, attempt to undermine “fundamental tenets of a free society”

      Two parents who filed a lawsuit claiming pornography was distributed to their children by a national scholastic network and the Colorado Library Consortium are more interested in censorship than protecting children, a library advocacy group said Friday.

      The Colorado Association of Libraries blasted the lawsuit filed on behalf of Pornography is Not Education and Aurora parents Drew and Robin Paterson as a blatant attempt to erase all electronic material the group does not like from local and school libraries.

      “They are on a personal crusade to impose one particular worldview upon the entire community, and the targets of their campaign extend well beyond… Colorado,” said Carol Smith, president of the Colorado Association of Libraries, in a statement.

    • Op-Ed: Google the censor? The internet vs free speech?

      Google’s role as top dog comes with a few lead weights. One of the big issues is growing disquiet about the power of big platforms. A strange tale has unfolded after a leak of Google internal documents defining the big problems. Op-Ed: Google the censor? The internet vs free speech?

    • Google Seeks ‘Balance’ Between Communist Oppression, Freedom of Expression
    • Leaked Google research shows company grappling with censorship and free speech
    • Leaked Google document addresses the conflict between censorship and free speech
    • Google now plays ‘Good Censor’ for civility’s sake, leaked internal briefing confirms
    • No Google Isn’t Trying To Censor The Web

      Earlier today an internal Google presentation summarizing a variety of perspectives, including my own, on the state of internet freedom began circulating on the web. The “leaked” presentation was quickly framed by some as a roadmap to censorship and that it demonstrated the company was examining how to suppress certain viewpoints or crack down on internet freedoms. Yet, a closer read of the presentation would suggest precisely the opposite: a company at the center of many of our debates about the future of the online world grappling with the existential question of the modern web: how to absolutely preserve freedom of speech, while at the same time preventing terrorists, criminals, repressive governments and trolls from turning this incredible force for good into a toxic and dangerous place that undermines democracy, advances terrorism, assists fraudsters and empowers hatred? How do we elevate the voices of the disenfranchised and give them a place at the table of global discourse, while not also awakening the trolls that seek to repress them? How do we empower the free expression of ideas and bring an incredibly diverse and divided world together, while embracing the differences that make us who we are? How do we reach across countries and cultures, across languages and landscapes, to have meaningful conversations about the future of our shared planet? Most importantly, how can technology play a positive role in helping facilitate the good, empowering civil discourse, while discouraging the bad, from terrorist recruiting to fraud to toxic speech and trolling?

    • Leaked Transcript: Google Lied About “Dragonfly” China Censorship

      The project, code-named Dragonfly, would blacklist phrases like “human rights,” “student protest,” and “Nobel Prize,” and has resulted in at least seven Google employees quitting for ethical reasons. Other employees have circulated a letter recognizing a “code yellow” emergency, suggesting that the Dragonfly initiative violates Google’s ethical code, which states that the company will not build or deploy technologies “whose purpose contravenes widely accepted principles of international law and human rights,” according to The Intercept.

      The project has also drawn criticism from human rights groups, congressional legislators and Vice President Mike Pence – who called on the search engine giant to “immediately end development of the Dragonfly app that will strengthen the Communist Party’s censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers.”

    • Google tells US lawmakers it is mulling options on China services
    • Google CEO Tells Senators That Censored Chinese Search Engine Could Provide “Broad Benefits”
    • Leaked Transcript: Google Lied About “Dragonfly” China Censorship
    • Google leak reveals secret China plans for censored search engine, prompting protests from employees
    • A software developer just became the latest victim of China’s VPN crackdown
    • Chinese man gets 3 years in prison for helping people bypass censorship – CNN
    • Drone journalism’s battle for airspace
    • Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal Localization Team Shares Details on PS4 Version Censorship and Trophies
    • Sony Seemingly Censors Controversial Senran Kagura Mode
    • Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal Delayed Due To Sony Censorship
    • XSEED Producer Says Cancelling Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal Over Censorship Issue Would Hurt Devs

      Calling it a “lose-lose” situation, Lipschultz reiterated that the developers and publishers don’t have the luxury of throwing away all their hard work over one mode. He also hinted that XSEED wasn’t happy with the situation and that there will be some “push-back” behind the scenes.

    • “Welcome To The New ’90s”: Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal Will Be Censored On PS4

      Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal is a remake of the first game in the Senran Kagura franchise, a series of games featuring female ninjas kicking butt and taking names.

    • New Tactics of Intimidation Forcing Self-Censorship in Pakistani Media

      Various journalist unions across Pakistan protested Tuesday the direct and indirect intimidation they say they face while trying to do their job.

      “The journalist is alive, Ayub saw it, Yahya saw it, now you will see it,” chanted a charged group of protesters in capital Islamabad calling out names of past dictators.

      Pakistan has long been a dangerous country for journalists who report on issues like extremism, militancy, religious fundamentalism, or military interference in politics. A country with a history of military coups has recently witnessed an unprecedented period of civilian rule. But journalists say 10 years of democracy has not strengthened freedom of the press.

    • How Censorship Inspired Witchsy’s Co-Founders to Compete Against Etsy

      Using just $10,000 of their personal savings, entrepreneurs Kate Dwyer and Penelope Gazin launched an online gallery and Etsy competitor called Witchsy that became cash flow positive in year one with hundreds of thousands in revenue. This week on Eater’s business podcast Start to Sale, hosts Erin Patinkin (CEO, Ovenly) and Natasha Case (CEO, Coolhaus) talk to the Witchsy co-founders about their philosophy in business and art, why they like to mock their consumers, how they created a fake male co-founder to dodge sexism, and so much more.

    • Four fundamental principles for upholding freedom of speech on campus

      It goes without saying – or at least it ought to – that freedom of speech should be a core value of universities. As a scholar of freedom of speech and a university academic, it has been gratifying to see so many Vice Chancellors (and a former Chief Justice of the High Court) take it so seriously.

      This attention to freedom of speech is a response to recent controversies about on campus. Bettina Arndt’s campus tour met with rowdy and obstructive demonstrations. Students have accused each other of bullying and censorship. And last year, La Trobe University academic Roz Ward was briefly suspended for misconduct for her controversial views on Australia’s flag in a Facebook post.

    • On campus censorship

      No one should be stopping students from speaking their beliefs, but often this gets confused with the idea that people have to be forced to listen to them. People shouldn’t be subjected to abuse, harassment or harm. Events, presentations and debates are welcome to take place, but no one is required to attend these events. Students are welcome to take the stage, but the same goes for the audience. They have the right to stay or go in response to the message that is being disseminated. In most cases, ignoring the speaker’s message is just as much of a hindrance as denying the speaker a podium.

      Freedom of speech on campuses is regulated in a very different way than in other public spaces, through the use of speech codes. These speech codes are university regulations that prohibit some verbal communication and expression that would normally be protected by the Constitution if such speech or expression happened in society at large. Often, these speech codes can be written into university policy, or simply be determined by the will of the university.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • NSA Whistleblowers Turn Outrage Into Innovation

      Co-founders Bill Binney and Kirk Wiebe, two former whistleblowers on data practices of US security giant NSA, have chosen the Netherlands as a new home to launch their own data intelligence startup Pretty Good Knowledge.

      With the launch announced this week, the new company is building on the long-standing experience of their founders in big data analysis for security intelligence. Bill Binney and Kirk Wiebe spend almost three decades in the National Security Agency (NSA) working on specialized data analysis for improving security information, in particular related to terrorism affecting people around the world.

      Their quiet existence rapidly changed in 2002 when they went public accusing the NSA leadership of wasting millions of dollars on an expensive but allegedly ineffective data system – whilst shelving the available solution that they claimed could have prevented the 9/11 attacks. This dramatic turn of their life into public whistleblowers made news around the world and has been portrayed in the movie documentary A Good American.

      More than a decade later, the team is back from their temporary retirement and has a new mission: “We know how to achieve market and security intelligence without sacrificing privacy or breaking laws, and we are excited how quickly our customers realize how much more is possible when using a disciplined and structured approach”, says co-founder Bill Binney about the launch of Pretty Good Knowledge.

    • NSA Whistleblowers Turn Outrage Into Innovation

      For some, it means a long time behind bars. Chelsea Manning was staring down a death sentence after she leaked 750,000 sensitive or classified files of military information. Eventually she was convicted to 35 years in prison before Barack Obama commuted her sentence in one of his last acts as President.

      For others, it’s a life of obscurity or going unnoticed by the public. It wasn’t until more than three decades after the Watergate Scandal that the public finally knew the identity of Deep Throat, former FBI Associate Director Mark Felt.

      For almost every whistleblower, life never returns to ‘normal’ ever again. After he leaked classified information on the appalling nature and extent of which the NSA was spying on private citizens, Edward Snowden found asylum only in Russia, where he’s been living for more than five years in exile. Whether he is ever able to return to the U.S. as a free man remains to be seen

    • Edward Snowden, ‘most wanted fugitive’ addresses Israeli panel
    • NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to speak in Israel
    • Edward Snowden to Address Select Audience in Israel: Will He Take On Israel’s Surveillance State?
    • World’s most wanted man in first public Israel appearance
    • Snowden to address Israeli event via videolink
    • UK’s GCHQ Declines To Comment Reports About Five Eyes Alliance’s Data Exchange On China

      The UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) on Friday refused to comment to Sputnik on reports that the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, which London is a member of, has been exchanging classified information on China’s foreign activities with like-minded states since the beginning of the year.

    • Are the NSA, FBI Listening to Donald Trump’s Phone Calls? Director Wray Avoids Question During Senate Hearing

      FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate that he could not discuss whether intelligence agencies in the federal government are listening in on President Donald Trump’s phone conversations with foreign leaders.

      “When we collect information on people overseas we don’t use the Constitution,” Senator Rand Paul said during a Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill this Wednesday. “So we scoop up all your information, we listen to phone calls everywhere, including [Chancellor of Germany] Angela Merkel, we listen to everybody.”

      But in the United States, Paul argued, citizens are entitled to a certain amount of privacy guaranteed under the Constitution.

    • Intelligence watchdog NSA says will encourage whistleblowers to come forward [Ed: NSA has been #googlebombing these past few days. It wants people to open up this bundle of lies when they 'google' stuff like "nsa whistleblowers"...]

      The US National Security Agency’s top oversight official, Robert Storch, is working to repair the spy agency’s reputation with whistleblowers in an effort to encourage staff to report wrongdoing internally, rather than go public.

      “It’s really important we encourage whistleblowers to come forward and that they feel comfortable doing so and, if there are allegations of reprisal, then we take that very seriously,” Storch said in an interview with Reuters last week.

    • Intelligence watchdog NSA says will encourage whistleblowers to come forward [Ed: Ridiculous spin: NSA busy this past week painting itself as pro-whistleblowers. Historically it entraps them, they must not trust the employer to self-regulate.]

      The US National Security Agency’s top oversight official, Robert Storch, is working to repair the spy agency’s reputation with whistleblowers in an effort to encourage staff to report wrongdoing internally, rather than go public.

      “It’s really important we encourage whistleblowers to come forward and that they feel comfortable doing so and, if there are allegations of reprisal, then we take that very seriously,” Storch said in an interview with Reuters last week.

      The spy agency has experienced a series of embarrassing leaks over the past five years, beginning with Edward Snowden’s 2013 high-profile exposure of secret NSA surveillance programs.

    • From Inside The NSA, A Call For More Whistleblowers
    • Amazon hopes to blanket your home and car with listening, eavesdropping Alexa devices

      Amazon publishes reports outlining how many government requests it has received, and how many it has complied with. For the last two reports, the numbers are still low: fewer than 2,000 requests during each six month period, not all of which were complied with. That suggests that the privacy risk from using Amazon’s Alexa services is currently limited. But things may not remain that way. As more highly-personal data is gathered routinely by Amazon’s AI systems, so its value to the authorities will increase, and the temptation to use it will grow. It’s still early days for this field, but it is important to monitor closely what happens as it enters the mainstream thanks to devices from Amazon and others. After all, our privacy already faces serious threats from new technologies like facial recognition; we hardly need another challenge.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • EU Parliament’s anti-terrorism draft Report raises major concerns

      From a digital rights perspective, the draft Report contains numerous worrying recommendations, statements and approaches to counter-terrorism. It is problematic for several reasons. [...]

    • UK says Hong Kong rejection of FT journalist visa politically motivated

      Hong Kong, a former British colony, returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” principle, with the guarantee of a high degree of autonomy and freedoms, including freedom of the press, not enjoyed elsewhere in China.

      But calls for outright independence are a red line for China’s Communist Party leaders, who deem the global financial hub to be an inalienable part of the nation.

    • China’s Media Crackdown Spreads to Hong Kong

      The authorities have never criticized Mr. Mallet’s reporting. But he was the main spokesman for the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents’ Club in August when it hosted a talk by Andy Chan, head of a political party that called for Hong Kong’s independence from China. Hong Kong and Beijing officials blasted the event in advance and subsequently banned the party.

    • ECHR rejects Lithuanian and Romanian appeals regarding CIA prisons
    • ECHR rejects appeals by Romania and Lithuania in CIA black sites cases

      The European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) rejected Romania and Lithuania’s appeals against the court’s May ruling that the two countries had been complicit in CIA’s secret detention centers program, according to AFP.

      In May, the ECHR found that both countries knew two suspects caught after the 9/11 attacks would risk torture while being held at the “black sites” between 2004 and 2006. Saudi national Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri claimed he was illegally held and tortured at an undisclosed site in Romania, while suspected Al-Quaeda operative Abu Zubaydah said he had a similar experience in Lithuania.

    • ECHR Upholds Ruling In Case On Alleged CIA Secret Prison In Vilnius – Lithuanian Ministry

      The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) dismissed Tuesday the appeal of the Lithuanian government against an earlier ECHR ruling in case of Abu Zubaydah, who claimed that Lithuania had provided its territories to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for the setting up of a secret prison, the Lithuanian Justice Ministry told Sputnik on Tuesday.

      In late May, the ECHR ruled that the Baltic state had violated the provisions of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms with respect to Zubaydah, who claimed he had been held in a CIA secret prison in Lithuania. The court stated that Lithuania should pay Zubaydah 130,000 Euros ($149,100) in compensation. In early September, the Lithuanian authorities filed an appeal against the ECHR ruling before the court.

    • Romania and Lithuania lost the appeals în ECHR trial on secret CIA prisons

      Neither Bucharest, nor Vilnius admitted the existence of secret prisons on their territories and both countries appealed, but European judges unanimously decided to reject the appeal.

    • EU court rejects appeal over CIA ‘black sites’
    • European Human Rights Court rejects Romania’s appeal in secret CIA prisons case
    • Woman Impersonates CIA Agent To Convince Boyfriend, Parents To Murder Couple

      Agent Scott Lott told Oxygen’s “Criminal Confessions” that a few names kept popping up during the investigation — Janelle Potter, her parents, Buddy and Barbara Potter, and Payne’s cousin, Jamie Curd. According to multiple testimonies, Payne and Hayworth had recently been involved in a Facebook feud with Janelle, who was dating Curd. Curd quickly sided with the Potter family, which led to a physical altercation between the cousins.

    • An international drug-trafficking soccer hooligan network

      On September 26, Argentine authorities arrested 15 people suspected of belonging to a network of criminal soccer hooligan groups – known in Latin America as barras bravas – that imported drugs from Colombia and sold them throughout Greater Buenos Aires, according to a report from Clarín.

      The operation against the so-called Soccer Hooligan Cartel also included more than 20 raids in which authorities seized at least 1.100 doses of cocaine and 1.400 doses of paco (a smokable paste from an intermediate stage of cocaine production), and more than a kilogram of marijuana.

      Authorities identified one of the network leaders as Sebastián Parra Jaramillo, a Colombian national who is also the leader of a fan club for the Atlético Nacional soccer team in Medellín, Colombia. He allegedly obtained drugs on consignment to smuggle into Argentina.

    • David Wise, author and CIA expert who exposed ‘invisible government,’ dies at 88

      David Wise, a journalist and author who became one of the country’s foremost authorities on espionage, writing books on the CIA, turncoat spies and whether intelligence agencies had become an unaccountable “invisible government,” died Oct. 8 at a Washington hospital. He was 88. The cause was pancreatic cancer, said his wife, Joan Wise. Wise was a reporter for the old New York Herald Tribune newspaper, which assigned him to its Washington bureau in 1958. He became best known for his coverage of the world of spycraft, writing more than 10 nonfiction books about the Cold War era and beyond, as well as three novels.

    • David Wise, author and CIA expert who exposed ‘invisible government,’ dies at 88

      David Wise, a journalist and author who became one of the country’s foremost authorities on espionage, writing books on the CIA, turncoat spies and whether intelligence agencies had become an unaccountable “invisible government,” died Oct. 8 at a Washington hospital. He was 88.

    • David Wise, Journalist Who Exposed CIA Activity, Dies at 88

      David Wise, one of the first journalists to expose the clandestine operations of the Central Intelligence Agency and a standard-setter for investigative reporting into government espionage, died on Monday in Washington. He was 88.

      The death, at Georgetown University Medical Center, was confirmed by his wife, Joan Wise, who said the cause was pancreatic cancer.

      Mr. Wise was the author, with Thomas B. Ross, of “The Invisible Government,” an explosive 1964 exposé of the C.I.A. and its covert operations. To keep its contents from the public, the C.I.A. considered buying up all copies of the book but backed off when the publisher, Random House, made clear that it would simply print more.

      Mr. Wise began his journalism career in the late 1940s as a campus stringer for The New York Herald Tribune while studying at Columbia College. In his senior year he was editor of the campus newspaper, The Spectator, alongside another aspiring journalist, Max Frankel, who in 1986 became executive editor of The New York Times.

      Mr. Frankel said on Tuesday that Mr. Wise seemed born to write about espionage: He always kept information — even what he had for lunch — close to the vest.

    • The Deportation Crisis: Report From Long Island

      I am writing to you from Suffolk County, Long Island, New York, a place you may associate with images of traffic jams on the famed Long Island expressway, the rich and famous of the Hamptons, sandy beaches, and most recently, MS 13. Right now we live in the heart of the beast—the flashpoint of immigration and deportation politics in America’s suburbs.

      Long Island has been part of the Latino migration stream of seasonal farm workers from the 40s through the 60s. Some workers were documented using the H-2A visa program available for agricultural workers, but many were not. During the months migrant workers were here, they lived primarily in isolated labor camps. Since the 60s, immigrant worker numbers have grown, seeking work now in suburban rather than rural communities, in service industries like food service, landscape care, nanny and elder services and the building trades. These workers mow our lawns, cook our food, care for our children, and build our buildings, still documented and undocumented.

      Long Island also has a long history of segregation, born of the development of the “exclusive”” white suburbs in the post war era. Segregation by race and ethnicity is not new and persists to this day. By the 80s, the immigrant profile shifted from European to Latin Americans, many single men, mostly from Mexico, came in greater numbers. As more Latinos sought permanent residency, increased ethnic anxiety rose. Ideas about Latinos as gang members and welfare recipients began building steadily. The popular culture emphasis on drug and gang behavior (think “Miami Vice”) contributed to the narrative of the violent Latino and Latinas on welfare. The bi-lingual movement of the 1980s also created tension, and by 1996 Suffolk County attempted to have English designated as the official language of the county, the first in New York State. Covered in the New York Times,the article was titled “English Only Bill ignites Debates and Fear on LI.” Local zoning laws calling for the definition of family as five or less unrelated individuals also came in response to large numbers of workers renting single family homes.

      [...]

      Both federal and local policy changes have been developed under the theory of “deterrence logic”. The U.S. currently refuses to be a refuge for people with problems in their countries of origin. AmerIcans are often unaware of the tumult in Central America, that people quite literally are running for their lives as their own countries are filled with corrupt governments, domestic violence, gang violence, MS 13, and sex and drug trafficking. However, the arduous trip to cross into the U.S. is STILL preferable to remaining where they are. While fewer people may be attempting to cross, terrorizing these immigrants, many of whom are here legally, calls into question the acclaimed American narrative of a “nation of immigrants.” This narrative has been replaced by an “immigrant emergency” narrative which gained traction in the aftermath of 9/11. We are not a melting pot, but rather a pressure cooker here in Suffolk County, New York.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • DRM/Repairs

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Qualcomm files appeal to avoid potential $5 billion payout to 250 million American smartphone buyers (1.2 billion transactions)

      In its third question presented for review, Qualcomm describes this consumer class that was certified in the Northern District of California–up to 250 million people and, according to Qualcomm’s estimate, approximately 1.2 billion claims (since people, on average, bought multiple smartphones during the roughly 8-year period the claims relate to)–as “quite likely the biggest class action in history.”

      That may be true with respect to membership size. It certainly isn’t in economic terms since the $4.99 billion demand Qualcomm is facing (Law.com’s Scott Graham found out) is dwarfed by the $206 billion tobacco settlement in 1998 or the $20 billion Gulf of Mexico oil spill settlement in 2016. Still, $5 billion is a very significant number, which would amount to approximately $20, on average, per class member. The exact amount per member would obviously depend on the particular smartphone purchases made by each consumer. It would be the amount of each buyer’s overpayment due to Qualcomm’s practices (which regulators on three continents have already held to be anticompetitive), possibly enhanced by a factor of up to three. Just imagine how many people–outside of its own organization and apart from its shareholders–Qualcomm would make happy with such an involuntary gift…

    • Portus’s suit against Kenyon & Kenyon Dodges Dismissal on Pleadings

      Portus filed suit against the now defunct (I think) firm of Kenyon & Kenyon. The complaint has morphed but now alleges, basically, that the firm failed to timely seek PTA and at the time it did so, had a conflict of interest by representing another company in the same “domain.” The amended complaint is here. The denial of the motion for judgment on the pleadings is here, from June.

    • Expansion of the Blocking Patent Doctrine: Trading Logic for Gremlins

      So far, we have only discussed the application of the blocking patents doctrine to discount “commercial success” evidence of nonobviousness. Another innovation of the Acorda case is the extension of this doctrine to long-felt need and failure of others. Sometimes, you see, there is evidence that people in the field were discussing a longstanding unsolved problem, or expressed frustration with existing products, but were unable to propose a better solution until one was provided by the inventor. Or maybe others tried different possible approaches but came up with only inferior solutions or failed altogether. Such information normally tends to show that the supposedly obvious invention couldn’t have been quite so obvious. But just as with evidence of commercial success, the blocking patents doctrine now says that an earlier patent would have prevented others from proposing an obvious solution to a long-felt problem – even if just on paper. In the same vein, others who actually tried and failed to solve the problem are presumed (without proof) to have failed only because the existence of a patent prevented them from trying the obvious solution, forcing them to go down blind alleys instead.

    • ITC Institutes Section 337 Investigation of ResMed’s Sleep Apnea Masks

      On Friday, October 5th, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) issued a notice of institution of a Section 337 patent infringement investigation requested by New Zealand-based appliance manufacturer Fisher & Paykel against San Diego, CA-based medical equipment firm ResMed. The ITC instituted the Section 337 investigation after Fisher & Paykel alleged that certain sleep apnea products imported for sale by ResMed infringe upon U.S. patents held by the New Zealand firm.

    • 4 Ways Advances In AI Could Challenge Patent Law [Ed: Patent maximalists pushing the lunacy which is computer-generated patents]

      Advances in artificial intelligence raise intriguing patent law questions, including whether AI breakthroughs are patent-eligible and whether AI that creates something can be an “inventor” entitled to a patent.

    • Artificial intelligence: a game changer for the patent system

      With the advent of powerful computers and the availability of unlimited storage capabilities, artificial intelligence (AI) has made its way into mainstream applications – heralding the fourth industrial revolution. While the notion of what ‘artificial intelligence’ means has undergone significant change since its introduction in 1956, today’s typical AI is broadly conceived to “perceive its environment and take actions that maximise its chance of successfully achieving its goals”. This may involve reinforcement learning, where goals can be set explicitly or implicitly by rewarding some types of behaviour and punishing others, or by a fitness function allowing for mutation and preferential replication of high-scoring AI systems in an evolutionary system. AI may be implemented in self-optimising software or hardware that regularly requires vast data amounts (known as ‘big data’) for training response behaviour.

    • Singapore Court of Appeal upholds determining factors for inventorship and ownership

      On 28 August 2018, the Singapore Court of Appeal issued its decision on Cicada Cube Pte Ltd v National University Hospital (Singapore) Pte Ltd [2018] SGCA 52. The judgement involved the determination of ownership and inventorship of a Singapore patent, as well as the interpretation of Section 47(9) of the Singapore Patents Act regarding the time limit to bring such entitlement actions.

      [...]

      The High Court held that NUH was not caught by this conditional time limit because the phrase ‘proceedings in which the jurisdiction is invoked’ referred to in s 47(9) referred to the reference submitted to the Registrar. In contrast, the Court of Appeal held that NUH was indeed caught by the conditional time limit because the High Court and the Registrar had concurrent jurisdiction to determine patent entitlement, meaning that parties could apply to either forum to determine this question. If a party applied to the High Court after two years from the date of grant of the patent, the High Court could not determine the question unless it was shown that the proprietor knew that he was not entitled to the patent at date of grant or date of transfer. The same applies in this case where NUH had applied to the Registrar first (within the two-year period) but the Registrar declined to determine the question. Therefore, if a party decides to apply to the Registrar first and the Registrar does not make a determination by the two-year mark, it would be prudent for the party to withdraw the reference and commence proceedings in the High Court before the expiration of the two-year time limit.

    • Patent exhaustion keeps Qualcomm on the run from Apple’s claims and motions

      If exhaustion makes you run even further and faster, you’re either above conventional physics–or you’re Qualcomm.

      Patent exhaustion has been an important and powerful concept for a very long time, but last year the Supreme Court provided a great deal of clarification in its Lexmark opinion. That opinion came down in the early phase of Qualcomm’s disputes with the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Apple.

      Apple asserted nine patents in its original Southern California complaint. Qualcomm surprisingly didn’t bring mandatory infringement counterclaims, thereby waiving its right to assert infringement in that litigation or any other U.S. case against Apple. Apple threw in nine more patent DJs (declaratory judgment requests) in its first amended complaint, but Qualcomm persuaded Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel to throw those additional claims out. In order to do away with the original nine DJs for good (since Qualcomm would rather have everyone focus on the size of its portfolio–130K patents), Qualcomm “supersacked” (see this Lexology article for further information) Apple and the contract manufacturers by sending them a covenant not to enforce those patents against them, and in accordance with the Super Sack precedent immediately moved for dismissal of the original DJs including the patent exhaustion DJ for alleged lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

    • The new smartphone patents battlemap (infographic featuring Apple, Huawei, Intel, Qualcomm, Samsung)

      Eight years ago, this blog started publishing battlemaps of major smartphone patent disputes. Apple and Microsoft aren’t suing Android device makers at this point, but two major disputes are ongoing: Apple and, by extension, Intel’s dispute with Qualcomm, which is under fire from competition enforcers around the globe; and Huawei v. Samsung, the most massive patent clash ever between two leading Android device makers.

    • The big life sciences IP developments in September

      ‘No deal’ Brexit may mean no UPC, says UK government – The United Kingdom government released a notice on the likely implications for patents in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Relevant EU legislation, such as that relating to Supplementary Protection Certificates for drugs, compulsory licences and the patenting of biotechnology innovations, will be retained in UK law under the EU Withdrawal Act 2018 in such a scenario, it reassures rights holders. Such legislation will form the basis of an independent UK patent regime in which existing rights and licences will automatically remain in force. No such certainty is provided regarding the prospective Unified Patent Court (UPC), however. If the pan-European court is fully ratified, but the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the country would not necessarily be part of the UPC or the unitary patent system, the government admitted. However, any unitary patents that exist at the point of the UK’s departure will automatically give rise to patent protection within the UK.

    • Trademarks

      • Swatch versus Apple: If you “Tick different” does that mean that you “THINK DIFFERENT”?

        What happens when an application by SWATCH for the mark is opposed by Apple on the basis of its mark? In Singapore, the opposition was rejected. Kat friends Lau Kok Keng, Nicholas Lauw and Jiamin Leow collectively report on this recent decision.

      • Judge Denies Beyoncé Motion for Summary Judgment in Feyoncé Trademark Case

        On Sunday, September 30th, U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan of the Southern District of New York signed a memorandum opinion and order that was officially entered the following day in a trademark case brought by pop music superstar Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter against Feyonce, Inc., a developer of merchandise marketed to engaged people using the brand name Feyoncé.

      • Supreme Court Asked to Consider Immoral or Scandalous Trademarks

        The case involves Eric Brunetti’s clothing brand, called FUCT. Although Brunetti has marketed various apparel under the FUCT mark since the early 1990s, the application at issue in this case was filed in 2011. The examiner rejected the application under Section 2(a), finding that FUCT “is the past tense of F*CK,” and “is scandalous because it is disparaging and [] total[ly] vulgar.” The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board agreed, finding that “the Trademark Examining Attorney has shown by a preponderance of the evidence that a substantial composite of the general public would find this designation vulgar.”

    • Copyrights

      • Music Modernization Act of 2018 Signed Into Law by President Trump

        On October 11, 2018, President Donald Trump signed into law the Orrin G. Hatch–Bob Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (“the Act”), which will significantly modernize copyright law to account for the digital delivery of content. The bill, as updated and passed unanimously by the Senate and then the House, revises the Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. § 115) in several major ways.

      • Supreme Court to Hear Rimini Street v. Oracle to Decide if Copyright Act Authorizes Non-Taxable Costs

        The U.S. Supreme Court has granted a petition for writ of certiorari to take up Rimini Street v. Oracle on appeal from the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

      • ‘Star Wars: Knights of Old Republic’ Unreal Engine 4 Fan Mod Shuts Down After Legal Threats

        For the last three years, a fan effort to remaster the beloved 2003 video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic with modern graphics and other tweaks has chugged along with nary a word from the franchise’s rights holder.

        Now the project, called Apeiron, will shut down for good with only tantalizing snippets of gameplay to show for its efforts after Lucasfilm—which was acquired by Disney in 2012—sent a cease-and-desist letter to John Taylor Trotter, the head of the Atlanta-based and volunteer-run indie studio leading the Apeiron project, Poem Studios.

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