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Links 18/6/2016: KDE Plasma 5.7 Beta, Robolinux 8.5

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Free Software/Open Source

  • How a student in India got started with open source
    I have always been an open source enthusiast. And when I heard about the awesome community from my brother I just couldn't wait to join in. He has always motivated me to do great things. I'm always enthusiastic to learn new things. Contributing to open source organizations, meeting amazing people and communities, and, of course, a deep interest of writing code have motivated me to join the summer training. I believe that I am able to achieve all these things after I joined the summer training and the great community DGP LUG.

  • Open Versus Closed: Addressing The IoT Standards Problem

  • Here's how developers should choose open source components wisely [Ed: WhiteSource self promotion]
    An open source component can be inappropriate for a developer in many ways. Starting from the risks the component is exposed to, to its license policy, developers have to keep a lot of things in mind while selecting the right piece for their tech puzzle. In an exclusive conversation with, Rami Sass, CEO and Co-Founder of WhiteSource, shared tips for selecting right open source components with developers. Read on.

  • Open-Source Test Automation Tools and You
    There's a shift to open-source mobile test automation tools happening today among developers and QA. And it's not just happening in mobile testing. Many mature technology sectors are adopting lightweight, vendor-transparent tools to fulfill the need for speed and integration.

    As with many free and open-source software markets however, a plethora of tools complicates the selection process. How do you know what to spend time learning, integrating and deploying in your own environment?

  • Lack of open source support continues to pose IT challenge
    Open source software and hardware continue to infiltrate the data center, but the lack of professional support remains a top business and IT concern.

  • Events

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Healthcare

    • New hospital in Houston selects open source EHR vendor
      Sacred Oak Medical Center in Houston, opening in August, will use the OpenVista electronic health record system of Medsphere Systems. The inpatient behavioral health facility will open with 20 beds and plans to expand over time to 80 beds.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • pfSense 2.3.1 FreeBSD Firewall Gets New Update to Patch Web GUI Security Issues
      Chris Buechler from pfSense announced earlier today, June 16, 2016, that there's a new maintenance update available for the pfSense 2.3.1 FreeBSD-based firewall distribution.

      pfSense 2.3.1 Update 5 (2.3.1_5) is a small bugfix release for the pfSense 2.3.1 major update announced last month, and since pfSense now lets its maintainers update only individual parts of the system, we see more and more small builds like this one, which patch the most annoying issues.

    • ART single thread performances
      ART has been the default routing table backend in OpenBSD for some months now. That means that OpenBSD 6.0 will no longer consult the 4.3 BSD reduced radix tree to perform route lookups.

      The principal motivation for adopting a new tree implementation can be explained in three letters: SMP.

      I'll describe in a different context why and how ART is a good fit in our revamp of OpenBSD network stack. For the moment, let's have a look at the single-thread performances of this algorithm in OpenBSD -current.

    • parallel-lib: New LLVM Suproject

    • LLVM Has New "parallel-lib" Sub-Project
      This new parallelism library is described as "[hosting] the development of libraries which are aimed at enabling parallelism in code and which are also closely tied to compiler technology. Examples of libraries suitable for hosting within the parallel-libs subproject are runtime libraries and parallel math libraries. The initial candidates for inclusion in this subproject are StreamExecutor and libomptarget which would live in the streamexecutor and libomptarget subdirectories of parallel-libs, respectively."

  • Public Services/Government

    • GSA CTO headlines WT open source breakfast
      The use of open source software is pretty much a forgone conclusion in the federal market but we are just now starting to scratch the surface of its power to disrupt the market.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • New open source 'GreenWeb' to mobile battery while browsing internet
      A new, open source computer programming framework that could make the web significantly more energy efficient, allowing people to save more battery power while browsing on mobile devices, has been developed by researchers including one of Indian-origin.

      Scientists developed what they are calling "GreenWeb," a set of web programming language extensions that enable web developers to have more flexibility and control than ever before over the energy consumption of a website.

      "Because user awareness is constantly increasing, web developers today must be conscious of energy efficiency," said Vijay Janapa Reddi from University of Texas in the US.

    • Rumors of COBOL's demise have been greatly exaggerated: Meet GnuCOBOL
      A recent article on Slashdot points out with some chagrin that the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Veterans Affairs in the United States still use COBOL, originally invented in 1959, based on work by the late Rear Admiral Grace Hopper. The implication is—and has been for some years in the IT community—that COBOL is a completely dead language. Not so! In 1997, the Gartner Group reported that 80% of the world's business ran on COBOL, and surveys in 2006 and 2012 by Computerworld found that more than 60% of large financial organizations use COBOL (more, in fact, than use C++, a much newer language), and that for half of those, COBOL was used for the majority of their internal code. The COBOL standard has continued to be updated, with the most recent change being in 2014.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Open standard for UK emergency services
      The United Kingdom is introducing an open standard for IT systems used by emergency services, the country’s Digital Service announced on 23 May. The ‘Multi-Agency Incident Transfer’ (MAIT) standard is to harmonise the exchange of information within the emergency responder community to streamline the flow incident information between agencies.


  • Microsoft's Office Plans Are a Confusing Mess
    Last week, I tried to get a subscription to Microsoft Office. I expected to simply find an Office license that included what I needed for a simple price. Instead, I discovered that Microsoft’s Office licenses are infuriatingly complex, making it nearly impossible for anyone to get what they need without overspending.

  • Why LinkedIn Will Make You Hate Microsoft Word
    IF Microsoft has its way, the vast membership of LinkedIn, the business networking site with more than 433 million members, will be instantly available to you while you use Microsoft products like Outlook or Skype. How many of LinkedIn’s members do you want to consult while also using Excel or typing away in Word? Microsoft is betting it’s a lot; this is part of its rationale for its $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, announced on Monday.

    The companies’ chief executives, Satya Nadella of Microsoft and Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn, explained their reasons for the deal in a PowerPoint presentation distributed to investors. In the center of a graphic titled, “A professional’s profile everywhere,” was a picture of an anonymous LinkedIn “professional” with arrows pointed outward to seven Microsoft products.

  • Microsoft buys Wand to improve chat capabilities
    Satya Nadella wasn't kidding when he said earlier this year that he believed in using chat as a platform for computing. Microsoft just bought Wand, a chat app for iOS, to further that vision.

  • Science

    • Will We Ever Really Get Flying Cars?
      If you listen to some entrepreneurs and investors, the flying car – a longstanding staple of science fiction – is right around the corner. Working prototypes exist. At least two companies already take orders for the vehicles, with deliveries promised next year.

      The last decade has seen the introduction of practical consumer videoconferencing, voice recognition, drones, self-driving cars and many other items that once were found only in science fiction stories. It therefore might seem plausible that practical flying cars are around the corner. They aren't. Indeed, massive safety, infrastructure and technology problems make them a near impossibility.

    • Physics test suggests cats understand gravity, Japanese researchers say
      Of all the furry ambush predators on the planet, domestic house cats — some 600 million of them — are among the most numerous. Their ancient evolutionary history does not always feel so ancient, as anyone who has lobbed a catnip mouse at a tabby or wiggled a defenseless ankle near a kitten can attest.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Fired DEQ official pleads Fifth in Flint water probe
      The fired head of the drinking water division of the Department of Environmental Quality invoked her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination through her attorney this morning after receiving an investigative subpoena in the Flint water crisis investigation.

      Brian Morley, a Lansing attorney representing Liane Shekter-Smith, said a hearing was held Thursday morning in Wayne County Circuit Court after he objected on Shekter-Smith's behalf to an investigative subpoena seeking her testimony in Attorney General Bill Schuette's Flint drinking water investigation, which is headed by Royal Oak attorney Todd Flood.

    • European Council Approves First-Ever Analysis Of Drug Prices With Look At IP Rights
      The 28 European Union governments today were expected to give final approval to a first-ever plan to analyse medicines competition in Europe, with reference to drug prices, generics and biosimilars, and intellectual property rights. The final version was watered after what sources said was heavy industry lobbying, compared to a leaked version published in Intellectual Property Watch two weeks ago, but still retains some strong provisions regarding pricing and competition.

    • WHO/PAHO New Response Plan For Zika Until December 2017
      A new response plan for a strategic response to the Zika virus has been announced by the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization.

      The revised Zika Strategic Response Plan includes elements such as integrated vector management, sexual and reproductive health counselling, and health education.

    • European Council Conclusions On Steps To Combat Antimicrobial Resistance
      The 28 European Union member governments have concluded next steps for addressing antimicrobial resistance, with a strong emphasis on reducing use of antibiotics in animals, but also including a call for new business models.

      There does not appear to be a mention of price, intellectual property rights, or del-inkage of price from the cost of R&D, but there is a call for new business models as follows:

      “actively engage in initiatives and proposals to implement a new business model to bring new antibiotics to the market, including models in which investment costs or revenues are de-linked from sales volumes;”

  • Security

    • Thursday's security updates

    • Network Security: The Unknown Unknowns
      I recently thought of the apocryphal story about the solid reliability of the IBM AS/400 systems. I’ve heard several variations on the story, but as the most common version of the story goes, an IBM service engineer shows up at a customer site one day to service an AS/400. The hapless employees have no idea what the service engineer is talking about. Eventually the system is found in a closet or even sealed in a walled off space where it had been reliably running the business for years completely forgotten and untouched. From a reliability perspective, this is a great story. From a security perspective, it is a nightmare. It represents Donald Rumsfeld’s infamous “unknown unknowns” statement regarding the lack of evidence linking the government of Iraq with the supply of weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups.

    • The average cost of a data breach is now $4 million
      The average data breach cost has grown to $4 million, representing a 29 percent increase since 2013, according to the Ponemon Institute.

    • The story of a DDoS extortion attack – how one company decided to take a stand [iophk: “yet another way that cracked MS machines are big money”]
      Instead of simply ordering his company to defend itself in conventional fashion he was going to write to all 5,000 of Computop’s customers and partners telling them that on 15 June his firm’s website was likely to be hit with a DDoS attack big enough to cause everyone serious problems.

    • Mozilla Funds Open Source Code Audits
      As part of the Mozilla Open Source Support program (MOSS), the Mozilla Foundation has set up a fund dedicated to helping open source software projects eradicate code vulnerabilities.

    • Intel Hidden Management Engine – x86 Security Risk?
      So it seems the latest generation of Intel x86 CPUs have implemented a Intel hidden management engine that cannot be audited or examined. We can also assume at some point it will be compromised and security researchers are labelling this as a Ring -3 level vulnerability.

    • Smart detection for passive sniffing in the Tor-network
      If you haven't yet read about my previous research regarding finding bad exit nodes in the Tor network you can read it here. But the tl;dr is that I sent unique passwords through every exit node in the Tor network over HTTP. This meant that is was possible for the exit node to sniff the credentials and use them to login on my fake website which I had control over.

    • Lone hacker, not Russian spies, responsible for Democratic Party breach
      RED-FACED SECURITY OUTFIT CrowdStrike has admitted that the Russian government wasn't responsible for a hack on the Democratic Party after lone hacker Guccifer 2 claimed that he was responsible for the breach.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Islamic State committing genocide against Yazidis: U.N.
      Islamic State is committing genocide against the Yazidis in Syria and Iraq to destroy the religious community of 400,000 people through killings, sexual slavery and other crimes, United Nations investigators said on Thursday.

      Such a designation, rare under international law, would mark the first recognized genocide carried out by non-state actors, rather than a state or paramilitaries acting on its behalf.

    • Labour MP Jo Cox dies after being shot and stabbed as husband urges people to 'fight against the hate' that killed her
      The husband of Jo Cox urged people to “fight against the hatred” that killed his wife on Thursday night, after the Labour MP was murdered by a gunman on the steps of her constituency surgery, Robert Mendick, Gordon Rayner and Nicola Harley write.

      On a dark day for democracy, Mrs Cox, a 41-year-old mother of two, was shot three times and repeatedly stabbed by a killer screaming “Britain first”.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

  • Finance

    • TPP, TTIP don’t seem to be coming around after all – here’s why
      The two protectionist agreements masquerading as free trade agreements, TPP and TTIP, appear to be meeting serious resistance – TTIP in particular. This makes the entire coup attempt unlikely to succeed.

      As detailed in the book Information Feudalism: Who owns the Knowledge Economy?, the United States reacted to its industrial obsolescence – as accented primarily by the ascent of Toyota and the fall in Detroit of the late 1970s – by hijacking a number of global fora and attempting to push through so-called Free Trade Agreements that were little more than attempts to redefine value, production, and economy in a way that forced the rest of the world to pay rent to the United States, in order to safeguard its dominant position going forward.

    • The problems with referendums in general, and the Brexit one in particular

      The first problem comes from there never having been a need – in an objective sense – for this EU referendum.

      By “objective” I mean that there was no external reason – such as a new EU treaty or similar proposal – for a referendum to take place in June 2016.

      As such, it can be described an objectively pointless referendum.

    • Let's drug-test the rich before approving tax deductions, US congresswoman says
      Gwen Moore to propose bill requiring tests for returns with itemized deductions of more than $150,000, in response to right’s ‘criminalization of poverty’

    • Bolivia rejects 'offensive' chicken donation from Bill Gates [iophk: "just as knowledgeable about chickens as anything else"]
      But Bolivia's government, led by anti-imperialist president Evo Morales, says the South American nation already produces 197 million chickens annually, and has the capacity to export 36 million. Bolivia's pride is justified: the country's economy has nearly tripled in size over the last decade, with its GDP per capita jumping from $1,200 in 2006 to $3,119 in 2015. The IMF predicts that Bolivia's economy will grow by 3.8 percent in 2016, making it the best performer in South America.

    • So Britain, are you ready to enter the United Kingdom of Ukip?
      Right now, in the Ukip bunker, there is a search going on. It is urgent. It is probably desperate. It is the search for a tone. The emotional Rolodex of Nigel Farage is being riffled through in the hope it might throw up something usable. Top presentational aides have been dispatched on a vital quest to find the outer limits of his range. The journey is unlikely to detain them very long. Yet at the most recent reckoning Farage stands a few disputed percentage points away from being acclaimed – like it or not – the most extraordinarily successful British politician of a generation. Globally, he may soon be seen as reflecting us.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Four in ten have lost confidence in media
      Almost four-tenths, or 38 per cent, of Finns have lost their confidence in the traditional media, finds a recent survey.

      “The numbers are astonishingly high: four in ten have reservations about journalistic content,” Ville Pitkänen, a researcher at Think Tank e2, reveals while shedding light on the preliminary results of the survey in his blog on Puheenvuoro.

    • Lonelygirl15: how one mysterious vlogger changed the internet
      In June 2006, a 16-year-old girl began a video blog on YouTube. Her name was Bree, she’d been lurking in the burgeoning community for a while. She was a self-described dork, she thought her hometown was really boring – “Maybe that’s why I spend so much time on my computer …”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Publication censorship of new physics ideas – a sort of pseudo-science

    • ‘A battle against censorship was never fought like this’
      Did you ever have a brush with censorship in the past and do you think it is time the Cinematograph Act, 1952, is overhauled?

      No, I have never experienced such a major censor problem with my movies before. In fact, a battle against censorship has never been fought like this before, that it became a movement. As we move ahead with time, the laws related to art and culture need to be reassessed, including the Act we have for film certification.

    • Highly-Dubious Spiritualist Making Highly-Dubious Claims Loses Highly-Dubious Defamation Lawsuit Against Critic
      Trivedi can simply stand near a bottle of water, transfer some of his powerful energy, and sell this bottled water to you at a presumably healthy markup. Among other things, the energized water can supposedly go full Lazarus on your flora.


      And, even under the complete lack of scrutiny provided by pay-for-play "scientific journals," the studies Trivedi claims back up his miracles have nothing approaching scientific methodology contained in them. One claiming Trivedi was able to introduce bacterial mutations simply by waving his hand over some Petri dishes is deftly summed up this way by a slightly more sympathetic blogger at "Integral World."

    • Facebook Suppresses Story Critical of Black Lives Matter; Censorship Alive and Well Despite Zuckerberg Assurances
      Last month, CEO Mark Zuckerberg hosted a summit with “leading conservatives” at Facebook’s Menlo Park, Calif. offices, in which he sought to ease concerns about a liberal bias in the social media company’s “trending” features.

      Whether that problem has been fixed or not, it appears that Facebook is currently engaging in “viewpoint discrimination” in another way, namely in its service which allows users to “boost” a story, for which Facebook receives a fee.

    • Court Says Free Speech Rights For Prisoners Not 'Clearly Established,' Gives Pass To Retaliatory Actions By Officials
      While it's true that prisoners enjoy fewer rights than Americans who've never been convicted of a crime, their rights are by no means nonexistent. Except in some cases... where bits and pieces of protected speech vanish into the gaps between established prison guidelines and case law directly addressing the matter.

      That's an admittedly unclear summation of the appeals court decision finding a federal prisoner's rights weren't violated when he was removed from a halfway house and placed in solitary confinement in retaliation for publishing an article about his prison experience.

    • Federal Prisoner Who Blogged For HuffPost Has No First Amendment Rights, Court Rules
      A blogger who wrote for The Huffington Post while serving a federal prison sentence didn't have a First Amendment right to publish an article critical of prison conditions, an appeals court has ruled.

      Daniel McGowan, an environmental activist whose prosecution for "eco terrorism" was the subject of an award-winning film, was finishing his seven-year term at a Brooklyn halfway house when he wrote a HuffPost blog post that contained details about a secretive prison where he had spent years in isolation.

    • Is Twitter Censoring Non-Politically Correct Viewpoints?
      The folks running Twitter may be too young to have heard of George Orwell, or perhaps they simply do not care that their new advisory council sounds frighteningly Orwellian. Either way, the brand new “Twitter Trust and Safety Council” seems like a board ready to censor comments in deference to political correctness.

      It doesn’t help that among the more than 40 organizations that make up the council, one finds such groups as the “Dangerous Speech Project,” a group with ties to the liberal John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and to financier George Soros’ Open Society Institute.

    • What happens when private limitations on freedom of speech get endorsed and expanded by government?
      The European Commission is requesting/requiring Facebook, Twitter, and others to police their networks against undesirable political opinions and bad speech. This is cause for concern on a number of levels.

      Facebook’s community standards have long banned certain topics from being discussed – quite notably, anything resembling nudity.

      This is an effect of Facebook being a child of the culture it was founded in, the United States of America. If Facebook had been built in Germany, nudity would not have been a problem at all with Facebook, but there would instead be a complete ban on anything even resembling hate speech rallies, which there i In this, we can observe that all cultures have their taboos and their intolerance of certain subjects. Paul Graham has an excellent essay on the matter called “What you can’t say”.

    • Banned: Film censorship has deep roots in Ky.
      Free speech comes with a price: tolerance for unpopular opinions.

      In recent weeks, the First Amendment has struggled against pressures. On college campuses, “safe zones” chill debate. Online, a proposal to combat terrorism includes hitting the internet kill – silencing all speech to fight extremism.

      These events should concern everyone. Unrestricted speech is a fundamental liberty in America, but this was not always the rule. Not long ago, Kentucky’s censors monitored the movies, editing out unpopular ideas.

    • Facebook Still Deleting Non-Offensive Posts For Being Offensive
      Another day, another example of Facebook's attempt at applying automated morality going poorly. For a site designed for little else beyond expressive speech, I suppose some erroneous applications of any kind of puritanism would go awry. Perhaps then you might have forgiven Facebook's mistaking a children's illustration for man-horse-fucking, or the algorithm's inability to recognize satire.

      But you would think that, in the wake of the tragic shooting that occurred at a nightclub in Orlando, one member of the LGBT community's perfectly cogent and innocuous rant wouldn't be gobbled up the by censor algorithm as being offensive. Here is the author's tweet complaining about its removal (twice), including a screenshot of the text, so that you can get an idea of what was taken down.

    • Beyond Udta Punjab: Cinematic Masterpieces that Dodged Censorship
      The ongoing Udta Punjab controversy has fanned the debate on censorship yet again. Now everyone wants the system to be abolished, for such practices cannot exist in a liberal democracy. It’s important we realise that censorship is a tight slap on the face of creative expression, and our films only deserve to be rated, not edited by CBFC.

    • Media Monitoring Africa formally complains to Icasa about SABC ‘censorship’
      In May, Media Monitoring Africa, supported by the SOS Support Public Broadcasting Coalition and the Freedom of Expression Institute, lodged papers with the complaints compliance committee of the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) over the public broadcaster’s decision to ban coverage of violent protests.

    • SABC has until Monday to oppose Media Monitoring Africa complaint
      The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has given the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) until Monday to oppose a complaint by Media Monitoring Africa against its new broadcasting policy.

      Last month, the SABC decided it would no longer air footage of protesters destroying public property, arguing that it might encourage others to follow suit.

      Media Monitoring Africa believes this is a clear form of censorship.

      Icasa has agreed with Media Monitoring Africa, which laid the complaint two weeks ago, that the matter is urgent.

    • Harrisburg, PA Mayor Picks And Chooses Who The 'Real' Journalists Are
      We talk a lot around here about stories with people trying to determine what "real journalism" is. Those stories tend to veer towards the incredibly dumb, with most centering on a misunderstanding of what journalism actually means in the digital age. For a long time, journalism was an alchemy performed by a select few wizards, horded by a few outlets, which vetted and locked up their product. Today, of course, the barriers of entry to doing any kind of journalism are lower and the ability to distribute that kind of work is virtually unlimited. And, despite what you might hear from some grumpy folks who prefer the good ol' days, it turns out that smaller websites and independent citizens can journalism really well!

      But not everybody has gotten that memo, apparently. Take Eric Papenfuse, Mayor of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He has recently, and apparently surprisingly, decided to ban anyone working for website PennLive to the weekly meetings and briefings the rest of the press is allowed to attend.

    • Company Uses DMCA to Censor and Expose Critical Blogger

      Marketing and sales company Smart Circle is using the DMCA to uncover the identity of a critical blogger. The company obtained a subpoena directed at WordPress, stating that the blogger in question violates their copyrights by publishing modified images of its key employees.

    • sFilm festival shines spotlight on human rights

    • Censorship Harms Burma’s Chance for Reconciliation

    • Christian Movie Studio Stole Plot of God’s Not Dead, Lawsuit Alleges

    • Screenwriters Accuse Christian Movie Studio Of 9th Commandment Violations Over General Script Ideas

    • A big change is happening at Reddit after its Orlando shooting fiasco

    • After Orlando, Are Social Media Sites Encroaching On Users’ Free Speech?

    • Reddit Will Adjust Algorithm To Censor Trump Supporters Following Orlando Shootings

    • Censorship laws need to be re-assessed: Kareena Kapoor Khan

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Malaysian university investigating leaked slides claiming Islam introduced ‘manners and cleanliness’ to Hindus
      The head of one of Malaysia’s oldest universities has announced there will be a “thorough investigation” after it came under fire when a set of controversial religious education slides leaked online.

      The slides, part of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s (UTM) Islamic and Asian Civilisation Studies course, reportedly claimed Islam introduced “manners and body cleanliness” to early followers of Hinduism.

      According to Indian broadcaster NDTV, the slides also claimed Hindus consider dirt on their bodies “as part of their religious practice to achieve nirvana,” and that the early foundations of the Sikh faith came about after founder Guru Nanak combined Islam and Hinduism, something he had a “shallow understanding” of.

    • B’desh college lecturer chopped by Islamists for his remarks on Baghdadi killing!
      A group of Muslim criminals knocked on the door of Ripan’s house near the college campus around 4:30pm and started indiscriminate stabbing on him when he opened the door, said Prof Hiten Chandra Mandal, principal of the college. The style of attacks resembles with the Jamiat-ul-Mujaheedin-Bangladesh (a local operative of Islamic state in Bangladesh) method of hacking the Kaffirs as believed.

    • Australian Electoral Commission Refuses To Allow Researchers To Check E-Voting Software
      The fact that Techdirt has been writing about e-voting problems for sixteen years, and that the very first post on the topic had the headline "E-voting is Not Safe," gives an indication of what a troubled area this is. Despite the evidence that stringent controls are still needed to avoid the risk of electoral fraud, some people seem naively to assume that e-voting is now a mature and safe technology that can be deployed without further thought.

    • Who are Britain First? Far-right group founded by a Scot distances itself from Jo Cox killing
      POLICE investigating the murder of MP Jo Cox say they are probing possible links to right-wing extremism.

      People reported that the man who targeted the mum-of-two shouted "Britain First" before launching their attack on the MP.

      Police have since detained Kilmarnock-born Thomas Mair in connection with the incident.

      Temporary Chief Constable Dee Collins of West Yorkshire Police said: "We have now confirmed that just before 1pm yesterday Jo was attacked and sustained serious injuries from both a firearm and a knife.

    • Misogyny Didn't disappear, It Evolved.
      So, when it comes to women being accepted in The Tech World, sure it's gotten better. A lot better. But that strong dislike for women in our field exists just under the skin of some men. They know they can no longer gain the support and the 'at-a-boy' slaps on the back for approaching and demeaning a woman in public. In fact, they know they well be rejected and punished for doing so. The only difference between then and now? They do it in the wee hours of the morning with bricks, knowing that they would be rebuked by their peers for assaulting a woman in in The Old Days.

    • Leaflets found in Muslim school 'describe music and dancing as acts of the devil'
      Leaflets denouncing music and dancing as ‘acts of the devil’ have been found at a Muslim faith school in Birmingham, school inspectors have warned.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Chattanooga Mayor Says City's Gigabit Network (Which Comcast Tried To Kill) To Thank For City's Revival
      While hardline free marketeers and incumbent ISPs often try to paint city-owned broadband networks as the pinnacle of government-sponsored disaster, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke this week credited the city utility's gigabit broadband service as a major contributing factor for the city's re-invention.

    • Cable TV Subscribers Still Unhappy, New Consumer Reports Survey Shows

    • Vint Cerf imagines a self archiving internet – one that could lead to a more open future
      What would a self archiving internet look like? At the recent Decentralized Web Summit hosted by the Internet Archive, Vint Cerf, one of the computer scientists hailed as a founding father of the Internet, gave a thought provoking talk on the future of the Internet. At an event where high level discussion was the norm, Vint Cerf shared his thoughts on a relatively basic concept with a very understandable goal – preserving the world’s knowledge. The Internet is the focal point of all of humanity’s knowledge, and soon it will be the focal point of all of humanity’s activity.

    • Crims set up fake companies to hoard and sell IPv4 addresses
      IPv4 addresses are now so valuable that criminals are setting up shell companies so they can apply for addresses, then resell them to users desperate to grow their networks.

      Criminals are doing so because there are no more IPv4 addresses left: the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) ran out in September 2015.

    • The Giant Zero, Part 0.x
      Back in October, my keynote at New Media Days in Copenhagen was titled "The Internet: Not Just Another Medium". Although most of the talk was new, the core concept is was one I first presented at the Berkman Center three weeks earlier: that it helps to think of the Net as a "giant zero". Now that I've given the talk twice and thought about it for a month more, I'm almost ready to make the same case in text.

    • Tim Wu Joins NY AG's Office In Shaming 'Abysmal' Cable Broadband ISPs
      Last fall, we noted how New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office had launched an investigation into awful broadband service quality. In and of itself that was nothing particularly interesting (especially given Schneiderman's history of grandstanding), though what made the inquiry of note is the office's hiring of Tim Wu, the Columbia Law professor who first coined the term "net neutrality" back in 2002. With Wu as the AG's "senior lawyer and special adviser," Schneiderman sent letters to NYC area broadband incumbents Verizon, Cablevision and Time Warner Cable -- questioning whether they actually deliver the speeds they advertise.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Advocate General Szpunar considers Rubik's Cube shape mark invalid

    • DTSA: Temporary Restraining Order for Former Employer [Ed: these are anti-whistleblowing laws. Europe now has one too.]
      In one of the first written decisions based upon the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), Judge Tigar has granted Schein’s motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking former employee Jennifer Cook “from accessing, using, or sharing” allegedly stolen confidential data. Cook was a sales representative for Schein’s dental-supplies business and left to join competitor Patterson Dental. The TRO also prohibits Cook “from soliciting, contacting, or accepting business from any HSI customers assigned to her while she was employed by Plaintiff.” In addition to the standard fiduciary duty employees owe to their employer, Cook had also signed a confidentiality and non-solicitation agreement.

    • Apple Copied iPhone 6 Design From A Chinese Smartphone, China Rules

    • Beijing Regulators Block Sales Of iPhones, Claiming The Design Is Too Close To Chinese Company's Phone
      This one was so easy to predict. For the past couple of decades, completely clueless US politicians and bureaucrats (and tech company execs) have been screaming about how China "doesn't respect" our intellectual property. They demanded that China "get more serious" about patents and respecting IP. And for nearly a decade we've been warning those people to be careful what you wish for. Because, now China has massively ramped up its patent system, often by using odd incentives, but rather than helping American companies that demanded it, pretty much every patent lawsuit in China has been about a Chinese company punishing or blocking foreign competition. This is because the Chinese aren't stupid. It's a country that has thrived on protectionism, despite global efforts to "open up trade," and here it realized that the West was handing them the perfect trade barrier: one that let them say they were doing what the West wanted, while giving it the perfect excuse to block out foreign competition.

      So, while clueless US and European IP bureaucrats celebrated China issuing so many patents, they totally missed that they'd actually given away everything.

    • BLOG: If iPhone sales are banned in China, we might see the end of the eBay era in the US
      For that, Apple can largely thank the general decline in the availability of injunctive relief following the Supreme Court’s decision in eBay v MercExchange. Apple’s rivals in China, however, don’t seem to have the same problems.

    • Trademarks

      • Coke defends against opposition to 'ZERO' trade marks
        More than one trademark practitioner has probably asked herself how soft drink giant Coca-Cola goes about protecting its various ZERO-based trade marks. A window to this question can be found in the recent ruling of the United States Patent and Trademark Office decision in connection with oppositions filed by Royal Crown Company and Dr Pepper/Seven Up Inc.

      • Vice Media Settles With Indie Band ViceVersa, Showing That Trademark Bullying Totally Works
        A while back, we wrote about the hilariously bullying cease and desist notice Vice Media, a billion dollar media company, sent to ViceVersa, an un-signed punk band. At issue, according to Vice Media, was the band's name and trademark application, both of which the media company declared would damage its own brand and confuse customers. Neither of those claims was remotely true, but they bullied in the way that only bullies can.

      • Vice Settles Trademark Dispute With Indie Band ViceVersa
        In April, Vice Media ordered an unsigned band to change its name. The company, which is reportedly worth billions of dollars, sent a cease-and-desist letter to Los Angeles trio ViceVersa arguing the band's name and logo were too much like Vice's. (In November, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had reportedly signed off on ViceVersa guitarist Christopher Morales' application to trademark the band's name.) Today, both parties reached a settlement over the trademark dispute. In a statement, ViceVersa's lawyer wrote: "After a few weeks of negotiations, the two parties have come to an amicable agreement. Changes have been made to the band’s trademark details as registered with the USPTO, thus narrowing the scope of their services. ViceVersa will continue using their name and logo as they please and Vice Media will go about their $2.5 billion business." Reached for comment, a Vice spokesperson said: "We're glad this worked out for both parties, and we wish the band the best of luck."

    • Copyrights

      • Supreme Court Makes It (Slightly) Easier To Award Attorneys' Fees For Bogus Copyright Lawsuits
        You may recall the Kirtsaeng case that we covered a few years back, in which a student, Sudap Kirtsaeng, had been sued for copyright infringement by publishing giant John Wiley for buying English-language textbooks in Thailand (that were cheap) and then reselling them to students in the US. It was a classic arbitrage situation. Wiley insisted that this was infringing, while Kirtsaeng pointed to the First Sale doctrine, allowing people to resell physical products they've legally purchased, even if they include copyright-covered content. Wiley's argument against first sale is that it only applied to content that was "legally made under this title." Thus, since the textbooks were made in Thailand and not under US copyright law, First Sale didn't apply. The Supreme Court, thankfully, rejected that argument 6 to 3, and said that first sale does apply. That was good.

        The case then went back to the lower courts where Kirtsaeng sought to have Wiley pay his legal fees. The lower court and the appeals court both rejected this request, arguing that the standard for assigning attorneys' fees in copyright cases was whether or not the plaintiff bringing the case had an "objectively reasonable" argument -- and noting that with 3 of the 9 Justices eventually siding with Wiley, the case was likely "objectively reasonable," even if it failed in the end. This argument also reached the Supreme Court and on Thursday, the Justices decided to tweak the standard.

        Very similar to the case it decided earlier in the week concerning patent damages (and, in fact, it cites that case in this ruling), the Supreme Court rejects the purely "objectively reasonable" standard test as being too "rigid." It's pretty clear that the court thinks that lower courts should have some leeway in determining the appropriate remedies, rather than sticking to a set of strict guidelines.

      • Copyright Trolls Slammed in UK House of Lords

        Copyright trolls operating in the UK will be doing so a little less confidently this morning after being slammed in the House of Lords yesterday. Lord Lucas named and shamed several companies involved in the practice, describing them as scammers and extortionists while urging the government to take action.

      • Pirate Bay Co-Founder Must Pay Record Labels $395,000

        Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde may have thought he'd left the notorious site behind, but the legal system has other plans. The Helsinki District Court has just ordered him to pay $395,000 to record labels including Sony, Universal, Warner and EMI, after their content was shared illegally via the platform.

      • Pirate Bay Co-founder Must Pay $395,000 Fine To Record Labels, Court Orders
        A Finnish court has ordered the Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde to pay record labels a sum $395,000. This decision came after various record labels accused the torrent website of sharing their artists’ contents illegally. Even though Sunde has left the website many years ago, he continues to face numerous problems.

      • Top EU Court Advisor Makes A Strangely Sensible (But Only Provisional) Copyright Ruling On The Lending Of eBooks
        The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the EU's highest court, has a slightly unusual procedure for delivering its judgments. After a case has been referred to it by a national court, one of the CJEU's top advisors, known as an Advocate General, offers a preliminary opinion. This is meant to provide guidance to the judges considering the case, and generally indicates how the CJEU will rule. But it is by no means binding, and judges have been known to go completely against the advice offered to them. Let's hope that doesn't happen in a copyright case currently before the EU court.

      • Libraries Should be Able to Lend eBooks, Says EU Advocate General
        The EU is one step closer to adopting a universal legal policy enabling libraries to lend ebooks. Earlier today Advocate General Maciej Szpunar published a nonbinding advisory opinion which said that libraries should be able to lend ebooks just like they do paper books.

      • E-books fair game for public libraries, says advisor to top Europe court
        Electronic books should be treated just like physical books for the purposes of lending, an advisor to Europe's top court has said.

        Maciej Szpunar, advocate general to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), said in an opinion published (PDF) Thursday morning that public libraries should be allowed to lend e-books so long as the author is fairly compensated.

      • AG Szpunar says that time-limited e-lending is allowed under EU law and interpretation of copyright norms must evolve with technology
        Those above are - in a nutshell - the questions currently pending before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Vereniging Openbare Bibliotheken v Stichting Leenrecht, C-174/15, a reference for a preliminary ruling from the Rechtbank Den Haag (District Court of The Hague, Netherlands).

        This reference has arisen in the context of proceedings brought by the association of Dutch public libraries which, contrary to the position of Dutch government, believes that libraries should be entitled to lend electronic books included in their collections according to the principle "one copy one user". This envisages the possibility for a library user to download an electronic copy of a work included in the collection of a library with the result that - as long as that user "has" the book - it is not possible for other library users to download a copy. Upon expiry of the e-lending period, the electronic copy downloaded by the first user becomes unusable, so that the book in question can be e-borrowed by another user.

      • Appeals Court Gives Big Loss To Record Labels In Their Quixotic Lawsuit Against Vimeo For Lipdubs
        The record labels basically will find no innovation that's not worth suing, and so back in 2013 they sued the online video hosting/streaming site Vimeo, in part because the site had created a popular genre of videos known as "lipdubs" where people would lip sync to a song in a video. In the fall of 2013, the district court rejected most, but not all, of the record labels' arguments about the DMCA. The labels had argued that Vimeo lost its DMCA safe harbors for a variety of reasons, including not having a reasonable repeat infringer policy (and by "reasonable" the labels claimed it had to be the same as YouTube's), red flag knowledge, and the fact that because Vimeo lets people download videos there's no safe harbor. The court rejected basically all of those arguments -- but did leave open the possibility that red flag knowledge might apply if Vimeo employees had watched some of the videos at play in the case. There was also one very problematic part of the ruling, which is that the court said that pre-1972 sound recordings do not qualify for the DMCA's safe harbors because of the weird quirk of copyright law history by which pre-1972 sound recordings are not actually covered by federal copyright law (but, instead, various state laws and common law).
      • Supreme Court Clarifies Copyright Attorney Fees: Reasonable Defense Not a Presumptive Excuse
        In Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons (2016), the Supreme Court has vacated the Second Circuit’s ruling denying attorney-fee awards in the copyright case – but offered a balanced opinion that places a number of limits on when fees may be awarded.

        The opinion holds the reasonableness of the losing party’s position should be a substantial factor. I.e., the more reasonable that position, the less likely that fees should be awarded. However, objective reasonableness is not the ‘controlling factor.’

      • Wikimedia: If Copyright Law Ain’t Broken, Don’t Fix It

        The organization behind Wikipedia has warned that tinkering with the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA could interfere with its already effective handling of copyright issues. Charles M. Roslof, Legal Counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation, says that a "takedown, staydown" system would be both expensive and likely to chill free speech.

Recent Techrights' Posts

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